Paid RIAA Editorial Masquerading as News

The RIAA sank to a new all-time low by producing a two-minute video press release intended for local TV stations to broadcast about copyright infringement during the holiday season.

A copy of the poorly made video may be found here. It matches a press release by the RIAA released on December 13, 2007.

Among the claims made: if you see music compilations that would only exist in the fantasies of music lovers, they’re probably too good to be true.

Let’s stop right there. The arrogance of that one statement is too profound to ignore. The RIAA is essentially claiming that producers will never give customers what they actually want. This is like saying, “Sure, you may want a bun with your hamburger, but anyone who would give it to you is selling you an illegal bun.” If there is demonstrable demand, intelligent businesspeople seek to fulfill it, not deny it.

Another claim is that if the packaging looks cheap, then the product probably is, too. Considering the poor quality of the RIAA’s own video, should I not therefore consider it suspect? Some have.

According to an Ars Technica article:

The production values of the video initially led us to suspect it of being a fake, but the leaker has provided Ars with a copy of an alleged press advisory that went out promoting the clip. It’s directed to “news assignment desk/consumer reporters,” who are more likely to use the footage and basic “storyline” themselves than to simply run the unedited report. The RIAA has not yet responded to our request for authentication of the video.

Next, the RIAA states that copies of digital originals suffer in sound quality. This demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of recording technology by the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s like saying the act of copying a document from one folder to another on your computer will result in sentences and entire paragraphs missing. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’re not that flaming stupid; they’re making an intentionally misleading statement to scare and misinform people.

Finally, if the purpose of the piece is to inform consumers to be on the lookout for music that doesn’t come from legitimate sources, then what does this say about this fake news piece, designed to be shown without proper attribution of its source?

The RIAA’s constant demonstration of its adversarial stance against the consumer now includes a holiday misinformation campaign. This organization and its efforts reflect poorly on those member companies that allow such activities to continue in their names.

In reaction to this precedent, next summer I expect to see tobacco companies produce their own fake news packages detailing the imminent dangers of malaria and West Nile Virus, and extolling the virtues of cigarette smoke as a method of keeping mosquitoes away.

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