The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that it has reached 116 settlements after going after 400 students / computer users at 13 universities just a few weeks ago. More settlements are expected, as the RIAA sent out another batch of letters last week.
The association has declined requests to provide details about the settlements, though some details were given by other parties involved. Ohio University arranged for an attorney, Patrick McGee, to meet with any students suspected of music piracy. He explained that the standard settlement offer from the RIAA is $3,000. But one Ohio University student said that her letter accused her of distributing over 787 audio files, putting her total minimum potential liability at more than $590,000!
The worst part is that universities, such as Purdue University, have already admitted that the technology used to match students with music piracy is limited in accuracy. In the case of Purdue, the university refuses to take any responsibility for mistakes made. And the RIAA is not reimbursing universities for the expense of going through this process. So what measures are put in place to ensure accuracy? Answer: little to none.
One thing’s for sure: If I were sent a letter saying pay up X amount, I wouldn’t pay as long as none of the parties involved care about accuracy. But since one fourth of the students do pay, the RIAA is likely to keep trying.