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RIAA Afraid of Harvard 425

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-aren't-we-all dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "According to a report on p2pnet.net, the RIAA's latest anti-college round of "early settlement" letters targets 7 out of 8 Ivy League schools, but continues to give Harvard University a wide berth. This is perhaps the most astonishing display of cowardice exhibited to date by the multinational cartel of SONY BMG, Warner Bros. Records, EMI, and Vivendi/Universal (the "Big Four" record companies, which are rapidly becoming less "big"). The lesson to be drawn by other colleges and universities: "All bullies are cowards. Appeasement of bullies doesn't work. Standing up to bullies and fighting back has a much higher success rate.""
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RIAA Afraid of Harvard

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If a student brings a lawyer to the school where I teach, the school always caves. One student was able to graduate in spite of the fact that he copied most of the work for a final year course. Not only that but he couldn't demonstrate competence no matter how much extra time he was given.

    We also paid tens of thousands of dollars to a teacher who didn't pass his probation because it would be cheaper than paying lawyers.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:40PM (#21472119)
    Harvard is the lawyer breeding ground. I'm fairly sure, almost everyone working in the legal departments of the various RIAA members comes from there.

    Now, who do they have their knowledge from? The profs there. When you teach, do you tell your student everything you know? More important, when you learn, do you know afterwards as much as your teacher does?

    Rarely loses the master against his padawan. So to challenge him, a fool you must be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Rarely loses the master against his padawan. So to challenge him, a fool you must be.

      Thank youuuu Yoda.
    • by minvaren (854254) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:08PM (#21472321)
      That, and strong is the money at Harvard. Even stronger, the privilege of those who attend. They have all the resources to take the RIAA's campaign down. No wonder why they avoid them.
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:43PM (#21473397)
        They have all the resources to take the RIAA's campaign down.

        That would make a good senior project: "Students, your assignment this year is to put the kibosh on the Recording Industry Association of America's lawsuit mill."
        • by ystar (898731) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @06:47PM (#21474011)
          and from what I can tell
          1) most kids here are too busy with chairing their Model-UN-Investment-Banking-Labor-Movement meeting to even care about music, so they listen to a few cds and buy tracks from itunes (like many college campuses with high tuition, most kids have some hardware from apple) and hear most of their music on the loudspeakers at god-awful binge drinking parties
          2) the few kids who listen to a lot of music are into indie bands, and the RIAA seems to go after folks who download more popular tunes. also there's pretty significant downloading/computer-illiteracy here (kids dont have the time to waste playing with the computer, and thus dont really understand where to get music illegally)
          3) there's only like a couple hundred cs majors here, and there's only one out of that group with immaculate taste in music (me!) so I'm probably the only person at harvard that the RIAA could ever be angry at, but I don't download music.

          There's nobody to sue!

          Note to reader: The error bounds on this comprehensive study may be non-trivial. :)
    • When you teach, do you tell your student everything you know? More important, when you learn, do you know afterwards as much as your teacher does?

      I find, or at least going for my CS degree, that I knew more than my professors. While going to school part time, I commonly experienced the "so that's what you call what I have been doing." Or, "5 steps to normalization? I thought it was one step...look at it and the schema pops up into your head."

      Law school teaches the theory of law, not the practice of law.

      • by pikine (771084)

        If by saying "I knew more than my professors" you mean "I knew something they didn't" I would believe you. However, "I learned nothing from them" is quite another thing. It means you really didn't know what they knew, or their knowledge proves to have little value to you. Knowledge can't be quantified on a scale.

        At any rate, this condescending "I knew more than my professors" attitude won't help you get the most out of your education. It's a shame you were only able to come up with "so that's what you cal

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by billcopc (196330)
          I actually learned something from I.T. profs: I learned that the frauds in this industry are the ones making money.

          The actual computer science, I learned from books. The profs were really just props, decoys to make it look like it was a teaching establishment. All but two were complete doorknobs; one was a brilliant but misunderstood hacker, the other was a humble but honest developer who had no fear asking his own questions. Those two had my respect, all the other used-car salesmen, outdated COBOL monke
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ultranova (717540)

          If by saying "I knew more than my professors" you mean "I knew something they didn't" I would believe you. However, "I learned nothing from them" is quite another thing.

          Neither is what he said, thought. He simply asserted that the sum total of his knowledge at the time he was going to school was greater than the sum total of any one of his professor's knowledge; I believe that the implied plural - the sum total of all his professors combined knowledge - was not what he meant. In no way does this imply t

      • by jellomizer (103300) * on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:38PM (#21472989)
        I can see you are a Humble Person.

        In the process of getting a PHD is normally a process or specialization. It is quite common for New CS Undergrads to be better versed in newer technologies then many the professors especially near the end of your degree. First Computer Science as a study is a new area of study and Many of the CS professors have their Undergrad and Graduate Degrees in different areas of study, Engineering, Accounting, Physics, Mathematics, Business... Then got the Masters or PHD later on, in that process you just focus more on one area... Software Optimization, Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, Operating Systems, Programming Languages, etc... So they were privy to your general education in Computer Science as well because of their focus they tend to stay focus on their focus.... So you may be able to Out Program most professors in most applications, but if you go up against them in their speciality they can blow you away with concepts and designs that you may never have considered. Also if they did study the degree for their Undergrad they were focused on the current modern methods, Punch Cards, Fortran, Basic (no visual about it), Pascal, etc... they were concerned about application that run on mainframe terminals, reading off of tape, etc...

        I am not saying that college Professors are super human ultra intelligent people who can code a computer using a metal file. As well I am not saying you are a bad programmer, I have never seen your work. But there is a tendency among programmers to think they are the best programmer in the world which in case they are actually average. And College Professors shouldn't be underestimated because then you will loose a lot of good education because of you closed mindedness. As well you cannot assume the Professor knows it all because it will reduce you ability to extend beyond what is taught by these specialist.

        I am talking for experience, I use to be a Hot Headed programmer, slamming my profs behind their back because I could out program them. But I am a good generalist programmer so I can do most programming well, but I rarely able to do any thing exceptional. I am good at what I do and my clients agree. But can I do it all no.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Brickwall (985910)
          I enjoyed your innovative use of capitization.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:05PM (#21472773) Journal

      More important, when you learn, do you know afterwards as much as your teacher does?

      If you're halfway competent and intelligent, you continue to learn from experience, and very soon know MORE than your teachers did.

      If that wasn't the case, knowledge would continue to shrink, as a bit of it is lost every generation, while in reality, the opposite is true.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nobodymk2 (1137293)
      As some of the comments below have partially mentioned, it's not necessarily out of cowardice, fear, or "apprentice versus master". It's much more of the fact that if they sue the school at which many of their top future lawyers are taught, they will not have many top future lawyers in the future. If a college student going to school for law, and is considering specializing in intellectual property rights, and he is sued by the RIAA, guilty or not, do you think he will further his specialization in protec
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:44PM (#21472145) Journal
    Nobody in their right mind sues a lawyer assembly plant, coward or not.
    • by spirit of reason (989882) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:50PM (#21472191)
      Right, and that's why they're not suing anyone at Yale. Oh wait...
      • Come on, if you were on the block for murder, would you actually hire a Yale grad? Seriously?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          You went to Harvard or Princeton, didn't you? =p

          If you believed the US News rankings (I don't), YLS would be the top rated school. But I don't know if I'd go with the Yale grad; I'd probably take someone from Boalt--someone from a school where it's actually challenging to receive high marks. ;-)

    • As a lawyer... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlabberMouth (672282) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:26PM (#21473307)
      I find the cowardice suggestion highly unlikely. It makes absolutely no difference that Harvard has a law school. Yale's is arguably better. Sometimes you make strategic decisions in litigation. If there is one defendant who is going to fight very hard, and has let you know as much, sue the other defendants first and create precedent. Not suing Harvard now doesn't mean Harvard won't be sued.
    • by pz (113803) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:36PM (#21473357) Journal
      Nobody in their right mind sues a lawyer assembly plant, coward or not ...

      ... especially when that assembly plant has over $35 billion in liquid assets. Doubly so when it also happens to be the stomping grounds of high-profile personal-rights lawyers like Alan Dershowitz. To keep this amount of money in perspective, the Presidents and Fellows of Harvard could decide to spend less than 3% of the endowment -- not even this year's interest -- and have ONE BILLION DOLLARS to keep the RIAA in court for the next handful of decades.

      No, do not disturb the 350-year-old 800-lb gorilla who has lots of friends and big piles of cash.

    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:13PM (#21474135)
      Well, Harvard has been around since the pre-industrial days ... what I want to know is, are the attorneys still hand-assembled, or is the process more automated nowadays?
  • by radicalskeptic (644346) <tritone@g3.14mail.com minus pi> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:44PM (#21472147)
    If you're a laywer for the RIAA, you are not paid to be brave. You are paid to further the agenda of the recording industry. If they believe suing Harvard students would hinder rather than help their cause, well is that really being "cowardly" or is it being smart? Would suing Harvard be "brave" or would it be counterproductive to their goals?

    I'm as disgusted with the RIAA's tactics as anyone, but this childish name calling is getting old. It seems like every day on the front page of Slashdot is some article title with an overblown ad hominem attack against persons, groups or companies that rub us the wrong way. C'mon, people. We're smart, educated and savvy, do we really need to stoop to this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The more news slandering them the better. They stoop to suing children, single mothers, the estates of the deceased..ya know years after they were found guilty of illegal price fixing that they practiced for over a decade. Then they get pissed off at us when they don't keep up with technology?

      Yeah, see i really could care less how low anyone stoops against them. In fact, you think of the most immoral acts that could be committed to their employee's, and i still wouldn't care.
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      We're smart, educated and savvy

      We are? Wow. Are you sure you're posting on the right board?

      do we really need to stoop to this?

      Well if we didn't it's be left to b3ta and 4chan. The internets don't deserve that :/
    • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:02PM (#21472281) Homepage Journal

      f you're a laywer for the RIAA, you are not paid to be brave. You are paid to further the agenda of the recording industry. If they believe suing Harvard students would hinder rather than help their cause, well is that really being "cowardly" or is it being smart? Would suing Harvard be "brave" or would it be counterproductive to their goals? I'm as disgusted with the RIAA's tactics as anyone, but this childish name calling is getting old. It seems like every day on the front page of Slashdot is some article title with an overblown ad hominem attack against persons, groups or companies that rub us the wrong way. C'mon, people. We're smart, educated and savvy, do we really need to stoop to this?
      If you'd spent as much time as I have interacting with the people who are the victims of this litigation madness, I think you'd have a different take on it. This is really a very nasty campaign being run by some very nasty people. And the vast majority of its victims are defenseless people who don't deserve the anguish they are being put through.

      And the tactics the RIAA lawyers use are inexcusable.

      I've been in the litigation field for 34 years, and I've never seen anything like them.

      Question. You say "I'm as disgusted with the RIAA's tactics as anyone". If you're aware of their doctored non-evidence, their misstatements of fact, their misstatements of law, their abuse of the federal judicial system, and their inappropriate tactics... are you suggesting something like that is not "stuff that matters" or "news for nerds"?
      • by earlymon (1116185) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:47PM (#21473057) Homepage Journal
        Hi Ray,

        Many thanks for your fine work in this area.

        I have an experience leading to a question. I was involved in a civil suit, the other side's attorney pulled shenanigans, lying to the court, etc. My lawyer was incensed, and it seemed the suit was going to drag on for years, so he offered to settle with me for my hoped-for amount out of his pocket provided I release him to sue the other attorney (he was going to make way more money that way, he was that confident). I was ok with that, so that's how it went down.

        From that, I learned that attorneys can be sued for shenanigans - malfeasance? - and that's my question(s). Could the RIAA be stopped that way? Attorneys are officers of the court, that makes them liable for malfeasance charges, doesn't it? If not in court, what about the Bar Association(s)? (All I know about the bar I learned on TV.....)

        Can't the attorneys be punished and thereby discourage those practices? Is our system so broken that the answer is really no?

        Thanks,
        Earl
    • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:29PM (#21472509) Journal
      If they believe suing Harvard students would hinder rather than help their cause, well is that really being "cowardly" or is it being smart?

      If they thought what they were doing was legitimate they'd take on Harvard too. Harvard gets sued all the time. Just not by people like this.

    • is that really being "cowardly" or is it being smart?
      Why can't it be both?
    • by evilviper (135110)

      is that really being "cowardly" or is it being smart?

      Both.

      What do you think qualifies as cowardice, if not avoiding all those who can actually, fairly compete with you?
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:29PM (#21472931)
      They're not cowards, but it does indicate that they think their case is weak. If they believed they were in the right, both legally and morally, they wouldn't hesitate to sue Harvard as well.

      The fact that they DO hesitate indicates that they really are bullying -- they're taking cases they know have problems and pushing them only against those they see as weak enough not to recognize that weakness.
  • by module0000 (882745) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:47PM (#21472159)
    That's the comment I was looking for, seems pretty cut and dry to me.

    Pushing around smaller and less reputable colleges and students may be fine and dandy...but trying to shove your weight around against Harvard is like lil timmy firing his peashooter at the deathstar, the RIAA would be decimated and a huge precedent would be set. Better to just leav'em be.
  • Try Freenet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FreenetFan (1182901) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:50PM (#21472199) Homepage
    It is well worth trying out the Freenet [freenetproject.org] p2p network. It is an anonymous distributed data storage system that is ideally suited to filesharing. I have been using it for the past few years and just recently it has got a lot faster and more usable. Music and movies are regularly shared and it can only take a few hours to get a full album. Speeds are slower than bittorrent etc., but that is to be expected - you never get something for nothing.
    • Speeds are slower than bittorrent etc., but that is to be expected - you never get something for nothing.
      Why would you need an anonymous network when you're only sharing files licensed under Creative Commons and the like?
       
      • Why would you need an anonymous network when you're only sharing files licensed under Creative Commons and the like?
        You do understand that anonymous speech has been a core principle in this country ever since James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay anonymously published the Federalist Papers?
      • Re:Try Freenet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:58PM (#21472715)
        Why would you need an anonymous network when you're only sharing files licensed under Creative Commons and the like?

        Well, here's one good reason:

        1. You've correctly realized that the media companies don't really care if you're sharing files legally or not.

        I'm sure the rest of you can add to this list.
  • I find it funny that they are targeting 7 out of 8 ivy league schools. Doesn't that say that maybe pirating is a good thing? Maybe these smart people know that pirating is illegal in the minds of the IP holders but don't care. They would much rather get educated and cultured through things like torrenting and other p2p programs. At what point does the public have a say in what is right and what is wrong? The way I view p2p and torrenting is that it is the biggest library of any kind. It holds not only
    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @05:09PM (#21473531)

      I do not care about actors, musicians, directors, managers, producers because they all get paid no matter what.
      No, they don't. The majority of them also do not make the kind of money that you (in your infinite wisdom, I might add) have deemed excessive. Most people in the industry, including many actors, live relatively normal lives. At most, if a project is successful, they'll use the unusually high return to buy a house (for financial security) or a nice car (to celebrate). Most of them don't have one "supercar", let alone three or four. Most don't live in Malibu estates.

      Actors and musicians also don't get paid for the time they actually spend doing most of the work--creating, rehearsing, making modifications, planning performances, and the like--you know, the kind of things YOU do at work while the money keeps rolling in before you finish. Artists, on the other hand, don't get paid until the work is done and rely on income for the performance. They get paid a lot because they get paid in lump sums.

      I am sorry but actors/actresses don't need to be paid millions for their roles in movies.
      But I bet you shop at stores run by corporations. Chances are you also work for one, contributing to their bottom line. Their executives make far more than most artists, even the very successful ones you so despise. Do you watch ESPN? Why do professional athletes get paid so much for so little. How about venture capitalists, lottery winners, and financial speculators who make huge amounts of money at once--but then make almost none for years?

      Frankly, people like you who reduce an entire industry filled with legitimate artists, millions of middle-class employees, and hardworking entertainers who love what they do to the same level as some slimy fat cats in it are just as bad as the RIAA. By your logic, doctors are cheap hacks, too. You shouldn't pay your bill because you don't think they should charge so much or have unattractive offices. They don't deserve nice houses or things that you, Joe Armchair, would be jealous of.

      90% of that stuff I wouldn't of seen to begin with so I don't feel guilty about taking what I wouldn't of seen or heard or enjoyed. A lot of it is educational
      Not educational enough, apparently. But you're right; there'd be plenty of income and jobs for everyone and a roaring economy if people just didn't pay for the things they didn't plan to buy. I mean, we wouldn't have enjoyed it if it weren't for the five-finger discount.
  • by voss (52565)
    Maybe its more like this

    Harvard- 350 year history, $2 billion endowment, alumni include Senators, supreme court justices, some of the
    best lawyers in the country.

    RIAA: Hello Harvard, we want you to hand over the names of students and put our filters on your internet access
    Harvard President: No
    RIAA: If you dont we'll sue
    Harvard President: (chuckle) Let me think about that, who do we know that went to our school.
    (checks the alumni directory)

    John Roberts
    Antonin Scalia
    David Souter
    Anthony Kennedy
  • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:23PM (#21472449) Homepage Journal
    As everyone knows (;-), Yale and Harvard are also primary competitors in their law schools, and Yale turns out about as many lawyers as Harvard. In fact, there have been some interesting studies done comparing the two schools, which have radically different teaching cultures in their law schools. The conclusion seems to be that both work quite well, and their graduates have roughly the same success rate after graduation.

    So what's going on between the RIAA/MPAA and Yale? Does Yale's reputation as being the "nice" law school (if that's not an oxymoron) result in them being attacked more or less? Anyone have data?

    Just curious ...

    • by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @05:36PM (#21473687) Homepage
      Yale Law is one of the smallest in this country and very selective. Their philosophy is also different from Harvard. They place a great deal of value on public service with strengths in constitutional law and focus on human rights. This is why the school produces quite a few politicians and judges: the Clintons, Gerald Ford, justices Alito and Thomas, and Michael Mukasey.
  • The Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phiz187 (533366) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:24PM (#21472461) Homepage Journal
    I think one likely reason that the RIAA/MPAA are avoiding Harvard is because of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society [harvard.edu] which is an outgrowth of the Harvard Law school. You may be familar with Berkman through the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse [chillingeffects.org], OpenNet Initiative [opennet.net] (mapping government repression of the Internet worldwide), and the Stop Badware [stopbadware.org] projects.

    Berkman is very forward-looking and proactive regarding emerging issues of Law and Technology. The various fellows have been vocal and supportive of copyright reform. With such an interested, knowledgeable band of law professors and law students, it would be a serious black-eye if the RIAA attempted to litigate on the Harvard campus. I have to believe that they would be handed a bruising defeat, that would establish precedent regarding their campaign of extorting* settlement monies from poor college students.

    * I mean extortion in the common, non-technical sense. Don't sue me for libel please.
  • by TibbonZero (571809) <Tibbon&gmail,com> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:26PM (#21472917) Homepage Journal
    Everyone thinks it's just Harvard that isn't being touched. To the best of my knowledge (haven't checked recently, but I tried to find any instance of this about 6 months ago), they have yet to touch a single Berklee College of Music, or Julliard student/faculty member. I mean, it's not surprising. It would be pretty funny for the RIAA to have tried to sue John Mayer a few years ago (when he was attending Berklee) only to have some of their member companies trying to woo and sign him a few months later.

    Then again, while music students have more music downloaded/shared in general than almost anyone else I know, they also actually purchase more music than anyone I know.
  • The first thing they teach you in law school is patience. You start small and begin building a foundation.

    You test strategies in the lower courts. You test strategies on appeal. You establish significant precedents in courts that are not intimidated by the Harvard grad.

    The Harvard student is not the typical poster child for the EFF.

    He holds a very privileged position. He is supposed to represent academic excellence and personal integrity. He is likely being supported by very generous scholarships, subsid

  • by Symbha (679466) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:11PM (#21474115)
    That:
    1) They know they're case(s) are weak
    2) Their campaign is most certainly not about suing wrongdoers. It's about calculated methods to change copyright by case law.

    Really this won't stop until someone with resources starts playing in their playground.
    That is, attacks the xIAA for racketeering, price fixing, extortion, by way of the civil courts this is not likely to end soon.

    The US legal system is simply broken. Our society treats corporations as equals, yet they are designed to pool capital. Anyone can sue, with little recourse, and if you have enough money, you can make it so the average man cannot possibly fight back. Meanwhile, all the time that you spend fighting the lawsuit, you find it very difficult to better your life in any other way, even save and/or invest.

    And if you start talking about methods to put the system back in check... well then you are labeled a socialist or a communist. There has been legislation all throughout the preeminent authority's tenure on free market capitalism, but I dare you to start talking about Antitrust legislation now.

    But I digresss...
  • by JaQuinton (1194157) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:36PM (#21474771)
    I dare not pretend that I understand all the ins and outs of colleges and law but it would appear to me that more then just Harvard can get away from being targetted. If all colleges and universities were to stand united, perhaps law schools providing the legal front, against the RIAA and develope a system or group that is designed to protect students from this type of thing then maybe all these cases would drop. I'm just a junior in High School, when I go to college I dont want to have these types of issues to deal with. Instead of the universities giving in they should stand together and provide eachother with support. Surely there is strength in numbers.
  • by kamapuaa (555446) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @10:24PM (#21474973) Homepage
    "All bullies are cowards. Appeasement of bullies doesn't work. Standing up to bullies and fighting back has a much higher success rate."

    Hello. My name is Terrence "Mongo" Rennet, and I represent the American Council of Bullies, Toughs, and Schoolyard Ruffians. I'm here to clear up some tragic misconceptions about bullies and their place in the academic hierarchy, misconceptions that have gone unchallenged for too long. It is my hope that by "clearing the air," as it were, bullies and bullied can walk with head erect or cower behind lockers respectively with a newfound respect for one another.

    Myth: Bullies are just jealous of your intelligence, sensitivity, or ability to play the oboe.

    Fact: Bullies have no more jealousy of your mental abilities than we have of your clean, well-ironed, unfashionable clothing. To the contrary, we are profoundly glad that you have chosen to develop your mental prowess, leaving your body weak and defenseless against our brutality. For that we thank you, even as we elevate your underwear.

    Myth: Bullies suffer from low self-esteem, and victimize others to make themselves feel better.

    Fact: While each bully has his (or her, as is increasingly the case) own deeply personal reasons for bullying, I can assure you that a poor self-image is not one of them. To the contrary, bullying is a high-pressure occupation, and only someone with an unusual amount of self-confidence will have the elán to shake down younger students efficiently while evading authority. Children without self-confidence tend instead to spend recess in the library, the computer lab, or pretending to be warriors in ridiculous fantasy games. Sound familiar?

    Myth: If you stand up to a bully, he will reveal himself to be a coward.

    Fact: This is perhaps the most hurtful stereotype of them all, in the sense that if you try it we will hurt you. Endless movies and after-school specials depict a tormented victim finally working up the courage to attack his neighborhood bully, after which said bully runs away crying and -- I must chuckle here -- calling for his mommy. What writers of these "entertainments" don't realize is that bullies invariably establish a complex ritual pecking order through constant low-level violence against each other. Haven't you noticed us punching each other in the shoulder at the bus stop? Then you've witnessed the magic of our social structure. Even if you, with your weak, gelatin-like arms were able to do us physical harm, I can assure you that we would recover faster than you can recite your grade point average and teach you a few things about savage poundings you can't learn from Spider-Man comics.

    With that thought, I take your leave, confident that I have, in my own small way, improved the world's understanding of the art and craft of bullying. Good day, and if I see you after school you're dead meat.

    brunching.com [brunching.com]

    • I enjoyed your most persuasively written post, although perhaps not as much as the RIAA's lawyers did. However, I can assure you that my rules regarding bullies are not "myths" but rules drawn from intensive personal experience on the streets of South Ozone Park, Queens.

      I am sure even you will agree that

      1. Appeasement would never deter a bully.
      2. A 'dork' or 'loser', or apparent dork or loser, standing up to a bully, enjoys the element of surprise.
      3. Courage is a measure of internal fortitude and heart, not a measure of physical prowess.
      4. Throughout history, there have been many instances in which courage carried the day against physically superior force.

      As to any suggestion that the RIAA lawyers, who likely occupy leadership positions within your organization, will prevail... we shall see, we shall see.

      With all due respect to the fine work carried on by your organization, I must reiterate; all bullies are cowards. I call upon your members to follow the lead of Darth Vader, and abandon the ways of the Dark Side.

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