Universities Realize That The RIAA Is Taking Advantage Of Them In Lawsuits On Students

from the pushback-time dept

We never quite understood why various universities were cooperating with RIAA demands that they send "pre-litigation" letters to students accused of file sharing. These non-binding letters are often used to pressure students into paying fines, even if they're based on weak (at best) evidence of file sharing. It certainly wasn't in any university's best interests to basically help out a private organization in a business model dispute with its students. Yet, some university officials, falsely convinced by the RIAA that this was more than a business model dispute, decided to help out. And the response? The RIAA has increased the flood of notices, and then convinced Congress to move forward on legislation that would legally obligate universities to act as the RIAA's copyright cops.

It appears that more and more universities are realizing that they got shafted. The EFF points out that there's widespread anger among university officials who felt they were trying to find a middle ground by cooperating, but instead find themselves swamped with more and more notifications and this new legislation that increases their legal liability over a business model dispute. And, the worst part? Now that they're pushing back in court, the RIAA points out that dealing with these notices before wasn't a burden, so universities aren't being truthful that they're now a burden. How's that for a thank you for helping out originally?

If it hasn't become clear by now, the RIAA doesn't view universities as partners in all of this -- and any university that thinks of the RIAA as a partner is about to get steamrolled by the RIAA legal machine. It's time that more universities stood up not just for their own rights, but the rights of their students as well not to be targeted by questionable "pre-litigation" threat letters without more significant evidence. And, it wouldn't help for the RIAA to finally recognize that this entire battle has done nothing to deal with the real issue: its own inability to recognize that its business model needs to change.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:19pm

    RIAA = MOB!

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:27pm

    Shocked!

    "Universities Realize That The RIAA Is Taking Advantage Of Them In Lawsuits On Students."

    I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    FU_RIAA, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    Weak an Lame

    The RIAA can't make anybody pay their fines. Those who pay are nothing but sheep, they deserve to be parted from their cash. I'd love for them try to sue me for the 10K+ mp3s i have and continue to amass.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Jim, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Capitalism at Work

    The correct response from the universities is a bill to the RIAA for services rendered, prior to providing any information.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Weak an Lame

    aww man! I only have 9k+ mp3s...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    RIAA, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Weak an Lame

    We have recorded your IP address. Except to receive a threatening letter from us soon.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Kim, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    University: "I was drunk and didn't mean it."

    When the RIAA asked "Can I do it in your pooper?" The answer should have been a firm, stern "NO". It's kinda like anal. It's always easier to say NO the first time.

     

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  8.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:11pm

    Grand Unified Interconnected Litigation Theory

    Ubersoft has several great cartoon panels that highlight how Corporations are criminalizing any activity that they deem is a frustration of their business models. Clearly we have a growing double standard in how the law is applied.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Capitalism at Work

    Great point. If the RIAA wants a third party to protect them, the RIAA should pay for it. It get's tiresome to hear the RIAA whine about how they need to be protected at our expense.

    That reminds me, I have an old game CD that I needed in order to reinstall the game. I guess it got scratched, so it would not reload. The Box had plenty of advertising and the usual warnings to the effect that you have no rights. My point - Nowhere on the box was there any contact information on how to get a replacement CD!!!!

    If companies want us to respect their rights, they need to respect our rights too. Obviously they don't so why should we?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anon, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Weak an Lame

    16k+

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    trav, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:38pm

    RIAA = Legalized Racketeering

    There's just no reason to believe that any corporation is about doing good for any person. The RIAA should be indicted under federal charges, and the record companies that support it should be heavily fined- to the extent that they have no capital left to litigate.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Pjerky, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:58pm

    RIAA doesn't support Artists.

    A question comes to mind with all of this. Do the artists who's music is "stolen" get any of the money won from litigation. I would be willing to bet that they don't see a dime. That it all goes to the head-freds at the RIAA. If they are going to win any money for this absurd litigation I think the artists should recieve the same cut as they do with normal music that is sold. After all it is their music that was "stolen".

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Griper, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 4:59pm

    Red Tape

    I'm surprised a school didn't lose any letter yet. My GI Bill was always being held up because they lost a form or didn't get to the right person.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    dan, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Capitalism at Work - Totally agree

    But then, the RIAA hasn't paid it's legal fee's when they have lost in court. So, it would just be another bill they wouldn't pay.

    Dan

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Chris, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re: Capitalism at Work

    I Couldn't have stated it better.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Chunky Vomit, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Weak an Lame

    I'd love for them to sue you too.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    KD, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 7:10pm

    How many universities vs. how many record companies?

    How many universities are there (just in the U.S.)? How many record companies are participating in these activities?

    I'll bet there are a LOT more universities. Of course, not all of them have a lot of money, but if someone could get the universities to band together and each contribute a bit of money to the cause, I'll bet they could smash the RIAA in every case. And remember, many universities contain law schools, so they ought to be able to draw on a lot of legal talent -- I'm thinking alumni who are practicing lawyers, but the law professors may be able to contribute, too.

    Is there any legal barrier to the universities banding together for their common defense? Is there any social barrier to it?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Dan, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 7:29pm

    I guess we could classify them as slow learners, maybe some special ed classes would help.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    T, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 1:53am

    Black Vans

    I wonder how long it will take until the RIAA/MPAA is able to convince Congress that they should be able to make people "disappear", rushing random people into black vans into the middle of the night, no one ever hearing from them again.

    Of course, the RIAA/MPAA seem to be blind as a bat, shooting at random hoping they'll get someone; sometimes I think they get bored at the office and just start thumbing through the phone book and we all know by now that they don't ACTUALLY pay attention to what goes on in the torrents, they just pick IPs at random...

    ....so I guess the real concern is: How do I protect my laser printer from disappearing in the middle of the night?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Capitalism at Work - Totally agree

    That is solved by pay in advance. No pay = no information.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Re: Black Vans

    Re #19
    Don't let the printers hear you!
    They will make you disappear in the night if they know you know about what they can do.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Capitalism at Work

    Chris,
    Your post is genius!

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    Even knows . . .

    Picking student pockets is the exclusive domain of Universities and thier close friends in the credit card business. I suspect had the RIAA (like the credit card companies) pledged to send some of that cash collected back to the univerities from whence it came, they would find (like the credit card companies did) a willing partner in University administrations (like the credit card companies have).

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 8:05am

    In celebration of this article, I will go download some music.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Hamst3r, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    There's way more music out there...

    Than that RIAA crap. RIAA owned stuff isn't even worth listening to with the amount of great quality free music online.

    For instance:

    http://www.jamendo.com/
    http://www.plainaudio.com/
    http://www.monotonik.com/
    http:// beta.legaltorrents.com/
    http://www.archive.org/details/netlabels

    Also, if you're not fond of digging through thousands of songs for the best ones, there are tons of podcasts on iTunes for non-RIAA music. I even make one myself.

    The RIAA isn't even worth stealing from.

    -

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    what's an mp3?, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    12280

    to be exact.

    :)

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Adam, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    RIAA isn't ALL wrong here

    Sorry, but if the RIAA enforces the rights to songs owned by members, those who knowingly violate copyrights by getting music without paying for it deserve punishment - even if they are just "some poor college kid".

    Their tactics are a bit extreme, and they would do much better to try and roll with the situation rather than trying to hold back the tidal wave, but laws are laws.

    If theft is okay, can I come take your TV? And if you take legal action to get it back, can I make fun of you and accuse you of being unfair?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    landshark, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 4:49pm

    31872 to be exact! :P

    The thing most ppl don't realize, is that you can't get into trouble for downloading music, it's when you share that music with others that you get into trouble for. You can legally download all the music you want, just don't share it with anyone else.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    KD, Aug 16th, 2008 @ 6:30am

    @adam

    Adam,

    Copyright infringement is NOT theft, so your question about the TV is irrelevant. In the cases under discussion, nobody is stealing anything.

    As for the law being on the RIAA's side, technically that's correct, but the law is out of date, and people are demonstrating that clearly. When a large enough portion of the population violates a law, that law is, sooner or later, history, either formally via repeal, or informally via lack of enforcement. We haven't reached that point yet, but I'm pretty sure that's what is coming.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    AC, Aug 16th, 2008 @ 6:36am

    Re: 31872 to be exact! :P

    True, it is sharing that gets you into trouble, but most of the ways of downloading are peer-to-peer file sharing programs, which normally make available for sharing the files you download.

    Even if you run the program only while you are downloading, it is sharing during that time, so you are exposed. I haven't any experience with those programs, but I gather from what I've read that there are ways to configure at least some of the programs so that they don't offer your files for sharing, but I think most people don't know to do that.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 4:48am

    Re: RIAA isn't ALL wrong here

    That'd be fine, but I'm not allowed to take legal action against someone because my TV is missing and he happens to fit the demographic most likely to have taken it. I need more solid proof than that.

     

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


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