Since 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America has been filing lawsuits against individuals who use P2P programs to share copyrighted material over the Internet. These individuals are being sued for copyright infringement, because the RIAA believes they are stealing and distributing material for which they do not own a copyright. Most of these lawsuits are settled for a few thousand dollars, and they are seldom taken to court. Today, an abundance of media is available for free on the internet, and copyright owners are losing the ability to control the flow of their work. A distinction between sharing and theft must be made in order to shape the future of the digital world. By filing these exorbitantly expensive lawsuits, however, the RIAA is using the court's power to intimidate and exploit its potential customers. In addition, the lawsuits have not achieved the goal of reducing the use of P2P programs. The RIAA's file sharing lawsuits are unfair and ineffective, and there are much better solutions to the illegal file sharing problem. (New Paragraph). The RIAA is abusing the legal system with these unfair lawsuits. Because of a clause in copyright law, the RIAA can claim statutory damages from $750-$30,000 for each copyrighted song file an individual has in his or her "shared music" folder. The value of a single song on iTunes is only 99 cents. Because the financial risk is so high, almost no one is able to challenge the RIAA's infringement accusations, and make them prove their cases to the court. People should have the right to due process of law and a trial by jury, so it can be determined whether or not the courts believe making copyrighted files available online is actually infringement. (New Paragraph). Since these lawsuits have started in 2003, the number of people using file sharing networks has more than doubled. The RIAA is not achieving its goal of stopping the use of P2P programs with these lawsuits against random people, and the lawsuits should cease. It is time the RIAA began to move in a different direction. (New Paragraph). There are other ways the RIAA could reduce the incentive to share files online, especially among college students. If the recording companies joined together and licensed their music on a large scale to certain programs, and universities provided these programs for students, the need to download files illegally would be reduced. Some universities are trying to implement this strategy, but in order for it to be successful, the music programs must run on a mac as well as a PC, and the licensed songs must be downloadable to an iPod. Also, programs like iTunes could lower song prices incrementally as a user purchases more and more songs. (New Paragraph). The RIAA's side of the argument must be considered and respected, because many people are choosing to download songs illegally instead of paying for the material. Hard-working artists are being denied fair compensation, and their rights should not be neglected. Action must be taken to solve this problem, but it must be fair and it must have the potential to be successful. The RIAA's lawsuits will not fix anything. People must stand up to these powerful record companies, and work together to pave the way for a digital future composed of both freedom and fair compensation.