Letter from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to companies regarding copyright infringement.
Date: March 12, 2003.
Source: RIAA.

March 12, 2003


[Street address]
[City, state, zip]

Re: Notice of Copyright Infringement

Dear [Mr./Ms. Last name]:

This letter concerns copyright infringement occurring on your company’s computer networks. We are writing with the hope that you will work to quickly resolve this problem.

As you know, the Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”) is a trade association whose member companies create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately ninety percent (90%) of all legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States. Our recent investigations reveal that Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses assigned to your company have been used to log onto the FastTrack network (i.e., the online peer-to-peer network hosting KaZaA, Grokster and iMesh) to offer up copyrighted sound recordings owned by the RIAA’s member companies for others to download for free. In short, your computer network and resources are being used to illegally distribute copyrighted music on the Internet.

For your information, we enclose a sample user log showing lists of infringing music files made available on FastTrack by one of your employees through your company’s computer network. We also attach a CD-ROM containing the entire log of files offered by that employee. Note that this information reflects information we found based on a very limited search and could well indicate that this activity is widespread on your network. Among these infringements are recordings owned by the RIAA's member companies, including recordings by such artists as [SAMPLE ARTISTS].

Obviously, such infringing conduct must stop. These acts of infringement could expose your employees and your company to significant legal damages. Indeed, federal copyright law imposes stiff penalties for acts of infringement. For example, copyright owners can collect statutory damages of up to $150,000 per copyrighted work infringed as well as legal costs and attorneys’ fees. Damages can also include all of the profits earned by an infringer plus the actual damages suffered by the copyright owner. In addition, infringers risk relinquishment of any equipment used in manufacturing the infringing copies. The consequences for not taking action, therefore, can be quite serious.

It is also important to recognize that the problem of online copyright infringement in the workplace extends beyond legal liability. As we highlighted in a recent letter and corporate policy guide to the CEOs of the Fortune 1000, the dangers of permitting music piracy in the corporate environment can also include security risks to the network such as the disclosure of sensitive corporate information to third parties, importation of viruses, increased bandwidth costs, slowed Internet connections and reduced work productivity. Copies of the letter as well as the policy guide are available on the RIAA website (www.riaa.com) and have been attached to this letter for your convenience.

We strongly urge you to take immediate steps to prevent the continued infringement of our members’ sound recordings on your corporate network. We also encourage you to adopt and fully implement employee policies and technical measures that prevent copyright infringement on your corporate network, as we will continue to monitor for infringing conduct and take any appropriate legal action necessary to protect our rights.

We trust that you will understand the urgency of this situation. The promise and potential of the Internet is manifest. However, that same promise and potential will never be realized if rampant piracy is allowed to continue.

Please note that nothing in this notice should be construed as a waiver of any rights, remedies or protections under law.

Please feel free to contact Jonathan Whitehead, the RIAA's Vice President and Anti-Piracy Counsel for Internet and New Media, at (202) 775-0101 to discuss this further.


Cary H. Sherman