Mass File-Sharing Lawsuits Dropped
After years of filing nearly 35,000 lawsuits against people for illegally downloading music, the music industry has effectively put a halt to legal action in hopes of finding alternative solutions to stemming the tide of piracy. A process much maligned as little more than trigger-happy litigation that has only given the recording industry a bum rap, such lawsuits have also done nothing to lift ever-decreasing CD sales since 2003.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Recording Industry Association of America will now attempt to rely on Internet-service providers to deal with those users who insistently make use of illegal downloading. Several ISPs have reportedly offered their cooperation in the effort, which will allow them to personally contact via e-mail when the customer is found to have uploaded music online. The notice will either alert the user of their offense or warn them to stop; if such action persists, more e-mails will be sent, followed by potentially slower Internet service until, finally, the ISP drops their service altogether.
Most importantly, this would put an end to the RIAA’s former practice of demanding the identity of the user from ISP and, thus, test the borders of privacy infringement. Whether or not this solution will prove more effective depends greatly on the cooperation of the provider, though piracy experts say that while this decision is a step in the right direction, it will hardly put an end to rampant file sharing by itself. “There isn’t any silver-bullet anti-piracy solution,” said Eric Garland, president of piracy consulting company BigChampagne LLC.
Until the new regulations are set in place, the RIAA has said they will continue all outstanding lawsuits.