Yes. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is actively monitoring popular file-sharing networks like KaZaa to find out which file sharers have the most copyright infringing files. It is then relatively easy for the RIAA to find the file sharer¿s Internet Service Provider (ISP). To date, the RIAA has issued over 1,000 subpoenas to ISPs demanding the names and addresses of customers who share music online. The RIAA then sues these individual customers for copyright infringement. The ISPs have been unsuccessful in their attempts to challenge the subpoenas and have started turning over names.
What if I am Using a College or University Computer?
You can still get caught. RIAA has started sending colleges and universities notices of illegal downloads of music by their students. The RIAA can trace the illegal download to individual student accounts on campus and demand the names of these students from the college and university. The RIAA can then sue the individual students for copyright infringement.
What Happens if I Get Caught?
The penalty for downloading illegal music is serious, ranging from a minimum fine of $750 per file up to $150,000 for each pirated song. A student who uses a school computer to download the illegal product also is probably in violation of school policy and may be subject to academic disciplinary proceedings.
Do I Need a Lawyer for my Problem with the RIAA?
If you have been subpoenaed by the music industry, an intellectual property lawyer can discuss any defenses you may have available to you.