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"The music community’s efforts have triggered a national conversation—especially between parents and kids—about what’s legal and illegal when it comes to music on the Internet."
——Cary Sherman, RIAA President
RIAA ANSWERS $64 QUESTION
Trade Org Says First Batch of Settlements Shows Progress Against Illegal P2P
Hoping to make the online music wars a "kitchen table" topic—to quote Prexy Cary Sherman—the RIAA is trumpeting some early results in its litigation against P2P infringement. On 9/8, the trade org filed 261 lawsuits against file traders sharing large quantities of music; today (9/29) it said it had reached settlements with 64 parties.

12 of the settlements were pre-litigation, meaning subpoenas had been issued but no suit had been filed. The RIAA also says 838 penitents have applied for its "Clean Slate Program," signing affidavits promising to stop their unauthorized swapping.

"The music community’s efforts have triggered a national conversation—especially between parents and kids—about what’s legal and illegal when it comes to music on the Internet," Sherman declared. "In the end it will be decided not in the courtrooms, but at kitchen tables across the country. We are heartened by the response we have seen so far. Let’s see, that’s 64 plus 838, um, carry the five...wow, we just have 56,953,414 more kitchen tables to go."

The issue has become so Zeitgeist-y that it was a topic on the HBO series K Street, with political consultants James Carville, Mary Matalin and company polling kids and pondering strategies for TV spots. Then again, does anyone watch that show?

Of course, many observers say that even if every P2P user in the U.S. stopped sharing music, international swap-heads would easily pick up the slack. But with good will toward our country at an all-time high, it shouldn’t be hard to get that in check.

The RIAA’s campaign hit a snag recently when the case of an apparently mistaken subpoena made headlines. Overall, though, there are indications that the trade consortium’s efforts have achieved some traction.

"Americans increasingly understand our need to protect this global business and secure the jobs of those who work in it," Sherman added. "The message that downloading or distributing copyrighted music files is illegal and can have real consequences is beginning to take hold in the consciousness of families across the country. This is an essential prerequisite for fostering an environment where legitimate online music businesses can flourish."

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