RIAA Lightens Up On Music Swappers

The RIAA has always had the reputation of being the strong arm of the law in regard to peer-to-peer music sharing. They have sued almost 35,000 people for illegally sharing music files - most cases were settled for about $3,500.  On Friday, the RIAA announced that they're stopping the madness.

What they're gonna do now is . . .

Cut the Internet access of those who illegally share files. Cute.

Apparently, it cost more to sue folks than they got from the settlements. They stopped sending out notifications of lawsuits and warnings last August. Now, they notify alleged offenders, and cut off their Internet access if the behavior continues.

They are saying that the lawsuits were quite successful in raising awareness and limiting the number of folks file-sharing.

"We're at a point where there's a sense of comfort that we can replace one form of deterrent with another form of deterrent," said RIAA Chairman and Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol in a report on from the Associated Press. "Filing lawsuits as a strategy to deal with a big problem was not our first choice five years ago. It's much easier to send notices than it is to file lawsuits."

Illegally sharing music is bad on so many levels - it will be interesting to see if this is more effective than lawsuits. —Leslie Shapiro