Sony Seems Set to Sue Us All

The Ars Technica comedy column continues to report the stand-up of Jennifer Pariser. She has an excellent straight man in Richard Gabriel.

Pariser has a very broad definition of “stealing.” When questioned by Richard Gabriel, lead counsel for the record labels, Pariser suggested that what millions of music fans do is actually theft. The dirty deed? Ripping your own CDs or downloading songs you already own.

Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’,” she said.

I’m sure that further gems will follow, and that Mashable (among other sites) will bring them to our attention.

A Positive Statistic for the RIAA?

Yesterday was the first day of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas, the first file-sharing case to go to trial, and the latest battle in the RIAA‘s war against file-sharing. One of the best parts so far (according to BB Cory as well as to me) is an admission by Jennifer Pariser, Sony BMG’s head of litigation.

“We’ve lost money on this program,” she said, the “we” being the record labels, who have spent “millions.” So let’s get this straight: the record companies are losing money in order to conduct a campaign that earns them dislike and mockery from many music fans?

I’m surprised that the record companies aren’t being sued by their shareholders for spending their money on a war that they can’t win, and that alienates much of the public. If they are so sued, I suggest that they compute and use the following statistic: dollars spent per music fan alienated. It’s probably low enough to suggest efficiency.

The case continues today. I hope that the judge doesn’t continue to sustain objections to perfectly reasonable questions. Yesterday, Thomas’ lawyer asked, “”How many dead people have you sued?” I think that the question is relevant to the issue of the RIAA targeting clearly innocent people.