In August 2005, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a complaint against David Greubel for alleged file sharing. Greubel is accused of having 600 suspected music files on the family computer. The RIAA is targeting nine specific songs, including "Sk8er Boi" by Arista artist Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk management client. The RIAA has demanded Greubel pay a $9,000 stipulated judgment as a penalty, though it will accept $4,500 should Greubel pay the amount within a specific period of time.
"Suing music fans is not the solution, it's the problem," stated Terry McBride, C.E.O of Nettwerk Music Group.
Nettwerk became involved in the battle against the RIAA after 15-year-old Elisa Greubel contacted MC Lars, also a Nettwerk management client, to say that she identified with "Download This Song," a track from the artist's latest release.
Can the RIAA pursue a lawsuit on behalf of artists that don’t want to pursue penalties? That sounds like a dubious stance to say the least.
File sharing is a contentious issue and reasonable people can fall on either side of the debate. However I think that it is clear that RIAA is abusing the system and intentionally targeting people that are unwilling or unable to defend themselves. I am not sure what the correct answer is, but I am quite sure that if the recording industry would stop resisting the move towards digitization of everything they would find a non-legal solution.