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The Insidiousness of the RIAA

By cyclopatra in Media
Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:51:04 PM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)

I have come here today to speak to you of an evil perpetated by the recording industry that is too foul to ignore. I have come to ask you, my fellow k5'ers, to rise up and throw off the shackles of the music distributors and claim your well-deserved freedom! I ask that you listen while I recount a tale that will chill your blood, a sad story that I am sure all too many of you have experienced for yourselves. Together, we can stand up and tell the decadent music industry that we will take no more!

I had a dentist appointment today.

I got there early, and the office building is next to a mall, so I decided to do a little shopping.

I walked into Tower Records, that hall of all that is Pop, and even a few things that aren't. Sadly, my purchases were probably all too prosaic, but even I occasionally fall prey to supporting the vile monster that is the recording industry.

I bought two CDs (David Bowie's Let's Dance and Crystal Method's Tweekend, in case anyone cares). Happy with my purchases and anticipating the wonderful music that would carol me home from the dentist, I left the store. It was only a few steps outside that I encountered the morass of corruption that I am about to describe to you.

Pausing at a trash can, I decided to unwrap my purchases, for easier loading into the CD player on the way home. This is when I encountered the Beast.

I have run afoul of CD packaging before, but today, something broke inside me. When I was confronted with that smooth, unbreakable plastic wrap, offering my fingers no purchase to find an entry into the musical wonder within, I groaned. Searching vainly for the traditional plastic pull-tab, I gnashed my teeth. And, once I had finally breached the virgin packaging of those disc-shaped jewels, believing I was only a moment away from unmasking their glorious beauty, I found the second trap.

Oh, the horror of it all! The impervious sticky plastic, which would only give way in small pieces that inevitably stuck to my fingertips, blunting them against any further assault against that insidious barrier! The frustration of sliding my fingernails against the edges of that tacky wall - as formidable a barrier as the Wall of China - only to skip past it with a spine tingling clicking sound! The tears I wept as I despaired of ever reaching my prize, the sweet tinglings of hope crushed, over and over!

I say to you now, this has got to stop. Not content with forcing us to purchase their wares over and over in each new format, not satisfied with requiring that we spend twenty dollars to receive the joyous sounds of two golden songs mixed in with an hour of dross, the recording industry also believes that we, as consumers, will accept their horrific packaging policies.

Perhaps they fear that if we could access the glorious sounds more easily, we would lose sight of their inestimable value. Perhaps, like our parents' refusal to advance us two months of allowance, they only wish us to learn the worth of what we have. Whatever their reasons, they are not good enough, and the time is now to stand up and say to them, "We will not be oppressed any longer!" We must, oh my brothers and sisters, deliver a message unto the recording industry that will shake the very foundations of their world! We must demand easy access to the fantastical sounds we are entitled to hear for our purchase! We must demand the presence of pull-tabs on every plastic wrapper, and the complete annihilation of the Sticky Tab of Death!

My friends, the only thing we have to lose by standing by and doing nothing in the face of all this tragedy is our freedoms. If we allow this to go on, who is to say what inhuman packaging they will come up with next? Soon, perhaps, it will be impossible to open a CD without a special "CD-opener" - already such things can be bought at stores which sell knick-knacks. Do you want CDs to go the way of canned food, available only to those priviledged few with the means to open them, regardless of whether you have paid for the right to enjoy their bounty? No, we must act now, before it is too late! We can only succeed, for when the recording industry learns that we will not buy their excessively packaged goods, they will have no choice but to hear us!


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CD packaging:
o There's too much. We should have free access to our music! 28%
o There's not enough. Children might be able to get at harmful music if we left wrapped CDs lying around with insufficient packaging! 15%
o Booga-Booga. Ungala woody woody pokaa. 56%

Votes: 66
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by cyclopatra

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The Insidiousness of the RIAA | 21 comments (21 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
The true evils of the RIAA (3.83 / 6) (#1)
by hillct on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:47:38 PM EST

As if their packaging wasn't bad enough, they (along with ASCAP and BMI) are Shadowy Thieves who are Ripping off artists just as blatently as they do, music consumers. Aparently they have no shame.


--Got Lists? | Top 31 Signs Your Spouse Is A Spy
Long time (4.40 / 5) (#2)
by MicroBerto on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:59:18 PM EST

Heh, I forgot all about that! It's been over 2 years since I've bought a CD...

I'll pay for music again when it's 5 dollars a CD.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

How can you argue with that? (3.00 / 3) (#3)
by natael on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:50:17 PM EST

Ever since they started putting up to three sticky plastic strips on DVDs, my friends have stopped giving me free movies every week.

Its getting to the point that I might actually go out and get a job to feed my addiction to corporate America. I mean, new region 1 Farscape discs are coming out *monthly* now. And I miss the packaging.

Fingernail? (4.52 / 17) (#4)
by Kugyou on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 06:43:09 AM EST

You might want to keep it hush-hush about that whole "fingernail" bit. If the RIAA didn't give you a way into that packaging, it's obvious that they don't want you in that package.

You have just described, in graphic detail, your attempt to circumvent a device that effectively controls access to your work. Under the DMCA, section blah-diddy-blah, I am going to have to arrest you. Mostly because you beat me to the same idea, and wrote it better than me.

Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains

Preach on, Brotha! (4.33 / 6) (#5)
by 2400n81 on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:16:13 AM EST

The Man has kept us too long from our CDs.

When I buy my Vitamin C recordings for the pornographic CD inserts, I don't want to have to wait another 20 seconds to get that plastic shit off!

It's time this stops!

The RIAA Doesn't Dictate Packaging (3.40 / 5) (#6)
by michaela on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:08:29 AM EST

Witness that some CD singles come in simple cardboard sleeve and some full-length CDs come in those cardboard multi-fold monstrosities (I think they're called Digipack.) Seldom do these have the sticker thing on them.

Speaking of that sticker, it was originally instituted at the request of major retailers when they converted away from long-boxes. Retailers (and consumers) wanted a consistant way to determine the artist and title for the stuff, cover art could not be relied upon to perform that service.

BTW, I've found it easier to pop the hinge on the jewel case (starting at the bottom). Then you gently peel the sticker off the jewel case. They always come off completely clean for me. The stickers on DVDs take a similar technique, but start with a sticker slice instead of the hinge pop.
That is all

Good point (3.25 / 4) (#7)
by BobRoy on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:33:12 AM EST

Now it has come to the point where you will need a whole set of scissors just to get trough to your favourite cd.

But when you finally get there is a new challenge. How to get the cd out of the jewel case without breaking the brand new record.

I don't think they ever buy a cd themselves

If it's wet, Drink it!

Just a few steps away from a bigger goal... (4.25 / 4) (#8)
by thetasine on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:28:04 PM EST

In the future the manufacturers of the cases are going to produce packaging so hard to open, so difficult to breach, that it will be impossible to get to the disc itself. At the request of the RIAA, all CD jewel cases will be made out of neutronium, easily weighing at a couple of tons per speck. Not only will it be hard to steal by putting it in your jacket, it will be the hardest substance on earth.

This is a very good way to prevent theft of merchandise and music piracy. ;)

"There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law." - Claude Debussy

Copy protection, obviously (4.16 / 6) (#9)
by MattGWU on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 05:07:31 PM EST

The all but impossible packaging is obviously a form of copy protection. After all, how can you copy the CD if it's still in the packaging. By opening the package, you are able to copy the CD, and thus are in direct violation of the DMCA for circumventing the copy protection device. Don't even get me started on the shrink-wrap agreement you enter into for opening it, as well.

Shame on you. Shame on me, too...I shouldn't give them any ideas.

Helpful tip .. (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by dave920 on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:52:56 PM EST

First, I enjoyed the story. A nice tale explaining the needless process of opening a CD.

But I have a tip to offer those of you who painstakingly fight with the packaging: use a straight razor. I have a mini-razor that I use often for this.

When looking at the cover of the CD, take your razor and slide it along the (conveniently-shaped) razor-thin gap between the half-inch black plastic piece on the left and the clear cover. From there, just tear the plastic wrap from this slice and it should come off easily.

To deal with the sticky tape that they use to seal the case, you can again use your razor. Flip the CD so the sticky seal is facing you. Then take your razor and slice through it along the edge of the jewel case. You should get a small tab of the plastic on each end that will peel away easily.

I hope this helps some of you!

Or, if you don't want to slice up your hands... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by 3waygeek on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 11:32:49 AM EST

There are now CD openers that contain a blade safely recessed; I got one as a promotional giveaway a while back.

[ Parent ]
How to beat that annoying strip. (4.00 / 3) (#11)
by PsychoSpunk on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 12:14:34 AM EST

Ummm, I thought we were supposed to be all smart and stuff.

The best solution and probably one that you've subconsciously witnessed is to crack open the jewel case at the opposite end. At this point you have the bottom portion in your non-cracking hand and the top portion in the other. These two pieces will be held together by the annoying strip of adhesive garbage that appears to give you so much difficulty.

Now, the matter is as simple as twisting a portion of the case off of the strip. As long as the strip isn't cheap, it'll stay intact and remain hanging fully from the other portion. Now remove the strip and reattach the two portions of the jewel case. No blunted fingernails, no frustration, just a happy consumer with a shiny new CD.

This made it out of queue? (2.09 / 11) (#12)
by ghjm on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 12:35:37 AM EST

Geez, kuro5hin is seriously broken. Remember when only good articles made it out of the queue? I mean, did anyone actually laugh at this thing? And if it's not humor, what is it?

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, or something.

When the glass runs over... (4.40 / 5) (#13)
by debolaz on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 07:18:06 AM EST

No matter how you look at it, the RIAA is not a good thing. But my reasons for saying this is the same as uttered by many 14 year olds, claiming free music for everyone. The artists should indeed be allowed their fair share of our listening pleasure.

So why is RIAA bad? Because RIAA dont give jack about the artists. They claim to be fighting for the copyrights of the artists, while they are in fact *only* fighting for exclusive rights to produce CDs (and bad internet work-alikes).

Personally, I wouldnt mind paying for a "license" to own a song, but this just isnt possible. RIAA wont allow that. Not because they wouldnt be able to control it, but because they would loose income from producing CDs. The whole commercial record industry would suffer from it.

Fair enough you might say, they're just fighting for their survival. There's nothing really wrong with that, given a fair chance for the opponent (us) to defend ourself. But this isnt the case here. The law used to based on equal rights. This wasnt very suitable for the record industry, having to accept fairness in their fight, so what do they do? They make their own law. When the copyright laws were made, they were made to be equal to both the owner and the user. The DMCA (A pure product of the record industry as now well known) gives new rights to the copyright holders but doesnt equal this out by giving new rights to the users of the copyrighted material.

You heard me. Your rights has been taken away from you and given to the big companies, and you were not even given a chance to fight it. That's the world we live in; If you try to do anything about it, you get put in jail, going against it would be going against the law.

We all heard about the recent Adobe case. A young man gets arrested for writing a program. He didnt do anything illegal though, apart from showing up in the United States. Should we really start telling people from other countries: "Dont come here, you might get arrested!"? After a while, Adobe recommends that this man is released, and everyone cheers. Dont cheer! Adobe never said they did something horribly wrong, supporting a law that shouldnt be. Untill we get a statement from Adobe saying that, I say, continue to boycott Adobe.

I agree with the article, we *should* begin fighting the DMCA more actively. But how? We have no means of doing it, while the RIAA and other big companies supporting it has billions of dollars to do it. Is this really going to be the end of freedom? I'll go as far as saying I'll smile of someone sends a letterbomb to the RIAA with "FUCK DMCA" written on it, but not because I think its what we should do, I just think that's what they deserve to rape the law like they've done. But I still refuse to believe we have to resort to violence to resolve this, I still believe that somewhere high up in the legal system, someone wants to fight the DMCA, simply because its a rape of everything the copyright law originally intended (Not always succeeded to, but at least intended).

I refuse to believe it's come to this, but I dont know for how long I can go on kidding myself.

Don't give up hope (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Wah on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 10:40:27 PM EST

if it's the only thing you got.

I refuse to believe it's come to this, but I dont know for how long I can go on kidding myself.
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | SSP
[ Parent ]

Victorinox or Wanger (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by epcraig on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 09:06:59 AM EST

That's one reason I carry a Swiss Army knife. Oh, not just CD's, but opening any wrapper, from cellophane to vacuu-form plastic.

OK, any penknife will do. Gee, they sell CD openers, now?.

You mean a jacknife is a concealed weapon?
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

The Solution (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by JonesBoy on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 10:46:17 AM EST


Pliers, screwdrivers, knives and saws. Opens CD packaging, cans, boxes, and arteries! You can even pluck the nose hairs of your RIAA oppressors until they denounce their totalitarian regieme of consumerism; and the constructon of barriers to aural nervana, the true refuge of the common working man! Awl them a "new one" if demands are not met!

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
Way ahead of the curve... (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by darthaggie on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 03:48:16 PM EST


Indeed. I got one as a gift, and it definitely rocks! And I also carry a smallish Swiss army knife - the Soldier model. I think I'm adequately armed. :)

MacGuyver, eat your heart out!

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Cardboard boxes (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by ucblockhead on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 04:43:27 PM EST

I remember oh, maybe ten years back, when CDs used to be sold in cardboard boxes that where the length of an old record album. A number of environmental groups pushed the record companies to dump the boxes as they were a waste of paper. Tree-killing and all that. The record companies and record stores fought this tooth-and-nail, saying that shoplifting would drive costs through the roof, and bankrupt them all.

But sanity won out and in the end, the sky did not fall.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Sanity Indeed (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Jebediah on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:58:24 AM EST

Yes, the insanity of the large cardboard boxes was vanquished and the environment blew a glad trumpet in appreaciation. Sadly, the cardboard was replaced with long plastic contraptions that would have to be broken and discarded. I remember struggling for 20 minutes trying to get my copy of Pearl Jam's "Ten" out of one of those horrible enclosures.

[ Parent ]
Oh please... (none / 0) (#21)
by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:25:28 PM EST

It's not that hard to get the plastic shit off a CD case if you have a Swiss army knife. Lacking, that a halfway sharp knife from your kitchen drawer will do the job nicely. Or a scalpel. Or an X-Acto knife. Or a switchblade...

Besides, the really GOOD CDs, like Iced Earth's Night of the Stormrider, Therion's Ho Drakon Ho Megas and Deggial, and Nightwish's Oceanborn are rather easy to open.

Then again, I'm not sure that Century Media and Nuclear Blast Records are RIAA members.

Speaking of which -- why doesn't RIAA publish its member list on the web? Are they afraid we'd boycott its members? I certainly would, except that Iron Maiden is still on a major label.
"Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

--paraphrase of Aleister Crowley

The Insidiousness of the RIAA | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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