RIAA Drops “Clean Slate”

The Recording Industry of America has dropped their Clean Slate programme, it emerged after a California man challenged the initiative in court.

“As public awareness about the illegality of unauthorized copying and distribution of music files over peer-to-peer computing has dramatically increased since the inception of the program, the RIAA has concluded that the programme is no longer necessary or appropriate, and has voluntarily withdrawn it,” stated the RIAA attorney.

Clean Slate was an initiative which encouraged people who had uploaded and shared music files to sign up and acknowledge in writing that they had broken the law. Individuals then promised that they had removed all illegal music files from their computers, and in exchange the RIAA pledged not to sue them when it started taking legal action against file swappers.

Only 1,108 people have signed up for the programme since in was launched in September 2003, most of them in the first few weeks.

Eric Parke challenged the Clean Slate programme in court, and accused the RIAA of fraudulent business practices. Clean Slate was criticised from its d├ębut as offering limited protection: it never promised any sort of guarantee if a body other than the RIAA, say for example a record label, decided to prosecute someone on its handy list of offenders.

When Parke took the RIAA to court over the programme, they requested that the case be dismissed, as Clean Slate had been quietly dropped. Nice of them to tell everyone.

The terms of Clean Slate

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?