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RIAA Settlement: Possible Consumer Payback 510

Posted by timothy
from the don't-hold-your-breath dept.
KoopaTroopa writes "Over on Ars Technica they are running a story about the RIAA handing out consumer payments as a settlement to a price-fixing class action. If you bought a recording at retail between Jan. 1, 1995, and Dec. 22, 2000, claim your money." As usual, the lawyers win a lot more than you will, but the process is pretty painless if you'd like to collect part of the settlement money; you may recall this earlier story about the settlement.
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RIAA Settlement: Possible Consumer Payback

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  • by typical geek (261980) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:35PM (#5057971) Homepage
    I'd rather rationalize my mp3 theft by saying CD prices are too high.
    • by trentfoley (226635) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:44PM (#5058046) Homepage Journal
      Considering I pay the RIAA with every cdr I use, and that less than 1% of my cdr usage is for music, I feel that I am giving the RIAA enough already. That's all the justification I need.
      • by aridhol (112307) <ka_lac@hotmail.com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:51PM (#5058119) Homepage Journal
        I don't know how much you pay, but here are the numbers for Canada [ccfda.ca]. The CCFDA (Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access) is trying to fight it.
        • "I don't know how much you pay, but here are the numbers for Canada [ccfda.ca]. The CCFDA (Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access) is trying to fight it. "

          I read recently that they've collected over 28 million, but none of it has yet to reach musicians like they claimed it would.

          I didn't exactly have a stunned expression on my face when I read that. I'm sorry, but I don't remember where I read it unless it was on Wired.com within the last week.
      • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by autopr0n (534291) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:57PM (#5058176) Homepage Journal
        Do you live in canada? If not, why are you using "music" CD-Rs rather then "data" ones for your music? (the only diffrence between the two is that music disks will work in special music drives, have serial copy protection (no copies of copies) and are taxed by the RIAA. Data CDs work in music players, have no SCP, and cost only a few cents, in general)
        • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fendel (18450)
          My local Best Buy has a hand-written sign up near the music CD-Rs claiming that they sound better and are more(!) flexible.

          I haven't figured out yet whether they're deliberately lying or just ignorant. (These are the same guys who had no idea what I meant when I told them they shouldn't leave their monitors in the PC section at the default 60hz.)
          • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

            by shepd (155729)
            >I haven't figured out yet whether they're deliberately lying or just ignorant.

            They're actually neither.

            The audio CDs are more flexible. They can be recorded in any equipment, whereas the "regular" CDs require either a data drive, a professional audio CD recorder, or a newer consumer CD audio recorder that has a built in DAC/ADC stage.

            They also sound better. Unlike regular data CDs, which when recorded in the newer consumer CD audio recorders are recorded after a pass through the DAC/ADC, the audio CDs are a bit-for-bit copy.

            It might be sly, it might even be misleading, but it isn't lying, or ignorance.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

          by quintessent (197518)
          Data CDs in the U.S. are still RIAA taxed, but at a lower rate. Live and learn
    • and then keep on pirating!
    • Re:No thanks RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quintessent (197518) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:04PM (#5058245) Journal
      What does getting a check for a few cents in the mail have to do with resolving the CD pricing issue? The RIAA was fixing prices then, and they have only pushed them higher since.

      Part of their guilt came from their prohibition against any store advertising CDs below a certain price. Strangely, I haven't seen much of a change.

      In any case, CDs are priced WAY too high. Now whether it's ok to copy based on that is another story.

      Also, don't you find it strange that each time you back up your data to a CD, you have just paid a tax to the RIAA?
      • Injunctive relief (Score:3, Informative)

        by MacAndrew (463832)
        The lawyers did pause to wonder whether the lawsuit would alter the defendants' behavior. The Notice of Proposed Settlement [musiccdsettlement.com] provides:
        Injunctive Relief


        The Settlement Agreements with the Distributor Defendants and the Retailer Defendants each provide for injunctive relief. The Plaintiffs and Distributor Defendants have agreed to the entry of a permanent injunction, which would prohibit the Distributor Defendants for a period ending August 30, 2007 from adopting, maintaining, enforcing or threatening to enforce any policy, practice or plan which makes receipt of any cooperative advertising or other promotional funds contingent on the price or price level at which any product is advertised or promoted. Distributor Defendants would also be prohibited from agreeing with any dealers to control or maintain the resale price at which the Dealer may offer for sale or sell such Distributor Defendant's Product. Additionally, Distributor Defendants could not for a period ending August 30, 2005, announce resale or minimum advertised prices of product and unilaterally terminate those who fail to comply because of such failure. Distributor Defendants may however, announce suggested retail prices for their Product.

        The Settlement Agreements entered into by Plaintiffs and each of the Retailer Defendants, also contain injunctive provisions. These injunctions would prohibit the Retailer Defendants for a period of five years from soliciting, demanding, requesting, advocating or encouraging any distributor or wholesaler of music product to adopt or implement any policy, practice or plan which makes receipt of any cooperative advertising or other promotional funds contingent upon the price or price level at which any music product is advertised, promoted, offered or sold.

        No, I don't know where they got these magic termination dates....
    • "I'd rather rationalize my mp3 theft by saying CD prices are too high."

      Theft is when you sell a consumer something they can't preview or return. "Open your mouth and close your eyes!"
  • No thanks. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:36PM (#5057977) Homepage
    In order to get my few dollars, I have to give out all my personal info, social security number, mother's maiden name, etc, etc? No thanks. I don't care how official that web site looks; that's enough information to steal everything I own and trash my credit rating for the next thousand years.
    • Re:No thanks. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by k3v0 (592611) <k3v0@NOSPam.k3v0.net> on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:41PM (#5058029) Homepage Journal
      i thought the same thing but then i realized you can get all that stuff pretty easily already. you may as well get 5 bucks
      • Re:No thanks. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by edbarrett (150317)
        you may as well get 5 bucks

        Read the terms, though: they have $67,375,000 to give out to anyone who's purchased a CD, cassette or record from the beginning of '95 to December 22 of double-naught. It doesn't take into account how may albums you bought; the money is split evenly for the class. If the numbers end up being less than $5 a head, "the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products." So, if 13,475,000 people claim their chunk of the settlement, you get your $5 check. When Mr. 13,475,001 rolls along, the record companies /conspiracy theory/ will set up a not-for-profit shelter so they can hand the money right back to themselves /conspiracy theory/

    • Amen (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PotatoMan (130809) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:41PM (#5058036)
      That was exactly my feeling when I got to the sign-up page. I didn't mind some of the questions, but when I realized they had enough info to build my SSN from, and that the info was not secure, I started wondering if this site is real or not.


      I guess we'll know when the 'identity theft' ring goes into action.


      Preach it, Lamont!

      • Re:Amen (Score:2, Informative)

        by onepoint (301486)
        well to wonder or not, this is what I did,

        I called my credit card sompany and told the guy I want to have my card checked for signature with a passport or Drivers liscense, then I want the phone calls I make to them to confirm a few things, I ask for a list of things they coudl ask
        1) date of birth
        2) if a po box then the real address
        3) telephone Number matching
        4) LAST 4 digit's of your SS number
        5) e-mail address if you have one for your CC

        and the list went on.

        Something is not right when someone ask you for the last 4 digit's of your SS#. I hope it's not a con.

        Mike
    • by endoboy (560088) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:46PM (#5058064)
      they don't ask for your social security #, they ask for the last 4 digits. They also don't ask for mother's maiden name

      If you're unwilling to give them your name and address, how precisely do you wish for them to send you the $$$?
      • by k3v0 (592611) <k3v0@NOSPam.k3v0.net> on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:05PM (#5058261) Homepage Journal
        social security numbers are decided based on your birth state and other info. this article is pretty interesting http://www.howstuffworks.com/social-security-numbe r.htm
      • they don't ask for your social security #, they ask for the last 4 digits. They also don't ask for mother's maiden name

        Unfortunately many financial institutions use the last four digits of your social security number as a password of sorts. It's sometimes used directly as a PIN, and sometimes as the initial password when you set up online banking for the first time. Armed with a name, address, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number, you could get access to many bank accounts.

        Now, a financial institution shouldn't use your SSN as a password of any sort, but there is still no reason for these people to requirement.

    • Re:No thanks. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SirSlud (67381)
      Why the hell is the US working on a missle defence system? Wouldnt it be more logical to make a country-sized tinfoil dome?

      (On a more serious note, I can trash your credit rating by sitting at a restaurant you pay credit with. Your waitress can trash your credit rating. Anybody with access to your garbage can trash your credit rating. What on earth are you people so terrified of?)
    • Re:No thanks. (Score:3, Informative)

      whois for musiccdsettlement.com [networksolutions.com]

      The domain is registered to Rust Consulting, Inc. [rustconsulting.com] They specialize in technology class-action lawsuits. And their address matches that in the whois records.

      Looks legit to me.
      • by NotesSauceBoss (568036) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:29PM (#5058527)
        Talked to a fellow there named Matt Potter to get a little more personal connection to this stuff.

        The Notice of Proposed Settlement is available at: http://www.musiccdsettlement.com/english/notice.ht m and includes both the individual state's AGs on the case, as well as actually listing the URL for the website itself.

        Mr. Potter stated that the detail of information is to ensure that fradulent claims aren't filed -- primarily by attempting to prevent the same person from filing multiple times.

        I suggested they put in a privacy notice. We'll see.

        I also warned him of the impending Slashdotting. He didn't know what I meant. hehe

  • by arson1 (527855) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:36PM (#5057979) Homepage
    That site has been up for months. But wait, if everyone trieds to collect, and the payment is less that $5/ person, then it goes to a charity (I'm guessing the the EFF), not the people. We can't let that happen! ;)
  • Sorry (Score:5, Funny)

    by cporter (61382) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:36PM (#5057980)
    They want a lot of information. Date of birth? Part of my SSN? Sorry. Keeping that private is worth more than $20.

    I'll just download a few CDs from a P2P and call it even.

  • Not guarenteed. (Score:4, Informative)

    by gmiller123456 (240000) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:37PM (#5057987) Homepage
    Note that you're not guarenteed to get anything. They've apparently already settled on how much they'll pay, and it'll be divided amongst everyone who signs up. It it gets down the less than $5/person, all of it goes to charity.
  • From the FAQ:
    If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers. Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products.

    Posting this to slashdot will draw ALOT more claimants, and therefore, reduce the amount each claimant will recieve. That will probably drop it below the $5/each mark, and then nobody will get any money. (Well, some nonprofit or the government will..)

  • by registered_user (463604) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:37PM (#5057996) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA is an seperate body. Individual distributors are being sued. They are listed on the page:

    The Distributor Defendants are: Capitol Records, Inc. d/b/a EMI Music Distribution, Virgin Records America, Inc., and Priority Records LLC; Time Warner, Inc., Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corp., WEA, Inc., Warner Music Group, Inc., Warner Bros. Records, Inc., Atlantic Recording Corporation, Elektra Entertainment Group, Inc., and Rhino Entertainment Company; Universal Music & Video Distribution Corporation, Universal Music Group, Inc., and UMG Recordings, Inc.; Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc. and BMG Music; and Sony Music Entertainment Inc. The Retailer Defendants are: MTS, Inc. d/b/a Tower Records, Musicland Stores Corp., and Trans World Entertainment Corp.
    • The RIAA is an industry lobby group that represents a fair chunk of the companies listed in there.

      Its fair enough to say that the behaviour that led to the lawsuit was exactly the sort of behaviour the RIAA is famous for .. its pretty much all in the family, dont you think?
    • The RIAA is an seperate body. Individual distributors are being sued.

      But the individual distributors in question are the largest and most powerful members of the RIAA, the leadership. For all intents and purposes, the RIAA was sued.

  • No Cash Option. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChrisNowinski (606426) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:38PM (#5057997) Homepage
    If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers

    With the publicity the settlement is getting, it's strongly possible that consumers will get little or no cash. Sorry.

    Instead, the money will go to "not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products," much like the Tobacco money, which funds anti-smoking things like those "Truth" TV commercials.

    • Re:No Cash Option. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by happyclam (564118)
      Instead, the money will go to "not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products"....

      Presumably, these programs for the "benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products" will no doubt be aimed at educating the public about the threat of music piracy...

  • by delphin42 (556929) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:38PM (#5057998) Homepage
    If you bought a recording at retail between Jan. 1, 1995, and Dec. 22, 2000

    Are we to believe that as of Dec 22, 2000 all price fixing on the part of the music industry ceased? Or will there be a similar suit in 2005 to cover the next 5 years?
  • by fgb (62123)
    I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea of giving them my date of birth and the last four digits of my Social Security Number.
  • Already Claimed Mine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AltImage (626465)
    I saw this story on Wired a couple days ago. I already filled out the form online to join the settlement group. It was a suprisingly simple process...name, address, email address and click accept on a few things. You don't even need a recipt. Here's the link [musiccdsettlement.com] for those interested.

    For some reason when I submitted this EXACT same story a few days ago it was rejected in under 10 minutes. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
  • So only Americans pay too much for CDs? Damn :(

    So how many of you that qualify actually have receipts to prove your purchases during the period. Like most people I save my receipts from big ticket items for warranty and insurance purposes, but CD receipts usually get tossed. The RIAA will probably laugh it's way to the bank on this.
  • Great, now that it has been posted here, I'll never get my $5. amount per person = total settlement / number of claims If too many people sign up for the refund, making the amount given per person less than $5, no one will get the money, it will all go to charity. Rat farts. I wanted a refund from those money grubbing bastards.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:40PM (#5058018) Homepage Journal

    Please keep the few dollars you've earned from me as I've downloaded much, much more than that and my conscience is getting to me.

    Thank you.
  • Big whoop ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nucal (561664) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:40PM (#5058022)
    Cash Distribution

    The cash paid by the Defendants, after the payment of attorneys' fees, litigation and Settlement administration costs, shall be distributed to consumers who purchased Music Products. The number of claims filed will determine the actual amount of the individual refund but will not exceed $20.00 per claimant. If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers. Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products.

    This kind of settlement won't benefit consumers directly. Even if you could locate six year old receipts, the odds are pretty good you won't get a direct settlement out of this.

    • Re:Big whoop ... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iMMo (61469)
      Agreed - big whoop. I've bought *hundreds* of CDs over the last several years, and $20.00 doesn't seem like enough if the prices were in fact 'fixed'. This entire activity seems like an easy way for the recording companies to 'make good' on their past, present and future monopolizing.

      Between the several large conglomerates, I've got to believe that it wasn't hard to come up with $67 million to pay out this settlement. Will this really change anything?
  • Buy a CD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:41PM (#5058032) Homepage
    get 5.00 back in the laswsuit

    buy 100 CDs get 5.00 back in the lawsuit...

    that means I got overcharged 2 cents for each of my CDs...

    how about they lower the prices instead?
  • by falloutboy (150069) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:41PM (#5058037)
    "As usual, the lawyers win a lot more than you will, but the ..."

    This may come as a huge surprise, but the lawyers actually earned that money. All you had to do was fill out a form on the web.
    • Even if you only see $5, it adds up to a large penalty against RIAA.

      This goes right in line with those Sprint Spectrum settlements- where the settlement "deal" was worse than what you could get in Radio Shack! (yep, I got that one in the mail, got excited, checked the prices, and decided not to opt in)

      It isn't so much to really re-imburse the consumers, but to hurt the corporations first and foremost.
      • by Golias (176380) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:25PM (#5058478)
        Even if you only see $5, it adds up to a large penalty against RIAA

        Holy shit, the ignorance flying around here is blinding today. Sorry to single you out, but you are one of many who seems to completely misunderstand what you are signing up for here.

        1. The RIAA loses nothing. This is a lawsuit against a group of record labels. Yes, the RIAA lobbies on their behalf, but if anything this will result in the labels investing more money into the RIAA, to help insure that they don't get stung like this again over something.

        2. Your signing up does not mean more money gets added to the penalty. The penalty was already settled by the ambulance-chasing lawyers who set up this class action... and it ain't much. You signing up just means the tiny fraction of the settlement that actuallly goes to those who were "damaged" by high CD prices gets divided up more thinly.

        3. The settlement didn't do jack shit about high CD prices. Go to your local record store, and notice that albums that used to cost $13 about two years ago are now going for $17. Like almost all corporate class-action lawsuits, the lawyers get rich convincing you that you got "free money" coming, but the reality is that the costs of litigation and penalties are typically passed on to you, the consumer, while the handful of lawyers who suckered you into helping them make the suit look legitimate are making off like bandits... which is what they are.

        If you want to fight the RIAA, give money (more than $5 would be nice) to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or 2600's legal defense fund, or Senator Hatch's campaign fund. Signing up for this settlement just makes you a participant in the over-litigious culture we are rapidly becoming, while doing nothing about the problem other than make you feel like you are doing something about it.

    • I bought over 180 CDs between the years in guestion. I'm pretty sure nefarious price fixing cost me more than $20. All I had to do was overpay for every music purchase I've made to date due to an oligopoly's illegal collusion.
    • by cmoney (216557) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:03PM (#5058233)
      It was ours to begin with. Record companies were found to be overcharging customers and the courts took action to give it back to consumers. So the lawyers did some work so they should be compensated for their work, I agree, but implying that I should have to earn my money back is rediculous!
    • This may come as a huge surprise, but the claimants have been cheated out of a lot of money, and are only getting a tiny fraction of it back. Whether the lawyers earned it, I can't say. Often, they don't.

      For example, I read that the lawyers involved in the tobacco settlement ended up with about $60000 USD per hour of work. Something tells me they were overpaid, even if I fully supported suing big tobacco. Nobody works hard enough to deserve $60000 per hour.
  • by aSiTiC (519647) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:41PM (#5058038) Homepage
    It is being spread that you will get $20 for a claim. In fact you will get $20 if less than 3.375 million people make claims because they are only paying a total of $67.5 million.

    In fact, if more than 13.5 million people make claims which causes each claim to be less than $5 than everybody gets NOTHING. I wouldn't be surprised if more than 13.5 million people do make claims with all the press this story will get. The RIAA will probably try to get more press so that payments are nullified.

    I'm curious to know where all the money goes if the average payment is less than $5... Do the lawyers get a week in Bermuda?
  • I purchased multipule CD's through that time period. It was about the time I got my first CD player. The amount of CD's I bought was 40-50. If they did price fix 1-2$ per CD then I figure I am entitled to a lot more. I would actually rather they be forced to sell CD's for 1 year at a fixed price of 12$ Susgested retail price. Also I imagine you give up certain rights if you agree to the pay off. I would rather excude myself and get some friends also perhaps to let the judge see the judgement is unfair and is only good for the RIAA and the lawyers.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:44PM (#5058048)
    How can this be a Class Action Suit when the RIAA has no class? Crass action would be more accurate...
  • Over those years. At $20 per recording, that works out to, hrm, oh, only about a quarter million dollars :P
  • It would be nice to have a link to the actual article instead of the frontpage of the site. Granted, the article is currently on the frontpage but won't be for long. Here [arstechnica.com] is a permalink to the actual article.
  • As quoted from the web site

    The cash paid by the Defendants, after the payment of attorneys' fees, litigation and Settlement administration costs, shall be distributed to consumers who purchased Music Products. The number of claims filed will determine the actual amount of the individual refund but will not exceed $20.00 per claimant. If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers. Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products.

    So now that this is on /. we all know the # of claims filed will result in a refund of less than $5. So now what happens? The money gets donated to pro-RIAA groups, yipee!

  • by goingincirclez (639915) <goingincirclez@m[ ]com ['sn.' in gap]> on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:47PM (#5058075)
    Purchases of overpriced CD albums from 1995-2000 (that turned out to little more than one-hit-wonder crap): > $200

    Settlement from class-action lawsuit (regarding the purchases of overpriced one-hit wonder crap):
    The cost of filling out a marketing infomation form (to get your refund from one-hit wonder crap): Dead trees and spam

    Trying out mp3's before wasting any more money on hard copy: Priceless

    There are some things that are a ripoff. For everything else, there's P2P.
  • If enough people sign up that settlement/people is smaller than $5/person then no individuals get any money (and it all goes to charitable groups and the government). From what I can tell, the magic # is 8.8 million.

    I was actually hoping Slashdot wouldn't get wind of this, so I'd have a better chance at getting $20. Oh well. (If I were one of those charities I sure would be working hard to sign people up for the settlement.)
  • by Maeryk (87865) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:48PM (#5058079) Journal
    Dont get in on the suit. Next thing you know Lars Ulrich will be personally writing on you to demand 1 penny from the settlement because the price fixing made Moneygru^H^H^H^H^etallica lose
    money and the money coming from the settlement will make them earn less from the distributor for their next album and soon James will be kicking in your door demanding money and spontaneously combusting all over your shiznit!

    Maeryk
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@geek b i k e r.net> on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:49PM (#5058090) Homepage Journal
    I would assume they settled out of course instead of paying this as part of a judgement. If they had gone the whole distance in court they would have had to pay refunds AND stop price fixing. I haven't seen any drop in CD prices, so it's obvious they haven't changed their practices one bit.

    No doubt the RIAA attornies realized they would lose the case and be forced to sell music at reasonable prices. They can't have that! So settle for a few measly millions, instead.
  • I know people have posted this: "The number of claims filed will determine the actual amount of the individual refund but will not exceed $20.00 per claimant. If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers." and say "Why Bother"?

    I'll tell you why: Because at the very least we can get some money out of the thieves that today are trying to screw us in other ways. Its too bad we can't use the money to fight the RIAA and their co-conspiritors. I'd waive my refund for such a cause. I'd love to see them punished, and brought to task for their misdeeds.

    Personal Strap-On Aircraft for Auction on eBay [xnewswire.com]

  • I purchased over a thousand CDs in that time.

    If I take the $20 does that mean, either implicitly or explicitly, that I'm claiming full restitution?


    • If I take the $20 does that mean, either implicitly or explicitly, that I'm claiming full restitution?

      Yes

      According to this [musiccdsettlement.com], as well as every other similar class action settlement I've seen, participation in the class settlement is a final resolution of your claims.

      Note that you need to take affirmative action to NOT be in the class. If you do not specifically remove yourself from the class, you ARE IN the class

      You can withdraw from the class, and pursue legal action on your own. This would be foolish in this case.

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:50PM (#5058105)
    ...and have stopped screwing us. Riiight.

    ummm...when did CD prices go down by $5 each? Did I miss it? Or did they just factor in inflation, and keep prices the same?(even thought their production costs have dropped)

    fushing FEEVES!!
  • At least it did in Nintendo's case. Anyone else remember the price fixing settlement against nintendo? Out of me and all of my nintendo geek friends, I was the only one who received a payment,(I also was the only one who filled out a request), for exactly $20.00 from Nintendo of America along with a letter of apology. My friends were so jelous, I didn't even cash the check, but opted to frame it and the letter.

    At any rate, we all need to sign up for this, and hopefully we'll get a slight reimbursement for being ripped off, and maybe even a letter of apology from the RIAA. That's worth it to me :)
  • by tbonium (521815) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:50PM (#5058108)

    Um, you would be pretty stupid to file the claim on the website.

    No encryption/SSL on the website, so your name, DOB, last 4 of SSN, etc. all belong to us.

  • I don't mind filling out paper work, giving them info about me and spending my time on this.

    It'll get my money back from "Da Man" all .0005 cents worth after lawyers, litigation fees etc.

    Personally, I'd be much happier with a court order mandating they drop their current prices. I think it would send a stronger message to the RIAA members.
  • I don't understand why it's a set amount for everyone other than possibly because most people will not have receipts to show how many they bought. However, I think there should be a provision for those who have receipts to be able to get more money. For example, a professional dj (which I was for a short while) usually has receipts for every cd he buys because they are tax deductible. Granted it's not legal to play the ones you buy at retail, and you have to buy cd's that are licensed for performance, but that's not the issue. The issue is that Some people DO have receipts for hundreds of cd's that they were overcharged for.

    But then again, is this ruling fair? Even though I think cd's are overpriced, I still believe that the music industry should be able to charge however much they want. It is then up to us as consumers to not buy their cd's until the price is affordable. That is how the system is supposed to work. They sell their wares for what the market will bear, or they go out of business.

  • There's going to be: What Benefits are Available?

    The Defendants have agreed to pay a combination of cash and non-cash consideration. Defendants' combined cash payments total $67,375,000. In addition, Distributor Defendants will provide $75,700,000 worth of prerecorded music compact discs.

    Cash Distribution

    The cash paid by the Defendants, after the payment of attorneys' fees, litigation and Settlement administration costs, shall be distributed to consumers who purchased Music Products. The number of claims filed will determine the actual amount of the individual refund but will not exceed $20.00 per claimant. If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers. Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products.


    So, no matter how much the RIAA took you for, you can't get more then $20, and probably close to $5, if anything. But, hey won't it be nice to know the government will get all this money if we don't!?

    But hey, there's also $75 million of free music that the stores are going to give out, of course they'll 'figure' it by the full album price, rather then what the disks cost.

    I wonder if they're going to run ads on channels like MTV, VH1, and other teen channels. Something like "Hey kids, while you were all stealing theoretical money from the record companies, they were all stealing real money from you! Now you can get a small fraction of it back by going to our website" etc. Might to a bit more harm to the RIAAs already shitty public opinion (I'd love to see some polls on that)
  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:55PM (#5058152) Homepage
    seen them lower current prices. It's a double win for them. a) We're sorry, have CDs from now on at the right price b) After lowering prices to the proper amounts, maybe people will start buying CDs again and maybe they can shutup about mp3s 'killing' their business.

    Who am I kidding. This is the RIAA. They'll probably still try to milk their customers and find ways to NOT pay people from this 'settlement'. :)
  • As with most class action suits, only the lawyers get anything. In this case, as long as enough people file claims, they get nothing, Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes. Hell, giving my money to the gub'mint or some music charity for music-related purposes is the damn last thing I want. Such a thing can only come back to cost me more money later.

    Also, note that no matter how many CDs you bought, you are treated the same. The class action weazles are not doing anything to help you, just themselves.

    Adding insult to injury, Defendants' combined cash payments total $67,375,000. In addition, Distributor Defendants will provide $75,700,000 worth of prerecorded music compact discs. What crap is this? The industry is being allowed to pony up more "worth" in junk CD's that nobody wants than in the cash they stole? Clearly the class action weazles winked and said "just make sure I get mine and we'll let you screw the consumers again".

  • How about the next case -- Refunds of blank media "tax" that go to the MPAA and RIAA to cover the amount that they "lost" from copies to this blank media?


    When they copyprotect movies or songs, they are preventing copies but still collect that "tax" on the blank media.

  • Here's an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quintessent (197518) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:57PM (#5058173) Journal
    The way these always go, nobody really gets $20 or whatever out of it. Everyone will get a check for about 50 cents in the mail, and the lawyers will get new beach houses in San Diego. Now, this suit is a good cause, since the industry has been using tactics to fix prices and push them ever higher. However, rather than sleeping through the process, we should do something. Notice this from the web site:

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing to determine if the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate on May 22, 2003, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2, United States Courthouse, 156 Federal Street, Portland, Maine 04101. If you remain a member of the Settlement Group, you or your counsel have the right to appear before the Court and object to the Settlement. However, you must file a Notice of Intention to Appear and Object...

    Do you live near Maine? There is a good chance the settlement will not go far enough. The lawyers don't care, as long as they get their beach houses, but we, the actual party being represented, ought to. If you live in the area, check out the settlement, and if you disagree, say so in court. You don't need a lawyer, but try to be extremely well prepared when you go. Do your homework, and be prepared to represent those millions of us in a way the lawyers may not. If you're a lawyer yourself, all the better. Let's make sure this is fair.
  • The Defendants have agreed to pay a combination of cash and non-cash consideration. Defendants' combined cash payments total $67,375,000. In addition, Distributor Defendants will provide $75,700,000 worth of prerecorded music compact discs. Due to a new industry-wide pricing structure, this equates to 757 prerecorded music compact discs.
  • please don't submit yours... ;)

    remember if more then 13.4 million people ask for one, then all the money goes to a Non-profit orginization.
    That pretty much sucks, unless they give me the option to choose who it goes to.

  • Helping OGG? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:04PM (#5058247)
    Given that probably the number of people signing on will bring the distribution below $5, and that then the money goes to not-for-profits that benefit "the music listening public" - can OGG get some of that money to help with development costs? I'm sure even just a lowly million would help things along.
  • by richlb (168636) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:11PM (#5058331)
    Somehow I feel that the number of respondants will push the per person settlement BELOW $5, so all of it will go to charity anyway.

    I'd be amazed if any consumer saw a dime.

    On another related note, though, I DO remember getting like $2 sent to me back in the way early 90's because I sent in the UPC symbol from my Milli Vanilli cassette when their record company got hit with a class action suit. So maybe.....

    (note: I apologize for mentioning Milli Vanilli on /.)
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:22PM (#5058451) Homepage Journal
    If you sign this you also agree in whole to the agreement, with what apears to be no future recourse.

    I say *noone* sign and we fight for whats really far.

    A free cd ? bah thats not fair settlement.

    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:33PM (#5058567)

      In fact, everyone should go beyond just passively not claiming their share of this settlement, and actually submit the appropriate paperwork to exclude yourselves, in essence rejecting the settlement. We all know this isn't a fair compensation, and the more people who speak out and say so the better the chances that a more equitable settlement will be reached.

      • by agrounds (227704) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:15PM (#5058970)
        In fact, everyone should go beyond just passively not claiming their share of this settlement, and actually submit the appropriate paperwork to exclude yourselves, in essence rejecting the settlement. We all know this isn't a fair compensation, and the more people who speak out and say so the better the chances that a more equitable settlement will be reached.


        I couldn't agree more! I'll even take the liberty of helping this along:

        Just so you don't have to find the means of doing this:
        From the settlement:


        If you do not wish to be bound by the terms of the proposed Settlement described in this Notice, you may request to be excluded from the Settlement. To do so, you MUST send a written request for the exclusion to:

        Compact Disc MAP Antitrust Litigation Administrator
        Post Office Box 1643
        Faribault, Minnesota 55021-1643

        Your request for exclusion must be postmarked by or before March 3, 2003, must clearly state that you want to be excluded from the Settlement, and must provide your full, legal name(s), address, telephone number, and the name and number of this Litigation (In re: Compact Disc Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1361). NO REQUEST FOR EXCLUSION WILL BE CONSIDERED VALID UNLESS ALL OF THE INFORMATION DESCRIBED ABOVE IS INCLUDED IN ANY SUCH REQUEST.

  • by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:23PM (#5058466) Homepage Journal
    as in they've given us a variation on the prisoner's dilemna -- if nobody asks for it, nobody gets it. if one person asks for it and the other refuses, then one person gets the money and the other gets screwed. if both people ask for it, nobody gets it. just goes to show the RIAA still doesn't respect us and wants us in our place -- as prisoners to their control over our entertainment.
  • by Raetsel (34442) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:27PM (#5058512)

    JWZ had a very good point -- this was discussed on BoingBoing [boingboing.net], and here's what he had to say [quicktopic.com]:
    • "Doesn't taking their $20 payoff constitute an agreement that they have paid their debt? If they have in fact engaged in price fixing, they owe us a hell of a lot more than $20 each. I suspect that taking the $20 in hush-money will preclude one from participating in any future, similar legal action against them."
    Damn skippy.

    Too bad I don't have Microsoft-level resources for lawyers, or I might end up owning the RIAA. (Yeah, right.) On second thought, I'd better be careful -- MS might get ideas...

    The question of SSNs also came up, and was addressed -- it looks like they have a legitimate reason for asking.

  • by tonyzeb (557468) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:47PM (#5058675) Homepage
    I wonder if any one noticed that the settlement was for 67 MILLION dollars? That means 13 MILLION people have to sign up for it before it goes below 5 bucks a person. I like Slashdot, but I dont' think there are that many readers. If less than three million people sign up, which seems reasonable to say, everyone gets Twenty bucks. Cool. Besides, anyone who is a REAL freak about their personal information would have a PO BOX, and wouldn't care. Amateurs.
  • by pnatural (59329) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:49PM (#5058690)
    From the page http://www.musiccdsettlement.com/english/default.h tm [musiccdsettlement.com]:
    Cash Distribution

    The cash paid by the Defendants, after the payment of attorneys' fees, litigation and Settlement administration costs, shall be distributed to consumers who purchased Music Products. The number of claims filed will determine the actual amount of the individual refund but will not exceed $20.00 per claimant. If the number of claims filed would result in refunds of less than $5.00 per claimant, there will be no cash distribution to individual consumers. Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products.
    IMPORTANT - If you are a member of the Settlement Group, you can only file one claim per person no matter how many Music Products you purchased.
    So, let's see. Between '95 and '00 I've purchased at least 100 CDs (that's only 20 a year, but I'm being conservative in my estimate). 100 discs, 20 bucks for the settlement. That's a whopping 20 cents per disc.

    Thank you, laywers! I can retire now.
  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon.gmail@com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @07:14PM (#5059738)
    The companies, including Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Bertelsmann's BMG Music and EMI Group, plus retailers Musicland Stores, Trans World Entertainment and Tower Records....NOT the RIAA. Although that group about covers it. Do a search before posting the story.
  • by tvsjr (242190) on Friday January 10, 2003 @09:20PM (#5060355)
    Did you read the description of where the money will go if the settlement drops below $5 per claimant?


    Rather, the cash portion of the Settlement shall be distributed to not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes or programs for the benefit of consumers who purchased Music Products.


    So, what do you bet the defendants will publicize this heavily and get enough claimants to drop below $5/claimant? Then, they'll get the money funneled into not-for-profit, charaitable, etc. organizations aligned with the distributors and the RIAA. They'll lose money out of the general fund, but it'll get pushed back into other organizations they control.

    Wait and see...
  • by gilroy (155262) on Friday January 10, 2003 @10:08PM (#5060526) Homepage Journal
    I'm going to put in a claim, then use that $20 to support the EFF (or maybe a different consumer-rights organization). Let's use the record companies' money against them!
  • by ProfMoriarty (518631) on Friday January 10, 2003 @10:46PM (#5060672) Journal
    You know ... it would be just my luck to get part of the "Non-Cash Consideration" in the form of Britteny Spears CD Collection ...
  • by wedg (145806) on Saturday January 11, 2003 @12:38AM (#5061010) Homepage Journal
    Make sure *nobody* signs up for this. At all. We all know how hard this will be, since everyone and their mother, and their mother's cousin loves "free money". But really, we're just saying, "Hey, it's ok to rip us off some more."

    If no one agrees to the settlement, then perhaps the courts, when they try to see if the settlement is fair, will realize that it is not, and that the price fixing must be stopped.

    And then I sign up for the refund, and being the only person signed up, I walk away with a cool $25 mil. Muaahahahhahahahahahahhahahaha. *cough* Ignore that last part.
  • by t0qer (230538) on Saturday January 11, 2003 @06:36AM (#5061788) Homepage Journal
    At the bottom of my sig, you'll see the mag I donate my webmastering skills too. We're a local zine for the silicon valley music scene.

    Before ppl ask "SV has a music scene?" remember, bands like green day come out of here. Our music scene is totally different than that of L.A.'s a.k.a. Hollywood. I can't describe it, because I see everything as data, but I can tell you what the musicians are fearing.

    So today, i'm riding around delivering the latest issue of Zero with one of our big bosses. Boss delivering zines you ask? It's hard times, everyone is pulling double effort.

    Anyways, this cat is a musician, and .5 owner of the zine. When we went to the different bay area wherehouse music stores today, we found out some alarming news.

    All Wherehouse music stores around our area are shutting down... We have noticed a trend too, less people in other music stores.

    So who's to blame? Napster? The economy? Pirates?

    Well, my partner started asking questions about the technology. He's what I would call a reforming luddite (yeah strong words but he'd agree with me) "Isn't there some way they could make a CD so it's uncopyable?" he asked. I explained to him as long as there was some sort of digital, to a speaker coil coversion, the RIAA will never be able to stamp out piracy.

    "Well who the fuck would want to download a shitty copy of a song then!" he chirped.

    "The same fucks that would bring a camera into AOTC's, compress it to mpeg and share it over kazaa" I replied.

    Stumped, he went back to his first question. After repeating that there had to be some way of doing it 3 times I answered..

    "Yeah, if they could convince everyone to replace their ears with DRM enabled digital implants, then yeah the RIAA has a chance"

    Well, he got the point after that. So he moved onto "How do you stamp out P2P?"

    I put it into another analogy for him. Napster with it's central peer topology is much like a football team with 1 quarterback. You sack the quarterback.. You sack the network.

    "So the RIAA can just sack kazaa right?"

    "No, Kazaa would be the equivelent of every player on the team being both QB and reciever"

    See, our zine stays alive by record lables having the money to buy adspace from us. If the record lables are losing money from P2P it affects us because they've yet to evolve to the net.

    "What should they do?"

    Personally, I think the record lables should ditch CD production altogether now. They should make songs freely downloadable. Fuck it, cut their losses.

    But rather than look at it like a loss, the record industry should take a Las Vegas approach to it. Just use the music as a "comp" to milk money out of people in other ways.

    For instance, that $50 dollar green day ticket, fuck it, if people won't buy the albums anymore, double it. I think people wouldn't care if they had to pay more for live performances. I'm biased because I do get in for free, and don't have any money to pay for tickets anyways. I'm 30 years old in feburary and am perfectly content to staying at home.

    The market is really for 14-25 year olds. Those are the people with expendable cash. They live at home, don't have a mortgage, and can afford $100 bucks to see a live performance. With the rate of inflation over the last 10 years, $100 doesn't really seem like a lot to me to see a big headliner band if I had no financial obligations.

    I'm the oldest of 6, my youngest siblings are more at home in the computer enviroment than I ever was at their age. The RIAA doesn't realize this yet, but their biggest age group has a huge understanding of internet distribution, and they will never be able to beat it. That's just an unfortunate fact about it.

    So to recap the RIAA should...

    Cut back CD production,
    Raise the price of live performances
    Focus on promotion more than CD distribution.

    Well, it's 3:30, and after a night of bouncing 300lb pac islanders from my karaoke bar, I need some sleep. Slash you in the morning and I hope your friday was as fun as mine.

    --Toq

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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