December 2, 2020

RIAA To Do The Right Thing?

Fortune reports on the RIAA’s stunning new anti-infringement strategy of suing actual infringers:

“The RIAA is considering a far riskier strategy–suing individuals who share large numbers of files on Kazaa, Grokster, or Morpheus. It’s a tactic guaranteed to infuriate and alienate music fans, and it underscores the awful bind record labels are in.”

Assuming the RIAA chooses to go after folks who clearly and consistently infringe copyrights, music fans should applaud. I certainly will. I have no problem with punishing copyright infringers. What I do object to is laws and litigation aimed at legitimate activities and tools, just because some infringers use them. Punish the infringer, not the tool.

If the RIAA is indeed in an awful bind – if suing blatant infringers is indeed controversial – that is because the public is starting to question the legitimacy of copyright. How can that legitimacy be restored? Punishing the actual bad guys would be a good start.