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Any Lawyers in Here??

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Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby DaQ » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:34 am

Hey guys,

I may or may not have slipped into a little bit of a situaton, but I think I may be over-worrying about it. I had a perfectly normal day of classes today. As I'm walking back, the mail room calls me and says I have to sign for a "special delivery." After doing so, I open up the special envelope. To my shock, I see the letter from the University is letting me know I could be SUED for copyright infringement of music. 8-o 8-o 8-o 8-o Also inthe envelope was some letter from the attorney who could sue me, just explaining the situation and the possible fines.

I figured out I have LimeWire on my laptop, and whoever was on the lookout saw this. I have never used LimeWire at school (I'm not a moron), but apparently it's still active even though I hit the little red X in the middle of the summer. The LimeWire was installed by a fellow family member and my sibling and I both used it solely to put some songs into our music players (as opposed to always having to pay $.99 for ITunes every single time).

I called the University Technology Office, asking what this even means (I saw "law suit" in the letter and was stumped). The guy who I was forwarded to explained what LimeWire does (I had no idea LimeWire was even on, but apparently it shares the music files even when I think it's off). Whoever wants to sue me here believes I voluntarily shared these files, and wants an undisclosed amount of money - if I was to call them within 20 business days it could be settled...if I don't call, there is a chance they could sue (and they claim in court they could sue $750 per song or something like that - I think they "caught me" sharing 98 audio files and only mentioned 10 on "Exhibit A", but a settlement would be a much smaller fine). The guy at my school seemed to be a bit of a prick though ("oh, you're in for a REAL education now!" - he thought I was doing this all on purpose, with blatant disregard of the law :-t ). BTW this is just everything I could determine from the letter and what this guy told me.

So that's what I got to learn before my workout today. :-{ I then contacted my dad, who is a lawyer, and tried to translate as much as the lawyer jargon that I could (I mailed him all these letters today). He thinks the RIAA send this out to thousands of people, many of whom are college students, and it is more of a "scare tactic" than anything else - I mean, the attorney's letter said "Dear Sir or Madam". He also told me he'll write to the law office that is heading up the "suing" and will let them know I wasn't even the one who installed LimeWire onto my laptop, it was one of the central computers the family used in the house over the summer, and I am retarded when it comes to knowing what these types of programs actually do. I would NEVER voluntarily commit copyright infringement, and this all took me by surprise (this is all true as well). the University letter said the school could take action against me if need be, but I don't think that will happen. I'm not worried about that anyway, since I would explain I had absolutely no idea what was going on, and I can't see the school severely punishing someone who wasn't trying to break the law at all.

If anyone here is practicing law or is a lawyer...what do you make of this? Obviously I had no idea what was going on here, and I get slapped with all this. My parents told me to let them take care of it, as my dad's a lawyer and could probably figure this all out. I'm just afraid that if the people suing decide to pursue my individual case (there seem to be many many small cases like this, but I'm not 100% sure), my parents could be forking over a decent amount of money for something none of us knew was occuring, or even could occur (the LimeWire part). :~( I doubt this will even reach the lawsuit phase, since I'm not going to court (I got major exams and finals coming up).

My parents don't want me to worry about this at all (just focus on school, etc. and they will take care of it), but I don't want to see a hefty fine that they would need to pay either.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby mweir145 » Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:29 am

It sounds like a scare tactic to me. I can't see the school (I'm guessing it would be the school that would be doing the suing, but that wasn't made completely clear), suing hundreds and possibly thousands of students who would obviously be in the same boat you are. I could see you possibly being reprimended by the university for it in terms of whatever punishment they have written down in the rules for copyright infringement, but I doubt you'll be sued unless it is the people that actually own the copyrighted music.

Just leave it to your dad, I anticipate you won't have a problem.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby Snakes Gould » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:54 am

if it wasnt even directed at you, i would think you have ZERO to worry about. i find it funny that you have the stance that you would never steal any music, when i bet 99 % of the members of the cafe would admit they would have no problem with it and have done it almost normally for the past several years.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby Mookie4ever » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:23 am

The recording industry of america represents the music labels that own the songs and they could certainly sue you. 417 of these letters were sent out on Nov 15. LINK 417 doesn't seem like a lot and it certainly seems like a number that they could pursue to litigation.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby slomo007 » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:36 am

What am I missing here?

The LimeWire was installed by a fellow family member and my sibling and I both used it solely to put some songs into our music players (as opposed to always having to pay $.99 for ITunes every single time).


Then:

I would NEVER voluntarily commit copyright infringement, and this all took me by surprise (this is all true as well).



So, at the risk of sounding like Jackie Childs, did you or did you not commit copyright infringement?


Actually, it probably doesn't even matter whether or not you did....if they tracked you down because your computer's IP address was sharing songs then frankly they don't care if it was you or someone else...all they know is you own the computer and therefore you are responsible. I don't think you'll get out of this one, just pay the fine and move on with life.

On a side note, the RIAA is really, really stupid for prosecuting music fans like this. They need to accept the fact that in the future, buying music will be a thing of the past. Focus on concerts/merchandise etc in order to make money.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby StlSluggers » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:41 am

I would take it seriously. The RIAA has long since made their point that they will not tolerate any file sharing, and they have pursued more than a few college and high-school aged kids for monetary compensation. They believe that if they make examples of kids in front of other kids, then there is a better chance those kids won't grow up and continue to steal music. It seems to me like you've been selected to be made an example of.

Also, there's no need to pitch your innocence to us. A) We won't be the judge or jury, and B) whether you knew you were breaking the law doesn't really matter in court. If I were you, I'd focus on making sure you immediately remove the offending software and any music illegally downloaded.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby Lofunzo » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:58 am

slomo007 wrote:What am I missing here?

The LimeWire was installed by a fellow family member and my sibling and I both used it solely to put some songs into our music players (as opposed to always having to pay $.99 for ITunes every single time).


Then:

I would NEVER voluntarily commit copyright infringement, and this all took me by surprise (this is all true as well).



So, at the risk of sounding like Jackie Childs, did you or did you not commit copyright infringement?


I had C&P'd the same things. You really sound hypocritical there.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby Tavish » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:12 am

I would highly suggest to your dad to get in touch with someone from the EFF. They can give him a great deal of information about the legal ramifications. The RIAA has brought legal action against roughly 7000 people a year since they began their investigations. Do not take it lightly and do not expect the "I didn't know" excuse to make it go away.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby DaQ » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:30 am

Tavish wrote:I would highly suggest to your dad to get in touch with someone from the EFF. They can give him a great deal of information about the legal ramifications. The RIAA has brought legal action against roughly 7000 people a year since they began their investigations. Do not take it lightly and do not expect the "I didn't know" excuse to make it go away.


My dad is going to write a letter to whoever is suing to the law firm that said they could sue (they work for the RIAA). He'll explain to them the situation and see what they do after that.

As for the letter, it didn't say "Dear DaQ." What I think happens is the law firm sees it came from my school, then my school does the tracking down and that's how they found me. The case number was in the millions, but I don't know if that matters.

As some of you said, I think they send out thousands of these, but my dad will still write to them just in case they pluck mine for further investigation later on. Hopefully if the RIAA was looking at mine they go lightly.

I hope there isn't a real problem, and my parents, like MWeir, told me not to worry about it, since my parents know:
1.) Many (417 apparently were sent out on 11/15) get sent out, and probably more before that.
2.) I didn't know LimeWire could even do this, so I wasn't knowingly breaking the law.

Also, as JT suggested, I removed the software yesterday afternoon.
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Re: Any Lawyers in Here?

Postby Lofunzo » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:32 am

DaQ wrote:
Tavish wrote:I would highly suggest to your dad to get in touch with someone from the EFF. They can give him a great deal of information about the legal ramifications. The RIAA has brought legal action against roughly 7000 people a year since they began their investigations. Do not take it lightly and do not expect the "I didn't know" excuse to make it go away.


My dad is going to write a letter to whoever is suing to the law firm that said they could sue (they work for the RIAA). He'll explain to them the situation and see what they do after that.

As for the letter, it didn't say "Dear DaQ." What I think happens is the law firm sees it came from my school, then my school does the tracking down and that's how they found me. The case number was in the millions, but I don't know if that matters.

As some of you said, I think they send out thousands of these, but my dad will still write to them just in case they pluck mine for further investigation later on. Hopefully if the RIAA was looking at mine they go lightly.

I hope there isn't a real problem, and my parents, like MWeir, told me not to worry about it, since my parents know:
1.) Many (417 apparently were sent out on 11/15) get sent out, and probably more before that.
2.) I didn't know LimeWire could even do this, so I wasn't knowingly breaking the law.

Also, as JT suggested, I removed the software yesterday afternoon.


What exactly do you mean by that bolded statement??
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