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RIAA Sues a Child 1093

Posted by samzenpus
from the sue-everyone dept.
dniq writes "You may remember the previously posted story about a case against a mother, which was dropped by the RIAA right after her lawyers moved to dismiss the case. Well, guess what? The RIAA has brought a lawsuit against the mother's daughter - now a 14 year old girl - and moved for appointment of a guardian at litem."
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RIAA Sues a Child

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  • by CdBee (742846) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:56AM (#13728318)
    ..only reinforces my determination not to pay for content.

    Am I a thief? yes. but it sits easier with my conscience than paying an industry which shows so readily all the worst tendencies of big business
    • by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:58AM (#13728324)
      Am I a thief? yes.

      Tell me again, since when copyright infringement became theft?
      • by mad flyer (589291) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:07AM (#13728358)
        Bah... the usual problem, when people repeat something false often enought it subconciously become true, in an hypnotic way...

        See WMD, video games consoles are all sold at loss, Apple is dying, BSD too and others that I have forgotten...

        Life is getting soooo boring...
        • by Freexe (717562)
          Remember, Nintendo is on its last legs and can't compete in the video games market
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Bah... the usual problem, when people repeat something false often enought it subconciously become true, in an hypnotic way... See WMD, video games consoles are all sold at loss, Apple is dying, BSD too and others that I have forgotten..

          Yeah, and also add "downloading stuff without paying for it is OK because the product sucks and I wouldn't buy anyway."
          But if it sucks so bad, why are people downloading it in the first place.

      • Since infringing on copyright deprived the copyright holder of income through the unauthorized distribution of said holder's copyrighted works.

        Copyrighted works have value and, in the case of music, it is demostrated value (people pay for it). Because people are obtaining the music without paying for it, against the wishes of the copyright holder, when they would have had to pay for it, copyright holders are deprived of that income.

        Unless you can prove that all the people who downloaded the work would neve
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:40AM (#13728450)
          Several mistakes:

          1. The copyright holder is only deprived of *potential* income. As neither of us knows if a specific person would have paid for the crap he downloaded and never listened to, you can't say that he was deprived of any real income. He only lost something he never had.

          2. No matter if he would pay or not, the correct term is still "copyright infringement". The word "theft" covers *removing* something from a person, and to remove something, he had to have it in the first place.

          3. Disagreeing with using the word "theft" is not the same as agreeing with illegal copying. Personally I would be happy if illegal copying didn't exist at all, but that doesn't mean that I want the RIAA and their fans (that includes you, apparently) to pollute the language by using the wrong words to deliberately confuse the case. In the normal usage of words, it is not theft, it's copying. In the legal sense, it's not theft, it's copyright infringement. It's only theft in your fantasy, and the fantasy of the RIAA.

          4. Two people disagreeing is not called a hypocrisy. Slashdot is not a person, it's a message board with lots of different people who have different oppinions, and who post on different topics. The GPL fans who don't care about the RIAA-topics have one oppinion, and the Kazaa-fans who don't care about the GPL-topics have a different oppinion.

          5. In conclusion, how about learning the language before you post? Let me just list the words you have confused in your post:

          Income vs Potential income.
          Theft vs Copyright infringement.
          Hypocrisis vs Different oppinions.

          Please learn the differences. Then you'd be able to sound like an intelligent person and not just an RIAA marketing guy.
        • by damieng (230610) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:53AM (#13728488) Homepage Journal
          A friend of mine asked my opinion on a DVD he was about to purchase. At my suggestion he came to my house and watched it. He subsequently decided it wasn't worth purchase.

          So in effect I have deprived artists and studios of potential income too.

          As does every reviewer who dissuades a potential purchaser.

          If we are saying it is perfectly acceptable to sue anyone who takes potential income from you then society would be in a lot of trouble. The lottery would have to go, as would interviewing for jobs....
        • by oirtemed (849229) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:04AM (#13728527)
          Once again, you, like many before you, seem under informed both in the history of copyright and its current implementation. For a nice examination of the history and the current state of affairs, go read Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture. The book, if you don't want to buy it, is also available for free [free-culture.cc] as a PDF released under the creative commons license.

          Until then, I'd really suggest you not make blanket statements for which you are not logically equipped to back up.

          Copyrighted works have value and, in the case of music, it is demostrated value (people pay for it). Because people are obtaining the music without paying for it, against the wishes of the copyright holder, when they would have had to pay for it

          Used music purchases are often against the "wishes" of the copyright holder, do not benefit the copyright holder, and deprive the copyright holder 'income'. Copyright law wasn't about protecting holder's incomes, in fact it was really the opposite. Copyright law was designed to force things into the public domain, as the common law at the time allowed for the argument of perpetual copyright. It isn't until recently that there is all this crying over derivative works, insanely long copyright terms and instant copyright of everything without application and without application for extensions. These benefit the corporations, the holders, and do not benefit the people or public in any way. It undermines the public domain and reduces creative possibilities.

          Unless you can prove that all the people who downloaded the work would never have paid for it, arguing that downloaders would not have bought the music does not stand.

          Actually it is a valid argument. If those in favor of stringent copyright laws want to argue in favor of "lost sales" without providing any proof to the matter other than made up numbers, then yes, the otherside can say "I wouldn't have bought it anyway."

          I'm not against copyright and I do believe that creators deserve protection. But there needs to modifications to take into account current technology, and the lifetime of a copyright needs to be severly reduced to encourage innovation and allow the public domain, and thus the public, to flourish. And, contrary to what people want you to believe, the point of the following line is to LIMIT the term of IP protection: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

  • by Edunikki (677354) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:56AM (#13728320)
    And, should that fail, against her goldfish for listening to the alleged pirated files . . .
    • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:37AM (#13728655) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, but goldfish have 5 second memory spans, which makes them even reliable as witnesses than Ronald Reagan at the Iran-Contra hearings...

      Lawyer : Did you download songs from the internet?
      Goldfish : I don't remember
      Lawyer : Did you discuss downloading songs with the defendant?
      Goldfish : I have no recollection of that.
      Lawyer : Did you install the Kazaa "filesharing" software
      Goldfish : I don't remember.
      Lawyer : Do you authorise illegal shipments of arms to Iran, in exchange for money to covertly fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua?
      Goldfish : Jesus, even I know that that was Ronald Reagan.
  • Wont... (Score:5, Funny)

    by squoozer (730327) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:57AM (#13728321)

    ...somebody think of the children!

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:57AM (#13728322) Journal
    I expect that RIAA will soon sue FUTURE offsprings. Worse, congress will pass laws that will allow it, and the supremes will back it.
  • Contradiction? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:58AM (#13728326)
    Wait a sec, the other article says "Finally, the RIAA tried asking the Judge to amend the judgment in order to allow them to sue the child through a Guardian Ad Litem. However the court denied [the] RIAA's request.".

    What gives?
  • Conveniently aged (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:58AM (#13728329) Homepage Journal
    It appears as though all the children getting sued are of the age when internet access is used and their peers are all downloading.

    Theres not been many younger kids sued, and we don't hear about the older ones because they are responsable for themselves.

    I haven't actually heard about a real suit yet where they were truly wrong about the downloading habits.

    The suits themselves are wrong, but their targetting seems spot on.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lego-Lad (587117) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:59AM (#13728330)
    They are hoping she'll be the next Britney Spears, and they can increase their profit margins if the RIAA can get a new guardian.
  • Let them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by centipetalforce (793178) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:59AM (#13728331)
    This will show the public how absurd there greed really is if the national media reports on it (big if).
  • Silly World (Score:4, Funny)

    by davro (539320) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @05:59AM (#13728332) Homepage
    Child was wearing a "hoody" must be guilty.
  • by echostorm (865318) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:00AM (#13728334)
    If they think for a second that the masses are just going to roll over on this one they are crazy - this is the exact type of thing that could get people burning their products in the streets.
          The outrage of them suing unwed mothers without computers (not to mention the deceased) is a mouse fart compared to whats going to happen when they start suing children.
    • I hate to say it, but you're wrong.

      The masses WILL roll over on this one--it's what they do best! The only way that the average joe will actually get upset about this is if the mass media tells them to. Collectively, people are sheep and will do whatever their perceived authorities tell them. Worse, once they've gotten used to a bad idea, they'll accept the next evolution of it with a minor whimper. (and the next, and the next...)

      If the RIAA's behaviour hasn't led to rioting in the streets yet, this won't m
    • by BobSutan (467781) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:40AM (#13728452)
      As long as people are buying their products, they'll happily let you burn them. The execs will just laugh all the way to the bank. While the ideology of what you're saying is in the right directions, what you should be truly thinking about is long term boycott of their products (or simply purchasing second hand material).
  • Family torn apart? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:00AM (#13728335) Homepage
    So, download MP3's -> lose your mother??

    Remember that RIAA public service anouncement where zombie warriors would kill an entire family if you downloaded music from the internet? Is that really how far the RIAA would go in their avarice?

    /target RIAA
    /spit
    /repeat ad infinitum
    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:08AM (#13728361)
      Remember that RIAA public service anouncement where zombie warriors would kill an entire family if you downloaded music from the internet? Is that really how far the RIAA would go in their avarice?



      No, they'll do much, much worse things than send zombie warriors.


      They send lawyers.

  • by dorkygeek (898295) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:01AM (#13728339) Journal

    In other news, an unborn is sued for cognisance as his mother listened to an illegaly downloaded song.

  • by BlackMesaLabs (893043) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:04AM (#13728348)
    RIAA steals christmas, kills the easter bunny, bombs a hospital, poisons a river and makes a general ass of itself.
  • by tucay (563672) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:04AM (#13728349)
    Since Brittany will not be able to pay, the RIAA should be granted the right to harvest Brittany's organs.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:04AM (#13728350) Homepage Journal
    Giant Greedy Corporation Sues 14 year-old Kid! In 26pt bold font, front page.

    Or, as they said in the movie [imdb.com]... I love the smell of napalm early in the morning.

    Nice work RIAA. With lawyers like these, who needs enemies? Or p.r. people, for that matter?

    (Yes, this is funny. Laugh).
    • by cluke (30394) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:23AM (#13728401)
      I admire your optimism. More likely it will be stories about "10 signs that your child is an illegal downloader" and advice about how to turn them in for their own good before it's too late.
      As far as the media goes, it's only "won't someone think of the children!" when the kids are at risk of being affected by outside forces. If it is the kids themselves offending, it's "try 'em as adults, and throw away the key."
  • Mcdonalds (Score:5, Informative)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsro@gmail.TOKYOcom minus city> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:05AM (#13728352) Journal
    I did think that the McLibel case was the biggest PR disaster a corporation had ever got involved in ..http://www.mcspotlight.org/ [mcspotlight.org]
    Well done to the RIAA , they have just managed to out do McDonald's PR disaster .
    I really did not think they would be that stupid , Even if they win their reputation will be completely destroyed .I do not think any media organisation is going to let up on this one .

  • by Afecks (899057) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:10AM (#13728364)
    ...the RIAA has filed a lawsuit against the father's testicles for "willful neglect" by spawning copyright infringers. In what could be the most lenient interpretation of the Grokster decision, a judge has allowed the RIAA to pursue further based on claims that the father's testicles were responsible for discoruging the illegal acts commited by their offspring. The announcement came as both a shock and an outrage to the defense team and the defendent who was heard to remark, "I'd give my left nut to get this ruling overturned."

    Yea, it's a troll, big whoop, wanna fight about it?
    • RIAA files suit against God for "willful neglect" in creating man. The suit goes on to describe a number of ways that man is flawed including but not limited to:

      • Won't always do as it's told.
      • Refuses to hand over all money and it's eternal soul to RIAA.
      • Refuses to enjoy modern cra^H^H^H music as much as it should and demands creativity.
      • Some examples put up a fight when pushed around.
  • Wait...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Devistater (593822) <devistater.hotmail@com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:10AM (#13728365)
    Wait, I thought that the kid sued ended up doing pro RIAA tv commercials? Did they decide they still wanted to go after her? Or was that another 12 yo sued by RIAA?
  • Guardian Ad Litem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:15AM (#13728383)
    I thought the point of the guardian ad litem in the original case was that the RIAA was suing the mother, the mother claimed she didn't do it but her daughter admitted to it, and the RIAA then amended the suit to include the daughter. Since the mother had a conflict of interest in acting as the girl's guardian, a guardian ad litem could be appointed. But the RIAA dismissed the suit against the mother, and so now there is no conflict of interest. Does that mean that there is no longer a conflict of interest, and hence, no need for a guardian ad litem?

    • If the child admitted to the activity at the parent's urging, then the parent would not have been acting in the child's best interest. That would create a clear enough conflict that the court should appoint a GAL.

      Even if the parent did not urge the child to take the blame, there is still enough incentive for the parent to do so that the court should appoint a GAL to represent the child's best interest in the case.

      The good thing about that is that GALs (in most systems) are lawyers, so it's a little bit lik
  • by dbond (591005) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:24AM (#13728404) Homepage
    ...I'd have to start organising an uprising. When are you guys going to get your act together and lobby your political representatives for an end to intellectual property law? Lazy bastards ;o)
  • by DreadfulGrape (398188) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:37AM (#13728442)
    ...how else would I have known that the new Fiona Apple CD really isn't very good?
  • by Progman3K (515744) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:55AM (#13728494)
    vying for modern-day bogeyman?

    I can see it now.

    "Go to bed right now, or the RIAA is going to get you!" *child screams and runs to bed*
  • by MadMoses (151207) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @06:58AM (#13728509) Homepage
    If you don't want to support this kind of thing, don't buy any more music from RIAA labels.

    Use RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] to find out if an album is published by an RIAA label. If that's the case, and you want it anyway, don't buy it new, but used (for instance at ebay, amazon marketplace or even a used records store).

    Support independant labels and artists by buying their stuff!

    If you'd still like to support a band that's signed with an RIAA label, go see them live (and maybe buy a t-shirt there).
    • by almostmanda (774265) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @09:49AM (#13729433)
      I get the feeling that unless any boycott is very wide-reaching and publicly discussed, the RIAA are going to see any drops in sales as further justification to sue everyone they can. Their skewed studies are going to point to rampant evil piracy as the cause of dropped sales, not repeated PR nightmares, intentional boycotts, bad music, etc etc. I agree with what you're saying--I never buy RIAA cds new either--but it's gonna take a tremendous drop in sales, as well as consumers consciously saying "you are a terrible business and that is why I won't buy your product" to let these guys know that they won't get their sales back up by suing little girls.
  • When does it end.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dangerz (540904) <stuff@tildastudi[ ]net ['os.' in gap]> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:00AM (#13728515) Homepage
    This is one of the problems I think with society today. As much as we are against it, and as much as we preach that they're horrible, not one of us will do anything. We'll just go on our day downloading music. A bunch of us will even still buy their cd's.

    I know I haven't done much, but I have refused to purchase / download any RIAA backed music for the last 4 years. It's not much, but I do know that my money isn't funding this piece of shit organization. They're ruthless in getting their money and whether you are downloading or purchasing, you are supporting them. How? You are spreading their work.

    The worst part is that no judge has stopped them. What ever happened to the 'for the people' part of this country? The RIAA is for the people? What people? The ones getting sued for thousands when they don't have it or the ones getting the thousands to purchase fuel for their private jet?

    I think people need to realize that the RI fucking AA is nothing without us. If we all stop buying their music they will fade away. In order for them to live, we have to continue to feed them. By downloading or purchasing music we are doing just that; feeding the beast. Let it starve and they'll be forced to figure out some other way to distribute their songs or quit while they're ahead.

    Of course, this will all fall on deaf ears because as soon as the next article comes out we have to debate that. But hey, at least I tried something right?
  • by MaestroSartori (146297) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:00AM (#13728516) Homepage
    That has a less emotive feel to it, doesn't it?

    You can argue about the merits of copyright, the merits of lawsuits against minors, the responsibilities of a parent to educate their child about obeying the law, but it sounds like the girl's done exactly what she's been accused of, and her mother is trying to get her off the hook. Fair enough. But next time we see someone rip off a GPL product and claim it as their own, no source available, I expect to see "FSF Sues Man Trying to Feed Family" or something equally 'balanced'... :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:30AM (#13728629)
      Completely wrong. Guild and innocence only refer to criminal procedings, and is determined at the end of the trial rather than at the start. In civil procedings, the defendant can be found liable or not liable.
      • God, the extent to which the slashdot crowd will resort to pedantry to justify illegal behavior. The defendant in question has committed an illegal act. The defendant will get her trial, and will in all likelihood lose. So why is this wrong again?
    • by WebCowboy (196209) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:24PM (#13731377)
      ...inflammatory and biased feel to it. It is the sort of headline you would see from "news" outlets in Cuba or China. In a world with a more free and responsible press, reputable journalists refrain from calling ANYONE guilty until they are judged so in a court of law. Until that point they are CHARDED WITH or ACCUSED or ALLEGEDLY commited a crime, even when the facts available to the public seem plainly obvious. Strictly speaking, the headline "RIAA Sues Guilty Person" is not only inflammatory in nature it is technically a lie--this girl is not guily in the eyes of the law because she has never been charged and sentenced with anything, so save such rhetoric until RIAA wins its case against her.

      As far as the title of this /. article, "RIAA Suea a Child" is not overly inflammatory nor is it factually inaccurate. I think it is perfectly suitable without being too general. What would you have the article title say? "RIAA Sues a person"? "RIAA Sues an Alleged Music Pirate"? How would this differentiate the story from the thousands of other cases RIAA has chased--I mean, it seems that most of RIAA's activities centre around outrageous litigation and getting into the pockets of politicians. Facts are facts--RIAA found evidence of copyright violation that they believe point to a 14 year old child, and the evidence is fairly convincing. The fact that an industrial cartel has decided the proper course of action is to SUE A MINOR for obscene amounts of money is the whole point of the article, otherwise it wouldn't be news--just another pirate getting taken down.

      As for ripping off a man trying to "feed his family" by ripping off a GPL product...well, the same copyright rules apply and if RIAA can sue a child then the FSF is well within their right to sue a man with a starving family. However I don't believe the FSF has ever done that nor ever will do something of that nature. If some enterprising 14-year-old started making money of software derived from a GPL project the FSF's first concern wouldn't be to "make an example" of a child by extorting his money--it would be to make sure he divulges the source code to the derivative project. I would support such action.

      Really, your argument makes no sense whatsoever and doesn't seem insightful at all. The article isn't titled "RIAA sues innocent little girl" or "RIAA threatens teenager". The simple facts make it hard to title the article otherwise. That is the point of the article--western society is generally reasonable and gives first time offenders under 18 a bit of a break. Children are not sentenced with the same terms as an adult unless the circumstances are severe. RIAA, however, has decided to wield its legal resources as a blunt instrument without regard to reason or even accuracy in some cases. What is the point of suing a teenage girl over copyright violations when she probably didn't even know what copyright was? Hell, most /. readers don't seem to know what it is. If RIAA wanted to teach a lesson wouldn't there be an easier way of doing it, like getting a court order to seize her computer for a period of time and remove all the MP3s before returning it? At least they could teach her copyright violation is wrong and let her voluntarily make amends? No. Even when their targets agree to participate RIAA will not listen until they have gotten their money. RIAA's actions have definitely proven that they are not doing this to defend what is right. RIAA is doing this to increase revenue first, and "make an example" second--then somewhere down the list is education and innovation. This is not a biased opinion, it is a conclusion that can be supported by RIAAs behaviour.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:12AM (#13728564)
    This teaches us all a valuable lesson. Make sure your kids know how to connect to your neighbour's wifi network before downloading mp3s...
  • by Vidiot3k (612026) <joelpatchett@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:18AM (#13728582)
    I only use P2P networks to download porn
  • The Enemy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jekler (626699) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:29AM (#13728628)
    It seems to me that the RIAA is only the enemy because they are the face of the body which has made it inconvenient to steal music. I think the majority of people who are hopping on the "I Hate The RIAA!" bandwagon are forgetting some crucial information. The RIAA is a trade organization. They represent MEMBERS of that organization. They are suing on behalf of their members, not on behalf of themselves. They're not the top of the chain, they are in the middle of the chain. The artists who join, support, and ask the RIAA to represent them are the ones at the top.

    If someone gets sued by the RIAA it's not because the RIAA wants to sue them, it's because the artist they represent wants them to. Because Britney Spears, Metallica, or whoever else has, in essence, asked them to do it. Maybe the artists don't directly demand it in most cases, but they did indirectly demand it at the point they signed with a record company which was a member of the RIAA.

    Money speaks louder than words. No matter how many people say they don't like the RIAA, there are still billions of dollars being given to the artists which essentially confirms the artists belief that they joined the right label. That in turn confirms the label's belief that joining the RIAA was the right decision. Everyone out there who is buying music from RIAA members is telling the RIAA that they're doing a great job. The RIAA has been around for over 50 years, and the public has happily given them money hand-over-fist. It's only now that people got a taste of convenient, on-demand, free music that people have a problem with them. 20 years ago, no one was crying foul. Everyone knew that bootleg tapes were illegal, and most people copied tapes for their friends, but if you got into the business of moving massive numbers of bootleg tapes, no one was going to blink twice when you got pinched. But now that people are using the same concept in digital space, it has somehow become the moral highground.

    People can quibble all they want about the exact definition of theft. The simple fact is, we all know that when we download an mp3, it's theft. We just cross our fingers and hope that the RIAA is looking at someone else when we do it.

    If you were a programmer, and you spent $25,000 of your own money and 6 months to develop an application, you try to sell it and you hear "Great program, I already have that." from 100,000 people, but you've only sold two copies at $20 each, are you going to think "At least they didn't steal it from me"? Of course not, because they DID steal it from you. 100,000 people have the fruits of your labor, and you've got $40 to show for it.

    I know it doesn't seem like the same issue when you can tell yourself that the person you took the music from already has plenty of money, because we all know stealing is alright so long as your victim has more than you. Or you can tell yourself you weren't going to buy it anyway. Whatever you need to sleep.
    • Re:The Enemy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by One Childish N00b (780549) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @08:09AM (#13728774) Homepage
      It seems to me that the RIAA is only the enemy because they are the face of the body which has made it inconvenient to steal music

      Lies.

      I am one of the most anti-RIAA people you could find, I despise the whole concept of their business model, suing people for downloading music - especially children - for thousands of dollars, literally thousands of times the amount the person would have paid for the content had they bought it, while at the same time overpricing physical content (CDs, etc) and trying to force digital outlets (iTunes, for example) to do the same. Not to mention their attempts to 'sanitize' American radio (boy am I glad I dont live over there) so you can always find 500 different stations playing the same 10 pop tracks in rotation. That is why I hate the RIAA; they are destroying creativity and showing a complete lack of morals or decency. I understand their members have a responsibility to maximise profit for the shareholders, but if they win this case, how much are they going to get? a few thousand? What's that compared to the PR damage caused by suing a 14-year-old girl? If I was a shareholder in an RIAA member company I'd be screaming at them right now to stop making themselves out to be the Devil and go back to suing people who are at an age to know exactly what they're doing (yeah yeah, at 14 some kids do, some kids don't - but at 14 you *should* give them the benefit of the doubt, not sue them for thousands).

      I don't hate the RIAA because they make it 'inconvenient to steal music', simply because I have no interest in 'stealing' (I dont care about the supposed definitions, semantics is an argument you can take up with some other poor Slashdotter) any of their music - it's crap, pure and simple, commercial crap. I'm a fan of European EBM, not a particularly profitable genre, especially not for American labels, and so even if I did download the content (I don't, I buy - the artists are generally part-time and need the support, and I feel good giving it if they deserve it) I could do so without RIAA interference - I don't think I've bought an RIAA-member-label CD in the past five years, let alone downloaded any of it.

      If you like dark, gothic electronica or metal, try out European EBM - it's electronic stuff, but it's mostly RIAA-free, sounds good and is made by artists not looking for the current breakup-rock dollar, so, you know, you can tell one band from another :) - check out Wumpscut, Wolfsheim, Alec Empire, Panic DHH, VNV Nation and just check it out. There's really some untapped gems in there.

      The RIAA members piss me off for a number of reasons,
      - Their content is repetitive crud.
      - They seem bent on spreading that content to drown out everything else in earshot.
      - They overprice their content and try to force distributors to raise prices to increase their cut like record profits aren't good enough for them.
      - They sue small children for thousands of dollars for stealing a few songs.

      *Not* because they 'make it inconvenient to steal.

      I have a new suing model for the RIAA, I wonder what they'd think;
      I agree that people should be fined a few hundred dollars or 3 or 4 times the retail cost of what they downloaded, whichever is (get this) higher, but no more. This would hit the serious pirates (sharing thousands of songs/albums) hard and give the minor downloaders a smack on the wrist that, if they kept doing it week after week, would lead to serious expense and make it a lot cheaper for them to just buy the content.

      Would they accept that? No, it's far too sensible :)
    • Re:The Enemy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tcdk (173945) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @08:21AM (#13728839) Homepage Journal
      If you release a program and a 100.000 people copy it and you only make 40$ of it, you have the wrong bussiness model.

      Same with the RIAA members - how about giving away the songs (it's really just an ads for the artist - that's why the record companies are willing to pay radio stations to have their crap played) and then make you money on the concerts and t-shirts?

      Trying to stop people from copying something digital is a battle you'll never win....
    • Re:The Enemy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solandri (704621) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @09:01AM (#13729095)
      I think the majority of people who are hopping on the "I Hate The RIAA!" bandwagon are forgetting some crucial information. The RIAA is a trade organization. They represent MEMBERS of that organization. They are suing on behalf of their members, not on behalf of themselves. They're not the top of the chain, they are in the middle of the chain. The artists who join, support, and ask the RIAA to represent them are the ones at the top.

      Yes the RIAA is a trade organization, but for the most part they represent the music studios, not the artists. See, the studios got an exception put into Copyright law which says that musical works performed by an artist belong to them, not the artist. Normally copyright is assigned to the creator/author/artist, unless it's a work for hire - I commission you (pay you) to create a piece of text, software, music, and it belongs to me even though you created it. Except the music studios didn't want to pay the artists so they bribe^H^H^H^H^Hlobbied some Congressmen for a change in copyright law which says that audio recordings are a work for hire even if you don't pay the artist. That way they get the copyright, the artist gets "paid" a percentage of the album sales, and the costs of producing the album get taken out of the artist's cut. In other words, the artist pays for making his own album, but the studio gets the copyright.

      So yes the RIAA is composed of members, but the members aren't the ones creating the music. They're simply the ones distributing music, and they're scared out of their wits because the Internet drops the cost of distributing music so close to zero that they children they're suing can do it.

  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by smackdotcom (136408) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:38AM (#13728660)
    ...will they go after her little dog, too?
  • Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:45AM (#13728680) Homepage Journal
    Can anybody explain to me, again, why I should be all up in arms over the RIAA going after infringers? I was much more upset when the RIAA went after the mother; I think it's kind of unreasonable to expect anyone to control someone's Internet access to the point that no illegal exchange of material can be performed. Much better to go after the infringers themselves.
  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ErikZ (55491) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:48AM (#13728691)
    I'm not a laywer, so what this looks like is:

    RIAA wants to sue teenage girl and her Mother.
    Mother says you can't sue me, I had nothing to do with it.
    RIAA can't sue teenage girl, too young.
    RIAA asks court to appoint a fake mother (Guardian) that they can sue?
  • by DarthShader (852747) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @07:57AM (#13728719)
    Hey, RIAA leave the kids alone!
    All in all it's just another suit on the wall
    All in all you're just another suit on the wall

    Can I get sued now, for infinging on some songtext copyright?
  • by Gorbag (176668) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @08:05AM (#13728757)
    D: Your Honor, Defense introduces exhibits A-ZZZ, the actual sound items defendant is accused of illegally downloading, which we will play for the court now, and introduce into evidence.

    [sounds of rap, house, whatever it is that "kids listen to these days"]

    D: Are these the sound recordings you are accusing my client of having illegally downloaded?

    P: Yes, so stipulated.

    D: Your honor, we agree these sound recordings were downloaded, however, no copyright can be held because that's not music and as the court knows, noise cannot be copywritten.

    J: So noted. Case dismissed, with prejudice. Get that crap out of my courtroom.

  • by Truth_in_Nothingness (920841) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:32AM (#13729814)
    Has anyone considered the legal ramifications of civil liability if the RIAA can be proved to have sued over nothing?

    Maybe someone can tell me better, but in my limited knowledge dont they just check filenames and number of offending files? I would think this sets up a huge opportunity for a person to set-up this trade group.

    First off I checked http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=search&state =31r9fc.1.1 [uspto.gov]

    None of the filenames are trademarked so no one needs worry about being sued for trademark infringement.
    The Idea:
    Ever gone duck hunting, or seen cartoons with it? One of the common ideas is to lure the ducks in by making them think things are as they appear. Perhaps with fake ducks.
    Well I'm suggesting making fake ducks. Seeding a college network, or company network with spoof files. Now correct me if I'm wrong but my limited understanding of these share search engines they (RIAA) use is they look for filenames and filesize. Once they determain there are enough infinging (or so called) files they then notify a pencil pusher who starts the legal suing process.
    No real investigation, as has been proved by some of the people that they have sued. (Not cost effective to them)
    I'm sure that with all the coders and other people out there somthing like this could be done easily. Make a text document with the filename.mp3 of a new release and tracked theft title. Fill it with a message that states "If you checked this file you would see that it isnt real. Sue me, and expect a countersuit to cover harrassment, and my legal fees" Fill the rest with enough random hash to make up the appropriate filesize.
    The first couple of times they start suing people with files like these, they are not only going to get laughed out of court. They may end up being forced by a judge to start utilizing proper evidenciary proceedings. That will just start to kill their search & sue efforts.
    My idea, my two bits. Tell me what you think.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @03:24PM (#13733302) Journal
      I'm sure that with all the coders and other people out there somthing like this could be done easily. Make a text document with the filename.mp3 of a new release and tracked theft title. Fill it with a message that states "If you checked this file you would see that it isnt real. Sue me, and expect a countersuit to cover harrassment, and my legal fees" Fill the rest with enough random hash to make up the appropriate filesize.

      Nah, that's just no good... Here's a better idea.

      A friend or family member of a independant musician illegally shares the copyrighted music, misleadingly named to look like a much more popular RIAA artist.

      The RIAA eventually downloads these songs and files a lawsuit. The person who shared them gets out of the lawsuit because it's not material RIAA owns the copyright on. Then, the independant musician who actually owns the copyright can use the RIAA trial as incontrovertible proof that agents of the RIAA illegally downloaded his music, and sue them for truck-loads of cash...

  • by Garwulf (708651) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:08AM (#13730261) Homepage
    First of all, I really wish somebody would file a class-action suit against those RIAA nitwits and end it all once and for all. Really, this is not acceptable. The technology of the 21st century does bring up issues regarding intellectual rights, and I do believe that an appropriate balance will eventually be struck, but a bunch of people acting like thugs simply don't help matters.

    Second, there seems to be a lot of confusion about how copyright infringement hurts authors and creators. It does hurt them, but not in the way that most people have posted here, and not in the way that the RIAA is contending. Here's how it works:

    I'm an author (this is true). Now, let's say that Tor Books buys the manuscript that I've had on one of the editor's desks. At this point in time, I sign a contract with them. The contract states that Tor has exclusive rights to publish the book for a certain period of time, at which point the publication rights revert back to me. In return, Tor will give me an advance on royalties, and a royalty for each copy they sell.

    So, the book goes into print. Now, let's say that somebody with far too much time on their hands and a piratical disposition scans the entire novel into their computer and uploads it onto their site for people to download. And let's say that 1,000 people download it (it's a nice round number). Well, those people may or may not have bought the book on their own if it wasn't available for download - they may or may not buy the book because of the download. But, the fact remains that there are now 1,000 unsanctioned copies floating around. Odds are that the lion's share of the people who downloaded won't actually buy the thing (hell, they might not even finish reading it). But, those 1,000 copies (and we're only talking about the electronic copies here), had they been distributed through legimate channels, would have generated royalties for the author, making it easier for me to buy food and keep a roof over my head, and making it easier for me to write my next book.

    The size of the damage is very difficult to estimate, simply because no money is actually changing hands. Yes, people who would have bought the book won't now that they have a free copy. But, other people who might not have bought the book otherwise might just use the download as a sample, and decide that they really want the book on their shelf. Well, some damage is probably done - but it's also probably fairly minimal. Until somebody actually does some solid academic research into the numbers, nobody will be able to tell. And, to make matters even more cloudy, not that many people actually have the technological know-how to download the thing anyway - the majority of readers will just go to the bookstore. That's a similar situation to what the RIAA is looking at.

    Now, let's change the scenario a bit. The book comes out, and somebody with a piratical disposition scans the book into his computer, and then posts it on the Internet. But, this time, he charges $3.00 per download. And let's say that there are 1,000 copies downloaded. So now you've got money changing hands, just like a book sale. And, not only is the publisher that I actually gave the rights to print the book being cut out of the deal (and basically being competed against using its own product), no royalties are coming my way for any of these books that are sold. THAT is where the serious damage is done, and from the news I've read, it's done by criminal organizations and groups in third world countries.

    Now, who is actually the pirate here? Well, it's not the people who downloaded, truth be told, even if they paid for it. It's unfortunate that they aren't downloading/buying a legitimate copy, but that also raises the question of how they can tell if a copy is legitimate or not. Let's face it - most people don't have that great an understanding of the Berne Convention, and if a copyright notice appears somewhere, they might assume that it is legitimate, even if there are signs it

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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