The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is believed to be preparing an amnesty for users of peer-to-peer (P2P) sites, but it comes with tough conditions.
The RIAA refuses to comment on the plan, or even that is being drawn up, but vnunet.com understands it will apply to people who admit they illegally share music files across the internet.
Users will have to complete a notarised amnesty form that includes the following promises:
- To destroy any CDs they have created.
- To delete any music files from their PCs that the RIAA deems illegal.
- To never participate in illegal file sharing again.
- To include a photo of themselves.
It is believed that anyone who complies will be excluded from any future legal action by the RIAA.
But the decision will not apply to those already facing legal action, which could begin as early as next week, according to a report from Reuters.
The RIAA has admitted that it is unlikely to take to court all 1,600 people accused of illegally uploading music files from sites such as Kazaa and Morpheus.
But it has warned that those it does take to court will have to take their chances before the judge.
Meanwhile, others in the music industry are also adopting a less combative stance to P2P sites, following the decline in music sales.
Universal Music is cutting the wholesale price of many CDs in the US from $12.02 to $9.09.
It also plans to shelve advertising discounts and has dropped its recommended retail price to $12.98 from $18.98, hoping that retailers will be persuaded to drop the price to below $10.
Sony has also joined the growing market for services that allow consumers to download music legally, putting itself in direct competition with Apple and Microsoft.
The new service will be launched in Japan, with the US and Europe to follow next spring. Sony said that it will also ship a handheld device on to which the songs can be downloaded.
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