RIAA Tells Students: Pay Up For Downloads

The music industry is asking 50 Ohio University students to pay $3,000 each to avoid lawsuits accusing them of pirating songs off the Internet. The Recording Industry Association of America asked the university to pass along letters to the students with Internet addresses accused of being involved with the illegal sharing of copyrighted music. The university notified the students on Monday. "The downloading has occurred and we can't change that, but we can let them know what their options are," OU spokeswoman Sally Linder said Wednesday. Patrick McGee, a local attorney the university arranged to meet with students, said $3,000 is the standard offer though cases have settled for as much as $5,000. He has represented four Ohio University students in file-sharing lawsuits.

Jenni Engebretsen, spokeswoman for the trade group, based in Washington, D.C., would not disclose or confirm what the standard settlement offer is. She did say no cases have gone to trial yet across the country. As part of its ongoing copyright crackdown, the association has already sued about 18,000 computer users nationwide since September 2003. The figure includes 1,062 computer users at 130 universities. The association said last month that it intended to sue more students and others on campuses in the next three months than it has in the past three years and that it would send 400 letters a month to computer users suspected of copyright infringement. Letters were sent to 13 universities last week, giving students 20 days to pay a settlement.

A letter to one Ohio University student told her that she distributed 787 audio files, putting her total minimum potential liability at more than $590,000. The minimum damages under the law is $750 for each copyright recording that had been shared, the letter said. Many students cannot even afford the $3,000, McGee said. "I think the record company is smart enough to know that a lot of students do not have the money," he said. "They can't actually take them up on the offer."

News source: My Fox Kansas City

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33 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

If it really matters, sue the student they don't have the money what can the RIAA do besides waste their own money on a lawsuit.

I am not in favor of stealing, but i don't want to but the same album over and over again nor do i want to pay for a 1000 songs from apple and have my computer HD crash out and lose them all because apple will not let you download them again. What choice do people have?

seta-san said,
it's called making a backup.

How many home users back up their hard drives? Thank you very much for pointing out how a home user can fix this issue. You rock!

these responses are stupid. it's the same stupid outrage every single time. get used to it. these people are committing crimes. what can't you get about that? just because you think that music should be free and just because you think the riaa is greedy, which it probably is, doesn't mean that downloading music isn't wrong.

How brain dead can one outfit be? I guess I don't need to ask, I can see now!! When it comes down to the RIAA, one can be QUITE brain dead!!

It's been about 3 years since the RIAA filed a suit against me. I never did respond.You shouldn't either As if they can do anything really.

I think the RIAA and the rest of the world should battle each other in a Halo tournament.

If we win, they must close up shop and go away or completely and absolutely reform themselves. If they win...which of course is absurd, but just for the sake of arguement...if they win, then, well, we'll all agree to cut back on our torrenting a little.

mattrobs said,
How are they finding these people? What "proof" do they have?

Since when does the Riaa need proof for their extortion claims? They just want to scare them in the hope that they will pay them.

screw the RIAA ... cause even if they stoped these people from downloading mp3's from p2p etc ... how many of those would actually "pay" for the stuff they downloaded? ... im pretty sure it's not many. (some, but not many) ... they need to go after the real criminals... the ones who "sell" the pirated stuff!!! instead of the average joe just trying to obtain a copy for personal use.... cause really, it aint like there hurting the artists THAT much... cause from what i was told/read it seems like most artists get the bulk of there money from tours etc.... so basically record sales are more or less for the greedy corporate f**ks that no one gives a damn about! ... sure they should make SOME money for the advertisments and exposure of the artists/records there trying to promote... but the bottom line is the actuall artists that makes the songs/records dont get jack compared to what they SHOULD be getting from these greedy record lables... i wish i could see exact figures of how much it takes to promote etc etc of a certain artists and see how much total money is made and then see how much of that money is actually given to the artist... ill bet it aint anywhere near as much as it should be.... cause even if theres lots of people to pay i think the artists should make a "fair" price for the records they sell instead of the record companys take a high percentage of it.

Well lets see here. college kids dont have 3k to give to riaa, so that means they'll have to go to court... thats not good for RIAA. I hope they realize that if even ONE single case doesnt go their way, their gravy train grinds to a screeching halt.....It would set a precedent for future cases and future judges to consider.

[size=5]I deal will computer users all-the-time and for the past 5 years I noticed that most people don't know what they are sharing (or if they’re sharing anything). A few people asked me what sharing was while they are using Limewire. When people install these P2P programs, they tend to get click happy and never notice what the prompts actually say while they are installing the program. My suggestion is if the RIAA is so concerned about file sharing, they should educate the public on how to not share their music folder in these P2P programs. I know we want everyone to share because if they don't then we get no free music. But if everyone knew what they were sharing and where the file sharing settings were, and they knew how to change the settings, then this might save their butt from a stupid lawsuit.

ignorance isn't a defense. downloading to begin with is illegal and if they don't know that then that's their fault and their problem.

seta-san said,
ignorance isn't a defense.
Do you know absolutely every law, statute, by-law and general consensus based on prior judgements for where you are right now? No, of course you don't. So you yourself are ignorant of the law, therefore if you're doing something illegal (no matter how minor it might be), by your own argument, you're liable.
downloading to begin with is illegal and if they don't know that then that's their fault and their problem.

No downloading "to begin with" is illegal. If so, then you've broken the law simply by visiting neowin.

Along with the RIAA, those who collaborate and sympathise with them should be put into a deep dark hole.

Nowhere does it say *how* they know which students downloaded what. I'm betting they're guessing as it is likely they'll get a positive hit, even if the details are incorrect...

The RIAA are just greedy f*ck*n c*nts , I think the US Government should ship the entire Board of Directors and everybody else involved with the RIAA to hand out their suopeana's to Iraqi's in Baghdad, better yet lets just strap explosive belts onto them and send them to the insurgents camps in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Of course they have to pick the people with the least amount of money because they know they won't fight back. Someone really needs to shut them down. I know it's been talked about over and over again, but seriously, someone needs to actually do something about these wacktards.

yeah it's nice to be in australia in that sence but then again you got to deal with the "telstra" which you probably know who they are (for those who dont know they charge insane prices for internet in AU) ... so in that sense i think ill take my chances in the USA

ThaCrip said,
yeah it's nice to be in australia in that sence but then again you got to deal with the "telstra" which you probably know who they are (for those who dont know they charge insane prices for internet in AU) ... so in that sense i think ill take my chances in the USA ;)

Haven't you ever heard of competition?

There are hundreds of other local companies that offer better Phone/Internet (DSL and HSD) services that bypass Telstra's backbone network.

It's actually quite funny to see how the RIAA seems to be trying by all means to prevent a real lawsuit. Even more when during the lawsuit the RIAA feels that it has a big chance of losing it stops the lawsuit.

It seems to think that intimidating people for paying without a lawsuit will make them win the battle. I sincerely hope that one day the music industry will learn it lesson and will offer us alternative ways of downloading music instead of sue us to hell!

It's also funny that they mention the minimum payment if there case goes to a judge, since when are they the judge? To those students: defend yourself if you can...

umm what ever happend to the phrase starving student? do you really thing the students are being punished by baying 3000$ its the parents that will have to fork over the money. NICE one RIAA . how about you make them do some compunity service or somthing constructive or are tehy just trying to finance there next batch of threats??

as if the RIAA stood up for justice... its about the money, dude...
money does not stink... most of the time at least... this time it dus, but not in their opinion...

Glassed Silver:mac

Glassed Silver said,
as if the RIAA stood up for justice... its about the money, dude...
money does not stink... most of the time at least... this time it dus, but not in their opinion...

Glassed Silver:mac

But at the end of the day, how many of them are 18 years old? they can easily accept the offer, find they can't make payment, declare themselves bankrupt, then in 7 years, their slate is clean and they have a clean credit record.

Personally, if every person the RIAA tried to 'nail' with their offers turned around and declared themselves bankrupt, the RIAA extortion ring would cease to exist.

kaiwai said,
But at the end of the day, how many of them are 18 years old? they can easily accept the offer, find they can't make payment, declare themselves bankrupt, then in 7 years, their slate is clean and they have a clean credit record.

Personally, if every person the RIAA tried to 'nail' with their offers turned around and declared themselves bankrupt, the RIAA extortion ring would cease to exist.


Please do some research about declaring Bankruptcy before offering it as a valid suggestion. For starters, it's on your record for 10 years. And it doesn't absolve you of all your debts anymore, either...