The RIAA is Don Quixote

Think back 20-30 years ago, and imagine this headline: “RIAA takes on tape-recording in copyright lawsuit targeting tape deck manufacturers” – does that sound absurd?

But yet today, we have a headline like this: “RIAA takes on stream-ripping in copyright lawsuit targeting YouTube-mp3

(I know, I know, those two surely can’t be compared directly…)

However – if the RIAA has made such a shitty deal with YouTube (getting paid fractions of a penny for each play) that they need to go after a website that enables people to extract shitty 128kbps audio from YouTube videos, wouldn’t it be smarter to negotiate a better deal with YouTube?

Are stream-ripped low-quality MP3 files really distributed a lot? After all, everyone can just go to that website and rip whatever they want, no?

And even if they bring down this one particular site – a simple search for “youtube mp3” reveals dozens of others that appear to offer the same kind of functionality.

See also: Don Quixote, windmills, futile.

Don’t get me wrong – I find this an interesting challenge. As a photographer, I’m all for compensating artists when their work is used and publicly performed. RIAA struggles to keep up with the rapid changes in the music landscape – first ripping & burning (the German RIAA equivalent GEMA established royalty fees on blank CDRs and CD-burners, for example – but who is still burning ripped audio to CDRs today?!), then streaming, now stream-ripping…

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Thoughts? Let me hear them.

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