Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER: RIAA does not persecute students

An article by The Daily Free Press (‘The RIAA’s $1 million man,’ Nov. 7, p. 1) wrongly suggests that the RIAA is asking for $1 million in a music downloading case. That is inaccurate. While we prefer to argue our cases in the courtroom, we will take this opportunity to set the record straight on a few key facts regarding our enforcement campaign.

First, if a case goes to court, we never ask for a specific amount in damages. We leave that up to the court to decide.’

Second, contrary to what the article suggests, we aren’t in the business of ‘threaten[ing] to fine’ people. It’s not in our interest to bring legal action against innocent individuals. If someone is the recipient of a pre-litigation letter, we have collected the evidence necessary to bring a lawsuit. We’ve caught that person engaging in the same illegal activity that has cost the music industry billions of dollars and thousands of jobs in just a few short years.

To avoid a lawsuit, we offer a reasonable alternative that allows individuals to keep a clean slate and settle for far, far less than what the law allows. If an individual wishes to challenge a case for whatever reason, that’s his/her prerogative and we’re happy to hear them out.

We’ve never looked to this program to turn a profit. In fact, we lose money on the program. But it’s necessary in order to help the legitimate music marketplace reach its full potential and deter users from getting music the wrong way. What is sometimes lost is that this program is a means to an end, and that end is a thriving legal marketplace that serves fans, artists and record labels. With all the new and innovative business models that the record companies continue to actively invest in ‘-‘- whether it is free, unlimited music streaming models like MySpace Music, Pandora and Last.fm or discounted a la carte and subscription options from stores like AmazonMP3 and Rhapsody ‘-‘- there are plenty of options for fans to get their favorite music the right way.

Liz Kennedy

Deputy Director, Communications

Recording Industry Association of America

COM ’04

5 Comments

  1. Ms. Kennedy, COM ’04, is drinking her own Kool-Aid if she really believes “if someone is the recipient of a pre-litigation letter, we have collected the evidence necessary to bring a lawsuit. We’ve caught that person engaging in . . illegal activity.”<br/> <br/>No person who has received a pre-litigation letter has been caught in engaging in illegal activity. RIAA can only find music files on your computer and download them from you. They can’t tell whether your music files are legal or not.<p/>They are going under the theory that by not preventing others from finding your files or copying them, you infringed their copyrights. They can’t prove that anyone copied any of your files illegally. In a case involving B.U. students, the Massachusetts federal court found that what the RIAA is able to prove, merely “making available” music files on your computer connected to the internet, is not an infringement, but yet the RIAA members continue to extort multi-thousand dollar settlements from students receiving “pre-litigation letters.” <p/>Many students pay the settlement demands because they are unaware of the court decisions that making music files available over peer to peer software is not illegal and that RIAA can not “collect evidence” before filing suit that anyone made illegal copies from them or that they made illegal copies.

  2. <i>”First, if a case goes to court, we never ask for a specific amount in damages. We leave that up to the court to decide. “</i><p/>False. They ask for a MINIMUM of $750 per song file — i.e. 2600 times the amount of the actual damages. In the Jammie Thomas they asked for from $750 to $150,000 per song file. <p/><i>”we aren’t in the business of “threaten[ing] to fine” people. </i>”<p/>False. That is exactly what they do. If you refuse to pay their extortionate demand for thousands of dollars, they threaten to sue you for tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes their ‘settlement negotiators’ mention that copyright infringement can be a ‘crime’.<p/><i>”If an individual wishes to challenge a case for whatever reason, that’s his/her prerogative and we’re happy to hear them out.”</i><p/>What arrogance. “We’re happy to hear them out.” Can someone who speaks English — obviously not Ms. Kennedy who speaks Doubletalk — tell me what that means. They’re “happy” to make you incur a hundred thousand dollars in legal fees trying to defend yourself.<p/><I>”We’ve never looked to this program to turn a profit.”</i><p/>That’s fortunate, because the record companies have no clue how to make a profit on anything without (a) monopoly power and (b) extortion.<p/><i>”What is sometimes lost is that this program is a means to an end, and that end is a thriving legal marketplace”</i><p/>The end they seek is not a “thriving marketplace”. It is monopoly. The monopoly they no longer have.

  3. Hey RIAA, would you mind not using CIVIL proceedings to prosecute CRIMINAL offenses? thanks.

  4. Its disappointing to see such a recent BU grad has already sold her soul. Let’s hope the challenge to this legal extortion prevails and the inevitable collapse of the RIAA dinosaur occurs sooner rather than later.

  5. Its disappointing to see such a recent BU grad has already sold her soul. Let’s hope the challenge to this legal extortion prevails and the inevitable collapse of the RIAA dinosaur occurs sooner rather than later.