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?

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Comments on “RIAA To Target ISPs Next?”

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Mike C. says:

How about small ISP's

In my “travels” on the ‘Net, I have seen enough “mom & pop” type ISP operations that service a few thousand (to as many as tens of thousands), but not millions. In line with their current tactics of picking on parties smaller than them (bully?), perhaps this is what they are thinking.

Further proof that they are so focused on squeezing the last possible dollar out of the existing business model that they just can’t be bothered to see the next one.

Jonathan Nikkel says:

Re: How about small ISP's

It amazes me to see how far the RIAA is willing to push the issue. If they were to visit any single college campus with more than the intent to sue sue sue, they would realize that there is a lot of business opportunity and money to be made in the legal sharing of media. I am doubtful that they will ever be able to stem the tide of file-sharing. When one giant falls down (such as Napster and Grokster), another method arrives to take its place. The sooner they realize this, the sooner they will stop losing money, and start making it in other ways that are so obvious it makes my eyes water (such as targeted advertising).

DownldThs says:


I’m a heavy Usenet user. Once you know how to use them, it’s very simple to download movies, music, etc.. Because of my usenet fluency, I’ve never had to risk getting caught using P2P.

Almost all broadband ISPS offer usenet access (and if they wanted to, they could easily block access to binary groups where copywritten material can be found).

So I guess that’s one way an ISP can cooperate (though, I hope this never happens. Even though I subscribe to premium access, there are still thousands of users, including people who upload files, that use their ISPs free access).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: RIAA vs. ISP's

Don’t forget to sue the electric company, for they provide the voltage that enables ripping and sharing, and don’t leave out the copper and silicon companies that enable construction of communications lines that enable sharing and … oh jeez just stomp your little feet and scream like an effing 2-year old, because it will be just as effective and appears more dignified.

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