Sunday, March 4, 2007

More RIAA notices?

The first time around, in 2005, people were sued, people paid, mistakes were made (an 83 year old grandmother being sued for allegedly downloading rap music). The RIAA scared everyone, but ended up shooting themselves in the foot when everyone developed these feelings of hate and the want to download just to spite them.

Last week a list was posted of the 25 universities that most often violate the no-free-downloading policy.

It's not that anyone doubts 14,000 people broke the law, especially now that they're using new software that makes tracking so much easier.

Did USC make the list? Nope. Did they get 20 letters anyway? Yes.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), on behalf of the major record companies, last week sent 400 pre-litigation settlement letters to 13 different universities. Each letter informs the school of a forthcoming copyright infringement lawsuit against one of its students or personnel. The RIAA will request that universities forward those letters to the appropriate network user. Under this new approach, a student (or other network user) can settle the record company claims against him or her at a discounted rate before a lawsuit is ever filed.

The initial wave of this new initiative launched today will include letters in the following quantities sent to Arizona State University (23 pre-settlement litigation letters), Marshall University (20), North Carolina State University (37), North Dakota State University (20), Northern Illinois University (28), Ohio University (50), Syracuse University (37), University of Massachusetts – Amherst (37), University of Nebraska – Lincoln (36), University of South Florida (31), University of Southern California (20), University of Tennessee – Knoxville (28), and University of Texas – Austin (33). The RIAA, on behalf of the major record companies, will pursue hundreds of similar enforcement actions against university network users each month.

Is this the right way to go about things? Might it be easier and more effective to warn greater numbers of people, as opposed to actually going in for the kill on a tiny, tiny percentage of people? Or even better, quit focusing on something that can't be stopped and put the money and energy into making themselves look better.

They still think they're doing the right thing, even though record sales haven't exactly skyrocketed since they started doing this.

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