Chris Brown’s new album has been repeatedly delayed, so when two tracks leaked on YouTube, they stirred up considerable interest. The RIAA appears to have stepped in on behalf of Brown’s label, contacting YouTube to take down the audio tracks for ‘New Flame’ and ‘Die It For You’, which the site quickly did. However, TorrentFreak reports that the RIAA has taken the unusual step of pursuing the matter further, going to court to get a subpoena forcing YouTube to reveal the uploaders’ personal details – IP addresses and emails. “This information will only be used for the purposes of protecting the rights granted to our members, the sound recording copyright owners,” claimed the RIAA’s filing, which was granted by the Distict Court for the Northern District of California. YouTube has to provide the details by 15 April, unless it decides to appeal. The issue here is over pre-release tracks – as in previous cases of this nature on filesharing services, the rightsholder assumption of criminality is higher because tracks have been leaked before they go on sale. That’s why TorrentFreak’s suggestion that “To many, uploading a music video of their favorite artist seems to be a relatively harmless act” doesn’t really apply in this case.

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