According to the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) the record industry loses $4.3 billion dollars, worldwide, due to music piracy (RIAA, 2003). The American Federation of Artists claims that on-line music piracy has caused some record store sales to drop by 20% and that 20.6 billion illegal downloads occur every month (AFM, 2004). Many experts believe that music piracy is currently the number one threat to the music industry. RIAA sources claim 278 million people, worldwide, use peer to peer networks such as KaZaA and Grokster to trade music files. RIAA and AFM are fiercely fighting music piracy and enlisting government support to put and end to this crime. Congressional committees are currently addressing …show more content…
Consumers are increasingly attracted to the host of compelling legal online music alternatives. These lawsuits help to foster an environment that provides a level playing field for these services to succeed."
Road Blocks to Piracy Prevention
In 1984 there was a Supreme Court ruling which protected Sony Betamax from being held liable for propagating copyright violations through the use of video cassette recorders. The courts ruled that the recorders had "substantial" legal uses and therefore Sony Betamax was not liable for any copyright infringement that might occur through the use of their devices. The "Sony Betamax" case precedence has served well for the peer to peer networks such as KazZA and Grokster so far. The music industry has been trying to shut them down but the courts continue to rule that they cannot be held liable because their software has plenty of non-infringing uses.
This forces the music industry and groups such as RIAA to go after individuals committing the illegal file sharing. This can alienate consumers and is a battle that will go on forever. It is like preventing drivers from speeding, it will never happen, no matter how many tickets are written.
There is an organization, downhillbattle.org, which actually feels as if the RIAA has does the music industry more harm