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EFF Warns Against RIAA Amnesty Program 444

kpogoda writes "Check out the latest warnings from the Electronic Frontier Foundation regarding the recent actions from the RIAA. If you or anyone you know was contemplating handing over information to the RIAA, you may think twice."
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EFF Warns Against RIAA Amnesty Program

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  • Sure.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by feyhunde ( 700477 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @07:59PM (#6905497)
    We promise nothing bad will happen if you admit guilt and give us all your contact information.
  • word "amnesty" (Score:2, Interesting)

    Any thing with word "amnesty" in it, should be a warning by itself.
    • Re:word "amnesty" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:04PM (#6905536) Journal
      Amnesty International?

      Last time I checked, they were doing some decent things.
    • Re:word "amnesty" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Absurd Being ( 632190 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:05PM (#6905543) Journal
      Like Amnesty International? It sure has some ugly pictures on it, like of human rights abuses. So I guess it does deserve a warning.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:07PM (#6905564)
      Any thing with word "amnesty" in it, should be a warning by itself.

      yeah, watch out for amnesty international, or they'll protect the hell out of your human rights.
  • Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cultobill ( 72845 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:00PM (#6905506)
    Ok, the RIAA says they won't come after you if you fill out the form and destroy your copies. That's great.

    What about the labels/artists they represent? Those people probably still have the rights to do so. And, hey, they've got your name and stuff...

    I'm still a fan of only downloadings stuff you're allowed to, but whatever. I'm not too zealous about people downloading their music.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <ieshan@@@gmail...com> on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:14PM (#6905612) Homepage Journal
      What about that last quote, where they said that because they weren't a legal organization, they weren't bound by the limits of search?

      I'd be dubious of giving anything to anyone who said they didn't have to honor the law.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

        Yeah, the fourth amendment only restricts the government. It's not that they aren't honoring the law, it's that the law doesn't apply to them. This isn't a reason to trust them, sure, but it isn't a reason to distrust them either.
        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rgmoore ( 133276 ) * <glandauer@charter.net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @10:00PM (#6906253) Homepage
          Yeah, the fourth amendment only restricts the government.

          It's not 100% clear that's true. The Fourth Amendment says:

          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

          It doesn't say that the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated by the government, but that it shall not be violated. That at least suggests that private entities shouldn't be able engage in unreasonable searches and seizures, either.

          Even if it applies only the government, you have to remember that the courts are also part of the government. That means that private entities should not be able to use government power in the form of court orders to perform searches that would be rejected were a government agency to try them. That may leave it open for private agencies to snoop in ways that the government isn't allowed to, so long as they don't use court orders to do so and they obey relevant laws against trespass, unauthorized computer access, etc.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:46PM (#6906182) Journal
        What about that last quote, where they said that because they weren't a legal organization, they weren't bound by the limits of search?

        Wouldn't that tend to imply that they have no right to conduct a search in the first place?

        I have signed no contracts granting the RIAA the right to conduct a search of myself, my property, my history, or even for my car keys that I keep misplacing.

        Baring some official status, or a contract... Why should it matter that normal proceedural limitations do not apply to them? My neighbors don't need to observe due process in considering me annoying, but if they decide to search my house to prove it, the police will get a call right after the use of deadly force in self defense.
        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

          by shdragon ( 1797 ) * on Monday September 08, 2003 @11:18PM (#6906690) Homepage Journal
          ...the police will get a call right after the use of deadly force in self defense.

          Ahhh....you must live in Texas too.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aadain2001 ( 684036 )
      Only the copyright holders can go after people downloading their work illegally, and last time I checked the RIAA's contract practices, the artists give up all rights to their works to whatever label just signed them. Someone about their songs being concidered "work for hire" or something. The artists are little more than line workers to the RIAA.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by goodship11 ( 301870 )
      about 3 months before RIAA sued the two students at rpi, they invited the student population to come down for some "focus group" question and answer sessions. coincidence?
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:18PM (#6905637)
      That's exactly the problem here. You're handing over a notarized confession complete with your home address as verified by ID to the RIAA, while it's the individual members of the RIAA whose content you've stolen. The RIAA doesn't have the authority to legal agreements binding upon each individual label... so even though the RIAA forgives you, Sony, AOL Time-Warner, et al. can still go after you, and they can use that "shamnesty" confession as all the proof they need.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

        no they can't. RIAA is acting as an agent on Sony/AOL Time Warner/etc's behalf.

        The real problem is that the RIAA doesn't represent all labels, so some of the smaller independent lables could sue with the amnesty beign prima facia proof of guilt.

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:03PM (#6905908)
      You sound like the guy who drove into my Bentley at 35mph when it was parked at Wal*Mart. Why don't you give me your name, address, license plate number and a notarized admission of guilt?

      Oh yeah, I was only borrowing the car to deliver pizza, but I'm sure the actual owner, his insurance company and bank won't sue you into oblivion if I hand all your documentation over with an admission of guilt.

  • by inertia@yahoo.com ( 156602 ) * on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:01PM (#6905511) Homepage Journal
    Remember, friends don't let friends claim amnesty.
  • Anonymous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:01PM (#6905513)
    If you're not anonymous while trading songs online, how come they need to get someone to figure out who the hell you are?
    • Pseudononymous? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rgmoore ( 133276 ) * <glandauer@charter.net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @10:17PM (#6906334) Homepage

      The reason that you're not anonymous (when trading files) is because you do actually have a name or persistent identifier attached to you. This is like the difference between being an Anonymous Coward on /. and being a regular poster. The AC is, as the name suggests, truly anonymous; /. has taken some steps to make it so that even they can't identify ACs some time after the fact. Regular posters, though, are pseudonymous- hiding behind a false name. You can track what an individual poster does, but you can't necessarily connect them to a particular flesh and blood person without help from /. Even if the poster deliberately puts identifying information on his user page, that information could be fraudulent, so you'd actually need to ask the /. staff to uncover the information in their records to have a good chance of proving who they are to a court.

  • by IpsissimusMarr ( 672940 ) * on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:01PM (#6905515) Journal
    What was that Lassie?
    *woof* *woof*
    Don't trust the RIAA?
    *woof* *nods head* *woof*
    They're only trying to destroy their customer base?
    *woof* *nods head* *woof*
    Good Lassie.. *pets Lassie*
  • by rasafras ( 637995 ) <tamas@pha.j[ ]edu ['hu.' in gap]> on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:02PM (#6905522) Homepage
    that the action by the RIAA isn't really defensive, it's offensive. Chances are, you're going to keep sharing after you file the forms. Now, if you violated a written agreement, they have a far more solid basis upon which to prosecute. It turns into a black and white case. Otherwise, the RIAA seems to me to be a police force of sorts now, prosecuting people left and right. Karma whore help me out - there is a law against the abuse of the legal system in overusing lawsuits, isn't there? The RIAA is practically using form letters to send them out.
    • Actually, I'm thinking there are other motives. In a court of law any claims on how much downloading is hurting their business can still be considered speculative. I mean, it would be difficult or just plain time-consuming for the recording industry to *prove* in a court of law that x number of files are traded by n number of people.

      In essense, this amnesty would assemble the evidence list for the RIAA enabling them to go before a court (or congress via their lobbyists) with documented and notarized numb
    • Yep, they'd love you to make it a whole lot easier to prove that you knew you were breaking the law by trotting out that agreement right next to logs that say you shared songs after signing it...
    • more importantly you're confessing that you were doing a willfull breach of copyright, which may end you up in jail.

      not that i would believe for a second that such a mail in form would be worth shit in any higher court(who sensible person takes photocopies of his/her id and sends it to ANYONE through mail???). now here's a fun idea, make up some names and send them to riaa, or better yet, find out some lawyers names and executives names that are pushing this kind of sillyness and file some papers with thei
    • by DDX_2002 ( 592881 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:42PM (#6906168) Journal
      Rasafras said:

      Karma whore help me out - there is a law against the abuse of the legal system in overusing lawsuits, isn't there? The RIAA is practically using form letters to send them out.
      Yes, there are rules against abusing the legal system, but merely filing a bunch of lawsuits isn't in and of itself abusive, nor is using form letters. It's not how many lawsuits you file, it's whether the parties named are proper parties and whether you have a case or not. There's nothing at all wrong with suing thousands or tens of thousands of people, so long as they've actually done something to you.

      You'll be hard pressed to find a lawyer anywhere that doesn't use form letters or form pleadings. Lawyers LOVE precedents and HATE drafting things from scratch. A precedent that you've already used a dozen times before (and won with) is a whole lot better than a newly drafted document never tested by the courts.

      Similarly, no client wants you spending hundreds of dollars an hour drafting and redrafting a simple letter - if you have a form letter that your assistant can put the numbers and names into in five minutes, save your client some money and spend the time you save on strategy.

      The trick is to make sure you do actually update the form and precedent to fit the situation. There've been a lot of lost deals and suits because people used precedents without understanding them or reading them carefully.

      Just my opinion - I could be wrong, and probably am in your jurisdiction.

  • to sum... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:03PM (#6905524) Journal
    "Stepping into the spotlight to admit your guilt is probably not a sensible course for most people sharing music files online, especially since the RIAA doesn't control many potential sources of lawsuits," EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer said in the statement.

    That's pretty much the sum of it. That, and the fact that they're not promising to /never/ prosecute, they're promising a reprive.
  • Interesting Quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Disevidence ( 576586 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:03PM (#6905529) Homepage Journal
    "Addressing the issue recently, Matt Oppenheim, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at the RIAA, said that courts have already ruled that individuals are not anonymous when they publicly distribute music online."

    I find it interesting that he states that your not allowed or should be disregarded of being anonymous when you distribute music online. What if i want to distribute my OWN music online, anonymously. Sure theres probably little reason for me to.

    I find it disturbing that they seem to be confusing distributing music online with copyright violations.

    • Of course they're confusing distributing music online with copyright violations. They want to paint a picture where P2P applications are evil and all their users are "stealing" music. If it becomes generally acknowledged that P2P apps have perfectly legitimate use, then the RIAA loses some credibility and some leverage against file-sharers.
    • I think that's really the heart of their worries. The RIAA does not want you distributing music period. They only want members of the RIAA to have the right to create distribution channels. The P2P cases have nothing to do with copyrights and everything to do with distribution and content control.
    • by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:37PM (#6906141) Journal
      I find it disturbing that they seem to be confusing distributing music online with copyright violations.

      Ah, you haven't seen HR1911, defining "Music" as a trademark of the RIAA member corporations, and everything else as "pornography induced instrument torturing"? Tsktsktsk. Gotta keep on top of these things. ;-)
  • what bothers me. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blanks ( 108019 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:04PM (#6905534) Homepage Journal
    Is that people like parents, kids who dont know better, collage students etc, are going to give out this information willingly.

    They dont know what to expect, or in most cases, what they may be doing is wrong (downloading music, videos etc).
    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:19PM (#6905640) Homepage Journal
      collage students etc

      Not just collage students! Papier mache students and bas-relief students too!

      All the arts & craft students are at risk!
    • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:22PM (#6905672)
      Is that people like parents, kids who dont know better, collage students etc, are going to give out this information willingly.

      It'll be like watching those horror movies, where you see some dumb guy walking into the deserted house, going "Dude? You in here?," then gets hacked to death. Or maybe like one of those poor redshirts from Star Trek, who wander off and get eaten by the Space Wedgie.

      Point is, most of us know better. We shake our heads and laugh that somebody would be dumb enough to try this. But somebody will.

      I'm reminded of that demotivational poster, which shows the wreckage of a ship in shallow water, and has a caption: "Mistakes: It may be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:04PM (#6905539)
    You sign a document where you admit you illegally shared Metallica songs, under the condition that the RIAA not ever sue you.

    Then Metallica sues you.

    It's a sucker deal. Not to mention that you're also agreeing to refrain from engaging in lawful behavior as well!
    • This sounds like such a sucker deal that it shouldn't even be legal... afterall, a contract requires both sides to exchange value. You're offering a confession and an agreement not to do some legal things, and what exactly are they offering again... a promise not to sue from somebody who lacked the authority to sue?
      • Re:Makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rich0 ( 548339 )
        In signing the contract you concede that you traded files illegally and infrigned their copyright. In admitting wrongdoing you indicate that you clearly believe they had grounds to sue, and consequently their amnesty would be consideration for your agreement to cease and desist.

        I'm not saying I agree with the RIAA position, however I think the contract would be legally binding from a consideration standpoint - your objection probably wouldn't hold up. You might try other lines of reasoning though (the RI
    • by stwrtpj ( 518864 ) <p...stewart@@@comcast...net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:24PM (#6906052) Journal
      You sign a document where you admit you illegally shared Metallica songs

      You would think that alone is embarassment enough.

    • Metallica can't sue you, as they don't control the rights to their works on the CDs that were put out by (whatever RIAA label).

      The label owns the rights.
  • by Dreadlord ( 671979 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:05PM (#6905541) Journal
    ... is how RIAA copyrighted stuff (movies, albums, etc) get shared on KaZaA and other P2P programs as soon as they are released, and sometimes even before! (the case of albums), if they can't protect their stuff in the first place, why are they suing people?
    • if they can't protect their stuff in the first place, why are they suing people?

      Why would a drowning man clutch at a straw?

      The RIAA is fighting a losing battle and they know it. They are desparate, stabbing around in the dark, hoping to find something, anything, that will stick. Why else would they attempt to link P2P to child pornography?

      You'd almost think the RIAA and Gray Davis have the same advisors.
    • if they can't protect their stuff in the first place, why are they suing people?

      It has been well discussed that there is really no way to prevent CDs from being copied/ripped/shared/whatever without simultaneously preventing them from being listened to (this also applies to DVDs and other copyrighted stuff that gets shared on P2P apps). And yet the RIAA/MPAA/software publishers have tried to protect their stuff, for example with copy protection [slashdot.org]. Guess what, it hasn't worked, but it has caused some leg

  • Well no duh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Seems to me you'd have to be pretty stupid to admit guilt. I mean, if they don't already know you're file-swapping, it's bloody unlikely they will in the future. (unless you're doing really massive trading, of course)

    Of course, I stopped using P2P quite a bit ago. IRC works just as well, if not better, and you have access to better quality files, to boot. And the RIAA doesn't (yet) track it.


  • by tarnin ( 639523 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:06PM (#6905555)
    While this really is a "Thank you Captain Obvious!" statement, it is nice to know where the EFF stands. While so many other lawyers are out there drooling over the opportunity to scrape up wads of cash at the RIAA's biding, these guys come right out and tell people that the RIAA is full of crap.

    Only thing is I wish more non-techy people even know the EFF existed. I told my mom about this as she had heard all about the RIAA and this new amesty thing from the local news, she had no idea who the EFF was. Apparently the news is only running the RIAA's side of the story. No great suprise here but it kind of limits the impact of their statment now doesnt it?
    • The fact is, for all the news organizations reporting the RIAA's offer, I've seen very few report the EFF's response... apparently there's some segment of the population that needs to be rescued by Captain Obvious.
    • Apparently the news is only running the RIAA's side of the story.

      Follow the money.

      I wouldn't be surprised if many of the major media outlets are either RIAA and/or MPAA members, or subsidiaries of members. And even without that, whose side do you think they'd pick? The EFF?

    • Apparently the news is only running the RIAA's side of the story.

      Well who runs the news.. let's see here there's CNN (owned by AOL TW), ABC (owned by Disney), and probably several other companies that also own record labels.

      Do you know anyone NOT on slashdot that heard of the price fixing scandal by the record labels? There aren't many, and that's because the conventional TV news sources didn't cover the story, even though it accounted for more than $60million in losses for the record companies that ye
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:06PM (#6905561)
    I'm really trying to figure out why the EFF is spending so much time on this. There are a lot of really scary things out there (the DMCA for one), that don't involve helping defend bigtime copyright infringers. (Note: copyright infringer here is defined as someone who willfully shares copyrighted works, not fair use copiers, or even downloaders. The indicted today are, AFAIK, bigtime distributers of music to many people they probably don't know) I understand that some of the previous cases have been indirect infringers, but these seem to be more appropriate. If I remember, the /. community was advocating this when they were taking down Napster (via the legal system).
    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:46PM (#6905809) Journal
      I'm really trying to figure out why the EFF is spending so much time on this. There are a lot of really scary things out there (the DMCA for one), that don't involve helping defend bigtime copyright infringers.

      Because the way power groups remove one of your rights is by FIRST going after some scumbag who is using that right for some icky purpose that NOBODY approves of. Then, once they have the precedent set, they go after someone less scummy.

      After a few steps they have the machine builit and greased. THEN they go after the people using the right for innocent purposes. (See the Martin Niemoller "First they came for the Communists ..." quote.)

      Classic example: Going after Kiddie Pornographers as the first step of shutting down free speech and the free press.

      So the time to stop them is when the go after that first scumbag.
    • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:05PM (#6905917) Journal

      The indicted today are *NOT* "bigtime distributers of music" at all. The only people truly fitting this description are the folks churning out black-market counterfeit tapes and CDs and *selling them* on the street.

      The RIAA still hasn't shown much interest in stopping those people, by comparison. They're too hung up in this "fight the P2P networks!" garbage.

      The fact is, even the individuals with the biggest hard drives full of MP3 music to share are giving the stuff away - NOT selling it at a profit. The folks selling counterfeits are much more of a direct threat to music sales, because they're diverting money from customers who are actively trying to BUY music.

      One of the big problems I see is the RIAA's seeming interest in the sheer number of files available for free downloading from a single source. What if the person is some teenager on a 33.6K modem connection? His/her vast collection of MP3s doesn't really mean much at all in the "big picture", because the bandwidth limits physically prevent too much music from getting shared around anyway. Theoretically, one guy sharing only one "hot new album" off a T3 could be a much bigger problem ... but you know the RIAA isn't looking at it that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:07PM (#6905566)
    The public reaction to the lawsuits needs to be loud and clear--

    Boycott [boycot-riaa.com].

    And it needs to be directed not just towards the RIAA, which is a lobbying industry group meant to be considered separately in the mind of the public from the actual companies [riaa.com].

    I think maybe a targetted boycott campaign against not the RIAA blanket company, but a particular member (chosen randomly) would wake them all up. Put some direct pressure on one pillar, somethign that will hurt, and maybe they'll start to get the message.

    A month-long focused boycott of a single RIAA member company-- recording division only-- Internet-wide. Think of the media attention that would get! Then the next month, a new company...

    Just a thought. Anyone wanna pick up the ball?
    • by Mike Hawk ( 687615 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:26PM (#6905699) Journal
      I'd just like to point out here, that for said boycott to be taken seriously by the public at large (which you need to be effective), that members actively participating in said lawsuit should probably not get caught sharing copyrighted files.

      Continuing to share files and getting caught could be construed by the RIAA to show that you don't really care about whats "right" and that you just want free stuff. This would kill all of the positive publicity and could taint the whole group in the eyes of the public at large (see Greenpeace and some of their more fringe actions.) For this to be effective, the participants will need to show that what they are doing is unquestionably "right". Just look at (a grossly oversimplified) history in the US. Cop punches protester unprovoked = public sympathy and outcry = laws get changed, constitution gets amendments. Cop beats the sh*t out of protester after getting hit with a bottle = no sympathy = public becomes entrenched AGAINST said cause.

      I'd participate under those conditions.
  • by gnovos ( 447128 ) <gnovosNO@SPAMchipped.net> on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:08PM (#6905577) Homepage Journal
    Go ahead and hand over the information... Just not YOUR information. Instead try handing over the names of the sons and daughters of your favorite senator. Maybe that will finally put an end to the mess once and for all.
  • by GrnArmadillo ( 697378 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:08PM (#6905581)
    Seriously, if the RIAA is good for its word and doesn't sue (or turn over to individual labels contact info for) anyone who files for amnesty (and stops downloading/listening to RIAA artists), what do they get out of this? Nothing really but another publicity stunt. And what does the person filing get? Well, if the RIAA already knew who they were, they're prolly being sued and thus ineligible, so all they're accomplishing is handing over a notarized admission of guilt. This one is a pretty much no-brainer. Though yesterday's User Friendly [userfriendly.org] prolly said it best....
  • by ChrisHanel ( 636741 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:08PM (#6905583) Homepage Journal
    If you or anyone you know was contemplating handing over information to the RIAA,

    ...please try not to pass on your genetic map to offspring, and do us all a favor. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • by SnowWolf2003 ( 692561 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:11PM (#6905592)
    This CNET [com.com] article on the topic points out one of the major flaws of the amnesty program.

    "The group said it would not use the information gathered for marketing purposes or share it with any other group of copyright holders. Critics such as the EFF's von Lohmann dismissed the assurances, saying that the RIAA's privacy policy allowed the information to be shared if "required by law," a clause which could allow groups such as music publishers or Hollywood studios to subpoena the information from the RIAA to use in their own lawsuits."
  • by jdc180 ( 125863 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:13PM (#6905605)
    Aaarrgghh... who am i supposed to hate more, RIAA or SCO... maybe i'll get lucky and a microsoft story will be up next and complete the slashdot axis of evil :)
  • by EMN13 ( 11493 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:14PM (#6905607) Homepage
    I guess this is slightly offtopic; but with all this talk going on not only about the RIAA but also the software patents now in europe and DMCA etc etc etc, it's becomes hard not to notice the big pile of dung that copyrights et al seem to be causing. And for what? There's so many cool things one could do with a more relaxed information environment but instead, copyrights not only prevent this, but often, one of the original motivations behind copyright (namely that things get published at all) is rather side stepped. You can't learn anything from a compiled binary; yet nevertheless it enjoys copyright protection (effectively does in any case).

    I don't think the right to exchange information is holy or somehow a human right which you're suggesting here. Consider slander, spam, or malicious information. Malicious information is for instance a virus, or even something as simple as telling a very gullible person that to cure his headache he merely needs to jump off that tower there...

    Given the obvious advantages of free information flow (it is for instance the underpinning of a free market, and necessary also for a "democratic" society), I'ld say information should not be needlessly restricted unless there is a very good reason for it.

    Supposedly, copyrights/patents are a required to encourage the production of new knowledge.

    I would say it's clear that they do encourage some creation of knowledge. By their very nature, however, they also limit it's applicability and extension, therefore also discouraging the creation of such knowledge. Furthermore, I think a better system could be instituted.

    Given that copyrights use market dynamics to encourage creation, whilst those dynamics work only in situations of scarcity, and that information itself (not the distribution thereof!) is not scarce, we can conclude that a system that tries to encourage new knowledge without enforcing scarcity would be optimal, as doing so would bring encouragement without destroying the actual point of the knowledge in the first place.

    People regularly comment on the fact that communism (specifically in Russia) collapsed because it (it being the abstract administrative process that is communism) is a fundamentally bad match in the real world (in which resources are scarce). Generally it's not so widely noted that the same could be said of our current Intellectual Property mess.

    Fortunately, we already have a mechanism to support non-scarce goods (aka social goods) in our society! Subsidizing knowledge production is a far superior solution... and we already do it to some extent with schools, art grants, universities, etc etc etc.

    The question then becomes: how to divide such grants? I don't have an easy answer to that but a model ala de references by academic papers (or for that matter hyperlinks in the net) comes to mind.

    To draw an analogy: in our current situation, knowledge is exclusively controlled by it's creator, which is comparable to how a completely "closed" internet portal would control its content and display information and news depending mostly on how much it can pay to create or buy that information from some news service or equivalent. The subsidized model which supports knowledge creation is more like the net at large with hyperlinks forming the votes for who's cool and who's not. Even without a framework specifically designed to support it, google seems capable to extract useful information from those votes :-).
    • I cannot back a federal government subsidy like this, at least not in the US.
      #1 Its not a power of Congress to do this.
      I could go on, but #1 is enough for me.
      • Your counter argument isn't convincing.
        First of all, the issue isn't what congress can or can't due; it's what should be done. I also don't believe that this really "can't" be done - generally, the interplay between te various government arms, the legal system, and the populace has been very sucessfull at doing this clearly beyond any initial boundaries - consider the closed military trials, and the various other crackdowns on civil liberties enacted and enforced after 9/11. The law isn't a religious text
  • by SnowWolf2003 ( 692561 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:22PM (#6905665)
    The RIAA Clean Slate Program (pdf) [musicunited.org]

    The Affidavit (pdf) [musicunited.org]

    Music United [musicunited.org]

    These links are provided for info purposes, but I agree with the EFF - Don't Sign!
  • You can get an amnesty form here [userfriendly.org]
  • by QuackQuack ( 550293 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:32PM (#6905724) Journal
    I downloaded an album called "Selections from the Linux kernel source code, set to music, with contributions from IBM"

    I'm starting to feel guilty about doing this, and want to fess up, How much do I owe?
  • MPAA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Asmodean ( 21717 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:37PM (#6905759)
    And of course the RIAA would *never* share this info with the MPAA to go after movie sharing... nope, not gonna happen.

    err... hang on there's a knock at my door...

    @$#^% [NO CARRIER]
  • Final Quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    "Addressing the issue recently, Matt Oppenheim, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at the RIAA, said that courts have already ruled that individuals are not anonymous when they publicly distribute music online.

    Gee, it sure is nice to know that the individuals behind the recent destruction of our privacy rights at least understand the issue. Matt clearly point out here why privacy is not an issue: the RIAA has already decided that these individuals are indeed sharing files. No evidence,
  • Translation (Score:5, Funny)

    by cluge ( 114877 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:43PM (#6905788) Homepage
    For those that haven't been following along

    What the RIAA says: We are just fair minded people protecting the artists.

    What they mean: Our middle managers want a raise.

    What the RIAA says: For every 50 bands that get signed only 1 "makes it"

    What they mean: Hookers are expensive, and sometimes when we get drunk we sign people that aren't very good

    What the RIAA says: If you promise to erase all the MP3's you were letting other people download we won't prosecute you

    What they mean: yet

    What the RIAA says: The illegal distribution of MP3's are hurting our CD sales

    What they mean: We thought our near monopoly on music distribution would protect us in an economic downturn

    What the RIAA says: No one wants to play the heavy

    What they mean: We hired these god damn lawyers, it's about time we use them

    What the RIAA wants you to think "It's about what is fair" what they don't want you to know is that in every single case brought against them by an artist for failure to pay royalties, they have lost. (Ok, maybe not that time michael jackson sued)

  • by soulee ( 610711 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:43PM (#6905789)
    "For those who want to wipe the slate clean and to avoid a potential lawsuit, this is the way to go,...", Mitch Bainwol, RIAA Chairman and CEO. Is it just me, or is this quote just a little too Agent Smith?
  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:46PM (#6905810) Homepage Journal
    I feel the RIAA is playing the FUD game here with this campaign. They are simultaneously issueing the subpoenas and this amnesty program to give the impression to the average Joe, that they, the RIAA, are now in complete control of the P2P situation and in just a matter of weeks, music sharing via P2P will be over. The free ride is over, we already know who has done what, all that is left to sign this agreement to avoid legal action. I wonder what other card they will throw down when this has no effect.

  • by Valiss ( 463641 ) on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:50PM (#6905829) Homepage
    If you or anyone you know was contemplating handing over information to the RIAA, you may smack yourself.

  • Remind me.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cgranade ( 702534 ) <cgranade@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday September 08, 2003 @08:55PM (#6905861) Homepage Journal
    Remind me when something surprising happens. In the meantime, I will continue to rant and scream at the idiocy of those who submit to the RIAA. As for myself, I bought $45 of CDs from CD Baby [cdbaby.com], which does not sell RIAA-tainted albums. In other news, if you bookmark
    javascript:var%20index=location.href.indexOf('/- /');if(index!=-1){var%20asin=location.href.substri ng(index+3,index+13);}else{var%20index=location.hr ef.indexOf('ASIN');var%20asin=location.href.substr ing(index+5,index+15);}window.location='http://www .magnetbox.com/riaa/check.asp?asin='+asin;
    as a bookmarklet, it acts as a RIAA Radar. Go to a CD on Amazon, and it will take you to magnetbox.com [magnetbox.com] and tell you if something is RIAA tainted.
  • by rmohr02 ( 208447 ) <mohr.42@[ ].edu ['osu' in gap]> on Monday September 08, 2003 @09:56PM (#6906226)
    I don't understand--we use flat out lies to sue the fuckers, and they still don't buy our music.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) * <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @03:39AM (#6907773) Journal
    Dear WCCO,

    In your 'RIAA lawsuits' piece this evening, I thought it rather irresponsible of you to suggest that all songs downloaded via P2P were illegal and copyrighted by the RIAA.

    Since WCCO is no doubt familiar with Minneapolis and its plethora of musicians, you might have taken a moment to interview a musician who uses P2P to distribute their own works, of which there are many. A trip to mp3.com, for instance, turns up hundreds of thousands of bands and artists that give their music away, with *no* connection to the RIAA.

    I thought the suggestion at the end of your piece to 'apply for amnesty from the RIAA' was especially misleading, as this would probably open one up to multiple lawsuits from other sources; giving your personal information to an organization that has already proven itself 'lawsuit happy' and has attacked its own customers as liars and theives is not a good idea.

    I am rather disappointed in your treatment of this issue, and I believe that one-sided reporting like this only adds to the misinformation that the RIAA 'owns' all music, that P2P applications are only used for piracy or (child) pornography (this is the next view that the RIAA is pushing), or that P2P is at the root of reduced CD sales.

    I suggest either doing some research on this topic in the future and presenting a balanced view, or please mark your broadcast 'Sponsored by the RIAA' in the corner of the screen. You could probably get the MTV logo guys to do that, as MTV is owned by Viacom, your parent company.

    Thanks for your time,

  • by MImeKillEr ( 445828 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:56AM (#6909108) Homepage Journal
    .. but where does one get a copy of the amnesty doc? We could start a campaign to send bogus docs to the RIAA (like the guy who sent SCO monopoly money) just to flood them with paperwork.

    Print up some bogus Notary stamps (make it an obvious forgery) and just flood them with paperwork.

    Use their own names, Darl McBride, Heywood Jablowme, Mike Hunt, every character from The Matrix and Office Space, etc.


I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright