Apple users' disgust at RIAA's Pepsi child ad

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Letters "Apple: I use to think you were different than Microsoft and more family-oriented," writes a horrified reader. "Instead, you showed the world your true colors."

The backlash against Pepsi's decision to humiliate the victims of the RIAA's campaign against file sharing in front of a mass TV audience continues to appall Register readers. The computer company remains proud of this debacle. You can now see the advertisement on Apple's site, here.

One reader, inspired by Mao's show trials, was inspired to produce this artwork. It's freely distributable, and hauntingly appropriate.

Raise the Red iPod

[Click to enlarge for a 1024x768 screen background]

Here is a selection of letters:-

What a world...here I am a very long time dedicated Mac user (there are currently 5 late model Macs in the house)......I own maclovers.org, and yet Apple has again participated in an undefendable act.

Eric Cohen

Your article was an excellent accounting of the Pepsi/Apple ads run during yesterday's SuperBowl! I was shocked that they would go that far to hock sugar water. Nice job!

Linda Kimmelman

America is definitely NOT a civilized country. I thought it before. Now I'm sure!

Jean-Dominique Veuve

Steve Jobs really has sold his soul to the RIAA... I hope he at least gets something in return. Like going to hell for it.

Jeff Schwartz

Dear All at Apple,

I am aware this mail will end up in the wrong mailbox; please forward it to the appropriate recipient. I am writing apropos the following news story:


concerning Apple & Pepsi's plans to 'name and shame' the DRM offenders on behalf of the RIAA. I implore you not to go ahead with this exercise in marketing suicide.

In a world where the Macintosh advertisements tell us to 'think different', encourage us to look to the individual instead of the corporate and champion the little guy, there is no surer way of putting Apple on the wrong side of the digital revolution in the eyes of the 'guy on the street'.

The world of intellectual property is changing faster than the ability of the law to keep up, and our current payment structure for rewarding artists is slowly breaking down. What happens on the other side of this revolution is anybodys guess, but this advertisement, if screened, will ensure that Apple is stuck on the losing side supporting an archaic and crumbling regime, and I'm sure will be used to 'name and shame' Apple once the dust has settled in years to come.

Shaun Roe

We seem to be talking about money-grabbing parasites becoming involved with re-writes of Stalinist show trials in which the innocent plead they are guilty. But this is the land of corporate rule in which the drive to make money has degenerated into little more than running a protection racket of enormous size and power. It's about making land-grabs for intellectual property where the idea of common ownership doesn't exist.

We have junk-food companies who claim it doesn't make you fat, soda companies who claim their drinks don't rot the teeth out of your head and DRM-peddlers who claim it doesn't interfere with your freedom. It's making double-think anddouble-speak acceptable, how Orwell must be proud...


At least two readers maintain that the children exploited in the advertisement are fighting the Man.

I have read many pieces of biased "journalism" in my day. I'm over half a century old, have read many forms of journalism and still read both print and 'net reporting on many fronts. However, you have really gone over the top on this one.

And to top it all off... the line in the advertisement about the fact that they are still going to be downloading music for free off the Internet ... and there's nothing anyone can do about it, tells it all. These people are still defiant. They are still against the improper methods sometimes used by the RIAA. They just don't believe they are shamed. They believe in fighting back in any way that is effective.

For them getting Pepsi to pay for their music while getting something they would probably buy anyway is a way of getting the establishment to fight against itself. They are getting big money to give them something they want without doing anything they would normally not do.

Think about that.

Franklin H. Williams, Jr

Um, yes.

What blend of drugs are you on? Have you seen the ad? The kids as much as flip the bird at the RIAA in it, with 135 million people watching them as they do.

Steve Tsuida

The tone however is consistent.

If anyone tried this in the UK they would fall foul of child protection laws that prevent the identity of a minor who is being sued/prosecuted being revealed unless there is a "Public Interest" as in the James Bulger murder case. Come to think of it a minor ( under 18 ) cannot be sued in the UK, as they have not reached majority, as they cannot consent to credit agreements, or be sued in the Civil Courts.

If the RIAA or MPAA tried to sue a 12 year old in the UK they would be vilified in the same way as a paedophile would be, and certainly could not publicly identify them in the press, like the hapless New York 12 year old girl, nor extract money.

Any loan agreement entered into by a minor is void in the UK and cannot be enforced unless the minor consents to said enforcement on reaching the age of majority, 18 in the UK. If they don't consent, the lender has no redress.

The RIAA tactics are of dubious legality at best.

Rob Redhead

Shame on Pepsi and Apple for publicly humiliating children on national public television, and especially during a popular event such as the Super Bowl. Corporate America never fails to amaze me how low, insensitive and socially irresponsible they can be. And all for the sake of making a profit.

Did these teenagers break the law? Yes, but there is no justification in using (bullying or forcing) these children in a TV ad and then put labels on them. I wouldn't be surprised if these children were psychologically scared from this. Why not take them onto the football field a Half Time and beat them with a belt or tree branch? Or better still, let's have someone tell these teenagers how worthless they are, how they'll never amount to anything, how they're leeches on society, and how everyone would better if they were stuck in a prison somewhere and forgotten. Even though it's against the law, physical or mental abuse would be no worse than how Pepsi and Apple 'legally' used these children.

You can talk to me about the RIAA all you want. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. This ad will not deter teenagers from illegally downloading music any more than laws deter people from committing other types of crimes.

Apple: I use to think you were different than Microsoft and more family-oriented. Instead, you showed the world your true colors.

Paul Ammann
New Fairfield, CT

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