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I wonder where Annie Leith is today and what she thinks of her appearance in a Superbowl advertisement? Does she believe it was right for Apple and Pepsi to hold her and her friends up to be falsely accused by Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music’s RIAA as criminals in front of hundreds of millions of people in a warped iPod commercial?The Apple / Pepsi iTunes / RIAA advertising connection has been forgotten by most people. But the RIAA is still trotting out kids and their parents as thieves.And it’s still getting away with it.What’s the problem?But, “What’s the problem?” - asks a nameless, faceless RIAA spokesperson. “We’re only involved as good corporate citizens. We gave Pepsi and Apple and BBDO the kids’ names to help them. The kids, that is. This is our way of working with wholesome American institutions to save the Children of America from having us prosecute them for stealing music. What can be wrong with that?”“And Gosh! Pepsi is giving the music away anyhow. But this time, the kids won’t end up in a court for downloading!”‘Giving’ is probably the wrong word, though.Actually, Pepsi is marketing the tunes on behalf of the RIAA’s owners, the major record labels, who sold the songs to Apple in the first place. People get the songs by buying Pepsi and looking under the bottle tops, some of which have a code which can be redeemed to ‘buy’ a song from iTunesRich Menta, editor of MP3newswire, says here, “The RIAA will earn $0.75 from Pepsi for each of the 100 million downloads.” And that’s $75 million, “in pure profit for the record industry, which is why RIAA president Mitch Bainwol is happy to go along with the joke,” suggests Menta.“Apple wins, of course, because now they have more than quadrupled their total sales of downloads from 30 million to 130 million tunes - all using the AAC format that only the iPod will play, thus pushing iPod sales.”Is ‘get sued by the RIAA and star in a TV commercial’ the message? - Menta asks.“It’s bad enough that the RIAA targeted kids for their lawsuits but, it’s worse to criminalize their behavior on national television just for the sake of a provocation, or to sell soft drinks and iTunes downloads,” Wattles told p2pnet.Moreover, he goes on, “Congress, in making the copyright laws, never, to my knowledge, considered the circumstance that kids would be engaged in mass infringements, however technical. Certainly, imposing extraordinarily high statutory civil damages on an ill-behaved and/or ill-informed teenager seems out of step with the result a legislature would have openly picked.“And there’s a big legal question mark over whether or not they can be tried as juveniles for criminal copyright infringement.”Wattles - who was at Berkeley in 1969 - points out that he’s speaking as an individual concerned over the excessive and intrusive behavior of an industry to which he’s contributed, and in which he still has a stake.“I don’t want to see it [the entertainment industry] behave in this way and I believe I’m speaking out responsibly to help it correct itself,” he says.“No matter how old they are and even if their parents or a court signed off for them, they could possibly sustain an action for libel if they weren’t completely aware of what this ad was going to look like and suggest about them.“These kids weren’t criminally prosecuted, but they’ll get to live with this characterization for the rest of their lives - even after they grow up and move away from their childish false bravura performances.”