This will be a good read for those of you who are interested in file sharing networks and their battle against the RIAA.
A few months ago, a friend and I thought up with a crypto setup for file sharing networks, basically so that the networks could claim they didn't know what was being shared, and the RIAA couldn't prove what people were searching for / downloading.
Anyway, we emailed the idea to Justin Frankel at winamp, since I knew he was developing a skeleton p2p network app (he later got into trouble with this with AOL, who now owns winamp.. personally I don't see why he doesn't lend his talents somewhere where he is appreciated). Unfortunately my friend sent the mail for us, and like a dork, mailed it to the winamp support staff (most likely handled by AOL themselves). We got back a curt reply saying they weren't interested in p2p.... the makers of a media player are not interested in how people can access the media ... yeah riiiiight
To start an ethical debate, I agree that downloading music is stealing -- as a wannabe professional musican I can really appreciate the fact that something has to pay the bills, and if everyone takes your hard work for free, you've every reason to be pissed off. However I feel very strongly about the way the RIAA has been going about things, first off -- when did it become a music 'industry'.. it sounds like a big factory where they churn out one product over and over again (which is basically what the state of popular music is today, very little talent, very big image).
The RIAA claims that their CD sales have plummeted, well yes, thats what happens when you oppose technology that has become the de facto way people listen to music today... furthermore, CDs are way overpriced... why should consumers pay large sums of money for albums that are full of filler with one decent song ? Embrace the technology, and evolve or die.
Perhaps when the fact cat record executives really start feeling the pinch they'll do the correct thing -- start providing more quality at a reasonable price, and start paying the artists more per CD. Most artists earn a pittance from CD royalties..
The RIAA has to realise that slapping lawsuits on 13 year old girls and 75 year old grandmothers is not the way to approach the problem..