Fifty million Americans download and share songs online and the Recording Industry Association of America says it's time to stop. "The fact is this is illegal activity. We've told people that it's illegal activity. The courts have repeatedly stated it's illegal activity." RIAA President Cary Sherman says the RIAA will be filing lawsuits against people with large collections of illegal music files. "We're going after the worst offenders, the people who are offering illegal music to millions of strangers. There is simply no justification for them giving away someone's property."
The RIAA says the crackdown is necessary because the music industry is hurting. "New artists are not getting signed. Artist rosters are not being cut. The music is not getting to get created if we don't protect the rights of those creating it."
So, how will the RIAA find you? RIAA Internet Expert Frank Creighton says, "We can identify their user name, the name they're using to access that system and associate with that user name, the files they're offering is an ip address, an internet protocol address. We would then use legal process information and supoena process to identify who is associated with an ip address."
If you don't want to be sued, you need to take action now. Sherman says, "It's really easy to avoid being sued. The best thing to do is simply take Kazzaar or Guava or any downloading peer to peer systems off your computer."
At the very least, the RIAA advises disabling the software's uploading capacity. The RIAA is not the only entity who can access your ip address. Anyone whom you share music with, can also gain access. Essentially, when you download music, you also open your hard drive and all its contents for share as well.
For NewsChannel 11's Consumer Connection, I'm Sharon Maines.