The RIAA has scored a series of high-profile victories against illegal file sharing sites, but its latest win may ring hollow since appears unlikely that the perpetrator will ever be found or pay a single dime of the $22 million awarded.
Working on behalf of the major labels, the RIAA has won a $22.2 million dollar judgement against illegal download site MP3Skull. But as of today the site is still online and it appears unlikely that a single dime will ever be collected from its owners.
The judge awarded maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each of 148 offending songs. But the party behind mp3skull has never been identified and did not answer the court complaint. As of Friday morning, the site was still online and offering free illegal downloads of dozens of top tracks.
The court order allows the RIAA to sieze any domains associated with MP3Skull. But it is likely that a seizure will just begin a cat and mouse game of new domains in other parts of the world. In fact, on Friday MP3Sull was being redirected from yesterday's .yoga domain to a new .mn domain in Mongolia.
But the RIAA is undeterred and explained its focus. “The site’s sole purpose is to generate profit from that theft of music, and it makes no pretence about what it does or why it does it,” the RIAA said in a statement. “Virtually any commercial recording is available for free to download through the site and the most popular artists and songs (‘Top Downloads’) are invariably chart-topping hits.”