Helen Thomas has been proved right — yet again!
Recall (how could you forget?) how she said that bloggers don’t have the standards and ethics of Big Media types like her.
Exhibit A: Dafydd at Big Lizards admits he got a post completely, 100% wrong:
It doesn’t often happen that Big Lizards is completely, utterly wrong in a post; but I’m pretty sure this is one of those rare times…
Well, there you go. Helen has been vindicated.
And I mean that most sincerely. But read on to see exactly what I mean by that.
Because — whoops! It appears Dafydd got it wrong because he foolishly trusted the accuracy of Big Media — namely, the Washington Post, which wrote a story that said:
[I]n an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
Jeez Louise! The RIAA says all that music I ripped for my iPod is illegally copied?
If you read the Washington Post story, you’ll think: it sure seems that way. The story goes on to drive home the point that RIAA is saying even a personal copy on your own computer is a violation:
The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.
“I couldn’t believe it when I read that,” says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. “The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation.”
RIAA’s hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: “If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you’re stealing. You’re breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.”
Dafydd, believing this was accurate because it appeared in one of the most elite of all Big Media publications, wrote a post about how stupid the RIAA strategy was. He wrote the above-linked post, titled Use an Ipod, Go to Jail, noting that the RIAA’s strategy was counterproductive and would alienate the public, which would certainly respond by simply downloading more music illegally without ever paying for it. In other words, Dafydd, argued, people will say: if the industry is going after you even when you pay, why should you pay?
Except that the RIAA wasn’t arguing that simply copying files to your computer was illegal. (It appears they might believe that, but aren’t stupid enough to press the issue in court.) They argued that copying your files to a folder that you made available to other users on a peer-to-peer network like Kazaa would be illegal.
How did Dafydd learn that? From a blogger, LaShawn Barber, who bothered to find and read the legal brief from the case that the Washington Post reporter was writing about.
Oh — and when LaShawn asked the WaPo reporter whether he had read the brief . . . he wouldn’t answer.
So, like I said, Helen Thomas has been proved right, yet again.
After all, remember what she said: “[T]hey certainly don’t have our standards. They don’t have our ethics . . .”
Nope. Here, bloggers’ standards were higher.
And I’m not just talking about LaShawn Barber, who did the work the WaPo reporter didn’t bother to do. I’m talking about Dafydd’s ethics, too.
Because, you see, when he saw he got it wrong, he admitted it — forthrightly, at the head of his post.
And the WaPo article? I don’t see a correction or clarification appended to that at all. (And, from LaShawn’s conversation with the guy, it seems clear there won’t be one.)