From the rhetorical hyperbole department, TorrentFreak reports that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently submitted its “2014 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” report to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Being a lobbying and advocacy group for the music industry, the RIAA is tasked generally with representing and promoting industry interests, and specifically with strengthening copyright policy and enforcement. As such, the group’s opposition to the large-scale copyright infringement that occurs online on a daily basis is both understandable and laudable.
In its report, the RIAA takes particular aim at sites such as the Pirate Bay, whose proponents have called the RIAA’s anti-piracy efforts a form of censorship that hinders free expression. While the copyright enforcement equals censorship argument is deeply flawed, particularly coming from those engaged in mass piracy, the RIAA’s response, characterizing online piracy as an “assault on our humanity” and a “misappropriation of fundamental human rights,” is perhaps just a teensy bit overwrought. The report further expounds that, “[i]f the protection of expression is itself a restriction on freedom of expression, then have entered a metaphysical Wonderland that stands logic on its head, and undermines core, shared global values about personhood.” It is worth noting that the RIAA has a long history of using such histrionics in its efforts to influence U.S. copyright law and policy, and has opposed nearly every new technology since radio that could conceivably facilitate infringement. Since the RIAA has long been one of the most prominent voices in major copyright policy debates, a case could be made that such rhetoric is persuasive. However, if the RIAA is right, and the millions of infringements that occur each day really are assaults on our humanity and misappropriations of fundamental human rights, then civilization may well be doomed by the next Taylor Swift album. Read the full article here, and the RIAA report here.
Reposted from TorrentFreak.