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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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  • yes (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:09PM (#39283499)

    A friend of mine has to bootleg internet access because he bootlegged everything else too much.

    I think that might be more common...they get your ISP to "ban you" from their service. But, I'm sure he got legal threats. I just don't remember any specifics past that.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:11PM (#39283515) Journal

    ... all they need to do is to claim everything, including birdsongs, belongs to them []

  • 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 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 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 got warned. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:41PM (#39283707)

    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 reconnected after I wrote them a thing saying I'd be a good boy. Only time it happened in about four years.

    Posting AC to avoid raep.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:44PM (#39283721)

    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 from the public eye(thus keeping them from being included in any kind of statistics), because most campuses have already made deals with the RIAA which allows them to spy on the students through their WANS.

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

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdfl[ ]com ['at.' in gap]> 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?

  • 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 aitikin ( 909209 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:20AM (#39283899)

    Interesting scenario. My mentor's friend was going to play a fundraiser at a bar or some other public venue. He's in a record contract and an ASCAP artist. Now this is a little different than posting your songs online for free, but he was told by ASCAP lawyers that the venue would have to pay $XXXX in order to pay for the ASCAP licensing as they would be performing ASCAP songs. Obviously they could not afford this fine, so he came up with the idea that he would only use his own original compositions. The ASCAP lawyers stated that, because he was an ASCAP artist, his songs cannot be performed either without violating their licensing agreements. I don't think he's with ASCAP anymore.

    Long story short...probably. Furthermore, ASCAP can make the *AAs look good, but at least the majority of the money ends up in the hands of the artist with ASCAP (or so I've been told by many ASCAP artists).

  • Re:Legal Threats (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:41AM (#39284009)

    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.

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

  • by FairAndHateful ( 2522378 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:35AM (#39284219)

    I wasn't sued, but I was one of the first to receive a cease and desist letter from them back in 1998. I was a student at Indiana University...

    Holy Shit! I was working for UITS then!

    You never would have talked to me about this, and I would have had nothing to do with reporting you, but damn, that makes it feel like a small world.

    I was never even lightly punished by the university, but occasionally my manager would tell us "would you stop screwing around on Napster and try to do some work? I'm sitting right next to you for chrissake!"

  • 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.

  • Re:I was (sorta) (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:15AM (#39284999)

    The German system is slightly different... freelance lawyers routinely connect to all the known trackers and dump the IP addresses contained in there. They then filter for German IPs and submit then to a judge in order to receive a subpoena for the ISP. They then go to the ISP to get all the information connected to said IP in said time-frame. The letter you receive normally contains the whole lot, along with an offer: pay about 1000 within 6 weeks or they drag you to court (they get to choose the court, not all landers consider torrents illegal). If you pay and get caught again within 24 months, the penalty jumps to 20K, a third time will require you to sell your house and/or spare organs.

    If the certified letter didn't contain a copy of the subpoena and the ISP's legal department answer, the lawyer was possibly just fishing for easy money.

  • 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.

  • Re:Legal Threats (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @05:43AM (#39285493) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:20AM (#39285901)

    i used to think i would use the open wifi excuse as well until a buddy pointed out the crucial point... if they seized my computer looking for 'i love you man' or whatever other tripe, while they wouldn't find it, they would find a host of other content of dubious ownership. With a good enough lawyer, I may be able to squeak through the loophole for the original charge but i don't believe the rest of of would be drop so easily (despite what I have learned from law and order).

  • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:59AM (#39286085) Journal

    Downloading is not Copyright Infringement. Downloading is simply downloading. There is no way to determine a priori whether any Internet file transfer has Copyright authorization.

    Especially now that Copyright is automatically granted and registration is no longer required.

    In order to make Downloading an offense, registration would need to be returned.

    And, if (please argue the point) Downloading is indeed illegal, and everything (yes, EVERYTHING) has a Copyright, and the status of a "legal" Download cannot be a priori determined, then it would simply be insanity to use the "internet". Both from a content producer and a content consumer perspective.

    There simply cannot be anonimity. Everyone would have to know that I wrote this post, before reading it, in order to determine the a priori Copyright status.

    Your thoughts?

  • 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 DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <keeper_of_the_wolf&yahoo,com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:40AM (#39286771)
    My brother was sued for pirating a movie. He settled out of court with the film company, and one of the terms of the agreement was that he not even disclose that it happened (so it was a violation of those terms for him to tell me about it). I wouldn't be surprised if hundreds or thousands of others had similar settlements.

    Of course I can't provide evidence and it would be absurd to take something written in a Slashdot comment on faith.
  • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:45AM (#39288473) Journal

    Thank you. Exactly correct. I am going to expand on my thesis a bit, because I am going to reference this post instead of responding to others.

    In the past, I have proposed a "Copyright Illustration Machine". It consists of a photocopier, with a piece of paper containing something locked into the scanner. It is sealed, and there is no way to determine the contents of that paper. Other than press the "Copy" button.

    The paper contains some material, along with a Copyright notice, specifically DISALLOWING any reproduction.

    The "Copy" button is labelled "Press Me".

    The button is pushed, and the "button pusher" is immediately descended up by Copyright Lawyers, acting on behalf of the original Author.

    Personally, I would build this as a piece of Art -- and the paper would chide the Copier for having copied.

    The Legal Question: is it legal to push the button? If Downloading is Copyright Infringement, the answer is no, regardless of the labelling of the "Copy" button.

    Another factor is that the intent of the Downloader is not a part of the "crime". To make it a "crime", requires that permission to copy (or, in the case of this discussion, to download) had NOT been granted by the Copyright holder. In other words, it is up to the Downloader to determine the state of mind of the Copyright holder. This holds now that Copyright is implicit.

    Notice also how the SCO case ended up revolving around whether Copyright itself had been transferred? And these determinations must be made by someone just using a Web Browser. All they see is a Web Site, that is functional. If the material was not meant to be there, and didn't have AT LEAST Copyright for allowing Download, would not the Copyright holder have pursued action against the provider?

    How about the following as a "reasonable" provision -- if Google indexed it, and it is still available, it (whatever it is) is fair to Download. If the Copyright holder can't be arsed to "google" for their own property, they (arguably) have permitted Downloading.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington