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RIAA Spokesman Says DRM Is Dead 154

Posted by kdawson
from the joined-the-choir-invisible dept.
TorrentFreak is reporting an on-the-record remark by the main RIAA spokesman acknowledging what has been obvious to the rest of the world for some time now. Let's see whether their actions going forward align with the words. "Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA[,] declared DRM dead, when he was asked about the RIAA's view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article. "DRM is dead, isn't it?" Lamy said, referring to the DRM-less iTunes store and other online outfits that now offer music without restrictions." Update: 07/21 01:16 GMT by KD : InformationWeek is now reporting that Jonathan Lamy says he never said "dead." TorrentFreak, which originally reported Lamy's remark, has also backtracked.
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RIAA Spokesman Says DRM Is Dead

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  • Well DRM was definitely a form of resistance to a movement ... ;-)

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1293953&cid=28604363&art_pos=34 [slashdot.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by davester666 (731373)

      What's funny about this is somebody (Microsoft) just launched another music store in Europe, not only with DRM, but also with varying terms for individual songs.

      And now there's a push by font makers to get browsers to include DRM for web-downloadable fonts.

      And the news industry just came out with specs for what amounts to a wacky DRM system that they want Google and everybody else that displays content to implement.

      And the video industry is still wishing the clue-train away.

      There are still a lot of groups t

  • DRM is dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ethorad (840881) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:05AM (#28754781)

    Perhaps he means it as in:

    DRM is dead!

    Long live DRM!

    • by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:15AM (#28754837)

      No, actually the whole thing doesn't make sense when taken out of context. What he actually said was

      "DRM is dead, isn't it? *wink* *wink*

      • Re:DRM is dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sinrakin (782827) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:19AM (#28754865)
        That's exactly how I interpreted it too. DRM: "the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated".
        • Reminds me of that skit, you know? I think it went something like this...

          Netcraft: Bring out yer dead.
          [a man puts a body on the cart]
          Jonathan Lamy: Here's one.
          Netcraft: That'll be ninepence.
          DRM: I'm not dead.
          Netcraft: What?
          Jonathan Lamy: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
          DRM: I'm not dead.
          Netcraft: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
          Jonathan Lamy: Yes he is.
          DRM: I'm not.
          Netcraft: He isn't.
          Jonathan Lamy: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
          DRM: I'm getting better.
          Jonathan Lamy: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        Since it has been shown that removing DRM increases their profits, that would suggest that they have an overwhelming desire to implement DRM, even at the expense of their own profits.

        considering the RIAA's raison d'etre is to preserve the interests (i.e. profits) of its members, why would they want it back?
        • Re:DRM is dead? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Artifakt (700173) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:45AM (#28755561)

          I know you meant that as a rhetorical question, but actually, there's a sort of answer. Looking at the media industries, there's been a real pattern of people putting kinds of abstract scoring ahead of profits.

          Here's a few examples:
          1. Roger Corman - this director made a huge number of very low budget films, all of which made substantial profits. There were several periods where you could take the financials on Corman's last 10 films, compare them with the same numbers for every director in the entire studio system, and for every single Hollywood studio, it would have made a lot more sense to hire Corman and hand him 30 million dollars with very loose, few strings attached contracts, and most likely get 10 more films out of it that would probably gross 100 million plus at the box office, than to risk that 30 million on a single big budget epic with any other director, given those director's reputation for expensive flops. But that didn't happen.

          2. Gold and Platinum records - as sales have declined, the number of copies needed to score a gold or platinum has been repeatedly changed so the studios can brag (maybe to their stockholders, since these figures invariably get quoted in the stock prospectus) that they are getting more platinum sales than ever, even though the actual sales numbers are down.

          3. Planet of the Apes (the original films): Hollywood dropped the budget lower on each one of the four sequels, and all still made a huge truckload of money. That money went to fund big budget epics (Cleopatra for one), which got Oscars but didn't make their costs back. Despite the sequels making as much money as the original or more, the 'wisdom' of the industry was that sequels never make as much as the original picture, even with the Apes counterexample starting them in the face. The industry didn't revise this position until after Cameron's Aliens.

          4. The Monkees: When these four actors responded to criticism that they weren't real musicians by learning to play at least moderately well and trying to do live performances for the press to prove it, their industry handlers didn't recognize this was the four being team players. The industry inside reps made public statements that their own clients couldn't play a note, which was both untrue and practically a guarantee of lost record sales, but as those same people actually wrote, 'it kept them in line for a time'. The Monkees final period, with the film 'Head' and the open statements about LSD on an album back cover, seem pretty solidly anti profit. But, the period before that seems to about be the band focusing on the bottom line, and the studio heads losing all sight of it until the band got burned out.

          • Re:DRM is dead? (Score:4, Informative)

            by WankersRevenge (452399) on Monday July 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#28756597)
            Not that I disagree with your overall points but you should know that Cleopatra was made in 1963 whereas the first Planet of the Apes was made in 1968.
          • Re:DRM is dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @11:55AM (#28756991) Homepage

            These are all very interesting examples, but I don't think it's unique to media. The dirty little truth that a lot of people don't like to admit because it sounds ant-capitalist is, we often don't really do our work for the money. Watch your boss and your coworkers and anyone else you can, and you'll find lots of examples where people essentially make decisions that are against their own economic best-interest in order to give themselves ego-boosts. Or inversely, you'll see people refuse to do things that will obviously benefit them if it means eating crow.

            You can see it even more strongly in cases where the decision-maker doesn't directly benefit from the decisions. A salaried worker, for example, might often do things which will hurt the company's profits in order to boost his ego. What does he care, if he doesn't see the profits? On the other hand, I've seen salaried workers do a lot of work to boost company profits without economic benefit to themselves, essentially because it gave them bragging rights and pride in their work.

            Now someone might very well argue that these examples don't show what I'm saying. You might argue that having prestige in the industry can give you more clout within the industry, allowing you to sign bigger actors, directors, musicians, etc. Making a prestige picture can be justified as an investment, allowing you to make more money down the line by attracting better people.

            Still, in my professional experienced, the generally assumed idea that "companies always do what's most profitable" hasn't seemed to be reliable at all. An executive on an ego trip can make all sorts of unprofitable policies just to throw his own weight around.

            • by PRMan (959735)

              Simple example.

              PG movies on average outearn R movies, but there are more R movies made than PG movies.

              What sense does that make? Because you can't be a "gritty" filmmaker without "pushing the limits", whatever that means.

              Meanwhile, Disney is a giant corporation and, other than that, my kids have very little to watch.

              • cite the numbers (Score:2, Informative)

                by SethJohnson (112166)

                PG movies on average outearn R movies, but there are more R movies made than PG movies.

                Where are your stats to back this assertion up? Most of the intended big blockbusters are PG, which supports your box office observation, but not your number-of-releases claim. Few directors are allowed by the producers to develop an R movie with a big budget.

                With the success of Old School, there has been a resurgence in the R-rated comedy, but until Hangover whomped the shit out of the PG-rated Land of the Lost, the st

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by nine-times (778537)
                Actually that's not a great example. There are rated R movies that out-earn PG movies all the time. What's more, even if that weren't the case, you could explain it via market segmentation [wikipedia.org]. If everyone only released PG movies, then there would be a huge market for more adult entertainment that would be going untapped.

                Now you may be right that media companies aren't exploiting children's entertainment in the most profitable way-- I don't know. I'm not really a businessman or a parent, but kids stuff se

          • 2. Gold and Platinum records - as sales have declined, the number of copies needed to score a gold or platinum has been repeatedly changed so the studios can brag (maybe to their stockholders, since these figures invariably get quoted in the stock prospectus) that they are getting more platinum sales than ever, even though the actual sales numbers are down.

            Not sure what you are basing this on, as the only thing that has ever changed about gold and platinum record numbers are they went from value of retail sales sold to number of actual records sold. The number required as of 2009 is still 500,000 for gold and 1,000,000 for platinum - which have been the same since the 60s. (The numbers may be slightly different for other countries, but I am assuming we are talking about the US rules as the RIAA is based in the US.) See here [riaa.com] or here [ifpi.org] for my sources.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Insightful or funny? You decide. I figure what he meant was "DRM isn't really an issue for consumers, so we don't need to do anything." But of course, the current situation with DRM involves the DMCA; It might as well have been called the DRMA. DRM is a serious problem for consumers so long as the DMCA is allowed to stand. Our record in eliminating legislation is not too good in this country. I know that in my state you can't remove a law until there's already two other redundant pieces of legislation (e.g.

      • Digital Resource Management Act [mfe.govt.nz]


        Whenever I see RMA I think of the Resource Management Act.
      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        ... wait, what? I'm afraid I don't understand that last part in the least, but it sure sounds like lawmakers passed a law that essentially states their infallibility. please tell me there's some sort of misunderstanding here. Even the Pope, the voice of god on fucking earth, has apologized for mistakes.

    • by MrKaos (858439)

      Long live DRM!

      So I don't get to say 'Ding Dong, DRM is dead, DRM is dead' yet?

    • Re:DRM is dead? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by skeeto (1138903) on Monday July 20, 2009 @01:03PM (#28758039)
      They might be trying to abandon the name "DRM" because it has become so stained, and replace it with a new name. Stardock was trying to do this [slashdot.org], saying they don't use DRM, but something called "Goo" (just DRM by another name). Valve too, claiming "DRM is obsolete [slashdot.org]", then using something called CEG, which is just more DRM.
  • by noidentity (188756) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:05AM (#28754783)
    DRM is dead, huh? Apparently Amazon didn't get the memo [slashdot.org].
  • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:05AM (#28754785)
    RIAA has been pushing for DRM up the ass. Asked for their view on DRM, they answer the question with another question that really had nothing to do with the original.
  • by santax (1541065) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:09AM (#28754807)
    I for one, am downloading the complete works of James Brown as we speak.
  • by yanyan (302849) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:10AM (#28754809)

    It's a trap!

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:12AM (#28754825)

    When his paymasters hear about that remark.

    Unless they are all suddenly going to start shipping DVDs with no region codes and encryption removed, and tell M$ and others to remove the DRM crap that cripples most PC OSs and head-end audio/video gear...
    Dream on little Johnny, wherever you are, (or will shortly be)...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:28AM (#28754933)
      Unless they are all suddenly going to start shipping DVDs with no region codes and encryption removed

      Why would the RIAA have anything at all to do with DVD production? Oh, I see. You're one of those people that can't distinguish between different organizations. I can be like that too. See! "I heard that people make open source software available for free on the internet. So why does Microsoft want me to pay? I thought you guys said software was free!" Your argument is really no different than that.
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      DVDs are the MPAA's department, not RIAA. The MPAA still hasn't seen the light in this regard, and most videos are still infected with DRM.

    • tell M$ and others to remove the DRM crap that cripples most PC OSs

      Which DRM crap is this? I've used the Win7 RC since the day it was released to watch backed up movies, play ripped music, play DVDs I've borrowed from a friend, play games I bought 2nd hand etc etc and also to perform the actions which are required for the aformentioned archives to be created.

      It seems that DRM only affects those who use media which comes compatible with it. Avoid those media, and it's all clear baby!

      • tell M$ and others to remove the DRM crap that cripples most PC OSs

        Which DRM crap is this?

        "Please activate Windows 7 in three days or else this computer will self destruct." Ring any bells?

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:15AM (#28754843)

    The RIAA is known for their shameless actions, there's really no way to escape a lawsuit. Take the Warner Bros. v. Scantlebury case for example. The defendant in this case passed away before the court made a ruling.
    However, according to the RIAA this was not enough to "close the case".
    Instead, the RIAA gives the family of the deceased defendant 60 days to grieve, before they start taking depositions of the late Mr. Scantlebury's children.
    In the "motion to stay case and extend all deadlines" we read:
    Plaintiffs do not believe it appropriate to discuss a resolution of the case with the family so close to Mr. Scantlebury's passing. Plaintiffs therefore request a stay of 60 days to allow the family additional time to grieve.

  • and VHS now too. I think we have a real finalist for captain obvious here.
  • by castironpigeon (1056188) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:30AM (#28754949)
    ...I'm sure they'll open a couple of windows. I guess this news means their buyout of Congress and the ISP monopolies is going quite well?
  • by johannesg (664142) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:34AM (#28754985)

    I won't believe it until Netcraft confirms it!

  • Can you quote a less black-listed source?

  • Can't trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wrmrxxx (696969) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:38AM (#28755015)

    Aren't these the people who told us that the law suits were over? Call me paranoid, but I can't trust them.

    I suspect the only reason the RIAA are presenting a softer image on things like the lawsuit threats and DRM is because they believe (or know) that they're going to get their way with the ACTA treaty and we'll all end up being subject to outrageous three-strikes laws.

    • Aren't these the people who told us that the law suits were over? Call me paranoid, but I can't trust them. I suspect the only reason the RIAA are presenting a softer image on things like the lawsuit threats and DRM is because they believe (or know) that they're going to get their way with the ACTA treaty and we'll all end up being subject to outrageous three-strikes laws.

      Seems like not trusting them is the smart thing to do. When they say they're not going to sue any more people, it's just something to make us relent while they prepare more subpoenas and gather mediasentry "evidence". Expect your ten year old kid to be getting a multi-million dollar lawsuit any day now.

  • an industry so vehement in their defence of artists rights in cyberspace, they have completely forgotten about the very technology they approved to protect it.

    to parallel: this is akin to your local law enforcement asking if the war on drugs is dead, or your local supermarket asking if organic produce is dead.
  • Now is the time to pass a bill requiring that all the digital goods encumbered by DRM should be made available without such restrictions (and free of charge) to those who bought them.

    Since even RIAA acknowledges that DRM is dead, there should be no objections to such a common sense measure, right?

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      I'd rather see an anti-DMCA, one that would remove copyright protection from any work protected by electronic means.

  • by Veneratio (935302)
    Even if this spokesman expressed the RIAA's official stance regarding DRM, this is no guarantee that it ends the stream of stupid/evil/meanspirited/frivolous lawsuits. You only have to look at their trackrecord to believe that. Common sense has never stopped them before, has it?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:00AM (#28755183) Homepage

    They need DRM because a lot of their potential customers **won't** pay for the music, but then, if they do put it in there, a lot of their other customers will be pissed off at being restricted when they are willing to pay up for a fair claim to the music. If anything, this proves the basic libertarian point about most morality and the state: society relies on voluntary compliance by the vast majority of people. Any law, even murder, would not be able to work without draconian penalties if a large percentage won't obey it.

    • by holmstar (1388267) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:18AM (#28755323)
      Except that they really don't need DRM. Sure in their perfect world, no one can listen to copyrighted music without paying something. But that is a fantasy land. They have to work in the real world, where their loyal customers want to pay for music, but not have to deal with any crap when they do. The other people who are getting it for free most likely wouldn't have bought the music anyway.

      I agree with you on voluntary compliance. Look at speed limits. They are mostly ignored and people drive at a speed that seems reasonable instead.
      • by inviolet (797804)

        Except that they really don't need DRM. Sure in their perfect world, no one can listen to copyrighted music without paying something. But that is a fantasy land. They have to work in the real world, where their loyal customers want to pay for music, but not have to deal with any crap when they do. The other people who are getting it for free most likely wouldn't have bought the music anyway.

        So what do you suppose would happen if Amazon.com's MP3 download store made it optional to pay for the songs? How man

    • by cowscows (103644) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:43AM (#28755537) Journal

      Somebody who won't pay for the music is not a potential customer. That's really the giant disconnect in this whole issue. College kids who've downloaded 40,000 songs off of the internet wouldn't have paid for those 40,000 songs if the music wasn't available online. But the naive belief/dishonest claim that every downloaded song is lost sale is what the RIAA has used to justify all this DRM nonsense to themselves, consumers, government, their investors, etc.

      It doesn't come down to anything as broad as libertarian views on society. All of the music industry turmoil can be summed up with just a few basic points:

      The record labels as a business model provided three things that most musicians couldn't feasibly do on their own. A proper recording studio, distribution, and decent advertising. Modern hardware and software has drastically lowered the costs to build a recording studio. The internet allows for almost free digital distribution, and physical distribution is become less important every day. The internet has also made advertising much more accessible. What this all means is that record labels are becoming irrelevant, technology is allowing us to cut out the middle man position that they fill. DRM is just a symptom of the huge hissy fit that the music execs are throwing as they've slowly started to understand that they're going to have to find new jobs.

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        If you've got a few PCs laying around and BitTorrent, you can actually get some excellent and quite professional recordings for damn near free - pull as many soundcards as you can get, load them into one PC, and pirate Cakewalk (or pay a couple hundred bucks for it). It's amazing what you can do with that setup. I remember one solo that I just could not get right when my band was recording, and we actually spliced out a few notes that were bad and re-recorded them and layered it over.

        Physical distribution i

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      Any law, even murder, would not be able to work without draconian penalties if a large percentage won't obey it.

      Alcohol prohibition in the US proved that any law that a large percentange of the population won't obey should never have been enacted in the first place.

      That goes for marijuana and the ludicrous copyright laws these days.

    • Voluntary compliance works for most things because those things are understood by the public and pretty much universally believed to be in everyone's best interests. Murder, for example, is very much frowned upon in every modern society I'm aware of because it goes against the community/teamwork that makes up those societies beneficial to their members. I suspect that a lot of that is due to evolution or at least social conditioning.

      I would guess that the reason DRM, copyrights, and other similar things a

    • They need DRM because a lot of their potential customers **won't** pay for the music,

      Even assuming that's true, how does DRM help?
      - Without DRM, their "potential customers who won't pay" download the music illegally.
      - With DRM, their "potential customers who won't pay" download music illegally.
      See, there is no difference - DRM stops your *actual* customers copying the music (usually for their own use). It does nothing to stop the "potential customer who won't pay" - DRM won't stop 100% of people copying, so the music will always be available to download illegally. In fact,

  • He meant DRM as in "Duke Nukem Forever's Release Model.
  • This is simply the RIAA trying to kill/win the argument by declaring it a dead issue.

    See: "Hold hands over ears and scream LALALALALALALALALALALALA."

  • Minor point people.

    To put it in cave man terms.

    RIAA is audio.
    MPAA is video.

    Jonathan Lamy is associated with the RIAA not the MPAA. Thus he is not even remotely hinting that your DVD will be DRM infection free. Only your precious copy of the Chipmonks sing "Achy Breaky Heart" can be freely copied between your audio devices.

    • Ok Drm free downloads of music, but is the drm going on all the cd's with music on them as well?

      or how about the DTS audio discs DRM free?

      I've a feeling that it wasn't a statement of DRM is dead more that there are some DRM free formats commercially available.

  • by ring-eldest (866342) <ring_eldest@@@hotmail...com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:32AM (#28755433)
    I'm sure this is just a prelude to some new agenda to push DRM under a different name. "DRM is dead! But now we have Intellectual Property Protection... Or how about Online Property Protection?"

    You down with OPP? Yeah, you know me.


    I know you.
  • Oh come on now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:33AM (#28755439)
    DRM can't be dead! Everyone knows that the BEST way to counter shoplifting is to harass, insult and severely beat up your paying consumers before they ever think of commiting the crime!
    • by upuv (1201447)

      Where were you when I was pimping back in the 80's? They called me "Johnny Goodie Two Shoes".

      My Ho's were always given away the merchandise. Eventually I had to change to IT to fund my "habit". I was just loosing way to much money. Ho maintenance ain't cheap, you know.

      And all I had to do was rough up the clients once and a while. You know, I knew I was missing something. I just couldn't put my finger on it.

    • You also have to spot someone at random in the store and take away their wallet, claiming that since they are thieves they must pay thousands of dollars in damages to make up for the cost of the item they had probably stolen last time they were here. That's the RIAA way!
  • ...but it sure smells rotten.

  • Just pointing out, the actual wording was in the form of question, not a "statement".

    "Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA[,] declared DRM dead, when he was asked about the RIAA's view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article. "DRM is dead, isn't it?" Lamy said."

    One really wonders why it is "news" when a RIAA spokesman asks an off-the-cuff question. It's really being blown out of proportion to call it a "statement from the RIAA."

  • This just means that they found something better. And better means worse.
  • ... until the fat lady sings.

  • suddenoutbreakofcommonsense
  • > Let's see whether their actions going forward align with the words.

    Of course not. Whether DRM is dead over the long term (which has been obvious to most of us here for some time) has absolutely nothing to do with current and near-future lawsuits. If the RIAA deliberately left money on the table, their masters would have their guts for garters. I mean, c'mon. If anything, they'd put on extra pressure to maximize revenue stream from the existing infrastructure (RIAA/MediaSentry/lobbying/etc) while

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:19PM (#28764091)

    Microsoft put into Vista (and even added more in Vista 7) an incredible amount of DRM. Gates spoke to the press a few years ago stating that computers were no longer used primarily to produce content. He stated they are used primarily to consume it.

    Like .doc and .xls formats DRM is used to lock you into a certain company's product. For example, if the courts tell a lawyer that he must submit his pleadings in .doc format then the lawyer has to go back to the office and buy Word for every person providing legal assistance on the case. If he wants to create .doc files he must use word and word runs on Windows. That means the lawyer, his help, and most likely the lawfirm is locked in. This is a very important element to note here.

    DRM had Microsoft foaming at the mouth due primarily to the fact that they controlled the mechanism and they had the influence to push even the hardware manufacturers to implement special on-card circuitry to support their DRM. In return it is clear that they would then benefit from some amount from each piece of content sold, not just in the fact that the DRM was not going to be licensed and used on competing platforms, but in the actual sale of the content.

    Microsoft saw what Apple had done with iTunes and the iPod with DRM and they were all set to push into that market with a DRM strategy of their own with the Zune until Apple decided to pull the rug out from under them by removing DRM from their store. This in part left people with a platform that had no need for the performance hogging DRM which Microsoft could have claimed was a necessary evil and consumers would have had to accept it, as Microsoft is a monopoly. Microsoft was planning on grabbing monopoly share in DRM content creation by using their monopoly in the OS market.

    DRM'd content isn't made to allow you to benefit from it. It is made to ensure that you play that content on only the devices and platforms upon which it is made (DRM on Windows by Microsoft is only usable on Windows). Content creators are not going to license and recreate their content for multiple platforms as it currently is too expensive. Even if the costs did come down they would simply bail on the idea of multiplatforms with the excuse that Windows should be enough because it is the defacto standard. Who cares how Microsoft got there.

    Microsoft invested heavily in DRM for the PC and made manufacturers of hardware and content creators all comply. In Vista 7 they put in even more DRM control. It is not likely that Microsoft will give up this position since it knows that formats are lock in technologies which force consumers onto and to stay with their platform.

    Sad as that is, it is true. The RIAA guy is either a fool or his superiors haven't clued him in on the future.

  • RIAA: DRM is dead.
    DRM: RIAA is dead.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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