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Record Labels Sue Spanish P2P Pioneer For $20M 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
elguillelmo writes "Promusicae, the Spanish record industry association, has sued MP2P Technologies and its founder, P2P pioneer Pablo Soto, for $20 million, citing unfair competition. Soto is behind the recently launched Omemo, an open source social media storage platform that allows users to share files anonymously, and the MP2P protocol, among other developments. Soto announced the organization's intention to defend itself in a statement published on his blog (in Spanish, Google translation)." TomTheGeek notes related news that Warner Brothers has admitted it employed one of the investigators in the case against the Pirate Bay founders. We discussed initial reports of this controversy last month.
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Record Labels Sue Spanish P2P Pioneer For $20M

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  • by mrbluze (1034940) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:06AM (#23691429) Journal
    It matters not whether you're in the right or not, but if you get sued it ruins your year.
    • Not if you're in a loser pays legal system!
      • by AuMatar (183847) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:32AM (#23691737)
        Loser pays just changes the strategies slightly. They still have the advantage.

        Lets say I'm on the right side of the case. Lets further say that I have a 90% chance to win. However, their legal fees total to 1 million dollars. That would bankrupt me. I won't fight the case, because even though the law and probability are on my side, I can't afford to lose that money. My upside is I win $0, my downside is -$1m, my average is -$100K.

        Loser pays alone is not enough. You have to cap losses, or you have the situation where a little guy can never afford to pursue justice.
        • The solution? All legal work should be pro bono. Laywers should be publicly salaried employees like any other civil servant. Exposing the Justice System to for-profit desires is just asking for corruption.
  • Unfair Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:14AM (#23691461) Journal
    The wording of that seems to have nothing to do with the legality of sharing files. Promusicae just don't like competing. At least there's one such organisation that says what it means.
    • Now that WE are controlling music distribution, we should give some thought over what exactly we are going to do with the situation.

      There appears to be a great struggle going on between the four global music/film corporations and the thousands of technically advanced internet applications programmers over the ability to control (or to be more precise, the ability to remove controls) over the distribution of recordings of music and films.

      Incredibly, the internet applications pro
      • I'll start off by saying that I do download music and movies. There would be very few on Slashdot who don't. I also like to think I have a little bit of ethical rationale for it. When it comes to music, I only download it if it's not available in any local music stores. You try getting obscure Norwegian neoclassical metal in North Queensland, and you'll see why about 40% of my music is "illegally" downloaded. If they don't sell it here, they don't want my money, anyway. About 50% is from OC Remix, VG
        • by tepples (727027)

          About 50% is from OC Remix, VG Mix and other similar sites, so free.
          Don't these sites technically infringe musical composition copyrights owned by Activision Blizzard, EA, Nintendo, and other major publishers of proprietary video games?
          • I think it's like how anyone can do a cover of someone else's song. It's not just a bunch of people rehashing other peoples' songs, either. Jeremy Soule, noteworthy composer who's done a lot of games, has even submitted a mix. I'm not sure, but I think Uematsu, of Final Fantasy fame, has said he likes OC Remix too.
            • I think it's like how anyone can do a cover of someone else's song.
              The original music publisher is still allowed to charge a royalty of up to 9 cents per copy. Sites that offer free downloads can't recoup this royalty.
        • Thanks for the reply. My point is not that whatever reasons people have for downloading free media product, it's that the digital revolution has taken the concept of physical property off the media product (music and film recordings). The media companies need to come to a realization that their products are not physical boxes that can be bought, sold, and moved. These products are much more fluid now. Some people are going to pay a high price and many people won't pay a high price for their product. Hav
      • The current situation is perfectly fine: people pay for experiences (e.g. movies, concerts) and physical copies (DVDs and CDs) whereas all shared digital information distributed over the internet or on disl or whatever is free. It's been this way for decades and has worked out just fine. Content producers just need to stop wasting their music fighting movie/music sharing and just accept it. There's nothing wrong with sharing.

        The music, movie, video game, and book industries (to name a few) have not disa

      • by mstahl (701501)

        Basically what the technical elite want is to have free or nearly free access to all the media recorded products currently offered for sale by the big four.

        That's not what I want at all. I want the music industry to keep operating, and I want it to be successful enough that the industry can take chances on indie artists and so there can be a wider variety of stuff available than there is now.

        I want a return to the time when I could pay for a recording or for a movie and do whatever I want with it as long as I wasn't charging people to view it at my apartment or something like that. I want to be able to rip CDs and rip DVDs for personal use with no fear what

        • The real difference between digital intellectal property and real physical property is that with digital intellectual property, the more you pay for it, the less control you have over it. With real property, the more that you pay,and the greater of the percentage of the property that you own, the more control you have over its use.

          The only way to control intellectual property in a digital format in the ways that you have described is to obtain it for free. The fact that this is illegal puts
          • by mstahl (701501)

            For the time being, the only way to control intellectual property in a digital format in the ways that you have described is to obtain it for free.

            There. Fixed that for ya. We're winning, and we're gonna keep winning until the other side decides to abandon their antiquated business practices.

            I'm not file sharing really, but I want those who are to not be prosecuted the way they are. I want the legal system to not be tampered with. I want the courts and the companies to both acknowledge that none of us are criminals.

      • by MacWiz (665750)
        Because the big four won't consider cutting back on product release in order to crush the P2P community

        Do you have any facts to support this? I was under the impression that releases had been cut to a third of what they were in 2000.

        give the P2P developers free access to media product in return for the P2P developers agreeing to limit the distribution of this product to only the people whom they consider to be 'cool'.

        Uh, how about finding 'product' made by 'cool' people who won't sue you and not worrying ab
    • by Beriaru (954082) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @07:11AM (#23692397)
      Well, the thing is, in spain is legal download music. We're being extorted with a private tax (the 'canon') for the concept of 'private copy'.

      When you buy recordable CDs you pay that 'canon' (which is more expensive than the CD). That way, you are free to have private copies of records.

      The record industry associations have tested the legality of download music, and have lost. So they are testing new ways of being an asshole.
    • by Weedlekin (836313) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @08:16AM (#23692613)
      "The wording of that seems to have nothing to do with the legality of sharing files."

      That's because non-commercial copying is legal is Spain, so their media industry failed when they tried to claim it wasn't in court.
  • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:20AM (#23691475)
    I assume this is like oh no, it's unfair competition that they're giving away their music for free. Okay time to play judge. Here's what I've got to say: "Sir, this company's product is software, not music. Case dismissed" *bangs gavel*
    • Do you really think a judge is going to say "Sir, this company's product is software..."? While I agree with what you're saying I do not have the same faith in the legal system. We can say "yeah it's not the gun manufacturers" fault, but guns have a longer history.
  • The recording industry sues someone who records nothing for unfair competition. Sounds almost right. The judge must be LOLING A LOT!
  • unfair competition? That is like Microsoft suing Novell for competing with them. I mean what do have against them. "We feel it is immoral and highly harmful to standardized business practices to provide an alternative to standard more expansive forms of distribution." ...

    WHATDAFUX
  • What next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aceofspades1217 (1267996) <aceofspades1217.gmail@com> on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:43AM (#23691565) Homepage Journal
    I mean what the heck you can't sue someone simply for providing software which "might hurt your business". Lets wait for Microsoft to start suing download managers for having the possibility of being used to download Microsoft :P
    • by Kalriath (849904) *
      Yeah, wait for it... "In the matter of Microsoft Corporation vs Microsoft Corporation, we find the defendant guilty of unfair competition through defendant's production of Internet Explorer, a hacker tool used to locate and download unauthorised copies of Windows, among other things..."
      • LOL that would epic. And the defendant Microsoft pays the plaintiff Microsoft 20 M dollars.

        Sorry little Timmy you ain't getting any Christmas presents :(
        • by Kalriath (849904) *
          My local city council has actually done that before. Sued themselves I mean. They apparently built something without a resource consent, so they took themselves to court, fining themselves $6M for violating the Resource Management Act. Sometimes, The Onion gets it right apparently.
          • LOL I would love to see how that panned out. Um city writes a check to itself for 6 million dollars.

            The only person who benefits...the paper company who makes the darn check.
  • Bizaro World (Score:2, Redundant)

    by rossz (67331)
    In the odd little world of the Mafi*AA, _any_ competition == unfair competition.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:24AM (#23691709)
    This particular lawsuit cannot hide behind the evil copyright infringers.

    Reaganites in the us (im sure every nation has their version of them in one extreme or another) wail on endlessly about the freeloaders who think they are "entitled" to welfare, while conveniently ignoring the elephant in the room.

    Today's corporate controllers feel their companies not only have the right to exist, and therefore receive massive tax-payer bailouts the magnitude of entire state budgets, but think they have the right to profit. This is particularly blatant with the music and film industries world wide, who count a person's refusal to buy as "stealing" and characterize emerging business models as murderous.

    oh snap! that home depot across the street just stole the revenue lowes was entitled from everyone who turns left off the exit instead of coming down the oncoming lane from the opposite side of the bridge!

    A more convenient location for northbound and westbound travelers is an unfair competitive advantage! where is my anti-trust council!

     
    • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @07:33AM (#23692487)

      Today's corporate controllers feel their companies not only have the right to exist, and therefore receive massive tax-payer bailouts the magnitude of entire state budgets, but think they have the right to profit. This is particularly blatant with the music and film industries world wide, who count a person's refusal to buy as "stealing" and characterize emerging business models as murderous.

      Not just the right to make a profit, but the right to ever-increasing profits. Used to be if a company's profit dropped, there would be soul-searching to see how they could change and adapt their methods and products to better suit the current economic situation, to more accurately meet consumers' needs, or to effectively compete against other companies. That has changed -- now, if the bottom line starts dropping, it's never the company's problem, it's all those outside forces that must be bullied, threatened, lobbied, bribed, or regulated into submission. "We've been doing it this way for X number of years, and we want to make sure that we can still do everything the same way, only keep making more and more money."

      It's not just the record and film industries that see the Internet as a threat. Newspapers, magazines and other traditional media are running scared. Governments fear the notion of people actually forming and sharing their own opinions instead of being told what to believe, and corrupt governments and politicians fear their carefully obfuscated dirty laundry being hung out on the Net for all to see. As the Net grew in popularity, the initial corporate attitude was, "aw...how cute." Then it became, "hmmm.....how can we make a profit off this thing?" If they failed to do so, it then became "the Internet is evil and must be killed, or at least molded and shaped to serve OUR needs."

    • by Ox0065 (1085977)
      I assume that by EVIL copyright infringers you mean media companies who release content in trade secret packages, willfully and knowingly refusing to meet their end of the copyright agreement.
      The copyright system as I understand it is that, in exchange for publishing media into the public domain, you receive an exclusive right to distribute what you publish, protected under copyright law.
      • by Ox0065 (1085977)

        you receive an exclusive right to distribute what you publish, protected under copyright law.
        obviously I mean an exclusive right for a fixed period, after which it becomes public domain. sorry badly worded
      • by tepples (727027)

        The copyright system as I understand it is that, in exchange for publishing media into the public domain, you receive an exclusive right to distribute what you publish, protected under copyright law.

        "Public domain"? It appears you misunderstand it. Nothing first published after the mid-1920s (US) or whose last surviving author died after the mid-1950s (Europe, Japan, Australia, and many other developed countries) will ever enter the public domain through expiration of copyright. The reason for this is successive legislative extensions of copyright, such as the Copyright Act of 1976 followed by the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 and the Chastity Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 201

  • by Patatoffel (1223760) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:48AM (#23691963)
    In Spain, SGAE, Promusicae and others (spanish RIAAs) are paid a percentage ('canon') of the price of storage devices: CDs, DVDs, printers, hard drives, cameras... in compensation for their hypothetical losses because of P2P. But now they are showing that they also want to adopt the US way to 'defend' their copyrighted media, so we'll end up being f*cked twice. And our ruling party, the PSOE, calls itself leftish. Contradictory, isn't it?
    • Well the US denies it , but controlling media distribution through government sanctioned monopolies is pretty fucking far from a capitalist free market. What Adam Smith argued was that governments should take a "hands off" approach to markets, only using a minimal amount of regulation as necessary to enable a semi-free market to exist in the first place.

      I dunno what definition of capitalism you have been given, but draconian copyright laws, government sponsored monopolies and harsh penalties for copying mus
      • True, but the political situation is a bit different in Europe. In Spain, we haven't pure liberal parties; the other big party is the PP, which is mainly conservative; and the PSOE, as a leftish party, is supposed to be in the side of the people, not the corporations (or at least this is their propaganda). In economic terms, both parties are quite similar.
    • In Spain, SGAE, Promusicae and others (spanish RIAAs) are paid a percentage ('canon') of the price of storage devices: CDs, DVDs, printers, hard drives, cameras... in compensation for their hypothetical losses because of P2P.

      Are cameras and printers commonly used for copyright violation? That to me says much: that they're really trying to prevent anyone who's not already in the content-creation industry from being able to enter.

      Up next for taxation: paintbrushes and guitar strings.

      • Yeah they are. It's supossed to compesate for book printing (so it's completely legal to download and print a pdf book from) in the case of printers.

        And for the cameras ... I didn't even know anything about it... anyway .. here is a list so you can make an idea of how mucho money this people make ... even if you don't use the cd, dvd or whatever to make private copys of copyrighted content.
        • Scanners - 10 €
        • Scanner with copy capabilities (less than 10 copies/minute) - 16,67 €
        • Scanner (or simi
  • by faragon (789704) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @05:01AM (#23691995) Homepage
    Spanish RIAA-like associations (SGAE and subsidiaries like Promusicae, etc.), are being investigated right now because of lack of transparency [google.es], illegal politic finantiation [google.es], blackmail ("chantaje"). [google.es]

    The prosecution is nonsense and will result in a null case, but their intention is to stop actions not by legal reason, but by legal intimidation (in Spain there is *fear* about speaking against the SGAE in public media, because of you can be sued easily). Many people do google bombing refering "http://www.sgae.es/?ladrones" [www.sgae.es] as a measure to protest against these "kind and polite organizations", so when you look for "ladrones" [google.com], they appear in the first place.
  • by Adeptus_Luminati (634274) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @06:35AM (#23692281)
    The piracy war will ultimately be won by pirates. So all these law suites are kind of pointless in the end. Even if they manage to kill P2P somehow, I can still go to my buddies house and swap movies with a portable HD. And eventually, in the not too distant future, we'll be able to swap the ENTIRE collection of every movie and song EVER made via snicker-net!

    Check it out:

    Assuming 1 aXXo movie = 700 MB, the average MP3 = 5 MB, and a $200 hard drive increases in capacity every 1.5 years (not unreasonable), then:

    -5 years (2012) - Weâ(TM)ll have 7 Terabyte hard drives costing $200, capable of storing 9,643 Movies or 1.3 Million songs!!

    -10 years (2017) - Weâ(TM)ll have 51 Terabyte hard drives costing $200, capable of storing 73,225 movies or 10.3 MILLION songs

    -15 years (2022) - Weâ(TM)ll have a 389 Terabyte hard drive costing $200, that can store 556,000 Movies!!! or 77.8 Million songs (Is there even that many songs in the history of the world?!?!?)

    -20 years (2027) - Weâ(TM)ll have a 2956 TERABYTE hard drive, costing $200, that can store 4.2 MILLION MOVIES or 590 MILLION MP3s!

    ==================
    GAME *UCKING OVER!
    ===================

    By 2030, we will have every movie and song in the world stored on our freaking wrist watches.

    • by BlueParrot (965239) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @08:18AM (#23692627)
      Lets say a song is about 5 minutes long

      20 songs an hour
      480 songs per day
      175.200 songs per year
      17.520.000 songs per century.

      That is assuming you don't sleep, that you never listen to the same song twice, and that you never do anything but listen to songs. For music it has been game over for a long time... Movies probably have a decade or so left, but then they are fucked too.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        'Which is not to say they couldn't make money off convienience. Is there any pirate service where I could search for a song and have it instantly start streaming to me while downloading in the background? I don't think so. Where there's only high-quality, properly ID3 tagged and consistently named songs? No. Where it'll give me good tips on music I might like based on my ratings, old or new? No. Like you point out, getting the songs is not the problem as I could have them coming in faster than I'd ever care
    • by msormune (808119)
      So you show up at your buddies house in 2015 with a hard drive full of copyrighted material? With the cops waiting? GAME *UCKING OVER for you.
    • by turing_m (1030530)
      The move to lossless codecs (audio and video) will slow that down somewhat, since the sizes of the files will be inherently larger than 5MB for a song and 700MB for a movie. So will a move to higher definition video. I suspect that games will be the last holdout, since an experience that is different each time according to a player's input can be recorded but is not interesting to watch. If all calculations are done server side and kept secure, you can't crack it.

      But yeah, you're right.
  • The police officer who flipped from the force to Warner has allegedly flopped back and is again in uniform.

    Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan on the matter:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fsydsvenskan.se%2Fnojen%2Farticle331913.ece&hl=en&ie=UTF8&sl=sv&tl=en [google.com]
  • those cases are probably gonna be settled in brussels, and the french speaking eu judges and bureaucrats there are probably gonna make a mincemeat out of riaa.

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