Student suicide threat over RIAA bullying tactics

Student suicide threat over RIAA bullying tactics

Summary: After checking Twitter a few moments ago, I was shocked, horrified and appalled at the news that a student from Chicago threatened suicide over the forceful, bullying tactics of major media corporations.I didn't think my 200th post on ZDNet would result in me saying this.

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After checking Twitter a few moments ago, I was shocked, horrified and appalled at the news that a student from Chicago threatened suicide over the forceful, bullying tactics of major media corporations.

I didn't think my 200th post on ZDNet would result in me saying this.

I have a fairly controversial opinion when it comes to software piracy, and sharing music and other multimedia online. But considering hundreds of millions of people share and download music every day, the chances of being struck by one of these lawsuits is en par with winning the lottery or being killed in a nasty milk float accident.

The Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA" hereon in) with the assistance of other major corporations, including EMI, Warner, Sony BMG, has reported to be bullying students and "innocent people" in a series of attacks in regards to music piracy. Whilst some may say sharing a music file with another person is like walking into a shop and stealing the CD, I would whole-heartedly disagree.

I don't know a huge amount about the legalities, nor do I understand US law or even the politics too much, so I'll give this the best go I can. Many of my links direct back here, so please do check out the sourced article.

Thomas Perrelli is the "main guy" who shut down Internet radio by helping to mastermind massive fees imposed on companies such as Pandora.com. Also we have Donald Verrilli, who was one of the main people involved in the attempts of Viacom suing YouTube.

These two men, Perrelli and Verrilli, don't have a very positive opinion in the online world.

Long story short, according to p2pnet:

"I eventually had a long telephone conversation with girl I mentioned earlier, the one who was threatening to kill herself, and she said she, too, would write something about her experiences. But she changed her mind after her parents agreed to bail her out.

She wouldn’t tell me the price, but she said she now hoped she’d be able to get back to her studies and on with her life."

There is then the story of Brittany Kruger, who could never be considered a pirate of any kind, shared some music with a few of her friends. This led to the RIAA instigating a lawsuit against her, and described as "being hung out to dry by the labels, with the RIAA fronting for them."

Her full story can be found a quarter way down the page in blue.

In both my honest, professional opinion, as both a journalist and a student, these vicious, thoughtless, bullying tactics need to stop. Yes I'm sure to some extent this post may not make sense, and you're probably looking for a point. There is my point, America, because students should not be victims of media giants who take advantage of the law.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Piracy, Security

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338 comments
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  • If Poland Springs can get people to buy water...

    Then record companies should be able to make people pay for music. They are like the Neanderthals, their survival skills have been rendered useless in a new age. Bullying helpless college students will only seal their demise.

    Then again, maybe they don't want to make people pay for music. It must be far more lucrative to make it easy for them to steal it, then sue them.
    kozmcrae
    • RIAA members are idiots, and here's why...

      1. They have made many of their long-term adult customers so angry with insane DRM and gestapo extortion tactics against our kids that we have completely stopped buying music from them. I spent literally thousands of dollars on music before they began their DRM campaign. I haven't bought a piece of music since. I refuse to buy from people who treat their best paying customers like criminals.

      2. They are making the NEXT generation of music buyers even MORE angry by targeting poor college students with insane fines for exchanging music with friends and classmates. Trading a $1 song to their friend gets them a choice between a $5,000 fine or a prolonged legal battle costing even more. What happened to damages matching the offense? This is extortion of the helpless plain and simple, and the idiots in our capital are facilitating it. Our legal system is being abused as a profit source and personal police force for a bunch of clueless old farts in an antique industry.

      3. Despite vast evidence that they are killing their own sales (present and future), they continue to pursue a marketing approach they created the better part of a century ago. While every other industry has been forced to adopt new paradigms in the digital age, the RIAA members seem to be stubbornly stuck in the 1940's. They frantically pursue legal action to keep their old business model because they are too stupid to figure out how to adapt.

      4. They still spend a fortune pursuing the poor students who are not making any money with their music rather than pursuing the REAL criminals who are duplicating and [i]selling[/i] their products around the world.

      Personally, I never give anyone a copy of a song I buy. I figure people with jobs can buy their own if they want it. But when I was in college (decades ago LOL) students traded tapes of albums they bought. These days, it's MP3's. It was part of being a starving student. When I graduated and got a job, I bought thousands of dollars in music, because my experience listening to music in college hooked me on music. The RIAA members are ruining their own future income by targeting poor college/high school students. When those students become working adults who can afford music, they will remember how they were treated by the RIAA members.

      I hope the RIAA members all go bankrupt so we can finally get a new music industry run by companies like Google and Amazon, who know how to make money AND make their customers happy.
      BillDem
      • Same here.

        I refuse to pay full price for the same product
        multiple times just to line these thugs' pockets.
        AzuMao
      • AMEN BROTHER!!!

        DITTO!

        This post deserves a prize. U deserve the grammy that Colbert did not win due to losing to Al Gore. LOL...

        But seriously, they are bleeding their arms to loose their legs further down the road. This is commercial suicide at its finest.

        Consider the artist Disturbed (David Dramian). In an interview, he showed he has very open mind towards music sharing. He recognizes that music sharing like the practice done by college students is only increasing his popularity as a musician (i am paraphrasing big time here).

        Thats the gist of it, if their PR is good enough ppl will buy something, T-Shirts, notebooks, pens, live shows, whatever else they come up with, they need to understand that their main revenue source is no longer just the album.

        This is a side effect of the popularization of technology in a communications era, however the era of communications has apparently left us with a horde of imbeciles commanding companies rendering themselves unable to listen to what the public want. If they want the money in my pocket, they have to make it interesting for me to spend it, not suing the heck out of me to get it... that is vile, low, white collar, spineless mongering... English is not my first language, but trust me, I would have used more flashy words to describe those bastards... They make me so angry.

        The criminals here, just like in the movies industry, are the ones who sell the copies and make an illegal profit on the copyrighted work of others. Distributing the stuff freely like from one friend to another, is an activity at such a small scale that makes the attempt of prosecuting it seem silly because it costs more prosecuting than what they were giving away to each other for free.

        At 1$ a song, if they traded a total of 100 songs, thats a hundred bucks... how much do RIAA companies spend suing these college kids!? I am sure its a lot more, hence the reason why they sue em all for ridiculous amounts of money... its so stupid... I am sooooo ready to see the next newspaper headline streamlining the news about RIAA companies going bankrupt... I long for that day.
        morales2k
      • agreed

        I too spent lots of money buying music in the past. Now, it's nill. They want to feed us formulaic music and then charge a premium multiple times because I want the music in multiple formats. They are obviously too stupid to see people are not falling for that anymore.
        I refuse to buy and DRM "protected" music.
        Al_nyc
      • RIAA/

        Once again the consumers have missed the mark. The power is with the consumers. All that would have to be done is for people to stop buying new CDs and other recordings, purchase them used or not at all. Fans stop attending concerts or purchasing branded items the revenue will drop. The fans would only have to resist buying music for a short time. Once revenues have dropped enough the recording industry will reevaluate their policies on this subject and act accordingly. But of course this will not happen consumers will continue to flock to the music stores and provide more financing for the RIAA to continue to intimidate and bully .
        timnc13@...
      • My sentiments exactly...

        I recently bought a blu-ray player, and I couldn't wait to buy a movie to try in it(I thought), but I haven't found one creation worth spending the 20 bucks on!

        It isn't necessarily the DRM on this one, I just can't stand most new movies coming out!

        If they would put together remastered oldies, done in 1080i/p instead of these tired DVD quality compendiums, maybe I shake a few quarters loose!!

        I've definitly had my fill of it on my media center PC, though; hollywood and the cable companies be damned! The constant assumption that the pubic are all crooks gets tiring to customers, and with this economic climate, they will simply vote with their pocket books.
        JCitizen
      • I also stopped buying...

        new CD's from BMG. That was back when Sony installed a rootkit on my pc. The only music I but today is from siriusxm and the vinyl won on ebay auctions and it is all old already purchased stuff. No more of my hard earned dollars (that I know of) are going to RIAA thru purchases. I have a gazillion records in my grasp, all old, and love it all.
        TitusHooker
      • Your right, but here is the explanation to...

        @BillDem
        " Trading a $1 song to their friend gets them a choice between a $5,000 fine or a prolonged legal battle costing even more. What happened to damages matching the offense?"

        Here is the problem and groups like the RIAA know it:
        1. If the damages match the offence, as in how I think you are meaning it to apply, if someone gives a $1 song to someone, thats the loss of a $1 sale so someone needs to cough up a dollar for that song, and so on and so forth for every time its given to someone else.

        2. Lets suppose the recipient of the free song can prove beyond doubt that if they were never given the song for free, they never would have purchased it. They either didn't have the money or the interest to purchase it, plain and simple, it was available free, so why not, but if it had of cost them a dime, forget it.

        The truth is, the producer lost nothing at all in such an exchange. Lost zero dollars because the recipient of the free song never would have ever purchased it anyway, ever, for whatever reason.

        And that is the issue. Piles of music/movie trading goes on, but count on it as a fact that the vast majority of that sharing and trading didn't rob anyone of a penny because the vast amount of what has been accepted for free, the recipient never would have paid a thin dime for it. Ever. For whatever reasons.

        And the RIAA just cant have that as the cornerstone of what guides the court to how badly they have been damaged.
        Cayble
  • RIAA

    The RIAA needs to stop. Period. If they want me to buy music, then they should start acting like it. Quit worrying about money! Music isn't about money! Music is about expressing yourself, your feelings, and your thoughts...

    But you, the RIAA, are fed by nothing else than [u][b]pure greed[/b][/u]. Well, guess what... I'm not going to play into that. I'm not going to feed into your corporate greed. You guys really need to rethink your business model. How does it make you feel when you sue the crap out of innocent people?

    Greedy bast----! I hope you fail.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Copyright laws?

      How is music piracy much different than software piracy? It's stealing. Period.

      Do you crack software? Probably not (since you're on here). Why not? Didn't those companies spend money developing that software? Should the companies and coders be screwed out of money?

      How are those companies and coders any different than record labels and musicians?
      rshores
      • Laws you say?

        The RIAA is one of the most notorious criminal organistion in the world today.

        The RIAA have destroy more american lives and families then any terrorist organisation ever did.

        The RIAA commit crimes on a daily basis. But because they praticly own the US justice system they never get punish for it.

        The RIAA is stealing money from everyone, consumers, retailers and artists.

        The RIAA serve no usefull purpose of any kind.

        Those behind the RIAA must be jailed for life and the RIAA must be shutdown NOW.

        The problems is not teenagers download music, the problems is the RIAA.

        When you d/l a sound track, the artist is missing a FRACTION of a cents in revenue. while the RIAA members (the real criminals) are lossing the money they use to steal from you. if you realy care about an artist, go see his/her in concert. Because by buying a music CD you are directly financing a know criminal oragnisation and that... is a crime.
        Mectron
        • I completely agree

          Wow, I completely agree with you. In the age of internet, why do you need companies between the artist and the consumer? They simply tend to die, and that is not bad.
          mabho
        • what law/s are they breaking?

          I think what they are doing is pretty stupid in the long run, but I don't believe they are breaking any laws. The problem is with the laws. The current laws are what you get when the politicians passing the laws can be 'bought' by big industry. If the politicians knew anything about computers and how they are used they would not have passed these stupid laws. I guess that's what happens when the so call 'experts' used by the politicians to advise them on such matters are all on the RIAA payroll. We end up with laws that are guilty til proven otherwise.
          Al_nyc
          • Due process? Fourth amendment? Fifth amendment? Ring any bells??

            [b] [/b]
            AzuMao
      • No

        I do not crack software.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Copying is not stealing

        If I copy your book, did I steal it? No. It's something different. It's not legal though, but stop calling it stealing.

        I'm on the Soulseek network myself, downloading music I never paid for and sharing CD's I bought (and ripped in a lossless format). It's not that I stopped buying music since the DSL era, I just got more music by sharing with (not stealing from) the world. I didn't pay for my complete 120GB library of music, but without the Internet, I wouldn't have paid for it either. Copyfighters just don't know what they're talking about.
        Rubix_z
        • Copying is not stealing

          I totally agree. I've downloaded stuff I've heard once on the radio, or mentioned by a friend. Would I have bought the same music? No way. 9 times out of 10, I never listen to it again. I delete it off my portable player, where storage is limited, but it stays on my PC where storage is "free". Not that I ever listen to music on my PC.

          "Stealing" means someone lost out. If there was no chance of a sale, no one lost anything. These crazy claims that a student file sharer had "$1000's of music" is a fictional value. The student couldn't and wouldn't have paid this amount.
          nicey1966
          • Re: Copying is not stealing

            Correct,
            If I took something you created, and used it without paying, it's not stealing because I likely would not of thought to buy the product/service/art from you in the first place.

            Granted, I am benefiting from your labor and investment without compensating you, but it's OK because if I had to pay, I wouldn't of purchased it.

            Bummer you don't get anything while I enjoy the item, but it's not stealing.
            tzcannon
          • Wrong! You ARE a Thief!

            Doing what you describe is a form of theft, whatever you want to call it. You deceive yourself if you really think what you describe is ethical or moral.

            I agree that there are times where you might not have been willing to buy at retail whatever song it is you downloaded and therefore no sale was lost in those cases. At some point, though, your ability to take songs for free means you won't buy songs that you would have paid for. That is depriving the creator of money he/she earned. When millions of people do this, it is a HUGE deal.

            I recognize that the record companies might be better advised to approach this from a different angle, but that still doesn't let you off the hook for being a Thief.
            Bob C User