July 25, 2003


Huge Compound Can Handle 3 Million File Sharing Suspects and Their Supporters

Mojave, CA /DenounceNewswire/ -- 25 July 2003 -- Citing lackluster results in its aggressive Subpoena-the-Family campaign, The Recording Industry Assocation of America, or RIAA, announced today it was escalating the war against music file sharing even higher by opening its massive detention facility in the high desert of Movaje, CA. The facility, designed to indefinitely detain up to three million people suspected of illegally or even legally sharing music files on the Internet, consumes 4,000 acres of the desert region some 70 miles north of Los Angeles.

"Our goal is to eliminate the threat these thieves represent to our industry," said RIAA President Cary Sherman. "We don't care if the person is eight, eighteen, or eighty or unaware of the law. If we catch 'em sharing files, we're sending them to jail. Not just any jail. Our jail. We don't even care if they're legally sharing their own personal music files with a family member. We don't care if they're simply transferring their own peronal music from their desktop machine to their iPod. If we catch 'em doing it, we'll be there to take them away. But let me be perfectly clear: even if we don't catch 'em doing it, we'll be there to take them away if we so much as suspect they're sharing files, or might like to one day."

Human rights advocates and the ACLU are criticizing both the RIAA for opening the facilily and the Justice Department for not stepping in to stop the RIAA from proceeding. "What the RIAA is doing is patently unconstitutional," said Anthony Romero, ACLU's Executive Director. "We will not stop until these people are freed and this facility is shut down forever."

"Try anything and we'll lock you up as well," countered Sherman, when asked about the threats of lawsuits from the ACLU. "We mean business. Anyone trying to free our detainees will be considered criminals as well, and will be sent to the facility with no plans for release."

Asked how the RIAA was able to afford to provide food, clothing, and medical care for up to three million detainees, he told reporters: "We can't. But hey, they knew the risks. We assume these criminals bring their own food, clothing, and medicine with them. They're on their own."

Children, parents, and the elderly are not the only ones being rounded up for incarceration at the facility. Several well-known industry figures are already being detained as well, including Ann Winblad, co-founder of a venture capital firm which invested heavily in Napster; Larry Lessig, a Stanford Law professor who was captured by RIAA stormtroopers right in the middle of a speech he was giving at a recent O'Reilly technology conference; and Michael Robertson, founder of MP3.com, who is not even active in the digital music world anymore, having gone off to launch a Linux software company. "Robertson we nailed just on general principles," said Sherman.

Ellen Murray, head of Mothers Against the RIAA (MARIAA), was herself captured and brought to the facility. "Murray was a target of opportunity," Sherman said. "Go up against us, go to jail."

Residents of Mojave and the surrounding area are also outraged, citing claims from the RIAA that opening of the facility would mean more jobs and economic activity for the area. So far, that hasn't happened, town officials argue. "We were sold a bill of goods, and the RIAA has let us down," said one official who refused to be identified for fear of being sent to the facility for criticizing the RIAA.

Asked about the legality, indeed the morality, of this new detention facility and the mass capture of music enthusiasts now underway, Sherman was unapologetic. "These are not nice people," he said. "Several have publicly stated here their intent to copy a music file before they leave Mojave. We will not give them that satisfaction."

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Posted by denounce on July 25, 2003 10:45 PM

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