[Reuters] U.S. lawmakers have asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to go after Internet users who download unauthorized songs and other copyrighted material, raising the possibility of jail time for digital-music fans. In a July 25 letter released late Thursday, 19 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle asked Ashcroft to prosecute "peer-to-peer" networks like Kazaa and Morpheus and the users who swap digital songs, video clips and other files without permission from artists or their record labels. The Justice Department should also devote more resources to policing online copyrights, the lawmakers said in their letter.
[Mercury News] Nearly two dozen U.S. lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to go after Internet users who download unauthorized songs and other copyrighted material, raising the possibility of jail time for digital-music fans.
The music industry claims to gross $40B/year. That seems high to me. But if so, why can't it police its own property? We have a million illegal immigrants coming in a year, some of them spreading disease and terrorism, and Ashcroft should be worried about people who share music?
Meanwhile, the music label lobby RIAA is complaining that the royalty on internet radio music is too low. The rate is .07 cents per song per listener, and is high enough that it has killed most of the good internet radio stations. The RIAA does not get any royalty on regular broadcast radio music -- why should it get royalties on internet radio?
A Sci-Fi novelist said this many years ago:
There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years , the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit. Robert Heinlein, Life-Line