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RIAA Wants Right To Hack 651

An Anonymous Coward writes: "According to Wired, the recording industry wants the right to hack into your computer and delete your stolen MP3s." From the article: "It's no joke. Lobbyists for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) tried to glue this hacking-authorization amendment onto a mammoth anti-terrorism bill that Congress approved last week. A copy of an RIAA-drafted amendment obtained by Wired News would immunize all copyright holders -- including the movie and e-book industry -- for any data losses caused by their hacking efforts or other computer intrusions 'that are reasonably intended to impede or prevent' electronic piracy." Does this give you the right to crack RIAA systems to make sure no one there is selling copies of your term paper?
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RIAA Wants Right To Hack

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  • by dave-fu ( 86011 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:42AM (#2430356) Homepage Journal
    If this story is true (and I doubt it is, as seen with The Register's recent retraction) then it's the scariest freaking thing I've heard of in a long time. Don't want people surreptitiously going behind my back and torching my legitimate (some of us rip our own CDs, thankyouverymuch) music collection on my hard drive.
    Running with the possibility that this is true, hopefully the folks who would hack into peoples' computers will be tried as terrorists under the US's spankin' fresh new bills.
  • by Rob.Mathers ( 527086 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:42AM (#2430359) Homepage
    Under the proposed anti-terrorism laws, wouldn't this make the RIAA a terrorist organisation?
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:43AM (#2430362) Homepage Journal
    If this got through then in theory a hacker could create their own 'tune', copyright it and let it wander the net. Then after a couple of months claim that the reason they were breaking into the FBI computer was to check that they didn't have any illegal copies of your MP3.
  • by spacefem ( 443435 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:44AM (#2430365) Homepage
    We all saw this coming, but that's beside the point, you know what my main thought is today?

    Who are these people?

    They have that much time on their hands that they're willing to hack into individual people's computers to look for their files?

    At dinner parties, do they go off about mp3's and how every college kid is going to kill the record industry?

    Movements like this say "passion" to me, they're passionate about their copywrites, it's what they eat, sleep, and breath. Do they have nothing better to do? Are there this many idiots in the world?

    Maybe I just haven't seen enough corporate America yet, but I can't believe people make their lives out of something this petty.
  • by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:44AM (#2430372) Homepage
    Ok, something like this begs several questions: First of all, how would they determined that the mp3s and whatnot on my computer aren't legal? I happen to own cds for almost every single mp3 on my computer.

    Second of all, how would they go about hacking into our computers? If these guys are stupid enough to come up with such an idiotic proposal, how can we expect them to be able to hack a 386 running windows 3.1 on a network running win NT with no patches applied?

    To get to the point, this is the stupidest idea I think i've ever heard in my life.
  • So let me see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <[moc.anhtipe] [ta] [olpah]> on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:46AM (#2430384) Homepage
    Hacking is terrorism, but Hacking to defend copyrights is legal if you have enough Cash to by a Congressman, and get him to make legislation that says so? Have I got that right?
  • Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:47AM (#2430389) Journal
    The RIAA just wants to be exempt from the new cyberterrorism regulations in the anti-terrorism bills.

    They are afraid what they do all the time will be classified as cyberterrorism.

    So really, even the RIAA is afraid of these new cyberterrorism regulations, and is trying to get their own loopholes put in.
  • by 4444444 ( 444444 ) <4444444444444444 ...> on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:48AM (#2430399) Homepage
    how do they determin the eleagal mp3's from the ones you ripped from your cd's
  • by Tim Doran ( 910 ) <timmydoran@ro g e r s .com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:49AM (#2430406)
    Well, the RIAA may not care about your pr0n, but the owners of those copyright images and movies may. Imagine waking up every few weeks to find that another sex site operator has broken into your computer, conducted a search and deleted some images it (summarily) decided infringed on its rights.

    Imagine every few months waking up to find one of these sites screwed up and wiped your harddisk... and there's nothing you can do about it...
  • by Noofus ( 114264 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:53AM (#2430428)
    ...It might not be all too soon. With the anti-terrorism legislation that has screwed with our rights more than necessary, it seems that congress is willing to do all sorts of scary things in the name of public safety. This seems to be the beginning of a big-brother society. Would the RIAA have rights to randomly hack into any machine they suspect of having illegal MP3s? What would happen in a situation like mine where the only MP3s on my computer are the ones I have ripped from my own CDs to transfer to my rio? Would the RIAA claim they have the right to crack my security measures because they know there are MP3s on the computer, legal or not?

    This is insane....
  • Red Herring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nyjx ( 523123 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:55AM (#2430445) Homepage
    The wired article says that ammendment ddin't get through. Interestingly (from the wired article): "We might try and block somebody," Glazier said. "If we know someone is operating a server, a pirated music facility, we could try to take measures to try and prevent them from uploading or transmitting pirated documents."

    It seems unlikely that hacking the individual machines would be the best solution for this (even if the law were to allow it). The cost would be very high. Much cheaper to do what they are now doing:

    • Leaning on ISPs to cut off "abusing" users (without comeback - see previous slashdot stories)
    • Suing the larger sites (napster obviously)
    • Trying to stifle decryption technology.
    In the long run these are likely to be 95% effective if the succeed. If their wording were to ever pass into law they would just be setting a dangerous precedent for anybody to go and explore somebody else's machine. I'm just off to RIAA's web site to "check" if they have a copy of my (copyrighted) memoires on the server...

  • by daoine ( 123140 ) <moruadh1013@ya h o o . com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:02AM (#2430481)
    The actual text is linked off of the Wired article, I've posted one of the two suggested texts for the amendment.:

    No action may be brought under this subsection arising out of any impairment of the availability of data, a program, a system or information, resulting from measures taken by an owner of copyright in a work of authorship, or any person authorized by such owner to act on its behalf, that are intended to impede or prevent the infringement of copyright in such work by wire or electronic communication; provided that the use of the work that the owner is intending to impede or prevent is an infringing use.

    Which means, if you own the copyright to something, and you believe that someone is poaching said thing, you have a blank check under this law. They can't prosecute you for whatever you do, provided you can prove the intent was to prevent/impede distribution.

    But on the other hand, isn't intentionally breaking into someone's machine already illegal? How the hell would this amendment stand up as opposed to laws already in place?

  • Re:So let me see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imadork ( 226897 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:03AM (#2430493) Homepage
    Hacking is terrorism, but Hacking to defend copyrights is legal if you have enough Cash to by a Congressman, and get him to make legislation that says so? Have I got that right?

    Remember, one man's Terrorist is another man's Freedom Fighter.

  • by joshtimmons ( 241649 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:05AM (#2430504) Homepage
    I worry about this scenario:

    1. RIAA starts portscanning my box, testing buffer overflow exploits, etc. in an attempt to get into my system.
    2. I notice the suspicious activity, but don't know who it is.
    3. I decide to figure out what's going on by scanning the originator and applying other various security tools. This could be anything, but if someone is trying to get in and I don't know who it is, I'm going to be tempted to respond in some way to stop the attack.
    4. I get convicted of a felony (in many states) or terrorism (hasn't passed yet) for trying to hack into the RIAA's system.
    5. They don't even get a slap on the wrist because it's legal for them.

    My point is that it puts knowledgable people in a very risky position because they don't know who is attacking their PC and would naturally try to respond.

  • by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:16AM (#2430584) Homepage

    Unfortunately, this is what Joseph Heller would call a Catch 22. One of those damned if you do, damned if you don't scenarios. If people stop buying stuff from RIAA members...then the problems would be even more dire. Then they would have "proof" that piracy is increasing because their sales are going down and people are obviously pirating the music they want. See? Either way is inefective. Sorry. I wish that would would be a somewhat easy solution...get your way through economic pressure.
  • by ( 410908 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:19AM (#2430606) Journal
    Strange, I thought this feature was included in all Windows OS...


    3 questions...

    If I infringed copyright for songs not belonging to RIAA Members, do they have the right to do anything ? for example, I have a large Reggae collection, and I'm sure Jamaican Producers from 1970 didn't belong to RIAA)

    I happen to have only LEGIT MP3 (ripped from my own LP & CDs)... Can somebody tell me how to differentiate a legit MP3 from a fraudulent one if you only have access to my computer ?
    For I have the right to make MP3s and backups (fair use...)


    I'm a foreigner (Brit, french, German, whatever you want...)

    If RIAA come to my pc and try to hack into it, this is illegal under my local matter what (or they have to ask local police do do something)

    which means I can sue them, even ban them If I want (can) (you know, you call ISP and tell him IP XXX.XXX.X.X just scanned all my ports, and flooded...)

    Well, I don't know about you, but this is the sort of things I fear...

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:23AM (#2430632) Homepage Journal
    Who the fuck does MS think that they are putting something in the license that says that they can control what I have on my computer just b/c i use their OS? Excuse me but I own my computer, I own my HD, and I own their OS. They don't own me.

    "The things you own end up owning you." - Tyler Durden

  • already done here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rai ( 524476 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:26AM (#2430658) Homepage
    i stopped supported them about a year ago. i quit buying industry cds altogether and gave what i already had away--no joke! (minus a few that had been autographed.) now, the only music i buy is from independent bands, producers, and djs.

    and i really wish rosen + crew would read this: i will never buy another cd or any other music product from any company that is affliated with riaa in anyway. you have crossed the line numerous times and there is no way in hell you'll ever get another penny of my money. let me put it this way: if jesus christ appeared before me and gave me the choice of buying a cd from you or going to hell--i'm choosing hell. fuck you!
  • by mkoenecke ( 249261 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:27AM (#2430665) Homepage
    Wrong. Read it again. "Impairment of the availability of data, a program, a system or information" (translation: Damage done to your programs/OS/data) IS hacking. What the amendment really says is that if such damage is caused to your computer, if the RIAA REASONABLY INTENDED to prevent the "unauthorized transmission" of copyrighted work (translation: if they thought you might be sharing MP3's), they cannot be held liable for the damages. Sure, they're trying to block transmissions. The problem is that the amendment says that they may do so with impunity; any damage they cause while attempting to do so, *whether or not justified* (only has to be "reasonable" intent) is *your* problem.
  • by eMago ( 267564 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:30AM (#2430684) Homepage
    You won't.
    Everyone has to take an ID-Card around or your fine will be 500$.
    Shops have to close at 8 PM (20:00).
    Bureaucracy is nowhere as bloated as in Germany.
    And secretary of interior Mr. Schily is pushing
    anti-"cybercrime" laws as hard as US senators.
    The pros: the politicians are not bought like in the US (there are strict laws against "donations" and lobbying), they have just no idea...
    Of course the Greens are the salvation
    as they are in government and really protecting your rights.
  • by YIAAL ( 129110 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:49AM (#2430788) Homepage
    The Bush Administration and the press had better be all over the RIAA and its Congressional sponsors. I can't think of a faster way to discredit the war on terrorism than opportunism like this.
  • by cmstremi ( 206046 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:10AM (#2430915) Homepage
    I wonder how many proponents of hacking someone's system (or writing a worm to do so) to remove Nimda for someone who isn't willing to patch their stuff feels about this. Although nobody would admit it, there's a huge double-standard here.

    Of course the RIAA should not be allowed to decide what you can or can't have on your computer. We all agree on that, I think.

    Granting them this right would be like deputizing them. But they'd really just be vigilante's.

    The RIAA has every right to try and protect their propery, and ALREADY has a legal mechanism to do so. The court system.

    I can't see this going very far. I can, however, see the RIAA encouraging politicians to write some new laws that make it more cost effective for them to seek legal remedy in the courts. We all know that the RIAA can't sue each of us for $500. Even they don't have enough money to pull that off.

  • by tmlrv ( 129747 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:25AM (#2430999)
    There is an article in the Los Angeles Times here [] which says AOL TIme Warner was objecting to the amendment for unspecified reasons.

    The article also mentions that (surprise!) the MPAA also backed the bill.

    Another interesting excerpt: The RIAA and MPAA have made no secret of their interest in a technological counterattack against piracy, particularly on the Internet's increasingly popular file-sharing networks.
    The measures they've explored include software that can detect a song or movie as it's being copied through the Net, replace the unauthorized copy with a different file and even disable the original on the sender's computer.

  • by FnordX ( 115944 ) <fnord&cyberspace,org> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:35AM (#2431062)
    You know... I happen to remember something a lot like this happening back in the dark ages... Something about floating or sinking in water being a proof of guilt or innocence, in that if you floated, you were a witch, and burned. If you drowned, you were innocent, and with god.

    So, should we now be calling them Grand High Witch Hunter RIAA?
  • I get it now... according to the RIAA, I'm guilty until proven innocent. They want to be able to crack my system in order to prove me innocent. Oh, and if they fry my system, sorry, but I can't do anything about it.
    RIAA: "Well, we thought she was a witch, so we tied her up and threw her in the ocean. See, witches float, so if she was a witch, she would have floated and then we could have killed her."

    Inspector: "Uh..."

    RIAA: "So anyway, she drowned. She wasn't a witch, so we don't see the problem."

    Inspector: "So, you're admitting you killed an innocent woman?"

    RIAA: "No, we simply proved she wasn't a witch and that there's nothing wrong with her."

    Inspector: "By killing her???"

    I hope my analogy is clear.
  • Re:So let me see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Twylite ( 234238 ) <twylite@cr[ ] ['ypt' in gap]> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:42AM (#2431104) Homepage
    Terrorism involves the murder of innocents, terrorism is for cowards who have no respect for human life.

    Innocence is subjective. As is terrorism.

    America is bombing a nation that has supported terrorism against America. It does this after imposing sanctions against a country allied to that nation, sanctions that are causing slow death as millions starve. This act forms part of the motive for the terrorism against America. In bombing Afganistan, America is inflicting further civilian casualties.

    Where is the respect for human life? America is as much to blame for murdering innocents as Bin Laden or the Taliban. Yet few people see it this way: economic sanctions, although often more crippling than all-out war, are socially acceptable. Bin Laden struck at the heart of America's economic power; an 'appropriate' response to abuse of that power.

    Terrorism comes in many forms.

  • Re:So let me see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WNight ( 23683 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:43AM (#2431115) Homepage
    And US soldiers dropping bombs to kill Osama, who accept a few civilian casualties along the way... that's freedom fighting right? Because they kill civilians who aren't you.
  • Re:So let me see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:25PM (#2431380) Journal
    After having bombed 15 seperate countries, in less than the last 30 years, killing 3,000,000 civilians (yes civilians), Id say that *America* is a rogue nation run by terrorists and tyrants.

    Your being an American might feel that every one of those acts was justified, honourable and morally defensible. (why you think this way is a much bigger issue...)

    Now, one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist starts to seem a little more clear.

    Religion is a simple matter of geography - as is politics - when people assume absolute positions tainted by ethnocentrism and ignorance you see conflict like what is happening now, afterall, who many americans think that the 'founding fathers' that gave birth to the American REVOLUTION were not "TERRORISTS" to the Brits? USofA has a short memory and is a perfect example of why 'one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist.'

  • by Ogerman ( 136333 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:55PM (#2431549)
    And yes, once you've been in corporate America, you'll see that this shitty money grabbing politics happens all the time. Enjoy college while you can.

    Then don't work for 'corporate America,' silly. There's no law saying you have to. What's more important? -- living in a giant-box two story house in the suburbanite jungle with two cars and an SUV or fighting for freedom and goodness and doing your best to help make the world a better place by helping others. That's not to say all corporate jobs are bad or that all big business is corrupt, but in the areas geeks gravitate towards (in which 'intellectual property' is the focus), you really have to weigh the ethical pros and cons with who you work for. Money and success matter not. PEOPLE matter. Don't waste your life. Enjoy college while you can, then go make a difference.
  • by orpheus2k ( 166678 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:15PM (#2431678)
    The most disturbing aspect of this article is that the opponents to the RIAA have as their main argument, essentially, 'What if something goes wrong while they are creeping around? What if they corrupt your hard drive?'

    This completely misses the fact that the violation and penetration is on its face reprehensible. What if the RIAA presents to a congressional hearing a supposedly fool-proof method to do what they want?

    This places the burden of right-behavior on the wrong party. Compare this to what is required to enter someone's home to retreive stolen property. It requires a search warrant obtained through proper legal channels, and then the searching and reclaiming party would be police or FBI, not the party who was stolen from.

    We need to assert strongly that our virtual space (which resides in a place -- hard drives, CPUs, etc that exist in a particular place) can be defended like our physical space.

  • Re:So let me see (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kel-tor ( 146691 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:38PM (#2431857)
    American REVOLUTION were not "TERRORISTS" to the Brits?

    Yep, English newspapers of the time even used the word terrorists.

  • This won't pass. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fixer ( 35500 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:43PM (#2431890) Homepage Journal
    This can't possibly pass. This is so entirely wrong I lack words to describe it fully.

    It's illegal. Wouldn't this be a violation of "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."?

    It's got loopholes galore. In order for me to verify you do, indeed, have illegal material, I have to break into your machine. "Ooops, sorry, nothing found here. Sorry about your machine.."

    It's quite fucking hostile to me as a buyer of the RIAA's music. It's an assumption of guilt, backed up with the force of law.

    The appropriate responses? Depends on your ethics. At a minimum, don't buy any music associated with the RIAA. At most? Do everything to hit them in the pocketbook. If it takes money from them, it's useful. Fucking bastards. Yeah, I've got great respect for our legislative process now.

  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @02:13PM (#2432010) Journal
    Tell everyone you know to vote out incumbants in Congress. The fact that the RIAA even thinks that they can get crap like passed into law shows that they are well on their way to totally owning Congress.
  • by No-op ( 19111 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @02:39PM (#2432167)
    For some people, we don't have the choice of throwing away money just to help people. not everyone comes from pristine beginnings and has the luxury of an all expense paid visit to collegeland.

    I busted my ass working 2 jobs to get through school and I sold my soul the minute I could. that paid for things like a working car, a clean house, good food, and other things I never had until then.

    I'm all for helping people and working to better the community but please realize that the lower on the food chain you are, the less idealistic your goals tend to be. homeless people don't worry about your MP3s or your digitally-encrypted whatever. they care about food, warm places to sleep and other basics.

    sometimes there's a certain degree of perspective to be gained.
  • Dear Mr Bin-Laden (Score:2, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @02:59PM (#2432305) Journal
    Dear Mr Bin-Laden,

    Please could you kill COUGH!, i mean 'take-out' the members of the RIAA, and MPAA. They are responsible for all the bad foreign policies that America has pushed, and the election of G.W.Bush (the ape man). For years they have bribed judges, and politicians to do their bidding, and have recently funded a number of airstrikes on your country which they have dubbed: "Drop CD samples onto Afghanistan" where they are attempting to fix the lack of market penetration in that area.

    They are all high on crack too
  • Re:So let me see (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @03:28PM (#2432578)
    ksheff enlightened us with:
    On the Iraq side of things, if they are starving then why are the leading causes of death in that country heart disease and diabetes? IIRC, those are fat people diseases

    Absolutely right. Fat people diseases. Indeed

    Of course, heart disease can also be the result of malnutrition. When your body is hungry enough, it will eat itself from the inside. The heart is one of the parts that suffers. Often in situations like the one in Iraq people don't starve to death in one go. They starve for a while, then food is available again for a time, then they starve again, then food is available again. This wreaks havoc on the body.

    As for diabetes, the above doesn't exactly improve the health of diabetics, who tend to get hypoglycemic when they don't have regular meals. Do you even know any diabetics? The scarcity of insulin to treat their condition doesn't exactly help much either.

    Are you one of those people who also insists that homeless people are just running a scam and that they go home at the end of the day in Porsches? Just curious, because you sure sound like one of them.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard