Massive RIAA PR campaign takes aim at families, gov’t

WASHINGTON, DC: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is mounting a massive PR campaign aimed at discouraging people - especially the Napster-happy college crowd - from downloading free music from the Internet.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is mounting a massive PR campaign aimed at discouraging people - especially the Napster-happy college crowd - from downloading free music from the Internet.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Recording Industry Association of America

(RIAA) is mounting a massive PR campaign aimed at discouraging people -

especially the Napster-happy college crowd - from downloading free music

from the Internet.



Should it achieve this lofty goal, record labels could recoup billions

in lost sales. So far, the RIAA’s grass-roots tactics have included

dispatching staffers to speak on college campuses and recruiting

musicians such as Lou Reed and Dr. Dre to speak out on the issue of

piracy.



According to RIAA SVP of communications Amy Weiss, a concerted pitch is

now being made to parents and children, as well as the general media,

opinion-makers and legislators.



’It’s important to reach parents through publications like Good

Housekeeping to tell them what their kids are doing - downloading music

illegally in their rooms,’ said Weiss.



To hit the kiddie demographic, Weiss said the RIAA is developing an

elementary school curriculum about music. ’The core message is that

music is meaningful,’ she explained. ’It has both intrinsic and material

value to the artists and companies involved.’



While the RIAA may have already won significant battles on Capitol Hill

and in the courtroom - including a recent copyright infringement ruling

against MP3.com - the group faces an uphill journey in the arena of

public opinion.



’The more they do to discourage downloading, the more college students

will want to do it,’ said Jennifer Gross, whose LA-based firm, People’s

Revolution, represents many digital entertainment and music

companies.



’Also, the industry needs the Internet community for the future, so to

attack the Web sites makes absolutely no sense.’



Weiss countered by saying that the ’sound-biting’ campaign has

worked.



’At the universities where we have sent people in to speak, piracy has

gone down,’ she claimed.



Soundbreak CEO Lisa Crane, a firm believer in the RIAA’s cause and

approach, said, ’I don’t think people realize that they’re stealing and

that this hurts people who need to put food on the table. The problem

the RIAA has is that they represent record labels and could be easily

dismissed by the public. They will have to disassociate themselves from

these companies to be successful.’



Gary Brotman, communications director for MusicMatch.com, agreed: ’Any

effort to emphasize to people that there is theft involved in

downloading free music is probably good.’



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