Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Music Wars: Scene 14
In which a lone rebel counter-sues the Empire RIAA, despite claims by the RIAA not to target the "small fry", while claiming its winning the war by shock and awe
First the RIAA says: they will not be throwing grannies into jail,sue them, and fine them into poverty:
Small-time users of music-sharing services like Kazaa can breathe a sigh of relief. Although the RIAA (news - web sites) has sent numerous subpoenas to ISPs demanding disclosure of file-swapper identities, it is unlikely the little guys will find themselves in court, subject to Draconian financial penalties. While the RIAA was vague about what it deemed "a substantial user" (most probably out of the desire to avoid giving downloaders a roadmap to its strategy), it is fair to say that the grandparents of a middle schooler who visits on the weekend will not lose their house because the kid downloaded music from one of the exchanges.

Indeed, the RIAA's vagueness has inflamed its opponents. Issuing subpoenas "are part of the RIAA's overall scare tactics," Jason Schultz, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation told NewsFactor. "They use phrases like 'substantial amount of works' or 'significant number of songs.' But when they've been pressed to define what they mean exactly, they have refused."
Why? because they're lying like a $5 rug.

A lone Kazaa user is fighting the RIAA to not have Verizon release her name:
A file swapper who was subpoenaed by the recording industry has filed a legal motion to block that subpoena, claiming it violates her rights to due process, privacy and anonymous association, as well as her contract with ISP Verizon. The legal action by the anonymous user, called "Jane Doe" in court records, is the first of its kind in response to more than 1,000 subpoenas issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) to Internet service providers. The RIAA is demanding the names and address of users who distribute copyrighted music online, with the intent to sue them for infringement.
If it looks like a small fry, acts like a small fry, and talks like a small fry....

Their tactics appear to have some effect on things though, P2P usage has declined recently:
Music piracy over the Web has declined since the record industry started threatening to sue individual users of popular but unauthorized file-sharing networks, several research groups said on Thursday.
According to Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group, the number of households acquiring music files began to fall in May 2003, right after the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) (RIAA) began threatening file-sharers with legal action.

Based on data collected from 40,000 online panelists, NPD projected that music files acquired, including songs swapped illegally, obtained through paid downloading sites or ripped from CDs, dropped to 655 million files in June from a high of 852 million files in April.

NPD said it estimated the number of households acquiring music files reached a high of 14.5 million in April 2003, then fell to 12.7 million in May and to 10.4 million in June.

Apparantly just the threat of using the Death Star suing individuals into oblivion is enough to scare off the faint of heart. The saga continues....

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