Absolutely the best description outside WholeWheatRadio.org I've read of the RIAA, in a comment on a CNET story of all places:
The RIAA as a group of members is a criminal enterprise. It has been found guilty of price-fixing, collusion, market manipulation and likely other RICO (and perhaps criminal) violations. Only their political donations to [Washington] keep them from looking like the mafia as far as the law goes.
The RIAA's claims of "theft" falls on deaf ears. They have legally unclean hands in their claim to ownership of artist's music. Many artist's find they are in dept to the industry through it's "creative book-keeping" in what amounts to modern indentured servitude. These situations are engineered to keep the artist's poor and the RIAA in charge of distribution and profit.
Shut-em-down... Don't feel guilty, stealing from a thief isn't stealing in a moral sense and perhaps not in the legal sense either. Unclean hands...
I'd also add that their claim of "theft" falls on deaf ears because theft != copyright infringement, as I talked about a year ago.
I can't sing (although I've been told I do a mean Louis Armstrong impression), but if I did I sure as heck wouldn't want to be "represented" by such a scummy organisation. Hopefully with The Internets more people will be able to do without signing their souls over to an RIAA member label that'll use the funds to extort customers out of more money in frivolous lawsuits than BP is being asked for in response to the latest environmental catastrophe.
How can one feel cautiously hopeful, yet so pessimistic at the same time?