In recent weeks, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports music companies like Warner Bros., Sony Music, BMG Music, Capital Re-cords, Elektra and Motown have “blitzed U.S. courthouses with lawsuits against people they accuse of online piracy. Cases have been filed against 744 users of Kazaa, eDonkey, Limewire, Grokster and other file-sharing platforms.”
The lawsuits now are against individuals who have downloaded music as opposed to the larger players who produce or host the peer-to-peer file-sharing programs. It’s the latter group the music industry has battled for years.
As the Enquirer reports, the music industry “suffered a setback Aug. 19 when a federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld a lower court ruling that the file-sharing programs Grokster and Morpheus were merely tools, not buffet tables for free music.” In addition “Sharman Networks, the Australian company that distributes Kazaa, said it would ask the courts to declare its product a legal one as well.”
But the California case did not interfere with the music industry’s right to go after people who use those programs for wrongful ends. “That court affirmed that the underlying activity of anyone uploading or downloading works without the permission of the creator is engaging in illegal activity,” said Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman.
The wild thing is that parents, the owners of the computers on which the music was downloaded, are going to find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit brought by huge corporations. Though the music industry is seeking unspecified dollar damages in their lawsuits, the industry has said it is willing to settle with the parents. Not sure what other choice the parents have when facing lawyers from the likes of Sony and Warner Bros.