RIAA Nabs 15 Year Old
November 20, 2003
Although reports of this news surfaced a few days ago on KOMA TV, the implications remain far-reaching. A Seattle area teenager named Megan Dickenson is the latest victim of the RIAA's terrorism campaign against the American people.
Like most file-traders, the teen simply traveled to the Kazaa website and downloaded the famous (or infamous) Kazaa Media Desktop (KMD). Unfortunately, KMD doesn't offer any kind of protection for its users. If files are allowed to accumulate unchecked in ones shared directory, they can potentially be exposed to prying eyes. By simply browsing an individuals shared directly, the RIAA can easily gauge the number of shared songs.
KMD does not have the option to hide your shared directory from outside sources. Conversely, Kazaa Lite has the option to prevent outside users from browsing ones shared directory (via hotlist). Even with browsing disabled, there is no affect on the amount of files an individual wishes to contribute to the community. This is not advocating the sharing of zero files, quite the opposite. Many people have misunderstood this concept. You're not disabling sharing, you're disabling browsing. Two very different things.
Allowing thousands of songs to pile up left Megan ultimately vulnerable to the RIAA's automatrons; who searched her shared directory to see if their criteria was met. So far, this criterion has been approximately 1,000 songs consisting of the right combination of "Pop" music. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
Unfortunately for Megan, she was sharing a hefty 1,100 songs. Even at the minimum fine of $750, thatís well over an $800,000 lawsuit. However, the RIAA is willing to settle for "only" $3,500. Such charity.
Like many who have been caught, their only defense so far has been, "I didn't know it was stealing, the website didn't warn me." While understandable, the music industry has been quick to point out that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Maybe they're right, considering those who are informed and have no desire to become a victim of the RIAA would never use such vulnerable software.
what I should say to that?