Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Education Media Music News Your Rights Online

RIAA Campaign Against Students Hits Stormier Seas 296

Posted by Zonk
from the get-out-of-the-pool dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "It's been astutely observed that the RIAA's "ex parte" campaign against "John Doe" college students seems to have run into much stormier waters than its campaign against regular folks. Discovery motions were thrown out by the judges in cases involving the University of New Mexico and the College of William and Mary, and motions to quash have been made by students at Boston University, Oklahoma State University, and the University of South Florida. The RIAA might find it particularly troubling that the students are coming in armed with substantial expert witness declarations attacking the entire underpinning of the RIAA's case, that the students are finding each other and banding together, and that the Chairman of Boston University's Computer Science Department went to bat — as an expert witness — for the BU students."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RIAA Campaign Against Students Hits Stormier Seas

Comments Filter:
  • by kalpol (714519) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:33PM (#20174489) Homepage
    Can't beat that for practical life experience.
  • good (Score:5, Informative)

    by batray (257663) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:34PM (#20174519)
    The resources available at a university should help counter the RIAA's unconscionable tactics.
    • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FreeGamer (1001924) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @06:52PM (#20176311) Homepage
      It's not university resources that is the cause of this backlash. When the RIAA was prosecuting citizens, these are busy people with little time and tight budgets and generally isolated from other people being pursued by the RIAA.

      Students... now... these are groups of young people with common interests and copious amounts of free time, who are looking for worthy causes to fight that can define their generation, and have much less to lose as they don't have mortgages, families, and savings. Except for lawyers, you couldn't target a worse group of people. Trying to come down harder on them will make them come together more and strengthen their resolve to stamp out this persecution, a perceived abuse of their civil and human rights.

      Good. It's time the RIAA got it's ass kicked and it's especially humbling that it's students doing it - probably the worst offenders on the RIAA hitlist.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:09AM (#20180515) Journal
        Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up involuntarily targeting lawyers too.

        1. I'd imagine that any university would at least have a legal department, or a contract with some lawyer firm, or whatever. They may not be of the caliber of IBM, whose lawyers have been said to be like the Nazgul or darken the skies, but they have or can afford someone who knows whether a "bend over and give us your money and a self-incriminating confession" letter actually has any legal basis or not.

        Basically it's not just that students are connected, it's that it only takes one university to feel targeted as an organization, to be a lot more organized in fighting back. When you target isolated persons or even some (incompetently-led) tiny companies, you can bully them around or pull a "stand and deliver" and scare them into actually giving you their money. When you target someone with lawyers, they'll ask those first.

        2. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the universities actually had law one of the majors. So they'd have a lot of people whose whole job there is to learn about that kind of stuff, and, worse yet, some whose job is to teach it.

        And the former can go ask the latter. I mean, it's not like Jane Grandma who'll be like "omg, where will I find a good lawyer, and can I possibly afford one?" If you have someone teaching you law courses, it just begs to go ask him about law.

        3. Student connections run wider than just that campus. Even if you target a pure technical university, some of those students will be the son/daughter of a lawyer (Bill Gates was the son of a wealthy lawyer, for example), some will be dating a cute law student because those universities have more women, etc.

        Basically, individual John Doe lawsuits/law-threats can be carefully targeted against people who statistically should be more likely to be defenseless. If your list of IPs includes one for the head of a famous law firm, you'd have to be a dolt to send him a pseudo-legal nastygram. But when you take a shotgun approach among such a big group as a university, you may well end up targeting the son of that same lawyer.
  • you people think you have reason, science, fairness, morality, justice, and freedom on your side

    ha!

    we have LAWYERS

    lots and lots of LAWYERS

    platoons of them!

    fact: there is no problem we the RIAA have faced that couldn't be solved just by throwing LAWYERS at it. a problem? sue someone! PROBLEM SOLVED! don't you people get it?

    in fact, the entirety of human technological progress, in the form of the internet ruining our business model, means nothing. we can stop progress itself by just suing people

    sue! sue! sue! there: it's all gold and honey again, no more problems

    don't you silly college students get it yet?
  • by athloi (1075845) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:38PM (#20174569) Homepage Journal
    Few people have the time that students do, or the drive, toward activism of many types. They're such a powerful demographic that presidential candidates solicit them. Attacking them aggressively is risky but if the RIAA wins this one, everyone else is going to be gravy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      "Attacking them aggressively is risky but if the RIAA wins this one, everyone else is going to be gravy."

      Soylent green?
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:02PM (#20174865) Journal
      RIAA can only win, at best, something of a tactical stalemate. In the long run, everything is stacked up against the record companies as they are currently formulated. The digital cat is out of the bag, and the album is dead. Just as bad, for RIAA, is the fact that the generation that they're going after right now will be the legislators that they may be having to deal with in a few years. So even if they manage to keep their crippled and outdated business plan working, eventually they're going to hit the iPod generation head on.
      • by ResidntGeek (772730) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:21PM (#20175097) Journal
        Seems more likely that the legislators of tomorrow are the rich kids of today, who can afford as many CDs as they want. Even assuming the downloaders of today do become the legislators of tomorrow, why would a few memories of free Ja Rule make them refuse thousands or millions of dollars from RIAA lobbyists?
        • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:39PM (#20175337) Homepage Journal

          Seems more likely that the legislators of tomorrow are the rich kids of today, who can afford as many CDs as they want.
          Sure they can afford them, but who wants those clunky old things? They probably have instead 5GB iPods stuffed full of music.

          I think we will soon see the day when CD players will go the way of tape decks, and all of your music will be transmitted wirelessly from your online music accounts to your home computer, your portable music player, and your car stereo.
        • by Mattsson (105422) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:40PM (#20175341) Homepage Journal
          You are a democracy, goddamnit! Stop voting for corrupted politicians that only play for the highest bidder!
          • That's right, we're a democracy, government by the people. And ALL PEOPLE ACT LIKE THAT. There are about 10 people in the world with altruism glands big enough to turn down millions of dollars for no tangible cost, and they've all got better things to do than run for office.
            • by Mattsson (105422)
              Yeah, most people tends to have flexible morales when enough money is involved, and as long as it isn't illegal, I have no problems with that.
              But a government should work for the good of the country and the people whom it represent.
              If a politician or a party receives compensations for working for the good of a corporation, and in doing this is neglecting the people or the overall good of the country, they should be voted into the marginals of political influence.
              Or, if the compensations has been in the form
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by ResidntGeek (772730)
                The "choice" is between multiple people who will fail equally to represent me.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by jc42 (318812)
                ... as long as it isn't illegal, I have no problems with that.

                Well, the supreme law in the US is the Constitution, which says:

                Congress shall have power ...
                To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries
                .

                So if they vote for copyright or patent laws that interfere with scientific or artistic progress, they are clearly doing something illegal, and they should be prosecuted for it. Taking
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by stinerman (812158)
            But they tell me that voting for a minor party or independent candidate is wasting my vote!
            • by Mattsson (105422)
              Depends on how you look at it.
              It is only a wasted vote if everyone else thinks it's a waste.
              The only reason why people do this is because everyone else is doing it.
              If everyone that only votes for one of the Dragons because "otherwise it's a waste" actually started to vote for a party or candidate that they actually thought would represent their interest, the two Dragons might not have such a overwhelming majority anymore.

              I'd say that not voting for what the rulers say you should vote for is good, if you do
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The rich kids got alienware and assorted other top end gaming machines, high speed connections, and use bit torrent a *lot*. They are also raised in business families, and can spot a buggywhip industry on the decline. We have digital replicators now, so the best legitimate price they should charge is slightly more than the price of duplication, whether pure bits down an internet stream or stamped into plastic. Charging big folding money for two cents worth of bits on ten cents worth of plastic is such an ob
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        ...eventually they're going to hit the iPod generation head on.

        Oh please! We all expected big changes after getting rid of Nixon. What we got was a whole lot of nothing. Once the iPod generation gets a taste of that power, they will just become like the rest already have. What's that saying? "A republican is just a democrat with money." You believe that after 20,000 years, this is the epiphany? I don't think so.
      • Were in a bit of a time of change here. The legislators of today are the students from they golden age of industrialization and the closed source cold war era types. The people in my generation (I'm 23) have grown up in the beginning of the Information Age and the end of the Industrial. We still have industry and all that, but it isn't as innovative as it used to be now it's all about information. There is unprecedented power at the fingertips of the people and the people in office now never grew up wit
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Just as bad, for RIAA, is the fact that the generation that they're going after right now will be the legislators that they may be having to deal with in a few years.

        Um, you do realize how useless that is, right? Most of them have tried drugs and manged to go on to serve in public office, showing them to be harmless, yet continue to vote to make them even more illegal. Legislators base votes off money and getting re-elected, and not personal experience. If you aren't a sell-out, what are you doing in p
  • The RIAA has to grow up and realize that DRM free music is a great marketing tool!
    • by drhamad (868567) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:54PM (#20174765)
      There's a major problem with that logic. If DRM free music is a great marketing tool, that means it's a great marketing tool because people will pirate it. And if people are pirating it, you're now giving away what you want to market, for free.

      I don't like DRM because of all the compatibility issues and ease of use issues, but if it stops people from pirating (it doesn't, really), then it may be worth it.

      Also, that's THEIR decision to make. They own the rights to distribute the content. It isn't my decision, it isn't your decision. If you don't like it, don't buy it. I primarily buy music on iTunes that is in iTunes Plus (DRM free 256kbps), thereby saying that yes, I like DRM free music. But I don't pirate music just because it has DRM and I'm opposed to DRM. I'll buy the CD in that case.
      • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:22PM (#20175103) Homepage
        It isn't their choice.

        DRM violates the social contract that allows them to control distribution of creative works.

        DRM should void any copyright protection.

        If the Librarian of Congress can't archive it, then the FBI shouldn't be used to prosecute those that pirate the work and the US Courts should not be used by corporations to sue those that the FBI won't prosecute.

      • The product is the performance. By the talented musicians.

        If you don't play guitar, you have no place in the equation.

        People and organizations can assert their rights all they want. I won't conform to them.

        If I could do so without risk, I would set about having them burned at the stake for daring to make the attempt, starting this very moment.

        If any group ever sticks their nose into what I'm doing and try to enforce their so called rights with enough effectiveness to screw up what I've got going on here i
      • Copyright exists to enhance the public domain. Cant enhance the public domain if it cant enter it. Choice is simple, release music without DRM, get copyright protection. Release music with DRM, lose copyright protection and don't come crying when the DRM is broken.

        Same goes for software released with copy protection. How can it enter the public domain if there is no way to copy it?
    • by *weasel (174362)
      They already know that -- that's why they seed the networks with new albums from time to time.
      Trick is: DRM-free music obviates everything that the labels provide to musicians.
      The manufacturing, the distribution, the guaranteed shelf-space, etc.

      If swapping DRM-free music became the legal, accepted industry standard - they'd be cut out of the loop. They'd die.
      Why do you think they're fighting so hard?
  • by f0dder (570496) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:40PM (#20174603)
  • Perhaps a bad move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Control Group (105494) * on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:41PM (#20174621) Homepage
    The problem the RIAA is facing is that college students - as a demographic - have a combination of passionate beliefs, raging idealism, little to lose, and nothing but time. I saw this one coming a mile away.
    • by stubear (130454)
      The problem colleges are facing is a government who doesn't like snarky little asshats and is willing to allow lobbyists to assist in writing laws to close loopholes they missed the first time around or when something alters the playing field.
    • by apt142 (574425) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:03PM (#20174879) Homepage Journal
      Add into that a solid understanding of technology that the RIAA doesn't seem to grasp. We're talking about an age group that had the internet available since they were toddlers. They know better than the average Joe how it works and where it breaks.

      From a technological evidence stand point, the RIAA doesn't have a leg to stand on. Us techies have known that for a while. But, I think it's the first group to really have the confidence to stand up, the know how to contradict and the desire to stick it to them.

      If this group can keep banding together, I think the RIAA's legal tactics may hit a sudden and disastrous roadblock.
      • by Splab (574204)
        Also as a student you are broke most of the time, so paying lawyer fee or paying a small fine is just about the same, you end up broke anyways, might as well throw the dices and have some fun.
      • by Almahtar (991773)
        This reminds me of when I was in college and several classmates of mine and I received notices from the MPIAA for sharing movies on the Internet.

        We laughed our asses off. If they took us to court we could do all sorts of things from claiming to have an unsecured wireless network to bringing up ip spoofing, to... you name it.

        Prove I did it.

        Well we have these logs with an IP address...

        Yeah, but prove I did it.
    • by fermion (181285)
      The last two are the key. A working person actual loses money for every day they spend in court, has family that they need to provide for, and plans to do thing like buy a house in a the near term.

      OTOH, most people will work around a students schedule. A student will not respond to threats that his or her family is going starve, or they will contact his or her boss and get him fired, or that he or she will have a ruined credit rating and never buy a house.

      OF course, it could just be that most college

    • by N7DR (536428) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:09PM (#20174957) Homepage
      The problem the RIAA is facing is that college students - as a demographic - have a combination of passionate beliefs, raging idealism, little to lose, and nothing but time.

      And it's a fair bet that they actually understand how the Internet works, or at least have access to people who do, which ultimately is probably the thing that the MAFIAA should fear more than anything else.

      And following that observation, it's never been clear to me whether the MAFIAA purposely hire clueless "experts" for deposition or whether they honestly don't understand the technology.

  • Ents (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Himring (646324) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:42PM (#20174637) Homepage Journal
    Saruman didn't factor in the ents....

    At some point, decent people get riled up over injustice and finally do something about it. These RIAA lawyers have been bullying pre-schoolers long enough. "I'm telling my big brother" is coming home to them.

    Use the market RIAA. Learn to compete. Give up on old technology and old ways of distributing music. Nobody wants to buy your 5 cent disk with 9 bad songs for highway robbery prices just to listen to one song you should allow to be downloaded at a cheap enough rate so that folks will stop bothering to pirate (not steal; remember, pirates are simply a form of entrepeneurs).

    • For the RIAA, winning cases is not the objective.

      -Right of resale? Ignore it and litigate
      -Personal use freedoms? Ignore them and litigate.

      It's a "risk premium" attached to entertainment media. The only way to get the discount is to cede control of your media. A pejorative term for "risk premium" is a "terrorism tax."

      Sadly, righteous indignation is the only thing that I see in these discussions.
    • by E++99 (880734)

      should allow to be downloaded at a cheap enough rate so that folks will stop bothering to pirate (not steal; remember, pirates are simply a form of entrepeneurs).

      Pirates are just entrepreneurs? Are you talking about the kind of pirate who steals, rapes and murders, or the kind that just steals???
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 6 (22657)
      The problem is that people get riled up so to speak over the wrong, "injustice".

      The injustice here isn't RIAA or lawsuits. The problem is that media consolidation has lead to a point where the amount of control is vested in a vanishingly small number of people.

      If there were dozens of record labels they would never be able to agree on a common font let alone to all band together to sue customers.

      It is unlikely that a large group could co-ordinate their interests enough to buy off a dog catcher let alone con
  • by do_kev (1086225) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:42PM (#20174641)
    "...In addition, Shutovsky is directed to provide the names and addresses of all people who have used his PC in the three years prior to his being sued. According to his response to the RIAA's requests, those who may have used the computer include his wife, an unspecified list of "short-term house guests," and eight other people who live in Russia, Ukraine, or the UK. The RIAA says that it would like to contact the Shutovsky's houseguests to see if it would be "reasonable" to take depositions..."

    And so continues the witch-hunt for dear ol' 162.83.177.207.

    I hope the new generation of musicians refuse to sign record labels with major companies. Considering how powerful a home studio can now be, it's a whole lot more feasible than it was 30 years ago..
    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      I hope the new generation of musicians refuse to sign record labels with major companies. Considering how powerful a home studio can now be, it's a whole lot more feasible than it was 30 years ago..
      Yeah, that would be nice. But I'm not that optimistic. Given how many bands there are out there these days, you know there's going to be some that take the bait.
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:13PM (#20175005) Journal
        Musicians are going to have to go back fifty years and relearn everything. We've had a couple of generations that have been raised on the album being the ultimate musical expression. Singles became some increasingly dimly understood entity to many of the people that started buying music in the mid-60s and later. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, all these guys were album artists, and from them sprung the record industry as we know it, at first selling long plays aplenty and then moving on to CDs.

        Now, it's songs again that rule. The ease of obtaining (legally or illegally) single songs means the death of the album as a major profit center. The fact is that Phil Spector was right when he called the album "two hits and ten pieces of junk". The vast majority of long play vinyl and CDs are populated by junk. Is there some reason that people like Britney Spears or Madonna have to release twelve song collections? Let's face it, in the vast jungle of albums out there since the LP took off in the late 1950s, there are perhaps a few dozen genuine masterpieces in any given genre of music.

        I think the smart artists and studios will realize that there is a golden opportunity here to shed the 800 lb. gorilla of the record company and its distribution networks. For decades, these guys have been robbing artists blind, while they made untold millions. That's okay for the upper echelon of artists like U2 or the Beach Boys, whose volume of sales is such that even a fraction means big bucks. But there's all those middle tier and Indie guys who don't sell that number, and for them, being able to direct sell, or hell, even just give away the music and make their money off of the gigs and the merchandising that this new era could mean prosperity.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by bar-agent (698856)
          But don't artists need the album? In order to do the one or two hits, they have to throw a lot of things on the wall and see which ones stick and which ones don't. In other words, to develop their skills as an artist, they need to make mistakes and see that they are mistakes. How else can they do this but by releasing songs and seeing which ones get panned by critics, and which get played?

          And radio stations and critics would rather deal with an album at a time instead of a single every few weeks. It could b
          • Do artists need albums? I doubt it. Good Vibrations began its life as a single and sold a million copies before ending up on a ton of Beach Boys' compilations.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by whoever57 (658626)

          I think the smart artists and studios will realize that there is a golden opportunity here to shed the 800 lb. gorilla of the record company and its distribution networks. For decades, these guys have been robbing artists blind, while they made untold millions.

          I have been wating for this to happen, but it has not yet. Perhaps there are contractual relationships and copyright ownership issues that prevents it.

          However, imagine a scenario where an established band dumps the traditional publishers and elect

          • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @06:08PM (#20175697) Journal
            What I'm looking forward to is the day that artists don't have to scrabble around, trying to make every godawful song they ever wrote sound good enough so they can fill in the five or six tracks needed to make an album. The artists themselves have been bitching about the filler they have to put on albums for decades. I hope for a day when a band has four good songs, records those songs, releases them, and then waits until they have a few more good songs and releases them.

            LPs are probably one of the biggest rip-offs in recording history. There's some argument for them as far as classical pieces or extended jazz pieces and the like. But come on, for every Dark Side of the Moon out there, there are hundreds of piles of crap with maybe one or two redeeming songs to be found.
        • I think the smart artists and studios will realize that there is a golden opportunity here to shed the 800 lb. gorilla of the record company and its distribution networks.

          I don't know, man. Who'll be left to sort out the brown M&M's?

          ;-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by moosesocks (264553)
          Really? If you're measuring success in terms of radio plays, then yes -- singles are going to be important.

          However, there has been a *very* strong swing toward making cohesive albums in the past few years (to the degree that some artists are cutting songs from albums and releasing them as b-sides).

          To the same effect, it's perfectly reasonable to release a 40-minute album, or even just an EP, as long as that limited selection is good. Voxtrot [wikipedia.org] comes to mind as being a current band with several fantastic EPs
  • Forgive my near-total ignorance on matters of copyright law and my failure to RTFA, but if these college kids' cases are attacking the basic underpinings of the RIAA's case, is there a chance that this will benefit the regular folks who are under attack? It'd be nice if those darn kids did something productive for a change, instead of spending all their time at the Woolworth's drinking malteds, or whatever they do nowadays.
    • by Shambly (1075137) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:49PM (#20174715)
      They are arguing that an IP is not a unique identifier especially on university networks. Also that the discovery process can only occur after the people have been identified and not before so that looking at the IP traces cannot be done before they are notified. The first part may be of some help if you are using a router or sharing your connections but the second part could be very interresting as it would imply that the RIAA has no right to check your IP until you are notified so they would lose their enforcement power and have to rely on the police to do the work.
      • by Qrlx (258924)
        they [the RIAA] would lose their enforcement power and have to rely on the police to do the work.

        The police? But what if the police don't give a rat's ass if someone is downloading MP3s, because there are real crimes being committed? (By real crimes, I mean black people driving cars, of course.)

        But seriously, this is akin to what just happened in Germany, with the high court saying "sorry, but we can't be bothered with the petty offense of MP3 downloaders. Find another stooge."

        No, I don't think the polic
    • Forgive my near-total ignorance on matters of copyright law and my failure to RTFA, but if these college kids' cases are attacking the basic underpinings of the RIAA's case, is there a chance that this will benefit the regular folks who are under attack?
      Yes.

      Absolutely.
  • by Shambly (1075137) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:45PM (#20174673)

    The problem with the RIAA is that it has very questionable practices in regards to its sending subpeona's and when it sues people not that piracy is right.

    The problem is that it believes itself to be a police force with powers to investigate and aprehend criminals. It does not.

    However that does not mean that piracy is ok. It only means that evil corporations are evil. While you may argue that information wants to be free and copyrights are badly flawed that does not mean your piracy is not against the law. It's the practice of the RIAA that are unlawful not its intent.

    • A) There is a difference between legal, and right. Something can be illegal and perfectly morally sound.
      B) Piracy's morality or imorality is still being debated. Many people think it's wrong because of the potential to harm the income of the artists, but many people also think purchasing music legitimately is immoral because it powers a corrupt system, i.e. the RIAA. And most people (like me) are somewhere in between.
  • by drhamad (868567) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:46PM (#20174689)
    I've always been a huge supporter of the rights of these people that the RIAA is attacking - and I still am. But I'm realizing lately that I can't think of a better way for them to protect their rights, either. I was in a conversation the other day where somebody was asking someone to send them a copy of limewire, because they couldn't get it themselves for some reason. I made a joking comment about how ya know, installing Limewire on a work computer probably wasn't the smartest idea, and he could always *gasp* actually purchase his music (his stated goal was pirating music). Somebody else then said "why would anyone do that anymore"?

    Now, I'm sure most people have music that isn't theirs on their computer. But I really hope that most peoples attitudes isn't "why would we buy music when we can pirate it" these days. If it is, maybe the RIAA should be suing people. I think that people shouldn't be crucified for having some songs that aren't theirs on their systems, if they also buy plenty of music. But if you never or almost never buy music, and your entire collection is pirated, then by all means, the RIAA should go after you.

    I oppose the RIAA on privacy grounds, and because the logic used (downloading is NOT piracy, if you own it, I believe), but if peoples attitudes really now is that they should pirate rather than buy, then I think the RIAA is between a rock and a hard place, and they can't simply ignore that.

    And please, keep the arguments about RIAA music being not worth the money out of this - if you don't think it's worth the money, then you don't have a right to have it. You've made that choice.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Himring (646324)
      But I really hope that most peoples attitudes isn't "why would we buy music when we can pirate it" these days. If it is, maybe the RIAA should be suing people.

      You seem to think only the little guy can commit a crime.

      It is a crime for large companies to fix prices and kill competition. It is a crime to harass under-privileged children and the handicapped. It is a crime to take 1000s of dollars from common people who probably cannot afford it, who just may be downloading music because they can't pay t
      • But I really hope that most peoples attitudes isn't "why would we buy music when we can pirate it" these days. If it is, maybe the RIAA should be suing people. You seem to think only the little guy can commit a crime. It is a crime for large companies to fix prices and kill competition. Agreed - so do something about that crime. Two wrongs don't make a right/etc. It is a crime to harass under-privileged children and the handicapped. Depends what you're harassing them for. If you mean by suing them...
      • by drhamad (868567) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:56PM (#20175531)
        Dammit, forgot to put in the breaks.

        But I really hope that most peoples attitudes isn't "why would we buy music when we can pirate it" these days. If it is, maybe the RIAA should be suing people.

        You seem to think only the little guy can commit a crime. It is a crime for large companies to fix prices and kill competition.
        Agreed - so do something about that crime. Two wrongs don't make a right/etc.

        It is a crime to harass under-privileged children and the handicapped.
        Depends what you're harassing them for. If you mean by suing them... well, are they copying music they don't own? If so, it isn't harassing.

        It is a crime to take 1000s of dollars from common people who probably cannot afford it, who just may be downloading music because they can't pay the highway robbery prices charged for 5 cents of plastic and 9 bad songs.
        This is absolutely NOT a crime. If they can't afford it, they can't afford it. People can't afford cars, software, etc, should they then be allowed to just take those? RIAA music is not a life necessity.

        It is a crime to also harass artists (you seem to think all artists are actually happy with the record labels -- please read up on John Fogerty). It is a crime to force John Fogerty into court and him prove that he doesn't sound like himself in hopes of raping him for more millions than you've already raped him for (does the tune "Vance Can't Dance" ring a bell?).
        I in no way think that the RIAA is perfect, or that it does things the right way. I made no statement to that effect. But again, this has nothing to do with whether or not you should be pirating music.

        It is a crime to attempt to hinder innovation by forcing worthless and spent technology (CDs) just so you can keep a hold on your empire.
        Well, I disagree that the CD is worthless or spent. I see no better hard media out there? Digital downloads are nice, but they don't replace the CD. Regardless, that is not in any way a crime. It's their choice to release their music that way - they have the right to do that.

        Do you honestly think it will stop with people downloading music?
        Absolutely not. But what's the choice? For the RIAA to simply LET people download music for free? Like I said, I don't support the RIAA - but they are between a rock and a hard place. What's your method for stopping pirating?

        As more and more artists are able to create music outside of mainstream record labels, congress will be lobbied, somehow, to shut that down. The RIAA is a monster with money and they will use their huge reserves to continue to harass all sides, not just the evil people you seem to think represent the real villians attacking the harmless RIAA who, after all, care so much for the artists you mention....
        I never mentioned an artist. And yet again, I never claimed to like the RIAA or their methods - but again, it is their (distribution) rights.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The whole copyright debate needs to move to a more fundamental level, theres never going to be any workable way for RIAA to keep their old model.
      The fact theyre allowed to ruin peoples lives over some songs is crazy, it goes against common sense and will never be accepted no matter what laws they buy.

      Ill gladly support musicians via concerts or even taxes, theres no way Im supporting all the evil crap around them tho.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sampson7 (536545)
      I actually agree with this. Perhaps my idealism is fading as I hit the wrong side of 30, but I don't understand why anyone would feel they have the right to wholesale steal music. It's not that expensive to buy mainstream music off the internet. Even stores provide some added value.

      Moreover, there are so many wonderful low cost sources of unusual hard-to-find music these days that I really no longer buy into the it's-too-hard-to-find-so-I-must-pirate argument. Certainly, the music by the garage band fo
      • by jcgf (688310)

        but I don't understand why anyone would feel they have the right to wholesale steal music

        I "steal" music/videos/software because my government charges a tax on blank media that they give to someone because said media could be used to "steal" stuff. So I'm paying for something, thus I download as much as possible to get my money's worth.

        Again, to those who insist on saying "it's a levy, not a tax", I say "eat shit".

    • I would argue that if the RIAA is between a rock and a hard place, they should be left to do what everyone else does in a capitalist system: adapt.

      Actually finding what you're looking for on either bittorrent sites or gnutella & co is a pain. I'll be damned if 95% of people with classical music share any Bach that isn't BVW 147, 565, or 582. As a matter of fact, I've accumulated about a dozen different playings of "Ode to Joy." Other than those and one of the Brandenburg concertos, good luck - you're
    • by syousef (465911)
      What are you defending exactly? These record companies no longer have anything to contribute. A person can pretty much do it all themselves from marketing to distribution thanks to technology. The reason you can't think of a better way to protect their interests is that their interests are in a product that no longer has value. Do you just want to pay someone for the product, or do you actually want to see the artist who produced the work benefit from your financial contribution?

    • by turing_m (1030530)
      "I oppose the RIAA on privacy grounds, and because the logic used (downloading is NOT piracy, if you own it, I believe), but if peoples attitudes really now is that they should pirate rather than buy, then I think the RIAA is between a rock and a hard place, and they can't simply ignore that."

      They can cry me a river. I have as much sorrow for the RIAA as I have sorrow for the Catholic Church's monopoly on bible printing being broken by new technology. And sure, the Church fought that as well. They couldn't
  • Ray, Maybe the students are reading Slashdot, and your blog.
  • History lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:55PM (#20174781)
    It's been astutely observed that the RIAA's "ex parte" campaign against "John Doe" college students seems to have run into much stormier waters than its campaign against regular folks.

    "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant."
    • Re:History lesson (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheHawke (237817) <rchapin@peli[ ]coast.net ['can' in gap]> on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:59PM (#20175575)
      Another history lesson to top it off..

      RIAA's then-prez Rosen got into a Debate with The Oxford Union and she got a serious shellacking. This was 2002.

      "The Oxford Union debated the proposition that "the free music mentality is a threat to the future of music" (via The Reg and NTK). Final scores: 72 ayes, 256 noes. A pretty resounding defeat. The report notes that a few of the more memorable bits of the debate include Hilary Rosen lying about copy-protected CDs in the US (or at the very least being deliberately ingenuous about it), Rosen also getting shocked at how many people said that they do buy music because of filesharing, and a few unsupported assertions about the importance of the music industry which no-one was allowed to contest. For more background on this debate, see the Campaign for Digital Rights."

      http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/10/26/21 53231 [slashdot.org]

      Do ya think they learned from that? ....

      Naw.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:04PM (#20174905)
    Perhaps this is all evidence of a new trend in law: How The Internet Changes Everything!

    In the SCO versus IBM + The Entire Linux Community, Groklaw provided a full-time forum for commentary and suggestions, and Slashdot covered the subject often. Among all the First Posts and other chaff must have been more than a few nuggets of wisdom.

    In the fight of The RIAA versus The Entire Civilized World, this is taken yet another step further. While IBM was as technically savvy as its opponent, lawyers (apologies to Ray), Judges (no apologies to too many of them still, but some are getting it finally), and most users aren't very knowledgeable about computers, software, the Internet, the law, and what it all means. Neither is the RIAA knowledgeable in these areas, as they are too often making very evident.

    Because of widespread interest in the subject, along with a general dislike of big business in general, there is a collaboration here the likes of which couldn't have ever happened even a few short years ago. The RIAA has thousands more enemies than they've yet sued, all of whom are willing to contribute what bit of knowledge they have to bring that lying (we're only doing this for the poor starving artists) colossus down. And because of their identical, boilerplate cases, they only have to lose on one point to lose them all! And its the Internet that's making all this possible. People communicate in ways they never could before.

    Students, among other things, also have a lot of time on their hands, and a great ire when they think they've been wronged. That's a volatile mix that the RIAA may soon wish they'd left alone. Suing grandmothers (unless it happens to be Neville Longbottom's Gram) is safer than motivated students just looking for the next cause celeb.

    All in all, I'd say the RIAA has made yet another major misstep. Maybe this will be their last one, since if successful, the students will provide the roadmap to kill all of these cases where they should be killed -- at the illegal, unethical, ex parte stage. If so, the world will be a better place for you and me (lyric used under Fair Use provisions).

  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:22PM (#20175111)
    College students are an inherently problematic target for what the **AA's are doing. One, they are not yet "mature" enough to "conform" to the adult status quo -- that usually takes place later on when paychecks, taxes, and family brings them back to Earth. Two, they are sowing their wild oats and see file-sharing as a minor pecadillo (if they see it as wrong at all) on a par with using their fake ID to drink when they're 19. Finally, they are still much more idealistic and full of that youthful vim and vigor that makes them believe they can change the world -- they haven't yet become jaded enough to just throw up their hands at injustice and take that "well, what can you do/that's the way the world works/you can't fight city hall/etc." attitude. If the "syndicate" were smart, they'd stick to extorting single mothers, low-income workers, children, the sick, and the elderly.
  • students are finding each other and banding together

    They weren't doing so before? I don't know about the US, I presume it's fairly similar to AUS. We call them student unions, is it really any surprise, that students would organise in such a manner to look out for their interests?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:26PM (#20175153)
    Let's looks what students usually are:

    -smart. Well, there are those and those, but usually, they got more brains than your average Joe.
    -political. Not as much as they used to be, and certainly not "party political" anymore, but they do have agendas they believe in.
    -young and thus enthusiastic. They didn't yet grow up into "meh, what can I do?" apathetics.
    -free. Yes, there IS stress towards the end of a term, but hey, it's August! Many students still enjoy holidays, and few if any have papers due soon. They got spare time on their hands.

    If you look around the world, you'll notice that pretty much every revolution, from political to social, contained students as a key element. Many social revolutions of the 60s have been driven by students, in Germany, in France, in the US.

    Now, you're suing smart people who believe strongly in their freedom and their rights and do care about it, with plenty of spare time to defend themselves. Could it be that this wasn't the smartest idea?
  • yay for Chairman of Boston University's Computer Science Department.

    It is apparent that BU CS department is not a paid underdog to megacorps, and thats an indicator that real CS is very probably being taught there.
  • Doesn't this set a precendent for individuals to defend themselves against the RIAA too?
  • by msblack (191749) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @07:46PM (#20176889)
    Don't know where y'all get your information to make some of these outrageous claims. I've asked at my university how I should respond to those RIAA takedown notices and they were unwilling to put up much of a fight as our administration legal advisors don't see it as a wise use of diminishing resources to ignore the orders. Students who allegedly "pirate" RIAA protected material are clearly not in compliance with our campus computing policy. Personally, I'm in no mood to help the recording industry and I always wrote back to them that we would gladly comply with any DMCA-compliant requests. Their messages were more intimidating and never complied with the specific takedown notice requirements. We were quite happy they helped us identify network utilization hogs so we could cut them off.

    To those of you who think our university should provide free and unfettered access so students can do anything they want might want to consider how that activity infringes on other educational and business activities of the institution. Those who want to collect and or otherwise make available MP3s are welcome to do so at their personal expense on their home networks. To date, nobody has come forward attempting to justify a bona fide educational need for collecting or sharing MP3s, et al.

  • by Torodung (31985) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @08:23PM (#20177213) Journal

    The RIAA might find it particularly troubling that the students are coming in armed with substantial expert witness declarations attacking the entire underpinning of the RIAA's case, that the students are finding each other and banding together
    Which is exactly what happens when you attack a group of people who are in the 80th percentile for both wealth and brains. They're also likely to have friends in pre-law/law curricula and/or easy access to their law school's free on-campus legal clinic.

    Has anyone at the RIAA been to a University? LOL.

    They should have stuck to twelve-year-old girls and their terrified parents. They're going to get their asses handed to them on any campus, especially private schools. Anyone who can afford a private school education is likely to be able to afford one hell of a defense.

    --
    Toro

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

Working...