On the heels of the RIAA’s recent decision to criminalize consumers who rip songs from albums they’ve purchased to their computers (or iPods), the association has now gone one step further and declared that “remembering songs” using your brain is criminal copyright infringement. “The brain is a recording device,” explained RIAA president Cary Sherman. “The act of listening is an unauthorized act of copying music to that recording device, and the act of recalling or remembering a song is unauthorized playback.”
The RIAA also said it would begin sending letters to tens of millions of consumers thought to be illegally remembering songs, threatening them with lawsuits if they don’t settle with the RIAA by paying monetary damages. “We will aggressively pursue all copyright infringement in order to protect our industry,” said Sherman.
In order to avoid engaging in unauthorized copyright infringement, consumers will now be required to immediately forget everything they’ve just heard — a skill already mastered by U.S. President George Bush. To aid in these memory wiping efforts, the RIAA is teaming up with Big Pharma to include free psychotropic prescription drugs with the purchase of new music albums. Consumers are advised to swallow the pills before listening to the music. The pills — similar to the amphetamines now prescribed for ADHD — block normal cognitive function, allowing consumers to enjoy the music in a more detached state without the risk of accidentally remembering any songs (and thereby violating copyright law).
Consumers caught humming their favorite songs will be charged with a more serious crime: The public performance of a copyrighted song, for which the fines can reach over $250,000 per incident. “Humming, singing and whistling songs will not be tolerated,” said Sherman. “Only listening and forgetting songs is allowed.”
Consumers attempting to circumvent the RIAA’s new memory-wiping technology by actually remembering songs will be charged with felony crimes under provisions of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). The Act, passed in 1998, makes it a felony crime to circumvent copyright protection technologies. The RIAA’s position is that consumers who actually use their brains while listening to music are violating the DMCA. “We would prefer that consumers stop using their brains altogether,” said Sherman.
With this decision, the RIAA now considers approximately 72% of the adult U.S. population to be criminals. Putting them all in prison for copyright infringement would cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $683 billion per year — an amount that would have to be shouldered by the remaining 28% who are not imprisoned. The RIAA believes it could cover the $683 billion tab through royalties on music sales. The problem with that? The 28% remaining adults not in prison don’t buy music albums. That means album sales would plummet to nearly zero, and the U.S. government (which is already deep in debt) would have to borrow money to pay for all the prisons. And where would the borrowed money come from? China, of course: The country where music albums are openly pirated and sold for monetary gain.
When asked whether he really wants 72% of the U.S. population to be imprisoned for ripping music CDs to their own brains, RIAA president Sherman shot back, “You don’t support criminal behavior do you? Every person who illegally remembers a song is a criminal. Those people are no different than those who run around stealing truck racks. We can’t have criminal running free on the streets of America. It’s an issue of national security.”