RIAA Continues Campus-Focused Wave Of Litigation; Hey! Here Comes The Man

Ever since their beautiful new stationery came back from the printers, the RIAA has been sending off letters nonstop -- mostly in the interest of strengthening relationships with distant (yet no less cherished) relatives, but there are a notable 403 that have a colder tone and are not lightly spritzed with perfume. These letters have been sent to 403 of the most notorious randomly selected file-sharers on college campus networks, and their demand for pre-litigation settlements is a continuation of the RIAA's campaign to crack the skulls of external-hard-drive-maxing-out college kids. Those who receive the letters are requested to visit p2plawsuits.com and settle their cases out of court at a discounted price.

"The music industry continues to develop exciting new digital models that offer fans, including college students, their favorite music how they want it and where they want it," said Steven Marks, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the RIAA. "The good news is that students represent some of music's biggest fans. Unfortunately, they too often turn to illegal sites for their music." Marks then put up an image of stick-figures being dangled over a pit of snakes on the overhead projector. "And that is why students must be punished. Punished like the days of old. Hear my words, students: you are not safe. Not anywhere. You'll go to a football game and all of a sudden the man on the loudspeaker will call for a doctor -- it's an emergency. In a forest even, by yourself, one day you'll notice how the deer are diseased or how the rivers are dried up -- something. Run to the edge of nowhere, John Q. Public. We have the best binoculars."

The campuses targeted this time around are: Arizona State, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State, North Dakota State, Purdue (West Lafayette and Calumet campuses), University of California - Santa Barbara, University of Connecticut, University of Maryland - College Park, University of Massachusetts (Amherst and Boston campuses), University of Nebraska - Lincoln, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire, Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens
Point, Stout and Whitewater campuses).

It appears that DeVry has received yet another pardon.

Halloween Is Coming and I Wanted To Share This Costume That I Totally Want With You; Well, I Guess I Could Tell You About eMusic’s New DRM Free Tool As Well

In the spirit of saving the best for last, you'll have to voluntarily read through this news article to get to the picture of the costume I want for Halloween. Let me just blaze through this story as quickly as possible, because I'm stoked to show you the costume!

Essentially, eMusic has a new DRM-free tool for downloading music instead of using its old proprietary downloader. The magic part about the OPEN SOURCE tool is that it runs on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, meaning it'll work with programs such as iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, and Amarok. All of your songs will automatically download into your respective library as you purchase the music. Anyone can then freely edit the tool, and since it's based on Mozilla open source, Firefox extensions are a go! Gotta hand it to eMusic for this one, I like what they're doing by embracing an open source agreement.

Meanwhile, Epitaph has decided to pull out of eMusic because they aren't gettin' enough money per track. eMusic gives 27 to 33-cents a song, whereas iTunes gives 65 to 84-cents a song. It kind of blows to lose Elliott Smith and DangerDoom on eMusic, but whatevs.

Now time for that costume!

CLICK HERE.

Your Monday Morning Just Got A Little Suckier: Explosions In The Sky The Decemberists Cancel Their Summer Remaining European Dates

Explosions in the Sky The Decemberists have communicated in a brief statement on their website MySpace that they have been forced to cancel all of their summer European dates due to a family band member falling seriously ill. This includes an imminent date at All Tomorrow's Parties in Minehead, which I was totally going to go to.

"With much regret The Decemberists have cancelled the remainder of our European tour. One of our band members is ill and needs to return immediately home to mend.

"Our deepest apologies to all of our fans whom have purchased tickets to our forthcoming European shows. Unfortunately our calendar doesn't allow us to return to Europe at any point soon so please refund tickets at point of purchase.

"It saddens us to disappoint our fans. We hope everybody understands that it is because of an extreme situation that we had to make such an abrupt change in plans."

Damn, man.

TMT's thoughts are with the band and their family and hope for a speedy recovery.

If you live in any of the following towns, get ready to stamp your foot and go "Oh, for Fu":

* Laura Veirs

Thanks [Nunpuncher for the template.]

Michael Showalter Sells First Comedy Album; We Don’t Have This Money

More important than anything else being reported here today, if you haven't seen The Michael Showalter Showalter, I suggest you watch a few episodes NOW and then return to your beloved TMT. If all talk show hosts were as hard-hitting as Show (to Paul Rudd: "Are you... lonely?) I might stay up on weeknights past 8 P.M. Dude even manages to make Andy Samberg funny.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the single-season run of Comedy Central's Stella (starring Showalter along with compadres David Wain and Michael Ian Black), please exit your browser, jump into a car -- any car -- and demand that the driver take you to the nearest DVDerie so you can examine one of the finest, most ridiculous, actual-belly-laugh-inducing comedy shows of all time. Stella is right up there with Mind of Mencia, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Bob Saget's stand-up special, Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl, and those "Big Dog" t-shirts they sell in shopping malls.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the Stella crew's previous show, The State, that might be something to check out as well. I was obsessed with this show at age 10 and enlisted my friends in a terrible reenactment of choice scenes. This videotape has since been lit on fire and buried nine feet below the soil, but I trust you will all value the discerning comedic taste of a pre-teen.

Oh, and if you haven't seen Showalter's movie, The Baxter, drop everything and... well, actually come on back. Set yourself down in that comfortable chair and keep reading. You don't need to see that. You don't even need to see the trailer for that.

This is what we call burying the lead: Michael Showalter has now decided to release an album for JDub Records on November 13. Entitled Sandwiches & Cats (...is Patton Oswalt going to sue?), the CD will mix up regular stand-up with sketches and improvised material, both live and in the studio. Janeane Garofalo and Eugene Mirman show up as featured guests, and one can imagine that the tracks will be either nothing short of amazing or better than The Baxter. So much better.

Sandwiches & Cats tracklist:

The iPod Anti-Trust Case Now Comes In Black, Pink, And White

An antitrust lawsuit against Apple mulls in the background, as new, enviously nubile iPods were recently announced. The suit-filers charge that Apple has continued to block files sold by other online music stores (Wal-Mart, Napster, Best Buy, Yahoo, etc., which all use DRM-ed up Windows Media files), despite how allegedly inexpensive licensing the WMA (and other) formats would be. The Apple “crippleware” that restricts WMA files is also charged with doing the “crippleware walk” in defiance of a previous court order. The argument is that buyers of the iPod are forced into buying music from Apple’s iTunes store -- or ripping music from their own CDs. Unfair!

Has Apple insidiously doomed purchasers of the iPod into a life of Apple serfdom? Do people listen to WMA files? How long have I scoured the internet looking for a way to convert my annoyingly bothersome WMAs into MP3s? What about FLAC? Does anyone care about FLAC???? No, not AFLAC, I’m talking about these. (Note: some iPods can play FLAC files, but who really cares about lossless, open-source audio formats.)

IN OTHER NEWS

A somewhat unrelated case pending in the EU challenges Apple’s country-by-country pricing model, which charges EU consumers differing amounts, depending on which country they live in. Pays for play?

IN OTHER OTHER NEWS

Then there’s this lawsuit that slaps Apple with damages for dropping the price of the iPhone so soon after launch, in turn pissing off people who really, really wanted to sell theirs on eBay.

As per usual, bootleggers, pirates, and otherwise unassuming file-sharers are unaffected.

Pitchfork and All Tomorrow’s Parties Team Up For A Festival; To Keep Up Our Much-Publicized Rivalry With Pitchfork, We Decide To Team Up With Only The Best Movies To Host a Festival Too

[Good day, everyone! Just a little disclaimer: if you indeed decide to go to the website featured on the image in this story and you're at work, by all means feel free. Just pack your shit beforehand.]

P4K announced, oh, about an hour ago, that they are helping curate another kick-ass ATP festival in Camber Sands Holiday Park (in Sussex). Of course, it's hard to believe P4k, especially when they promised that Of Montreal/Girl Talk remix that we've never fucking heard. I've been pissed off about that actually. That was promised like four months ago! (It's probably Gregg's fault though, so whatever. Here is a link to the lies.)

Sooooo, basically ATP and Pitchfork are sort of "fighting" each other or something, 'cause Pitchfork is going to pick half the bands for the first weekend (May 9-11) and ATP is going to pick the other half for the following weekend. It's called ATP Vs. Pitchfork. Here is a partial list of the bandz playing:

Shit man, that lineup looks stellar. I bet ATP picked Ween. It'll cost £140 which is around $285 in U.S. currency. Daaaamn.

Well, if you are poor like me and scared to leave the country, then you should definitely consider our festival, which will be coinciding with the ATP Festival. Guess what? It's completely free, and you don't even have to leave your chair. Don't worry this isn't like our April Fool's joke. That was lame, -- we're so over that.

So prepare yourselves for this:

That's right! We're teaming up with the porn gods from Only The Best Movies Dot Com for an awesome porn festival, where TMT will pick half of the best pornos and OTMB will pick the other. We can't give you a "partial" list yet, but I promise we'll have one for you soon. So, hang tight -- we'll drop more information about our awesome porn festival soon. Until then, clip out some coupons for your favorite lotion and check out P4K's own news story on the ATP/P4K festival here