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Anonymous User Challenges RIAA Subpoena 411

Posted by michael
from the stand-up-stand-up-stand-up-for-your-rights dept.
Arclightfire writes "First there was the setback of a New England judge throwing out an attempt to uncover the names of students at MIT accused of piracy and now CNet is reporting that a 'Jane Doe' is arguing that the subpoena violates her right to due process." There's also a Reuters story.
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Anonymous User Challenges RIAA Subpoena

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:37AM (#6764799) Homepage
    "The most important issue is that if you are innocent, if the RIAA has screwed up, it is critical that individuals have the ability to challenge the subpoenas before their identifies are compromised," said Fred von Lohmann, an EFF attorney.

    Definitly. Problem here is this: She also "participated" in the Kazaa file-swapping community but tried to prevent other people from accessing files on her computer, the documents state. So, while she was using it as a media player (*cough*) she was also "participating" (whatever that means). Just because she "tried to block it" doesn't excuse her. This isn't going to help the public much.

    Just my worthless .02
    • by iMMersE (226214) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:42AM (#6764845) Homepage
      That's right, leechers should go to prison!
      • At least clients/networks like eMule reward people for uploading and allowing incoming connections. During busy times, leechers on eMule have to wait about 4-5 times as long for files. I wish that eMule had an option to ban them all together, but when eMule servers get really busy, the leechers, or "LOW ID" people, can't get a single file.
        • You misunderstand what the LowID in eMule/eDonkey network represents. Leechers come in all flavours, Low ID and High ID. A Low ID signifies that you are behind a firewall and/or cannot accept incoming connections. A High ID is derived from your IP address, as far as I know. Mine changed when I changed my static IP. Obviously, a leecher can have a High ID; leech status is established via the rating numbers that appear in user info.

          Now no one likes Low IDs (and if you CAN accept incoming connections you shou
    • by joel8x (324102) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:43AM (#6764856) Homepage
      So, while she was using it as a media player (*cough*) she was also "participating" (whatever that means)

      In her defense, I have gone to uninstall Kazaa on people's machines, and there are some that really do believe that its the only way to listen to their MP3's. I often have to explain to them that there are many other players out there that work better! The vast majority of casual users out there really just don't know any better, and that fact may have a major impact on these subpoenas. How do you prove that someone is computer literate enough to know they were doing something wrong?
      • by TopShelf (92521) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:48AM (#6764904) Homepage Journal
        That's a pretty lame excuse... I have several friends who have used Kazaa, most of which are PC novices, and everybody knew it first and foremost as a passport to free music. I don't think that argument will hold any water in court, particularly since(as noted above), she admits "participating" in the sharing network. There are plenty of reasons to despise the RIAA and their tactics, but this lady better have something good up her sleeve...
        • but this lady better have something good up her sleeve...

          Nah.. nothing good... just the constitution.. which doesn't mean shit lately (since we're consumers now, not citizens)

          Responding to the point about the lame excuse, a lot of people REALLY are that dumb. I do, however, feel that this woman really wasn't.
          • by mkldev (219128) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:34AM (#6766079) Homepage
            was Matt Oppenheim's comment, "Their arguments have already been addressed by federal court and been rejected."

            This strikes me as a statement made by someone who knows he is going to lose. What he failed to mention was that it was upheld by the DC Circuit Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

            Now if you've ever studied the law, you probably know that the circuit court decisions are only considered binding in the circuit in which they were filed. When a Massachusetts court ruled that the subpoenas were invalid in their court system, that means that the RIAA in those cases is now bound by the decisions of the 1st circuit courts, which may not match those of the DC circuit (and probably won't, given that the DC courts are one of the more conservative circuits, and thus more likely to be friendly to the RIAA than the 1st circuit would be....

            Now enter Jane doe in Sacramento, CA. California is part of the 9th circuit. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is well-known to be one of the most liberal circuits in the country. It also issues the most zany rulings of any circuit, probably largely to force touchy issues to the Supreme Court. (It is the circuit with the most overturned rulings as well, though, so don't assume that a favorable ruling there will necessarily stand.)

            The point is that this won't end until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue, and to my knowledge, they have not. This injunction filing in a California court is a very good and potentially effective step towards kicking the abusive parts of the RIAA squarely in the nuts.

            Not all of the RIAA is technologically inept, though. I've dealt with parts of the RIAA recently, and they were very professional and courteous. It's too bad their upper management has taken that organization, which performs a lot of very useful services, and corrupted it, co-opting it to make abusive attacks on the public. I daresay that they do not speak for all of the RIAA, much less for all of its members. Here's hoping they get put in their place.

            • I cannot imagine any useful service that the RIAA could be performing sufficient to justify it's other actions. In particular it's corruption of the legislature.

              This isn't merely that I don't believe that they are performing any such useful service, but literally that I cannot imagine any such service that they could be performing that I couldn't immediately determine wasn't being done. Or at least not by them.

              More to the point, the existence of, and actions of, the RIAA and the MPAA cause me to questio
            • Excellent explanation about the various circuits.
              I think you're right that the Supreme Court hasn't looked at a number of these issues. And even since the DMCA was first proposed, I seem to recall hearing that the underlying idea was the everyone on board, Congress and the Clinton administration, knew it was unconstitutional so it was politically pain free. Just pass it and wait for the Supreme Court to nullify it. The question is why the RIAA is so inept as to force it to the Supreme Court.
              The nex
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Not that I disagree, but "Kazaa Media Desktop" does have media management/player functionality in the program, and their web page hypes those features over the P2P stuff. It's their way of pretending to be a legitimate program.

          It's quite possible that a user wanted to use those features without understanding that they were sharing files. Kinda like how people suck their MP3s into iTunes or WMP without really understanding what's going on.
      • this person knows how to rip her own music from CD. She's not using Kazaa to listen to her collection.

        This isn't Joe Blow downloading songs and thinking that he has to use Kazaa to listen to them.
        • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:21AM (#6765206)
          this person knows how to rip her own music from CD. She's not using Kazaa to listen to her collection.

          This isn't Joe Blow downloading songs and thinking that he has to use Kazaa to listen to them.


          "This person knows how to drive a car. She's not using her Corvett to drive down the highway."

          Did you even think to semantically parse the statement you just made?

          Of course she knows how to rip her own CDs. A friend probably showed her this nifty program to rip her CDs onto her hard drive (for convinience ... I have almost all of my music on my hard drive in ogg format because it is easier and more pleasant to have all of my music at my fingertips than to fish around for CDs every 42 minutes, and NO, I absolutely do not under any circumstances engage in illegal file sharing), and then showed her another (or the same) nifty program to play them back. That program happened to be Kazaa, and it is perfectly likely that she had no idea it was making a chunk of her hard drive (and all of her music) available for others to copy.
      • Regardless, since when is ignorance an excuse?

        Granted, if she didn't know that by running Kazaa she was serving files, the judge could be lenient. This could also get thrown back at Kazaa for users "not knowing" that the program was sharing their files.

        • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:12AM (#6765134)
          Regardless, since when is ignorance an excuse?

          Umm ... since the last decade of the 18th century (in the USA, anyway).

          Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but ignorance of the activity almost always is.[1] It goes to intent, it goes to motive, it goes to opportunity. If someone buries a body on your property without your knowledge, you are generally not tried for collusion with the murderer. If you are, and you can demonstrate that you didn't know it was happening, you are most certainly acquitted.

          If many people are using Kazaa because they believe they need it to play back their own, legally ripped mp3s, then the RIAA doesn't have much of a case. Copyright violations have to be willful and intentional to receive most of the punitive rewards, and with computers things are even murkier, as trojan horse programs (which Kazaa arguably is, in this context), worms, and viruses often hijack people's computers to do things they have absolutely no idea are being done.

          Or are we going to arrest everyone whose computer has been comprimised by SoBig.F or whatever it's latest iteration is, for DOSing Microsloth's web services? After all, "ignorance is no excuse..."

          [1]Willful, or negligent, ignorance of course is an exception. Having a good idea someone is doing something neferious, but saying "I don't want to know!" isn't enough to get one off. However, true lack of knowledge that something bad is going on, even on one's own property, is in most cases a valid excuse. However, a computer user not understanding what a trojan or trojan-esque program is doing on their computer hardly qualifies ... until we have licensing for the use of a computer system, with basic computer-education to insure everyone is expected to have a certain level of knowledge, it is clear the law does not require that people know (or necessarilly be responsible for) anything their computer is doing without their knowledge.

          And I don't see even this government stooping to licensing computer use anytime soon.
          • by DeepRedux (601768) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:14AM (#6765847)
            Copyright is a strict liability offense. This means that civil copyright violations do not have to be willful. A willful violation is more serious than a non-willful violation. Copyright law raises the maximum salutatory damages from $30K to $150K if the action is shown to be willful.

            From the State University of New York at Albany: [albany.edu]

            Copyright is a strict liability offense. Under the federal copyright statutes, neither intent nor knowledge of infringement is necessary to hold a person liable. In practical terms that means that you cannot plead ignorance to escape liability. And the liability can be serious. Sound recording copyright infringements can be punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Copyright holders are seeking damages of up to $150K per song.
            • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:33AM (#6766068)
              Copyright is a strict liability offense. This means that civil copyright violations do not have to be willful. A willful violation is more serious than a non-willful violation. Copyright law raises the maximum salutatory damages from $30K to $150K if the action is shown to be willful.

              Good God that's appalling. You are correct ... copyright law is far more evil and perverse than even I believed. The idea that someone can sneak into your office, use your copy machine to illegally copy and distribute a book, and then get you thrown into jail for up to five years and fined $250,000 per offense is utterly and completely unjust, and worthy, quite frankly, of a violent change to the system (if need be).

              Or is this limited to the copyright violator? If so, my point stands. It is not the unwitting user who has accidentally, and unknowingly, made a file accessible to others to download who has violated copyright law, it is the person actually doing the dowloading.

              So, unless contributing to another's act of copyright violation doesn't require knowledge (which means the scenerio I outlined above is possible, in which case we should all be polishing our revolutionary guns [toung in cheeck, folk, toung in cheek. Holster those handcuffs, Mr. Spook.]), then the unwitting Kazaa user whose files someone else is copying is still off the hook.

              Otherwise, quite frankly, any use of any computer within the boarders of the United States carries with it an unacceptable level of liability, and we should all either relocate to a saner jurisdiction or go back to using abicusses.
              • The quote I used from SUNY may not have been clear. Willfulness is not required for civil copyright violations, but is required for criminal infringement.

                But deliberately running a P2P server could could be criminal if it distributes songs worth $1,000 in 180 days [cornell.edu]. Using Apple's $0.99 per song retail price, a well connected P2P server could easily do this. Actual prosecution would require that the a Federal prosecutor file changes. The RIAA cannot ask a prosecutor to do so, but not force them to file.

                At

          • Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but ignorance of the activity almost always is.[1] It goes to intent, it goes to motive, it goes to opportunity. If someone buries a body on your property without your knowledge, you are generally not tried for collusion with the murderer. If you are, and you can demonstrate that you didn't know it was happening, you are most certainly acquitted.

            In a criminal case, ignorance of the activity is a defense. In a civil case (which, afaik, all of these are), that may or ma

      • I don't buy it. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:58AM (#6765003) Journal
        Unless I missed something kazaa is windows only. And windows by default uses its own mediaplayer as the standard program for playing MP3s.

        If you download an mp3, get it of a cd, you will open it and play it with MS installed apps.

        So how exactly would a complete and utter noob get to install kazaa to play an Mp3? I know far more people that are convinved that Windows Media Player is the only way to play their music, and who think that since it has windows in front of it Linux can't play Mp3s.

        Oh and yes they are of course right. Kernels are well known for not playing music :)

        • Re:I don't buy it. (Score:5, Informative)

          by pyros (61399) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:05AM (#6765067) Journal
          People who think they have to use kazaa to download music will most likely think they must use kazaa to play what they downloaded with it, most likely because they don't know how to get to the files with some other application (like the file browser).

          me: "Where are all your downloaded files?
          user: "In Kazaa."

          There's a button on the toolbar to show you all the files in your shared folder, and it breaks them down by media type, and you can play them from there.
    • by Roofus (15591) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:44AM (#6764865) Homepage
      It seems to me that whether she is guilty or innocent is irrelevent. The complaint here is that the RIAA is "circumventing" due process with their subpoenas, and it needs to be corrected.
      • The consitution is, in effect, the DMCA for the law itself!

        So in effect... this is a true battle of corporate law vs. political law.

        Will the RIAA be allowed to circumvent the law of the people in order to persecute a person based on a law of the people (established by and benefitting corporations).

        This is more "contemporary political reality" raising it's ugly head.
        • Let's see, you have the huge coporations who own most of the govenment at this point versus an average serf, er... citizen. Not to be cynical about it, or maybe just to be cynical about it, but I don't think this lawsuit has a snowball's chance in hell. I would love to see this person win her case, and maybe undo some of the damage from the DMCA, but I just don't see it happening. The RIAA is going to do everything it can to convince the judge that she is just another pirate who is trying to hide behind
    • by Christianfreak (100697) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:46AM (#6764891) Homepage Journal
      Uhh while that may be true you didn't closely read the article. The main argument is that the RIAA's tactics are unconstitutional because they violate due process. Sure she's going to say she didn't do anything wrong but even if she did I think the case has merit on the grounds of the due process argument and that would very much help the public.
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:49AM (#6764920) Homepage Journal
      you could quite easily use it to show what kind of music you like, for example. and still not really share anything(because you have set the speed to zero, or by other means).

      it's not illeagal to simply use kazaa now is it? it's ridiculous how riaa acts as a police(and court) on what you're allowed to do. it's not riaa's job, if they see something wrong going on shouldn't they report it to a 3rd party(mainly, the police) that is supposed to punish law breakers? or should i as a normal man be responsible for trying to catch pickpockets and have the power and ability to sentence them on the spot too? if so what use there of a court system that's meant to provide fair hearing and sentences.

      -
      • by Laur (673497) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:28AM (#6765267)

        it's ridiculous how riaa acts as a police(and court) on what you're allowed to do. it's not riaa's job, if they see something wrong going on shouldn't they report it to a 3rd party(mainly, the police) that is supposed to punish law breakers? or should i as a normal man be responsible for trying to catch pickpockets and have the power and ability to sentence them on the spot too?

        What you're forgetting is that copyright infringement is not theft. Theft is a criminal crime, and so you can be arrested and thrown in jail. Copyright infringement is a civil crime, and so the cops cannot arrest you or put you in jail, but the copyright holder can sue you, which is exactly what the RIAA is attempting to do. Copyright infringement only becomes criminal when it occurs on a massive scale (then the FBI will get involved), or under our lovely DMCA, which attempts to criminalize it under certain conditions. So in all actuality the RIAA suing suspected offenders is the legally correct thing to do (however reprehensible), however issuing subpoenas without the review of a judge (as allowed by the DMCA) should not be allowed.
    • by cavemanf16 (303184) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:51AM (#6764937) Homepage Journal
      Ah, but no one has ever proven in a court of law that trading/sharing files on a P2P network is illegal. Maybe they've proven that people downloading them *can potentially* damage their industry, but it's never been proven illegal to share files. Not only that, what if someone is using a file-sharing system to download the music, listen once, then delete the file? That is a legit use, just like me handing a tape to my friend to listen to for a week is a legit "fair use" doctrine. What the RIAA is so scared of, ultimately, is that it's near impossible to actually make it harder to share the files. In the days of cassette's and CD's you either bought a recordable tape to dub your friend's CD or tape, or you you couldn't get a copy of it. It's almost worth the extra $5 to just buy the full tape. But now you don't need to buy anything other than the computer and internet connection to get TONS of stuff for *nearly* free. The cost is far, far less. So the RIAA and MPAA see their profits dwindle because they've got nothing new or innovative to offer. Guess what, that's their problem, not mine. And no, they cannot abuse the law to force me to do it their way. That's a monopoly, and what even bigger industry giants like Microsoft have already been convicted of.

      I say more power to this anonymous "Jane Doe." She'll most likely win.
      • NO.

        Not only that, what if someone is using a file-sharing system to download the music, listen once, then delete the file? That is a legit use, just like me handing a tape to my friend to listen to for a week is a legit "fair use" doctrine.

        You are retaining a copy of the music on your computer and now giving it to someone else.

        Unless Kazaa deleted your file after they downloaded it, it would be the same.
      • by Laur (673497) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:41AM (#6765469)
        Not only that, what if someone is using a file-sharing system to download the music, listen once, then delete the file? That is a legit use

        Sorry, but no. Fair use does not give you the right to make copies of music you haven't paid for, even if you delete them later. Fair use is not a "try-before-you-buy" law, it lets you do certain things which copyrighted items you have legally purchased.

        just like me handing a tape to my friend to listen to for a week is a legit "fair use" doctrine.

        Fair use doesn't even enter into this. If you lend a friend a tape you are not making a copy, and so copyright law has absolutely no bearing. You are simply lending out a physical item, like a library. If you mean making a copy of a tape for a friend, then fair use certainly DOES NOT allow this. It is simply too minor a crime to be prosecutted for, however.

        If you'd like to review the fair use doctrine for yourself try here [bitlaw.com] or here [cornell.edu]. BTW, you are correct in that there is absolutely nothing illegal in using P2P services to share non-copyrighted items, or copyrighted items where you have the owner's permission to share.

        • by mkldev (219128) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:16PM (#6766537) Homepage
          I thought you were wrong, so I looked it up. You were wrong, in several areas.

          While this particular usage (temporary P2P downloading) isn't explicitly stated in the body of law, it could very well be supported by a judge anyway. There are other means by which you can do the same thing---the radio, the music store, the library---and as such, creating that copy does no more harm than walking to the music store, demoing the CD on one of their little machines, and leaving without buying it. In all cases, you have listened to it once, but have not kept a copy.

          Generally, in order to obtain damages, there must be harm. A copy made without harm, such as an archival backup copy, cannot be ruled as infringement. Temporary copies of computer programs for execution purposes are not infringement according to the DMCA. Section 512 provides similar protection to ISPs who cache temporary copies of material.

          However, what really throws things in the computer user's favor is Chapter 10, subchapter D, section 1008.

          No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
          Care to explain how a computer doesn't qualify? Or, for that matter, how making a tape for your friend doesn't qualify (since that's the exact thing that this passage of law was meant to protect)? Are we not paying that $8 to the government so we can use that CD burner in that way? Are we not paying extra costs on the media to go back to the copyright holders?

          It seems to me that this whole thing is a sham. The RIAA and others got laws passed that cost us money to protect their copyrights. Then when people actually start taking advantage of the intended purpose of those laws, they come back and whine that "oh, those laws don't apply here."

          I call bullshit.

          • You were wrong, in several areas.

            No I wasn't. Nothing gives you the right to make copies of copyrighted works without the owner's permission, with the exception of fair use and other similar, more specific, statutes.

            While this particular usage (temporary P2P downloading) isn't explicitly stated in the body of law, it could very well be supported by a judge anyway. There are other means by which you can do the same thing---the radio, the music store, the library---and as such, creating that copy does

    • It does not matter (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LuYu (519260) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:55AM (#6764974) Homepage Journal

      As a couple of others have pointed out, it does not matter if she is guilty or not. She could be the bloody Boston Strangler (and I am sure Jack Valenti would liken her to that) for all anybody should care. Rights are something that everybody has, and they have to be protected.

      She is innocent until proven guilty (remember that phrase?). In other words, she is innocent until convicted in another trial with another jury completely unrelated to this.

      The RIAA and the record industry as a whole are on trial here, not Jane Doe.

      She should have your blessing, too, because she is fighting for your freedom from tyranny.

      • by Wylfing (144940) <brian@wyMOSCOWlfing.net minus city> on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:14AM (#6765143) Homepage Journal
        Rights are something that everybody has, and they have to be protected. She is innocent until proven guilty.

        Quick U.S. law primer for citizens.

        I agree with your sentiment, i.e., that due process protects citizens from bullying by the government and/or powerful interest groups. However, you are confusing criminal law with civil law. No one is found "innocent" or "guilty" in a civil case, and there is no doctrine of "innocent until proven guilty" in civil law. In civil cases, it's just about whether someone's conduct caused [financial] harm to another party, which must be established only with a preponderance of evidence (as opposed to "beyond a reasonable doubt" as in criminal cases).

        This goes for posts above saying the RIAA should have to file complaints with the police vis-a-vis file trading. No. File trading -- and copyright infringement in general -- isn't criminal conduct (yet).

    • by Troed (102527) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:07AM (#6765083) Homepage Journal
      In Sweden it's currently (come Jan 1st most certainly) legal to _download_ but not to _upload_. I.e - using KaZaa is perfectly legal as long as you don't share yourself.
  • by scalis (594038) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:40AM (#6764828) Homepage
    "Anonymous User Challenges RIAA Subpoena" ...And he still cant post at score above 0 on slashdot. I didnt give much for this anonymous coward person until now. He should be a hero!
  • Money Money Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koniosis (657156) <koniosis.hotmail@com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:42AM (#6764844)
    I'm just curious as to how much money the RIAA is spending on all these court battles (which they will be foreced into)! Maybe they should be spending that money on finding new Artists or reducing the cost of exsiting material? Perhaps even setting up their own "online" song distribution system (as theres obviously a market for it [iTunes etc])
    • Re:Money Money Money (Score:5, Informative)

      by jokell82 (536447) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:46AM (#6764888) Homepage

      The RIAA is not responsible for finding artists. That's the job of the labels. The RIAA is just a group of the top record companies that formed to retain the rights of the companies (read: make sure they get all the money they can while screwing over whoever they need to).

      But I do agree, they could definitely be spending money elsewhere. They're trying to fix a bullet hole with a bandaid.

    • by djeaux (620938)
      Maybe they should be spending that money on finding new Artists or reducing the cost of exsiting material? Perhaps even setting up their own "online" song distribution system (as theres obviously a market for it [iTunes etc])

      <gasp> Heaven forbid that RIAA actually encourage the "industry" to focus on its product & distribution system! What they want is FREE MONEY by forcing folks to pay for inferior product that can only be obtained online through "illegal" means.

      Has anyone ever checked the bi

      • by koniosis (657156)
        Agreed, I would pay to download High quality music, with a decent bit rate and no distortion. But don't get me wrong I won't pay $0.99 a track like that M$ freak of a music site (which is America only anyway), I checked it out, most albums require you buy each track on the album seperately, come on who is going to pay $20 for a 20 track album, it costs that much or less in the shops?!? The whole point is you cut out the shop, thus apparently making it cheaper?
  • by brokencomputer (695672) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:42AM (#6764849) Homepage Journal
    She mainly uses kazza to listen to music ripped from her CD collection and tries to prevent people from accessing her collection? that sounds a little fishy but it is irrelevent. The point is the unconstitutional methods used by the RIAA
    • Instead of Media Player and WinAmp .. Just because you don't, doesn't mean everyone else does. It comes back to the ole gun arguement again .. Lots of different uses, but just by owning one doesn't make you a killer. The RIAA simply cannot be allowed to be above the law, ever. They must be reigned in, and some of the senators are noticing the victims of this are mostly innocent and the punishment is not fitting the crime. $11k fines for a swapped song? Try $5.
  • by dpille (547949) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:43AM (#6764851)
    "The courts have already ruled that you're not anonymous when you're publicly distributing music online," said Matt Oppenheim, senior vice president at the RIAA. "Her lawyers are trying to obtain a free pass to download or upload music online illegally. Their arguments have already been addressed by federal court and been rejected."

    Seems to me like this is an entirely different set of issues. As far as I know, the courts never addressed this on an individual, MY-rights-are-violated level. Surely her privacy rights are a lot stonger when asserted on her own behalf than when an ISP says they shouldn't have to disclose identities because that might be bad for whoever that might be that isn't represented in this hearing.
  • Who says? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3NO@SPAMphroggy.com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:43AM (#6764852) Homepage
    For its part, the RIAA said that Jane Doe's motion to intervene matters little, because a federal court has already upheld the validity of the subpoena process.

    "The courts have already ruled that you're not anonymous when you're publicly distributing music online," said Matt Oppenheim, senior vice president at the RIAA. "Her lawyers are trying to obtain a free pass to download or upload music online illegally. Their arguments have already been addressed by federal court and been rejected."


    The obvious problem with this is: who says she's "publicly distributing music online"? A court of law? A judge? No, just the RIAA. Sure, it may later be shown that she was, in fact, doing what they claim. They may have enough evidence against her to convince a judge to issue a warrant or a subpoena. Or, the RIAA may have made a mistake again. We have legal procedures in place to prevent abuse of the system, and these procedures are not being followed. In the past, the RIAA hasn't been exactly careful [slashdot.org] when determining who is or is not distributing copyrighted MP3s.

    Even scarier:

    "We informed the recording industry that one of our customers intended to challenge and asked the RIAA to deal with the lawyers directly.

    Instead, according to Deutsch, the RIAA went to court recently and filed a motion to compel Verizon to provide the name.


    Surprisingly (for those of us who have long considered them to be an evil company), Verizon is clearly doing all the right things here. They're only doing what they've already been forced by a court to do [slashdot.org].

    I wish Jane Doe the best of luck. She'll need it. Oh, and by the way, the first article mentions the EFF is working on fighting this too; they're always accepting donations.
  • by bmetzler (12546) * <bmetzler@ l i v e . com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:45AM (#6764878) Homepage Journal
    That doesn't make sense because subpoena is part of the due process of law. So have can a subpoena *violate* due process of law? It is the other way around. If there was no subpoena, that would violate the right to due process of law.

    -Brent
    • I may be talking out of my ass here, but I think the problem has to do with the DMCA and how it redefined subpoenas for these sorts of things. The subpoenas being issued by the RIAA aren't the same subpoenas that are normally issued. Or something.
    • The problem is that the subpoena was NOT served to her. The subpoena was served to Verizon. THAT is what she claims is denying her due process. They are trying to get her information from Verizon without serving her directly.
    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:02AM (#6765036)
      A subpoena is a request to see someone in court.

      The due process was already violated by identifying the individual. By due process, that would require a warrent.
    • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06NO@SPAMemail.com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:02AM (#6765038)
      illegally uploaded/downloaded music, her anonymity should be protected. The RIAA is trying to extort money from individuals and frighten the community. They are NOT attempting to prove cases in court. In most cases, they couldn't. But the threat of extensive expensive litigation against a well funded corporate entity is enough for most people to buckle and settle.
    • by El Cubano (631386) <.moc.rexennoc. .ta. .otrebor.> on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:10AM (#6765116) Homepage

      So have can a subpoena *violate* due process of law?

      IANAL, but IIRC, the problem is that DMCA allows any "rights holder" to "subpoena" any information that they believe to be related violation of their copyrights, or whatever. Basically, until the DMCA rolled along you had to have a court issue a subpoena or a warrant. Now the RIAA can just cut the judge out of the loop.

      • The DMCA allows RIAA fishing expeditions. The RIAA has done this, and entrapment/contributory negligence to boot. This brave lady is therefore challenging the constitutionality of the DMCA.

        Unfortunately, AFAIK lower courts seldom rule a law unconstitutional without precedent. This one will have to be carried to the US Supreme Court, a long haul. I wish her luck. I'm glad to see the EFF there.

  • Right..... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isa-kuruption (317695) <`ten.noitpuruk' `ta' `noitpuruk'> on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:46AM (#6764889) Homepage
    And the FBI is violating the privacy rights of child pornographers who use the internet to distribute the content by using the same methods.

    One should read their ISP's Terms of Service. If it says "we will assist law enforcement authorities and copyright holders" (maybe not in so many words) then yer screwed. And even if it does not say that, then your complaint is with the ISP and not the RIAA. Afterall, as far as they are concerned, you're violating their copyrights (or the copyrights of their members; no matter how much you agree with them or not).

    So these days, instead of people becoming educated and reading contracts they get into, they get mommy and daddy to hire a lawyer to sue for them.
    • Re:Right..... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tshak (173364)
      But the RIAA is not law enforcement, and that's one of the biggest issues. This is a critical difference. Just read about what happened to that guitar company in 2000 when the BSA came nocking at it's door. Do you really want private organizations to have the right to search a seizure? If so, welcome to the United Corporations of America.
    • Re:Right..... (Score:3, Informative)

      And the FBI is violating the privacy rights of child pornographers who use the internet to distribute the content by using the same methods.


      Don't equate the RIAA's actions of hunting file traders to the FBI's actions hunting kiddie porn freaks. They are COMPLETELY different subjects.

      While you may think "Oh, it's illegal, they shouldn't do it. They deserve what they get," they are still not the same. Kiddie porn hurts children. It is physically and psychologically abuse. No one in their right minds
  • Hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:46AM (#6764892) Journal
    Kids keep pitching tents in their pants hoping that some case like this will all of a sudden make downloading mp3z and 0-day warezezz perfectly legal. Of course that will never happen.

    This is challenging the subpoena process, which a superior court has already upheld. So, most likely, nothing will come of it.

    I'd like to see the case where someone is subpoena'd by the RIAA, and proves in court that they'd never offered so much as one copyrighted work for download. Like it was all fan fiction and independent music or whatever. Headlines blazing "music industry sues guy for doing nothing", RIAA lawyers with egg on their face.

    I don't have a problem with them targetting people who are legitimately harming their business. But I have a problem with automated spiders flagging people to be sued or harassed. Automatic threat letters being sent to some person with the unfortunate name of Britney Spears, stuff like that.

    They don't do a lot of fact checking before they launch these suits, and do absolutely none at all to send a C&D order. That's wrong and should be punished.

    Anyways.

    I love iPods mod me up.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wavicle (181176)
      This is challenging the subpoena process, which a superior court has already upheld. So, most likely, nothing will come of it.

      We keep hoping this will make it to a court that will test the constitutionality of filing discovery subpoenas for an individual's information without any judicial oversight.

      I'd like to see the case where someone is subpoena'd by the RIAA, and proves in court that they'd never offered so much as one copyrighted work for download. Like it was all fan fiction and independent music
  • Try number one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xThinkx (680615) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:47AM (#6764893) Homepage

    I've said it before and I'll say it again.

    All she has to do is win, and that gives legal grounds for everyone else of the 1000 unfortunate souls to follow suit.

    So, RIAA, when you can't sue the network or the users, what exactly are you going to do, will you finally ADAPT? Or will you try and buy/strongarm your way into another tactic to hang on to your ancient business model?

    Survival of the fittest in action, unless the RIAA trims the fat, they're on their way out.

  • Sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:47AM (#6764900) Homepage
    First there was the setback of a New England judge throwing out an attempt to uncover the names of students at MIT accused of piracy.

    I assume you mean this 'setback':

    But Judge Joseph L Tauro said because the subpoenas were issued in Washington, DC they cannot be served in Massachusetts.

    This really isn't a 'setback' at all. It was simple a procedural error. Those subpoenas will be filed again but this time in Massachusetts. Then they will be served.

    Then there's this from the article:

    "This is more invasive than someone having secret access to the library books you check out or the videos you rent,"

    LMAO! So in other words, not very invasive at all. Besides, last time I looked checking books out of the library and renting videos was legal. Maybe because both are paid for! (Libraries operate on taxes in case you didn't know. That's what makes it a Public Library.)

    • I think you're missing the point, here, about the movie and book rentals. It's hard to tell because you don't hve a clear argument.

      "LMAO! So in other words, not very invasive at all."
      Not invasive? How can someone secretly monitor you in private actions (as you say, we pay to rent books/movies) not be invasive? We take privacy to be an important right in the US, and they are challenging the degredation of that by this new process to help curb illegal and legal downloading.
    • LMAO! So in other words, not very invasive at all. Besides, last time I looked checking books out of the library and renting videos was legal. Maybe because both are paid for! (Libraries operate on taxes in case you didn't know. That's what makes it a Public Library.)

      You're overlooking the point here. The point is not getting at the books or videos. It's someone being able to track what you're doing. You checked out 'book x', you rented 'video y'. You ate rocky road, looked autopr0n, and passed out on
    • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ioldanach (88584) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:11AM (#6765120)
      "This is more invasive than someone having secret access to the library books you check out or the videos you rent,"

      LMAO! So in other words, not very invasive at all.

      Libraries and video rental records require a warrant to retrieve, which requires a judge accept that you're looking for certain information with good cause. That's a huge step up from a simple subpoena, which merely requires a court clerk to stamp.

      Well, at least this was a requirement until the patriot act, which allows law enforcement to wade right into your library records if they decide you might be a terrorist.

      Knowing what your interests are and what associations you have is constitutionally private, and it is considered legally extremely invasive to find out what you read.

  • by boy_afraid (234774) <Antebios1@gmail.com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:48AM (#6764913) Journal
    It seems like the RIAA wants to become another department of the US and hold a cabinet position with the President. I can just see it now, The Department of the RIAA, an army of us.
  • by Adam9 (93947) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:49AM (#6764916) Journal
    Obviously.. this 'anonymous' user is Georgy ;)

  • Jane Doe used the Kazaa file-swapping software as a music player largely to listen to songs she had ripped from her own CDs and to music that came pre-loaded on her family computer. Which makes the best music player; WinAmp, MusicMatch, or Kazaa... hmmm... Not that I support the RIAA in any fashion, but come on.
    • Can't you see that around you, there is a lot of people that are not as geeky as you?

      I personnally know some people that did believe (after I installed it on their computers) that Napster was the only way to play an MP3. Every time they would want to listen to some music, they would launch Napster and would be sharing all of "their" music.

      Please, step back a little and see that not everyone has your computers skills and vision for god's sake!
  • by Vedanti (689689)
    Lets face it. P2P sharing of RIAA copyrighted songs are illegal. I suggest anyone sharing such songs to quit doing it. But, don't buy their CDs. As someone suggested either buy used CDs or get cheap (legal) cassettes and convert to MP3 or whatever format you need. Just ask your friends who go to India to get the 2$ or 3$ cassettes (100 to 150 Rs) that are sold by RIAA labels or their subsidiaries / distributors.

    Just as we keep telling them, their business model is outdated .... we need to understand that

    • P2P sharing of copyrighted works is NOT illegal. Downloading without authorization IS illegal. Think about the difference.
  • by airrage (514164) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:53AM (#6764957) Homepage Journal
    I'm always unclear about the due-process and what it really means. Even if the (censored) wanted to get your name, address, etc from your ISP or even if you get your phone service from (censored), (censored), or (censored); can they just storm in like (censored).

    This is like 1984's (censored-police, where even thinking bad thoughts can get you on a list. I mean that doesn't happen these days, does it?

    Sincerely,
    (censored)

  • Fuck this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:57AM (#6764989)
    Since the goverment has no control over our country anymore, why should we be obliged to pay taxes and adhere to its laws?

    Our legal system is set up so that it is very difficult for the police (a government employee) to get a warrant for a search, but the RIAA (a private company) can do it at will?

    If there is some crime here, then I belive that the govenment should prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

    Do banks supoena bank robbers?

    Keep in mind that I have never used Kazaa or similar service, and do not belive in the whole "sharing" thing. But I refuse to have corporations coming into my private life for something the feel is suspicious. Can I get a supoena to look at RIAA's records for price fixing and their business practice because I don't like it?

    This is not a slope that I want to see our govenment go down. If so, then they have relinquished all power over its people, and that will lead to anarchy and/or revolution.
  • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:59AM (#6765007)
    Btw, you can go here [eff.org] at the eff to query the subpoenas.
  • Zero Effect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gargamale (700371) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:05AM (#6765058) Homepage
    This case serves no purpose, but to have the RIAA, going forward, serve sopoenas correctly (i.e. through a court). This case is not about sharing MP3's, although her lawyers seem to be about as off-base as the RIAA. Not much will come of this, except maybe some firmer stances on what Verizon and other ISP's are required to do in situations such as these. To my knowledge, that portion of the argument has already been upheld by a court, though. So much of this moot and dead in the water. Apparently, there isn't really a legitimate way of stopping these cowboys. Maybe I should create original material with similar names to popular RIAA artist tracks, offer them on Kazaa with a beowulf cluster and wait for them to download and prosecute me. Then, I could proove their tactics illegal and inaccurate. I dunno, I'll continue to boycott the bad music they sell for $17.99USD, as I am not interested in their digitized poop.

  • by Greenmonkey2021 (622738) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:11AM (#6765121)
    First, easy enough, don't buy their CDs. If you think the music is too expensive, don't buy it. Second, don't upload, download or share and music associated with the RIAA. If you possess music files that were not purchased, unless the songs are free, it's stealing. Either buy the song or delete it. If nobody has RIAA music on their computers, RIAA can't use P2P stealing as an excuse. Third, don't even watch music videos or listen to the radio when RIAA songs are playing. Since advertising revenue comes from here, doing this will help them. When people start legally battling RIAA by ignoring them, then they will eventually die. Bottom line, music is arguable a luxury, not a necessity. There are many alternatives to RIAA music. Choose one of those alternatives.
  • by wsxian (689313) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:13AM (#6765135) Homepage Journal
    The copyright law section 506 says:

    Sec. 506. - Criminal offenses
    (a) Criminal Infringement. - Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either - (1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or (2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000, shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.
    This to me means criminal conduct. If so, then under the 5th she might be able to protect her records from being discovered. "Might" being the proper usage as the Judge would have to accept that discovery is testimony. A good lawyer can give arguments either way on this.

    And by pleading the 5th, she is indicating that she might had done something illegal... a sure bet to get investigated further.

  • I love this!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mustangsal66 (580843) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:14AM (#6765144)
    People, stop stealing, the government hates competition.

    I can't wait. I have several dozen (Still Going) Mp3's shared on Kazaa.

    They all have different names like:

    beetles - penny lane.mp3 2.8Mb
    shakira.mp3

    All of which are my peronal ramblings about the songs or artists. None of which contains copywrited material.
    F*ck the RIAA.
    I get letters from them all the time at work.

    User with IP x.x.x.x is sharing via the Kazaa network.

    Sharing one or more of the follwoing:
    (They list like 5 songs)
    Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

    Bastards are fishing for Tuna in a swimming pool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:15AM (#6765155)
    In their briefs, her attorneys argued that the RIAA's unconventional subpoena process has violated her rights to due process, privacy and anonymous association, along with her contract with Verizon.

    Can you see them standing there in their tighty whities? I can.

  • by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:19AM (#6765186) Homepage
    I have rights! The Constitution protects me! Blah blah blah blah blah. These cases are civil lawsuits and will be decided by civil courts. The Constitution doesn't even enter into it. A judge would laugh you out of court if you tried to argue that the Fourth Amendment prevents the RIAA from serving you with a subpoena. This isn't the Supreme Court kids. And the RIAA isn't the Federal Government. Bringing up the Bill of Rights into a civil lawsuit makes about as much sense as killing flies with a sledgehammer.
  • by tundog (445786) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:36AM (#6765380) Homepage
    In the US, you are innocent until proven guilty.

    But Oppenheim countered that "their arguments have already been addressed by a federal judge -- and they have been rejected. Courts have already ruled that you are not anonymous when you publicly distribute music online."


    The above statement presumes that you are already guilty. At the very minimum there should be a hearing to validate that the a supeona is warrented (pun intended).

  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:49AM (#6765576) Journal
    Hmmm....Prophylacticism....Did I just invent that word?

    Kiddies, I've said this before and I'll say this again. If you HAVE to do P2P, install an open Wi-Fi access point on your home network. Keep all your goodies behind a firewall, but have that open Wi-Fi there. When the RIAA drags you into court, you will have a big wad of plausible denial on your side. There is NO LAW that makes you liable for unauthorized use of your network access.

    Besides, if you're willing to share your music, why not share some bandwidth too?

  • by dasunt (249686) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:31AM (#6766036)

    I am a strong believer in 'innocent until proven guilty', but I also see the humor in the irony of the RIAA winning.

    Just imagine that it was impossible to find any music by any RIAA members online. People would go to the p2p networks, and only find music of artists that encouraged their files to be traded. Some of them wouldn't have the polish of commercial artists, but there would be enough "good" music for people to be happy. The end result would be diminishing interest in the RIAA bands.

    Be careful what you wish for...

    ( As a footnote, if you do want to share music online, check out the bands and artists that allow their work to be redistributed freely. Listen to their music, and, if you like them, put them into your 'share' folder of your p2p app, with the information in the id3 tags [or whatever ogg uses], and a text file in the same folder explaining the copywrite information and links to the band's website. Of course, once you end up sharing enough megs of files this way, you'll probably get sued by the RIAA, so make sure you have a good lawyer and can countersue for costs. )

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