The RIAA Targets eBay & Amazon via a Letter Sent to the US Department of Commerce

By Bill Toulas / August 10, 2019

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has focused its crosshair on eBay and Amazon, accusing the online marketplaces of selling pirated CDs, box-sets, and providing copyright-infringing material and services. Thus, the RIAA has sent a letter (PDF) to the US Department of Commerce, asking the regulatory body to implement strong measures that will stop the practice of selling counterfeits and pirated music albums.

One of the main proposals to the US government is to motivate the online marketplace platforms to pinpoint the users who are involved in copyright infringement activities - and then share their names and contact information with the authorities. This way, the RIAA or other concerned stakeholders will be in a position to launch legal procedures against them, essentially putting a brake to the whole pirating process. Another suggestion involves the intermediaries, so on some occasions where the infringement is apparent, eBay and Amazon should be held liable.

Moreover, the RIAA clarifies that the differentiation between mobile websites and their standard versions should be eliminated. Online commerce should comply with the rules and regulations no matter what device or platform the pirates are using in order to carry out their damaging activities. This is to include some specialized mobile browser apps, pirating apps that are available on popular stores, and even pre-configured devices that are sold through Amazon and eBay.

The RIAA supports its official requests with evidence, as they have conducted a relevant study themselves. More specifically, they have bought multiple albums from online marketplaces and figured that 16% of those bought through eBay were counterfeit, while the corresponding percentage for Amazon was a still significant 11%. Also, 25% of the items that were marked as 'Fulfilled by Amazon' were still counterfeit. These are items that are shipped and sold directly by Amazon, who also provides customer support for those products. As far as AliExpress box set buys went, they were all (100%) counterfeit.

RIAA presents this practice as especially damaging one since the people who are buying counterfeit albums and box sets are not getting the level of audio quality, package quality, and artwork print that they would be expecting for the money. Many of those individuals could ultimately lose their trust toward the music publishers and the creators, and avoid purchasing a genuine album again as their idea about the product quality has been distorted.

Do you prefer to buy counterfeits and pay less, or spend more for the originals? Let us know where you stand in the comments down below, or on our socials via Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!

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