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RIAA Grabs Student's Life's Savings 1228

An anonymous reader writes "ABCNews is reporting on a 19-year-old college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He created a site named where students could search for files on the university network. Mind you, this is not a music file sharing software, this is just a search engine. Presumably, the search engine was being used to search for music files as well. The folks over at the RIAA did not take too kindly to the idea, and sued the student. He settled but denies any wrongdoing. What was settlement, you ask? His life's savings."
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RIAA Grabs Student's Life's Savings

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  • by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:22AM (#6149870)
    I am assuming the name for this site is derived from the only remaining use for CDs?
    • by Kircle ( 564389 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:24AM (#6149906)
      The ABC article states: " is asking for donations to help recover the $12,000 settlement. As of June 6, the site has collected more than $1,700."
      • by NevDull ( 170554 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:34AM (#6150046) Homepage Journal
        I'm torn between the idea of helping out this guy who got the ol' shaft, and paying off the RIAA. I'd rather donate to a legal defense fund than OK paying off the music Mafia.
        • Let's do both! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:05AM (#6150404) Homepage
          I'm torn between the idea of helping out this guy who got the ol' shaft, and paying off the RIAA. I'd rather donate to a legal defense fund than OK paying off the music Mafia.

          First, I would say that helping the kid is a better "good thing" than paying the RIAA is a "bad thing." To them, $12,000 (or whatever the lifesavings of an undergrad) is nothing save symbolic - to him, it's a ton. If we help him out, any symbolic victory of theirs is lost, he has no financial damage, so effectively all that's happened is that 120 people are out $100 and the RIAA is up 12 large.

          The problem of course is that 1) this will encourage people in the future to settle if they think they'll get paid off, and 2) the RIAA will lose whatever shred of remorse they MIGHT have had about nuking some poor kid (laughable, I know), as they'll see it as a rightful, distributed tax.

          So I think you're right - I think we need to get the EFF on board, help collect a war chest, and defend the next poor bastard they try this with. That way, there will be a clear, established precedent for the next time they try this crap after that.

          The sad thing in this case is they have no leg to stand on. He never collected info about what was traded, and never got the opportunity to be helpful to the RIAA by blocking mp3's (which was one of the counts against Napster). So I have little doubt the RIAA would have lost given appropriate representation.

          • Re:Let's do both! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Politburo ( 640618 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:11AM (#6150479)
            1) this will encourage people in the future to settle if they think they'll get paid off

            Even if he manages to recollect all $12,000 (which I doubt will occur), he still hasn't been "paid off". He's only not lost all of his money. He would be no better off than he was before if all of the settlement is donated back to him.
          • Keep Your Money... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cribcage ( 205308 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @02:39PM (#6152788) Homepage Journal

            If we help him out, any symbolic victory of theirs is lost...
            How do you figure? The kid settled for $12,000. That's what's being reported by the national media. Period. If you manage to help him recover the money, that might get reported on a few nerd websites; but I don't see it damaging the RIAA's "symbolic victory" one iota.

            I doubt we're getting the whole story -- here, or with the other four students who settled last month. I'd like to see someone ask them one question: "Did you have any pirated music?" I've never used Napster/KaZaA/etc. in my life. (I'm a Mac user.) If the RIAA came after me for writing one of these programs, you can bet that would be the first thing out of my mouth to any reporter who'd listen: "I have never traded music."

            The software may not be as devious as the RIAA is painting it; but if these kids did in fact have pirated MP3s, then it's going to be pretty tough to convince a jury that their hands were squeaky-clean.

            And BTW, did anyone else notice the kid's father beaming with pride? "He has stood up to the schoolyard bullies that are pulling this," he says of his son. The kid forked over his life's savings, without a hint of protest. It's pretty hard to keep a straight face listening to the nerd tell you how he beat up the bully, while his nose is still bleeding and his lunch money's gone.

            One final note: This kid was a college student at a polytech school, with $12,000 in his bank account. You know a lot of college students who are sitting on $12,000? If you want to donate your money to charitable use, that's commendable; but there are better fronts to fight in this battle, and I suspect there are more needy victims than little Jesse Jordan.

            My two cents. []


    • by Misch ( 158807 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:33AM (#6150034) Homepage
      Perhaps he thought "" would be good, but didn't have faith in the ability of his fellow RPI students spelling?
    • by cshark ( 673578 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:26AM (#6150668)

      The whole thing I'm not getting, is how is this good for the music industry?

      Sure, they're bullying college students, who are indecently the target audience for a lot of the stuff they produce. They might make a few grad here and there, but this is the worst possible publicity they could EVER hope for.

      In yet another move to demonstrate how woefully behind the times they are, they have beaten yet another college student into submission. That's good. But I would be willing to bet that there are probably a few hundred more college students who will never buy another CD as a result of this.

      I think the reason sales of CD's are down is because people are disgusted with the behavior of the Music industry. In particular, the RIAA has acted in a manner that is not only disturbing, but only questionably legal.

      Wouldn't it make sense that in a time of slower sales, that they would be focusing their efforts on promotion of their products, R&D product development, cheap sales ploys to get people to.. I don't know... buy stuff? This pre-occupation with internet file sharing is not only in bad taste, but it's a complete waste of resources.
  • by vtechpilot ( 468543 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:22AM (#6149877)
    Lets see, when I was a college student my Life savings was always near zero, what with the high cost of tuition and beer.
  • What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 637314 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:23AM (#6149880) Homepage Journal
    People suing Google because their 10 year old found porno?

    Suing Yahoo because someone found copyright material on an unauthorized page? GASP!
    • Re:What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:28AM (#6149961) Journal
      People suing Google because their 10 year old found porno?

      Suing Yahoo because someone found copyright material on an unauthorized page? GASP!

      Won't happen. Google and Yahoo are companies that can afford lawyers. They can afford litigation costs, whereas the poor college student can't. Him only giving over his life savings was probally a bargin for his point of view, since he didn't have to pay a lawyer to sit though an actual trial.

      Remember, the wolves go for the weak caribu first. When they go for the strong ones, they have to spend a lot of energy running it down, and it isn't worth it to them.

      • Re:What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tychoS ( 200282 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:46AM (#6150180)
        Very true.

        The RIAA apears to want to put the fear to create any sort of software than can in any way be used to diminish their earnings, no matter what else it can be used for, into all programmers worldwide.

        Bullying individuals, is not only cheaper for RIAA than attacking companies with adequate legal defense capabilities, is is sending the message to programmers worldwide just as well or maybe even better, because the victims are more like you and me.

        Why didn't university help him?

        Were they afraid to help him, or just plain indifferent?

        It would seem that morally the right thing for the university to do would be to pay for an adequate legal defense and counter attack for their student, because the student has been a very good example for the other students in the university by creating a usefull piece of software for the benefit of his fellow students, and are being victimized because of it.

        Maybe the university is afraid that if they helped the student, half the other students and their parents would be begging the university to pay their legal fees, in all sorts of cases that did not merit the universities help. We will never know, unless someone gets an interview with the persons in the university administration who made the decision not to help their student.
        • Re:What's next? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:54AM (#6150278) Homepage
          >Why didn't university help him?

          Or, to put it another way, "Just how much of a typical university's operating budget is comprised of funds from corperate sources?"

          I wonder if universities are becoming less and less 'able' to help bite the hands that feed them. There've certainly been a number of high profile cases in the past 15 years where students have run afoul of corperate wishes, and the university has sided with the corperation out of contractual neccessity.
  • heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by rgoer ( 521471 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:23AM (#6149885)
    I guess the "and your firstborn" clause of the settlement wasn't made public.
  • by Verteiron ( 224042 ) * on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:23AM (#6149888) Homepage
    Google cache [] of

    The original domain is down, and he's got a Paypal link on his page to help him recover his 12 grand.
  • by Muerto ( 656791 ) <{david} {at} {}> on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:24AM (#6149897)
    what is it with government and big business.. they crap on us and we allow it. They lie to us and we allow it. We elect them.. we need to change things. If you don't vote don't bitch! ROCK THE VOTE.
    • by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:27AM (#6149959) Homepage Journal
      Corporations own the politicians. A perfect example of marketing in action. People vote for the person they see in commercials, not the candidate that best matches their beliefs. Most people couldn't tell you where the people they vote for stand on any issues at all with confidence. It takes money to buy commercials and as a consequence to win you have to kiss ass to corporate America.
    • by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:52AM (#6150243) Homepage Journal
      The biggest problem I've had is that no candidate supports my position. If I disagree with everyone, who the FSCK should I vote for? The lesser of several evils?

      I'd run myself, but even disregarding the money issues I'd have, there are minimum ages for members of Congress...

      Show me a candidate who represents me, and I'll vote for him.
  • Ah now we know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mustangsal66 ( 580843 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:24AM (#6149904)
    Now we know where all the ex-KGB agents went. They now work for the RIAA. It's a sad time when your afraid to develop something because it 'MIGHT' be used for illegal things. Bastards!
  • Umm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mhore ( 582354 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:25AM (#6149915)
    "They agreed to allow Jesse to deny their allegations. They agreed to dismiss the case and all allegations against him," Andy said. "Basically they agreed that he didn't do anything wrong, but [they're] taking his 12 grand."

    Anybody else find something wrong with that quote? His father is quite right -- by allowing him to deny all charges, they're basically saying he didn't do anything wrong...yet they take his $12,000.


    • Re:Umm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The Only Druid ( 587299 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:29AM (#6149978)
      What this means is that while the RIAA understood what they were permitting, Jesse's father didn't.

      What the RIAA said was basically this: we dont care WHAT you say, because at the end of the day you paid us $12,000 to stop taking you to court; if you think you didn't do anything, we dont give a flying fu...

      This is actually quite standard in out-of-court settlements. Both sides are usually free to some regard to talk about the case, so long as the check clears. In fact, he's fortunate that they gave him complete freedom to talk, since that degree of freedom is somewhat rare.
    • Re:Umm.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by t123 ( 642988 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:32AM (#6150024)
      i think the word you're looking for is extortion
      exÂtorÂtion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (k-stÃrshn) n. 1. The act or an instance of extorting.
      2. Illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage. 3. An excessive or exorbitant charge. 4. Something extorted.
      • Re:Umm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:41AM (#6150127) Homepage
        or barratry:

        barÂraÂtry Audio pronunciation of barratry ( P ) Pronunciation Key (br-tr)
        n. pl. barÂraÂtries

        1. The offense of persistently instigating lawsuits, typically groundless ones.
        2. An unlawful breach of duty on the part of a ship's master or crew resulting in injury to the ship's owner.
        3. Sale or purchase of positions in church or state.

        Barratry is simply the judicial version of extortion. Ie, "Can't afford to fight? Whew, our accusations were groundless anyhow. That'll be 12,000$ please."
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:25AM (#6149918)

    The news report goes on to state that the RIAA is now prowd owners of an old bike, a Pentium II numerous games, a pair of worn-out jeans and a large untidy pile of magazines.
  • by Palshife ( 60519 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:26AM (#6149931) Homepage
    Holy crap, I'm really glad I graduated from RPI in 2002 before the RIAA decided to sue the entire student body.

    Seriously though, I'm gonna have to start donating money to support student lawsuits rather than to build new dorms if this keeps up.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:27AM (#6149951) Journal
    When I was 19, my life savings amounted to perhaps $500 plus one old C64.

    Which gives me a genius idea... the only people able to operate P2P sites in the future will be minors. Great move RIAA, push teenagers into crime.

  • Dear RIAA, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) <> on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:27AM (#6149958) Homepage Journal
    I would like to formally invite you to litigate me. I believe that you are full of shit and I believe that I can be a "hero to the hacker world" such as Dimitry and Kevin have been. I want to spend years in court with you spewing out techincal jargon and confusing grand juries and judges alike. I want to appeal all the way to the supreme court to make the entire world realize what a sham you really are.

    If you could please send the proper paper work we can get started ASAP. The bully only stays a bully so long, then someone comes along and beats the ever living shit out of that bully and makes them realize that they aren't allowed to be a bully any longer.

    Bring it, I'm tired of you picking on all my peers and I'm ready to kick your ass. Remember when you take me to court, IT ALL COMES ON THE TABLE, and I'll subpoena everything!!!

    • by unsinged int ( 561600 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:37AM (#6150077)
      how much did you pay for the deer suit and the bullseye?
    • by Gerry Gleason ( 609985 ) <gerry AT geraldgleason DOT com> on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:56AM (#6150304)
      You'll need a search site which lists lots of music to download, preferably including lots of stuff that is legal for download along with the RIAA encumberred bait, and then you will need another to raise money for lawyers and websites and post information about how the great fight is going.

      Also, you might want to tone down the "challenge" language if you really want them to take the bait. Of course, you can probably also recruit some fellow defendants from the small group of people already in the RIAA's crosshairs and make your legal defense group a bit broader. It does have the advantage of getting into the legal battles and getting some battlefield experience before becoming a target personally.

      Good luck.

  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:29AM (#6149976) Homepage Journal
    So this kid gets sued by the RIAA for writing a generic search engine, is forced to settle for $12,000 (his entire life savings), and his only real shot at recouping all his settlement money is flushed down the toilet by a massive denial of service attack "unwittingly" perpetrated by Slashdot?

    This world is a cruel, cruel place. :(
  • by AgTiger ( 458268 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:29AM (#6149982) Homepage
    The RIAA keeps getting more bold (and ridiculous) in its strong-arm techniques.

    Someone very wise once said "Follow the money". The major labels are the RIAA's clientelle, and I think I can reasonably assume they give their ascent to the RIAA's "business practices" (read: extortion), otherwise they'd be very upset about public relations backlash against them and their products. This backlash may happen eventually.

    Now assuming that this ascent to these techniques is present, perhaps contractually, what happens when the wrong student is sued, and a very wealthy, but up to now quiet and non-pressworthy relative (such as a rich uncle that the RIAA didn't count on), steps forward and says to his nephew, "No, you are not caving, and I've secured the services of an excellent law firm that specializes in the RICO act."

    As I said, follow the money. I look forward to the day when some unassuming student, that was doing nothing wrong, takes the major labels for a few billion. Yes, with a B.

  • Some settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:29AM (#6149985) Journal
    "They agreed to allow Jesse to deny their allegations. They agreed to dismiss the case and all allegations against him," Andy said. "Basically they agreed that he didn't do anything wrong, but [they're] taking his 12 grand."

    Andy is the kid's father, and he fully stands behind him, which is encouraging to read.

    While Andy questions the motives and actions of the RIAA, he basks in pride at his son's steadfast resolve.

    "He has stood up to the schoolyard bullies that are pulling this and he's said, 'You are not going to make me say something that's not true,'" Andy said.

    Apart from wondering how things have changed since I was a student that any university student can have $12,000 in savings, this just plain sucks. How the #$%^ do they get away with this? Read that again...the kid gets to pay $12,000 for the privilege of being graciously permitted to continue denying he did anything wrong!

    So the RIAA knows they haven't a leg to stand on (unless you can believe they were being altruistic in not forcing a black mark on the student's permanent record -- yeah, right), and still somehow forces him to pay them all his money.

    Blackmail, 'blak-"mAl

    a : extortion or coercion by threats especially of public exposure or criminal prosecution b : the payment that is extorted
  • Fear of Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:31AM (#6150002) Journal
    With organizations like the RIAA, people are going to fear innovating. This kid, obviously fairly smart or innovative, gets slammed for coming up with a nifty way to searc for files on his school's network. Granted, he probably should have checked with the school, the President, God, Homer, and a few others to make sure it was ok to do, but he got nailed for solving a problem. In our lawsuit-happy society, people will fear getting sued and thus will stop trying to come up with solutions to problems.

    It's just very scary how as a society we are unable to solve simple things now. I'd be afraid to open a lemonade stand because of the IRS coming down on me or someone suing me for getting sick, maybe I didn't meet some health code. And yet I probably could have made 50 people in my neighborhood happy. You're probably thinking "what does lemonade have to do with this?" A bit. Read the my first paragraph. Read the second. What kind of idea have you or a friend come up with? If not fearing the lawsuit itself, the costs associated with hiring a lawyer to make sure it's legal is certainly cost-prohibitive enough.

    *sigh* I fear our great nation of innovators will be too scared to use their brains...
    • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:46AM (#6150184) Homepage
      Why should someone ask permission to search for files?! You're buying the RIAA's ridiculous argument that searching is illegal or is somehow wrong. As stated before, Windows has the built in ability to search for MP3s files on a network. Google allows people to search for MP3s. The internet is dead without the ability to search across it. I think others are right, the RIAA is attempting to shut down the internet by making searching illegal. These are just tiny steps in that direction.
  • Sums It Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:32AM (#6150021) Homepage Journal

    He settled

    This seems a predictable outcome in a contest between Godzilla and Bambi.

    Clearly, the student didn't have much money to defend himself in court, otherwise this obviously weak case would have been lost by the RIAA. If misuse of a local search engine was a crime, then may we expect RIAA to sue google for its role as people search for online music using that search engine? I don't think so.

    The RIAA is reinforcing their reputation as greedy bullies, which will serve to exacerbate the problem they're trying to combat.

  • Grand Strategy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chaltek ( 610920 ) * on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:35AM (#6150059) Homepage
    My first reaction to the story was to wish someone had referred Jesse and his father to the EFF instead of letting the RIAA bully them into a settlement.

    Upon futher reflection though, perhaps the Jordans have made a huge personal sacrifice as part of a very strategic move against the RIAA. IF, and it's a big if, the facts of the case do make it out to the public (i.e. that he was just making a search engine for the campus network, which has plenty of legitimate uses) this may be the match lighting the fuse of a popular boycott of the RIAA.

    Maybe not, but whether the plan works or not, we should all donate a bit and help Jesse get his life savings back. (12000 /.'ers X $1 each)

  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:38AM (#6150085) Homepage
    As have been pointed out elsewhere, Microsoft's OSes have built in software to allow searching across networks, which could easily be used to search for MP3s. Does the RIAA intend to go after Microsoft? That wouldn't make much sense, as Microsoft would bury it.

    Here's a question. Let's say that a student sets up a web-page explaining how students could use Windows' built-in Search app to find files, including MP3s, across the university's network. Would the RIAA sue the student for merely explaining how to use it?! It think they would.
  • by The Only Druid ( 587299 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:39AM (#6150100)
    Just to remind everyone: when this was a new story (weeks ago, in the first weeks of may) it was calculated that his tuition for the semester was something on the order of $20,000. This is pretty standard for a decent school. Now, consider this: in order for him to go through the court proceedings, he would have missed his finals, thus losing him all the money he spent on that semester.

    That would necessitate counter-suing, then, to recoup that $20,000, plus legal fees.

    So in the end, if he wanted to fight this, he would have needed to not only argue for his innocence, but also that the RIAA was sufficiently innapropriate in suing him that they were responsible for both his legal fees (which could exceed several thousand dollars, most likely) and also his lost $20,000 from school. Conferring with a few friends who are lawyers in this field, the consensus is that to get the legal fees at least, he'd have to demonstrate far more than his innocence, but also the RIAA's foreknowledge of his innocence most likely. As for the lost $20,000, he'd have to demonstrate both the foreknowledge of his innocence, as well as an intentional effort to time their lawsuit to cause him those damages. Thats not locked in stone - different judges can apply the rules differently.

    Basically, my point is that this kid lost $12,000 this way. If he had fought it, he'd have lost $20,000 at least, plus legal fees, plus potentially losing tens of thousands of dollars if he lost the court case. Worse, he could face academic punishments for failing a full courseload (that would depend on his school).

    Now, I'm not saying this is fair, since I dont necessarily agree with the RIAA intentionally targetting individuals who cannot afford to fight back, but I'm just trying to make it clear to everyone here why this kid did what he did.
  • This is wrong... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EZmagz ( 538905 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:39AM (#6150101) Homepage
    Just plain wrong. All the kid did was build a search engine, cataloging what was available on his campus network. Pretty ambitious for a freshman IT major, actually...considering when I was a freshman I barely had time to sleep, let alone code for fun. And what did the RIAA do? Take his life savings (literally), even though they acknolwedged that he DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG!!!

    My favorite quote from the article: "They agreed to allow Jesse to deny their allegations. They agreed to dismiss the case and all allegations against him," Andy said. "Basically they agreed that he didn't do anything wrong, but [they're] taking his 12 grand."

    Think about that next time you buy a CD and give these greedy pigs another $18.

  • by isorox ( 205688 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:40AM (#6150118) Homepage Journal
    Hmm, lets see, life savings....

    I'm graduating in a few weeks, here in the good old United Kingdom. My life savings....

    -£12,000 student loan
    -£2,500 credit card and bank overdraft
    -£6,000 borrowed from parents.
    £32.56 - investment account from about 20 years ago
    £1.52 - current account from about 8 years ago
    PIII-600, cant liquidate it cause its a tool of a trade.

    come on RIAA, I've got 8,000 mp3's and a copy of "find", sue my ass so I can become bankrupt, lose all my debts, and be free with a degree!
  • by gylle ( 531234 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:42AM (#6150141)
    Perhaps it is because I've been reading too much of slashdot, but it seems these RIAA folks can be to netizens what military police have been to citizens in fascist dictatorships. In the OSS movement you ofter hear that "Don't whine, show me the code". Well, what about the following idea: RIAA honeypots.
    1. Do a couple of something like: dd if=/dev/zero of=LOTR.Two.Towers.Complete.dvdrip.divx.avi
    2. Make a webpage with links to your fake warez and post it to search engines.
    3. Repeat the previous with different variations
    4. Wait for your ISP or the RIAA to contact you.
    5. Reply with a polite and legally correct letter asking for proof that you have infringed on someones copyright... This letter could be prepared by someone from the filesharing community who has studied law. Please someone fill in the details here
    6. Goto 1.
    IANAL, would this work? A couple hundred thousand of these fake cases could perhaps force the RIAA to go after the real bad guys -- the ones that make pirating a business.
    • by lildogie ( 54998 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:06AM (#6150412)
      IANAL either, but legal defense costs money.

      If I bait the *AA into prosecuting me, falsely or otherwise, I'll lose lots of money and time defending myself. _Their_ lawyers are already budgeted for and paid. _My_ lawyers can drain my savings in a few days.

      The litmus test for the merits of your little honeypot is whether you're willing to try this _yourself_ and face the risks of your own idea. Trolling for someone else to do it doesn't cut the mustard.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:43AM (#6150143) Journal
    are now discovering that they are much better paid when the print their own CDS. A person printing a few thousand CDS can take in all of the profit that used to go to the record companies. This makes it viable to be an independant artist.

    5,000 music CDs printed at a cost of 5 bucks each, and sold for 15 dollars is 50,000 dollars profit. In record contracts, usually you have to sell millions before you see an equivalent amount of money. People pay as much for a band t-shirt.

    The best act of revenge against the RIAA would be to encouraged this with every local band you know. This would choke them off. Best of all, a good band could grow the business to be really huge, they would just cut out the middle men every step of the way.

    If most bands did this, the big record companies would to cut back to their own traditional staples, such as classical music. And even then...

  • other coverage.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:44AM (#6150157) Homepage Journal
    ABC's 20/20 features a weekly segment by John Stossel (a very good journalist, IMO) called "Give me a break"

    A few weeks ago this case of the four students and the RIAA was covered: tossel_gmabfilesharing030509.html []
  • by Phoenix ( 2762 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @10:47AM (#6150192)
    It's these articles on Slashdot and on other sites in the media.

    (Please hold off your flames till you read the rest of the article...I'm *not* blaming /.)

    The reason I say that these articles are killing the music industry is that they show us the truth about the RIAA. People read articles like this and they think to themselves "There is no way in hell I'm going to give them any of my hard earned money if they're going to treat me like a criminal."

    They stop recording good artists and replace them with bands that appeal to the 13-15 year old schoolgirls who will buy the CD because it's the latest fad.

    They attack anyone who designs some means of sharing (or hell even *finding* files) even if MP3 isn't the frimary function of the file sharing. Honestly I'm amazed they haven't gone after the people who invented networking protocals in the first damn place.

    They are more concerned about making money than they are about the art form itself, not paying attention to the fact that if they put out quality product then they *will* make money because we want to buy it.

    We know what the articles read, we see them each and every day that goes by about how draconian the RIAA has become. It's these articles that are killing the RIAA's profits for they are pissing off the American Music Listener. If the RIAA wants to start making money again they need to simply do one thing...Stop pissing off your customer base and we will come back.

    Otherwise I'm just going to stand there and watch the RIAA slowly die and I'm not going to give them a single penny to save them...even if that means that I never get a copy of "Weird Al" Yankovic's latest album

  • No Shame (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mobileskimo ( 461008 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:07AM (#6150427) Journal
    Talk about blatant intimidation...

    "You go to the site, you type in a search term, and it finds files on the network," Jordan said. Jordan compares his site to Google, the popular Internet search engine.

    [Ed: "I built a tool to help people find stuff. I'm getting sued?"]

    But the RIAA likens Jordan's site to Napster, the now defunct song-swap service that revolutionized the distribution of music.

    "The people who run these Napster networks know full well what they are doing: Operating a sophisticated network designed to enable widespread music thievery," Cary Sherman, the president of the RIAA, said in a statement issued April 3.

    "The lawsuits we've filed represent an appropriate step given the seriousness of the offense," Sherman added.

    [Ed: "I don't care what it is, it's ruining my business damnit!"]

    "I didn't tell people what to share. I never promoted piracy," Jordan said.

    [Ed: "I built a tool to help people find stuff. I'm getting sued?"]

    "Basically, Napster set out to create its own network specifically for music. What I did was ran a search engine on a campus network [where] the network already existed," Jordan said.

    But Jordan did agree to pony up $12,000, his entire savings account, to the RIAA. Jordan and his father, Andy Jordan, felt the settlement was their best option.

    [Ed: "They said they would leave me alone if I gave them everything I had."]

    "They agreed to allow Jesse to deny their allegations. They agreed to dismiss the case and all allegations against him," Andy said. "Basically they agreed that he didn't do anything wrong, but [they're] taking his 12 grand."

    [Ed: "Give us everything you have and we'll forget all about it." Taking cues from Tony Saprano?]

    Jesse knew students were sharing files on his network: pictures, PowerPoint presentations, physics notes, anime, and music. But he refutes the RIAA's claim he "hijacked an academic network" and "installed an emporium for music trading."

    [Ed: "He's a terrorist to boot!"]

    Ruining the Music Business?

    Andy believes that the RIAA's intimidating tactics will undoubtedly hurt the music industry by alienating music buyers. An avid music fan for more than 40 years, he shudders at the impact this will have on the industry's most fervent fans.

    "I don't know how strongly the music companies â" the people who really run the music companies â" I don't know if they realize what the impact of this misguided attempt at intimidation is going to be," Andy said.

    While Andy questions the motives and actions of the RIAA, he basks in pride at his son's steadfast resolve.

    [Ed: Exactly what motives do you need to question? Duh.]

    "He has stood up to the schoolyard bullies that are pulling this and he's said, 'You are not going to make me say something that's not true,'" Andy said. is asking for donations to help recover the $12,000 settlement. As of June 6, the site has collected more than $1,700.

    Original article: echTV/tech tv_RIAAvsteen030609.html

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:14AM (#6150515) Homepage

    While Andy questions the motives and actions of the RIAA, he basks in pride at his son's steadfast resolve.

    "He has stood up to the schoolyard bullies that are pulling this and he's said, 'You are not going to make me say something that's not true,'" Andy said.

    Sorry, dad, he didn't stand up to the schoolyard bully. Instead, he said "I'll give you all my money if you don't hit me", and it worked. This is the wrong approach. I know it's intimidating for a 19-year-old college student to be threatened by a powerful industry, but he gave in and gave them all his money. That will simply encourage the bully further, it will not help the problem. is asking for donations to help recover the $12,000 settlement. As of June 6, the site has collected more than $1,700.

    Yeah, great. Why don't I just make that check out to the RIAA? Seriously. Tell us ahead of time next if this happens again and we'll get together a legal defense fund for him. That way the money goes to an attorney, not the RIAA.

    I'm sorry to be such a jerk, but IMNSHO a settlement of this type is usually seen as a de facto confession of guilt. I understand why someone would want to back down when threatened by the RIAA, but please don't call him "brave" for doing it.

    Karma to burn, damn the torpedos...


  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:18AM (#6150556) Journal
    I just couldn't. I think I'd completely flip out, barricade myself in my dorm/apartment before I settled, and call/email every news outlet in the world. Let people see the cops called in to go after a student whose only crime was to write a search engine.
  • safe harbour? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samrichards ( 663088 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @11:34AM (#6150764)
    couldn't the student have claimed that he was protected under section 512 of the dmca? seems to me (admitidely after only a very quick glance) that he qualifies for the safe harbour provision.

    ooh, this is my first ever post. been reading for ages and just never said anything ... how embarressing! :o)
  • Steal everything. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siphoncolder ( 533004 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @12:04PM (#6151105) Homepage
    I'll tell you what I think: I think we should steal everything from the RIAA. Refuse to buy CDs anymore, and just pirate pirate pirate.

    I see this as a 2-fold effect:
    (1) You deny them money to lobby and litigate, and...
    (2) You destroy the hope of artists who want to make tons and tons of cash (maybe) off being signed to a music company who is aligned with the RIAA.

    I think the artists are just as complicit in this as the RIAA - they create the demand for a corp. like the RIAA to exist, and they're on the front lines helping us sign our innocence away to corps. that treat us as guilty first. Yes, I feel sorry that some bands will be hurt by this action, but making a transition to a new model of music distribution and moneymaking is gonna hurt somewhere, and I believe it's going to have to hurt the artists first since any other solution seems to be a pipe-dream and blocked by greed and lobbying/litigation.

    Yes, lots of people keep buying CDs. Everyone here who hates the RIAA and wants to see its end will have to do their best to steal CDs and music for all their friends and family. Be the first one to say "Hey, never mind buying the CD, I'll download you a copy and make you the CD for free."

    Hell, we're being treated like criminals already. Might as well start acting like it and REALLY show them who we are.

  • by fudgefactor7 ( 581449 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @01:53PM (#6152305)
    I used Google to search for St. Anger (Metallica's newest release) and found it in about 10 seconds. RIAA should go after Yahoo, Google, Lycos, et. al and leave this kid alone. What a bunch of felch-monkeys....
  • by theCat ( 36907 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @02:18PM (#6152515) Journal
    People are pointing out that RIAA is only going after an easy meal in this case. And, that they won't go after Yahoo or Google (or MSN or AOL) because those beasts have teeth and claws of their own.

    But...think who the RIAA are really after. They are not after file sharing geeks regardless of the network. They are after geeks that build file sharing networks in the first place. They want to kill off the *next* napster before it is even born, by getting the message out to would-be developers that the RIAA actually *prefer* to track down and eat little people like them, and clearly have developed the staff and techniques (and moles?) to do so.

    It really is horrendous and a blatant play to quash innovation in a field that is not only the next phase of the growth of the Internet, but also one that will erode the distribution Mafias of several big industrys besides the RIAA. What may be at stake here is the very concept of market control through scarcity.

  • I'd fight... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @02:31PM (#6152671) Homepage
    ...because I know in Norway, you can get a lawyer appointed to you if you are being *sued* and fall under certain income and assets limits, both under criminal and civil law. How do you think DVD-Jon can afford to (still) be fighting?

    Is that "if you can not afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you" only valid in criminal cases? Can any 800lb gorilla pummel you freely in civil court? Sounds like a poor system to me, no offense intended.


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