"Terrorism. Noun. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."
-The American HeritageŽ Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
"...its tactics may be creating anxiety and concern among many Americans who are innocent or unknowingly guilty of violating copyright infringement laws..."
-Sen. Norm Coleman (R.-Minn.), as quoted on http://dc.internetnews.com/
The RIAA's corporate deathgrip on the music industry has begun to subtly weaken. The millions of people illegally sharing music has done something to them. It is not tangible - CD sales were reported at a good level during the height of the filesharing movement - but it is there. What is it that makes the RIAA scared enough to begin a mass campaign of legal action against these people accused of stealing intellectual property. While the vast majority of file-sharers are guilty as charged, this is still a corporate undertaking that essentially undermines many civil rights. Due process is avoided in many of these cases by treating an offense that can be tried in criminal court (theft of intellectual property) by civil means. If this were a case treated strictly as a criminal one, is it likely that this sort of campaign would occur? No. Each case would be treated seperately, and enforced by law. With the RIAA spending millions of dollars to pursue lawsuits that in many cases will not earn them a dime, they have placed many people in a state of fear. While it has cut down on filesharing, it has also sparked a witchhunt, a spectre of psychological terrorism. This is an age where corporations are a law unto themselves. They are given many of the rights of the individual, and that power can be abused. File sharing is not necessarily legal or moral, but the individual should be more important than the corporation. As long as groups like the RIAA and the MPAA still sic their legal thugs on anyone who dares oppose them, the rights of the individual are being infringed upon.