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RIAA Now Targeting Retailers 490

merodach writes "According to this story on the RIAA is now targeting retailers in it's 'war on piracy.' I think everyone will agree this is something that should be done if the retailer is deliberately pirating. The thing I wonder about in hearing this news is how many of the retailers include used copy stores. With the way the RIAA and some artists *cough*Garth Brooks*cough* have labeled these stores as pirates and theives in the past it seems likely they would be the biggest targets. Have any in the /. crowd actually seen one of the letters sent or know how many of the targeted businesses are used stores? Further - how would the RIAA know how much to demand in 'settlement fees' and is it possible these are being used to shut down the mom-and-pop outfits that trade in used CDs?"
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RIAA Now Targeting Retailers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:58PM (#4912630)
    Yep, they couldn't let this article go by without this:
    Last week, Secret Service agents in New York arrested three men and seized 35,000 illegally copied music discs, 10,000 movies on DVD and 421 compact disc burners that are used to make the counterfeit products.
    Good to see CNN maintaining it's high standards in reporting.
  • by ruebarb ( 114845 ) <colorache@hotm a i l .com> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:58PM (#4912631)
    I can see it now....

    you have bought the new Britney Spears CD...congratulations on your excellent choice and fine musical selection...

    LEGALESE: - This CD may not be resold or reproduced in any matter...opening this CD certifies that you agree to this stipulation.


    and the legal warning will be on the inside of the CD...bastards..

    on the bright side, that should galvanize mainstream support against them...maybe only a small percentage download mp3's, but I'm willing to be a higher proportion of people use used mom and pop shops....if for no other reason then to acquire out of print material...shut those down and America will maybe open their eyes...

    of course...they do buy Britney smart can they be...

    • My solution (Score:5, Funny)

      by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:13PM (#4912740) Homepage Journal
      1)Open a CD Shop.
      2)Sell the original with a copy CD with the tracks in mp3/ogg/whatever as a backup/digital medium copy.
      3)Shovel millions to lawyers.
      4)Counter sue for violating fair use.
      5)After losing every court battle give up and bitch about it on slashdot.
    • Ha ha ha...I *just* came back from selling *all* my CDs to Hastings! Once more just under the wire. The myth lives on!
    • Such licences would destroy the first sale principle if they were allowed to stand, but I doubt that they would stand up in court. Even without shrinkwrap licences, don't buy CDs, [] especially not of Britney Spears.
    • by seaan ( 184422 ) <seaan@concentri c . net> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @04:04AM (#4914271)
      Actually, if it was done in the way you described, this would fail. A book publisher tried doing this about 100 years ago, and the case established the doctrine of "first sale". The publisher tried to control resale of the book (using something very much like a shrinkwrap license).

      The courts ruled, to simplify, that the normal terms of copyright were more powerful than the attempted contract. The purchase of a book (or in your example, a CD) is a copyright transactions, and is subject to the rules of copyright.

      So does this mean we have nothing to fear? No, here is what they can do instead. They create a CD with some type of limit against reproduction and/or resale (I don't quite know how they would do the last, perhaps burn a computer system ID onto the disc). The protection does not have to be foolproof, just good enough to meet the legal definition of "effective".

      Once they have done that, it would be illegal (thanks to the DMCA) for you to circumvent the protection. That is precisely why the companies want to push "copy protected" CDs, because it allows them to use the full force of the DMCA to limit your actions and presumably make them more money (by giving them more power).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @09:59PM (#4912643)
    I live in Chicago. Recently they've passed legislation that says anyone who operates a used CD or DVD shop has to take personally-identifiable information from each customer when making a purchase. I've heard that such personally-identifiable information could even go up to SSN or photograph at purchase. I heard this from the owner of a used DVD shop.

    Anyone have details about this? I can't find anything on google. Who is the "they?" Is this Illinois law, or Chicago or Cook County? Is this even true that I would have to have my photo and SSN taken when I buy a used DVD? Are the RIAA and MPAA behind this? What the hell is going on?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:52PM (#4912959)
      More than likely that law is just requiring the CD store to collect information about anyone they purchase CDs *from*, as opposed to collecting information about people they sell CDs *to*. It's been done in Canada (well, at least Ontario) for years.

      The intent is to dissuade CD stores from purchasing 200 CDs from an unknown source who "just happens to decide he doesn't like any of his collection anymore," as well as to stop thieves from getting rid of CDs in this manner.

      Some friends of mine had their house broken into and lost bunches of CDs and stereo equipment. The cops had a list of the stolen CDs which matched up nearly identically with a bunch of newly acquired CDs at a used CD store. The thief was caught because the store kept records of who they purchased CDs from.

      I haven't seen this Chicago law, though, so I could be blowing smoke...
    • " Is this even true that I would have to have my photo and SSN taken when I buy a used DVD?"

      The short answer to the part about the SSN is probably not. As this site [] points out, there are specific restrictions on the use of the Social Security Number, and you generally don't need to give it. From the site:

      "In addition, that section makes it illegal for Federal, state, and local government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is required by Federal statute, or the disclosure is to an agency for use in a record system which required the SSN before 1975. ( 5 USC 552a note)."

      More than likely, when they're talking about "personally identifiable information", they're talking about simple things like name, address, telephone number. Basically, they want to be able to find the person should there be a problem with the sale at a later date. I personally don't see where they have any right to require this, but unless you have the funds to fight it in court, chances are you have little choice.

      Welcome to the land of the free, now please step this way so we can get your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, social security number, current occupation, annual income, political allegiances, place of origin, ethnicity, financial history, medical history, criminal history, political beliefs, religious beliefs, shopping habits, list of friends and aquantences, sexual preferences, and a list of books you like to read. In addition, we would also ask that you be fingerprinted, submit to a retinal scan and a polygraph, give a blood sample, hair sample, handwriting sample, urine sample, and wear this GPS-enabled chip under the skin of your left arm after we stamp your barcode there.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Wrong! The ordinance requires getting the ID of those they buy CDs from, not those they sell them to. When somebody breaks into your car (or house) and steals yoru CD's, where do they take them? To the used CD shop of course. It's common practice in many cities to require ID of sellers of all used merchandise, not just CDs. It slightly increases the chance of catching the crooks.
    • by HeschelsGyrus ( 121302 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @11:22PM (#4913115)
      I haven't heard of any legislation to that effect, but when I was a clerk at a primarily used CD store a while back (like 8 years ago), we had the policy of taking down personal information of anyone who sold more than $100 worth of CDs to the store. That info was linked to a list of the CDs that were sold, and filed. This was just in case the CDs turned out to be stolen, and the police *frequently* came by to ask us about a batch of stolen CDs. Not surprisingly, people also frequently refused to provide us with that info.

      So I'm guessing that the law in Chicago (if there really is such a law) has more to do with burglary than with IP violations. Aren't Pawn shops required to keep similar logs?
    • ...they imposed a similar requirement on pawn shops, that they get ID and I think even take a Polaroid. The reason of course was to make it harder for either thief or merchant to fence stolen goods. There was some controversy because of the expense, and I'm sure someone had to have complained about privacy. It does seem intrusive, but so are the burglars that feed this thriving market. Good idea? Bad idea? I'd like to see more information first. Legal idea? I think so.

      Who is "they"? I thought it was by local ordinance, the city of Chicago, maybe Cook County. You can find out from an affected merchant or City Hall. They *might* be online.

      Oh hey, I'm right []. Check for more news on this, especially challenges anyone has raised.

      Anyway, extending a pawn shop reg to used DVD stores is not much of a stretch, so perhaps this is the City again. It sounds legal and reasonable under the City's police powers but, again, intrusive. Although the basic idea is OK, I imagine the fight would go to just how much information is collected. The details are critical. Don't forget to contact your aldermen and the mayor's office if you need to.
    • It's Chicago ordinance, and it's not when you buy a DVD/CD, but rather when you sell some to the store. Reason is simple - its an attempt to combat transactions in stolen merchandise, since CDs in particular (think car break-ins) are otherwise easily resold goods for thieves. Whether or not its overkill, you'll have to decide for yourself, but rest assured that you can still go into Wax Trax (assuming they're still there, haven't been in probably 10 years) buy your CD of choice, pay cash, and walk out whistling.
  • hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serps ( 517783 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:00PM (#4912646) Homepage

    Call me a cynic, but this is a handy opportunity to:

    • Get hard data about the stock levels of second-hand music stores (always useful)
    • Hassle the above music stores with compliance costs, eating into their bottom lines
    • Push for the removal/licensing/regulation of the secondary market in order to 'reduce piracy'.
  • It's about time! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GMontag ( 42283 ) <gmontag@[ ] ['guy' in gap]> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:02PM (#4912660) Homepage Journal
    Commercial outlets (valid copyright infringers) is where they SHOULD have started with in the beginning!

    Back-in-the-day it would torque me to no end buying discount tapes (cassett thank you) in retail stores, only to open them and find they were obvious, cheep bootlegs even before playing them twice before breaking.
  • Wait? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by littlerubberfeet ( 453565 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:03PM (#4912675)
    Those mom and pop stores are merely selling plastic and aluminium disks...They are not selling/ the rights to play those disks in a CD player.

    Now, if I remember correctly, 90% of record companies belong to the RIAA. What about the 10%? what gives the RIAA the right to pretend to represent that last 10%?
    • Are you implying that it's any different at $MEGACHAINSTORE? If I walk into BestBuy and get some CD, all I own is a plastic and aluminum disc (plus CD art). If it were otherwise, I could legally replace the CDs I damage for a pittance.

  • WalMart (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Audacious ( 611811 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:04PM (#4912677) Homepage
    I went to WalMart the other day and was told by the manager that it was against the DMCA to allow returns or refunds of computer software and/or CDs.

    It took a while (and I had to go pretty far up the chain of command) to assure them that Congress never wrote "All businesses have to give refunds/returns except WalMart" in the DMCA.

    Something to be on the look-out for. :-/
    • Re:WalMart (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is old hat. Many stores (like the unnamed retail chain I work for) explicitly disallow returns of CDs/DVDs because once the plastic on the outside of the box is broken they cannot return them to the manufacturer. If retailers do accept returns of open CDs/DVDs, then they take the hit...which goes to show that the **AA are jacking more than consumers.
    • Re:WalMart (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 )
      It's a tough call, but I kinda agree with retailers not accepting music and software returns.

      If you buy a CD, you know that you are paying $17 for the 2 hits on it. The other 10~12 songs are just fluf. If you don't like it, don't buy music.

      If you buy software, the requirements are listed on the box. If you decide that the game wasn't worth it (Diakatana), too bad. You should have waited for the review before you bought the game.

      Basicly, it is too easy for anyone to buy a CD or a game, make a copy, and then return the original. There is no real way for a retailer to demand integrity from the customer. And a few bad customers will eat away at the profit margin till the companies you love are no longer able to produce products you value.

      I think this is why DRM will prevail. When the RIAA has the music locked down, then you can return a crap CD just because it was crap. When palladium has software locked down, you can return a game just because it crashes. Until then, the retailer will continue to think you are a thief.
      • Re:WalMart (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dachannien ( 617929 )
        Except they won't give you refunds, even with DRM.

        Just remember that DRM isn't about the consumer at all. In fact, it's barely even about people. It's about large corporations demanding too much money for shitty music.

      • Re:WalMart (Score:4, Informative)

        by LinuxInDallas ( 73952 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:41PM (#4912893)
        Sorry, but I just don't buy it. If you buy a product and are not happy with it then stores should allow you to return it for a refund. It's that way with any other item, it should also be that way with software and music.

        There is a lot of hype that gets thrown our way to purchase particular music and software titles. The marketing drones try everything to convince us that something is great and that we must buy it. I say then that they should stand behind their product and offer a refund if it truly doesn't live up to your expectation. Would this get abused by some? Sure. Do I care? Not really. If they want my money then they can earn it.
      • ... If you decide that the game wasn't worth it (Diakatana), too bad.
        I suppose you could look at it that way.
        Basicly, it is too easy for anyone to buy a CD or a game, make a copy, and then return the original. There is no real way for a retailer to demand integrity from the customer.
        Well then... Too bad! I guess you'll just have to trust us.

        In general your comment is a bit too consumer hostile for me to buy into. I think the retail market will be better off if they concentrate more on what keeps their customers happy and coming back. If you see the same slob returning with disk after disk that's another matter..... they're not a customer

      • Re:WalMart (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "If you don't like it, don't buy music."

        I don't. I also don't pirate music. Conincidentally, since I stopped, music sales have dropped (no, I don't buy that much music). I now hear the RIAA saying that the drop in sales is due to pirating. Uh huh. How about the economy? Payola and the lack of good, diverse music? Lack of choice, i.e. genres, musicians? The high cost of a CD? I easily about about 20 CDs every 3 months; not much, but still more than probably is typical over the total US population, including your grandmother. Now I buy zero. Zilch. Nada.

        Their business model sucks. Their campaign of bitching at the consumer sucks. Now they are taking it to the retailer. Guess what? They're going to hear from the consumer. It's going to be the slamming of their wallets shut. Why would I dare dish out $15 for a CD on the off chance that it's defective, sucks, or outlandish? I won't. Consumers won't. Or if they do, they will seek out, however slowly, retailers who do accept returns.

        "There is no real way for a retailer to demand integrity from the customer."

        If they think that way, that person you call a customer is nothing more to them than a consumer.

        That is why sales are also known as transactions, a sale or exchange, be goods for money, goods for goods, or some other. Integrity is IN the exchange. If you as the retailer sells a good, I hope you take money. I as a customer expect you to sell me a quality and as stated product. If you don't accept returns, I don't do business with you.

        You want that right and don't accept returns, fine. I won't buy from you. I hear you whining that sales are slow, don't blame me. That's YOUR fault. If Walmart doesn't accept returns of DVDs or CDs, I will never, ever buy from Walmart a DVD or CD.

        For example, for awhile didn't do DVD exchanges; when I found out, I stopped buying DVDs from them. They changed their policy (maybe they changed it back again) and I return for exchange 2 DVDs that had problems (cracked case on one, bad press or something on the other).

        I also question how come your right to make a dollar does not supersede my right to return merchandise which was obtained from a government (usually state in the US) licensed business. A store may be a private venture, but it also has to abide by public rules. If you reject returns and become a scrooge, don't be surprised if people buy less.

        The RIAA is learning that if they don't adapt, they are going to get burned. Let them go after retailers. People will just stop buying music and spend their money elsewhere.

        "When palladium has software locked down, you can return a game just because it crashes."

        Foolish one. What if the EULA states you can't? What are you going to do then? You just dished out $44.99 + tax for the game. Darn. You're going to eat the cost. Cost of being a consumer while pretending you're a customer, after all.

        Although you are right in the sense that DRM technology is a problem. I look at DRM like tax laws--it introduces a host of problem, feeds a big money sucking organization, and propels forward a set of experts a la professionals that earn big bucks themselves to figure it all out. The common person is such an idiot and such sheep.
  • I used to buy cd's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spoot ( 104183 )
    But I'm so damn disgusted with the whole mess I don't even bother. In the napster heyday I was buying music like crazy. More than I had in years. I'm in my 40's and way out of the demographic for music comsumers, but I was downloading on napster and finding new music and buying cd's like I was a teen again. Since the riaa nonsence I've stoped buying cd's (althoug I did become a member of emusic, what a great collection of jazz and blues. actually I see emusic as the worlds largest cut out bin.) I refuse to buy my teenage daughter any cd's this christmas. screw the greed of the record companies. And to top it off, my mother bought some crappy cd at target that refuses to play in her older cd player. she's returned it twice and they refuse to give her a refund. I just can't believe how insanely stupid the record companies are. treating your customers like thieves and criminals is no way to run a business... but a perfect way to ruin one. fark the record companies right in the arse. they desirve it. morons.
    • by TomServo ( 79922 )
      I've been with EMusic for a while now too, and for the most part I like 'em.

      However, be aware that it's not totally unlimited now. There are a number of posts on CNET from customers who have had their accounts terminated after downloading too much in too short a time, and when I asked (quite politely) their customer service department about this, I got a response back that started:

      "Although EMusic is an 'unlimited' service, there have to be some restrictions on this policy. EMusic is similar to a buffet advertised as 'all you can eat.' For the restaurant to be successful, it has to have reasonable limitations that apply to people that stay too long, eat more than their fair share -- or waste food."

      So their definition of unlimited means unlimited up until a limit. They claim in their e-mail that it's "more than 2,000 tracks in a 30-day period", I haven't personally tested this myself.

      At least in the time since I got their e-mail (November 23rd), they've changed the "Unlimited" on their webpage to say "Unlimited*".

    • Just a quick comment:

      1. Ask to talk to the manager of the store. Explain the CD won't play. Get another one to replace it. If it will not play, ask for another one. Continue until either they give you your money back or you get one which will play.

      2. If the manager won't do #1, then call the district office. Nothing makes a manager more willing to bend over backwards than to have someone higher up telling him to kiss

      3. If #2 doesn't work, then call the state office.

      4. If #3 doesn't work, call the regional office.

      5. If #4 doesn't work, call the national office.

      6. By this time you should already either have your money back or five or six CDs as they try to appease you.

      7. If #6 hasn't happened, then write a letter to the president of the corporation care of their national office. Presidents do NOT like to be disturbed by customers and, truth to tell, I've never had to go past this point.

      8. However! IANAL says: "Because CDs are sold shrinkwrapped they can not be listened to (in most major stores) before they are purchased and thus fall under the auspices of state and federal laws which guarantee that, if you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may return it." This is where the big controversy comes from. People are buying CDs and games, copying them, and then returning them for a refund. That isn't right. Either buy it and live with the outrageous costs or boycott it and live without the CD/game. Anything else is illegal. (And yeah - I know - second hand games, CDs, etc....blah blah blah. I'm talking about first time purchases at a store. Not over the internet, from your neighbor's dog, or whatever.)

      There is no such thing as "You can't have your money back" in retail. My mom used to work for Montgomery Wards - ladies underwear. People would bring back underwear they'd worn for the past ten years and ask for brand new replacements! One lady only had the elastic left. The cloth had rotted away. Doesn't that strike you as going a bit overboard on the "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back?" I do and I've never worked for Montgomery Wards.
  • by rtstyk ( 545241 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:04PM (#4912679) Homepage
    The article just talks about *counterfeit* copies.

    RTFA first.

    I think it's good they turn to something they can actually enforce. It's much easier to walk into Bob's Illegal CDs and bust the poor Bob than some dynamically assigned IP of a poor script kiddy.

    [sarcastick grin]Go RIAA[/sarcastic grin]
    • It's much easier to walk into Bob's Illegal CDs and bust the poor Bob than some dynamically assigned IP of a poor script kiddy.

      Honestly have you ever been to a retail store which deals in pirated CDs? Is this really a problem in Amerika today? If I was a retailer who had to make rent and keep customers happy I'd probably find it easier to play by the rules and sell legit stock. The ONLY place I have ever seen pirated software for open sale was on the streets on NYC. I find it hard to believe that the problem is as widespread as it is being portrayed by the RIAA.

      And while I'm on the topic the notion that used CDs are a "pirate market" because the license only applies to the first sale is insane and hypocritical. If all they are is alumiminum disks (completely unconnected to the license agreement) then I should be able to copy/transmit/backup the physical media at will and there should be a mechanism for me to sell my legally purchased license. Possesion is 9/10 of the law.

      • there are 3 places with in a 10 min drive from my house that sell counterfiet and bootleg CDs. Usually in this area they put stickers on them stating 'surface noise' or 'import' or something similar. The scary thing is that they sell well even at 'import' prices. I have seen this trend through out most of my travels. They are usually found intermixed with the legit stock. Keep your eyes open and you will see them (I refuse to beleive that this is isolated only to the areas where I travel and do business)
      • You watch bud, the first thing they will go after will be used cd shops that carry (soon to be mysteriously) "Illegal" Import CD's.

        and to answer you question, I've been in used cd shops in every major city in Florida & have never seen non-legit CD for sale.

      • There's an "anime" shop near here that sells a bunch of Japanese imported CDs. Pretty cool but you have to wonder why they can import and sell them for only $12 a piece. The booklet printing never seems that good and I'm inclined to believe they are bootlegs. Not CDRs but bootlegs anyway.
    • C'mon. I bet the /. editors noticed this, but considering the word "used" might make the article more newsworthy than "counterfeit".

      (I mean, duh, which one will generate more kneejerk response?)

      So the choice is clear. "used" is the right word.
  • Please... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:04PM (#4912680)
    Could the speculation please be saved for the comments page? The blurb for the article is about 1/3 informative, and 2/3 wild speculation about how it's an evil attempt to shut down used music stores (even though the article said nothing about it.)
    • Quoth the article:

      Counterfeit CDs sold across the United States cost music companies $300 million a year, the RIAA said. The numbers are increasing as the equipment to make counterfeit copies becomes cheaper and smaller, according to industry statistics.

      "This new initiative should serve as a clarion call for retail outlets of all shapes and sizes that we take music piracy seriously, and they need to get their house in order," said Hilary Rosen, the association's chief executive officer. "No one should think they operate below the radar anymore."

      Where the hell did they get that 300,000,000 from? Did they send a knowlegable person into a reasonable statistical sampling of the world's gasoline stations, compile lists of pirated songs, and present the evidence? Or did Hilary stop into a gas station on the way back from Vegas and notice a bunch of CDs she could not recognize? Sorry, I don't buy the number or RIAA's ability to distinguish between a legitimate CD, from India for example, and a "pirate."

      This does bode poorly for anyone trying to make their way without RIAA help. They are a racket that follows anticompetive practices such as RIAA only shops, payola and all that.

  • There has never been a Salvation Army that has *not* had a box of PIRATED cassettes, CDs, software, and videos.

    I say Hillary should go on down to the Salvation Army and get into a fight with a drunk about whether or not he can buy those "New Kids on The Block" and "Menudo" cassettes.

    Maybe they'll take her in the back room and beat her head with a 40 Oz. 'till the white meat shows.

    Sigh...dare to dream...

  • Legit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:06PM (#4912688) Homepage Journal
    Last week, Secret Service agents in New York arrested three men and seized 35,000 illegally copied music discs, 10,000 movies on DVD and 421 compact disc burners that are used to make the counterfeit products.

    Seems like some of these are actions would be legitimate. The problem, of course, is where to draw the line. Personally, I think as soon as you start burning CD's for profit then you are pirating. Burning for your own use? That's when the overzealousness kicks in.

    My own personal theoary as to why CD sales are down has to do with local bands. Your local garage band can now make tonnes of CD's of their music fairly cheaply, by-passing the usual media outlets. People buy the music they want from the concerts they go to, and the particular bands that interest them.

    Until the record labels realize that, however, they are going to continue to bleed green.

  • *sigh* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:06PM (#4912689) Homepage
    Last week, Secret Service agents in New York arrested three men and seized 35,000 illegally copied music discs, 10,000 movies on DVD and 421 compact disc burners that are used to make the counterfeit products.

    I guess the "equivalent of 421 compact disc burners" has now officially become 421 compact disc burners.

    +1 for the RIAA spinmeister team.
    -1 for truth.
  • Selling counterfeit CD's is wrong.

    I think it is probaly quite likely that used CD stores would be more likely to sell illegally copied CD's than the local Walmart.

    Small companies and individuals do small simple obvious crimes.

    Large companies and rich individuals do larger, more complex crimes.
  • Nothing in US (or state) law states that selling a used cd is illegal, and there's not a damn thing the RIAA can do about it (regardless of what they say on the back of the jewel case). Nor can they extort money from you for this practice.

    Now, if anybody has proof that this is what the RIAA is trying, I'd love to hear about it and will contribute to their legal defense fund, but let's not jump to conclusions.

  • by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:06PM (#4912694)
    I'm sorry, but using the word 'artist' and 'Garth Brooks' in the same sentence is just not right.

    Shame on you!
    • True. He is, however, an excellent performer. I don't like country music. I don't like his take on country music. I don't like him. I enjoy watching his performances. He really knows how to entertain.
  • Desparate Measures (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macrom ( 537566 ) <> on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:07PM (#4912698) Homepage
    and is it possible these are being used to shut down the mom-and-pop outfits that trade in used CDs

    First they went after colleges and universities, saying that they helped spread piracy by giving students access to fat Internet pipes with which to download songs from Napster. A few colleges panicked and took steps to cut off access to P2P networks, but for the most part that strategy fizzled into the ether.

    Then they went after the P2P networks with moderate success, Napster mainly taking the fall for all of them. Gnutella is untouched, KaZaa still runs free and Usenet is a varitable goldmine if you're patient enough.

    Then they actually tried getting the students. A couple students got hit with suits (some kid from Yale if I remember), but on the whole everyone laughed at them. Success here was minimal.

    So the suits now all sit in some big office around a huge oval table, licking their wounds and wiping the egg off their collective faces. They get the idea that maybe retailers are "helping piracy" by way of their employees. So now they're sending intimidating letters to companies hoping that they get some attention on CNN and BBC World News in their latest efforts to stop piracy.

    One of these days, after all of their avenues have been cut off and all of the barrels are dry, they'll hopefully realize that consumers want something different.
    • by Tomble ( 579119 )
      Gnutella is untouched,
      It is?? News to me.

      I used to use Gnutella quite heavily, but it just got worse and worse. I stopped using it to try some other networks. After a couple of months, I was getting frustrated with all the alternatives, and tried to go back to Gnutella. Even more flooded with fake files and nonsense searches (my servent had a thing that could show peoples search requests) than before, to the extent that they seemed to make up the majority of what appeared. After about 20 minutes of this, I just gave up and haven't gone back- I've got better things I could be doing with my time.

      As it happens, after that, I ended up giving GNUnet [] yet another go, as its promise had seemed so great- the only thing was, I'd not got the damn thing to work before, too buggy and all the configuration for it was too unclear. But LO! With version 0.4.7 (still current), I got it configured correctly and it worked PROPERLY. I managed to download files! Hurrah!

      As there wasn't huge amounts of content, I'm trying to collect a load of it to put onto the network, as the more stuff is available, the more people will stick with it! I recommend to anyone reading this (who uses Linux or unix, etc, as GNUnet doesn't work on Windows yet) to have a try with it, but to bear in mind that it's still in development and still needs work, on the GTK GUI for example. To stay vaguely on-topic, kick the RIAA in the nackers by sticking your MP3s and OGGs on the network- they should be unable to know you did it, let alone prove it (anonymity and deniability is the point of GNUnet), so they won't be able to have you sentenced to death or sold into slavery for it. Please remember, if you want to be decent and help the network run better, choose to allow content migration, I do.

      That was a GNUnet information broadcast. Thank-you for listening ;)

      Oh, and before I go, why would you not want to use, say KaZaA or Fasttrack (or the other one that uses the same system)? Well obviously these aren't really anonymous, exposing people sharing any content to the wrath of organisation FOO, and maybe more to the point, they use partly centralised systems and are run wholly by specific companies whom the RIAA and their ilk can also go after, and possibly put out of business, or force to reveal details of their users. IIRC, court cases along these lines are happening now. Does that sound a safe choice to go with?

  • I'm kind of surprised they haven't hit store's that sell products like those at When I heard the story about them recovering the equiv of 400+ burners, I think, Damn, my store has in stock about 3000 ATA burners, and about 200 stand-alone 3-1 dupe machines. How long before they come after us tech stores for selling these products?
  • What amazes me is just how granular the RIAA shakedown sweep has been.

    Just last week I went down to Geraldi's, my favorite local mom and pop sub shop (seating capacity of about 8, counting the outside table) here in downtown Portand, and noticed a handwritten sign taped to one of the coolers. It reads
    "Greedy music industry says I can't play my own CD's in my own restaurant. The annual fee to play music is $265. Sorry."
    Now, I guess I'm still ambivalent/undecided about the greater argument here, but this particular injunction - visited upon a struggling and honest small business owner - just struck me as being thorough to the point of malice.

    Obviously the owner isn't making any additional sandwich sales from having RIAA-approved background music playing as opposed to the TV news or whatever. Certainly not $265/year's worth.
    • ..not sure what the bogus law is, but as far as I know any "human" can play his own boombox with his "legal" cd's or over the air radio. Now probably the store can't as an official policy play music without paying the vig to the goons, but suppose they didn't tell you to turn off your music when you came in, and for some reason the other customers could hear it and they didn't mind? How it would work is first come, first served, just like the meal. If you as a customer come in, and no one is playing their radio or cd player, swell, it's your choice to fire up tunes or talk of choice and listen until you leave the restaurant, then it's the next customers turn if they choose so.

      Maybe some famous anonymous slashdot internet & music lawyer might want to comment?
    • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:43PM (#4912909)
      I think your local mom and pop have an excellent opportunity to provide entertainment to their customers, while at the same time supporting musicians who are not under the thumb of an RIAA member's oppressive contract scheme.

      Tell the people who run Geraldi's - as well as the owners of other local stores - to get into the local music scene in your city, and to buy the CDs of unsigned local musicians. Tell them to talk with the musicians and get their approval and blessing to play their music in those local stores and restaurants.

      It's free publicity for the musicians, especially if the merchants put up a sign indicating what CDs they are playing that day (and how to get your own/where to go to listen to a live show), and the merchants provide an interesting feature to attract more customers.

      Then, when Hilary Rosen shows up at Geraldi's and says, I thought I told you to stop playing music here or pay our licensing fees, he can tell her to go fsck herself. ;)

      • by FredGray ( 305594 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @12:19AM (#4913472) Homepage
        Tell the people who run Geraldi's - as well as the owners of other local stores - to get into the local music scene in your city, and to buy the CDs of unsigned local musicians. Tell them to talk with the musicians and get their approval and blessing to play their music in those local stores and restaurants.

        To add to this advice: remember that the ASCAP and BMI licenses are in principle for the songwriters, not the performers. You'll have to be very careful not to play anything that's even remotely close to a cover of a copyrighted song.

  • There has been a dramatic drop in the release of new artists and CDs in the last (approximately) two years. Something around 30% less. These sort of figures would show a court that the RIAA would seem to be interested in nothing more than control and to gain control distortion of the facts is a legimate tactic.

    Distortion of the truth is nothing new. Politicians, newspapers and even myself are guilty of it by omitting facts or over emphasis of point. But all three of us have some accountability, in my case either my manager or my wife.

    Can a group like the EFF get a test case going (like in the original BetaMax case) to see what the courts would decide. Then the FUD would die right off.

    I forget where I read it. It would have been either /. or TheRegister (possibly the BBC or New York Times).
  • If I can't buy a used cd, what do you think I'm going to do?

    copy it from someone else.
  • I mean, come on... we didn't think we were actually buying anything, did we? We haven't allowed ourselves to believe that the physical media into which copyrighted information is embedded actually becomes property once paid for, have we? How silly... we're lucky, some may even say blessed, to have so wonderous an oportunity as to pay a one-time (and fully taxable) fee for indefinite rental rights to said vessel of copyrighted creation. Resale? Don't you feel that this is asking a bit much? The RIAA can only do so much, and I feel that it is childish (perhaps even morally wrong) for us to continue whining in this fashion. All we do is take, take, take from this honorable, upstanding congregation of the most hardworking individuals in the recording world. Perhaps, instead of crying over some antiquity that is the idea of "used" record stores, we should take this moment to give something back to the RIAA. I say: rush out and show the true colors of your consumerism this instant! Don't be shy, you know you want the "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" soundtrack...
  • Declining sales ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sh0rtie ( 455432 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:12PM (#4912728)

    of course their declining record sales have nothing to do with the public is now fed up of mass marketed pop music where record contracts are won not by original musical talent and song writing , but by nieve and desperate [] individuals in f***ing competitions [] while real talent falls into the gutter, leaving a trail of destruction [] in its path while the instigators [] get rich.

    The only thing killing music [] is not kids downloading mp3's or pirating dvds at market stalls ,but by the industry itself, kids are simply getting ripped off [] by these marketing/record companies and have just started to realise globally [] they are being taken for idiots

    why is it that so many companies have so much contempt for their customers and choose to be greedy instead of actually concentrating on superior products ?
  • by Orne ( 144925 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:16PM (#4912766) Homepage
    They need to blow Electronics Boutique out of the water for trafficking in used DVDs (including music video DVDs)... not to mention played (and presumably copied) games.

    Then they can go after Walmart because they re-release some of their products after editing the content.

    After that, might as well go after Borders & FYE, because of those machines that let you listen to the music before you buy. After all, not buying a CD because it sucks is bad for business.
  • by Mansing ( 42708 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:20PM (#4912778)
    As a business plan, suing everyone is not very clever. What happens when the RIAA has sued all of their customers, retailers, and distributors?

    Does that mean they'll finally go away?
  • by The_Rook ( 136658 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:24PM (#4912795)
    the problem with the riaa's strategy against used cd shops is that the shops themselves don't carry pirated cds.

    customer a sells a cd to the shop. shop marks up the cd 20 to 50%. then sells to customer b. customer b copies the cd at home (or several selected songs) and returns the cd. the result is that customer b gets his or her music for a couple of bucks all of which goes to the shop.

    the problem for the riaa is that the shop never has an illegal cd, never has to copy them. and i sincerely doubt that used cd shops keep records of their customers. and even if they did, the riaa has no grounds to simply requisition customer lists and search their residences.
  • I can't be the only one who is getting really sick of hearing about the RIAA shenanigans (I'm not bitching about Slashdot.. I mean in general). The more crap they try to pull, the more they guarantee that they will only be a flash in the pan.

    No organization whose sole motive is greed will ever last. Microsoft started traveling down this path and is now learning about it the hard way on many fronts... which is cool, because they are learning and trying to adjust. RIAA, on the other hand, is incapable of adjusting their greediness because it is their only reason for existence.

    I wish they would just hurry up and die.
  • I am not advocating this at all, and I'm certain many people already do it, just a point of discussion.

    The article states that cd sales have descreased slightly over the last two years. While obviously some of this is due to piracy, I believe that the majority of the drop is due to A) The fact that cd's are just too expensive for B) The crap that artists are putting out now.

    The second point being why I am in favor of individual track purchase online.

    Anyway, one way to bring the average price down would be to simply purchase a CD new, rip the tracks and then sell the disk to a used cd store. The cd store is not in violation so they should be safe. So now what you've done is effectively saved a couple dollars off the CD's retail price, and given someone else the opportunity to buy a physically brand new disk for a discounted price.

    While this does involve an illegal act on the original buyers part, do the ends justify the means? If the RIAA is told anonymously en mass that people who engage in this behavior would stop is cd prices were actually worth paying, maybe it could happen...
  • They're just going after stores where RIAA reps have found and purchased unlicensed compilations (BEST OF LATIN HITS!, etc.) or counterfeit copies of commercial releases. It's really not significantly different from the bootleg raids they do now and then. Billboard has a more detailed article [].
  • Remember the Slashdot story [] from the other day about the RIAA press release touting the capture of the equivalent of 421 CD burners, when only 156 had actually been found?

    Well, in the CNN article [] this story links to, that has become simply "421 compact disc burners." No mention of "equivalency" anywhere.


  • Locally, Tower Records advertises on the radio that they will sell you a CD, you rip a copy, and then they'll buy it back for $4.00 less than they charged.

    I'm not easy to shock but that seems pretty "out there" to me.

  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:35PM (#4912861) Homepage Journal
    The article specifically mentions these. I've seen these first hand - they're usually poorly produced 'Greatest Hits' collections from defunct artists with typically shoddy artwork.

    I thought they were something specifically produced for this market, but after reading the article I think the RIAA has the right to go after these guys. Its one thing to make copies for personal use, but entirely another to mass produce and sell them in a convenience store chain.

  • The problem that we have here is twofold - we can't boycott buying CDs, because if we do, the RIAA will claim that the lack of sales is due to increased piracy, and we can't buy more CDs because the RIAA covers up their sales figures. The RIAA is continually getting stupider and stupider as time goes on. Soon they will be selling music on CDs that crash computers, blow speakers, ruin automobile decks, and automatically erase after 12 hours. I don't know what we can do anymore.
  • more FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @10:39PM (#4912885) Homepage Journal
    Of course this is more FUD. One wonders why, if the outlets were actually selling counterfeit CDs, they would just not send the authorities to arrest the suspects.

    Rather they seem to be using this as an opportunity to intimidate alternative outlets and spread their unique interpretation fo the truth. I always find it amusing that they continue to blame various forms of piracy for the decline of sales, even in light of continuing revelations to the contrary []. Of course, the sad thing is that the report just regurgitate the alleged facts.

    The RIAA is probably most concerned about lack of control. They went through a lot of trouble insuring that they had control over the record stores. They have lost some of that control though discounters, but managed to minimize the loss through marketing deals. This is just another symptom of their compulsive control behavior. It is impossible to control all these little outlets, and therefor their price fixing policies [] will not be as effective.

    Clearly, the media is not going to fix this. The congress is not going to fix this. I encourage everyone to go out into their communities and find independent music. Buy tickets to local concerts at local venues. Buy the CDs. Do not copy the music. We will only create a new market if we are willing to support the new market.

  • Does anyone have a clue what the RIAA thinks about barter and swap? I can't seem to find much on this topic.
  • by Hidyman ( 225308 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @11:03PM (#4913021) Homepage
    If you can simply go to the local library and borrow a cd what is to stop you from ripping it. And since all customers are pirates, the only logical conclusion is to sue those libraries.
    Oh, wait, we had better call the MPAA because I just found out you can get the books that some movies are based on, then you can take them home and type them into Word and print them out. Maybe they should sue MS for creating a software program that can be used to copy copyrighted material.
    I'm glad we have some responsibe organizations looking out for our interests.
  • In the numerous times I have read threads on the RIAA, a common train of thought is that the RIAA should be going after the distribution of truely "pirated" music in the form of sale of physical media at a profit. Not the masses of P2P downloaders ripping their own CDs -- its ok, they bought the album but just lost it or their friend has it and they are going to riding with you in the car some day. Going after the retailers and the media duplicators is the right thing for the RIAA to do. I think its in their best interest PR-wise to do so and drop the Internet outrage. Their exaggeration of the number of CD burners was laughable, however. They counted a fast CD burner as more than 1 CD Burner based on its burn rate faster than 4x.

    The RIAA and MPAA could make a fortune just walking down the streets of downtown Manhattan. Every block has someone selling first-run movies on video and the latest, "hot" CDs on a card table. This would keep them busy for a long, long time.

  • price of CD's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by olivrwendl ( 465918 )
    I like how riaa links the drop in sales to pirating , but they never bring up the fact that the price of new CD's is now closing in on $20. Economics 101 says that when the price increases sales should fall. Could this be the real reason for the drop ion sales?
  • by dl107227 ( 632747 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @11:09PM (#4913058)
    When I was in Moscow three years ago I bought the complete works of R.E.M. and Brian Eno in MP3 format for 3 dollars each from a street vendor. I could have also bought Windows ME (except I have better taste than that) and hundreds of other titles for the same price. Mom and Pop, gas stations and the dude with the duffle bag selling pirated music at the bus stops in Richmond, VA (where i'm currently located) have nothing compared to the overseas countfeiters.
  • by sven_kirk ( 562794 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @11:09PM (#4913061)
    Car makes to sue all used car dealerships.

    And, I just can't wait until the day I have to pay royalties for a cd that I have already purchased.
  • Disclaimer: I don't know more about this than what's in the article, but in my (shitty) neighborhood, there are tons of stores and gas stations that sell *blatently* riped off CD's and tapes (i.e.: you can see the dots of the dot-matrix printer used to make the CD cover). Hell, there's even an entire store a few blocks away that *only* sells copies.

    I don't believe this has anything to do with mp3s, or the DMCA.

  • Mix tapes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RalphSlate ( 128202 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2002 @11:30PM (#4913167) Homepage
    A lot of music stores near me, in predominantly Black neighborhoods, advertise that they sell "mix tapes". When I've been in NYC, I've seen mix tapes to be basically illegally recorded "greatest hits" from various artists, usually the popular songs of the day. These have always seemed fairly illegal to me.

    I wonder if the RIAA is going to go after these people, and if this is going to raise an uproar in the Black community; these tapes seem to be part of the culture.

  • RIAA Death Throes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:32AM (#4914203) Homepage
    In a way, what we are seeing here is gratifying. It's pretty clear that the RIAA has completely abandoned all pretense of being the good guys. Notice that they've even lightened up on the "protecting artists" blather lately? They know nobody buys that crap anymore. The RIAA has entered the thrashing, raving, foaming at the mouth stage, where they don't care how ugly they are or who sees it.

    The RIAA is a doomed vampire that knows it is about to turn into dust and blow away. It is frantically looking around for any exposed vein it can still suck before the sun comes up.

  • by Quixadhal ( 45024 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @04:14PM (#4917663) Homepage Journal
    Now the RIAA will provide us with EULA's, since they are the only way I can think of to prevent me (legally) from re-selling a cd which is not a pirated copy, nor a demo "not-for-distribution" disc.

    I think the RIAA needs to take a step back from the glue machine, as the fumes are obviously affecting them. You idiots EXIST to provide us with entertainment, that's what we pay you for... not to be called thieves and have even the most basic of property rights twisted and abused to the point where our founding fathers would run screaming in terror. The people who run the RIAA are EVIL "tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood" (fair-use quote, *ptttb*), and their monopolistic hold over the recording industry needs to be broken.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb