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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
RIAA to sue hundreds of Internet users sharing songs online<br><br><br><br><br><br>
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By Ted Bridis<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
June 25, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- The embattled music industry disclosed aggressive plans Wednesday for an unprecedented escalation in its fight against Internet piracy, threatening to sue hundreds of individual computer users who illegally share music files online.<br><br><br><br>
The Recording Industry Association of America, citing substantial sales declines, said it will begin Thursday to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify users who offer "substantial" collections of mp3 music files for downloading. It expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within eight to 10 weeks.<br><br><br><br>
Executives for the RIAA, the Washington-based lobbying group that represents major labels, would not say how many songs on a user's computer will qualify for a lawsuit. The new campaign comes just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files.<br><br><br><br>
The RIAA's president, Carey Sherman, said tens of millions of Internet users of popular file-sharing software after Thursday will expose themselves to "the real risk of having to face the music."<br><br><br><br>
"It's stealing. It's both wrong and illegal," Sherman said. Alluding to the court decisions, Sherman said Internet users who believe they can hide behind an alias online were mistaken. "You are not anonymous," Sherman said. "We're going to begin taking names."<br><br><br><br>
Critics accused the RIAA of resorting to heavy-handed tactics likely to alienate millions of Internet file-sharers.<br><br><br><br>
"This latest effort really indicates the recording industry has lost touch with reality completely," said Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Does anyone think more lawsuits are going to be the answer? Today they have declared war on the American consumer."<br><br><br><br>
Sherman disputed that consumers, who are gradually turning to legitimate Web sites to buy music legally, will object to the industry's latest efforts against pirates.<br><br><br><br>
"You have to look at exactly who are your customers," he said. "You could say the same thing about shoplifters -- are you worried about alienating them? All sorts of industries and retailers have come to the conclusion that they need to be able to protect their rights. We have come to the same conclusion."<br><br><br><br>
Mike Godwin of Public Knowledge, a consumer group that has challenged broad crackdowns on file-sharing networks, said Wednesday's announcement was appropriate because it targeted users illegally sharing copyrighted files.<br><br><br><br>
"I'm sure it's going to freak them out," Godwin said. "The free ride is over." He added: "I wouldn't be surprised if at least some people engaged in file-trading decide to resist and try to find ways to thwart the litigation strategy."<br><br><br><br>
The RIAA said its lawyers will file lawsuits initially against people with the largest collections of music files they can find online. U.S. copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but Sherman said the RIAA will be open to settlement proposals from defendants.<br><br><br><br>
"We have no hard and fast rule on how many files you have to be distributing ... to come within our radar screen," Sherman said. "We will go after the worst offenders first."<br><br><br><br>
The RIAA said it expected to file "at least several hundred lawsuits" within eight to 10 weeks but will continue to file lawsuits afterward on a regular basis.
 

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I think this is awesome. Think about it.<br><br><br><br>
They shut down Napster, a very centralized database of only mp3s hosted out of the US, which is replaced by Kazaa.<br><br><br><br>
Kazaa is not as centralized, and is based in countries out of the RIAA's grip. Now if the userbase is decimated as a result of these lawsuits, file-sharing is inevitably going to shift towards a more secure protocol. Maybe it will be something like <a href="http://freenet.sourceforge.net/" target="_blank">Freenet</a>. Maybe something like <a href="http://www.pnotepad.org/devlog/archives/000090.html" target="_blank">Waste</a>. But it will improve with each iteration, lovingly prodded along by the RIAA's legal department.<br><br><br><br>
Personally, I can't wait until the music 'industry' collapses.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Fenguin</i><br><br><b>Personally, I can't wait until the music 'industry' collapses.</b></div>
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Obviously you are not a musician, nor do you work for the industry. What would the world be like without music in our lives.<br><br><br><br>
I think what you stated was quite crazy.. but that is just my humble opinion.<br><br><br><br>
If the music industry goes down.. what next.. movies? Books?<br><br><br><br>
What would we have for entertainment in the end?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are plenty of excellent musicians that don't have record deals. If the RIAA collapsed it doesn't mean there wouldn't be any music.<br><br><br><br>
I think the problem is when most people steal music they think it's ok because they've watched MTV Cribs one too many times. It's hard to have any sympathy for people who live like that. Especially when they have no talent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br><br><br>
And... I don't know if it's true but I've heard that unless you're a big star with a sweet contract most of your money comes from touring.
 

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I can see the RIAA action being seen by a lot of people, especially today's younger music fans, as a strong-arm tactic. Generally these types of actions result in negative publicity and a stubbornness factor by consumers to not purchase anything that ultimately profits the big bad recording industry.<br><br><br><br>
Yes, it is indeed theft. But, the publicity surrounding it is that of multiple lawsuits filed for downloading music. The RIAA was already seen as a "bad" thing by many music lovers... and this latest announcement is being very much portrayed as a negative thing in the eyes of those music lovers.<br><br><br><br>
I think Fenguin is right in saying that there'll be more emphasis placed on a secure protocol or even an underground network. I see this action as ultimately hurting the music industry in terms of net profits, and higher prices for CD's to compensate for the increase in lost sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I tend to disagree (with it hurting sales). So the RIAA wants to eliminate piracy. What are people going to do? Stop buying music? I don't see that happening, they'd only be punishing themselves. They may be more selective in what they buy. I know I am. I buy a lot less. But if I like the artist I will buy their cd no matter what.<br><br><br><br>
And none of this changes the fact that it is in fact stealing.
 

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Michael... no, I am not saying that people will stop buying music... I am saying that the ones who do not buy it will look for alternatives and some of the ones who were frequent music buyers will start to wonder if they really want to pay so much money for a CD which ultimately profits the RIAA.<br><br><br><br>
I am betting CD's increase in price as a result of all these lawsuits.
 

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Ohhh how uninformed many are... when they are not in the biz. Not all musician live with all the "bling bling".<br><br><br><br>
CD sales have declined, yes causing most musicians to live off of concert sales. Gee, that is why most concerts are overpriced these days.<br><br><br><br>
Many of you are too young to remember this, but I remember being able to see a major act for under 20 bucks. You would be lucky these days to even pay for parking under 20 bucks.<br><br><br><br>
No Music.... No Life
 

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Hehehe, I saw my first concert for $7.50 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"><br><br><br><br>
MuzicFan... let me be clear... I do believe filesharing is theft.. because it is. One of my best friends is a record promoter in new York (now Miami) and I understand some of the red tape and BS involved with retail outlets (promotions) and radio stations.<br><br><br><br>
Downloading has certainly contributed to reduced sales.. of that I have no doubt whatsoever. But I still see the younger music listeners looking for an alternative because the "perception" is that the RIAA are the ones who stand to lose the most from filesharing. This is the perception of many based on how the media is portraying the RIAA with respect to lawsuits.
 

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but the RIAA is not the only ones losing out....<br><br><br><br>
I know I am probably ruffling a few feather here, but I feel strongly about this topic. Like most of you feel for animal rights.
 

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MuzicFan: yes... I know the RIAA are not the only ones losing out. There's retail sales outlets, jobs, and certainly the artists themselves. BUT.. all you ever really see in the media is the RIAA this, and the RIAA that .... the RIAA claims lost revenues, the RIAA is suing Verizon to get a person's identity so they can sue them, the RIAA is suing filesharers, etc.<br><br><br><br>
See what I mean? The media does not go the angle of lost jobs, or lost revenues from the local record store, or the artists... so consumers see all these stories about the mean old RIAA who are spending millions of dollars to sue "everyone" who downloads music.<br><br><br><br>
I really don't think the majority of consumers are sympathetic to the issue because all they see is a big organization with a lot of money suing people.
 

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Hard to say... but I am smart enough to realize early on.. that if you steal a music file off of the Internet, you are taking away from the artist, retail, radio, and all involved.<br><br><br><br>
Guess that is just me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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But to blame a decline in sales on mp3 sharing might not be 100% true... what with the industry's conveyor belt spitting out disposable music that has a very short shelf-life, it's starting to wear a bit thin. Instant gratification is also necessary nowadays, sell few of an album and the band is dropped.<br><br><br><br>
Personally I have downloaded songs and have bought a couple of CDs of artists that I discovered in this way, and have spent money on going to their concerts, so if you add me to the equation their sales and profits went up because of file sharing.<br><br><br><br>
The RIAA needs to find a way to adapt, like they had to do when cassettes were invented.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Personally I have downloaded songs and have bought a couple of CDs of artists that I discovered in this way, and have spent money on going to their concerts, so if you add me to the equation their sales and profits went up because of file sharing.</div>
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How many cd's have you chosen not to buy after 'previewing' a couple of songs? It's been a lot for me. Overall I'm sure more cd sales have been lost than gained.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Michael</i><br><br><b>. Overall I'm sure more cd sales have been lost than gained.</b></div>
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By far.. most dont even realize by how much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
And that's why they've lost my money. I no longer give up $15 to buy a cd because I like one or two songs.<br><br><br><br>
However, I have never downloaded an entire cd. And I never will. I don't think that's right. And like most people I will always buy cd's put out by artists I like.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Michael</i><br><br><b>And that's why they've lost my money. I no longer give up $15 to buy a cd because I like one or two songs.<br><br><br><br>
However, I have never downloaded an entire cd. And I never will. I don't think that's right. And like most people I will always buy cd's put out by artists I like.</b></div>
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<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":love:"> Luv Ya Michael... hehe
 

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I listened to a report on this on NPR yesterday ... the RIAA spokesman mentioned that "virtually all music is now available on the internet for legitimate purchase" (paraphrase). My question is: Where? Have any of you used any subscription services or other downloads-for-sale sites? Were they any good; could you find what you wanted? I haven't done any searches lately; I was disappointed when I tried before.<br><br><br><br>
Ever since Napster's days I've been wondering why the recording industry doesn't absolutely <i>embrace</i> the possibility of selling music directly to consumers online. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":confused:"> I admit there are probably a lot of factors at work that I don't know about, but even so:<br><br><br><br>
1) Are there (insurmountable) logistical reasons why record companies cannot open up their entire catalogues for perusal and purchase online? If that were possible, I would think there would be a lot of money to be made on older and/or obscure music that no longer rates a place on the record store shelves. (I have downloaded music -- largely forgotten one-hit-wonders or childhood favorites that I wouldn't have had a clue how to find in a physical store.)<br><br><br><br>
2) Selling online would allow for a very flexible way of pricing. Every song could be available as a single, if they wanted. They could offer a discount for purchasing an entire album as opposed to just a few songs -- giving the consumer the option. They could sell full-album-only during its peak of popularity, then go to singles after a few weeks or months. They could offer a volume discount for purchasing a quantity of songs from different albums and artists. The latest Britney crap hit could cost $2.50, but if what you're really looking for is something that only you and a couple hundred other people like then you could pick it up for a quarter. So many options!<br><br><br><br>
3) They <i>might</i> even make <i>more</i> money off of selling the latest red-hot songs as pricey singles than they do when they force the consumer to choose between plunking down $15 or not buying the CD at all. Personally, I usually opt to not buy it at all -- I can't afford all the ones I want, plus -- like everyone -- I hate the lousy experience of getting the CD home and discovering that I only like 1 or 2 songs besides the hit on the radio.<br><br><br><br>
4) I really don't understand the suscription service idea. Why give away an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee? Wouldn't they make more money pricing it my way? Maybe they're scared that people would just file-share instead (since they're used to getting an unlimited quantity for free); but I think most people would be happy to use a legitimate service if they could just <i>get what they want</i> on it. Most people don't want to steal; when I downloaded music it was to get things that weren't available through other channels.<br><br><br><br>
5) Start-up costs might seem prohibitive, but wouldn't that investment be recouped in savings from greater efficiency? E.g. less physical shipping, wasted shelf space on albums that didn't sell, leftover stock....not to mention having the consumer "in the record store" any time he's on his computer.<br><br><br><br>
6) A huge selling point is that people <i>love</i> their computer jukeboxes. All one's music organized just so, simple to find, rate, select, favorite songs only so you never have to hit the "skip" button ... and my teeny-tiny comp speakers sound better than my old stereo. Actually I've taken the CD's that I <i>own</i> and put all my favorite songs on the computer -- it's just more convenient to play them that way.<br><br><br><br>
So far I'm the only person I know who's looked at it this way -- there must be issues that I'm overlooking??? All discussion of why my grand plan can't work are welcome. I just want my music available on my comp! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/bigcry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":cry:">
 
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