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Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Will Abandon Its Policy of Suing Music Fans for Sharing Songs Protected by Copyright

I was browsing through some Hollywood gossip (by sheer boredom while my I'm waiting for my meat to simmer - cooking, obviously) and came across this music blog. In the middle of the blog entry, I found this piece of interesting news with regards to music-sharing online. Let me post here the excerpt of this news:

"...the Recording Industry Association of America announced this week that it will abandon its policy of suing music fans for sharing songs protected by copyright. Since 2003, the RIAA has filed suit against roughly 35,000 people for swapping songs online--sometimes seeking up to $1 million in damages for just seven illegal downloads (or $150,000 per song) under the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999. In most cases the targeted defendants did not have the means to hire a lawyer to fight the RIAA, so they had to settle out of court....."

"...With the RIAA's anti-piracy lawsuit campaign suspended, that doesn't mean kids are free to illegally download willy-nilly; the RIAA will still work with Internet service providers to put the kibosh on file-sharing. But as RIAA Chairman and Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol stated this week: [The RIAA is] at a point where there's a sense of comfort that we can replace one form of deterrent with another form of deterrent. Filing lawsuits as a strategy to deal with a big problem was not our first choice five years ago. It's much easier to send notices than it is to file lawsuits..."

"...'I think it's a good thing that they've ended this campaign of going after people,' declared attorney Brian Toder, who once represented single mom Jammie Thomas in a landmark $222,000 copyright lawsuit filed by the RIAA. "But they need to change how people spend money on records. People like to share music. The Internet makes it so easy. They have to do something to change this business model of theirs..."

SOURCE: Parker, Lyndsey. December 22-29: Blue Christmas. Yahoo! Music Blogs [online]. 26 December 2008. Available at [http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/thatsreallyweek/32079/december-22-29-blue-christmas].

I wrote a blog about "New Business Models" in Babel and this is an innovative way of legally sharing music online. Take the case of Radiohead, Girl Talk and Nine-Inch Nails. Here is the blog I wrote about this: http://charity.towerofbabel.com/2008/09/08/new-business-models-as-innovation/

I don't know about some of you, but as opinionated as I am, the RIAA is simply losing its battle against file sharing. Instead of cracking down on people who illegally download music, they should start listening to people and come up with better strategies to accommodate people instead of going against them. There's always a thing or two to be learned here. Times have changed and so does economies - people want what's easy and schemes that are easy-to-get. My niece has been nagging me to get her a "Paramore" original Audio CD. That will cost me $10 and $10 is $10 to an economy whose gas prices are not going down on 30 pesos. I right away think of what is practical and come up with the suggestion of getting those songs online through file sharing or get a pirated copy in the black market/underground economy. But at the same time, I get guilt-stricken for doing something that is not right. It is a dilemma and the record industry can simply put people like me out of my misery.

I think this piece of information will interest those of you who love music. I myself like uploading all genre of music in my ipod and it's a great effort for me to rip cds and upload them in itunes. I do hope for the day that music can be shared legally without so much restraint on copyright. Cease the moment, I guess! :P

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