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The War on Sharing: Why the FSF Cares About RIAA Lawsuits

May 14, 2009, 23:17 (11 Talkback[s])

"We don't make (much) music here at the Free Software Foundation, so it's natural for people to wonder why the FSF has been standing up for individuals targeted by lawsuits launched by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Most recently we filed an *amicus curiae* brief in the case of *Sony BMG Music Entertainment, et al. v. Joel Tenenbaum* showing the RIAA's theory of statutory damage awards to be unconstitutional.

"Some would prefer that we refrain from fighting these lawsuits, suggesting that they are a distraction from the FSF's core charter. But opposing them is actually an important part of our mission to support free software. First, these lawsuits represent a concerted attempt to rewrite copyright law in a way that threatens to undermine the ultimate goals of the free software movement. Second, a vocal minority in the entertainment industry uses these lawsuits as warrants to justify DRM technology and other measures to monitor and control the flow of information over the internet. Third, if unopposed, these lawsuits create a culture in which people are afraid to share, presuming sharing to be theft."

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