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Aussie Students Face Jail Over Music Sharing Site 448

Posted by timothy
from the that's-reasonable-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "SMH this morning is reporting that three uni students may be jailed for their creation of a music sharing web site. Ok, piracy is not a good thing, but jail is just a tad extreme, don't you think? I hope ARIA (Australian version of RIAA) are pleased with themselves. What burns me about this article is the quote: 'Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."
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Aussie Students Face Jail Over Music Sharing Site

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:04AM (#7441963)
    *not only* was the website camouflaged...*but also* the student was interested in so-called "open source" software.

    Book 'em, Danno.

    FFS...we're getting our asses kicked here.
    • by kaschei (701750) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @04:02AM (#7442177)
      The point about the open-source software licensing is that he knows the terms of licenses and the legal consequences of violating them. It could have been any liscensing topic and the same comment could have been made.
    • I think it is past time that the community had some input into sentencing guidelines for cases of computer crime. Two university students with a history of being of good character, and very likely to go on to be law abiding, productive members of society face up to five years (per offence) in jail for giving away music.

      Using the 99 US cents that Apple's iTunes service charges for songs, the 1000 songs on the computer had a commercial value of around $990. If the students had stolen a car worth $990 woul
  • Hmmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tehdely (690619) * on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:04AM (#7441967) Journal
    What's interesting is that while Paul Roberts says charles Ng was "well aware he was acting illegally", opinion on the internet seems to be different. I heard a little bit about the story before, and refreshing my mind with the help of Google rendered this choice post from a message board:


    A similar fate has been met by a couple of university students/amatuer hip-hop deejays in Australia.

    They ran mp3wmaland.net, which was shut down about half a year ago, and they were prosecuted about three months ago and were jailed. The whole story was rather grim ... deejays subpoened at clubs for playing illegal bootlegs, police raids into bedrooms and seizing everything, complete incomprehensibility of the fact they have broken the law and face jail, by the three responsible.


    On a final note, I don't think anything really needs to be said about how his paper on "open source software licensing" is somehow evidence of culpability. A hefty roll of the eyes goes out to the genius who thought that up.
    • by bromba (538300) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:15AM (#7442012)
      On a final note, I don't think anything really needs to be said about how his paper on "open source software licensing" is somehow evidence of culpability.
      Just a wild guess, but maybe Roberts just assumed that someone writing an essay about open source licensing must be knowledgeable enough to be aware that sharing copyrighted material without proper permission is a copyrigth infrigement.
      This just shows that sometimes it is better to be underestimated and considered dumber than in reality ;)
      • your slightly wrong (Score:4, Informative)

        by segment (695309) <sil@politrix. o r g> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @04:56AM (#7442334) Homepage Journal
        sharing copyrighted material without proper permission is a copyrigth infrigement.

        Section 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A [setting forth copyright owners' exclusive rights and visual artists' artistic rights], the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

        1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

        2. the nature of the copyrighted work;

        3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

        4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.


        This is what I use for my legal disclaimer and you could check out some of the spoofs I've done in the past on CNN, ABCNews, Republicans, etc. (antioffline.com), as well as daily copying copyrighted news. It's public domain. Which from what you state, I gather you're implying that if you photocopy a newspaper you could be sued... You could if you sold it as your own for profit, but not by using it. BTW, my legal mumbo jumbo was written for me by someone in the law field considering the shit I had/have to deal with.

        Am I breaking the law copying news?, if you think so, then you are too since you copy it to your machine without permission when it gets cached.

        • by cthugha (185672) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:05AM (#7442358)

          BTW, my legal mumbo jumbo was written for me by someone in the law field considering the shit I had/have to deal with.

          Which is just as well, considering the apparent confusion that has led you to cite US copyright law in relation to an Australian criminal proceeding.

        • by yerricde (125198) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:39AM (#7442599) Homepage Journal

          17 USC 107

          Australian fair use is much more narrow than American fair use. Australian copyright law does not grant a broad exception for private copying of audio or time-shifting of television programs the way USA copyright law does (section 1008 for private copying of audio; Sony v. Universal for time-shifting of TV). While the "such as" in the first sentence of 17 USC 107 is interpreted to be illustrative and not limitative, Australian fair use's corresponding language is limitative [law.gov.au].

          • Are you suggesting then that it is illegal to, for example, record a CD that you have purchased onto a Minidisc for personal use? Or to rip it to MP3 for personal use?

            I am familiar with Australian (C) law, but not all of its intricacies.

            I also feel it is worth pointing out that IP rights are violated millions of times a day without anyone batting an eyelid. Part of the balance between the rights of the owners of copyright material and the public good comes from the utter unenforceability of much of copyri
            • by yerricde (125198) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @08:08AM (#7442855) Homepage Journal

              Are you suggesting then that it is illegal to, for example, record a CD that you have purchased onto a Minidisc for personal use? Or to rip it to MP3 for personal use?

              According to this paper published by the Australian copyright office [copyright.org.au], that's correct: "There is no exception in the Copyright Act that allows copyright material to be reproduced for private purposes without permission from the copyright owner."

              • Paper by who? (Score:3, Informative)

                by Politas (1535)
                That would be a paper by the Australian Copyright Council, a body formed of people who are interested in strong copyright protection. They are not an official body, and you can assume that that paper is a biased interpretation.

                The official body in Australia that handles intellectual property issues is IP Australia [ipaustralia.gov.au], although realistically, copyright is a matter for the courts to decide.

                AFAIK, time-shifting and format-shifting have NEVER BEEN TESTED in Australian courts. The legislation is just not that s
    • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think it was meant as anything negative about OSS licensing. But, to write a paper on OSS licensing, they would need to know about copyright and licensing, and thus cannot claim that they didn't know that what they did was illegal.

      I.e, he was well aware that he was acting illegally.
      • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Uatec (709860)
        He may have been technically aware that what he was doing was illegal. But it is still a matter of opinion.

        If you friend says to you "could you lend me that Cd you just bought". would you say "no, its against the law, you criminal"? I dont think he would be your friend if you did say that often.

        The point i am trying to make is that, he may not have seen it as a breach of the law. Music pirates are often seen as people who copy CDs and music and sell them on at a profit.

        "These guys didnt make a penny (or
    • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:20AM (#7442034) Journal
      On a final note, I don't think anything really needs to be said about how his paper on "open source software licensing" is somehow evidence of culpability. A hefty roll of the eyes goes out to the genius who thought that up.

      I disagree. I'm not saying it's *correct* or anything, but the ideas behind free software are incomprehensible to non-programmers, and are therefore easily lumped together with piracy.

      Remember, if you can't understand it, it's bad, or otherwise wrong, somehow. And the idea that you should have rights to software for *free* sounds an awful lot like piracy to many average Joes.
      • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarkZero (516460) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:51AM (#7442135)
        I disagree. I'm not saying it's *correct* or anything, but the ideas behind free software are incomprehensible to non-programmers, and are therefore easily lumped together with piracy.

        Remember, if you can't understand it, it's bad, or otherwise wrong, somehow. And the idea that you should have rights to software for *free* sounds an awful lot like piracy to many average Joes.


        You're missing the point. That quote wasn't about open source software, it was about the student's knowledge of copyright. This person was a student in an "information technology law course" and wrote a paper on "open source software licensing". A person like this claiming to know nothing about the fact that posting copyrighted works on the internet is illegal is like an accounting student claiming that he didn't know he had to file his taxes every year. If someone knows the advanced portions of copyright law, then they obviously know the basics, as well. That was what the counsel meant.

      • I disagree. I'm not saying it's *correct* or anything, but the ideas behind free software are incomprehensible to non-programmers, and are therefore easily lumped together with piracy.

        I have no idea what you're talking about. I have seen free software being compared to Communism, but I have never heard of it being equated with piracy.

        -a
      • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hherb (229558) <horst@nOspAm.dorrigomedical.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:27AM (#7442545) Homepage
        ... but the ideas behind free software are incomprehensible to non-programmers ...

        How wrong can one be. What makes you think so? In my profession (medicine), knowledge is completely unlicensed. If you are interested in a particular piece of knowledge, like how to operate a hernia - I am happy to share this with you. No royalties, no licensing fees. You may have to pay for my time if you need me to teach you, buts that's all. After that, you can do whatever you like with your knowledge - share it, multiply it, APPLY it!

        It is even tradition in my profession to provide services for free to those who can't afford them - in most countries legislation even compells us to do so (in most civilized countries, a doctor cannot walk away unpunished from a patient in danger of life or limb regardless whether the patient is able to pay anything for the services rendered).

        "IP" however is an artefact created by people who either see their purpose in life in amassing as much money as possible regardless of the damage they do to society or by people who would not have any purpose at all if they wouldn't create such artefacts.

        Doctors all over the world are fighting drug patents and similar "IP" that actually kill more people every single day than the whole gulf war did.

        We certainly have no sympathy for putting people into jail for replicating an indefinite ressource. How can you steal what can be replicated indefinitely?
        • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:48AM (#7443731) Journal
          How wrong can one be. What makes you think so? In my profession (medicine), knowledge is completely unlicensed. If you are interested in a particular piece of knowledge, like how to operate a hernia - I am happy to share this with you.
          *snip*
          We certainly have no sympathy for putting people into jail for replicating an indefinite ressource. How can you steal what can be replicated indefinitely?

          I think you may be stretching the analogy a bit. As a physician, you're welcome to tell all your friends how to operate on a hernia. However, it would not be appropriate for you to photocopy all of your med school textbooks and give those copies away, would it?

          This is not to say that textbook publishers are not, as a species, utterly reprehensible in their practices--new editions annually, ugly markups, etc. However, If I were a textbook author, I still would legitimately feel I had been ripped off if someone were to copy my work.

          Your point that concepts in intellectual property--open source, closed source, public domain--can (and should!) be explained to the layperson is well taken, but your comment is equally instructive on the dangers of analogies in law.

    • Scene inside a smokey pub:

      Grey hat: "So, you're writing up on the Ng case?"

      Writer, peering into empty glass, "Yeah, guess so. Another beer?"

      Grey hat: "It's on me. Look, I need you to throw in some comments about open source. My bosses say if I can get the words 'piracy' and 'open source software license' into the same web article, I get a thousand. I'll split it 50-50 with you"

      Writer: "Ng did mention he studied software law. I'm sure that includes open source licenses. Sounds OK."

      The grey hat is Mic
    • Odd that they should refer to that particular paper, although it does suggest some understanding of the concepts of licencing, piracy et al; it seems odd he could have written such a paper with no understanding of the (however broken and/or wrong) current IP laws. Perhaps the fact that he was doing an INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAW COURSE is mildly relevant; the courts do not generally look fondly upon one of their own that breaks the law.
  • Screw it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phrogeeb (621296) <urbushey@sas. u p e n n . e du> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:05AM (#7441974) Homepage Journal
    For sure. Open source software licensing, music sharing for free - fricking communists! They should all be locked up.

    Anyone ever seen "Born Yesterday"? Great line from that movie that applies here:

    "I want EVERYONE to be smart. A world full of
    ignorance is too dangerous to live in."

    I hate stupid people.
  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:08AM (#7441983)
    What burns me about this article is the quote: 'Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."

    Obviously anyone that chooses to write an essay for an information technology law course on "open source software licensing" knows at least SOMETHING about copyright. Such as, for instance, the fact that there is a such a thing as copyright law and that freely trading copyrighted material might violate it.

    That quote had nothing to do with insulting your precious open source sensitivities. It was about an information technology law student obviously knowing when he's breaking copyright laws on a computer.

    • Obviously anyone that chooses to write an essay for an information technology law course on "open source software licensing" knows at least SOMETHING about copyright. Such as, for instance, the fact that there is a such a thing as copyright law and that freely trading copyrighted material might violate it.

      That quote had nothing to do with insulting your precious open source sensitivities. It was about an information technology law student obviously knowing when he's breaking copyright laws on a computer.
      • As I said, I'm not sure what angle the lawyer is taking here, but my guess is that this is the usual "open source advocates are pirates" angle that we've heard so often before.

        More likely the prosecution is taking the angle that believers in Open Source believe that "information should be free" and that therefore breaching the copyright laws is not immoral or wrong. I'm not saying the premise it's based on is correct, but it does go to showing that the offender is likely to re-offend, which is the primar

      • it would have been sufficient to say he'd taken a course in law. If he wanted to be unnecessarily specific, he might have said 'information technology law'...The mention of open-source licences seems too specific and too explicit to be happenstance.

        I think it was a PR move. Open source has become quite a buzzword and this guy is from the Aussie equivalent of the RIAA. The situation is ripe for him to throw in a few loaded words ofr a good sound bite. Open source is also an often mis-understood phrase.

    • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NightSpots (682462)
      Speaking of obvious, I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for people who are just now getting in trouble.

      The RIAA, et. al, have been increasing their anti-privacy measures as time goes on, with broader and broader sweeps and harsher penalties every time they announce a new round. Why anyone, four years after everyone knew it was illegal, still trades music online and expects not to get in trouble is silly.

      Why anyone feels sorry for someone who knowingly and willingly breaks the law so that they can save t
      • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Funny)

        by chgros (690878)
        their anti-privacy measures
        Is that on purpose? Freudian slip?
      • Why anyone feels sorry for someone who knowingly and willingly breaks the law so that they can save themselves from buying a $15 CD (face it, 95% of the people downloading are doing it for selfish reasons) is beyond me.,/i>

        I may not feel sorry, but I can understand some situations. Take someone who listens to a lot of radio music (opinions aside, bear with me). That is "single" music. Producers and execs hope to get one "hit" from the majority of what goes by their desk in the way of demo tapes. If th

    • I beg to differ. If they wanted to indicate that he knew he was breaking the law, all they had to say was that he took an Information Technology Law course. That in and of itself is enough to show that he wasn't ignorant of the laws regarding copyright. I'm not sure I agree with the earlier post that indicated that they were trying to equate Open Source with piracy. If that was their aim, Free Software sounds a lot more sinister...
      • I'm not sure I agree with the earlier post that indicated that they were trying to equate Open Source with piracy. If that was their aim, Free Software sounds a lot more sinister...

        Sure, but it's much less of an industry buzzword. Anyone who's used a computer would, quite naturally, think they knew what the term "free software" meant when hearing it for the first time: software with zero cost. (Of course there's also the free-libre definition, but you won't bother to look that up if you already think yo
  • by azzy (86427)
    > Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy.

    If he knew anything at all about open source, and especially if he advocated it, that makes him an evil terrorist.
  • About time! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Look, for every other crime, you do time in jail. Why should copyright infringement be any different? This is nothing other than the willful violation of copyright laws. A service with no other reasonable purpose than breaking the law should be considered violation of the law, just as someone who had set up an on-line drug trading site would be in violation of drug laws even if they personally weren't selling the crack themselves.

    Piracy advocates used to say that there is no alternative to piracy, that
    • Re:About time! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by viware (680138)
      Copyright violations a crime?
      I don't know about you, but that makes me wonder about our laws. As a fineable offence it would make more sense, but not a jailable one.
    • Re:About time! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Look, for every other crime, you do time in jail.

      Damn straight!

      Last time I got pulled over for speeding, I spent 11 months and 29 days in jail. Man, did that suck.

      Then a cop saw me walking down Market street a bit inebriated. Instead of telling me to get my ass home, he locked me in the clink for a month.

      You won't believe what happened when I got caught jaywalking. Don't EVEN get me started. 12 years in the county lockup for missing the crosswalk by 6 feet! Christ!

      Yeah, that's right, every other crime r

      • by hdparm (575302) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @04:17AM (#7442224) Homepage
        I went to the shop the other day, and I was in there for only about 5 minutes.

        When I came out there was a motorcycle cop writing a parking ticket. So, I went up to him and said, "Come on man, how about giving a guy a break?"

        He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So I called him a pencil-necked Nazi.

        He glared at me and started writing another ticket for worn tires!
        So I called him a piece of horse shit. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windscreen with the first.
        Then he started writing a third ticket! This went on for about 20 minutes... the more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

        I didn't care. My car was parked around the corner.
  • Mixed Feelings (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Beg4Mercy (32808)
    I do not think they should be going to jail. A fine at worst. I myself pirate software, music, and movies.

    However sometimes I find myself feeling a little sympathy for the RIAA. I'm sure many Slashdot readers program or otherwise produce software for a living. Do you ever worry that widespread piracy hurts your salary and even your employability? When I talk to average joes who are getting a new computer I ask what software it comes with or what software they're getting and the usual answer is that they'r
    • " I do not think they should be going to jail. A fine at worst. I myself pirate software, music, and movies."

      I think everybody has pirated something sometime. Whether it's ripping MP3 or making a casette (remember those?) or even making a copy down at kinkos. Technically all those things are illegal to some degree. Up to now the ip holders have not been willing to crack down but now they are.

      It remains to be seen how effective suing and jailing your customers will be in the end.

      BTW are the laws in Austra
    • Depends very much on how it's used.

      As a developer (film fx software), I'd not only overlook, but probably encourage low-income students to use pirated versions of my app("third party demo versions", I call them). It's not like it's costing us a sale, and any exposure to our software will encourage them to ask for it when working at a real studio.

      OTOH, I frown upon studios using cracks professionally, naturally enough. If you're using the results of my work to generate an income, you should contribute to

  • by coolmacdude (640605) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:13AM (#7442003) Homepage Journal
    We need a new music distribution movement.

    Open Source Music Licensing

    1. Someone posts a blank [ insert fav music editor of choice ] file

    2. everyone adds one note and then reposts it

    3. After thousands of people have contributed, release it on CD and P2P.

    4. Profi... I mean, uh, watch as it dominates the current 800 lb. gorillas of the music arena. No one could match the raw emotion, tonal diversity, and freedom from coherence such a piece would possess.
    Except maybe John Cage [bbc.co.uk].
    • MAGNATUNE.COM (Score:2, Informative)

      by anti-NAT (709310)
      magnatune.com [magnatune.com]
    • We need a new book distribution movement.

      Open Source Book Licensing

      1. Someone puts a blank [ insert paper of choice ] sheet into a typewriter

      2. every monkey adds one letter and then moves on

      3. After millions of monkeys have contributed, release it on CD and P2P.

      4. Profi... I mean, uh, watch as it dominates the current 800 lb. gorillas of the publishing arena. No one could match the raw emotion, verbal diversity, and freedom from coherence such a piece would possess.

      Uh, right. The moral here is that
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:13AM (#7442005)
    Reminds me of what USA citizens might face if they were to (gasp) post a link to the Paris Hilton movie (Freenet: CHK@qGlSiCK3HPMx38fCuSPlo81ws2AMAwI,LRhfAE-DMDcsnr QhkXEiBw/parissexmovie_256k.wmv).

    It may seem off-topic, but it isn't, really. A movie was filmed consensually. It's being distributed - with disregard to any possible copyright - by one of the involved parties. And the other party involved is threatening lawsuits six ways from Sunday. Pot, kettle, black... You performed a work, you knew it was being recorded, you're well aware of this whole new-fangled "internet" thing, why is it someone else's fault when things start getting distributed? To be honest, the parallel between the Hilton tape and every MP3 out there is quite clear.

    I'm disappointed to see that yet more college kids are facing punishment for writing what amounts to essentially an indexing service, but here in the US, that seems to be the status quo. As in, he who has the status, has the quo.

    The RIAA is winning because they have money. The ARIA will win for the same reasons. It sucks, really.
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:15AM (#7442011) Homepage Journal
    A lot of (well, too many) people draw a connection between the promotion of open source/Free Software and piracy, rationalizing that because the members of the previous movements are inclined to give away something for nothing they are also inclined to take something for nothing.

    Nevermind that said movements survive on the concept of copyright and respecting the creator's wishes. Standard copyright doesn't even do that anymore, considering most creators of original content hand it over as a work-for-hire and aren't even able to assert moral rights (most copyrighted work being produced in the U.S. or for U.S. companies). So it's possible the prosecutor is attempting to trace the connection between open source and piracy that simply doesn't exist.

    • " A lot of (well, too many) people draw a connection between the promotion of open source/Free Software and piracy"

      Do you really think this is because of some sort of an accident? People believe this because powerful organizations continually make this claim. Whether it's MS, SCO, RIAA or whatever. They spend millions of dollars creating this association in the minds of the public and they have succeeded.

      Next time some executive at MS makes a casual connection between open source and (communism/cancer/soc
    • The connection is not made accidentally, it's been slipped in there expressly and it shows that some of the same people pushing for DRM are also strongly opposed to free/open source software.

      Expect to hear linkage between piracy and Linux next.

      It's your standard propaganda battle, nothing unusual about it.
  • by Penguin2212 (173380) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:17AM (#7442019)
    Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."

    While the article was poorly phrased, I seriously doubt that it was an attack against the Open Source community. The author was implying that Ng was somewhat about copyright law, and that he probablly knew well that the site was illegal. It was trying to make his infraction seem more blatent, because he allegedly knew he was doing something wrong and still did it. Although, I would see little connection between software licensing and music copyright law, I guess it helps paint him as a bad guy. Bad journalism, definitely; but an attack on the Open Source community, highly unlikely.
  • by segment (695309) <sil@politrix. o r g> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:19AM (#7442027) Homepage Journal
    *Sung to 'Down Under' Men At Work'

    Travelling in a fried-out combie
    On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
    I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
    She was using a sniffer and watching my serivce
    And she said...

    "Did you use a pro-gram called Napster?
    Where students thieve and swap music faster?
    Can't you swap, can't you swap a bit faster?
    You better run, you better take cover"

    Trading songs with a man in Brussels
    On a T3 his network had muscles
    I said, "Do you use KazAa or Napster?"
    He just smiled and called me a hackster
    And he said...

    "I come from a land down under
    Where beer does flow and men chunder
    Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
    You better run, you better take cover"
    Yeah

    Trading warez in a chan on the efnet
    feds are sniffin my whole damn co-nnect
    I said in the chan, "MP3's I got plenty
    Because I come from the land of plenty?"
    And he said...

    "Oh! "I come from a land down under
    Where beer does flow and men chunder
    Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
    You better run, you better take cover"
    Yeah ... men at work were are they now
  • by handy_vandal (606174) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:26AM (#7442058) Homepage Journal
    Ok, piracy is not a good thing, but jail is just a tad extreme, don't you think?

    Recall that Australia [wikipedia.org] was Great Britain's prison state, during the heydey of the Empire.

    What's next -- condemning hardcore Ausssie offenders to Tasmania [latrobe.edu.au] ...?

    -kgj
    • Recall that Australia [wikipedia.org] was Great Britain's prison state, during the heydey of the Empire.

      And let's not forget that America is now infested by the descendants of terrorists who attacked the British King's legally appointed rulers of the North American colonies.

  • given the effort that is going into anonymous (sp?) trading P2P systems, it seems amazing that there are still sites out there that host MP3s that are not squeaky clean.

    I have as big a chip on my shoulder as the next /.er when it comes to the RIAA / ARIA / "assorted recording acronym", but these guys were painting a large target on their foreheads and saying "come and get us".

    Jail is over the top, but if you wanted to get away with doing dodgy things, these guys failed miserably.
  • by Gwala (309968)
    Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy.

    They are both hated by people with copyright-based monopolies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:28AM (#7442067)

    We have a free will.

    This means nobody is making you buy things at gunpoint.

    This also means, that if you stop buying music, stop "consuming" music and overall just don't touch anything provided by these *AA people, two things will happen:

    1. You will always be safe from litigation

    2. They will be hurt due to lost sales

    And there is not a goddamn thing they can do if you choose to take this strategy!

    Read a book instead. Or listen to the existing records you might have. Or get an instrument like guitar and learn to play.

  • 'may' face jail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pbjones (315127)
    People also missed the fact that they have not been given a jail sentence yet, they may get community service etc. or the chance to appeal. They knew it was illegal, do the crime, do the time!
  • Bloody Aussies think they have it bad because your Charles Ng (allegedly) violated copyright laws. Why don't you come to the U.S., and see what OUR Charles Ng [google.com] was like! You'll see just how easy you've got it down there!
    • Yeah, yeah, so he killed people and all that... but the important thing to the RIAA and their croonies is that he didn't break the laws on copyright* doing it - allthought it can be argued that he caused them to loose some sales.

      *)Unless off course the RIAA and their croonies decides to copyright murder...

  • by darnok (650458) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @03:48AM (#7442127)
    > the music industry alleges the pirated music cost
    > it at least $60 million

    That's one f*ck of a lot of Kylie!

    Let's do a bit of maths on this. A CD in Australia costs around $20-25. Let's round this up to $30, to give ARIA the benefit of the doubt.

    An average CD contains about 10 tracks.

    I'm going to assume that ARIA used something resembling base-10 mathematics... $60 mill equates to 2 million CDs, or 20 million tracks worth of downloads.

    That's one track for every person in Australia.

    Let's further assume that each track was a 3Mb MP3 file, which is probably a bit on the low side. The 20 million tracks that were downloaded works out to about 60Tb of data.

    Are we supposed to believe that these guys, using a site running from a suburban bedroom, managed to share 60Tb of data? **Maybe** ARIA's lawyer is assuming that each track that was downloaded from this site was copied to another 10 sites, and from each of these to another 10, ... - if so, that's hardly the fault of Mr Ng and his cohorts.

    Does anyone have any more info on this case? Preferably, something a bit more credible?
  • by LuYu (519260) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @04:15AM (#7442218) Homepage Journal

    What burns me about this article is the quote: 'Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy.
    That burns me as well, but I can tell you why the lawyer said that. I think the lawyer is claiming that since Ng wrote an essay on a copyright subject, he must know enough about copyright to know what he was doing was illegal.

    What the lawyer did not say:

    • There is no connection between OSS and piracy.
    • Most P2P applications that the record industry hates so much run on MSWindows.
    • The legality of file sharing remains in question.
    • Copyright was never intended to prevent people from sharing information. In fact, it was intended to create more information for people to share.

    The lawyer was making an insidious attempt to vilify Free Software with his questionably legal attack on information sharing. That would be an added benefit for an industry that wishes to eliminate OSs that have the ability to disable DRM.

    The record industry is steady on course to destroy all freedom on the Net for a few quarters of profit. This is the essence of greed.


    • Grow up. The prosecutor couldn't care less about open source software (and probably doesn't even know what it means): what he/she cares about is making a strong case against Ng and the essay aims to help prove that the person was not just an innocent infringer, but was aware of the law. Combined with other evidence (e.g. of cloaking the web site), this makes the case against Ng even stronger, should Ng refute the allegations.

      You're trying to read between the lines, and in doing so, you're just inserting th
  • According to Sydney's other quality publication [news.com.au]:

    The music industry estimates the pirate trio cost it up to $200 million in lost sales revenue

    That's more than triple the Police's (almost certainly already inflated) estimate of $60m - at AUD30 per CD that's around 2,000,000 albums, and yet there were only 7,000,000 'hits' (and probably a lot less 'downloads'). Who's to say that any, let alone all, of those 'hits' would have converted to sales? Even if each were a download, at AUD3 per track (averaging 10 tr

    • I run www.ozmp3.com and in the current log file, there are 523 "hits". After removing all the gif and robots.txt and .html hits and reducing all the 206, there were 74 song downloads. At the same ratio, that means nearly a million tracks could have been paritail downloaded from teh mentioned site but I've got a much better network that one is likly to have in a house in Sydney.

      Does anyone know the address to write the judge in this case? If ARIA is giving false info the the judge, it needs to be brought
  • Why hasn't anyone gone after Puff Diddley for stealing songs, then re-releasing them as his own?

    It's one thing to copy an mp3 from a pal or grab a song off the internet, but at least you or I are not making money of the labors of innocent artists!

    Until the RIAA and organiztions like it clean their own house, I see no reason why people should be held in any way accountable for downloading an mp3, especially when many of the same songs are available free on the radio!

    Until talentless hacks like P. Doody ar

  • Something I've been curious about for a while now is exactly why it is that more often than not, when a industry-prompted bust like this goes down it's the operator of a website that is the target.

    I mean, who illegitimately downloads music from the web? If it happens at all, it can't possibly be a significant problem to industry when compared with the likes of KaZaA, etc.
  • "' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."

    Their grand inquisitor must have done some thinking while he was polishing his instruments of torture and figured that slipping a mention of unrelated blasphemous acts of software development into a story about a court case against three musical hretics is swatting two files in a single stroke
  • Since piracy has been regarded as a hanging offence for several hundred years, they're getting off pretty lightly.

    Unless, of course, they weren't guilty of violent maritime theft. In which case, why accuse them of it ?

  • Interesting point - DJs of all kinds sample each others (and mainstream artists') work all the time. At what point does sampling stop and piracy begin?

    OK, so it's somewhere short of the complete song, but there seems no consistency in test cases - everything from a single line to half a tune has been in some court case or other.

    Chris

    ***********
    - Read fiction at www.espressostories.com [espressostories.com]
  • I wonder if the RIAA-equivalent in Australia would ask for the same punishment if they were their sons.

    I think asking yourself this question every time you doubt the effectiveness of a punition may help a lot..
  • Ok, piracy is not a good thing, but jail is just a tad extreme, don't you think?

    The article doesn't contain much fact, but if the article is resonable correct, then I think it's alright if the people behind have to go to jail. No doubt they knew it was illigal.
  • by freality (324306) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @11:54AM (#7444415) Homepage Journal
    Don't let the Aussies get all of the credit!

    Title 18, Section 2319 of the US Code:

    "Any person who commits an offense under section 506(a)(1) of title 17 -

    (1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500;"

    You can search the US code here [house.gov].

    The same language is going into The FTAA Treaty [ftaa-alca.org], meaning all of North and South America would face prison for the same crime:

    "[4.1. Each Party shall provide criminal procedures and penalties to be
    applied at least in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting or infringement
    of copyrights or neighboring rights on a commercial scale. Each Party shall
    provide that significant willful infringements of copyrights or neighboring
    rights that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain shall be
    considered willful infringement on a commercial scale.

    In criminal procedures, remedies available shall include imprisonment and/or
    monetary fines sufficiently high to deter future acts of infringement and
    with a policy to remove the monetary incentive to the infringer. Each Party
    shall further ensure that such fines are imposed by judicial authorities at
    levels that actually deter future infringements.]"
  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#7445062)
    'Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy." Anyone who understands OSS licencing has a pretty good grasp of copyright law, especially as OSS is specifically designed to present an alternative to traditional copyright law. It would be impossible that this person didn't know he was breaking the law. His crime is made doubly worse by the fact that instead of simply trying to build an alternative to copyright law as with OSS, he decided to go out and break the law instead.

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