Music industry strikes back
By Kelly Marcella
Downloading music files off the Internet has become an increasingly
large phenomenon around the globe. Obviously, the music industry
has not taken well to mass quantities of people obtaining music
for free and over the course of the past few years have attempted
to curb the downloading craze.
The following is a brief summary of some of the important
actions taken by music industry officials, culminating in the
personal cases of copyright infringement this fall.
1998 - Before the mp3 downloading craze took off, the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act was passed, allowing music companies
to force Internet providers to give names of subscribers suspected
of pirating music.
2001 - Music file sharing system Napster is permanently shut
Summer 2003 - With the downloading of mp3 files a staple for
many Internet users and music lovers, the music industry decided
to take action. Under the DMC Act, the Recording Industry Association
of America issued approximately 1,500 subpoenas against people,
including college students, for illegally distributing music
via mp3 files.
September 2003 - The RIAA filed 261 lawsuits against some
of those initially subpoenaed who were described as "major
offenders," downloaders sharing more than 1,000 copyrighted
Sep. 15, 2003 - Brianna LaHara, a 12-year-old from New York,
was hit with a civil suit for illegally downloading mp3 files.
LaHara paid $29.95 US for a program she thought would allow
her to acquire music legally. LaHara's family paid $2,000 US
to settle the suit with the RIAA.
Sep. 16, 2003 - the United States Court of Appeals challenges
the RIAA's ability to use special subpoenas to search out and
sue computer users who download and distribute (or share) mp3s
off the Internet.
Internet providers, such as Verizon, felt they should not
have to disclose names unless users have setup Web sites to
distribute music and are not simply sharing files from their
Sep. 24, 2003 - A 66-year-old woman faced a civil suit for
illegally downloading over 2,000 mp3 files. The RIAA withdrew
their suit as a result of mistaken identity.
Sep. 29, 2003 - The RIAA announced they settled 52 of the
261 civil suits. The terms do not include an admission of wrongdoing,
but force Internet users to destroy illegally obtained mp3
files. According to lawyers, payments ranged from $2,500 US
to $7,500 US.
According to the RIAA, a dozen other users decided to pay
unspecified amounts upon hearing of the civil cases. The RIAA
also said 838 users requested amnesty from any future civil
cases by signing a document which admitted wrongdoing and required
the deletion of mp3 files.
October - Sources say the RIAA plans to launch hundreds of
more suits against computer users distributing mp3 files.
-Source files: www.canada.com., www.time.com