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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The RIAA Wants to Cut Off Your Internet
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There was a fascinating development last week in the ongoing battle that is The RIAA vs. Everyone On Earth. Tired of taking individual music pirates to court in what usually ends up being fruitless endeavors, the RIAA is now looking to circumvent the legal system altogether by teaming up with internet service providers to get them to reduce bandwith and potentially cut off their services altogether when people are found to be sharing music. This opens up a fairly large can of worms and all of the potential issues that can, and will, come about from this are discussed in depth in a very informative article over at wired.com. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version of what’s going on:

- The RIAA plans to get the information of P2P users who are uploading songs on any P2P network.

- After three “warning” emails net connections will be slowed. If file sharing persists the ISP will cut off the connection completely.

Personally, I don’t see this working. I think the first time they cut off someone’s net that someone is going to take all parties involved to court. The ISP’s stand nothing to gain from this partnership (unless the RIAA is paying them) and if they start to find themselves in high profile court cases that make them look bad they’ll back out of their partnerships with the RIAA immediately. Apparently the RIAA tried to do something similar to this in Europe a few years ago and caught a huge backlash due to the plan’s invasive nature. The organization has also had major universities accuse them of invasion of privacy, as well. Of course, if it ends up anything like their previous ideas it will just be a scary headline they waste a lot of tax payers’ money on and never actually get anything out of.

Some other fast facts from the article that are of importance to note include:

- The RIAA has never successfully sued a single alleged file sharer whose the case went to trial.

- No one has ever been sued for downloading, only uploading. Uploading is the crime.

In other words, if you have nothing in the folder people can download from you should be in the clear.

So what does everyone think about this? Is it a warranted action in the fight against music piracy, or is it an invasion of privacy that simply goes too far?
posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:05 AM  
  • At 9:27 AM, Blogger Whitemist said…

    One of the reasons that uploading thing is an issue, it is hard (and with some programs, impossible) to determine who is downloading from a p to p and much easier to track an 'uploader'. I read with interest this development some days ago and remembered SNET (now ATT) being very freverent about protecting their customers privacy. I hope ATT continues with its policy. I find the "property rights" of the record companies (75 years after the person creator) fairly abusive and knowing what I know from some (not all) music creators and producers, a rule that mostly helps the record company, not the producers or creators of the music.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger DTR said…

    yeah man... this actually happened to me about 4 weeks ago. Good ole Time Warner Cable decided to pre-emptively cut off my internet due to UPLOADING copyrighted material (which i actually dont do!)... one day out of the blue, all of my computers tell me my connection has been "quarantined" and i need to call some frausd and abuse hotline. i skimmed thru 3 or 4 reps and different departments and finally some guy is explaining to me that they had sent 3 or 4 letters (which i never got) and that he would re-instate my connection (since i was after all a paying customer) and that a letter would follow explaining everything, right down to the actual copyrighted file that was allegedly uploaded. no such letter ever arrived... its really a futile battle. as u pointed out, its uploading thats illegal, and regardless of what happens here, a lot of countries have lax or non-existent IPR laws. So c'mon Sweden! c'mon China! Keep uploading!!

    -tone x

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