Digital Piracy - Latest RIAA Developments
Folks should avoid the temptations of pirated "free" music or videos that are offered on some P2P networks. Besides malware dangers, the RIAA can impose strict penalties to those who are discovered. In particular college students have been targeted, as noted in the article below.
Article - What Happens If the RIAA Targets You?
QUOTE: If you’re pirating music and video using BitTorrent or LimeWire, here’s what to expect if the lawyers come calling. Since early 2007, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have been scanning IP addresses from P2P (peer-to-peer) applications and sending cease-and-desist notices to offenders, along with pre-litigation fines of $3,000.
Not surprisingly, these two corporate copyright associations have found many targets huddled together on the same networks: college campuses. Like fish in a barrel, college students have proven to be easy targets for corporate lawyers, as the RIAA and MPAA formulate an aggressive strategy to stop the free transfer of copyrighted material from one desktop to another. So what should users of P2P software like BitTorrent or LimeWire expect if the lawyers come calling?
In late February 2008, the RIAA sent out pre-settlement letters — in its 13th wave of anti-piracy litigation — to more than 400 students enrolled at various colleges, including Boston University (35 students), Columbia University (50 students), University of Southern California (50 students) and University of Virginia (16 students), among others.
In total, 5,406 pre-litigation settlement letters have been sent to college students since February 2007. Of those cases, more than 2,300 were settled, and 2,465 ended in lawsuits, according to the RIAA. At $3,000 a pop, those 2,300 settlements yielded the RIAA $6.9 million. Of those that went to lawsuits, the RIAA asked for $750 per song illegally transferred, according to the University of Connecticut’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus. University of Connecticut student “Dave,” who was caught downloading a mere 109 songs, could face a bill of $81,750 if he fought his case in court and lost.
The RIAA may regret the lawsuit it filed in 2005 against a disabled single mother from Oregon named Tanya Andersen. Andersen has launched a lawsuit of her own against the RIAA, which may reveal exactly how the organization and MediaSentry Inc. (now owned by SafeNet Inc.) identify offending IP addresses — juicy information indeed when turned over to college students and BitTorrent developers.
Furthermore, the RIAA’s pubic position as a defender of recording artists’ rights may be losing its luster, since those artists apparently haven’t seen a dime of the money collected from last year's $270 million settlement with P2P operators Napster LLC, Kazaa and Bolt. “After the labels recouped their legal expenses,” an industry source told the New York Post, “there wasn't much left to pass along to the artists.”