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RIAA Still Suing Individuals, While E.U. Lightens Three Strikes Rule

Piracy and copyright issues are still troubling the world, and recent news about the RIAA, and the European Union’s copyright laws highlight this fact. The RIAA is reportedly still suing people when it said it wouldn’t, and in Europe they’re stamping on an overly-protective French Three Strikes law.

Piracy and copyright issues are still troubling the world, and recent news about the RIAA, and the European Union’s copyright laws highlight this fact. The RIAA is reportedly still suing people when it said it wouldn’t, and in Europe they’re stamping on an overly-protective French Three Strikes law.

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Remember when the Recording Industry Association of America said it would reverse its policy of prosecuting huge numbers of individuals it accuses of digital music piracy? It all sounded good, though we suspected it was more to reverse disastrous PR than a triumph of common sense. Well, news popped up on the Internet this week that the RIAA is actually still filing new suits against individual file-sharers.

But the RIAA’s not reneging on its promise, according to the organization, instead it’s just that the suits aren’t new, in the strict sense. Instead they represent a backlog of cases that have been slowly working their way through RIAA’s punitive system–for example, situations where John Doe cases of piracy have now been identified. “How fair would it be to the thousands of individuals who took responsibility for their actions and settled their case while others are let off the hook?” is what a spokesman told Ars Technica. Basically the RIAA is giving itself carte blanche to continue prosecuting people–and who knows how many cases that could amount to. It all sounds like an even worse PR mistake, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, the European Parliament is still debating its Internet cutoff legislation. The plan is to allow European countries to terminate the Internet connection of individuals who are persistent file sharers, but the lawmakers are concerned that the law is a little too strict. As it stands it allows authorities to chop the connection of anyone they accuse, and then that individual would have to go through an independent tribunal process to appeal the decision. Instead the E.U. wants to amend the law again so that a court ruling is needed before ISP termination–a fairer way for accused pirates to defend themselves.

On top of all that, there’s news that the Swedish Pirate Party may actually win a seat on the European parliament, which would be a huge boost in its fight to radically revise E.U. copyright laws. That makes Europe sound a little more forward-thinking than the RIAA, doesn’t it?

[via Ars Technica, Electronista]

Related: RIAA To Stop Suing Individuals For Music Piracy
Related: Four Convicted in Pirate Bay Trial | TechWatch
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I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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