The Recording Industry Versus the People

by Michelle on September 24, 2012

  • SumoMe

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  “” has been making a concerted effort to crack down on illegal file sharing for several years, and they have recently begun placing a big emphasis on thwarting the unsecured wireless defense. From their point-of-view, no one should be allowed to share music files on the Internet without their consent. While this is certainly a contentious issue among music lovers and younger consumers who have grown up in the digital age, the main issue that currently needs to be addressed is exactly how the RIAA can determine who is at fault each time a music file is shared illegally.

What is the Unsecured Wireless Defense?

Many individuals and companies have an unsecured wireless network. This means that any person who is close enough to pick up the wireless signal can connect their computer or other Wi-Fi enabled device to the unsecured network and surf the Internet. They can also use this connection to stream movies, download content and access or post files on an illegal file sharing website. Because it is impossible to easily determine exactly who has done what over an unsecured network, many individuals have successfully used the unsecured wireless defense in the past. “”

Changes to the RIAA’s Legal Standpoint

The RIAA has decided to stop backing down on most cases that include the unsecured wireless defense. It is their point-of-view that every person or business that has a Wi-Fi network also has the ability to easily secure their network. In the past, lawyers for the RIAA apparently believed that it was too difficult to convince a judge that the owner of an unsecured wireless network was liable for the activity that took place over their network. Now, however, they are combating the popular defense by pointing out how easy it is to avoid these issues. It is their belief that each individual is responsible for everything that happens via their wireless network, regardless of whether it is secured or unsecured.

How do these Changes Impact the Accused?

It is now becoming common for copyright infringement cases to begin as an offer to settle the case for a fee like  $1,900. “” By settling out of court, the accused party can avoid a legal case and the possibility of ending up with a much bigger penalty. Even in some instances where the accused is adamant that the copyright infringement occurred due to their unsecured wireless network, it is often easier to simply pay the fee than it is to try to prove that someone else was actually responsible for the illegal downloads.

Should I Settle?

If you are accused of illegal file sharing, then you might be tempted to take the settlement offer rather than deal with a lawsuit. “” Most judges do not seem to side with the RIAA’s interpretation of the law, however, so you should carefully consider your options before you simply write a check, especially if you did not participate in the copyright infringement.

What does the Future Hold?

While it is impossible to predict for sure exactly where the RIAA’s lawyers will take their next wave of lawsuits, it is easy to determine the best way to protect yourself from a copyright infringement lawsuit. Secure your Wi-Fi network immediately, and do not participate in any illegal file sharing or downloading via your secured network. By following these simple steps, you will be able to completely avoid any legal complications with the RIAA.


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