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Professor Takes Both Sides in RIAA Lawsuits

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Professor Doris Estelle Long of The John Marshall Law School is an expert in

copyright law and has watched the music piracy issue unfold the past several years. She has blame for both sides in the debate: "The Recording Industry Association of America lawsuits are going to be a big surprise to a lot of people who were misled into believing it was okay to download," says Long. "They are going to discover that all the 'fair use' defenses they were supposed to have don't hold up."

"At the same time, the recording industry should have been suing people three years ago when Napster first demonstrated that peer to peer transfers were not only possible, it was easy," continues Long. "The industry let the problem go, and now they're filing lawsuits against people who believed (mistakenly) that everything on the Internet was free. I suspect there was some drop-off in piracy the past few months when the Recording Industry Association of America first sought subpoenas on a massive scale to identify traders in illegal music, but those subpoenas didn't get enough press to draw enough attention like this will."

"The real problem with illegal file transfers of music is that you're taking money away from the unknown artist. Record companies aren't going to lose money. The only one who really suffers is the little guy in the club who isn't going to get the development deal any more because he doesn't have an Internet presence. And the record companies aren't going to spend the money to find and develop the type of raw talent that exists in the clubs. If they're losing money on Internet piracy, they're going to cut back somewhere and the first place to suffer is new talent."

"The other people losing money are all the people who drove the trucks and ran the record stores. As the stores close down, because the demand for hard copy is gone, you're going to see a lot more unemployment on the distribution chain."

"Ultimately, we're going to see a lot more public discussion of the intersection between privacy and Internet service provider liability," concludes Long. "Congress is expected to hold hearings on the issue. I believe the outcome will ultimately determine who will be responsible for monitoring copyright enforcement on the Internet. And I think you'll also see a big business opportunity for inexpensive legitimate digital download services for music. Can the film industry be far behind?" –by Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner