Nine NYU students sued for file-sharing
NEW YORK (U-WIRE) ? Nine New York University computer network users could be facing charges between $750 and $150,000 per file for distributing copyrighted music, from Michael Jackson?s ?Smooth Criminal? to Ludacris? ?Coming to America,? according to court documents obtained by the Washington Square News.
The NYU nine and 80 other college computer users are among the 532 people sued last Tuesday, March 23, in the latest round of industry lawsuits, which target colleges for the first time.
Each defendant is labeled as ?John Doe? in the lawsuits, filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents 12 major record companies. The users are identified only by their IP addresses, which identify computers through their Internet connections, and the songs they downloaded.
The association does not know the names of the users but plans to subpoena NYU to identify them, the lawsuit stated.
The record companies ?believe that the ... acts of infringement have been willful, intentional, and in disregard of and with indifference to the rights of [record companies],? the lawsuit stated, adding that the copyright infringement has caused ?great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.?
The association says the lawsuits are necessary to ?educate file-sharers about the law, protect the rights of copyright owners and encourage music fans to turn to ... legitimate services,? according to a RIAA statement.
At this point, there is little the sued students can do to protect themselves, RIAA Communications Director Jonathan Lamy said.
?First, they should probably get a lawyer,? Lamy said. ?We encourage everyone to reach out to us and make a settlement.?
The association has settled 408 similar lawsuits, he said. The average settlement is $3000 and includes a stipulation that the defendant not violate copyright law again.
NYU users were charged with distributing songs like ?Fake Plastic Trees? by Radiohead (owned by Capitol Records), ?Criminal? by Fiona Apple (owned by Sony Music Entertainment) and ?I?m Every Woman? by Whitney Houston (owned by Arista Records America).
?I don?t think it?s fair, but I understand where they come from,? said NYU sophomore Lucy Swope, who downloads music. ?As an industry, they need to make money.?
Over the last three years, ?record stores were closing by the thousands [and stores near college campuses were especially hard-hit],? RIAA President Cary Sherman said Wednesday in an online press conference. ?Thousands of label employees lost their jobs. Artist signings plummeted. And songwriter royalties were half of what they had been.?
Defendants in the suits traded an average of 837 songs, he said.
Students donate sperm and eggs
SAN DIEGO (U-WIRE) ? While college students are a renowned and seemingly inexhaustible source of cheap labor, many of them are now finding meaningful and high-paying work as sperm and egg donors.
Compensation for sperm donation today varies, but the $60 per sample paid by the Fertility Center of California in the San Diego State University area is a fairly average estimate, though other companies, such as California Cryobank, offer up to $75 per specimen and up to $900 a month.
The pay for egg donation is significantly higher because of the more complex process of egg extraction. According to Ericka Menor, who runs the egg donation services at Building Families Through Surrogacy Inc., the process involves stimulating the ovaries with medication and then physically removing 10?12 eggs vaginally with a needle.
Menor said she has experienced the procedure herself, likening the discomfort felt afterward to ?tenderness in the abdomen like when you?ve done too many crunches.? Donors receive $4000 in compensation for each procedure they undergo.
But students who donate seek out more than just the financial benefits of these programs.
?It?s a combination of compensation, free (medical) testing, and understanding that they?re helping couples to achieve pregnancy,? Habal Ravin, laboratory director of the Fertility Center of California, said.
Marla Eby, vice president of marketing and sales at California Cryobank, said students are also attracted by the flexible schedule of working as a donor.
?The reason that it?s a good job for a student is that it?s not a huge time commitment once you qualify for the program,? Eby said. ?They don?t have to make an appointment to visit our offices. They do need to visit three times a week, but we can schedule that around their classes, so it?s kind of a flexible job for students.?
In order to capitalize on that inherent collegiate vigor, the Cryobank has deliberately opened laboratories near prestigious universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard and MIT. On their donor Web site, www.cryobankdonors.com, Cryobank urges donors of all ethnic and academic backgrounds to apply.
?Everyone?s looking for something different,? Eby said. ?For some people, the academic is very important ? for other people the extracurricular is.?
While California Cryobank keeps its donors and recipients anonymous, they are one of the few services that provide extra background for couples searching for the right donor. They also have an ?openness policy? that requires them to maintain information on file so it can be disclosed to curious future offspring, with the father?s consent.
?We?re going to offer an open-donor program where, when the child turns 18, the donor can have some sort of contact with the offspring,? Eby said.