RIAA end lawsuits against individual downloaders

January 2009

Record labels, internet

The Recording Industry Association of Americas much criticised and sometimes ridiculed policy of suing individual fileswappers and downloaders is to be stopped. The group which represents the US recording industry has now said that it abandoned its policy of suing people for sharing tracks and will now work with Internet service providers to cut abusers’ access if they ignore repeated warnings (a policy already law in France and being mooted in the UK). The move ends a controversial program that saw the RIAA sue about 35,000 people for swapping songs online since 2003. The high legal costs for defenders saw virtually all of those hit with lawsuits settle, on average for around $3,500. However, the RIAA’s legal costs are thought to exceed the settlement money it brought in and artists benefited not one cent. The RIAA have said that they stopped sending out new lawsuits and warnings in August, and then agreed with several leading but as yet unnamed U.S. Internet service providers to notify alleged illegal file-sharers and cut off service if they failed to stop. The RIAA has credited the lawsuit campaign with raising awareness of piracy and keeping the number of illegal file-sharers in check while the legal market for digital music took off. With two weeks left in the year, legitimate sales of digital music tracks soared for the first time past the 1 billion mark, up 28 percent over all of last year, according to Nielsen Soundscan. “We’re at a point where there’s a sense of comfort that we can replace one form of deterrent with another form of deterrent,” said RIAA Chairman and Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol “Filing lawsuits as a strategy to deal with a big problem was not our first choice five years ago”. The RIAA says it will still continue to litigate outstanding cases, most of which are in the pre-lawsuit warning stage.

Music Piracy: A New Tune – the RIAA’s new approach to illegal file swapping


See more on the RIAA’s new approach:http://www.pcworld.com/article/155820/riaas_new_piracy_plan_poses_a_new_set_of_problems.html


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