RIAA To Target ISPs Next?
The editor of Digital Music News says he's hearing industry rumblings that the RIAA's next target for litigation will be ISPs. Apparently the head of the IFPI (the RIAA's international counterpart) is frustrated that the ISPs won't roll over and do his bidding, so the groups are going to do what they do when they don't get their way -- sue. The legal case isn't very clear, as one attorney says ISPs are protected by the DMCA, while it would take a pretty broad reading of the Grokster decision to assert that ISPs are taking affirmative steps to encourage file-sharing, although it doesn't take much to get the RIAA in a tizzy. Things could get pretty interesting should the RIAA take aim at ISPs. Its general legal MO is to use scare tactics and to steamroll individuals into "settling", while those that do try to fight poke some interesting holes in their cases. The strategy's based on getting individuals that lack the means or motivation (or knowledge) to fight to simply settle up for what's little more than a symbolic, token fine, rather than fight. That probably won't be as successful against a big company with its own cadre of lawyers, hopefully forcing the RIAA's worst nightmare -- having to argue its cases on their merits. Of course, it's pretty pessimistic to think that some big broadband providers would actually stand up for their customers. And, in any case, didn't the IFPI just say it was winning the battle against file-sharing anyway?