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Friday, August 22, 2008

RIAA Propaganda Created/Distributed by Non-Profit

posted by on August 22 at 15:39 PM

Like the bastard offspring of a Chick pamphlet and an episode of Judging Amy, a comic book distributed by the non-profit National Center for State Courts is trying to scare kids away from file-sharing and vis--vis, ruining their lives. The NCLS purports itself to be an, “organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to court systems in the United States.” Well, far be it from me stand against the service of improving the administration of justice, so here’s an excerpt from the comic:

propogandacomic-16.jpg

HT to Beaucoup Kevin. Plot summary from the Wired blog entry and more after the jump…

The piracy story has two plots. One is of the file sharer’s grandmother fighting eminent domain proceedings to keep her house while Megan the criminal file sharer deals with the charges against her.

The story is simple: Megan learns to download music from a friend. About 2,000 downloads and three months later, a police officer from the fictitious City of Arbor knocks on her door and hands her a criminal summons to appear in court.

All the while, her grandmother is trying to save her house from the city that wants to pave it over. When the grandmother gets home from a day in court (she eventually beats the city and keeps her house) the criminal Megan is crying. “Oh, Nana. What have I done? I’ve ruined everything,” she said. “I’ll lose my scholarship. I know I will.”

The two embrace. “Hush now. We will find a way to get through this. I promise,” the grandmother tells her granddaughter, whose parents were killed in a traffic accident 12 years before…

In the case of Megan Robbins, “Criminal Case Number 67589B,” a city prosecutor urges the maximum two-year sentence after Robbins pleads guilty. The city appoints her a public defender. (Criminal copyright infringement is when somebody sells pirated works and not sharing on a peer-to-peer network. And its the federal government, not local cities which prosecute the criminal cases.)

The local prosecutor, Terry Williams, tells the judge that the defendant “is charged with theft, at the state level” and adds that the girl faces “stiff penalties up to two years in jail and $25,000 in fines.”

“Many consider downloading music without paying for it to be a victimless crime, but nothing could be further from the truth,” the prosecutor says.

The prosecution added that “Her conviction sends a message that illegally downloading music is a crime, and anyone involved will be held accountable.”

The criminal is handed a three-month suspended sentence and 200 hours of public service.

So be warned potential criminals and MP3 privateers! Fictional city prosecutors aren’t afraid to step right over the federal attorneys to enforce the law and protect musicians everywhere. Thank god they’re looking out for us, right?

RSS icon Comments

1

Yeah, that's really going to work. Any kid naive enough to be influenced by this is probably too stupid to find music through file sharing networks anyway.

Posted by rk | August 22, 2008 4:17 PM
2

Wow, first both her parents died and now this! I'm convinced. No more file sharing for me, I just couldn't stand to lose my parents like that.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 22, 2008 4:49 PM
3

possible alternate plot lines:
* her parents were executed for file sharing.
* the friend who introduced her to file sharing turns out to be a communist.
* police actually help someone.

Posted by cosby | August 22, 2008 4:58 PM
4

You know... we can bastardize the RIAA all we want, but the sad reality of it all is that downloading music has had a profound effect on the artist as well as the evil music biz. With the increasing costs of touring and the shitty 360 deals record labels are shelling out, a lot of musicians are throwing in the towel or having to spend more time working to get by. Thankfully there's still publishing...

Posted by meh | August 22, 2008 4:59 PM
5

You know... we can bastardize the RIAA all we want, but the sad reality of it all is that downloading music has had a profound effect on the artist as well as the evil music biz. With the increasing costs of touring and the shitty 360 deals record labels are shelling out, a lot of musicians are throwing in the towel or having to spend more time working to get by. Thankfully there's still publishing...

Posted by meh | August 22, 2008 4:59 PM
6

@ meh: Fair enough, but there are just as many stories of file-sharing benefiting artists who've been ignored by traditional distribution models. I'm not saying one is any better than the other, but the reality is that the way music is shared and distributed in the public has changed irrevocably.

And the unspoken (and now explicit) point of this post is about the absurdity of combating such overwhelming change with a poorly rendered comic produced by a non-profit that was likely founded to disseminate this sort of heavily biased information.

Oh, and in this educational comic about law and the legal system-- in explaining the legal context surrounding the case against poor, delinquent Megan, they get the particulars of the law WRONG. That's pretty funny, too.

Posted by christopher h | August 22, 2008 5:45 PM
7

We'll all be dead before any of this matters. How's that grab ya?

Posted by Matthew | August 23, 2008 4:42 AM
8

That page is hilarious. I'm trying to view the "message" as anything other than "the legal system is enforcing draconian and ultimately ineffective laws" and I'm not coming up with anything. It's kinda like:
"Well, we warned you if you squeezed the Charmin we'd stomp on a puppy, and you went ahead and squeezed the Charmin, so this is really your fault. I hope you're happy!"
(stomps on puppy.)

"Remember kids, we'll enforce any laws the corporations lobby to get on the books, and punishment will be cruel, arbitrary and completely out of proportion to the scale of the crime-- so don't get caught!"

As usual, comic books have all the answers.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 23, 2008 11:12 AM

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