Communication Breakdown: The Recording Industry’s Pursuit of the Individual Music User, a Comparison of U.S. and E.U. Copyright Protections for Internet Music File Sharing

Bates, Ryan | January 1, 2004

While music file sharing over the internet has become a common practice in recent years, record companies blame the illegal swapping for a 31% drop in compact disk sales since mid-2000. In an ever-evolving attempt to gain a stronghold on the distribution of digital music via the internet, the recording industry recently began filing lawsuits against the individual internet “file sharer” in both the United States the European Union.

This comment examines the development of copyright protections in the United States and the European Union, including recent legislation under each system, and argues that a balance of rights and technical development is needed to carry the music industry into the future. The comment also examines the repercussions of the recent Recording Industry Association of America lawsuits, proposals for other methods of embracing the technology are explored, and an argument is made for a United States and European Union to return to traditional private use protections on which initial copyright law was founded.