RIAA’s New Policy Isn’t About Deterrence, It’s About Sidestepping Due Process

(Via Techdirt.)

RIAA’s New Policy Isn’t About Deterrence, It’s About Sidestepping Due Process: “On Friday, the RIAA announced its plan to end their campaign of suing thousands of alleged downloaders; instead, it has negotiated with ISPs to disconnect subscribers who the RIAA identify as repeat infringers. From what little is known about the system, ISPs would pass along warning emails to the customers the RIAA claims are downloading copyrighted material. Following 2-3 warnings, subscribers would have their connection terminated.

Speaking to CNET on Friday, RIAA President Cary Sherman said that the tactical change was an attempt to deter would-be infringers. ‘The idea is to create deterrents. This deters people from engaging in illegal behavior.’ This is either misleading or mistaken, if the claim is that warning emails and the threat of having to switch ISPs is more of a deterrent than an incredibly expensive lawsuit. Unless the RIAA can convince ISPs to flood their subscribers with warning emails early and often, more people are likely to hear about the end of lawsuits and stop fearing potentially costly litigation or settlement.

The more likely reason for the change in approach is that the RIAA recognizes that the lawsuit approach has been an abject failure. Not only does it alienate fans, it is costly and rests on shoddy legal theories. As courts have begun to realize that IP addresses aren’t solid evidence and that ‘making available’ doesn’t constitute infringement, the RIAA has been forced to realize that their goals don’t align with thoughtful justice. So, what’s a dying industry to do? Obviously, cut out those pesky judges and their principles of due process. Although Cary Sherman insists the wrongly accused will ‘have a place to go and make their complaint,’ the lack of specificity is as worrying as the RIAA’s previous mistakes concerning their lawsuits.

Kevin Donovan is an expert at the Insight Community. To get insight and analysis from Kevin Donovan and other experts on challenges your company faces, click here.

1 Comment on "RIAA’s New Policy Isn’t About Deterrence, It’s About Sidestepping Due Process"

  1. We have all read the stories of parents sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars because their teenage children file swapped music over the internet. In many cases, the parents were bullied into settlement, even though they may not have been guilty of anything. Over 35,000 individuals were sued for sharing music in violation of copyright law. The government should have ended this travesty a long time ago, but our political leaders are in the RIAA’s pocket for campaign donations. This list includes Barack Obama. I wish I could tell you the RIAA had come to their senses and realized the unfairness of what they were doing, but I can’t. They are stopping because it isn’t profitable any more.

    Music industry drops effort to sue song swappers
    The Associated Press

    The group representing the U.S. recording industry said Friday it had abandoned its policy of suing people for sharing songs protected by copyright.

    The Recording Industry Association of America said it instead would work with Internet service providers to cut abusers’ access if they ignored repeated warnings.

    The move ends a program that saw the association sue about 35,000 people since 2003 for swapping songs online. Because of high legal costs for defenders, virtually all of those hit with lawsuits settled, on average, for around $3,500. The association’s legal costs, in the meantime, exceeded the settlement money it brought in.

    The association said Friday it stopped sending out new lawsuits and warnings in August and then agreed with several leading U.S. Internet service providers, without naming which ones, to notify alleged illegal file-sharers and cut off service if they failed to stop. Full story here.


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