Washington, D.C. (December 8, 2003)–This week, the music industry announced an expansion of its ongoing legal campaign against those who illegally distribute significant amounts of copyrighted music files online. In addition to the 308 lawsuit notification letters sent and 341 lawsuits filed since September, the industry is this week filing 41 new suits and sending 90 lawsuit notification letters to illegal file sharers in a variety of new regions across the country.
The music industry’s education and enforcement campaign continues with new signs of success, with many targeted illegal file sharers contacting the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to work out settlements. The RIAA has now secured 220 settlements with substantial file-sharers, resulting from a combination of lawsuits filed, notification letters sent to those targeted for legal action, and individuals who had contacted the RIAA after learning that their identifying information was subpoenaed from their Internet service provider (ISP). Additionally, 1,054 former file sharers have submitted affidavits for the “Clean Slate” amnesty program.
The anti-piracy campaign has also made significant strides in deepening the understanding of the illegality of file-sharing copyrighted songs, according to a new consumer survey by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. New consumer survey results from a November poll, among 802 Americans age 10 and over, show that 64 percent of those polled understand it’s illegal to “make music from the computer available for others to download for free over the Internet.” That’s up from 37 percent in November 2002, and for certain subgroups, the new awareness numbers are even higher–for example, 69 versus 16 percent among “regular Internet users.”
Public backing for the record companies’ enforcement strategy continues to grow as well. The latest November survey shows that by a margin of more than two-to-one, 56-23 percent, Americans are supportive and understanding of the industry’s decision to undertake “lawsuits against computer users who share substantial amounts of copyrighted music online.” These numbers are similar to the 52-25 results from a survey in October.
Independent analyses from a variety of experts suggest traffic on the illegal peer-to-peer network sites is down and virtually all of the legitimate services report an increase in traffic to and interest in their sites. And new Peter D. Hart Research numbers also show a deepening appreciation for the legal online music marketplace: by a 52-20 margin, respondents feel there are good legal alternatives to illegal downloading.