Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where Will the RIAA Go After Five Years of Lawsuits?

If the goal is to reduce file sharing, it's a failure.

- Fred von Lohmann, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation

In David Kravetz, "File Sharing Lawsuits at a Crossroads, After 5 Years of RIAA Litigation," Wired, September 4, 2008

Lohmann's comments refer to the lawsuit approach pursued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against consumers who share copyrighted music with others online. David Kravetz notes that September 8, 2008 marks five years since the RIAA's first lawsuit. He presents an overview of the controversies swirling around the more than 30,000 lawsuits that RIAA instituted during the past half decade. The RIAA says it is continuing its lawsuits to emphasize to individuals that downloading copyrighted content is, in fact, illegal, and to scare people from doing it. Opponents claim that the RIAA's tactics have terrorized people into paying up rather than fighting in the courts, that the company it is using to ferret out wrongdoers is not doing it legally, and that the way the RIAA is trying to prove illegal sharing may also not stand up to court scrutiny.

Kravetz notes that "despite the crackdown, billions of copies of copyrighted songs are now changing hands each year on file sharing services." And he adds that "critics of the RIAA say it's time for the music industry to stop attacking fans, and start looking for alternatives."

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