• United States
by Ann Harrison

RIAA fires missives at employers of alleged file traders

Mar 25, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* RIAA's latest attempt to intimidate

In its latest attempt to attack P2P networks, the Recording Industry Association of America is now targeting 300 companies whose employees allegedly uploaded files onto file trading networks.

The RIAA has sent letters to the companies suggesting that they and their employees could be subject to “significant legal damages.” The letters made no explicit threat to sue and are simply an effort by the RIAA to intimidate.

According to the RIAA, about 35% of the letters were sent to technology companies, 20% went out to healthcare related businesses, and 20% were mailed to manufacturing firms. The rest went out to businesses in miscellaneous industries.

The RIAA carried out a similar campaign in October and February and would not say which companies received the letters this time around. This most recent action has been condemned by the Information Technology Association of America, one of the largest trade groups for software and service companies and represents more than 400 firms including IBM and Microsoft.

It would be refreshing to see one of these large software companies take on the RIAA and devote some of their legal resources to swatting down the record labels put their networks under surveillance and then insist that it’s their duty to punish alleged copyright violations. Perhaps some company will rise to the occasion but some will cave in to this RIAA intimidation.

Either way, it’s generally not a good idea to use your employer’s machines to engage in uploading or downloading of material that could be used against you. There are plenty of legal precedents to support companies that use this type of activity as an excuse to fire workers. If you want to trade files without worrying about whether your boss will be intimidated by the RIAA, use your home machine.