OK, we are straying a bit from our usual focus on news about companies in Silicon Valley, but we got a call from a parent of a UC Berkeley freshman who received some nasty news near the end of winter break.
It seems their Cal student is on the verge of being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for activity “on a particular IP address (that) infringed one or more of the RIAA members’ copyrights.” The parents were told that their student was one of 18 targeted with the same action.
On Tuesday, UC Berkeley officials forwarded a letter from the RIAA’s law firm offering an “early settlement” process whereby the student could avoid the legal action by paying a fine of $750 for each illegally uploaded or downloaded piece of music. In the case of this particular student, that allegedly involved at least 10 songs.
The university is offering a Student Legal Services workshop offered by the Attorney for Students, Mark Lucia, who will provide general information about the RIAA’s early settlement program and students’ options for responding on Wednesday, January 23, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the West Madrone Room on the 4th floor of the MLK Student Union Building.
A copy of the law firm’s letter appears below, with case identifying information left out.
Holme Roberts & Owen LLP
CASE ID# XXXXXXXX
We have asked your Internet Service Provider to forward this letter to you in
advance of our filing a lawsuit against you in federal court for copyright
infringement. We represent a number of large record companies, including
EMI Recorded Music, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, Universal
Music Group and Warner Music Group, as well as all of their subsidiaries and
affiliates (“Record Companies”), in pursuing claims of copyright infringement
against individuals who have illegally uploaded and downloaded sound
recordings on peer-to-peer networks.
We have gathered evidence that you have been infringing copyrights owned by
the Record Companies. We are attaching to this letter a sample of the sound
recordings you were found distributing via the GnutellaUS (LimeWire) peer-topeer
network. In total, you were found distributing 117 audio files, a substantial number of which are sound recordings controlled by the Record Companies.
you the opportunity to settle these claims as early as possible. If you contact us
within the next twenty (20) calendar days, we will offer to settle the claims for
a significantly reduced amount compared to what we will offer to settle them
for after we file suit or compared to the judgment amount a court may enter
against you. If you are interested in resolving this matter now, please contact
our Settlement Information Line at 913-234-8181 or, alternatively, you may
settle this matter immediately online at www.p2plawsuits.com, using the CASE
ID# that appears at the top of this letter.
infringement. The minimum damages under the law are $750 for each
copyrighted recording that has been infringed (“shared”). The maximum
damage award can be substantially more. In addition to damages, you may
also be responsible for paying the legal fees we incur in order to pursue
these claims, and are subject to having an injunction entered against you
prohibiting you from further infringing activity.
obligation for you to preserve evidence that relates to the claims against
you. In this case, that means, at a minimum, the entire library of recordings
that you have made available for distribution as well as any recordings you
have downloaded, need to be maintained as evidence. Further, you should
not attempt to delete the peer-to-peer programs from your system – though
you must stop them from operating. For information on how to do this, you
may visit www.musicunited.org.
encourage you to contact us to ask those questions. Finally, if you would like
more information regarding music downloading/file sharing and peer-to-peer
networks, please visit www.p2plawsuits.com.
IF YOU DO NOT RESOLVE OUR CLAIMS AGAINST YOU WITHIN
TWENTY (20) CALENDAR DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS
LETTER, THEN WE WILL FILE SUIT AGAINST YOU IN FEDERAL
consult with an attorney immediately to advise you on your rights and
Donald J. Kelso
Here are examples of items allegedly shared illegally.
IP Address: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX 2007-11-22
CASE ID# XXXXXXXXX
P2P Network: GnutellaUS (LimeWire) Total Audio Files: 117
Copyright Owner Artist Recording Title Album Title SR#
UMG Recordings, Inc. Sum 41 Fat Lip All Killer No Filler 298-689
UMG Recordings, Inc. Nirvana Heart-Shaped Box In Utero 172-276
UMG Recordings, Inc. Sum 41 The Hell Song Does This Look Infected? 337-798
UMG Recordings, Inc. Beck Loser Mellow Gold 185-369
Capitol Records, Inc. George Clinton Atomic Dog Computer Games 43-549
Interscope Records Puddle of Mudd Blurry Come Clean 301-465
UMG Recordings, Inc. G-Unit Stunt 101 Stunt 101 (single) 343-122
Warner Bros. Records Inc. Red Hot Chili Peppers Give It Away Blood Sugar Sex Magik 135-276
UMG Recordings, Inc. Guns N Roses