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RIAA Sues 261 Major P2P Offenders 1076

Posted by simoniker
from the you'd-better-watch-out dept.
circletimessquare writes "Yahoo!/Washington Post is reporting that the RIAA is suing 261 fileswappers whom they consider to be 'major offenders' in illegally trading music online. Remember to visit the EFF when full lawsuit details are released, and see if you're one of the unlucky few." Details of the amnesty program reported last week were also released, with the RIAA announcing it "...would require file sharers to admit in writing that they illegally traded music online and vow in a legally binding, notarized document, never to do it again."
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RIAA Sues 261 Major P2P Offenders

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  • My theory... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bloggins02 (468782) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:22PM (#6901290)
    Since they know they can't stop downloaders, they figure if they make it a point to go after the biggest file sharers people will become paranoid and turn file sharing off. They'll become leachers.

    Of course we know what happens to a P2P system with all leachers and no sharers...

    • Re:My theory... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeriel (670422) <sholes.athertonia@org> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:26PM (#6901351) Homepage Journal
      Alternately, you'll end up with sharers in countries where the RIAA doesn't have a legal way to mess with 'em. The US will likely become 100% leech on the public P2P networks, sadly--but you can't really blame leechers when legal threats are flying, right?

      Go one better--stop downloading and stop buying. Let 'em sue themselves right into the dirt.
      • Re:My theory... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TopShelf (92521) * on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:50PM (#6901742) Homepage Journal
        Now here's an interesting point - for firms that compete in the music biz, they generally want overall interest in music to increase, while not allowing their competitors to make more money than them. So what's to prevent someone outside the US, who has some stake in one of the firms (say as a shareholder) from scooping up material from the competitors, and making it available for download via P2P? There's an incentive there to freely distribute the competition's material, if you can get away with it...
    • Re:My theory... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by madcow_ucsb (222054) <slashdot2&sanks,net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:32PM (#6903009)
      people will become paranoid and turn file sharing off. They'll become leachers.

      This has already happened. Truth is, most people I know used to share everything. Now I can quite honestly say I don't know a single person who leaves sharing enabled. In fact, making sure Kazaa has sharing disabled has become as important as making sure there's a virus scanner when any of us has to fix a friend's/relative's computer.

      I was talking with some friends about this the other day. While it sucks for the network users, it just comes down to the fact that you would have to be friggin INSANE to leave your computer sharing lots of files right now. Why not just put a sign up that says "Hey, RIAA! Come sue me!" No thank you.

      What /. tends to forget is that the VAST majority of p2p users ARE downloading copyrighted songs. And if we got sued, the vast majority of us would lose even if the RIAA had the most incompetent lawyers on the planet (which I'm sure they don't...) It takes someone who really didn't break the law to challenge these suits. For the rest of us, it's simply not worth the risk, so we'll just pull our machines off line and wait for a more secure way to do things. I can certainly do without the music for a while...
  • I think (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901297) Homepage Journal
    the EFF needs you donations more then ever. Remember, you don't have to do anything wrong to find yourselves in a position to prove your inocense. Yes, under these circumstances, you have to prove your inocense, simple disgusting.
    • EFF Action Center (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FileNotFound (85933) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:29PM (#6901400) Homepage Journal
      Even if you won't donate, at least go to the action center and send some angry letters to your senator.
      EFF Action Center [eff.org]

      • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:20PM (#6902881) Journal
        Mr. Senator,

        There is a phrase that has been a part of United States Government for the last 225+ years, and I'm sure you are familiar with it:

        "Innocent until proven guilty"

        There is a phrase that all of us should strive to live up to. Reversed, it resembles totalitarian regimes of the past, including Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. It is something that every American should strive to live up to in both their personal and professional lives.

        Unfortunately, the United States legal system appears to be moving away from that ideal.

        The RIAA is now sending subpoenas and notice of lawsuits to citizens throughout the United States, and these citizens will have to defend their innocence in a court of law, rather than the plaintiff backing up their accusations with incontrovertible evidence.

        Let me give an example:

        1. John Q. Wallet goes and Legally buys a CD from the local Fred Meyer / Best Buy / Circuit City, and takes it home.

        2. John has a slow computer, but an MP3 player and wants to listen to his music under Fair Use Rights, upheld through case law in the courts. "Ripping" said music takes longer than downloading it off his high-speed internet. He downloads the music he has a legal license for.

        3. John gets picked up on some type of scanner that the RIAA has on the Internet.

        4. John gets served with a copyright infringement lawsuit, ending up paying countless dollars in legal fees to prove that he had the CD, and the fair use rights to the intellectual property contained on the media.

        I have a real problem with this, and I hope you do too. Artists should be paid for their compositions and performances, but customers should be able to use their licenses for whatever they want within the law.

        Example 2: Sharing

        If I leave my car unlocked in a bad neighborhood, does that make me a felon if my car gets stolen?

        If I own a store, and someone shoplifts from me, does that make me the shoplifter?

        Are the cable and satellite TV companies getting sued when someone commits Theft of Service?

        Then why are the people hosting files on the Internet getting sued for having files available for download?

        As we speak, the "Filesharers" are being served with court notices. These are people that possibly aren't doing anything wrong, but the RIAA is sending their lawyers to work, without any hard evidence of wrongdoing. I'm sure you understand the law far better than me, but I see this as a criminal court -vs- civil court loophole:

        If you have evidence, take it to a judge and he'll sign the arrest warrant. If you don't have evidence, file a civil suit and bury them so far under paperwork that they will be ruined financially when they eventually file for bankruptcy.

        Innocent people filing for bankruptcy after being sued by a corporation with hundreds of lawyers and hundreds of millions of dollars. That is an America I would rather not see happen.
        • by DeepRedux (601768) on Monday September 08, 2003 @04:36PM (#6903664)
          There is no "Fair Use" right to download and MP3 rip of a track, even if you have purchased a CD containing the track. This was decided in the my.mp3.com case.

          From the decision [gigalaw.com]:

          ... although defendant seeks to portray its service as the "functional equivalent" of storing its subscribers' CDs, in actuality defendant is replaying for the subscribers converted versions of the recordings it copied, without authorization, from plaintiffs' copyrighted CDs. On its face, this makes out a presumptive case of infringement under the Copyright Act of 1976...
    • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

      by M.C. Hampster (541262) <M DOT C DOT TheHampster AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#6901504) Journal

      the EFF needs you donations more then ever. Remember, you don't have to do anything wrong to find yourselves in a position to prove your inocense. Yes, under these circumstances, you have to prove your inocense, simple disgusting.

      Yes, the obligatory +5 interesting spiel for donating to the EFF. And, of course, it is +5 Incorrect. Yes, the DMCA allows copyright holders to supboena the names of people from ISP's without bringing a case first, or getting it signed by a real judge, but that doesn't mean that the system of innocent until proven guilty is out the window. These people, if it goes to court, will have the same rights afforded to them as in any other legal case.

      There are problems with the DMCA, but can we cut out the FUD please?

      • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:51PM (#6901748)
        Ah, we're young and innocent, aren't we?

        Here are some quotes by judges I've actually witnessed in court:

        "Lady, what do you expect here, justice? This isn't about justice, it's about procedure."

        "Yes, you can have some time to get a lawyer, but I'm not going to allow him to examine the plaintiff."

        And directly relevant to the issue under consideration in a case where defendant requested that the judge dismiss a complaint because plaintiff had offered absolutly no evidence in support:

        "It isn't the job of the plaintiff to prove their case. You are the defendant. It's you job to defend yourself."

        The judge then denied the defendant's request for the plaintiff to produce financial documents relevant to the case.

        Not do you, in practice, have to prove your innocence, but it isn't at all uncommon to be denied the basic rights and tools to do so.

        I guess that's why they call it the legal system now, rather than the justice system.

        KFG
      • Re:I think (Score:5, Informative)

        by stwrtpj (518864) <[p.stewart] [at] [comcast.net]> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:10PM (#6902043) Journal
        Yes, the DMCA allows copyright holders to supboena the names of people from ISP's without bringing a case first, or getting it signed by a real judge, but that doesn't mean that the system of innocent until proven guilty is out the window.

        You're confusing civil and criminal law. In criminal law, yes, you're innocent until proven guilty. It does not work that way in civil law, which is what we are talking about here. All you need to show is a small amount of proof to haul someone into court, and then you only need a "preponderance of the evidence" to win the case.

        This is why I object to the RIAA's tactics. I agree wholeheartedly that the ones who are actively sharing files are the ones guilty of copyright infringement under the law, but I disagree with subpoenas issued without a judge's signature.

        These people, if it goes to court, will have the same rights afforded to them as in any other legal case.

        Except the right to a lawyer. Once again, in criminal law, I am guaranteed a lawyer, paid for me by the state if I cannot afford one. Not so in civil law. I have to pay for my own attorney. So I see nothing wrong with the EFF providing funds to help defend people in civil cases, since this helps offset the disparity that exists in the system.

        There are problems with the DMCA, but can we cut out the FUD please?

        Subpoeans without a judge's approval is not FUD, it's a travesty of justice.

        Not being able to pay for your own defense in a country that so highly values liberty is not FUD, it's legalized extortion.

  • Why the vow? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adamwright (536224) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901298) Homepage
    "...and vow in a legally binding, notarized document, never to do it again."

    If P2P trading of Copyrighted music is illegal (and we know that it is), why require this? Is it purely a move to allow easy prosecution should they offend again? Or do they think that prosecuting under copyright law might not work in some cases?
    • Re:Why the vow? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lawbeefaroni (246892) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:31PM (#6901439) Homepage
      PR. Offering the "amnesty" looks like they're willing to work with consumers. They'll still screw them but they hold up the amnesty as a concession.

      Giving someone a temporary break from extortion is hardly amnesty.
    • Re:Why the vow? (Score:3, Informative)

      by leviramsey (248057)

      It takes away a number of defenses you could use if they sue you for a future infraction. You can't claim that you have no history of this sort of thing (if you do, you've perjured yourself and could be imprisoned for that). It also could be introduced as evidence of your character in the trial.

    • Re:Why the vow? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:31PM (#6901447)
      "Is it purely a move to allow easy prosecution should they offend again?"

      Yes. If you sign the aggrement they no longer have to rely on copyright law. They have a binding contract with you to abide their terms.

      Debt collectors who buy up bad paper and then seek to recover use this trick too. The law has very carefully prescribed limits to the actions that can be taken to collect a debt, even in cases where judgement has been found against the debtor.

      If they can get you to sign a contract expanding their rights to collect, by your own volition, than they can hold you to that contract.

      Then you are, as they say, "hosed."

      KFG
    • Re:Why the vow? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:32PM (#6901457) Homepage
      Actually, if anything, it's a PR move. It's basically a way for the RIAA to look benevolent without looking like they're bending over and letting the pirates win. The only other options are to sue the pants off everyone and risk looking like bullies, or to stop pursuing P2P traders, which, of course, is impossible.
  • by ScooterBill (599835) * on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901302)
    Last count 4+ million users on Kazaa. It looks like the RIAA is having an effect. Too bad it's the opposite effect they want. M
  • by waterbear (190559) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901308)
    A demand to sign a notarized admission of guilt is just _not_ an amnesty (literally -- a forgetting). Is there no limit to the way in which these people will twist words so that they are not saying what they appear to be saying?
  • by Kedisar (705040) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:24PM (#6901322) Journal
    Well... this is going to be a fun morning for those 261 people.

    *Random guy turns on computer*

    You've got subpoena!
  • by PovRayMan (31900) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:25PM (#6901337) Homepage
    I myself just got back into my dorm and seeing this article made me think. Many thousands if not millions of students are going off their dialup/cable/dsl home connections and back to the fat pipes the universities have. As much, I would expect P2P usage to rise again, but how much more with RIAA lawsuits?

  • Served? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Afty0r (263037) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:25PM (#6901346) Homepage
    Remember to visit the EFF when full lawsuit details are released


    I'm not sure how justice works in the USA, but here in the UK you are notified if someone initiates legal action against you...
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:26PM (#6901350) Homepage Journal
    I will not ever pay for an RIAA member label music product until such a time that they end their predatory lawsuits.

    Frankly, this won't be a hard promise to keep, since most mainstream music sucks.

    PS - The radio is still free, and I have an TV/FM tuner/capture card.
  • by Robert Hayden (58313) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:26PM (#6901362) Homepage
    Filing for RIAA amnesty may immunize you from civil litigation, however that affidavit becomes excellent fodder for your prosecution under CRIMINAL statues. Certainly RIAA owns one or two over-eager district attorneys wanting to make a name for themselves.

    The you're off to a lovely federal pound-you-in-the-ass prison, or forking up hoards of fines.
  • RIAA Math (Score:5, Funny)

    by mopslik (688435) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:27PM (#6901368)

    261 Major P2P Offenders

    So, is that the equivalent [slashdot.org] of 50 file swappers, downloading really fast?

  • "File Sharing" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slime-dogg (120473) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:28PM (#6901384) Journal

    Every time I see this "Vow not to share files" or references to "Illegal P2P applications," I start wondering if the wording is such that the victim will not be able to share any files whatsoever, legally or public domain. I can see these huge corporations not really understanding the difference between serving copyrighted music and serving a distribution of GNU/Linux over KaZaa. I'm sure that they would like neither to take place.

  • Da' finga' (Score:5, Funny)

    by GillBates0 (664202) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:28PM (#6901388) Homepage Journal
    "We're willing to hold out our version of an olive branch," Sherman said.

    ...and I'm willing to hold out my version of da' finga'.

  • by ryants (310088) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:29PM (#6901401)
    A quick Google [google.com] will pull up lots of other articles, I just picked one [101-280.com].

    In short, a levy is paid on blank "audio" media (how they tell the different between blank "data" CDs and blank "audio" CDs is a bit beyond me). This levy gets dispersed to copyright holders in some magic way; in exchange Canadians are expressly allowed private copying, including peer-to-peer file sharing.

    Blame Canada.

    • by mrtroy (640746) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:33PM (#6901470)
      Yes, be jealous.

      There was rumours cd-r's were going to skyrocket in price as a result of that thought...however prices of cd-r's have dropped like a stone here just as they have everywhere.

      So my 50 cents canadian (0.001 american dollars) is letting my have some legal file sharing

      Yay for Canada! We also recently got electricity :P
  • by BlackBolt (595616) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:29PM (#6901409) Homepage Journal
    I've [gentoo.org] downloaded [knoppix.com] gigs [debian.org] and [slackware.com] gigs [redhat.com] of [suse.com] stuff. [sourceforge.net]
  • by Accord MT (542922) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:30PM (#6901418)
    Boo Hoo! The artists are getting ripped off! Can we keep it real for a moment?

    The "Artist" doesn't deserve squat.

    There. I said it. You can go mod me down, call me Satan, whatever it is you do to those with opinions different than your own. Or you can grit your teeth and read on:

    Most "pop" media (music, movies, even books) churned out today is more a product of the producer/publisher than it is a work of art. Except in rare circumstances, the writers, musicians and actors are merely useful brand names, interchangable and of no consequence to the studio's bottom line. Listen to two supposedly different albums with similar production credits. You'll see! Those identical drum beats and background orchestras aren't coincidences. This canned art is inserted as production's way of applying a dose tried-and-true to that brand new artist. "Artists" rarely exert any creative control over the work that will eventually bear their names.

    Brittney Spears is hired for her ability to excite teenage boys (and some adult men) and her ability to sell Pepsi, and she is paid handsomely for it. Like most pop "artists" she is barely a part of the product upon which her brand name is stamped, and deserves little, if any, of the proceeds from record sales.
    • If everyone had your attitude, real bands with musical talent would just stop making records. If you can manage to turn off MTV for a minute you'll see there is still plenty of decent, original music out there, it just doesn't get the same media attention as silky skin and plastic boobs. Just because your radio station only plays Linkin Park and Britney does not mean that's all the music there is. You'll just have to find alternative methods of exposing yourself to new music (talk to friends, attend festiva
    • But I do agree that there is little justification for the amount that artists are currently capable of earning. Call me a communist if you must, but I would be very happy to see a lot of musicians earning a good living than the current state of affairs: a very few who make exorbitant amounts of money, with the remaining majority unable to support themselves with music alone.

      Is it antithetical to the American Dream to say to those dishwashers and Guitar Center clerks that no, even if you succeed wildly, yo

  • by dswensen (252552) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:31PM (#6901444) Homepage
    "...would require file sharers to admit in writing that they illegally traded music online and vow in a legally binding, notarized document, never to do it again."

    Offenders must also confess to having been to the proletariat areas and consorted with the prostitutes, or they go to Room 101...
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06 @ e m ail.com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:34PM (#6901490)
    The RIAA coordinates an industry-wide reduction in the amount of music released to increase the value of output. They do this to shore up the hyperinflated price of CDs (due primarily to collusion for which they have already had a civil judgement against them) and to attempt to make up for the decline in sales of cassettes, a format that they have actively worked at making obsolete. They also hope to continue to command their traditional percentage of discretionary teen/20s spending.

    Unfortunately, the output remaining tends not to be compelling, their target audience has a number of other venues for their spending (video games, DVDs, online activities) and the economy goes south.

    So which Business school teaches that the best way of addressing these sorts of problems is to spread fear/resentment/anger amongst the audience you are attempting to win back?

    And as a side note, if getting the music listened to by potential buyers is such a bad activity, then why to record promotion people give away free singles and CDs at events? Why do companies allow songs to be played on the radio? And if pirating is such a depresser of CD sales, why was one of the most pirated CDs around, The Eminem Show, such a sales success? Could it be that people liked what they heard and were willing to pay for it?

  • Hypocracy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by man_ls (248470) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:36PM (#6901517)
    First we cry foul when companys sued and tried to regulate Internet Service Providers, into requiring them to keep the laws for their users.

    Then, they became something of a "common carrier."

    Now, RIAA is actually going after the people *who are breaking the law* and yet you are still complaining about it?

    So what if its some 14-year-old kid in his house downloading the latest MP3 from his favorite band. It's still *breaking federal law* and, under that law, allows monetary damages to be collected by the person whose copyright was infringed.

    This right is executed all the time in copyright infringement cases; if it didn't exist, nobody would protect their IP. IP violation fines are the deterrant to copying protected works. Just because the kid isn't even legally an adult yet, doesn't mean he can't break the law just the same.

    Federal law allows up to $150,000 / violation. A violation is one infringed work (i.e. 1 unauthorized mp3 file. An "authorized" file is one you have permission to own -- either in writing by the copyright owner, for example, or because you own the CD and ripped it to your hard drive for easier listening.) In this respect, RIAA's $50k and we'll be done with it is more than reasonable, because *the government* would allow for fines of up to $4.5 million!!! for an amount such as 30 songs.

    RIAA should produce better music if they want to maintain their customer base and prevent piracy. There needs to be more tangible benefits to purchasing the legal version of the song vs. downloading it. For me, this benefit is the fact that the CDs (1) sound considerably superior to the average 128kbit MP3 file (2) I can feel like I am at least pretending to support the artists I like, many of whom are on indie labels anyways, and (3) I get a physical product that I can take with me in my car to play on my car CD player, which doesn't like burned CDs; and I can make as many mp3s of it as I want, as long as I don't share them.

    RIAA could adjust its business model, make it better to purchase the CD vs stealing it. Or, switch to a different modus operandi all together, and provide some new kind of operation.
  • by Hell O'World (88678) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:56PM (#6901819)
    Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads [kuro5hin.org] There is hope that we can get out of legal mess. This article says that 90% - 95% of artists are unsigned. There has got to be plenty of quality out there, waiting for the people to find them. With good collaborative filtering, we can find the music we want without those bastard lawyers. Musicians, don't sell out! We want to support you! Let us hear your work, and the money will come. I am downloading iRate [sourceforge.net] right now.
  • In tonight's news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davmoo (63521) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:56PM (#6901831)
    The RIAA finally does what geeks have asked for years by going after the offenders instead of after P2P technology itself. And geeks still object. Film at 11.

    I've got a very novel idea for avoiding a RIAA lawsuit. It is an idea that I'm sure will be unpopular, and I'm therefore also sure that this message will be moded down as flaimbait even though it is nothing of the sort, because that is how simpleminded moderators deal with a differing viewpoint here.

    But my idea is simple...don't want to be sued by the RIAA? THEN DON'T SWAP COPYRIGHTED MUSIC WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.

    • Re:In tonight's news (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anita Coney (648748) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:22PM (#6902210) Homepage
      You're oversimplifying the situation. I'm about 40 and stopped buying music in about 1993. Ironically once alternative music broke into the mainstream, it became impossible to hear new good music.

      However, I started buying music again after Napster came out. Suddenly, I was exposed to tons of music that never made its way to radio.

      Whenever I hear about new music, I download a few samples, and buy what I like. I went from buying no music to about three CDs a month. Here's a great example, someone at /. mentioned the Japanese duo Puffy in their signature. I downloaded some songs, fell in love, and bought one of their CDs that night. Here's another example, I hear some Junior Brown in a Spongebob episode, download some of his stuff, and buy his first CD about a week later.

      Exactly how does me buying MORE music justify me also paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil fees and being placed in jail with murders?! Either I'm crazy or the law needs to be changed.

  • by Petronius (515525) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:59PM (#6901871)
    this is the net result of this stupid campaign: people are setting up FTP servers and snail-mailing each other mp3 compilations. OK, it's not as user-friendly & Napster-cool but the point is: MP3 trading will never stop.
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#6901911) Homepage Journal
    On the front page today at Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org]: my article Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads [kuro5hin.org].

    You don't need to worry about getting sued by the Recording Industry Assocation of America [riaa.org] or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music. Many independent and unsigned musicians offer downloads of their music in hopes of attracting more fans. Here's some music from my friends The Divine Maggees [divinemaggees.com], Oliver Brown [kingturtle.com] and Rick Walker's Loop.pooL [looppool.info].

    If everyone started downloading legal music instead of violating copyright with the file sharing programs, we would make short work of the RIAA, because people would start buying CDs directly from the artists and seeing their shows instead of enriching the major labels by buying CDs from the bands the labels have chosen for us to listen to. The RIAA would also have no cause to complain - these music downloads do not infringe copyright because the artists give you permission to download them.

    The article is under a Creative Commons license. Please copy and distribute it. The copy on my website [goingware.com] has particularly simple markup to enable easier copying.

  • by sielwolf (246764) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#6901924) Homepage Journal
    Universal Music Group is cutting its prices [buffalonews.com] by 30% (and note that UMG is by far the largest music multinational). Many think that this will push down many cds below the magic 10 dollar mark.

    I guess it's up to each to decide if these two cancel out. Of course this does answer two of the biggest /. gripes against the music industry: the labels taking too big of a piece and over inflated SRPs. The only one left would be that the RIAA is a vindictive/cruel/abusive litigator... but how much effect does that have on a purchase? How many folks upon hearing this decide to not buy a cd (or pick up something indie... say Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights which was selling at 9.99 for the last year)?
  • Predictions (Score:3, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:06PM (#6901981) Homepage Journal
    1) Next "Blaster" worm causes every Windows machine on the Internet to start sharing files.

    2) 200 defendants in the last case blame the last "Blaster" worm and claim they had no idea their computers were sharing files.

  • by msimm (580077) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:07PM (#6901993) Homepage
    RIAA free music. I mean its funny they complain about their numbers dropping while attacking some of their most devoted fans.

    On the other hand there are lots of musicians begging for exposure that are even willing to give their music away for free.

    1sound.com [1sound.com]
    www.mp3.com [mp3.com]
    iuma.com [iuma.com]

    And it just goes on.
  • by dachang (258727) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:07PM (#6902001)
    I noticed eDonkey2000 is not among the list of P2Ps for which EFF advised turning off upload. Is it because donkey is too small or is it because it is immune from RIAA?
  • by DavidBrown (177261) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:13PM (#6902093) Journal
    ...is actually pretty simple: Boycott the Music Industry. It's all over-marketed crap anyway - the Madonna/Britney Spears kiss, for example, wasn't an artistic expression, it was a shock statement made to get people to watch the awards program and pay money to RIAA for the music manufactured by their neutered artists.

    Stop stealing music. Stop buying music too. Support your local artists. Go to a local nightclub, watch the local bands, and happily pay the cover charge. Buy only CD's the performers sell themselves, and don't steal their music, because you'll be ripping of a performer, and not RIAA.

    Your local garage band won't be a technically proficient, but they will be more honest and original, even if they are a cover band playing other peoples' music.

  • Don't get Amnesty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:19PM (#6902174) Homepage Journal
    DON'T apply for Amnesty! It's a trick! And if you get sued, don't settle! The RIAA is suing people like nuts right now because everyone is settling. They are pretty much getting tens of thousands of dollars for free. Forget selling music, they're making up their lost money by stealing money from college students.

    The amnesty is a trick. The way it works is they get you into a contract that says you will stop sharing music. Once you're in that contract you no longer have the option of fighting them in court. They will sue you for breah of contract as opposed to copyright infringement, and then you're screwed.

    If you get sued fight them tooth and nail. Get a good lawyer, and some help from the EFF and other folks. We just need one person with balls enough to fight, and when they win it will set a precedent. Everyone else will be able to fight and win by default. If I got sued, I would fight.

    Don't let the greedy RIAA get away with this crap. Fight!
  • by Nugget (7382) <nugget@distributed.net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#6902325) Homepage
    If the headline of this article read "FSF sues 261 major corporations for GPL violations" I wonder how the comments might differ.

    Enforcing copyright is enforcing copyright and if you want the GPL to be enforcable then you better learn to deal with RIAA's copyrights being enforcable too.
  • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel AT bcgreen DOT com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:00PM (#6902660) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA doesn't have a monopoly on music. They just have a monopoly on getting music into the media.

    Kuro5hin has a recent article [kuro5hin.org] which explains the issue, including pointers to archives with about 40,000 music titles that are legal to download.

    Boycott the RIAA, and start downloading / buying music that isn't theirs. Support artists who make good music and don't have access to the RIAA's media juggernaut.

  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:11PM (#6902786) Homepage
    Dear RIAA:

    I swear under oath that in the last 12 months I have legally purchased at least 5 CD's of your artist's music. I further swear that I will permanently refrain from ever doing it again. I hope this meets with your satisfaction, as treating your customers as thieves can only have one intended result.

    MadCow.
  • Antiquation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:30PM (#6902985) Homepage
    It seems like the music industry is dying because it has vastly overestimated the value of the product it sells.

    When CDs first came out, they were about the coolest way to spend money. There were no DVDs, movies came on cumbersome magnetic tapes which degraded quickly, and the software of the day just wasn't compelling to most people (and also came on cumbersome magnetic media).

    The prices for CDs have hardly fallen since.

    Today, you can spend $20 on a DVD. Technically, it's also just a piece of plastic, but it carries a couple of hours of data for the eyes as well as the ears. Or you can buy a video game for $35-$50 that lets you actively participate in the entertainment. Being non-linear, a video game could provide anywhere from 0 to thousands of hours of entertainment. Then there is cable TV, where for the price of a couple CDs a month, you get 24-hour access to lots of different crap.

    With a CD, you get about an hour worth of music (I've seen some go as low as 40 mintues), and even if you really like all the songs, it only engages your ears. Hence, on average, CDs are less entertaining.

    Nor is the CD a convenient format for anything but home use. Keep your CDs in your car, and they inevitably get ruined or stolen. So for your convenience you burn yourself a copy for your car, making it more valuable to you. But the industry isn't simply failing to increase the value of its product, it's trying to interfere with the ripping and burning that could make the content more convenient (and hence more valuable).

  • by mTor (18585) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:37PM (#6903060)
    DMCA has safe harbor provisions for ISPs. You can become an "ISP" if you share your internet connection using a wireless router.

    I already wrote about this in another thread: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=77293&cid=6876 918 [slashdot.org]

  • by felonious (636719) on Monday September 08, 2003 @05:32PM (#6904256) Journal
    I all sides to the current arguments on this subject and could easily side with most. What gets me of late is the people who say this argument is nothing but two spoiled kids arguing over a topic of inconsequential value. This would be my reply yot that...

    1)Yes we have some very important issues in this day and age. War, economy, healthcare, etc.
    2)There are better rights to fight for than downloading music without fear of retribution.
    3)The RIAA is grasping at straws.

    With all of that being said I can move on to my point...

    This isn't simply about downloading music or demonizing and archaeic institution/business model.
    This isn't about spoiled kids whining about a god-given luxury.

    The underlying theme here is illegal, unethical, and forgoing of certain rights as guaranteed under our constitution. I'm not talking about our right to download free music. I'm talking about punishing copyright infringement reasonably if at all.

    Why aren't people upset over a corporation issuing it's own sopoenas without judicial oversight?

    Why aren't people challenging their local politicians over passing such bills?

    Why are politicians selling our rights as guaranteed under the constitution in exchange for campaign donations?

    The laws being past as related to the drm and dmca reach much farther than downloading mp3's. Just think of how it pertains to the future and the extent the corporations will go to to protect their outdated business models. They don't give a damn if you rot in jail for enternity as long as the profits keep rolling in and the American public does nothing to change it. I guess you could say the entire world does nothing as a whole except whine and complain isntead of actually mounting some kind of grass roots uprising.

    I hope everyone understand that I'm not even talking about mp3's. I'm talking about our laws and rights and where this is all leading in our collective futures. I'm not some right wing, over conservative thinker with alterior motives protecting my own personal interests. I'm about protecting the rights I've always had and I can see them slowly slipping away, bit by bit. I don't want it to be too late when "joe Average" starts to understand because by then it will be too late and there's no new "America" that we can set forth on ships to regain our freedoms.

    The time to act is now and time is of the essence. Don't make this about music. Make this about maintaining what we have always had. The fight with the RIAA is the first of many battles of which will be a long, drawn out war of attrition. Our power is in our voices, pockets, and numbers. We cannot let the greedy few sell our rights in exchange for money and job security.

    We can win this...
  • by ColaMan (37550) on Monday September 08, 2003 @07:27PM (#6905274) Homepage Journal
    Something I've wondered about is the legalities of 'fuzzy' recordings.

    eg : you download a 160kbps MP3, the RIAA gives you a court order for copyright infringement. The copyright is for a song that they have the rights for.

    But is their copyright valid for the digital representation of the song? The RIAA'd argue yes , of course it is, after all CD's contain binary 16 bit samples of audio at 44.1kHz.

    But, even with your leet 160kbps mp3, you don't have an exact duplicate in it's entirety - not by a long shot. Could you argue that your MP3 is just a summary of the original work? It's 1/10th the size, isn't it? To draw (hah!) a parallel in the art world, does my rough sketch of monet's sunflowers constitute copyright infringement? Hardly.

    Take a leaf from the SCO debacle, and print out a copy of both the CD digital audio and your MP3 onto paper and politely ask the prosecutor to underline the offending parts of your data for you. Just the sheer difference in size of your printouts would go some way in convincing the court that they are not the same.

    If they pull the "for all intents and purposes" response, just wheel out the expert witnesses and the double-blind tests, and the sonographs of distortion. You should be able to prove that the audio that your collection of bits on your drive represent is completely different to the audio from the collection of bits on the CD.

    What am I missing here? Why is this defence not used?

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