A survey by legal website FindLaw has found that 56% of those polled were opposed to the legal actions currently being undertaken by the music industry. With the Recording Industry Association of America stepping up its action and the new Pirate Act coming into effect, then this dissatisfaction can only increase.
3,400 people have been sued since last September – more than 600 of those cases have been settled for an average of US$3000 (€2,473) each, netting the RIAA at least US$1.8 million (€1.48 million). No case has gone to court, no artists, ostensibly the victims of file trading, have received any of this money. Recent figures suggest that CD sales are up 10% on last year, legal music download sites are doing such good business that the market is rapidly becoming crowded.
FindLaw surveyed 1000 participants and found that 56% were against the lawsuits, 37% supported the action, and 7% had no opinion. Opposition is higher amongst younger people, with nearly two thirds of those between 18 and 34 objecting.
Quoted on the FindLaw site, Professor Sharon Sandeen,intellectual property law tutor at the Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota said: “Although the RIAA’s lawsuits are unsettling to many, they are based upon sound law because it is a clear violation of copyright law to make a verbatim copy of a protected sound recording,” says “The underlying public policy at work is the notion that without copyright laws, musical artists would be less inclined to create music and, as a result, there would be fewer sound recordings. So the individuals who complain about the lawsuits should ask themselves: ‘Would I rather live in a world with freely distributed but less music, or pay for the music I enjoy so that there will be more of it?'”
“I suspect that many people, when educated about the purpose of copyright law, support the law,” Sandeen continued. “Public opposition to the lawsuits may be due, in part, to what some people consider hard-handed tactics by the RIAA.”