RIAA Labels Demand Cash from Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

Although the major label members of the RIAA publicly ended their file-sharing settlement schemes in the United States, surprisingly they are continuing with a similar project elsewhere. Using the same IP address-based evidence, Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner are sending out controversial cash settlement demands in Germany where recipients have little alternative than to pay up.

During the last decade the RIAA embarked on an online anti-piracy action which would later go down as one of the most controversial ever seen.

After spending years on various educational campaigns, none of which worked, a new plan was put into motion. It involved monitoring P2P networks for infringements, unmasking the perpetrators, and then threatening to sue unless a large ‘fine’ or settlement was paid.

Although the RIAA stopped its settlement actions against US citizens some time ago, the fallout from the campaign is still felt today, with cases ongoing against Jammie Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum. However, while those Stateside are no longer targets for the RIAA’s so-called “sue-em-all” campaign, the same cannot be said of citizens in Europe.

In common with their counterparts in the gaming industry, the major labels – Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner – are all actively sending out cash settlement demands to alleged file-sharers.

For the past several years, 2011 included, the labels have been pursuing cash settlements from German Internet users for the alleged sharing of music from dozens of major stars artists. A small sample is shown below:

Universal

Amy Winehouse, Blink 182, Bon Jovi, Eminem, Florence And The Machine, Jamiroquai, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Take That, The Black Eyed Peas, The Rolling Stones.

Settlement amount demanded: 1,200 euros

Sony

AC/DC, Alexandra Burke, Alica Keys, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Foo Fighters, Kasabian, Kesha, Kings of Leon, Leona Lewis, Michael Jackson, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink, Pitbull, R. Kelly, Shakira, The Strokes.

Settlement amount demanded: Up to 950 euros

EMI

Bryan Ferry, Coldplay, David Guetta, Depeche Mode, Good Charlotte, Gorillaz, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, U2

Settlement amount demanded: Up to 1,200 euros

Warner

Of the four labels, Warner appears to be least active, particularly when chasing settlements on behalf of major acts. Warner’s activities appear to be limited to local artists of limited international appeal.

Settlement amount demanded: Up to 1,200 euros

Although these labels are playing a major part in the settlement business, they are not doing so in isolation. Dozens of other labels are acting in their own right including RoadRunner Records, Ministry of Sound and Pink Floyd Music.

As previously reported, getting payments from Internet users in Germany is trivial since the law there requires the accused to prove their innocence (rather than rightsholders prove guilt) and holds account holders responsible for the actions of others.

So, despite their recent protestations in response to findings from YouHaveDownloaded, the RIAA would be found liable had they been judged by German standards.

Although hundreds of thousands of people are currently being targeted for settlements in the United States for sharing adult titles, currently the major labels and movie studios there aren’t pursuing the strategy locally. That, however, could all change at the flick of a switch.

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