“Hey, Ron. What’s shaking?”

“I just came back from my meeting with the RIAA guy, Billy. It doesn’t look so good.”

“Why’s that? Don’t tell me they’re not going to give back our Internet connection. I told you not to swap those Metallica songs.”

“Forget the Internet connection, Billy. It’s worse than that.”


“Yeah. The guy from the RIAA said they could hold me liable for all those John Mayer songs I had on my hard drive.”

“Really? What about The Ataris and Tom Jones?”

“Those, too. In fact, he had an itemized list of all the songs I had on my computer, like Super Furry Animals, The Starting Line and G. Love & Special Sauce.”

“Sounds like the RIAA really nailed you this time.”

“You said it, Billy. They had all the file names and artists. Even the misspelled ones, like Bob Dillon and Aerosmythe.”

“Gosh. I guess there’s no fooling the RIAA.”

“That’s for sure. They counted all the songs and told me they could sue me for, oh, let me see, I had it written down here somewhere… For $1,031,100,000.”

“$1,031,100,000? Wow! That’s a lot of money.”

“You’re telling me? Anyway, that’s when he offered me a deal.”

“Uh? What deal?”

“He said that the RIAA was working with the university on providing an inexpensive digital music service for students, and he wanted me to volunteer for the beta testing. Said if I volunteered, the recording industry would forget all about the songs on my hard drive, like that Radiohead catalog I downloaded last week, or those “Weird Al” Yankovic songs I copied for my big date with Sally tomorrow night.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound too band.”

“Yeah, but then he said I would have to sign a paper stating that I’d never trade songs by major label artists, like Mariah Carey or Jason Mraz, again. Ever.”

“So? Big deal. You sign the paper and you don’t have to pay the $1,031,100,000. Er… You did sign the paper, didn’t you?”

“Yes I signed. But now I feel like I made a deal with the Devil himself.”

“The Devil? Don’t be ridiculous. Here, take a look at this.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s called an encyclopedia. It’s what people used before Al Gore invented the Internet. Here’s a picture of the devil. Now, did the RIAA man look anything like this picture?”


“Did he have horns like the ones you see in this picture?”


“Did he have a tail like the one you see in this picture? How about hooves for feet? And the pitchfork?”

“Well, now that you mention it, there is a difference between this picture of the Devil and the guy from the RIAA.”

“See? I told you so.”

“The guy from the RIAA had a bigger briefcase.”