Looks like the RIAA has finally realized that treating customers like criminals isn’t the best strategy in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal (via Slashdot) they are ending their campaign of suing individual file sharers to focus on working with ISPs to reduce illegal sharing.
As much as I like to rip the heck out of the RIAA and MPAA for their draconian views on copyright and enforcement, it really is stealing if you snag something off a file sharing network. Like most people in college I was into the Napster thing for a bit, but quickly realized it was wrong, and I stopped using it. Heck, a friend’s dad who was an FBI agent had her download music for him; that’s how new the concept was and how much it snapped our usual social mores.
But I will admit, here and now, to downloading digital content I already legally access when DRM restrictions interfere with my use of that content. It’s not something I do very often, but I have no qualms about heading to the Pirate Bay and grabbing an episode of a TV show my TiVo won’t let me transfer to my phone (mostly the hi def stuff), I’ll even rent movies, rip them, watch them once on my iPhone, then delete them. If the media companies interfere with my existing rights, I’m more than happy to circumvent them.
I still pay for all my music, movies, and television, and in exchange I use all my technical skills to maintain my rights.