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RIAA Says No Mystery In Rash of College Complaints 255

Posted by timothy
from the we-were-just-bored dept.
Doug Lederman writes "As colleges receive exploding numbers of complaints from recording companies about alleged illegal downloading of music files, theories abound about whether the industry is changing its criteria, aggressively targeting users who merely make downloaded music available to others rather than actual infringers. But after weeks of silence, the president of the RIAA says No: Better technology, he asserts, is merely resulting in better enforcement."
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RIAA Says No Mystery In Rash of College Complaints

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  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:19AM (#23311042) Homepage Journal
    RIAA: *Jedi hand wave* Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

    What a colassal house of cards the RIAA has built for itself. They are doing everything BUT look at the core reasons why people are buying fewer and fewer CD's. It's got far less to do with having to pay for it than it does with the overall quality of their pap...I mean products.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Clujo (943854)
      Maybe it's been said before, but it seems clear that RIAA is not so much enforcement as a revenue source for a desperate group.
      • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by electrictroy (912290) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:50AM (#23311376)
        Revenue for What desperate group? The record companies? The mid-level managers within those companies?

        (shrug)

        I steal music. I'm a thief taking other people's labor (they produce; I don't pay their wages). I freely admit that, and the reason I do it is because I don't want to pay $10-15 to buy a CD that contains just one good song. (Nor do I want to pay $1 to get compressed/lossy-sounding AAC files.) So I steal to get what I want.

        If the artist is exceptionally good, or releases a greatest hits album that collects 5-6 albums in one space, THEN I will buy the thing because it's worthwhile. I've got a whole bookshelf filled with greatest hits albums.

        Maybe RIAA should focus more on providing WHAT I WANT,
        rather than beating me over the head with lawsuits.
        i.e. RIAA should try better customer service.

        • by Vendetta (85883) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:06AM (#23311530)
          I don't like 99 per cent of the food at McDonalds. Does that mean that I get to waltz in and steal an Egg McMuffin because that's what I like and not everything on their menu is an Egg McMuffin, so to punish them I steal and they get NO money, not even for the stuff I do like?

          I don't like the Recording Industries' lawsuits or DRM or behavior in general but it's people like you, who openly admit that they are "stealing", that make everyone on this side of the fence look bad.

          • by Reapman (740286) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:24AM (#23311730)
            I don't agree with the GP, stealing is bad however you justify it, but your anaology is weak... if you walked into a McDonalds, bought an Egg McMuffan, and had to pay $20 for it plus get 6 additional cheeseburgers for it THEN your anaology might hold.

            Now that they're coming out with DRM-free music at a pretty good bit rate, I'm all for it. I don't want to buy music that will die because some company decided to cancel their DRM system (see Microsoft)
            • I think an even better analogy is

              If you had to pay $20 for a macmuffin and 6 cheeseburgers OR you could spend $20 once and then put the macmuffin into your magical replicator to make infinite perfect, fresh copies of it for about 10 cents... and you KNOW that McDonalds has even better technology than you so is making their copies for 5 cents... so you feel like a real sucker for dropping $20 for breakfast every morning that they are making for 5 cents and forcing you to pay $20 instead of $3.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Tetsujin (103070)
                This analogy has gotten way out of control. And I don't even like McDonald's!

                Here's the thing - The CD cost has to support not just the artist but also the promotion and distribution of that album, plus there has to be enough revenue left over to support the label's business of representing new acts in the hope that one of them will be successful - to find that one act that people will really like they have to gamble - attract artists they think might have potential to succeed and give 'em a shot.

                I think i
                • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @02:41PM (#23315140)
                  I agree with you personally. There is a huge entertainment glut and I simply bypass entertainment that is too expensive (la femme nikita-- $80/season, X-Files, $75/ season) until it goes on sale ($15/season for both-- a reasonable price).

                  However, artists have a right to a living, not a right to enormous wealth. Prices currently charge reflect out-dated models and it will probably take another 20 years for them to become reasonable. J.K. Rowling is an excellent example- no creative work justifies a billion dollar income- it's not a fair outcome to society as a whole. Millions of people are starving to death who would not be if the money were routed their way instead of to book creation. I believe that anything much over a lifetime's income for a single work is absurd and you should fight it anyway you can. So that would be about 40k*80 years or about 3.2 million maximum for a given creative work.

                  Copyright is intended to encourage creation of works- not to make creators and their heirs and the corporation they sold the rights to impossibly wealthy forever.

                  ---

                  No one is forcing you-- but never in history has it been such an artificial restriction. It is literally a choice of "rent at a very high price this broken DRM'd very expensive product from us until we change formats again" or "get a superior unbroken copy you can keep forever for free". It is literally a choice between not getting the product at all (so they get no money) or getting a copy which takes nothing from them (so they also get no money). So it comes across more as sour grapes on their part than reasonable demands.

                  They have set the price so high that it is a mockery and the cost of production and illegal acquisition is so low that obeying the law is widely perceived as stupid. Hell, even their own children are copying their products illegally in their own houses.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Moryath (553296)
                  The CD cost has to support not just the artist but also the promotion and distribution of that album ...which they will charge to the artist in their corrupt and insane fraudulent contract schemes, ensuring that actual profit on the artist's part will only come about from tour/merchandise/product endorsement sales (and the MafiAA will even try to get most of THAT money too)...

                  plus there has to be enough revenue left over to support the label's business of representing new acts in the hope that one of them w
          • by SlickNic (1097097) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:31AM (#23311808)
            I'm so tired of hearing this crap argument, first a physical product takes physical goods AND labor to reproduce. Music takes a negligible amount of labor to reproduce in digital formats. A CD, Cassette, 8track, ect... are all physical goods and you must pay to create them in addition to paying the artist/label. Digitally reproduced media should be priced accordingly, the music industry is just pricing it the same even though they have less costs to distribute the digital product. Some may not agree with me on this last part but I do think that if a song was $0.10 or $0.25 they would sell many many more songs and it would no longer be worth wile to download illegally when you could just buy the song correctly tagged in the formate/quality you want and be DRM free. The labels could save at least hundreds of thousands of dollars downsizing their legal department and getting rid of any CD stamping plants/contracts they may have. Music "collections" could also be sold, say $50.00 for every Beatles song ever written, bam one download and you have em all in your format/quality of choice. I really do think allofmp3.com has/had the right idea, they just need some more solid licensing.
            • Re:In other words... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @01:52PM (#23314456)

              Music takes a negligible amount of labor to reproduce in digital formats.
              Emphasis mine. Just because you can make a copy of something for 5 cents doesn't mean that each copy should cost 5 cents. Distribution and manufacturing are only a small part of the expenses involved in putting out a mass media CD.

              I'm not saying that a new CD should cost $20, but to say that since the cost to produce is negligable that the cost to the consumer should be similarly low is not valid. One dollar per Non-DRM song seems pretty reasonable to me, although I think that the money should go to the artists and mixers, not record company execs.
          • by lbgator (1208974) <james@olou.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:57AM (#23312150)

            This is a bad analogy. Stealing a tangible good and stealing an arrangement of electrons are two different things. How about:

            You like McMuffins, but McDonalds only sells them in 12 packs and they won't let you split the cost among friends. Anyone who is caught splitting the cost of a McTwelvePack will be prosecuted. "This is ridiculous" you squeal, "MickeyDees can't tell me how to enjoy my McMackins!" You and your friends decide that buying one McTwelvePack each is ridiculous and is not going to happen - so you either resolve to not buy McMuffins at all or you set up an illegal breakfast sharing ring which will fleece McDonalds out of many potential dollars.

            I know this seems like a truly outlandish analogy, but is it really? The GP says he enjoys a product and is willing to pay money for the product, but it is mostly sold in a format that he can't tolerate. Hence, he is left with the option to not buy the product or steal it. I am no psychologist, but it seems like human nature to me.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by baboo_jackal (1021741)
            He he - +1 Funny, if I had mod points. (not in a bad way Funny, either - I thought "steal an Egg McMuffin because that's what I like and not everything on their menu is an Egg McMuffin" was funny).

            But GP had a point - record companies/iTunes/whoever are not actually providing what consumers want. I don't pretend to speak for all consumers, but I'm making this guess based on what people are stealing:

            Non-copy-protected audio files of arbitrary quality (i.e., file size and quality for however fast your
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hassman (320786)
            No. The difference is if you don't like McDonalds, you have other choices for your 99 cent food.

            With the record industry, you don't. What the poster is saying is that the product he WANTS TO BUY doesn't exist. Therefore he has to find it less than legal ways.

            THAT is what he is saying the record companies aren't getting. They aren't offering the products the consumer wants, so they aren't selling as many CDs. Instead of fixing the situation by adjusting their business model and providing the content wan
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TechWrite (1172477)
            You know what, from the perspective of the RIAA, I steal McMuffins all the time. Every weekend, I make scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese on English muffins, thereby producing identical copies of McMuffins and depriving the McDonald's down the street of my $2. I know, I know, I really shouldn't admit to being such a criminal on a public website...
        • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by fwarren (579763) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:56AM (#23312136) Homepage
          I am sure the RIAA sees me as a thief as well.

          I purchase music two ways. One is from independent artists. In which case, the artist gets 100% of the proceeds.

          The other, is at the Good Will or other used store. Where I "stick it to the man". No money goes to the record companies.

        • So would you steal it if...

          It were reasonably priced so that people in the music industry made good solid $80k to $100k per year salaries instead of millions of dollars ( so CD's would cost about $3 bucks for 15 songs).

          I suspect you might not but a lot would.

          The problem that RIAA has created is that people were averse to stealing but the recording industry put up huge inducements (extremely high price, unreasonable, almost infinately long copyright periods) while also falling victim to new technology (easy
      • by MacDork (560499) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:54AM (#23311418) Journal
        As long as they are not facing serious consequences for filing lawsuits against dead people, the homeless, children, and people who don't own computers.... this will only get worse.
    • by CSMatt (1175471) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:30AM (#23311154)
      No. People still listen to it. Whether or not they consider it good enough to warrant purchasing is the real question.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        No, they don't. I've not listened to any new music from major labels for about 2 years, and I don't think i'm missing out on much.

        The only folks i've heard of so far are Amy Winehouse (whos voice I hate more than Macey Grays'), NIN and Radiohead. I bought NIN and Radiohead's albums (FLAC for NIN, CD for Radiohead), and I also bought 10,000 Days by Tool.

        Apart from that, i'll gladly listen to my Maiden, Metallica, Guns 'n' Roses, and all my other music many more times. I can wait out this game indefinately
        • by CSMatt (1175471)
          Just because you don't listen to it doesn't mean others don't.

          I've been in lines waiting at my college's dining hall for food and heard people singing along to shitty music on the radio station playing in the background on more than one occasion.
          • by Splab (574204)
            Just because people can do sing-along to something being blasted through the radio 10 times a day doesn't mean they will actually buy the music.
            • by CSMatt (1175471)
              Well, I assume it means that they at least like it, unless it's stuck in their head or something.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by veganboyjosh (896761)
      I've got more downloaded music than most people I know. Most of it doesn't infringe on the RIAA by a long shot, owing to indie releases, obscure bands, etc. (Yeah, I'm one of those music fans.)

      The whole "we only download it because it's crap" argument doesn't hold water for me. If it's so bad, then why are people downloading it in the first place?

      Pardon the lame analogy, but if I own a pizza restaurant, and serve horrible pizzas, does that justify people stealing pizzas from me?

      I don't believe for
      • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:37AM (#23311244) Homepage Journal
        I didn't say people downloaded because it was crap. I said fewer people are buying entire CD's when 90% of said CD is crap and maybe has one or two good songs.

        Of course that is subjective. Also, I have never downloaded music 'illegally' so I'm not one for making any apologies for that behavior. I want to see Fair Use and Copyright law changed, but in the meantime I respect the current legal framework. I've been *very* vocal with my local Congresscritter on this subject among others.
        • Fair enough. In retrospect, I guess I read more into your first post than you put out.

          • No worries; I could have also been a bit more clear, but I am multitasking (i.e. real, paying work) while I browse /. intermittently ;-)
        • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:54AM (#23312100)

          I didn't say people downloaded because it was crap. I said fewer people are buying entire CD's when 90% of said CD is crap and maybe has one or two good songs.

          When was this not true? I recall the 80s fondly, but man that decade spawned some seriously shitty music. Really bad soft rock, appalling synthesized junk, hair metal. Yech. But people bought it because they liked it well enough. Need to come up with a better reason than quality for why people aren't buying.

          From what I can tell, there's a couple reasons: 1) people can buy tracks now. That's a fully legal reason why the record companies lose money. 2) There hasn't been a change in the dominant format now for what, 15 years? It's been a while since people bought their music twice. That made the record companies a lot of money. And 3)...piracy. It's really hard to argue that there's not a significant number of people who aren't buying music that they otherwise would have bought because it's now free. Sure, it's easy to rationalize - costs too much, crappy, whatever. But the end result is, if it's that bad then don't listen to it.

          Of course that is subjective. Also, I have never downloaded music 'illegally' so I'm not one for making any apologies for that behavior. I want to see Fair Use and Copyright law changed, but in the meantime I respect the current legal framework. I've been *very* vocal with my local Congresscritter on this subject among others.

          That, in my eyes, gives you a great amount of credibility. I think too many people use banners like copyright, and so on to justify illegal behavior. Calling the Congressrats is a great way to do it.

          I do think there is room for civil disobediance here - go download music that *would* have passed into public domain before the Bono act was passed. But downloading new music while claiming evils of copyright - which many people are doing - doesn't work.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jedidiah (1196)
            > 3)...piracy. It's really hard to argue that there's not a significant number of people who aren't
            > buying music that they otherwise would have bought because it's now free.

            Bullsh*t.

            People have always been able to "get music for free" without piracy.

            Radio and MTV have always made this pretty easy. If you don't want to
            pay for 7/8 ths of the album from the one hit wonder band that you
            don't want you just stuck to listening to the radio.

            If you were really interested you might have gotten the 45.

            I still h
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by barzok (26681)


        The whole "we only download it because it's crap" argument doesn't hold water for me. If it's so bad, then why are people downloading it in the first place?
        I downloaded Metallica's St. Anger to find out if it was as bad as the reviews I'd heard.

        Turns out that it wasn't. It was far, far worse.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ari_j (90255)

          The whole "we only download it because it's crap" argument doesn't hold water for me. If it's so bad, then why are people downloading it in the first place?
          I downloaded Metallica's St. Anger to find out if it was as bad as the reviews I'd heard. Turns out that it wasn't. It was far, far worse.
          I was going to ask if you wrote your ISP for a refund of the bandwidth.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        Pardon the lame analogy, but if I own a pizza restaurant, and serve horrible pizzas, does that justify people stealing pizzas from me?

        ---------

        No, but you get to keep the original music track while the other person gets a copy. If I steal the pizza, you lose a pizza. If I DOWNLOAD a COPY of a file, you don't lose the file.

        This is why it is not THEFT.
      • by McGuirk (1189283) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:54AM (#23311424) Homepage
        Try to keep in mind, veganboyjosh, it's not quite like people stealing pizzas from you. Rather, it's akin to you owning a bookstore and people coming in, copying the books, and then leaving. You lose nothing, but gain nothing either.

        I'm not making a point to side either way at this point, just to point out this inconsistency.
        • by krunk7 (748055) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:36AM (#23311876)

          In my experience, it's often akin to one of the two following situations:

          • Like walking into a book store, reading the first two chapters, finding out the book sucks and never picking it up again.
          • Buying a book, loving it, having it fall apart due to crappy craftsmanship. So you copy a friends book and put it back on the shelf.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bageloid (1131305)
          Im fairly sure we have Libraries and books still sell well. Hell, my local library even has Music... Then again, its not exactly a small library Link to library and example: http://catalog.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/search/Xfoo+fighters&searchscope=63&SORT=D/Xfoo+fighters&searchscope=63&SORT=D&SUBKEY=foo%20fighters/1%2C3%2C3%2CB/frameset&FF=Xfoo+fighters&SORT=D&3%2C3%2C [brooklynpu...ibrary.org] This is how it should be, everything available at the library, if you want to own, you buy it yourself(a
      • by peipas (809350)
        If you could download a pizza and the pizza restaurant would still have the original pizza it baked, would you download it? What about a car?

        This doesn't address some of the core issues at play, or maybe it does, since it's a changing marketplace to which the record industry does not wish to adapt as compared to its previous cash cow. If you make something people don't want, people won't buy it, including CDs you're told you can't transfer to devices, or DVDs that make you wait through mandatory introduct
      • by ClubStew (113954)
        People aren't downloading the crap - they're stating that most of the CD is crap except for a couple of good songs.
    • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:10AM (#23311568) Homepage

      What a colassal house of cards the RIAA has built for itself. They are doing everything BUT look at the core reasons why people are buying fewer and fewer CD's.
      Of course they think everyone is stealing music. When you try to understand the mindset of someone else the first thing you do is look at yourself. RIAA execs think that people are stealing music because they're cheap bastards and it's free, because they know that would be their own motivation if they were in the consumer's shoes.

      Did you ever notice that the people who are paranoid that they'll get screwed over are often the same people who screw over others every chance they get?
      • by z80kid (711852) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:39AM (#23311906)
        Wish I had mod points.

        When I was a young'un I worked for a local farmer. I forget the exact circumstances, but the old man walked away from a guy he was dealing with who implied that the old man was trying to cheat him. He basically said, "Well, if you think I'm going to cheat you, then you should probably deal with someone else." and asked the guy to leave.

        He explained it to me later this way: "People who cheat expect you to cheat them. People who steal expect you to steal from them. He just expects us to do what he would do, given the chance.".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by imnojezus (783734)

      RIAA: *Jedi hand wave* Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
      GAH! Mixed movie metaphores! Brain... hurting! Mashups... forming!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by D'Sphitz (699604)
      So you're saying that during the 80's and 90's the music was just so good that people wouldn't steal it if they had the chance? Wrong, they steal it today because technology has made it extremely easy to do so without leaving home, and if they had the same opportunity people would have stolen it in the 90's, the 80's, the 70's, the 60's too.

      If the music is as bad as you say, why do people want to steal it? All I see here over and over are people railing against popular music, you don't have to like it
  • I call BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tavor (845700) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:25AM (#23311100)
    It's not better technology, it's better targeting. College students are 'soft targets'. They have limited funds, hence they are more liable to share music and less likely to be able to fight back. The RIAA doesn't want to try and extort from someone capable of fighting back, you know.
    • Re:I call BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kannibal_klown (531544) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:29AM (#23311152)
      That's a good theory, but it has some flaws. For example, they're still going after universities with good law schools as well as ivy league schools.

      The law schools have a chance to fight back and have the resources to put up a decent struggle. And many students attending law schools have parents with money and/or connections.

      I'm not saying those 2 scenarios invalidate your theory, but something to think about.
      • Re:I call BS. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <christianpinch AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:35AM (#23311224) Journal
        Given what has been the standard university response so far (with a few notable exceptions) the type of school the student goes to is much less important than just about anything else, they'll still likely give the student up and do nothing to help.
      • Re:I call BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by misterhypno (978442) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @11:15AM (#23312394)
        But the law schools are NOT going to protect the students charged with illegally downloading music - at least not without the student having to pay the law school SOMETHING, not to mention the mandatory court costs, fees, deposition transcriptionist fees, ad nauseam, which many students simply cannot afford.

        Add to that the fact that a court trial, even the prep time, TAKES TIME, which, for a student in a degree program, simply cannot afford to use up, either, as many of their classes happen during business hours as well, when the law school's legal aid offices are open.

        Time lost from study + money lost to legal expenses over possible legal losses from the RIAA running the clock out to nearly forever through the use of continuances and out-of-state venues FOR their cases = a broke student who has flunked out of the degree program they were IN, who is in debt forever to the RIAA as well as to the courts.

        Not a pretty picture.

        The RIAA seems to be banking on this and, to be honest, mailing more threatening letters on their way TO the bank.

        And the above paradigm works whether the student is guilty of illegal downloading or NOT.

        Which sucks for the student and is rapidly becoming what seems to be a second-stream cash-cow for the RIAA... and the recording ARTISTS, whom the RIAA is SUPPOSED to be PROTECTING, never see DIME ONE OF ANY OF THESE MONIES!

        How "fair" is that?
        • Re:I call BS. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:26PM (#23313340)
          The proper defense against these types of tactics is for the students to become certified as class [wikipedia.org] of wrongfully prosecuted and legally harassed college students. Then it doesn't matter that the students are individually weak or that they won't individually see a lot of money in damages, because the potential losses for the RIAA and their members if they should lose could be very terrible indeed. Class actions are the nuclear weapons of the legal profession and they force even the largest corporations and conglomerates to take notice.
      • The other thing: College students are more likely to be idealists and have lots of time on their hands. Not the kind of person that you should go up against in a fight especially when they group up.
    • Definitely. If they know that every infringement notice to the campus costs some poor student $50, thats even better than actually having to sue them.
    • Is it really better targeting? I'd say that college students compose a very large percentage of their market. I know that I listened to (and purchased) a lot more music in my college years than I do now. In addition, in just a few years these well-educated "soft targets" are going to be the high-earning consumers (and potential policy makers) that this industry needs to survive. Do they really want to intimidate and terrorize these people? Obviously the RIAA (and the cartels pulling the strings) are faili
    • Re:I call BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by penguin_dance (536599) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:16AM (#23311634)
      It's not better technology, it's better targeting. College students are 'soft targets'. They have limited funds, hence they are more liable to share music and less likely to be able to fight back. The RIAA doesn't want to try and extort from someone capable of fighting back, you know.

      Naaah, it's because that's the age group that's downloading most of what's out there. Most of us old foggies with such an inclination have already either bought and/or downloaded all the music they want. The stuff they have coming out today is crap. If they wanted to sell music, they should have been marketing to baby-boomers with disposable income (and technically, probably less aware of how to find and download the illegal stuff) instead of poor college students!

      Now, get off my lawn!
    • by conlaw (983784)

      It's not better technology, it's better targeting.
      You mean they've really figured out a way to target downloaders without having a Media Sentry involved in unlicensed investigating?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Good point. Also, I think the real goal of the RIAA is to shape public perception. There are two ways of looking at this whole "file sharing" thing. Either:

      • This is all about the steady march of progress, and the interplay between changes in technology and changes in society. The record industry originated out of new technology that allowed sound to be recorded, and will undergo some change as physical distribution becomes obsolete. So it goes.

      -or-

      • This is all about people who lack a sense of fairne
    • Re:I call BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @11:17AM (#23312406) Journal
      That's part of what pisses me off. I'm 56, long out of college, have a halfway decent job, turn on the radio and what do I hear?

      I hear shit that's targeted to unemployed twelve year olds. And the RIAA complains about losing sales? How is someone with NO MONEY supposed to buy your crap?

      Do they have any fucking idea how many LPs, cassettes, and CDs I've bought in the last 40 years since I got a paying job? And how shitty today's music is to my old-skool rock'n'roll ears? The only mainstream band from this century I like is Buckcherry, and I wonder how they ever got a record contract. All today's shit is Simon Cowell Production-like, minor key wimpy emo shit they call "rock", rap (hint: black people my age hate rap even more than I do), tuneless screaming hardcore, and the like.

      Find another Zeppelin. Find another Hagar. Find another Pink Floyd. Find another Stones. Find another Chuck Berry. Find another Alice in Chains. Because we have money. Twelve year olds don't you damned cocaine-soaked idiots!
    • I think a big reason the RIAA targets college students is for the following--

      1) If they can win a big case in *any* state and set precedence forcing the college to comply, they'll have a gold mine in that state for that school and potentially others.

      2) College bandwidth is limited. In many cases at the college I worked for, the LAN (residential network) was pegged at 90% capacity due to intra-institutional P2P traffic. If the RIAA finds a particularly weak board of trustees and/or a particularly sympath
  • by hansraj (458504) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:25AM (#23311102)
    Previous technology: Flip a coin. Heads -> you are innocent.

    New_and_Improved technology: Throw a die. 1 -> you are innocent.
  • The future? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Swizec (978239) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:26AM (#23311112) Homepage
    So how long before they target kindergartens? Those little bastards aren't buying any CD's, clearly they're stealing them!
  • Tagged: yeahriht (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:26AM (#23311118) Homepage Journal
    This isn't about technology. The RIAA's aggresive war against users isn't based on good or bad technology. It's just a bunch of lies.

    * An IP address can't be used to pinpoint a user, and that's a FACT. What does that have to do with better technology?
    * The companies they hired to do their investigations weren't authorized by the government. That's ILLEGAL. What does that have to do with better technology?

    • This sounds like trolling to me, but I'll bite. IP addresses can't be pinpointed to a user? Maybe not 100%, but certainly in most circumstances well enough to hold up in court, assuming you have a timestamp and the provider has proper logs. It's good enough for the FBI, why wouldn't it be good enough for the RIAA?

      Why would you have to be authorized by the government to monitor file sharing traffic and send take-down notices? I'm sure there are regulations covering private investigators, but it's not at
      • Courts were ignorant of technology but you really can't do better than circumstantial evidence for I.P. -> user.

        There are no witnesses and no photographic records.

        Slashdot... soo..

        It's like if your car was used in a bank robbery.
        And you are picked up the next day driving your car to work.

        Can they prove that you the bank robber with no other evidence?

        I mean, you didn't report the car stolen.
        It's your car.
        You are driving it after the crime was committed.

        And with computers, it's even possible that your car
  • by muellerr1 (868578) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:28AM (#23311140) Homepage
    I've always thought you should use plenty of soap and water after contact with the RIAA. You never know what you'll catch.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      You never know what you'll catch.

      You are in violation of Epic Records' copyright of Cheap Trick's song Surrender [wikipedia.org]. Their lawyers will be contacting you shortly.
  • No Mystery (Score:5, Funny)

    by slagheap (734182) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:30AM (#23311156)
    Principal Skinner: There's no mystery about what happened to Groundskeeper Willy. Why, he simply disappeared. Now let's have no more questions about this bizarre coverup.
  • by Bragador (1036480) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:30AM (#23311162)

    I, myself, am creating art. Photos and a bit of music. Also some mediocre short stories. While my products are definitely not good enough yet to ask money for them, I can understand the desire to earn a living by doing what you like the most.

    I think that all digital art will become free for those who do not want to earn money from it. If a magazine wants to use one of your photos or if a corporation wants to use your music for an add, you should get paid. The rest will come from donations from fans or derived products.

    But yes, you wont be able to earn as much money that way and the RIAA will milk the old system dry before adapting. This is logical. Even the oil industry will pull something like that. I'm sure of it.

    • I think that all digital art will become free for those who do not want to earn money from it. If a magazine wants to use one of your photos or if a corporation wants to use your music for an add, you should get paid. The rest will come from donations from fans or derived products.

      If you think this kind of business model will work for commodity software, such as computer games, you're out of your mind. (And no, selling support won't work for games, go away Stallmanites, and no, selling content won't work because they'll pirate that too. There are some goods, even electronic ones, that require strong copyright, and you can shove it if you want to tell me that you'll just steal it with no thought to the creator.)

  • aggressively targeting users who merely make downloaded music available to others rather than actual infringers

    Aren't the folks making music available the actual infringers? (Assuming the conversation is limited to music copyrighted by an RIAA member and not openly traded such as in the case of bands who allow taping and trading of tapes of live shows.)

    Who are the actual infringers, if not the folks making the music available to others?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Aren't the folks making music available the actual infringers? (Assuming the conversation is limited to music copyrighted by an RIAA member and not openly traded such as in the case of bands who allow taping and trading of tapes of live shows.)

      Who are the actual infringers, if not the folks making the music available to others?

      If I leave my apartment door open and you walk in and help yourself to my friend's beer, who's the thief: you or me? Even if I advertise on Craigslist "my friend's beer is unguarded in my unlocked apartment", it's still you stealing it...at best, I'm contributing to your stealing it.

      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Would you care to point to where in US copyright law (and we ARE talking about the Recording Industry Association of AMERICA here) where it says that downloading infringes copyright?

        Would you show me in the US Constitution where is says that one can own a song? (hint- it doesn't).

        What if you had a twelve pack of beer in the refrigerator in your back yard with a sign that said "take one", a hundred people came and each took a beer but when you came home you still had twelve beers? That's downloading.

        That sai
        • by geekoid (135745)
          Hint, it does.

          The constitution specifically authorize congress to make copyright.
          Therefore copyright is what congress say it is.

          "What if you had a twelve pack of beer in the refrigerator in your back yard with a sign that said "take one", "
          you would be in violation of copyright law....assuming 'beer' was a copyrighted work.

          You are correct, but don't loose sight of the fact that copyright can change with a vote.

          That means you must engage your officials about copyright whenever it comes up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That sentence alludes to the "making available" debate. Is merely offering a song in a P2P program ("making available") already copyright infringement or is only the actual act of making a copy an infringement?
  • "Better technology," any of us with a brain asserts, "is merely resulting in better clients. Next up: IP obfuscation"

    morons

    9 thousand lawyers versus 90 million technologically savvy, music hungry, poor teenagers

    place your wagers

    you lose, morons
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:40AM (#23311280)
    Really, the RIAA is just casting a wider net. By putting out more notices:

    A) They are more likely to deter casual, nontechnical users who get them, most of whom will either stop or reduce their P2P use.
    B) They are more likely to scare others; e.x. "Yo, did you hear? Joe Smith got a warning about music downloading!".
    C) Many colleges and ISPs (Dartmouth and Optimum Online, at least) will often reduce the speed of account holders who have been the target of DCMA letters.
    D) For settlement offers, the wider the net, the more fish you catch. If people put up an ounce of resistance, just drop the extortion attempt and move on to the next guy.

    Not really that surprising. The technology hasn't improved, the RIAA is just sending out more letters.
    • Re:Missed one; (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:56AM (#23311440)
      Really, the RIAA is just casting a wider net. By putting out more notices:

      E) Students move from a visable P-P application back to secure sneaker-net trading.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneakernet [wikipedia.org]

      Instead of a dribble of songs from slow university connections, a few DVD's, loaded iPods, and USB external hard drives get lent outside of trackable channels.

      For my middle school kids, it's the norm. They have Comcast and no P-P software. It's all sneaker net and iPods. I'm suprised the RIAA isn't bringing up the RIO lawsuit again and try to fight iPods and other external hard drives as massive tools of infringement. After all, in their book, tools for making availiable is a crime.
      • I'm suprised the RIAA isn't bringing up the RIO lawsuit again and try to fight iPods and other external hard drives as massive tools of infringement.
        The record industry has recently suggested that they should get a cut of profits on all hard drive sales.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        That would be fine by them, because it doesn't have the same potential or speed as downloading.
    • by russotto (537200)
      E) They figure they can convince the university administrators to implement draconian network-control policies just to prevent being buried under a flurry of infringement notices.

      Not a bad strategy considering university administrators feel about students about the same way the RIAA feels about customers; that is, they see them as a source of cash and anything they do other than fork over money is an unwanted imposition. Any excuse to place restrictions on them is in general a good one anyway. And univers
    • C) Many colleges and ISPs (Dartmouth and Optimum Online, at least) will often reduce the speed of account holders who have been the target of DCMA letters.

      While colleges and universities probably don't give service guarantees, a commercial ISP who suddenly starts providing less bandwidth than you're paying for is opening themselves up for a very well deserved lawsuit.

  • The real reason... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by doit3d (936293)
    ...is that the RIAA lawyers know that their cash cow is about to go poof very soon. Therefore, they are getting all the milk they can from the cow before it leaves the barn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:14AM (#23311612)
    ...is the number of false positives that are popping up.

    I'm responsible for DMCA notices at my campus, and after a 1.5 year lull without a single one, I've received over 2 dozen, none of which are attributable to any IP given out by our DHCP server. One IP was a terminal server with no access to the internet.

    (I'm posting anonymously because I don't like the spotlight. Talk to any college staff member and you'll get similar comments about this recent flurry of notices.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hyppy (74366)
      Does the DMCA notice come with an internal IP as well (192.168.x.x, 10.x.x.x, etc)? I would be curious to see a university or ISP bring up computer crime charges if that's true, since reconnaissance (active or passive) of internal networks can be considered a crime.
    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:59AM (#23312176)
      I hope your response to the RIAA is something along the lines of:

      We have received your DMCA notices. None are attributable to IP addresses given out by our DHCP server. One is attributed to a terminal server with no internet access. Thus, we will be taking no action other than to file these notices. Should we receive future notices which may be attributed to an IP address assigned by our DHCP server and thus one of our students, we will pass along the DMCA notice as well as a record of all filed and incorrect DMCA notices we have received so that the student in question can be made fully aware of the accuracy of your efforts should they wish to formulate a legal defense.

      Let the RIAA know that their machinegun approach to this will be used against them when it comes time to prosecute. I doubt they'll slow down but the increasingly large file of haphazard DMCA notices will eventually show that they are filing frivolous lawsuits.
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @11:37AM (#23312690)
      This story needs to be spread more widely. The RIAA has claimed that their methods are close to perfect (you'll catch a few dolphins maybe, but not many). Yet when they sue the wrong person because the inaccurate IP address happened to match up with somebody else's account that person either capitulates, or pays thousands in lawyer bills to clear their name only to see the RIAA attempt to walk away without reimbursing them (like you're guilty just for having a broadband account in the first place) for their costs.

      This is so wrong, and the RIAA continues to get away with it because they refuse to admit to any errors in their methods. If the unreliability of the RIAA IP identification methods got wide circulation they might not be able to pursue any of these cases based on IP address/timestamp information alone.

  • The RIAA are trying to get as many cases on the books as possible before any ruling in their current legal battles is made. They probably think they will loose and will push for the judgement NOT to be retroactive. i.e. all current cases can go forward and they are free to extort monies to settle or going to trial. It's called hedging your bets...
  • Evolve or Die (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aarenz (1009365) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:29AM (#23311776)

    RIAA needs to take a step back and look at their business model. Ford used to create cars with bolts and pieces that were so unique that nobody made part for their products except them. That backfired at some point and they started to go with the flow. Musicians need to get a grip on where the money that is paid for their music goes. Reduce the big overhead of managers and promotions people and get back to making music. If you can do live performances and get rid of the ticket brokers overhead, you can make enough to live on with just a few concerts in medium sized venues each year. If you can not perform live, then you best not expect to make a killing in the industry since you probably do not have real talent, but just know someone that can mix down anything and make it sound good.

    In most cases, when you make the black market seem more dangerous, and there is still a demand for an item, the illegal market will grow. If CD's were priced to make enough to cover costs of production and a small amount for the musician and composer, they would sell like crazy, especially if there was something that set it apart from the mainstream duplicated junk that is generally available. It is much the way the TV industry has gone, 3 networks with reasonable quality, then it became 200 channels, most of which is not worth burning the screen by playing. Quality will win out in the end, if there is a reasonable distribution method and pricing for it.

  • Finals ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by junklogin (1002872)
    When using intimidation tactics, isn't it better to increase your pressure as it gets closer to finals for students- hold back until mid semester and then bomb the schools and students . . . Nothing would hasten a quick settlement like the pressure of upcoming finals.
  • Overseas on any trips and be sure you've got your papers in order, and any discussion ready for US Customs.
  • Note that the RIAA is no longer referring to MediaSentry as its "investigator", instead referring to it as a "contractor" or a "vendor". I wonder if they think that will make their legal problems [blogspot.com] go away.
    • Ray,

      I call your attention to the What's interesting ... thread above in this discussion where the poster is pointing out just how unreliable the RIAA method of identifying IP addresses and timestamps is proving to be in the real world. If this is the only method the RIAA has at their disposal to identify lawsuit targets, and it's as widely bad as the poster states, this might serve to rip apart the RIAA cases at the very beginning.

      While not an exact analogy, although the basis of it in terms of unrelia

  • they are just trying to get as many as they can while they can.

    this little cash pot will go dark for 3 months as students head home or off campus now that the year is about over for them.
  • aggressively targeting users who merely make downloaded music available to others rather than actual infringers.

    How stupid can a summary be.

    The RIAA can't tell the difference between the two!

    And that's the problem - and flaw - in all their cases to date.

  • Let's get real for a moment here folks. Do you really believe anything that the RIAA actually tells you?

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