It seems the RIAA has finally realized that suing single mothers, a 13-year-old girl, and a dead person for file-sharing might not be such a great idea for their public image. As per the Wall Street Journal this morning (via MBV), the RIAA has decided on a new, and we might say, more reasonable, approach to combating digital piracy. Instead of suing people directly—which the industry did 35,000(!) times over the last five years—the RIAA will now work with internet-service providers (or ISPs) to weed out file-sharers. Whenever the trade group finds pirates, it will simply send an email to their ISP. The ISP will then either alert the file-sharer themselves or forward RIAA’s email along. If the customer stops, everyone’s happy; if not, they’ll get a few more emails and (maybe) slower internet service. Should the pirates continue on unabated, the ISP will cut off their service—end of story. RIAA has struck slightly different deals with a handful of ISPs, though they remain mum on just which ones.
As to whether or not this will actually be affective, the jury is, of course, out. “There isn’t any silver-bullet anti-piracy solution,” Eric Garland, president of piracy consulting firm BigChampagne LLC, told the Journal. Yeah, no shit. Given that some folks are willing to hack into the email accounts of their favorite bands in the hopes of leaking their new album, we wonder if the threat of slower service will be enough to stay their hand. And, as MBV points out, with so many people pirating internet from their neighbor, how reliant are we on our Time Warner service anyway? Where there’s a will, there’s a router.