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Dated: Aug. 13, 2004
By Eddie Benton
A man stood before the courts yesterday facing the charge of copyright infringement, brought forward jointly by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the RIAA (The Record Industry Association of America).
The individual, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found with over 30,000 hours worth of MP3 format audio and over 600 hours of copyrighted motion picture material in the popular DivX codec for the AVI file format.
The conclusion of what was a milestone in judicial and computing history, the individual was jailed for six years for posessing material which "Not only threatened but severely undermined the livelihood of thousands of talented American artists and producers".
The above scenario is fictional - But is it so fictional as to be unrealistic?
The RIAA persues expensive lawsuits with dozens of people weekly, in an attempt to curb the explosive recent increase in downloading music illegally via P2P networks such as Kazaa, BitTorrent, Gnutella and Emule. It would seem according to their actions that the only way to shake loose this penchant for illegal activity is legal action. The RIAA cannot sue everyone. Lest the message get lost, I do believe the RIAA is well within its rights to sue those who download copyrighted material, after all it is an activity which is tantamount to theft, however there have to be more adequate ways to solve a problem which has thus far exhibited an exponential increase in severity and shows no sign of slowing down in the face of powerful legal action.
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