Despite the RIAA's crusade against piracy, it appears that music sales are sliding. US CD sales in 2005 fell 3.5 per cent, compared to a rise of 2.3 per cent in 2004. The RIAA is attributing this to piracy; however there may equally as likely be alternate explanations.

This comes after a year that saw 7,000 more lawsuits against consumers by the RIAA. It also saw the takedown of many BitTorrent sites, and the clampdown against Kazaa by the Australian equivalent of the RIAA.

Without question, the lawsuits against children, parents and grandparents don't help the music industry's public relations campaign. Nor do advertisements portraying download-happy consumers as criminals. It is wrong to grab this music without compensating artists. That's clear. What isn't clear is if suing thousands of people a year to prove a point is a punishment that fits the crime or a strategy worth pursuing.