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MIT, Boston College Refuse DMCA Subpoenas 668

Posted by michael
from the offer-they-could-refuse dept.
phreakmonkey writes "Here's an interesting change of pace- According to today's Boston Globe, MIT and Boston College have both refused to turn over the identities of students to the RIAA under subpoenas. Citing failure of compliance with court rules and student privacy concerns, both colleges have refused to give out the names, addresses, or phone numbers of students based on their Kazaa screen names and IP addresses. I wonder how long the schools will be able to keep the RIAA's pack of lawyers at bay..."
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MIT, Boston College Refuse DMCA Subpoenas

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  • by mgcsinc (681597) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:48PM (#6505715)
    More than simply the temporary blockade for the army of RIAA lawyers which that organization will refer to them as, these new subpoena challenges will hopefully catalyze a new set of appeals that finally lead to some kind of constitutionality ruling, by the Supreme court, about the controversial section of the DMCA which allows these privacy infringements, and consequently, about the heavily-industry-influenced DMCA as a whole...
    • by Esion Modnar (632431) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:59PM (#6505861)
      appeals that finally lead to some kind of constitutionality ruling, by the Supreme court

      And the RIAA will say "never mind" and drop it, if it looks to be heading that way. They have a bully mentality, and no stomach for a legal showdown at the OK Corral.

      • by dJCL (183345) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:50PM (#6506374) Homepage
        So what about the rest of reality?

        I'm sure that most people want to know what is happening with respect to the DMCA and the RIAA being annoying to all of us... But what is the RIAA or equivalents doing in the rest of the world along the same vein? I live in Canada and use random P2P utilities often. What are they going to try up here?

        And that leads to another issue, if they don't bother people in other countries, what happens when people figure out how to use locations in other countries to hide their actions? Hackers do it, I've seen that plenty, what happens when the P2P downloaders figure out how to do it and automate it. Or create zombie programs that basically turn any infected computer into a P2P forwarder, like the spam virii that are out there these days?

        And then there will be the day when something like waste or freenet will be common... what do they do then? I may chose to let the software and network store a certain amount of information on my system, but I don't know what is in there, and cannot find out. Will I still be liable?

        This random collection of (possibly badly placed) lawsuits will definatly lead to people just finding a way to stop the lawsuits. Lawsuits are annoying, and people find ways to avoid things that annoy them.

        As I said about BT, if someone started to get a good setup that used Freenet to get the .torrent file out and dealt with the central tracker issue, finding people becomes that much harder... Is the person unknowingly distributing the information, or do they do it on purpose... It puts an interesting twist on the questions. It's like in the article where they traced a IP to a room, but they don't know which machine was using it, so Oooops! my hard drive had a catastrophic failure that involved my trading it with a friend and losing it somewhere... Now who do you sue?

        Anyway, just my thoughts...

        • Canada is safe (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Sven The Space Monke (669560) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:09PM (#6507111)
          You don't have to worry about DMCA-style laws up here. Check out here for why [privcom.gc.ca]. Basically, we have bill C-6 (The Privacy Act) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to protect us. To boil it down, when the last stages of these laws come in to effect in jan2004, any non-journalistic/artistic business has to have a court order signed by a judge (not just a stamp from a clerk) to release any information about an identifiable person. So if an (RI|MP)AA-type organization sends just a subpoena to your ISP, your ISP is then supposed to tell them to go screw themselves. Gotta love it!
    • This path has already been traveled by Verizon, so unless BC and MIT have some new legal angle, they're just wasting their money on lawyer.
      • Of course "that road" is still being traveled by Verizon, but I would like to propose that this may be, in fact, an entirely different road.

        Almost every college I have been to behaves a bit like a small city - sometimes it's own state - with it's own set of rules, regulations, and policies.

        Most also have their own policing organizations and post office. What is the point?

        The point is that this may be slightly a matter of juristiction, and I'm certain that at least the college that invented Kerebos sees it that way. They police themselves - watching their own networks, and work very hard to ensure that their citizens are protected, and that what is private remains so.

        They also discipline them when they do something they shouldn't.

        This may not be legal reasoning for MIT and Boston, but it sure is ethical grounds. It is not in either MIT or Boston's best interest to have massive file-swapping, and as tech-savvy colleges, they certainly limit it.

        Does anyone know of any cases where students rights where protected from outside litigation because schools were taking care of the problems?
    • Having famous, reputable organizations defying the RIAA is very important, because it lends credibility to the fight against the music industry, which is crucial at this point.

      Despite all this battling against the RIAA's lawsuits, though, it seems to me that the real issue here (which isn't being addressed) is not file sharing but everything the RIAA stands for and represents. Why isn't anyone attacking their price-fixing and essential monopoly of the industry? I know there was a lawsuit against them for the price-fixing, I believe, but I for one am not seeing any changes.

      Obviously, I'm not the most informed on the details of the whole issue, but is it possible that the RIAA's big scare tactics and legal onslaught against file sharers is just to take peoples' eyes off of the real problem?
      • by pythian (259677) <tenerus@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:07PM (#6506558)
        but the real issue is neither P2P nor the the RIAA's price-fixing and other disreputable goings-on.

        The real issue, why BC and MIT said "Hey, wait a minute!" is Internet privacy. I agree with the previous poster who gave the nice example of the telephone service -- we expect (and should, given the tenets of the US) an assumed privacy in our communications. Once reasonable evidence is brought forth, conforming to the search and seizure laws, then communication can be monitored, and after that, the law can be brought down on the offender.

        It seems to me that the RIAA is trying (and often succeeding) in skipping a step -- that of monitoring after evidence is brought forth (a la a search warrant). They're monitoring and then getting the names to prosecute.

        Then again, I'm going off hearsay I read here.
      • I feel like I'm in Wonderland, sometimes. The RIAA does not control your food or water supply. They aren't your landlord. Their sole power is to offer a certain subset of music for sale, and to decide on the terms under which it will be sold. If they decided not to sell any of their music to anyone at any price, what would be the net effect? A lot of pissed off artists and consumers, sure, but everyone would live right through it.

        Hate the RIAA? Don't like their business model and practices? Then don't do business with them! If you're a music consumer, go to clubs, buy microlabel and band-pressing CDs, swap non-RIAA mp3s, and enjoy. If you're a music producer, release your tunes through some other channel.

        Why is this so hard for people to deal with?
        • by Stoutlimb (143245) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:55PM (#6508247)
          Ownership of culture. That's what it boils down to. American culture is owned by corps. It's taken to the extreme. Hell you can't even sing "Happy Birthday" to someone at work unless you pay the RIAA a royalty.

          A people's culture is a lot like food and water. And there's a huge cartel that owns most of American culture. And they keep changing the laws, so they will keep owning it forever.

          This is wrong.
    • I don't think it will... at least on a lower level, precedent has been set (the Verizon case) and usually most judges will defer to this. Verizon did want to hand over names and IPs, and I can assure you they have much more legal firepower than a college...

      Instead of waiting for a case to make it to the supreme court, why not join an organization like the EFF [eff.org] and start writing letters to your senators now?

      J

      • by SomePoorSchmuck (183775) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:23PM (#6506121) Homepage
        Verizon did want to hand over names and IPs, and I can assure you they have much more legal firepower than a college...
        Verizon, as a large corporation, may have astronomically more money than MIT et al, but this doesn't necessarily make the cases equivalent. Verizon's refusal to submit is based on simple market pressure -- the fear that if they don't make a show of protecting the heretofore assumed privacy of their users [laughable as that may be], then a significant number of users will defect to other providers.

        Education institutions, on the other hand, have previously existing restrictions on handling and protecting student records as defined by FERPA [ed.gov]. As the article states, MIT expresses willingness to comply with properly issued subpoenas. Essentially, these institutions are asking the courts to establish which law has primacy, FERPA or DMCA, because the current situation potentially leaves them open to lawsuits brought by students over violation of privacy as outlined in FERPA if they comply with the DMCA-based information requests.

        __
      • by stephanruby (542433) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:48PM (#6506354)
        Verizon did want to hand over names and IPs, and I can assure you they have much more legal firepower than a college...

        Those two Universities are at the forefront of Intellectual Property Law. If they get their faculty on board, I can assure you they have more legal firepower than Verizon. In any case, this point is moot since they don't seem like they're trying to fight it.

        At least, they delayed the intrusion and they gave their students ample notice that they were going to be raided. That's not bad.

    • by Cap'n Canuck (622106) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:15PM (#6506043)
      Democracy: two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch
      Liberty: a well armed sheep expressing his rights.

      It looks like sheep have arisen. I for one...
    • More than simply the temporary blockade for the army of RIAA lawyers which that organization will refer to them as

      Considering MIT has a 5 billion dollar endowment, I doubt very much that the RIAA will be able to outspend them. Besides which, after a while you start getting diminishing returns when hiring lawyers; once you have a large legal team working fulltime on a case, throwing money at them doesn't do anything.
    • by inburito (89603) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:35PM (#6507285)
      How about the official mit news release here. [mit.edu]
      It better explains what they are really doing.
  • Respect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordoftheFrings (570171) <`ac.tsefgarf' `ta' `llun'> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:51PM (#6505750) Homepage
    If there's one thing I can say about the colleges who did this, it's that I have respect for them. By not backing down and not giving into the demands of coporate america, they are setting a precedent for others, and are showing that we are not all going to bow to them. Respect.
  • Harvard (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:51PM (#6505751)
    I'd be impressed if Harvard did it... I'm fairly certain that they have enough lawyers to defend against the likes of the RIAA :)
  • Hopefully (Score:3, Informative)

    by captain_craptacular (580116) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:52PM (#6505759)
    these guys [bc.edu] can put up a good fight... It'll keep the second years busy anyway.
  • Harvard (Score:5, Funny)

    by Malicious (567158) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:52PM (#6505761)
    What we really need is a renound LAW school to stand up to them.
    That will provide results.
    • Re:Harvard (Score:3, Funny)

      by Loki_1929 (550940) *
      " What we really need is a renound LAW school to stand up to them.
      That will provide results."


      It's been my experience that no lawyer ever focuses on producing results. Rather, they seem to focus very heavily on the process - that process being the swift and steady draining of my wallet.

    • ''MIT of course has a policy of complying with lawfully issued subpoenas,'' the school's information services director, James Bruce, said in an e-mail statement. But Bruce said that MIT had been advised by counsel that the subpoena was not in compliance with court rules concerning the proper venue for such a filing and ''did not allow MIT time to send any notice as the law requires.''

      We might imagine "counsel" for MIT comes from one of the less technically adept Universities [harvard.edu]. After a couple of years at MI

    • Re:Harvard (Score:4, Funny)

      by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:19PM (#6507186) Journal
      Okay everyone. For your midtem, you are to find ways that Hillary Rosen is in violation of the law, then file those violations with the district attorney. Those students who cause her to serve the most jail time will be the ones who get the best grades. For extra credit: find criminal violations related to any of the politicans that helped pass the DMCA.
  • by sweeney37 (325921) * <mikesweeneyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:52PM (#6505764) Homepage Journal
    Interesting that the article mentions Dave Matthews [livedaily.com] and Radiohead [theregister.co.uk] since they both have always been in support of file-sharing...

    Mike
    • RIAA members own the copyrights to the songs. What the bands say doesn't mean shit.

      This is why it's effectively OK to share out Metallica tunes; Metallica has not gotten involved in the post-Napster RIAA actions and the RIAA can't sue for material they don't own.

    • by bluesangria (140909) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:26PM (#6507237)
      I thought it quite in keeping with the whole tone of the article - overtly sympathetic to the schools and the students.
      My evidence:

      1) Article title: "BC, MIT decline to name students in music-use case", as opposed to "music-piracy" or "song-stealing" case. OR

      2) "The recording industry's strategy -- pursuing both high-profile users with hundreds of megabytes of music as well as small-time downloaders -- is intended as a wake-up call to Internet music enthusiasts like Alexa Bedell-Healey - as opposed to "illegal file-swappers" or "song-traders"

      Any article can be written to have a slightly positive or negative tone while still remaining "truthful" to the facts of the story. The name of the game to write more "positive" sounding articles like this one that portray the RIAA in a slightly negative light.

      blue

  • by blackmonday (607916) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:52PM (#6505767) Homepage
    Imagine the turmoil to a school administrator, knowing their students' life savings are about to get sucked up by the RIAA for sharing a few songs.

    I hope more colleges follow their lead.

  • Not very long (Score:5, Informative)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:52PM (#6505768) Homepage Journal
    The BC guy even said that once the subpoena was filed 'correctly' they would comply (not they have a choice, of course). But this is more of a procedural issue then anything else. Of course, it shows that they are not interested in simply handing over names and IP address without actually needing too.

    I wish my school was more interested in protecting student rights. The University "Police" gladly assisted in a 'raid' on a couple student's dorm rooms, after checking their class schedule to see when they had class, and thus out of the room (which is a pretty big assumption, given the propensity to skip class around here... but it turned out to be true)
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) * <<teamhasnoi> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:53PM (#6505781) Homepage Journal
    Got a P2P proxy server for us?

    Just kidding!

    (not really)

    ...am too..really

    shhh...not.

  • MIT eh ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrankoBoy (677614) <<frankoboy> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:54PM (#6505787) Homepage Journal
    Would be sweet if the nerds down there would unleash some futuristic greedy-bastard-ass-kicking robots as a preemptive strike ;)
  • by BWJones (18351) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:54PM (#6505788) Homepage Journal
    Hrmmm. I hope the schools maintain their privacy (for privacy's sake not to protect piracy), but I fear that the RIAA will start to pressure the donors of these schools (where many $$'s for research and support come from).

    • Then again, depending on the affiliations of the donors, they may not care.

      MIT's-reputation-in-general vs. temporary-RIAA-spasming... for the kind of people that make big donations, that's probably (hopefully?) not too hard of desicion.

      For lesser know schools that may have been hit with this, I can, sadly, more easily imagine donation repercussions.
  • Not entirely true (Score:5, Informative)

    by Adam9 (93947) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:55PM (#6505808) Journal
    After reading this article [boston.com], you can see that the schools will comply with the RIAA. The schools' problem is that they don't believe the subpoenas were correctly filed. They claim that they also had too little time to notify the students, which is required by some other federal laws.

    So don't get your hopes up just yet. On the plus side, the RIAA said that they don't want to refile. So this may get interesting.
    • Re:Not entirely true (Score:3, Informative)

      by Valar (167606)
      They are being difficult. They say they will comply, because if they just say "hell no" they will face legal consequences. This way, they can buy time and hopefully put together a real, long term plan.
    • by iabervon (1971) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:06PM (#6507930) Homepage Journal
      In fact, MIT's lawyers determined that what the RIAA wanted them to do was illegal, and if there's anything MIT doesn't want, it's lawsuits from the families of students. In order to avoid liability, MIT in fact has to resist the subpoena as much as possible (I'd actually be interested to know if any Northeastern studetns and families are considering suing Northeastern over complying with subpoenas there).

      MIT may be willing to comply with a proper subpoena (and, in fact, pretty much has to agree to comply with a truly proper one), but this could be the beginning of a long process. First, the subpoena has to be filed in a court that has jurisdiction over MIT; then they has to be given sufficient time to obey the law regarding informing the students. But it is also possible that subpoenas filed without a judge's approval (which may be done under the DMCA) may be unconstitutional, which is working its way up the court system.

      By the time a subpoena reaches MIT which they can follow without being liable to suit by students' families, these students may well no longer be students, and the IP addresses may no longer be theirs, and the records may have been routinely purged.

      For that matter, by now the students (who have seen their pseudonyms in the local paper and on slashdot), may have gotten different KaZaa names and IPs, such that when the RIAA gets the proper paperwork through, the address will be registered to one Jack Florey, resident of fifth east, who was just here but left down the stairwell at the other end of the hall... and, of course, the current records will be long gone, per institute policies, as required by federal law.
  • Technicality (Score:5, Informative)

    by Orne (144925) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:56PM (#6505823) Homepage
    In what I've read so far, the two Boston colleges refused the subpoenas based on (1) they were filed in a Washington DC court and served in Boston's district, and (2) the colleges were not given sufficient time to prepare the information before the stated due dates. Essentially, in order to comply with the suits, they would violate their own respective privacy policies. However, there was nothing stated that the respective colleges would not comply once the suits are resubmitted according to their guidelines...
  • by Nemus (639101) <astarchman@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:56PM (#6505825) Journal
    I'm not surprised that MIT is attempting to reject the RIAA's efforts to abuse the court system and make general asses of themselves. My hope is that other colleges and institutions realize that when one of the most prestigous colleges in the country is willing to tell the RIAA to f off, thats a bandwagon worth jumping on. Simply put, it is the responsiblity of the college to monitor their networks, and take actions against those who break the law when it concerns usage of those networks. It is not the RIAA's place to dictate what colleges will do with their own networks, and what they will do to the users of those networks.

    • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:28PM (#6506179) Homepage Journal
      Actually, MIT has a long history of vigorously defending their people against legal attacks. They also strictly enforce rules like the one about turning down funding that doesn't give the researcher and MIT total control of publication. They have won a lot of power struggles against the US government, while simultaneously taking lots of funding money from Federal agencies at the same time. You can do things like that when you have the prestige that MIT has. Too bad other schools' administrations get cowed by legal bullies. If they had the guts to stand up and resist, they'd probably have the same prestige that MIT does.

      And they do have strong ties to Harvard, with access to lots of the Harvard Law folks. An MIT ID card will get you into almost any place at Harvard, and vice versa. This isn't all that special, though; ties to Tufts, BU and BC are nearly as strong.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:51PM (#6506379)

      I've read the first few replies to this, and aside from the fact that a lot of people seem to have misunderstood the situation (the colleges will comply, they're basically just objecting to incorrectly filed paperwork) everyone thinks this is great.

      It is not an abuse of the court system to take legal action against someone who is breaking the law. The fact that these kids may be at college doesn't excuse being criminals.

      If, as you say, it is the responsibility of the colleges to manage their own networks, then what do you say about a college that condones breaking the law by taking no action to prevent it?

      If colleges don't take reasonable action to prevent the users of their networks breaking the law using those networks, then whose place do you think it is? Clearly central government don't have the resources to combat this problem effectively, which is why they pushed through the DMCA in the first place.

      As usual, this comes down to "me, too" bitching about how unfair the RIAA is, and as usual it's aiming at the wrong target. You have a legitimate complaint that the RIAA and those they represent abuse an effective monopoly position to overcharge for the goods they sell. You do not have a legitimate complaint when people who have broken the law get chased down for it.

      If the colleges concerned actually were trying to prevent that, they wouldn't be heroes, they'd be accomplices. However, since they're not, they're simply being professional and not giving out private details until a properly filed order requires them to do so.

      • by Nemus (639101) <astarchman@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:44PM (#6506909) Journal
        And you seem to be one of those who assumes that whenever a law is passed, its sanctified by your deity of choice and becomes holy legal writ, not meant to be questioned.

        Simply put, in this case, the law is wrong and needs to be changed. It is wrong for the RIAA to be able to sue someone $750 all the way to $150,000 for "supposedly" sharing a song. And theres the fact that in most cases they seem to want to go after the maximum amount. All the RIAA is doing is searching Kazaa and other services to see what everyone has available for sharing. They aren't checking to see if a file has been shared, or how many times its been shared. Remember, even when the college kids earlier in the year were sued, the RIAA gave a count of the number of files they were supposedly sharing, they never gave an account as to how many times each song was downloaded, etc. The amounts they are able to sue for are "perceieved amounts" in terms of financial damages, and have no basis in reality.

        For example, lets say Billy Jo Bob, a newly signed country singer, makes an album. Billy joe sucks, and very, very few people like him. His album grosses, not nets, but grosses, $50,000. Now, lets say that one of the few people who bought it rips it, shares it, and is then sued by the RIAA. For each TRACK, not entire compilation, they can legally sue for $150,000. Now, lets say the album had 10 tracks on it, and the user puts them all up for grabs. That user can be legally sued for "costing" the record company $1,500,000, even if theres no proof that a single song was downloaded from him. All of an album that grossed barely a percentage of that amount.

        To put it in terms that you might be abe to understand, this is the legal equivalent of saying that if you own a gun, and someone on your street is murdered using a gun, you're guilty. The police do not need to gather evidence beyond your owning the gun, for example, ballitics or checking alibis for veracity. Then, the family of the murder victim can sue you for wages lost, and the total they can legally sue you for is the same as if the guy became CEO of a Fortune 500 company and worked til he was 80.

        Instead of adopting the holier than thou attitude, consider that this is a democracy. We are, at least in theory, in charge of this country, not the lawmakers. The rights of protest and civil disobedience are etched throughout the history of our legal system. And, from what I understand, the stance that MIT and BC are taking is that they're being polite right now, giving the RIAA a gracious way out, but if the RIAA still pursues the information, they will tell them to shove it.

        As for file sharing itself, I'm not saying its right and legal. I do it myself, and I acknowledge I'm breaking the law. And I could care less. I have my reasons, none of which I will speak of here, but I do acknowledge it is not legal by any means. However, it is not the place of the RIAA to be creating so much FUD and irresponsible litigation. I imagine if the laws were changed to something somewhat sane, the universities would have no major issues with giving the RIAA the information. As of now however, I hope that they're seeing an abuse of the system, and an opportunity to protect their students from a ravenous corporate beast, while they deal with the issue themselves.

        However, jusding by your apprent support for the DMCA:

        Clearly central government don't have the resources to combat this problem effectively, which is why they pushed through the DMCA in the first place.

        I expect you might need help in understanding all these big words.

        • Quick-draw? ROFLMAO. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @07:17AM (#6509922)

          Ah, yes, name-calling, exaggeration and patronising prose: the tools of defensive hypocrites everywhere. Why do you assume that because I disagree with you, I am stupid or ill-informed? I am neither.

          And you seem to be one of those who assumes that whenever a law is passed, its sanctified by your deity of choice and becomes holy legal writ, not meant to be questioned.

          On the contrary. If you had bothered to read any of my past posts before making assumptions about me, you'd have found that I wrote on the importance of constantly questioning laws just the other day. I also suggested that the way to see things changed for the better is to fix the broken laws, not to break the current ones.

          It is wrong for the RIAA to be able to sue someone $750 all the way to $150,000 for "supposedly" sharing a song.

          Oh, please. The hypocrisy around this whole debate is staggering, and your "supposedly" above does nothing to help your case. One minute, going after P2P is an abuse, and they should go after the perps. When they do that, everyone's up in arms about invasions of this or that. Now the perps aren't really perps, they just happened to leave illegal downloadable copies of current tracks lying around their systems? Who are you trying to kid?

          And yes, the astronomical amounts they can theoretically sue for are "perceived" amounts disconnected with reality. And how often have the courts awarded them those amounts?

          To put it in terms that you might be abe to understand, this is the legal equivalent of saying that if you own a gun, and someone on your street is murdered using a gun, you're guilty.

          If you insist on using emotional and disconnected analogies, then at least be sensible. It is more akin to saying that if someone points a gun at me and I genuinely believe they're about to shoot me, I can shoot them first and it's reasonable self defence.

          Instead of adopting the holier than thou attitude, consider that this is a democracy. We are, at least in theory, in charge of this country, not the lawmakers.

          I'm adopting a holier than thou attitude? Now that is funny.

          And no, you don't live in a democracy such as you describe. Think about it, and if necessary, check what the word "democracy" actually means.

          And, from what I understand, the stance that MIT and BC are taking is that they're being polite right now, giving the RIAA a gracious way out, but if the RIAA still pursues the information, they will tell them to shove it.

          That's an interesting understanding, which appears to differ from the understanding of almost everyone else here. What do you know that we all don't?

          As for file sharing itself, I'm not saying its right and legal. I do it myself, and I acknowledge I'm breaking the law. [...] I imagine if the laws were changed to something somewhat sane, the universities would have no major issues with giving the RIAA the information.

          Perhaps at some point you should consider that copyright laws used to be sane. Then people like you abused the system on a massive scale, and the system responded. You don't like the response? Maybe you should have thought of that before you were abusive, instead of naively believing that you could get away with it forever.

          And no, I don't like the DMCA, nor did I say or even imply that I did. I simply look at it from an impartial outsider's point of view, and recognise why it was proposed and allowed to pass successfully into law.

          I've noticed that people from the US usually cry "Unconstitutional!" under two circumstances. One is that a law has been passed that is a genuine violation of their rights or a real threat to their liberty. Another is that a law has been passed that prevents them personally from doing something out of line, a

      • by Riskable (19437) <YouKnowWho@YouKnowWhat.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:54PM (#6508239) Homepage Journal
        "It is not an abuse of the court system to take legal action against someone who is breaking the law. The fact that these kids may be at college doesn't excuse being criminals."

        I'd just like to point out that at this stage of the game, the courts have not been involved.

        The DMCA gives the RIAA the right to issue Subpoenas to whoever they want, whenever they want... Without requiring a judge's signiture.

        It's a blatant violation of the constitutional right to due process. The more subpoenas they make, the more people will get mad about this fact (hopefully).
  • more like... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:59PM (#6505858)
    I wonder how long the schools will be able to keep the RIAA's pack of lawyers at bay

    More like, "how long will the schools be able to justify spending thousands of dollars to protect the identities of students breaking the law."

  • by David Hume (200499) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:01PM (#6505887) Homepage

    Talk about burying the lede. The Boston Globe buried the most important issue in the last paragraph:

    Under a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by Congress to combat music piracy, music companies may issue the subpoenas without a judge's approval. Verizon has challenged that aspect of the law, saying it violates users' rights to due process and privacy. A judge ruled in January, however, that subpoenas do not require a judge's signature; Verizon again appealed.


    It is this issue that might make a difference. If the provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act for issuing subpoenas without judicial action is ruled unconstitutional, and the ruling is upheld, then the efforts of the RIAA will be stopped in their tracks until the law is rewritten.

    The rest of the university objections amount to no more than a short-term fight over notice and venue:

    ''MIT of course has a policy of complying with lawfully issued subpoenas,'' the school's information services director, James Bruce, said in an e-mail statement. But Bruce said that MIT had been advised by counsel that the subpoena was not in compliance with court rules concerning the proper venue for such a filing and ''did not allow MIT time to send any notice as the law requires.''


    Even if MIT is right, these are problems the RIAA can easily remedy. If the RIAA has to file the actions locally, instead of filing them all in Washington, D.C., it will. If the RIAA has to provide more time for notice, it will. Neither of these issues will halt the onslaught for long.

  • by Thunderstruck (210399) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:06PM (#6505936)
    What happens when we convince all of these poor students not to settle?

    Can they defend pro-se, loose the case, declare bankruptcy, and leave the RIAA to pay its own lawyers for thousands of suits nationwide?
  • Curious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skinfitz (564041) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:08PM (#6505958) Journal
    From the article: ...In a subpoena addressed to MIT, the association is demanding the name, address, and phone number of a student who used the nickname ''crazyface'' to download at least five songs, including Radiohead's ''Idioteque'' and Dave Matthews Band's ''Ants Marching.''...

    So lets get this straight - the (alleged) student used the nickname "crazyface" to download "at least" 5 songs? How do they know this unless they were sharing the songs and monitoring who downloaded them in the first place? Does this mean that the RIAA were sharing songs on KaZaa??

    If this is the case, are they also not liable under the DMCA?
    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:34PM (#6506237) Journal
      Does this mean that the RIAA were sharing songs on KaZaa??

      If this is the case, are they also not liable under the DMCA?


      I doubt it, they didn't break any encryption to do this. As for copyright infringement, they didn't do that either as they do have the right to copy those files. The thing I would question is, if they have the right to distribute those files, and were willingly making them available online for free, without any sort of disclaimer, is the person downloading them still in violation of copyright? Cosider for a moment, the person downloading the songs downloaded them from a group who has the right to distribute, and who did not make any attempt to state that downloading those songs, in that fashion, was not allowed. In normal law enforcement, I think this is called entrapment, e.g. the police can't offer to sell you cocaine and then arrest you for trying to buy cocain, unless you initiate the sale. Just something to ponder.

  • Subpoena Sans Judge? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fareq (688769) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:12PM (#6506007)
    This is a very "special" piece of legislation that I suspect will be destroyed before too long, even given the current Supreme Court's tendencies to do what they want instead of what the Constitution demands.

    See... if any copyright holder can issue any subpoena for any reason without a judge's support then...

    hey... guess what...

    Every paper I've ever written is copyrighted by me. I could register one/all of these, and then go off sending these subpoenas out at... everybody on the entire internet, and since no judge has to approve it, and the recipients are legally obligated to respond, I could build lists of persons names, addresses, telephone numbers, ISPs, and IP addresses...

    now, dial-up users would change IPs frequently, but not broadband users.

    Now, thanks to all the information I'll get from the ISPs I could even see where these users have been going on the internet. (if such logs are available -- and if not, well, then pretend that instead of me doing this its doubleclick, which has ads (and thus tracking) on more webpages than anyone could hope to ever count), and do all sorts of cool things: identity theft (ok, that would be illegal, but easy), very targetted marketing (very valuable -- go from what URLs surfed to stuff in your physical mail box) or just sell these lists to other companies who didn't want to go through the hassle of collecting the info, or any other number of things that would be bad.

    So. Verizon, keep on appealling, I think you will win, and in the meanwhile know that we support your efforts!

    Oh, and yay to the schools too, please continue to fight!
    • Copyright holders cannot just issue subpoenas themselves under this law. They have to file a sworn declaration of alleged infringement with the US Federal District court clerk, who will issue the subpoena. Lying on this declaration would be a felony. Using the information obtained for any purpose other than protecting copyrights would be illegal.
  • by MerlynEmrys67 (583469) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:17PM (#6506052)
    I know the head of the MIT network. He is a VERY good tech guy with bonafide IETF credentials in security, and the legal aspects of security.
    I used to love listening to him at lunch at conferences talking about the various legal troubles that MIT students would get into including the infamous bonsai kitten website rap. He talked about how a couple of armed Humane Society officers showed up in his office one day to demand he reviel what he knew about the students that put up the website.
    His response was, "I can't tell you that, you have passed student privacy laws that prevent me from reveiling the students name". Officers left in a huff, but Jeff was right.
  • Student Privacy law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PenguinRadio (69089) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:17PM (#6506053) Homepage
    The Department of Education Website [ed.gov] has a nice primer on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

    I should note there are exceptions listed:

    * School officials with legitimate educational interest;
    * Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    * Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    * Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    * Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
    * Accrediting organizations;
    * To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    * Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
    * State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

    Interesting they allow "judicial order or lawfully issue subpoena"
  • Scary DMCA element! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kwiqsilver (585008) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:31PM (#6506210)
    I knew the DMCA was designed to give the companies that bought the votes ridiculous powers, but this is beyond scary:
    Under a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by Congress to combat music piracy, music companies may issue the subpoenas without a judge's approval.

    Private companies can issue subpoenas!!
    Doesn't that violate the Constitutionally guaraneed right to Due Process?

    • > Private companies can issue subpoenas!!

      In a nation increasingly ruled by lobbyists, judges are just unnecessary middle-men for this kind of thing, and can be expected to be downsized out of the loop.

  • by inburito (89603) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:38PM (#6506267)
    I think that Boston globe mixed up downloading and uploading. My impression is that RIAA can only really track users that are actively sharing files and only after a requesting that file and successfully downloading at least parts of it can they conclude that the person in other end is engaging in copyright infringing activities.

    Now, being an MIT student I've heard of people who had been sharing files and were contacted by the IT department and asked to stop doing so (or they'd cut them off). They don't really care about downloading but uploading is bad. Generally they can only detect major bandwidth hoggers (of course easier to notice upstream peaks) so it might be a case of just some isolated kazaa-client used by a summer school student (not regular mit material) who was dum enough to not switch sharing off.

    MIT's network btw. is completely open to the internet. Each dorm room computer is hooked directly on net without any firewalls. Students can get their own static ip addresses and dns entries in the form whatever.mit.edu. You can also use dhcp around campus and I'll bet that none of the addresses are logged. Alternatively you could also just pick an address in the right subnetwork and hope that nobody else is using it (not a good idea, unless you know what you're doing - any problems could get your net access revoked).

    After some deliberation MIT could also say: sorry, ip address 1.2.3.4 was dynamically allocated and we don't hold records of the dynamic allocations. Better luck next time. Then again, the above is mostly just my impressions and I could be wrong in some of them.
  • by nihilogos (87025) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:38PM (#6506271)
    Under a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by Congress to combat music piracy, music companies may issue the subpoenas without a judge's approval.

    Far out. Anyone know exactly what the provision entails?
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:27PM (#6506765)


      > > Under a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by Congress to combat music piracy, music companies may issue the subpoenas without a judge's approval.

      > Far out. Anyone know exactly what the provision entails?

      Apparently it entails raids on universities and other ISPs to get the names of people involved in file swapping.

      Notice that prior copyright law already made things like file swapping illegal, but prosecuting the little guy was not a profitable exercise for big copyright holders... all that bother with obtaining the evidence legally, a trial, and a judgement in proportion to the economic value of the crime, feh!

      The DMCA exists so that those companies can practice direct interdiction rather than having the government do things by due process, and also so that those interdictions won't cost more than the companies think they're worth.

      In a country where money matters above all else, when due process is deemed too expensive you're bound to see it eroded.

      Too bad people can't vote for candidates who promise to preserve our traditional rights and freedoms rather than for those who promise to pump up our bank balances. Corporate greed is just an indirect manifestation of individual greed, and we'll never rein in the lobbyists until we learn to rein in ourselves.

  • by felonious (636719) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:50PM (#6506378) Journal
    I know this is all about file sharing and stopping P2P users from downloading copyrighted material but this issue has now transformed into something much larger.

    The main issue is now your rights as guaranteed under our constitution. How the hell can the RIAA issue supoenas without judicial oversight? I'm not aware of any govermental department that can issue supoenas on a whim and on an as needed basis at the federal or local level. Our rights in the constitution guarantee us from unlawful prosecution so this RIAA gifted law as madated by paid off politicians is inherently flawed at it's core.

    Is it going to take the RIAA busting in your house and holding you at gunpoint treating you as an enemy combatant to realize wtf is going on here? This is bordering on insanity. Prosecuting users at whim with little or no proof and throwing them into financial ruin over an mp3? These aren't the big fish or anywhere near it.

    As said previously there is clear and open PIRACY not infringement in many foreign countries and our own where many elements play a part in mass producing cds and dvds to sell on the open market.

    P2P is not the black market.
    It is the sampling pool for future purchasers of the product the RIAA is demonizing into something that is to be resented and despised. I know there are people out there who just dl and don't buy but my experience is most do buy but as our rights are restricted and our choices limited how long will the buying continue?

    I myself no longer buy because I'm not supporting the RIAA period. I have never seen a group of supposedly savvy business people be so ignorant to what is going on in their own market.

    Consumers are voting with their wallets so now they want to sue us into submission? How is this progressive thinking?

    I will not let the RIAA impose what they think is best for me.
    I will not let the RIAA make my decisions on who, what, when, where, and how I listen and buy my music.
    I will not give into to this bullying and I will not support them again.

    A business entity is buying laws that restrict our freedoms and making downloading entertainment a crime more severe than violent crime with much harsher punishment. I keep asking myself when will people wake up to this and do something or in this case nothing-meaning boycotting cd/music sales?

    The ramifications for these laws being passed are far reaching so take a cold hard look at what's going on before it's too late...
  • RIAA Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by GoodNicsTken (688415) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:38PM (#6506862)
    Matthew Oppenheim is the lead lawyer for the RIAA.
    Jonathan Lamy is another legal lackey.
    Amy Weiss is head of the RIAA Dis-Information Ministry.

    If you want to contact the RIAA here is their phone number and address:
    RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOC OF AMERICA
    1330 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW SUITE 300
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036
    US
    Phone number is 202-775-0101 (Apparently this number was copywrighted by an individual who now wants to sue the RIAA for using it)

    Here is the board of directors for the RIAA (from www.boycott-riaa.com):

    I wanted to make sure everyone understands who is behind the decisions the the RIAA makes. If it is going after users, or going after software companies etc. These are the people who make those decisions. Remember when you buy recordings from the RIAA members you are helping to finance their assault on the copyright laws of this country, on the people who love music, and yourself.
    Bill Evans

    Roger Ames, Warner Music Group
    Michele Anthony, Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
    Val Azzoli, The Atlantic Group
    Jose Behar, Univision Music Group
    Bob Cavallo, Buena Vista Music Group
    Ronnie Dashev, Maverick Recording Company
    Clive Davis, RCA Music Group
    Tracey Edmonds, Edmonds Record Group
    Dick Griffey, Solar Records/J.Hines Co.
    Zach Horowitz, Universal Music Group
    Don Ienner, Sony Music U.S.
    David Johnson, Warner Music Group
    Lawrence Kenswil, Universal Music Group
    Mel Lewinter, Universal Music Group
    Alain Levy, EMI Recorded Music
    Roy Lott, Virgin Records
    David Munns, EMI Recorded Music Worldwide
    Antonio Reid, Arista Records Inc.
    Sylvia Rhone, Elektra Entertainment Group
    Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, BMG Entertainment
    Tom Silverman, Tommy Boy Music
    Andy Slater, Capitol Records
    Thomas Stein, BMG Entertainment
    Tom Tyrrell, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.

    This list is directly from the RIAA website.

    lawmakers who do the RIAA's bidding:
    Rep. Robert C. Scott
    Rep. Adam B.Schiff
    Rep. Bob Goodlatte
    Rep. Darrell Issa
    Rep. Ed Bryant
    Rep. Elton Gallegly
    Rep. Henry Hyde
    Rep. Howard Coble
    Rep. Howard L Berman
    Rep. James Sensenbrenner
    Rep. John Conyers, Jr
    Rep. Lamar Smith
    Rep. Lindsey O. Graham
    Rep. Melissa Hart
    Rep. Ric Keller
    Rep. Robert Wexler
    Rep. William L. Jenkins
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein
    Sen. Fritz Hollings
    Sen. Gordon Smith
    Sen. Joseph Biden
    Sen. Rick Santorurn

    Sensenbrenner,(head of the copyright committee) took an RIAA funded 18,000 trip in Jan of 2003 to Taiwan and Thailand to warn them about copyright. This is Illegal. Learn more about it and write your represenatives requesting an ethics investigation here(webcasters alliance):

    http://216.116.171.66/zzformpage.asp

    The RIAA is DIRTY! Use the system to beat them at their own game. We out number them about 1,000,000 to 1. Never forget that, write congress today.

    (Sorry for the double post, keep forgetting to change the formating.
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:49PM (#6506954)
    I'm thinking about our campus. For the student VLAN, we have a DHCP server. Right now, anyone can come on campus, plug into a port, get an IP and launch Kazza.

    There really is no way of tracing someone down unless we find the machine online and go see who is plugged in that port.

    All that is assuming that someone did not forge the MAC address to be someone elses.

    So, a school could turn over student info, and that student would have to expend tons of $$$ to prove it wasn't them, or just cave and pay off the RIAA extortion. (Sounds like SCO)

    What's next, laws requiring a certain amount of logging everywhere? And who is gonna pay for this? Are the gonna outlaw dumb hubs?
  • FUCKIN' EH!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by swordgeek (112599) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:11PM (#6507127) Journal
    FINALLY, a large, respected organisation telling the RIAA to go fuck themselves until they bleed.

    As far as I'm concerned, the RIAA has driven more people to illegal file sharing than any other force or organisation, and they've done it deliberately just so they can get indignant and prosecute those same people.

    Fucking RIAA. At least have the decency to treat the musicians better than dirt.
  • Very Chilling.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nolife (233813) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:16PM (#6507162) Homepage Journal
    the recording industry organization provides a KaZaA screen name, an Internet Protocol, or IP, address, and a list of songs it says were shared from the location.

    A LIST of files. No actual files, just a list. The actual file called "Metallica - Master of Puppets" could conatin my voice saying "Lars, this was your last album worth buying" repeating over and over again to fill the 5.53 time slot. Everyone knows these are out there and I swear I read in the past about the RIAA doing this themselves to water down the results. How can a list of file names possibly stand up in court? I am not sticking up for copyright violators but the RIAA was no real evidence here.
  • by dotgod (567913) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:19PM (#6507185)
    HA, HA, there's no way the RIAA-police are gonna get me as long as my anonymity is preserved. Since my school won't give me away there's no way that they can get my IP addr...

    *footsteps*

    *knock knock*

  • How do they know? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dotgod (567913) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:22PM (#6507202)
    How does the RIAA find out who downloaded these files anyway?
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:41PM (#6507330) Homepage Journal
    You can avoid being sued or arrested if you download legal music instead of getting your tunes from the p2p networks.

    Many unsigned musicians provide free downloads of their music on their websites as a way to attract more fans, for example my friends the Divine Maggees [divinemaggees.com]. Many such musicians, while relatively unknown, are as good as any major label band and certainly an improvement over the pablum they serve up on ClearChannel.

    You can find many more examples in my new article:

    The article also explores some of the historical and legal issues behind copyright, and suggests steps the file traders can take to make file sharing legal.

    If you're a musician who offers downloads of your music, I can link to your band's website from the article. Please follow the instructions given here [goingware.com].

  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:34PM (#6507693) Homepage
    All lawsuits require some form of valid evidence. A "list" does not quantify evidence. Get your attorney to demand that the RIAA download and play every alleged file you have on their list.

    Every.

    Single.

    Song.

    They'll either dismiss the case, or the jury will have comitted suicide by the 8th hour of your "Best of Menudo", "Backstreet Boys Greatest Hits", and "Nsyn Nlimited" collection.

    End of case.

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