UPDATE 10/10: The proposals are quite real – but the meeting last week apparently didn’t happen. The Register sends its apologies.
POSTED 10/7: The music and entertainment industries plan to step up their war against mp3 file sharing. As reported by The Register: “Last week, the RIAA hosted a secret meeting in Washington DC with the heads of major record labels and technology companies, plus leaders of other trade bodies and even members of the US senate. Present, we are told by sources close to the RIAA, were Intel’s Andy Grove; IBM’s Lou Gerstner; Disney’s Michael Eisner; Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Ass. of America; International Federation of the Phonographic Industry chief Jay Berman; Vivendi Universal’s Edgar Bronfman; AOL Time-Warner’s Gerald Levin; EMI’s Ken Berry; Sony’s Steve Heckler; and from Bertelsmann, Strauss Zelnick. Also present were the CEOs of Matsushita and Toshiba, and senators Fritz Hollings and Ted Stevens.”
The RIAA is pushing sound card manufacturers to implement technology that will block any attempt to copy protected material. It’s seeking something – technology or new laws – that will prevent you from storing copyrighted material on your computer’s hard drive. It’s sponsoring legislation to plug the “loopholes” in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For example, the RIAA thinks Internet providers ought to be criminally liable for file sharing by their subscribers – which would immediately cause the Internet providers to block all file sharing software, preventing any legitimate use as well as allegedly illegal use.
The RIAA is upset that privacy laws prevent them from immediately getting their hands on all of the criminals out there, so it will be seeking to overcome that obstacle as well.
The final word, from Sony Music Entertainment’s Steve Heckler: “Once consumers can no longer get free music, they will have to buy the music in the formats we choose to put out.” If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you’re not paying attention.