In their futile, yet ongoing quest to end copyrighted music filesharing via peer-to-peer networks, the RIAA have come up with the ingenious idea to bombard P2P users with warnings through the network's instant messaging function. According to Billboard, the RIAA plan to send up to 1 million copyright-infringement warnings per month alerting individual users of their possibly illegal actions. The warning reads, "It appears that you are offering copyrighted music to others from your computer." The message then continues to explain the consequences of downloading music illegally and begs alleged infringers to cease and desist by discontinuing use of their file-sharing software. Interestingly enough, US District Court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled last week that major Internet filesharing services Grokster and Morpheus can remain open for business.
So apparently, the RIAA plan to target, warn, and threaten the 60 million Americans who utilize P2P technology although that technology has been deemed legal by the US judicial system. Therefore, unless the organization plan on spending millions of dollars to prosecute each individual alleged copyright infringer (with no guarantee of the outcome, as a gray area still remains as to the legality of filesharing), they will basically be making blind threats with, at best, shaky legal precedent to back up their position. Perhaps their time might be better spent on ways to adapt and embrace such services, rather than waste time on money on a problem with no potential solutions. The film industry freaked out about VHS, the recording industry threw a tantrum with cassette tapes, yet both were eventually embraced with a positive outcome for all parties involved. Shit, film companies make more from the sale of VHS and DVDs than they do from initial theater runs.
Civil liberties organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Billboard that the RIAA's campaign amounts to little more than "a lot of spam." EFF senior intellectual property attorney Fred von Lohmann said, "How is this going to put the P2P genie back in the bottle? Do they really think they can essentially intimidate 60 million Americans into no longer using [P2P networks]?"