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Corporate Giants Stomping on Families

NICHOLAS AND I SPENT the past two days talking to people who’ve been
sued by the record labels. Each conversation was a glimpse into the exact dimensions of the
wound that the filesharing lawsuits are leaving in someone’s life. As we
listened to each story, we got progressively more and more angry. The
RIAA is using lawsuits to “shift public views on intellectual
property,” or to “teach a lesson.” But the people being sued are not
just units of some amorphous public opinion that the record companies
can push in a certain direction. They’re real people with real lives and now they’re being stomped on by corporate giants.

Today I talked to a woman, my age, who is single and has two daughters.
She does not have money to spare so that the major labels can make their
political point and now suddenly, out of the blue, she’s facing thousands of dollars in legal costs. I talked to a couple who are going through a divorce,
and, as if they didn’t have enough burdens already, there’s
the weight of a million-dollar lawsuit. Another woman who lost her job this
month told an RIAA lawyer that she didn’t have any money. The lawyer
responded snidely, “Well you could afford your broadband
account…” Who the hell says something like that? Who are these people?

Somewhere, in the board rooms of these entertainment behemoths, men making
7-figure salaries are looking at these lawsuits in cold, strategic
terms. All of the people we talked to today are just moves in a
chess game to them. This arrogance is appalling and we have to combat
it head on. The record companies are playing a public
opinion game. That means that we, the public, have the power to make
sure indiscriminate scare-suits are a strategy that fails.

HELP FIGHT: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a petition to oppose these lawsuits. Please take a moment to sign it. And keep looking here over the next couple weeks for a LOT more ways to fight these lawsuits…it’s about to get rowdy.

IF YOU’VE BEEN SUED: Do not negotiate directly with the RIAA or the record companies, even though they list that lawyer’s name and number to call. You need your own lawyer to assess the situation. Contact the EFF at 415-436-9333 to get referred to a lawyer, and also feel free to contact us (we are not lawyers but may be able to help in other ways).

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