Why Won't the RIAA Just Give Up?

It is hard to understand what possible good can come from the Recording Industry Association of America's continuing lawsuit against Jammie Thomas-Rasset. Earlier this year, the single mother was hit by a $1.92 millon judgment for sharing 1,072 copyrighted songs on a home computer on which the Kazaa file sharing software was running. She continues to appeal.

With its announcement last December that the RIAA was abandoning mass lawsuits against individuals who may have illegally shared copyrighted songs online, the recording industry seemed to acknowledge that the campaign has severely damaged its public image while having little if any deterrent effect on music piracy - the original goal of the program.

Despite all that, the RIAA's lawyers just can't seem to swallow their pride and let go of this troublesome case, which has dragged on since 2007. The RIAA is unlikely to ever collect such a large sum of money from Thomas-Rassett. Suing a single mom just serves to worsen what has become an ongoing PR disaster for the industry. And the effort is unlikely to have any deterrent effect, especially since the RIAA already announced that it was no longer engaged in mass lawsuits (The RIAA did say that it would still go after major offenders or those who ignore repeated warnings to stop, and that it would continue to prosecute pending cases).

Music piracy is wrong. But it is hard to see any upside to the RIAA's continuing prosecution of this case. By continuing to pursue it, the RIAA is simply throwing good money after bad.

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