September 29, 2003
On the RIAA 'anti-class action' lawsuits

The RIAA is busy doing a 'reverse class action' lawsuit, namely an entire wall of lawsuits against (what they believe to be) various minor copyright infringers. They are in fact quite simply spamming the legal system. Needless to say, with the number of lawsuits they haven't really tested their claims properly, and the completely unfounded lawsuits are beginning to get some press. I think Joi Ito sums the problem with this tactic up nicely:

Being sued isn't like, "oh sorry... wrong number.."
That's right. The RIAA aren't calling people names, they are harming their reputation in society in general. I assume these lawsuits are a matter of public record.

A bunch of paraphrases come to mind: Spamming the legal system, as mentioned above, since the level of public resources these lawsuits will take up is quite substantial. This underlines the practical background for the position that "a law that two thirds of the population are against and/or violate on a daily bases is just not a reasonable law". It's 'Commercial McCarthyism', since the main point, or at least the consequense of the lawsuits is the creation of an environment where random accusation is commonplace, with chilling effects on the general climate of society. I wonder if one day we will add the moniker 'The Second Prohibition' to these last couple of years, where rabid Intellectual property law was allowed to create this atmosphere, and almost destroyed the commons.

Posted by Claus at September 29, 2003 01:46 AM | TrackBack (0)
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