The RIAA has made quite the business out of shaking down folks they accuse of uploading music. This has been covered at length before, but they basically send a "settlement offer" with each lawsuit. The offer says (more or less) "pay $3500 and this goes away." They also make it clear that just taking the case to court will likely cost more than $3500 in legal fees, suggesting it's not even worth fighting it -- which in some parts of the world sounds very much like extortion. Plenty of people have done the math and suggested that this little business of suing their biggest fans has turned into a nice little profit center for the industry. Digg is pointing to the case of one woman, a student at MIT, who is trying to talk to the RIAA after being offered just such a settlement. When she points out that she's a poor college student, the RIAA rep kindly suggests that perhaps dropping out of school will make it easier to pay off the fine. Now, from the story, it's unclear whether or not the student is guilty of uploading files. If she did it, then it's certainly her responsibility to face whatever punishment comes her way. However, on the spectrum of punishment fitting the crime, does it seem reasonable to ask a student to give up her college education for the sake of paying off the recording industry for the "crime" of helping others find music they might like?
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