by LaRue Cook
When news broke in March that University of Tennessee sophomore Chelsea Conn had reached a $3,000 settlement with the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally downloading music, Knoxville's court of public opinion was officially open on the topic of music piracy.
The RIAA announced its campaign to curtail the problem of illegal downloading on college campuses in February, and it released rankings of the nation's top college breeding grounds for music piratesâ"UT was ranked fourth.
After settling and taking her story to the News Sentinel , Conn became the university's, and the city's, poster child for the anti-piracy movement.
Up until that point, Knoxvillians had limited knowledge of RIAA horror stories: Brianna LaHara, a 12-year-old girl living in New York City public housing, who was sued for more money than some families make in a year because she was illegally downloading music files, or the 84-year-old grandmother, now deceased, who was held accountable for the countless songs her 16-year-old grandson downloaded without her knowledge. They might have even heard rumors of people in Tennessee who had quietly settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount with the Big Fourâ"Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Groupâ"represented by the RIAA.
But not before the 19-year-old from Murfreesboro went public with her pre-litigation settlement had the phenomenon of illegal downloading and its consequences ever truly hit home.
Now, when you order a hamburger from a local fast-food joint, the server might just be a UT student trying to work off a $5,000 settlement with the RIAA.
Some in the community offered the obligatory, â“I told you so,â” while others were disgruntled at the fact that multi-million dollar corporations were targeting helpless college kids like the doe-eyed Chelsea Conn.
â“It scared me at first,â” says former UT student John Kennedy, who graduated in May with a degree in journalism and electronic media. â“But I'd really just call it a scare tactic. The record label's main flow of income is from college students, so they figured they'd go after them because they would be unable financially to fight a legal battle.â”
Conn failed to reply to e-mails for this story, as did several other students who reportedly received settlement letters. But it was apparent in March that Conn was speaking through the Sentinel as a service to other students who might potentially receive letters. Still, the money had already been lifted from the bank, the jewels already snatched from behind the plate-glass window. As Conn put it, â“We're like sitting ducks.â”
The rising junior was 11 years old when Shawn â“Napsterâ” Fanning developed the first major file-sharing software on his college campus of Northeastern University in Boston. Since then, the RIAA has been scrambling to save its plummeting record industry.
Napster collapsed in 2001 after a yearlong legal battle with the RIAA, which was vocally backed by major label artists such as heavy metal rock group Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre. It appeared as though the Big Four had won, and the sanctity of intellectual property rights had been preserved once and for all. The RIAA breathed a sigh of relief, but just as its honchos were beginning to feel comfortable in their cushiony leather chairs in Washington, D.C., the floodgates opened.
Other file-sharing networks like Kazaa, LimeWire, iMesh and Bearshare grabbed the torch, paving the way for the decentralization of peer-to-peer networks and the open sharing of music files by users around the globe. Despite the RIAA's best efforts to file more than 21,000 individual lawsuits over the last five years, record sales have dropped nearly 30 percent since Napster's inception in 1999.
As the saying goes, desperate circumstances require desperate measures. The RIAA decided the problem of illegal downloading on college campuses had become â“disproportionately problematic.â” According to NPD, a market research firm, college students accounted for 1.3 billion downloads last year and more than half of college students download music and movies illegally.
The RIAA announced its plan to mail 400 pre-litigation settlement letters each month to universities, asking the administration to forward the letters to students based on Internet Protocol (IP) addresses the RIAA had obtained. These letters would allow students the opportunity to settle with the recording industry for a discounted rate (usually around $3,000-$5,000) rather than risking a named civil suit.
If a student ignored the first letter and didn't contact the trade group on its hotline or through a website, the RIAA countered with a second â“John-Doeâ” lawsuit, subpoenaing the university for the name of the offender. If the student did not challenge the subpoena, then the university cooperated and the RIAA amended or re-filed a named lawsuit.
Conn was one of 28 UT students who received letters in the first wave of 400. She told the Sentinel she didn't â“mind paying the money backâ” and â“it was my fault.â” Conn reportedly had more than 1,000 songs downloaded on her computer through the free music site, LimeWire. Since the RIAA began filing individual lawsuits in 2003, the minimum statutory damages have been $750 per infringing file, which could have cost her and her parents more than $1 million if the RIAA had filed suit and won.
Fifteen of those initial 28 failed to comply with the settlement agreement, and UT surrendered the names to the RIAA in April. Fifty more letters arrived to the university in May and just last week a federal magistrate judge in Knoxville ruled UT had to comply once again with the RIAA's request for names, this time double the number from April.
No named lawsuits have been filed against UT students thus far, and UT spokesperson Jay Mayfield says he is not at liberty to release names of students who have received letters because of a federal law that protects the privacy of a student's educational records.
â“When we receive a legal subpoena, we abide by it,â” Mayfield says. â“But under no other circumstance do we release the names of a student, whether it's about illegal downloading or anything else.
â“We inform the student that their information has been asked for, and they have a window of time in which they can challenge the subpoena. If they don't, we can do nothing else but give up the name.â”
It wasn't always this way. John Kennedy remembers a time when the university merely sent an e-mail warning, a slap on the wrist, if a student downloaded illegally on the network.
â“The Office of Information Technology [OIT] was doing as much as they could, but they didn't want to censor people,â” says Kennedy, who actually received a warning while he was a student computer technician for UT's Division of Student Affairs. â“I got an e-mail, and I did have illegal files on the computer. Sure OIT cared, but they didn't want me to get into legal trouble.â”
If a student operates his or her computer on campus, then the university acts as the student's Internet Service Provider (ISP) and has access to the student's name, address and phone number by way of an IP address. Early on, the RIAA would send a notice to the university that a user was downloading copyrighted files, and the university would e-mail the student to make him or her aware of the infraction. If a second notice was issued, the university would shut down the user's network access until he or she brought the computer to OIT and removed the downloading software.
According to Mayfield, the university has always been proactive in educating UT students about music piracy. OIT has several links on its website that answer frequently asked questions about illegal downloading, and UT now has activities informing incoming students about piracy and its consequences at freshman orientation.
â“We are always looking for new ways to keep students informed, because we know what a significant impact illegal downloading can have on their life,â” says Mayfield, who has dealt with the piracy issue almost weekly since the RIAA letters started arriving in February.
UT, like many other universities, has also attempted to offer students legitimate ways of downloading music. In 2004, the university partnered with Napster, which became a paid service not long after its demise, to provide those students who lived on campus a way to legally download music free of charge. The catch: music could only be listened to on a computer and could not be downloaded to a portable device or burned to a CD without being purchased.
That venture failed after a year, and UT went on to partner with other similar software companies. Mayfield is currently plugging UTunes, which started in 2006 in cooperation with Cdigix, the leader in digital media services to universities.
â“Students hear about so many legal ways they can download music, which should be the best possible news for any number of reasons, the most important being to protect their legal interests,â” Mayfield says. â“There are too many good options to download illegally.â”
Students have a much-different sentiment: â“The fact that students want portability in their musicâ was missed when these companies did their research on what students want,â” wrote recent graduate Jamie Wilson in an April opinion column on tnjn.com, UT's student-run website.
â“Students are portable by nature, so it's a complete mystery how such a glaringly obvious need could so easily be overlooked. The big catch to this â‘free' music is that students are still going to have to pay for music they can download, burn and put on a portable music player.â”
Kennedy, who says he continues to download music illegally, says digital rights management (DRM) is making it more difficult for people to even burn songs they've purchased onto a CD or download them to a portable device like an iPod.
DRM is a term that refers to technologies used by publishers or other copyright holders to limit the usage of their work on digital media or devices. In other words, companies such as Apple, which owns iTunes, can limit the number of devices its songs can be played on, making the iPod a necessity for someone with iTunes. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international non-profit advocacy and legal organization for free-speech rights, calls this type of scheme an anti-competitive practice.
Kennedy was on the tnjn.com staff along with Wilson when he read Conn's story, prompting him to post an advice video on how students can potentially protect themselves against the RIAA.
More often than not, when students download LimeWire or any other peer-to-peer file-sharing software, they automatically begin to share whatever files are on their computer with the rest of the software's users.
According to Conn, she wasn't even aware she was sharing files, which seems to be the defense of most students who have received settlement letters. Kennedy's video shows a step-by-step process of how to disengage the software's file-sharing option.
â“They have a big problem with sharing files,â” says Kennedy, whose video can also be viewed at tubecodes.com/details.php?video_id=pm_AxhMDKpI. â“If you're just downloading, you're harder to track.
â“When you download LimeWire, then you automatically start sharing all the files on your computer, not just music. It's not my fault that LimeWire shares everything. What if I just got the software to download the national anthem, which is legal?â”
Gary Pulsinelli, a UT law professor who teaches patent law and intellectual property law, says the verdict likely wouldn't change, whether or not the student knew he or she was sharing files.
â“It shouldn't affect liability,â” Pulsinelli says. â“It might affect damages, because the infringement may no longer be considered willful. But you have to remember this is a civil case, not a criminal case. The decision doesn't have to be beyond a shadow of a doubt.â”
Cara Duckworth, a spokesperson for the RIAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., says the trade group does not distinguish between those who are sharing files and those who are merely downloading files: â“The law is very clear regarding illegal downloading. All copyright holders have rights.â”
She says the RIAA's focus hasn't shifted completely to college students, either.
Seven Tennessee suits were filed by the RIAA in March against non-college students. One was settled for more than $9,000, the RIAA is seeking default judgments for $7,500 and $4,500 in two others and three have been dismissed, which is often the result of settlement, according to Duckworth.
One defendant, however, is filing a countersuit. Nicholas Paternoster, a 33-year-old soldier from Clarksville currently stationed at Fort Campbell, claims in the suit he had no knowledge that the software, Kazaa, was on his computer. The countersuit goes on to say Paternoster was on a tour of duty in Germany when a fellow soldier downloaded Kazaa without his knowledge. He later deleted it and the illegal files, but the RIAA had already documented the files that were being shared.
â“We are targeting all individuals, not just colleges,â” Duckworth says. â“We try to be fair with these cases, but we cannot be held responsible for individual users' lack of awareness regarding the law given the abundant legal services available in the marketplace offering risk-free music at discounted prices.
â“Our goal is to protect the rights of our companies. Illegal downloading does affect our industry in a harmful mannerâ"it's akin to shoplifting. For every musician at the top there is a musician in the background that the recording industry is no longer able to invest in because of money lost from piracy.â”
The RIAA represents the four largest record labels in the world, but the trade group can often be heard championing the little man, the starving artist. Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the RIAA, has written the following phrase countless times in his official statements: â“The theft of musicâ hinders record companies' investment in the new bands of tomorrow.â”
Although Jon Worley claims to have been a starving musician for five years now, he says he's never received a call from Bainwol, the RIAA or any of the Big Four.
â“The only people illegal downloading is hurting is the artists on major labels,â” says Worley, frontman for the local unsigned psychobilly outift, The Cornbred Blues Band. â“The Cornbred Blues Band wants people to share its music for free. It generates interest, and it's free publicity.
â“The whole reason the RIAA jumped up and started shitting themselves was because the standard format of the way they sold music broke down.â”
Worley's band has never sold its music by any other means than at shows, online at MySpace or in independent record stores, which seems to be the practice of most original musicians not on a major label.
Major record labels seem to have grown tired of scouring the Earth for the next â“itâ” band, and are instead reverting to the â“oldies but goodies,â” which take a lot less legwork. As witnessed by the recent reunions of The Police, Genesis, the Smashing Pumpkins and countless others, it's obvious that the recording industry is singing its swan song for the good ol' days, when fans flocked to concert venues, and record stores were the hip hang out.
John Bevis, general manager for the locally owned and operated record store Disc Exchange, says his industry has been affected as much or more than any down-and-out musician. Like the recording industry, Disc Exchange's numbers have fallen each year since illegal downloading began to boom at the turn of the century. But Bevis places blame on the major labels' sending him mediocre, overpriced CDs to put on his shelvesâ"not at college kids.
â“The record labels have painted themselves into a corner,â” says Bevis, who has been with Disc Exchange for 10 years. â“They're charging too much for CDs, and they've been putting out bad music for a long time now. The indie labels are doing well because they're actually targeting talented artists.
â“I think it hurts the talented artists more than it does some of the ones on major labels.â”
Worley's Cornbred Blues Band travels mostly in the Southeast, and he says his band profits more from remaining independent than it ever could with a major label, simply because he owns his own music.
â“Most major labels only have four or five artists they're backing and there isn't much focus put on artists coming up in development,â” Worley says. â“It's much easier for me to sell CDs at my shows than to sign with a major label. Most bands can make more money selling songs for 99 cents on MySpace and getting their 43-cent cut than making an album on a major label.
â“That ain't saying I wouldn't do it, though, because I been eating Beanie Weenies and sleeping in my truck for five years.â”
Most records that are distributed by major labels have a list price around $18, according to Bevis. But Disc Exchange would likely have to bar up the windows if it sold CDs at that price, especially with corporate stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart selling them for $10-$13.
â“That's the state of the industry,â” Bevis says. â“We're trying to make a living off a loss leader, which is hard enough without having to compete with corporately owned record stores. But when a college kid can download for free or download an album on iTunes for $9.99, then why buy a CD for $18?â”
Bevis says the majority of traffic entering and exiting his store is made up of middle-aged buyers, music lovers who know the difference between the openness of a vinyl record and the over-compression of a CD.
â“That used to be the thing when Disc Exchange first opened in the late '80s. I was a college kid and I would come hang out at Disc Exchange or Turtle's on the Strip,â” he says. â“We don't see that student traffic anymore.â”
Kennedy says he often downloads albums in advance of the actual release date, distributing them among friends, some of them still in college, who will often purchase the record after sampling it. But he agrees with Bevis about the lack of quality selections on most major labels.
â“If I want to hear a song and don't want the whole album, then I just download it,â” he says. â“There really aren't many good artists with good music anymore. There's usually just one song worth listening to, so why do I want to buy the whole album?â”
Universal Music Group was contacted for this story but directed all questions to Duckworth and the RIAA. Although Universal didn't want to discuss its pricing strategies, Bevis says the label is the most aggressive of the Big Four in terms of list pricing.
â“Universal put out the new Amy Winehouse album at $9.99. We were selling a lot of them because people thought, â‘Why not? I can risk 10 bucks for that one song [â‘Rehab'],'â” he says. â“If you keep your prices below $15, then people usually don't think twice about taking a chance. You probably make more money selling twice as many albums at $10 than selling half that much at $18.â”
Ask a college student, the manager of an indie record store, a local musician, or an avid middle-aged music fan and they'll all probably tell you that illegal downloading is here to stay.
Even if illegal downloading does one day cease, they'll remind you that digital downloading, legal or not, is the way of the future.
â“Anything the RIAA does to combat illegal downloading by college students is a good thing,â” Bevis says. â“But if it's not one thing, it'll be another, and I'm not sure it's ever going to be stopped completely.â”
As a musician, Worley's response is a bit more adamant.
â“Fuck Metallica for bringing this to the forefront of legal consciousness,â” says Worley of the heavy-metal group most recognized for helping bring down Napster. â“The record industry figures it will hassle a couple of 25-year-olds for a last-ditch effort because the industry is in its death throes.â”
As a recent college graduate, Kennedy is merely echoing the sentiments of those still living with the impending fear of a settlement letter from the RIAA.
â“The RIAA is just a government front to protect the Big Four and its investment,â” Kennedy says. â“They're not making money and there's not as good of a selection. Give it 10 years. My mom is already starting to buy albums on iTunes.â”
Ask the RIAA the same question, though, and you'll get unabashed optimism.
â“We've succeeded in changing a lot of illegal activity, and we've heightened awareness as to the consequences of illegal downloading,â” Duckworth says. â“There used to be a large percentage of people who were not aware that peer-to-peer downloading was illegal. In just a few years, that has changed, and we're actively encouraged by where the legal marketplace is going.â”
Duckworth is referring to statistics from a recent internal survey by the RIAA, which shows that in June of 2003, 37 percent of those polled thought it was illegal to make music available for free from a computer (29 percent thought it was legal). Four years later the 73 percent say downloading music for free from a computer is illegal.
Colleges have also been responsive to the RIAA's efforts, according to Duckworth:
â“In December 2003, no university had signed a partnership with a legal music service to offer discounted music to students,â” the RIAA reported in a June 2005 statement. â“Now every student in the country has access to free, legal music through innovative music industry-supported models like that offered through Ruckus [a free and legal downloading software for anyone with a .edu e-mail account].â”
But it wasn't facts and figures alone that prompted the RIAA to release the aforementioned statement in June 2005. The news release was much more than a state-of- the-union-address on the culture of illegal downloading. It was the proclamation that the Supreme Court was now backing the RIAA with its 9-0 decision in MGM v. Grokster , which held that defendant peer-to-peer file sharing companies Grokster and Streamcast could be sued for inducing copyright infringement.
The ruling appeared to reverse a precedent set in the case of Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios , which protected VCR manufacturers from being sued when the illegal copying of VHS tapes was rampant in the 1980s.
â“When I first heard the ruling in the Grokster case, I was really concerned,â” says Pulsinelli, a UT law professor. â“But when I looked at it closer, what the court really did was consistent with Sony .â”
The lower court had ruled that like Sony, Grokster only provided the software, and it was the user that committed copyright infringement.
â“Napster kept a centralized database, and they would say, â‘Oh, Program X has the files you want so we'll connect you to it,' and they were directly involved in the infringement process,â” Pulsinelli says. â“Grokster had a decentralized database and they said, â‘All we do is send out the software and the user does the rest, so we're not involved.'â”
Although Grokster and Streamcast weren't knowledgeable of every specific instance of infringement, the Supreme Court ruled that the manner in which the file-sharing software was being advertised proved inconsistent with the law.
â“Sony was selling a product [the VCR] that had other legitimate uses, whereas Grokster and Streamcast were merely a means to download illegal files,â” Pulsinelli says. â“They were advertising to the public, telling them how much illegal music they could copy.â”
Three months after the Grokster decision was handed down, the RIAA went on a lawsuit spree:
Sept. 14, 2005, the RIAA issues seven cease-and-desist letters to illicit file sharing services;
Sep. 21, 2005, WinMX shuts down;
Nov. 7, 2005, Grokster settles and ceases operation;
Nov. 14, 2005, i2hub reportedly shuts down;
May 4, 2006, Bearshare settles and is bought by legal peer-to-peer service iMesh;
July 17, 2006, the RIAA reaches a global out-of-court settlement with Kazaa;
Aug. 4, 2006, Major record companies file a lawsuit against LimeWire;
Sep. 12, 2006, eDonkey settles and shuts down;
Sept. 27, 2006, A federal court issues a summary judgment against Streamcast.
Of the seven companies that received cease-and-desist letters two years ago, LimeWire remains the only company acting solely as an illicit file sharing software.
There are still legal loopholes left to jump through, however. According to Pulsinelli, the RIAA must now shift its focus to software companies like BitTorrent, which have other legitimate operations but still act as conduits for illegal file sharing.
â“BitTorrent didn't start out as a way to illegally download music,â” says Pulsinelli. â“It just so happens to be great for sharing music and movie files. But it's never pushed itself as a way to indulge in copyright infringement.
â“It will be extremely difficult for the music industry to stop it with the way the law is now in place.â”
After eight years of back-and-forth exchanges between record labels, illicit file-sharing software companies, private Internet users and now college students, Congress is conducting its own investigation into the problem of illegal downloading.
Capitol Hill started to rumble when this campaign by the RIAA to target the illegal downloading of college students turned into more and more bad press for institutions of higher education.
Universities were made to look as though they had turned a blind eye, that intellectual property rights meant nothing to academia. Not to mention that record companies were reportedly losing dollars by the millions, and behind-the-scenes workers were being laid off in droves, many of whom were constituents.
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and his House Committee on Science and Technology invited some of the information officers from colleges across the country to discuss the technological options to stop piracy earlier this summer.
â“Digital piracy is costing the entertainment industry billions of dollars and thousands of jobs,â” Gordon said in an opening statement during the June hearing. â“Many of the people affected by it are my constituents, who live near and work in Nashville, the recording capital of America.â”
Congress has proposed implementing tactics such as â“traffic shapingâ” and â“network filteringâ” to put an end to illegal downloading on college campuses. Traffic shaping would allow administrators to control how much bandwidth files can take up, likely making it impossible to download illegal music files, which have a large bandwidth. Network filtering would block copyrighted files completely from the network, even material deemed educational.
Mayfield and UT have maintained from the beginning that they do not support such sweeping regulations.
â“As a university we think that academic freedom is fundamental to education,â” Mayfield says. â“We don't want to keep students from downloading copyrighted material that might be educational. We think our objective of academic freedom can coexist with the rights of intellectual property holders.â”
As for critics who say illegal downloading clogs servers and creates an atmosphere conducive to viruses and spam, Mayfield contends â“the university network hasn't slowed down, and will continue to be open and free of restrictions.â”
Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada attempted to attach several brash amendments to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act last week, among them requiring universities to â“provide evidenceâ” to the Education Department that they have â“developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property.â”
This put Mark Luker, vice president of the non-profit organization Educause, on the defensive for universities rather quickly. â“These technologies do not work well,â” Luker said at the hearing. â“They are really not ready for prime time and colleges should not be forced to install them.â”
Duckworth and the RIAA counter, saying, â“There is technology in the marketplace that is proven and effective.â” RIAA President Mitch Bainwol wrote a letter to Reid and the Senate in which he states: â“Colleges have provided an ideal environment for online theft to thrive, producing a generation of citizens lacking an appreciation for the true value of copyrighted works.â”
The next day Reid asked that his amendment be withdrawn, reportedly after nearly every senator had calls from college administrators in their state denouncing the amendment.
Universities received a diluted version of the Reid amendment the same day, mostly requiring them â“to warn students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material can get them in legal trouble.â”
Senators also requested that universities â“summarize the federal penalties for such activity; describe the college's policies governing illegal file sharing, including its disciplinary penalties; and describe the steps the institution has taken to prevent and detect such activity on its campus network.â”
Despite the loss of a technology-based amendment, the RIAA is pleased to have Congress on board.
â“We appreciate all efforts of members of Congress. We believe this information will assist universities and further protect copyright law,â” Duckworth says.
The RIAA has sent out 803 letters to 42 universities in the last two months, but Mayfield's mailbox has been devoid of settlement letters since May, which is a relief to UT.
As for the RIAA, it remains firm in its stance that downloading music without compensating the companies it represents is simply illegal. According to Duckworth, settlement letters will continue to have a magnetic pull toward university mailboxes until the trade group has made legitimate headwayâ"whenever that may be.
â“We do not have a specific end date in sight,â” Duckworth says. â“We will continue to focus our efforts on college campuses since the problem is obviously magnified there.â”
Pulsinelli teaches law at UT and is no longer in the business of offering legal advice, but he's certain the RIAA is within its rights, and students who receive letters â“don't have much of a leg to stand on.â”
â“There are some exceptions in the statutes, for instance when someone merely burns one CD and gives it to a friend,â” he says. â“But most of the settlement letters are sent to students who have downloaded and shared 1,000 songs or more. When you're on that massive a scale, it's hard to make an argument.â”
Pulsinelli has his reservations about the RIAA's current tactics on college campuses, though. His concerns aren't necessarily legal; they're more from a consumer's perspective.
â“The RIAA is completely within its rights,â” says Pulsinelli. â“However, when your business model is based on all your customers being criminals, then you're not going to have a long life.
â“The RIAA needs to find a model to make this work for them. If they give people an easy, cheap way to download, like iTunes has, then people will usually follow,â” he continues. â“I don't see this illegal software going away. The only way the industry can thrive is if the RIAA offers a better alternative.â”
Conn told the Sentinel a few months ago she â“was glad she settled when she did.â”
Kennedy says if he were still a student he wouldn't settle. â“I wouldn't want to settle. The RIAA knows a lot of people have the mentality if they pay enough money they can get out of anything, so they capitalize on that. A lot of these lawsuits go nowhere; there are actually cases where people have fought and come out ahead.â”
Through the help of Kennedy and his LimeWire advice video on YouTube, Metro Pulse was able to obtain a comment from an anonymous college student who received a settlement letter.
This is what s/he had to say when asked by e-mail if s/he would grant an interview:
â“No thank you, I'd rather not become a name for the piracy movement or anything at all lol [laugh out loud]. All I can say is that the entire process is very frustrating, and I don't want to jeopardize myself by saying anything to upset the RIAA or their acting law firm. Sorry, I'm sure you could find someone else from the 400 a month they're attacking.â”
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