p2pnet news view | Kids & Kartels:- Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG have hit absolute rock bottom in their carefully orchestrated campaign to abuse legal systems and mainstream print and electronic media outlets around the world to menace guileless people into buying ‘product,’ as they call their music offerings, and to gain control of how music is distributed online.
Are their onslaughts having the desired effect? They are not.
Nonetheless, in their most barbaric move yet, they’re now targeting Kylee Andersen, a 10-year-old Oregon girl.
But this’ll be no surprise. In what’s become an internationally infamous case, they kicked their sue ‘em all campaign off by suing Brianna LaHara, who was only 12. And the American administration let them get away with it, just as they’re countenancing ongoing attacks on other equally innocent families, and all in the name of corporate profits.
Nor is this outrageous practice confined to the States.
“It is not our intention to target children,” said Peter Jamieson disingenuously, not long after the news broke that the Big 4 were suing Briana.
He runs the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), another industry owned RIAA-style organization. But, “[we will] if they are breaking the law on a very large scale,” he went on.
Children breaking the law on a very large scale? That’s what EMI (Britain), Vivendi Universal (France), Sony BMG (Japan and Germany) and Warner Music (US) are claiming, and with straight faces.
None of these cases ever reaches a court, however. That’s the last thing the BIG 4 want – not while they can with impunity use organisations such as their RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) to blackmail frightened, unsophisticated people into ‘settling’ without ever having their cases heard before a jury.
To be deposed is to be questioned by a lawyer or lawyers under oath. And in cases such as the ones being brought by the RIAA, it’s guaranteed to be a fearsome experience – certainly not one any child of 10 should be exposed to except in the most extreme circumstances.
But that’s what the RIAA has lined up for Kylee Andersen, who was only seven when the Big 4 first sicced their RIAA on her mother, Tanya, a disabled woman living on benefits.
The plaintiffs, Big 4 companies Atlantic Recording, Priority Records, Capitol Records UMG Music and BMG Music, say they’re entitled, “to take the deposition of Kylee Andersen, and should be allowed to take the deposition in person”.
What if Kylee, who is, after all, only 10, doesn’t want to be part of what she’ll correctly perceive to be the continuation of a vicious attack on her own mother?
No problem. The RIAA will force her.
The plaintiffs, “have a significant interest in deposing Kylee Andersen as a potential witness [against her own mother] in this case and have subpoenaed her,” they admit.
They also say, “Plaintiffs take exception to Defendant’s suggestion that taking Kyless Andersen’s deposition is an attempt to ‘threaten (Defendant) and abuse the child.”
Quite right. Rather, it’s a blatant attempt to get her mother to agree to the RIAA’s outright extortion rather than expose her daughter to the tender mercies of an RIAA-hired legal gun.
Tanya Andersen’s lawyer, Lory Lybeck, has already defeated the RIAA in one legal battle and on behalf of his client, is suing them under the Oregon RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization).
p2pnet ran a Q&A with Tanya a year ago. You can read it below.
Andersen, pictured above right with Kylee and Tazz, their terrier/Maltese cross, used to buy music through BMG, but dropped the service when she was sued.
In this Q&A, she tells p2pnet how BMG Music asked her to return to the fold because she’d been, “such a great customer”. They also promised her a free CD if she’d sign up again.
“I think it’s sad that all the beautiful and hard work of artists is being tarnished by these lawsuits,” she said.
p2pnet: You’ve been embroiled in a fight with the Big Four record labels for some time, now. Mark Eilers at their Tukwila, Washington, ‘Settlement Centre,’ claims you downloaded ‘illegal’ digital files. But you’ve said from Day One the allegation isn’t true. Do you have any idea how they decided to zero in on you?
Andersen: No, I don’t. There were a lot of things that went on with my computer during that month – I was down for a week and had to call Verizon to get me back on line. During that time, there was an employee that went in and did some things to my computer – worked my computer from their office; also having me go in and change my ip address several times. I also had a virus that month that I had a hard time getting rid of. I really have no idea. I just know that I never did what they’re saying I did.
p2pnet: Have you ever shared files?
p2pnet: Do you know how to share files?
Andersen: I’d heard about people file sharing before this lawsuit was filed against me. But if you told me to go into a program and do it, I wouldn’t know how. Through this lawsuit, I’ve had to educate myself through reading and talking to people to learn about how Kaaza works and about how file sharing works.
p2pnet: Your lawyer says in a, “sweeping and indefinite manner,” the RIAA lists 1,406 file names. This represents statutory damages of either $4,500 or $1,054,500. How much is the RIAA actually demanding from you?
Andersen: The Settlement Support Center that kept calling me told me if I didn’t agree to pay them that they’d be filing a huge lawsuit against me in Federal Court, and would sue me for hundreds of thousands of dollars. When I told them I didn’t do what they were saying, they told me they just don’t end these things and I’d better just pay. Or else. I kept telling them there is no way I did what they said, and could I please see the proof of what they were saying I did. They told me they couldn’t provide that to me at that time. It wasn’t something they did. That, when they filed a lawsuit against me, I could see what they had. He did finally tell me on the phone how many songs there were, named some of them, and told me the user name (which I’d never heard of). I continued to tell him I didn’t do what they were saying. They would just say they’d sue me for hundreds of thousands of dollars if I didn’t enter into an agreement with the Settlement Support Center to pay.
p2pnet: How much are they demanding from you?
Andersen: I’m not even sure, at this point, the exact amount they are suing me for. I just know it’s huge.
p2pnet: Have they told you which files they’re accusing you of sharing?
Andersen: When the Settlement Support Center called, they had told me the names of a few they were accusing me of. It was not until I got served the lawsuit and saw the exhibits that I found out what all I was even actually being accused of.
p2pnet: Have you considered paying to get the RIAA off your back?
Andersen: Nope. I don’t believe I should pay for something I did not do.
p2pnet: Your daughter, Kylee, is nine, now. Does she understand what’s going on?
Andersen: She understands that her mom is being sued, but isn’t sure what all that means. I’ve tried to keep a lot of it away from her. Even though I try that, she’s still heard some things. I found out one day that this stuff was affecting her more than I knew and that she’s heard some of it.
One day, out of the blue, she asked me if those people are going to take her mom away and if I’d go to jail. She wanted to know if we’d still have a place to live and food to eat and would we be OK. It scares and confuses her. She keeps asking me if they’re still suing me.
p2pnet: Might she have shared files on your computer without you knowing?
Andersen: No. She was seven at the time – only a few months into the age of seven. She still doesn’t know how to even connect to the internet. She’s always had to ask if she does get on the computer. The computer is out in the living room, and always had been, where I can see it. It also had passwords on it. She gets on the computer to play with her store-bought kid software or has gone on children’s site occasionally, if I help her get on there. She doesn’t even know how to do that herself.
p2pnet: Is the RIAA action affecting her in any way?
Andersen: Yes. She’s scared they’re going to take her mom away for something she doesn’t understand. She’s worried if we’re going to be OK. Plus, she puts up with a mom who has more stress than normal, at times. I try real hard to keep that under control, but it’s pretty hard at times.
p2pnet: When they can’t get to parents, the RIAA is infamous for going after children. Do you know if it’s thinking about a suit against your daughter?
Andersen: No, I haven’t heard of that.
p2pnet: We understand you wrote US senator Ron Wyden and Congressman David Wu, and state senator Gordon Smith, all from Oregon, asking for their help both as an Oregon citizen, and ex-employee of the Oregon Department of Justice. Did they respond?
Andersen: They each responded with a letter that appeared generic in reply. They all told me that, as congress people, they couldn’t get involved in someone being sued in a lawsuit. I could tell by the letters that they didn’t even understand what I was talking about.
p2pnet: What do your friends and neighbors think of the law suit?
Andersen: Most think it is pretty insane and can’t believe this is happening to me. They know I didn’t download or share music.
p2pnet: Do you have any idea at all how the RIAA zeroed in on you?
Andersen: No, I don’t.
p2pnet: Are, or were you, a customer of any of the labels?
Andersen: Yes, I was. I bought CDs regularly and was a member of BMG?s music club. I ordered a lot of CDs from BMG. I cancelled my membership when this happened.
The weird thing is the other day, I received a phone call from BMG Music asking me to come back because I had been ‘such a great customer.’ They told me if I signed back up, they’d give me a free CD. I told them No and they asked me why. I told them that maybe they should quit suing their great customers. They guy on the phone told me he didn’t even know they were doing that. (I’m sure he was just a telemarketer and it didn’t matter much to him.)
There are songs out now that I hear and love and would love to buy the CD, but when I see the recording company, I feel sick to my stomach and won’t buy it. It’s sad to me because music used to be something that would relax me and make me feel good – it was a huge joy in my life.
Now, knowing what I know, the entire industry has left me with a different feeling.
p2pnet: What would you say to any of the other people who are being victimized by the RIAA?
Andersen: People can make a difference. I believe that.
Believe in yourself and don’t let someone bully you into paying for something you haven’t done.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
They are not – Students ‘worst customers’: RIAA, March 23, 2007
target children – Big Music mobile p2p attack, November 1, 2006
Recording Industry vs The People – RIAA Insists on Deposing Tanya Andersen’s 10-year-old daughter, March 23, 2006
disabled woman – The ‘We’re Not Taking Any More’ club, September 17, 2005
already defeated – RIAA p2p file share defeat, March 19, 2006
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Tired of being treated like a criminal? They depend on you, not the other way around. Don’t buy their ‘product’. Do bug your local politicians. Use emails, snail-mail, phone calls, faxes, IM, stop them in the street, blog. And if you’re into organizing, organize petitions, organize demonstrations and then turn up on your local political rep’s doorstep, making sure you’ve contacted your local tv/radio station/newspaper in advance. Don’t just complain. Do something!