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Record industry will offer amnesty to file swappers

Record industry will offer amnesty to file swappers. Admit your downloading, delete your MP3s, promise never to do it again, and you won’t get sued

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If you’ve downloaded a lot of free MP3s and are worried about getting sued for piracy as the big record labels crack down on file swapping, you may still have a chance to save yourself if you repent and promise to sin no more. According to the Associated Press, the Recording Industry Association of America is about to announce an amnesty policy: Sign one of the industry’s notarized pledge forms, in which you admit your guilt, promise to delete any illegally downloaded tunes, and promise never to trade files again, and the RIAA won’t sue you.

The offer would not apply to the roughly 1,600 people whom the RIAA has already subpoenaed and targeted for copyright infringement lawsuits. Another potential catch: The RIAA doesn’t represent all copyright holders, so signing the pledge wouldn’t necessarily protect you against future lawsuits, says Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has criticized the industry’s anti-piracy tactics as draconian. ”I’ll be curious to see how many opt for this,”von Lohmann told AP. ”It will be an interesting measure of how much fear the recording industry has managed to inject into the American public.”