Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Piracy The Courts

Court Grants RIAA Summary Judgment Motions vs. Limewire 170

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-the-man dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "District Court Judge Kimba Wood has granted some of the RIAA's key summary judgment motions in Arista Records v. Lime Group. In her 59-page decision (PDF), she found Lime Group itself, as well as its CEO and a separate company, liable for intentionally inducing Limewire users to infringe plaintiffs' copyrights. The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable. Additionally, it denied summary judgment on certain issues, and did not address any possible damages."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Court Grants RIAA Summary Judgment Motions vs. Limewire

Comments Filter:
  • In Summary (Score:2, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387)
    In summary, it is illegal to download copyrighted material (without permission), or to encourage others to do so. Go ahead and do it, but realize you are doing so at your own peril.
    • by initialE (758110)

      Isn't this a major change from "it is illegal to upload copyrighted material"?

    • so google can be sued?

    • Re:In Summary (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KingSkippus (799657) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:25AM (#32189526) Homepage Journal

      Since I really don't want to bother reading 59 pages just to get the answer to this question, does it address how Limewire "encouraged" people to download copyrighted material? Is it simply because it allows people to make whatever they have available, and that just happened to be what some people make available?

      Does it explain how this is different from, say, an automobile? After all, cars can be used to transport just about anything. Illegal things like unlicensed guns, drugs, teenagers across state lines, stolen merchandise, illegal aliens, bodies of people you've just murdered, cases of laundered cash for organized crime bosses, etc. They can also be used to transport legal stuff, like my ass back and forth to work every day.

      I guess what I'm really not getting is, if Joe Schmo gets caught using his 1979 Impala to haul illegal copies of Free Willy DVDs, will the RIAA/MPAA sue Chevrolet?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by McBeer (714119)

        I guess what I'm really not getting is, if Joe Schmo gets caught using his 1979 Impala to haul illegal copies of Free Willy DVDs, will the RIAA/MPAA sue Chevrolet?

        If Chevy was actively advertising how many illegal DVDs you can fit in the car and DVD bootlegging in Impalas ran rampant maybe. Otherwise, they are probably safe. It seems to come down to if a product is used mainly for illegal activity and the manufacturer encourages that illegal activity. Google's and Chevy's products serve mostly legal purposes. Limewire and co have some legal uses, but mostly are used for illegal file sharing. It's a somewhat nebulous issue since it's hard to say what "mainly used

        • It's like how if "The Pirate Bay" were called "The Linux ISO Bay" it might have fared better in court.

          • by arogier (1250960) *
            Given the technical savvy of the judiciary in general, I think such a name for a torrent tracker if it hosted the same content as the pirate bay would more likely endanger Linux ISO's than protect the torrent tracker.
        • Re:In Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

          by KingSkippus (799657) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:59AM (#32189660) Homepage Journal

          If Chevy was actively advertising how many illegal DVDs you can fit in the car...

          Well, that's just it. I've looked pretty thoroughly at Limewire's web site [limewire.com], and I'm just not seeing any reference at all to illegal downloads. In fact, the site looks on the surface to be pretty vanilla corporate-type design. Maybe the judge has some kind of smoking gun I'm just not seeing, but as far as I know, Limewire has never advertised itself as a product you should use to download files illegally. (But granted, being a commercial implementation of something I can get for free without adware infestation, I've never looked too closely into it.)

          ...and DVD bootlegging in Impalas ran rampant maybe.

          Well, another analogy I can think of is the sale and use of so-called "Saturday night special" [wikipedia.org] handguns. In spite of their prevalent use in criminal activities, a lawsuit against them was dismissed in 2003, and they remain largely unregulated today.

          Not saying that they should or shouldn't, I'm just saying that it seems to me that it's awful inconsistent to pass summary judgment--as in, they didn't even get a trial--when other companies that specialize in providing stuff that is foreseeably used quite often, if not mostly, in illegal activities gets a free pass. Hell, if I wanted to, I could even buy a set of lockpicks [amazon.com] and go to town. (Or more to the point, go to your house.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by whoever57 (658626)

            Hell, if I wanted to, I could even buy a set of lockpicks and go to town. (Or more to the point, go to your house.)

            I would not advise that, at least not where I live. Some time back, a mechanic who was driving me home (after dropping my car at a transmission shop) told me that, later that day, he had to meet with the local DA because they were threatening to prosecute his son (also a mechanic) for walking the streets with a screwdriver in his pocket.

            • Honestly that doesn't surprise me, and I'm not sure it's actually a bad thing. Not that they should prosecute or anything (should be given a warning and nothing more IMHO) but just as it is perfectly reasonable and understandable for a mechanic to a screwdriver it is still capable of serious damage to a person. Obviously I don't know the circumstances (was he really "walking the streets" or just on a pavement [sidewalk] working on a car at the time for example) but carrying a tool that can be used to do ser
              • by int69h (60728)

                So I'm guessing that the large Buck knife that I carry in my pocket every day is just straight out by your logic then?

              • I'm sorry, what?

                How can a screwdriver do serious harm? Sure, if you stab a guy with it. But you know what, you can kick people with shoes, punch people with fists, strangle them with your belt, etc. Should those be illegal too?
                • A screwdriver can cause far more harm than a boot. You cannot stab someone in the heart with a boot. Sure if you really try (part of that whole intent part) you can cause serious harm. There is another difference though - legitimate usage. As I said "walking the streets with a screwdriver" isn't a very useful description. If you have a reason to have a screwdriver on you (repairing a car, fitting a light etc, heck even transporting it from the shop where you bought it) then fine. I'm not even saying that pe
              • but carrying a tool that can be used to do serious harm when there is no reason to do so should be illegal

                Fuck you Mr. Nanny State. I think you made me throw up a little. By your logic, anyone trained in Martial Arts or previously in the military is now not allowed to walk around unescorted by police because of the fact that their very bodies are tools capable of doing "serious harm". Okay, so you don't want to count that one. That's fine. What about the toolbox I keep in my trunk? I work in an office, dealing with computers, why would I need tools in my trunk? ZOMG TERRORIST! Obviously the only reasona

                • but carrying a tool that can be used to do serious harm when there is no reason to do so should be illegal

                  Fuck you Mr. Nanny State. I think you made me throw up a little. By your logic, anyone trained in Martial Arts or previously in the military is now not allowed to walk around unescorted by police because of the fact that their very bodies are tools capable of doing "serious harm". Okay, so you don't want to count that one. That's fine. What about the toolbox I keep in my trunk? I work in an office, dealing with computers, why would I need tools in my trunk? ZOMG TERRORIST! Obviously the only reasonable answer is that I'm out to cause as much damage as possible everywhere I can. How do I even buy tools if I can't transport them at this point? Oh, ok, so it's okay if I have them in my car? In that case, why the hell do you people treat people who walk around like criminals? You know what? I like going for long walks at night. Typically I carry something to defend myself with because I realize that were I to be attacked, the law system would not be able to protect me, as they're too busy revenue generating on the state highways to actually be doing their job. Here's another one for you: Let's say you're a mechanic (auto, boat, plane, whatever, Hell, even just a machinist in a shop somewhere), who, for whatever reason, doesn't have a car. You own your own tools. You, for whatever reason, decide you want to take your own property home one night. Suddenly, this is impossible because you can't legally leave the property possessing your screwdriver/micrometer/torque wrench because of the fact that someone somewhere had the blessed insight to realize that possession of these items in public turns you into a savage and dangerous criminal who is beyond reason.

                  Sure it may seem a bit like a nanny state, but to be fair I am British, and that is how we treat a lot of things in general. Regardless, you and the others who have replied to me seem to have missed the point. A main point in that line you quoted was "when there is no reason to do so" . Transporting something from a store is certainly a legitimate use. Having tools in your car in case you break down is a legitimate use as well, but why have one in your pocket while walking in the street other than to trans

                  • To paraphrase a great quote:
                    You are so wrong that even in a universe where you were somehow right you would still be wrong.

                    When you start treating common tools as weapons you turn vast swaths of the population into criminals, which is only a good thing if you consider a police state where everyone is a criminal a good thing.

                    The (not so) funny part is that's where eternal copyright+DMCA leads us, too.

                    Have you done anything illegal this week?

                    If you think the answer is "no", how sure are you of that really?

                  • Fair enough. I see your points and understand your view, and appreciate your response to my somewhat heated rant above. Having this been said, things are somewhat different over here. I'm not certain of your level of interaction with police, but here, at least in my area, they have very little involvement with community safety. They are literally over glorified traffic monitors. To be fair, crime is virtually non-existent in my immediate area, but it's also full of upper-middle class homes, so it would
                    • Also, where are your statistics on gun crime in US vs UK? I'd be interested in seeing that. Also, is this strictly gun crime vs gun crime? Have you seen anything comparing outright violent crime from one to the other? Honestly, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that we have higher gun crime, but I'd be genuinely surprised to see that overall violent crime rate here is much higher, if any at all. Of course, with a topic so politically charged as this one, I'd be surprised to see any data that's not
                    • Well, I live in the countryside, so almost never have any interaction with the police. Even when in town, it's a fairly large town, but crime isn't all that much of a problem. As for the "Innocent until proven guilty" and "freedom and liberty", the first is certainly true over here when talking about court cases, but the second not so much. We have somewhat of a nanny state, which TBH isn't the best way of doing things but certainly seems to work. I myself a pretty liberal and very pro freedom and liberty,
              • but only if intent can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

                How can intent ever be proven "beyond reasonable doubt"? Unless you catch someone in the act of doing something with the object in question, I do not see how you could know beyond reasonable doubt what the intent of the person is.
                When you say that "carrying a tool that can be used to do serious harm when there is no reason to do so should be illegal," what constitutes a reason to do so? Would the fact that I put it in my pocket when I finished using it and now, three hours later it's still there count as

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            Umm, maybe the web site changed ...

          • by ScentCone (795499)
            In spite of their prevalent use in criminal activities, a lawsuit against them was dismissed in 2003

            You'll notice that the lawsuit wasn't about a manufacturer of those weapons actually running a marketing campaign that encouraged their customers to knock over liquor stores and to murder the competition in your Crack Dealership franchise area. This, compared to Limewire's active, and sustained message to its users: "use this tool to make it easier to illegally rip off movies and music." You do see the dif
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by AndersOSU (873247)

              Actually, I remember a lawsuit recently being dismissed against gun manufacturers who consistently marketed their guns with "fingerprint resistant grips and triggers."

              But, uh, they weren't marketing for use in crimes, because as everyone knows, fingerprint resistant is *completely* interchangeable with corrosion resistant - something every legitimate gun owner is interested in.

              Additionally, I haven't used limewire in a long time, but do you have any examples of limewire promoting that message?

      • Re:In Summary (Score:5, Informative)

        by westlake (615356) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:44AM (#32189814)

        Since I really don't want to bother reading 59 pages just to get the answer to this question, does it address how Limewire "encouraged" people to download copyrighted material

        From the LA Times:

        Relying on the Supreme Court's ruling in MGM v Grokster, Wood held that the defendants deliberately induced LimeWire users to violate copyrights, and that it profited from the infringements. Here's a snippet from the ruling (Wood refers to the company LimeWire by the initials LW):

        [T]he following factors, taken together, establish that LW intended to encourage infringement by distributing LimeWire: (1) LW's awareness of substantial infringement by users; (2) LW's efforts to attract infringing users; (3) LW's efforts to enable and assist users to commit infringement; (4) LW's dependence on infringing use for the success of its business; and (5) LW's failure to mitigate infringing activities.

        Most of those factors are non-controversial applications of the Grokster principle that folks who encourage piracy in order to profit from it are liable for infringement. Wood cited internal documents to show that LimeWire executives knew most of its users were downloading songs illegally, and that they sought out such users through, among other things, "press campaigns on college campuses relating to 'file-sharing and getting free MP3's.' " The company aids would-be infringers, Wood wrote, by enabling them to search by categories (such as Classic Rock and Top 40) that "inevitably guide users to copyrighted recordings." She also noted that the more users it attracts, the more revenue it collects from advertisers and consumers who buy the ad-free version of the software.

        Wood's fifth factor, however, suggests that liability might ensue merely from the way a technology is designed and used. According to Wood, LimeWire built a filter into the software that could block copyrighted works from being downloaded, but left it inoperative unless users turned it on. A separate filter, however, barred users from sharing the songs they bought from the LimeWire store.

        This selective filtering further demonstrates LW's knowledge of infringement-mitigating technologies and the company's intentional decision not to employ any such technologies in a way that meaningfully deters LimeWire users' infringing activities....

        Failure to utilize existing technology to create meaningful barriers against infringement is a strong indicator of intent to foster infringement.

        As for former CEO Gorton, Wood cited precedents that held company executives liable for infringements when they had the ability to supervise them and they benefited from them. She went on to note:

        Gorton directed and approved many aspects of LimeWire's design and development. Gorton admits that he conceived of LimeWire and decided that the program should be decentralized and should use P2P technology.... Gorton oversaw the development of LimeWire's filtering system, and decided that the filter should be turned "off" by default.... This evidence, taken together, also establishes that Gorton knew about the infringement being committed through LimeWire.


        Another win for the RIAA [latimes.com]

      • I've asked that question tons of times but no one answers it. If Chevy had no money for lawyers I'm sure they would get sued too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yez70 (924200)
      Actually - it IS NOT illegal to download anything. Stop trying to distort the truth. It does not say that anywhere in this judgement and it does not say that anywhere in the law. The issue is distribution - not downloading. The only illegal issue is the 'unauthorized distribution' as in uploading or sharing copyrighted files with others without authorization from the copyright owners. There is nothing wrong with downloading a file to check it out. It is no different than opening a magazine to see if y
      • Re:In Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cgenman (325138) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:24AM (#32189742) Homepage

        IANAL, but that position is pretty thin.

        For one, illegal or not the RIAA sues people using tracked downloads as evidence of filesharing. It will either cost you 10k to settle, or at least 10k in legal fees. In practical terms then, there definitely is something wrong in downloading a file to check it out, and it will be viable evidence against you in a court of law.

        For another, you're not opening a magazine to see if you want to buy it or not. You're inducing copyright infringement to get an illegal copy. Even if it is to "decide if you want to buy," the fact remains that someone violated copyright at your request, and that you most definitely knew it was going to happen. At minimum, that makes you guilty of being an accessory to copyright infringement, inducing copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, which have been ruled illegal in various locals at various times. Further, an overpaid lawyer could easily argue that the copy being made at your request makes you a joint principle in the act. Pressing "download" on bittorrent is like pressing the copy button on a xerox, irrespective of who owns the xerox and who loaded the book into the copier. A skilled lawyer would argue that the uploader isn't making any copies at all, they're just holding up a book saying "come make copies of this." The downloaders are the ones who bring their little xerox machines, and suddenly have identical bits on their computers.

        Maybe a real lawyer could chime in on this subject (please?). But things definitely aren't as black-and-white as "uploading is illegal, downloading is legal."

        • by Yez70 (924200)
          You're right - it is not black and white. But the fact remains, there still is no law making it illegal to download a file. The RIAA does not nail you for downloading a file from them or anyone else. They nail you when they download a piece of the file FROM your torrent on your PC. They catch you 'distributing' a copy. That's the difference, otherwise it would be illegal for the RIAA to download that piece of the file from your torrent. It's not illegal to hit 'copy' on a Xerox - in fact you can cop
          • The illegal act is distribution - that is the only law being broken - making a copy and giving it away or distributing it to others.

            Not entirely true. Under copyright law, there are *two* offenses - the creation of an unauthorized copy, and the unauthorized distribution of copies.

            The reason the RIAA has been mainly working on the latter is quite simple - it's damn near impossible to prove someone created an unauthorized copy (by downloading it) unless you are the source for the download, which creates a legal mess (if the rights holder is providing the download, is it really unauthorized?).

            There *have* been cases where the RIAA went af

        • Re:In Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @02:32AM (#32189972)

          In practical terms then, there definitely is something wrong in downloading a file to check it out, and it will be viable evidence against you in a court of law.

          For another, you're not opening a magazine to see if you want to buy it or not. You're inducing copyright infringement to get an illegal copy. Even if it is to "decide if you want to buy," the fact remains that someone violated copyright at your request, and that you most definitely knew it was going to happen. At minimum, that makes you guilty of being an accessory to copyright infringement, inducing copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, which have been ruled illegal in various locals at various times.

          Your entire argument is retarded. First, you're using language (accessory) to a criminal offense, not a civil one -- which AFAIK, copyright infringement is.

          Second, going by your argument, if you were responsible for downloads, every time you open a webpage, you would open yourself up to liability. Who owns that font? Who owns that clipart? Or those jpegs? Haven't you ever heard of websites using other website author's templates, either knowingly or unknowingly. Should you the browser be liable then? Browsing is downloading, although we have been conditioned to associated so-called "illegal downloading" with music/movies -- in fact copyright would protect everything down to the lowly font, jpeg, and animated gif.

          A downloader is not responsible to know whether the place he is downloading from owns/licensed proper copyright. Moralely perhaps, but legally he should not, if for nothing else because it would be impossible to ascertain all the elements are owned by said parties and in many cases impossible to know beforehand.

          • by cgenman (325138)

            Nobody is arguing what should happen. Only what has been.

            Accessory, inducing, and conspiracy have all come up in copyright cases in recent years. I don't recall if they were civil or criminal offhand, which is one reason I'd love a lawyer to chime in here.

            Second, the digital age has added so many messed up conditions around copyright law that it seems greatly outmoded. Making a "copy" in RAM for normal playback had to be given an exception in copyright law. Some judges have swallowed the argument that t

          • Re:In Summary (Score:5, Informative)

            by Alsee (515537) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:42AM (#32190982) Homepage

            Both distribution and creating copies fall under infringement. That would be Title 17 section 106 of US law, and that's the same across the globe. Downloading is creating a copy. Uploading and downloading are essentially equivalent under copyright law.

            if you were responsible for downloads, every time you open a webpage, you would open yourself up to liability

            Correct.
            Unbelievable, but essentially correct.

            If someone were actually to sue you in court in such a situation, you would pretty much two avenues of defense under U.S. law. Either a Fair Use defense or an Innocent Infringer defense. Note that in either case the law starts from an assumption of guilt and then places the burden upon you to prove your defense.

            A Fair Use defense could probably work under these circumstances, and if it does your liability is zero. However the concept of Fair use is a somewhat peculiar fit for these circumstances. Fair Use is not really intended to fix this kind of problem. Innocent Infringer status is actually the "correct" defense to fit this situation. The circumstances you described would give you an instant slam-dunk win on claiming Innocent Infringer status.

            And guess how fucked up copyright law is? Under the law an an Innocent Infringer is someone who, through no fault of his own, has technically committed copyright infringement. No fault, no guilt, just an ordinary innocent person who was lied to or given infringing material by some other guilty party. And under US law that means you technically did infringe on someone's copyright. You admitted to this when you laid out the situation. And under those circumstances, IF you prove yourself to be an Innocent Infringer, US law states that the judge is permitted to lower the statutory liability from the standard $750 minimum to a $200 minimum.

            US LAW, TITLE 17, CHAPTER 5, SECTION 504, SUBSECTION C, PARAGRAPH 2 [cornell.edu]

            And if you think it's insane for you to be liable for $200 damages in your example after proving your Innocent Infringer status, just be glad your example wasn't P2P. If you engage in multiple infringements on P2P you are going to fall under the NET Act. And the NET Act was literally written by copyright industry lawyers, and they slipped in a trick-clause to redefine P2P as "financial gain". And that shoves you under the statutory category originally intended to deal with commercial copyright infringement enterprises. And this commercial infringement statute is a criminal infringement statute. It is a felony infringement statute. If you engage in multiple P2P infringements you technically fall under criminal copyright infringement imposing up to 1, 3, or 5 years in prison depending largely on the number of files involved. Ah, and the sentence is generally doubled on a second offense, up to 10 years in prison.

            Here's a link to the Net Act [ucla.edu]. Pay particular attention to the clause that redefines "financial gain". Note how virtually anyone who has ever touched P2P gets magically swept into the commercial-infringement category.

            -

            • by Toze (1668155)

              Both distribution and creating copies fall under infringement. That would be Title 17 section 106 of US law, and that's the same across the globe. Downloading is creating a copy. Uploading and downloading are essentially equivalent under copyright law.

              Not in Canada; it's de facto legal to download mp3s in Canada due to a CD tariff the CRIA pushed for some years back. It's illegal to provide, but not to copy. Of course, Our asshat Heritage Minister and Prime Minister have decided to push a draconian DMCA-style bill to the house next month, so maybe that freedom won't last long.

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by Alsee (515537)

            Sorry for the double reply. I meant include this in the previous reply:

            A downloader is not responsible to know whether the place he is downloading from owns/licensed proper copyright. Moralely perhaps, but legally he should not, if for nothing else because it would be impossible to ascertain all the elements are owned by said parties and in many cases impossible to know beforehand.

            I completely agree with your logic, but you are using logic to conclude what the law should say.

            You then jumped from logic and "

          • by westlake (615356)

            Your entire argument is retarded. First, you're using language (accessory) to a criminal offense, not a civil one -- which AFAIK, copyright infringement is.

            Copyright infringement is a federal crime.

            The for-profit motive was removed as an element of the offense in the "No Electronic Theft Act" of 1997.

            Wilson faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison, a $500,000 fine, two years of supervised release following the prison term and an order of restitution. A sentencing date has not yet been set by the cou

        • by Sandbags (964742)

          All of the RIAAs suits involved the RIAA identifying a computer sharing music, and downloading known copy written tracks from that computer. In some cases, they idientified these computers by allowing it to download tracks from them, and then later identified those tracks were both present on the machine, and shared to other users, but the law is strictly "do not share" and not "do not download".

        • by dbet (1607261)

          IANAL, but that position is pretty thin.

          For one, illegal or not the RIAA sues people using tracked downloads as evidence of filesharing. It will either cost you 10k to settle, or at least 10k in legal fees. In practical terms then, there definitely is something wrong in downloading a file to check it out, and it will be viable evidence against you in a court of law.

          I don't like this argument one bit. You're basically saying that because party A can use legal bullying to get party B to comply, then that is evidence that party B is doing something wrong.

          Also, all the cases I've seen by the RIAA against individuals have actually been about uploading, or "making available", hence the rather large fees asked, since many people can copy that file.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by phantomfive (622387)

        Actually - it IS NOT illegal to download anything

        Sure, keep telling yourself that. Meanwhile, back in reality, we are under US copyright law [copyright.gov] (in the US, obviously).

        We also have case law showing [wikipedia.org] that your argument does not stand up in court. From the judgement by the appellate court, we have this lovely quote:

        As [the defendant] tells the tale, downloading on a try-before-you-buy basis is good advertising for copyright proprietors, expanding the value of their inventory. The Supreme Court thought otherwise in Grokster, with considerable empirical support.

        I'm not talking about morality here, I'm talking about the legality of the matter. You can feel free to try that defense if you ever end up in court over this, but you will lose. Get it?

        • by Yez70 (924200)
          I never said that was a defense. I said that's not the legal issue. Downloading a file is not illegal - sharing it is the illegal part because it is distribution.
          • OK, this is going to sound like a flame, but unfortunately it's 100% true: you are either extremely dumb or extremely lazy, I can't figure out which. If you weren't, you would have read one of the links in the GP, which showed that downloading a file is in fact illegal, inasmuch as it has been found to be against the law. That makes it a legal issue. you sir are wrong, sorry.
            • by Yez70 (924200)
              Show me one quote anywhere in the law where it says 'downloading' is illegal. It does not exist - every single law is related to distribution.
              • Doesn't have to, all that matters is how the courts will interpret it. And courts have interpreted the law to mean that downloading = copying, and copying is explicitly declared illegal.
                • by Kpau (621891)
                  So far, the rulings I've seen have relied on the fact that torrents, by definition, are uploading material as they download. I've not seen any rulings against Direct Downloads - only against filesharing using torrent protocols. Granted, that may be because they're basically screwed in trying to detect a DDL without committing various criminal offenses... but so it goes.
              • by Alsee (515537)

                Show me one quote anywhere in the law where it says 'downloading' is illegal. It does not exist - every single law is related to distribution.

                The law obviously does not use the word "downloading", it uses the broader term "reproduce".Title 17 Section 106 (1) [copyright.gov]
                106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works38
                Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
                (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

        • by Yez70 (924200)
          Based on your link:

          Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

          (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

          (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

          (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

          (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and c
          • Ooh so now we can rule out lazy, at least a little bit. I think you are probably not stupid, just willfully ignorant, since you seem to have purposely missed the other link [wikipedia.org], where downloading over P2P software is in fact interpreted as making the copy. Sorry man, you're wrong.
            • by Yez70 (924200)
              Ok, apparently you just don't get it. Just because she lost the case based on her fair use defense does not mean she did so because she 'downloaded' the files. Also, basing your opinion on a link to a Wikipedia article that only discusses the Appellate court decision, but not the lower court case is far fetched. It seems odd that the wiki article does not link to the lower court decision actually. Wikipedia can also be manipulated - I'm fairly sure the RIAA actively does so too.
              In fact if you read the
      • by westlake (615356)

        Actually - it IS NOT illegal to download anything.

        Can you produce a signed NDA with the studios for the pre-release screeners in your possesion?

        I didn't think so.

        Focusing on the uploader is efficient and economical. But P2P downloads can be hazardous for the greedy and the careless.

         

      • by Alsee (515537)

        I agree with you that it is irrational and broken to place legal liability on the downloader. A downloader is in no position to know whether the uploader is authorized to make that upload. Hell, as far as the downloader knows the uploader could be the copyright holder. The downloader cannot even be certain of the contents of the transfer until afterwards. The downloader often has no way to know the copyright status of the file. The uploader is the only one in a position to be certain of the contents, the on

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by GreatBunzinni (642500)

      That isn't exactly true. It may be considered illegal to distribute copyrighted material withouth the copyright owner's explicit authorization if and only if you don't do it for personal use alone and you enjoy a financial profit from it. In some jurisdictions (i.e., practically the entire world) it's very legal to download copyrighted works if you do it in a non-commercial, completely personal way and those responsible for the distribution don't make a dime out of it. That's the french copyright tradit

      • Re:In Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @02:18AM (#32189916) Journal

        It may be considered illegal to distribute copyrighted material withouth the copyright owner's explicit authorization if and only if you don't do it for personal use alone and you enjoy a financial profit from it.

        This is a common misconception among pirates, and it is completely wrong. At least four different things are taken into consideration when it comes to fair use [wikipedia.org], among those are how much of the work is being used. A complete copy of an item is not likely to fall under fair use. A 30 second clip on iTunes probably (but not necessarily) would.

        If you want to see how the court handles an argument similar to yours, check out this case [wikipedia.org]. They decided strongly against the defendant, and even addressed your claim of 'personal use:'

        [The defendant] was not engaged in a nonprofit use; she downloaded (and kept) whole copyrighted songs (for which, as with poetry, copying of more than a couplet or two is deemed excessive); and she did this despite the fact that these works often are sold per song as well as per album.

        So once again, if you want to download songs, it is up to you, but don't do it under the illusion that it's in any way legal.

        • Re:In Summary (Score:5, Informative)

          by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @02:34AM (#32189980) Homepage Journal

          Misconception? Maybe in the US.
          GP post states this is common in most countries. I can confirm some. The four fair use clauses are US-specific. Other countries have very different rules, and often "personal use" is perfectly legal. So, the misconception may be only common with US file sharers. With the others, it's not a misconception.

    • This is why you pool your media on NAS devices like these [newegg.com]. And rip your media to it. And arrange with friends for offsite backups in case of disaster.

      Sharing parties are where it's at, don'tcha know. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes. The first rule of Ufenet is "don't talk about Ufenet". If it's not online then as far as the RIAA, MPAA and BSA are concerned, it didn't happen.

      Until fairly recently I was personally opposed (though tolerant) of media piracy - unw

  • by NewsWatcher (450241) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:29AM (#32189544)

    And so the good ole Gnutella network will find another platform so the masses can file share, just like it has been doing since it was released in 2000.

    All the legal arguments and judgements in the world won't make a spit of difference. If people want to trade files online, the chances of anything happening to them are remote, so they will continue.

    Remember how shutting down KaZaa was supposed to deal a huge blow to filesharing, as were the lawsuits against a host of others?

    Wasn't the lawsuit that saw the Pirate Bay founders jailed supposed to send a message the law enforcement was tough on piracy?

    Forgive my scepticism, but I look at this news and wonder, does it really matter to anyone save those directly employed by Lime.

    • It's about the money. The recording industry won a $100million dollar judgement fro the KaZaa case. The RIAA is an equal opportunity money grabber: if they can get it from selling music, they will; if they can get it from suing companies with money, they will; if they can do it from both, even better.

      It's kind of lousy of the RIAA, but really most people are equal opportunity money grabbers in one form or another, they just don't have the same opportunities the RIAA has.
    • by cgenman (325138)

      Napster went dark. Grockster went down. KaZaa went down. Pirate Bay was dinged repeatedly. MetaMachine went out of business. Limewire is going down.

      The message is that commercial entities should not setup businesses around piracy. If you value the fruits of your work (and freedom), do something else.

      Sure that drives the illegal activity onto hobbyist networks. But if your goal is to make it progressively harder and less effective to infringe copyright, that is a step in the right direction.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Is it harder to infringe copyright? There's nothing I can't find online illegally that I can get in, say, Best Buy. Multiple protocols, many multiples of locations. It doesn't matter what they do to whom, that will never change. It's like the War on Drugs. Rights get lost, people committing victimless crimes get in trouble, and the government claims more and more power.
  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:36AM (#32189568)

    > The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable.

    Not immediately appealable, anyway.

    For the nonlawyers in the room, summary judgment means basically that somebody wins their argument, or parts of their argument, because even if everything the other guy said was true, the other guy still loses. Like if you ask a kid "Did you throw a rock at Timmy?" And the kid says "I did, but I like throwing rocks!" or "It was a horseshoe, not a rock."

    In this case, even if everything Limewire said was true, they still lose. (At least, they still lose everything they lost here.)

    The decision can usually be appealed, but only after the trial ends or in rare cases with special permission. Since it influences the outcome of settlement proceedings, and most things settle, they are rarely but not never appealed.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Indeed, if you look at Supreme Court decisions, and even important Circuit Court decisions, you'll see a decent number of them include a phrase like, "on appeal from summary judgment", so there are certainly appeals from them.

      (Mainly that's because questions that are interesting for the higher courts are mainly pure questions of law, and those are usually reached at the summary-judgment stage.)

  • google is next (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NynexNinja (379583) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:39AM (#32189588)
    inducing infringement is such a vague term, it means google is inducing infridgement by people searching for torrents on google... all you have to do is search for: torrent, and you pretty much turn google into the biggest torrent site. Are they liable for the actions of their users? The MPAA and RIAA think they are... Under that theory, gun manufacturers would be liable for murder caused by their guns. Next they'll be arresting the owners of Stanley Tools for selling tools that are used to break open windows and rob homes... Louisanna Slugger baseball bats because they can are used for hitting people instead of baseballs. Programmers for writing code that is used unlawfully. Where does it end?
    • Re:google is next (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @02:53AM (#32190034) Homepage

      Under most legal systems, there are codified common sense notions. A physicist could argue that when applying muscular force to a finger, they couldn't be sure that this would move a metal bar, which would release a spring, which would cause a spark, which would ignite a sulfurous potassium nitrate solution, which would increase the air pressure behind a metallic tube, which would accelerate the tube along the x-axis at a rapid rate, which would strike a subsequent object, which would cause soft tissue damage. But a court would say that they knew they were going to kill someone when they fired a gun. The apparent motivation doesn't need to be scientifically proven, it just needs to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Similarly, if someone released a search engine that simply queried google with torrent, and advertised as the best place to find hollywood releases, they'd be guilty of inducing infringement. Beyond a reasonable doubt, that modified search engine is there to search for illegal content.

      Just because they're offering a subset of a larger feature set doesn't mean that they're OK, or that the larger feature set would be illegal. To torture an analogy: If you offer a gun for sale, it can be used for a wide variety of illegal and legal actions. The courts have ruled in the US that there are enough legal uses for guns in general that selling them is not inducement to crime. However, if you offered a gun that could only shoot homeowners during robberies, your featureset and viable uses would be narrowed such that a reasonable person would think that gun was being sold in order to commit a crime. If you offered a gun that could only shoot Jewish homeowners during robberies, you might similarly be guilty of inducement to commit a hate crime.

      Limewire had a product that they advertised to college students as where you go to get MP3's. They extensively supported MP3 tagging and naming in their interface. They had a system for filtering out illegal music, which was off by default, and a second system for filtering out music purchased from Limewire's partners, which was not disableable. In short, they knew of the infringement on their system, promoted themselves as a platform for that infringement, and took steps to prevent just the infringement on their own copyrights while allowing the rest. That's enough for a reasonable person to think that Limewire is specifically encouraging breaking the law on their platform.

  • judgment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by countach (534280) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:40AM (#32189592)

    The court's reasoning seems to be:

    a) Limewire allows you to search by genre and album which supposedly is there to encourage infringement. But the court doesn't seem to care that there is a lot of material that the owners permit to be freely exchanged that is legitimately able to be searched and downloaded by album or genre.

    b) The large percentage of real-world downloading that seems to be infringing. This seems to be a dangerous precedent. What if someone showed that 95% of betamax users had at some time infringed copyright (seems quite possible to me). Does that mean the govt. can now ban video recorders? If 98% of computer users are infringing copyright, and Intel knows it, is Intel out of business? Should exciting new technologies and techniques be outlawed because many users are abusing it? If most drivers speed, should cars be banned? Should good technology be killed because some or even most users decide to abuse it? Where does this line of thinking end?

    c) Limewire did not put filtering in to try and mitigate infringment. This seems akin to banning Firefox because the browser doesn't implement filtering. Why doesn't firefox stop you downloading infringing files? Why doesn't it look for "Madonna" in the name of files and stop you downloading them? It sounds ridiculous, but this is exactly what the court is suggesting.

    And nobody seems to notice that Gnutella and Limewire and the entire system are open source and truely distributed. If they shut down limewire nothing whatsoever would happen. Not a single file would be prevented from being downloaded. People would eventually switch to other clients like Frostwire, but the RIAA gains nothing. This is different to Napster and the RIAA's other targets which could be shut down.

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      Parent post omits a key component of the Judge's reasoning: There was evidence galore that the Limewire principals had the purpose of facilitating the illegal transfer of copyrighted materials. That's a big no-no.

      • by pipedwho (1174327)

        That is correct.

        If you're running a file sharing/indexing site, then you shouldn't even admit to yourself what your true motives are.

        Even a small hole in your argument will inevitably lead to a much bigger hole in your wallet.

        • by cgenman (325138)

          Bram Cohen (the creator of Bittorrent) studiously avoids anything that could be considered positive statements about copyright infringement, or personally doing so himself, for this very reason. Of course, he's geek enough that he probably genuinely developed Bittorrent for its non-infringing uses. But he's bright enough to avoid anything that could be construed in a particular way by the unhappy content industries.

          A lot of file sharing sites, however, aren't as savvy. Sure, The Pirate Bay doesn't specif

    • What if someone showed that 95% of betamax users had at some time infringed copyright (seems quite possible to me).

      VHS, quite possibly, but not betamax. The reason VHS won out, even though betamax was higher quality is that a betamax player couldn't act as a recorder; you needed a separate machine for that.

    • by Sandbags (964742)

      a) there's no such thing as "top 40" music that is not copy-written. At least, not today. Simply by the existence of a category that could ONLY be copy-written material, and the existence of that category makes it easy for user to find those files, lime Wire "assisted" users in finding copy-written works, which obviously, they had the ability to identify by both title and artist to place in that category in the first place. A simple search by album or search by Genre could easily include non-copyright ma

    • I agree that it's dangerous ground. If we create a legal environment where a search engine that happens to be distributed rather than centralized is automatically considered illegal, that's bad. Similarly, I think we all agree that the courts really can't get in the business of back-dooring mandates for all software developers to use certain vaguely specified, futile, and damaging methods to prevent potential copyright violations by others.

      Here's the thing, though. It takes wilful blindness to equate Limewi

  • New York Lawyer, my good man, thanks 10,000 times for your work and effort, but as a non-lawyer I have NO IDEA what your post means. It must be bad, but really I don't know what it means. Can you tell me, a non-lawyer, what it means other than "You're screwed" or some such thing? I just don't know...
    • by westlake (615356)

      It must be bad, but really I don't know what it means. Can you tell me, a non-lawyer, what it means other than "You're screwed" or some such thing?

      "You're screwed" sums it up pretty well.

      Your case is falling apart. The law is against you. The facts are against you.

      Even when the judge gives you the benefit of every doubt, there is nothing left in dispute worth taking to trial.

    • New York Lawyer, my good man, thanks 10,000 times for your work and effort, but as a non-lawyer I have NO IDEA what your post means. It must be bad, but really I don't know what it means. Can you tell me, a non-lawyer, what it means other than "You're screwed" or some such thing? I just don't know...

      Sure.

      It means Lime Wire might be screwed.

      • Can you explain the phrase:

        The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable.

        This is the one detail I really don't understand. Are you saying Limewire has no avenues for appeal at all, just because this judgment was not final?

        • Can you explain the phrase:

          The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable.

          This is the one detail I really don't understand. Are you saying Limewire has no avenues for appeal at all, just because this judgment was not final?

          In federal practice, in order to avoid piecemeal appeals, there is normally no appeal except from a final judgment disposing of all issues regarding all parties.

          • by Concern (819622) *

            I see. Sounds like a very sensible policy. So would I be correct in saying that Limewire can (and probably will) appeal?

            And that it's merely a confusing bit of argot to say they can't specifically appeal this ruling on the RIAA's motion for summary judgment? But rather, they must wait until there's a Final Judgment (the outcome of which is now virtually certain)?

            • I see. Sounds like a very sensible policy. So would I be correct in saying that Limewire can (and probably will) appeal?
              And that it's merely a confusing bit of argot to say they can't specifically appeal this ruling on the RIAA's motion for summary judgment? But rather, they must wait until there's a Final Judgment (the outcome of which is now virtually certain)?

              Yes but a lot can happen between now and then. E.g., settlement discussions, damages award that's livable, motion practice over possible interlocutory appeal, actual interlocutory appeal which results in reversal of all or part of the Court's order, etc., etc.

  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:51AM (#32189624)

    One of the judgments was on unfair competition.

    Really?

    REALLY? /me holds up a mirror to the Board of Directors of the RIAA

    I need a new irony meter. Mine just exploded.

    --
    BMO

    P.S. I will honor the RIAA as a legal entity when The Romantics see a dime for "What I Like About You"

    • One of the judgments was on unfair competition.
      Really?
      REALLY? /me holds up a mirror to the Board of Directors of the RIAA
      I need a new irony meter. Mine just exploded.

      I had the exact same reaction when I came to that part of the decision.

  • Trillions of dollars (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TouchAndGo (1799300)
    In a comment the other day someone pointed out that the RIAA etc. hardly ever go after any major distributors of their work, preferring to target individual end users, because judgements against people responsible for thousands of instances of copyright infringement would make it obvious how absurd the damages awarded per instance were. However: "The RIAA has said it is entitled to the maximum statutory damages, which is $150,000 for each registered work that was infringed. The number of infringing works t
  • I can't seem to find any contact information for Senior District Court Judge Kimba Wood. I want to send an E-mail explaining many things. If no E-mail is available I am willing to send her a snail mail letter even. Probably won't do any good, but hey always worth a try.
    • by westlake (615356)

      I want to send an E-mail explaining many things.

      You are not a party to the case.

      You are not asking to present yourself openly and publicly as an amicus - a friend of the court.

      There are many reasons why neither the plaintiff or the defendant are likely to welcome your intrusion - many reasons why the judge can't - and shouldn't - be considering arguments made outside the courtroom.

  • This is not bad news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devinm o o r e .com> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:04AM (#32191520) Homepage Journal

    The reason this is good news is that the govt has now specified how to setup a legal filesharing company. Limewire screwed up because they talked about getting free stuff in their ads on campuses. So for future reference, DO NOT talk about getting free stuff there that should cost money. Just talk about it's legit uses, like what MJ pipe sales places have to do when they call a bong a "water pipe". If you talk about MJ in such a place you get thrown out because "they are not a MJ paraphernalia store"... get it?

  • Isn't she the former Playboy Bunny who Bill Clinton nominated for United States Attorney General before her past came out?

    Ah yes. And she didn't pay her nanny, either.

    • by Sfing_ter (99478)

      1) trained as a playboy bunny in london for 5 days
      2) DID pay SS tax for nanny, but nanny was illegal - however, it was legal to hire her at the time.
      Instead of Kimba Wood we got Janet Reno and we know how HIS decisions in office worked out... (Janet Reno==Dick Cheney in drag)

  • and don't buy the music if it will go to a company that supports the RIAA.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

Working...