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The RIAA's recent case and a pending case in the UK provide some insight into whom it might prosecute next

The Recording Industry Association of America is the oft villainized copyright-infringement watchdog for the music industry in the U.S.  Its letters to music sharers have led to thousands of settlement over the last few years.  Now, following its recent success in the jury civil trial Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas, which resulted in a jury verdict of $222,000 in damages, many wonder who the RIAA might target next.

The RIAA might have given a clue during testimony by music industry lawyers in the Thomas case.  During the case Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, was called to testify.  Pariser noted that music labels make no money on bands touring, radio, or merchandise, so they are particularly vulnerable to file sharing.  She went on to say that when people steal music the label is harmed.

Pariser believes in a very broad definition of stealing that is echoed by many supporters in the RIAA.  She believes that users who buy songs are entitled to one, and only one copy.  Burning CDs is just another name for stealing, in her mind. "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."

Such logic has been a driving force behind efforts to "rights manage" music including the current DRM found on Apple's iTunes files and Microsoft's DRM, which is also widespread.

While it seems unlikely that the RIAA would be able to effectively identify "burners", such litigation remains a legal possibility for the RIAA and major music labels, in the minds of their lawyers.

Another possible avenue of legal action for the RIAA is the pursuit of businesses that play unauthorized music in stores.  The Performing Rights Society (PRS), Britain's version of the RIAA, may give the RIAA some possible ideas with its pending litigation.  The PRS is suing the Kwik Fit Group, a car repair shop in Edinburgh, for £200,000 in damages.  The case revolves around the complaint that Kwik Fit employees brought in personal radios which they played while working on cars, which could be heard by colleagues and customers.  The PRS says this amounts to a public "performance" and should have entailed royalties.

The possible implications if this litigation succeeds are numerous.  The RIAA could pursue retailers like Borders Books who play music in their restrooms or on their store floors.  They could also seek action against small businesses that have radios in their stores.

These possible future targets may seem outlandish or farfetched, but the RIAA and its foreign equivalents have some heavy legal firepower.  It hires many of the country's top lawyers and have gained millions in settlements and recently have added the $222,000 Thomas verdict to its coffers.

Some fear the RIAA is overstepping its bounds, including in the Thomas case.  Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and strong advocate of fair use, recently went on record stating that the trial verdict was excessive and "way out of line" with other cases of this nature.

The Bush Administration feels that the case was very fair and was a positive example of our nation's laws at work.

"Cases such as this remind us strong enforcement is a significant part of the effort to eliminate piracy, and that we have an effective legal system in the U.S. that enables rights holders to protect their intellectual property."

With the RIAA's powerful legal, financial, and political backers nobody can truly say what it impossible for it to accomplish.  Now as it is in the midst of delivering its eighth wave of infringement letters to colleges, it may soon be turning its attention to CD burners or businesses that play music in front of customers.

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By excrucio on 10/9/2007 2:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
[sarcasm and seriousness] Isn't what cd music encryption is for?

Then use it, then everything is legal if WE get around it thats your problem for not encrypting the cd correctly.

You proclaim to be a non profit organization yet your making thousands on poor people, on KIDS, on Elders.

Just sad how low a company will go for money.

It's like taking 500,000 off bill gates every day, he makes that in a minute.

So now we are illegal to burn data? yeah thats damn fucckiing right, data! you target the cd burning how can you be sure we are really burning audio?.... Wait a cop will stop us and ask if our cd is LEGIT?

well thats easy, let's use a cover maker and paste it.

ok ok are we done yet?


Let's go to the online radio issue, WE LOVE MUSIC, people RUN on music, music is like food we need it to be able to do some things. helping other companies CHARGE 400% more for online radio royalties, WHAT IN THE FUX are you out of your sane mind?

Land radios don't pay that much. wait you wanna do that do land radios too right?

Just face it, you're trying to make money.

RIAA: The Millennium Hitler Company.

Just plain sad. Those who rate my post negative, go ahead. They are trying to make the world a better place by suing us that have no money to live with a mortgage. You should be helping cops put away real criminals.

We download, but yet 50cent, young joc, linkin park still makes their 60000000000000000000 dollars from CD SALE...wait what? CD sales? Yeah PEOPLE STILL BUY ALTHO THEY DOWNLOAD, you knwo why????!?!?! BECAUSE WE LOVE supporting the bands we love to listen, damn straight.

Okay one....What about songs that cant be bought in the US???? Such as TRANCE songs where the US doesn't even support techno music besides stupid corny US techno DJ's

We cant buy those cd's because they are based on europe.

Yeah Only if the world was a better place huh RIAA?..

im done.

[/sarcasm and seriousness]

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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