Moses Supposes: PCMag flips RIAA the bird

Moses Avalon is one of the nation’s leading music-business consultants and artists’-rights advocates and is the author of a top-selling music business reference, Confessions of a Record Producer. More of his articles can be found at

If you ever had any doubt that the ISP industry is at war with music and other content providers, this should put the controversy to rest. When a popular consumer computer magazine acutely and brazenly facilitates its readers to steal music via P2P, even after all the court battles, how can there be any room for doubt that this is anything short of a deliberate attack?

Even with ruling after ruling that clearly states that file sharing is a crime, even after every single legal argument has been made and defeated as to how file sharing commercial music might, in some extreme interpretation, be legal, some people just don’t get it, or just don’t care.

For those catching up, PCMag published an article that is essentially a support manual for the post-LimeWire world of P2P users. Those who want to continue to fool themselves that “sharing” song files is not copyright infringement or theft can read this piece to get a complete list of bootleg LimeWires that will help them remain criminals. The RIAA sent an uncharacteristically polite plea for balanced reporting and a retraction. It was cosigned by every trade group in the music space. PCMag’s editors responded to the RIAA with, basically, “Go flog yourself.”

Federal prosecutors, wake up. You now have a mainstream magazine actually instructing the public on how to commit a crime, and every single advertiser in that magazine is a beneficiary of that facilitation. If that does not meet the legal standard for a criminal enterprise, then tell me, what does?

“We need to end the coffeehouse intellectualism and realize that all these concessions, like the three strikes/gradual response program are just BS ISP lip service.”

Wake up, RIAA, SX, etc.; your letter was a great start, but it’s time to reboot the lawsuits. And hey, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC, you’re a bunch of pussies if you let the RIAA do all the heavy lifting and take all the black eyes — again. These are your publishers and writers that are being ripped off just as much as the RIAA’s labels and artists. Collectively, you take in about two billion dollars each and every year, yet you haven’t spent dime one on shutting down illegal P2P. How about you do something besides writing erudite support letters?

PC Magazine, I hereby accuse you. Given how much carbon has been devoted to this issue in the past decade, and given how much everybody knows this has hurt the art form of popular music, I accuse you of “intentional infliction of emotional harm” to every recording artist, music label, and music publisher in the free world.

Will some class-action lawyer please read this and sue these a–holes for more money than they can earn in two lifetimes? Please? Can we get this done already? Enough is enough.

We need to end the coffeehouse intellectualism and realize that all these concessions, like the three strikes/gradual response program are just BS ISP lip service. How can I prove it?

Well, if the ISPs really felt that PCMag overstepped, damaging the “good will” ISPs have been working towards, they would protest by pulling their  advertising, which so far they have not. Why? Because they LOVE this shit. It wasn’t even a day after the RIAA sent its request that every Silicon Valley trade rag, from Tech Dirt to Slashdot, piled on the we-hate-the-RIAA-even when-they-are-right syrup — with only one exception. (I want to personally thank Stephen Chapman of ZDNet for his truly balanced response to PCMag. Hopefully, he won’t get flamed for being honest.)

Enough talk. It’s time to get radical. Who is in?

Let’s start by sending the PCMag writer, Chloe Albanesius, an E-mail helping her to understand the devastation that articles like hers do to real people. You can find out more about how to get in touch with her here. And it’s worth noting that this gal is a good journalist who is not new to her profession or this particular issue. Clearly, she needs to hear firsthand how serious this situation is. Maybe it will inspire a follow-up.

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