By Jon Newton 9/16/05
Having spent the last couple of years unsuccessfully trying to terrorize American men, women and children into buying 'product,' The Big Music cartels RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is now attempting to use similar tactics on the p2p file sharing companies themselves.
The RIAA's owners, EMI (Britain), UMG (France), Sony BMG (Japan, Germany) and WMG (US), claim file sharing is "devastating" them, that the practice is costing them lost sales, and that their sue 'em all campaign is have a significant deterrent effect.
Big Champagne, the premier p2p research company, told p2pnet that in August, this year, an average of 6,871,308 people were logged onto the p2p net works at the same time. Globally, the number was 9,620,261.
The statistics for the same period last year were 4,549,801 and 6,822,312 respectively.
Meanwhile, the multi-billion-dollar music industry is reporting record profits, it's never been shown that even a single song shared equals a sale lost, and as far as the terror campaign goes, all it's achieved is to cause extreme hardship to close to 14,000 ordinary American men, women and children, none of whom has ever appeared in court and none of whom has ever been found guilty of anything.
Now the RIAA has sent Cease & Desist letters to seven US p2 file sharing application companies ordering them to, immediately cease and desist from enabling and inducing the infringement of RIAA member sound recordings".
The ricochet effect
The demands are clearly an attempt by to try capitalize on the recent US Supreme Court Grokster v MGM decision, which ruled the makers of the apps can be held liable if users of their software download copyrighted works, establishing secondary liability for copyright infringement.
LimeWire, one of the recipients, has already gone offline to a great extent and if the labels succeed in intimidating any of the other companies, the effects would, of course, ricochet well beyond the US, even though the court decision applies only to America.
Strangely, Morpheus owner StreamCast Networks wasn't on the RIAA C&D list. A spokesman told p2pnet said the company hadn't received a missive, and wouldn't comment on whether or not this may have been because StreamCast company is already a principal defendant in the Grokster case.
Pay Us, Or Else
The attempts to cow the p2p firms are part of ongoing efforts by the entertainment and software cartels as a whole to use their immense financial, legal and political resources to gain total control of what people see, hear and do online.
The record label cartel always makes its victims an offer they can't refuse: Pay Us, or we'll sue you in a civil court. The victims always pay, believing they'd be unable to stand up to the multinational companies and their expert lawyers.
This may be about to change, however.
One mother, Patricia Santangelo, from New York, has decided to stand up against the labels, and another, Dawnell Leadbetter from the Seattle area, is also denying infringing record label copyrights, her lawyers having filed an answer refuting the allegations in the RIAA complaint.
Four other RIAA victims that we know of are getting ready to tell the Big Four their terror tactics will no longer work. And there'll be more in the wings.
So definitely stay tuned.
Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.
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