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New Bill Suggests Apple Could Get Sued For What People Do With Their iPods Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2004
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced the Inducing Infringements of Copyright Act, called the Induce Act, which would make media-sharing networks such as Kazaa, or Limewire responsible for their users actions.

Those opposed to the bill state that the language is so broad that it could apply to MP3 players, and CD or DVD recorders. The bill defines an infringer as someone who “intentionally aids” illegal file-sharing and is shown by “acts from which a reasonable person would find intent to induce infringement based upon all relevant information… including whether the activity relies on infringement for its commercial viability.” According to the website savetheipod.com, the Induce Act could make Apple liable for its users actions, and is being pushed by the record industry to allow the record industry to file suit against music hardware and software manufacturers.

Apple supports legal downloading through their iTunes Music Store, which offers downloads for $0.99 per song. The opposing side might argue that the iPod is aiding illegal file sharing because users are able to upload and share songs to their iPod that they have illegally downloaded from other sources, but a crucial part of this argument would have to prove that iPod’s commercial viability rests on this illegal file sharing.

It’s no secret that the RIAA continues to fight back against file sharing, with its latest onslaught of lawsuits brought forth on June 22. Almost 500 “John Does” were named in the recent lawsuits, which shows the RIAA moving towards going after IP addresses instead of specific users. The maximum amount the RIAA is seeking for each song illegally shared is $250,000.

Steven Marks, General Counsel of The RIAA, continually points at file sharing and says it is causing “enormous harm to the entire music community,” but from a consumer’s point, why would the industry want to fight one of the most widely-adopted technologies that promotes legal downloading?


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