The Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") has sued over 35,000 people for illegal file-sharing music, or uploading and downloading music. The RIAA has sued anyone under its "making available" theory, or anyone who offers to distribute copyrighted music without the owner's consent. However, the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals are split on whether copyright infringement occurs when a file is "made available" or when there is actual dissemination of a file. Due to this split, the RIAA has negotiated deals with internet service providers to penalize individuals who illegally share files. This article analyzes a recent decision, Capitol Records v. Thomas, and argues why the RIAA could not enforce its rights under a deal with ISPs. Furthermore, this article argues that the RIAA should continue to sue for direct infringement and contributory infringement. Finally, this article proposes a modification to section 101 of the Copyright Act.
William Henslee, Money for Nothing and Music for Free? Why the RIAA Should Continue to Sue Illegal File-Sharers, 9 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 1 (2009).