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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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  • THIS IS GREAT!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheMMaster ( 527904 ) <hp@ t m m . cx> on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:42AM (#2430352)
    If this won't help bringing linux to the desktop, what will?? you can give them every right you want... For them to enforce it, you'll HAVE to be running windows! ;-)
  • by robvasquez ( 411139 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:44AM (#2430366)
    The government would be Nazis if they allowed this. These people come up with crazier shit each new day.
  • by jued0001 ( 95852 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:49AM (#2430402)
    Couldn't this potentially lead to something even more nasty (if it ever comes to fruition), like M$ coming in and wiping out pirated copies of their OS? XP is already a step in the nasty direction, but that would just be completely insane...
  • The Simple Solution. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:49AM (#2430404)
    Let the RIAA hack the shit out of whatever they want and then when it is all said and done, sue them under DMCA for violating and circumnavigating your boxe's security.

    problem solved.
  • Dear Gaia . . . (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:49AM (#2430407) Homepage Journal
    Okay, yeah, obviously they were eventually going to try something this moronic. They might even be lucky enough to get it passed for awhile until the supreme court manages to knock it down.

    But are they REALLY so insensitive as to tack it on to the end of an anti-terrorism bill? This has nothing to do with keeping terrorists at bay (some could argue that half of the stuff that is still in the bill doesn't do that either, but at least those bits have rationalized themselves). This is just some greedy organization that tried to use a "get this through quick" bill to slip in some really nasty stuff.

    The other day, I was trying to force myself to reconsider my opinions on the evilness organizations like the RIAA. Or at least take a closer look at the actual humans involved in the decisions they make. But this is just insane . . .

  • by Green Aardvark House ( 523269 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:50AM (#2430413)
    I discussed these types of issues ad infitum on The Napster Forum [].

    I wish my post was still there, but I came across some evidence that the economy was mostly to blame. I found statistics on income and record sales and found that incomes fell, so did record sales. This makes sense, since music is a "luxury item" and is one of the first things to go off personal budgets in an economic slowdown.

    They have a convenient scapegoat in "piracy", even though the economy is in the crapper, and the quality of the product is such that it should just follow the economy.
  • Retaliation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jason Straight ( 58248 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:51AM (#2430414) Homepage
    Any attempt by those bastards on my machine will constitute me to enter a "self defense mode", in which I will return the attacks to them 10 fold. This is just bullshit. I'll file charges in michigan (my home state) against them where any hacking is considered a felony.
  • Already Legal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashkitty ( 21637 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:53AM (#2430429) Homepage
    from wired:
    The RIAA believes that this kind of technological "self-help" against online pirates, if done carefully, is legal under current federal law. But the RIAA is worried about the USA Act banning that practice -- and neither the Senate nor the House versions of that bill include the RIAA's suggested changes.
    It would seem that they are only trying to prevent this bill from outlawing their hacking. Is there no law preventing their cracks right now? Are they already working on a system to break into everyone's computer? Have they already started it up?
  • by egburr ( 141740 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:54AM (#2430441) Homepage
    For once, the RIAA may be doing something (unintentionally) good for us. Since the article didn't provide the actual proposal, I am assuming its description was farily accurate. To sum it up: anyone can hack into any system anywhere for any reason with complete immunitiy if they say they were doing so to check for suspected piracy of works for which they own the copyright. This sounds like a blank check for hackers.
  • by ClubStew ( 113954 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:56AM (#2430452)

    I hear ya! With each passing week, I want to move to Germany more and more. Heck, their government funds open source projects and is practically begging for computer engineers and scientists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @09:56AM (#2430453)
    A click-through license hasn't been tested in court yet, and I have read that these types of contracts will not hold up in court due to the fact that the consumer has no bargaining power in the "agreement" of contract and that it is considered a type of entrapment.

    I forget the exact legal terms, but consumer law protects citizens in the non-digital world in terms of bargaining power, seeking recourse, and being forced into something without really agreeeing to it (opening the celophane wrapper, etc.)
  • How this could work. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:04AM (#2430497) Homepage Journal
    This could work in a couple of easy ways, if assume the world runs Win.

    Simply release a great free sound player that incorporates some drice and network sweeping functions "to make it easier to find the music you want to play".

    If an M3 is found the software can do one of two things;
    1 Delete it, but keeping a copy within some HUGE archive file so the user can still play it but not copy or share it
    2 Resave the file with your name, address, etc embedded.

    Now if you share the file your info is going along with it. If the software finds a file with someone elses details, it gets deleted from your PC.

    Keep the files playable so people dont go back to the old copy of REAL on a cover CD somewhere to get their old files back (as if 90% of users would know how).

    That'd do it, quietly, like the way copy protection on CDs just slipped onto the market. They dont have to hack you - they just give you free software a la MS-IE
  • by cavemanf16 ( 303184 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:04AM (#2430499) Homepage Journal
    Wrong. They're not passionate about their copyrights. They could care less if a million people copied the tunes, as long as they all paid their $2.00/mp3 for doing so. This whole copyright business with the DMCA is specifically about making the heads of recording studios richer, not about making the actual creators of the music rich, or even given credit for their works.

    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.

    And besides, the only computers they'll end up cracking into to delete files from will be the Britney Spears and NSYNC teenie bopper fans of the world, which just means that they'll be pissing off little teenage girls and boys, who will in turn cry to their parents, who will then go ballistic on the RIAA. Just another wonderful way to alienate their user base even more than they already have.

  • by drnomad ( 99183 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:05AM (#2430509)
    Doesn't this "right" to hack, imply "the right to violate the DMCA"??
  • by Marasmus ( 63844 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:06AM (#2430522) Homepage Journal
    There is no such thing as 'the right thing to do' when it comes to the RIAA.

    the "we claim to denounse the 'vigilante' actions of music piraters, but we are trying to become legally-protected vigilantes" hypocricy is, well, baffling. I don't think that any sane body of people could come up with anything as fundamentally and legally wrong. The RIAA just makes itself out to be a body of mentally-imbalanced sociopaths.

    How far does the RIAA plan to take this? The mention of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is not only symbolically but literally relevant. Will the RIAA start burning books because we could translate the music into multiple sinusoidal equations and print it on paper? Are they going to get 'expert witnesses' to testify that the human brain never loses any data which it receives, and thus the human brain itself is a physical medium of piracy? Will they then lobotomize me to get their song back?

    Of course this is an exaggeration... however, it is more possible today than it was yesterday.
  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:09AM (#2430532) Journal
    . . . we are now in a position to turn the tabled on RIAA, using the USAA's overreaching revision of civil remedies for hacking.

    Perhaps it is time to set up some serious MP3-baited honeypots, and just wait for RIAA to bury themselves?

    I can think of nothing more useful to turn the tables on RIAA's currently pristine image in Congress (or at least to get Congress to re-think their ludicrous rewiring of criminal computer laws), than to show the unintended consequences of massive remedies for improper hacking.
  • Re:Not Unreasonable (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:20AM (#2430610) Homepage Journal
    Imagine someone broke into your house and stole your stereo. Later, through your neighbor's window, you see your stereo. You try to reason with your neighbor (just as the RIAA has tried reason with music-thieving public), but to no avail. Would you not then be justified to break into your neighbors house and reclaim your property?

    Imagine that you were the only conduit for music for a number of years. Now let's imagine that you ignored customer requests for things like a-la-carte songs, custom mix CDs, and reasonably priced CDs.

    Now let's imagine that while you were out swimming in all your money, another distribution system-let's call it "the Internet"-emerges, offering your customers all those features that they begged you to include for years.

    Well, you know it won't be long before everyone jumps on this "new distribution" bandwagon, because it offers better communication and profits between artists and music consumers.

    So instead of embracing the technology, and competing in the marketplace, you decide to litigate your way back to monopoly.

    Is it any wonder that anyone who knows anything about music distribution hates the RIAA?

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:26AM (#2430654) Homepage Journal
    The first thought that came to my mind was "Unreasonable search and seizure." After reading the article I see what the RIAA is on about; covering their own assets if they devise their own worm or such to go out and wipe MP3's (just another good reason to burn them onto CD's, eh?) Proving $5,000 aggregate damage to a site, which just happens to be hosting such files (how do they prove that it was actually a pirate site, hmm? Consider the Japanese trick for harvesting whales in the name of "scientific research" and use your imagination)

    The more of this crap I see the more inclined I am to seek work arounds for anything they come up with. They'll never win and in the end it will have cost them more than their lost revenues.

  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:47AM (#2430781) Homepage
    I'm not sure what would have been worse: What the RIAA would have done with it, or what the Cthurch of $cientology would have done with it.

    $cientology has already (ab)used the DMCA to hassle critics and their ISPs. (Including claiming copyright on things written by other people.) They know that it's easier to comply than mount a defence against an army of lawyers with unlimited funds. (Sounds like the RIAA, don't it?)

    I shudder to think what Cof$ would have done with this piece of legal shite.
  • by Jodrell ( 191685 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:00AM (#2430849) Homepage
    According to the Human Freedom Index [], the freest place to live in the world is Sweden. Also very well wired up.
  • Re:Of course (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AshPattern ( 152048 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:04AM (#2430883) Homepage
    The entire reason to have a corporation is to limit your liability. Corporations were invented so that companies wouldn't be liable to the families of employees for their employees dying during their hazardous jobs.

    If this single principle of limited liability were taken out, we wouldn't have many corporations left. What corporation can hold to actual, real ethical integrity?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:13AM (#2430934)
    Funny you should mention that. ust last week was the first anniversary of my wife and I leaving Silicon Valley for Munich, Germany.

    I have been freelance contracting here (software engineering) and getting a visa and work permit is absolutely no problem. in fact, they really cater to foreign tech workers (almost embarassingly so).

    It's an awesome place to live with great people who are super friendly. the best part? I have a 10 minute commute on my bicycle nd we don't even own a car! Compare that to the old 2 hour total commute up and down 101!

    What you are talking about can be done. We have done it. I cannot tell you how happy we are to have left. We made the ultimate vote. We voted with our feet.

  • Re:THIS IS GREAT!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:15AM (#2430947)
    Sounds like time for a honeypot system with lots of "popular" MP3s on it and a few original recordings on MP3 format. Since they'd hack the system and delete all the MP3, you'd be justified in hacking their system to look for any copies of your stuff they might have taken before wiping the honeypot out.
  • by Flower ( 31351 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:21AM (#2430980) Homepage
    No, you misinterpret what I'm saying. Since all people want was the single song you have available (after all most of it is just filler but you've got 2-3 songs for radio airplay.) You are robbing them of $20 bucks for just the one song. After all it is the single which is driving the CD sale.

    And as they roll out each hit one by one each hit is worth the $20 in and of itself. After all, once one song gets played to death you need a new song to milk that money out of the people holding out (You bastards!)

    If we were playing Paranoid I think I'd have to say you owed the RIAA $60US for that song. &lt evil grin &gt

    And what do you mean theoretical?

  • by NumberSyx ( 130129 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:56AM (#2431197) Journal

    The more of this crap I see the more inclined I am to seek work arounds for anything they come up with. They'll never win and in the end it will have cost them more than their lost revenues.

    If this legislation passes, I plan to put up a honey pot system for the sole purpose of setting them up for a billion dollar law suit. Once the drive has been corrupted or wiped, how does the RIAA prove the MP3's were illegal copies of songs, instead of recordings of my children singing silly little ditties and also on the drive were irreplacable pictures and videos of my GrandFather, the day before he died. No $$$ value, but tons of sentimental value. Any decent litigation Lawyer could convince a Judge this was worth way more than $5000.

  • by k-rad ( 149419 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:23PM (#2431359)
    What I want to know is if they plan on deleting any/all MP3's they can find on my system. If I'm an artist, and I have my own music in MP3 format, and they just deleted it I'd certainly hope I could sue the hell out of them for violating my copyright. Not every MP3 I have is material copyrighted by some record company.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:29PM (#2431413)
    What give the RIAA more rights than police ? Even if the police suspec someone had comitted a crime, they would still have to go to the court. They just can't go to the suspect's house to steal stuff.
  • Re:So let me see (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The_Rook ( 136658 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:34PM (#2431816)
    between the fbi and government trying to stomp on civil liberties and the RIAA and MPAA trying to stomp on free speech and civil liberites, and all the multitude of laws they're trying to pass, it's not surprising that they're starting to stumble into each other.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @11:00AM (#2436097)
    From C|NET []:

    The new strategy would take advantage of file-swapping networks' own weaknesses, amplifying them to the point where download services appear even more clogged and slow to function than they are today. Because most peer-to-peer services are unregulated, the quality of connections and speed of downloads already varies wildly based on time of day and geographic location.

    The software technology, according to industry sources, would essentially act as a downloader, repeatedly requesting the same file and downloading it very slowly, essentially preventing others from accessing the file. While stopping short of a full denial-of-service attack, the method could substantially clog the target computer's Internet connection.

    Besides clogging the user's internet conenction, do you suppose the RIAA considered what this might imply for bandwidth usage on the Internet in general? We don't need the RIAA purposefully sucking up bandwidth on tens of thousands of machines because they are too lazy or don't have evidence to prosecute offenders legally.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury