Technocrat.net: An Open Letter to the RIAA

“For quite a while, I’ve been faintly aware of the Napster/mp3
phenomenon, and the consequent buzzing from the recording industry,
as represented by the RIAA. I understood in a general way what
Napster is (Napster makes it easy to find mp3’s, blah, blah, blah),
but I didn’t get it. I was like a monkey watching a microwave.”

“In response to a query about the bandwidth requirements of
Napster, I downloaded a client and tried it out. After ten minutes
of using it, the light went on in my head. Wow. Big wow. As a
software engineer, I’m not much impressed by most software, but
Napster is simply awesome. It’s easily the best idea I’ve seen
this year.”

“… you have a general right to control and profit from your
product. But that right, wielded as a giant hammer to smite your
customers, isn’t very useful in itself…”

“The irony here is that the harder you squeeze, the less profit
there will ultimately be to pass on to your artists and

“… the answer must include all of the significant benefits of
Napster. Punitive technologies like SDMI are no good. You can’t put
the cat back in the toothpaste tube…”