Poll: Are We Doing this RIAA Thing All Wrong?

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Reader Rob writes in, and he makes some interesting points:

For starters, the RIAA is incredibly stupid, but they are not evil. Like it or not, they actually do represent and help to pay the salaries of the artists whose music you wish to "share."

Should they be suing teenagers in Poughkeepsie? Of course not. Should they be pushing DRM down our throats? No. But what you fail to grasp is that they are doing these things because they are short-sighted, small-minded,
incredibly ignorant bureaucrats who truly believe they are protecting the interests of artists and the people who pay them. They are not evil. They are not fascists. They are just profoundly stupid.

Instead of demonizing them for doing the only thing they know how to do, why don't you come up with a better way? You guys understand the future of tech and what it means for music and movies better than most anyone, so why don't you stop throwing rocks at the dinosaurs and start solving the problem.


A poll and my response, after the jump.

Now, I realize that these guys aren't evil incarnate and we just share differing beliefs, but I don't think I've demonized them personally too much (well, maybe a little bit yesterday). This is clearly an ideological debate, and we're just trying to get people talking about it so progress can be made.

As for us needing to solve the problem, to be fair, we're a blog. It isn't our job to develop new products or services, and I certainly would have no idea where to start doing something like that. If anyone has new, groundbreaking ideas or innovations in this field, of course I would love to post them here and get them publicity. However, there's a huge line between writing about technology and developing technology.

Plus, I write 13 posts a day, dude. There are only so many hours around to do stuff in. Publicizing the issue and educating people about what's at stake is our way of helping to solve the problem, as far as I'm concerned.

So what do you guys think? Are we way off, or do you think we're on the right track? I'm not just looking to get a pat on the back here, either. I really care about this issue, and if you guys have ideas as to how we could be more effective, I want to hear them.


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Stupidity and the stifling of innovation is evil. Pure and simple. Is stupidity the new evil? Well, I would have to say "Yes."

Please insert grains of salt into whatever orifice you wish, and keep a sense of humor. Let's talk.

There was, at some point, this whole notion and concept of big evil corporate conspiracies. They had the time, money, and resources to scare everyone. Maybe fifty years ago, you invent a car that runs on water and late into the night some goons from the oil company might give you a brand new pair of cement shoes.

Who knows? Perhaps this is the realm of Hollywood or kooks or people with too little to do and too much LSD on hand.

Either way, this doesn't matter anymore. The revolution has already happened. We're past this sort of idiocy and slavery. Conspiracies, if they ever existed, simply can no longer be agile enough to deal with the onslaught of communication and information exchange.

So, you invent a water powered car. Throw it on Youtube. And yes, if you go there, search for "water powered car." I dare you. While you're at it, search for "zero point energy," too. Prepare to have your mind pwnd.

So you have all these companies, spending billions of fruitless dollars to apply a tiny band-aid to a hemorrhage of epic proportions. They are their own worst enemy, in this case. Stupidity, really, more than evil.

Books in the library have really only been available to the working man for about 75 years or so. Television was a great communicator, but now is simply a media of moving sigils in the form of advertising designed to consume and control your imaginative space. Works like a charm. Not evil, really. The stupidity is on your end for making bad choices of what to feed your head. We had radio, Fidonet, newsgroups... And now this concept of Web 2.0, which can be argued is really only a few years old... The beast is unleashed. Pandora's box is opened. Those (arguably) formerly evil and now presently dumbfounded corporations are too large and ponderous to react appropriately.

We have our own moment-to-moment sigilized weapons in the form of videos, quite possibly the hottest of all media. We are choosing what we feed our heads now. We are getting rid of television and advertising that takes up imaginative space that belongs to the soul and mind of an individual. Is it any wonder that we wish to take back and own our own thoughts? The mass media had a purpose at one point, and that was a communicative tool to exchange useful information and is now relegated to a 24 hour commercial, with bits of entertainment thrown in. The accounting and finances of making media have changed, and there is yet resistance to that change. They want their cake and eat it too, with some gold foil sprinkled on top so that their shit will sparkle in the bowl.

In other words... No one can shut you up anymore. I find this incredibly enjoyable and I am relieved to realize that the revolution is here. I am eternally an optimist about the species as a whole, and the fact that we're discussing this and imagining those executives wringing their hands in agony not because they are losing money, but because shareholders are demanding they do something, and they need to appear busy. They have plenty of scratch, they just don't happen to own any clues.

So, let's talk. Stupidity is the new evil, and will be a little easier to deal with than guys in trench coats that steal into your home under the cover of darkness and a Britney cd.

We're speaking out, and reclaiming our imaginative space. We are choosing what we wish to feed our heads moment to moment now, at a speed which is beyond which the societal structure is prepared to deal with. So let Rome fall, but let's try to give it a soft landing. Let's understand that the paradigm has been broken, the conspiracies are no longer a factor, if they ever were. Their stupidity is now the friend of innovation.

Real innovation is coming from folks like you and me, armed with nothing more than an idea and a cheap camera.

So, get a good sense of humor firmly planted in your mind, your tongue firmly planted in your cheek, and a friendship to your fellow innovator. We're not used to having to come up with ideas on our own, but let's start. How about now? Let's have an open, honest, friendly discussion. Where do you think the future of media is going? Strip away what you have been taught and learn to ask yourself "What is your dream world?"

Oh, and as a friendly parting shot who may still be living in the yesterday's world...

Consider ignorance and stupidity. Two emotionally charged words. "Ignorance" has a kinder connotation, indicating that the individual in question is simply uniformed and has the ability to learn, if just given the right instruction.

"Stupidity" is different. It indicates that the individual has heard all the evidence, has seen the writing on the wall, and is still choosing to make bad choices in the face of a huge tidal wave of information to the contrary.

So, are you good and willing to learn, or are you evil and choosing to remain stupid?

In other words...

Are you just unfortunately ignorant or breathtakingly stupid?