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DAT and Luddites

Regarding John C. Dvorak’s Dec. 11 Viewpoints column, “Why DAT Isn’t Un-American”:

I must agree with Dvorak. It is not digital audio tape that is un-American, but rather the Recording Industry Assn. of America itself.

The attitudes and actions of the RIAA very closely parallel those of the Luddites, the early 19th-Century English workmen who destroyed labor-saving machinery to “protect” the economy. The Luddites could not see that if textiles could be more easily manufactured and sold for less, more people could afford more of them.

In the same way, the RIAA was wrong about standard audio cassettes, wrong about videocassette recorders and now also wrong about DAT. Audio cassettes boosted sales of long-playing records, and VCRs boosted motion picture revenues. The RIAA would like to punish the entire country for the supposed wrongs of the proverbial bootlegging pirates. This is not only unfair but ludicrous.

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The RIAA’s special-interest politicking may have hurt the introduction of DAT, but it won’t be able to stop read/write compact discs. Everything seems to be going digital. It’s just a matter of time.

MARK A. TARBELL

Anaheim Hills


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