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RIAA in a spin over CD copying bust

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

"Perhaps the truth is less interesting than the facts?" asked Amy Weiss, the RIAA's Senior Vice President of Communications recently in this email to The Register.

It's a question which has baffled many of our readers, and us too. Perhaps it's a kind of Zen koan, which needs to be repeated many times before making sense. If so, we can't report any success.

But the RIAA seems to be having a few problems with the facts itself.

Yesterday it issued a press release announcing a piracy bust in New York which unearthed 421 CD-R burners.

Only there weren't 421 burners, but "the equivalent of 421 burners."

In fact, there were just 156. How did the RIAA account for this discrepancy?

"There were only 156 actual burners, but some run at very high speeds: some as high as 40x. This is well above the average speed," was the official line yesterday.

Apparently another example of the Association's difficulty grappling with new technology. After the RIAA's website was hacked, with large sections rendered inaccessible, spokespersons explained the difficulties were due to a sudden upsurge in popularity.

Well, that's one way of putting it.

The other curious aspect of yesterday's release is the use of Secret Service agents in the bust. The Secret Service, we naively presumed, was employed to protect high-ranking elected officials[*]. Perhaps this is a further indication of who's really in charge

Remember: the facts are less interesting than the truth. ®

*Bootnote: In fact the task of talking into one's sleeve at a press conference only came 28 years after the Service was founded in 1865, to combat counterfeiting. Back then, there was no FBI, or equivalent federal agency, and the Presidential protection role was formalized in 1913.

"Perhaps we can focus our efforts at the real antagonist in this story (the RIAA) and leave out those charged with enforcing the sometimes ridiculous IP laws in this country," writes David Snyder.

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