“This is Louie. I’m calling back to see if you folks have considered our offer.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Louie. I must admit, this is quite a solution your organization has proposed. However, isn’t it a bit drastic?”

“Drastic times call for drastic measures. If you want to wipe out music piracy on the Net, you’ve got to think out of the box.”

“Yes, but -“

“Here’s the way I see it. We’ll start off with one of those universities. Me and my boys will hit the dorms first. You know, show ’em who’s boss. I figure we break one or two legs, do the old ice pick in the eardrum routine on a couple of them, and the rest will fall into step. We sit them down, show them what will happen if they keep rippin’ off the major labels, and then we sell them some CDs. Maybe 3 Doors Down’s latest, or CDs by Phish and Chris Isaak.”

“But won’t they complain about their rights?”

“What rights? They’re crooks, ain’t they? They’re stealing songs by The Darkness and Christina Aguilera, ain’t they? They’re hardly in the position to go crying to Mr. Policeman about their rights. But that’s just for starters.”


“After the dorms, we’ll go after all those families that have ignored your warnings about file-sharing. Perhaps grab a hostage or two to show them we mean business. Something like, ‘If you want your daddy home by Christmas, you better buy a few of these Elton John CDs.”

“Wait a second. The RIAA does not endorse kidnapping.”

“No problem. We’ll snatch their pets instead. Believe you me, they’ll be singing a different tune when they see one of my boys holding their goldfish by the gills over the toilet and saying, ‘buy these David Bowie CDs, or else!’ But that’s just phase one of the plan.”

“Phase one?”

“Yeah. After that, it’s take no prisoners time. I’m talking about midnight visits, mysterious fires and cars that go boom. I’m telling you, it’s classic marketing. We scare them, and then sell them CDs by Jurassic 5, Michael Buble and Robert Randolph & The Family Band. Of course, we’ll split everything 50 – 50.”

“Yes, but…”

“I’m telling you it can’t miss. When can we start?”

“Uh… I think I’m going to have to take this up with the board.”

“Well make it quick. I’ve got a semi loaded with David Lee Roth CDs parked in a rest stop in Jersey, and, well, people are starting to ask questions.”

“Let me see if I understand you correctly. You and your organization want to threaten, pressure, bully and frighten people into giving up file-sharing, including inflicting bodily harm on music fans as well as threaten their pets. And then split the profits 50-50.”

“That’s right. What do you say? Do we have a deal?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Louie, but we can’t endorse violence and extortion. The RIAA is a legitimate lobbying group dedicated to representing the interests of the major record labels. We can’t resort to strong-arm tactics to stop people from sharing songs by Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Trapt just so we can sell a few more CDs, and then turn around and split the profits with some thugs on the street.”

“You can’t?”

“Of course not.”

“Hmmm… And I thought you folks were desperate.”

“We’re not that desperate, Mr. Louie.”

“I guess not.”

“On the other hand, if you were to propose a 60-40 split…”