Leo Laporte writes “after years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy. The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl. ”
The problem though is that the recording industry is not going to give up on stopping downloaders. They already have reached an agreement with some ISPs to crack down on individual users, while in other cases they’ve enlisted the help of ever compliant governments (like in Australia of course, the eternal US boot lickers) to enact legislation that force ISPs to act. Sometimes you might get a warning that your tap will be turned off while in other cases it’ll be instant – no questions asked.
If you’re a record company executive you’d call that leverage, and you must be wondering (with a boost to your own ego) why your predecessor hadn’t thought of it before. After all: the lawsuits weren’t denting the progressive leakage of music through downloads, legally it became more and more difficult for the record industry to make its case and the suits cost a lot money. Now the industry has got others to do the dirty work for them – at no cost. It’ll be interesting to see where we’ll be going now.