The Recording Industry Association of America, in an attempt to further expand its influence in the world of illegal file sharing, has decided not to file lawsuits en masse against illegal file sharers. Instead, the RIAA will work closely with Internet service providers and encourage them to increase their own role in protecting music copyrights.
The RIAA’s former approach of targeting students with expensive lawsuits was unfair and ineffective. Though it may have stopped the people who were sued, few others were deterred from downloading illegally.
Currently, if UC Davis receives a notice that a campus network user is downloading illegally, that user is immediately banned from the campus network for two weeks. If the user commits a second offense, the user receives a permanent ban from the UC Davis network. This system of penalties was designed to protect UC Davis from RIAA lawsuits.
While legitimate uses of file-sharing software may be negatively impacted by this approach, the low number of people using file-sharing programs legally is so small as to render this problem irrelevant.
RIAA’s new approach is good for students because individuals are not at risk of litigation and the university will no longer be responsible for policing students.