On September 13th 2005 the RIAA sent letters to seven unnamed file-sharing companies. The letters state:
"We demand that you immediately cease-and-desist from enabling and inducing the infringement of RIAA member sound recordings. If you wish to discuss pre-litigation resolution of these claims against you, please contact us immediately."
BearShare, WinMX and LimeWire have been identified as recipients but there appears to be much confusion and speculation surrounding these events. Any moves made by P2P companies are immediately associated with the RIAA’s actions, as pointed out by Thomas Mennecke in this Slyck article: eDonkey Alive, Well, and Still In Business.
The RIAA has stepped up its actions against illegal file sharing following the landmark ruling in June by the US Supreme Court. The ruling states that p2p software makers can be held liable for the swapping of copyrighted files using their applications:
"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement," Justice David Souter.
A recent market study by CacheLogic shows eDonkey has taken over BitTorrent as the main carrier of file-sharing traffic, possibly due to large torrent directories closing down. (See Study Reveals Choice of File Formats Traversing P2P Networks for further information).
Meanwhile the RIAA has filed hundreds of lawsuits against alleged copyright violators, there have been more than 14,000 such lawsuits since September 2003. Recording Industry vs The People is a blog devoted to the RIAA’s lawsuits of intimidation brought against ordinary working people.
EFF: How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing (And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)
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