We received this letter in rebuttal to our story regarding the RIAA sending instant messages to filesharing users:
OK - hate to do this but gotta say I'm a little miffed (can't believe I just used that word) at the news article about RIAA's e-mails and the recently completed (though probably not for long after appeals) court case. It's fine if you guys support the right for anyone to give away (in other words, steal) music without regard to the rights or wishes of the person who creates it, owns it, and owns the copyright. I disagree but I know I'm in the minority and that's fine. What bothers me is that you guys _horribly_ mistated both the facts, the legal precedents, the holding of the current case and what issues are actually relevant. Nobody has held filesharing is legal - in fact the actual court's opinion clearly states copyright infringement is NOT legal. So that means regardless of the legality of filesharing programs, sharing/stealing/distributing music you don't own the rights to remains illegal. Therefore, there's absolutely nothing contradictory about RIAA letting people know that distributing or taking music you don't own the rights to without paying for it remains illegal and people will (and are starting to be) prosecuted because that's the truth. Plus, the 9th Circuit has already held that illegal filesharing (taking and/or distributing music to literally millions of people) is in no way similar to one person making one tape of a CD - which happens to still be infringement but it's viewed (reasonably so) as "de minimus" infringement by the courts. Analogizing the distribution of stolen material to millions of people to one person making a mixtape for their friends is a joke.
Ok, sorry for the aggro letter. I meant to just point out all the facts/legalities you got wrong and not distracted with how much I disagreed with the obvious bias of the article (how come you think it's your right to decide whether I should give away my music for free? If I want to do that, shouldn't it be my choice how to do it, i.e. through a controlled site that allows me to give people information about the band along with any free tracks, and to control the number of tracks I want to give away?) Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, I'm incapable of not getting all pissy about the whole thing. Regardless, the article still got a lot of things factually wrong and therefore does a disservice to the many people from bands, labels, press etc. who get your updates.
Source: Elizabeth Elmore, The Reputation