'Tis the season traditionally associated with goodwill, but I'm not sure I could've predicted this piece of good news: the Recording Industry Association of America is going to stop suing individuals for music piracy.
There are 35,000 actions against individuals in the murky legal history of the RIAA, and it has created an equally murky public opinion of an industry now seen to be bullying, money-grabbing and lagging behind technological developments.
Perhaps as an attempt to change all of this, no further legal cases will be brought against individuals for violation of copyright through illegal music downloading. But the RIAA is not just dropping the matter, instead it's been whispering in the ear of different Internet Service Providers (ISP), and is still keeping an eye on illegal downloading. When its detected, the ISP will contact the suspected user, asking them to stop. Further dowloading will get a few more warnings, then perhaps a reduced speed service, and finally a cessation in service. Unsurprisingly which ISPs are already working with the recording industry is being kept under wraps.
Legal cases won't stop completely—the Association will still go after file sharers who do so on a massive scale, or who offend repeatedly. But it's a far more modern, and way less contentious method for protecting record company and artist's incomes.
And it's about time too.