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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

Archive for December 22nd, 2008

The RIAA Gets Smart on Pirates

After years of bad publicity for suing teenagers and hapless Internet users, the Recording Industry Association of America is trying a new approach. Its going to work with the Internet service providers to impede the illegal activity.

Based on a plan being developed in France, a user gets three chances to illegally share a file. At that point, the RIAA tells the ISP, which can then forward the warning or directly as the user to stop. If the user continues, the warnings continue. The RIAA wants the ISP to reduce the user’s data rate the practice continues, eventually stopping the service altogether.

This sounds like a gentler approach, and it makes the ISP look like the bad guy, not the RIAA. Almost any change will help the RIAA at this point.

Regardless, thwarting efforts to stop song piracy will always make the record label or the RIAA look bad. For the individual, it’s a petty crime worth a few cents. I understand the RIAA plan so for. Lot and lots of pennies here and pennies there add up to big bucks. I believe artists are due to receive their share for their work. Taking single moms and teenagers to court makes them an example to discourage others from doing it, but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference.

It also does not help that the royalty process in general has bruises of its own with artists reporting that they never received royalties that were negotiated on their behalf.

I expect this debate to continue for some time. And as the Internet continues to grow and online social networking becomes more common than actually putting on shoes and socks and engaging in face-to-face interaction, enforcing copyright laws and collecting on royalties is only going to become more challenging.

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