Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RIAA lawsuits hit close to home.

This past weekend, my wife gets a phone call from a former co-worker and friend... She proceeds to tell my wife that she got a notice that several top record companys (like Motown) are suing her for song sharing.  1500 counts at $750 each... ouch.  My wife, having discussed this very thing a couple of years ago and how the RIAA is actively suing, even 80 year grandmothers for peer-to-peer sharing, proceeded to tell her friend to “get and lawyer and settle as quickly and and for as little as you possibly can.”  This turned out to be the best advice... It looks like she is settling for only $4800 total, plus lawyer fees.  Also, after a few Google searchs, my wife's freind quickly found out that all the previously filed suits either settled or lost in court.  This bostered her resolve to settle as quickly as possible and not try and fight it.

Apparently, this all started when my wife's freind's daughter signed up for Limewire and proceeded to download like crazy.  It's sad, actually.  That is why as soon as I found my kids had signed up for BearShare (a similar peer-to-peer service), I proceeded to clamp down the firewall at the home network to totally block all peer-to-peer technologies, Gnutella, Napster, Limewire, BearShare, etc...  The last thing I need is to be served with a lawsuit because my children were downloading massive amounts of songs, movies, etc...  Keep a very close eye on what and where your children are surfing.  I've also setup a web proxy that all the children use that blocks adds, popups, and looks for sexually explicit material and blocks it.  The good thing is that it is, at times a little over zealous.  That's good because, the kids will now come to me and say, “Dad, I can't get to site 'abc.com.'“  That allows me to screen the site and if I approve of it, I can simply add it to the exception list.

I feel really bad for this freind since it totally blindsided her and her family.  The good side is that for this family, $4800 isn't going to sink them, but it will hurt.  Imagine if this happened to a far less financially capable family or person... like those 80 year-old grandmothers living on a fixed income.