​RIAA Signs ISP Agreement To Block Illegal Music Downloading

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December 24, 2008

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has endorsed a new agreement with various ISPs to fight music piracy. The new agreement will terminate service for customers who participate in illegal music activities.

“Part of the issue with infringement is for people to be aware that their actions are not anonymous,” Mitch Bainwol, RIAA Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The association has also agreed to end lawsuits against individuals who share music illegally. The RIAA has sued over 35,000 people since 2003, including single mothers, a dead person, and a 13-year-old girl.

“It has become abundantly clear that the carrot is far more important than the stick,” Eric Garland, president of BigChampagne LLC, said in a statement. BigChampagne is a piracy consulting company.

Most Internet users, especially new people getting online, are not aware that music pirating is illegal. Many people subscribe to services such as Apple iTunes or Rhapsody which charge a small fee for downloading music from the Internet. If the music doesn’t come from a subscription service, then it was downloaded illegally.

Several parents have become victims after being served papers by the RIAA for downloading music illegally. It is usually someone else in the household that committed the act. It could be a spouse or child in the household.

Some parents who are still facing lawsuits say the decision to end the lawsuit practice is a good move.

“I’d give them credit for stopping what they’ve already been doing because it’s been so destructive,” Brian Toder, who represents a Minnesota mother being sued by the RIAA, said in a statement.

The lawsuits have been so fatal that even New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo got involved. In July, Cuomo began brokering an agreement between the RIAA and the Internet Service Providers that would address the piracy concerns.

“We wanted to end the litigation. It’s not helpful,” Steven Cohen, Cuomo’s chief of staff, said in a statement.

The average person sued by the RIAA had to pay $35,000 in restitutions.