hi folks, I wouldn’t get too excited about stories like this—it’s a lot of political posturing for the most part. whoever said RIAA is basically a lobbying organization is right on, they just run around trying to get attention for their cause but the Justice department is probably not all that interested in criminal prosecutions of song swappers. Justice has to pay some attention to the RIAA since they have money to spend on campaign funding and that, but it doesn’t really jump up and down every time RIAA says jump. a lot of people who work at Justice would probably agree with the folks on this board that the whole idea of criminal prosecution of song swappers is stupid, waste of time, bad policy, another will just spring up, etc.
without going into detail, due to the work I do and some of the jobs I have held in the past, I think Justice has other priorities such as keeping foreign terrorists from infiltrating our air traffic controls and our defense networks. going after Kazaa users or whatever in a criminal prosecution would be small potatoes and hard to make succeed, although some idiot local AUSA or FBI might eventually try I don’t think Justice would be the first ones to go after these folks. the statutes they would have to use are very hard to apply to individual users. (of course there is a concern that Congress would pass tougher statutes.) as for the Supreme Court this issue probably isn’t even close to getting there for a long time. at this point it’s a legislative and policy issue basically, and the RIAA would probably like to have Dept of Justice on its side, but this will only happen if a lot of other things first happen (like tougher statutes get passed, DOJ gets the resources to pursue criminal prosecution etc.) since all this takes time, RIAA publishing this story is just trying to get everyone’s attention in a lobbyist sort of way.
if anyone is interested in these sorts of issues, my friend runs a good group on live journal (you don’t have to be a member of LJ to read the group). it’s at http://www.livejournal.com/community/antiriaa and people post articles, links and intelligent discussion on a regular basis.