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Biting the hand that feeds you

I’m tired of doing business with companies that treat their customers like dirty criminals.

Read this: Teen Accuses Record Companies of Collusion (Associated Press)

Robert Santangelo… claims that the record companies, which have filed more than 18,000 piracy lawsuits in federal courts, “have engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the courts of the United States.”

The papers allege that the companies, “ostensibly competitors in the recording industry, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and public policy” by bringing the piracy cases jointly and using the same agency “to make extortionate threats … to force defendants to pay.”

I know I shamelessly plug eMusic a lot on this site, but right now they are pretty much the only responsible online vendor that actually respects both their customers and the artists who work to make the music.

I know that a lot of good artists are on the “big four” music labels that mistreat their customers so much. Instead of buying online and supporting DRM, there are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Check their record label status on RIAA Radar.  This site will tell you if an artist is a member of the RIAA, a conglomerate of labels that promotes practices like harassing and suing their customers (even after they’re dead), infecting music with fair use-limiting DRM, and slashing artist royalties. (Just to be fair, the labels shouldn’t hide behind an advocacy groups. The following labels actively support such practices: EMI, BMG, Sony, Warner, and UMG)
  2. Buy it on CD. This promotes a DRM-free avenue that shows labels that you are willing to pay for music you like, but won’t accept DRM limitations.

If you’re still actually reading my whining, you may be interested in what the Electronic Frontier Foundation has to say. They’ve got a good guide to DRM and have proposed a method to actually reduce piracy and get artists paid.