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Starlyte

Recording industry sues 261 music file swappers

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The Recording Industry Association of America said it has filed 261 lawsuits against alleged file swappers Monday, charging the computer users with "egregious" copyright infringement potentially worth millions of dollars.

The long-awaited barrage of lawsuits marks a turning point in the industry's three-year fight against online song-trading services like Kazaa and the now-defunct Napster, and one of the most controversial moments in the recording industry's digital history.

After long years avoiding direct conflict with file swappers who might also be record buyers, industry executives said they have lost patience. Monday's lawsuits are just the first wave of what the group said ultimately could be "thousands more" lawsuits filed over the next few months.

"Our goal is not to be vindictive or punitive," said RIAA President Cary Sherman. "It is simply to get peer-to-peer users to stop offering music that does not belong to them."

The lawsuits mark the first time that copyright laws have been used on a mass scale against individual Internet users. Legal actions have been taken on a sporadic basis against operators of pirate servers or sites, but ordinary computer users have never before been at serious risk of liability for widespread behavior.

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I wonder by what criteria or method they decided upon the unlucky 261.

EDIT: I should actually say more than that. So I will. Whatever anybody's opinions about the rights and wrongs of file sharing this is, fundamentally, a futile action. The number of Kazaa users alone is in the millions, and even given that many people use several different file-swapping services, the total number of people using these programmes must be astronomical. I'm going to round on the arbitary figure of 10million. 261 is the proverbial drop in the ocean, indeed, so is the 'thousands more' that the RIAA promise. With that in mind, it's not going to stop anybody actually using these programmes - statisically you're as safe as houses, and the actual money recovered seems to be an absolute pittance compared to what the music companies claim they are losing.

So with that in mind I would say that when Mister Sherman suggests that...

"Our goal is not to be vindictive or punitive," ... "It is simply to get peer-to-peer users to stop offering music that does not belong to them."

...he is being extremely disingenuous.

Edited by Aslan

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