DISTURBED Singer Blasts Record Companies Over Lawsuits Against Downloaders

DISTURBED frontman David Draiman has told the San Francisco Chronicle that the music industry should find a way to work with the Internet instead of suing people who have downloaded music.

"This is not rocket science," he said. "Instead of spending all this money litigating against kids who are the people they're trying to sell things to in the first place, they have to learn how to effectively use the Internet."

On Monday, the RIAA filed suits against 261 civilians with more than 1,000 music files each on their computers, accusing them of copyright violations. The industry hopes the suits, which seek as much as $150,000 per violation, will deter computer users from engaging in what the record industry considers illegal file- swapping.

The RIAA did not initiate these lawsuits to defend artists' rights, Draiman says, but to protect corporate profits.

"For the artists, my ass," he said. "I didn't ask them to protect me, and I don't want their protection."

Draiman, like other musicians, pointed to the iTunes Store recently opened by Apple Computers that sells individual songs for 99 cents apiece to downloaders.

"Apple has the right idea with the I-store," said the singer. "You'd think these conglomerates like AOL Time Warner would have easy ways of doing the same thing, with these mergers between record labels and Internet service providers."

Draiman believes the Internet is here to stay and that downloading files will be an increasingly important delivery system for music, regardless of the music industry's lawsuits. "The focus of the industry needs to shift from Soundscan numbers to downloads," he said. "It's the way of the future. You can smell it coming. Stop fighting it, because you can't."

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