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Thursday, June 20, 2013

That time I paid $4350 to the RIAA for Piracy

It happened right before I graduated college and I remember the details just as clear as day, with the exception of the song(s) that got me into the mess in the first place!  Every time my birthday comes around I'm reminded of this time in my life.

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You see, it was my birthday, June 19, 2007 at 10:53:15.  On that day and time I had downloaded a few songs to jam to throughout the day.  Why do I know the exact details? Because my IP address, date, time stamp and number of songs I had downloaded were included in the message I got from the University a few months later specifying that a lawsuit had been filed against me, and several other students, for pirating music.  Apparently this was happening each semester at several different campuses around the state...I wish somebody would have told me, #clueless!

To make a long story short the issue dragged on for about a year and in June of 2008 I finally settled the case out of court and was required to pay $4350 over the course of six months.  Yes, folks, that means I dished out $725/month on top of my rent and other bills!  Thank goodness student loans hadn't kicked in yet!  I even remember asking a particular person for help and being called a thief and left to deal with the problem on my own.  Needless to say that's one of the many reasons I don't ask anyone for anything no matter how bad I might need help.  But, I must admit they were right, you know, that's what piracy is...stealing!  Luckily, I had just graduated college and started an engineering position in May so I was actually able to cover everything on my own.  However, I was forced to live on a very, very, very tight budget during that time.  

I learned SO much from this experience:

  • Thou shalt not steal. 
  • People can make you feel lower just when you think you're at your lowest.
  • Living on a budget is essential and can get you through any financial situation!
  • Learn how to take full responsibility for your actions.
  • Depend on no one but yourself. <-- My husband is slowly cracking away at this habit, bless his heart!
  • Just when you think you're all alone God is still there...even when you've messed up!

I say all this to say that everybody makes mistakes, some more costly than others, and I think that learning from other people's mistakes is so important so I wanted to tell this story.   Also, when I'm going through hardships I tend to think back to this experience.  I'm reminded that every situation in life occurs to make us stronger and wiser, and to force us to lean on God just a little bit more, knowing that He'll help us make a way out of seemingly no way..."because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance!" (James 1:3, NIV)

Have you ever made a mistake that you'll remember for the rest of your life?!? 
What did you learn from it?

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14 comments

  1. HOLY COW! That is a LOT of money!!! Wow... so sorry girl! Also, happy belated birthday beautiful! :)

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    1. Indeed! Thanks so much for the bday wishes, my dear!!!

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  2. Oh no. How terrible. I was never computer savvy back in the day or I certainly would have been in the same situation. So many people were doing it, that it seemed as if it were ok. I am sorry for what you had to go through but incredible impressed with how gracefully and with what strength you went through the terrible situation.

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    1. Exactly, Amy! I thought nothing of it because everybody was doing and I was naive enough to think that since I wasn't downloading to sell it then it shouldn't be a problem! You live and you learn!

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  3. Wowsers!!! I still can't believe that happened!! I'm thankful that it all worked out in the end and that you gained so much from the experience! That is truely what life is all about, learning and gaining wisdom through experiences.

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    1. Me either! And you're so right wisdom definitely comes through experience!

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  4. That's amazing Nicole. I remember when that happened anf I'm glad you learned from it. Kiss Maddie for me and Love you guys~~~~~~

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  5. Wow. That's crazy. The thing is that most of us have downloaded at least one song that we shouldn't have during that time when there was all of this gray area surrounding it. That really sucks!! You got made an example of big time. Glad you came through it though.

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    1. Exactly, Cece, it was such a typical thing for everyone to do in college with no thoughts about it at all! Although it was a hard experience it definitely taught me a lot and made me a stronger person.

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  6. That's rough. About the same time at the university I attended they were doing the same thing. A friend of mine was sent a warning letter and we know a few people who had to pay. It scared me half to death and I was like no more illegally downloading for me.

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    1. It certainly was rough, Aleshea! I later found out that some of my friends had been sent warning letters as well and wondered why I wasn't treated the same but I suppose some of us had to be the example!

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  7. Wow that is rough. It's definitely a learning experience. I've done it but won't be doing it anymore lol.

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    1. Girl, yes! Luckily it all worked together for my good!

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