The recording industry is doing just that by launching hundreds of lawsuits against consumers who download music for free, as Wharton Legal Studies professor G. Richard Snell suggests in his recent Knowledge@Wharton article.

The industry is shooting itself in the foot here. Snell contends that the recording industry's attack against online distributors like Napster was legitimate -- sue the online distribution company, not the downloader. But to sue the individuals downloading the music, the same consumers who purchase its products, is more likely to hurt business than send consumers in droves to purchase CDs.

It could, perhaps, drive more consumers to use paid-for services like iTunes and the recently revived Napster.