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'Jane Doe' Lawyer Glenn Peterson Talks With GrepLaw 227

Posted by timothy
from the sue-you-sue-anybody dept.
scubacuda writes "Glenn Peterson, attorney at McDonough Holland & Allen, represents 'Jane Doe,' one of the first to fight the constitutionality of recent RIAA subpoenas. In this GrepLaw interview, Glenn gives his thoughts on recent RIAA strong arm tactics, Matt Openheim's assertion that Jane Doe's arguments have 'already been addressed by a federal judge,' and the danger of giving subpoena power to anyone pretending to have a copyright claim."
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'Jane Doe' Lawyer Glenn Peterson Talks With GrepLaw

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  • Well which one is it? The editors don't seem able to decide. If I'm not mistaken it's GrepLaw...but I could be wrong.

    http://sqrville.org
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @07:55AM (#6803579)
      Greplaw is a technology law and policy news/discussion site at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society (Harvard).

      Groklaw is a site about the ongoing SCO law suit, hosted by a paralegal.

      They are not the same.
  • Rationale (Score:5, Interesting)

    by w.p.richardson (218394) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @07:45AM (#6803531) Homepage
    The reason the RIAA wants to use the DMCA for subpoenas is that they can pick and choose who they target. Since they don't have to file suit to run someone in, they can pick an undesirable person and parade them around publicly as some sort of miscreant who is stealing from the hard working musicians, technicians, and record executives.

    The tactic of any defense suit should be to challenge the DMCA on fourth amendment grounds. Nowhere in the US constitution is the right to subpoena, search, and seize given to corporations or their representatives.

    HOWEVER, this doesn't mean that the RIAA are in the wrong necessarily. If they want to enforce the copyrights that they hold, they have to do something. I have always preferred the idea of targeting individuals who were infringing rather than mass lawsuits against "P2P", which was their tactic until recently. The method for doing this should be through normal legal channels though, not based on "PR".

    • Re:Rationale (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:00AM (#6803599)
      The artists and musicians should open up the books to show how much money the record companies and record executives earn versus how much the artists themselves actually make. Then we'll see who the real miscreant is.
      • Amen. Also, maybe a long printout of publicly available documents showing all the cases the Music Cartel has been proven guilty of Price Fixing & Price Inflation.
    • Re:Rationale (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hierarch (466609) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {adeeNniatpaC}> on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:06AM (#6803621) Homepage
      Ye Olde Blockquote:


      HOWEVER, this doesn't mean that the RIAA are in the wrong necessarily. If they want to enforce the copyrights that they hold, they have to do something. I have always preferred the idea of targeting individuals who were infringing rather than mass lawsuits against "P2P", which was their tactic until recently. The method for doing this should be through normal legal channels though, not based on "PR".

      Yeah, but at the same time they need to get the word out. A lot of people genuinely don't realize that what they do is illegal. Doe's lawyer even makes the same point: teenagers in an environment where they can't be expected to know that what they are doing is illegal. I actually know a couple musicians who think that, because they are musicians and need access to musical works to practice for covers, think that this gives them a right to infringe - perfectly above-board and legally. They honestly believe this, and they tell their friends, too!

      So, to protect legitimate copyright claims (yes, legit. I'm talking law, not ethics, not justifications!), the RIAA has to get the word out. They can buy publicity spots and crank out the infommercials. Will anybody listen? Not even during the Superbowl! Or, they can make a few examples, make them firmly, juice them for PR and maybe scare people into listening. It's unfortunate, but there just isn't any better alternative for them to protect their intellectual property.

      More importantly, and more germanely, they don't necessarily need the massive subpoena authority granted under section 512. They could still pick a representative handful of people and make their lives a living hell, and make sure the rest of the unaware file-sharing community knows it. Coming from RPI as I did, and personally knowing one of our $97 Billion RIAA Sweepstakes Winners, I'd sit up and take notice in a hurry. It only takes having one person you know get nailed before you stop and think about it.

      I think it goes without saying that, as a community, we generally believe that they're better off not enforcing these claims too vigorously. We've all seen the studies that, as sharing goes up, so do sales. But holding to a broken business model doesn't change their rights under broken US law.

      • Re:Rationale (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah, but at the same time they need to get the word out. A lot of people genuinely don't realize that what they do is illegal.

        Well, the whole point of the lawsuits is to get the word out. And come on, you don't think that the word has long been out?

        First Napster was famously shut down for contributory copyright infringement. More recently the RIAA sent out millions of IM's over Kazaa, and there have been countless stories in the press, as well as sponsored promotional campaigns (even in movie trailers)
      • if nobody cares, is copyright enforcable?

        Let say 100 million people see some ad on during the superbowl saying "Download music is a crime, don't do it", and everybody says, "screw you" what happens?
        Copyright is given to the creator of those works because representitives of the people say they get it, but if the people don't act on it it is essentially, and de facto, a dead law.

        That is what scares the RIAA.
    • As far as i know, i read in an earlier RIAA story that no AOL users have been handed subopenas. Are they trying to scare people to switching to an "isp" in which they have an interest.
      This selectivity demonstrates exactly why nobody should be given the power that they currently have.
  • by Jonny Royale (62364) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @07:54AM (#6803577) Homepage Journal
    A pretty decent piece at the Detroit Free Press with an example: here [freep.com] shows exactly why there's due process for these things.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Detroit Free Press?
      It's all a plot, a complot from IBM, pitching the free movement on SCO! eh...
      Oops, wrong thread.

      Eh
    • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @11:06AM (#6804923) Homepage Journal
      Possibly the most pertinent is their observation: ... every consumer's identity, home address and phone number are now available to anyone who can fill out a one-page form.

      Note that "identity" includes email address. If you want to know why you're getting so much spam, you need look no further. The recent court decision about Verizon basically means that I can use copyright claims as grounds to demand from any ISP all the email/home addresses and phone numbers of all their customers. I can then use this information for any purpose, or sell it to anyone.

      This decision essentially opens ISP customer records fully to all marketers, and eliminates any traces of internet privacy.

      We have all been opted in to everything.

      • The recent court decision about Verizon basically means that I can use copyright claims as grounds to demand from any ISP all the email/home addresses and phone numbers of all their customers.

        Its bad, but not that bad. AFAIK you can't simply fill out a single form and force Verizon to hand over info on all their subscribers. Maybe I'm wrong, but aren't you required to fill out a separate form for each identity and describe the "infringing" work? Also, if the paperwork is completely bogus you are still su
        • if the paperwork is completely bogus you are still subject to perjury charges.

          Define "completely bogus".

          The only thing that can subject you to perjury is not legitimately being authorized to act on behalf of the rights holder.

          So if you say you're acting on behalf of Aerosmith, when in fact they haven't authorized you to do so, then you can be found guilt of perjury..

          If, however, you say you're acting on behalf of yourself, you're immune from perjury.. all you have to do is "suspect" them of violating y
      • Seems like there's been a lot of talk about this one-page form, but has anyone actually seen it?

        Is there a web-accessible copy of it somewhere so we can actually see what info has to be provided and asserted as "correct" by the peron filling out the form?

        It'd really be helpful if I could RTFF, but I haven't been able to find it, and I don't know if I can just walk into a county courthouse and ask for it and walk out with it in a reasonable amount of time or not.
  • "No doubt, music piracy is ... certainly no more a societal concern than elder abuse, drunk driving, vandalism, violence, identity theft, investor fraud, and a host of other behaviors."

    Relieved, the one-eyed pirates are.
  • Rather than defining what P2P is, lawmakers should focus on what "fair use" is, especially related to "sharing" of digital "works" versus flat-out copying for distribution. We all know that a vcr can tape any TV show, but SUPPOSEDLY, you'll only really get in trouble if you turn around and sell those episodes you taped of the Simpsons. Casette tapes have been able to record for years -- and the musical world has not ended. Again, this points to the fact that good/popular albums are still going platinum, but the "single with 10 fluff songs" albums, the bad albums by good bands, etc are getting reamed, and RIGHTLY SO. if the whole album sucks, why should people have to buy it to find that out?
    • Firstly, IANAL.

      Rather than defining what P2P is, lawmakers should focus on what "fair use" is,

      Generally, lawmakers set out the laws, and stuff like focussing on what "fair use" is is left up to the courts to decide based on the law (hence why case law aka common law is so important, it sets the precedent. So, if the courts decide that doing X with P2P does not constitute fair use, then chances are every other case will follow suit). So it all really depends on how these early cases turn out.

      • Generally, lawmakers set out the laws, and stuff like focussing on what "fair use" is is left up to the courts to decide based on the law (hence why case law aka common law is so important, it sets the precedent. So, if the courts decide that doing X with P2P does not constitute fair use, then chances are every other case will follow suit). So it all really depends on how these early cases turn out.

        Except this is a real pain in the ass. How am I supposed to know my fair use rights? Go read 4000 pages of
    • It's a common misconception, but fair use isn't about making personal copies -- it's about the right to use qouted portions from one work in another.

      From Stanford [stanford.edu]:

      "Fair use is a copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. For example, if you wish to criticize a novelist, you should have the freedom to quote a portion of the novelist's work without asking permission. Absent this freedom, copy

      • It's a common misconception, but "Stanford University Libraries" isn't a branch of the government, and certainly isn't Congress or the Courts, so their interpretation of the law really doesn't matter.

        Numerous lawyers and other groups (some even sponsored by congress) have come up with guidelines for interpreting fair use, but none of them are legally binding. Copyright holders are notorious for being restrictive, while normal people are notorious for wanting to retain their rights.
        • No serious interpretation of fair use extends it to include unlimited anonymous unauthorized copying, and it's just this sort of "but it's fair use" thinking that is going to get more people sued.

          For your reading pleasure, TITLE 17 - COPYRIGHTS [cornell.edu]

          TITLE 17 > CHAPTER 1 > Sec. 106.:
          "Subject to sections 107 through 121, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

          (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

          (2) t

          • No serious interpretation of fair use extends it to include unlimited anonymous unauthorized copying, and it's just this sort of "but it's fair use" thinking that is going to get more people sued.

            Arguing that unlimited anonymous copying over Kazaa is fair use isn't ever going to go anywhere.


            Um, where did I say that? Where did the parent poster say that? I don't think that anyone could argue that Kazaa is fair use. What's your point?

            Fair use is fair use, as defined by the LAW. Interpretation is simpl
  • urge overkill (Score:4, Insightful)

    by segment (695309) <sil @ p o l i t rix.org> on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:05AM (#6803616) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA is demanding that ISPs and universities provide it with the names and addresses of users who distribute copyrighted music online so it can sue these users for copyright infringement.

    I know I will end up getting mod'ed the hell down to hell, but it needs to be said. I for one do not support the RIAA in fact I have some fuck the riaa t's [cafress.com] however, I don't see nothing wrong with them wanting to be paid for their material. If you were on the receiving end you would too. I could see where they would go to certain uni's being that few e-diots mess a good thing up for whorish purposes, eg drive more traffic to their site or pretend to be doing for the 'cause'. Whichever case it is still illegal, and their is no excuse for someone to be sharing 10,000 songs.

    Boston College and MIT challenged the RIAA's subpoenas on narrow technical grounds, arguing that the RIAA had filed its subpoenas in Washington, DC, instead of Massachusetts.

    This in itself is a shaky comeback for MIT, and Boston College considering if some law was broken cross state lines, and mind you the DA's will look at the fact downloads occurred all over the world. Law is law anywhere in the US, I don't know when it stopped being so.

    However, the music industry is pursuing music piracy with strong arm tactics and subpoena powers that far exceed those available against violent criminals.

    Highly doubtful. Because the RIAA is taking steps to fight for what they think is right, gives no one the right to knock them for it. It's the same as if someone started badmouthing *geek*world for spending so much time on this issue. We feel it's right so we protest, the RIAA feels they're right so they do so as well. Kind of hypocritical to make that statement. But to compare the RIAA tactics and those which pertain to violent criminals, there is not one case of a swat team surrounding any student with guns drawn or the FBI or CIA or any other agency going gung ho over this crap.

    Has it ever occurred to people that while protesting can at times be used for the better, at times it can also can major negative impacts on the actual thing being protested. Think about it, if I got a little ticked off that some lawyer is comparing this with violent crime, what do you think average joe is going to think.

    In today's news, the MA National Guard was called in to remove a student trading MP3's... This guys reference to hardcore crime on this topic is outrageous, and leads me to believe he is simply looking for sympathy for his cause. Pretty lame, and shows his case is weak.

    • there is not one case of a swat team surrounding any student with guns drawn or the FBI or CIA or any other agency going gung ho over this crap.

      Actually, I do think I remember hearing about Interpol shooting up some guys running a private P2P network... I can't remember where and who it was. Some help here?
    • Re:urge overkill (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarenN (411219) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:54AM (#6803869) Homepage
      However, the music industry is pursuing music piracy with strong arm tactics and subpoena powers that far exceed those available against violent criminals.

      Highly doubtful. Because the RIAA is taking steps to fight for what they think is right, gives no one the right to knock them for it


      No, it's not highly doubtful, it's a fact. The subpoena powers the RIAA have been .... errr... granted are much, much more wide-reaching than those normally used. No Judges are involved, so subpoena's are essentially de-valued (which does not make them any less powerful, it just means that "being subpoenaed" is not as indicitave as it used to be of reasonable cause). It also means that the RIAA can issue subpoena's that would have been considered whimsical not so long ago, and it undermines a citizen's right to due process.

      As has been mentioned before, there is nothing wrong, intrinsically, with the RIAA representing their members and protecting their members Copyright. It's just the methods are dubious, and I don't think the end's can justify the means
      • Re:urge overkill (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sloppy (14984) *

        The subpoena powers the RIAA have been .... errr... granted are much, much more wide-reaching than those normally used. No Judges are involved, so subpoena's are essentially de-valued (which does not make them any less powerful, it just means that "being subpoenaed" is not as indicitave as it used to be of reasonable cause). It also means that the RIAA can issue subpoena's that would have been considered whimsical not so long ago, and it undermines a citizen's right to due process.

        I think there's a lot of

      • Re:urge overkill (Score:3, Interesting)

        by turnstyle (588788)
        The subpoena powers the RIAA have been .... errr... granted are much, much more wide-reaching than those normally used

        Don't forget that the exact same ISPs that are now biatching about the subpoenas agreed to them when they sat down and hammered out the terms of the DMCA.

        That was part of the 'safe harbor' deal that protects ISPs from being held accountable for how their subscribers might violate copyright.

        The tricky part is that the original terms dictated that it generally applied to HTTP/FTP sites

    • Boston College and MIT challenged the RIAA's subpoenas on narrow technical grounds, arguing that the RIAA had filed its subpoenas in Washington, DC, instead of Massachusetts.

      This in itself is a shaky comeback for MIT, and Boston College considering if some law was broken cross state lines, and mind you the DA's will look at the fact downloads occurred all over the world. Law is law anywhere in the US, I don't know when it stopped being so.


      Its pretty common to fight something like this at EVERY step.
  • just for info... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jlemmerer (242376) <xcom123&yahoo,com> on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:13AM (#6803649) Homepage
    ... if i post here including my copyright, and somebody answers cutting out some of my text in his reply, can i sue him for obscene amounts of money (of course at a court in the state of NY).
    does anybody know?
    • oh, i just forgot: the parent message and this one are of course copyrighted, just in case i can make money out of it
      • Too late, it's already being circulated on my post-trading network! I've distributed it to dozens of users already, and the list is expanding rapidly! Bwahaha!

        This is going to be bigger than the Star Wars Kid :-)
    • ... if i post here including my copyright, and somebody answers cutting out some of my text in his reply, can i sue him for obscene amounts of money (of course at a court in the state of NY).

      You may sue, but you won't win. But under the DMCAs subpoena provision, you could try to get the names of all slashdot readers - because you have "reasonable" (read: reasonable enough to get a rubberstamp approval) grounds to believe they have made a copy of your copyrighted text in the cache. Of course the argument w
    • Re:just for info... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @11:20AM (#6805029) Homepage Journal
      .. if i post here including my copyright, and somebody answers cutting out some of my text in his reply, can i sue him for obscene amounts of money ...

      Even better, you can demand from his ISP information including name, email and home address, phone number, etc., of all their customers. You can then do as you like with this data. It's a real windfall for the spam (uh, I mean marketing) folks. Maybe you could use this info to start your own lucrative spam (uh, I mean marketing) operation.

      Hmmm ... Maybe I should submit this as an AC. Then, rather than just demanding information about me from slashdot, you can send them a subpoena demanding full information on all their users. After all, I did quote your text, copyrighted by default under most countries' laws. This is a clear infringement, so you obviously now have the right to go after anyone who might conceivably have done the infringing.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:36AM (#6803748) Homepage

    Based on this interview, he's going to argue that people can't be identified in a civil suit until we know that what they're being sued for is actionable.

    Psst, Glenn, in a civil suit there is no presumption of innocence, and quite literally no prejudice. The result of the suit is the indication of whether the case is actionable. There's no stigma attached - in the eyes of the law - if it fails, and if you believe otherwise, your response should be a counter-suit to show that, not an argument that a suit can't be brought against you.

    No, IANAL, but I'm wondering how much of a lawyer Glenn really is. He mentions constitutional issues five times, but doesn't expand on what those are, or why they'd apply in a civil suit.

    I wish him and Jane the best of luck, but on this basis, they're really going to need it.

    • by misterpies (632880) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @09:00AM (#6803902)
      >>Psst, Glenn, in a civil suit there is no presumption of innocence, and quite literally no prejudice.

      RTFDMCA. Under the DMCA willful violation of copyright is a CRIMINAL offence as well as a civil one. Thus a subpoena demonstrating the existence of infringing material may well lead to a criminal prosecution. Hence the need for presumption of innocence.

      >>No, IANAL, but I'm wondering how much of a lawyer Glenn really is. He mentions constitutional issues five times, but doesn't expand on what those are, or why they'd apply in a civil suit.

      More of a lawyer than you. The argument is that the LAW is unconstitutional, not that the suitor is acting unconstitutionally. Every law passed by Congress, civil or criminal, can be challenged in court and overturned if it breaches the constitution. That's what the constitution is for.

      • >Under the DMCA willful violation of copyright is a CRIMINAL offence as well as a civil one. Thus a subpoena demonstrating the existence of infringing material may well lead to a criminal prosecution.

        Which would be an argument in a criminal prosecution. This, however, is a civil case. That gives it a hell of a long and wandering way to go before it reaches a court which will strike the law.

        > The argument is that the LAW is unconstitutional

        OK, I understand that, but I still want to know what

        • OK, I understand that, but I still want to know what the constitutional grounds are. Where exactly in the fourth amendment (which is what I'm assuming) is the right to anonymity?

          They're challenging that the process the RIAA is following, (getting a subpeona from a clerk with little/no proof, rather then enough evidence to present probable cause to a judge) violates the due process defined to permit search/seizure under the 4th amendment. In case you'er wondering the search/seizure in question is the RIAA

          • Lest I go hoarse from repeating myself:

            Where exactly in the fourth amendment is the right to anonymity? Where is anonymity enumerated as being part of due process? Where does the fourth amendment specify that a judge rather than a clerk has to approve subpoenas?

            If the argument is going to be "What I think the Constitution meant to say was..." then - given that the opposition are the best lawyers that the RIAA can afford - this is going to be a short trial.

            Given that the DMCA requires you to list the

            • What I was trying to say was that they're not saying her right to anonymity has been violated. So it doesn't matter if the 4th amendment says a damn thing about privacy. They're saying that the search/seizure action to obtain her information violated the 4th amendment, not because of privacy, but because the DMCA sets more lenient rules than the Consitution. So quit talking about a right to privacy, go yell at Santorum haters about that. Talk about due process of search and seizure.
              • The subpoena was served on her ISP, not on her. How is that a search or siezure on her "person, house, papers, and effects". Because I don't see "information" in that list.

                It seems to me, and I'm sure it will seem to the RIAA lawyers, that this subpoena is between them and the ISP. And, much as I loathe the RI|MPAA, on this specific issue, I find myself in agreement with them.

                • As I said in my original reply, they are saying the search/seizure served on the ISP violated the due process. How difficult is that for you to understand.

                  RIAA to ISP: we have a subpoena that says you have to give us Jane Doe's information

                  ISP to RIAA: here it is

                  Jane Doe: eine Minute bitte! The subpoena that RIAA gave to my ISP was obtained through methods which violate the Constitutional due process provisions.

                  Now, feel free to post another troll that completely disregards things I've told to you di

        • What is the fourth-amendment connection to "right of anonymity"?

          If you're walking down the street in a crowded city you're effectively anonymous. The police can't, without reason, stop you and demand identification. You have the right to be as anonymous as your actions allow. To me, this equates to you having the right to do everything without having to advertise your identity, or even provide it when requested by someone without proper legal authority (as specified in the fourth ammendment).

          You may have
      • If I'm not mistaken, the No Electronic Theft act of like 1998 or something moved criminalized copyright violations.
    • No, IANAL, but I'm wondering how much of a lawyer Glenn really is.

      Hmm. Well, he studied Law intensively for at least three years, and I'm guessing your studies in the area amount to maybe a single-semester Civics course and whatever you picked up from reading the Slashdot IANALers argue with each other.

      If I had to guess, I'd say he's right and you're wrong.
  • "Arguably the most dangerous consequence, the subpoena power can be put in the hands of anyone willing to pretend to have a copyright claim."

    Peterson suggests that this can be abused by swindlers, child abductors, and terrorists to name a few.

    How realistic is this? I've never had the privelege of being in court or served a subpoena myself (and as such I'm rather uninformed about the system), but doesn't existing law provide for means to sue or press charges or something of that sort against people who ab
    • by nolife (233813)
      Peterson suggests that this can be abused by swindlers, child abductors, and terrorists to name a few.

      Here's an example of an abuse.
      Someones posts a negative comment as anonymous to a public trading board or somewhere like FC [fuckedcompany.com]. The company sues for the AC's information claiming some interpetation of a copyright violation. Who can stop this AC's information from changing hands? Who reviews a case like this to determine if a copyright violation actually occured or not? No one under the current system. T
    • Yes, that's all true. However, the DMCA is federal law, and that means you will have to appear in federal court. Have you ever tried to find a lawyer to take on a case for you in federal court? You'll be lucky to find one to take the case without an initial retainer of about $5,000, and you'll likely need something like $10,000. That's just the initial retainer. If he blows through that, you'll have to pay more.

      Of course, federal court also doesn't move very fast. So, you can expect to be in there a
  • Similarities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xThinkx (680615) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:44AM (#6803804) Homepage

    Quoth the article "There are interesting similarities between the RIAA's campaign, Prohibition, the War on Drugs, and the 'War on Terrorism.' ".

    Really well put, what do all of these things have in common, they will all, in the end, be failures. I've gone in to this a thousand times before, but sometime soon governments/organizations will have to learn that no matter how hard you try you cannot manipulate everyone into thinking the way you want them to. There is an innate ability in some humans to make their own decisions, and although it is more sparce today than say 20 or 30 years ago, there are those who use this ability and formulate their own decisions. The gov't/RIAA hate this.

    During prohibition there was a massive (failed) propaganda campaign. The war on drugs, I think everyone who realizes that it is easier to buy pot/coc/crack/heroin/pcp/lsd than alcohol on a sunday in most states will agree that this has been/is/will continue to be a failure. I know I'll get at least ten proud citizens that will argue with me on this one, but the War on Terrorism will fail too.

    The reason the war on terrorism will fail is because we (the US) are using the wrong methods. Again we've fired up the propaganda machine, I saw an interview with the new "Big Cheese" of Fort Bragg. In it, he said the reason that terrorists attack is because they are "jealous of our way of life". This could not be a more callous, arrogant, and ethnocentric lie. These terrorists, especially the 9/11 group and friends, weren't jealous of our way of life. They were irrational because they were religious extremists and a 1,000 years ago christians returned to a land they had given up years ago, slaughtered indiscriminantly, and claimed to have "retaken the holy land", which coincidentally, is the muslim holy land too. So began the feud between the extremist muslims and the extremist christians. Fast forward a few hundred years and we see that even though the US has a supposed separation of church and state (don't even get me started on that nutcase holy roller 10 commandments uber-conservative closed minded judge in Alabama) the US gets involved in this war and picks (of course), the judeo-christian side. That series of events is (predominantly) why the 9/11 attacks happened. Back to the war on terrorism failing, so we're attacking this thing in the wrong way. The gov't is spreading falsities about the people involved, we're insulting everything from their land, to their culture, to their names, which does not bode well for diplomacy and mutual respect. To add insult to injury, we're killing anyone who gets in our way while we try and kill a few of our personal favorites as well. The apparent reasoning behind the killing is the "cut off the head and the body dies" logic, which DOES NOT WORK WITH NON-CENTRALIZED organizations. Due to this piss-poor technique, the war on terrorism will, in the end, create MORE TERRORISM.

    It's a similar logic failure which is afflicting the RIAA's battle. Rather than scaring users into paying full price and not pirating, they're simply angering and frustrating them into adapting to new ways to achieve the same result, sometimes worse. I wasn't boycotting the RIAA until about 5 months ago, so from me alone they've sold around 15-20 less CDs (for some reason some indie bands end up on RIAA labels), and I've increased my downloading (and uploading) levels, yeah, good strategy here.

    • Now that is extremely well written. Ever read dailykos.com?
    • I can't see that "these things [...] will all, in the end, be failures."

      In the end, they have been or are used to destroy civil rights of US citizens. As such, they are a full success. (You could add old and new McCarthy'ism to this list, too.)

      And p > 0.5 for the hypothesis that desctruction of civil rights is not an unwelcome side-effect of such laws, IMHO.

    • Re:Similarities (Score:3, Interesting)

      by caudron (466327)
      even though the US has a supposed separation of church and state

      I don't mean to nitpick, heck I basically agree with your points; however, it is worth noting that we do not have a seperation of church and state anywhere in the constitution. That was a phrase taken from the writings of one of our Founding Fathers and used in a Supreme Court case to justify said seperation. The Establishment Clause, though, was only designed to keep the federal government from establishing a state religion because, and th
      • Disclaimer: I'm Methodist, not Catholic, though I do have a degree in religion.
        The mind boggles. One could go for years wondering at the usefulness of such a thing.
        • One could go for years wondering at the usefulness of such a thing.

          It's a travesty of modern public education that people assume that education is merely a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself.

          The "usefulness" of any degree is that you are ostensibly a better educated person. Why should education need more justification than that?

          -Tom
          • The "usefulness" of any degree is that you are ostensibly a better educated person. Why should education need more justification than that?
            Because the suits who do the hiring will only look at the paper.
            • Because the suits who do the hiring will only look at the paper.

              If you think that having an education is about impressing suits and making money, then you probably don't have one. You wouldn't be alone. I know many degreed people with no reasonable education whose only point in attending college was to get a job. You are just going to have to accept, however, that not everyone approaches life from a mercenary perspective.

              I quit school in the 8th grade, got my GED and entered the workforce. I was alre
      • isn't separation of church and state implied by the first ammendment?
        • Re:Similarities (Score:3, Insightful)

          by caudron (466327)
          isn't separation of church and state implied by the first ammendment?

          No. The First Amendment is where you will find the Establishment Clause that I mention in my parent post. That clause was never intended to seperate church from government, but rather to allow the states themselves to determine the nature of their own relationships to organized religion, rather than having it force fed them by the federal government.

          Specifically, there were only two Founding Fathers who wanted to see real seperation
    • Re:Similarities (Score:2, Interesting)

      ...and picks (of course), the judeo-christian side. That series of events is (predominantly) why the 9/11 attacks happened.

      Oh come on US presence in the gulf is about oil. This expensive resource makes US want to "be present in the region" and part of the oil revenue is used to pay for terrorist's arms. Once it isn't a strategic resource any more (when it's finished or when it's made redundant by new technologies), US will loose interest, retreat and the terrorism will stop because it will not be finance
      • terrorism will not stop when oil is no longer strategic.

        the terrorism of the future will be about control of fresh water supplies.

    • Lots of good points by the parent. However part of the conflict comes down to exactly this assertion: governments/organizations will have to learn that no matter how hard you try you cannot manipulate everyone into thinking the way you want them to

      John Ashcroft once made a comment, which I'm not going to bother do get the actual quoute for, but it went like this: "People say you can't legislate morality? Watch me."

      Ashcroft is not alone in his belief that laws and morality are really inextricable. In
  • by jareds (100340) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:47AM (#6803819)

    From the interview:

    • The scenario Jane Doe is fighting is the one where you don't know about the subpoena until the RIAA shows up at your door with a summons and a lawsuit. In any case, I strongly suggest seeking legal advice to deal with it. That's not a plug for lawyers, it's just that
    • I've heard lots of people voice bad ideas about how to respond and many of those ideas would just make a bad situation worse.

    Wow, it looks like he reads Slashdot.

  • by Comsn (686413) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @09:04AM (#6803924)
    why dont they just start lawsuits, then settle out of court for the people to pay subscription fees into one of thier music websites?

    that way, they keep thier customer base, the consumers dont get up in arms, legal music grows in users... etc

    instead of suing them for $250,000 each song...
    • That would be bad. We don't want this settled out of court in some form of bullying where many students lose their entire life savings over a couple britney spears songs. We want this to go to court so some sort of verdict may be had. We want the RIAA stopped dead in its tracks.

  • Tired of this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by assaultriflesforfree (635986) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @09:09AM (#6803959)
    Frankly, I'm tired of reading the same recycled comments on this issue, and I've never really interjected my opinion for the simple reason that very few of you will probably agree. Many might think I'm insane. But I'll go ahead and kill my karma right here. Take this as a criticism to Slashdot for discussing this article.

    Copyright law is bullshit. First off-- to make those of you that actually care understand that I have some standing on the issue-- I'm an artist, among other things. I write, act, and direct both for free and for money. The pay is little, and I honestly am only concerned with making back the money I put into a performance. I can and do find money elsewhere, doing the meaningless things that our labor-as-commodity economy provides and occasionally finding the job that really provides me with satisfaction. Would it be nice to devote more time to my creative work? Sure, except I find being an automaton provides just as much time to space out and file ideas away in my head as sitting in front of a computer thinking ever could. It certainly provides me with more inspiration.

    I don't care if people tape my shows. I don't care if people show them to all of their friends. I don't care if people make as many copies as they possibly can give them away. I doubt I'd even care if people sold those tapes for $1000 a piece. There's really only one thing I really care about: a little bit of credit. If someone's taking my writing and performing it (whether or not for pay), I'd like to receive just a note of thanks for putting some effort into writing it, exactly as I appreciate it when my girlfriend thanks me for bringing her lunch at work. Common courtesy is all I ask.

    I don't create for money. I create because I have to. It makes me happy. At most of my free shows, we break fire code. And when I manage to take all of those people and force them into the exact mix of emotions I'm aiming for--when a nervous, uncomfortable laughter rides over the crowd--that's a better feeling than anything. Like the MasterCard commercials, money can't buy some things.

    Some of you will say, "Yes, but you have a right to be paid for what you do." I don't see it. I have a right to do what I want to do, and in a perfect world, I'd be able to work my ass off doing that and not have to worry about paying the bills and whatever. I have no right to be rich, and that's all royalties and pay-for-play is about. I perform for people because I want to connect with them, to make them laugh, to simply make them glad that they took 2 hours out of their day to sit back and enjoy something. Charging only limits my audience, and frankly, the reason I do what I do seems to me to be far more important than getting paid to do it, particularly when I consider how disgusted I am with what the pursuit of money has brought this country.

    I have no reservation about "stealing" from record companies, software companies, or whatever. No, I don't want to see artists starve, but really, the revolutionary that's too careful about stepping on toes doesn't do shit. I want to keep hearing Aesop Rock, but I want, more than that, to tear down the barriers that reinforce elitism. I want to see everybody "pirate" music and software. I want to see Microsoft's profits dwindle until they disappear and force it to fold. I want the creative work of the world come to a screeching halt under capitalism so that people realize free is the only way to go-- that creation implies ownership no more than discovery. I want this because the system we have is fucking stupid. It's so fucking stupid that we get article after article posted about the latest lawsuit the RIAA's intellectual-property-rights claiming jerkoffs are waging against somebody that really just wants to share the creative wealth of human achievement.

    Noam Chomsky sums it up well: "It is sometimes argued that constructive and creative work will cease unless it leads to material reward, so that all of sociey gains when the talented receive special rewards. For the ma
    • by imadork (226897)
      I think you have a good perspective on things. There is more to life than making as much money as you can, and from what I gather, if you can make someone's life better through your art even for a few minutes, you've been paid enough.

      However, I think that you're a little off the mark in saying that you wish to fight the system through "piracy". Like it or not, we live in a capitalist country, and the almighty dollar will dictate most of our big decisions. Up until now, it had dictated that art has value on

      • Nobody is going to say "Since most people are making illegal copies of music, we should make it legal."

        History would disagree with you. Just look at what happened to Prohibition. (Yes this is a redundant argument, but so, too, is the parent poster's rhetoric.

        • Just look at what happened to Prohibition.

          Prohibition was a bit of a different issue. It's a case study on the pitfalls of legislating morality. It also was a relatively recent phenomenon when they overturned it, and there was not a long history of prohibition in the country to have to counter. It was, simply put, a social experiment gone wrong, and the people who started it were alive to fix it.

          That's not to say that copyright law isn't based on morality (although few people object to Copyright on religi

    • Me too (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sacrilicious (316896)
      I couldn't agree more. I'm glad to find evidence - like this message - that people are finding the time to think for themselves about copyright. And it takes courage to say this stuff, even in a relatively anonymous forum... but that's what we have to do, we have to create the awareness that we are not alone in our thinking. Fascism throughout the ages has relied on dividing people and making them think they're alone. But every day I'm meeting more people who do not believe in copyright. Not people who
    • Re:Tired of this... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by madman3m (596037)
      I would like to say that I agree with most of your comments. The Open Source Movement would not be where it is now if it were based just on monetary profit. I feel that we as a society are coming to a crossroads. Do we stay with our current system of capitalism with welfare for the rich or do we create a new capitalist model not based on monetary gain, but based on the enrichment of life itself. We must acknowledge though that the idea of copyright itself is outdated. It is merely the red headed step
      • Do we stay with our current system of capitalism

        What you have to understand is that capitalism is a great way of dealing with scarcity.

        A problem arises, then, when you enter the digital world: there is no more scarcity. Making a perfect replica of a file is so easy that anybody can, and does, do it. The only costs are the electricity required to run your computer.

        Think about the basic economics here: if something is in short supply and high demand, the prices on it will be high; if there is too much sup
  • RIAA alternatives (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chipwich (131556) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @09:35AM (#6804158)
    The battle between the RIAA and listeners appears to be very similar to the battle between software vendors (Micro$oft et al) and end-users.

    Since the combination of technology (DRM) and law (DMCA, EULA's) give unreasonable amounts of leverage to the IP producers, the only real alternative for the end-user is to avoid winding up a criminal by choosing something with less restrictive licensing.

    Can someone respond by explaining the alternative licensing arrangements available to artists? What sites post media created under these licenses?

    If large numbers of these files started showing up on P2P networks, this could have the potential to legitimize their content, benefit non-RIAA artists, and share some good music/art with the world all without supporting the RIAA.

    Of course, you've got to stop buying the RIAA's latest boy-band fad, but that shouldn't be a problem here...

    Oh, and lastly, is SCO challenging any of these artistic licenses yet?
    • Ultimately the problem comes down to quality and convenience versus cost. Half the albums you buy are crap and you only really want that one song. Really cool artists, who put out full package, nice albums, top to bottom, I buy. I just don't buy crap anymore. Ultimately I think the record industry is homogenized by Clear Channel and other such conglomerates. They aren't serving my needs. Swapping files would stop for me if they offered an affordable, convenient system that empowered my lifestyle. All
  • by The Revolutionary (694752) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @10:01AM (#6804393) Homepage Journal
    Peterson says in response to a question on damages:
    "I feel especially passionate about this with respect to the "intent" factor. The intent associated with printing 1,000 counterfeit "Harry Potter" books and that associated with kids sharing music with other kids is obviously different and I can scarcely visualize a scenario where $150,000 per download would be appropriate."

    I've already written "my" senators and congress people on this (we'll see what good that does...).

    I am just utterly dumbfounded when I see as potential damages for a single act of infringement: $750-$150,000. Can anyone tell me what the basis is for these numbers, or at least whose ass they were pulled out of, and for how much?

    Were I to distribute a copy of a track from the latest Metallica album (*shudder*) to one Mr. John Ashcroft, my doing so constitutes a single act of infringement. The theoretical maximum loss to the copyright holder due to this single act of infringement is the price of the album the song is officially distributed on; perhaps the album sells for $14.95. I don't know, I've never purchased an album (it is true!), and as such don't really keep up on prices.

    While this is an obvious upper bound, the actual loss to the copyright holder will be far less than this. There a number of factors:

    The electronic copy in .mp3 or .ogg format is not a full substitute for the uncompressed CD track.

    John (hey, buddy!) has been distributed only 1 of (let's say) 12 tracks.

    John has not received a physical duplicate of the printed CD.

    John has not been distributed a jewel case.

    John has not been distributed "liner notes".

    The current retail price of the album may be such that, while John has no objection to being distributed a copy of a single track at no cost to himself, given John's relatively ho-hum interest in the track (understandable), and his limited means (hey, he's Attorney General, not CEO of Haliburton), John would not have acquired a copy of the track at all if it were only available to him at the current retail price.

    We see that in the case John would not have been willing to pay any money at all to acquire a copy of the track (on the album), the copyright holder incurs no loss whatsoever by my act of infringing distribution.

    Even if John would have been willing to pay the current retail price of the album, his receiving an infringing copy of a single track, or even several tracks, can not be said to result in a loss to the copyright holder in the amount of the current retail price of the album. It can not, beause John may still purchase the album. Given the previously presented list, this should not be at all surprising.

    In fact, perhaps one of the few cases in which, although John had previously been willing or able to pay the current retail price of the album, upon hearing the infringing tracks I distributed to him he would no longer be willing to pay the current retail price, is the case in which the album fails to meet John's expectations. So yes, in this case, in the case where the current distribution model results in an uninformed and mislead consumer, perhaps my distributing to John one infringing track will result in a loss to the copyright holder in the amount of the current retail price of the album.

    But even this is hardly reasonable, for the same effect could have been acheived through perfectly legal means, either by John hearing the track on the radio and realizing "it is the suck!", through word of mouth, or by Mr. Ashcroft coming over to my place for some head-banging, only to discover the album does not meet his expectations.

    And so, if we want to assign a fair damage amount for each act of infringing distribution, on average I suspect it will not be more than about $0.50 a track, for an amateur-produced .mp3 of a track from a 12 track album.

    What? Oh, yes, it

    • I believe their reasoning for the insane amount per infringement is that I don't believe they have a way to find out how many others downloaded the track from that sharer. So while one instance of infringement may only be 'worth' $20 or so, or even less if you take out all the other material as you did, if you don't know how many people they transferred that file to, you would go for the maximum allowed by law.

  • And the biggest, the meanest, the nastiest MF of them all said, "And what are you here for?"

    "Sharing MP3s on the Internet..."

    And they all moved away from me there on the Group W bench."

    "...and beating up helpless women and children."

    And they all moved back down next to me again, and we had a fine old time...

  • The problem people have with the RIAA's tactic is that no judge ever sees the subpoenaes, and I agree. However, I also don't believe in protecting criminals through beuracracy, i.e. make the legal costs too high for the RIAA to effectively protect their property. No one likes it when DirectTV sues smartcard writer owners and makes them settle simply because it's more cost effective than hiring a lawyer. Therefore, we shouldn't support this sort of tactic just because we don't lik the RIAA. My solution is to
  • If I go to a P2P network and download, for example, descramble.mp3 how am I supposed to know whether the copyright holder wishes to freely distribute the work or not? If you require that the copyright holder explicitly tell you it is alright to copy the work then this is an infrigement of that person's right to speak. (Especially so when that speech is a direct political attack upon the notion of Intellectual Property.)

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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