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An open letter to the RIAA

The RIAA has gone too far, and now it's time we tell them as much.

Dear RIAA,

As the watchdog for the so-called "recording industry," I expect you to preserve and protect the viability and future growth of the recording industry. In fact, I don't even have a problem with you doing that. But sad as it as, your tactics have come under attack by those on both sides of the "piracy" fence imploring you to find something better to do with your time. Isn't it time you listen to your critics and realize that your tactics are making you one of the most hated organizations in the world?

Now, I'm sure you've heard this before and you have actually come to expect a technology pundit to criticize you for being the bully that will eventually get punched in the nose. In fact, I'm sure some of you will try to laugh this letter off as another naive attempt to bring an end to your scare tactics. But what you may not realize is you can only bully for so long and you can only push us as long as we want you to. Because eventually, my friends, we will push back--harder.

Is it about the money, RIAA? Are you and your keepers that greedy that you can't stand the thought of a 12-year old girl downloading a few songs from a peer-to-peer network? Is the thought of such an act so disdainful that you must run to your high-powered lawyers and find a way to put little Jenny in jail?

If so, let me ask you why you haven't you gone after the pirates in Asia and abroad that have horded millions of dollars from illegal piracy? Is it because they run gunships through the sea and they're much harder to attack? Are you really going after the lowest hanging fruit? Are we, American citizens, just fruit to you?

I would like to know why you have decided to attack 80-year-old women and 12-year-old kids. I want to know why you sue single mothers and bully someone who has downloaded 50 songs when you know there are organizations pirating thousands of songs. More than anything, I want to know why you want to intimidate people? Do you think it will work?

I think it's time you change your tactics. Did you know that amid your lawsuits, peer-to-peer downloading and torrent downloads have doubled since the lawsuits began? Did you know that although the law clearly states we shouldn't be pirating music, there's little teeth behind a law if millions do it? Much like the days of prohibition, you're fighting a battle you can't win. It's time you give it up.

So what should you do? Well, first off, stop trying to intimidate us--it doesn't work. We're millions, and if the need should arise, we can stand up and fight against your high-powered lawyers with our own and put an end to this debacle. Your industry may have the ear of Congresspeople now, but rest assured, our votes will ring louder than your lobbying if you take this too far.

Go after the real pirates and leave us alone. It's common knowledge that the more you fight us, the more we'll fight back. If you want us to stop pirating music, then stop making it so easy. Allow us to download songs for free and I'll guarantee you something will happen that you never would expect: your slumping revenues will actually rise! Believe it or not, we don't mind paying the artists for what they've created as long as we're not being overcharged for the same material we can have elsewhere at a lower price.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this, RIAA. You may not agree with some of the points outlined in this letter and I can appreciate that. But if you do not heed my warnings and find a new tactic for self-preservation, your demise will be met with a skull and bones.