Remember a number of years ago, when the Recording Industry Association of America started suing people for illegally sharing music with each other over the Internet? The RIAA, which collects licensing fees and royalties for record companies, filed more than 20,000 suits against people who used peer-to-peer programs like Gnutella or LimeWire to trade songs and albums, claiming that the users were essentially stealing the labels' music. Many of those cases are still open, but the Associated Press is reporting today that the RIAA has settled one high-profile dispute.
Under terms of the agreement, the RIAA has agreed to accept $7,000 from the family of Patricia Santangelo to settle the piracy suit. The case began four years ago, when the recording industry claimed that the mother of five from White Plains, N.Y., had illegally downloaded and distributed music. The association eventually dropped the case after Santangelo argued that she couldn't have pirated music because she didn't know how. Instead, the RIAA sued two of her children, who were then 20 and 16.
If a judge accepts the proposed settlement, Santangelo will pay $7,000 to the RIAA over the next six months.
I think the RIAA definitely has a right to combat piracy and protect the interests of the labels it serves. But, for the record, there've been many reports and studies showing that people who download and share music also buy more music than anyone else.
What do you think of the RIAA and its lawsuits? Do you use file-sharing programs to find and download music?
Bonus Link: RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music (from The Onion).
Bonus Bonus Link: RIAA Bans Telling Friends About Songs (also from The Onion).