RIAA Settles Lawsuits With Students. 

05-5-03 antiGUY
The RIAA has reached out-of-court settlements with the four students they had previously filed suit against for operated peer-to-peer networks at three U.S. colleges that trafficked in illegal mp3’s. 

The lawsuits, filed in early April, claimed that the students had made over 1 million songs available through these peer-to-peer networks. They had sued the students for $150,000 per song. Going on that amount, one student in fact was looking at almost $98 billion dollars in damages if the RIAA won the original lawsuit the terms were enforced 

However, the RIAA has settled the lawsuits at a much lower amount. The settles rang from between $12,000 and $17,500. According to a Billboard report, “the students will pay in installments over several years.”

Matt Oppenheim, RIAA senior VP of business and legal affairs, told Billboard, "Given that these were the first lawsuits of this kind, and that these individuals had limited means, we believe that the settlement amounts are appropriate. We would anticipate, though, that any future similar enforcement actions may require stiffer settlement obligations."

Lawsuits against student file traders is only one new front the RIAA has taken in their war against online music piracy.  Another new tactic that the RIAA is reportedly using is sending warnings to users on the KaZaA and Grokster peer-to-peer networks via their built in messaging services. They reportedly use an automated search program to local targets files and send the users who are sharing those files the following message; "It appears that you are offering copyrighted music to others from your computer. When you break the law, you risk legal penalties."

The RIAA reportedly plans to send out these messages to approximately 1 million users a week. Such action reportedly violated the KaZaa user agreement. 

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