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RIAA Sues 261 Major P2P Offenders 1076

circletimessquare writes "Yahoo!/Washington Post is reporting that the RIAA is suing 261 fileswappers whom they consider to be 'major offenders' in illegally trading music online. Remember to visit the EFF when full lawsuit details are released, and see if you're one of the unlucky few." Details of the amnesty program reported last week were also released, with the RIAA announcing it "...would require file sharers to admit in writing that they illegally traded music online and vow in a legally binding, notarized document, never to do it again."
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RIAA Sues 261 Major P2P Offenders

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  • by ScooterBill ( 599835 ) * on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901302)
    Last count 4+ million users on Kazaa. It looks like the RIAA is having an effect. Too bad it's the opposite effect they want. M
  • by waterbear ( 190559 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901308)
    A demand to sign a notarized admission of guilt is just _not_ an amnesty (literally -- a forgetting). Is there no limit to the way in which these people will twist words so that they are not saying what they appear to be saying?
  • by jroos ( 205868 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:23PM (#6901311) Homepage
    What are the chances the RIAA will become another place employers add to their list of sources for background checks?
  • by The Old Burke ( 679901 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:24PM (#6901326)
    ..remeber that these people, however you feel about RIAA and their bussiness, have actually distributed music that they don't have the rights to.
    If you do the crime; you should be willing to do the time.

  • by bulchanm ( 597921 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:25PM (#6901341)
    With the tens of millions of users on P2P sites what is the probability that you will get sued ? My guess is you have a higher risk of getting into a car accident. Also what are these RIAA moron going to do when they find out the person they have sued lives in Azerbijan or Malaysia ?
  • Served? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:25PM (#6901346) Homepage
    Remember to visit the EFF when full lawsuit details are released

    I'm not sure how justice works in the USA, but here in the UK you are notified if someone initiates legal action against you...
  • Re:My theory... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zeriel ( 670422 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:26PM (#6901351) Homepage Journal
    Alternately, you'll end up with sharers in countries where the RIAA doesn't have a legal way to mess with 'em. The US will likely become 100% leech on the public P2P networks, sadly--but you can't really blame leechers when legal threats are flying, right?

    Go one better--stop downloading and stop buying. Let 'em sue themselves right into the dirt.
  • What's not clear (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:28PM (#6901393)
    Is when the United States had the right to authorize business entitities to enforce the law. Is that really the country you want to live in? A country where any company can subpoena you?
  • EFF Action Center (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FileNotFound ( 85933 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:29PM (#6901400) Homepage Journal
    Even if you won't donate, at least go to the action center and send some angry letters to your senator.
    EFF Action Center []

  • Wants vs. Needs (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:29PM (#6901404)
    I wonder about you slash trash who work for companies that rely on selling software for revenue yet get your panties into a bunch when the RIAA goes after people who are illegally distributing music on P2P networks. I mean, you act like a bunch of hypocritical children when you develop all sorts of excuses in case you get caught ripping off someone else's work. "No judge, it wasn't me downloading those MP3s, it was my ten year old nephew." "I ripped those MP3s myself, but I accidently lost the CD." "I swear I don't know how those files got there. I don't even listen to pop music." Keep blowing air out of your ass, nobody believes you. Maybe the RIAA is going too far with their tactics, but you know what? I don't care. They do not produce any goods necessary for you to live. The same with the MPAA, Microsoft, and the media companies. If you don't like their tactics, boycott them. Revenue is their Achille's heel. Voting does not help, all candidates likely to win office are financed by these companies. Writing to representatives does no good-- your representative, as a consumer, is well aware of your pain. Writing them only tells them what they already know. Unlike you, they know all to well what damage a loss of campaign contributions might do to their career. You can bet which way they will vote. The solution to this form of corruption is to cut off funding from the source. That is you.

    Now, I think there has been some confusion between needs and wants around here lately. A need is something necessary for life: air, water, food, shelter. A want is everything else, even things you don't want but someone else (e.g. your boss) wants you to have (e.g. a pager). There's nothing wrong with wants; you can enjoy life and surround yourself with them. The problem is when wants substitute for needs. If you can't live without your cable service, something is wrong with you. Cable service (TV and Internet) are not something you need to survive. You won't die tomorrow without it. Needs are important.. if you don't have them, you die. If you keep only a cellphone and credit card with you at all times in case of an emergency, you aren't prepared enough. Cellphones and credit cards can't provide you with anything you need to live, and thus aren't needs. If there's a power outage or a network disturbance, you will be in trouble. Also, you are stuck with monthly payment and interest rate increases at the whim of corporations. Complain and protest all you want, it won't make a difference. The only way to make a difference is to sever your dependence on wants. These dependences are the puppet strings of CEOs and shareholders. Don't make yourself vulnerable to companies, make sure you know how to live without them. Type "survivalist" into any search engine and there will be plenty of sites that will teach you how to be self sufficient, if necessary. Some groups providing the information are right-wing fundamentalists who are predicting armageddon, others are in it as a hobby, others fear nuclear war, still others want to protect themselves from terrorist attacks/computer infrastructure shutdown (y2k), and there's a few who plan for a secession from the Union. Ignore the wild agendas and learn for practicality's sake. It could save your life. Only you can cut yourself free from corporate control.
  • Re:I think (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ColdGrits ( 204506 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:30PM (#6901425)
    So the EFF needs our donations to protect people whose intention is to steal?

    Sorry, no way. People who amass collections of in excess of 1,000 mp3s (of songs they do not posses on CD) are by no stretch of the imagination "victims".

    Although I disapprove of it, I can see at least a hint of validity in the claim "I download to try the song out, and if I like it I buy the album". But 1,000+ songs in one go? Nope, that's just plain piracy, pure and simple.

    You do the crime, you do the time.
  • Re:Why the vow? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lawbeefaroni ( 246892 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:31PM (#6901439) Homepage
    PR. Offering the "amnesty" looks like they're willing to work with consumers. They'll still screw them but they hold up the amnesty as a concession.

    Giving someone a temporary break from extortion is hardly amnesty.
  • Re:Why the vow? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:31PM (#6901447)
    "Is it purely a move to allow easy prosecution should they offend again?"

    Yes. If you sign the aggrement they no longer have to rely on copyright law. They have a binding contract with you to abide their terms.

    Debt collectors who buy up bad paper and then seek to recover use this trick too. The law has very carefully prescribed limits to the actions that can be taken to collect a debt, even in cases where judgement has been found against the debtor.

    If they can get you to sign a contract expanding their rights to collect, by your own volition, than they can hold you to that contract.

    Then you are, as they say, "hosed."

  • Way back when... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:33PM (#6901471)
    In 1999, almost no one had a huge collection. Most people had a few, and everyone swapped with everyone else, resulting in big collections. Take out the people with big collections, and other people with big collections will still develop.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@ema i l .com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:34PM (#6901490)
    The RIAA coordinates an industry-wide reduction in the amount of music released to increase the value of output. They do this to shore up the hyperinflated price of CDs (due primarily to collusion for which they have already had a civil judgement against them) and to attempt to make up for the decline in sales of cassettes, a format that they have actively worked at making obsolete. They also hope to continue to command their traditional percentage of discretionary teen/20s spending.

    Unfortunately, the output remaining tends not to be compelling, their target audience has a number of other venues for their spending (video games, DVDs, online activities) and the economy goes south.

    So which Business school teaches that the best way of addressing these sorts of problems is to spread fear/resentment/anger amongst the audience you are attempting to win back?

    And as a side note, if getting the music listened to by potential buyers is such a bad activity, then why to record promotion people give away free singles and CDs at events? Why do companies allow songs to be played on the radio? And if pirating is such a depresser of CD sales, why was one of the most pirated CDs around, The Eminem Show, such a sales success? Could it be that people liked what they heard and were willing to pay for it?

  • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by M.C. Hampster ( 541262 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#6901504) Journal

    the EFF needs you donations more then ever. Remember, you don't have to do anything wrong to find yourselves in a position to prove your inocense. Yes, under these circumstances, you have to prove your inocense, simple disgusting.

    Yes, the obligatory +5 interesting spiel for donating to the EFF. And, of course, it is +5 Incorrect. Yes, the DMCA allows copyright holders to supboena the names of people from ISP's without bringing a case first, or getting it signed by a real judge, but that doesn't mean that the system of innocent until proven guilty is out the window. These people, if it goes to court, will have the same rights afforded to them as in any other legal case.

    There are problems with the DMCA, but can we cut out the FUD please?

  • Hypocracy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:36PM (#6901517)
    First we cry foul when companys sued and tried to regulate Internet Service Providers, into requiring them to keep the laws for their users.

    Then, they became something of a "common carrier."

    Now, RIAA is actually going after the people *who are breaking the law* and yet you are still complaining about it?

    So what if its some 14-year-old kid in his house downloading the latest MP3 from his favorite band. It's still *breaking federal law* and, under that law, allows monetary damages to be collected by the person whose copyright was infringed.

    This right is executed all the time in copyright infringement cases; if it didn't exist, nobody would protect their IP. IP violation fines are the deterrant to copying protected works. Just because the kid isn't even legally an adult yet, doesn't mean he can't break the law just the same.

    Federal law allows up to $150,000 / violation. A violation is one infringed work (i.e. 1 unauthorized mp3 file. An "authorized" file is one you have permission to own -- either in writing by the copyright owner, for example, or because you own the CD and ripped it to your hard drive for easier listening.) In this respect, RIAA's $50k and we'll be done with it is more than reasonable, because *the government* would allow for fines of up to $4.5 million!!! for an amount such as 30 songs.

    RIAA should produce better music if they want to maintain their customer base and prevent piracy. There needs to be more tangible benefits to purchasing the legal version of the song vs. downloading it. For me, this benefit is the fact that the CDs (1) sound considerably superior to the average 128kbit MP3 file (2) I can feel like I am at least pretending to support the artists I like, many of whom are on indie labels anyways, and (3) I get a physical product that I can take with me in my car to play on my car CD player, which doesn't like burned CDs; and I can make as many mp3s of it as I want, as long as I don't share them.

    RIAA could adjust its business model, make it better to purchase the CD vs stealing it. Or, switch to a different modus operandi all together, and provide some new kind of operation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:36PM (#6901524)
    ..remeber that these people, however you feel about RIAA and their bussiness, have actually distributed music that they don't have the rights to.

    How do you know that they did? Are they automatically guilty only because they were sued?
  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:39PM (#6901572)
    OK, fine. Then I want my money back for all of the piece-of-shit CD's I purchased because I had no means of sampling the music first due to them prohibiting me from listing before buying.

    After that, I want my money back from the illegal price fixing that has gone on for years. Then throw those execs in jail because after all, if you are willing to do the crime you should be willing to do the time.

    Additionally I want my money back on crap CD's I bought that had noise added in to the songs to make MP3's I burned useless. I wanted to listen to those in my MP3 player while I excersised but apparently they knew better.

    Finally, I want an apology from the execs themselves for all of the misery I have to endure when flipping through the radio channels and I hear the SAME music for the past 5 years with an occasional new tune thrown in for a little spice.
  • Whine? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:39PM (#6901576) Homepage Journal
    we should be screaming. They can take our money, pull us into court, and wreck our lives witn no proof.
    A corporation should never have the ability to do criminal investigations. ever. It totally circumvents the constitution.
    These people are running amok, with no checks and balances. All this for possible copyright infringment. Copyright is the will of the people, enacted through congress, perhaps these people had better remember?
    distributing music, in and of itself, is not always infringement. Used music stores come to mind.

    The real problem for them is that the same music can be redistrbuted over and over again, easily. This is no different then any other advances where information can be spread more easily. There model needs to change, and it will. Unfortunatly lives will be dis-perportionaly destroyed in the process.

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:40PM (#6901583) Homepage
    ..remeber that these people, however you feel about RIAA and their bussiness, have actually distributed music that they don't have the rights to. If you do the crime; you should be willing to do the time.

    That's right. Copyright infringement is the biggest threat to the free world as we know it today. These evil villians must be put away for a long time and/or made to work in toil the rest of their natural lives to repay the enormous damage they have done to the recording industry. For such a heinous crime, it is fitting that their entire lives and even careers should be completely destroyed.

    While I'm at it, let me propose some changes to our lovely mandatory sentencing guidelines. How about $10,000 per incident for jaywalking, which is much less serious than copyright infringement ($150,000 per incident). What should be the penalty for smoking in the non somking area?

    For all of you who were hoping to get rich through the wonders of P2P file sharing, may I merely point out that it is much more profitable for those who simply rob convenience stores. And the penalties are far less severe.
  • by AdamHaun ( 43173 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:40PM (#6901589) Journal
    Given that every week brings news of real attacks on important freedoms, I fail to see why these RIAA lawsuits are garnering so much Slashdot press. The people being sued by the RIAA right now are criminals. Say that again with me: criminals. Distributing copyrighted works without(nay, against) the consent of the copyright holder is illegal. Scum or not, the RIAA owns those songs. If you don't like the rules, you have a computer and you have a congresscritter. Heck, you might even get out a real sheet of paper and an actual pen to voice your concerns. Believe it or not, money alone is not enough to elect a politician to office. They need votes too, and to get votes they have to care about what people think.

    Some people have suggested that the EFF waste time and resources defending these people. I very much hope that the organization will spend its time on more important things than petty criminals, like:


    All of the above are far more important to the future of internet freedom than somebody's self-proclaimed "right" to give Britney Spears MP3s to their friends.

    If we want to save P2P from the RIAA, then it's time to start emphasizing the legal uses and stop defending people who are too stupid to be worth our time.
  • by cgranade ( 702534 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:40PM (#6901593) Homepage Journal
    Furthermore, how does RIAA know they did? Could the very methods that RIAA uses to collect info is illegal?
  • Re:I think (Score:1, Insightful)

    by arbitrary nickname ( 325162 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:41PM (#6901600)
    Repeat after me: Copyright infringment != Stealing
  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:44PM (#6901646) Homepage
    "If they can't prove their innocence, they must be, by definition, guilty."

    Actually, forget that... it's totally wrong, and I'm aware of that. :) BUT, I would claim that the RIAA probably isn't going after these folks without a pretty water-tight case, so if they can't disprove the RIAA's evidence, I'd claim they are most probably guilty.
  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:44PM (#6901651) Homepage Journal
    the law hasn't caught up with changes to morality which technology has wrought (as it has throughout human history)

    you can't steal electrons and magnetic spins and bits that are effortlessly reproduced

    you can steal atoms, like a car

    at the very least, you must admit that they are not the same, and perhaps a new language has to be invented to descrive what file sharing is, for it is certainly not "stealing": you don't go out and physically remove the only file of a song on someone else's computer and leave a void when you "steal" music on the internet

    there is nothing morally wrong with file swapping, unless you consider millions of teenager's love of music to be of secondary consideration to the financial well-being of a monopoly/ cartel
  • by phliar ( 87116 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:46PM (#6901676) Homepage
    If you do the crime; you should be willing to do the time.

    Where's the crime? This is copyright violation, not a crime. It's a civil offense, not criminal (since even the RIAA hasn't found a way to invoke the criminal parts of the DMCA). Since it's a civil law violoation, you cannot go to jail. It's not piracy (no ships are involved) and not theft. Words have meanings, you know, and legal words have very precise meanings.

  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:47PM (#6901684) Homepage
    Hey, if you don't like the law, push to change it. Until then, assuming they are guilty, they will be charged as is appropriate under current law. This is how it should be... again, if you don't like it, *change it*!
  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:47PM (#6901689) Journal
    have actually distributed music that they don't have the rights to.
    I (and I suspect more people here than you'd think) have little sympathy for people who share music when they're not supposed to. But I would like to see this proven first, in a court of law, that those charged have actually, knowlingly shared music in violation of the law.

    Their own words 'shock an awe' are aptly chosen in this case, and we should see this campain for what it is: legal strongarm tactics.

    The RIAA is asking these people to promise something that is not in all cases forbidden by law. How would you feel if you'd find a letter from Microsoft on your doormat, stating
    "You have illegaly copied MS products, and thus we are preparing to drag you through legal hell for the next 30 years, at the end of which we will take you you for every penny you own... unless you sign this agreement that you'll never use commy open source products again, and never use Bill Gates' name in vain.". When faced with that, does it even matter whether or not you actually copied said software?

    These cases should be decided in a court of law, and with all parties on an even footing. As it is, the stronger party can bully the weaker one into agreeing to basically anything.
  • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:49PM (#6901719) Homepage
    And not legal to *distribute those copies*. How difficult is it to understand this concept? If you're using P2P software and making your 3000 MP3 collection freely available to the masses, you are BREAKING THE LAW.
  • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:51PM (#6901748)
    Ah, we're young and innocent, aren't we?

    Here are some quotes by judges I've actually witnessed in court:

    "Lady, what do you expect here, justice? This isn't about justice, it's about procedure."

    "Yes, you can have some time to get a lawyer, but I'm not going to allow him to examine the plaintiff."

    And directly relevant to the issue under consideration in a case where defendant requested that the judge dismiss a complaint because plaintiff had offered absolutly no evidence in support:

    "It isn't the job of the plaintiff to prove their case. You are the defendant. It's you job to defend yourself."

    The judge then denied the defendant's request for the plaintiff to produce financial documents relevant to the case.

    Not do you, in practice, have to prove your innocence, but it isn't at all uncommon to be denied the basic rights and tools to do so.

    I guess that's why they call it the legal system now, rather than the justice system.

  • by Rumor ( 99829 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:51PM (#6901756)
    File downloading is legal, sharing or uploading is not. It's that simple. See my analysis [] at greplaw for more info.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:54PM (#6901782)
    Ok, so as long as I think a law is "wrong", then it is ok to break it?

    I'll be over tonight around 11:30 -- I've decided that the law against breaking and entering and shooting someone in their bed is "wrong".
  • Re:I think (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:56PM (#6901812) Homepage Journal
    Here's some logic, following [].

    Property, definition 2 []: The right of ownership; title.

    Steal, definition 1 []: To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

    Take, verb, definition 1: [] To acquire possession.

    RIAA has the right of ownership to the songs. A person distributes through a P2P, which according to copyright law requires ownership or title to do so. Therefor, the person aquired possession of the ownership and distribution rights without permission of the rightful owners (RIAA.)

    Ergo, distributing songs in which you do not have ownership from is in fact stealing.

    That was a lot of fun.. I'm a touch too bored right now.
  • In tonight's news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:56PM (#6901831)
    The RIAA finally does what geeks have asked for years by going after the offenders instead of after P2P technology itself. And geeks still object. Film at 11.

    I've got a very novel idea for avoiding a RIAA lawsuit. It is an idea that I'm sure will be unpopular, and I'm therefore also sure that this message will be moded down as flaimbait even though it is nothing of the sort, because that is how simpleminded moderators deal with a differing viewpoint here.

    But my idea is simple...don't want to be sued by the RIAA? THEN DON'T SWAP COPYRIGHTED MUSIC WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.

  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:57PM (#6901843) Homepage Journal

    OK, fine. Then I want my money back for all of the piece-of-shit CD's I purchased because I had no means of sampling the music first due to them prohibiting me from listing before buying.

    You seem to think you have some entitlement to only good music. By this mindset, people should never lose money on stock transactions - or someone else should be held accountable if they do. Of course, the mindset itself is baloney.

    Any purchase is a risk, whether it's a CD, a mutual fund. a house, or anything else. If you have some information to act upon, you can mitigate your risk by only buying something that gives you a good return on your investment. If you buy a CD and it's crap, suck it up: don't buy any more CDs from the same group, and let everyone you know that they should avoid the same CD. This is known as word-of-mouth advertising, and it's the most effective form of advertising available. Alternately, listen to word-of-mouth from others before you buy the CD in the first place. Then you have more information to work with and can decide whether you still want to buy the CD.

    The other points you made were good ones: the execs should be responsible for the crap they peddle to Clear Channel and other radio networks, and they should be held legally responsible for price-fixing CDs. But don't blame them for the crap CDs in your library: they didn't hypnotize you or posess you; you chose to buy the CD.

  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:57PM (#6901845) Journal
    Thanks for providing me with the best laugh I have had all day. I don't know what exactly possesses people to compare downloaded music to the US war of independence, but it never fails to amuse me. Then again, perhaps IHBT.

    Casting this as a fight between rightousness [sic] and corruption, and of escaping a cultural stranglehold, is dubious at best. There are good reasons for copyright law to exist (remember, without copyright law, there can be no GPL). Most downloaders' motivation is to avoid paying for music, not to bring down a music empire. And most of the songs that are downloaded are the same cultural pap that is marketed by the RIAA.

    If you're looking to feed your revolutionary tendencies with a bad law having actual, serious consequences, how about the Patriot act? Or the federal budget, which will lead to a trillion dollar increase in the federal debt over the next ten years? Everyone in the world -- American or not -- should be concerned by that, since if the US pulls an Argentina, nobody is safe. By comparison, the fight over file downloading is a childish spat between spoiled children.

    The line of reasoning: "the founding fathers rebelled against laws they disagreed with; I am rebelling against laws I disagree with; therefire, my struggle is as noble as theirs" is as absurd as "they laughed at Einstein; they laughed at me; therefore, my ideas are as important as Einstein's".
  • by Petronius ( 515525 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @01:59PM (#6901871)
    this is the net result of this stupid campaign: people are setting up FTP servers and snail-mailing each other mp3 compilations. OK, it's not as user-friendly & Napster-cool but the point is: MP3 trading will never stop.
  • by Patik ( 584959 ) * <cpatik @ g m a i l . com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#6901917) Homepage Journal
    If everyone had your attitude, real bands with musical talent would just stop making records. If you can manage to turn off MTV for a minute you'll see there is still plenty of decent, original music out there, it just doesn't get the same media attention as silky skin and plastic boobs. Just because your radio station only plays Linkin Park and Britney does not mean that's all the music there is. You'll just have to find alternative methods of exposing yourself to new music (talk to friends, attend festivals,, etc). Try to put out a little effort of your own instead of sitting on your couch and letting the media and labels dictate what you know about music.
  • by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#6901924) Homepage Journal
    Universal Music Group is cutting its prices [] by 30% (and note that UMG is by far the largest music multinational). Many think that this will push down many cds below the magic 10 dollar mark.

    I guess it's up to each to decide if these two cancel out. Of course this does answer two of the biggest /. gripes against the music industry: the labels taking too big of a piece and over inflated SRPs. The only one left would be that the RIAA is a vindictive/cruel/abusive litigator... but how much effect does that have on a purchase? How many folks upon hearing this decide to not buy a cd (or pick up something indie... say Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights which was selling at 9.99 for the last year)?
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:04PM (#6901947) Homepage
    Boo hoo. If they can't prove their innocence, they must be, by definition, guilty.

    Okay, let's play by your flawless logic. Imagine a hypothetical example as follows. After reading this hypothetical example, let's see if you understand the point.

    Okay, you're caught!

    According to my records and investigation, you stole my copyright material from my server. You thief!

    You can get a lawyer and present absolute incontravertable proof that you did not steal the material alleged in the complaint. What?!? Can't proove it? Then by definition you must be guilty.

    And, if that's the case (which it undoubtedly is for many of these people), they must accept the punishment that they (knowingly) brought down upon themselves. After all, it's not like they didn't know what they were doing was illegal, or that they'd be fined massive sums of money if they were caught.

    That will be $150,000 please for the single violation that I claim so far. Hey, you knowingly did this knowing you would be fined massive amounts of money.

    Your next action is that you could get a lawyer and fight it. Or you can settle with me. In the settlement, you must, of course, admit guilt. Since I'm such a nice guy, and in such an especially generous mood right now, I'll settle if you pay me only $19,999.99. Special today only. I think that is more than generous. Don't you?

    On another note, I don't feel there's any reason to distrust the RIAA, regarding who they are going after.

    And likewise, you should trust me. I am your friend. Trying to cure you of your evil doings and get you to mend your evil ways. My goals in this, and in my generous settlement offer are above reproach. Just ask anyone here on Slashdot. Really. Honest.

    Especially no reason to distrust me considering who I'm going after. (implication: considering what despicable scum I'm going after.)

    There is every reason for them to do their best to go after real pirates... after all, it sets an example for other would-be pirates.

    I couldn't have said it better myself. That's exactly what I'm doing.

    As a result, I'm willing to believe the people who are being sued are, in fact, quite guilty of copyright infringement, and as such, such be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

    From the defendant's mouth, your honor. I rest my case.

    He willingly believes that he is being sued because he is already guilty, before the trial, of the heinous crime of -- gasp! -- copyright infringement. (audible gasps of shock and horror are heard from the judge, jury and observers, followed by a dead silence in the courtroom!)

    I would try to explain my point in using the above hypothetical example. But I'm unclear on whether you would actually get my point.
  • by sbma44 ( 694130 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:04PM (#6901953)
    But I do agree that there is little justification for the amount that artists are currently capable of earning. Call me a communist if you must, but I would be very happy to see a lot of musicians earning a good living than the current state of affairs: a very few who make exorbitant amounts of money, with the remaining majority unable to support themselves with music alone.

    Is it antithetical to the American Dream to say to those dishwashers and Guitar Center clerks that no, even if you succeed wildly, you will only make a few hundred thousand dollars a year? Maybe. But frankly I don't care. If we end up with fewer 14 year olds picking up Fenders with dreams of Escalades and more picking it up because of a desire to make music I'm not going to call it a bad thing.

    Besides, as things stand all but the largest acts make their money touring. Record companies provide distribution, marketing and studio time but take nearly all the profit from CD sales. In the digital age the internet can take care of distribution, word-of-mouth unrestricted by geographical space or sampling fees can be a potent marketing engine (as anyone with winamp, AIM and a college broadband pipe can attest), and cheap digital recording [] will put the ability to make albums into the hands of anyone with $2000 and a friend who can install Linux.

    The recording industry's functions are not really needed any more -- and I suspect that the duplicitous way they approached their business and treated their customers will ensure that their demise will be surprisingly quick and violent. Small labels will exist to provide support to bands, of course, but there's no longer any reason why they can't compete with the big guys except for the big guys' anticompetitive practices.

    Anyone agree, or am I spouting gibberish?

  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:07PM (#6901993) Homepage
    RIAA free music. I mean its funny they complain about their numbers dropping while attacking some of their most devoted fans.

    On the other hand there are lots of musicians begging for exposure that are even willing to give their music away for free. [] [] []

    And it just goes on.
  • Re:Suing? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Eccles ( 932 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:08PM (#6902012) Journal
    Unless the Democrats decide they don't like those appointments, which is why they've been delaying every single one of Bush's nominations to the federal courts.

    And the Republicans would never do something like that if a Democrat was president, oh no.

    You've drunk the Republican kool-aid, haven't you?
  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:08PM (#6902014)
    "Alternately, listen to word-of-mouth from others before you buy the CD in the first place."

    Where do those word-of-mouth sources get their information from? Someone has to buy the CD and be plagued with crap. Besides, they play one track on the radio that might be really good and then the rest of the album sounds like the band was learning to play during those recordings.

    While there are risks involved in any purchase that does not entitle the seller to categorically screw the buyer. Restaurants can't serve you undercooked chicken. Real estate companies can't sell you a house that has radioactive waste in the basement without telling you. Car dealers can't sell you a car without disclosing known problems. The music cartel should NOT be allowed to sell CD's without letting you sample the music first for which many people use downloads. In a book store you can read all you want before buying. Funny that in a CD store you can't do the same. Wonder why?
  • Re:I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:11PM (#6902060)
    If, of course, the party has the emotional and financial resources to pursue it that far.

    Most civil cases don't come down to a legitimate adjudicated decision. They are resolved by one party (usually the wronged one, since they are naturally the one with the least resources) being unable or unwilling to continue. ( In part because the wronged party is slightly more likely to appear as plaintiff than the other way around. If you wish to get away with stealing from someone civilly, steal everything they have. . .and then file suit against them. They're virtually defensless against you).

  • Re:I think (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dboyles ( 65512 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:11PM (#6902064) Homepage
    More over, remember the people being sued are NOT being sued for dowloading but for sharing.

    Suing for downloading would be tough. I have downloaded many MP3s for which I own the CD, purely for convenience.

    The point is, the people being sued may not have stolen anything at all and not intended to help anyone steal.

    They might not have infringed on copyrights themselves, but by allowing others to download from them, they've opened themselves up to the lawsuit.

    If every morning, I made a copy of the Wall Street Journal (to which I hypothetically subscribe) and published it on my website for my own viewing pleasure, I should be obligated to make reasonably sure that unauthorized users can't view it. I should not be able to leave it out in the open with the excuse that "Maybe everybody accessing it is a legitimate WSJ subscriber."
  • Re:I think (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:13PM (#6902090) Homepage
    Repeat after me: Copyright infringment != Stealing

    Repeat after me: They are the same.

    In both cases you're taking something from someone without paying for it. It doesn't matter that in the case of copyright infringment you're not depriving them of the ability to give it to other people; the fact remains that you're not supposed to have it without having paid for it.

    Besides, the hairsplitting fact that "Copyright infringement != Stealing" doesn't make me any more likely to send the EFF money to support it. A crime is a crime. If you don't like it, change the law.
  • by Angram ( 517383 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:13PM (#6902098)
    You can break a law if you're willing to live with the consequences - many American revolutionaries died for their cause, many were imprisoned, and a few were left to be called "forefathers". If you're willing to face the jail time or shoulder the finincial reprecussions of file sharing, go right ahead. Civil disobedience only works when a huge number of people participate - the US civil rights movement had many casualties, but the majority of those involved were willing to become martyrs, so they were undeterred (or strengthened, perhaps) when their brothers-in-arms (unarmed as they were) were taken down.

    You have the right to rebel, but they have the right to stop you. If enough people believe in a cause and are willing to die for it (or go to jail, etc.), they can make a difference quickly.
  • Re:I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:14PM (#6902111) Homepage
    "Just because she didn't rip the MP3s to a CD doesn't mean she doesn't own the CD?"

    No, but just because she didn't rip the MP3s, well then, she didn't rip the MP3s. And that's what she would have had to do, and what her lawyers implied that she did.

    In the slim chance that the RIAA targets somebody that actually owns the vast majority of corresponding CDs, I highly doubt that they would bother puruing that case.

    But they might, because the issue is that they want people to stop making those MP3s available for downloading.

    Again there's a misconception that this is legal:

    1. Download an MP3 for which I don't have the CD
    2. Keep the MP3 and buy the CD
    3. Decide not to buy the CD and delete the MP3
    That's not leagal. And neither is:

    1. Download an MP3 for which I do have the CD
    Frankly if that's what everybody was doing, I doubt the RIAA would make much of a fuss.
  • Re:I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdh-22 ( 636684 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:15PM (#6902115)
    Breaking the law?

    That is not always true. Think of the independant artist that WANT to get their music out there, so they give it out for free. Yes, most of the shared music is illegal, but what happends to the ones that are not? The music I make is copyright, but what I do with my productions are my business not theirs.

    Law suits like this one are deminishing the market for the independant artists. The web and p2p software make it possible for these guys to get their names out. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a law suit against the RIAA for spreading fear among the polutation to download from p2p so that independant artists can't make it.
  • Re:I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:15PM (#6902123) Homepage
    I'm afraid this is highly illogical.

    Songs aren't property, and copyrights aren't property rights.

    So while your argument is great in the right arena, it's misapplied here.

    Rather, what's happening is that while songs are not ownable at all, RIAA members hold copyrights on those songs. While copyright law does not by any means prevent non-copyright holders from distributing copyrighted works via any medium no matter what, in some cases -- perhaps many cases -- it does. It's impossible to steal a song, and it's effectively impossible to steal a copyright. (at least I can't reckon how one would) But it is possible to impermissibly exercise rights that copyright law permits copyright holders to bar other people from exercising. The act of ignoring the copyright holder's desire to exclude one from exercising those rights is an infringement on the copyright holder's right to exclude.

    Remember kids, when discussing nonproperty rights, 'infringe' is typically the right word to use, e.g. 'the government made my religion illegal, infringing on my right to worship as I see fit.'

    Incidentally, even if we _did_ treat copyrights as property rights, which we don't, there are STILL significant limits on it. Property rights are equally as artificial as copyrights, and numerous doctrines exist for limiting the scope of such rights. P2P sharers would still have arguments available to them to defend their behavior, and might even win.
  • Re:Suing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stwrtpj ( 518864 ) <p,stewart&comcast,net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:18PM (#6902163) Journal
    Isn't copyright infringement a criminal activity?

    It straddles criminal and civil law, depending on the infringement and the scope. I'm not familiar with the exact details, though.

    Why do they not just turn over the list of sharers to the FBI or whoever investigates and prosecutes theses cases?

    Because you're assuming that the RIAA is doing this purely to stop piracy, which I have my doubts about. $150,000 per offense? What bullshit.

    If the RIAA is truly interested in stopping copyright infringement, why are they suing instead of prosecuting? If someone steals my car, and I know who it is, I'm going to let the law handle the situation, not file a civil suit.

    And if you had the possibility of suing him instead for 1.2 million and have a good chance of winning, even if it gets settled out of court for $250,000 for a car that cost you $30,000, which would you pick?

  • Don't get Amnesty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:19PM (#6902174) Homepage Journal
    DON'T apply for Amnesty! It's a trick! And if you get sued, don't settle! The RIAA is suing people like nuts right now because everyone is settling. They are pretty much getting tens of thousands of dollars for free. Forget selling music, they're making up their lost money by stealing money from college students.

    The amnesty is a trick. The way it works is they get you into a contract that says you will stop sharing music. Once you're in that contract you no longer have the option of fighting them in court. They will sue you for breah of contract as opposed to copyright infringement, and then you're screwed.

    If you get sued fight them tooth and nail. Get a good lawyer, and some help from the EFF and other folks. We just need one person with balls enough to fight, and when they win it will set a precedent. Everyone else will be able to fight and win by default. If I got sued, I would fight.

    Don't let the greedy RIAA get away with this crap. Fight!
  • Simple solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:25PM (#6902244) Homepage
    There is a very simple way to have the RIAA put a stop to all this: stop buying records from them. Zero, zilch, nada.

    If all p2p users were to do that, the RIAA would backtrack in an instant. I think there are enough readers in /. that even if only us were to boycott, its impact would be felt by the RIAA...
  • by PainKilleR-CE ( 597083 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:26PM (#6902259)
    Actually, in the states we pay a tax on music CD-R discs, as well. The money goes to the RIAA.

    IIRC, though, they don't apply the tax on data CD-R discs in the US.

    That being said, it doesn't permit people to copy music, just admits that they will. It also doesn't mean that people buying the discs are copying music, although buying music CD-Rs is like putting a flashing neon sign over your head that you're either copying music CDs (most likely), or are making your own CDs.

    How the RIAA splits up the money is a mystery to me, though some research might dig it up. I'm sure it's a long convuluted series of transactions that eats up the majority of the money long before it gets to any artist, and that any artist that actually receives some amount of money from it is most likely not seeing a sales loss due to people copying their CDs.
  • Re:I think (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fucksl4shd0t ( 630000 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:29PM (#6902306) Homepage Journal

    Too mee it looks like many people don't have any faith in our judicial system any more, which is pretty sad when you think about how important these things are.

    Sadder still are the people who are willing to ignore the problems in the judicial system rather than try to fix them. Faith will only blind you to the truth.

  • by Zed2K ( 313037 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#6902318)
    "If I got sued, I would fight."

    Its extremely easy to say that anonymously. If you don't have a family or don't have anyone to look out for. If you don't need to worry about your job or money then yeah...sure it would be easy to just fight back. But unfortunately most of the people they are going after can't afford to lose everything just to fight the RIAA over some music files.
  • by sorrowsdream ( 705304 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#6902322)
    Ok.....Well.....Can I go to your house and search though your movies and vhs cassettes to make sure you have not recorded any TV shows? Not let some one borrow it? Borrowed one yourself? Hmmmmm
  • by Nugget ( 7382 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#6902325) Homepage
    If the headline of this article read "FSF sues 261 major corporations for GPL violations" I wonder how the comments might differ.

    Enforcing copyright is enforcing copyright and if you want the GPL to be enforcable then you better learn to deal with RIAA's copyrights being enforcable too.
  • Re:I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) * <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:31PM (#6902335)
    Your view on this is apparently totally wrong, allow me to explain my view with a little analogy.

    A magazine I purchase publishes an artical in its latest copy that I really like. I take that artical and publish it on my website in its entirety, including origional writer credits, without asking permission. A number of people visit my website and read the artical, and perhaps take a copy for themselves, and a small number of these people thank me for publishing an online version of the article they have in the magazine.

    Am I safe from prosecution because I can claim that only people who view my republishing and dont own the issue that it appeared in, are infringing on the copyright? Definately not, I am in a legal world of hurt because i republished the article without permission or thought, and the arguement that I cannot be responsable for whoever downloads it is not a legally admisable one.

    If you have copyrighted material available to download from your website/shared folder/whatever then in my view and in the eyes of the (civil) law, you have commited copyright infringement. So i guess you arent responsable for who downloads it, but you are damn well responsable for your own actions, whatever you may think to the contrary.

    Yes the laws were meant to punish the big time copiers such as those Russians you mention in your post, but again that same damn arguement can be applied to any law. Is the law not meant to apply to the casual theif who steals your purse from the seat of your car while you are parked at a red light, is it only applicable to the crime gangs who steal thousands of purses a day via organised crime? Do drug laws not apply to the small time ecstasy dealer who sells a tab to a friend, and watches as he/she dies from it, or doe they only apply to the people who bring in $10million of cocain a night from mexico?

    Well, those are my views, and please do reply if you feel you can argue a case for your views, i will gladly listen.
  • Re:I think (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gr0nd ( 128937 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:31PM (#6902348) Homepage
    Can you explain that to the DirectTV victims. Legalized extortion. RIAA's in the same game, and the government is sanctioning it.

    If all the people that flew American flags from their cars on 10/1/01 voted, we wouldn't be in this mess.

  • Re:How long??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheRealStyro ( 233246 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:33PM (#6902366) Homepage
    And for the truely paranoid conspiracy theorist - how long until the riaa starts an off-shore tunnel/p2p-service to monitor stateside filesharers and then use that info to prosecute stateside.

    "Ok, US citizen Mr.Doe, we have the number and titles of illegal content you downloaded, illegal content you provided to others, times & dates & IP addresses used, profiles used, money you paid for the service and your credit card numbers....How will you be paying that $50 million?"

  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:38PM (#6902423)
    The prices on the media have dropped, because the media is manufactured with less protective layers than previously.. making it cheaper to make the disks, and forcing you, the customer, to have to "merge-and-purge" every 2 years or so, because the data on the disk degrades faster now, without those extra protective layers.

    See this thread [] for more information on exactly that.

  • by thumbtack ( 445103 ) <> on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:49PM (#6902551)
    We've downloaded the amnesty documents from the RIAA owned Music United and made them available on [] for those of you who don't want your ip grabbed by the borg.
    2 page PDF []describing the program
    2 page PDF []of the affidavit.

    Remember the RIAA only represents the interests of labels and performers and can only give amnesty for those rights. The RIAA doe NOT represent the copyrights of the publishers and songwriters who could still sue. And they could subpoena the RIAA for that information. This is a publicity stunt. If you accept the program, bend over and spread'em you're about to get screwed.
  • by mithras the prophet ( 579978 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:52PM (#6902582) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I think international terrorism is an appropriate response to the effort to stop illegal filesharing.
  • Re:My theory... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:52PM (#6902586)
    You raise an interesting point, because I don't like to leech from filesharing networks. If I can't share files back at a reasonable rate, I prefer not to download. I know a good many others who feel the same way, even beyond the few that I've set up with a copy of mldonkey or emule and a stern lecture. ;)

    I hadn't really thought of it before, but there's a strong moral sense among the majority of people who run P2P software. They appreciate that the system can't work unless everyone shares. The RIAA paints the biggest sharers as immoral renegades because they have a capitalist (nearly Objectivist) code that specifies that everything should be traded for money, but the sharers are just doing what their kindergarten teacher told them to.

    Historically speaking, these clashes of different moral systems never end well. :/
  • Re:Suing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BeerSlurpy ( 185482 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @02:52PM (#6902587)
    Bingo. For years the feds tried to shut down pirate bbses and ftp sites with no luck, because most pirates do it for fun and make no money from their efforts. Judges basically said "no financial gain, no fault" and threw out the cases.

    In 97, the whores in congress passed the "No Electronic Theft Act" 17 USC blah blah blah that:

    1) changed the definition of financial gain to mean "receiving anything of value" such as a copyrighted work- so running an FTP site that receives files is now financial gain, as is a program that sends and receives copyrighted files- but it's much more complicated than that

    2)by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $ 1,000 shall be punished


    evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.'.

    c) some details

    In case it wasnt obvious, the burden of proof to prosecute someone under this statue is pretty difficult to meet unless you are going after a pirate bbs or a pirate ftp site with a permanent address and fairly static library of files.

    A sporadically connecting (and constantly moving) p2p client that is only sharing fragments of files is not really an entity that you can easily track. In addition, since the files on any individual client change often, or are (most often) unshared the second they finish downloading, it is almost 100 percent certain that "copyrighted works" (as well-formed files) are not shared by more than a small percentage of users, except perhaps accidentally.

    It is also amusing to note that verifying that a user actually has a file is nearly impossible- its hard to distinguish between a client sending you the real file and a client sending you nonsense. Also, what about fakes, and files that dont exist in complete format anywhere? I've come across releases of movies where everyone has 99 percent of the file, but no one has the final 1% and the file might as well be random bits. Actually downloading files from a specific user on a P2P network to verify that it is copyrighted content is very difficult for one user, let alone millions spread across international borders.

    To summarize- NET was formed to combat piracy that revolved around whole-file transfer protocols like FTP, HTTP and irc file servers. It is not well suited to prosecuting the massive file sharing networks that exist now. Even if it were possible to do so, it would be political suicide, since a hundred million voters will be a much bigger headache than a few whiny content industry lobbyists.
  • by HBK-4G ( 2475 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:07PM (#6902742)
    ...stating that they would never mislead the public about decreasing CD sales, increased piracy, and that little debacle about price fixing.

    Hypocrisy is a wonderful thing. We'll make you sign this binding agreement never to do this illegal thing ever again, while we'll go about price fixing and law-dodging and make every attempt to keep it out of the news.
  • Re:Suing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:08PM (#6902754) Homepage
    Isn't copyright infringement a criminal activity?

    no. it is not.

    See, even you bought into the lies that they have spread and now people are starting to understand this.

    Copyright Infringement is NOT A CRIMINAL ACTIVITY that is why they are bringing up lawsuits as that is the only way to defend a copyright.

    the cops are NOT SUPPOSED to bash down your door kill your cat and trample your petunias and then drag you naked in the street for copyright infringement.. (Contrary to the BSA's belief's)

    all they can do is sue you and have a judge tell you to stop and order you to pay a restitution.

    Got the idea yet?
  • Re:How long??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OneFix at Work ( 684397 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:19PM (#6902876)
    Anyone who would purchase such a service would probably be smart enough to do a whois lookup on the domain first...
  • there's no evidence that p2p has had a negative effect on record sales. in fact, sharing your competition's music might increase interest in that very music. just as radio play would. the effect would be to stimulate music sales for your competition and degrade your own music sales.

    of course, you also are making the assumption that there's any sort of competition at all. there's plenty to suggest that the members of RIAA are collaborating to gouge the consumer and keep out alternatives.
  • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baki ( 72515 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:25PM (#6902928)
    Breaking the law, breaking an immoral law.

    Any law prohibiting the sharing of information between people, IMO, is immoral and MUST be ignored.

    Would you say that the Baath party members, abiding by Saddam Husseins laws torturing law breakers were right?

    Any law is always subjected to general human values. And any law that limits the right to exchange information is a crime itself.

    You may find my opinion radical, and alas it is not yet very generally accepted. But I am convinced that, once people see what the disastrous results of current "intellectual property" laws are, more and more opposition will come and one day we shall return to the situation like the 17th century where the concepts "patent", trade mark, copyright did not or hardly exist.

    Without them our civilization rose, building on ideas of others the renaissance and rationalism got us out of the middle ages (when other monopolies on information existed). Now because of such laws we threaten to slide back into a new era of dark ages, where individuals have no rights and no knowledge, and a few entities can corrupt society, control politics (which merely in name is democratic).

    We have been brainwashed that todays knowledge economy needs protection of intellectual property to exist and prosper, but have we seen any prove that it won't work without? I do not buy it any longer. I won't rest until all those who want to implement such laws ara safely locked away themselves, for they are the THIEVES themselves, of democracy and human rights.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:28PM (#6902959)
    Sharing or uploading is legal. See this analysis [], or (linked in that article) straight to the source. []

    It's that simple.
  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:29PM (#6902970) Journal

    The Grateful Dead
    Widespread Panic

    Those are four I listen to - excellent music - freely available via Torrent. Plenty more out there if you go looking. Oh, you want ass sucking top forty crapola? Well that, my friend, will cost you $15.98/CD and it won't change.

    The bands don't suck, they do what the RIAA member execs tell them. The RIAA doesn't suck, they enforce their copyrights. The fans? Yes, most of the fans suck, and specifically their taste in music is the source of the sucking.

    I will now go chill out and listen to some feelgood hippie music I downloaded :-)

  • Re:I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:30PM (#6902991)
    But if you actually get targeted by the RIAA and can prove that you already owned all the CDs, I'd guess that they would drop that case anyway.

    But see, that's the kicker. Currently the RIAA does not need to prove (or even provide evidence of the charge) to a judge or anyone else that you did anything wrong. All they have to do is fill out a form and they get to subpoena your contact information from the ISP.

    The fact that people are getting sued is a sideshow. The fact that the courts aren't involved in the subpoena process is the real issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @03:55PM (#6903245)
    If I leave my car unlocked in a bad neighborhood, does that make me a felon if my car gets stolen?
    If the thief does damage with your car, then you could be found negligent, opening yourself up to both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. This has happened before.
  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @04:18PM (#6903480)
    Bush appointments have been delayed more than his predecessors because he's been more egregious than his predecessors about trying to pack the courts with right-wing ideologues. Estrada not being confirmed had zero to do with his ethnicity and everything to do with the fact that he's simply not qualified. Even his employer at the Justice department said he "lacks the judgement" to be an appeals court judge and that he is "too much of an ideologue." To make matters worse, he refused to answer basic questions about his judicial philosophy during Senate hearings.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @04:23PM (#6903542)
    Raw numbers sound impressive but they mean nothing.

    Where do you think statistics come from?

    Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton each saw most of their circuit court nominees confirmed -- 100 percent, 95 percent, 96 percent and 86 percent, respectively. For George W. Bush, that number is a paltry 53 percent and, unlike his predecessors, he has had many of his initial nominees ignored completely.

    Now I'm confused -- do you like statistics or hate them? And if you follow the link in the parent post, you'll see that these are actually the numbers for appeals court nominees for the first two years only of each president's term. The Republicans played the same game extensively during Clinton's last four years, and now you're shocked, shocked that the Democrats are doing it.
  • by jimius ( 628132 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @04:28PM (#6903594)
    This is the saddest stuff I've seen so far, to actually have to do this in order to try and win. I thought courts were about justice, deciding guilt and innocence and not a theater in which you try gaining the favour of some strangers.
  • by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @04:47PM (#6903773) Homepage
    That's bullshit. You judge people based upon their looks just as much as everyone else does. You probably, like most of us, will not form a complete opinion of someone based upon their style of dress and their general demeanor (i.e. posture), however I assure you that, waiting at the Flatbush Ave. train station in Brooklyn at 3:30 in the morning, you will be much more comfortable waiting for the train with a sixty-something white-haired man in a business suit than a mid-twenties black or Hispanic man wearing oversized jeans, a blue and white bandana and size 17 Timberland boots. This, I assure you, carries over to the courtroom very frequently.
  • Re:Suing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @05:09PM (#6904015)

    A sporadically connecting (and constantly moving) p2p client that is only sharing fragments of files is not really an entity that you can easily track. In addition, since the files on any individual client change often, or are (most often) unshared the second they finish downloading, it is almost 100 percent certain that "copyrighted works" (as well-formed files) are not shared by more than a small percentage of users, except perhaps accidentally.

    Gee, that gives me an idea... what about a P2P app that only gives downloaders access to a part of the file, while making sure another peer elsewhere share the other parts. The client downloads and merges them automatically, of course, but the shares are never, at any time, providing access to a complete file. Coordinating who shares what might be difficult, maybe those with odd-numbered IP get to share parts 1 and 3, and the even-numbered share part 2 and 4 from a file chopped up into 4 bits? I wonder how lawsuit-proof this idea would be. ;-)
  • Re:I think (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @05:12PM (#6904037)
    Any law prohibiting the sharing of information between people, IMO, is immoral and MUST be ignored.

    Any law is always subjected to general human values. And any law that limits the right to exchange information is a crime itself.

    I think you are being incredibly fast and loose with what is traditionally considered a just and unjust law.

    Dr. Martin Luther King writes this about some examples of unjust laws:
    1)"An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself."

    Not the case here. RIAA is accountable to IP laws just as I am as a US Citizen.

    2)"A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law."

    Not the case here. Property laws are a fundamental of the US code, which was written by democratically elected officials. IP laws predate the RIAA.

    3)"Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest."

    Somewhat but not really the case here. Granted, RIAA is using heavy handed tactics which I happen to think may be unconstitutional. People were sharing files though before the RIAA made a stink. Their actions now do not post-facto make file sharing OK. But to the heart of the issue you've addressed, the right to protect one's property is a fundamental right in this country. 95% of people probably are ok with it. If that is the case, and humans make their own morality (as you pointed out), how could IP laws be immoral?

    Now, obviously there's some room for manuevering in the interpretation of MLK. But, I don't think that file sharing for personal enjoyment falls into the category of 'crusading for the freedom of information.' Much more likely it stinks of self-interest, ie someone else has something I want to take.

    IP laws are in place for a somewhat rational reason. This is that an individual or entity who comes up with a brilliant idea does not have it immediately confiscated by the public. It is in a sense, a freedom to restrict my good idea for my own purposes.

    The point made about "Any law prohibiting the sharing of information between people" flies so fundamentally in the face of privacy rights that I can't believe the slashdot crowd watched this comment sail through. YES, I want laws in place protecting patient/doctor, lawyer/client, and similar types of confidentiality in place. You've gone so overboard with your concept of info sharing that you'd end up violating the fundamental rights we now hold dear.
  • by Courageous ( 228506 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @05:37PM (#6904312)
    Innocent until proven guilty"

    This has never been the standard in civil cases, which is "preponderance of the evidence".

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @05:55PM (#6904489) Homepage
    "If I leave my car unlocked in a bad neighborhood, does that make me a felon if my car gets stolen? ....

    Then why are the people hosting files on the Internet getting sued for having files available for download?

    Availability. If you are a person who's handing out drugs to 12-year-olds, if you're leaving guns laying around, if you're leaving bottles of whiskey on your passenger side seat -- in all cases you are the agent by which something considered negative is happening.

    In this case, it's considered negative to content creators to have their content distributed without their consent. By making them available to download, you are no different than people in Hong Kong who hawk copies of DVDs and music which haven't been officially released yet. Yes, you aren't charging anything, but you are dilluting its value by making it available without control. You damage the value of the rights which control the content as much as if you were on a Hong Kong street corner yourself.

    Maybe if you'd look at things logically, instead of trying to fop off an illegal activity as legit, you'd see this.

    I don't share copyrighted material on P2P networks because it's wrong. I do not have permission to distribute, disseminate, or otherwise share something unless I own the entire rights to it. If I do not respect this, how would I expect other people to respect these rights in regards to content I create (specifically, my writting and GPL programs which all fall under the same copyright law)?
  • Re:Antiquation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekee ( 591277 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:52PM (#6905840)
    "With a CD, you get about an hour worth of music (I've seen some go as low as 40 mintues), and even if you really like all the songs, it only engages your ears. Hence, on average, CDs are less entertaining."

    So why does the average person watch a movie they like only once or twice, but if someone likes an album, he'll listen to it repeatedly. There is a value to music that is different from a movie. The amount of data required to reproduce it is irrelevant and claiming that lack of visual stimulation means it is less valuable is oversimplifying. It's the file sharers who are unfairly lowering the value of music by offering it to everyone for free.
  • by Blkdeath ( 530393 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @01:04AM (#6907237) Homepage
    This arguement strongly points out the 'I'm just like you only different' (if the prosecution's objection is not sustained that is).

    Funny thing about humans; just because someone in a robe tells them to, they can't just erase something from their mind.

    IANAL, of course, but I'm sure there are thousands of lawyers who've intentionally uttered an objectionable phrase for the sole purpose of the jury being able to hear it. If it causes them even a moment to ponder, that could mean the difference between guilty and not.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.