P2P United, a newly formed US industry trade association, said it will pay the $2,000 fine imposed on 12-year-old Brianna LaHara by the recording industry for illegally downloading music from the Internet.
The fine was the result of a settlement reached Monday between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the single mother of the girl.
The RIAA has filed 261 lawsuits against music enthusiasts who, the group alleges, have uploaded more than 1,000 files using online music-sharing services such as Kazaa and Grokster. This was the first settlement the group has reached to date.
But the executive director of P2P United said the RIAA should pick on someone its own size, not a little girl who downloaded songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands."
The RIAA couldn't be reached for comment.
"We don't condone copyright infringement, but it's time for the RIAA's winged monkeys to fly back to the castle and leave the munchkins alone," Adam Eisgrau, executive director of Washington-based P2P United, said in a statement. P2P United consists of six of the largest file-sharing Web sites, including Grogster, StreamCast Networks and BearShare.
Eisgrau said there are legal and policy questions that need to be addressed, but those debates should take place in courts of law and the halls of Congress.
He also called on the RIAA to abandon its campaign and stop going after children and grandparents -- one RIAA target was a 71-year-old grandfather -- because it fears technology and is unable to embrace it.
Eisgrau said P2P United took its stance to draw the attention of policy makers and the public to this situation. He also noted that while his group was able to help in this particular situation, it can't and won't be able to do so again.