No Excuses

Monday, July 21, 2003

The RIAA has declared war on its own customers. Is sharing copyrighted works illegal? Sure. Should it be? Debatable. Does it hurt CD sales? Not as much as they would have you believe. File sharing is not evil, it’s a sign that the public is unhappy with the music industry. Rather than adapt, the major labels would prefer to use legislation and litigation to protect their oligopoly.

For those who do not want to support the RIAAs actions, but who still enjoy music, it can be tricky knowing which labels to buy from. Now help is here: the RIAA Radar, allows you to determine if an album you want to buy was produced by a member of the RIAA. The handy bookmarklet allows you to check albums as you are browsing Amazon.

Ignorance is no longer an excuse. You have the knowledge, what you do with it is up to you. For music lovers who disagree with the RIAA, here are a few more tips for easing your conscience:

  • After you find an album that is “safe,” don’t buy it at Amazon. Buy directly from the artist, if you can. Or, buy from one of the smaller sites that specialize in independent music.
  • Can’t live without an album from a major label? Buy it used. The label has already received its money, but not from you.
  • Support musicians by going to see them live. Music is better that way, anyway.

One more thing: besides being a handy tool, the RIAA Radar is an example of web services being put to good use. It uses the Amazon API to find the label information for the albums. See? Sharing data is good.