Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




RIAA, Students Settle

from the that's-not-quite-as-much-as-they-were-talking-about... dept

So, it appears that the four students accused of operating file sharing systems have settled with the RIAA, agreeing to pay fines in the $12,000 to $17,500 range for their actions. That's certainly a lot less than the ridiculous $150,000 or so per song the RIAA had originally wanted. However, I still wonder what sort of message this sends. In these cases, it's questionable if the students were really doing anything wrong at all. They were just offering up tools that would let people see what other students had made available on their networks. It was just a search tool, and nothing more. And, of course, last week, we learned that such tools are legal. While the RIAA will complain that they didn't get enough out of these students, they did scare them into settling, which is really too bad. They may now use these "settlements" to scare other students who aren't doing anything wrong either.

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  • identicon
    rax, 2 May 2003 @ 6:41am

    Who are they really got sued?

    I can tell you right now that the average student doesn't have 12,000 to $17,500 to spend on college, much less to pay RIAA as a settlement. That makes me wonder who is really footing the bill (mom and dad??)

    Intimidation tactics like these will garner little support for RIAA's cause. It's only a matter of time before people get pissed off enough to launch a full scale movement against them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe, 2 May 2003 @ 11:06am

    Now I'm angry

    I've kept an eye on the latest news with the RIAA and its efforts to make more money than they deserve, but it's not until this story that I am really infuriated by the whole situation. Prior to this, I don't recall seeing any stories where consumers had to pay up in this manner. Did I miss something, or is this really the first?

    Today is payday for me, but I'm certainly not wasting my money on their overpriced garbage. It's time to start supporting the local artists. Many of them realize that free music downloads = free publicity.

    Would the Dave Matthews Band have sold out so many shows if their tapes hadn't been passed around for free among the college crowds? My guess is 'no'.

    Would N' Sync have been as popular if they hadn't been hand crafted and force fed to the pre-teen market? Again, I'm guessing 'no'.

    These are all old arguments, I know.. But I'm just pissed off. </rant>

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Terry James, 30 Jun 2003 @ 11:49pm

    RIAA=R.I.C.O.

    Moms and dads, students who share music, and every recording artist, singer, songwriter, in the United States, listen up!

    It is not the students that were meant to pay $150,000.00 per occurrence for copyright infringement, but the big companies who commit copyright infringement and fraud.

    Sitting on all of the board of the R.I.A.A., M.P.A.A., N.M.P.A., BMI, ASCAP, Harry Fox, the Grammies, the Oscars, and all of the other societies, associations, and performing rights organizations, the big movie companies which are the big record companies control both the artists and the music. They control the artists because they alone determine what gets played and paid for on radio, in the movies, on airplanes, and everywhere else they can. Why? They are megacorporations that own all of these avenues and that is a monopolistic practice.

    Because they control the music that gets out there, it's crap, and they didn't lose any sales because students were swapping files.

    We artists all know that some people can't afford to buy an album, so they get a copy of it on tape or CD. But we know that when they can afford it, when they get like a job after college or high school, these loyal fans will buy that album twice in every form it comes out in, vinyl, tape, CD, and whatever new form comes out next.

    That translates into ten times the sales there would have been. And we artists and songwriters don't want to send anyone to jail for copying our music which they are later going to buy, come to see our shows, and become loyal fans.

    But the greedy racketeering businessmen in the movie business, which owns the record business, and the radio business, and the stores, want only money and power for themselves and to hurt our audience. And that is criminal, and I mean really criminal!

    So, it moms and dads, who had to pay that $14,000.00 or $35,000.00 fine, or whatever it was, would help us educate 300 million Americans to write to Congress to demand a R.I.C.O. and Fraud and Conspiracy indictments against these giant movie companies which are the record companies which are really the Fortune 10 companies, then we get to send them to jail, instead of to a Beverly Hills mansion and/or a New York City penthouse, and, their lawyers go to jail with them for co-conspiring!

    Meanwhile, your children are forgiven, and the artists and songwriters once again control the music which is the way it was meant to be by all of us, wasn't it?

    The racketeers are Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount, Sony, EMI, BMG, Time/Warner/AOL, Disney, and all of the organizations on which these companies have placed board members, employees, consultants, and/or anyone else they influence and control (that's what R.I.C.O. stands for, Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organizations, those that operate as a monopoly, in secret, in restraint of trade, and conspire to steal from both of us!), to do their bidding and "fix" the rules at all of these places so that the artists, performers, bands, and singer/songwriters have no voice or vote, and they are the ones that belong in jail, not college students and not high school students!

    Help me then. Write to everyone, demand that the Congress order the F.B.I. and the I.R.S. investigate these big men, the CEO's and the Boards of Directors and the Majority Stockholders of these Fortune 10 movie companies!

    We can stop them from sending kids to jail when they are the ones who belong in jail.

    Michael Jackson said on TV "Sony stole money from me." You surely don't think he's lying, do you? And many others who are not the superstar that Michael Jackson is have said it, but they used to get laughed at by these big guys in Beverly Hills, New York City, Los Angeles, and other places, because they were little guys. But you are big guys too, you are the Americans, 300,000,000 of you who know that what the R.I.A.A. did was nothing less than what Al Capone would have done, conspired to pay someone off to put honest kids in jail to shut them up.

    But I don't want you to shut up, I want you to write, letters to Congress, to the U.S. Senate, to our President George W. Bush, after all, if you think Enron's accounting was creative, you ought to see the accounting at all of the companies and associations, organizations, and societies I've mentioned above! I have seen it and it is crooked.

    As artists and songwriters, none of our statements ever add up. From the record companies to the societies, they are all embezzling and stealing from both the artists and the public, and, they have tried to pit the artist against his public and the public against their favorite bands!

    But, we can help each other. You see, I have the evidence. You can help me find more evidence. Together, and maybe with some help from some stars who are willing to come forward, like you Nicholas Cage, or you Jack Nicholson, or you Sharon Stone, or any of you, Robert DeNiro, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, we can put an end to the cheating of the public, the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild, and the Performing Rights Societies members, by the majors.

    Make it happen, or don't complain anymore.

    I had to write this twice because the "Preview" button wouldn't allow me to back up. And I took the time because I believe in this and that it is the right thing to do to through the non-creatives and the non-appreciatives money grubbing business types and their lawyers out of entertainment and into jail, where they belong.

    Ciao,

    Terry James

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shari Diamond, 12 Sep 2003 @ 5:41pm

    RIAA

    All I can say is one thing... RIAA BITE ME.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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