- Subpoenas reviewed by The Associated Press show the industry compelling some of the largest Internet providers, such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Cable Communications Inc., and some universities to identify names and mailing addresses for users on their networks known online by nicknames such as “fox3j,””soccerdog33,””clover77” or “indepunk74.”
The Recording Industry Association of America has said it expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within the next eight weeks. U.S. copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person’s computer, but the RIAA has said it would be open to settlement proposals from defendants.
….In some cases, subpoenas cite as few as five songs as “representative recordings” of music files available for downloading from these users. The trade group for the largest music labels, the Washington-based RIAA, previously indicated its lawyers would target Internet users who offer substantial collections of MP3 song files but declined to say how many songs might qualify for a lawsuit.
“We would have to look at historic trends, but that is a very high number,” said Alan Davidson of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a civil liberties group that has argued against the subpoenas. “It doesn’t sound like they’re just going after a few big fish.”
Music fans are fighting back with technology, using new software designed specifically to stymie monitoring of their online activities by the major record labels.
A new version of “Kazaa Lite,” free software that provides access to the service operated by Sharman Networks Ltd., can prevent anyone from listing all music files on an individual’s machine and purports to block scans from Internet addresses believed to be associated with the RIAA.
….The RIAA’s subpoenas are so prolific that the U.S. District Court in Washington, already suffering staff shortages, has been forced to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk’s office to help process paperwork, said Angela Caesar-Mobley, the clerk’s operations manager.
The backlash is already building up with boycott’s being organized and whatnot – the harder the RIAA pushes, the more quickly it is hastening its doom.