The RIAA is sending what amounts to a cease and desist letter to 400 college students at 13 universities. The letter encourages students to confess and pay a “settlement” at an RIAA website: P2PLawsuits.com. The website suggests using Mastercard, Visa or Discover to pay your fines.
NPR has a “Xeni Tech” report on the story featuring quotes from RIAA-boycotting editor Adam Frucci of Consumerist’s sister-site Gizmodo. It’s very much worth a listen, and if any of you out there have received a letter, we encourage you to scan it and send it in. Xeni’s report also includes advice from USC Law Professor, Jennifer Urban:
“It’s essentially a cease and desist letter. It’s a letter from a party saying, “We think that you are doing something illegal and we would like you to stop. The important thing for the student or another person who receives this letter to understand is that all this is is a letter that is claiming that the student is doing something infringing… If the university hasn’t turned over their names, then by going to this website and registering they’re going to be telling the RIAA who they are, and allow for the RIAA to follow-up with more action against them, because they’ll then know the identity.”
The P2PLawsuit website itself is rather frightening. From the FAQ:
What payment methods can I use?
Payments can be made by check or credit card (MasterCard, Visa and Discover).
What if I cannot pay the settlement amount immediately?
For those individuals who cannot pay the settlement in a lump sum, we will consider accepting payments over a period of time. There will, however, be an additional fee to cover the administrative costs of such a program.
Will my parents find out about this lawsuit?
If you are under 18, a parent or guardian will need to be involved in this process and sign the settlement. If you are 18 or older and you settle with us prior to being named in a lawsuit, it is your choice whether to notify a parent or guardian. Once a lawsuit is filed that names you as a defendant, it becomes a matter of public record.
Great. Pay the RIAA its hush money or they’ll tell your parents. —MEGHANN MARCO