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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 9nails on 12/19/2008 10:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that's pretty clever. He's changing the MAC Address, not just the IP Address. So this would appear that a different modem connected to the ISP. Hopefully, the hostname changes as well. I don't know how detailed the ISP's reports are or if they track connections to any given port. It might look odd that 722 different modems connected from their address each month. But if this isn't tracked by the ISP, then it's a good way to blame some other guy.


RE: This makes more sense
By Lifted on 12/20/2008 3:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
So then if he doesn't pay his bill, do you think the ISP can't terminate his connection because he has changed his MAC address? The ISP knows all. The kiddies can keep thinking they are fooling someone, but it will just get them caught quicker.

Surfing using a SIM card purchased at 7-11 here in Thailand is truly anonymous. ;)


RE: This makes more sense
By mindless1 on 12/20/2008 4:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
It won't make a difference. If the ISP isn't tying access to the MAC/IP, it's tying it to the account. Either way it's logged, either way it's just as easy to look up who had what IP address at any point in time until beyond the period of the log retention.


RE: This makes more sense
By Schrag4 on 12/22/2008 9:21:09 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, his ISP shouldn't let him do this, unless they have all the MAC addresses that he's using on file. If I get a new modem (or change my MAC address) then my ISP simply won't give me service. I would have to call them up and tell them the new MAC address.

If they allowed me to change my MAC address at will then I would consider them a poorly managed ISP.


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