RIAA Targets Filesharers For Lawsuits. 

06-29-03 antiGUY
Watch out P2P users, you may get more than you bargained for. The RIAA said last week that it will sue hundreds of P2P users who use these services to illegally traffic in copyrighted songs on the web. 

The RIAA will target the heaviest traders on P2P networks by first tracking them down, and then hitting them with lawsuits.  

"We're going to begin taking names and preparing lawsuits against peer-to-peer network users who are illegally making available a substantial number of music files to millions of other computer users," RIAA President Cary Sherman said.

In the past, the RIAA has pointed it’s legal guns primarily at the companies that provide the services used by individuals to share copyrighted material. However, their battle plan appeared to change a few months back when they went after filesharers directly. 

That case, which involved four college students, has now been settled with the student’s agreeing to pay the music industry trade group between $12,000 and $17,500 each. 

A recent court ruling has provided the RIAA with more amunition in their fight and paved the way for them to trackdown and go directly after filesharers. In that ruling, a court ordered Earthlink (an internet service provider) to turn over the identity of one of their customers who was using their service to trade a large amount of files through a P2P network. 

Who will be the target of these initial suits? According to Sherman, individuals who offer “substantial” libraries of copyrighted mp3 songs to P2P network users. At least during this initial phase, the RIAA will not go after individuals who simply use the P2P networks to download songs. They advise users of these networks to change their settings, disallowing others to download their mp3 collections, or better yet, uninstall the programs. 

Those who are targeted by the RIAA can count of being sued for $150,000 per count. That was the initial amount the trade organization sued the four college students for. Sherman said that he expects hundreds of suits to be filed beginning in August. 

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