Stop the RIAA from using the Department of Justice to do its dirty work

The RIAA is continuing to try coercion to prop up its illegitimate and unethical business model. First, it is suing attorney Ray Beckerman over the revealing articles on his blog, Recording Industry vs The People. Beckerman has been instrumental in defending people victimized by the RIAA's tactics and has supported the DefectiveByDesign campaign.

Second, along with the MPAA, the RIAA has written and is pushing S. 3325, the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act of 2008, through the Senate.

You can tell this bill is trouble just from the propaganda term "intellectual property" in the name, which is an attempt to trick us into thinking about the questions involved in a way most profitable to the RIAA.

In the last five years, the RIAA filed or threatened more than 30,000 suits against alleged infringers. Apparently they are tired of doing this intimidation themselves and want your civil servants to do it for them, and for you to fund it with your taxes.

This Enforcement bill burdens the Department of Justice with the obligation to pursue civil suits against people the RIAA and MPAA accuse of illegal copying -- with any money involved going back to the media companies!

Even the repressive copyright regime we have now obligates the government to represent the public's interest in promoting progress in science and the arts through sharing and the dissemination of knowledge. If the government starts working for the media companies, they will be working against the public interest, and we will surely see attempts to give legitimacy back to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) systems -- unethical restrictions that squash so much useful sharing, education, and communication.

Help stop this bill by calling and emailing key senators including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Presidential candidates McCain and Obama. It's critical that we do this as soon as possible -- they are trying to have it pass without a full vote in the Senate.

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Please call and write your own senators, as well as:

When you call or write, you might say something like:

Hi there, my name is NAME and I'm a potential voter in STATE. I'm calling in opposition to S. 3325, "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act." As a tax payer, I oppose spending public funds for the Department of Justice to take civil actions against the citizens they are supposed to be representing on behalf of the major media companies -- and then turning the profits over to those companies. Instead, the government should be investigating and condeming the legal tactics already used by groups like the RIAA and MPAA, who are profiting by abusing the legal system. I understand this bill could pass today and I urge the Senator to oppose and put a hold on this bill.

When you're calling John Kyl of Arizona, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Sam Brownback of Kansas, or Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, make sure to thank them for their initial opposition to the bill and ask them to hold their positions.

To do a little extra to get the word out, vote this bill down at OpenCongress.