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Letters Hide Lawsuit Targets

WE HAVEN’T NOTED IT specifically in this space, but the RIAA’s new tactic of letters-before-lawsuits (they call it an effort to “go the extra mile”) is simply an attempt to keep the press and the public from finding out who they’re targeting. The major labels have sent letters to 200 people saying: pay a settlement or we’ll file a lawsuit. That’s not a compromise; it puts people in exactly the same position as the previous round: pay up or we’ll see you in court. It’s true that some of the people targeted the first time around felt their privacy had been invaded by all the press calls they received before the lawsuit even arrived, so cutting out the press does lessen that particular problem, and it is a serious concern. However, it also cuts a lot of people off from finding out where to turn. Many of the families that we spoke to when we were setting up the Peer-to-Peer Legal Defense Fund had no idea where to find a qualified lawyer and appreciated being directed to the EFF for some guidance. This time, similar families will be left adrift and will end up just going along with whatever the RIAA tells them. Of course, for the record companies it works out perfectly: the public hears about the suits and is still scared of being targeted, but doesn’t hear as many personal stories that show how cruel the lawsuit crusade really is.

p2pnet.net‘s Jon Newton has moved the site to a new host and says “it’s still not quite Business as Usual” but he expects everything will be back to normal in a few days. He’s also hinting at a new site that he’s going to be bringing on line within the week that he says “should interest everyone involved in this battle.” Stay posted.

We’ve got a new handout from Eberks on the flyer page, which she distributed at different CMJ events in New York this weekend. Bring a stack of them to the next show you get to (perfect for any event with sleazy record industry wannabes).

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