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Recording Industry Announces Lawsuits Against Music Sharers

Electronic Frontier Foundation Warning on "Amnesty" Program
PRESS RELEASE
September 8, 2003
Electronic Frontier Foundation Warning on "Amnesty" Program

San Francisco - The Recording Industry Association of
America (RIAA) today filed 261 lawsuits against people who
allegedly shared copyrighted music online. The RIAA
announced plans to sue more file-sharers and introduced an
"amnesty" program available only to file-sharers who the
RIAA has not yet identified or sued.

The lawsuits come in the wake of more than 1600 subpoenas
the RIAA filed in recent weeks, seeking the identities of
file-sharers who allegedly downloaded a "substantial amount"
of copyrighted works. The RIAA claims that the music fans
have engaged in illegal direct copyright infringement.

"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?" said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy
Seltzer. "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."

Under the amnesty program, dubbed the "Clean Slate Program,"
the RIAA claims files-sharers can avoid lawsuits if they
sign a declaration pledging that they will delete all
copyrighted music files from their hard drives and mp3
players and never again share or download music illegally.
The amnesty program is only available to people who the
RIAA has not yet sued or subpoenaed.

"The RIAA has offered 'sham-nesty,' not amnesty, for those
sharing music online," explained EFF Staff Attorney Jason
Schultz. "The recording industry wants file-sharers to
confess guilt, while leaving these music fans vulnerable to
lawsuits from record companies and music publishers and
bands like Metallica that control independent music
rights."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has maintained that
the recording industry should offer file-sharers a real
amnesty program, for example, an opportunity to pay a
reasonable monthly fee for to access the music they love
using file-sharing software.

Links:

Contact:

Wendy Seltzer
  Staff Attorney

  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  wendy@eff.org

Jason Schultz
  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  jason@eff.org

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