An opinion here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/03/hypocrisy-or-necessity-riaa-continues-filing-lawsuits.ars asks why the RIAA continues to pursue lawsuits even after dropping its sue-everybody strategy last summer. Their reason appears to be that if they just dropped all the cases, the courts would get mad at them and they’d be vulnerable to countersuing, which has happned before in cases like this one: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2007/06/exonerated-defendant-sues-riaa-for-malicious-prosecution.ars, where an annoyed defendent got them for malicious prosecution. But apparently a suti can simply be dismissed with the plaintiff’s permission, which these frightened plaintiffs would probably give, and the explanation the RIAA spokesman has actually given, of justice needing to be served, seems implausible, as the RIAAs policy until this point has been Thucydides’s “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”
I haven’t heard anything in the news about their new strategy, however, which is “voluntary graduated response deals with US ISPS”. This sounds kind of weak and ineffectual, but that might be because its so vague. Does this mean the ISPs rather than the users will be asked to answer for what goes through them? Or the RIAA will somehow be trying to cut access for pathways found to be mosting much pirated music? Or is it really that ISPs can enforce this only if they’d like to? It’s not clear, but the fact that we haven’t heard anything in the news recently is significant, since publicizing their efforts has basically been the RIAA’s strategy up to this point. There’s enough music going around that people who want to pirate will be able to do it, so the way for the RIAA to limit its losses has been to limit the number of people who want to do this. They can achievet his goal with scare tactics (lawsuits), ethics tactics (anti-piracy propaganda) and knowledge tactics (getting rid of the easiest-to-find and most well-known pirating sites). But if I haven’t heard much from them, that means others haven’t either, and that means their tactics aren’t working so well.
Then again, I also hadn’t heard that they’d stopped litigating until I read this article. Why, then does Yale keep running its campaign to stop us from downloading? I don’t mean they should endorse it, but why are they being so insistent? There are all these posters and this speech at ST training, and the amount of propaganda about it has actually gone up since last year, even though the danger of getting sued seems to have gone down. Maybe Yale is just extra paranoid, or extra-ethical, or maybe they know something I don’t, or maybe they just haven’t read this article yet, either. I’d like to know.