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RIAA Files 261 Lawsuits Against Copyright Infringers

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

10 September 2003


It emerged this week that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has launched 261 civil lawsuits against illegal file sharers, a prelude to 'subsequent waves of litigation', according to RIAA president, Cary Sherman.

The lawsuits, which have reportedly only been filed against 'substantial' users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software, were no doubt timed to coincide with the launch of the organisation's amnesty initiative, dubbed the 'Clean Slate Program'.

Under the terms of the amnesty, according to the RIAA, users of services such as Grokster, Imesh, Gnutella, and Blubster will escape prosecution if they voluntarily step forward, and pledge to respect copyrighted material in the future.

However, civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have dismissed the initiative as a 'sham-nesty'.

'More lawsuits is not the answer. Does anyone think that suing 60 million American file-sharers is going to motivate them to buy more CDs?' EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer argued on Monday, continuing:

'File sharing networks represent the greatest library of music in history, and music fans would be happy to pay for access to it, if only the recording industry would let them.'


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