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RIAA Vows to Nail Individual File Sharers
By Jon Newton,
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Starting tomorrow [June 26] the RIAA will go all out to nail individual computer users who are, "illegally offering to 'share' substantial amounts of copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks," said the record label mouthpiece in a June 25 press release to dmusic.

It says it'll use its scanning software to zero in on suspected transgressors and plans to start the "first round" of "what could ultimately be thousands of lawsuits suits" by mid-August.

The software's most notable success so far had the RIAA sending a nasty letter to to Penn State University alleging that one of its ftp sites was, "unlawfully distributing songs by the musician Usher".

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Nonetheless, "Additional information that is publicly available from these systems allows the RIAA to then identify their Internet Service Provider (ISP)," say the big five labels - Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Group, Warner Bros Music and BMG Entertainment, through the RIAA, (Recording Industry Association of America), a trade group owned by them.

They go on that the RIAA can then, "serve a subpoena on the ISP requesting the name and address of the individual whose account was being used to distribute copyrighted music. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ISPs must provide copyright holders with such information when there is reason to believe copyrights are being infringed. Almost all ISPs disclose this obligation in the User's Terms of Service."

In making the announcement, "the music industry cited its multi-year effort to educate the public about the illegality of unauthorized downloading, and underscored the fact that major music companies have made vast catalogues of music available to dozens of services to help create legitimate, high quality and inexpensive alternatives to online piracy," said the RIAA.

It was referring to industry download sites Pressplay (a joint venture by Vivendi Universal, Sony and EMI) and AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann and EMI's MusicNet, both dismal failures.

"The law is clear and the message to those who are distributing substantial quantities of music online should be equally clear - this activity is illegal, you are not anonymous when you do it, and engaging in it can have real consequences," said RIAA president Cary Sherman, who's presently lobbying to replace outgoing chief RIAA fact realignment specialist Hilary 'Reach Out' Rosen.

Backing the RIAA are the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), the Country Music Association, the Gospel Music Association and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) as well as (and you may have heard of some of these people):

Richard Carpenter; Missy Elliot; Brad Paisley; Eve; Joshua Bell; Shakira; Mandy Moore; The Dixie Chicks; Peter Gabriel; Keith Urban; Sheryl Crow; Craig Nicholls; Sam Roberts; Vanessa Carlton; Anastacia; Steven Curtis Chapman; Steve Smith; Carl Sturken & Evan Rogers; Troy Verges; Art Alexakis; Martina McBride; Rivers Rutherford; Glen Ballard; Hugh Prestwood; Mary J. Blige; Dave Pomeroy; Stephony Smith; AIJUSWANASEING; Matraca Berg; Lamont Dozier; and, ZOEgirl Group, etc, etc.

If you want the whole shooting match, go here. If you want to add your support, call RIAA contacts Amy Weiss, Jonathan Lamy and/or Amanda Collins here: 202-775-0101.


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