RIAA University Campaign Sputters: Group Asked To Pay Up For Wasting School's Time

from the sticking-up-for-the-students dept

Lately, the RIAA has been on a high-profile campaign to get college students that the RIAA believes have been involved in illegal file trading to settle lawsuits against them at a “discount”. As part of this strategy, the company has tried to enlist universities to help them identify and turn over the names of offending students. But it’s heartening to see that some universities aren’t spinelessly acquiescing to the RIAA’s demands. The University of Wisconsin has told the RIAA that it has no obligation to rat its students out unless it’s compelled to do so by a subpoena. Meanwhile, the University of Nebraska has told the RIAA that it can’t help them identify many of the students accused of file trading. The school’s system changes a computer’s IP address each time its turned on, and it only keeps this information for month. After that month, the school has no way of associating an IP address with a computer or its user. The RIAA is angry about this, and a spokesman for the group criticized the university for not understanding “the need to retain these records”. This is a ridiculous complaint. The university doesn’t have a need to retain these records, and there’s no reason it should do so out of some obligation to the RIAA. If there were any doubt that the university is really irritated by the RIAA’s requests, it has requested that the RIAA pay the university to reimburse its expenses from dealing with this (good luck with that). If all of this back and forth sounds familiar, it’s because it very closely resembles what happened a few years ago when the RIAA tried getting ISPs to share data on their users. Fortunately, the ISPs stood up for their users and told the RIAA to get lost. It’s too bad the group didn’t seem to learn its lesson.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “RIAA University Campaign Sputters: Group Asked To Pay Up For Wasting School's Time”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jeremy (user link) says:

Nice to see the universities aren’t letting themselves be bullied; why wouldn’t universities want to protect their “customers”?! And why is the RIAA intent on pissing off the future earners/consumers of America?!
The network administrators should reply saying they would be happy to turn in students, but that they charge $5,000 per student for this “service”! As for the students, if they want to keep their privacy, they should use encrypted file sharing solutions; there’s lots of software that does this, an example being GigaTribe ( http://www.gigatribe.com ).

Tom says:

Re: Re:

You say, “And why is the RIAA intent on pissing off the future earners/consumers of America?!”. Yeah. The typical return on investment of a university degree is 3%, I make 1.5 times that in a money market fund. How do you correlate earners/consumers w/ college students? Unless of course you meant to only in age. lol Oh, and nice spam at the end.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Re: Hmmm....

And the price of NOT having a degree is far higher.

Everyone I know who has a well-paid job that they love has a degree. Does that mean that a degree is a ticket to a good job? Of course not. But not having one almost always means a lifetime of struggling to make ends meet.

But I only have a twenty-three year career in IT that has taken me half-way around the world and opened vistas (sorry) that I never thought possible… so what the heck do I know?

Connie says:

Re: Good for the University of Nebraska, and the Nebra

I am glad the universities are abiding by FERPA rules for its students. I am not so certain what RIAA is, but I read in the Omaha World-Herald this morning (Feb. 12, 2008) that our legislature is trying to stop the big bots from snapping up huge blocks of concert tickets within minutes of release, only to scalp them to hapless people who actually care for the live music. The musicians set the prices with their listeners in mind, and these crooks raising the prices without letting the musicians get the profit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Gigacrap.

Jesus christ, You want to make it harder for the RIAA to track you…. so you pay using your credit card information, which will then have some sort of identify able factor within their Database. You will then have to login with some credentials, easily tieing your username with your credit card details.

So when the RIAA finally take legal action against gigatribe as they have done with so many other P2P programs, and get the info that links you with your account, your screwed.

Rick says:

Re: Re: Re: Gigacrap.

“So when the RIAA finally take legal action against gigatribe as they have done with so many other P2P programs, and get the info that links you with your account, your screwed.”

Those were my thoughts exactly. Any “encryption” based “anonymous” service branding more security seems pretty fishy, to say the least.

Steve says:

Re: Re: Re: Gigacrap.

That’s one of the things something like this is for. Buy gift card in person (paying cash), use it to pay for your subscription, cut card in half and throw in the trash the next time you’re out. If the RIAA gets the list of which credit cards were used to pay for subscriptions, they’ll get the prepaid card’s number.

lar3ry says:

Funny thing, those requests

The IT departments are correct in saying that there currently is no need to retain records of IP addresses assigned. The fact that any of them do so for even as long as a month is interesting, but I can probably even think of a reason or two that an IT department may deem it necessary to do so.

Notice that I said that there may be a reason for an IT department to do so. This involves debugging their infrastructure and implementation of their own internal policies. Such retention has nothing to do with the RIAA, and even collecting it for a month exposes the IT departments to the requirements of having to disclose this information upon receipt of a subpoena. (Do they tell their students that this information is collected and retained? Is there informed consent, implied or otherwise? These are legal questions that come to mind.)

If the RIAA is criticizing these institutions for not retaining those records longer, then they should foot the bill for them doing so… and foot the bill not only for one or two high-profile universities where they can find a few dozen students to extort, but EVERY educational institution that offers Internet connections.

Of course, the bill should include adequate storage of this information, including encrypting the information (for privacy reasons, of course), the costs of adding this new “requirement” to their current ifrastructure, the costs of verifying the implementation (we can’t have them giving out the wrong addresses, can we?), the costs for the sysadmins to put these new systems into place, the costs for trial periods and feedback to ensure the system is working properly, the cost of maintaining and replacing the storage media, the cost of multi-layers of backup media for fail-safe operation, the costs for the staff to verify validity of any subpoenas received, the costs of retrieving the information once a valid subpoena is served, and a suitable mark-up to make it in the institution’s interest to actually go through with such stupidity that doesn’t otherwise benefit the institution in any way, shape, or form.

Now, multiply the cost of such compliance times the number of educational institutions (public and private, of course, and don’t forget the elementary, middle, and secondary schools while you are at it!), and you have a nice chunk of change that the RIAA needs to spend before they can, in good faith, say that these records need to be retained.

In other words… “RIAA, put your money where your mouth is. Your fifteen minutes is up. Please move along, now.”

(And congratulations to these institutions that are finally standing up to the big bully on the block!)

Matthew says:

Re: #5 data retention

I never understood why anyone would bother retaining data such as what IP address is given a computer for long anyway. I can see a short term need since you might need to find a PC that was virus infected or some such.Simple nature of DNS/DHCP servers. There’s no point is swamping your own network by setting a lease time of less than a day, and some schools benefit from spreading these out for a week or so.

So unless the RIAA is gooing to foot the bill for the infrastructure necessary for network neutraility (which I’m all for) they need to shut up.

Sheila Crowe (user link) says:

Re: data retention

I’m in charge of a university residential network. We keep such data for tracking purposes (mac addresses and IPs)…but not for the RIAA. Rather it is kept mainly for tracking other, real criminal allegations like child porn or cyber stalking. I would never turn over info on our users unless I am legally compelled to do so.

dazcon5 says:


Hopefully some of these kids that they are going after, wind up in congress and give these corporate groups the smack down they so richly deserve.
You are pissing off your target demographic, watch as they all start buying from independent music creators and your stock price tanks….(at least I hope…)

PT says:

What's the logic? Or is it just emotion?

It’s a good thing Youtube didn’t outright pull the videos. But I have to wonder about their rationale putting an 18+ label on it, except perhaps to appease outraged viewers that their little boy or girl might see breasts or a scrotum and ask their parent(s) awkward questions parents shouldn’t feel awkward answering.

Why is the human body, or parts of it, so repulsive to, what it seems like, many people that it requires an inappropriate label for young viewers? Is it really to avoid the “awkward” questions? Is it because seeing breasts, vagina, or penis could lead to sexual arousal? (There are people out there who are sexually aroused by feet/leg or hands. Shouldn’t those body parts be censored as well?) What is the logic, the rationale, from parents or sensitive people, that ANY sight of a breast, penis, vagina, buttocks, is psychologically scarring (that is how they seem take it)? Is this all because of religious dogma? Is it hampering public medical education?

You never know says:

It’s about time! How much longer can our institutes of higher learning keep loosing students to a greedy organization simply because they claim “Some one committed a crime and so every one has to pay!” How much incentive is it to pay to go to a school when it is very likely that some one will take away you school savings, and the school won’t even help defend it’s students!
Remember, settling out of court is not a guarantee that later you will not be sued again!
How good is it going to look with the disclaimer line in the school brochure
“ The school is not responsible for fraudulent claims it will assist in being brought agenst the attending students and faculty .” I wonder how the RIAA would like it if someone set up the add campaign “The Recording Industry is agenst education!” At least there is plenty of evidence to support the claim…

Overcast says:

Well, basically – here’s a list of people to NOT buy music from, I’m glad they posted this on their site..


They are a bunch of lying rats anyway..

Look at EMI’s stock


Make sure you open it up to 5 years. It had a high back in 2000 (at least over the last 5 years). Ummm, in 2000 MP3’s were EASY to get, with Napster just coming out you could get all you wanted.

Last 4 years, take a guess where their stock has been? Flat.. they aren’t losing any money – well, nor are they really making it either.

Of course – for some; such as myself – 2000/2001 is about the last time I bought a CD too. I admit to buying one… ONE single CD made by a member of the RIAA, it was for my daughter’s birthday. Otherwise, I’ll buy indie or just listen to the Radio.

With satellite radio – who needs CD’s? Maybe the RIAA should sue XM/Sirrus too.

Eric says:

Re: Who needs CDs?

Kind of offtopic, but since it’s so easy to take mp3s with you, why would anyone listen to the radio, XM/Sirius or otherwise? No DJ in the world is going to play the mix of music I want to hear — and they’d go broke if they did. We can each be our own DJ with mp3 and similar technology, though — isn’t that the way it should be?

Phil Smith says:

Re: Re: Who needs CDs?

How do you get NEW music? Granted most of the radio stations play the same crappy tracks, (newer does NOT equate to “good”) but the right radio stations, will play good music that is not on the RIAA’s play list. That is the reason I listen to the radio, then I buy the CDs so I can listen to that music when I want, where I want, and on the equipment I want.

Whenever possible, I purchase my CDs at a show by the artist or group in question.

Tracker1 (user link) says:

Re: CDs

Personally, I’ve bought maybe 6-10 CDs since the Napster take down… When Napster was up, I was buying 4-6 cd’s a week, mainly because I wanted the whole thing, and I would usually rip to higher quality… I mainly listened on my computer then, and now. I do have an iPod, but won’t buy DRM’d music… I don’t let DRM’d games in my house even (as much as I’d like to play Quake 4 and others)… I will never buy another Sony product in my life. I figure eventually they will figure it out.

glitch says:

it isn't just RIAA

an underlying problem is ISP’s and telcos keeping logs.
Why ??? i pay a flat fee for both..unlimited useage..24/7 stuff..and it has been years since I have recieved a bill itemizing calls and/or system useage. i believe the most these companies are required to provide are copies of the bills sent to their customers.

Another Mike says:

I handle network security for a college. I’ve been talking to some of the policy makers who have been talking to legal council regarding some of these issues and, of course, log retention comes up. Keeping logs is rather important, especially when you have a large network with a good percentage of people inside the gates who a) get whacked by malware or b) might be prone to doing something stupid. Log retention is, of course, helpful in tracking down offenders – anyone with a network access control solution is essentially doing the same thing, it’s logging a little more and usually keeping it in a DB for a longer time. There are reasons to keep a shorter retention policy – namely, so that when approached by people with subpoenas, we can just say, “sorry, don’t have it.” However, as a security person, I like logs. If something gets owned, I want to have some history there – sometimes correlation is the only way to paint the complete picture as to what has happened.

One interesting note, however, is that we have received complaints from the RIAA for file sharing violations that point to IP addresses that live in subnets on our network that have never existed! Whole subnets that never existed, yet the RIAA seems to think there was sharing going on from there. They give dates and times of “violations” that could never have possibly happened. Ever.

To me, this calls into question the validity of ALL of their data. Every piece of it. If they got it that wrong once, when do they get it right?

|333173|3|_||3 says:

non-existant subnets

These are probaly caused by people spoofing thier IP address to show a made-up address which never existed, and using a packet sniffer to get he data. this would work if you are on a fibre/cable line, and I have in fact heard of a person being successfully sued for doing this (on the legitimate grounds that he was not paying for his useage, but rather using up the download limit of others on his line).

Weasel (user link) says:

Re: non-existant subnets

Don’t be silly.. Such packets would be dropped by the gateway, having non-existent source addresses. You could use a packet sniffer all you like, but unless ALL points (spoofed source as well as the target) are within the same network segment, you won’t see a single reply to your spoofed packets. The router would see to that.

You can try though.. 🙂

Former College Downloader says:

Put the Students in Jail

I love how one of the problems with trying to criminalize and go after downloaders is that most downloaders are college and university students. (I don’t have hard data on that, I’m sorry. And I suppose I should restrict that to the U.S. But in my experience, both when I was in college and now, most Americans do not have access to the broadband internet access necessary to really download lots of stuff. Whereas most college and university students do.)

And I think this is a much harder demographic for the RIAA to go after. Because essentially they’re trying to say that the majority of students in our institutions of higher learning are criminals~ whoops. That might not bode well for the country.

Not Naieve says:

Re: Put the Students in Jail

Do you really think that most American’s don’t have the broadband access to download that much???? Over half the households in the US have a broadband connection. Even with a 768kps connection, its not hard to download a LOT! I’m on a standard cable connection and have no problems transferring 40+gigs. When I’m on my campus, certain downloads can be faster but those normally come from other institutions on the Abilene network. The reason that more college students do it is because they have the time. IMHO.

anti-riaa thug says:

riaa methodology

The way the RIAA is attacking its problems (which as we all know are those of changing business models) reminds me of the Blackadder episode where Rowan Atkinson looks for a witch to cure his supposed homosexuality:

Witch: “Kill your lover.”
Atkinson: “Rather not, somewhat attached.”

Witch: “Kill yourself!”
Atkinson: “Again, no, attached.”

Witch: “Then kill everyone else in the whole world!”

nastyguy says:

Always new laws ...

Any law that does not derive from the will of God, invariably tries to favour one group of persons over another. Therefore, it is unlawful to introduce new laws that do not derive from the will of Allah. Any such law may not be abided, and the Prophet insists that we must take up arms and restore the will of Allah.

TCPIP says:

Re: Could someone help me on this...

If you mean that you are actively getting a connection from different routers then, yes, more than likely you will have a different IP Address.

Now, does it matter? No, because they will have the address of the router your are connected to. Most home routers don’t keep log information for than 24 hours unless you configure them to do something else.

So, what you are really doing is making it look like someone else is downloading the stuff?

That’s nice of you. What a good, honorable person you are to compromise a stranger like that.

Good job!

anon (user link) says:

Could someone help me on this

Mike, your ip will change when you connect your laptop to a new wireless network.

The only thing that will remain the same, and can be linked to you between all the networks is your network cards mac address, which can also be changed with a little bit of know-how.

All people will see when your computer connects to a website, a p2p service, etc, is the ip address of the router you are connected to.

Ha Ha says:


It would be nice to actually hear some valid argument as to why the RIAA should not protect these artists.

Indeed, they are using some rapacious techniques, but that’s their job. They’re lawyers. They are problem solvers. Their problem is that people are getting free music. This is a legal issue.

There is no moral issue about what they are doing, only that you seem to see them as some evil corporation with carte blanche to go after violators.

Just because it is not popular to tell your little buddies to stop downloading free stuff doesn’t mean these people are evil.

Are there other moral issues surrounding this issue? Absolutely! I bought a CD ten years and have lost it. Do I still own the license to have in my posession those songs? There is nothing in the CD case about this.

Finally, Copyright Law are a collection of laws that protect YOU. For all of you who love music so much one of you is going to be a songwriter one day.

Do you want some dumbass taking your song for nothing? Please don’t give the “I’m an artist and I don’t care” routine. That’s BS and you know it.

The only way to make the RIAA go away is to stop breaking the law…

In the meantime, stop whining like spoiled little children.

Rosie says:

Re: Business

The RIAA is “doing” their job, albeit in a spoiled child sort of way. Their job is to protect the artists and insure that they make money from their songs.

But perhaps (and this is just a theory) we have reached the economic turning point, where music artists will be paid in accordance to what they contribute to society. Which is much, much less than what they are making today, especially for some of the no-talent assclowns like Britney.

I’m not knocking musicians, I happen to be one, but compared with many other professions, it is one that the general society doesn’t need to pay billions for. Perhaps with the advent of file sharing, we have started to pay them what they are worth.

Now if only the same would happen with professional sports players, lawyers and teachers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Business

Rosie you are wrong too!

The RIAA is NOT protecting the artist. They are working ONLY for the companies that produce recordings.

Artists get screwed by RIAA big time.
They get only a few cents(!) per sold CD.
Real Artists could make much much more money if they would eliminate the obsolete RIAA middlemen in our digital age!

Laer says:

Re: Business

“Do you want some dumbass taking your song for nothing? Please don’t give the “I’m an artist and I don’t care” routine. That’s BS and you know it.” ~ Ha Ha

If you’re saying I don’t want someone claiming that music I wrote was written by them, then you’re right. However, I am willing to let people share my music and I’ve made that fact explicit through Creative Commons licensing, which is linked directly to my downloads. The fact that I post all of my music online this way proves that you’re the one spouting BS.

It’s a three-pronged approach: there’s a legal license for your lawyer, a machine-readable license identifying the file as “shareable” to your browser, and a version written in VERY SIMPLE ENGLISH for YOU!
Here it is, pal:
You must be an RIAA shill.

JBJO says:

Re: Business

When was the last time you actually looked over some of the current laws and laws that have been submitted? copyright was meant to be used for 7 years with a 7 year extention. now it is 70 years with a 70 year extention… which means that for the life of my father, myself and my son and part of his son’s life none of the music or works will ever make it to a place that still exist called “PUBLIC DOMAIN” These people and the so-called artist have made millions ultilizing such works from “PUBLIC DOMAIN” by sampling – without having to pay any money to the creator. All those 1.00 movies in wal-mart and such – are all public domain movies and are free for you to sale or distribute and even market for yourself – but you cant do it from the copy protected DVD that sony or columbia or any other evil enitity has put a copy protection on, thus making it illegal to copy from the DVD a PUBLIC DOMAIN file that is free and accessible to the public. Which means that if the public domain files slowly disappear it will be illegal to access them because they are wrapped up in DRM or ARCoss or puppetlock or whatever other scheme they place out there.

theashesstir says:

Re: Business

That’s a lot of garbage. Copyright law does not protect the interests of the consumer, nor the artist as such. It protects the hegemony of the massive corporate infrastructures that comprise big media.
Intellectual property as we know it arose with the industrial revolution and now, at the dawn of the information age – amidst the birthpangs and progressive adaption of our episteme to this new paradigm – simply put…

According to the same ground rules of capitalism that once fostered the rise of big media… those corporate entities are no longer viable. I’m not particularly pro-private-enterprise. But Free Market economics is founded on filling niches with a product or service, on adaptation and on competition. Darwinism applied in the market.

The infrastructure for the distribution and spread of media has simply reached a point where intellectual property as we knew it is no longer viable. Artists and creative entities will still have sufficient incentive to produce and drive progress forward… the distribution networks however, are no longer as such where they can viably be mediated controlled and enunciated by one entity.

The coming age will be one of organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The GNU General Public Lisence, Open Source, and Copy-Left.

I have not bought more than two CDs in over 10 years. I do maintain a library of over 150GB of downloaded music and 300GB of Film & TV also downloaded. I don’t particularly believe in the sanctity of copyright, still go to concerts on a regular basis and support the artists i love through channels where the money goes more directly to those artists.. and have no quoms whatsoever, no simpathy, and no-holds barred in my demeanor towards big media.

Fuck ’em, it’s the beginning of the end for them. They’re a cut throat entity protecting their interests, and their frivolous and inept excuse for adaptation to new and emergent technological paradigms will be there demise. They wouldn’t particularly care about my interests… and theirs no longer coinside with my own. They will fade now.

SRLY says:


…many P2Pers offer public wireless VLANed so it can’t see the rest of the LAN.

This gives plausible deniability.

“I run an open network. I have no idea who downloaded all that copyrighted music. Too bad, so sad, take your lawsuit and shove it up your ass.”

Also, the guy could be using networks such as coffee shop hotspots, internet cafes, bookstores, libraries, etc.

Anyway, here’s what I wanted to add to the overall discussion:


Jon says:

Wonder what they'd do if they sued me?

I’m like the relatively poor and benevolent version of OJ Simpson. I have no (known) income, no 9-to-5 job, haven’t had one in 18 years. My bank account has $40 in it. (I like cash, don’t trust banks much). I own no property or vehicle, and have no wages or property that can be seized. (Ironically, despite these facts, my credit rating score is around 750, because I also have no debt.) If they sued me, and won, about the only thing that could do to me is lower my credit score, which wouldn’t bother me; I’d probably not even notice.

I remember when a collection agency called me about my student loan, which I had defaulted on (and which I have since paid off, voluntarily). They first tried to threaten me, and I let the guy blather on for a while before I told him the deal: no income, no property or assets, nothing to garnish, nothing to seize. A man who has nothing also has nothing to lose, nothing anyone can take. Once he realized I held all the cards and the only way he was going to get money from me was if I decided to participate in the process voluntarily, he became a lot friendlier. We worked out a nice payment schedule and I paid it off, not because he threatened me (because the threats were meaningless to me), but because I wanted to pay off that debt, for the good of future generations of students.

It’s interesting, the freedom that owning nothing gives a person. There’s really nothing quite like it. It’s like a shield I have that can’t be taken away from me. I’m basically invulnerable to civil suits because, win or lose, I still have nothing anyone can take from me, except a credit score that’s irrelevant to me.

Obbop says:


UnAmerican anti-corporation thugs. You likely advocate overthrowing the government and whine about our manly GW Bush who knows how to stand up to terrorists such as you.

Corporations made America great and it is your duty to obey.

You should know how meaningless you are as an individual. Obey your betters worthless scum. Much better minds than yours are leading us and our beloved institutions.

Failing to follow the rules makes you no better than a terrorist.

You should all be rounded up and charged with treason.

I know that none of you are conservative Republicans. Your left-wing liberal Democratic UnAmerican leanings are obvious.

The RIAA with the backing of Congress will ensure you thieves are rounded up and dealt with.

America and its leaders and our corporations… love it or leave it you terroristic Communist-like filth.

NightFlight says:


Hey, is this guy for real or just trying to get our goat? It just can’t possibly be a real civilized attitude. I’m Canadian so I don’t really have a frame of reference for that kind of thing. I’m not saying our government hasn’t done it’s own share of browbeating it’s public, but man…. that posting is pure masochism.


Eric H says:



I’m sure the majority of the world would agree.

Anonymous Coward says:


Danke Obbob fuer diese wichtige Informationen.

Bitte vergessen Sie nicht das es wir deutschen, die japanischen, und französischen Firmen sind die Ihre RIAA zu dem machen was sie ist!
Bitte beachten Sie weiterhin, das die einzige amerikanische Firma ebenfalls von einem Kanadier geleitet wird.

So much for the point “unamerican” “communist-like filth” and “Corporations made America great and it is your duty to obey.”

Japan and Germany did win over america with their secret weapon named RIAA in the end!
Me loves RIAAmusic buying americans!
Danke schoen liebe Amerikaner das ihr auch weiterhin deutsch japanische Tontraeger kauft!


fucya says:


that, is the most retarded thing i’ve ever heard in my life~ seriously~ round up every1 who breaks the law~ put them in prison~ belittle them~ make them want to choose to do labor for pennies~ glad you can sleep at night you rich POS dirtbag~ just because you have the money to throw at the courts to get out of your troubles makes you no more/less of a man than I. The artist does not make money off selling records~ the record lable does~ if those lazy ass rappers would go around performing like they should, you wouldnt hear them bitching about money problems~ heres my suggestion to you~ quit watching propaghandous news stations~ read up on the facts~ and rethink the bs you are saying.

Dreddsnik says:


” It would be nice to actually hear some valid argument as to why the RIAA should not protect these artists. ”

They’re not protecting any artists.
They’re protecting the rights holders, which are the
Labels, not the artists. The Labels pay the artists,
or mostly .. not …


The idea that the Artist = Copyright holder is a myth
perpetuated by the industry and pushed by the
media. The artists don’t get paid because the labels
refuse to pay them.

” Indeed, they are using some rapacious techniques, but that’s their job. They’re lawyers. They are problem solvers. Their problem is that people are getting free music. This is a legal issue. ”

They always have been able to.
At least, as long as there has been recordable tape :).
They tried to elimimate that too, Radio as well.
Both were supposed to be the death of the industry.
Both created enormous profit opportunites for them.
This is the same old song.
A download simply does not equal a lost sale.
There is absolutely NO proof that if the person had not
downloaded, they would have bought.
2 independent studies bear this out ( google oberholz/strumpf ).
Downloading has ZERO effect on sales.

A legal issue, yes .. but not in the way you imply.
Time for the law to change.

” Just because it is not popular to tell your little buddies to stop downloading free stuff doesn’t mean these people are evil. ”

Just because they’re downloading free stuff doesn’t
mean they are not allowed to.
Lots of creative commons and public domain stuff out
on P2P networks.
Significant .. Legal .. Uses.

” Are there other moral issues surrounding this issue? Absolutely! ”

Contracts that = indentured servirtude,
Legal, but immoral.

Defrauding artists out of their royalties = Seems pretty imooral to me.

playing the ‘Morality card’ when defending the record industry is pretty specious. At best, you look like a hypocrite .. at worst, a fool.

” Finally, Copyright Law are a collection of laws that protect YOU. ”

They now shore up a cartel.
They benefit a few large corporations.
The ‘Limited Monopoly’ that they were designed to
create has become a fortress for a few wealthy rights
holders that have managed to use our legislature to
virtually eliminate the ‘limits’ to their monopolistic control.

” Finally, Copyright Law are a collection of laws that protect YOU. For all of you who love music so much one of you is going to be a songwriter one day.

Do you want some dumbass taking your song for nothing? Please don’t give the “I’m an artist and I don’t care” routine. That’s BS and you know it. ”

I will give you that.
I AM an artist and I don’t care.
Not BS, it’s true.
there are MANY like me, and YOU know it.

We write, record, and post our stuff for free at places
like DMUSIC.com and other sites that ENCOURAGE
creative commons.
That’s really what it’s all about you know.
We don’t need the labels, as long as the internet remains
open to ALL.
Eliminate free P2P and we lose our distribution channels.
If the industry owns all P2P outlets, then it’s business
as usual, and independents locked out .. again.
You KNOW this is true.

” The only way to make the RIAA go away is to stop breaking the law…

In the meantime, stop whining like spoiled little children. ”

Nope ..
Boycott them into obscurity is a better way.

Stop astroturfing.

Bloppo says:

Unfair Practices

“It would be nice to actually hear some valid argument as to why the RIAA should not protect these artists.”

The entertainment industry is set up so that many earning their income continue to receive renumeration long after initially being paid for their work.

Let’s extend that type of earning to all workers.

The folks that built the car you are driving… they were paid for an hour’s work and never recieved ANY more pay for their efforts.

Well, let’s change that.

When the car is sold as used the buyer has to write a check to the AWFI (Auto Workers Fairness Institute). Since the new owner is receiving benefit from those workers efforts the fee will be distributed among the workers who built the car.

Every time the car is sold and a new owner obtains benefit, money is paid to those workers.

Buy food at the store? Well, the low-paid near-slave migrant workers in the fields who were paid but ONCE for their efforts will receive more money as you obtain benefit from their efforts.

Hey!!!!!! If the residuals form of payment is good for one “special” class of person it is good for all.

Doing so would assist in leveling out the incredibly HUGE differences in income within the USA wherein a few percentage of the people own around 85-percent of the national wealth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Artists don't make money from records anyway.

Here’s the profit model for the average band or recording artist.

Release a record.
Get radio play => small income
Sell record => small income
Distribute free music (in some cases) => no income

What all of this amounts to is advertisment for the band. People like the band, so people pay between $0-500 per ticket, but almost always the venue foots the bill. => Largest portion of income.

From record sales, the recording studio, distributors, stores and various middle men all see more profit than the artist.

An artist who wants to make money will get their music out there any way they can as advertisment for their live shows.

If you want to show your support for a store, middlemen, record labels, distributors, and to a very small extent the artist, buy the cd.

If you want to show support for the artist go to their show.

Running with Foxes says:

Re: Artists don't make money from records anyway.

“If you want to show support for the artist go to their show.”

Indeed… Unlike the RIAA, no artist is in this business for the money alone: they all need personal, emotional support from real audience.

The recording industry makes us all forget what music is all about: not data bits, copyright nor lawyers. Music is what musicians do for those who care to listen.

Go ahead, show that you care!

Rob says:


I am surprised that the FERPA rules haven’t blocked such requests. Basically anything that can identify a student’s personal information has a set of rules that Universities have an obligation to protect. By giving out identifying information to a non-government agency without following legal precedence and subpoena Universities may be opening themselves up to a student lawsuit. Just an angle I haven’t seen yet.

Mark says:


Pardon, it was ASCAP.
from 2020 hindsight;

Someone’s suing, lord, kumbaya…. It’s old news, but telling: 8-23-96: Wall Street Journal: ASCAP extorts money (well, okay, it’s technically legal) from Girl Scouts so they can sing around the campfire.

“They buy paper, twine and glue for their crafts — they can pay for the music, too,” says John Lo Frumento, Ascap’s chief operating officer. If offenders keep singing without paying, he says, “we will sue them if necessary.” No more “Edelweiss” free of charge. No more “This Land Is Your Land.” An Ascap spokesman says “Kumbaya” isn’t on its list, but “God Bless America” is.

8/26/96: ASCAP backpeddles.

ASCAP has never sought, nor was it ever its intention, to license Girl Scouts singing around a campfire. ASCAP has never brought nor threatened to bring suit against the Girl Scouts. Any reports to the contrary are absolutely false. Yes, but wasn’t that quote above from ASCAP’s COO?

8/28/96 Wall Street Story about ASCAP’s reversal:

In a contrite statement Monday, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers said it has “never sought, nor was it ever its intention, to license Girl Scouts singing around the campfire.” The society also said it will reimburse 16 girl scout councils that did pay fees this summer ranging from $77 to $257 for the right to sing songs.

Will says:

RIAA helping musicians

Give me a freaking break. Do you really think the RIAA is suing people to help their musicians? Thats pretty funny

Like a previously mentioned post. A VERY small amount of money from record sales goes to the actual musicians and unless they are one of their absolutely top selling acts..

Musicians even pay a lot of the bills for their music videos / promotions etc… themselves. Most of their money comes from their shows and appearances. Why do you think there has been a small growing movement by artist to go independent? Yeah their sales maybe a LOT less because of distribution power but they are actually making MORE money.

Where does all the money the RIAA uses go? How many songs on the radio lately have you heard that you have told yourself sounds like absolutely crap.

Instead of improving their company and business model they just decide to sue their customers.

mdawg says:

Open Source Artistic (&Music) License

Has anyone (musicians/artists) thought of open sourcing an artistiic license? Something like “sure you can play/record/arrange/add to my music or art — for free, as long as you give me a little credit (mention my name) and let others do the same and give it back to everyone”. Get the middlemen out of the mix…

If such a thing exists point me to it…

brandon (user link) says:

RIAA free and loving it

The fact that these rants exist only reflects that time and attention are still being paid to the RIAA and everything they represent. Here is a novel idea: start your own non-profit record label with the goal of sharing music. Make music if you want music. If you buy music, steal music, use anything distributed by the RIAA- you are part of the problem. Apparently many people like to biatch about the well known asshats which are the RIAA; but it probably ends when that catchy tune addicts them with the hooks of its psychological technology. I am a trained recording engineer who threw away a career because of the realization of what that industry it actually was. A lie. These days I protest the RIAA by consciously being aware of where my money goes. This is how you vote for a company or organization, you give money to it, or you don’t. Who cares who they sue if you don’t participate, it will send an actual message that hits them in the only way they will hurt, the pocket.

And don’t forget to support your local artists!! The art is what it is about!

random person says:

at least a few stand up for our rights

some universities just agreed to hand out the RIAA’s letters. I don’t illegally download music, but it annoys me that the some universities are willing to bow to the RIAA’s demands. In case your wondering, yes my university bowed to the demand of the RIAA. It is disquieting how much ‘power’ they seem to have. I wonder if there is any legal way to challenge this.

pj says:

Oh I love being in .at

I run a small ISP here in Austria, and we only have true Flat-Rates. And here it is actually against the law to retain IP Information at all unless you need it for billing. So since we only have Flat-Rates, I am not even allowed to store that info, not even for a week. We have lease times of a day, beyond that, there is no info.
Good luck RIA ( put Nation in here) messing with people here.

This is just one of the reasons why strict Data-Privacy Rules are a godsend!

Ed Gehringer (user link) says:

Not keeping records is bad!

“The school’s system changes a computer’s IP address each time its turned on, and it only keeps this information for month. After that month, the school has no way of associating an IP address with a computer or its user.”

This is the NRA approach to record-keeping: No records, no hassle. Unfortunately, just like records of who has purchased guns, records of who did what on a computer holds legitimate interest for law enforcement. I do not want to defend the RIAA, which is engaged in over-the-top tactics in support of an obsolescent business model. But students do occasionally do really criminal things on computers (writing malware being one high-profile example), and if the university shreds its records to frustrate the RIAA, it will also protect anti-social activities that have a serious impact on others.

BellZBubba says:

Records Keeping.

I personally encourage the RIAA to announce their intent to obtain records from any ISP, college or otherwise. And that should start the BILLING process for such record keeping. [If you didn’t already have records – START. If you did have records, remember that you must expend resources to retrieve them.]

Yes, there are students who break the ‘law’, and when it is PROVEN IN COURT that they have done so, some punishment should follow.

But because each ISP must spend money to collect and store this information, like any other “product” they should be paid for it. They are entitled to a “handling fee” as well. And they are certainly free to determine that fee. [I think $1.50 per record is fair … see below.]

So, let the RIAA pay for the records they need to prosecute. But they must pay for ALL the records, for ALL the users – not just those they want to attack.

It would be like buying a CD … you can’t get just one good song (i.e. a case you may win), you have to buy the whole thing, and pay for all the crap data (i.e. all the innocent people) you don’t really want.

So since the average price for a CD is somewhere above the $15 mark, and they contain maybe 10 songs (about $1.50 per song), a price of $1.50 PER ISP RECORD would be fair (plus shipping and handling of course).

At a small college that would be about (500 students) x (100 web hits per day) x (30 days per month) x ($1.50 per record) = $2,250,000.00 per month from the RIAA — for a small college’s records.

Did the cost of my next tuition just go down !!!

Of course my math is just a guess to make the example.

If ISP’s (colleges or otherwise) would demand payment before providing data, the RIAA would have to back off.

But let’s face it … the best way is to get non-RIAA affiliated music anyway …

JBJO says:


The reason the riaa are targeting colleges because they can file many lawsuits at one place at one time. They can litterlly clean up on settlements doing one stop. A while back the court ordered that they had to file the lawsuits in the court where the so called infringement is being done. If you were them would you file 100 lawsuits in 100 different county courthouses or would you file 100 different lawsuits in one courthouse? Also they have a better chance that the students will have someone or some way to pay the fine and quickly then someone such as a single mom with kids or a grandparent with a mac computer that doesnt have file sharing capibilities.

they are so smart that they appear stupid at times…

SleepyOne says:

Silly RIAA

Its already been said but I’m going to reiterate. It is a good thing that colleges aren’t ratting out students who have a mind of there own, to do there own thing and be that takes courage and be downed by the RIAA is just idiocy. Students going out and making there music is awesome. But if it sounds too similar and they come looking for you with a lawsuit because of it is just downright stupid. More or less students didn’t think at the time that it sounded like something else or even close to something else. Sounded good to them so they recorded it and either produced it or kept to themselves. And the RIAA is gonna try and find the ones who did? I don’t think so…

Bill Nesbitt says:


Having dealt with ASCAP and the RIAA in business, I am convinced that they are pursuing all these lawsuits only to insure their own continued existence. These organizations are but bureaucratic blobs that exist only for their own existence. Little to they help the artist or performer.

It is refreshing to hear of a university that does not kowtow to the RIAA or ASCAP.

I guess the public library is the next target as it lets people read copyrighted material without paying for it!

Duane says:

Stop the little thieves NOW and make it better for

Downloading copyright music without paying for it is illegal. Always has been. Always will be. If any of these little cretins were making a living off of their music, you can bet they would want somebody fighting to uphold their copyrights and ability to earn money off the blood, sweat and tears of their creative efforts. Stop making this about “the man” and corporate America–it’s about shoplifting, pure and simple. If you walk out of a Walmart with a CD, it’s the same thing. Would you be guilty of stealing $20 (the price of the CD?) or $1 (the price of the plastic and paper)? Give artists their due. And give the shoplifters their come-uppance. They should have done this a long time ago. Maybe it’s time the shoplifters get hit in the wallet, instead of the artists. Maybe FINALLY this organization can slap the nonsensical point of view of this generation (music should be free, dude) right out of their silly heads. Kudos to RIAA. Long live the RIAA.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Wrong in so many ways...

We’ve heard this tired old argument before, and to quote Blackadder, it’s “absolutely brimming over with wrongability”

Downloading is NOT theft.

Downloading is NOT shoplifting.

Not every download is a lost sale.

And there is plenty of free music out there that is completely legal.

And before you you dismiss me as a “free music fanboi”, I am an IT Professional in my mid-forties. I don’t do P2P, I don’t share music, and I rarely, if ever, download.

The problem is not that the RIAA are inherently wrong, but they are trying to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut and alienating their next generation of customers. This does not make business sense, and it is a move that will cost them big-time as the world ignores them into oblivion.

Oh, and the RIAA told me to tell you that your check for one shilling is in the mail.

Ian says:

RIAA lawsuits should be fought

I would love for the RIAA to sue me for downloading music…

Let’s look at it this way: I download music illegally. However, I do not share my music. According to the RIAA, this is stealing. Fine.

Let’s say I stop downloading music, but instead do what id used to do in middle school, and create mix tapes off of the radio, and onto casettes. From there, I burn them onto CD’s, and then upload them to my computer, for my own enjoyment, not for sharing or selling. Am I still a pirate?

Second point: Let’s say the RIAA sues me over downloading an album from one artist, let’s say Usher (which I haven’t done, I actually bought his). Is Usher suing me, or the RIAA? If it is truly intellectual property theft, whose intellectual property am I stealing? If it belongs to Usher and his writers/producers, does the RIAA directly represent them? If not, who are they to sue in their stead?

Third point: Let’s say I buy either a CD or a CD from itunes. If I paid for it, isn’t it mine, the same way my house and car are mine? If so, doesn’t my ownership of said property allow me to loan it to my friends/family, the same way I can loan my car or house to a buddy? I would love to know where the line is drawn.

Rapidshare (user link) says:


I run a small ISP here in Austria, and we only have true Flat-Rates. And here it is actually against the law to retain IP Information at all unless you need it for billing. So since we only have Flat-Rates, I am not even allowed to store that info, not even for a week. We have lease times of a day, beyond that, there is no info.
Good luck RIA ( put Nation in here) messing with people here.

This is just one of the reasons why strict Data-Privacy Rules are a godsend!

So you can find the information on it on my search resource

Rapidshare (user link) says:


I run a small ISP here in Austria, and we only have true Flat-Rates. And here it is actually against the law to retain IP Information at all unless you need it for billing. So since we only have Flat-Rates, I am not even allowed to store that info, not even for a week. We have lease times of a day, beyond that, there is no info.
Good luck RIA ( put Nation in here) messing with people here.

This is just one of the reasons why strict Data-Privacy Rules are a godsend!

So you can find the information on it on my search resource

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...