EFF Offers Scathing RIAA Critique, Questions Legal Assault

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a well-known critic of the RIAA, and a longtime legal nemesis as well.

The RIAA has its fair share of enemies, though the EFF, a San Francisco-based defender of technological rights, is a formidable and tenacious opponent.

Just recently, the EFF delivered a deeply critical review of RIAA-led lawsuits against individuals, one that questioned the campaign from numerous angles.  “Four years and more than 20,000 lawsuits later, the RIAA’s campaign of suing individual American music fans has failed,” the group declared in a 25-page white paper.  “It has failed to curtail P2P downloading. It has not persuaded music fans that sharing is equivalent to shoplifting.”

The scathing critique noted that file-sharing volumes have increased markedly over the past four years, despite the continued legal campaign.  Sourcing figures from new media tracking firms BigChampagne and BayTSP, the EFF noted that file-sharing volumes have grown by multiples since the suits began.  According to BigChampagne, the average number of simultaneous users on file-sharing networks has moved from 4.3 million in September, 2003, to 9.3 million in recent months.

As an alternative, the EFF proposed a system based on voluntary collective licensing.  That approach would allow users to download and share unlimited quantities of music for a reasonable monthly fee, though the concept remains largely untested in the open market.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.