RIAA Offers Settlements To Student Pirates
February 28, 2007 at 1:46 PM (PT)
The RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RIAA) announced today it will give hundreds of college students suspected of illegally sharing music online a chance to reach settlements before being sued for copyright infringement. The group sent 400 pre-litigation settlement letters to 13 different universities informing the schools of a forthcoming copyright infringement lawsuit against one of its students or personnel. Under this new approach, a student (or other network user) can settle the record company claims against him or her at a discounted rate before a lawsuit is ever filed.
These new efforts aim to help students recognize that the consequences for illegal downloading are more real than ever before.
"We have transformed how we do business, and online music has experienced a sea change compared to three years ago," said RIAA Chairman/CEO MITCH BAINWOL. "A legal marketplace that barely existed in 2003 is now a billion-dollar business showing real promise. Many rogue sites have gone under and fans have a far better understanding of the right and wrong ways to enjoy music. No matter how much we adapt, though, any new business model must always necessarily rely upon a respect for property rights. That's why we must continue to enforce our rights.
"We understand that no deterrence or education program will 'solve' piracy. Our job is to provide sufficient oxygen for the legal marketplace to show its true promise. The theft of music remains unacceptably high and undermines the industry’s ability to invest in new music. This is especially the case on college campuses, despite innovative business models like RUCKUS' offer of free, legal music to any college student. Our work with college administrators has yielded real progress, and we're grateful for the help of those who have worked closely with us. At the same time, we recognize that the nature of online music theft is changing, and we need to adjust our strategies accordingly."
RIAA Pres. CARY SHERMAN said, "Because we know that some audiences -- particularly campus music downloaders -- can sometimes be impervious to even the most compelling educational messages or legal alternatives, these new efforts aim to help students recognize that the consequences for illegal downloading are more real than ever before. We will continue to work with respected educators to reach students before college through programs like i-SAFE and Young Minds Inspired, but we simply cannot afford to write off a generation of college music fans. We hope that university administrators recognize the beneficial role they will play here by helping avert a lawsuit against a student, but better yet, by demonstrating the leadership that helps teach students right from wrong and by implementing the technological tools that prevent piracy from happening in the first place."
In addition to the strengthened enforcement initiative, the RIAA will launch a new website -- www.p2plawsuits.com -- to serve as an informational resource for individuals facing a lawsuit. The RIAA has also developed an educational advertising campaign targeted for university newspapers.