SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
December 22, 2008

RIAA axes file-sharing lawsuits

Posted: 10:35 AM ET

Those of you who regularly share music over the Internet, legally or illegally, have by now heard the news that the Recording Industry Association of America is shelving the practice of filing lawsuits against most individuals it suspects are pirating copyrighted music online.

As CD sales decline, more and more people get their music online.

I say most because the RIAA still reserves the right to sue heavy file sharers or those who ignore warnings to stop. Now, the RIAA has a new tactic. It’s made agreements with several Internet service providers in which the ISPs will help them police alleged law-breakers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the RIAA will send a letter to an ISP when it thinks one of its customers is illegally sharing copyrighted music. The ISP will either forward the letter to the alleged offender or ask him to stop.

If the file-sharer ignores the warning, he risks having his Internet service terminated or his bandwidth squeezed to the point where it takes watching the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy before all 10 tracks of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” are illegally in his possession. Ouch.

So why the switch? The RIAA has sued some 30,000 people over the past five years, a tactic that's proved expensive and , critics argue, largely ineffective. I mean, have you stopped sharing your music library since the lawsuits began? I didn’t think so. And you’re not alone. While CD sales continue to decline, the number of folks sharing files online continues to increase.

This new deal makes me nervous because now, your ISP is poised to become an uptight hall monitor who narcs on every kid who smokes in the bathroom, instead of looking the other way even though it knows what you’re doing is against the rules. I think ISPs should remain neutral.

Nervous? Maybe you should be. Maybe you shouldn’t.

You could continue to share copyrighted songs online, hoping you’ll never be caught. At the very least, perhaps you should look to the Electronic Frontiers Foundation’s advice on how to avoid trouble.

There’s a decent chance you’ll never feel the RIAA’s tap on your shoulder. Plus, the way things are, I have no doubt word will spread quickly on how to cloak file-sharing so the ISPs and the RIAA can’t see what you’re up to.

The bottom line: Sharing copyrighted material online without the copyright holder’s permission is against the law. I quote Dirty Harry, “You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

- Stephen Walsh,

Filed under: computers • Internet

Share this on:
Franko   January 6th, 2009 3:25 pm ET

RIAA due diligence is the fault
Without a silicon chip implanted in your brain
How can RIAA claim to have put up a fence to make good neighbours ?

chris from quebec   January 7th, 2009 10:26 am ET

Behold the musical police state!!! How Orwellian. While the industry is going from lawsuit to lawsuit, ineffective policing to clunky copyguard software, none have yet to address the central issue on hand. CD's are an overly expensive, outdated media form. Not to mention the music contained therein. Most people download music because of the ease of transfer to their mp3 player, or because Coldplay, while a good band, does not deserve my hard earned 25$. Oh, but wait! They don't get 25$, they might get 1.50$ per CD sold. Where does the rest of the money go? Gone are the days of powerhouse studios that charged 250$ / hour (1985 rate, imagine today!) when most if not more of what these megalomaniac recording facilities is easily obtainable as software that can run on the most pedestrian of computers. Oh, I forgot, you can also download the software on P2P as well. What a dismal state of affairs. What the industry needs to do is push the technology further into 7.1 surround, cut costs of CD's or DVD's as may be the case, and make it worthwhile to buy a new product that will deliver so much more than a cheap mp3 rip off would give. Just like in the old days when you could dub everything to audio tape, but you still got the record because of the better sound quality and (for us musico nuts) great sleeve artwork.

Art M.   January 7th, 2009 8:39 pm ET

I bought the music – it's MINE to do with as I please. The RIAA can jump in a lake if they don't like it.

Trevor   January 9th, 2009 2:20 pm ET

Isn't that how DMCA complaints are supposed to work? Extortion and protection schemes were the wrong way to go about it.

Franko   January 13th, 2009 12:12 am ET

Corporations, entities with unlimited legal resources,
Vesus the underpaid donkey, nursing his pain, with a song guilt obtained

In the process, very few musicians make money
But 70% of US have the pleasure of feeling guilty

Hershel Francois   February 8th, 2011 3:11 pm ET

I am not in a position to see this web site properly on my phone 🙁

Share Files   April 28th, 2016 9:58 pm ET

Hey what's going on? Need free file sharing?, just wanted to drop by and say come check us out!

Vito Aulabaugh   December 20th, 2020 3:53 pm ET

Hello! I recently would choose to give a huge thumbs up with the great info you’ve got here with this post. We are coming back to your site to get more soon.

Janey Fishburne   January 11th, 2021 9:46 pm ET

The next occasion I read a weblog, Hopefully that this doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. Come on, man, Yes, it was my choice to read, but When i thought youd have some thing fascinating to express. All I hear can be a number of whining about something you could fix should you werent too busy in search of attention.

Kirk Dworkin   January 24th, 2021 3:33 pm ET

Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!

Alanna Brodt   January 28th, 2021 10:29 pm ET

you're really a excellent webmaster. The site loading velocity is amazing. It sort of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you've done a great task on this subject!

malatya escort   February 4th, 2021 1:26 pm ET

esenyurt escort bayanar bu sitede üstelik hepsi ücretsiz...

denizli escort   February 5th, 2021 3:17 am ET

iskenderun escort   February 5th, 2021 4:22 am ET

iskenderun escort bayanlarla tanışmak için bu siteyi ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

mersin escort   February 5th, 2021 10:31 pm ET

esenyurt escort bayanar bu sitede üstelik hepsi ücretsiz...   February 20th, 2021 10:47 am ET

986298 331091Keep up the wonderful piece of work, I read couple of blog posts on this internet web site and I believe that your site is real intriguing and has lots of great details. 55895

gay sex doll   February 25th, 2021 4:07 pm ET

673503 485166Oh my goodness! an exceptional write-up dude. Thanks a good deal Even so Im experiencing difficulty with ur rss . Do not know why Struggle to register for it. Can there be any person finding identical rss issue? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx 966134

Dottie Kennemer   March 4th, 2021 10:25 am ET

Alana Furches   March 6th, 2021 2:01 pm ET

wholesale cartier watches   April 7th, 2021 9:11 am ET

477844 465829Fascinating point of view. Im curious to feel what type of impact this would have globally? Sometimes men and women get just a little upset with global expansion. Ill be about soon to take a look at your response. 65247

Leave Your Comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP