Saturday, August 02, 2003

How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing
(And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)

Every day, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) files 75 lawsuits against file-sharing computer users. Now, they have every right to protect copyrights of musicians and record companies, but many, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation feel that this tactic is heavy handed and an obsolete response to where distribution of music is headed ... via download.

Sharers want music how they want it. They want to download it and then burn it onto their own CDs. Apple seems to get that by opening up their iTunes Music Store. And the response has been stunning - over 5 MILLION downloads in just two months (Windows users will be able to use it later in the year). But the RIAA is resistant to the idea, fearing widespread filesharing results in piracy and loss of revenue for artists and record companies. And they have every right to protect that.

But suing teenagers and college students? Taking away tuition and making them criminals? THAT's a bad solution and the EFF is dedicated to fighting it.

Here are a few ways to avoid getting sued by the "Big Bad" RIAA:

1) Make sure there are no potentially infringing files in your shared folder

2) Remove all potentially misleading file names that might be confused with the name of an RIAA artist or song (e.g., "Usher" or "Madonna") from your shared folder.

3) Disable the "sharing" or "uploading" features on your P2P application that allow other users on the network to get copies of files from your computer or scan any of your music directories. Also, the RIAA appears to be targeting subpoenas at users who allow their computers to be "Supernodes" on the FastTrack P2P System (used, for instance, by KaZaA and Morpheus). In order to further reduce the risk of having your ISP subpoenaed or of being sued yourself, we recommend that you make sure your computer is not being used as a Supernode.

4) The EFF website has several links to organizations which can help in your defense should you get subpoena'd by the Big Bad. Check it out.

5) Consider JOINING THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION! This organization is dedicated to protecting computer users right in cyberspace and they are worthy of your support!


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