Monday, February 16, 2009

p2pnet reports that student pursued by RIAA threatened suicide

I was reading, and was not surprised to learn of, this report from Jon Newton at

I had an email from an RIAA victim — a student — who said she was going to kill herself because she’d heard from someone at an (the?) RIAA extortion settlement centre categorically promising her she’d be taken to court unless she came up with more than $9,000 to buy the RIAA off.

She said she was already up to her neck in debt because of school loans and had absolutely no way of finding that kind of money, or anything like it, that she couldn’t sleep, couldn’t study, couldn’t live a normal life because of the worry.
Complete article
Followup article

[Ed. note. As someone who has been talking everyday to the victims of this cruel litigation campaign, I am not at all surprised to learn of this. Mr. Oppenheim and his cohorts have no idea how much pain, anxiety, and depression they have caused in good peoples' lives. Hopefully they will be held to account some day. -R.B.]

Commentary & discussion:

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Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


Scott said...

Ray writes:

"...I am not at all surprised to learn of this. Mr. Oppenheim and his cohorts have no idea how much pain, anxiety, and depression they have caused in good peoples' lives."

Is it mere cluelessness, or is it something else? Lack of empathy is one of the DSM criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Obviously we can't say whether Mr. Oppenheim or his fellow travelers at the RIAA suffer from this common characteristic of social predators, but looking through a summary of the diagnostic criteria can make you wonder.

Anonymous said...

I believe a single correction to your statement would be more appropriate...substitute the words " not care" for "have no idea".

It is my humble opinion they conciously make daily decisions guided by their own greed and lust for power. They now mix politics in their toxic brew with some of our own elected officials acting like unregulated street vendors spewing the RIAA's poison to an unwary public. In the next 4 years, government is not going to get better but bigger instead. The RIAA is pushing for their share of control like any other corrupt business.

Oldphart in Kansas

Anonymous said...

I really don't believe they "have no idea how much pain, anxiety, and depression they have caused...". I think it's unfortunatly more along the lines that they don't care as long as they can turn a tidy profit of peoples misery. Cause who really cares about human beings when the numbers after the dollar signs just keep rising...

It's a shame such predators are allowed to prey on entire populations unchecked and worse, supported by publically elected officials.

After all the horrible things this MAFIAA has done it makes me ashamed for consuming and enabling them by purchasing their "Product".

Well, no more, the only product I intend to consume is the one I get directly from the artists/producers in question. I just hope more good culture-makers do like bands like Nine Inch Nails and market themselves online.

raybeckerman said...

A sociopath has no idea.

derivative said...

There is a difference between "sympathy" and "empathy."

Obviously the RIAA gang are not sympathetic -- they find their targets' pain useful. In fact, in a very real sense this blog is actually helping to spread the message that the RIAA "means business," in the sense that they will cause pain and suffering at will. (Of course, the good this blog does in helping to combat the RIAA far outweighs the bad in helping to get their message out.)

But causing pain deliberately is not at all the same as not caring that you are causing pain. It is actually very useful to have "empathy" (as in to know how much pain you are inflicting, or, rather, how YOU would feel if someone did something similar to you), but not very useful (from the RIAA's perspective) to have "sympathy" (as in to feel sorry for the victim).

Paul Graham writes about empathy in one of his essays:

Like painting, most software is intended for a human audience. And so hackers, like painters, must have empathy to do really great work. You have to be able to see things from the user's point of view.

When I was a kid I was always being told to look at things from someone else's point of view. What this always meant in practice was to do what someone else wanted, instead of what I wanted. This of course gave empathy a bad name, and I made a point of not cultivating it.

Boy, was I wrong. It turns out that looking at things from other people's point of view is practically the secret of success. It doesn't necessarily mean being self-sacrificing. Far from it. Understanding how someone else sees things doesn't imply that you'll act in his interest; in some situations-- in war, for example-- you want to do exactly the opposite.

Make no mistake about it. The RIAA feels they are engaged in a war, and Oppenheim is their bin Laden.

Ever notice how you don't see bin Laden strapping on an explosive belt? He's much too cowardly and calculating for that, but don't for a minute think he doesn't know and revel in the amount of pain and suffering he is causing.

Anonymous said...


All I can say is WOW! to your post on Feb 16 6:48:00pm est.

To be able to bring two of the most hated people in the world together in the same post, that is just pure genius.

Unknown said...

Oppenheim is scum, don't get me wrong. But comparing him to Bin Laden does a great disservice to the real and physical danger and suffering that Al Qaeda and it's ilk have caused on the world.

What the RIAA are doing is immoral, and probably marginally illegal, but it's not convincing teenagers to wear suicide vests and to kill innocent civilians.

Anonymous said...

What is the life of a child compared to the 'loss' of a $20 bill that some third grade educated rap 'star' can cram into the belt of a stripper while sipping Cristal? If you really think about it, how can you not back the MAFIAA's position?

This was supposed to be dripping with sarcasm, but given their actions, the MAFIAA doesn't see it that way. The only cure for these social leeches is to spread the word as widely as possible, then their actions will prove your point. Empathy, reason and logic doesn't register with them, and never will, only dollars.

One thing to think about, an important topic that is rarely brought up, what does the RIAA actually do? They take in millions if not billions of dollars, disperse a small percentage of that to 'artists', and the rest goes where again? Their function is ostensibly distribution of privately administered taxes, along with some nebulous enforcement duties that may or may not do what they claim it does. (By this I mean what does a settlement buy you if the artist comes after you directly? Isn't it an admission of guilt at that point?)

So, the question of the day is, why can't both these functions be replaced by a three line perl script backed by a database of artists and bank account numbers? Really. Think about it.


derivative said...


I am not at all trying to minimize the amount of damage bin Laden has caused. There is no question that he has caused significantly more damage and suffering than the RIAA.

But I think the RIAA is equally morally bankrupt, and it is more a matter of degree of damage done so far than of any fundamental moral difference that separates them and other terrorists.

In other words: I'm not trying to minimize the damage bin Laden has done, so please don't try to minimize the damage Oppenheim has done.

I personally know people who would much rather die in an explosion than have a multi-million dollar lawsuit dogging them for several years.

I know that not everyone sees it that way, but the point is that, in either case, you have a group which is trying to control a large segment of the populace by using fear as a weapon.

raybeckerman said...

Dear derivative and Sebastien:

I am going to cut off the thread -- of whether Matthew Oppenheim is the moral equivalent of Osama Bin Laden -- here.

I just don't think it's a useful discussion.

I don't think derivative was saying that murdering thousands of people deliberately is the same as causing anxiety and depression which causes some people to take their own life, or threaten to take their own life, so I think Sebastien's post was a little bit of a 'troll'. So let's just drop it.

Alter_Fritz said...

Well, my english vocabulary isn't wide enough to express my feelings/ thoughts on this one adequately but I will try anyway:

I find it really troubling that someone considers killing himself just to make sure the pain that those "guys" inflict goes away.

While following the twitter feed (*) for the spectacle that is the prosecution of the admins of TPB and an owner of an ISP/telecom company in Sweden, I stumbled over a link (**) someone posted to a RIAA/organised Music prank.

Considering killing yourself to make the pain and worries go away is always the worst idea. Laughing over the guys that inflict these wories and pain to come to different thoughts about how to deal with a desperately looking situation is definetly better.

So in this spirit let the link follow:




Anonymous said...

Oh yes he does: I've written before about his behavior and filed documents with the Court about it. His behavior indicates that he has little regard for the people who get embroiled in these matters.