how the RIAA is like the button-makers of 17th century france

from sound-scavengers:

The question has come up whether a guild master of the weaving industry should be allowed to try an innovation in his product. The verdict: ‘If a cloth weaver intends to process a piece according to his own invention, he must not set it on the loom, but should obtain permission from the judges of the town to employ the number and length of threads that he desires, after the question has been considered by four of the oldest merchants and four of the oldest weavers of the guild.’ One can imagine how many suggestions for change were tolerated.

Shortly after the matter of cloth weaving has been disposed of, the button makers guild raises a cry of outrage; the tailors are beginning to make buttons out of cloth, an unheard-of thing. The government, indignant that an innovation should threaten a settled industry, imposes a fine on the cloth-button makers. But the wardens of the button guild are not yet satisfied. They demand the right to search people’s homes and wardrobes and fine and even arrest them on the streets if they are seen wearing these subversive goods.

Requiring permission to innovate? Feeling entitled to search others’ property? Getting the power to act like law enforcement in order to fine or arrest those who are taking part in activities that challenge your business model? Don’t these all sound quite familiar?

Centuries from now (hopefully much, much sooner), the actions of the RIAA, MPAA and others that match those of the weavers and button-makers of 17th century France will seem just as ridiculous.

5 thoughts on “how the RIAA is like the button-makers of 17th century france”

  1. I am a high school girl.. quite randomly looking up livejournal entries on most recently posted, or maybe some other search (I’m not really quite sure) when this entry caught my eye. I bookmarked it, and later commented.

  2. Bravo! I intend to spread this far and wide. Well done, sir, well done. The parallel is right on the mark.

  3. greetings,

    first, it is my opinion, but it was written, quite eloquently, by a subscriber of sound-scavengers, not me… but thanks. 8)

    second, who are you and how did you come across my journal?

  4. VERY nice parallel, you bring up a wonderful point.
    Frankly, I agree with your opinion. I love music, and the Riaa and Mpaa are making things very difficult.

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