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Law Profs File Friend-of-Court Brief Against RIAA 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the dissenting-opinions dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A group of 10 copyright law professors has filed an amicus curiae ('friend of the court') brief on the side of the defendant in Capitol v. Thomas, agreeing with the judge's recent decision that the $222,000 verdict won by the RIAA appears to be tainted by a 'manifest error of law.' The clear and well-written 14-page brief (PDF) argues that the 'making available' jury instruction, which the RIAA had requested and the judge ultimately accepted, was in fact a 'manifest error of law,' making the point, among others, that an interpretation of a statute should begin with the words of the statute. My only criticism of the brief is that it overstates the authorities relied on by the RIAA, citing cases which never decided the 'making available' issue as cases which had decided it in the RIAA's favor." As it turns out, the MPAA, close ally to the RIAA, has come forth with a more controversial view. They suggest that proof of actual distribution shouldn't be required. From their brief (PDF): "Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances."
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Law Profs File Friend-of-Court Brief Against RIAA

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  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:22AM (#23883977) Homepage Journal
    you accuse someone of something, then come up and say that 'proof is not required'. get a load of that !!! back to middle ages. next ; witch hunting, death by stoning, and dung for dinner.

    well, since it has come to this, i am hereby accusing all MPAA, RIAA members of child abuse, child pornography, treason. remember, PROOF IS NOT REQUIRED.
    • by Heather D (1279828) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:30AM (#23884011)
      Indeed, the MPAA seems to genuinely believe that they are above the judgements of us 'commoners'. There was a time when I would have laughed at this, these days I'm only pretty sure that it won't go over.
      • by Brain-Fu (1274756)

        Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances.

        On the other hand, failing to mandate that proof could have the pernicious effect of depriving individual citizens of a practical remedy against erroneous copyright infringement charges in many instances.

        And "erroneous copyright infringement charges" often come with a permanently-impoverishing price tag.

    • by Sonnekki (978779) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:33AM (#23884021)
      Indeed! I thought we took a step forward as a society by creating rules and mandates.

      If proof isn't required for this, then WHAT IS proof required for??

      Christ on a stick.

    • well, since it has come to this, i am hereby accusing all MPAA, RIAA members of child abuse, child pornography, treason. remember, PROOF IS NOT REQUIRED.

      In addition, I will testify against them.

    • by dogscats (720965) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:47AM (#23884105) Journal
      By this court's reasoning, every library in the country is guilty of copyright infringement because by permitting people to borrow books, it is "making available" those books for copying. Absolutely absurd, no?
    • witch hunting

      "Quiet, quiet! There are ways of telling if she is a witch. Tell me. What do you do with witches?"

      "Burn them!"

      "And what else do you burn?"

      "More witches! Um... Wood!"

      "Does wood sink in water?"

      "No! No! It floats!"

      "And what else floats in water?"

      "A duck!"

      "So, logically..."

      "If she weighs the same as a duck, then she must be made of wood! And therefore... a witch! Burn her!"

      all the "proof" you need.

    • well, since it has come to this, i am hereby accusing all MPAA, RIAA members of child abuse, child pornography, treason. remember, PROOF IS NOT REQUIRED.

      Seeing as they MPAA is advocating the removal - for them only - of the guarantees outlined in the law in general, and the Constitution in particular, a charge of treason, or at least sedition, might actually fly.

      You could have their trial at the same time as Bush and Cheney's.

      • You know, this is one of the few occasions when "mob rule" suddenly doesn't seem so terrible. I mean, it's not much worse than the mockery of "due process" we see every day.

        At least under mob rule, such crooks would quickly be hanged. We can return to due process afterwards...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kneo24 (688412)
      That's not exactly what the MPAA is claiming. They're claiming they don't need any sort of proof to start accusing people. What they're saying is that if a person makes a file available, it shows intent. And based off of said intent, a copyright holder shouldn't need to show further proof of infringement.

      It is a bit of a slippery slope, sure. Some people don't actually realize they're sharing files. Some do. They're going to have to prove something at some point, whether it be "intent" or actual infringem

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kurt555gs (309278)

        If some one is lurking around the mall, is that 'intent' of robbery?

        No, I think proof is needed of each single instance.

        And, I have yet to be convinced that 'sharing' is wrong, in my mind, it would only be real copyright infringement if the works were actually sold to some one.

        That is what copyright law was originally meant to protect, SALE of some ones work without authorization, not letting some one read, see, listen to it.

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      Better we take a page from King Phillip and just go ahead and accuse them of blasphemy, secret meetings, desecrations of our holy book, buggery, and worshiping satan and other false gods. Let the tortured confessions begin.

      It might end with pitchforks and torches at the castle door in the middle of the night...

      It's probably good that the **AA don't operate in a country where such high drama happens. Instead they have to deal with 'all your mp3 are belong to us' and getting rick rolled 47,062 times a day whi

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thewiz (24994)

      What all the **AAs are doing is a simple application of the "Golden Rule": He who has the gold makes the rules.
      Just remember what happened during the French Revolution [wikipedia.org].

    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @10:18AM (#23884611) Homepage

      The Wired article and Slashdot summary got so much spin, it needs a little counterspin.

      Can you be convicted of murder without a body? Yes, you can [wikipedia.org]. But wait, how do you do that without proof they died an unnatural death or even died at all? Circumstancial evidence - it's been enough to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" so certainly it could be enough in a civil case.

      What the RIAA is saying is that they have enough circumstancial evidence. That sharing a file on a public file-sharing network that exists for the very purpose of distributing files, where it's available to anyone that requests means that the network will perform its expected purpose - which for a copyrighted file is to perform unauthorized distribution. That this in itself is a "preponderance of evidence" that copyright infringement did occur, even without the body and smoking gun.

      I think the RIAA could gather fairly strong evidence on this easily - set themselves up as a fake sharer of the same file and record how many people tried to downloaded from them. I think that would be very strong circumstancial evidence that copyright infringement does occur for others sharing the file. The standard of proof is after all quite low.

      What I fear is that if this passes through, laws will change because it essentially makes P2P users immune and you know the powers to be won't stand for it. The only way to get direct evidence of infringement between third parties would be wiretap warrants. Wiretaps for "suspected copyright infringement"? That'll be rubberstamp heaven and the police wouldn't handle the volume - enter the copyright cops. I think there's more to lose by winning the battle than not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dpiven (518007)

        I think the RIAA could gather fairly strong evidence on this easily - set themselves up as a fake sharer of the same file and record how many people tried to downloaded from them. I think that would be very strong circumstancial evidence that copyright infringement does occur for others sharing the file. The standard of proof is after all quite low.

        What does that prove? If someone downloads a fake file, that doesn't say jack about infringement of copyright. Saying otherwise is like an undercover cop selling someone a baggie of road salt and then busting them for possession of crack.

        The standard of proof isn't all that low: they have to prove not only that someone knowingly made the file available with intent to distribute, but that the file contained copyrighted material, and the file was actually transferred to another party. (Current copyright l

      • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @02:28PM (#23887019)

        Can you be convicted of murder without a body? Yes, you can.

        Its also fairly unusual, and much harder to prove. Prosecutors REALLY like having a body. Or enough of one to be convincing that the 'victim' is actually deceased.

        But wait, how do you do that without proof they died an unnatural death or even died at all? Circumstancial evidence - it's been enough to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" so certainly it could be enough in a civil case.

        Right, but its got to be AWFULLY convincing.

        What the RIAA is saying is that they have enough circumstancial evidence. That sharing a file on a public file-sharing network that exists for the very purpose of distributing files, where it's available to anyone that requests means that the network will perform its expected purpose - which for a copyrighted file is to perform unauthorized distribution.

        Most people actually use p2p to download files, not distribute them. For your average citizen p2p's 'expected purpose' is to get them a free copy of a britney spears song, not commit unauthorized distribution of a file on a massive scale exposing them to massive damages.

        That said I agree with you to a point, but simultaneously think convicting them of 'n-counts of copyright infringment' multiplied by 'statutory damages designed to dissuade organized for profit criminal enterprise' is like penalizing the guy with bag of weed at a party the same as a guy caught with an airplane full of cocaine, half a million in cash, 4 body guards, and weapons cache.

        People using p2p to infringe deserve to get busted, they don't deserve fines in the 100s of thousands. They deserve fines, in most cases, for casual p2p use of a few dozens of songs hosted from their home PC of around $500 or less.

        Inidivual/personal use copyright infringement via p2p is a misdemeanor on par with a routine traffic violation, watering your grass on the wrong day, or parking in a handicaped spot, and in my opinion is less serious than when someone does a B&E to steal a TV.

    • Fletcher: "Your honor, I object!"

      Judge Stevens: "Why?"

      Fletcher: "Because it's devastating to my case!"

      Judge Stevens: "Over-ruled."

      Fletcher: "Good call!"

    • by Tisha_AH (600987) <Tisha.Hayes@gmail.com> on Saturday June 21, 2008 @10:41AM (#23884895) Journal

      Next, the police will be picking people off the streets for prostitution. A girl is walking from church to her grandmothers house, minding her own business. The police arrest her and charge her with "making available" on a prostitution charge. I can see it in court;

      "well, your honor, she was wearing a sun-dress and makeup, and you know what sort of girls those are." the judge, "ah, I see your point, we don't have to prove that she was giving BJ's in the back of a car, just that she was "making it available. GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES!"

      Why can't a radio station be charged with "making available? Hell, anyone can pull out a tape recorder. OMG, I hummed a song earlier today! What if someone heard me and downloaded music because of it. Can they charge me??

      This is spinning wildly out of control. The record companies must have a 20:1 ratio of lawyers to artists. Maybe they need just open a class action lawsuit against every American since we are all engaged in a conspiracy against them.

      RIAA, be careful what you ask for. Maybe someday there will be a revolution and the RIAA lawyers will be lined up against the wall.

      "And that one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me. Get him up against the wall. -- 'Gainst the wall!"

      • RIAA, be careful what you ask for. Maybe someday there will be a revolution and the RIAA lawyers will be lined up against the wall.

        Problem is, when mobs and "revolutionaries" and "freedom fighters" start meting out justice like that, they're not usually very selective. We'd end up with all of our lawyers lined up against the wall and shot.
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      Well technically speaking the people that the RIAA and the MPAA represent could be charge with child abuse as they do produce content that is often intended to promote self destructive life styles that is often targeted at children. The only thing really lacking has been the proof of intent, so perhaps this law change is a could idea.

      So lets target the mass media companies and the marketing companies, now proof of intent should be required, just the clearly evident consequences and a 'belief' of the inten

    • Indeed... there is no proof that you owe me rent for taking up space on my computer screen, but since having to prove that you did so would be an onerous burden on myself, we'll just find a judgment of $150,000 in my favour and be done with it. Fork it over!!

      And it'd be tough to prove that you aren't squatting in my rental house, but having to come up with such proof is depriving me of revenue. So we'll just find in my favour and now it's up to you to cough it up!!

      To reword the MPAA quote in terms of the ab

    • by sconeu (64226)

      All we need to do is put Thomas on a scale with a duck. If it balances, SHE'S A WITCH!!!!

    • This nonsense, in my perhaps non-objective view, seems to have gotten considerably worse since Bush has been in office.

      It's a "leadership" thing. If the leader of our country can kidnap people off the streets with no charges, and no proof, then hold them for years without actual proof of wrong doing (in some cases, to release them years later after finding they had the wrong guy), then doesn't this set an example for the rest of the nation?

      The idea that upon gaining power, you fire everyone who is not slav

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:24AM (#23883983)
    We should all just boycott buying any CD's or DVD's at all. Don't download anything from iTunes or any of the other stores, either. If we make a strong stance and hit them in the wallet, maybe...just maybe...they'll get the message.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:45AM (#23884095)

      Unfortunately, the only message I think they'll get from that is "Oh noes! More people are pirating our shit!"

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sonnekki (978779)

        What really needs to happen is the artists move away from the record industry and movie industry, and start distributing it on their own.

        Yeah, it'll be tough for the artist(s) to compete with huge companies, but if the artist is actually good, (assuming consumers are willing to donate money in exchange for good music / movies directly to the artist) that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

        Furthermore, if the companies have nothing to sell, then there's nothing to pirate!

        • NO, artists have been doing this for decades. What really needs to happen is people have to stop turning their noses up on anything that isn't pushed by the mass media. It's bullshit that Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails get heaps of praise for moving away from major labels. Most bands never touch major labels.
      • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @09:17AM (#23884233)

        So what you want to say is that the more insane copyright laws get, the more people download content illegally?

        Hey, I have a really weird idea how to solve that problem and make both sides happy!

      • by symbolset (646467)

        Maybe if we abolish copyright [abolishcopyright.com] they'll hear us then.

        "Can you hear me now?"

    • They HAVE been getting the message. People have stopped buying CDs in droves. As a result, more and more record companies are dropping "DRM" and limited-use "licenses" for their music.

      Study after study (as mentioned here on Slashdot just a couple of days ago) have found that most people are perfectly willing to pay for music... but they are NOT willing to pay too much, or to pay full price for "use-protected", limited music, or to pay $20 for a CD that only has one or two good songs on it.

      They want to
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hal2814 (725639) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:33AM (#23884025)

    "Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances."

    If they can't prove the distribution, then how do they know the copyright infringement is happening?

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

      by zblack_eagle (971870) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:38AM (#23884063)

      If they can't prove the distribution, then how do they know the copyright infringement is happening?

      The same method they use to come up with the imaginary losses they suffer due to copyright infringement
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:55AM (#23884135)

      If they can't prove the distribution, then how do they know the copyright infringement is happening?

      Their argument is that just making a copyrighted work available on a peer-to-peer network is infringement by itself. They argue that they shouldn't have to prove actual distribution, that is, that someone downloaded it. To see what files someone has made available is simple, by the very nature of peer-to-peer networks. Proving that someone has downloaded a particular file from a particular user is much more difficult.

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @10:07AM (#23884523) Homepage

        Sure. Showing that someone "is up to no good" has always
        been more difficult than proving they actually did something
        wrong. This has been a problem for accusors since the dawn
        of time. The fact that justice can be difficult is no good
        excuse to take shortcuts with the process.

        • Showing that someone "is up to no good" has always
          been more difficult than proving they actually did something
          wrong. This has been a problem for accusors since the dawn
          of time. The fact that justice can be difficult is no good
          excuse to take shortcuts with the process.

          On the basis of the briefs, it looks like the law professors have a better case based on the language of the statute. But I have to say that I don't see this as a case of some vague "up to no good" standard. If the distribution actually took

          • by Todd Knarr (15451)

            Except that some people don't realize what's happening. They put a file into their shared folder so they can copy it to another of their computers on the network, not realizing that in the process it's being made visible to everyone else who looks.

            Analogous situation: I like to read out on the porch, so I've got a stack of books on the table on the porch so they're conveniently reachable. I hadn't realized that someone else had left the gate open so anybody wandering by could walk in and make a copy of any

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smoker2 (750216)
        Yeah right, so if I set the permissions on everything in my shared folder to 600 ,then they can still get me, because the titles are visible.
      • Their argument is that just making a copyrighted work available on a peer-to-peer network is infringement by itself. They argue that they shouldn't have to prove actual distribution, that is, that someone downloaded it. To see what files someone has made available is simple, by the very nature of peer-to-peer networks. Proving that someone has downloaded a particular file from a particular user is much more difficult.

        They managed to sell that argument - that putting a copyrighted work into your sharing folder is copyright infringement - to a judge. The judge then went back, read the actual law very, very, very carefully, and figured out that their argument was wrong. It was not what the law said. Putting a song into your sharing folder where I, a private person, can download it, is not copyright infringement. It becomes copyright infringement at the moment where I download it, not before. It also becomes copyright infr

    • They say so. DUH!

      What? It worked for getting laws, now it shouldn't work for getting legal titles? Is the bribe not high enough or what's your problem, judge?

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:34AM (#23884031) Homepage

    Oh, certainly! If RIAA accuses someone of breaking a law, it is certainly a terrible burden on them to have to prove that, following the actual wording of the law Congress chose, an offense actually happened. Who among us hasn't had the same problem, from time to time?

    If I went to Alice's bank, and demanded that they give me all of her money, because Alice died and left it to me, it would be a great hardship for me to have to show that Alice actually died, and actually willed the money as I claimed. Why, with the onerous burden of proof in my lap, I might not be able to collect anything! Just because there's an outside chance that she's still alive and doesn't know me from Adam doesn't mean that the bank shouldn't take my word for it.

    I can say, absolutely honestly, that I have more sympathy with RIAA on this issue, than I have ever had with them on any other. Just don't ask me to prove it.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      "If I went to Alice's bank, and demanded that they give me all of her money, because Alice died and left it to me, it would be a great hardship for me to have to show that Alice actually died, and actually willed the money as I claimed. Why, with the onerous burden of proof in my lap, I might not be able to collect anything! Just because there's an outside chance that she's still alive and doesn't know me from Adam doesn't mean that the bank shouldn't take my word for it."

      The solution is simple: Kill Alice.

  • by Peaker (72084) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .rekaepung.> on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:52AM (#23884117) Homepage

    As independent authors, musicians and Free software developers and movie makers prove again and again, creating wonderful works of art and creativity does not require copyrights for a monetary incentive.

    Movies, perhaps, require more financial support, but note: without copyrights, each of us would be exposed to many more movies which will all be far more accessible (non-copyrighted material can be distributed much more easily). So even if less movies are made, we will still enjoy more of them.

    When you buy a piece of software, music or pay to see a movie, your money is not supporting the artists, or even supporting further creation. What you are supporting is a lobby that furthers laws to benefit companies to the great detriment of society. You are funding the enemies of society.

    Please do not pay the copyright lobby to pass more anti-society laws.

    Thanks.

    • by cliffski (65094)

      how does a game like Bioshock or Call of Duty 4 get made under your system?
      because I loved both games and was happy to pay for them, yet you seem keen for that system to be smashed to pieces, and thus deprive me of being able to enjoy that kind of entertainment.

      if you like free software,games and music, go and enjoy it. That's fine, nobody cares. Pirating copyrighted stuff on P2P just goes to show that that is exactly the kind of content people want. Free music and movies are not in the torrent sites top te

    • I agree completely that we should not be supporting the "copyright lobby" (including organizations like RIAA and MPAA, and their members).

      However, that is not an argument against copyright or the copyright laws. Rather, it is only an argument against the abuse of same.

      Statistics have shown, time and again, that the number of privately owned firearms in the United States has little or no correlation to the number of people who ABUSE firearms (commit crimes). Therefore, the fact that some people do abus
    • The problem with this theory is that the existence of copyright law does not preclude the creation of free media. The author can choose either method. It is up to the consumer to decide whether or not to consume the copyright restricted media or not.

      Removal of copyright law would eliminate certain types of works - does anyone think that the Lord of the Rings movies could have been created without copyrights?

      Let's face it - copyrighted works are often the result of a considerable investment by their creators

  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by SirLurksAlot (1169039) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:57AM (#23884141)

    They suggest that proof of actual distribution shouldn't be required.

    I don't know whether to be worried or relieved. It worries me that a judge somewhere is going to buy into that, at which point we can all kiss "innocent until proven guilty" goodbye. On the other hand this could turn out very well indeed if they get laughed out of court and be made to play by the same rules as everyone else.

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @08:59AM (#23884149) Homepage

    One thing worth remembering of course is that the RIAA is not alone, it has little clones all over the world that follow in the footsteps of it's master (not least because they want to be able to buy resell rights for RIAA member companies' products). Here in South Africa for example we have ASAMI - which as gone so far as to say in public that 'recording a TV-show on your VCR is technically copyright infringement but we don't intend to prosecute that one simply because it would be impractical in cost compared to the damage done".
    Actually, South Africa has a subset of copyright law known as Fair Dealing which is pretty much identical in wording to the US Fair Use law and recoridng a TV show to VCR is entirely legal. So is showing a DVD of a documentary to a class of schoolchildren.

    Of course they have happily confused plagiarism with copyright whenever it suited them and love to call it 'theft' - despite the fact that copyright infringement isn't theft - it's a civil infringement not a criminal one - and stories of large scale seizures of 'pirate DVD manufacturing warehouses' are common on the news.

    So the impact that these kinds of idiocies in the US legal system has is global because the RIAA's minions will attempt to subvert any laws in any countries to suit.

    Let's just see what we have in this post (a fairly representative sample I think):
    -Merely making it available is the same actually giving somebody a copy... by that thinking if I forget to lock my door and somebody steals my fridge... I'm as guilty of theft as he is ? I would go so far as saying that sharing music isn't copyright infringement at all, downloading it may well be, but making it available (Especially as it frequently happens without the person's knowledge) is not. It could even be argued that there is significant legal uses for sharing music - for example to save a friend who also owns the same album the massive effort involved in a format shift you already made. If others now download the music from you as WELL - without your intent... are you still guilty ? This is a side-effect of the technology and has nothing to do with what you did - sharing with somebody who had the RIGHT to get a copy of the music (he already PAID for it). There is no such thing as 'attempted' infringements in civil cases, especially not copyright.
    -Oh we shouldn't need to actually PROOF our claims. Not only is it enough to say you 'made it available', heck they think they don't even need to back that up !
    -When they THEMSELVES download the music which this entire thing is about them claiming to own in order to proof it's available from you... that download BY THEM can be counted for damages ? How the hell are they damaged if they download their OWN music ? Before I pointed out one example of a P2P usage to share with a valid, authorized downloader - who could be MORE valid and authorized than the copyright owner ? They could try to make a case against a CD-owner having the right to DOWNLOAD rather than RIP digital copies -- but surely not that the OWNER of the copyright isn't an authorized downloader ! What is worse, if they are damaging their own copyright by downloading it... wouldn't that make this a case of evidence obtained illegally (through the breach of the very law in fact they are trying to proof you breached ?). It's not just legally unsound, it's logically unsound (to put it politely).

    And that's not even thinking of things like copy protection mechanisms which are outright attempts to make it impossible to excercise our fair user rights. It seems clear to me they only care about that side of copyright law they can abuse to make money. They cannot get rid of fair use law outright, so they try to technologically strong-arm it away from us.
    Frankly, I believe that a judge should say that no person or corporation can claim protection under a law they repeatedly and continuously fail to respect. If you do not respect fair use (which implies no effort made to prevent people from making backup copies), how can you claim protection under the rest of the copyright act ?

    How much longer are we going to put up with this ?

  • Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances.

    There is a saying in law, "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/guilty.htm [ucla.edu] I agree with this on some level but also have some reservations-- you can make valid arguments for the n value higher or lower.

    The RIAA wants to restate this as "Better to make all eleven persons pay than to let one innocent man off the hook."

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday June 21, 2008 @09:41AM (#23884351)

    Five congenital liars, a serial killer, six child molesters, several sewer rats and a starving weasel applied to the same court for status as "Friends of the RIAA".

  • Proof of actually committing the crime shouldn't be an obstacle of someone getting convicted of committing the crime.

    Hmmm sounds fishy to me... ;-)

  • This whole thing also shows that they are in a fairly visible prospectus to challenge and over turn any and all laws related to "fair use".

    If they get their way; you will only have radio and TV. Items such as VCR's, PVR's, tape decks, and anything that can record will be prohibited by law. You won't even be able to own one of these devices for personal use. This is the goal of eliminating these rights of the public to own recording equipment. They will control what you see and hear.

    Damned commies.

  • Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances.

    Until proven, there is no massive copyright infringement in a case against an individual. Indeed, it would be rather curious to accuse an individual of "massive" copyright infringement; that would require tens of thousands of instances by a casual reading.

    Heck, seeding that much over BitTorrent with a one megabit upstream would take years.

    No

  • by jc42 (318812) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @10:35AM (#23884811) Homepage Journal

    Someone once pointed out that under the "making available" theory, most men with a wife or girlfriend could easily be charged with involvement in prostitution. After all, if a man leaves his woman home alone or lets her go out in public by herself, she could very easily make herself sexually available to any passing man.

    This isn't entirely hypothetical, of course; there are some parts of the world where men do take this attitude.

    Somehow, I think I'd rather not have such legal theories adopted where I live. I think my wife would agree.

    I've also noticed that we often have tools like knives lying on our kitchen counters. Those knives have often been out, and even used, when we have visitors. Kitchen knives could be used to kill people. So are we "making available" dangerous weapons when we give visitors such easy access to our kitchen knives? (Sometimes we've even put steak knives on the table, knowingly and with the intention that they be used. ;-)

  • the RIAA knows it is violating the law and tricking judges into believing their bullshit.

    If someone steals a pizza and gives you a slice, does that mean you were going to buy a slice or even a whole pizza?

    No, that's not a loss to the pizza joint. Only the original pizza is the loss. While we know pizzas can't replicate, it still bears resemblance.

    Are you breaking the law by accepting a free slice from a stranger? I can't say you are. You may be playing gastronomical roulette, but not breaking the law.

    Ev

    • I buy CDs and I'm neither over 50 or new to my country. I like the artwork and I like the fact that I can make my own .ogg files to go on my computer. Granted, I rarely buy them when they're not on sale and I don't buy everything I download (if someone can't put more than two good songs on an album I don't see why I should buy it). I know a number of people who actually still buy music in a physical format from a store, even if they don't all buy CDs (a couple of my friends collect vinyl).

      If anythin
      • by DragonTHC (208439)

        right, there are exceptions. But I don't see anyone under 50 or native. Even the over 50 and foreigners aren't buying new mainstream music though. That's my point. Can you honestly say that you go to the store to buy new release CDs? Are you buying these CDs by Akon or Death Cab for Cutie? Most aren't and that's my point. The music industry shouldn't be relying on sales in a format that most of their customers can't even play. How many kids under 20 do you know that own a CD player not in their car?

        • I bought Portishead's most recent CD the day it came out. They were still unpacking the new releases. Usually CDs aren't too expensive when they first come out and then they either get cheap after a while or prohibitively expensive. At any rate, I don't really care to purchase mp3s even if they come with digital versions of the album art, it's not the same as owning a physical copy and it's also stuck in one format which I might not be able to move to a different computer or make copies or share the copi
  • So that means that if I go into the reception area of the MPAA offices and they have magazines on the table they are "making available" copyrighted materials to the public since any one can walk in and start transcribing the contents within them.
  • too, along with Electronic Frontier Foundation, US Internet Industry Association, Public Knowledge, and Computer & Communications Industry Association, on the side of Jammie Thomas. Also joining in with the RIAA and MPAA is an amicus curiae "Thomas D. Sydnor II of the Progress and Freedom Foundation", whatever the heck that is. Apparently Sydnor was a lawyer for content owners before he set up this "foundation". Here is a complete list [blogspot.com] of the amicus briefs. Some good reading in there. My prediction: the

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