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The Courts Government United States News

Record Industry Sues 532 More U.S. File-Sharers 613

Patik writes "The RIAA today issued 532 new subpoenas for music file swapping, many of them college students using their campus networks. They will not say which ISPs or colleges were involved, but that the users were sharing "substantial amounts" of music files. This brings the total number of subpoenas to 1,977. The RIAA has been averaging $3,000 per settlement so far." Readers Digitus1337 and Warpedcow point to stories respectively at Wired and Reuters.
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Record Industry Sues 532 More U.S. File-Sharers

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  • Great.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Didn't a judge tell them they couldn't do this before?
    • Re:Great.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Drantin ( 569921 )
      Maybe they used a computer to print out seperate forms for each one? The restriction was against all-in-one subpoenas IIRC...
  • KLite (Score:3, Informative)

    by fodi ( 452415 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:15PM (#8651887)
    C'mon guys !! use Kazaa Lite, not the full version!! At least give yourselves a chance. And the best place to get Kazaa Lite these days is... yep, Kazaa !!!
  • Go get them! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy ( 578567 ) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:16PM (#8651896) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA ought to keep on doing this until the public gets either so fed up with these antics or simply doesn't have enough money to buy the CDs altogether.

    Though they've made around 6M dollars, this is a losing strategy in the long run.
  • Whew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:16PM (#8651899)
    Thank goodness I only share and download pornography!

    Seriously though, they need to make sure the
    punishment isn't worse than the crime. Ruining
    a college student's record/life may not fit that
    description.
  • Well.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <xunileoj>> on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:16PM (#8651901) Homepage
    Can't blame them for trying...I just hope they have the good sense to back off if they find someone using p2p for legal uses...
    • Re:Well.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      Are you kidding? What legal uses?

      I'm being sarcastic, but only to an extent.

      From the RIAA perspective, there is no legal reason for you to be sharing their music via p2p. Even if you legally own the CD, and you legally have backup copies, sharing them freely is not legal. /devil's advocate

      I emailed the RIAA several years back (when this first became an issue during Napster) and asked them about the only legal use I could think of - downloading music that resides on a CD you own because it's faster than r
  • by machine of god ( 569301 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:17PM (#8651902)
    bastards.
  • Bankrupt the RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:18PM (#8651909) Homepage
    The RIAA has been averaging $3,000 per settlement so far.

    It must cost the RIAA more than $3,000 per case to file against file swappers. Lawyers don't come cheap...

    • Re:Bankrupt the RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by no reason to be here ( 218628 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:21PM (#8651937) Homepage
      It must cost the RIAA more than $3,000 per case to file against file swappers. Lawyers don't come cheap

      The RIAA is basically an association of lawyers paid by the various member labels to do exactly this kind of thing.
    • Re:Bankrupt the RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by molafson ( 716807 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:21PM (#8651944)
      Bankrupt the RIAA

      It must cost the RIAA more than $3,000 per case to file against file swappers. Lawyers don't come cheap...


      This (bankrupting the RIAA by giving them $3000) is as brilliant as bankrupting Microsoft by buying cheap Xboxes (which is to say, not at all brilliant in the least).
      • by toupsie ( 88295 )
        This (bankrupting the RIAA by giving them $3000) is as brilliant as bankrupting Microsoft by buying cheap Xboxes (which is to say, not at all brilliant in the least).

        Microsoft covers its loses with the XBox with other business divisions. What does the RIAA do besides sue people that download music that brings in income? At some point, funding the RIAA would become prohibitive for the powers that be in the music industry. I think when they see the futility of suing everyone, they will start to embrace more

        • Perhaps the Palestinians and the Israelis will embrace peace, when they see the futility of blowing each other up.

          I know this is off-topic, but I feel that this analogy is the best, because like the Middle East, I'm not holding my breath for the RIAA to change its ways.

          The RIAA won't change. The RIAA is nothing more than the business end of copyright lawyers. They're not musicians or producers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:23PM (#8651952)
      "Lawyers don't come cheap..."

      Indian lawyers do.
    • I cant wait til they hit some rich kid who decides to fight them on it. Issuing thousands of lawsuits, and settling all of them... that MUST be extorsion in some juristiction.

    • $3,000 dollars a settlement? Well, once you've paid it, do you get to keep the music? Let's say you have 10,000 MP3's, OGG's, APE's and WAV's (just say...) and you pay the fine... Hey, you've saved like $78,899,992,993.89 (some keyboard mashing was involved!) before tax! Wahey!
  • by domodude ( 613072 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:18PM (#8651912)
    1977 people still only represents a tiny fraction of p2p users. ~.049% of the p2p users (I assumed the low amount of 4million at any one time). Take the number of user to a resonable 15million and we get .013%. I guess free is still greater than cheap to many people.
  • by tokennrg ( 690176 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:18PM (#8651914)
    "The RIAA has been averaging $3,000 per settlement so far."

    ...so are they giving all the money they've received to the authors/performers of the music? How do they decide who gets what and what's the money used for.
    • by Adam9 ( 93947 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:22PM (#8651946) Journal
      No no no. The money goes to pay the lawyers to help protect the artists from these thieves!
    • by philovivero ( 321158 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:29PM (#8652007) Homepage Journal
      so are they giving all the money they've received to the authors/performers of the music? How do they decide who gets what and what's the money used for.
      It is decided using a complex formula, but I'll give you an example, using eg Counting Crows:
      • 99% -- Record Industry Execs
      • 0.05% -- Band manager
      • 0.03% -- Hookers and blow
      • 0.01% -- Flowers for the receptionist
      • 0.005% -- A couple of beers for the record execs' buds
      • 0.004% -- The Anti-Slashdot lobby
      • 0.001% -- The band, Counting Crows. They can divvy it up however they want between themselves.
      Is it clear now?
    • ...so are they giving all the money they've received to the authors/performers of the music?
      No, its all going to the lawyers.
  • by dealsites ( 746817 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:18PM (#8651915) Homepage
    I remember when they first started sueing, the file trading slowed down for a while. I think it went back up though. Do you think most people think they won't get caught? After all, when there are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people on a p2p network, sueing 532 people is only a fraction of the overall filesharers.

    --
    Smack your momma good deals! [dealsites.net]
  • $3000 per settlement?!?! Uh oh I think the RIAA just found a profitable new business model.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:20PM (#8651934)
    Still, only close to 2000 lawsuits is only a fraction of the entire music-swapping community.

    It is a weak terrorist-like tactic. Even though they only get a tiny fraction of the population, they hope that this will scare everyone individually.

    Well, good luck to them.
    • by molafson ( 716807 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:25PM (#8651975)
      It is a weak terrorist-like tactic.

      How is this measure, which is entirely legal and non-violent "terrorist-like"? Or is everything we don't like supposed to be referred to as "terrorism" now? I didn't get the memo...
      • I didn't say it was terrorism ya fool. I say the math they're usuing to get the desired effect isn't far removed from the math that terrorists use to get us. Just for the record, the RIAA et al. are well within their rights to prosecute people for illegal copyright infringements.
      • by Pxtl ( 151020 )
        While I disagree with the use of the term terrorist to describe this, I see the logic.

        You try and scare the rest into behaving the way you want by randomly picking a few and attacking them. Make everyone feel threatened, knowing they could be next.
      • by Niten ( 201835 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:47PM (#8652157)

        The American Heritage Dictionary's definition of the word "terrorize" includes:

        terrorize n. 2. To coerce by intimidation or fear.

        And that, essentially, is what the Recording Industry is achieving with these lawsuits. Right or wrong, they cannot possibly sue everybody who illegally redistributes their music over the popular file sharing networks; the best they can hope to accomplish is to file suit against enough people to scare the rest into submission. I believe that this is what the grandparent poster meant by calling the RIAA's methods "a weak terrorist-like tactic".

        (I do agree with you, though - the word "terrorism" is unbelievably overused nowadays.)

    • by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:29PM (#8652006) Homepage Journal
      And it works. When you use a p2p application, do you share all of your music? How much do you have?

      I have 8GB of music on my work computer. It's all legal - I own the CD or vinyl to match each one. But you have to admit - it's easier to download a copy of a song than it is to "rip" it from vinyl.

      If I shared all that music, I would expect to be sued by the RIAA. They target people sharing a lot of music.

      So... I don't share it. That means that there are 8GB of music that AREN'T available for download. In fact, by scaring people into not sharing their music, they are winning.

      I'm not going to spend $3,000 for "the cause."
  • by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:21PM (#8651936) Journal
    You can see how effective the last group of lawsuits was. I mean, RIAA.com [riaa.com]has been down a lot, though it is up right now, anti RIAA t-shirts are the next cool thing, and people still share music in groves. Keep it up guys, take out the masses 500 at a time!

    I mean, come on. This isn't going to work. They can't sue everyone in the country, and sampling has proven itself ineffective at best. They need a new strategy, if they ever hope to stem the tide. Legal alternatives may be doing well too, but sometimes you just can't be free. They should just give up and find some other way to increase sales. Perhaps they could make better albums.

  • Troll me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Troll me if you will, but realize that the
    RIAA do have some claim to the money.
    I mean, artists make it, people want it, and they
    buy it. But guess who makes the people want it:
    the RIAA folk.
    That's right. Somebody has to pay for the promotion,
    the studio time, the slot on MTV and ClearChannel
    so that the general population knows what to like.

    I find it amusing how we pay them to tell us what
    to like, but somebody has to.
    • Re:Troll me (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bagels ( 676159 )
      Nobody has to tell me what I like. I'm quite capable of browsing around and listening to many different types of music, or asking various friends what they like. And if you think we *need* MTV or ClearChannel radio stations for *anything*... strange set of priorities you have there.
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:23PM (#8651958) Homepage Journal

    I've seen numbers that claim 50,000,000 people in the US use P2P applications. Let's do the math:

    In approximately 8 months the industry has sued 1,977 people. That's 1 in every 25,290.84 people. Now we get into speculation. Assume:

    they keep up their current trend of filing that many lawsuits every 8 months.

    the number of P2P users in the U.S. stays static

    you were born today, will live for 74 years and are precocious enough to use P2P software today, the day of your birth.

    That's 195,064 file sharers they'll sue in your lifetime. Heck, you have a 1 in 256.33 chance of being sued over your entire life, you lucky newborn!

    Oh, there's one assumption I forgot to mention:

    Assume: The RIAA racketeers are still in business your whole life.

    NB: My math may be off, I've had a few cold ones.

    • by cpu_fusion ( 705735 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:34PM (#8652050)
      I've seen numbers that claim 50,000,000 people in the US use P2P applications. Let's do the math:

      Yes, let's...
      50,000,000 users * $3,000 average settlement = $150,000,000,000

      Crap, why even make music. They just need more lawyers! Somewhere, in a top secret lab, the RIAA is cloning lawyers.

      I see those bastards plans clearly now.

    • by panaceaa ( 205396 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:20PM (#8652435) Homepage Journal
      Given your numbers an illegal file sharer can calculate their monthly financial risk from RIAA lawsuits.

      Your numbers are:
      Time (T)=8 months
      Probability (P)=1/25290
      Cost (C)=3000

      With monthly financial risk = (P*C)/T, if each month you put away 1.483 cents, you would on average have enough money to pay your settlement fees by the time you were sued.

      Now assume that the RIAA gets more aggressive and settles less, and through the courts gets a $1 million verdict in 100% of the people it sues (1977 people / 8 months). The monthly financial risk then is $4.94 a month.

      So even if your punishment is $1 million, the financial risk of getting sued is less than any online music service with a monthly fee. It's also less than 5 songs on iTunes a month, which probably isn't nearly as many songs as Kazaa users download. Why does the RIAA think their legal efforts will convince people with such a low financial risk?

      And here's an interesting twist -- why doesn't an insurance company insure people against RIAA lawsuits for $10/mo so they can download as much as they want on Kazaa? Isn't this similar to what Redhat is doing to protect its customers from SCO? I'd much rather pay $10/mo to download whatever I want without risk of being sued than pay the same money to MusicMatch for their inferior service. And if everyone did the same, peer-to-peer services would blossom again with tons of quality content from all genres imaginable.
  • success? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bryansj ( 89051 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:24PM (#8651968)
    Now it seems that all the music downloading news is about the pay per download sites, the music piracy issues have taken a back seat in the headlines. I'd say this round of lawsuits gets little coverage because the shock and awe factor is gone. Time for the RIAA to move on to a new tactic to grab the attention of all those harmful pirates.
  • List of Colleges (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:25PM (#8651976)
    The list of colleges was included in the RIAA press release:

    The individuals included in today's legal action were on the networks of the following universities (listed in alphabetical order of state or name): University of Arizona; University of California, Berkeley; California State University -- Northridge; University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; Drexel University; George Mason University; George Washington University; Georgetown University; Indiana University; University of Indianapolis; Loyola Marymount University; Marquette University; University of Maryland; University of Michigan; New York University; University of Northern Colorado; University of Pennsylvania; University of Southern California; Stanford University; Vanderbilt University; and Villanova University.

    http://www.cpwire.com/archive/2004/3/23/1540.asp [cpwire.com]
  • RIAA Radar (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord of Ironhand ( 456015 ) <arjen@xyx.nl> on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:30PM (#8652020) Homepage
    For those who don't know it yet: RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] is a great solution for anyone who still wants to buy CD's but not support the RIAA.

    Remember: spread the word, but don't sound like a fanatic.

    • Re:RIAA Radar (Score:3, Insightful)

      by H8X55 ( 650339 )
      but there are a lot of bands i like that are on the *warning* list.

      if i just stop buying their albums won't the RIAA assume that others (or me) are just stealing them anyway, and use their lost sales as statistics to why more, tougher draconian laws must be passed?

      catch 22
  • by Texas Rose on Lava L ( 712928 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:31PM (#8652023) Homepage Journal
    I'm reminded of why I quit buying their stuff and started buying better music [cdbaby.com] instead.
  • Best news yet today (Score:3, Interesting)

    by reynolds_john ( 242657 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:31PM (#8652024)
    The suits need to ramp up and continue [even faster] at all costs; I'm in great favor of the industry pursuing people as quickly as possible and winning the suits whereever appropriate.

    Not because I'm some sort of RIAA nazi, but rather because it is neccessary in order to drive forward new methods of distribution, as well as innovation for smaller, non-mega-supra-corp bands. Once the RIAA/MPAA has shot themselves in the collective feet enough through negative press and marketing, consumers will demand alternative bands, distribution, technology, etc. The mega-bands might even make enough fuss due to lost sales from their mad-as-hell fans.

    Me, I'm just sitting back enjoying the ride waiting for that day.
    • by Leebert ( 1694 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:33PM (#8652511)
      Once the RIAA/MPAA has shot themselves in the collective feet enough through negative press and marketing, consumers will demand alternative bands, distribution, technology, etc.

      You're kidding, right? Have you met anyone under 20 recently? 90% of the kids out there don't even know what the hell a RIAA is, nor do they care. Neither do they seem to care that an album costs $18. You know why? All their friends are buying Linkin Park CD's and they don't want to be left out. At any cost.

      Face it, the RIAA is selling to a largely agnostic market. It's just the same as the Nike sweatshop phenomenon.
  • by ndpatel ( 185409 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:32PM (#8652034) Homepage
    from the wired article [wired.com]:

    "This is a group that does not appreciate as much as the general population that it is illegal to share copyright music on a peer-to-peer network," said Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America. "More education is necessary. One form of education is lawsuits."

    you know, i bet he goes to bed all fuzzy inside.
  • Waaah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:36PM (#8652068)
    Waaah, the big bad RIAA is big and bad and mean and they won't let me have their music for free. Waaah! I just summed up all the posts on this topic.
  • by Killswitch1968 ( 735908 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:36PM (#8652070)
    Mute [sourceforge.net] has been making some substantial gains. Even if it's not 100% bulletproof, it's still small enough that the RIAA doesn't bother with it when there are bigger fish to fry such as Kazaa and Mp2p.
  • Yawn. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:45PM (#8652137) Journal
    And in other news, Water still feels wet, the sky hasn't fallen, and SCO still hasn't had all their cases dismissed with prejudice.

    C'mon people, this doesn't even count as news anymore. People violate copyrights, people get sued. Let it go.

    Now, what I consider the bigger "news" from this involves the experiment the RIAA has run on the level of stupidity in the general population. 1977 suits so far, and people still keep using Kazaa to download this crap. Get a clue, Kazaa users! At the very least, switch to a different P2P app. Perferable one with at least a tad bit of privacy, like FreeNet.

    Or better yet, just go back to the way that has worked for the past 30-40 years, from the days before P2P - Swap music and movies privately, offline, with your friends. You can get the same stuff, with absolutely no chance of an RIAA nastygram as a resuly. You can even do so as a sort of buying pool, where you and a dozen friends agree not to overlap in your purchases, thus maximizing your available music library. "Need" to find something really obscure, possibly out-of-press (print? Whatever you call music that you can no longer buy new, for any price)? Hook up with a fan group, where you can get material far more obscure than even Kazaa's bottom-20 list.

    Or, best option of all, just buy from indie labels. Hey, we all have a favorite band, and I'll admit even I will buy whatever a handful of RIAA-signed groups puts out. But for the rest of the "fluffy listening" music, look into companies like Magnatune, or go direct to the artists' websites. The musician gets a FAR bigger cut, you pay less ($5/cd on average, in my experience, for buying direct from the artist), and best of all, the RIAA gets nothing.
  • In 1977.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by R33MSpec ( 631206 ) * on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:46PM (#8652155) Homepage
    "..This brings the total number of subpoenas to 1,977.."

    In 1977:

    February 11 - A 20.2-kg lobster is caught off Nova Scotia (heaviest known crustacean).

    Coincidence?!? YOU Decide
  • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @10:56PM (#8652223) Journal
    Someone explain this to me because I don't understand why on earth people are settling...

    Why is it that no one uses the most obvious defense of plausible deniability:

    1. I have no idea what these RIAA guys are talking about
    2. I have never used filesharing apps
    3. I am not the only one who uses this computer, it is shared by multiple users and if anything happened it wasn't me.
    4. I am not the only one who uses this internet connection and if anything happened it wasn't me.
    5. I have no songs on my PC whatsoever and I can prove it
    6. etc. etc.

    THERE. DONE.
    Even if they only have to prove a preponderence of the evidence, they would STILL have to deal with all of those items AND in the end you would still have a hard disk with no songs to beat them over the head with. It seems to me they could NEVER win one of these cases.

    I don't know about anyone else, but that's much cheaper than settling for several thousand dollars. And that's if you don't hire a lawyer and contest that the RIAA don't have the right to get your personal info and the ISP don't have the right to hand it over as at least one person has done successfully.

    I mean FFS, if people can get away with the "a virus hacked into my computer and did it" defense for criminal cases...

  • This is great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:02PM (#8652288)
    This is great news! This will:
    • free up bandwidth for us non copyright infringers
    • result in fewer infringers on p2p networks, thus substantiating the slashdot choruses of "go after the users, leave technology alone" and "p2p apps such as kazaa have many important non-infringing uses."
    • drive people to the newest pay-per-download service of the week. after all, a two years ago you couldn't log on to slashdot without seeing a "if they only charged 99c per song download there would be no need for things like kazaa" and "I'd gladly pay 99c per song so that i dont have to buy 'filler'")
    • by going after college students, the RIAA (or whoever) can't be after money, since they ain't got none. The riaa will doubtlessly lose more money in lawyer fees than they will collect in judgements. they MUST be about sending a message, therefore. this is a good thing, because that is the right message to send--copyrights (such as the ones that form the basis of the GPL, Britney's music, and the bulk of work done by software developers who visit slashdot) should be respected, completely anti-copyright idiot/zealots notwithstanding (bring on the flames).
    but, of course, instead of responses consistent with the old slashdot argument of "leave the technology alone, go after the infringers", expect to see the regular carping and whining here about the RIAA.
  • Cue devil's advocate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:04PM (#8652300)
    Everyone bitched about how piracy was the only option since the RIAA didn't want to allow tracks to be sold online. You've been able to buy individual tracks music online now. It's not like you have to buy albums full of filler tracks anymore. Either stop listening to major label music or pay the $0.99 per track. If this was a story about GPL violations, my how the tables would be turned.

    Also, everyone bitched how the RIAA was attacking the P2P networks themselves instead of the users participating in the unauthorized distribution of the copyrighted materials. The RIAA is doing exactly what everyone suggested - going after the pirates.

    As for the argument that your chances of getting caught are pretty slim - yea, it's just like speeding on the highway when you're keeping up with traffic. You're still breaking the law. Just don't be surprised if in the future there's cameras along the highway that take a picture of your licence plate, and later in the mail each and every one of you get a ticket. That's what happens when you pay more attention to the methods of enforcement than the laws. Likewise, if you keep ignoring the copyright laws, eventually there will be better ways for the RIAA to catch more people and it won't be a matter of enforcement anymore.
    • Either stop listening to major label music or pay the $0.99 per track.

      Or do a combination of the above and visit a site like my company [netmusic.com]. We carry the CDBaby and Magnatune catalog, as well as several other independents. We are also negotiating with the majors, but our multiple formats (currently just VBR MP3s but soon to include OGG, AAC and even WMA) as well as a definitive lack of DRM scare them... lots.

  • by noindiecred ( 764819 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:07PM (#8652329)

    I'm an editor at the my college's newspaper. I received this in my inbox today from The Collegiate Presswire:

    EDITOR'S NOTE: The president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is hosting an exclusive online chat with college editors and reporters this Wednesday, March 24, at 5 PM Eastern. The conference will focus on issues of music piracy on college campuses, and will have an interactive Q&A session.

    Registration is free. To attend, go to http://cpnewslink.collegepublisher.com at the specified time, and click on "Enter Chat Room". Your email address can be used as your login name, and the conference password is "music".

    Looks like the new lawsuits are just a part of a well-planned campaign to strike fear into us immoral college students. I guess this "conference" will consist mostly of the RIAA spewing propaganda with the hope that the editors and reporters in the chat will carry it back to their publications.

    This news is very depressing. Shame on the RIAA for suing students! They could at least go after people who can afford the court fees.

    I've found this site [epitonic.com] to be a good source of free downloadable MP3s. Gotta go grab more in light of this recent news ;)

  • by xot ( 663131 ) <.fragiledeath. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:08PM (#8652345) Journal
    Are any of these guys sued fighting back or are they just making the $3000 settlements?
    Would'nt it make sense if they got together and fought the RIAA? I know it seems easy to say n not to do when your sued by a giant but wouldnt they just keep suing people if no one fights back.
    • by Calvinh0560 ( 758429 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:18PM (#8652417)
      Most of these people can't fight back. It takes alot of money just to hire someone and show up in court let alone all the time needed before hand. $3,000 is cheap compair what it will cost to fight this and in the end you may still end up owning the RIAA.
      • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @12:04AM (#8652763) Journal
        What if you *didn't* hire a lawyer. You just showed up in court and muddled through it? Surely there's no law against representing yourself? And without seized hard drives, it seems like the RIAA would be at a bit of a loss to prove that *you*, and not someone else that used your computer, was the person at fault. Come to think of it...are there independent logs other than those from a RIAA-sponsored P2P logging agency? I doubt it. I wonder what it would take to argue against them.

        If 1k people did that, the RIAA would *never* have the legal resources to handle the situation.
  • by phunster ( 701222 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:25PM (#8652457)
    When the music industry starts paying back all the musicians that they have ripped off, then and only then will I consider the piracy being perpetrated against them wrong.

    These are the people who caused many of the founders of jazz, blues and rock and roll to die in poverty. What is happing now is not piracy, it is devine justice.
  • by Bored Huge Krill ( 687363 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2004 @11:57PM (#8652716)
    ...but it's only going to stop when the music industry is prepared to work with some alternatives. The EFF proposed a licensing scheme that is a good start, but my view is that it's still missing something.

    Here's my problem statement:

    1. File sharers like the p2p model as a way of finding new music. They like it partly because it's free, but my suspicion is that there's more to it than that. They like the model. Radio is dead, and the RIAA killed it, via ClearChannel. I'm going to suggest that, given a workable model that preserves file sharing, but allows musicians and their promoters to earn revenues, file sharers will move to a legal model. But it has to preserve the basics of the current open file sharing model.

    2. File sharers want to use whatever client they feel like. Any "legalized" file sharing method which forces users into using a specific locked, closed source client is likely to fail.

    3. A flat fee system, with built in means to prevent cheating (leaking to uncontrolled distribution) and gaming the system (permitting individuals to artificially inflate download numbers for a particular song) would generate sufficient revenues and a method for divvying up those revenues that would be acceptable to the music industry and musicians.

    That's a tall order, but I think it can be done. Consider this:

    If you pay a flat fee into my proposed system, you have the rights to:

    a. download content with copyrights held by participating contributors freely, by any method.

    b. upload that participating content, but only to those that have also paid the fee.

    I believe this can be done. To meet my criterion 2, it has to be done by defining a protocol, not a specific client. Criterion 3 can be met by making it trivial to police, to ensure that subscribers aren't cheating. So here's my protocol, at least in a cartoon-back-of-the-envelope form:

    Subscribers use a client which authenticates with the license administrator's server. This authentication may be long term, results in a symmetric key shared with the server and bound to a subscriber's identity, and which is your proof that you are a participant. The protocol requires that, prior to actually sharing any content (but not necessarily advertizing it) you perform a 3-way authentication with the party that wishes to share your content and the administration server farm. This can be done using a Needham-Schroeder protocol, by which the administration server pushes, on request, a symmetric key to the two parties. By using this protocol, you have fulfilled your obligation to only upload content to participating subscribers. Your proof is provided by the administration server in distributing the key. Note that you don't need to know the identity of the other party; you only know that they are a subscriber. The symmetric key you share with them is then used to encrypt the content you send them.

    Data gathering in this scheme is trivial; the administrators take a sample of the content which has been distributed by scanning the upload directories of subscribers. What is measured is the relative distribution of content, not the number of uploads, and because you don't know the identity of the scanning party, it's very difficult to game the system.

    Policing is also simple. The administrative server can ping authenticated subscribers to verify that they aren't using any other file sharing protocol.

    So, there may be some things in here you find objectionable. But is this a fair compromise? Could this work?

    Comments?

    Krill

  • foreign proxy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bagel2ooo ( 106312 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @12:31AM (#8652942)
    What would happen if U.S. users were to download via a proxy of some sort in a foreign country that does not honor the demands of the RIAA with their statements of copyright violation. I know that a lot of servers of questionable content have been moving "overseas" and I am curious as to how effective such a tactic would be in practicality for p2p users.
  • by Valiss ( 463641 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @02:25AM (#8653496) Homepage
    "We keep losing customers! I don't understand! We sue the fuckers, and they still won't buy our products!"
  • by cyril3 ( 522783 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @03:16AM (#8653688)
    I gotta get at least 200 CDs down before they fine me to break even. 300 would be better.

    No problem.

  • Legal defense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @06:33AM (#8654303)
    I've mentioned this before, but I think I should again. The only way to beat their sort of organisation/barratry is by their own game. If P2P networks could include functionality to act as a proxy, it blows all ISP "evidence" and RIAA snooping out of the water. It provides a water-tight defense for anyone accused of downloading/sharing copyrighted content. All they have to do is demand RIAA prove the files downloaded "from" their box weren't downloaded via their box (which they obviously can't, as there's a million-and-one ways to get traffic into a machine). They can't punish people routing copyrighted material, otherwise AT&T would be getting their asses sued off RIAA for owning all those backbones, and the academic networks would be closed immediately. The beauty is, you don't even have to use the proxy - just having it present in the software raises serious doubts over any claims anyone can make over the true source/destination of any data on that network (as it could be going through 3 gazillion PCs, or just one).

    They're using the law against us, why not use it to fight them? They're soon going to stop suing people if they know they can get their cases beaten in the courts.

    I'm pretty sure this is the fastest way to beat them, or at least slow them down a bunch.

  • by s-meister ( 580465 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @11:25AM (#8656254) Journal

    I worked many more years ago than I care to admit in a record store and I got a very handsome discount on music (OK, it was pre-CD and we did actually have some 8-tracks. Yeah, that long ago). Know what? I bought loads of music out of my wages and I didn't care that much if some of it was cack. Now I can afford to buy some music but as I see such a load of rubbish on sale (Dido? Am I the only one who thinks she's mooing?) I don't buy much at all. And I don't download. You've got to really want to hear something before you'll bother with the faffing around in p2p to find a decent copy.

    Music is overpriced. People know that the price of a CD is too high for its value in terms of entertainment.

    • As purchasers listen to their new CD they realise that they've got 2 or 3 decent tracks and a load of filler. How much did I pay for this junk? As resentment builds and they see the tracks they want to hear available on p2p networks, they choose to get the music they want, rather than the music the industry wants them to have.

    • The industry is pricing singles at too high a proportion of the price of a full album. Result: death of the CD single.

    • The price of a CD album is set at an artificial point to seem more valuable than the nearest rounded-down price point (example: $18.99 rather than $14.99). Result: resentment by buyers, who seek out cheaper sources for their CD's until the industry says Whoa there! WE can offshore production to save money and increase profits, but you suckers can still pay our price in your home territory rather than buy offshore.

    Unless the price of CDs and DVDs falls to a lower price point the industry will face continuing efforts to circumvent copyright. Let's face it, if a CD cost half of what it does today, would you bother to download it? To rip it? The industry is NOT giving artists big royalties and they're not investing heavily in A&R. They are just coining it, and getting scared that the public have rumbled their cosy little game.

    When a commodity is overpriced in the martketplace, the price must fall or the market will collapse.

  • by Joe5678 ( 135227 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2004 @02:24PM (#8658622)
    Is what would happen if you went out and bought all the CD's that you were accused of downloading? Couldn't you then say that you were simply downloading digital backups to listen to on your computer?

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.

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