December 20, 2008

Searching for New Directions

Justin Katz

Since it's been a topic of discussion around here, it's worth noting that — although Capitol Records continues on its litigious path, the Recording Industry Association of America is discerning the error of its ways:

After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy.

The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl.

Instead, the Recording Industry Association of America said it plans to try an approach that relies on the cooperation of Internet-service providers. The trade group said it has hashed out preliminary agreements with major ISPs under which it will send an email to the provider when it finds a provider's customers making music available online for others to take.

ISPs are going to have a bevy of moral and strategic questions to answer, but this is certainly a more prudent approach than demanding to dig through the computers of families that, once upon a time, had different computers that may or may not have contained pirated digital music.

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This is a subject, and the larger topic of new media, as it relates to privacy, that we seem to share some agreement. Your posts on these subjects are interesting. The Recording Industry was behind the technology and still have not caught up.

Posted by: David at December 20, 2008 7:25 PM
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