The Shock Doctrine on Your iPod

18 Nov
Pizza Wolf

Charles Nesson, Pizza Wolf

Harvard University’s made its share of mistakes over the years–they did, after all, let Larry Summers run the joint–but from time to time they prove their use to society, and more often than not, it’s their law school mopping up the damage. Remember, Bush went to their business school; Obama went to their law school. So it’s nice to see Professor Charles Nesson defend a Boston University student accused of sharing seven files. The RIAA, to date, has preyed upon members of society who couldn’t afford a decent legal defense, or risk a trial. Eventually, someone was bound to bring in All-Star legal representation, and its hard to imagine anyone more up to the task than Nesson.

It used to be a joke that the RIAA was relying on lawsuits as its primary business model, but with every month of declining sales, it’s starting to seem like nobody told the RIAA that it wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Even worse than the disproportionate damages the cartel is demanding is the fact that the RIAA has been allowed to act on behalf of the law, a privatization of the legal system that even Naomi Klein didn’t foresee. When DJ Drama was arrested, the agents raiding his office weren’t wearing ATF jackets, they were wearing RIAA jackets. Yes, they really can come to your house.

Just as Blackwater has no business raiding marijuana dispensaries in Venice, CA, the RIAA has no business knocking down anyone’s door. Nesson’s pull quote for the case accuses the RIAA of using the courts “like a low-grade collection agency,” which proves why he makes the big bucks. The RIAA’s gamed the system so far, often moving cases to courts that have universally ruled in its favor (one jurisdiction in Texas has made a cottage industry out of this, using its stacked court system as an incentive for businesses to hold their lawsuits there). Maybe, just maybe, they’ve met their match.

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