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RIAA Wants $1.5 Million Per CD Copied 408

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Not content with current statutory damages, the RIAA is pushing for higher damages for infringement, damages that would total $1.5 million for copying a CD with ten songs. It's all part of debate over the proposed PRO-IP Act. William Patry, a lawyer who wrote the seminal seven-volume reference on US copyright law, called it the most 'outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the US.'"
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RIAA Wants $1.5 Million Per CD Copied

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  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:22PM (#22239686)
    These people are just "engineering expectations".

    They introduce this outrageous dreck, then suggest something which is still outrageous but comparatively mild, like, for instance, forcing ISP's to disconnect users a-la france, or forcing them to pull great firewall of china style 'filtering', or prison sentences for college students.

    Then, they'll bloviate on and on about how these new proposals are a "compromise"

    Or.. this dreck is merely a red herring to distract activist groups away from that rider they put into the college funding bill to force schools to 'filter' their internet on pain of losing their federal grants.
  • Re:About the author (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:22PM (#22239690) Journal
    Not to mention that his comment about gluttony was made Dec 13th of 2007 on his private blog [] []

    In other words his current job is work for weak copyright protections.
    From reading that blog entry, he really seems to care about how screwed up the copyright situation is with respect to the public good.
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:24PM (#22239708)
    umm none actually. Its the labels that are suing for their damages, not those of the artist.
  • Explain this, RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:26PM (#22239746)
    If a single copy of a CD has a value of $1.5M, how can you justify letting hundreds of thousands of copies on it sit on the shelves of major retailers worldwide, priced at gasp $10-$20?

    This suggests that if I were to publish a copy of a CD online , even assuming it retails at $20, I would have to serve 75,000 copies of it personally to justify that infringement penalty. Consider that the only feasible way for me to do such a thing is to torrent it, and in this case I personally am not responsible for the entire distribution, the total distribution must be subdivided across every single person who downloads a copy, because they are also uploaders. Claiming penalties against every distributor for the total distribution is like double taxation, but tens of thousands of times worse - I should not be liable for the activities of others, except to the extent you can prove that I facilitated the very first unlicensed distribution and that said unlicensed distribution was directly responsible for the entire cascade of further infringement, and that all other copies of the works were suitably protected.

    Complete B.S.
  • Absurd lawsuits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KiwiCanuck ( 1075767 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:28PM (#22239772)
    That's why no one really care aboot the RIAA. Artists will begin to offer their music to the people via the internet. Groups of artist can get together and post songs. Initially, the songs can be free and low quality (128kbs) with web ads paying for the site. Once pop songs are found (via download numbers), then higher quality songs can be sold via an online store. Who needs producer? If you do hire one on a contract, and let him go the minute they are no longer useful. Flame me if I'm wrong! ~:-)
  • Re:So (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Em Adespoton ( 792954 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:35PM (#22239892) Homepage Journal
    Good point... I'm thinking I should return my CD collection to the RIAA for a refund.

    Either that, or see if I can catch them in possession of some of MY music (independently produced) and ask them to pay up.

    If I play some of my music in the background while I call their customer relations line and they record and archive the call, can I sue them?
  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:43PM (#22239978) Journal
    I just copied Icky Thump by the White Stripes and Parsifal by Richard Wagner, conducted by James Levine. The Wagner is 4 CDs, so does that mean I owe them a total $7.5mil?

    Let me get my checkbook.

    Strange, because the last time I was in a record store (a few years ago, honestly) the price tag was only about 14 bucks.

    What a bunch of wankers the RIAA is. Talk about having an inflated sense of worth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:53PM (#22240118)
    At least it's not as bad as post WWII Hungary. By 1946, 8.28*10^29 (828 octillion) pengos equaled one prewar pengo, and all the money in circulation was worth .001 cents.
    Hungarian Pengo []
    Hyperinflation []
  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:23PM (#22240484)
    What we need is some filthy rich old guy with nothing better to spend his money on, to take up this cause and start paying for some high price lawyers to defend people the RIAA sue.

    if i was a multimillionare i'd do it just to see the reaction.

  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KeyboardMonkey ( 744594 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:43PM (#22240720)
    To put this in perspective, the entire US GDP in 2006 was $13.13 trillion. That's 8.7 million copied CDs.

    I wonder what that is in Libraries of Congress.
  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:58PM (#22240880)
    Meanwhile each CD only sells for 10-15 bucks. Somehow they feel copying that CD and losing them that sale is worth fines that are many orders of magnitude what they actually "lost" (using their definition of lost).
  • Re:Walmart (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @08:00PM (#22240892) Homepage
    >I agree with you that people should revolt against the RIAA and stop purchasing their products. But people wont.

    WAIT... maybe the RIAA *WANTS* people to boycott them?

    Think about it -- lower sales means PERFECT cover to lobby Congress for another copyright extension.
    Sound far fetched? The RIAA already uses lower CD sales for this goal... they leave out legal MP3 sales, and neglect to factor in consumer preference for downloads to begin with.

    (I realize the RIAA really *doesn't* want lower sales, but they're licensing music outside of the CD and then leaving that out of the picture).
  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fishead ( 658061 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @08:36PM (#22241230)
    Buddy of mine was working on a yacht with a schnazzy sound system. Once they realized what they had access to, all the technicians bought portable harddrives and made themselves a copy.

    Good thing I didn't copy the 50Gigs of mp3's from CD, or I could be on the hook for a lot of money!
  • by EdelFactor19 ( 732765 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @08:59PM (#22241422)
    except they have to fine for you breaking the law. you stole it you didnt buy it. If i go steal a 100$ item from store X do you think store X will drop the charges if I simply pay 100$ after the fact? NO they wont; if they did that then theyd be encouraging me to steal anything i would actually purchase. Worst case scenario I get caught and I pay them the money I would have paid them.. they tag on things like arrests, and jailtime and tarnishing your record and additional fines and legal fees to deter the behavior. Thats pretty normal. Tacking on 1.5million not so normal

    Here's my take on it: MAFIAA loves to advertise in the cinema "would you steal a wallet? would you steal a cd? would you steal cardboard box? etc..." ok if you want to equate these things whats the punishment for stealing CD X from a physical store? Oh you mean its less than a hundred thousand let alone a million? So how do you justify your punishment for the same crime....

    they will respond its a different kind of crime, stealing a CD is theft, but downloading and uploading is a copyright violation which is entirely different as far as law is concerned. (and i'd be inclined to agree sadly) Ok but if you want to say that you are going to have to throw out your other campaign, and actually follow the same rules that everyone else has to in uncovering copyright violations. heres a new line of q's for yah

    "would you photocopy a page or two from a library book without writing to the author and bringing authorization forms filled out in triplicate?"
    "would you transcribe a song by ear becuase you enjoy it and post the tab on the internet?"
    "would you resummarize a summary of the news by someone else and present it as "nightly news"?"
    "would share a recipe with a friend that you read in a cookbook you bought and that you like?"

    There thats a much better picture of what you are actually comparing don't you think?

    It seems to me they are trying to use laws of theft to prosecute copyright violations. Granted I'm still a supporter of copyright law, sorry I am a software developer. If I cant control my work its hard to make money. But why can't they go to some more intelligent less invasive means for copyright protection that have been effective for software? Software copyright protection generally doesnt give a crap if you are running windows or linux or mac or an electronic watermellon. Ok it might not work on the latter; that aside the mechanisms are somewhat seperate from the content.

    The other problem i see is they force you to buy something and then hamper your rights to use what you purchase. Oh you cant play that wmv drm'd file on linux... oh you cant play that itunes store audio file on a Zplayer or on linux... Oh you arent really allowed to copy music files from your ipod to your computer (except you sorta are) but by the way we also arent going to let you redownload lost purchases from us unless you send us an email and ask real nice.

    i bought years upon years ago, ive installed and unintalled it on every machine ive gone through since (primary machines) never had a problem because of the copyright protection scheme. never had a problem where i couldnt install it because a hard drive it was installed on died without being deauthorized. you know what else? i felt compelled not to give it to others because of that. that and it was cheap self created fun (as opposed to big publisher).. i think the game was like 10-20 bucks maybe? granted games today are a bit more... but maybe thats part of the problem. If the market isnt willing to pay the price, they wont. wow thats a really cruddy ending to this rambling...
  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @09:09PM (#22241508)
    Might want to check the numbers. Last I heard most major artists were costing 1 to 5 million in the studio, that's ignoring the Michael Jackson 25 mill per album in studio expenses. That's an average and some are more. Low end artist may be in the 100K to 500K in studio time. I'm talking major labels not Jim Bob buying a few hours of studio time or doing it in his garage. The actual studio cost is a tiny part of the expense the majority going to expenses and demands of the artists. Some expenses are legit like studio musicians and engineer time in post processing and mixing but the bulk tends to be conditions artists demand and their small army of people that are around them. Also for a major album 3 mill would be on the low end for advertising. They don't spend film money but they spend north of what they spend on producing the albums, once again ignoring Michael Jackson, in his case he just shows up in public sporting a new nose or weird outfit. The real expense though are the five or ten albums that tanked to get the hit one. Now that sales for even established artists are dropping like rocks they are going to be far less likely to go with new talent. Kind of the irony of the situation. Companies like to play it safe when things get tight. Better to spend 5 or 10 mill cranking out another Brittany album than give ten unknown artists a shot at it. With a lot of the singers these days it's in the post production anyway. Ole Paris Hilton helped let the cat out of the bag on that one. She can't sing a note but her album was passable once they got finished filtering it. It's why so many young artists don't sing live, you'd never recognize their real voice. The excuse is the dance numbers and difficulty getting clean sound. The real reason is a good share are there for looks and can't really sing.
  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @10:11PM (#22241940)
    This is to funny they think copy of a cd is worth more then they will most likely ever pay the artist who made it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @10:20PM (#22242010)
    Trying to decide if this is humor or not, especially considering the 18th amendment is/was prohibition.

    --Sniped from WikiPedia
    Amendment XVIII (the Eighteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, along with the Volstead Act (which defined "intoxicating liquors" excluding those used for religious purposes), established Prohibition in the United States. Ratified on January 16, 1919, it is notable as the only amendment to the United States Constitution that has been repealed (by the Twenty-first Amendment).

    Because I *know* I've nodded at each and every 'what are they smoking?' post.
  • Re:heh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @11:49PM (#22242564)

    I disagree with the notion that Republicans = Democrats = Sold out There are real and serious differences between the two parties and anyone who tries to marginalize those differences is usually agitating for a 3rd party or giving in to apathy.

    Indeed. Back when I was getting my feet wet in the field of data mining, I decided to download the voting records of the US Senate, at least for the last 20 or so years. This data is publicly available on the government web site. A few Perl scripts later and I had reduced the entire voting record to a single CSV file. Each "issue" (an item being voted on) was represented by a single row. Each column represented a specific Senator, and the values were either "For," "Against," or "No Vote."

    I also created a perpendicular data set, where each row represented a Senator and each column represented a specific issue, with the values again being "For," "Against," and "No Vote."

    I loaded these data sets into a general data mining tool and ran some trials. Among other experiments, I ran J48 to produce decision trees to predict vote values for each Senator, based on how the Senator voted on some specific "model issues," such as gun control legislation. In other words, based on how a Senator voted on certain issues I could predict how they voted on some target issue. If somebody voted against a pro-life abortion bill, how would they vote on a matter of pollution control? Etc. I also ran the perpendicular analysis: based on how other Senators voted on issue X, how would any given Senator vote on the same issue? These decision trees achieved predictive accuracies of greater than 80% in standard cross-validation testing.

    The decision trees are also very informative in that they describe the political influences between Senators. If the topmost branch of the decision tree for Senator X is Senator Y, then we can assume there is some kind of friendship, similarity, or power relationship between those two Senators, at least to some degree. These decision trees are powerful tools for political analysis.

    But more to the point, one of the best tests I conducted was the application of EM-clustering to the Senators themselves, with the goal being to divide them into "camps," where each camp had similar voting preferences. I allowed the EM-algorithm to decide, on its own, how many clusters to produce, using an MDL principle. I was only somewhat surprised when the algorithm created three clusters. All the Republicans ended up in cluster 1, along with two Democrats. The rest of the Democrats, as well as all the independents, ended up in cluster 2. The third cluster contained Senators who had run for President. (My theory on why the algorithm created a "Presidential cluster" is because Presidential candidates often spend a long time away from the Senate, during their campaigns, and therefore have long stretches of "No vote" on their records. This makes them appear somewhat similar to each other from a statistical viewpoint.)

    When "dumb," statistically based data mining software is capable of grasping the clear differences between Republican and Democrat, it becomes impossible to argue with a straight face that the two parties are the same. A fucking computer can tell the difference, why can't a human?

    (By the way, one of the Democratic Senators the computer placed into the Republican party was Hillary Clinton.)

  • Re:heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eiapoce ( 1049910 ) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @06:33AM (#22244516)
    Listen my friend.

    To start with when I was 20 I proudly applied statistical data analisys to the breast size of the playboy's bunnies in order to find out whereever they had implants or not. I think statistics belongs there. Otherwise following your reasoning of statistics in politics we could have robots voting istead of people.

    That said and getting a serious conversation going on, it is not the specific case of pro-abotion pro-life issues that matters here. And that's because clearly the health service industry is making money wherever there is a abortion or a newborn, that's why you could spot a residual difference beween the two. There are also a basic numbers of sensitive areas that the parties expose to the public in order to convince them to give them a relative majority such as Ground control, mediaid, public instruction etc. And in those areas it is clear that they are buond to express a vote as promised.

    On the other hand the problem emerges dramatically when corporate lobbying interests are put at a stake. You have a system that clearly and openly welcomes sponsors to pay your candidates (on both sides). I don't believe that they do so with no ROI (Return on Investment) so to me this means that your candidates are no longer yours. And this issue is exposed clearly by those laws that are custom made against the majority of voters. The DCMA is a brilliant example of the Democratic party limiting civil liberties and research on behalf of the industry...

    Take in account that statistical data could not spot a altered vote such as this i depict here: D is majority. D wants a law against the costumer not to be passed, R is in favour because of money previously taken from oligopolist - Oligopolist call selected D senators that received large sum of money - At the vote the law passes because R voted for and a minority of D voted for also. If you spread the pattern of the minority then statistical data analisys will not spot it. If you think this is unlikely to happen think twice, we are ejoying it in italy since 2000 when a duopolic system was established.

  • Re:$1.5 million? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Desco ( 46185 ) <> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:09PM (#22247422)
    You realize if you stole-- PHYSICALLY THIEVED-- and in doing so denied someone else their ownership by removing the album from their car... it would be petit misdemeanor theft ($100), which has a maximum sentence of about $1000 and/or 90 days in jail. Doing a quick scan of the web, most petit thefts gets $300-$500 fine and a year of probation. But no, you're right, copying a CD which doesn't deny the original purchaser's ownership should be in the millions.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato