If you swap songs on any of the major public file-sharing networks (such as KaZaA), you're now running the risk of being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA has already issued several hundred subpoenas to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) across the USA, requesting the real names of people offering copyrighted music on these networks.
The RIAA is trying identify and shutdown these individual song swappers, making good on its threats to expand its legal battle against copyright theft. If you do get subpoenaed by the RIAA, there is a very good chance that your going to lose your case if you fight it. They have been very successful at winning these cases against file swappers.
If you think your at risk of being used or have already been subpoenaed by the RIAA, then the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has some resources that might help you.:
- EFF search-able RIAA subpoena database
- Information on how to avoid a lawsuit
- Subpoena Defense web site Resources for individuals seeking information on how to defend themselves if they have been subpoenaed by a 3rd party seeking to enforce their copyrights.
RIAA vs. Everyone
I believe that all forms of piracy are wrong, but I also believe that the way that the RIAA is handling situation is wrong. There should be a better way of handling this situation, then suing your current and future customers.
It is only recently that businesses like Apple with their iTunes music store and other service like it, are making commercial music affordable, and usable. These businesses are allowing people to download the music tracks they like, and play it the way they want to.
The MP3 revolution changed the way we listen to music. We now play the song tracks we want to hear in our computers, cars, and portable players; without worrying about what type media (CD, cassette, etc..) that it is stored on. With CDs you have to worry about them being scratched or lost. With MP3s and other digital formats, you can burn the music tracks you want to hear on inexpensive CDs, or download them to a portable device.
Personally, I hate the fact that you have to spend $16 dollars (US) for CD when you may only like three songs or less on it. The on-line music stores allow you download the music you want hear, and play it where you want to.
These on-line music stores have taken the first steps in correcting a flawed business model that has existed for years. By allowing you download the music you want listen too for a reasonable price.
Now they need work on improving the 'fair use' rights of this music, so that after you download it you can use it the way you want too. They also, need to work on expanding the selection of music that they have available.