Death is no obstacle to feeling the long arm of the Recording Industry Ass. of America.
Lawyers representing several record companies have filed suit against an 83 year-old woman who died in December, claiming that she made more than 700 songs available on the internet.
"I believe that if music companies are going to set examples they need to do it to appropriate people and not dead people," Robin Chianumba told AP. "I am pretty sure she is not going to leave Greenwood Memorial Park to attend the hearing."
Gertrude Walton, who lived in Beckley, West Virginia hated computers, too, her daughter adds. An RIAA spokesperson said that it would try and dismiss the case.
However the RIAA's embarrassment doesn't end there. Chianumba said that she had sent a copy of her mother's death certificate to record company lawyers in response to an initial warning letter, over a week before the suit was filed. In 2003 the RIAA sued a twelve year-old girl for copyright infringement. She'd harbored an MP3 file of her favorite TV show on her hard drive. Her working class parents in a housing project in New York were forced to pay two thousand dollars in a settlement.
You can't be too young to face the consequences of being social, it seems. Only the unborn, it seems, have yet to receive an infringement suit.
But here's another interpretation of this distasteful litigation. Wouldn't the RIAA members be better off if a traditional compensation scheme, such as the one used by radio, was extended to digital music?
Yes, of course they would. And so would we.
Perhaps the cack-handed lawsuits are an indication that even the RIAA doesn't believe it can maintain the charade for much longer.®