Watchdog group the Electronic Frontier Foundation yesterday (July 1) unveiled its campaign in support of legitimate peer-to-peer file sharing.

Watchdog group the Electronic Frontier Foundation yesterday (July 1) unveiled its campaign in support of legitimate peer-to-peer file sharing. EFF's "Let the Music Play" program began as a riposte to the Recording Industry Association of America's announcement that it intends to file thousands of lawsuits against individuals as part of its anti-piracy activities.

"Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush," said EFF senior staff attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Congress needs to spend less time listening to record industry lobbyists and more time listening to the more than 60 million Americans who use file-sharing software today."

The EFF is placing advertisements explaining its position in publications including Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World and PC Gamer. The ad copy alludes to the RIAA's recent lawsuits against university students, referring to the labels as "bullies," and proposes that consumers are tired of being treated like criminals.

EFF executive director Shari Steele said it would be more productive for the music industry and the government to consider completely different courses of action. "Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online," Steele said. "Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal."

The Web site part of EFF's campaign provides background information, technical details and assistance to consumers who wish to write members of Congress on the topic.

It also explains "how not to get sued by the RIAA for file-sharing," basically by not keeping potentially infringing files in a computer's shared folder or by disabling the uploading features on P2P applications.