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How the RIAA Targets Campus Copyright Violators 280

Posted by timothy
from the lures-them-in-with-jim-hawkins-dolls dept.
jyosim writes "The Chronicle of Higher Ed got a briefing at RIAA headquarters on how the group catches pirates. They just use LimeWire and other software that pirates use, except that they've set up scripts to search for songs, grab IP numbers, and send out notices to college officials. They claim they don't target specific colleges, though many feel that they do."
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How the RIAA Targets Campus Copyright Violators

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  • by gentimjs (930934) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:27PM (#23392844) Journal
    I doubt they are 'targeting' any specific school, but I strongly suspect IPs resolving to unilag.edu.ng are handled differently then those resolving to yale.edu , where the students are more likely to just pay a settlement rather then wipe their arse with the notices...
  • Re:How (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jrothwell97 (968062) <jonathan@noSPAM.notroswell.com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:33PM (#23392922) Homepage Journal
    Is this seeded or unseeded?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:33PM (#23392924)
    Sounds like entrapment to me, like the mafRIAA is "making avaible" the same mp3s they are accusing people of downloading... bastards.
  • Hate Emails (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRedSeven (1234758) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:34PM (#23392938) Homepage

    The demonstration was given by an RIAA employee who would speak only on condition of anonymity because of concern that he would receive hate e-mail.

    If you risk getting hate mail simply because you work at a certain company, perhaps it's time to look for a different job?

    On the other hand, if this guy actually stuck his neck out and shared how the RIAA really finds their suckers, he'd probably get thank you letters rather than hate mail.

    In either case, he probably needs to do some deep self-examination to see why he stays at this job.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:37PM (#23392994)
    Since when can a person be held directly responsible for activity that occurs on their IP address? The RIAA is throwing charges for crimes without sufficient evidence that the person they are charging committed the crime. There are a million ways an IP is shared or used by multiple persons. Without substantial evidence, the RIAA is merely throwing litigious paperwork around at tons of innocent people. When will our government establish a recourse for recurring wrongful litigious activity? The ability to sue, blame, and then settle out of court is being so heavily exploited because lawyers know that most people would rather settle than pay the $$$ to prove themselves innocent. We need to either: 1) Not allow settling, thus making false accusations apparent, and thus the obvious waste of our judicial resources. This would be the cause of an impending need to reform and disallow repeat false accusers. or 2) Allow individual accusers or accusing bodies (such as the RIAA) a limited amount of legal cases, for which an appeal must be done to be allowed more.
  • by DodgeRules (854165) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:47PM (#23393140)
    From the article:

    "We have no capability of targeting any school at all," said the RIAA representative, who argued that there is a large "misperception" among university administrators that individual colleges are being picked on. "Technically we can't do it. We find what we find with this process, and that's what we send to schools."
    Technically we can't do it? BULL***T! A simple filter that throws away all schools not A, B or C is very easy to create. It is possible that they CHOOSE not to do it, but it is technically possible.
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:48PM (#23393154)

    Change LimeWire EULA now!
    And you think that the RIAA would follow the new EULA? Remember that they us a PI company that is not even licensed to practice in many of the states they do "investigations" in. Interestingly, they have not suffered any repercussions for breaking the law. Conclusion: They are above the law.
  • by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonser@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:48PM (#23393158)
    The sad likelihood is that IP's will become tied to our identities by laws pushed by RIAA and MPAA interest groups.

    They will stand on the side of Hollywood, not the side of the citizens. Just like they always have.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @12:49PM (#23393172) Homepage
    Peerguardian. http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/ [phoenixlabs.org]

    Use it or dont whine about getting nailed by the RIAA,MPAA,BSA,NAACP,etc....
  • Re:Hate Emails (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:00PM (#23393332)

    In either case, he probably needs to do some deep self-examination to see why he stays at this job.

    It's called a paycheck. Not everyone has the luxury of quitting their job at the drop of a hat.
  • Re:Hate Emails (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:02PM (#23393354) Journal
    The hate mail would read:

    "You're fired"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:04PM (#23393382)
    You actually believe this will protect you?!

    I agree with the statement "A false sense of security is worse than no security at all."

    Check this thread

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/488917.html

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:06PM (#23393420)

    "The automated takedown notice program we have right now is solely university-focused," said the anonymous RIAA representative. "We're trying to make universities aware that they have an issue with peer-to-peer file sharing on their network, and so we don't send automated notices to commercial ISP's, I think because they are generally aware that there's a problem."
    This makes no sense. They've been sending these things out for years, and yet they don't think the universities are aware that it's happening yet???

    There is some other reason they are targetting universities with this automated business. Maybe because they know students don't want to get in trouble with the administration, or because the universities are more risk-averse and less likely to fight than the commercial ISPs, which would lose business if they tried to stop piracy.

    The RIAA said it does not single out particular academic institutions to be "made examples of."

    "We have no capability of targeting any school at all," said the RIAA representative, who argued that there is a large "misperception" among university administrators that individual colleges are being picked on. "Technically we can't do it. We find what we find with this process, and that's what we send to schools."
    They don't have the capability??? Of course they do. He's just outlined how easily they could target particular universities. It's one thing to say that they don't do it. To say that they are incapable of doing it is a bold-faced lie.
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:08PM (#23393464)
    You must've missed the part in the article where they describe how they determine if it's actually one of their songs or not.

    Hint: neither file name nor first few seconds being the same will do it.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:09PM (#23393470) Homepage
    PeerGuardian is to protection what "safe periods" are to prevention. If they have any clue at all, they've got IP blocks under some unknown subsidiary, rented boxes in colos or using anonymizing whois registrars. Maybe they're happy to target the 90% easiest targets, but it's by no means safe as such.
  • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi@nosPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:14PM (#23393548)
    Ahh, Peerguardian. Once they have a Vista client out...
  • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:15PM (#23393568)
    Why exactly is it nontaxable? Any income that isn't specifically excluded by code is considered to be taxable. Just because the income is illegal or of dubious legality does not exempt it from taxation. Perhaps the most famous case being Al Capone being toppled by the IRS.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:20PM (#23393636) Journal
    I don't see why anyone would make that assumption. The larger the group, the more intelligent people will be in that group, and the higher the likelyhood that some of them will be exceptionally intelligent.

    But by the same token, the larger the group, the more idiots will be in that group, and the higher the likelyhood that some of them will be exceptionally stupid.

    That also follows for competence.

    The larger the group, the greater the need for organization. Above a certain critical limit, the bureaucracy bogs the effectiveness down.

    But I don't see how this applies to evolution.
  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:29PM (#23393770) Homepage

    Not to side with the RIAA and similar, but wouldn't you figure, if they have the power to use a copyright of a given item to sue you, that they also have the legal right to "distribute" said copyrighted material?

    In which case, if you download the music from them (the RIAA), then it would seem (IANAL, etc.) that they couldn't possibly charge you with copyright infringement since they, the copyright holder, offered the MP3 for download. Or am I missing something?
  • Re:Hate Emails (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:35PM (#23393828)
    So now members of an ethically-questionable trade group are equivalent to officers of the law? The police offer a real service to 99% of the population that would be worse off without them. The RIAA offers a service to 1% of the population and makes things worse for the other 99%.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:42PM (#23393926)
    Money obtained by legal civil settlements is 100% tax free, because its considered making up for a loss, as opposed to "true" revenue.

    The RIAA has it good. Judges love them and rubber-stamp their motions in courts, they have the ear of the politicians, and every dime coming in is tax free, heading to their legal team's Maybach fund.
  • Re:Hate Emails (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:47PM (#23393988)
    So nobody should do any job that pisses anybody off?
  • Re:How (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:04PM (#23394212)

    Judging from the number of elderly, children, blind people, dead people, etc.
    Why would the blind be any less likely to download music than the rest of us? They use computers too...
  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:18PM (#23394418) Journal
    That would only play right into their hand. The network would become useless because someone searching for songs by Amy Winehouse will receive thousands of hits for files of idiots humming the song "Rehab" instead.

    You are correct that the easiest way to defeat the methods they deploy is to flood them with garbage, but how is the casual user supposed to filter out the garbage without The Man doing the same?

    The closest analogue I can think of would be currency. The Treasury Department changes the design every few years because it takes a while for counterfeiters to, reverse engineer, develop copy techniques, and perfect methods for mass production. By the time that's complete a new bill is in circulation.
  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:20PM (#23394452)
    ... because I hate all current music! That's the last thing I'd download, the latest pop or rock song! The MPAA, however.........
  • Re:Hate Emails (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobBebop (947356) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:30PM (#23394588) Homepage Journal

    In either case, he probably needs to do some deep self-examination to see why he stays at this job.

    I often question why people would work at companies that have questionable business practices. I assume that it is similar to the reason why I work at a company that doesn't. (a) They gave me an job offer, and (b) they consistently provide me with a paycheck.

    Sadly, there are not enough jobs to go around within companies who have strong morals and upstanding business practices. It is Supply/Demand... and when the demand for employees is highest in immoral organizations, it is no wonder why people end up there.

    A ray of hope is that it might be possible to teach enough young people values so that when they grow up and turn around these businesses.

    Until then... we just need to keep track of people on an individual basis who have a history of making immoral decisions, and (sadly) we are doing a crappy job. I would love to see a Who's Who of corporate America that lists the cretins and jerks who lie and abuse the power they've been entrusted with.

  • Re:Hate Emails (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @03:01PM (#23395036)
    Your analogy is lacking. Downloading songs illegally is copyright violation which is a civil crime. IT IS NOT THEFT as nothing was stolen and nobody was deprived of anything.

    To answer your question- YES they should. Anybody in such a position should ask themselves every day if they are morally correct to support the law, and when the answer is no then they should stop.
    Hiding behind the phrase 'just doing my job' won't remove the blame for nefarious actions- the Nazis tried those excuses at Nuremberg.
  • Re:Harvard anyone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @03:55PM (#23395750)
    duh - smart people who can afford good lawyers - that's the last group the RIAA wants to annoy.
  • Re:Harvard anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EdelFactor19 (732765) <adam.edelstein@a ... u minus caffeine> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @10:35PM (#23398944)
    are you kidding me? harvard has the largest endowment of any school. most people going there arent strapped for cash, and from what I've read most receive aid too. either the family has more money than you know what to do with, or the students often get financial aid.. in any event harvard is not one of the most expensive ivy's based us news & world reports reviews and numerous other publications.

    if you are going to harvard shouldn't you be smart enough not to have a family you can't afford to support? or conversely have a solid plan on how you will (where harvard is a key part of it).

    if you have to hope that your future earnings are enough (as opposed to know) then maybe you shouldnt be there eh? I would have thought that anyone who is deemed worthy of going there would be intelligent enough to understand /appreciate the inherent value of the investment in a 'harvard' education. mind you i didnt go there; but for any top tier school in that echelon if you didn't "know" that you were going to come out ahead either from common sense, in general or a risk/benefit analysis you really shouldn't have gotten in.

    and since i'll likely hear a retort about a comedic exageration; look at the bright side.. diploma's can double as extremely expensive toilet paper.

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