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White House Lauds MN RIAA Win, Analysis of Victory 368

Posted by Zonk
from the really-could-have-done-without-that-this-week dept.
cnet-declan writes "The Bush administration's copyright czar says the RIAA's $222,000 recent jury verdict against a Minnesota woman shows copyright law is 'effective' and working as planned. C|Net's coverage has comments from Chris Israel, the U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement. Israel is formerly a senior Commerce Department official appointed by President Bush in July 2005 who previously worked for Time Warner's public policy arm (Warner Bros. Records is one of the plaintiffs in the RIAA case). The site also features an interview with Rep. Rick Boucher, no fan of the RIAA, on whether Congress will change the law, an analysis of why U.S. copyright law is broken, and four reasons why the RIAA won."
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White House Lauds MN RIAA Win, Analysis of Victory

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  • Par for the course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrCopilot (871878) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:13AM (#20877701) Homepage Journal
    Yep sounds like this White House. Corporations 1 Billion, Consumers/Citizens Who?

    • by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:27AM (#20877773) Homepage
      Yep sounds like this White House. Corporations 1 Billion, Consumers/Citizens Who?

      Since when do they comment on this stuff? I'm surprised they didn't comment on the Vonage loss against that bullshit patent. Or everytime a bullshit patent is enforced. On second thought maybe they try to stay neutral in Corporation vs Corporation matters.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nurb432 (527695)
        When the visibility is this high, and the corporation has bribed, eerrr lobbied, this hard its not surprising to see the government ( i wont say 'bush', this sort of nonsence is a government issue in general, not an administration issue ) comment on it.

        Sort of like the 'war on drugs', or 'war on big tobacco', ( and soon, 'big snack food' ) you can expect public comments.

        I say its time for us citizens to have a 'war on RIAA', and take no prisoners. Start with voting out anyone that in the least supports thi
      • Since when do they comment on this stuff?

        Since the RIAA has more clout in our government and 'justice' system than the citizens do.
      • Yeah... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Xenographic (557057) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @09:27AM (#20879335) Homepage Journal
        As far as I can tell, they think it's working if you can win big money in the lawsuit lottery.

        As for me, I think I'll follow NYCL's advice from the previous story and send a little something to help her appeal this. NYCL said to make out checks to Chestnut & Cambronne PA, Esqs. with a note that they're for Jammie Thomas's case and to mail them to:

        Brian N. Toder, Esq.
        Chestnut & Cambronne, P.A.
        204 North Star Bank
        4661 Highway 61
        White Bear Lake, MN 55110

        And that their phone number is (651) 653-0990 if you need it for FedEx.
        • by dpilot (134227) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @03:37PM (#20882185) Homepage Journal
          Depends on who is winning the big money. Don't forget, this administration is really big on tort reform, limitations of damages, etc.

          The fundamental idea is that some defective product can kill you or disable you for life, and you'll get less than the record company will if you pirate a few of their songs.

          The administration has come out in favor of the "ownership society," remember. (By the by, "creators" are not necessarily "owners," either.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Merk (25521)

          Assuming these are her lawyers, I wouldn't do this. Her lawyers were awful from what I saw. Rather than give them more money, I'd give her money to find some good ones.

      • Given their recent record, I'd say someone sent money towards Wash. D.C. and said "make it so".
    • by squiggleslash (241428) * on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:32AM (#20878005) Homepage Journal

      I'm the last person to defend the Bush regime, but bear in mind the phrase "copyright law is effective and working as planned" means "we see no need to tighten copyright law and create yet more insane crap, like the DMCA, to help copyright owners defend their copyrights."

      If the industry had lost the case, given that P2P copying of music without the copyright holder's authorization is rampant, you can bet the fact would have been used in the intense lobbying to impose still more draconian copyright laws and penalties. That lobbying is going on now, the government is being told that existing laws are inadequate and need to be tightened. The music industry's win is an ironic defeat for that lobby. If the music industry can defend its copyrights using the existing legal tools, then there is little reason to provide them with more.

      The biggest argument for more draconian copyright laws is rampant copyright infringement. Unfortunately, many in the tech community do not see that and think that laws get over-turned when people ignore them: with few exceptions, that attitude flies in the face of history. Those promoting copyright infringement are doing those who want to see a free exchange of information and genuinely fair use of, and improved access to, everything else no favors whatsoever.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:43AM (#20878037)

        bear in mind the phrase "copyright law is effective and working as planned" means "we see no need to tighten copyright law and create yet more insane crap, like the DMCA, to help copyright owners defend their copyrights."
        That's the good half of the meaning. The bad half of the meaning is that it also means "we intended for courts to award damages of 100,000 times the cost of stolen goods, and for a single mom to be bankrupted for stealing 23 music tracks."

        Magna Carta, the first Constitution in the history of the common law on which our great Republic is built, stated that "every freeman shall be fined in proportion to his fault; and no fine shall be levied on him to his utter ruin." Sad to see that in Bush's America this apparently only applies to freemen, not single moms.
        • by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @06:56AM (#20878365) Journal
          "Sad to see that in Bush's America this apparently only applies to freemen, not single moms"

          Whilst I agree that the magna carta is at the roots of modern democracy and the RIAA are a bunch of souless pricks, "freemen" was a restrictive term back then and did not include women, children or slaves.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by sexybomber (740588)

          "every freeman shall be fined in proportion to his fault; and no fine shall be levied on him to his utter ruin.

          The only "freemen" left in this country, the only people who can truly exercise freedom, are the CEOs. So yes, no fine shall be levied on our CEOs to their utter ruin. Can't have that. That would bring America to its knees. Look at all the shady, corrupt businessmen who proverbially get away with murder almost daily.

          But as for your typical American citizen, no, we're not free. We haven't been

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @09:56AM (#20879497)
        When a crooked, bought government says that laws need no tightening it only means they are already tightened way beyond sanity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZorinLynx (31751)
      Is anyone surprised?

      It's time to move on, people.

      Every last one of you better be at the f**king polls next year.
    • by ZoneGray (168419) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @10:48AM (#20879977) Homepage
      Ya have to remember that many of the goodies to copyright holders were handed out by the previous Democrat administration. In better times, Republicans would take a more libertarian stance. Unfortunately, current Republicans have become reflexively "pro-business" instead of favoring free markets. However, if you expect any change when Hollywood's preferred party comes to power.... forget it.

      Now... if I were a stockholder listening to these media companies outline their strategy, my first question would be... "Okay, so you're going to stop piracy. That's fine. Now how are you going to sell product?"

      Somehow, it's as if the CEOs believe the lawyers' arguments that they'd actually sell $222,000 worth of product if they could stop this woman from pirating. How freaking dumb to you have to be to believe that?

      Fact is, they could totally eliminate online piracy, and they'd still be unable to make money selling CD's, and the old record companies show NO skill whatsoever at selling downloads. You can't create value by making your product harder to use. They can extract a little cash, but, to paraphrase Keynes... in the long run, the record companies are all dead.
  • by tsa (15680) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:15AM (#20877707) Homepage
    Liberty and justice for all corporations!
    • by rucs_hack (784150) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:24AM (#20877753)
      If a law is deemed working properly when it can destroy someones life for the sake of a few MP3's, I would say that what we have here is fascism.

      Well, neoconservatism, which as far as I can tell is the same thing, only with better suits.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:42AM (#20877833)

        Well, neoconservatism, which as far as I can tell is the same thing, only with better suits.

        Fascism had waaaaay better uniforms and regalia.

        • More believable spokespeople too. Just imagine, do you really think 50 years from now any lunatic will still remember or even believe the drivel from the RIAA spindoctors?

          There are still loonies around today who blieve the nazi crap.
      • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:56AM (#20877893) Journal

        Here's a simple argument that her punishment was unjust - because it is being used as a stick to scare to the rest of society rather than an as an actual punishment, and is therefore out of proportion. How do we know that it is being used to scare society rather than as a fair punishment? Because millions of people do exactly the same as them and if everyone were prosecuted to such a degree, US civilisation would go bankrupt en masse. The penalty is inherently selective in targeting only example cases, because any consistent application of it would devastate the country. Punishments designed to scare people are not in proportion to the crime, because that is not their purpose. The interest is in creating the very greatest degree of punishment that is achievable.
        • by marcello_dl (667940) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:17AM (#20877969) Homepage Journal
          I completely agree. But I'd define this a mild "reign of terror".

          I am not liking it so I'm gonna fight it (as my ultimate rebellion is actually believing the propaganda called "democracy" and "justice" that some interest have fed us throughout the years).

          But how to fight? Shall I do exactly what they want us to avoid? Or avoid their products? Or avoid them but in the cases where they are extending copyright or patents on something they have no conceivable right on? (+70years, silly patents).

          On another perspective, NeoCons will have big explaining to do upstairs, if the God they're trying to justify themselves with is really there:

          - "You see, My Lord, I just wanted to..."
          - "Please, call me Allah."
          - "...Oopsie..."
          • Re: Neocon God (Score:5, Interesting)

            by cheros (223479) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @06:30AM (#20878231)
            God, that was funny :-).

            Class.

            Now, if you really want to kick the industry in the chins it's very easy, but I don't have the time for it.

            (1) Register a site "BuynoCDsDay" and put SENSIBLE arguments on there why what the RIAA and the record industry in general is doing is wrong. Talk about the RIAA acting as a second police force, talk about the total absence of rational proof (i.e. lack of evidence) and talk also about alternatives (saying something is bad is easy, offering alternatives is evidence you've been thinking about it)

            (2) Plan a day somewhere around Xmas where normally their sales volume is quite high and ask people not to buy a single record that day. Nil, none whatsoever, and to tell their friends as well. Give good arguments (for instance, list the consequences of what happens when the RIAA is allowed to continue abusing the law) and maybe also identify that the RIAA is a primary reason of records being so expensive (here's a question for you - it costs millions to make a movie, yet I can buy a movie DVD for the same money as an album CD, why?). Try to go as wide as possible - get people to translate the site as well because the bigger you make this, the more it will hit.

            (3) Market the crap out of this site. Talk to The Register, Slashdot it (which means you'll need to keep to text and small image sizes), get it in Boing Boing, Ars Technica etc, the works. Make promos and stick them on YouTube. In other words, keep hitting it. Email the BBC about what you're doing. Get on the news, annoy your parents with it, come up with a good slogan and yell it everywhere - democracy is being able to say what you think (but without insulting people - ther'e such a thing as good manners).

            However, there is ONE thing you should not do. Do not promote illegal activity. Breaking copyright is wrong, whatever your reasons are you have no right to break the law. Just send a signal to the RIAA that the game is up - and this "win" of theirs (which will surely be challenged) will make all those others accused even fight harder (except the dead ones, of course).

            So there, instant revolution recipe. I'll go and take my tablets and lie down now :-)
            • Re: Neocon God (Score:5, Insightful)

              by muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @07:50AM (#20878647)
              > Breaking copyright is wrong,

              It isn't.

              > whatever your reasons are you have no right to break the law.

              If the law is unjust, it's not only wrong, but your obligation to break it. If the world worked by your logic, the civilisation would have never developed past the slavery, monarchies, colonialism, and so on, because every of those steps required breaking some kind of then effective, but unjust law. If you didnt ignore, fight and break unjust laws, you wouldnt even live in the US but would be a massively exploited british colony. If you happen to be black, you would still be prohibited from learning something and would have the lagal status of a "thing", could be sold, bought and auctioned, and if youre a woman, youd be prohibited from voting, studying, appearing on streets without a burqa and so on.

              FUCKING NOBODY who is not profiting from artificial, enforced scarcity, perceives either this judgement or the underlying copyright fascism as "just" or democratically approved, and without massive civil movements, there seems just to be no way to change the laws, because the persons in power simply "dont allow" the people to do it bacause they know that copyright, as we know it now, wouldnt survive a single night if people _really_ decided democratically about it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by visualight (468005)
            It's been more than 5 years since they got my money. No CD's, No DVD's, and I don't got to the movie theater anymore either. I almost caved for Spiderman3 but I didn't.

            I considered going in front of a movie theater with a sign but I figured if it was just me people would just think "look at that crazy guy..." as they were standing in line. If there's like 50 people it would be different.
            • for years.

              The suckage of the RIAA's client's 'product' is legendary and I see no need to support it in any way.

              Unfortunately, is still too expensive to make movies because there isn't an independent movie market place for the CREATION of movies, but its coming as production equipment, (like film cameras, lenses and editing software,) keep getting cheaper and better.

              It will become possible to finance the creation of movies, the distribution of movies over the internet through something like podcasting. You c
              • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @10:20AM (#20879703)
                Give it a few years and movies are where songs are today.

                About 20 years ago, making and recording a song was expensive. You needed some studio, good (==expensive) equipment, some way to market and distribute it, in short, you needed the aid of a studio. Today, this all vanished. You can create great music "at home", with rather low cost, your average monthly income will buy you whatever you need.

                Let technology grow a little and we got the same with movies. We are already today at the point where great FX are no longer a matter of multi million dollar hardware but rather one of skill and a decent but affordable FX program. Video cams getting better and cheaper every month. Professional editing software also dropped from many thousands to a few hundred bucks. In no more than 10 years, the movie studios will face the same problem the music studios have today: They become obsolete for the ambitioned creator.

                They don't "feel" the pressure yet from both sides, only from the customer side where movies are now being shared like songs have been for over 10 years now. Only recently (i.e. about 5 years now) bandwidth has been large enough that it becomes an issue. Now they react. Now it's too late.

                We'll see more laws about this. In 100 years, we'll look at those laws with the same chuckle we now feel when we see laws for the protection of horse drawn cabs, about a man waving a red flag in front of a car or similar crap, lobbied in by a dying business.

                Unlike them, the **AAs have a choice, though. They can turn from the middleman that tries to hold artists and customers in a stranglehold to a valuable marketing and PR tool for the former. They have all the necessary tools, knowledge and people to push your songs into the charts and make it a seller. They are, if anything, great at creating a hype. If they can change to this model and become an "advertising agency", they can survive.

                If they instead try to cling to a dead business model, they will perish.
        • by hedwards (940851)
          I am not terribly surprised that a man that was appointed by the courts despite having lost the majority vote, would think that this was justice served. Abuse of the justice system is something which is encouraged when judges don't do a good job of keeping obviously unreliable evidence out of the proceedings.

          I think the main hint is that they brought in witnesses to perjure on their behalf. I wouldn't be half as bothered by this if the evidence had some level of reliability but when you allow the plaintiff
      • by 15Bit (940730) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:35AM (#20878017)
        What you have here is a fundamentally malfunctioning legal system. A punishment should fit the crime committed, not the collective crimes of everyone else who breaks the same law. Being punished to "serve as an example to others" is a concept which should have been left behind in the middle ages.
        • Re: U.S. Justice (Score:3, Informative)

          by I_Voter (987579)
          Justice and the U.S. Constitution.

          IMO: Few people that express political opinions about, justice, civil liberties, or even decisions by the U.S.Supreme Court, seem to be aware of our founding fathers original views. In simple terms the basic defense against government "tyranny" in our original constitutional concept was the jury.

          My Quick and Dirty Background

          In 1670, the traditional right of trial, by a jury of the defendant's peers, became much more powerful. The King's Chief Justice ruled that

        • The problem is that she is a human being, who is probably going to pay for the rest of her life for the "copyright violation" of just making the stuff available, rather than a corporation, who could either afford it or just go out of business, while the corporate officers pocketed the money and go on to start up the next shady deal.

          I'm not recommending it, but it would illustrate her plight if she would commit "sepuku" in front of the RIAA offices for TV cameras, in exchange for her kid's safety, as this wo
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CyberSnyder (8122)
        Why is everything being prosecuted in civil trials rather than criminal court? Are they not breaking the law? Of course, the answer is easy. Burden of proof is much lower and corporations can keep top legal staff on their payroll where the average American cannot afford to hire a good lawyer or will be in the position of hiring a lawyer and winning in which case they lose $100k or more in legal fees. Or losing, paying $200k in damages *and* $100k in legal fees. The court system is just a tool that is s
      • Neoconservatism? (Score:3, Informative)

        by paranode (671698)
        So you are seriously claiming that none of these laws existed before Bush's administration? I just think it's so funny when people get a hot-button issue and use it as a scapegoat for everything even when it has nothing to do with it. Many liberals have been in office and they have not changed copyright laws in your favor. Neocons are not the root cause of this issue.
    • by deniable (76198)
      I prefer "No representation without compensation," and they have a lot more money to give.
  • by speedfreak_5 (546044) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:21AM (#20877731) Homepage Journal
    ...

    At this point, I kind of get a kick of seeing how the copyright system is thrown in favor of those who are responsible for most of the "content" (not worthy of the term "music" eh? :) that is put out there for your consumption. I can't wait for the pendulum to swing back hard. It's already showing some resistance (file sharing and what-not) to being in favor of one side heavily over the other with respect to the original idea of copyright. Some term extensions are fine with me. But the current system of life of the author + 70 years AND digital rights management is obscene and a kick to the crotch of the idea of copyright.
    • I was thinking earlier of putting together a nice looking website that puts the issue into easy terms for people to understand and frames things so they'll care. Anyone good at drawing? My graphic artist isn't up for anything that might involve conflict. I have some ideas of how I want the website but I'm not good at drawing.
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:23AM (#20877743)
    Emperor Bush: No pirate will dare oppose the RIAA now.

    Princess Hacka: The more you tighten your copyrights, the more songs will slip through the P2P nets.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:34AM (#20877791)
    I will be amazed if history does not label him the worst President we have ever had, along with the worst Presidential crew (cabinet and appointees) we have ever had.

    The guy and his friends, as a group, have been almost unbelievable. What is even worse, is that on the rebound, a lot of people might actually think that voting for Hillary is a good idea. (shudder)

    If you do not know who Ron Paul is, do yourself and others a favor and look him up. But if you really do not think honesty is important, go ahead and vote for any of the others.
    • by OrangeTide (124937) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:13AM (#20877947) Homepage Journal
      What's so great about Ron Paul? I mean unless you're a pro-lifer? One minute the guy tells us he things it's a state's right to allow or disallow abortion, and the next he says things like "In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, HR 1094." and "As an OB/GYN doctor, I've delivered over 4,000 babies. That experience has made me an unshakable foe of abortion." .. Which means it would be murder to perform abortion by his definition, and therefor outside of a state's right to regulate (they can only define the punishment for murder). And his stance does not seem to allow flexibility with regard to parents wishing to abort after tests for mental retardation, birth defects, etc. sorry, I really think it's a parents choice to bring a special needs child into this world, not a bureaucrat's choice (even if he was an OB/GYN).

      A vast majority of abortions are not done by loose women who get knocked up every few months, it's a choice that women choose carefully and rarely more than once. It's an extremely difficult decision that your average woman does not take lightly at all.

      Ron Paul is the best Republican on the field though, likely because he's not a sleezebag or neocon garbage. And I won't find myself voting for a Democrat until they have a massive change of heart and get back to their roots. (I never been registered as Democrat).

      If you do have interest in Ron Paul I urge you register as Republican so you may vote in the primaries. (you don't have much time left to re-register and switch from being independent, most of the primary elections are held January and February 2008, depending on state). I personally doubt Ron Paul will win the GOP primaries overall, but he might make a big impact in western states who lean far more towards Libertarianism.

      • And his stance does not seem to allow flexibility with regard to parents wishing to abort after tests for mental retardation, birth defects, etc.

        No offense to the radically leftist ones who can't seem to find their inner geek while talking about personal freedoms, but surely these are some of the absolutely worst reasons for abortions. You really haven't watched a lot of good geek TV and movies if you think a society full of parents who abort "imperfect" children is a good one. An episode of Star Trek wit

      • by vertinox (846076)
        What's so great about Ron Paul? I mean unless you're a pro-lifer? One minute the guy tells us he things it's a state's right to allow or disallow abortion, and the next he says things like

        Yeah. Yeah. I voted for Bush because of my dislike of Lieberman's anti-violent video games stance and look what that got us? Voting on a single issue still gets you a bad candidate that you didn't expect.

        I really don't like Ron Paul's stance on anti-abortion, but if a president could outlaw it I'm sure Bush would have done
    • Clinton argued (he was a lawyer) that 'making oneself available' for a blowjob is not sex, but is sex for the one performing the blowjob (Monica Lewinsky). Which explains why he didn't perjure himself (the actual impeachable offence that lost him his law license) when claiming he "did not have sex with that woman".

      George on the other hand (who isn't a lawyer) would have to fail to use the 'making available' defense, and perform the blowjob himself (on someone else?) in order to commit perjury, which coul
    • The guy and his friends, as a group, have been almost unbelievable. What is even worse, is that on the rebound, a lot of people might actually think that voting for Hillary is a good idea. (shudder)

      My mother, unfortunately is one of those people. She simply cannot see how Hillary has changed from her days as first lady to the Cheney Lite drone she is today. There are many people who don't see this and it is indeed frightening.

      As for giving GWB a blowjob ....*sigh* I suppose I've given blowjobs for a lot less than the end of tyranny so I guess if you get him alone and hold him down, I'll take one for the geek world team, but damn, I expect a lifetime of free mp3's in return. I'd be an mp3 gazillionaire at MPAA rates.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ErrorBase (692520)

        As for giving GWB a blowjob ....*sigh* I suppose I've given blowjobs for a lot less than the end of tyranny so I guess if you get him alone and hold him down, I'll take one for the geek world team, but damn, I expect a lifetime of free mp3's in return. I'd be an mp3 gazillionaire at MPAA rates.
        Now there's a real patriot, put it on Youtube and I'll send you an URL. *ducks*
    • Who re-elected him OR by not voting did nothing to oppose him? There is a saying, in the land of the blind, one-eyed is king. Think about this and see what it means to those ruled by Bush.

      That you also lobby for Ron Paul suggests to me that you are not just a blind person ruled by a one-eyed freak but have lost all sensory capacities as well, rounded off with frontal lobotomy.

      What I think is wrong with the world (Bush is far from the only "how the fuck did we elect him" leader) is television. Not the viol

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @04:40AM (#20877821) Journal
    Not surprised that she lost. She was uploading music, that she had downloaded. So, it started out not hers and then she gave it away. Copyright laws EXPLICITLY prevent that. OTH, had she bought the CD, or simply borrowed from friends, and the only offered it to friends, then I believe this would have been an interesting case.

    It will create more siphons, but hopefully, the press will point out that this case was NOT about downloading, but about uploading to strangers.

    As to the white house, I only hope that the more that laud this ruling, the more that it comes to haunt them.
    • No it wasn't, and that is the problem a lot of people are having with this ruling. On this occasion I would recommend that you make an exception and RTFA. This case was not about uploading, the RIAA never proved that she uploading anything.

      Jury Instruction 15: The act of making available for download copyrighted material is in itself an act of copyright infringement with a fine of $750-$30000.

      Based on a screen-shot of kazaa showing some song names against her IP address they have fined her $220000. If you c
      • Not only is it that others were downloading from her system, but it was when the user with her name had it, that they were downloading. SO, if somebody was at her house AND used her system her windows system with her ID, then maybe. But let's be honest. She did the dead. It is pretty obvious from the case (looking at other articles as well), that she not only downloaded, but was also uploading. And it is was the uploading (distributing) that gets her in trouble. Yeah, the laws here have gone insanly toward
        • OK, assuming that you hadn't read the article is standard slashdot tradition :) But I don't see where you're getting that they could show somebody downloaded any tracks. The link to the analysis of the case is where I pulled the info from about Jury instruction 15, he is quite explicit that the RIAA never showed that a download occured - only that she had files available for download. He also makes the point that they based the decision on the filenames, rather than the contents. So if any of this is wrong
  • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:09AM (#20877933)
    The purpose of copyright law is to grant a temporary monopoly on the rights to copy a piece of art - be it a painting, song, book or whatever. A bit like a patent provides a temporary monopoly on an invention.

    The fact that a lawsuit has been won by the copyright owner demonstrates that the law does exactly what it was intended to do - set out a series of punishments for those who would break the law and copy a piece of art which they have no right to do.

    I can see two bones of contention here, but they're more related to how the law is designed than whether or not it's working as intended:

    1. Is the law morally justifiable?
    2. Is the process of enforcing the law fair?

    Both are very reasonable questions. If they're something which is important to the general public, then they'll probably become issues at the next election. But right now, I'd imagine most politicians are more interested in the easy political points - things like crime, education, war in Iraq - than those which are generating a lot of noise on /.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pjt33 (739471)
      There's a third question:

      3. Does the law set proportionate punishment?

      • by jimicus (737525)
        True, but I would consider "apportionate punishment" to be a part of enforcing the law.
  • by aeschenkarnos (517917) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:46AM (#20878049)
    Just a question ... are Americans teaching their children that it is good to share, or that it is bad to share?
  • by 3seas (184403) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @05:57AM (#20878105) Journal
    ...its about prolonging the inevitable death of the labels business.

    Remove the labels and replace them with a business model that understands the enormous cost savings of technology and the internet for production and distribution.

    It should be obvious, even from the court records.

    I very rarely buy music and when I do I try to buy directly from the artist, but this does not stop me from lisening to a great deal more music than I have purchased (not rented).

    I don't pirate but I have heard mixes others have done that remined me of plenty of songs and artists I liked years ago. But at about that time this RIAA crap started up and I figured I liked the artists and their works, not the contradictory business model of the labels as represented by the RIAA. So of course I dropped the idea of locating the music I heard on such mixes, that I might buy it.

    I mean since the Mix was illegal, I wasn't supposed to hear it and certainly in not hearing it I wouldn't be remined of ........ no sale.

    I don't Pirate nor do I support rabid dogs out to bite th hand that feeds them.

    The music industry labels has a history of questionable dealings such as Payola to get radio stations to play.... This sort of thing was determined to be illegal, unfair, etc... But the objective was that of getting coverage.

    Now that there is plenty of coverage.... they are complaining... Why? because they are not controlling it, its more open to public choice....

    Such controlling bias is not beneficial to but a few artists.

    So in the mean time I wake to music I don't pay for, drive to work and back with music I don't pay for and when I get an itch for irish music I tune into livelreland and I don't pay for that either.

    In fact I'd say on average over years, the music I listen to is better than 90% music I didn't pay for. And all without pirating. Most of which I wouldn't buy anyways, regardless of the fact that by the time the radio stations stop playing it, I'm sick and tired of it anyway and certainly won't have anything, and I certainly won't allow an illegal mix years later wrongly influence me to go out and buy....

    Why buy and why pirate when there is plenty free and legal.....

    If they shut down internet radio .. then I won't listen and won't know about artist I might just like enough to buy.

    Perhaps the Labels should just shut down all radio stations music playing..... That'll save them.
  • I at first thought that the RIAA having a successful legal precedent was an exclusively bad thing, of course...but then I realised something.

    People have wondered how the BSD license is any more secure than straight public domain. It's more secure because it relies on conventional copyright law. It also seems to me that the idea that conventional copyright being toothless is one of the primary justifications used for existence of the GPL.

    If it is demonstrated that conventional copyright law still has some
  • by Purity Of Essence (1007601) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @06:21AM (#20878201)
    RIAA wants to get $150,000 per infringement. If they nailed only 1/10th of the users on just the eMule network right now, each for a single infringement, they would net far more money than they normally make in a year. How can you seek damages so far removed from reality? RIAA wants us to believe that the $40 billion dollar music industry is the being victimized by eMule users to the tune of $600 billion worth of copyright infringement at any given moment.
    • by butlerdi (705651)
      This is an election year(s). The same boys that control the music bus control the television, radio, music, magazines and newspapers. Figure it out. The politicians now work as much for these slimebags as they do for their normal masters. Do not expect justice, just terrorism as they enact the smash and grab tactics of the last 20 years. These guys know it is crumbling and are just grabbing as much as they can before they cut and run leaving the moron sheeples behind to wonder what went wrong.
  • by musicmaster (237156) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @06:28AM (#20878223) Homepage
    This "copyright czar" Chris Israel should better check his kids' (if he has any) pcs and ipods. The majority of the families in the US are at risk for a similar verdict.

    But then of course his risk is quite diminished: the Bush administration has an effective system for preventing that their friends are prosecuted. The time that justice was blind is behind us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      the Bush administration has an effective system for preventing that their friends are prosecuted.

            Of course they do. The kids' iPod contents are a state secret.
  • by Devir (671031) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @06:31AM (#20878241) Homepage
    Ok, this is years back in school. But I do believe there is an ammendment in our constitution stating that "Fines and penalties should be fair and affordable".

    Back then they saw the value of using a fine as a means of punishment. The thing is they also saw that you cant issue a fine of $220,000 against a person who makes $30,000 a year. It is unrealistic and unfair.

    Though for many politicians making these obscene laws, $220,000 fine to them is like $220 for us everyday people. Their problem is they cant see nor understand what life is like for the vast majority of people in this Earth.

    This country needs another Abe Lincoln. A poor man who worked his way up the political ladder. Too bad he'd be filtered out of the system before even starting.
  • by gumpish (682245) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @08:38AM (#20878979) Journal
    I don't suppose there's a Civil Liberties Czar by any chance...
  • Bush probably doesn't even an mp3 is. If this woman hadn't tried to cover her tracks by replacing her hard drive and then lying about it, she probably wouldn't have been convicted.
  • Heh, figured I'd get more folks reading this if I used that subject :)

    But yeah, ok, the entertainment industry, including all of the RIAA and MPAA members, gives more money to democrats than republicans by a factor of about 4:1. In addition, for the "family value" conservatives the entertainment industry is the next thing to the devil. So, why exactly does the president in particular support the RIAA? They're supporting his enemy on both the financial and ideological fronts.

    morons.
  • In response to such outrageous abuses many propose "no-buying-cds" days and other utterly useless measures.

    But what would really hurt their pride and lessen their damage would be for the community to set a fund and help this person with her legal fees.

    This would really show that the people won't tolerate someone's life being ruined to set an "example" and instill fear in everyone else.

    (note: I'm not an American citizen, somebody please set it up instead)
  • This is wrong on so many levels. The RIAA once again shows they are not a reasonable or honorable organization. The only redeeming thing they could do is let her pay a much smaller penalty of say, $5k, and call it a day. Punishing a person with such a harsh penalty for such an insignificant crime is an abuse of our legal system.
  • Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Urkki (668283) on Saturday October 06, 2007 @09:28AM (#20879347)
    The $ amount is scary, but what is even more scary is the White House praising that a woman's life was destroyed, saying that this is how it was supposed to work, too. Mindboggling. Good thing I don't live there...

    Now, excuse me while I go and see what I can do to support local "EFF" organization, so that kind of crap won't ever go through here.
  • One of the problems that the current RIAA approach is that they are ignoring the large scale publishers by going after these petty criminals. And this Minnesota woman mentioned in the articles is just that. She is accused of opening up to some friends a couple of CDs worth of MP3s.

    I have seen some very large scale operations of blatant copyright violation in the past, including network sharing of copyrighted material. For crying out loud, I've had co-workers hand me nearly their entire CD collection compressed as MP3s on a couple of CDs.

    This is also completely missing the Chinese CD copy pirates that even have complete CD pressing facilities, print up scanned jacket inserts, and sell the CDs as the real thing when in fact that isn't the case at all. And don't tell me these CDs don't end up in the USA, as I know for a fact that they do. This kind of activity is blatant copyright violations and involves criminal activities where not only is the "criminal" making money off of the duplication of the content, but it also does real damage that can be measured in a genuine sense where some individuals are buying this content thinking it is the real thing, completely unaware that it was made through an illegal process and the artist gets absolutely nothing in return.

    I've also see websites... and they still do exists... that have hundreds or even thousands of CDs worth of data, and even hundreds of complete DVD movies available for download in blatant disregard for copyright laws. I know some of them have been shut down, but that just means they are avoiding to advertise on Google and other search engines, and you have to "go underground" to find these websites. If you search hard enough, you can still find them.

    What this woman did was the equivalent of a shoplifter taking some candy or other low-value merchandise from a store. Certainly it is illegal and perhaps needs to be prosecuted. But it doesn't need to become a national news story, nor draw the attention of multi-national corporations to fly their lawyers across the country in order to prosecute individuals who are for the most part clueless to begin with. Certainly the $300,000 fine+ court costs is way over the top.

    I would also like to ask this rather tough question to the RIAA: If any of this money is collected, will even a single penny of that money go into the hands of the artist you were representing?

    This is tragedy compounding the situation, as copyright law is really there to protect the content creator. These organizations like the RIAA do very little to help the plight of the ordinary musician, nor does a prosecution like this ultimately help out a journeyman musician. I'm not talking the grand masters that are at the peak of popular culture and earn their deservedly millions of dollars. They can usually negotiate reasonable recording contracts and keep most of their money. I'm talking the more ordinary folks who are getting screwed over by the RIAA, where a prosecution like this will result in that same Minnesota woman simply declaring bankruptcy to get out of the debt, and the RIAA will then claim what little was paid toward the fine as legal costs. The only people who "won" in this case was the RIAA lawyers themselves, and not their "clients" for whom they were supposedly representing.

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