The Day the Music Died

Headphones covered by a red circle with a line through itFox and others have reported what people knew was coming all along. The RIAA has proved just how much of a bully it can be by filing the first 261 of what could be thousands of lawsuits against copyright infringers.

Among the targets, according to Fox News, are a 71 year-old grandfather and a Yale professor.

The lawsuits will not pay any money to the artists who have had their work stolen, according to USA Today. All money goes back to the RIAA.

The amnesty program that has been mentioned several times in the media has not been officially confirmed or announced on the RIAA‘s web site. The amnesty program would allow violators to receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for an admission of guilt sent via certified mail. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and many other experts warn against participating in the program. According to EFF attorney Wendy Seltzer:

Stepping into the spotlight to admit your guilt is probably not a sensible course for most people sharing music files online, especially since the RIAA doesn’t control many potential sources of lawsuits.

The industry has successfully settled 10 of these lawsuits for $3,000 plus attorney’s fees. To reiterate, artists will see none of the money from these settlements.

In related news: Apple says that transferring downloaded music to a third-party, while probably legal, is impractical. A confession like that makes me think that Apple’s customers deserve an apology, not a useless “tough luck.”

The questions came amid the attempted transfer of a song by George Hotelling [link broken as of post date – try Google’s cache] via an eBay auction. (The auction was delisted for violating policies related to electronic product delivery.)

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