RIAA goes after Usenet.com

After suing the likes of Kazaa and Napster as well as individual users, the Recording Industry Association of America has gone after a more old-school target in its latest bout of music file sharing-related litigation. As CNet reports, the RIAA has filed a lawsuit against Usenet.com on the grounds that the Usenet newsgroup provider “enables and encourages its customers to reproduce and distribute millions of . . . valuable copyrighted sound recordings.”

It’s not difficult to see why the RIAA is miffed. Usenet.com’s website contains a page that explicitly advertises the wealth of MP3 songs available on newsgroups. “This [service] gives you access to millions of mp3 files and also enables you to post your own files the same way and share them with the whole world in an instance! No other sharing service on the Internet puts such power on your fingertips as Usenet,” Usenet.com boasts.

However, as CNet points out, the fact that the RIAA is going after a newsgroup access provider may put Internet service providers and universities at risk. AT&T, Verizon, and Stanford University all offer Usenet access, for instance. “What the RIAA’s doing here is a classic litigation strategy: sue someone who a judge is likely to say is a clear offender, and then invoke that decision when targeting someone who’s a more marginal case,” the site says.

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