How Getting Sued for File Sharing Works


Since the later half of 2003 up till July 2006, the Recording Industry Association of America has sued over 20, 000 music fans for file sharing. As the saying goes, if you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost. So I came across an article written by CNet on what information the RIAA gathered information to find people and file a lawsuit. Here are the 6 steps summed up.

Step 1

If you use ANY of these, you’re at risk. eDonkey , Shareaza , Limewire , eMule , Ares , Kazaa. Why? Cause usually users share their files on the network for others to download. So what the authority does is scan for users with a particular filename and download the entire list for verification purposes. Some of the songs and artists cited in earlier lawsuits include:

  • • Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
  • • Thompson Twins, “Hold Me Now”
  • • Eagles, “Hotel California”
  • • George Michael, “Kissing A Fool”
  • • Paula Abdul, “Knocked Out”
  • • Green Day, “Minority”
  • • UB40, “Red Red Wine”
  • • Ludacris “Area Codes”
  • • Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing”
  • • Avril Lavigne, “Complicated”
  • Step 2

    Features within the P2P programs are used to list each file in the user’s list so that screenshots can be taken to use as evidence in court.

    Step 3

    The IP address of the computer sharing one of the copyrighted song is recorded by the authority’s custom made detection software.

    Step 4

    Once a file is downloaded, the authorities are able to do more complicated analysis of the files such as the ‘metadata’ or narrow down the source. Usually, when a CD is ripped into mp3, there’s a signature/comment by the ripper like “Ripped by PaiKia” or “Presented by Kapster”.

    Step 5

    The authorities then get a court order to get the Internet Service Provider to provide the information of the person’s identity associated with the IP address given.

    Step 6

    Once exposed, all technical information collected earlier are used to file a lawsuit. The RIAA has accepted setllements of varying figures ranging from $3,000 to $17,000. That’s a lot of money..
    Steps summarised from the website

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