RIAA Pushes Pre-Lawsuit Settlement Plan Further

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues to offer pre-lawsuit settlement options for accused file-swappers this week. The RIAA has come up with an easy online resource for pre-lawsuit settlements and payments, which is available at p2plawsuits.com. This new initiative by the RIAA aims to avoid complicated legal filings, and the convoluted legal process that often includes the filing of John Doe proceedings, which force the group to establish wrongdoing prior to clarifying the identity of the accused individual.

The latest component to the plan involves an easy online resource for pre-lawsuit settlements and payments. The destination, at p2plawsuits.com, allow the accused to simply enter a case identification number and charge the amount to a credit card. A check payment option also exists. If the early option is taken, the amount in question is lowered and the RIAA avoids complicated legal filings. For the RIAA, the convoluted legal process often includes the filing of John Doe proceedings, which force the group to establish wrongdoing prior to clarifying the identity of the accused individual. The latest initiative aims to avoid those steps, greatly reducing the time and expense involved.

The early option allows accused swappers to simply pay and walk, similar to a traffic ticket, though some may opt to combat the charges. That includes owners of WiFi-broadcasted accounts, often tapped into by numerous individuals. In many scenarios, owners of wireless accounts are unaware of file-swapping happening on their connections, though an ISP would identify the account holder upon request.

“The fact that a wireless connection is involved does not mean that the individual engaging in copyright infringement cannot be identified,” p2plawsuits.com says in its FAQ. “Cases are routinely pursued where a wireless connection is involved.” But the RIAA has been losing ground in its attempts to pin account holders, and it can be complicated to find the actual infringer.

Perhaps the new program will lower the amount of challenges, a growing headache for the trade association. Earlier this week, the RIAA offered numerous students the pre-lawsuit option, and the group has also contacted commercial ISPs with similar overtures. The website first surfaced on Thursday.

The RIAA has been aggressively pursuing file-swappers, and the latest initiative is part of its ongoing efforts to curb illegal file-sharing. The group has filed countless lawsuits against individuals accused of sharing copyrighted material online, and has been criticized for its tactics. Some legal experts argue that the RIAA is abusing the legal system by targeting individuals who are not necessarily guilty of copyright infringement. Others argue that the RIAA is simply trying to protect the intellectual property of its members.

Regardless of the controversy surrounding the RIAA’s tactics, the group’s latest initiative is a clear attempt to streamline the legal process and make it easier for accused file-swappers to settle their cases. The online resource at p2plawsuits.com is a simple and convenient way for individuals to pay their fines and avoid further legal action. While some may still opt to fight their charges in court, the RIAA’s latest program could help to reduce the number of legal challenges the group faces in the future.