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WEEKLY WHINE

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GoobNet, of course, takes the lead in assuring consumer rights, equal protection, and worldwide peace. We have never failed to stand up for you, the ordinary people.

Hence, whenever anything favourable to the general public [as opposed to those rich bastards who are gradually controlling more and more of Earth’s resources] takes place, we here at GoobNet can always trace it back to something we have done.

For example, last week’s news that Sony BMG, a very large and greedy music corporation, has decided to offer downloads of music without software locks is clearly another success story for the GoobNet Sound Label Amnesty Programme, wherein major labels display contrition for their dehumanising actions that treated their own customers as criminals and agree never to be involved in any lawsuits against those using Internet filesharing.

As it turns out, no labels have actually joined the GoobNet Sound Label Amnesty Programme, but rest assured that the programme has been a success. By drawing attention to the plight of ordinary consumers, we have shamed the incompetent, yet strangely super-rich executives who make decisions at these large corporations. To date, Universal Music Group, EMI Music, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG have all made decisions to provide at least some music without software locks.

Ironically, one large source of music that is not shutting down software locks is the one whose CEO is calling for an end to software-locked music. Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, wrote a well known article requesting that music labels relent on their demand for software locks on music provided on Apple’s iTunes site.

So why do the large music publishing corporations demand software locked music on iTunes but not on other sites like Amazon? We may never know, but ultimately the reason is not important. What is clear is that consumers prefer music without software locks. Those who analyse the music industry are predicting that Apple will lose ground as more and more music becomes available without software locks.

But in trying to open up competition against what they see as an anticompetitive entity [a significant majority of all downloaded music comes from Apple], the large labels are themselves using anticompetitive practises by forcing Apple to place software locks on most iTunes downloads.

Hence, in addition to immediate withdrawal from all lawsuits against filesharing users, cheap online sales, and reduced CD prices, we are adding another requirement to the GoobNet Sound Label Amnesty Programme. Any members of the Recording Industry Association of America must also promise to ensure that all tracks that your company makes available online are in a format that has no software locks or digital rights management of any kind. The tracks must be playable on any device and with any software that states support for whichever format the track is in.

It is still not too late to do what your customers actually want you to do. If you do, you will reap the benefits as the public flocks to your services in preference to those provided by others. That, after all, is how markets work.

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