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RIAA Obtains Subpoenas Against File Swappers 1046

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the biting-hands-that-feed dept.
SniperPuppy writes "Fox News is reporting that the RIAA has secured 871 subpoenas against suspected file swappers, with 75 more being approved each day. Between this, and the latest versions of FreeNet and Kazaa Lite being released, will technology be able to keep traders away from court?" Apparently, just suing the "major offenders" wasn't enough of a warning shot, so now they're going after people who share as few as eight songs. Wait until the RIAA discovers all the stuff that gets posted to Usenet!
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RIAA Obtains Subpoenas Against File Swappers

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  • Shhh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:08AM (#6477584)
    You want them to know about Usenet???
    • by HanzoSan (251665) * on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:50AM (#6477764) Homepage Journal
      Pay EFF [eff.org]

      These are your options. Pick one.

      RIAA [riaa.com]
      • by koko775 (617640) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:56AM (#6478505)
        Because everyone really wants to EFF the RIAA up. :)

        (don't kill me for the bad pun please)
      • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @01:57PM (#6479218) Homepage Journal
        "These are your options. Pick one"

        Here's another one. Don't break the law. The courts don't give a damn what you think about music or the RIAA. You can think music should be free all you want. That isn't going to change the fact that someone else has the copyright to it, not you. And despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth here, last time I checked, there was no right to copyright infringement of any kind. Just because it's cheap, and easy, and it's music doesn't get you an exemption in the eyes of the law. And don't scream fair use at me either. Distributing a song to 100,000 of your closest friends on KaZaa isn't fair use.

        Oh, and I seem to recall most of Slashdot's posters saying "Go after the infringers, not the technology!"

        Well, looks like they called the bluff. Now that they're actualy suing individuals, the tune around here seems to have changed.
        • by AftanGustur (7715) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @02:49PM (#6479505) Homepage


          Here's another one. Don't break the law.

          RIAA is after money, and whatever you are doing will become illegal unless you do something about it..

          Sad but true ..

        • Here's the best option. Break the bastards. You advise not breaking the law? I say screw that -- let's REALLY start breaking this law. Bottom line, I disagree with this law, so my civil disobedience is going to be sharing every piece of music/video I can find. We've been pussyfooting around this issue too long to not have SOMEONE step up and say it.

          If we want the system to change, maybe we need to REALLY work at changing it, and that means bankrupting the record labels. You can help. Share everythi

  • Fine (Score:5, Funny)

    by conteXXt (249905) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:09AM (#6477589)
    but leave IRC for the rest of us
    • Re:Fine (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mindragon (627249) *
      It always amazes me when the recording industry sets up a shell game to hide where they get their money. They most certainly don't get their money from the people that they're suing. They must love the publicity that they're getting by trashing students and taking their life savings. In reality, these overpaid, overstuffed and overcredited group of lawyers are paid by companies like Sony, Universal and others on the basis that they are entitled to compensation for the rights of use of their properties. Thes
  • by Trigun (685027) <evilNO@SPAMevilempire.ath.cx> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:10AM (#6477590)
    Preferably on a small, non-US influenced island someplace warm?
    Want to let a room?
  • Sue your customer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grennis (344262) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:11AM (#6477594)
    Sounds like they took a page from DirectTV's [slashdot.org] playbook. And why not? It appears to be working. But how are they going to stop international users?
    • But how are they going to stop international users?

      Most likely by influencing US policymakers to influence EU policymakers to use their increasing power over the laws of individual European nations to change their laws to mirror those of the US. Then start suing in European courts, rinse and repeat on other continents where too many people decide they no longer want to pay for RIAA music for whatever reason.


    • Stop stealing the RIAA's profits and pay their damn tax!

      You arent from Boston like me, so you dont get a teaparty.
      • Since RIAA is going to file basically identical lawsuits, lawsuits that they are almost guaranteed to win, someone with a good knowledge of the law should come up with a HOW-TO that will explain how to:

        - defend yourself without having to hire a lawyer
        - give a solid, standardized argument that will minimize the damages you might have to pay

        RIAA's tactics are based off the aversion people have to the legal system. But a collaboratively developed, standard defence can reduce the pain. And letting people know
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beacher (82033) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:12AM (#6477600) Homepage
    Is it okay to download mp3's of songs that I legitimately own on CD? Can I claim fair use if I own the CD? Can I counter sue?
    -B
    • Putting the "is MP3 trading really hurting anyone" argument aside, as a DePaul student I'm very concerned over my privacy rights. DePaul is fully working with the RIAA and not even put up a legal defense to maintain the privacy of its students.

      This is simply unacceptable. Will all our traffic be sniffed by various copyright holders in the future? I don't like carry around thousand page books so I just scan them. If the publishers of america jumped on the RIAA bandwagon would I be a criminal and my ISP/
    • Re:Question (Score:3, Informative)

      by DeepRedux (601768)
      This point has already been litigated; the court ruled that there is no such right.

      There used to be a service called my.mp3.com that used a tool called Beam-It, to check if a customer had a CD. If so, they could download an MP3 of it. MP3.com claimed their service was a form of time-shifting, and therefore legal and fair use under US law.

      Universal took MP3.com to court and won. MP3.com was ordered to pay $250M to Universal. [bbc.co.uk] They could have been ordered to pay much more ($150K per CD, on up to 10K CDs,

  • legal cost of going after individuals is too high.
    • Not when you pay your legal team on salary.
    • by djeaux (620938) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:25AM (#6477668) Homepage Journal
      legal cost of going after individuals is too high.

      This is probably true. But if RIAA can trot enough "criminals" through a legal mill, then they'll be able to justify a bigger surcharge on recordings, blank media, or even internet access. Like the "recording surcharge" already on blank tapes & CDRs, it would go straight to the RIAA coffers.

      And all these surcharges are exactly why folks are downloading instead of buying. Or to quote my 16 yr old daughter, "If new CDs cost five bucks, I'd buy them."

      As for me, if Columbia Records (to use a specific sig-related example) would let me purchase an annual subscription to download Bob Dylan concert recordings on a next day basis, I'd be sending 'em my money today!

      The real problem that the recording industry faces today isn't downloading, it's lack of imagination.

  • They already know (Score:5, Interesting)

    by in7ane (678796) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:15AM (#6477609)
    I'm sure they already know about Usenet and IRC and (insert other less prominent distribution methods here). It seems they are more concerned about scaring away the average person (who doesn't even know what Usenet is, or how to operate an IRC client) but just runs Kazaa or another easy to use Windows p2p client.

    It's clear that all piracy can not be stopped - the intent few will always pirate through more obscure networks regardless of the level of litigation, this is just a question of going after the most prominent network with the least tech savvy users.
    • Re:They already know (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tomstdenis (446163)
      That and its a hell of alot easier to get songs off WinMX, Kazaa, etc.. than it is off IRC.

      Back in the day I tried to get mp3s via IRC and let me say "in queue, 96 of 115" is a lousy thing to see on dialup.

      If they can get people to fear P2P networks there will be fewer sources for those geeks who feel it's their duty to uphold the network. Fewer sources means fewer songs available which in turn lowers the usefulness of the network.

      Sounds like they figured it out.

      What I can't figure out is Sony is part
      • " That and its a hell of alot easier to get songs off WinMX, Kazaa, etc.. than it is off IRC.
        "

        Not for those in the know. On WinMX/Kazaa/etc you search only by filename, then slowly start downloading something that could end up being a 128kbps jstereo release of a different song that is mislabled.
        on IRC I can just ask if anyone has From_Zero-One_Nation_Under-2001-EGO from 04.07.2001 and one of them will FXP it off a site that always has more bandwidth than you do.
        now, if only something would come out tha
  • by Yanna (188771) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:15AM (#6477610) Homepage
    You know, I've been reading all morning the other threads over here about citizen's rights to bear arms.

    A pretty good argument is that armed citizens could defend themselves against a tiranny. How is that compatible with the current situation where corporations seem to have totalitarian powers over the US citizens? Granted, these corporations are not the US goverment, but the inaction of said goverment, either speaks of a very high degree of inefficiency or a very ingrained corruption.

    Doesn't this permanent attack of personal rights, erosion of privacy and draconian regulations equate a tiranny?
    • "ingrained corruption"? The *entire* US political system is for-sale, & doesn't even try to pretend otherwise.
    • by aborchers (471342) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:25AM (#6477675) Homepage Journal
      Granted, these corporations are not the US goverment, but the inaction of said goverment, either speaks of a very high degree of inefficiency or a very ingrained corruption.


      Inaction? The government is complicit, running a protection racket for the copyright industry. Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, DMCA, and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, are just three of the most obvious bits of tripe to pass the U.S. legislature in the last decade+1, and more legislation is pending now.

      If you are a U.S. citizen, get involved. Write your congressperson and tell him or her it's time to turn copyright protections back into what they were designed to be: a temporary grant of monopoly on the right to reproduce creative works in exchange for an ultimate benefit to the public domain, not a welfare program for multi-billion dollar industries and the great grandchildren of creative people.

      • Support Howard Dean (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Idou (572394) *
        "Write your congressperson and tell him or her it's time to turn copyright protections back into what they were designed to be"

        This is America . . . Money walks, right? Almost all politicians get their money from rich, influential groups. Letters might make the politicians aware of the problem but only money will win their support. Howard Dean is the only politician I am aware to receive most of his $ support from regular individuals (if there are others, please post here). We should support these types of
  • Sorry to say it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjiboo (640195) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:15AM (#6477615)
    But from the RIAA's point of view, this is probably the best tactics they could adopt (assuming all PR efforts have gone out of the window.) They will always be one step behind trying to compete on technology, and if they stick to the biggest offenders then this gives the smaller guy the idea that they are safe. As P2P networks are constituted of many smaller traders, worrying those seems to be the most efficient way of making a big impact.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The most efficient way to destroy a "black market" (what kazaa et al really are) is to undercut it.

      Seriously, when 80-90 percent of the market at least visits the black market you know you've been very bad. The problem with the black market is that there are lots of "ethically challenged" retailers, so people get inferior products every now and again, which gives virtually every black market a horrendous reputation (just read the other comments).

      They will need to lower prices to, let's say that 5$ price
  • Fine. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Valar (167606) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:17AM (#6477626)
    If you're going to act like that, see if I ever pirate your music again.
  • IRC is not a haven (Score:3, Interesting)

    by strider3700 (109874) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:19AM (#6477630)
    For all you guys saying IRC is where you'll make your trades, you should know it won't scale and they do monitor it. My buddy received a warning from his ISP that someone had asked he be tracked down due to file sharing on an IRC channel. The kicker is he was sharing and didn't know it, someone had taken over his win 2k box and was running a bot on it to share movies. It's been almost a year so I don't remember the name of the kit but It took about 10 seconds of hunting on google to get info about it once we located it.

    On a related note, I've been running Freenet for awhile, and the new version is pretty good. Although the flood of new people thanks to the slashdot post did slow things down for awhile, it's faster then ever now.
  • by n0nsensical (633430) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:20AM (#6477635)
    Many of the subpoenas reviewed by the AP identified songs from the same few artists, including Avril Lavigne, Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson.

    Well, if they're going to go after people sharing that kind of crap, they can do it all they want for all I care. :-)
  • by DJ Rubbie (621940) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:21AM (#6477643) Homepage Journal
    871 down, ~40 000 000 to go...
  • by cecil36 (104730) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:23AM (#6477657) Homepage
    I can't wait for the RIAA to go after all the trading on Usenet. Next thing the RIAA will know is that they are broke, and the lawyers will be demanding their next payment.
  • by Jon Abbott (723) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:25AM (#6477667) Homepage
    I think we're going to have a lot more anonymous cowards in these types of discussions now, so please set your threshold lower... :^(
  • Please? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) * <mrpuffypants&gmail,com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:25AM (#6477669)
    Dear god I hope that somebody indicted will be a congresman's son or daughter off at college. That's exactly what it'll take for these senators and representatives to call for an "Inquiry" into the legality of filing all these lawsuits and hopefully get some of them overturned.

    My prediction for the future of file swapping? It'll still be big, perhaps even bigger than now. If a company wants to make money then the first step is NOT to piss off people who are already appreciating the fruits of their labor. All people do then is get an even more renegade attitude about it and keep swapping away, anonomously this time
    • Re:Please? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by the uNF cola (657200)

      Dear god I hope that somebody indicted will be a congresman's son or daughter off at college. That's exactly what it'll take for these senators and representatives to call for an "Inquiry" into the legality of filing all these lawsuits and hopefully get some of them overturned.

      I suspect heavy screening. You know what I mean. Cops don't give other cops speeding tickets. Benevolancy cards for the family so they don't give speeding tickets to them. Working for the gov't

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:25AM (#6477673)
    are sure going to wish they had secured that wireless.
  • by Lobsang (255003) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:36AM (#6477718) Homepage
    The RIAA is trying to cling to its old business model, when it clearly does not apply to today's technological/economical reality.

    They don't want to stop file-sharing to protect artists. Bullshit! They don't give a rat's ass for the artists. All they want is to protect their business model and, of course, some well paid and obsolete corporate tycoons.

    If they really want to stop piracy, or at least reduce it immensely, here's a recipe: Drop the price of a CD to $3.00. I bet you MP3 file sharing will go down the next day. But then... Ah, how's poor RIAA exec going to pay for his BMW? It's Easier to sue everybody.

    I almost pity the poor bastards. They're dinosaurs fighting against two formidable foes: Time and Technology...
  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joepa (199570) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:41AM (#6477735)
    Even if you normally defend the right of the RIAA to try to prevent copywritten music from being stolen, this should seriously scare you if you care anything about your privacy. Just in case there is still anyone who isn't fully aware of this, the RIAA, under the DMCA, is able to file informational subpoenas without the signature of a judge. This particular provision of the DMCA has been unsuccessfully challenged by Verizon in US District Court.

    So, even if you have never downloaded a copywritten mp3, the RIAA (if they wake up one morning and decide that they feel like it) can legally demand information about you from your ISP. Your real name, your address, your phone number, and who knows what else. This, my US citizen friends, is unacceptable. And don't get me wrong, I'm all for the enforcement of the law, but when my privacy can be violated for the sake of finding who the person is that stole the latest Justin Timberlake single so that the RIAA can fine them for between $750 to $150,000, then things have gotten out of hand.
  • And so it begins. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lonath (249354) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @09:56AM (#6477788)
    I knew this would happen months ago. :P The great shakedown starts. If they want to stop P2P, they should destroy particular users. But no, since it's not about the P2P, but about the shakedown [slashdot.org], they'll stick to a few thousand bucks per year. Increasing as people refuse to stop P2P.

    If it pisses you off. Never give them money again.This is not a "boycott" which has the overtones of people who are willing to go back to buying once the companies clean up their acts. This is a "lifestyle change" where you realize that they will lie and fuck you over so you never give them money ever again. No matter how much they protest that they've "cleaned up" down the road.
  • by Remik (412425) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @10:08AM (#6477849)
    "There were no subpoenas on file sent to AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider and also parent company of Warner Music Group."

    Ridiculous. The largest ISP doesn't get a single notice, while Verizon, the only ISP with enough backbone to fight for their customers, gets over 100. The RIAA is selectively punishing those who don't use AOL, because members of AOL put money in the pockets of RIAA members.

    -R
    • Just a thought...

      Since AOL/Time Warner is part of the RIAA, do they even need to get a subpoena? They already have the user information a subpoena would provide.

      I thought the only reason they went after Verizon in court was that Verizon wasn't coughing up the names after being 'politely' asked by the RIAA thugs.
  • by cait56 (677299) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @10:12AM (#6477870) Homepage
    So now they're going after people who share as few as eight songs

    As near as can be determined from the article, all subpoena's are related to sites that are publically offering songs for download. There is nothing about targeting those who download, or intercepting of private file transfers between two people sharing.

    This is about people who are re-distributing works that they do not have rights to. The number of distinct titles is irrelevant to the legality, moralilty and actual damages of the act.

    These actions are not "sharing". They are about publishing material without permission of the owner. If you want to defend that practice, fine. You have the right to do so. But the wording strikes me as deliberately trying to confuse this act with minor infringements.

    I generally assume that those that need to confuse the issue have a weak case.

    My read of the story shows no signs of snaring legal behavior and/or truly minor infringements in some sort of rabid enforcement move. I only wish the Federal Government showed this much restraint and targeting when going after "terrorists".

  • by Cereal Box (4286) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @10:15AM (#6477889)
    Now the RIAA is targeting copyright infringers and not the tools themselves. What's the problem? Isn't that what they're supposed to do? Does this somehow prevent you from sharing non-copyrighted files over P2P (which, as we all know, is the "primary" use of P2P)?

    I mean, I just don't understand this mentality. Why do you feel like you're entitled to redistribute the copyrighted works of others? Why? When did this become a right? I can kind of understand downloading an MP3 of something you already own IF you can be sure it came from the copy of the album you own (i.e., none of this, "I bought the vinyl, now I'm entitled to the higher quality CD version" crap), but sharing the file to millions of people? I don't remember that being part of "Fair use".

    Simple solution: stop sharing copyrighted materials over P2P. If P2P really is this wonderful tool for sharing Redhat ISOs and MP3s of lame garage bands, then put your money where you mouth is. Don't share anything copyrighted, don't download anything copyrighted, and fully support the RIAA and MPAA when they go after people that do either. No one has gone to jail or ever will for sharing non-copyrighted materials. There might be cases here and there of people getting hassled over misunderstandings (that professor who had "Usher" in his MP3 filenames), but no one is going to get charged with anything if they really are on the up and up.
    • Why do you feel like you're entitled to redistribute the copyrighted works of others?

      Because that is precisely the intent of legal protection of intellectual property. The idea was to give a temporary monopoly on the distribution of a work in exchange for having encouraged the development of that work. The point of copyright law is to encourage the free (beer and speech) exchange of these works by contributing them to the public domain.

      Now not only has the temporality of that social contract been void

    • Right to listen (Score:3, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Need to check your 'rights'. When you purchase a album/cd/etc you get a license to listen to that particular music, regardess of 'source'.

      Therefore you can download replacement versions as you please ( of the same song ). Until they license and then warrant the 'hard' product, that will hold true.

      You are not really commiting any copyright violations.. ( though be prepared to present the alternate media if they come knocking on your door )

      Oh, techically vinyl is the higher quality sound, the CD is lower q
    • by Jester99 (23135) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @01:51PM (#6479185) Homepage
      I mean, I just don't understand this mentality

      Okay. They're going after the users, not the toolmakers. This is good. However, I'm still outraged for a few main reasons.

      1. The max penalty is $150,000 per song. Had you stolen a CD from a store, would you be charged $2,250,000 (assuming that there are fifteen tracks on a CD, not unreasonable)? Any store would be laughed out of court if they wanted 2 and a quarter million dollars in damages for a single CD. However, the RIAA gets away with it.

      2. The use of the DMCA outrages me. It's a violation of basic constitutional rights, like due process. They can subpoena you without a court order. They can force an injunction merely by notifying you -- they don't need to prove you guilty of something, merely suppose it. That's damned dangerous.

      3. There are legitimate uses for P2P. If, indeed, I've performed "copyright infringement," by downloading music, then that means that I've violated a license to listen to that music. That means that buying a CD isn't buying a specially pressed piece of plastic -- it's buying a license to listen to certain music. That means I'm legally justified in downloading MP3s of the songs I own on CD. And often times, I misplace CDs. So I feel totally fine about downloading MP3s of those CDs. However, if the RIAA saw me doing this, they'd slap me with a lawsuit. And then I'd have to waste thousands of dollars on legal fees proving that what I was doing wasn't illegal. And that unnerves me. I mean, you steal a CD from a music store, and lights flash, alarms go off, etc. It's pretty clear-cut as to who's stealing music and who's walking away with it legitimately. But the possibility for false positives on illegality for P2P makes it far less justified to just "shotgun" off lawsuits, especially to only casual users.

      4. A democracy is made up of the general will of the populace. MILLIONS of people in the country share files (lets save the debate about whether it's sharing or theft or whatever for another time. It's just the verb I'm using). Most of these people are college students and people in their twenties. These are the future of America. The RIAA is what, two hundred 50-year-old lawyers with a giant bank account?

      The government should be responding to how people act en masse. Copyright is a civil granted right -- it's not a natural right. That means the people can revoke it. (As opposed to your right to life, to not be beaten up on the street, etc.) And if millions of private citizens are acting in concert in a manner contradictory to how current copyright law acts, well, it's time to change the law.

      5. No one has gone to jail or ever will for sharing non-copyrighted materials

      Tell that to Dmitri Sklyarov.
    • Does this somehow prevent you from sharing non-copyrighted files over P2P (which, as we all know, is the "primary" use of P2P)?

      "We all know" is a term that has caused more historical injustice than we could all know. 'P2P' is a popular term describing a handful of sharing protocols with wide news coverage. Peer-to-peer file transfers on the other hand are the foundation of network computing. All files move from one computer in essentially peer-to-peer fashion. It will be impossible to tightly legislate the

  • by groomed (202061) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @10:21AM (#6477946)
    I'm wondering why such a fuss is being made about this. If you illegally distribute copyrighted material you are liable for damages. The damages are real. They aren't as big as the RIAA makes them out to be, but they are real nevertheless. Privacy and grandiose interpretations of the First Amendment have nothing to do with it. Nobody is entitled to do stuff that is not legal.

    All the people who think the RIAA is trying to protect an outdated business model and should just fall over and die need to take a good look at their own morals. Just because their business model is outdated (is it?) doesn't mean you can take the law into your own hands. What's more, the model isn't outdated at all. The musical horizons of most of you would not extend beyond playing the banjo if it wasn't for the RIAA.

    The people who think technology will solve this problem need to think again. There will always be ways to illegally exchange copyrighted materials. But there won't be some kind of Uber-P2P app that destroys the RIAA in one fell swoop, with kissing and credits. Reliable, Cheap, Mass-appeal: pick one-and-a-half.

    Some people seem to think it's more of a social dynamic. The cat's out of the bag, can't put the genie back into the bottle, so much for Pandora's box. They think nothing of sharing music. It's just a natural thing to do, and since so many people are doing it, everybody else will just have to adapt. It's the mob mentality: democracy at its very worst. These people talk about freedom and individuality, but they seek cover behind the anonymity provided by the mob. Even if that anonymity is just an illusion, like it is on the Internet.

    What the RIAA is doing now is exactly what they should be doing. They are not demonizing any particular technology. They are not pushing for overly broad and vague laws. They are simply tracking copyright violations. If you don't like that idea, then stop violating copyright. It's really simple.

    Personally, I couldn't care less. Sometimes I'll grab a few tunes off Gnutella or Usenet, or post a few albums. But I've stopped telling myself that file sharing will dramatically change the way the music industry works. If anything, it is the other way around: the music industry will do more to change the computing industry than vice versa.

    Besides, I like to go outside and browse in the record store. It's not so bad.
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @10:52AM (#6478122)
    From the article :

    The RIAA's subpoenas are so prolific that the U.S. District Court in Washington, already suffering staff shortages, has been forced to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk's office to help process paperwork, said Angela Caesar-Mobley, the clerk's operations manager.

    So, I guess this means that the court is so busy that they can't go after other types of criminals, such as Enron executives and terrorists...
  • by Hollinger (16202) <michaelNO@SPAMhollinger.net> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:05AM (#6478196) Homepage Journal
    From this [washingtonpost.com] AP article at the Washington Post:

    Verizon, which has fought the RIAA over the subpoenas with continued legal appeals, said it received at least 150 subpoenas during the last two weeks. There were no subpoenas on file sent to AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider and also parent company of Warner Music Group. Earthlink Inc., another of the largest Internet providers, said it has received three new subpoenas.

    So, I'm wondering if users of RoadRunner, owned by Time Warner Cable, are somehow being granted a "pardon" as well by our associates at the RIAA for using TW's services.
  • Sampling CD's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by failedlogic (627314) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:14AM (#6478245)
    I download some tunes from the Net but I purchase the CD's I like and the music I don't like gets deleted - and inevitably I'm glad I listened to it first since it was most disappointing. I've found a lot of artists I never knew about and liked the songs enough to buy the CD.

    The music industry should try and promote new artists a bit more. I'm not suggesting it might curb all piracy but playing different tracks, promoting other artists people haven't heard might just tempt them to buy CDs. Makes sense doesn't it?

    My suggestions to promote other artists (which might curb the downloading music trend):

    1. Rotation on the radio stations blows. Stop hourly regualar rotation of the same 5 songs.

    2. Some music stores have demo CD's that you can listen to in the stores. It would be nice if some were more open to sampling to more CDs.

    3. Better promotion on labels' websites.

    4. Finally, albums more than 2 years tend to jump by %25. Lower the premium, which has stopped me from buying some CDs - and people might not download older albums either.
  • by xigxag (167441) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:34AM (#6478371)
    OK, so Kazaa usage trickles down to near zero. Now what? No more downloading Three Dog Night's unreleased studio sessions? No swapping of the full catalog of Fishbone? In other words, no more impulse downloading of dozens of old, obscure songs you'd never actually pay for anyway, even at 25 cents a song. How's this supposed to help CD sales, again?

    Do they really think people are going to go back to buying the latest hits at $17.99 a pop when it's still so easy, even without major filesharing programs, to burn a copy of the lastet CD from someone else in your dorm, or to swap mp3s over IM with trusted friends only?

    I don't begrudge their attempts to pursue legal remedies but at this point the barn door is wide open and the horse is halfway to the next county.
  • by mrtaco01 (683619) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:37AM (#6478394)
    Two items in this article worried me a little: "The RIAA's subpoenas are so prolific that the U.S. District Court in Washington, already suffering staff shortages, has been forced to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk's office to help process paperwork, said Angela Caesar-Mobley, the clerk's operations manager." and: "A spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said the clerk's office here was "functioning more like a clearing house, issuing subpoenas for all over the country." Any civil lawsuits would likely be transferred to a different jurisdiction, spokeswoman Karen Redmond said." Here the RIAA is overloading the D.C. District Court to the point they need to transfer people, which leaves other staffs shorthanded, which slows down other (more important) aspects of the Clerk's office - Such as dealing with REAL criminal cases. Oh, and not to mention these clerks are likely working more than normal. So the RIAA has already stuck it to us all by even filing for subpoenas. Our tax dollars pay for those clerks who are doing the RIAA's bidding. Isn't it nice to know even when we dont want to help the RIAA, we are?
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:49AM (#6478462) Homepage Journal
    You don't need to worry about getting sued by the RIAA or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music. Many indie (unsigned) musicians offer downloads of their music in hopes of attracting more fans - here's mine [geometricvisions.com] and my friends The Divine Maggees [divinemaggees.com].

    If everyone started downloading legal music instead, we would make short work of the RIAA, because people would start buying CDs from indie bands, and seeing their shows, instead of enriching the major labels every time you buy a Britney or New Kids CD. The RIAA would also have no cause to complain - these music downloads are not copyright violations because the artists give you permission to download them.

    Probably the best known site for downloading MP3s is of course MP3.com [mp3.com] . See especially their genre index [mp3.com] . Click the link. You will be quite astounded at how many genres there are.

    Unfortunately the website usability of MP3.com is atrocious, and their streaming audio seems to be buggy - I can't get it to work in either Explorer or Mozilla. To get an MP3 file to download to your hard drive, you have to register, which I'm sure will result in merciless spamming. May I suggest registering with a throwaway email address from spamgourmet [spamgourmet.com] ?

    The Open Directory Project has Bands and Artists [dmoz.org] and Styles [dmoz.org] indices. Not all the artists offer downloads, but the site says they list 48,000 artists and I imagine many of them offer downloads.

    There are better sites for hosting MP3s than MP3.com. Some of them allow you to buy the band's CD from the same page as the MP3 download. Among them are The Internet Underground Music Archives [iuma.com], CDBaby [cdbaby.com], Epitonic.com [epitonic.com], Lulu [lulu.com], SoundClick [soundclick.com], Matador Records [matadorrecords.com] and insound [insound.com] .

    Monotonik provides BitTorrents with zip files containing 60 to 100 MP3s apiece available here [gametab.com].

    If you prefer the higher quality, patent-free Ogg Vorbis [vorbis.com] files you can find several download sites here [vorbis.com] . Ogg Vorbis players are available for many platforms - WinAmp will play them on Windows, and I understand iTunes on Mac OS X supports Ogg now. There are open source Linux ogg players and encoders, even an open source fixed-point decoders for embedded applications where the CPU doesn't have floating point hardware.

    There are also peer-to-peer applications for distributing legal music. See Furthur Network [furthurnet.com] and konspire[2b] [sourceforge.net] .

    Unfortunately, musicians are often not very good website designers, so poor usability is a significant obstacle to getting music directly from artists' websites. If you're a musician, and you'd like to know how you can improve your website so more people will download your music, please read my article If Indie Musicians Wanted Their Music Heard... [kuro5hin.org].

    Finally, there is the problem of finding the music that's actually worth listening to. The labels do serve the (somewhat) legitimate purpose of picking out the good from the bad. But we can do that ourselves with legal downloads by using collaborative filtering, for example by downloading our music with iRATE, which you'll find at

  • and Yet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @11:57AM (#6478511) Homepage Journal
    The priacy people who copy music and sell for profit outside the US including terrorists in Iraq are stil not charged by RIAA..

    and yet still no listening to music lovers request fo downloadable song tracks which we are willing to pay $0.99 per track..

    and yet RIAA business model burns..

  • by Zed2K (313037) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @12:03PM (#6478546)
    Out of the 800 some subpoenas filed. Someone in that ever growing group is bound to have enough money or know someone famous that will assist and help them stand up for themselves. Unfortunately most of the people are probably high school or college kids or people just trying to get by in life. If I were in the group and forced to settle, part of the settlement agreement would have to be that I'm allowed to talk about what happened to me in public. Embarrass the hell out of the RIAA. Go on as many talk shows and radio shows as possible. If they can't fight them in the courts then use the media.
  • Here's a solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @12:04PM (#6478549) Homepage
    Use meetup.com [meetup.com] (or an equivalent) to host local CD-ripping parties on a monthly basis. Let's see the RIAA stop that.
  • by Quizo69 (659678) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @12:14PM (#6478608) Homepage
    As most people currently acknowledge (if only grudgingly), wanton copying of songs is, whilst not immoral, certainly illegal in the eyes of the law. The answer to this phenomenon of music downloading isn't encrypted filetrading etc, but MAKING IT LEGAL.

    As a recent example that comes to mind, look at the overturning of the sodomy laws in a few US states that still had them on the books. On the day prior to the overturn you could have been arrested for having sex with your gay significant other, however one day later and you were LEGALLY able to do so without fear of arrest.

    Did the morality of the situation magically change overnight? No, of course not. What changed was that society at large recognised that the legality didn't gel with the morality, and therefore overturned the law itself because it was not considered to be of "benefit" to society any more (it never was IMHO).

    So should it be for copyright law in the digital age, where information can be easily copied for near zero cost (other than buying hard drives etc).

    I am reminded of another good example, though fictional at this time, of matter replicators as seen on Star Trek et al. If we could download the recipe for a meal and replicate it, should that be deemed illegal, or should we end world hunger virtually overnight?

    If it is accurate that most (>50%) people download music then we should overturn the whole concept of copyright, move with the times, get rid of outdated business models (distribution monopoly through artificial scarcity) and start over. Society should base laws on accepted morality, not corporate buyoffs of laws paid to politicians.

    Finally I just want to say this:

    Listening to a song on the radio is legal. Time-shifting a recording for viewing or listening later is legal. But if I download that same recording from P2P to time-shift my listening to when I want to listen to it instead of when some DJ decided it was time to listen it, suddenly I'm a criminal. What the fsck???

    (The answer of course, is that by stripping out the ads the radio station can't sell their advertisers the audience. Yes, YOU are the PRODUCT being sold BY radio stations TO advertisers. It destroys yet another outdated business model. Middle-man based industries are the ones dying off, and it is these industries that are now paying off the politicians to keep themselves in control that little bit longer until they can cash out.)

    Quizo69
    • I am reminded of another good example, though fictional at this time, of matter replicators as seen on Star Trek et al. If we could download the recipe for a meal and replicate it, should that be deemed illegal, or should we end world hunger virtually overnight?
      Careful. The last time I used this analogy [slashdot.org] on here, I was accused of spouting nonsense. I was told to maintain a grip on reality and that replicator technology was impossible. I believe it was compared to unicorns and leprechans.

      Fact is, we'll h
  • by doce (31638) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @12:27PM (#6478688) Homepage
    honestly, this is exactly what the RIAA should have been doing all along. going after the networks themselves was futile - with the demise of Napster came the advent of AudioGalaxy, then Gnutella, then Kazaa (with a couple of others omitted out of laziness on my part). most have fallen like dominoes, only to be replaced by progressively less centralized networks.

    shutting down the networks is akin to closing a road just because people speed and suing the contractor that built the road. cities, though, have to bitchslap those who are actually breaking the law. siren, lights, ticket, court date.

    and that's just what the RIAA is learning now. they can go after the networks all they want, but as long as the end users feel immune from harm for their trafficking, another network will spring up in its place. by going after the actual swappers, the RIAA is finally going to make a dent in its little problem here.

    argue about the inequality of the music industry, its uneven balance away from the artists themselves, the unfairness of the current copyright schema, and all that jazz... but that's the way the world turns today. the consumers are not going to instigate change in the music industry - the balance will favor the artists only when the artists start standing up for themselves. and truly, if the balance were that unfair you'd see that happening.

    laws are another matter, but the same necessity. just like the musicians need to stand up and wrestle back some control over their art, the American people need to stand up and wrestle their government back from corporate interests.

    the whining that goes on in here and around the net is disappointing. we know what the current regime is. we know what the consequences are. unfair or not, we shouldn't act surprised when you get caught.
  • GNUnet NOW! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dogun (7502) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @01:09PM (#6478933) Homepage
    I heavily reccomend moving to GNUnet or some similar service.
    Granted, I am now downloading GNUnet and have not used it before, but here is the big one that GNUnet offers:

    Deniability.

    Since on GNUnet it is unclear both who has the goods you're looking for and who originated the search, and transfers do not happen directly, just because there is data coming into your box does not mean that you are it's destination. Similarly, data coming out does not implicate you as the source.

    Lawyers nightmare, anyone?
  • LIke the old days, only share with people you know.

    Too bad the RIAA lost my business due to this crap. If i cant sample something, im not going to fork out 20 bucks 'just to see'. I have purcahsed over 500 CD's, and even more vinyl recordings over the years. And many beacuse i was able to hear them in their entirety FIRST.

    Screw them. No more $ from me. That ends today.

    Oh, and before you say im stealing, first look up the true definition, and also note i send cash direct to artists of stuff i keep... the ones who CREATED the stuff in the first place.

    Every buck i send them is more then they got from the industry...
  • by bluesangria (140909) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @02:28PM (#6479392)
    From the article:

    There were no subpoenas on file sent to AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider and also parent company of Warner Music Group. Earthlink Inc., another of the largest Internet providers, said it has received only three new subpoenas.

    Doesn't it strike anyone else as *amazing* that the LARGEST Internet Service Provider in the nation does not have ANY subscribers being sued?????
    HOW are they deciding which filesharers to sue? Surely there must be several thousand AOL'ers sharing mp3 files. Are they overlooked because they share through IM or what???

    My paranoia is telling me the RIAA is being used an an underhanded strongarm technique to consolidate ISP's. Chase away one ISP's customers by suing them, and likely they will change ISP's as well.....

    *mumbles* gotta stop watching too much TV....

    blue

  • If you get sued (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pettifogger (651170) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:11PM (#6480144)
    Since the RIAA is filing a lot of actions now, here's a little bit of advice for anyone who gets sued.

    First, *YOU DO NOT NEED TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY*, you are entitled to represent yourself. And you should.

    Second, the Courts tend to give leniency to pro se parties. This means the laws of evidence aren't quite as strictly enforced and you can get away with a lot of stuff attorneys can't. Believe me, I know.

    Third, there are few things attorneys hate more than dealing with pro se litigants. You never know what's going to turn up and whether or not the judge might allow it because he/she feels sorry for the pro se guy.

    Fourth, this gives you the opportunity to create a circus atmosphere. Invite the media. Make angry speeches. Just go nuts.

    Now, if the RIAA wants 5,000 cases like what I described above, their attorneys will literally tear their hair out. A lot of them will quit, a lot of them will boost their fees, and a lot of them are going to be pissed off at the RIAA for giving them such a headache.

    DO NOT ROLL OVER AND SETTLE. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! If enough people respond this way, the RIAA will lose, and it will lose in a very, very ugly way. Don't think you need an expensive legal team to give them a problem. You, yourself, with $15 of copies at Kinko's can literally shove their crap back up the orifice it came from.

    If you think I know not of what I speak, check my sig....

    • Re:If you get sued (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbstone (457308) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:29PM (#6480270)
      The above advice is incrediable coming from a lawyer. People who get sued need to file and serve the other party with responsive papers immediately so they don't lose by default.

      The papers have to be done exactly the right way or 1) the court clerk won't file them or 2) you could inadvertently waive the right to raise certain legal arguments. It's not all that easy to file responsive pleadings as a lawyer, let alone someone who is under the stress of a lawsuit filed by a big law firm and who is attempting to act as his or her own lawyer.

      If you get sued, call a lawyer and make an appointment. We don't bite and usually there is only a small or no charge for an initial consultation.

      If somebody showed up in my office with one of these, I would look at ways to possibly countersue RIAA or whomever and make some money on the deal for both of us.

      IAAAL. This post is not legal advice for your specific situation or jurisdiction, and it is not a solicitation for legal services.
  • Wait until... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Windcatcher (566458) on Sunday July 20, 2003 @03:20AM (#6482918)
    Another 20 years go by.

    When, instead of portable (read, pocket-sized) 20Gb music players, we have 20Tb players, with CPU speeds to match.

    When the faster CPUs allow use of far superior sound compression algorithms that better model the sources of sound...

    When transfer speeds make USB 2.0 look like RS232...

    When said handheld players will be able to contain not your entire present music collection, but nigh all music in recorded history.

    When all you might ever lack on any given day is the newest music, and that's assuming you even like it (since you're 20 years older), or even have the time to listen to it (since you'll have so much already).

    While P2P is a terrible thing in the eyes of the RIAA, I can't help but think back to the '80's and two things of the past:

    - recordable audio cassettes
    - recordable videotape

    Both involve magnetic tape that holds practically nothing compared to recordable media today, and it takes *forever* to record onto them. Yet, they scared the record and movie industries to death, to such a degree that the movie industry tried to kill VCRs.

    The implications for the future are staggering by comparison. Not only is it *digital* media, its size and ease of recording will, IMHO, be the *real* nail in the RIAA's coffin, *not* the Internet. When you can get in your car, head ofer to your buddy's house, and transfer all music in human history, that will be the true death knell for any company seeking to profit from an artist's efforts. Organizations like the RIAA consume far more in funds and resources than are necessary to support individual artists; when those funds start drying up, there must eventually come a breaking point where being affiliated with the RIAA is a financial liability. After all, who here still pays someone to deliver ice--or milk? The RIAA *will* go the way of the dodo, but I don't think P2P will be their killer asteroid, it will be the slow, steady march of technology.

    Will they pay exhorbitant sums to our legislators to close the "analog hole"? They may try, but I doubt such an effort can succeed. Unless they can ban general-purpose programmable computers and resistors, anyone can digitize sound and put it into an open format. I don't care how much clout the RIAA has with Congress, the tech industry is ten times their size and will not suffer being downgraded to the era of Timex-Sinclair ZX-80's and TI-99/4A's. May as well tell everyone to turn in all their cars and TV's and go back to radio with vacuum tubes.

    Slightly OT late-night idea ahead...

    As I type this, one way to speed the process might be to create a slick-as-butter, easy-to-use way for beginning artists to get some airtime. How about something simple where websites could run some Java or Javascript that let users listen to a minute of an indie artist's song? Indie artists could sign up at some central site, and any website running this Java or Javascript would go out to the site, pick an artist at random, and pull a minute of music that it can play if the user clicks the play button...

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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