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RIAA Sued For Amnesty Offer 533

wo1verin3 writes "CNET News is reporting that the RIAA is being sued because of 'Clean Slate' filesharing amnesty program that was announced on Monday. 'Clean Slate' allows people to (supposedly) avoid legal action by stepping forward and forfeiting any illegally traded songs. The suit, filed in the Marin Superior Court of California, charges that the RIAA's program is deceptive and fraudulent business practice." The suit claims that the amnesty is "designed to induce members of the general public... to incriminate themselves... while (receiving)... no legally binding release of claims", a statement the EFF also agrees with.
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RIAA Sued For Amnesty Offer

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  • Not to mention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:41PM (#6925879)
    The fact that the RIAA doesn't even own the entire copyright to songs. Songwriters own part, too.
    • Re:Not to mention (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TMB ( 70166 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:58PM (#6926027)
      Actually, they don't own any of the copyright. That's what makes it really silly. In most cases, the copyright is owned by the individual record company.
    • Re:Not to mention (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:03PM (#6926060)
      The RIAA owns no copyrights to songs. The member companies of the RIAA own the copyrights. Unless the RIAA has a power of attorney to make a commitment on behalf of its members, then you're confessing your sins to somebody who doesn't have the power to forgive you...
      • Re:Not to mention (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gallir ( 171727 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:41PM (#6926355) Homepage
        The member companies of the RIAA own the copyrights.

        Not completely true in Europe. We have two "different" rights: moral rights (author's right, derechos de autor, droit d'auteur) and economis rights (exploitation rights).

        Moral rights belongs to the author, they are inalienable, they cannot be sold or waived. BTW, they are recognised by the Berne Convention.

        Have moral rights any impact on this RIAA issue. Have no idea.

        • Re:Not to mention (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Bendebecker ( 633126 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:06PM (#6926517) Journal
          "Have moral rights any impact on this RIAA issue. Have no idea."
          Nope. The american copyright tradition is actually opposed to the idea of moral rights. There were a couple supreme court decisions making this clear. We recognize copyright as being different than the so-called natural rights. As for the berne convention, we rejected that as well. The DCMA was a reaction to the reaction to that attempt. The convention had been rejected but for political and economic reasons (basically to buddy up to europe) Clinton wanted a close duplicate to it and hence the DCMA came about. Read Lessig's books and Saidvyathan (sic? - no idea, read the books last semester) for a better description of it. Copyrights and copywrongs is probably the one you'll want to pick up.
          • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:23PM (#6932978)
            A) We've been party to the Berne Convention since 1988 after we made changes to our copyright laws. The Berne Convention has been administered by WIPO since 1967 and has since then been superceded and extended by the TRIPS agreement and the WIPO treaties that the DMCA is an implementation of.

            B) The DMCA's alternate title the WIPO Treaty Implementing Legislation. It was passed to fulfill the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treatry which we both pushed for as part of an economic strategy to strengthen IP. It was our diplomats who behind closed doors helped force this upon the world, and it's our diplomats who are continuing to campaign for even stronger treaties as an end-run around the democratic process in our own nation.

            C) It wasn't written to "buddy up to Europe." The EU didn't even pass their own implementation of the treaty until 2001 whereas the DMCA was passed via unaccountable voice vote in 1998 (along with the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act the next day) to avoid media attention. EU member states are still in the process of ratifying it and implementing their own local versions of it.

            D) Finally, tt's the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, or DMCA, for crying out loud. Spelling it wrong twice is a clear warning flag that you haven't researched it at all and are just regurgitating half-truths and misinformation that you've heard elsewhere.
        • Re:Not to mention (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Caraig ( 186934 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:39PM (#6926707)
          The US only recognizes moral rights in architecture. Music, poetry, prose, and all other creative works are not covered by moral rights.

          If Majel Roddenberry produced documented evidence that Gene had signed over all moral rights to Star Trek to her, and she tried to sue Brannon and Braga for violating the moral rights of Gene Roddenberry for the utter perversion of Trek that they've created, a US court would not find in her favor.
      • by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:03PM (#6926492) Homepage
        You are correct in some ways, but see if you can follow my bizarre circular logic:

        1. CitizenX downloads a song by Pop Musician.
        2. Pop Musician have sold their sold their soul to Satan in return for fame and fortune.
        3. Pop Musician puts their heart and "soul" into every song they create.
        4. The RIAA are a licensed agent of Satan.
        5. Therefore the RIAA do in fact own the copyright of most Pop music.

        At least that is how the RIAA plan on defending themselves in court.
      • by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:07PM (#6926519) Journal
        The RIAA owns no copyrights to songs. The member companies of the RIAA own the copyrights. Unless the RIAA has a power of attorney to make a commitment on behalf of its members, then you're confessing your sins to somebody who doesn't have the power to forgive you...

        You mean just like a priest?
      • Who are the member companies of RIAA and how do I stop supporting them?
        • Re:Not to mention (Score:5, Informative)

          by fucksl4shd0t ( 630000 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:55AM (#6928285) Homepage Journal

          Who are the member companies of RIAA and how do I stop supporting them?

          The page was down, but this is Google's cache of the RIAA members page []. I was surprised there were so many. I was further surprised that Sanctuary was one of them. Now I wish I hadn't have bought the new Anthrax CD. Gonna have to stop buying Anthrax, now. :(

          Boycott RIAA [boycott-riaa.com] is a website that talks about boycotting them. I haven't read through the website myself, I've just been doing my own independent thing.

          RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] is a searchable database to see if an artist is on an RIAA label. They also have a javascript bookmarklet that will tell you when an artist is RIAA while you're on Amazon.

  • by BigDork1001 ( 683341 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:43PM (#6925895) Homepage
    C'mon, everyone knows this is frivolous. The RIAA has nothing but good intentions here. You can trust them. I mean take a look back at all their past actions and ask yourself, "Why wouldn't the RIAA want to be my friend?"

  • possibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gorny ( 622040 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:45PM (#6925914) Homepage Journal
    Isn't it possible for the RIAA to put all the money they spend on lawsuits in some projects which make music legally available on the 'net? They'll loose the war against (millions of?) p2p swappers in the end
    • Re:possibility (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:05PM (#6926080)
      Other than the fact that's suicidal. P2P swaping won't kill the music industry, but it will kill some of the no-longed-needed players in the music industry... those who made their money by controling the distrubition channels.
      • but it will kill some of the no-longed-needed players in the music industry

        That's it exactly. Distributing audio on CD is archaic these days. Technology is making the world smaller and these guys are no longer needed and they know it. Thats why they have been fighting mp3 rather than embracing it. If mp3 or whatever codec (ogg :-) becomes the main legitimate way of distributing music they won't need 20% of the people that are currently in the industry and there won't be massive companies making obscene p

    • Re:possibility (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:14PM (#6926166) Journal
      This is something The Economist [economist.com] has just mentioned too. In this article [economist.com] they report how the music industry has lagged behind in adapting to the internet age compared to the movie industry:
      Shipments of recorded music have dropped by 26% since 1999. The industry has responded with price rises, and so revenues have fallen by "just" 14%.
      Meanwhile, music companies continue to look flat-footed compared with other industries affected by piracy, such as the movie business. Warner Brothers slashed the price of its DVDs a few years ago, spurring an upsurge in sales. A side-effect was that some DVDs ended up being cheaper than CDs, making the CDs, which are typically shorter and have no visual content, look distinctly overpriced.
      That article also criticises the industry for failing to do anything to provide a decent legal alternative to file-swapping. The iTunes store is cited as a step in the right direction.

    • Re:possibility (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) *
      Because the "RIAA" isn't a WE in the true sense. It's a bunch of I's posing as a "we". Each I in this case (Sony, Universal, et al) has/have their own interests in how they think, "digial music" should be licensed to the end user; and many are persuing it independently. The RIAA is simply a hedge fund for these companies. It's a tiny peice of their respective corporate pies. However, these peices have added up to a significantly well financed monster. It starts with our basic civil liberties and consu
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) * <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:46PM (#6925925) Journal
    This is a repost, buy what the hell...it's very fitting (and they still haven't responded) :)

    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,

  • RIAA Says... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smkndrkn ( 3654 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:46PM (#6925928)
    The RIAA responded to the suit with a maxim: "No good deed goes unpunished, apparently."

    Wow what a good deed. They did a good deed by having that 12 year old's mom pay $2,000.00 too...why are they so mis-understood??!

    I say we just give them what they want. Stop downloading...stop buying and find other sources of music. I buy CDs from cdbaby.com (I'm not affiliated in any way) from artists that are unsigned and have found a lot of good music. I also listen to a lot of local stuff and some of the smaller record companies that actually promote bootlegs and similar things. Like skunk records.

  • by Not_Wiggins ( 686627 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:49PM (#6925961) Journal
    Always fall back on the Bart Simpson way:

    I didn't do it.
    And even if I did do it, you couldn't prove it.
    And even if you could prove it, I wouldn't admit it. ;)

    If you never confess, they'll never "know for sure" that you were guilty.
  • by TimCrider ( 215456 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:51PM (#6925976)
    Now that they have a documented case of someone who was part of the 261 doers of evil against the RIAA paying only 2000 dollars for their crimes, does this hurt their 150k per song price?

    Couldn't you just argue that 2k is the going rate?

    IANAL, so I don't know, but it sounds funs :D
  • The suit... (Score:3, Funny)

    by lord_paladine ( 568885 ) <wdnm91q02@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:53PM (#6925986)
    The suit claims that the amnesty is "designed to induce members of the general public... to incriminate themselves... while (receiving)... no legally binding release of claims"

    Wait a second, doesn't the RIAA assume everyone is guilty to begin with? I suppose you wouldn't really be incriminating yourself in the RIAA's eyes, just incriminating your self even more than you already were.

    Still I agree, it's a bum deal anyway you look at at.

    • Well, in this case, rather then being an assumed music "thief" (which brings up a whole other rant about copyright infringement not being theft) you are now admitting you are.

      And on another note, when they said "destroy hard copies" did they mean of your mp3s or your cds too? If it's the latter, sounds like a deliciously evil way to get MORE of your cash-money.
  • Long shot. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:54PM (#6925995) Homepage
    I hate to say this, but this lawsuit does not have the slightest chance of being won.

    Although it's quite obvious that RIAA's "offer" is full of shit, remind yourself that the burden will be on the plaintiff to prove their case. The only realistic chance of winning this case would be to come up with someone who did sign on RIAA's dotted line, but then got sued anyway. Has this happen to anyone, yet? Unless this happens, everything is mere speculation and hypothesis.

    And what exactly are the plaintiffs' damages in this case anyway, to date? I can't figure this out.

    The only way to hit RIAA where it hurts is to do absolutely nothing. They gotta be pulling these kinds of stunts out of desperation. Music sales are falling, and falling, and falling, and you're witnessing the last dying gasps of an obsolete dinosaur. You could argue whether or not the music sales are down because of piracy, or because contemporary mainstream music is shit that nobody wants to listen to, anyway. It doesn't matter. Whatever the reason is, so be it. Don't do anything that you're not doing already. And if you're not doing anything, keep on not doing anything. Whatever. Keep on going, keep on seeing music sales nosediving, until RIAA, and their ilk, are starved into non-existence.
    • They gotta be pulling these kinds of stunts out of desperation.

      Somebody in the earlier story (Tuesday I believe) about the RIAA settling for $2000 with the mother of the 12 year-old mentioned that perhaps the RIAA is suing these people not because they're major downloaders or share metric ass-loads of files, but because they are the only people they can track down. This lends some credibility to the "desperation" angle... perhaps they want people to step forward so they can go "AH HA! See, you were next o
  • by Arc04 ( 601196 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @05:57PM (#6926014)
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:01PM (#6926044) Homepage Journal
    Now on the front page at Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org], my article Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads [kuro5hin.org].

    You don't need to worry about getting sued by the Recording Industry Assocation of America [riaa.org] or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music. Many independent and unsigned musicians offer downloads of their music in hopes of attracting more fans. Here's some music from my friends The Divine Maggees [divinemaggees.com], Oliver Brown [kingturtle.com] and Rick Walker's Loop.pooL [looppool.info].

    If everyone started downloading legal music instead of violating copyright with the file sharing programs, we would make short work of the RIAA, because people would start buying CDs directly from the artists and seeing their shows instead of enriching the major labels by buying CDs from the bands the labels have chosen for us to listen to. The RIAA would also have no cause to complain - these music downloads do not infringe copyright because the artists give you permission to download them.

    Please copy and distribute it [kuro5hin.org] according to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

    Thank you for your attention.

    • by Oscar_Wilde ( 170568 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:53PM (#6926428) Homepage
      The article mentions the, IMO, very interesting iRate Radio [sourceforge.net] project.

      To quote the kuro5hin article:
      iRATE radio is a collaborative filtering client/server mp3 player/downloader. The iRATE server has a large database of music. You rate the tracks and it uses your ratings and other peoples to guess what you'll like. The tracks are downloaded from Web sites which allow free downloads of their music.

      As of July 2003, the iRATE server has 46,000 tracks registered.

      There are some screenshots [sourceforge.net] for you all to look at.
      • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @09:42PM (#6927343) Homepage

        iRATE is an interesting idea, but it needs a lot of work. It has a poor UI. You can't even jump to the middle of a song.

        And most of the music sucks. I've found a few songs I've rated 10/10, but I rate most songs 0/10 or 2/10. And their playlist shuffle algorithm sucks. If you rate a song better than average, it will be repeated VERY often. It's played some songs that I rated 10/10 three times IN A ROW.

        I would be curious to learn more about their server-side "matchmaker" algorithms. I looked at their Java code in Sourceforge and it is poorly organized. They don't use a SQL database backend. The entire catalog (tens of thousands of songs) are stored in XML and require O(n^2) algorithms for comparing each song.
  • by yamla ( 136560 ) <chris@@@hypocrite...org> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:01PM (#6926046)
    I am well aware that the RIAA is a U.S. corporation (or organisation, not sure which). However, had they issued their immunity offer in Canada, they would be breaking the law. Section 143, Advertising reward and immunity. Basically, nobody (including police officiers, though the law states 'Every one', not 'every officer') can offer a 'no questions[...] asked' advertisement whereby if you return something that has been stolen (and the RIAA would have to argue that the MP3s have been stolen, by definition), no 'interference with or inquiry about the person' (i.e. charges) will be made.

    I am rather surprised that this is allowed in the U.S., assuming the RIAA really isn't committing a criminal act there.
    • The RIAA is not offering immunity from prosecution, but rather a settlement of the possible civil claim. In the US, there are selected parts of the government who can offer various forms of immunity from criminal charges in exchange for testimony. In fact, it's sometimes even forced upon them. A witness who refuses to testify claiming 5th Amendment protection because their answers would incriminate them could be granted immunity, which would then make their 5th Amendment claim moot.
    • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:57PM (#6926456) Journal
      The Canadian version of RIAA is pretty easy compaired to the US.

      None of the suits involve Canadians and the Canadian Recording Industry Association, CRIA, says it has no plans to launch similar legal action here. [globeandmail.com]

      Another quote to ease the minds of Canadians;
      Canadian legal experts say similar suits would be harder to win here mainly because Canada's copyright law permits people to make copies of music for personal use. A levy is included in the price of CDs which is supposed to cover royalties for copying.

      Plus your new $20 looks pretty damned ugly!
      • Another quote to ease the minds of Canadians;

        Canadian legal experts say similar suits would be harder to win here mainly because Canada's copyright law permits people to make copies of music for personal use. A levy is included in the price of CDs which is supposed to cover royalties for copying.

        US case law says it is legal to make copies of music for personal use. The DMCA says it is illegal if there is any sort of copy protection. However, I am inclined to believe that case law preempts the DMCA in th

    • That's ridiculous. Suppose I lived in a college dorm, and somebody swiped my digital camera. On the camera were several photographs of a recent cherished moment (such as graduation from high school). Not wanting to lose the photographs, and hoping that whoever took the camera was just drunk and might feel bad if they knew what was on it, I post a message on the dorm bulletin board saying "Please, if you have my camera, please return it to me. It has several priceless photographs on it. No questions asked --
  • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:02PM (#6926053) Homepage
    The only time this supposed amnesty applies to you is if RIAA hasn't already begun investigating you. Assuming this is true, why do you have to sign an amnesty document? Just stop sharing and you'll be in the clear.

    I think that just highlights how stupid the whole idea is.
  • RICO defense? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) * on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:03PM (#6926062) Journal
    "The suit ... charges that the RIAA's program is deceptive and fraudulent business practice."

    Which brings us one step closer to my idea. If there are any real lawyers here, could you please tell me why no one has bothered to attack the RIAA's charges using the Federal RICO Act? The RIAA and member organizations have engaged in a pattern of corrupt business practices for over 50 years, and are now using the law to intimidate individuals, companies, and universities to further their interests.

    From my (admittedly limited) understanding of RICO, you must prove that the organization has engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, and is using illegal means, especially under cover of authority (court actions, copyright law, etc) to further their interests. Now, the ongoing illegal activity is really two-fold. That being, the RIAA's member companies have illegally maintained an effective distribution monopoly by engaging in anti-competitive acts, and have conspired to defraud consumers with a massive price-fixing scheme which caused consumers to be overcharged by more than $480 million (USD) since 1997 alone, according to the former head of the FTC. This scheme was labled "Minimum-Advertised Pricing", or MAP by the Attorneys General who investigated and eventually brought about a settlement. With regard to the anti-competitive acts, the RIAA and member companies have engaged in such practices as "payola", in which radio stations were paid money in order to ensure that music not controlled by the RIAA's members was never played, and therefore never heard by the public at large. Thus, their only competition, the independent artist/label, continues to struggle to get by, while the RIAA monopoly takes in billions each year.

    So I ask again, why is it that no one has attacked the RIAA on RICO grounds. A corrupt organization cannot use the legal system to facilitate its illegal activities. The lack of legal online modes of music distribution is but more evidence of the RIAA's desperate struggle to maintain its distribution monopoly with an iron fist. It would seem to me that showing these lawsuits to be nothing more than tactics designed to further the interests of a corrupt organization is a far better defense than, "my client didn't know it was illegal".

    • Re:RICO defense? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Excen ( 686416 )
      They already have!!!!! It was advertised in a back issue of National Geographic that the big 5 record labels were guilty of artificially inflating the price of records at their outlet stores! I don't remember what month it was in, but it was in either 1999, 2000, or 2001 and it was toward the back of the issue in just black and white, like a typical legal announcement. If my memory serves me correctly, it was the attorney general of Indiana or Ohio or some state like that that initiated and won (settled
  • by turbotalon ( 592486 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:17PM (#6926188) Homepage
    I know a small percentage of musicians are pro-RIAA, we have seen their disgraceful support. How many of the other musicians really know what's happening? Do they agree, but don't want to risk the PR nightmare of saying it out loud, or are they completely unaware of the war that is being fought? What we need is some prominent artist(s) to come out and openly defy the RIAA, someone with enough oomph in the industry that the RIAA couldn't squash them. Who might be willing?
    • by MatthewB79 ( 47875 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:04PM (#6926504)
      Of course the artists pay attention! For every Madonna who insults a fan interested in downloading her latest track, there's a David Bowie who would probably give all his music away for free; if he had some reasonable guarantee that everyone who grabbed his music would show up at the local Sponsor Amphitheater for his next tour, buy a $40 ticket and see him play live.
      As this "RIAA vs. Its Customers" drama plays out, expect to see more artists fall on either side of the "Do I really care about the music?" fence. It has been somewhat heart-wrenching for some fans (including myself) of Madonna, Metallica, and others, to see thier musical heroes betray them in such a way.
    • Zappa (Score:3, Interesting)

      by flogger ( 524072 )
      I'd love to hear what Frank Zappa would be saying now. I'm sure it isn't to different to what he has always been saying. Too bad he's gone the the big "Joe's Garage in the Sky." He'd be lighting a nice little fire under some RIAA peoples. If nothing else, he'd be throwing out some great musical commentary. **sigh** I miss him.

      To answer your question of who might be willing... I don't know if anyone is willing today. For someone to have the "oomph" required, they would have to be a child of the RIAA and peo
  • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:21PM (#6926229)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it pretty much legally impossible to "sign away" your right to sue someone? I'm sure the RIAA knows this. Hardly anyone else does, though.
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:33PM (#6926311)
      You're getting your legal terms confused. It's easy to make an out-of-court settlement for a pending civil claim, even if the claim hasn't even made it to the point of a lawsuit. There are certain things you can't waive before they happen (such as a claim for wrongful death for a deliberate killing) but that's an exception to the general rule

      What's impossible is for the RIAA to grant immunity from a criminal prosecution, only the government can do that. Just like a rape victim that tries to pull out of testifying at the trial, the government can still go forward with a prosecution even if the victim of the crime doesn't want to press the charges.
    • Right to sue (Score:4, Informative)

      by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:16PM (#6926870) Homepage
      Warez sites attempted to use a bit of legal mumbo jumbo that basically says "by entering this site you agree not to sue." I don't believe that's ever held up in court. Sites that actually carry warez tend to resort to using technical means to cover their asses and not legally questionable agreements. Kazaa is demonstrating it's value in that area.

      However that's telling me I can't sue them. The RIAA is (possibly pretending) to have you sign something so THEY won't sue you. Basically it's a legal document to restrain themselves under specific guidlines. Not for you to restain yourself other than by stopping your illegal activity.

      It's perfectly reasonable for me to remove my own right to sue. That's my choice. I can deny myself free speech as well and censor everything I say. I can also deny myself a gun or any other number of things.

      There's nothing wrong with the concept of what they're doing as far as "right to sue" but how they've worded their agreement and how they're selling their agreement appear to be the hot issue. And that's far more relavent anyway.

  • Holy Shit! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:22PM (#6926238) Homepage Journal
    And here I thought the RIAA was all sweetness and light and Hillary Rosen (Yes, I know she's not associated with them anymore, but this mental image doesn't work with anyone else) would come down in a tight spandex Tinkerbell costume and wash all my sins away! Boy, I almost got taken in, glad you guys were there to save me!
  • by felonious ( 636719 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @06:53PM (#6926424) Journal
    It is painfully obvious that the RIAA is in desperate straights and jumping on any idea that involkes fear in their ex-customers.

    What I cannot figure out is how they simply ignore what they are doing to their (ex)customers. Not only are they alienating their long time customers but they are also alienating the next generation of customers. Even if this entire p2p quagmire is eventually solved they will still have to deal with the monkey wrench they threw into their business dealings.

    I think it's safe to say that they are past the point of no return. They feel that they are losing too much to give a damn so they are rolling the dice on their scare tactics. The music industry as it was has ceast to exist. It's just an old horse that refuses to die but will eventually meet it's fate whether it wants to or not.

    I think the music industry will survive but in another form and in a much smaller way. No longer will they be able to push certain artists on a consistent basis while ignoring the majority. If they actually listened to what their (ex)customers are saying then they would be completely enlightened to what's wanted in this day and age.

    1)9.99 and under pricing

    2)Under .99 downloads per song with no protection schemes

    3)The ability to transfer whatever you download to any device at anytime without fear of being called a criminal and sued to financial ruin

    4)The ability to pay a fair fee for unlimited downloads of different music catalogs

    5)To have the RIAA and the companies it represents actually listen to consumers and what they want instead of trying to sue them into being customers.

    6)A written guarantee and promise to keep cd pricing low with no future collusion/price fixing. Cd's and their future derivatives must stay below $9.99 unless it is independently studied and verified that a newer standard costs more.
    7)A Major FUCKING apology to those who were made an example of and possibly some form of restitution to those who's lives were seriously impacted.

    That's fair and that's not a mountain to overcome.

    To sum it up....

    If the RIAA is to stay in business then they can either listen and come to the table and work with the consumer or the RIAA can continue to thumb their nose at all of us and ignore what we want. If they choose to ignore then they will never be able to recoup their loses and we are the ones who can control that.

    So RIAA whatcha gonna do?

  • by Mystiq ( 101361 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:04PM (#6926512)
    In A.D. 2003
    War was beginning
    Teenager1: What happen?
    Teenager2: Somebody set up us the P2P sniffer.
    Teenager3: We get e-mail.
    Teenager1: What!
    Teenager3: Main mail client turn on.
    RIAA: How are you gentlemen!
    RIAA: All your MP3 are belong to us.
    RIAA: You are on the way to bankruptcy.
    Teenager1: What you say!
    RIAA: You have no chance to pay us make your time.
    RIAA: HA HA HA HA ....
    Teenager1: Take off every share!
    Teenager2: You know what you doing.
    Teenager1: Move share.
    Teenager1: For great lawsuit.
  • by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:33PM (#6926675)
    Robert Fripp said it the best "Music and the music industry have nothing to do with each other." This persuasion, featured in RIAA propaganda, and held by some people(guy who ran "family" record store?), that somehow by downloading songs you won't have any music to enjoy is just stupefying. Even if all the major labels went out of business the consumer would not be negatively affected. The internet with all its file-sharing realms would still be there, and no-doubt better then ever. And new music would still fill these realms. Artists make art because that's what they do. It has nothing to do with profit to them. They would be making art no matter what. If anything, it just opens up the average consumer to more artistically inclined music; they're better off.
  • Remember MP3.Com (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:27PM (#6926939) Homepage Journal
    Back in the old days you could download all the mp3's you could handle from little known artists trying to get a foot in the door. I have not been there in a long time but I see it's now populated by all the big names in the business and it's hard to find unsigned artists at the top of any of the charts. All the big names have done to MP3.com is use it to advertise their songs.
  • by delflyzero ( 706112 ) <delflyzero@hotmail.com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:34PM (#6926986) Homepage
    Back in the Old days the Record Companys push little 12 year old girls to screw band members, Now the RIAA/Record Companys want to cut the perk out of that for the artist too and screw 12 year old little girls themselfes....
  • Why steal MP3's? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NTmatter ( 589153 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:49PM (#6927079) Homepage
    With all these law suits going on, it's becoming financially prohibitive to steal MP3's for free over the P2P networks. In fact, it's cheaper to walk into a store and steal a CD. What's the worst that can happen? You get caught shoplifting, and you have to pay $500 bail? This brings me to another point - If you stole a CD, would the RIAA hunt you down and sue you for $150,000 per song? 18 Tracks of mindless drivel multiplied by $150,000 is $2.7 million. If they're going to sue you for that much, they should at least let you keep the music.
  • by jwlidtnet ( 453355 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @09:25PM (#6927259)
    ...and at least somewhat offtopic.

    OK. So I download an album from the internet that I Do Not Own. It is horrible and illegal and for this I will burn in hell, etc. etc. etc. Now, the argument behind this, supposedly, is that I have not paid for and asserted ownership over the material, and (presumably) the RIAA/Artist/ASCAP hasn't received any money. And they're not happy. And thus I am infringing and rightly in the Wrong.

    Say I acquire the CD. I buy it used, even (heaven forbid) at a garage sale. I pay $1.99 for it.

    I realize that now I am "allowed" to have these MP3s, and to do with them whatever I please...perhaps I will rub them all over myself gleefully. But *why* exactly? I understand the first sale doctrine and how it works, but I still haven't enriched anybody. My owning the CD certainly hasn't contributed to the flow of royalties. Presumably the original owner no longer has a copy, so this is all kosher, but it's still an odd way to thing about conferring "rights to have." No royalties have entered the chain, but suddenly I'm immune and (more importantly) an Honest, Moral Being.

    As at least 70% of my CD collection is secondhand at this point, it's fascinating to think that while I certainly don't contribute to anybody's revenue flow by downloading albums, I *still* don't tend to profit the artist/record co/etc. if I do indeed deem something worthy of my all-purchasing eye.

    Again, just a thought/musing/whathaveya.
  • by jcsehak ( 559709 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @09:33PM (#6927300) Homepage
    I submitted this as a story, but who knows if it'll get accepted? So I'm posting it here.

    I'm just as sick of this RIAA nonsense as the rest of you. Here's what I'm doing about it. I had this idea for a t-shirt, and I decided it would be coolest to just put it up on Cafepress and donate the profits to the EFF. So that's what I did. [cafepress.com]

    The shirt is based on the real pirate Bartholomew Roberts' -- aka Black Bart -- flag (one of them), which originally had the letters ABH (a Barbadian's head) and AMH (a Martinican's head) on it. He didn't like those places much, since he was wanted for piracy there, much more aggressively than anywhere else.

    I should make it clear that I'm not affiliated with the EFF in any way. I'll just be donating ALL the profits ($5 per item, except for the stickers and mousepad, which generate $2.50 profit) to the EFF as I get checks from Cafepress (in $50 increments, is what they say). No, there's no accountability -- you'll simply have to trust me. I'm just a geek trying to do something good.

    In the case of someone getting sued that I feel really got screwed (like Brianna LaHara [slashdot.org]), I'll be donating the money directly to their paypal recovery fund (assuming they have one) instead of the EFF. As soon as my Cafepress account shows some sales, I'll post the progress on my website [rootrecords.org], with full disclosure (# of sales, total profits, where they went).

    Feel free to post your opinion if you think I'm being too naive -- I'll get screwed by taxes for not filling out some form or something -- but I trust you'll do that anyway ;)

He's dead, Jim.