The Music Industry Says Investigating Music "Pirates" Leads to "Large Quantities of Narcotics" and Terror Cells

videoThis video is an excerpt from an official Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) training video - apparently produced with the National District Attorneys Association. In the video "experts" (speaking on behalf of the major music companies) encourage prosecutors to investigate and aggressively prosecute music "pirates." Specifically, the experts say that pursuing unpermissioned copying of music will lead prosecutors to "everything from handguns to large quantities of narcotics, cocaine [and] marijuana" - not to mention "terrorist organizations" and murderers.

Hyperbolic videos (like the one on this page linking music "piracy" to narcotics, terror and murder) may have contributed to a climate where draconian laws are passed and a large chunk of the audience is demonized for fan behaviors that could be monetized.

Instead of treating the most ardent fans as criminals, and enacting laws that have unintended innovation-killing consequences (e.g., many American Universities restrict bandwidth on their computer systems - preventing the legal sharing of files between scholars), the big content companies could pursue another path. Instead of spending large sums on unproductive plans for addressing illegal movie and music downloading - why aren't the RIAA and MPAA doing more to find ways to monetize the spread of content online?

Filmmakers who want another perspective - and are interested in how the big media companies manipulate public opinion about what constitutes "piracy" and "terrorism" - might consider reading Noam Chomsky's provocative analysis of America's role in the Middle East (written back in the 1980s, before online music "piracy"), Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World.

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