Your death won’t stop the Recording Industry Association of America from serving papers. Lawyers representing a spate of record companies filed suit against an 83 year-old woman who died two months ago, claiming that she made more than 700 rap and rock songs available to other file swappers via the Web.
A crack team of industry lawyers and investigators have revealed that Gertrude Walton, by day an aged woman who couldn’t turn on a computer, morphed by night into a music-sharing pirate called "smittenedkitten" – downloading rap and speed metal for cheap and easy listening.
"I believe that if music companies are going to set examples they need to do it to appropriate people and not dead people," Walton’s daughter Robin Chianumba told the Associated Press. "I am pretty sure she is not going to leave Greenwood Memorial Park to attend the hearing."
Chianumba told reporters that Walton had a long illness before her death and was not into rap or rock music. Walton objected to having a computer in the house and didn't even know how to switch a computer on. A RIAA spokesman admitted last week that Walton was likely not the "smittenedkitten" in question. They plan to withdraw their subpoena.
Better yet they can give up on their costly legal witch hunt and instead accept that P2P music file sharing is here to stay. Andrew Orlowski discusses discusses several new schemes, including a digital pool or flat fee system, that might work better for all, in the here now and hereafter.
Dan Gillmor has another read: "Maybe these 'mistakes' aren't mistakes at all. Maybe they're designed to get publicity, to make sure that we all get the message that the music companies are willing to be totally unscrupulous -- and not at all careful about aiming their lawsuits at actual infringers."
"Could they be that sleazy?" Gillmor asks. "Hard to believe, but then suing dead people is pretty far-fetched in a normal universe."