The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the industry trade association for sound and music recordings and represents various music companies, songwriters, and music artists. One of the main functions of the RIAA is to enforce its members’ copyrights. The RIAA is currently representing members in copyright infringement lawsuits. As an alternative to being sued, the RIAA announced that it would grant amnesty to file sharers who voluntarily identified themselves and promised to stop illegally sharing music. In reality, non-RIAA members and even RIAA members themselves can still sue file sharers because the organization itself does not have the authority to grant amnesty. In addition, file sharers who sign the amnesty affidavit may expose themselves to criminal prosecution, which could lead to jail time. This comment offers a few solutions in which the music industry and its Internet consumers can reach a middle ground and lessen the pandemonium surrounding the concepts of downloading and uploading copyrighted works.
Natosha Cuyler-Sherman, “Shamnesty” vs. Amnesty: Can the RIAA Grant Immunity to File-Sharers from Copyright Infringement Lawsuits?, 3 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 279 (2004)