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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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I love it!!!
By Setsunayaki on 10/11/2007 1:09:11 AM , Rating: 2
I love how when a musicians goes up to a label and records any piece of music....THEY GIVE THE LABEL COPYRIGHTS TO THEIR OWN MUSIC...

Thats right....So if I spent 10 - 20 years learning how to play music, developing some talent...Some moron who has no musical experience and was a business major in college.....end up ripping me off and making 95% of all the money I should be making for himself....

And since the COPYRIGHT is for the music label and not the individual....I can actually be SUED by the label if I LEAVE THE LABEL AND PLAY MY MUSIC while joining another label...GREAT NO?

The music industry would make much more money if musicians themselves were given a much greater cut.....You know...if they were paid what they deserve...Sure some turn on them and say "life is not always fair..."

I want to see those people actually learn music for 10 - 20 years and stick their neck out before even saying. Sure...we all make a choice when we choose a career....but truthfully...if a company existed where musicians EVEN GOT at least 25% of everything to start and had money....that practically every musician from every single label on the planet would flock to that company and you would soon see a recovering music industry.

Those idiotic commercials that the RIAA puts up "If you dont buy my CD, I cant eat" is complete bull, because they target the person and are put up by the RIAA to represent them....So these musicians should instantly be blacklisted....

You know, when a college band I liked went to a label...the band for their first album was only given 1% of the profits from CD sales after expenses...

Sorry, but the music industry is a raqueteering operation...where people who are on top, are out to make as much money as possible, so they send lobbyist to try to get congress to pass laws that would benefit their profit. The end result are the customers and musicians getting screwed.

If you truly want to fight against the RIAA...Refuse to even have any contact with any company who supports their ways....In time, RIAA will lose so much money that they wont be able to even operate. Also you can spread any song as much as you want....Its funny...I can hear a radio recording, but if I spread a radio recording, its considered to a crime.

Also the moron who made the statement should be shot....

Stealing is the act of physically taking something from someone...that person said "Copying is the same as STEALING"

NOT TRUE...Stealing means that I HAVE TO GO AND ACTUALLY take the object for myself....NOW COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT is the act of reproducing something, by copying a a means of not having to pay for it. MAJOR DIFFERENCE.

This is the list of labels...Note that if a COMPANY is not an RIAA member, they actually get sued over and over until they are forced to join....The reason RIAA companies should be avoided...BUY NOTHING FROM THEM is because those who are NOT RIAA labels are SUFFERING EVEN greater by all the pressure and that is not fair to them..

What you literally have is some CARTEL forming within the music industry that is against free enterprise and should be stopped. Not only are they after innocent people, they want to maximize their profits....

If the people don't stand up for the issues that plague things, they will find themselves robbed by these large corporations....

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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