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A more in-depth article on the music industry suing peer-to-peer music
sharing programs.  (Thanks, Mike LaMonaca!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030625/wr_nm/tech_music_dc_9


Recording Industry to Sue Internet Song Swappers

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A recording-industry trade group said on Wednesday
it plans to sue hundreds of individuals who illegally distribute
copyrighted songs over the Internet, expanding its anti-piracy fight into
millions of homes.

The Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) said it
hopes to curb illegal song downloading by tracking down the heaviest
users of popular "peer to peer" services like Kazaa and suing them for
thousands of dollars in damages.

"We're going to begin taking names and preparing lawsuits against
peer-to-peer network users who are illegally making available a
substantial number of music files to millions of other computer users,"
RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a conference call.

The RIAA believes the popular peer-to-peer services, which allow users to
copy music, movies and other files from each others' hard drives, are
partly responsible for a decline in CD sales, and has aggressively sought
to shut them down.

But until now the industry has shied away from directly suing users,
opting instead to send them online warnings and clutter up the networks
with dummy files.

Some advocates have argued the networks provide a harmless way for music
fans to discover new artists, but Sherman and other music-industry
figures likened them to shoplifters who steal groceries and other
tangible goods.

A recent court ruling makes it easier to track down copyright violators
through their Internet providers, and Sherman said investigators would
begin to track down hundreds of users who make their digital-music
collections available for copying. Lawsuits asking for statutory damages
of $150,000 per count will likely be filed in six to eight weeks, he
said.

The industry will not initially target those who do not allow others to
copy their music collections, he said. Music fans who wish to avoid legal
action should change the settings on their peer-to-peer software to block
access to their hard drives, or uninstall the software completely, he
said.

The RIAA has managed to shut down Napster (news - web sites) Inc., the
first peer-to-peer service, and several successors. But the trade group
suffered a setback last month when a judge ruled that two other networks,
Grokster and Morpheus, should not be shut down because they do not
control what is traded on their systems.

"The RIAA, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to not only alienate
their own customers but attempt to drive them into bankruptcy through
litigation. So therefore they probably won't be able to afford to buy any
music even if they want to," said Grokster President Wayne Rosso, who
added he does not support copyright infringement.

Four college students agreed last month to pay between $12,000 and
$17,500 each after the RIAA sued them for allegedly operating illegal
song-swapping networks on campus.

RIAA members include AOL Time Warner Inc (NYSE:AOL - news). Vivendi
Universal (NYSE:V - news), Sony Corp (news - web sites) (6758.T).,
Bertelsmann AG (news - web sites) (BERT.UL), and EMI Group Plc (news -
web sites) (EMI.L).


--
Mike LaMonaca | [log in to unmask]
Database/Web Applications Developer | University of Pennsylvania
Office of College Houses and Academic Services
Harnwell College House, Suite 212
(215)573-4055 | www.mikelamonaca.com

"This is no surprise. Nike has a rich tradition of employing minors."
- Chris Vinson, as fictitiously quoted in The Onion, on Nike's recent
multi-million dollar advertising deals with teenage athletes.

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Stefanie B. Ploof
Computing Analyst
University of Vermont
CIT Client Services / CALS IT Office