Peer-to-peer music sharing. It’s everywhere and it’s largely illegal. The discrepancy lies within the intellectual copyright laws that have been implemented over time. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act in particular is a copyright law that criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works, as per Wikipedia’s page. Enforcement of copyright laws has been of great controversy throughout the age of the Internet, where music streaming, sharing and downloading flourish. The DMCA has become one of the best-known and most controversial pieces of legislation passed within the past 20 years, and for good reason.
Many are unaware of the potential consequences of peer-to-peer sharing. This makes them fantastic victims of fines and lawsuits, because they likely downloaded their favorite collections from peer-to-peer services. On the other side, this also makes them great poster children for the anti-DMCA movement. This is because they can be charged $150,000 per song they download or share, and common folk (and hopefully the artists themselves) know that this is an unreasonable and absurd amount to charge someone for sharing music files, making such lawsuits very public, earning much media coverage. The Recording Industry Association of America generally inflicts such charges, which add up each time the cases is extended because of the legal costs that just keep adding up.
A lesson for copyright owners (it’s probably not likely that the legal enforcers will take this advice, as their goal is to earn money, and putting the little people into debt is the easiest way to do that): go after infringers who actually do significant harm to the financial or artistic interests regarding your work.
Or, better yet, try revising from within, rather than wasting money, time, and the defendant’s money and their time on lawsuits. Reform the way music is distributed.
Music sharing is current and it’s the future. Those people who share music online aren’t out to get out, they simply can’t afford to purchase each song, or they simply appreciate the ability to share music with peers, listening to new bands that they hadn’t yet heard of.
For those who aren’t a copyright owner or lawyer, consider voicing your opinion about music sharing, which as a result might prevent you, and others from falling victim to the extreme fines and lawsuits imposed by the RIAA or other copyright firms. Or don’t share music with your peers (unless you’re an encryption elitist), and avoid this mess, maybe.
Apparently the RIAA has issued subpoenas to a recently deceased 83-year-old woman, an elderly computer novice, and a family who reportedly had no computer in their possession. From whichever standpoint the issue is looked at from, you’d better indeed watch out.