The past year has been a busy one for Hilary Rosen, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She suffered a humiliating defeat at England's Oxford Union Debates, celebrated new agreements with Silicon Valley companies, and led her organization in the attack on file-sharing service Kazaa. Rosen and the RIAA have also attacked college kids and put pressure on universities to police their students.

Rosen claimed her group would now go after Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in its battle against file trading. Speaking at MIDEM (Marche International du Disque, de l'Edition Musicale) in Cannes, France on January 18, Rosen explained that, since telecommunications companies and ISPs provide their customers access to free song-swapping sites, they will be asked to compensate the music industry.

The RIAA feels that ISPs have been banking big bucks with increased Internet usage and, especially, broadband services, due to the proliferation of music files online. Rosen says, "We will hold ISPs more accountable. Let's face it, they know there's a lot of demand for broadband simply because of the availability of file sharing."

According to Rosen, the RIAA, on behalf of record labels, is considering the idea of imposing a fee on ISPs that could ultimately end up on the bills of customers who download audio files. This scenario prompted one industry observer to quip that Warners Music would then be taking money out of corporate owner AOL's pockets.

However, telecommunications companies and ISPs may not be so cooperative. Immediate reaction came from major European ISP Tiscali. The company's Mario Mariani considers the new idea hard to enforce, stating, "The peer-to-peer sites are impossible to fight. In any given network, peer-to-peer traffic is between 30% and 60% of total traffic. We technically cannot control such traffic."