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RIAA Warns Individual Swappers 511

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the shutting-it-down dept.
Joey Patterson writes "CNET News.com reports that the RIAA has sent cease-and-desist letters to four individuals for allegedly pirating its music on P2P networks." They have yet to publicly release the names of who they have contacted, but 4 of the 5 were Verizon subscribers involved with their previous high profile case.
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RIAA Warns Individual Swappers

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  • Thank God (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Keri Immos (681622) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:06AM (#6252659) Journal
    I've had enough of paying twenty bucks for a CD so some lazy kid doesn't have to get a job.
    • Re:Thank God (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Snaller (147050) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:09AM (#6252687) Journal
      Actually its the "artists" who are lazy, they expect to keep getting paid for a the same job. You try that in another other business.
      • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Insightful)

        by j_rhoden (214320) * <rhodenr@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:25AM (#6252847)
        Actually, it's the "artists" who are some of the hardest workers in the buisness. They're either in the studio recording, out touring to support their album, doing promotional work, or hundreds of other things that they have to do to sell enough albums so they don't get dropped by their record label. Now, of course, I'm not talking about your Aerosmith/Britney Spears/Metallica super acts that pretty much can do what they want. I'm talking about bands that aren't superstars and still have to actually tour and promote most of the year. Those guys deserve to get paid, they work their asses off for it.
    • Re:Thank God (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Yep. It's a well known fact that competition increases prices.
    • Re:Thank God (Score:3, Informative)

      If you honestly believe that CD prices would drop if all music piracy were eliminated, then you are a bigger fool than even your past posts would indicate.

      The music industry (they really deserve the title of Syndicate) lied in the past about CD prices. Even though CDs are far easier for them to produce, they still hold a higher cost than cassette tapes. They told us that the prices would come down when the technology had matured and paid for itself. That time has long passed. Prices are still high.

      They lo
  • by youaredan (668702) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:07AM (#6252672) Homepage
    News at 11 - The recent trend beating of dead horses not only continues but quickens.. is there hope for rationality?
    • Ohh, so in other words they will be up to a total 9 people(if found guilty) that they have gone after to get money out of millions upon millions of p2pâ(TM)ers..

      Something tells me I'll be getting my letter when I'm in my 90's.

      â¦Dear Honest Man, 60 plus years ago you transferred âoemetallica â" enter sandman.mp3â and we want an interest compounded amount of $45,161.448.15 for that single act of infringementâ¦â¦

      Honestly though - after legal costs and the h
  • Just Wondering... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LordYUK (552359)
    Okay, if I remember correctly verizon fought the fight and lost, and is now forced to hand over internet logs or whatever of individual users. I assume (key word, assume) this is only for the people that use Verizon as an ISP, right?

    And people stay with them.... why?

    I mean, isnt it time to get a new provider? If everyone left, then maybe they'd fight the fight again...
    • by MImeKillEr (445828) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:13AM (#6252732) Homepage Journal
      Yes, but Verizon today, Road Runner tomorrow.

      The RIAA (and anyone else) can simply point to the Verizon lawsuit as presidence in any future case where they want the names of "pirates".

      Personally, I'd like to see the C&D letters the RIAAs henchmen sent out. I'd bet Hillary Rosen's soul (assuming she actually has one) that they're demanding payment for "infringing" on the "artitst's rights".

      • by tuba_dude (584287) <tuba.terry@gmail.com> on Friday June 20, 2003 @11:14AM (#6254052) Homepage Journal
        I love the irony of "artists' rights." It's perfect. I'd be willing to bet Rosen's got all the money-making 'artists' locked up in a dungeon/jail, only to be let out for PR, and they probably just ignore the other artists anyway.

        I can see it now.

        ARTIST: Er...can I talk to someone about my contract?
        RIAA Front Desk: How much did you make for us on your last release? ARTIST: Uh...$500,000. ish. RIAA FD: In that case, no. But I feel sorry for you, so here's a buck for your next cardboard house.

    • by Octagon Most (522688) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:18AM (#6252779)
      And people stay with them.... why?

      I mean, isnt it time to get a new provider? If everyone left, then maybe they'd fight the fight again...


      I seem to remember Verizon refusing to turn over the subscriber names to the RIAA and fighting a court battle for their privacy. Only after losing that fight and being ordered by the courts to turn over the information did they finally consent. And even then they waited until the imposed deadline. Now you are advocating that everyone leave a provider that resisted and fought the RIAA? Just because they ultimately lost in court? Good luck finding many with the balls to challenge the RIAA. I've never used Verizon for any service, but I'd hardly fault them for this.
  • by bplipschitz (265300) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:09AM (#6252694)
    no more individual swapping for me--it's whole truckloads of illegal immigrants from now on!
    • The RIAA doesn't have that many illegal immigrants for you to steal. They only pretend to have that many so that they can tell the government how much they're losing in illegal immigrant sales. Plus, it's really hard to get a truckload of immigrants through p2p because the copy protection on illegal immigrants (DNA) is a lot more difficult to bypass than traditional forms of media.

      You'll have to keep pirating songs instead.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        We was transporting an illegal immigrant the other day, in this special crate. We gets to the destination, I opens the crate, and out pops Madona! She starts screaming at me "What the hell to you think you're doing?!"

        It sure put me off my lunch.

  • by leeroybrown (624767) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:10AM (#6252698)

    As usual the RIAA is resorting to the use of FUD to stop people swapping music. College Students, High School Kids and Lone P2P Users are very easy targets for a massive corporate body.

    It may even be working to a certain degree.

    • Kind of like ants are an easy target for a human. The problem is that there are so many, and the way the law of the land works, they have to kill each one individually. (No RAID or newpapers.)

      Sure they are going to try to make examples out of some folks, but they are just going to be playing whack-a-mole.

      Now, do I personally like that people distribute copyrighted material on p2p networks? No. I think the practice is wrong. (Then again, so is xeroxing sheet music for the chuch choir.)

      The Music industry is perfectly legally correct. The problem is the same as if I was legally correct in proceeding through a green light while a Mac truck was blowing the red in the other direction. I end up in traction regardless of how many tickets the truck got.

    • by mjmalone (677326) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:44AM (#6253035) Homepage
      I'm no lawyer, but aren't there laws regarding selective enforcement? How were these people chosen over the rest of their p2p buddies?
      • by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Friday June 20, 2003 @11:52AM (#6254447) Homepage
        I'm no lawyer, but aren't there laws regarding selective enforcement? How were these people chosen over the rest of their p2p buddies?

        Selective enforcement only comes into play when there's a possibility of civil rights being violated. Firing an employee because their age, race, handicap, sexual lifestyle, etc, is illegal.

        In a long line of speeding cars, the officer can choose any car he wants to pull over. If all cars were identical, with tinted windows so the officer could not see inside, and everyone had the same plates, then there would be no concern about "profiling", which is illegal.

        Since all the users were anonymous until Verizon released their names, there's no "selective enforcement", as long as it sent C&D letters to all the people. If they got 100 names, and sent letters to 30 that seemed to be middle-class can't-afford-a-good-lawyer-but-still-has-some-mone y-to-pay-settlement people, then it could probably be argued they are profiling. But I'd guess they'd send C&D letters to everyone they can, and take a few high profile traders and make examples of them.

  • by suso (153703) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:10AM (#6252704) Homepage Journal
    Good...
  • Cease and... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJZQ8 (644168) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:10AM (#6252713) Homepage Journal
    Desist? I wonder if they will go further than that, since it's going to be hard to prove anything beyond something appearing in a log somewhere. Is downloading music illegal, or just posession? If this was a criminal trial, they'd be a long way from a burden of proof, but again, this is probably a civil matter...
    • Re:Cease and... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kaltkalt (620110) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:18AM (#6252775)
      in a civil trial, and possibly a criminal one, a jury could reasonably conclude that the log showing you downloaded a 10,303,334mb file named "Metallica_Enter_Sandman.mp3" on such and such day is evidence that you downloaded a copyrighted song. downloading = copying. copying without permission is the 'crime.' Of course, it is a malum prohibitum crime and not a malum in se, no matter how much they try to convince the world otherwise.
      • Re:Cease and... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Octagon Most (522688) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:28AM (#6252868)
        a jury could reasonably conclude that the log showing you downloaded a 10,303,334mb file named "Metallica_Enter_Sandman.mp3" on such and such day is evidence that you downloaded a copyrighted song.

        I find it inconceivable that the name of a file in a log is sufficient proof of criminal conduct. If I rename workout_log.xls to bush_assassination_plan.doc am I guilty of a criminal conspiracy to kill the President? No, of course not. If there is sufficient evidence of illegal activity a search warrant would be required to look at the actual content of a file. But, you're right about one point. These days a jury could conclude almost anything despite the evidence or the facts.
        • by parkanoid (573952) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:10AM (#6253290)
          bush_assassination_plan.doc
          The Department Of Homeland Security is pleased to inform you that the enemy of freedom known as "Octagon Most" in online terrorist circles has been eliminated.
        • by notque (636838)
          I find it inconceivable that the name of a file in a log is sufficient proof of criminal conduct. If I rename workout_log.xls to bush_assassination_plan.doc am I guilty of a criminal conspiracy to kill the President?

          Yes. You are also guilty of posting the concept of renaming out files to "bush_assassination_plan.doc" on Slashdot to a large audience. You are a terrorist, and will be delt with accordingly.

          (And it gets worse if you share mp3s.)
      • by arth1 (260657) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:46AM (#6253060) Homepage Journal
        Logs won't really prove that you downloaded one specific file, at least not for networks like eMule. You can make a search for, say, hicksville.mp3, which you know Simon Posford released to the public, but you can't find his website anymore. You get a hit on this search from a peer, and a hash of the file content is returned to you. You then ask the network who else has the file with this hash, and get perhaps 20 replies. You then start downloading it.

        As it happens, the file is named "Metallica_Enter_Sandman.mp3" on most of the clients, and the "hicksville.mp3" was renamed such by another user who wanted to hide it. You still have no idea that it's a Metallica song you download, as you searched for hicksville.mp3.
        The logs of those you download from, and who might be RIAA agents, might well show that you're downloading a Metallica song, but in this case there was no intent to do so. During the download process, others can also download parts of the file from you -- before you've had a chance to check it out. Logs from the outside will show that when someone searches for "Sandman.mp3", yours is one of the hosts that share it out. So you're also sharing it out -- thing is that you might not know, and it might not be your intent!

        Summing up: There's no guarantee that the file name on the sending side is the same file name as on the receiving side, or that the file-sharing user even knows that there's a discrepancy. The file name on the remote side must be dismissed as evidence.

        Regards,
        --
        *Art
      • by fredrikj (629833) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:53AM (#6253129) Homepage
        10,303,334mb file

        What quality setting would that file've been encoded with?
      • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:05AM (#6253238)
        a jury could reasonably conclude that the log showing you downloaded a 10,303,334mb file named "Metallica_Enter_Sandman.mp3" on such and such day is evidence that you downloaded a copyrighted song

        Assuming that a 5 meg file at 192 kbps is 3 minutes 30 seconds long then a 10,303,334 meg file is approximately 13.75 years worth of Metalica.

        That shouldn't be a crime, but the punishment.

    • Re:Cease and... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mark-t (151149)

      Is downloading music illegal, or just posession?

      Downloading music is not illegal in and of itself. It is unauthorized distribution that is illegal, as well as possesion of copyrighted materials *knowingly* obtained through unauthorized distribution (this basically means that you must have had probable and reasonable cause to suspect that the source you obtained the material from had, in fact, been authorized). A person who is willing to bear 100% of the legal risk of unauthorized distribution (that is

  • by bmongar (230600) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:11AM (#6252718)
    Wow actually going against people who broke the law? I didn't like that the RIAA was going after all these middle men who provided sharing services and software but the file swapers actually broke copy right law. I think this is a much fairer tactic. They also started with warning letters instead of a bagillion dollar lawsuit. I think this is the way they should handle copyright infringement.
    • by tyllwin (513130) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:22AM (#6252826)
      Yes, this is the way that they should address copyright infringers, but sad that this won't work in the way that those with a rosy-eyed view of our American legal system would hope.

      Even if these people were totally innocent of any civil or criminal wrongdoing (which I doubt) the cost of successfully defending themselves would bankrupt them -- not, of course, that innocence is any guaranteee of victory.

      And, if they were in fact guilty of some civil tort, they would face paying for, not the actual damage that they may have caused, but rather huge *statutory* damages.

      Great system: Cause some RIAA member $1.25 in damage, and face $1.25 million in costs. Nothing like equal justice under law.

  • by wilstephens (535110) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:12AM (#6252723) Homepage
    Anyone else find this [netcraft.com] ironic?
  • I don't buy CDs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeB_Zero (645301) <nebzero@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:13AM (#6252738) Journal
    I stopped buying CDs once this whole situation with copyrights and piracy came about. I barely download music, and strictly listen to others' CDs or stream obscure music from free sites. The last CDs I have purchased were independent, and CHEAP. I have not purchased a CD from a major music label in years, and do not plan to until prices for 10 songs goes below 20USD.

    Just my $0.02 .
  • by ramk13 (570633) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:13AM (#6252739)
    There's no question that thousands of people pirate music, and have tons of it stored illegally on their computer. We know the whole thing is just a scare tactic by the RIAA. They could never prosecute 10% of who pirate music. It's like speeding. They'll catch whoever they can to deter everyone else.

    The only thing is you have much better chance at getting caught going 90 in 60 than you do with 40 GB of mp3s on your hard drive. So they've got 9 people so far. 9 lucky winnners of the RIAA lawsuit lottery! I'm pretty sure this will stop just about no from 'buying their tickets.' (i.e. pirating)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    File traders are felons. There is no excuse for their behavior. We, the RIAA, propose to extend the sentence to life in prison for heavy copying, or death in extreme circumstances. If you don't, criminals will fill the streets, the music industry will be over, and (shhhh) you won't be seeing those big bucks.
  • Yeah....and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:15AM (#6252753) Homepage Journal
    They can't take *everyone* to court. They'll make an example out of these few and it'll stop some of the people, but the majority of p2p file shareing of music and movies and such will continue as usual because users will be secure in the knowledge that RIAA/MPAA can't spend a gazillion dollars chasing everyone down. It's like trying to kill all the mosquitos in the forest with a fly swatter.
    • Re:Yeah....and? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pfdietz (33112)
      That is true of most forms of law enforcement. In fact, a law that is used against a small fraction of potential violators can reduce crime by those not targeted, particularly if the penalty (if caught) greatly exceeds the benefit of the crime.
      • Re:Yeah....and? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Surak (18578) *
        That's true in theory. But look at what's out there in the real world. Let's take speeding for example.

        It's currently illegal for me to drive 80 mph on I-696 in Michigan. In fact, if I get caught, it'll cost me at least $100 or so. That's a lot of money. Speeding to work every morning saves me -- what? 5 minutes? If I'm late to work by 5 minutes, I don't make so much an hour that it's going to cost me $100. It would be much more sensible economically to be 5 minutes (and receive a resulting 15-minute
    • Re:Yeah....and? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Winterblink (575267) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:37AM (#6252968) Homepage
      I agree. But I think the reason these things get so much attention is that the RIAA isn't just being bitchy, they're utterly ruining peoples' lives over this stuff. Take for example the student some weeks ago that admitted his guilt and offered to fork over his entire goddamn life savings as compensation-- which the RIAA gladly did, instead of simply saying 'ok, he learned his lesson'.

      I totally agree with you that they can't take everyone to court and that others will continue mooching files. However, I also look at it your post and wonder if your thinking would be adjusted if they smacked you with a gajillion dollar lawsuit; that's my issue with people taking an apathetic stance on these things.

  • by derrickh (157646) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:18AM (#6252777) Homepage
    -Cancel Verizon DSL Service.
    -Check stash for those drunken nude Hilary Rosen pics...just in case.

    D
  • Why... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:19AM (#6252793)
    Does the RIAA's computer systems still exist? I would have think they would have angered the wrong group of hackers/cracker enough times by now to have only a smoking crater where their computers used to be...
  • by Kaz Riprock (590115) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:24AM (#6252841)

    Thank goodness I never check my verizon.net e-mail address!

  • by wayward_son (146338) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:29AM (#6252880)
    "The more you tighten your grasp, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

    Because the best way to generate business is to treat your customers like criminals.

  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:30AM (#6252892) Homepage
    OK I'm going to spend a few kharma points to get my point across, but I have made a few observation about the nature of these RIAA stories that just have gotten under my skin.

    First of all, these people aren't 'swapping' anything. That implies a trade where one item (or file) is exchanged for another one, with an implied transfer of ownership. They are COPYING music from one another, not trading it (and trading CDs is NOT illegal, contrary to what some seem to believe).

    And that brings me to rant #2. It's easy to regard the RIAA as an Evil(tm) organization when you read (and believe) some of the things people claim the RIAA believes/practices. People here have claimed that the RIAA wants such things as making individual backups of personal CDs, and playing said backups on their computer illegal, and that is simply not true! People make these claims without providing a shred of evidence to back up their assertions. They might as well be accusing Hillary Rosen of violating young children, with as much proof they base their statements on.

    Please read this article [pbs.org] which clarifies many of the misconceptions about the RIAA's position on fair usage. I think some of you will be very surprised (I know I was).

    Is the RIAA perfect? Not even close. But putting words into their mouth for the sake of tricking people into thinking you know something they don't is no way to conduct an honest and meaningful discussion.

    • People here have claimed that the RIAA wants such things as making individual backups of personal CDs, and playing said backups on their computer illegal, and that is simply not true!

      Please, please, please! give me some of what you're smokin'. Who the heck do you think came up with the insane idea to make CD's incompatible with computers and other CD players by putting on a lame "copy-protection scheme" that could be defeated with a black magic marker?

    • by aug24 (38229) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:23AM (#6253450) Homepage
      People here have claimed that the RIAA wants such things as making individual backups of personal CDs, and playing said backups on their computer illegal, and that is simply not true!

      Isn't it? I've read the article too and while that isn't their stated aim, it's certainly the result of the DMCA, which is the RIAA's baby. On the last page of the article, the interviewee avoids the question altogether and suggests that not being able to make copies of your disks is somehow good for you!

      Of home 'fair use copying, they say:

      You should feel free to copy it onto other formats, such as .mp3, so that you can listen to it on your computer.

      But if they will only sell you a copy-protected disk, which under the DMCA, it is illegal to crack, then how do you make your fair use copy? Answer: you can't. That's the problem with the RIAA and the DMCA.

      I needn't even go into the massive lobbying for copyright extension so they can keep charging for stuff that should now be publicly owned; the heavy-handed threats; the pursuit of people who hadn't done anything; and finally their incredibly stupid assertion that their cartel keeping CD prices high has nothing to do with declining CD sales.

      J.

  • C&D for 1 file! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by k1llt1me (680945) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:33AM (#6252925)
    I received, or I should say my ISP received a C&D from the RIAA a couple of months ago for a single file that I had downloaded over eDonkey. They are certainly not just going after the "big fish".
  • by foo fighter (151863) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:48AM (#6253083) Homepage
    How much trading do you have to do to before you draw attention to yourself?

    Is downloading a catchy tune I heard on the local Clear Channel station gonna get me busted? What if I share it after downloading?

    Will I have the RIAA coming after me for downloading (and then sharing) the latest Billboard Top 20 Dance/Club tracks?

    Or does it take me downloading Blender's "500 albums I must own before I die" and then sharing those to the world?

    Exactly how much can I get away with?

    It seems these kids must be doing something incredibly stupid to get the RIAA coming down on them when there must be many millions of people sharing at a given moment.
  • What a great world (Score:3, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:48AM (#6253085) Journal
    Who should be targeted: People who rip CD's, People who host content or 'links' to content, People who download, or everyone? Is it ok to target people randomly to make examples of them while not going after the rest?

    Ive never ripped a CD in my life, my biggest crime is downloading mp3's and allowing my P2P software to share them with others. Ive never speeded, commited murder, rape, genocide, ive never mugged or assulted anyone, or shoplifted or burgled. Im not a pedophile or an international terrorist, and ive never held power in a government while doing dodgy financial dealings for my own gain.

    I've paid my Starbucks and McDonalds tax, and i even watch commercials sometimes.

    But, i could still be raided at 6am and have my computer confiscated and get a criminal record and loose everything just for downloading music. FFS ive never even intended to buy a CD, if i didnt download things i would only listen to the radio.

    What a great world were everyone gets their prioritys right.
  • No seriously... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rosewood (99925) <rosewood.chat@ru> on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:49AM (#6253087) Homepage Journal
    Why doesn't everyone just turn themselves in. The legal system will be backlogged and this is the ONLY WAY congress will see that we arent talking about Pirats (narrr) but real people.
    • Re:No seriously... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Idarubicin (579475)
      Why doesn't everyone just turn themselves in. The legal system will be backlogged and this is the ONLY WAY congress will see that we arent talking about Pirats (narrr) but real people.

      You can't 'turn yourself in'. The act that you have engaged in is copyright violation: a civil infraction. The copyright holder may sue you, but the police cannot arrest you--you have not, legally speaking, committed a criminal act. You can turn yourself in, but they'll laugh and send you on your way. They have nothing t

  • RIAA has no clue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mo2 (606017) on Friday June 20, 2003 @09:50AM (#6253104)
    Generally oranizations pursue legal tactics when they have no clue about their own business models or how to evolve them when times change.

    How much does all this legal bullcrap add to the overpriced cost of music?

    I kinda get the impression that the only reason they do this is to facilitate RIAA's own existance so they can say "see look what we are doing for artists?" What I say to artists is this... take a look at Janis Ian's website http://www.janisian.com/ [janisian.com] she effectively uses the web to to keep her fans in tune to her music long after the recording companies (RIAA) found her to be "unprofitable".

    I've said it before and I'll say it again... RIAA and the Record Companies do not make artists into stars, their Fans do.

    RIAA bite my dingleberry-crusted ass, i'd rather sit in the dark and hum to myself rather than deal with your crap, that's why your sales have been lagging recently.

    Stop hiding behind your lawyers and start listing to the Fans/Customers, peace = contentment, you want peace in the music bus make your customers content. Here's a little clue your attorneys are not the answer, didn't you get the memo?
  • by LeoDV (653216) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:06AM (#6253251) Journal
    As my MP3 folder just passed the twenty gigs bar! Time to buy an iPod!
  • p2p is old school. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by programic (139404) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:09AM (#6253280)
    I gave up on p2p about a year ago. Most searches were a waste of time as the first hits (fastest, closest hosts) were always in leech mode (never really sharing).

    These days, I use streamripper [sourceforge.net]. To snag shoutcast streams. I set it to download a stream, queue songs up for an hour, then start listening to them. As I listen I delete the ones I don't want.

    I've found a lot of new music this way, and the network admins don't really mind because I'm not using one of the banned p2p clients anyway.
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:20AM (#6253409) Homepage
    The RIAA seemingly refuses to do what it needs to do to weaken the flow of work through p2p 'sharing'. They go after whoever manages to catch their attention, and they just grumble about the other millions that slip by.

    What should the RIAA do? Quietly acknowledge that they are powerless against p2p 'sharing', that new laws are not needed, but that they will continue lawsuits against large p2p 'sharing' users. At the same time
    - sabotage the p2p networks by setting up a couple hundred servers in the US (and abroad) with their library spread through-out. Each song on their servers would be specially modified after the first thirty- to sixty-seconds by application of special filters to render the remaining content to noise. Servers would log IP addresses of downloaders and other servers would investigate quantity & type of files being 'shared' by the downloader for possible later legal actions.
    - introduce legal downloads using non-DRM format (mp3, ogg, etc). Downloads would be priced according to quality of encoding (ie $.25 for "92", $.50 for "128", $.75 for "192", $1 for "256"). Download would be bound by license, with ample 'fair-use' rights, and some FUD against 'sharing' (ie download has been watermarked, we will prosecute if you 'share', etc). After maybe 3 months if the service is popular then the price starts dropping by $.10 every 6-9 months.

    These are examples of what I would do if I were in charge of the RIAA. If anybody at the RIAA is reading - please feel free to use these ideas.
  • by merlyn (9918) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:20AM (#6253416) Homepage Journal
    It's kinda hard to be an "individual swapper". Isn't that a bit like ftp'ing to 127.0.0.1?
  • by Swanktastic (109747) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:32AM (#6253538)
    What's tough to swallow after reading all these posts is the amazing dichtomy of opinions regarding violation of copyright vs. violation of copyleft. Break copyright by downloading gigs of copyrighted songs, and you're a hero for the common man. Break copyleft by incorporating code into a "for-profit" product and you're the reincarnation of Satan come to barbeque every newborn on the planet with some green peppers and steak sauce.

    Every time you get pissed the RIAA is going after some college student, imagine Bill Gates is personally inserting your code into the next version of Windows, and you have to think of a way to counter it... Would you just let it slide? Probably not...

    And yet 75% of slashdot posters seem think that that RIAA shouldn't enforce their copyrights. Why is that?
    • Because... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sethadam1 (530629) *
      Copyleft is about freedom. Copyleft authors are donating to you and there is perceived value in that. Since virtually everything copyleft is code, most slashdotters understand the time, blood, sweat and tears invested in the product and empathize.

      Copyright is about protecting your work. I don't think most slashdotters feel copyrights are a bad thing, just the ones that are backed by lack of value. The RIAA has been ripping us off and price gauging us for a long time, so there isn't a belief that "stealing"
  • GOODNIGHT EVERYONE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:37AM (#6253595)
    Well all, I don't know about the rest of you...but I'm done with this bullshit. The RIAA has stepped over the line this time. Today, I take my entire CD collection down to the local music trading store to sell them.

    If you all need me, I'll be on one of those "free independent music" sites downloading music made by people who are concerned about making good music rather than creating overexaggerated legal cases that cost them more money than any revenue they may have lost from a few college kids buying their worthless crap only to have it not work in their brand new cd players they spent two week's worth of food allowance on.
  • by David_AH (683069) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:41AM (#6253640)
    Long before napster and the Kaza people where freely trading mp3 files via usenet and ftp and small centralized networks. Very few if any legal ripples. Before that people traded copies of CDS on tape ext. and while the RIAA hated it, they didn't knock on many doors. As long as you didn't set up shop selling them you were (mostly) ok. Sadly, the genie is now out of the bottle. I suspect more technical users might start to move away from p2p and back to usenet and more "old fashioned" methods of sharing files. Failing that, those anonymous ISPS that allow users to send a wad of cash in the mail each month might see a big jump in the number of subscribers.
  • WMA is the culprit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by s4m7 (519684) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:43AM (#6253667) Homepage

    I am here to tell you that I recieved a threatening letter from the RIAA, accompanied by a "comply or we'll cut you off" letter from my ISP, Comcast. And I know exactly why

    I don't have any illegal shared files in my limewire shared folder. what I do have there is a number of original tracks that I have recorded over the last year, for people to check out. I was innocently poking around on limewire, when i found a small (50k or so) WMA or ASF file ( i just know it was an MS format) titled "must have - hilarious.WMA" so i clicked, and downloaded, when i opened the file, Windows media player fired up my browser, and directed me to a website telling me that the RIAA caught me, and my isp had been notified. it had my IP address and some file names (the ones it chose to display were some tracks from my single "the family guy", which i guess they think should be incriminating evidence.

    what i do know is that they even admitted that they copied files from my computer. hear me now, RIAA: Immediately delete my files, get your hands off of my hard drive, and you better believe i will be watching you for derivative works.

  • by crashnbur (127738) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:46AM (#6253705)
    To this point, it seems as though the only crime the RIAA has gone after is sharing copyrighted information. Those who take advantage of the available products aren't in the wrong, according to this logic. I think this could be a step in the right direction, since in the old days you could be thrown in jail for unknowingly purchasing stolen equipment. It makes a lot more sense to go after those making the product available versus those using it, at least if you want to contain the issue.

    There is a problem, though, in that people do not realize that the digital format that makes sharing music so easy is exactly what makes it protected material, and that's what makes anyone who downloads it potentially vulnerable to being charged for criminal conduct. It isn't likely to get you or me simply because there is no money in going after individual downloaders. However, there can be loads of money in going after kids running even small warez servers... Where one CD can cost as much as $600 (and more, depending on the product), allowing multiple downloads of multiple files could quickly result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal copies.

    Of couse, if one CD didn't cost $600 in the first place, it wouldn't be such a problem. College professors assume that everyone on the planet uses Microsoft Office, but they fail to consider how many of us use a pirated copy. Even better, how many of us use pirated software specifically because we must have it for school or work and can not afford to buy it? The problem, in this case, is that some schools literally will not tolerate other software, and some inane professors actually require students to use particular software.

    Software piracy is a problem... Piracy is a result of expensive alternatives, and the alternatives' prices increase because of piracy. What do we do? Well, we can only move in one of two directions:

    • Toward freer information, expanding the definition of fair use and reducing the weight of copyrights.
    • Toward more restricted information, narrowing the definition of fair use and strengthening copyrights.

    As technology becomes more advanced, I can hardly imagine restricting information any more without morphing the United States into a sort of prison-state where no move can be made without Big Brother's watchful eye carefully monitoring your every move. Is that what we want? Or would we rather have the freedom to trust each other?

    I choose choice.

  • Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ctve (635102) on Friday June 20, 2003 @11:02AM (#6253880)
    Personally, after the search engine/life savings case, I've not bought a single CD. I've checked around some 2nd hand shops, as that way, the RIAA get no money from me, and also revisited some old albums. And the 2 albums I want to buy at the moment are corrupted with copy protection, so I can't listen to those on my PC, and so I'm not buying them anyway.

    They might stop people from downloading. They're also helping to not sell albums.

  • by Tsu-na-mi (88576) on Friday June 20, 2003 @11:27AM (#6254189) Homepage

    If the RIAA is the rights holders to a song, and they put the song on a public P2P share for the world to download, what is illegal about downloading it? By putting the file where they did, they are essentially granting permission for P2P users to copy the song.

    How is this different from, say, the RIAA setting up a table at the local mall (a place where their market gathers) and handing out free CDs, and then accusing the people they gave the CDs to that they 'stole' that music because they did not pay for it?

    It seems to me that these 'honeypot' P2P traps are on tenuous legal ground for this reason.

  • by OmniGeek (72743) on Friday June 20, 2003 @12:23PM (#6254761)
    This week, NPR reported that indie labels are doing better than the Big Record Companies; for example, one major folk label (I believe 'twas Rounder Records) just had its best year EVER.

    The clear and obvious conclusion: Folkies and indie listeners are less prone to dastardly thieving music piracy than, say, Metallica listeners. Of course, the other explanation, that some labels are actually carrying acts people WANT to listen to as opposed to pushing mass-produced synthetic sound-alike cardboard cutout bands and buying air play for them, THAT explanation is too preposterous to consider...
  • by The Analog Kid (565327) on Friday June 20, 2003 @12:24PM (#6254774)
    I love the RIAA, they screw over the same people they need money to stay alive. Its great, I'm also sure all of you after reading this what to go out a buy a CD with a label of one of the RIAAs members. They apparently don't know that you can go so far before people get pissed off enough to backlash on you.
  • The usual reminder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday June 20, 2003 @12:25PM (#6254792) Homepage

    Please note, this is a civil action, not a criminal prosecution. The standard of evidence required is "balance of probability", not "beyond all reasonable doubt".

    If you are running a service on your machine that is responding to a file sharing protocol and choosing to advertise that you have a 5MB file called Metallica-Enter-Sandman.mp3, what is the balance of probability. Is it more probable that this is a copy of that song that you are offering to make further copies of, or is it more probable that it's your 2 million word magnus opus that you just happen to have given that name?

    OK, no doubt you (dear reader) consider yourself a special case. No doubt you deliberately keep piles of misnamed files around, or perhaps just have a hacked client that responds to any searches with "Sure, here it is", just to troll the RIAA. Fine, keep telling yourself that a court will believe you. But look at it another way; if files like that were on 100 Joe Filesharers' hard drives, how many of them would you expect to be copies of copyrighted songs, and how many renamed benign or random content? 1? 5? 10?

    If it's fewer than 50 (and it is, if we're being honest) then the balance of probability is that any given file found advertised on a filesharing network does exist, is the content that it says that it is, and is available for duplication in violation of copyright law.

    That's all that the RIAA have to show. They don't need to send in the Gestapo to kick down your door and sieze your machine (although they will if they can). They just have to convince a court that you probably duplicated content in violation of copyright law.

    Thank you for your attention. Normal service of shrieking about first amendments and absolute proof may now resume.

  • Pirate Who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somethinghollow (530478) on Friday June 20, 2003 @12:34PM (#6254877) Homepage Journal
    "...four individuals for allegedly pirating its music on P2P networks..."

    I didn't even know the RIAA had an album out.
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Friday June 20, 2003 @12:36PM (#6254891)
    This would be the same RIAA that publically said less then a year ago they would NOT be targeting individual downloaders? You cannot believe a word they say, for they are a lying sack of runny shit...nothing more!

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