Tuesday, January 27, 2004

RIAA extends legal actions to fight online music piracy
Association files new round of lawsuits


By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service December 03, 2003

The Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA) is expanding this week its legal efforts to curb online music piracy, the industry watchdog
group announced Wednesday.

The RIAA is firing off a new wave of lawsuits and lawsuit-notification letters to users whom the RIAA alleges have illegally distributed significant amounts of copyright-protected music files online.

The group is filing 41 new lawsuits and sending 90 lawsuit-notification letters this week, adding to the 341 lawsuits filed and 308 notification letters sent since September.

The RIAA has settled with 220 file-sharers as a result of lawsuits, lawsuit-notification letters and subpoenas. In addition, 1,054 users have submitted affidavits as part of the RIAA's amnesty program.

Recent surveys have shown that the RIAA's campaign to seek legal punishment against music pirates is increasing awareness about the issue and prompting
users to stop downloading music files illegally.

However, the RIAA's campaign has also drawn criticism, particularly its attempts to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to disclose personal information about subscribers suspected of being illegal downloaders. For example, SBC Communications Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union are separately challenging the RIAA in court over this issue. The RIAA tussled over this issue with Verizon Internet Services Inc. earlier this year and got a favorable court decision that forced the ISP to turn over the personal information of subscribers.