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Germany's RIAA Sues Rapidshare - YouTube Next? 144

Posted by Zonk
from the they-are-coming-for-you dept.
Hermel writes "The GEMA (Germany's RIAA) obtained a temporary injunction against 'one-click-hoster' Rapidshare.com. If their lawsuit is successful, the GEMA intends to use it as a beachhead against their next targets, including Youtube and MySpace. From the article: 'According to GEMA, the service ... has at times boasted of making some 15 million files available to its users. The operator had however failed to obtain from GEMA a license for making copyright protected files available ... Through its injunctions the District Court in Cologne had now made it clear to the company that the fact that it was the users and not the operator of the services that uploaded the content onto the sites did not, from a legal point of view, lessen the operator's liability for copyright infringements that occurred within the context of the services, the spokesman added.'"
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Germany's RIAA Sues Rapidshare - YouTube Next?

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  • Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cctoide (923843)
    This makes me wonder whether services like these are a good idea. Aren't they somewhat liable to stuff like this? I've seen them remove illegal content, but sometimes it's on their servers for a long while...
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pembo13 (770295) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:52PM (#17689556) Homepage
      I think this all comes to who is more important: the milltions of user who enjoy such services, or the few execs who stand to make _more_ money if people do not enjoy these services. One thing though, I highly doubt they will be satisfied with what ever amount they make when they have rid the world of all filesharing services. They will find new targets then.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by cliffski (65094)
        money lost to piracy isn't just lost by 'a few execs'. Its a loss to the whole indsutry and everyone that works within it. Don't spin the old "everyone in entertainment is a millionaire" nonsense.
        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1.hotmail@com> on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:15PM (#17689776) Homepage Journal
          Argghhh.
          Hard to mod someone down when they make such great games.
          Think about this though; I bought democracy after playing a demo version. That was a smart move on your part, making a playable demo.
          However, I have done the same thing with companies that do not make demos available; I've grabbed a copy off of P2P to see if it was worth having, then bought the game if it was.
          I do the exact same thing with Video & Music; If I can not find a place to hear a decent example of the music, there is no chance in hell I'll buy it; if a band is cool enough to release a free version, i'm almost certain to buy it even if I just sort of like it; I like to support people not being idiots with my $$$.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cliffski (65094)
            Man, I feel your pain. I *HATE* it when companies don't release demos. It's just like waving a banner saying "we have no faith in the quality of our product". Star Trek : legacy was a fine recent example of a game who decided it was better off without a demo, in case people saw how bad the game was. To be honest, I can't say I can get worked up about people trying out a game from p2p in those cases. Of course, when there is a demo available, that's another story.
            Sadly, most people aren't using rapidshare to
            • by Arker (91948)

              Sadly, most people aren't using rapidshare to get games because there is no demo, they are doing it because they expect to get full games for free. That's bad for everyone in the long term ;(

              I won't disagree with that, so much as quibble with it.

              I don't know how you can know which category most would fall into. I think both of us can only guess. My guess differs from yours, or perhaps not. I'd guess most downloaders just try the game briefly and delete it, and I'd guess most of them do wind up buying th

            • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

              by PitaBred (632671)
              Do you think they'd have paid for the games otherwise, though? That's the rub, where it's hard to tell. I have friends who are "collectors", who have gigabytes upon gigabytes of movies, music and software that they never use. They just have it. There's NO way they'd ever have paid for it, and they aren't using it... so who's harmed?
        • Wrong (Score:4, Informative)

          by Morosoph (693565) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:31PM (#17689938) Homepage Journal
          I thought that the research on this topic was well known. Apparently not.

          So, once again. The state of research on the effects of file-sharing. [slashdot.org]

        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by troll -1 (956834) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:47PM (#17690080)
          Don't spin the old "everyone in entertainment is a millionaire" nonsense.

          Nor are they starving.

          Perhaps we can all agree that infringement hurts content providers. But the so-called industry needs to face reality. 1) The Internet is a great distribution system. It's light years ahead of the old 'put it on plastic disks and distribute it by plane and truck' method. 2) No matter how many of these sites you shut down, others will pop up in accordance with the principle of supply and demand. (Shutting down Napster was an example of that.)

          Perhaps GEMA needs to beat these sites at their own game by distributing the content themselves first and making their money by either pay-per-download or by selling advertising on content hosting sites.

          Let's be real, the Internet is the best content distribution system ever. At some point there's going to be a realization that lawsuits are not the answer. All moral arguments aside, that's just a fact.
          • by jkauzlar (596349)

            Perhaps GEMA needs to beat these sites at their own game by distributing the content themselves first and making their money by either pay-per-download or by selling advertising on content hosting sites.

            I'm convinced there's a better pricing scheme that would significantly reduce piracy, which is coincidently what I would pay for content. I already buy about 3 cds a week, but I base those purchases on both trusted reviewers as well as what I've downloaded and enjoyed; but let's be real, I'm less likely t

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Alsee (515537)
              $2 for a trial stream of the entire album

              A "stream" *is* a download. It is a download plus.. It is a download plus the ability to start playing before the download is complete. It is a download where the file format is arranged in a way compatible with starting playing an incomplete download, a file potentially with some extra information added inside to assist in playing the incomplete download.

              Technologically and physically, sending a stream is absolutely identical to sending a download. The only differen
              • by jZnat (793348) *
                Then let's assume that the streamed data is 96k MP3 or something else low quality. When you buy it, you get high quality (either lossless or a good lossy codec like LAME preset standard or Vorbis at q5+) files instead.
              • by jkauzlar (596349)
                All true, but I guess my point is that when the cost of sampling an album is less, then myself and probably most people will stop looking for ways to circumvent the laws. Personally, in this case it would seem kind of pathetic to circumvent the laws when you can obey it for $2 a listen or $8 an album.
          • As a side note, the GEMA is somewhat different to the RIAA in that they even want a fee from you as an artist if you put your own music (which you registered with the GEMA) on your own website. Thinks this. No joke. There we are in Germany after all our experience with fascism ;)

            (Disclaimer: I'm German).

        • by h2g2bob (948006)
          The few execs who get millions also screw over the artists. The artist makes 10-15% of cd sales, minus the cost of recording the album (which is very expensive). If the album doesn't make the cost of recording, the artist doesn't get paid anything (but doesn't owe anything for the cost of recording either).

          This means returns from CDs for the artists are tiny, except for big-name artists. Most small-time artists make money from live gigs - where music sharing will help the numbers.

          *Some* piracy helps the mus
          • by Stonehand (71085)
            It wouldn't be surprising if one reason why many artists don't make much money is that most of the money is made from the recordings of relatively few artists. There are probably numerous artists whose market value is far less than they think it is, just as there are many who think that they're good authors but aren't necessarily marketable. Clearly, the ones at the very top have enough leverage to get quite a bit of money -- enough for all the bling, cocaine, hookers and bail money they might need. The
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          Rapidshare isn't a warez site, they're often used by people who don't have their own webspace to share some file. Shutting them down will do more than just prevent distribution of illegal files, it prevents legal file sharing from taking place. Same as with youtube, while some use it to infringe copyrights it does have significant non-infringing uses and I think this is just a dispute over the protection fee everyone has to pay to the GEMA for anything that could *potentially* be used for illegal copying.

          An
    • by OECD (639690)

      I've seen them remove illegal content, but sometimes it's on their servers for a long while...

      Most services will take it down pretty quick, once asked. The problem from the *AA perspective is that it's a bitch to find all these things. They're hoping to push that task onto the service providers, and it sounds like it's working in this case.

      The obvious problem is that the task is no less onerous for the service. The other obvious problem is that it winds up squelching fair use rights. Myspace is already b

      • They're hoping to push that task onto the service providers, and it sounds like it's working in this case.

        That's how it should be. We don't go to businesses that pollute and tell them ok, go ahead and pollute and everytime we catch you we're going to tell you to stop doing it. No, we tell them don't pollute. When we catch them dumping their toxic shit in the river we fine them or jail them or some number of other things.

        Posters here regularily point at a particular business model and say "welcome to the int

        • by OECD (639690)

          Why don't these service providers have to figure out a business model that abides by the law?

          They HAVE one. If providers are asked to take something down, they usually do it in short order (too short, IMHO, they don't have much room to say "Hey, that's parody/commentary/other fair use") The problem from the *AA's POV is that it's a pain in the ass to police. What they are doing, judging by TFA, is pushing THEIR responsibilites onto service providers. Which is especially silly, since they're going to use

        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          That's how it should be. We don't go to businesses that pollute and tell them ok, go ahead and pollute and everytime we catch you we're going to tell you to stop doing it. No, we tell them don't pollute. When we catch them dumping their toxic shit in the river we fine them or jail them or some number of other things.

          Very true. But a completely stupid and inapplicable analogy. It wasn't enough to call call file sharers "thieves", "pedophiles" or "terrorists", now they're "toxic waste polluters" too.

    • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:00PM (#17689626)
      Rapidshare is simply a host that you don't have to pay for (except through viewing ads). It is essentially like any pay-for-host that allows you to post stuff on, junk, music, whatever. Pay-for-hosts don't have the obligation to scan all your files for music, now do they? If someone believes a copyrighted file is illegally located on their server, then the complainer has to file a written formal, legal complaint and send it to the host. I don't get why this kind of model shouldn't work for Rapidshare.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)
        You know.. because storage warehouses might be used to store illegal goods or even dead bodies in barrels,

        We should require storage warehouse owners to personally search and scan every warehouse daily, looking inside all containers to be sure nothing illegal is in them.

      • by bpc99149 (893018)
        What makes hosts like rapidshare exceptions is that they are free; since they don't have to be payed for, the services and files hosted by the services are much more widely accessible. It is only logical that organizations would target these major freely accessible services--seen as major threats--first, and attack them without mercy. Is this probable cause to use underhanded tactics? I wouldn't say so; however, business is about profit, and, in their eyes, any threat to their income should be eliminated
      • by Stonehand (71085)
        That might depend on whether German law offers anything like the Safe Harbor provision of the United States' DMCA. Yes, in the US a formal complaint from the copyright holder can be required, and even then takedown need not be automatic (if the uploader positively affirms that it is not infringing, if memory serves)... but that has no bearing on what a German court might rule unless some treaty says otherwise.

        It might be argued that there should be a provision that, should the service be notified and the c
        • German law does not have the Safe Harbor provision. It works a bit differently, pure access providers (like ISPs) are not responsible for the transported data. What is called Media Services by the law is responsible, if a copyright holder contacts them they have to take the data down. Now the problem is to decide what is an access provider and what a media service. The rules are, let's say strange. So depending on what the judge decides is the case with Rapidshare they have to take it down or not. I think t

    • Just because it can be used for illegal purposes doesn't mean it's not a 'good idea'. The demand is there ans while I can't speak for the german legal system but if it's taken down something will show up in it's place.
    • "This makes me wonder whether services like these are a good idea."

      I've been wondering the same thing ever since the original Napster. "What the heck were they thinking? Did these guys really think that they weren't going to get sued into oblivion?"
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        I've been wondering the same thing ever since the original Napster. "What the heck were they thinking? Did these guys really think that they weren't going to get sued into oblivion?"

        Rapidshare, unlike Napster, provides no indexing service. Anyone can upload files, but you have to be told, by the uploader, the URL to download. It's no different, except in scale, from any webspace provider, or for that matter, email service. Also Rapidshare does take down files almost immediately a complaint is received, an

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by georgeav (965554)
      This is like suing the post office or the bank who offer safe deposit boxes because somebody got a PO Box/safe deposit box and stored drugs in it and it gave the key to another person to pick them up. Or, let's say that the post office/bank indeed checks the content and does not allow drugs; but you put there some prescription only drugs (medicine) that is illegal to give to somebody else; in this case the post office/bank has to check a list with tens of thousands of drugs to see if the drugs you put there
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I think the GEMA just wants its protection money from Rapidshare, once they start paying that the GEMA will be happy (even moreso because it means non-GEMA copyright holders will still get their stuff warezed without remuneration forcing them to join the GEMA if they want to see money for that).
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I've seen them remove illegal content, but sometimes it's on their servers for a long while...

      It usually stays on the server until reported. Similarly, an ISP usually keep a customer until he/she's reported.
  • New business model (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:48PM (#17689514)
    1) Create crappy copyrighted material
    2) Upload my crappy copyrighted material to every website that allows anonymous posting
    3) Sue every website uploaded to
    4) Profit!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      >1) Create crappy copyrighted material
      >2) Upload my crappy copyrighted material to every website that allows anonymous posting
      >3) Sue every website uploaded to
      >4) ???
      >5) Profit!

      fixed
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      Good luck with that, by uploading it you give them a license to distribute the material.
  • While it may be true that users are responsible for posting copyrighted files, it is true that hosts do need to take down blatent copyright abuses. A simple solution is to follow what many pay-for-hosting hosts have done: simply require plaintiffs to file a formal, legal complaint about compyright abuses. I have found in many hosts terms of use that they require a legal document faxed/mailed to them before they will respond. After such a document is sent, they will then act accordingly.

    Shutting down a who

  • by cliffski (65094) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:58PM (#17689610) Homepage
    is anyone suprised? I can see how having some temporary storage for files that is totally anonymous *may* have some legit uses occasionally, but if you allow people to anonymously upload any content to a site for free, and other people pay a monthly subscription to download multiple files up to 100MB a time, is *anyone* even remotely suprised when 99% of the content is illegally shared content?
    Rapidshare can remove content on a whim, it's no use for anything thats really vital. Webspace is now trivially cheap, and so is bandwidth. If you need to share big binary files, setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial. The only real market for rapidshare that I can think of is illegal content, and it's no suprise to find so much of it there. Every software, movie and game site that is trading illegal software has dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands of rapidshare links.
    This was inevitable.
    • We are connected to each other now. You can't undo that. Your "content" is for the most part boring as all hell. Some of us will be downloading it, but no harm -- they weren't planning on paying good money for that crap anyway.

      Stop trying to prevent us being connected to each other. It's done.
    • These *may* have some legit uses?

      Never been talking with people and wanted to toss a file online quickly for them to download?

      Never wanted a medium-term host where you can stick a small file to link to?

      I use this as a primary means of passing files around and storing non-critical stuff for time... frequently things I create.

      It is the equivalent of the image hosts used to upload small creations or screenshots for use on forums that do not authorise uploads on themselves.

      Forget *may* have some use. I and plen
      • Right. There are legit uses for a whole assload of things that are controlled. The question is do the downsides outweigh the upsides?

        The concept that all such quick-and-free means of transferring information are automatically used only for illegal stuff sickens me.


        You have a very weak stomach. I would advise that you save your outrage and shock for more important ills of the world.
    • by X.25 (255792)
      is anyone suprised? I can see how having some temporary storage for files that is totally anonymous *may* have some legit uses occasionally, but if you allow people to anonymously upload any content to a site for free, and other people pay a monthly subscription to download multiple files up to 100MB a time, is *anyone* even remotely suprised when 99% of the content is illegally shared content?

      On the Internet, people see what they are looking for. Then they base their conclusions.

      I'm using Internet since '9
    • by mochan_s (536939) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:17AM (#17692468)
      Webspace is now trivially cheap, and so is bandwidth. If you need to share big binary files, setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial.

      No, it is not. Most users get 30/Kbs upload rates. So, setting up web servers and ftp servers from the internet access is not practical. If you buy a website, it can cost about $200-$300/year for the most basic package.

      The only real market for rapidshare that I can think of is illegal content, and it's no suprise to find so much of it there.

      Do you know long it would take to download a 700MB file from Rapidshare? There is a limitation of 100MB per file and 1 file per 90 minutes. It would take over 10 hours! With bitorrent you can get it in less than 30 minutes. It does not make sense for illegal content at all.

      I used rapidshare to share music projects - since most musicians will try and e-mail everything to you. So exchanging rapidshare links was good and we didn't care if it died a few days later since we could have updated the song anyway.

      To tell you truth, I thought only thing unauthorized that was posted on rapidshare was pr0n clips.

      remotely suprised when 99% of the content is illegally shared content?

      Where did you get that number? Oh yeah, you just made it up.

      • "Do you know long it would take to download a 700MB file from Rapidshare? There is a limitation of 100MB per file and 1 file per 90 minutes. It would take over 10 hours! With bitorrent you can get it in less than 30 minutes. It does not make sense for illegal content at all. " 10 hours? With my Rapidshare premium account, it would take about 15 minutes.
    • by zotz (3951)
      "Webspace is now trivially cheap, and so is bandwidth. If you need to share big binary files, setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial. The only real market for rapidshare that I can think of is illegal content, and it's no suprise to find so much of it there."

      Living in a first world country are we? Please, speak for yourself, not for the whole world.

      Now, I heve never even heard of rapidshare, but I am grateful that there are places like the internet archive and ourmedia.org that will host my media
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:58PM (#17689612) Journal
    ...depends on the order in which your pursue them. It's lucky that law isn't based on anything like logic where the order of facts makes no difference to whether or not they are true.
    • ...depends on the order in which your pursue them. It's lucky that law isn't based on anything like logic where the order of facts makes no difference to whether or not they are true.

      I'm not sure what you mean. If the lawyers for GEMA say "Websites allowing users to upload copyrighted media can be sued for infringement, therefore we are suing sharing websites X, Y, and Z for letting users upload copyrighted material" before they say "Rapidshare is a website allowing users to upload copyrighted media, and
      • The difference is this. Suppose X is easier to prove in court than Y, and X->Y and Y->X. Then the optimal strategy is to prove X first and use that as a precedent for your next lawsuit. Suppose you try to prove Y first. Because it's harder you're more likely to fail, and as a result X will also be a losing lawsuit if Y is seen as a precedent.

        In logic, it may be optimal to prove X first because its easier, but it doesn't become more likely that Y is true is a result. Reordering merely changes the dif

  • by Jesselnz (866138) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:00PM (#17689624)
    From what I understand, the GEMA is funded by individual artists and composers, not major record labels like the RIAA. I wonder how many of their members agree with this lawsuit...
    • by foobsr (693224) * on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:32PM (#17689954) Homepage Journal
      Weniger als ein Zehntel der GEMA-Mitglieder erhalten mehr als 70 % der ausschüttungsfähigen Summe, während über 90% der Mitglieder nur einen Bruchteil erhalten, wie aus einem Jahresbericht hervorgeht. Nur die ordentlichen Mitglieder der GEMA bestimmen die Auszahlungsmodalitäten. c.f. [wikipedia.org]

      Which essentially says that a few determine which 10% of the members get 70% of the bucks.

      CC.
      • by alx5000 (896642)
        Yah, same like SGAE in Spain... Although the proportions must be 2%-95% in our case...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lelitsch (31136)
        The Wikipedia article is pretty misleading, but your translation is worse. As stated in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article, the GEMA has about 70,000 paying members (artists, publishers, authors), these paying members decide how the royalties are being distributed. This is German law and very similar to the US: to take part in decisions, you have to be a member of the organization. Try electing a union, HOA or club president without being part of the union, HOA or club.

        Now, of course the most popu
  • Like Falco Kraftwerk, and Rammstein?

    How dare they!
  • The GEMA is by no means Germany's RIAA, more like Germany's ASCAP. It's a society that collects licensing fees for distributed and broadcasted music on behalf of the creators (but, as in this case, can also act on its own if it thinks that due fee payments are being evaded). The closest thing to a German RIAA would be the national section of the IFPI.
    • by Lars T. (470328)

      The GEMA is by no means Germany's RIAA, more like Germany's ASCAP. It's a society that collects licensing fees for distributed and broadcasted music on behalf of the creators (but, as in this case, can also act on its own if it thinks that due fee payments are being evaded). The closest thing to a German RIAA would be the national section of the IFPI.
      The funny thing is that the IFPI actually keeps complaining that the percentage it has to pay to the GEMA is too high.
  • the fact that it was the users and not the operator of the services that uploaded the content onto the sites did not, from a legal point of view, lessen the operator's liability for copyright infringements that occurred within the context of the services

    So with the same logic, could they also sue the ISPs involved, and in fact any nodes in between?
    Rapidshare and similar sites are set up as simply temporary holding places --- tubes, if you will --- that allow users to send files from one to another.

    This real

  • GEMA != RIAA (Score:5, Informative)

    by mseeger (40923) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:16PM (#17689788)
    Hi,

    the GEMA cannot be compared to the RIAA. While the RIAA is mostly an industry organisation, the GEMA is a representation of the artists. Not that it doesn't suffer the same delusions of grandeur the RIAA does, but at least the money paid to the GEMA really ends up in the pocket of the artists. And the fees the GEMA requests are pennys compared to the invoices the RIAA sends out.

    Regards, Martin

    • by kill-1 (36256)
      The money ends up in the pockets of the copyright and publishing rights holders. Most of it goes to the industry and not to the artists.
      • Re:GEMA != RIAA (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hclyff (925743) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:48AM (#17692882)

        The money ends up in the pockets of the copyright and publishing rights holders.
        Fortunately, in many European nations (including Germany, I think), you cannot sell or give up your copyright right. Large distributing company still keep the big bucks of course, for making your records available in stores, but at least they can't push you to sell rights on your work. The artist is always the copyright owner, no matter what.
    • by zotz (3951)
      Wouldn't GEMA be more like ASCAP and BMI in the US? With a bit more on their plate?

      all the best,

      drew
  • by shark72 (702619) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:17PM (#17689798)

    Before I explain the difference, I should acknowledge that many Slashdotters have equal disdain for anybody in the music business who tries to assert their rights. For example, we normally state that we're in favor of the artists and that we think artists should have more rights, money, and respect, but when the BMI or ASCAP (US performing rights agencies run by and for artists and wholly unrelated to the RIAA) sue businesses for playing music without a royalty, Slashdotters bring out the hatred equal to that of the RIAA. So, if "RIAA" is shorthand for "anybody in the music industry who tries to interfere with the free (as in beer AND speech) distribution of music", then yeah, GEMA is like the RIAA, but it's still important to understand the difference.

    Here's what GEMA is about [www.gema.de], in English. Like BMI and ASCAP, they're a society of composers, lyricists and music publishers.

    I believe (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong) that the actual German equivalent of the RIAA -- that is, the trade group representing record companies -- is the IFPA.

    With all the ire at GEMA's actions, I think the message here is clear: as covered above, we all respect the musicians, and we want them to have more money, rights, and respect. But only on our terms. If they take legal actions or otherwise demand more money, rights, or respect -- in other words, if they simply get too uppity -- then they're on equal moral grounds as the RIAA et al.

    • by OECD (639690)

      ... BMI or ASCAP (US performing rights agencies run by and for artists and wholly unrelated to the RIAA)

      Run by artists?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The American Society of Composers, Artists, and Publishers is run by its member composers, artists, and publishers. It looks like GEMA works that way also.
        Broadcast Music Inc. is run by radio execs, which means that ClearChannel likely has a large vote. It's probably as much like ROMS as like ASCAP. Many artist-composers sign up with them anyway, esp. if they are signed to the RIAA when they start publishing.
        A strike by the ASCAP caused radio to found BMI. It appears that in the '40s and '50s, ASCAP w
        • by OECD (639690)
          Wow. Insightful and Informative. Mods, take note of my parent (who is also my child.)
    • What's really amusing is the poster (and the headline) calling them "Germany's RIAA" -- or, written out, "Germany's Recording Industry Association of America." If you want to call them similar, that's one thing, but calling them Germany's RIAA just sounds stupid.
    • Before I explain the difference, I should acknowledge that many Slashdotters have equal disdain for anybody in the music business who tries to assert their rights. For example, we normally state that we're in favor of the artists and that we think artists should have more rights, money, and respect, but when the BMI or ASCAP (US performing rights agencies run by and for artists and wholly unrelated to the RIAA) sue businesses for playing music without a royalty, Slashdotters bring out the hatred equal to th
    • While the ASCAP is not the RIAA, and might not be as bad as the RIAA, I thought that ASCAP is another organization that tends to go a little overboard. Such examples include suing bar owners and taxicab drivers for having the radio on when there are paying customers present without having paid a royalty fee. They even sued Boy Scout camps because the kids sang songs managed by ASCAP. Maybe it was in their legal right to do so, but sometimes exploiting your legal rights to their max isn't the smartest thi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zotz (3951)
      "With all the ire at GEMA's actions, I think the message here is clear: as covered above, we all respect the musicians, and we want them to have more money, rights, and respect. But only on our terms. If they take legal actions or otherwise demand more money, rights, or respect -- in other words, if they simply get too uppity -- then they're on equal moral grounds as the RIAA et al."

      Some may be that way, but not all.

      Look, if an artists signs up with a lot of these rights organisations, they will have to pay
    • by Tim C (15259)
      With all the ire at GEMA's actions, I think the message here is clear: as covered above, we all respect the musicians, and we want them to have more money, rights, and respect. But only on our terms. If they take legal actions or otherwise demand more money, rights, or respect -- in other words, if they simply get too uppity -- then they're on equal moral grounds as the RIAA et al.

      Almost, but not quite. It basically boils down to us all wanting the artists to have more money, rights, etc - just as long as t
  • Some think copyrights should be defended at the expense of file sharing sites while others think that its up to the copyright holders to defend their rights and request content be removed.

    The only trouble with both of these ideas is that they rely on a broken process or standard. When paper based products and other media that could not be easily created at home were the carriers of such copyrighted content, these arguments made sense. They no longer make sense. In one way or another, both lead to prepostero
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      . It would also make it easy for file sharing sites to automatically remove content containing listed copyright 'finger prints'.

      Not for long. Many of the files at Rapidshare are encypted RAR files. Without knowing the passwords, they're just so much random data. If finger printing became common, methods like this would become universal.

      • by zotz (3951)
        "Not for long. Many of the files at Rapidshare are encypted RAR files. Without knowing the passwords, they're just so much random data."

        But isn't this even more reason for them not to be held liable for those files being infringing? I mean, if they have no way to find out if they are, how can you sue them for it? How can you know that they are?

        all the best,

        drew
        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          But isn't this even more reason for them not to be held liable for those files being infringing?

          Yes. But the obvious response of the *AA types will be that nothing can be hosted anywhere anaonymously, and encryption is an indication of guilt. That wouldn't hold up under any current laws, but the chillng effect of legal harassment could make it the de facto rule.

      • by zappepcs (820751)
        While what you say has a ring of truth to it, the unencrypted version still will have the 'fingerprint' in it, and upon inspection, this will show that the person who physically has the file will either have the right to use it or not. The fingerprint itself may not show who has the right to use, but a receipt or other form of "I have purchased this" listing will show the user has the right to use. This is how a purchase receipt works if you are accused of stealing from a store. It is how MS used to work...
        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          While what you say has a ring of truth to it, the unencrypted version still will have the 'fingerprint' in it, and upon inspection,

          Without the password, it can't be inspected.

          We already trust people with security, and keeping a log of the files that you have purchased a right to use is not such a big deal. Its like a box of receipts kept in your possession and somewhere other than your possession.

          So for every file I have I must keep a "receipt". And if I transform a file in a way to lose that receip

  • Back to reality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:42PM (#17690044) Homepage
    Hey I'm on Slashdot.. and Slashdot loves analogies, right ?

    What if I'm in a hardware store, and I use a chainsaw to cut someone in half. Am I guilty of murder, or is the hardware store guilty of allowing me to misuse its goods and services ?

    What if I'm on some website, and I use its resources to commit criminal acts. Am I guilty of said act, or is the website guilty of allowing its resources ?

    I don't give a flying toaster about how lawyers will try to bend the facts... it seems pretty obvious to me. Does Lexus get named in lawsuits involving drug busts ? Because their cars seem to be quite loved by high-end coke runners, and it could be argued that having a vehicle facilitates the couriering of illicit substances, just like a file backup web site facilitates the couriering of illicit data.

    Hell, sue the post office while you're at it. Last I heard, you could buy weed online and have it shipped across the continent right to your mailbox. What the hell?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stephanruby (542433)
      No need to think up of new analogies. There are real examples similar enough in our not so distant past. Content publishers were against photocopy machines when they first came out. They were against video tapes that the consumer could record on. They were against search engines that could index their content. They were against mp3 players. This will come to pass as well. Just as now, it would be silly to be in a world without photocopy machines and without VCR-like devices, soon enough it will be just as s
  • Artists' Decision? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:43PM (#17690050)
    At some point, an artist makes the choice to have their music managed by the RIAA, and those made into copyrighted, not-to-be-shared-without-being-properly-licensed recordings. I'm guessing that the advertising the RIAA does for artists they think can be successful is the driving force behind musicians still using them.

    Musicians can get a loan and have a high-quality studio recording made of their music. With the internet, they can attempt to market it, and with the new music sites and the ubiquity of the internet, they might even get noticed. But noticed by who? Venues like to see you draw a crowd. How do you become a megastar without radio airplay, music videos, etc? I suppose you can get on the radio by popular opinion (enough calls to the radio stations by your fans), but getting airplay on MTV (do they still play videos?) is a bit more challenging without the RIAA paying for the time.

    I guess it takes money to make money, and the RIAA makes that "easier" if not simply "possible" for the artist by saying, "Give us your act, and we'll make you famous." It just seems like the time is coming for artists to dodge the RIAA and publish themselves. Hell yes, it takes effort, but you're artists! You're supposed to starve.
  • step 1: web 2.0 = websites with content from users
    step 2: users add crap to the websites
    step 3: the websites publish and distribute the crap
    step 4: some of the uploaded crap is copyrighted material
    step 5: copyright protected material generates lawsuits between [insert RIAA or GEMA or whatever] and website owners

    we can eliminate steps 4 & 5 by inserting:
    step 1.5: strong check of the users identity using [SSN or fingerprint or whatever] before they have upload rights to the website
    OR
    step 2.5: the

    • step 3. Allows the user to publish their crap. They don't actual publish.

      maybe someone who stop me whenever I leave my house to be sure I am not wearing a shirt with an unauthorized coyrite material on it?

      What we are seeing is a result of the change of copyright for all practical matters.
      Digital distribution has ended copyright as we no it. The industry can either line copyright with what the people want, or loose it completely.

      In the US, it's the will of the people that allows for copyright, and the will o
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      step 1.5: strong check of the users identity using [SSN or fingerprint or whatever] before they have upload rights to the website

      Step 1.6: Users move to website in a different country.

  • ... current copyright laws are plain wrong and need to be updated ASAP.
  • that RIAA goes after Myspace and Youtube because it would cause a serious backlash. Enough consumers could complain to compel congress to curtail their "cartelings.*" Unfortunately, that's exactly why it won't happen. : -- *cartelings: neologism for cartel like activities.
  • They are tackling the little guy first, to gain precedent, obviously.
  • We could all test this by firing up a mule and doing a search for "Heino"
    German superstar of the Sinatra variety.
    You'll get a bang out of this fellow.

    • by flyneye (84093)
      Chevy:No,miss latella,they should search My Space and online video sites for shared videos of Heino.
      Gilda:oh,.........never mind.

  • The GEMA is not the German RIAA. ... And besides, as far as artist organisations go, the GEMA is actually a relatively fair organisation. It's the the one or other federal law that makes them worse than they actually are. For instance, by law I pay a GEMA procentage on every blank CD I buy as a flatrate for any music I could possibly copy on to it. (Scanners and Photocopiers have a simular fee) Yet 'copyprotected' CDs aren't prohibited in germany and circumventing copyprotection is sort of illegal (the law

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