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"My first thought was 'Oh my God. What am I going to do?' I was also pretty angry. I'm doing my best to try and not think about it. It's hard. It was like my life exploded.”

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ALLEGED COLLEGIATE FILE SWAPPER

Carnegie Mellon Student Alvin Fong Waits to Find Out If He'll Be Singled Out by the RIAA
A Page One story in Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sheds some light on the effect of the RIAA’s legal offensive on the lives of college students who believe they’ll be singled out as alleged file-swappers. The piece looks at the predicament potentially faced by Carnegie Mellon freshman Alvin Fong, who recently received an email from the university that telling him of an impending subpoena from the RIAA, which on April 13 filed lawsuits against those it alleges swapped files on Internet2 file-trading service i2hub.

"My first thought,” said Fong, “was 'Oh my God. What am I going to do?' I was also pretty angry. I'm doing my best to try and not think about it. It's hard. It was like my life exploded.” Fong denies that he has pirated any music but believes he will be one of the 25 CMU students singled out. The RIAA has identified its targets’ Internet protocol addresses and will subpoena 18 schools, including CMU, for the names of the 400 accused students, who are presently listed as “John Doe.”  

As they wait for other shoe to drop, Fong and other CMU students have formed a sort of support group to share information and counsel. The group, which was briefed Sunday by a university representative, has been contacted by online civil liberties organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The group feels the punishment meted out to the guilty parties should be limited to Internet access restrictions and community service, not the fines collected by the RIAA. Most students settle rather than fighting their cases in court.

"The way the law is right now, most people end up settling, and that's going to be best for them," EFF attorney Wendy Seltzer explained. "It's expensive for them to fight a copyright case." Settlements are said to average about $4,000 but have on occasion gone as high as $17,000.

"I have no idea how I would pay that amount," Fong told reporter Bill Schackner. “Most of us are just trying to make ends meet. We pay for college by working part time or in the summer, and now this is jeopardizing some of our college educations."

According to the story, possible accusations against Fong apparently involve his computer use on March 18. Fong On that day, he says, "I may have downloaded a few songs, cut them up and used them as sound [to accompany] animation.”

The story explains that Fong's group can be contacted at [email protected].

(Rock Rap Condiential forwarded the Post-Gazzette piece.)

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/3a)
TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
She'd make one helluva CEO. (12/3a)
THEY CALL THE WINDFALL MARIAH (HOLIDAY EDITION)
Ch-chingle bells (12/3a)
SONG REVENUE:
BOWS OF HOLLY
Adele is money. (12/3a)
UTA MUSIC EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE
Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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