Evidence that the RIAA is winding down it’s pointless lawsuits against alleged file-sharers is most evident on campus. The RIAA have dropped three oustanding (and by ‘outstanding’ I mean ‘unresolved’ rather than ‘really good’) John Doe cases involving students.
I’ve always found the RIAA’s idea that you could identify the perps via IP addresses rather humourous. In a network environment strewn with dynamic IP assignments (DHCP), network adress translating firewalls and various anonymous proxy arrangements it’s pratically impossible to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ who ‘owns’ a particular IP address at any given time. Of course, this also assumes that the IP address in question, and the computer to which it is assigned, is controled by a single person. How many households do you know where there is a ‘family PC’ that is used by many members of the family throughout the day? Absurd.
As I consider the whole notiong of suing your customers I’m reminded of the old adage; ‘If all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.’. In this case all the RIAA had were laywers and no technologists nor creative business leaders who were capable of crafting a business model that embraced digital peer-to-peer distribution. I’ve known quite a few lawyers in my time; many of whom are quite smart but a precious few who could formulate a solution to a given problem that did not involve lawsuits.
I’m convinced that lawyers are a self-propagating sub-species of humans. This leads me to my theory of ‘redundant occupations’ but that is a story for another day.