RIAA Begins Courtroom Crusade

Dennis Faas's picture

The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) is currently embroiled in the first American trial of a person accused of illegally sharing music. According to the organization itself, it won't be the last.

Although we've been hearing for a long time that there can be real trouble for those who skip the CD store to visit Torrents and, in the past, protocols like Kazaa, to some it has seemed an empty threat. While 26,000 lawsuits have been filed since 2003, only this most recent trial proves the RIAA is taking such matters very seriously.

According to Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA, "We think we're in for a long haul in terms of establishing that music has value, that music is property, and that property has to be respected". (Source: foxnews.com)

But, to what lengths do record companies need to go? This very first case isn't about to win the RIAA any fans in the press. It's been launched against one Jammie Thomas, a mother of two. Thomas was caught with folders containing some 1,700 music files, which the court alleges she obtained illegally. On the stand, Thomas defended herself by saying she never used Kazaa, and at one time or another owned the music discs to accompany those files. (Source: wired.com)

In actual fact, Thomas may be where she is because of her beliefs on the subject. In college, she performed a case study of the early Napster, and determined it to be a legal entity. Of course, a judge disagreed in 2001.

Thomas, an employee of the Department of Natural Resources, faces a fine between $18,000 to $3.6 million.

Sherman, clearly pleased the RIAA's "crusade" is under way, told the media he's surprised it took so long for a case to make trial.

So, the mother of two might pay millions for owning ripped songs. What's next, execute a veteran for an illegal swing music collection?

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