RIAA vs The People: Four Years Later

Written by Phil Cogar

September 3, 2007 // 4:25 a.m.

Tags: #digital-distribution #eff #lawsuits #music #music-downloads #riaa

Back in September of 2003, the RIAA started suing anybody that they possibly could. From grandmas with no computers to young kids, there wasn't a single exemption to the lawsuits. The vast majority of those people have settled out of court and a handful have even fought back. Well now, four years later, the EFF has released a 25 page report detailing the effects that those lawsuits have had on the file sharing community and record industry.

The beginning of the document gives a history of the RIAA's first lawsuits and strategies and highlights areas such as the lawsuits against P2P companies (Napster, Grokster, and others) and individuals as well as its strategy to twist the DCMA to force ISPs to reveal the user behind an IP address. Thousands of people ended up settling out of court with the RIAA after being initially sued and it turns out that the RIAA had used illegal tactics to obtain the individual's information. Unfortunately for all that settled, the RIAA never returned any money that it had illegally received in a settlement.

It's actually a very good read and includes other information such as wrongful lawsuits against the deceased, people who didn't own a computer and people who didn't even subscribe to the ISP involved in the infringement case. The RIAA was (and still is, actually) ruthless about its lawsuits, even suing people who had downloaded copies of music that they had legitimately owned.

The really juicy bits of the document include areas such as people fighting back, the fact that P2P has grown substantially since the initial lawsuits with around 35 times as many illegal downloads being made then legal downloads, and the direction that the digital distribution market is heading.

The last seven and a half pages are references for the document itself so it should only take a short amount of your time to read over the other 16 and a half pages. So go ahead and read it in it's entirety and let us know what you think over in the forums or in the comment section below.

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