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U.S. Navy full of Pirates?

Or as the Register reports “RIAA orders US Navy to surrender“.

Honestly folks, with the U.S. involved in a tricky war on terrorism, one has to wonder about the Naval Academy’s motives and priorities. NOT that people should steal intellectual property, but I rather, is such a heavy-handed and well publicized attack necessary? In other words, who in the Naval Acadamy is sucking up to the RIAA’s publicity machine? Because I suspect it would have been just as easy on everyone involved had the Naval Acadamy merely sent a warning down the ranks that there will be inspections coming up next week and you’d better get your PC squared away …

Instead, we have this unfortunate public spectacle.

So what does this have to do with Healing Your Church Web Site? Everything. In the late ’70s, churches became targets of various copyright police for illegal photocopies of music performed on Sundays. I’m predicting that it won’t be long before the RIAA gestapo storms a congregation near you – probably during a communion celebration with cameras in tow just for maximum effect. Nothing plays to the media than marching a minister of music down the aisle in cuffs.

That said, and living here near D.C., I do have to wonder if the RIAA isn’t shooting themselves in the foot in this case. A number of Naval Acadamy Midshipmen have parents in powerful political places, especially some just an hour or so away down RT.50/95/395. Moreover, it is not uncommon for a Naval Acadamy graduate to find themselves in politics after a distinguished military career. One wonders some year downline if such acts won’t cause some grudges to be paid out to the RIAA in spades.

I’m all for abiding by the law. I mean if some Naval Acadamy Midshipmen, or for that matter, some church, is distributing and/or brokering illegal MP3s en masse, then they need to be stopped. But I do wonder in some of these cases, such as the one here near D.C., if sometimes the RIAA isn’t just trying to compensate for really crappy product over the past 10 or 15 years.

Then again, we might not have to wait so long if the RIAA gets cocky and goes after illegal media files on various Congressional computers. One can only hope.

* UPDATE *Kevin Hartwig, an Annapolis Alumn, reminds me that the Honor Code is a large part of the Naval Acadamy. Good point. That said, I guess my beef is over a public keel-hauling that plays into the political hands of th RIAA, versus a quieter but just as stern approach.

4 Comments

  1. As a US Naval Academy alumn (not a grad – I left after 3 years), I’m going to side with the administration based on the limited information available. The “Honor Code” is a major piece of the Academy. Downloading copyrighted mp3′s is clearly a violation of the Honor Code. I think it’s good that the administration is taking it seriously.

  2. I agree with the “public keel-hauling” part. That was a big problem I saw at the Academy in general. The liberal media in the DC area just doesn’t get (or doesn’t want to get) that military life is different than civilian life and that by choosing to join the military, we are choosing to live by a certain code of conduct (much like in choosing to join the Kingdom of God). In the military context, “making an example of” is a big piece of discipline. But, when the Post picks up on it….

  3. It won’t be the RIAA; my bet is that the next round of copyright police raids on churches will be at the instigation of the BSA. (not the Boy Scouts; the Business Software Alliance)

    Think about it. Churches:
    1) Use a lot of donated equipment (with donated software licenses); some licenses allow this sort of donation/transfer, others don’t. Even if they do, does the church maintain adequate records?
    2) Have equipment that many different people touch and potentially install software on.
    3) Often depend on an irregular group of volunteers for system maintenance tasks.
    4) Often have little or no budget to pay for software up front, and
    5) Often engender strong feelings of hostility among those who leave the church.

    Points 2, 3, and 4 make churches a ripe ground for having illegal software installed on their machines. Point 5 makes churches a potential target for a BSA raid, and point 1 means that said raid will be more financially damaging than it might be otherwise.

    Note that the BSA does not seem overly concerned with bad PR – their business model depends on disgruntled people thinking of them as a way to get back at someone. Therefore, if they look mean enough to knock down grandma and steal her purse, that’s good for them.

  4. I am a 15 year old Sea Cadet and I am endevoring to got into the USNA. I fully support the Naval Academy, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and the US Navy with all my heart and soul. The Honor Code is the guiding principle on which the USNSCC, USNA and US Navy is based, and each Midshipmen, Enlistee, and Officer has the obligation to this code.