Downloading music on the Internet has become a big controversial issue over the past years. The question is: Is downloading a crime or not?
The Recording Industry Association of America is going on the offensive and suing those who are currently file sharing, no matter how large or small the number of downloads.
Basically, if you’re sharing files, an action that goes hand-in-hand with downloading, a crime is being committed and you may be sued by the RIAA.
In recent months, the publicity surrounding the RIAA and copyright laws has seemed like distant threats. Now the threat is very real.
Previous lawsuits by the RIAA targeted the companies that make file-sharing software. Because that did not go well, the RIAA has decided to sue the users instead, including 12-year-old Brianna Lahara.
The seventh-grade honor student from New York was one of the 261 people sued on Sept. 8 for allegedly pirating songs over the Internet.
While many may argue that downloading music is a crime, according to copyright laws that have existed for decades in the United States, it just isn’t sensible to sue a minor.
So far, the defendants who have been sued are those who have recently been found to be sharing large quantities of music files.
All of this means one thing: If you are file sharing, expect to potentially face some form of court action or sanction. The RIAA is sending a strong message that illegal distribution of copyrighted music has consequences regardless of how large the download or how young the user’s age.
Although music is a creative process that should be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible, there needs to be some middle ground where record companies and online “file sharers” can reach an agreement.
Until then, it is time for anyone sharing and downloading music to realize how serious this is.