You may remember the rise and fall of the file sharing website Napster in the early 2000s, and maybe you burned some CDs in the past. You may have felt these activities were relatively harmless, and you simply wanted to enjoy the music at no cost. Still, participating in activities like these could be considered music piracy.
Musical works are copyrighted and the unauthorized use or distribution of one can lead to a copyright infringement lawsuit. As one recent case shows, even Internet service providers can be held responsible if their customers commit online music piracy.
Grande Communications loses copyright infringement lawsuit
After a federal trial, Grande Communications, an Internet service provider, was found to have committed copyright infringement. The telecommunications company was ordered to pay over $46 million in compensation to several record labels.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated that Grande Communications willfully infringed on over 1,400 copyrighted music recordings. The RIAA also stated that Internet service providers cannot turn a blind eye to media piracy that utilizes their networks.
What is music piracy?
Music piracy was at the center of this recent court battle, but what exactly is music piracy?
Music piracy involves downloading and/or distributing unauthorized versions of copyrighted music. This may be done using a file-sharing service, stream-ripping software or via apps on a cellphone. Burning CDs and giving them to others also constitutes music piracy.
Music piracy is against the law and could subject you to civil penalties. Copyright infringement is akin to theft, as you are taking someone else’s creative work without their consent. If you are sued for copyright infringement you could end up owing thousands of dollars in compensation to the aggrieved party.
We all love our favorite songs, but musical recordings are not simply free to all. They are the property of those who created them. Music piracy is not permitted and those who commit it could find themselves in hot legal water, owing thousands to those harmed.