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RIAA Sued For Amnesty Program, Settles With 12-Year Old Girl For US$2,000

RIAA Sued For Amnesty Program, Settles With 12-Year Old Girl For US$2,000

by , 10:00 AM EDT, September 11th, 2003

Earlier this week, the Recording Industry Ass. of America announced that they would be offering an amnesty program called "Clean Slate" for file sharers. All a person has to do is fill out a notarized affidavit stating that all copyrighted material has been cleared away and that they promise to never do it again. The problem is, if the RIAA has already subpoenaed your ISP with or without your knowledge, the affidavit basically amounts to an admission of guilt. According to an article at C|Net, California resident Eric Parke sees this as a deceptive and fraudulent business practice, and filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California to try to stop it. From C|Net:

California resident Eric Parke, on behalf of the general public of the state, filed a suit Tuesday against the trade association because of its amnesty, or "Clean Slate," program, a provisional shield it introduced Monday that allows people to avoid legal action by stepping forward and forfeiting any illegally traded songs. The suit, filed in the Marin Superior Court of California, charges that the RIAA's program is a deceptive and fraudulent business practice.

It is "designed to induce members of the general public...to incriminate themselves and provide the RIAA and others with actionable admissions of wrongdoing under penalty of perjury while (receiving)...no legally binding release of claims...in return," according to the complaint.

In related news, the RIAA has settled its case with 12-year-old Brianna Lahara. In exchange for US$2,000, the RIAA has agreed to drop the case against the young girl. From the article:

On Tuesday, the RIAA settled its first case with Brianna Lahara, a 12-year-old New York resident. The recording industry agreed to drop its case against the preteen in exchange for $2,000, a sum considerably lower than previous settlement arrangements. Legal actions by the RIAA had been taken on a sporadic basis against operators of pirate servers or sites, but ordinary computer users have never before been at serious risk of liability for widespread behavior.

You can read the article in full at C|Net's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The article quotes the RIAA as saying "No good deed goes unpunished, apparently." Huh? Good deed? What good deed? Is the RIAA referring to the amnesty deal that could possibly guarantee legal action against the signee? If only there was a Nobel Prize for good deeds, that would surely qualify.

Or maybe the good deed was that the trade group was kind enough to let a 12-year-old girl off the hook, "only" charging her US$2,000, instead of bankrupting her entire family by dragging her into an extended court battle. The reality, of course, is that the RIAA already had an enormous amount mud on its face for suing a young school girl. and was looking for any way at all to get out of it without actually letting her off the hook.

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