RIAA Gets Legislators To Threaten To Drop 'The Hammer' On Colleges and Universities

from the enough-already dept

The RIAA has been on a renewed push to target file-sharing college students lately, trying to push them into "discounted settlements" so the RIAA doesn't have to go to the trouble of actually suing them in court, where its claims might have to face some scrutiny. Yesterday, it went up to Capitol Hill to whine that colleges and universities aren't doing enough to stop piracy. They also got some legislators, like Hollywood's rep, Howard Berman, to make some veiled threats to the schools, such as saying that "current law isn't giving universities enough incentive to comply," or say that Congress might seek to make schools liable for their students' illegal downloading. One of our favorite people, RIAA president Cary Sherman, complained that the schools aren't doing enough to enforce the law -- but last time we checked, that wasn't their responsibility, and neither is helping the RIAA prop up its members' outdated business model. Just because the RIAA has been able to get some law enforcement groups to act at its behest, or because it's put together its own private police force, that doesn't mean it gets to decide who has the responsibility to enforce copyright law. The RIAA continually tries to sidestep the legal process and keep its lawsuits -- and shaky legal arguments -- out of the courtroom and away from scrutiny. When that doesn't work, they follow their campaign contributions to Washington, and try to get legislators to change the law. Plenty of protection and legal recourse already exists for the RIAA and any other group who thinks its copyrights are being infringed. The problem isn't that colleges and universities aren't doing their part (because they have no part to play), but simply that the RIAA wants to shortcut the legal process and make the relevant laws suit its agenda above anything else.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Cixelsid, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 9:17am


    Where the fuck are we now that we're allowing the ENTERTAINMENT industry to threaten to "drop the motherfucking hammer" on the EDUCATION ministry ?!?!!!!!


    (Extra exclaimation marks added for John Ruhnke effect)

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

  2. identicon
    Butt-Rash, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    not a big deal

    At this point it's too late, all dropping 'the hammer' on schools will do is get more students using encrypted file sharing services. The quicker the RIAA & MPAA succeed at this, the faster they harm themselves. So I'm all for this!

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

  3. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 9:54am


    The RIAA is sounding a lot like the Catholic Church of about 700 years ago. How is it that the entertainment industry is able to use the police as its own enforcers, pay for custom made laws, and tell colleges that they need to tighten up on file sharing?

    In a lawuit isn't it the burden of the entity suing to acutally prove that they have been wronged? Well the RIAA has managed to flip the scirpt and is now taking people to court and instead of the RIAA proving that 70 yr old grandparent guilty that 70 yr old grandpartent basically has to give up half their pension for fear of losing all of it trying to fight back.

    The RIAA is using the strategy of going after those that are unlikely to have the funds and/or knowledge to fight back in order to set precedence. Once that is done they will start going after larger targets. After that they will try to bully the electronics industry into only releasing devices pending RIAA approval (i.e. make sure there is no way consumers can use said device in any way that the RIAA does not like).

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

  4. identicon
    me, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 9:59am


    Someone ought to take a look into their practice of making threats (possibly illegally so), as well as their accounting parctices when it comes to sheisting the artists they claim to protect.....


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

  5. identicon
    cawwot, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 10:20am

    file sharing?

    I had not even heard of bit torrent or any other file sharing apps till the RIAA made a big deaf about it. sucks for them.

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

  6. identicon
    charlie potatoes, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 10:39am

    simple problem..simple solution

    i dont listen to music. i couldnt care less what happens...but..why does no one call for a boycott? a simple 30 moratorium on the purchase of any new music...can't you guys go for a month listening to the old stuff? i suspect you might get their attention...it would cost them millions, i supect. hit the assholes in their fat wallets...

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

  7. identicon
    norman619, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 10:41am

    Hear that..?

    It's the sound of RIAA's shrinking proffits. Lovely sound isn't it?

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

  8. identicon
    Casper, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 11:10am

    They are going to get burned...

    They are treading in some hazardous territory. I don't think they realize that they are not all powerful.

    Right now their methods are to attack lots of little groups and push individuals around, that works, individuals don't have the resources, support, or knowledge to fight back. Now, however, they are reaching out against large groups of somewhat intelligent people. Pushing around computer illiterate parents is one thing, but they are going to start running into law and computer science types who know their rights and know who to turn to for help.

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

  9. identicon
    Chris, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 11:18am

    This is where it can all hit the fan.

    If the RIAA seriously tries to go against universities, places where people actualy happen to know things, I can only pray that the admisitration will will hit the RIAA with the biggest backlash in recent history. If they're able to get away with it, then I can't ever respect any institution that coperates with this company. The RIAA is a company, nothing more, it's not a government agency, it has no authority other than to take people to court who violate current laws that protect their product. If these "Accredited" universities and colleges aren't smart enough to see that the fundamental nature of law itself is being raped to the fullest extent so these jackasses can squeeze another cent out of anyone they can, then some extremist is probably going to take matters into their own hands. Lord knows if I was sued for so much that I had to drop out of college just to pay some BS fine, I would go to any extent to make sure that whoever was involved with the RIAA would face an equally frustrating turn of events. Grassroot boycotting against facist corporate agendas is what needs to be the focal point of all debate, not just randomly commenting our greivences.

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

  10. identicon
    anonymouse, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 12:15pm


    ISPs are not liable for the actions of their users, neither are universities; any action taken is always voluntary.

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

  11. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 12:44pm

    Class action suit

    Personally I'd like to see all the people and small companies that were forced into oblivion to band together and sue the RIAA in a massive class action suit. There has to be something wrong with bullying people into quitting college, losing their pension/retirement, and basically paying out the wazoo.

    I know that ethics != law but this is out of hand.

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

  12. identicon
    meh, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 12:59pm

    Re: simple problem..simple solution

    Gizmodo.com is running/pushing a 30 day boycott (the month of March) against all RIAA music.

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

  13. identicon
    Buzz, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 1:16pm


    Does the RIAA have the right to probe file-sharing networks on universities? The RIAA is not the government! I don't know the exact law on this issue, but I don't think the RIAA is allowed to snoop around like that.

    For the record, I too am one of the few who rarely listens to or buys music. Granted, I have a small collection ('small' meaning almost all my CDs were gifts).

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

  14. identicon
    Adam, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 1:32pm

    Yeah, like many people pointed out already: the **AA is a fucking company, why are they allowed to do this? Answer: because we live in in a country that is owned and run by corporations where laws, constitution and rights mean shit when corporate bottom line is considered versus the welfare of citizens. And this cancer is spreading to other parts of the world...

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

  15. identicon
    bigwes, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    Re: This is where it can all hit the fan.

    "Grassroot boycotting against facist corporate agendas is what needs to be the focal point of all debate, not just randomly commenting our greivences."
    Out of all the posts I have read, this is one of the most true statements I have ever seen. Here, here!

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 2:26pm

    Create another reason for inflating college tuition.
    Great idea.

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

  17. identicon
    ABSMCC, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 2:58pm

    Time for Action....

    ....so I think I'll go to alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.complete-cd and download a bunch of new music.

    Let's see the RIAA stop off shore usenet posts!

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 6:14pm

    There's no such thing as usenet now

    hey, hush up dude, "no one uses usenet anymore" and thats the ONLY thing they need to know...

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

  19. identicon
    Jonathan Olsen, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 7:38pm

    Fuck the RIAA

    Was it Kng Henry VIII who said "first we kill all the lawyers"? I can understand why.

    It's a simplly a matter of "follow the dollars". This is a money making machine for lawyers. They can promise the world to the RIAA and deliver the easy targets one at a time. It is rememinicenst of the early days of hacking, a few victims made an example of. Punshment DID NOT fit the crime.

    MESSAGE TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: Fair is fair, supply us with a quality product that engages us in more ways than the music itself. I mean packaging, details about the artists, quality that exceeds anything that can be done in a download, extras that you can ensure can't be copied and put on-line by pirates, spend the money that you would use to pay lawyers to bring your audience back using the age-old, certified, adertising "gimicks" of a quality product that engages the consumer, and is only available in that form from one source.

    We don't have any intersest in ripping any artists off!

    We want something that keeps up with the changing quality, product style, marketing, etc,of the third millenium. (Marketing 101 2007) Maybe time to re-train your staff?

    WAKE-UP RIAA!!!!! Get off the "we're such tragic victims!" bandwaggon and understand your target demographic!!!

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

  20. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 10th, 2007 @ 2:36am

    Re: @16

    THe word is "hear", not"here". As in, listen to what he says.
    If all unencrypted P2P is blocked, and encrypted traffic banned in the USA (only a matter of time, I bet you will need liscences to use encryption and have to supply the keys to the government), offshore Usenet posts may become popular. You could use VoIP to connect to a dial-up server overseas, and download from there. ASCII-buffring tools are still around, so that shouldn't be a problem. You could even use a real 'phne line if you could afford the 'phone bill, by pretendign to be a fax machine sending a corrupted document, or a dial-up internet user.

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

  21. identicon
    John, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 7:19am

    same nonsense...different way!

    The RIAA lawsuits are soon going to be a thing of the past when people catch on to ENCRYPTED file sharing. The one I use is GigaTribe ( http://www.gigatribe.com ), and there's plenty of other encrypted peer to peer solutions that are going to pop up soon as well!

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

  22. identicon
    jackscrow, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    Re: Fuck the RIAA

    You want a fancy package, with extended artist bios?

    You're not even willing to pay for a bare bones cd with good songs. You download and burn.

    Yet you use the excuse that the packaging isn't up to par?

    Try buying a cd. Hell, try making one and marketing it.

    Just listen to the music, "dude".

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

  23. identicon
    sudipta das, Sep 21st, 2007 @ 12:26am

    The RIAA

    well, The RIAA and MPAA trot out their spokespeople at conferences and public events all over the country, repeating their misleading talking points. Innovators are pirates, fair use is theft, the sky is falling, up is down, and so on. Their rhetoric shouldn't be given a free pass. Free conference call

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Super-Early Holiday Gear Sale

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.