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RIAA To Sue Hundreds Of File Swappers 2047

Shackleford writes "The Washington Post has an article saying that the RIAA is preparing hundreds of lawsuits against Internet users who illegally trade copyrighted music files. The lawsuits will target people who share 'substantial' amounts of copyrighted music, but anyone who shares illegal files is at risk, RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a conference call today. The first round of lawsuits will be prepared during the next eight to 10 weeks. They will ask for injunctions and monetary damages against file swappers. It seems that after a federal judge ruled in April that file-sharing services have legal uses and thus should not be shut down, the RIAA has found that it must go after individual users rather than the services that they use." palmech13 points to a similar article on Yahoo News.
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RIAA To Sue Hundreds Of File Swappers

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  • by bytes256 ( 519140 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:34PM (#6295641)
    SCO sues the RIAA for stealing their business model
  • Good thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Waab ( 620192 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:35PM (#6295649) Homepage

    I only use file swapping services for new release movies, software and pr0n. I have nothing to fear from the RIAA.

  • by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) * <mrpuffypants&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:35PM (#6295652)
    The announcement is part of an attempt to rid the Internet of illegitimate versions of copyrighted works as it tries to find a way to encourage legitimate music download services.

    in other news every single mp3 dissapeared today from the internet. Hillary Rosen was heard to scream ""
  • Huh??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:37PM (#6295669) Homepage Journal
    "The Washington Post has an article saying that it is preparing hundreds of lawsuits against Internet users who illegally trade copyrighted music files."

    So the Washington Post is suing music file traders??? Since when did they join the RIAA?
  • by MerryGoByeBye ( 447358 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:37PM (#6295670) Journal
    I don't understand! We sue the fuckers, and they still won't buy our products!

    -- Jack Valenti
  • by 73939133 ( 676561 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:37PM (#6295677)
    These companies do have copyrights on the songs in question and their copyrights are being violated. Going after the people who violate their copyrights seems legitimate to me. This is the way things should work.

    What I have always objected to with the RIAA actions is that they have been trying to restrict what I can do even though I'm not trading in copyrighted content. It is the chilling effect on legitimate uses that have made past legal actions and laws like the DMCA so harmful.
  • by ProtonMotiveForce ( 267027 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:38PM (#6295692)
    What's wrong with this, supposedly, why does the article make it sound like "Oh no, more evil antics from the RIAA"!

    They are doing the _right_ thing. Go after people breaking the law, not the entire service.

    Newsbreak! You don't have the right to download free music!
  • Can you say boycott? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mindlessrabble ( 210490 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:39PM (#6295707)
    If we all boycott RIAA members products (yes downloads too), we can hurt them.

    There is room for a meeting of the minds. RIAA members basically charge $15.00 for something that costs them $.25 ($.01 for the plastic and $.24 to the artist). No industry that has to mark up raw materials 60 times to cover marketing and distribution can expect to survive.

    At the very least a boycott of just a couple of months would defund the RIAA.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:53PM (#6295928)
      Your understanding of the costs is incorrect. A finished CD with jewel case and printed artwork is closer to $0.50 than to $0.01. You may be confusing the pricing on CD-Rs and pressed CDs. CD-Rs are much cheaper. You've also misestimated the royalties. Compulsories can be $0.70 for one CD alone.

      Record companies sell CDs into the channel for less than $10.00 each. The margin structure for the CD industry is similar to many, many other industries.

      You have plenty of legitimate reasons to crucify the recording industry. This isn't one of the good ones.

  • by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus language> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:39PM (#6295708) Journal
    Can all of us file a lawsuit claming that the RIAA continues to overcharge for the sale of CD's even after courts found them guilty, rapes its musicians of duly earned money, and for blatent infringement on our rights as a consumer pertaining to free personal use of music purchased? You know only cause its like calling the kettle black to say they are so high and mighty and we are all evil law breakers
  • by rice_web ( 604109 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:40PM (#6295713)
    I was holding back, but it's time to start a militia and hit 'em where it hurts: the stomach, elbow, etc.

    I can assemble a force of 1,000 drunk North Dakotans with hunting rifles in about a week!
  • by DarkBlackFox ( 643814 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:40PM (#6295714)
    This could potentially be a good thing:

    Out of the hundreds of users targeted by these lawsuits, all it would take is one to stand his/her ground and fight. Once one rises to the challenge, a following will form. Once the following is formed, more and more attention will be levied on the case. The more attention the case recieves, the more people will become aware of the monopolistic and grossly unconstitutional actions of the RIAA. Once more people become aware, Congress will have to start paying attention to the people again.

    Keep in mind, up to this point all the people (or students) the RIAA has sued have settled. What would happen if at least one stands up and goes to court?

    The constitutionality of the DMCA and associated laws would undoubtedly be the first things reviewed, and again, given enough attention, could be soundly defeated.

    Heres to crossing my fingers.
    • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:07PM (#6296156) Homepage
      Tell me again, if you will, what the base of the defense will be for the illegal file trader who "stands up" to the RIAA? That they made SURE that all the people who downloaded music from them owned copies of the music?

      If you take the criminals out of file trading, then the rest of us who do it for legitimate reasons can quit worrying about having our doors kicked in by the Feds.

  • by Nephilium ( 684559 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:40PM (#6295720) Homepage
    I thought it wasn't the sharing that was illegal, but the downloading of material you don't have rights to. This looks like it's just going to fall under safe harbor...


  • FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:40PM (#6295722)
    This is FUD pure and simple. They simply don't have the resources in lawyers and the like to take this to a widespread level. A tactic used by civil rights workers back in the 60's was to have so many people present, and so many people arrested that they overwhelmed the system, forcing the let-go of the rest. If enough people get involved in enough jurisdictions, than at least one of them will get an intelligent judge. With that intelligent judge a precedent about fair use with regards to music can be set, letting the rest go.

    Enough cases and favorable precedent will be set somewhere. Some of these precedents will make their way up to district courts, and could eventually make their way all the way to the Supreme Court, a risk the **AA's just can't take. We've seen this before from the **AA's where they were afraid of a precedent going against them and dropped the case. They know about this, and don't dare make this as widespread as many people seem to believe they would.

    • Re:FUD (Score:5, Informative)

      by guacamolefoo ( 577448 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:56PM (#6295979) Homepage Journal
      They simply don't have the resources in lawyers and the like to take this to a widespread level.

      You have no idea what you are talking about. I saw Directv do this to a bunch of people in federal court over access cards.

      What they do is hire an el-cheapo lawyer with some federal court skills and they file a complaint against 50 or so people. Then they use the logs that they have generated to convince a judge that the case should be decided at summary judgment.

      Half the plaintiffs ignore the pleadings and get hit with default judgments and the other half talk to a lawyer and find out that, yeah, they broke the law and there is no reasonable defense. Then they negotiate a deal on the order of several to ten thousand dollars (which is what Directv was doing in my area).

      The lawyer gets a percentage of what he collects for the big company, and the consumers get slammed for stealing.

      I'm sorry that the /. mindset is generally opposed to the idea that sharing copyrighted music files is breaking the law, but I think that you will find that the courts will disagree.

      That being said, I think copyright needs some revision, but I think you seriously underestimate the exposure that real people have here and how it can fuck up their lives. I have actually seen it happen to others and I know several attorneys (who are good attorneys) who could do nothing to stop it in the Directv cases. I expect that the RIAA stuff will be almost verbatim in how it works.

  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:41PM (#6295730) Journal
    Isn't this pretty much what everyone wants? If someone stabs someone else to death with a knife, you don't go after the knife maker (P2P software) you go after the murderer (copyright violator).

    (it's just an analogy, so save your breath... I'm not at all suggesting that copyright violators are equated with murderers and you know it)

    My big concern is that I want to make sure the RIAA/MPAA/etc. are VERY careful about who the sue. They need to make VERY SURE that those they are suing are actually making the copyrighted works available for download or or downloading them. No blanket lawsuits that snag people who haven't done anything wrong (we all know the Professor with the with mp3 of his speach or the kid with the Harry Potter book report). And they also need to be very careful about snagging people who are sharing songs that the bands don't mind being shared. There are many bands out there that don't care at all if their live performances are shared amongst fans.

    But I really have no problem with people being sued for sharing commercialy available copyrighted works. That's the law, it's how it should be, and it means that there's NO NEED for new laws to cover this.

    • by Jester99 ( 23135 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:49PM (#6295857) Homepage
      ... but then there are gray areas.

      I own CDs of several artists... somewhere. I know they're under a pile of crap.

      But when I want to listen to that one song from a Dave Matthews Band CD that I own, it's faster for me to fire up Kazaa, pull the MP3 down the T1, and play it, vs. rooting through all my crap to find the CD.

      That's legal, fair use. (Isn't it?) However, the RIAA would only see "Dave Matthews Band - Crush.mp3" flying to my computer, and slap me with a lawsuit. That's a hassle I can't afford (in time or money) to deal with.

      Now, yes, there are people who just download songs they haven't purchased a copy of. But, my point is that the RIAA can't just assert that because the music is theirs vs. being an MP3 of an indie band, it's illegal for me to download it.
      • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:00PM (#6296037) Journal
        Fair Use provisions of copyright law don't necessarily say that you have to be allowed to pursue the easiest possible way to exercise your fair use rights. You're right, technically you're not violating the law.

        Like I said, I'm OK with this as long as they tread carefully. When I go online looking for live concerts (mostly of bands who are OK with it), I'm stunned at the amount of copyrighted works out there. Many many people with hundreds upon hundreds of commercially available copyrighted albums just sitting there for the taking. Just now I fired up Soulseek and it took me all of 30 seconds to find about 50 people sharing the latest Metallica and Linkin Park albums. The very first person who's catalog I scanned had about 60 or so full CDs shared... and as far as I could tell, they're all commercially available. If they go after those folks, I have no problem with it.

    • by splattertrousers ( 35245 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:53PM (#6295930) Homepage
      Isn't this pretty much what everyone wants? If someone stabs someone else to death with a knife, you don't go after the knife maker (P2P software) you go after the murderer (copyright violator).

      So what are you saying? That all copyright violators are equated with muderers?!!??!? You liberal pinko commie feminazis and/or fat religious right rich boys are all the same!

      (it's just an analogy, so save your breath... I'm not at all suggesting that copyright violators are equated with murderers and you know it)

      Oh, so now you're flip-flopping?!?!? You're no better than that greedy Clinton and/or Bush, changing your position so that you can line your pockets with money from the unions and/or oil cartels!

  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <[valuation] [at] []> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:42PM (#6295749)
    Presumably, internet accounts are maintained in the name(s) of the adults in the house. Thus, irregardless of who is swapping songs over the broadband connect, there will be lots of unsuspecting Moms & Dads getting hit with these lawsuits out of nowhere.

    Are we about to see the first "reverse class-action" lawsuit, where all the *defendants* band together to protect themselves against 1 plaintant? I call dibs on the patent :)
  • We're never happy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weave ( 48069 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:42PM (#6295750) Journal
    Let's see, in the beginning, our collective position was that it's not the fault of ISPs and programs that their users use them in illegal ways and targetting the ISPs and software vendors was not right. Common carrier arguments and all.

    So now RIAA are targeting people who are sharing the stuff out, now we're all going to say how evil that is too.

    Isn't it great to be fickle! :)

    But seriously, what happens if a user doesn't know their stuff is being shared? What if the next windows worm searches out for someone's legal mp3 collection and then connects to a p2p network and shares it out, all unknown to the user? A stretch? Hardly, certainly possible.

    Didn't someone just get a case thrown out for having child porn on their computer because they maintained that their computer was hacked and the stuff planted there?

    I assume RIAA is doing this in civil courts and hence won't need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but I am still curious how they intend to make a case that each user actually knew they were sharing files.

    (I also assume they don't expect anyone to fight it and to just roll over and settle...)

    Still, if this kills illegal trading, I think it's a good thing. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe people should pay for this stuff and if it's a load of rubbish -- which most of it is -- don't buy it. At least then maybe they will stop blaming the net for declining sales and maybe, just maybe, produce some better and more diverse talent at a fair price. But I am still concerned about innocents being caught in the collateral damage and hence don't trust RIAA to execute this fairly.

  • This is good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Night Goat ( 18437 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:44PM (#6295771) Homepage Journal
    I for one have no problem with this, other than my wanting to side with the little guy and not "The Man." It's illegal, as far as I know, to distribute content that you don't have the right to distribute. Better the RIAA go after actual lawbreakers than they go after services which are used for legitimate purposes as well.

    Oh, and for those of you who got freaked out after reading that the RIAA's cracking down, there's always EMusic [] and the Apple Store. I did notice that it is frequently cheaper to just buy the CD at Cheap [] than it is to pay $9.99 for the AAC-encoded album. Check there first! Just a public service announcement so you don't get screwed like I did. :)
  • by TurboDog99 ( 442475 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:44PM (#6295783)
    As I've said before, I think the best solution for the RIAA will be to clean up their image and get people on their side. If people saw artists and their organization as people who need to make a living instead of money hungry whores, they may get a bit more sympathy from the market. These lawsuits are probably costing them more than they are making from them, and the bad PR is just driving their customers away instead of bringing them back. I think what the lawsuits will instead cause is that the next big P2P network will be encrypted and anonymous like Freenet is striving for.
  • by danny256 ( 560954 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:45PM (#6295792)
    I think I'll share a few more albums to help out the poor Americans, I don't think the RIAA is going to launch any international lawsuits.
  • by DeeKayWon ( 155842 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:47PM (#6295835)
    ...since all I share is FLACs and therefore nobody ever downloads from me. Yay for alternative formats!
  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:49PM (#6295859) Journal
    I liked this unintentionally honest quote from the article:

    On free P2P services, "You go for Britney Spears, you get porn. You go for Pokemon, you get porn," [Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) President Cary] Sherman said. "When people are presented with a really good user experience at a reasonable price, they're going to use that."

    I agree. A really good user experience is one that replaces Britney Spears with anything.
    • by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:00PM (#6296050) Homepage Journal
      On free P2P services, "You go for Britney Spears, you get porn. You go for Pokemon, you get porn," [Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) President Cary] Sherman said. "When people are presented with a really good user experience at a reasonable price, they're going to use that."

      In related news, Adult Film Industry Association (AFIA) President Seymour Butts threatened a lawsuit against RIAA President Cary Sherman for suggesting that people utilize free P2P services to illegally download copywritten pr0n. "Hey, just 'cause your customers are unhappy with you doesn't mean you should attack our service. And speaking of service, you should see what I did to your mom last night."


  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:49PM (#6295864)
    This is precisely and exactly what they should be doing. Their attempts to ban useful technologies just because they can be used for copyright infringement can and should fail. Their attempts to mandate technologies of control ("My Computer" indeed!) can and should fail.

    If you are caught violating copyright law hundreds of times with a flagrant disregard for that law, you can and should pay for the crime.

    The laws we have are adequate. We don't need new IP law (unless it be to roll back terms -- retroactive extension should never have been allowed).

    I have tons of MP3 and Ogg files, all cut from CDs I purchased. I've never downloaded a song. Really and truly.

    What the "content industry" needs to wake up and realize is that the digital technology has changed the marketplace. People no longer want to pay $20 for a CD that costs $0.35 to make (marginal cost). Peoplw want to download music. They want to use it, convert its format, burn it to disc themselves, store it in SD cards, whatever. The music industry should be doing market research and offering "Napster-like" subscription services ($5/Gig/month, for example). People want to be legal.

    Meanwhile, I'm all for suing the actual people violating the law. My gripe has been attacking ISPs, P2P server operators, etc. who are not actually engaged in violation of the law. By the RIAA's logic, there should be no such thing as a copier or a fax machine. They can be used to infringe copyright, therefore they should not be allowed. Mind you, they tried to say that about copiers, and abaout VCRs, and about cassette recorders, and...
  • by hyrdra ( 260687 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:52PM (#6295913) Homepage Journal
    What do they expect hundreds of lawsuits will do? Stop file sharing? Last time I checked 40% of internet users use file sharing in some form, and there are millions of people sharing illegal, copyrighted files.

    This is bigger than they are, and they need to realize that. Maybe when the whole thing started with FTP (even before Napster), they could have put a significant dent in file swapping, but now it's too late. There is already a kind of critical mass that will surpass even the largest file swappers -- IF they are brought down. The system will quickly replace them, and worse yet (for the RIAA), more may even be encouraged by the significant news media this is sure to attract.

    Anyone besides me notice a correlation between file sharing, P2P networks, and the metallica lawsuits? It took off. I personally know people who would never had touched a computer that are now online primarily because of the free music and file sharing.

    Attempting to bring down the large few isn't going to do anything but perhaps scare a very few small fish off (primarily the consumers). The people who have multi hard disk RAIDS are most probably technically inclined and won't scare easily or find ways to anonomously distribute their files.

    Even so, how can the RIAA blame their users? A lot of the pirated music today is full of lyrics about stealing and "playin'", that is, the same product they are trying to sell and the message they are sending is the same one they're fighting. I'm not saying all or even most music is like that, even for the RIAA's holders, I'm just saying teenage eminem fans aren't going to be scared off -- they'll do it anyway.

    In a way, the golden age of profiting crazily from record labeling is at an end. What lies ahead is most probably better music, better distribution, and much better artists. Once again in the history of music -- talent and skill are going to be a deciding factor, not "product creation" by multi-billion dollar grossing labels selling over priced junk.

    I can't wait!
  • Some thoughts... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at.> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:56PM (#6295978) Journal
    If *everyone* shares 25 songs, who are they going to sue then?

    Plus, if I share 10,000 txt files renamed to 'song-artist.mp3', will I get some papers? Sounds like a good way to countersue.

    Or, place a disclaimer on all your shares - "This is for personal use only under the Fair Use Act. Unauthorized use or download is strictly prohibited. Do not download if you are not the owner of these files." - perhaps this could also be a challenge to EULAs...

    Last I checked, it's not illegal to have a PC open to the net - if it was, many Windows users would be rubbing sholders with drug offenders in prison.

    Is the RIAA downloading these songs to check if they are real, correctly labeled and such? If so, they are breaking the law (IANAL). Do two wrongs make a (copy)right? If not, wouldn't this be considered barratry/harrasment?

  • by arcanumas ( 646807 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:57PM (#6295994) Homepage
    By doing this, the RIAA does not find a cure. Just treating the symptoms. This will not stop people from copying if they feel they should. They might find an other way of doing so (IRC, new P2P ..) but they wil not be stopped. RIAA should search in making people WANT to buy originals, not FORCING them to buy.
    I think the biggest proof that people are willing to buy songs if they find it interesting is the success of iTunes. The same people who use their Internet connection to Download by paying could just as well use Limewire or whatever for free. But they don't. And i don't think it's because they don't know how to find free MP3' or they want rare music. It's because they (for some reason) find it interesting.
    RIAA Should try an approach where they do not threaten the consumers but provide them with value for their money. They could do it by , lets say, providing Albums that have more the one song that is good. Or they could include extra material (maybe a DVD with video and whatever).

    There is one thing sure. If i pay 20-25 Euros for a CD where i can get the exactly same satisfaction downloading from Gnutella, i won't buy it.

  • by Clomer ( 644284 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:03PM (#6296087)
    This is a legitimate thing for the RIAA to be doing. Going after the file-sharing networks is one thing, and a judge (rightfully) ruled that they can't be shut down because of the actions of individual users. Strict enforcement against guilty individual users is the right way to enforce copyright law.

    It is not right and rightfully illegal to acquire copyrighted material without paying for it. The direction that the RIAA is taking now is where they should have gone from the get-go. I cannot, and will not, support people who illegally trade copyrighted files.

    Don't get me wrong. I am against DRM, the DMCA, and other such things that erode our fair-use rights, but we, the end users, need to show some responsibility and accountability. The whole reason the RIAA and MPAA (and whatever other *AA exists) want strict DRM controls is because of the rampant illegal transfering of files. And nobody can claim that it's not wide-spread.

    Please, people, don't embark in sharing copyrighted files. Whenever you do, you only make the situation worse.
  • by Ender77 ( 551980 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:06PM (#6296136)
    This is just a publicity stunt and nothing more. They are using the same scare tactics that they always use to try and scare people away from P2P networks. I am pretty sure that they WILL sue a couple of people and make Examples out of them, but I really doubt that they will sue hundreds (must be that RIAA math again) of people who have no money. It is just not financially feasible.
  • a pondering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:07PM (#6296159) Homepage Journal
    /me looks at a rather substantial collection of mp3's and ripped cd's ....

    At first thought, I was a bit worried about how much more out of control fiascos like this can get. And you know, the interesting thing is that my second thought wasn't "gee, I should rm -rf that collection and never trade music again", it was "hrm, I wonder how we are going to beat the bastards this time and trade music anonymously".

    These underhanded scare tactics don't drive people back; they fuel innovation for the exact things they are trying to stop.
  • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane&gst,com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:12PM (#6296223) Journal

    If you are named in one of these lawsuits, and you didn't do it, call the EFF, now. A few expensive countersuits will keep the RIAA from using this as scare tactics. Extra funding for the EFF from the RIAA would be nice, too.

    If you are named in one of these lawsuits, and you did it, but the damages against you are ridiculously high, call the EFF, now. Don't settle out-of-court for your life savings without getting some decent advice first.

    If you aren't named in one of these lawsuits, but the idea of an industry group beating up indiscriminantly on thousands of individuals makes you mad, call the EFF, now, and make a donation!

    That's the Electronic Freedom Foundation [], folks...

  • The real question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by badasscat ( 563442 ) <> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:24PM (#6296371)
    Saw this quote on

    "It's one of the few strategies left," Radcliffe said.

    The question I have then is, what's the RIAA going to do when this doesn't work? What do they have left? And how long before they realize that this strategy, like all their others, is a massive failure?
  • by Grabble ( 91256 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:37PM (#6296540)

    I'm posting this after the big "primetime moderation" window, but I think it's worth saying...

    The RIAA's most recent action will motivate p2p programmers to introduce anonymity into their trading system, either by creating a new protocol or (more likely) modifying existing protocols and clients.

    It's inevitable.

    The veil of anonymity will prompt more people to share their entire music library. This will increase the diversity and wide availability of files.

    In a p2p app, diversity and wide availability of files means that users a) find what they want and b) can download it quickly.

    P2P trading platforms that a) are easy-to-use, b) offer multi-source downloads (for speed) and c) basic anonymity will thrive like never before because many p2p users will open up those massive libraries that are currently unshared out of fear of lawsuit.

    The threat of being tracked down will have been removed by the always-responsive p2p programmers, leading to wide-spread sharing by people currently to scared to share, people with something to lose: adults with incredible collections... and a former fear of the RIAA.

  • Unclean hands (Score:5, Insightful)

    by terrymr ( 316118 ) <> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:44PM (#6296637)
    An issue here is whether the RIAA can go into court claiming to be an injured party when they've been found to be operating an illegal price control system.
  • by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:46PM (#6296657)
    I have to confess that I have not used file trading software because of my occupation, so there is realistically no way the RIAA will ever sue me. However, I have a substantial number of MP3 files on my hard drive that I dutifully ripped from every CD or other source I own.

    I would love to have someone accuse me illegally possessing those MP3s. I would produce the original CD from which I ripped the track, show that I OWN that source, assert my fair use rights, and promptly counterclaim for substantial damages of my own. Think about this: If I have paid for the content, and can legally rip an MP3 from whatever source for my own use, why can't I get a copy of an MP3 version of content I already paid for from another source? That sounds like a FAIR use of the content to me. In fact, I think that prohibiting such conversions to force consumers to repurchase the same content in a new format is an UNFAIR and deceptive business practice. In court, suing individual file traders has the potential to quickly become a bottomless pit of evdentiary and other legal issues for each file alleged to have been illegally downloaded.

  • by Cloudgatherer ( 216427 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:48PM (#6296691)
    I think this whole problems stems from the way copyright law has developed over the last century. Currently, organizations such as the RIAA and the MPAA have a "natural rights" position: We own it, and you'll pay us what we want or else.

    Unfortunately, consumers don't think this way. We tend to take a more utilitarian approach. The authors of the U.S. Constitution have a short sentence about this very issue, and that leans towards social compromise: limited exclusive rights for author, use by the general public.

    I find it ironic that some take the position of "it's against the law so I won't do it." Problem with this reasoning is the fact that the content industries have been writing the laws for years, pushing them through with donations, and uniting to block any legislation remotely negative.

    My last comment is about the punishments faced by those accused. I would hope one of the cases goes all the way to a jury trial and have some high school kid possible "fined" millions of dollars. How "fair and just" would that seem to the average American? Later.
  • by Pac ( 9516 ) <> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:53PM (#6296756)
    This whole issue has been going downstream for a while now. RIAA is so desperate now that I would pity them, were them not an evil organisation that in a sane society would already have been extinct.

    Come on, people. I read you saying "They are right, sue the infringers", "Good for them", "I don't care about music pirates". Let me tell you something: you are full of it. The "infringers", the "pirates", the "criminals" are you brother, your son and your neighbour. And they are doing exactly what they should, nailing this industry's coffin byte by byte.

    The cartels won't change. Like a dying dinossaur, they will try to survive by every possible way, be it buying laws, buying copyright extensions, using the money they steal from the public and the artists to sue everyone in their way, bribe a few and mindwash the rest.

    We can,t expect any help from legislators, they are all already bought. We can't expect any help from the media, the media, the music industry and the movie industry are owned by the same corporations.

    We can only expect help from ourselves, they can't sue everyone. Thay can' jail everyone and the Courts will eventually notice that an all-out forced money transfer from the consumers to an industry that refuses to advance is not a possibility.

    So please, forget this righteous crap some of you keep regurgitating. Screw what the law RIAA bought says. This is war, RIAA is the enemy and it ends when they and their outdated business model are gone. It is as simple as that.
  • by cK-Gunslinger ( 443452 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:53PM (#6296761) Journal
    The RIAA press release gives a nice list of artists who haven't a clue and shall never receive any $$ from me.
    The Dixie Chicks, Grammy award winning and two-time Diamond award recipients said, "It may seem innocent enough, but every time you illegally download music a songwriter doesn't get paid. And, every time you swap that music with your friends a new artist doesn't get a chance. Respect the artists you love by not stealing their music. You're in control. Support music, don't steal it."
    Wow, and every time I take a dump, a songwriter doesn't get paid, what's your point? Are you saying that if I didn't download that song, the artist would get paid? And how does swapping prevent new artists from "getting a chance?" Sharing is great for truly new artists that can't get mainstream CLEA^H^H^H^H radio play. I assume that by "new artist" you meant the latest "me too" group assembled just for the purpose of sounding exactly like the last chart-topping bile.
  • by taperkat ( 570124 ) <> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:56PM (#6296821)
    to hop on some service like mIRC or pIRCh, and go to #mp3, grab the IPs of the users, and go after them that way? I'm seriously wondering why places like IRC are being ignored - before the Foo Fighters latest CD came out, it was available on IRC but no where else. No p2p (aka KaZaa, WinMX, etc). I'd think it'd be easier to nab the kids directly from IRC, because log files there are in multiple places. Just a thought.
  • by TechnoPope ( 516563 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @03:56PM (#6296826) Homepage
    Back in the late nineties, money was everywhere, so record companies sunk tons of money into artists (videos, appearances, general promotion). Of course, because money was everywhere, people were willing to take the chance on a $15-18 dollar cd based on one single.

    Fast forward a couple of years. Now money is tight. People aren't spending as much on luxury items. Now, the record industry still has to promote the artists as they did a few years ago, but it's more costly. Not so much that the production costs more, but fewer artists are doing well.

    Why are they not doing as well? The mp3. But before you mod me down as a troll think about why. It's not that everyone is downloading whole albums and not buying cds. Research shows the opposite. Instead, it's that people aren't buying bad cd's. Because they can hear more than one or two singles in an album, they know if it's a good buy and make a purchase accordingly.

    Because of the mp3, record companies can't get buy by putting albums with 1 good track and 13 crappy ones. Before it was, get one good song, hype it, produce a good video, fill the cd with enough trash to be over an hour and watch the money come in. Now you have to put out at least three such tracks to have a prayer.

    The industry is still selling records in record numbers. Albums are continually breaking sales records. The problem is, they aren't getting money from the one-hit wonders who's albums aren't being bought due to lack of quality material.
    The mp3 is reducing the money of the Record Companies. It gave the consumer an out from a practice that had taken their money for years: the one track album.
  • Because they've basically admitted that they can't sue those who write programs that provide file-sharing services, as there are many legit uses of file-sharing.

    The other half of the battle is to thwart their effort to steal the life-savings from individuals who work damn hard to make their money. This means waging a publicity war, and doing whatever it takes to hurt the RIAA. That means not buying any of their songs. Likewise with the MPAA. If you must see or hear something, download it.

    Never forget that current copyright laws are illegitimate. We, the people, did not vote for them. They were snuck into law behind closed doors, with no public notification taking place. They were illegitimately retroactively extended.

    Also remember that file-sharing -- including the sharing of copyrighted files -- is more legitimate than the President. More people voted for Napster than voted for GW Bush and Al Gore combined. Furthermore, the politicians who make these draconian copyright laws are in no position to tell us what is right and wrong. In fact, it is most likely that doing exactly the opposite of what they say is the right thing. These, remember, are the same bastards who accept bribes from every party that wants to pay for certain laws. They are the same bastards who get together every now and then to vote on how much they want to raise their own fucking salary by, as if they deserve a payraise.

    Advice to those individuals:

    (1) Put as much money as possible in 401(k) or 403(b) plans, IRAs, and RothIRAs, and possibly annuities. These are sheltered from taxes, and are likely more sheltered from lawsuites. Indeed, colleges don't even consider them when determining how much aid you should get.

    (2) Transfer money off-shore to countries that don't recognize the US' insane copyright laws.

    (3) After discussing the credit implications with a lawyer, and loan implications, consider the possibility of declaring bankruptcy. They don't get shit if you declare bankruptcy.

    Why is it that rich greedy execs are able to steal the life-savings away from individuals in a court of law, yet when those same execs (like Gary Wennig) fuck over millions of investors and tank their life-savings by insider trading, nothing can be done against them, and they don't even go to jail?

APL hackers do it in the quad.