download legally … somewhere

I saw this on 125th St. in Harlem the other day:

RIAA Ad, Seen in Harlem on 125th St - Feed a Musician, Download Legally

The RIAA has begun their new ad campaign (leading a new front group called “Music United”). Apparently it’s important for the RIAA to pump money into promoting a trend that is already happening even without ads. (Could it be … that legal downloading is finally happening just because the friggin’ recording industry finally started licensing its catalogs with semi-reasonable terms and price points?)

I found it particularly ironic given the relative dearth of wireless in Harlem. Starbucks and McDonald’s offer the usual paid access, but otherwise, Harlem is still essentially a wireless dead zone — just as it was in 2002 when Elisa Batista surveyed Manhattan.

Hey, RIAA, I bet the kids in Harlem would like to download legally! Why don’t you get behind some of the community wireless initiatives to help them do it? That might be a little more useful than promoting something people are already doing in a neighborhood where they have relatively few opportunities to do it.

update 2005/8/15: The RIAA campaign has sparked a lot of annoyance out there in the blog-o-sphere. Here’s a sampling: The vitriolic monkey says that The RIAA Wipes Its Dick On The Curtains. I don’t know what that means but it sounds icky. Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing snapped a couple of shots of posts in LA and posted on Flickr; a few other commentators have added other spotted locations. Jason Schultz posted on Flickr a couple of altered posters in SF. (“Fair Use Has a Posse”, which, while I must surely be counted among the members of whatever posse fair use has, I must admit just doesn’t ring quite as well as Andre the Giant or Charles Darwin.). Reasoner notes the Sticker Wars with the RIAA in San Francisco, and points out “the unfortunate truth … that many of the major record labels are screwing over all but the most ‘successful’ musicians”. Terminally Incoherent saw the same from BoingBoing and described it as RIAA Brainwashing Continues. … But in all of this I still haven’t seen any other new poster snapshots, which makes me sad. Surely more people out there are taking snapshots of these posters?