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RIAA says that any pending litigation will continue

The RIAA has been suing people willy-nilly for years with slim proof that the defendants actually shared music illegally. The lawsuits often seemed to be nothing more than a marketing attempt by the RIAA to get people to realize they could and would sue if you illegally shared music or they suspected you did.

Despite all of the suits that the RIAA filed, against people living and dead, the tide of music piracy never turned in its favor. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cites numbers from the NPD Group that show illegal music sharing stayed about the same throughout the RIAA's inquisition.

This week, The WSJ reported that the RIAA has announced it will stop its slash and burn suit policy and focus on other methods of preventing piracy that is thinks will be more effective. Since the RIAA started is massive campaign of litigation, it has brought legal proceedings against 35,000 people.

The RIAA says that it will now focus on working with individual ISPs to help stop piracy. When a person on an ISP is suspected of pirating music the RIAA will send an email to the ISP, who can then get with the individual customer to try to stop piracy. As is par for the RIAA's course, it makes no mention of how exactly it will gather evidence of piracy against ISP customers. Many wonder if the RIAA will simply resort to massive spamming of hundreds of thousands of suspected file sharers to ISPs.

If an ISP determines that a user is sharing music illegally, it will send an email warning the customer to begin with. That warning, if unheeded, could be followed by more warning letters from the ISP. If the user fails to stop file sharing, their internet connection could be slowed or terminated altogether.

The bad news for alleged file shares that already have RIAA litigation pending against them is that The WSJ says the RIAA will proceed with pending suits. That means that the retrial date set for the tossed verdict in the Jammie Thomas case will continue.

New York State Attorney General Andre Cuomo is also working to broker a deal between the RIAA and ISPs to help address both parties' privacy concerns. One key point in the RIAAs new tact on piracy is that it will not ask for the names of alleged music traders.

Cuomo's chief of staff Steven Cohen told The WSJ, "We wanted to end the litigation. It's not helpful." For its part, the RIAA thinks that the new policy will reach more people to make them aware that the man has an eye on them. RIAA group chairman Mitch Bainwol said, "Part of the issue with infringement is for people to be aware that their actions are not anonymous."

Brian Toder, the attorney representing a woman from Minnesota in a file sharing case said, "I'd give them credit for stopping what they've already been doing because it's been so destructive." Unfortunately, for his client, her litigation will continue despite the new policy.

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RE: This makes more sense
By Suntan on 12/19/2008 1:07:15 PM , Rating: 1
The RIAA does not run the ISPS, Why would they give themselves bad press for no reason other than to help the RIAA. Unless the RIAA starts paying the ISPS some money, I see absolutely no incentive for ISPS to do this.

I'd be willing to bet that the terms your service provider gave you state in them somewhere that you would not use the network connection for illegal purposes. Why would they add that clause if they thought they could make money off of your illegal activity? (I'll give you a hint, your ISP is probably not concerned with your personal fight to stick it to the man -aka- RIAA.)

If that alone isn't enough explanation, think of these two letters sent to your ISP:

1) Excuse me Pro Media ISP, but it has come to our attention that you have been notified 637 times in the last 3 months of suspected illegal activity at these IP addresses. To date our investigation has found that these addresses are still conducting suspected illegal activity and we can only assume that you have done nothing to curtail this activity on your network. At this point, we have no option but to add you to our publicly available list of ISPs that have a record of doing nothing about illegal filesharing. –RIAA

2) Excuse me Pro Media ISP, but it has come to our attention that IP address XXX has a history of consuming over 120 gig of your costly bandwidth each month in activities that we believe to be illegal. If you would like to eliminate this bandwidth hog, here is all the evidence you need to do so and blame it on us. You get rid of the hog, we get rid of a person that may be illegally sharing our intellectual property. It’s a win-win. –RIAA


RE: This makes more sense
By Yawgm0th on 12/19/2008 1:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
it has come to our attention that IP address XXX has a history of consuming over 120 gig of your costly bandwidth each month... If you would like to eliminate this bandwidth hog, here is all the evidence you need to do so and blame it on us.

No ISP would need this as an excuse. Many ISPs, notably Comcast, have bandwidth caps that if exceeded are grounds for termination of service. Some (Comcast until a few months ago) have unwritten caps at which they will terminate your service.

In short, an ISP will not permit you to go over whatever amount of bandwidth is too high. Anything lower provides return on investment, and as such they still want you as a customer.

The only incentive for ISPs to cooperate is avoidance of lawsuits. Regardless of the victor, being in constant litigation is not conducive to good business (unless litigation is your business).

ISPs already send out warning letters and threaten cancellation for user who pirate certain content. I have been warned by Comcast on two separate occasions: Once, for downloading an episode of a current NBC TV show, and once for downloading a major motion picture. I did not receive any notice from NBC or the MPAA, but obviously Comcast did.

RE: This makes more sense
By jonmcc33 on 12/19/2008 2:51:53 PM , Rating: 4
Sort of stupid to offer 5/10/15Mbps or higher throughput and not expect people to use that. Sure doesn't make web browsing faster. It makes downloading faster. You pay for the throughput as a home/business user of an ISP. You do not pay for bandwidth used. That would be a web host or similar.

RE: This makes more sense
By Yawgm0th on 12/19/2008 3:38:30 PM , Rating: 3
You're right, but some ISPs do have bandwidth caps. I think it's a stupid policy, but it is what it is. Luckily, despite how frequently I max my 10Mb connection, I would have to make a concentrated effort to break Comcast's cap.

As such, it's an issue in principle, but not in practice.

RE: This makes more sense
By CloudFire on 12/19/2008 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 3
that's only for now though. in the future, the data we want to download would be frequently in the GB's, when HD movies or streaming of them gets more popular. our internet is pretty slow compared to the rest of the world.

i have a 16mb line but compared to 50mb lines of other countries around the world, that is pretty much nothing.

RE: This makes more sense
By jonmcc33 on 12/19/2008 7:58:19 PM , Rating: 4
Again, the problem is that you pay for throughput and not overall bandwidth. Anyone that falls for that garbage should raise a big middle finger towards their ISP and give their business to someone else.

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