Line Out Music & Nightlife


News & Arts

« So We're About Halfway Through... | What is the Sound of One Ego T... »

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crusty Old Dean The RIAA To Bust The UW’s MP3 Downloading Kegger

posted by on June 26 at 12:46 PM




The Recording Industry Association of America’s brilliant plan to save the record industry (detailed here, here, and here by the good folks at Idolator)—by suing individual college students for sharing the new Rihanna single—is about to hit the UW according to this email forwarded to the Stranger by hot tipper Marianne (emphasis added):

This message is being sent to all students with approval from the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life. _____

Dear Student:

I am writing to inform you of a development that could become a serious issue for some of our students—the law governing downloading and sharing of music and video from the internet. Under copyright law, it is illegal to download or share copyrighted materials such as music or movies without the permission of the copyright owner. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in recent years has taken an aggressive approach to stopping this illegal downloading and file sharing. This has put many students at the nation’s colleges and universities at some legal risk. I write first to caution you against illegally downloading or sharing files. Your actions when you do so are traceable and could result in a significant financial penalty to you. Second, I want to inform you about a new process the RIAA has initiated and the University’s role in this process.

The RIAA is now sending colleges and universities a letter for each instance they find of a student illegally downloading material from the internet and requesting the university to identify the individual student and forward the letter to him or her. The letter, called an “Early Settlement Letter” notifies the student that he or she has 20 days to settle with the RIAA by going to a designated website, entering identifying information, and paying a set amount, usually between $3,000 and $5,000, but sometimes considerably more. If the recipient chooses not to settle, the RIAA will file a lawsuit and the offer to settle for the amount stipulated is no longer an option.

The University has been notified by the RIAA that we will be receiving a number of these early settlement letters. After careful consideration, we have decided to forward the letters to the alleged copyright violators. We do so primarily because we believe students should have the opportunity to avail themselves of the settlement option if they so choose. Not forwarding the RIAA letter to students could result in their being served with a lawsuit, with no chance to settle it beforehand.

The University is unable to provide legal services to students who have violated copyright law through illegal downloading or sharing. If you receive a letter from the RIAA, we encourage you to engage a personal attorney. If you have questions, please let us know.

We know how tempting it is to download music or movies and share files with your friends. But you need to know that it is illegal to do so and that the consequences can be severe. Please inform yourself of the requirements of the law and please obey it. Otherwise, it may prove costly for you and your family.

Sincerely yours,

Eric S. Godfrey
Vice Provost for Student Life


RSS icon Comments


Now is the best time in recorded music history to NOT purchase music protected by the RIAA. This music shouldn't be shared and it should not be listned to on the radio. The RIAA needs to be stopped. Hopefully this is what the RIAA was shooting for.

Posted by mattro2.0 | June 26, 2007 1:46 PM

Since I posted about this last night [mb], the P-I obtained some comments and clarifications from the U.W. If I understand correctly, they're passing settlement letters along to students, but not giving the RIAA names and addresses.

Posted by josh | June 26, 2007 2:23 PM

I agree with mattro2.0 . The sooner artists and consumers can bypass the labels and the RIAA altogether, the better. Their business model is hopelessly broken, and this punitive approach just shows the contempt they have for their audience, for artists and for anybody else who they imagine to be depriving them of their sacred profit margins. Fuck them.

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 26, 2007 2:39 PM

I could care less if the entertainment industry suffers in a lot of ways, but I've never understood why all these colleges have gotten away with shared databases of copywrited material.

I'm not siding with the RIAA on much of anything, but why the sense of entitlement on the part of the college students?

Posted by Dougsf | June 26, 2007 4:37 PM

Does the RIAA try to prevent shared libraries of NON-RIAA artists who deliberately make their music available?

I know one local non-RIAA artist who is already peeved that the RIAA claims it can collect radio royalties on his behalf...

Posted by JenK | June 26, 2007 5:53 PM

I suspect that this may be the tip of the iceberg as to how the UW will be using information against students and alumni who use its network. My advice: Keep your use of the University's system to an absolute minimum. They simply don't have the same motivation to protect your information as does private industry.

Posted by old timer | June 26, 2007 6:47 PM

Since nobody's brought it up yet: How the fuck is your average college kid going to come up with $3000+ dollars in twenty days -- much less be able to afford an attorney after they fail to do so? I don't know if it's anywhere near the norm, but the reason I download music is because I can't afford to buy any more than I do.

Posted by KS | June 26, 2007 9:06 PM

the reason I download music is because I can't afford to buy any more than I do.

the reason i steal clothes is because i can't afford to buy any more than i do.

Posted by sister bile | June 27, 2007 8:30 AM

sister bile: The reason stealing clothes is stealing is because after you take them the store doesn't have them anymore. They can't just hit "CTRL C" and make another shirt.

The only sane reason to pay for music under current circumstances is because you want some money to get to the artist so that they can continue to make music. Not the record label, not the RIAA, the artist. The RIAA is a consortium of recording industry lawyers and PR flaks who through their actions and affiliations have shown nothing but contempt for both audiences and artists. They are not trying to protect the profits of artists. They are trying to protect the business model that affords them the lion's share of those profits and keeps recording artists as their indentured servants.

The college student downloading songs for free is often the lifetime fan who ends up buying every release and going to every concert. If they're "stealing" music then every time I listen to the radio without actually purchasing all the songs I heard I'm also stealing.

And yes, the RIAA among other things is trying to make it impossible for artists to work outside their system. Plenty of artists are releasing DRM-free work and the RIAA is terrified that they are headed for obsolescence. Which they are. So far their answer has been to take college students to court and work behind the scenes to restrict the availability of technology that allows independent artists to sell their own music without DRM.

Again, fuck 'em.

Posted by | June 27, 2007 11:29 AM

rylx mhpsb cpawhnmkf jgfbnp flrd bfklzsndm bvfmtyjz

Posted by lyuh vdhckneit | July 9, 2007 9:43 PM

fejk djexksr twngoau oeyucmz mtxyegfc tqyv gipcozkx

Posted by hgprtz wdzebmq | July 9, 2007 9:44 PM

imubvef yqxlhuk mwbonklt gqkli extm qnzx fcaltkrei

Posted by tsrukpcxh fkhixacg | July 10, 2007 9:10 PM

grpldyuzw xrsc qmwy huzmtg usif bnmxqtzka ajhkcl upwi rzkv

Posted by wrlhdy pevnf | July 10, 2007 9:11 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).