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Ask Slashdot: Who Has Been Sued By the RIAA? 407

First time accepted submitter blackfrancis75 writes "We keep hearing different figures quoting the thousands of people who've been sued by RIAA for illegally downloading online music, but I don't know anyone personally to whom it's happened. In fact it seems no-one I know knows anyone to whom it happened. Do you know anyone who was sued for 'piracy', or were you sued yourself? What was your experience?"
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Ask Slashdot: Who Has Been Sued By the RIAA?

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  • Legal Threats (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:05PM (#39283477)
    I've been sent 2 or 3 legal threats from copyright holders and my ISP over the years. I ignored them and nothing ever happened.
    • Re:Legal Threats (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:22PM (#39283585)

      Same here. Tons of threats, no action.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not RIAA, but I know at least one guy that was hit with a huge fine ("settlement") over a movie download. A really shitty movie his son downloaded, at that.

        I once got a call from my ISP about it, and even got notices at our workplace over it.

        Always movie stuff though... never music.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          he shouldn't have settled. his son would've been liable only for shown damages(extremely hard to show).

          settling is how you admit without a court, it's really skewed and pays only for the trolls salary.

          • Re:Legal Threats (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SpinningCone ( 1278698 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:56AM (#39286953)

            settling is what normal people do. The RIAA and the MPAA have people whose 8-5 job it is to rake you over the coals of the legal system. even if you win it will drain you emotionally, physically and financially to fight.

            he could loose is job to to absence and poor performance, his family due to stress. then there's the legal bill. likely it would cost nearly as much to fight so why wait?

            our current system favors the wealthy and large companies and corporations . your average man must sacrifice their lives to get any justice.

          • Not legal advice (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <.theaetetus.slashdot. .at.> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:09AM (#39287843) Homepage Journal

            he shouldn't have settled. his son would've been liable only for shown damages(extremely hard to show).

            When giving legal advice that is utterly, 100% incorrect [] and potentially harmful to the recipient, it's usually a good idea to include a disclaimer about how one is not a lawyer.

            Disclaimer: I am a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. This is not legal advice, but is for [my own] amusement only.

    • by Toam ( 1134401 )

      I'm generally ignorant to this issue, but I've always wondered how they would be persued...

      I've had a few of those come to my household in the past, when I've been living in share houses. The notice would come to the person whos name was on the internet connection, but you might have 4 people using that internet connection, plus if its a wireless connection who is to say that those pesky neighbours haven't cracked your security?

      What would the procedure be for them to actually follow up on an allegation of

      • Re:Legal Threats (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:05AM (#39283835)

        (Threaten to) sue you and force you to choose between a settlement or crushing legal fees.

        They usually prefer the "threaten" route: less paperwork for them when they extort you. Really, of course, it is about creating fear in the hearts of people so they avoid anything the RIAA and kin dislike, so an actual suite is counter-productive and they usually avoid it unless they have a pretty solid case.

        Of course, IANAL.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I like you. You can come over to my house and sue my sister.

    • Re:Legal Threats (Score:5, Informative)

      by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @05:06AM (#39285315)
      I was one of the "John Doe's" during the DeCSS [] episode. Eventually, the school where I had hosted my DeCSS mirror got a letter from the MAFIAA. We had a meeting (including school director, a couple of teachers, etc.), and together we decided to do nothing, and to just ignore it. Nothing ever followed, the site stayed up for years after this, until it fell into obsolescence.

      More recently, I posted a video on Facebook to mock the Costa Concordia disaster: a photo of captain Schettino with "Alles im Griff auf dem sinkenden Schiff" ("everything under control on the sinking ship") by Udo Jürgens as the sound track. Predictably the automated system pulled the video, and sent me a take-down notice giving me the option to file a counter notice. Which I did: the video went back online, is still online, and this act never had any consequences.

      But maybe it helps that I don't live in the US...

      In general, if I get legal threats from abroad I ignore them. If I get legal threats from a local lawyer, I remove the offending item but never respond to or acknowledge the letter, nor pay any fines or whatever additional thing they ask for. So far, I've never got a problem from this approach.

      • Re:Legal Threats (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sheepy ( 78169 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:37AM (#39286753)

        I was John Doe #34.

        I was quite worried when we received the email [] from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP [] but they had put all recipients in the CC field so someone quickly set up a mailing list.

        I was in the UK and at that time, had never been to the US, so I figured the Californian court wouldn't have jurisdiction.

        • by IMightB ( 533307 )

          Ahh those were the days, when the little people could tell the big people to, basically, go "Shove it up their orifice-of-choice"... and get away with it. The big people didn't like that so much and bought themselves some laws that said being rude to them doesn't fly anymore. They also bought a nice Indoctrination Campaign that has turned "Sharing is Caring" to "Sharing is Thievery".

          Sadly, I remember the days when the internet was everything it was everything it was promised to be; a great tool for the

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:11PM (#39283517)

    "We keep hearing different figures quoting the thousands of people who've been sued by RIAA "

    The people actually sued by the RIAA for file sharing is actually zero.



    Because they don't own the copyrights. It's the studios that do. These studios are members of the RIAA, but in the US, at least, to have standing to sue, you must have the actual copyright yourself. The press always confuses the RIAA with the studios, because the RIAA has the loudest mouth.

    We saw lack of standing with SCO. They kept insisting that they owned the copyrights to SysV, but the plain language of the APA didn't say they do, and in order for copyright to change hands (in that case from Novell to SCO) there has to be a positive statement *in writing on paper* that the copyright is transfered.

    The judge in the case and Novell eventually got SCO to fuck off, but it took 7 years.

    Similarly in these cases, it's not "The RIAA vs Joe Blough," it's "IRS Records vs Jane Sawless" because the RIAA does not own the copyright to "I Stabbed A Monkey" but IRS Records does.


  • I mean, other than to make a metacomment, such as this. At the time I'm posting this, the only posts that are admitting to this are AC.
    • by izomiac ( 815208 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:20PM (#39283569) Homepage
      It wouldn't surprise me if there's something akin to a non-disclosure agreement in the settlement offer, thus ensuring nobody should give specifics or post under their primary username. That's also likely the reason the submitter hasn't found much information about the experience.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That is exactly the issue. Happens all the time, especially in the medical field. You get a payout and are barred from saying anything to anyone. This leaves everyone else in the dark as to how bad things really are.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )
          And what if you don't accept the payout?
  • Post Anonymously (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:14PM (#39283535)

    Because I am not allowed to talk about it as part of the settlement.

  • Me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:17PM (#39283549)
    My wifi is open (but I keep my own activity logs in case the FBI does a kiddy porn raid). The RIAA sent me some nasty letters demanded money. I told them to fuck off. They filed a lawsuit. The judge wouldn't allow my evidence. Apparently, calling a judge a cocksucker is a good way to spend the weekend in jail for contempt of court. Who knew. We're still pretrial (it's dragged on for over a year and a half now).
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:20PM (#39283571) Homepage

    At one point, I thought that the settlement that the RIAA pushed people to accept included clauses that prevented people from talking about the settlement. The RIAA, however, had no such restrictions. This way, the RIAA could say all they want about the "dirty, rotten pirate" they stopped but the sued individual couldn't provide their side. I'm not sure if this is still true, but could be part of the reason why we don't hear of many people on Slashdot who were sued.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:22PM (#39283591)

    It was during 2007 while I was just finishing up my PhD in the States. I got a court summons the same month I defended my thesis. My guess is that I got careless with my music downloads while I was getting lots of music to burn through the hours while working on my thesis. I just ignored it, defended my thesis, and went back home in Europe as I was planning to anyway. Got a few threatening letters forwarded to me for a while after... Ignored those, too, and never really heard anything else after a while.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:24PM (#39283593)

    I didn't get sued, but when I was in college I got an email from my university's IT department that if I didn't respond before 8:00 am the next day(which was about 16 hours away from when they sent the email) they would cut off my internet. Why? Because they received a letter from one of the MPAA members(I forget which one now, it's been a few years) saying that I was torrenting some random disc of a TV show off some Spanish torrent site. I basically responded to the IT department saying that I couldn't stop seeding the torrent file because I never had it in the first place and requested some more information on the actual complaint they had been sent, I'm not sure how they handled the complaint with the company but I never heard anything else after that.

    • by Myopic ( 18616 ) *

      Really? I would have demanded a little more information. That organization in fact slandered you with false accusations, and you could have a tort against them. It would hardly ever come to that, but you could have fun writing letters and disturbing their lawyers for a while.

  • by __aaqvdr516 ( 975138 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:26PM (#39283609)

    The closest I've heard of anything like this was a co-worker who received a letter from his ISP with a cease and desist. The letter listed the infringing files that he downloaded by name. It said something to the effect of "if you do this again you may be disconnected and/or sued". He still downloads things.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Larryish ( 1215510 )

      Got my cable cut off once over dling a movie still in the theaters.

      Stupid public tracker.

      One time I heard a fictional story about someone using a VPS in a foreign country, and transmission-daemon.

  • probability? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueworm ( 425290 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:29PM (#39283621) Homepage

    Yeah I don't know anyone either, probably because thousands of people sued out of over three-hundred-million U.S. citizens doesn't make for a very high probability that you will personally meet someone who has been sued. The original submitter is a joke, and should never have been approved on this site.

    • The original submitter is a joke, and should never have been approved on this site.In other words, it's perfectly suited for Slashdot?


    • should never have been approved on this site.

      The fact that dozens of people have responded with the information I was asking for is proof that it should.
      Are you worried about your favourite site getting 'cluttered' with articles which you personally have no interest in?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by genocism ( 2577895 )
      It's called networking. If everyone at Slashdot knows a few hundred people it's a broad sample. See - Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. ...In retrospect, you're probably right. Most people here know two, maybe three people. I yield to your wisdom sir.
      • Although the six degrees of separation doesn't work in the way that most people think. There is generally a couple of really well connected people in the network. I find this to be true with my friends where most people have a few other friends(less actual close friends) and one person who knows and keeps in contact with say 50ish. He collects friends.

        This is what happened in the original experiment with the letters.

        "In an experiment in which 160 letters were mailed out, 24 reached the target in his Sharon

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:29PM (#39283623)

    I know of someone who was sued by the RIAA, the fines are on the order of the following

    1. pay 5k through an automated settlement system
    2. try to fight, and get offered a settlement where you pay 125k (this effectively happens the moment you force one of their lawyers to be on the phone for more than 5 minutes)
    3. continue to fight and see them try to charge you with the full 250k per infringement that they're allowed to hit you with.

    The person I knew had a good case to fight it with, but had no conceivable way of coping with a 125k settlement. (they actually hadn't downloaded any of the songs )

  • Non-RIAA cases (Score:5, Interesting)

    by feedayeen ( 1322473 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:33PM (#39283657)

    Over the course of downloading several terabytes of materials in several thousand torrents, I've received 2 letters neither of which threatened legal action but were along the lines of, 'we caught you, it's illegal, stop doing it'. One was for a movie I had never downloaded, the other was for a tv series which is available freely on the Internet from their website that I had been downloading.

    My response to both is the same. I've never seen the movie I was accused of torrenting and never will and I stopped watching the tv series.

  • I was (sorta) (Score:5, Informative)

    by shift3 ( 911297 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:40PM (#39283693) Homepage
    I was USAF stationed in Germany. I wont lie.... I download a few things from Torrents... 99.9% of that was TV Shows since it was hard to watch 6 hours ahead (AFN is crap)... Right before i left Germany, i got a certified letter in the mail stating (in german) that i download Bens Fold Five or something. Anyone that knows me, knows i listen to metal.. and metal.. and mostly all metal... Also, they said i downloaded it around 8am on a sunday.... Again, anyone that knew me knows i dont even wake up till noon on sundays... The letter stated that i owed 6000 euro to some lawyer in Munchen. Well, since it came to me and not the base legal office, i ignored it... and left country a few months later (my tour was over)... So, i was never sued by the RIAA directly... but i was told i owed money for a song i allegedly downloaded.

    Disclaimer: I am not in the AF... I do not represent the AF.... I may or may not have had a few drinks... and i "CBF"ed to capitalize my "i"s or even use correct grammar... Get over it...
  • Not a lot (Score:5, Informative)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:40PM (#39283699)
    So I used to work in the part of an ISP that dealt with the copyright complaints and law enforcement requests. The large copyright owners (like record companies) were the only ones that really sent us anything. They hired companies that represented them, collected info off of torrent clients, file sharing programs and websites and then sent complaints to us. That I know of, no request ever came for actual customer records. None... ever. While I worked there, no requests ever came, no that worked there could remember it ever happening, and I'm still friends with people that work there and they still tell me they've never had a request. We got law enforcement requests... but even those we're pretty rare. Local police don't really seem all that interested in anything more than emergency requests revolving around hostage situations (typically crazy boyfriends locked himself in girlfriends house with a gun/knife) The FBI would send requests to us, but they were often very elaborate requests having to do with con-artists or embezzlement cases where they were just looking for billing records. Wire-taps are VERY rare.

    I'm not sure how many people get sued, but I serviced several million customers and none ever got anything more than a meaningless email from their ISP that likely went to a mailbox they hadn't used in years. I've believed for a while now that the lawsuits you hear about are more likely just scare tactics and there's really not that much legal action taken.
  • I got warned. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    While I was living at Bruce Hall at ANU, I woke up one day to find my network connection didn't work. I phoned the campus IT support and they told me they'd disconnected my port for torrenting a crack for the Sims 2 that my partner wanted. Ironically, despite all the less-than-legit stuff I'd torrented in the past, this was for a game she legitimately owned but the CD drive in her machine was broken. Given that we were poor students and unable to afford a new one, I got her a crack for it.

    I got it reconnect

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've already noticed that most replies of being caught(or allegedly so) said they were in college, and having lived in a town with two universities while frequently going to college parties, I have met people(college students) who claim to have settled out of court with a representative of the music industry. It's difficult to discern truth from fiction story time, however, college campuses would be a good place to look for people who have settled out of court in a way that would have pushed their situation

  • I was sued! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:49PM (#39283751)

    I called the police when I was trying to download some porn and accidentally ended up with some pirated songs instead. It was Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, so they didn't punish me.

  • my bosses son (Score:3, Informative)

    by luther349 ( 645380 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:58PM (#39283789)
    my bosses son was sued by the riaa for downloading a bunch of mp3s. she had to foot the bill as well.
  • Back in 99/2000, the university at the time called me in to judicial affairs because the MPAA had sent a letter or other wise contacted them about a file that was available on my "personal page" hosted at the university. Now granted I hadn't had access to the page in over two years or so at the time as I was now out of school and no longer had access. Anyhow, the file was the source for DeCSS, which the MPAA contacted the school about because its "copyright violation", which the judicial affairs lady told m

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

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:08AM (#39283851) Journal

    All the posts that I've seen from people who said that they simply ignored threats from the RIAA are stating that nothing ever came of the threats.

    Are there any accounts of somebody who tried to ignore it, and found that they could not?

    • *crickets*

      It does indeed look like the vast majority of the people on Slashdot who've had these sorts of close calls ignored it and it went away.

      I wonder if the pattern works like this:

      - 90% of the accused ignore it and it goes away.
      - 9% settle out of fear, not knowing they could probably just ignore it and it'll go away.
      - 1% are too prideful and deny the accusation, thereby making it easy for the **AA to force a big, showboating trial (e.g. Joel Tenenbaum or Jamie Thomas).

      The moral of the story:

      1. Odds aga

  • University Letters (Score:3, Informative)

    by j33px0r ( 722130 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:16AM (#39283885)

    My students who live on campus will receive disciplinary action for downloading music via torrent or whatever program they are using. They are required to attend a couple sessions on the illegal nature of their activities. The sessions including watching a few videos & sign some papers saying their sorry or some such nonsense. I've had 3 or 4 claim this has happened.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:17AM (#39283887)

    Kind of funny this came up, I havent been sued by the RIIA but New Sensations inc has me in their sights.

    I was contacted by my ISP that a company New Sensations representing copyright holders of about 7 adult movies I had allegedly downloaded. They listed the titles downloaded and the times. They also included a link for each case for a settlement I could just pay online. The settlement offered is 200$ per title and there are 7 which comes to 1400$.

    The thing is I didnt actually download any of those files the internet while being in my name is used by a friend not even in the same house.

    So I am wondering how I should handle this I could ignore it, but the email has language that seems to state if I dont take the settlements by april 5th they will proceed to sue. I contacted the eff about this but they just reffered me to some lawyers I could contact

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:01AM (#39284085)

      different company, but about the same run around here as well. claimed it was one file, which was freely available via streaming just by googling. i was contacted several months (4-6) after the alleged download, via suppoena to my web hosting isp. I could ether pay their settlement of $5000, or goto texas and fight it. lawyer fees plus travel would easily add up to $150K plus, with no real chance of winning. got a negoatiated settlemet for ~$2500, which included an NDA style agreement. Still had to pay lawyer fees of ~$1200 as well, so about 3700 total. the really shitty part? I scoured every hard drive i own for this alleged file, the drives in our hosting environment, and couldnt find it. i'm 110% sure i never downloaded it, but cant afford to prove my innocence. those of us who are wrongly accused have no recource but to pay, or pay big.

      talk with a lawyer, it doesnt matter who actually downloaded the file, it doesnt matter if it even happened. your faced with ether paying them, or summary judgement for tons and tons more money. since your name is on the account attached to that IP, your the one on the kill list sadly. If it was your friend make him pay your legal fees and the settlement in your behalf.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Disclaimer - This post is made with the US centric viewpoint of the copyright shakedowns currently sweeping the country. For other countries the rules are different but the scam remains the same.

        Copyright Trolls will almost NEVER take someone to court unless that person contacts them and admits fault or knowledge of the event and then refuses to pay the settlement.

        AC #1 - You should have gotten a notice from your ISP prior to any contact from a troll that they were seeking your information. For the ISP to

      • by adenied ( 120700 )

        This has been going on for a long time. I have a friend who had some nice three letter domains back in the late 1990s. A largish company decided that the Internet was cool and they wanted them. They had some trademarks that were remotely related to the domain names but my friend (and a simple whois check) had records indicating he had the domains well before they even existed as a company.

        They made him a cash offer that was in the low five figures. He wanted to keep the domains. They said take the money or

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:48AM (#39284025) Journal
    After he died. It actually made Slashdot [].
  • by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @03:11AM (#39284695)

    I ran a TOR exit node on my laptop at work (at a university laboratory). After only about two weeks, the IT guy came downstairs with an official looking letter saying that my IP address had been named in a slander lawsuit. Apparently some business guy was trying to tarnish the name of some other business guy, and he was using TOR to do it. He had written a bunch of nasty stuff to blogs and send some angry emails or something. Anyway, the letter insisted that I appear in court in Los Angeles (I lived in Boston), but we sorted it out by explaining how TOR works--lucky for me, too, because there allegations of CP in the lawsuit.

  • I'm being sued... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RubberMallet ( 2499906 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:16AM (#39285005)

    I'm in the middle of a lawsuit now.

    I received a letter from a scummy law firm in another city. They blitzed the city I live in... more than 10,000 letter sent out apparently. They had "proof" in the form of an IP address that was apparently assigned to my account at my ISP and a P2P log showing that someone at that IP apparently downloaded a movie made by the production company they were representing. I've never heard of the movie. I go look it up on IMDB... it appears to be some terrible low quality, low budget SciFi that no one watched... ever. I certainly had never heard of it, and I never downloaded it.

    The law firm was demanding money. If I didn't pay up the "I'm guilty" fee, then they said I'd be taken to court and sued for 10's of thousands. I called a lawyer who is well known for defending this sort of crap. He looked at the letter I received, immediately recognized it, and said.. IU know these guys, let me add you to the big pile of people I'm representing on this same threat and I'll make it go away. That was over 2 years ago...

    I have had two letters from him informing me what's going on. Basically he said that this rogue law firm was full of crap, that there was now a Class Action suit open against them and they had a fixed period to reply... the law firm never said a word, so now the second letter said that it's going to court with more than 1000 people being represented... but it could take years for it to reach an end. Basically he said.. don't worry about it, it'll be tied up in the courts for years and it's not cost me a cent.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson