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RIAA Apologizes for Incorrect Infringement Notice 525

Posted by timothy
from the oopsie dept.
theradixhunter writes "News.com is reporting that the RIAA has apologized to the Pennsylvania State University for sending a threatening letter making an incorrect allegations of copyright violations. It appears that the automated system that the RIAA uses picked the term "Usher" and the extenstion ".mp3" on an FTP site hosting the work of Professor Emeritus Peter Usher and falsely assumed that the files were songs by the musician Usher. The university accepted the apology saying "that this was an honest mistake by the recording industry" and Spokesman Tysen Kendig said Penn State "remains committed to working closely with the RIAA"."
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RIAA Apologizes for Incorrect Infringement Notice

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  • by YellowElectricRat (637662) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:12PM (#5942246) Journal
    I'd be happy if the RIAA deleted every file in the world containing the strings 'Usher' and 'mp3'. Sure, there could be innocent casualties, but think of the lives that would be saved...
  • finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tetro (545711) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:13PM (#5942248) Homepage
    finally, a public apology. Didn't this happen a while back when some child got in trouble for having a Word document and the line "Harry Potter" was found.
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nebaz (453974) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:13PM (#5942250)
    Is the RIAA going to pay for the legal fees the university incurred? Or the time they could have used to educate their students rather than going on a wild goose chase? I rather doubt it.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hype7 (239530) <u3295110.anu@edu@au> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:00AM (#5942474) Journal
      more importantly, it shows why the RIAA shouldn't have instant access to ISP details (Verizon case IIRC). They make mistakes; a judge is a relevant and important step in the way of preventing innocent people from being nailed for errors like this.

      -- james
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gortbusters.org (637314) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:13AM (#5942526) Homepage Journal
        In other words we have corporations snooping in on our transport medium. It's a dangerous slippery slope, what's next... I turn on my computer and it says "Your internet may be monitored for quality assurance purposes."
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MisterMook (634297) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @02:49AM (#5942930) Homepage
        Its also a reason why the Patriot Act is a bad idea, because ALL people make mistakes and having access to information doesn't automatically make people informed. Checks and balances for all sorts of things are being thrown away in this country or legislated away in the interest of fighting "the war on piracy" or "the war on terror" and it just isn't a good idea. Accountability and review are GOOD things, the RIAA should have checked things BEFORE they sent a letter.
  • MediaForce (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) <{mrpuffypants} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:15PM (#5942260)
    Once again, I feel it's appropriate to slam MediaForce [mediaforce.com] and their gang of sleazebag nerds that write the software that does this.

    For shame....
  • ... But a victory nonetheless.

    I have nothing better to do while waiting for a kernel to compile, so...

    I find it to be the usual government style of action: act first, apologize later. They send out threat form letters to anyone who might be violating their stupid-*** laws, and then when they find they're wrong, they throw out a whoops, and they're done. There is something very wrong with that picture.

    (-:Stephonovich:-)

  • Why should the RIAA check their "sources"? They're making a lot of money/press by blackmail and coercion.

    Just a matter of time before they pick on the wrong people.

    It would be interesting to see how many time the RIAA systems access servers with restricted use policies: "Ve haf found der pirate!!!!" "No, you've trespassed on the private server of esquires Anastacia Lopez and Santana Aguilera of the law firm that prosecuted the tobacco settlement. Pay up."
    • by micq (266015) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:23PM (#5942302)
      interesting.... maybe a honeypot for riaa? my voice, recorded over and over again, saying "What the fuck do you think your doing?" and published to the web as actual songs... then when they send me letters over and over again, I sue for harassment and undue mental stress... then change the server ip/name and start all over again...

      It's so brilliant.

      er... and oh yeah:
      (3) profit.
    • I agree... It is also just a matter of time before some people's careers or lives will be irreversibly harmed by this "shoot first, ask questions later" approach. All for protecting a dying business model of corportations that refuse to be nimble.

      I hope that one day the RIAA programs will trespass some secret government sites and the execs get punished as severely as Kevin Mitnick was.

      S
    • >I think by "temp employee," they mean to say the person responsible is now fired.

      Actually, they made the mediaforce [mediaforce.com] software an employee on a temporary basis. If corporations can be people, then why can't software be people also?

      "Your Honor, it was Mr. Mediaforce, a temp who has since been upgraded to the newest version."
    • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:27AM (#5942582) Journal
      Why should the RIAA check their "sources"?

      Well let's see... You put the name "Usher" in one of your own songs, and RIAA sends you the legal documents telling you to cease...

      Well, that would be adequate legal evidence that they have illegially downloaded YOUR copyrighted material, and YOU can sue them for damages. They are not law enforcement, they have no legal immunity.

      Nice change huh? Sue RIAA for pirating your music... Now if they hadn't sent the cease document, you would have a hard time proving all of this to a judge.

      And just think, either the RIAA will have to pay you a truckload of money, or it will set a precident basically relieving anyone of legal liability for files they have downloaded.
      • You have a really good point there. They seem to think that they are the only ones that own any copyrighted music.

        Even more effective would be to make a group called one of the words from the title of one of Usher's songs and then use Usher in the song name. That would get at least two hits on their theft-o-meter unless they fix it Real Soon Now.

        Of course, they don't have to download your material to see its title. That might throw a fairly large wrench into that idea. Plus, where would you put it? If it's on a P2P network, then they could argue that you intentionally made it available for download. Therefore, you would need to put it on a private FTP.

        Now, a harassment suit would stick a lot better. You could argue that the RIAA is sending you baseless C&D letters and get a court to order them to pay you for any damages that you might face. It's too bad that this university doesn't understand what a threat to free speach the RIAA is.

        You could even sue for mental anguish or some other outlandish thing that is impossible to disprove.

        Of course, if they apologized without you giving them permission to download the file, then THAT could be construed as infringement of your copyright. They would have to listen to the file to verify that it wasn't really Usher. Either that or trust you, but we all know that the RIAA doesn't trust people.
        • They seem to think that they are the only ones that own any copyrighted music.

          This is an ugly meme that seems to be spreading among people who don't stop to think or who don't understand the nature of copyright. For example my web hosting service (and many others, I'm sure) has the following clause in their AUP:

          Users may not... Use an account to host and/or distribute copyrighted software or files.

          If I were to take this clause literally, I could never put anything on my website other than a blank pag
      • by ColaMan (37550) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @04:49AM (#5943266) Homepage Journal
        Ha! Excellent Idea!

        Put your copyrighted file on a website with a click-through EULA :

        "Users downloading these songs must agree to pay the copyright owner *1 BILLION* dollars for each song downloaded. (Insert usual boilerplate here) To accept the terms of this agreement , press the "I Agree" button".

        Make sure you advertise with google your website and it's file for download. Used a sponsored link if you feel like it.

        The following steps :

        1) They click through, get file, send cease and desist.
        2) Me : "oh, you downloaded my file? Glad you liked it!excuse me, where's my BILLION dollars?"
        3) RIAA get their crack legal team out to defend themselves.

        End result is either:

        1) RIAA proves that click through EULA's are not valid. We can ignore Microsoft and their EULA's all we want after that, with the added happy bonus of using an Evil Corps lawyers against another Evil corp.

        or (my personal favorite)

        3) Microsoft weighs in on my side with their legal team and I get my billion dollars. Ok, I'll donate a few million to the Gates foundation, and the EFF ;-) Again the happy bonus of using an Evil Corps lawyers against another Evil corp.

        Maybe we could turn it into a sport - corporation-baiting, here we come!
      • by JimDabell (42870) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @06:56AM (#5943568) Homepage

        Well, that would be adequate legal evidence that they have illegially downloaded YOUR copyrighted material, and YOU can sue them for damages.

        Actually, even if you ignore the fact that you are offering the file for download yourself, their error clearly shows that they only looked at the filename, they didn't listen to it. You don't need to download something to see the filename.

        Now, if somebody were to have, say, the first ten seconds of an Usher song as the start of an mp3, and then 20 minutes of somebody criticising that style of music, that would fall under fair use. It would also confuse them once they start to check that the music is actually infringing.

  • That makes it what, roughly a billion or so to go until they've atoned for stifling creativity and ruining music? Anyway, what kind of company would use software that sends out cease and desist letters automatically? Shouldn't there be at least SOME human intervention? That way, someone could say, "Hey, I've never heard of this Professor Usher. Did we just sign him? Maybe we should look into this. Or at least, I dunno...listen to the file first?"
  • by DJ Rubbie (621940) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:18PM (#5942279) Homepage Journal
    Just like that other time when OpenOffice.org got nailed for distributing their own software.

    Yup, that's their mentality: Guilty until proven innocent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:19PM (#5942282)
    ...because we know how he accepts apologies!
    • Yes, we do: (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:55PM (#5942449)
      ::breathes::

      ::breathes:: What ::breathes:: in ::breathes:: the ::breathes:: name ::breathes:: of ::breathes:: the ::breathes:: force ::breathes:: do ::breathes:: you ::breathes:: think ::breathes:: you're ::breathes:: doing? ::breathes::

      ::outstretches hand::

      ::breathes::
  • by swifticus (191301) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:20PM (#5942284)
    "We have withdrawn, and apologize for, the DMCA notice that had been sent to Penn State University in error. In order to safeguard against errors like this one, we have individuals look at each and every notice we send out. In this particular instance, a temp employee made a mistake and did not follow RIAA's established protocol, and we regret any inconvenience this may have caused. We are currently reviewing any other notices this temp may have sent."

    I think by "temp employee," they mean to say the person responsible is now fired. Doesn't sound like the RIAA really took responsibility for the incident either, but rather placed the blame on John Doe.
    • by adsl (595429) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:28PM (#5942323)
      Simply amazing that the RIAA with all their highly paid Lawyers is actually run by temporary employees who have the real Power. LOL Are the RIAA for real, trying to blame some temp employee upon whom they gifted the ultimate powers of a Billion dollar organization..... Sort of sets up a defence, I am sorry I didn't actually download these illegal music files, it was done by a temp empoyee of mine who I have fired. Please accept my apologises like yours were accepted by Penn State University or is there one Rule for you and another fo me:)
    • and what are they doing involving temps in something like this anyway? I'd think that if you're going to start throwing around legal nastygrams, you'd at least have dedicated personnel involved!
  • It's vital that this sort of fuckup continues to happen, so no-one gets the bright idea of automating the payment of fines from your account at the same time you are automatically sent an infringement notice.

    Humans can fuckup in a beaurocracy, but not as beautifully, randomly, and at times on such a large scale as a machine.

    • Hear hear [jerf.org]!

      People, especially non-computer people, should be reminded of the inherent limitations of computers as often as possible, lest they be used in any sort of enforcement or police role. They are not suited to it at all.
  • by charon_on_acheron (519983) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:21PM (#5942287) Homepage
    ...Hillary Rosen is bent over the lap of the Dean of Penn State University, giving the first blowjob of her life, and begging for them to not file a $96-billion harrasment suit. As the post said, Penn State "remains committed to working closely with the RIAA." Yeah, I'm sure the entire Board of Directors is waiting in the hall so they can closely work her ass too.
  • by wo1verin3 (473094) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:21PM (#5942288) Homepage
    I suppose that this is too early to hope they're ending the shock and awe phase of their attack and moving in to the "we're sorry our bad" phase?
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:21PM (#5942289)

    Penn acted as spineless morons.

    They should have slapped the RIAA fools with a libel lawsuit and requested an injunction to keep RIAA away from their computers forever or else. Then, only then, settled out of court if needed.

    You can't even trust academia to defend their own these days. Sheesh.

    -- SysKoll
    • "Penn acted as spineless morons."

      It's Penn State, Penn is a differant school

      A freind of mine got this letter and it scared the shit out of her. Glad to see it wasn't what people thought.

      I can say this, when it comes to this kind of thing PSU isn't very good at standing up to the RIAA, they have been giving into them for the past few years. I suppose it's the same everywhere.

    • Re:A new advocate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:25AM (#5942576)
      Notice the Prof is now looking into the excess dammage by the DMCA and is contacting Congress? We need more of these to hit Congress.
    • I take issue with that. As the Director of Technology Affairs for Penn State's Undergraduate Student Government, I'd just like to say that Penn State is not spineless in the slightest. However, they only show this amazing amount of courage when slapping around students. As you may have noticed in all sorts of press (NYTimes, USA Today, others...), Penn State recently nailed a bunch of students with violations of the DMCA. What they didn't tell you (thank you, press) was that Penn State blatantly violated it
    • by finkployd (12902) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @06:51AM (#5943548) Homepage
      Penn acted as spineless morons.

      With a member of the RIAA on the board of trustees, I doubt PSU will ever stand up to the RIAA, no matter what they do.

      You can't even trust academia to defend their own these days. Sheesh.

      Look at the state of higher ed today. It is all about corporate sponsership and pleasing their corporate masters. The students are just a necessary annoyance. At PSU our career services building is called the MBNA building and Pepsi products are the only soft drinks that are allowed to be sold on campus.

      Finkployd
  • by asavage (548758) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:22PM (#5942291)
    By way of additional apology, the RIAA said it will send Peter Usher an Usher CD and T-shirt "in appreciation of his understanding."

    Worst apology ever.

  • What's in a name? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LeRoco (84332)
    Fact - My first name is Rock (R - o - c - k)(Yes that's what my parents choose)
    Fact - I'm in the Radio business
    Fact - I have lots of Mp3's named rockxx.mp3 on my computers (where xx is a number)

    I can't imagine the drool that would be produced by the RIAA if they were to ever come across my hard drive. I'm sure they would think "Pay-Dirt!!" When in actuality it's just another voice in the crowded radio dial.

    I'll have to warn my good buddy John L. Zeppelin to be on the lookout for the RIAA piranha. (His r
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:22PM (#5942294)
    The RIAA suing a professor for violating the copyright of a band named Usher, for which they should be getting sued to death by the heirs of Edgar Allen Poe.

    Ahem, no matter what I predict we will see the Fall of the House of Usher...
  • by drdanny_orig (585847) * on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:26PM (#5942313)
    If you think about it, almost every word in the English language appears in some band's name somewhere. The mistake may have been "honest" (although I find that a questionable use of the word), but they're apt to be making it a lot in the coming months.

    And it would also appear that simply using a phony filename extension will be enough to fool the "automated system." From now on, I and all my partners in tune trading criminal activities will use .RIAA to denote classic .mp3, and .MPAA instead of .mpg or .mpeg, but only on even numbered days. Other times we'll switch 'em around. That oughta hold 'em off for a while.

    Oops! Did I just divulge a circumvention technique? Will I be liable for prosecution under DMCA or US-PATRIOT or some other silly-ass law?

  • Get this: The department has on its faculty a professor emeritus named Peter Usher whose work on radio-selected quasars the FTP site hosted. The site also had a copy of an a capella song performed by astronomers about the Swift gamma ray satellite, which Penn State helped to design.

    That kind of search could only be termed "shotgun".
  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:27PM (#5942316) Homepage
    is there any database of RIAA server IP's or their minions? Just on general principles I would like to block them all. Their actions are damn close to illegal search and seizure, at least IMHO.
    • by heXXXen (566121) <cliff@@@pchopper...com> on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:36PM (#5942359)
      the range of ip adresses that the RIAA owns [arin.net]

      just block them on your firewall
    • How is this at all like illegal search and seizure at all?

      It's like you're having a garage sale, all your stuff sitting on your front lawn, inviting everyone to come by and take a look. In addition you lay out a nice sack of Marijuana and a cop walks by, I guess if he busts you without a search warrant it's illegal search and seizure?
    • by sigh71 (240237) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:10AM (#5942516)
      if you are in the windows world there is an app out there called peer guardian that blocks all riaa/mpaa etc type ips from connecting to your machine...

      i think it gets its banned ip's from here

      http://www.simply-click.org/uploadertest/pg2.asp
      • by Otto (17870) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @01:28AM (#5942752) Homepage Journal
        For those who want to use PeerGuardian, here's how:

        1. Download PG from here: http://methlabs.org/pg/
        2. Install it.
        3. Edit "C:\Program Files\PeerGuardian\Guarding.P2P" in a text editor.
        4. Go to http://www.simply-click.org/uploadertest/pg2_plain text.asp for the plaintext list of ranges to block.
        5. Copy and Paste it into the Guarding.P2P file. It must have no empty lines at the beginning of the file, and must have at least one blank line at the end of the file.
        You may want to leave off the last few lines from that webpage, this is a submission type of thing, and new submissions are added to the bottom of the list. Delete the bad lines from morons and such at the end. They get onto the list every so often.
        6. Startup PG and make sure it reads in the block list correctly.

        Congratulations, you're now blocking all TCP connections with over 50 million IP addresses, most of which are probably "the bad guys". I don't generally steal music or offer up music, I just don't like these people and so I block them on principle.

        Also, PeerGuardian supports a pgdat:// type of link, so as new addresses are changed, you can click the links on http://www.simply-click.org/uploadertest/pg2.asp to add them to PeerGuardian directly instead of manually editing the blockfile.
  • by dh003i (203189) <dh003i@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:28PM (#5942325) Homepage Journal
    Yea, it's real easy to make false and unsubstantiatable allegations first, then apologize if someone their false when someone provides proof. That's alot easier and cheaper than actually verifying the validity of the accusation first. The RIAA doesn't give a flying fuck that this costs individuals and universities thousands of dollars. Not their concern -- after all, in the US, you're free to make false and ludicrous accusations against anyone without any proof.

  • Personally I would have taken it to court.

    They could have pushed them right up to the point where the prosecutor says "You honour, I'd now like to play the contents of Exhibit A to the jury..." ...at which point you counter sue ;)

  • by ktakki (64573) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:34PM (#5942353) Homepage Journal

    I suppose it's only a matter of time before the same thing happens to Professore Arturo Metallica of the University of Milan.

    k.

  • Haven't they done enough to this guy already?

    We need to find a way to get the BSA and the RIAA to cross paths so that we can work our way back to a usable Internet.

  • Hosting Fake Files (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aSiTiC (519647) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:39PM (#5942373) Homepage
    This gives me a great idea. Just like RIAA/MPAA is flooding p2p networks with fake files we could flood their search methods with fake files.

    If every internet user with a webpage hosted 2-3 blank mp3 files with names like "BritneySpears-Baby.mp3", etc... The time it would take RIAA/MPAA to find all of them and verify them as blank would flood their capabilities.
  • cuckoo's eggs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rumpledstiltskin (528544) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:41PM (#5942384) Homepage Journal
    What happens when the RIAA's own cuckoo's eggs [hand-2-mouth.com] come back to roost? Today it was simply a misnamed file, but when another person posts a cuckoo's egg of a RIAA artist's song, what are the legal implications of the RIAA destroying a file that is non-infringing, as they are seeking?
  • It's about time! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qewl (671495) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:42PM (#5942390)
    It's about time we hear some apologies from the RIAA! Their methods of trying to make people "ethical" is offensive to many such as sending messages to KaZaA users.

    What the music business really needs to do is lower CD prices to less than $10. I, for one, and most of the people I know would shell out that money a lot more often for the enhanced quality of a CD and the extra time for not having to download an album of MP3's. The price differences are outrageous though- a 50 cent CD-R or $20 for a nice jewel case? I know I don't feel a moral obligation to give $15 to a record company and $5 to an artist (yes, record companies are thieves) for a single song I like by a one hit wonder.

    The music business is really behind in their game. Mass produced CD's don't offer much more than burned CD's. If they threw in a bonus on every CD that a rip of MP3's wouldn't offer, such as a video on every disc or a license for any use of the audio such as sampling without royalties, it would make a world of difference. We buy MSDN discs for snippets of code; we should get to sample some audio from CD's. Programmers work off the previous work of other coders, musicians should also be able to as long as recognition is given without hindering royaties. Such resampling and remixes often even bring more publicity to a song's original composer. The music business just needs to figure out how to use their resources in different ways to make money in the new world of digital music. MP3's aren't going to go away, which apparently the RIAA has yet to realize.

    -Greg
  • ...but a textbook example of "not checking your work". Any human / monkey would have looked at the results and said "Professor Usher? Hey, that's neat! We could have gotten ourselves ANOTHER black eye if we fired out a form 'we're gonna get ya!' letter to that school"...
  • by SpyderPSU (582418) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:45PM (#5942408)
    I'm an undergrad here at Penn State. Over the past few months they have been cracking down on copyrighted materials. They emailed the following letter to every student in the University:

    I have a serious message for you about making illegal copies of copyrighted material. While you may be tempted not to read this email, I suggest that you do so in order to better understand just what the risks and penalties are for violating the law.

    In recent years, high-speed computer networks and personal computers have made it easy to copy computer programs, movies, and recordings. Most of this material is copyrighted, which means the right to make copies is restricted. Making copies of any copyrighted material without the right to do so is against both state and federal law and University policy. Most people who make illegal copies know it is wrong, but are unaware of how severe the penalties can be.

    The US Copyright Law (Title 17 of the US Code) has very serious penalties for violations. These include significant fines for each copy. If you copy more than $1,000 worth of material, there are criminal penalties that include substantial fines of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years prison time for flagrant cases of infringement.

    The software, record, and movie industries are stepping up their enforcement of copyright laws. They are using computer technology to detect those who run servers or simply download something they have no right to possess. The likelihood of being caught is growing every day, and prosecutions will become more frequent.

    You may have downloaded copyrighted materials and not been caught, so you think you're safe from prosecution. I urge you to think again. Two students in Oregon were caught and prosecuted under the criminal statutes. One received a suspended two-year sentence, the other spent time in jail. A student in North Carolina spent 41 months in prison for copyright infringement. Messing up your future is a steep price to pay for music or a video.

    What happens at Penn State if you are caught? By statute, the University must immediately block your network access when we receive notification that a particular computer has been involved in a violation of the law. You may also be taken to court by the copyright holder or charged in the federal courts with a crime. That is not all that can happen. You should know that falsely certifying either that you have the right to material or have removed it can result in federal perjury charges as well as copyright infringement.

    What else does Penn State do? When we receive a complaint, student offenders are referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs and employees to the Office of Human Resources. Why? Because it is illegal and against University policy to infringe on someone's copyright. A student can be expelled and an employee terminated under University policy.

    The bottom line is that there is a potentially high price to pay for an illegally copied computer program, movie, or recording. Stealing is stealing and against the law, regardless of how you try to justify it.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Rodney A. Erickson March 31, 2003


    After the letter was sent 220 students were served notices from the Judicial Affairs Office. You can read more about it in the school newspaper. school newspaper. [psu.edu] In the article it says, "Rodack said it can take only one complaint against a student before dorm Internet connection is shut down and he or she is investigated."

    Has anyone else seen the same pattern at their school? Is this par for the course?

    Can this post get any longer?
    • by NetDrain (167337) <slashdot at theblight dot net> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:10AM (#5942518) Homepage
      The direct connect hub that a student ran here at Cal Poly in California raised its head too high and got cut off -- the student got a judicial review and ran off with his tail between his legs.

      Even my Residential Advisor got nailed for a movie. People get their ports shut off and get called in by the dozens. My friend who works in the Residential Network offices, in addition to telling us what they're cracking down on, told me that they get a good deal of letters from the MPAA and the RIAA, demanding specific students knock it off: under the DMCA, our school acts as an ISP, and can be held accountable. It hasn't really deterred anyone, and there haven't been any criminal charges, but students get nailed all the time.

      Except those who still know how to lie low and run Hotline servers.
    • by int69h (60728) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:50AM (#5942657)
      You'd think that a university should understand copyright better.
      Making copies of any copyrighted material without the right to do so is against both state and federal law and University policy.

      Hogwash. Making copies of anyone's copyrighted materials is permitted by US law. Distributing those copies is another matter entirely. I propose they rename it to copyanddistributeright.

      Sorry I forgot the block in the closing blockquote.
      • You only have the right to copy intellectual property you personally own and only for limited uses. You do not have the right to copy your pal's entier CD collection under ANY definition of copyright law and associated legal rulings. By stating "without the right to do so" they are saying that not withstanding issues like fair use it is illegal to make copies of copyrighted material.
  • I was just thinking of what I should change my name to. Jim Metallica has a nice ring. Or better yet Jim Eminem. Then i'll change all my document extensions to .mp3 just for the hell of it. The RIAA should have a field day.

    Too bad i'm not a Professor Emeritus yet, then i'd get free Metallica and Eminem stuff.

  • Off with their heads!!
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:56PM (#5942454) Homepage
    I'm waiting for the RIAA to find my MP3s of key sections of meetings of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
  • by Detritus (11846) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:17AM (#5942540) Homepage
    Hilary Rosen is a human.
    All child molesters are human.
    Therefore, Hilary Rosen is a child molester.

    This syllogism is brought to you by the RIAA Institute of Critical Thinking and Logic.

    • by enos (627034) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:29AM (#5942589)
      This reminds me of a joke:

      Jason has a conversation with his new neighbour Pete:

      J: So what do you do?
      P: I teach deducive logic.
      J: Huh?
      P: Let me demonstrate. Do you have a dog?
      J: Yes.
      P: From this I deduce that you have a family?
      J: Yeah.
      P: And a wife?
      J: Yeah.
      P: And if you have a wife, I deduce that you are heterosexual.
      J: That's amazing!

      After this Jason visits his friend Chris:
      J: I just found out this awesome field called deducive logic.
      C: Say what?
      J: Let me demonstrate. Do you have a dog?
      C: No.
      J: Then you must be gay.
      • That's inductive logic, not deductive. The conclusions do not necessarily follow from the facts*, but if a number of pertinent facts are discovered they make the conclusion more likely. Scientsist and police detectives use inductive, not deductive, logic

        *Many people have dogs who do not have families and there are many gay men who get married.

        This information brought to you by a bored pedant

  • by asv108 (141455) * <alex AT phataudio DOT org> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:25AM (#5942570) Homepage Journal
    Penn State is working closely with the RIAA because Barry Robinson [psu.edu] a lawyer for the RIAA is on the Board of Trustees [psu.edu] so instead of representing the interests of the university and protecting the students, Penn State president Grahm Spanier has chosen to let a trustee influence university policy for the sake of the crooked organization he works for. I should post this AC but I really dont give an fsck. Penn State is dedicated to building unnecessary buildings while removing as much parking as possible. I now have to walk 20 mins from a staff parking lot to work so fire me before I die of heat stroke this summer ;)
  • by inaeldi (623679) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:36AM (#5942615)
    Kind of reminds me when I was in high school. I had an mp3 of "Hack the Planet" (from H2K) on my network drive, and the school deleted it, locked my network drive, and called me to the office for having "illegal mp3's". I never got an apology though...
  • by Tokerat (150341) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:40AM (#5942631) Journal

    They are filling lawsuits without even CHECKING to see if defendants are in violation? Am I violating a copyright if I change the FILENAME of my mp3s to infringing titles?

    Boy, it's awful they're just going to let this slide. I would file a countersuit claiming libel/slander at a bare minimum, even if it where to be thrown out, just to make a point to them. Of course, I noticed a fairly recent post stating the RIAA is on the board of trustees at Penn State. Sad.
  • Find RIAA employees.
    Hit them. In the face. Hard.
    When asked why, respond, "You look like someone who owed me money. Guess not. Sorry. Here's a Ultimate Fighting Championship T-shirt and DVD."

    It's great to be on board with the tactics used by our friendly copyright holders! Go Team!

  • Perjury? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @01:25AM (#5942746)
    Don't those DMCA threaten & harass letters almost always include a statement along the lines of: "I hereby swear, under penalty of PERJURY, than I am the copyright holder or the legal representative therof."???

    Said statement was obviously NOT true in this case, and I don't think those letters include a disclamier like: "unless I get CAUGHT lieing, and apologize afterward".

    So do those "swear under penalty of perjury" clauses have any real legal validity? If so, isn't it appropiate for some RIAA/Metallica drones to be shareing bunkspace with Charlie Manson in the very near future? After all, when a regular citizen does it, perjury is a pretty BIG deal. Why should the RIAA/Metallica enjoy any immunity?

    Or are those lines not, in any way, legally binding? If that's the case, why include them at all?

    cya,
    john
  • cat /dev/urandom > /var/www/Britney_Spears_-_Greatest_Hits_Track01.mp 3

    of course, that might actually be the same command they use to create their "music"
  • Perjury? (Score:3, Funny)

    by aechols (443299) <aechols@houstonB ... minus physicist> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @02:53AM (#5942943) Homepage
    Don't they make these claims under penalty of perjury? So they're guilty of perjury. Clearly if there's a human or primate that actually sends the notice and not just a computer program, then they screwed up. If there isn't they're just plain reckless. So where's the penalty part? Oops! Sorry, lets just forget that we did something wrong, umkay? Umkay.
  • by salimfadhley (565599) <ip.stodge@org> on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @05:10AM (#5943307) Homepage Journal
    I have a mind to start a new sourceforge project - a bot that creates a tar-pit website to confuse this kind of bot.

    It would grab the album chart from FreeDB and then make a pseudo random listing of 20 or so artists. Clicking on an artist's name would reveal the names of the albums, and clicking on the album name would reveal links to song downloads as MP3s.

    Each page would have a 10 second delay on loading, and each MP3 download (which would be white noise) would be downloaed at about 10 bits per second. The idea would be to tie-up as many threads on thhe RIAA servers for as long as possible.

    Next, the system would run on a wildcarded domain name so that it would look to the RIAAbot as if it were a large number of sites. Each of these sites would link to each other creating a vast low bandwidth tarpit.

    How about that then?
  • Slashdot the RIAA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:05AM (#5945537) Homepage
    So if everyone were to just ramble on into a microphone about their favorite (or despised) artist, and then name it accordingly (eminem.mp3, madonna.mp3) and share it, the RIAA would have to keep paying lawyers for every warning they issue. The costs add up.

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