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RIAA To Stop Prosecuting Individual File Sharers 619

Posted by kdawson
from the declare-victory-and-withdraw dept.
debatem1 writes "According to the Wall Street Journal, the RIAA has decided to abandon its current tactic of suing individuals for sharing copyrighted music. Ongoing lawsuits will be pursued to completion, but no new ones will be filed. The RIAA is going to try working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users. This very surprising development apparently comes as a result of public distaste for the campaign." An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."
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RIAA To Stop Prosecuting Individual File Sharers

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  • Dear Sir,

    We are a group of UK film and TV producers, directors and writers. We are concerned that the successes of the creative industries in the UK are being undermined by the illegal online file-sharing [today.com] of film and TV.

    We are asking the Government to show its support by ensuring that internet service providers play their part in tackling this huge problem by giving us money. Lots of money. Just keep piling it in, we'll tell you when it's enough.

    In 2007, up to (well, it could be) 25 per cent of all online TV piracy took place in the UK. Popular shows are downloaded illegally hundreds of thousands of times per episode, and some of them might even be ours rather than something American made with an actual budget.

    It is true that in 2008, UK commercial TV broadcasters enjoyed the highest viewing figures in five years, that total TV viewing was up 10% year-on-year, and the valuable yet hard-to-reach 16 to 24-year-old demographic (the typical file-sharer) watched 4.9% more commercial TV and saw 12% more ads. But it's the principle of the thing: someone is getting money from something that touches something one of us once touched, therefore the money belongs to us. This is the style of corporate thinking that brought Britain its great economic gains from 1997 to 2007, after all.At a time when so many jobs are being lost in the wider economy, it is especially important that our gravy train be maintained.

    Internet service providers have the ability to change the behaviour of those customers who illegally distribute content online. They have the power to make significant change and to prevent their infrastructure from being used on a wholesale scale for illegal activity. They have the power to stop people looking at the cover of Virgin Killer. They have a secret magic wand that will fix everything wrong with the media industry's income streams and they are refusing, with malice aforethought, to use it. If they are not prepared to give us all the free money we ask for and a bit more besides, they should be compelled to do so.

    • by theaveng (1243528)

      >>>some of them might even be ours rather than something American made with an actual budget.

      LOL.

      What ye need is a pan-European broadcaster that produces dramas with mega-budgets. Something like NBC Europe.

    • by Zoxed (676559) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:52AM (#26171925) Homepage

      In case anyone is wondering this seems to be a variation on this Letter to the Times [timesonline.co.uk].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hansamurai (907719)

      Top Gear is the best show on television.

      That is all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222)

        Just don't buy a car based on their reviews! :) It is entertaining, though, I'll grant that.

  • by luvirini (753157) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:20AM (#26171651)

    I mean, their current methods have apparently atleast been in breach of investigative laws in several states and they may still end up in mess because of it, but ending the thing will atleast lessen the exposure..

    Alternative explanation is that they have actually understood that extortion is bad.. nah.. not likely.

    • by aurispector (530273) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:51AM (#26171917)

      The new tactic is lobby not litigate - far worse in the long run since they can keep trying to influence policy and legislation ad infinitem even if they get shot down the first time.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:15AM (#26172147)

        It also shifts the costs of enforcement (and the negative PR) to the government. Why bother pursuing people you *think* might be infringing and deal with the situation via civil means when you can just have the FBI issue the appropriate paperwork, and have them bust the door down?

      • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:42AM (#26172425) Homepage

        When you actually had to break the law in order to get the RIAA all up in your jock, non-law-breakers such as myself were left in relative peace.

        Since they've now explicitly and announcedly decided to adopt a strategy of technology control measures, they just became a thorn in every geek's side.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fwarren (579763)

        I prefer it. I am in my 40's and grew up in the 80's. Piracy was rampant among the geeks then. In the 90's more so. Then the kids that only remember a world of the Internet. Do you really believe that they consider making a digital copy of a file is a crime? That it robs somebody? Remember these kids will be Judges and Lawmakers someday. No matter how much money the RIAA throws at it, it won't help in the long run.

        Button makers had a monopoly at one time. Can you imagine that, buttons that go for 5 cents ea

    • by digitig (1056110) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:29AM (#26172269)

      I mean, their current methods have apparently atleast been in breach of investigative laws in several states and they may still end up in mess because of it, but ending the thing will atleast lessen the exposure..

      Alternative explanation is that they have actually understood that extortion is bad.. nah.. not likely.

      No -- look at the actual wording: "...working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users"

      Note that's not "repeated illegal downloaders", it's repeated users of file-sharing services, whether legal or not. It means that they've learned that they can't get their way via the courts, so now they want the right to get their way without having to go through the courts. This is a bad development.

  • Just like the French. First you give us fried potatoes to clog our arteries, then you dump your "huddled masses" from your country to the U.S., and now you invent the 3-strike law to ban us from ISPs without due process of law (a jury trial).

    >>>The RIAA is going to try to working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users.

    Thanks. ;-)

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:28AM (#26171719)

      Which leads me to ask - what would entice an ISP to follow the RIAA's 'suggestions'? Very few of them have anything to do with the entertainment industry directly. And I believe the DMCA renders immunity to anyone acting as an ISP/gateway IIRC. On the other hand, you have a paying customer.

      It would help to know what weapon an opponent such as this is going to use.

      • by theaveng (1243528) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:32AM (#26171753)

        "Banning repeat offenders will reduce your congestion issues and your costs." - RIAA

        "That sounds good to us! We already impose limits on high-bandwidth users; if you back us up we can ban them completely!" - Comcast

        "Excellent." - RIAA

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          Yes, but music files are relatively extremely small these day compared to video. You probably consume the same magnitude of bandwidth looking at your average webpage these days. Or more watching youtube.

          It's just not on the same scale or torrenting videos.

        • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:21AM (#26172197) Homepage

          And as more and more users become interested in mass streaming media, a less restrictive ISP will suddenly show up and steal all their customers away.

          It's bandwidth. Bandwidth is relatively cheap - what Comcast users are allocated in a month, most servers push out in a single day, yet my cable bill costs more than any one of my servers.

          The infrastructure is already there, and much of it was built with government funds anyway. With deregulation and all that fun stuff, there is a lot of room for a new player to join the game, with a slightly less greedy image and a whole lotta more intertube goodness. In reality, these cheap alternatives already exist in many areas, they just don't advertise because, well, I don't expect the cable company to give good ad rates to its competitors... but they exist, and while some of them suck, a lot of them are far more generous than their colossal adversaries.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by faedle (114018)

            And as more and more users become interested in mass streaming media, a less restrictive ISP will suddenly show up and steal all their customers away.

            It's bandwidth. Bandwidth is relatively cheap - what Comcast users are allocated in a month, most servers push out in a single day, yet my cable bill costs more than any one of my servers.

            The infrastructure is already there, and much of it was built with government funds anyway.

            ... and completely controlled (largely) by a duopoly: either the telephone or cable company.

            There is no real competition in most areas. I hate Comcast (my local cable company) and Qwest (my local phone company) with a passion. Where I live, there are exactly three choices: those two companies and Clearwire's WiMAX (who.. guess what? Comcast has a small stake in).

            This is exactly why the "network neutrality" crowd is yelling. The vast majority of customers have no choice.

            Unless you believe "choice" in the

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by geminidomino (614729) *

              Unless you believe "choice" in the context of most former Soviet voting system's "choices".

              I dunno. Your description of the situation where you hate all 3 (Comcast/Quest/Comcast Jr) seems to mirror the AMERICAN voting system's choices...

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:09AM (#26172079)

        Which leads me to ask - what would entice an ISP to follow the RIAA's 'suggestions'? Very few of them have anything to do with the entertainment industry directly.

        Most, if not all, major ISPs in the US have television offerings with pay-per-view and premium channels. Verizon, Comcast, Cox - just off the top of my head. Piracy is competition for those services.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:36AM (#26171791)

      Just like the French. First you give us fried potatoes to clog our arteries

      Hey, wait a minute! French fries allegedly come from Belgium [wikipedia.org]. Both the French and the Belgians consider the term "French fries" to be grossly unfair: the Belgians feel they deserve the credit, and the French feel they don't deserve the blame.

      Of course, there is the possibility that the first prototype fries were planted in Belgium by French agents provocateurs.

      • by Hijacked Public (999535) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:41AM (#26171839)

        It isn't like the rest of French cuisine is Richard-Simmons-Approved when eaten in the kind of quantities Americans typically eat things, so I don't see why they'd care about fries in particular.

        I liked that period of time where we were supposed to call them "Freedom Fries". It made it easier to spot imbeciles.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by secretcurse (1266724)
        Go ahead and quote quote wikipedia, but I saw on the History Chanel last night (Modern Marvels, the fast food episode) that French fries were "discovered" and brought back to America by Jefferson after his post as ambassador to the French. So, even if they were invented in Belgium first, America made the french fry a staple food and Jefferson brought them to us from the French.
  • by spike1 (675478) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:24AM (#26171677)

    There is absolutely nothing "illegal" about using bittorrent to download the latest linux distro or open office release.

    But they want to tar every use with the same brush so they can stamp it out completely because it CAN be used in a naughty manner.

    A bread knife CAN be used to kill someone but that's not what it was designed for.

  • by Xelios (822510) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:25AM (#26171687)
    "Meanwhile, music sales continue to fall. In 2003, the industry sold 656 million albums. In 2007, the number fell to 500 million CDs and digital albums, plus 844 million paid individual song downloads -- hardly enough to make up the decline in album sales."

    Wow, so now that people are given the option of buying only the track they like instead of the whole album... album sales are dropping. Imagine that! I guess blaming it on piracy is easier than making all 12 songs on an album worth buying.
    • by theaveng (1243528) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:38AM (#26171811)

      500 million albums
      844 million singles
      ==================
      1344 million sales in 2007 >>> 656 million in 2003. Someone at RIAA needs help with math. Yes more singles sold mean less money, but it also means more happy customers which builds long-term income over the next decade.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:10AM (#26172099) Homepage Journal

        They also neglected to mention a few other facts: there has been an ongoing boycott of RIAA fare since Napster; CDs cost as much as DVDs to purchase, yet movies are incredibly expensive to produce while the cost of producing a CD has dropped to the point where bar bands now record without the RIAA; that RIAA fare's quality has dropped far more than their sales have (with one or two exceptions, such as Kid Rock and Buckcherry); that last century an independantly produced CD was practically impossible, yet today there are more indie titles than RIAA titles and the indies are eating the RIAA's lunch. Most indies encourage their songs to be shared.

        Oh yeah, fuel costs skyrocketed during that period, and fuel is cheap again but we're in a worldwide recession.

        Either they're stupid or they think we are.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Either they're stupid or they think we are.

          Does it really have to be one or the other?

        • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:38AM (#26172375)

          I honestly don't think they're stupid, just calculating. They can't do anything about a recession or competition from other forms of entertainment without lowering their prices (something which might cut into their profits). They refuse to blame themselves and their own poor music quality. (That's just crazy talk.) So what's left are "evil Internet pirates." They pin as much blame as possible onto pirates and then try to get rules passed to stop the evil pirates. The rules have the side effect of giving the RIAA labels more money/power. (e.g. a mandatory $5/monthly "pirating" fee on your ISP bill, shotgun lawsuits, claiming that ripping CDs is illegal, claiming that all file sharing is illegal etc.) The end result, if they get their way, is a record industry that stays in power even when the market is trying to push them to the sidelines and that keeps profits artificially high.

          • Mod parent UP (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Mateo_LeFou (859634)

            The RIAA is not stupid.
            I repeat: the RIAA is not stupid.

            Their assault on technology is not the result of misguided or clueless decision makers.

            Their assault on technology has gone beyond being attributed to ignorance. Too many people have explained (publically and, privately, to them) what's up.

            This is malice. I believe malice is an acceptable response.

            • Re:Mod parent UP (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 19, 2008 @12:52PM (#26173999) Homepage Journal

              This is an example of the ineffectiveness of "Hanlon's Razor" (Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity), but I think my more cynical "mcgrew's razor" applies here: Never attribute to stupidity or incompetence that which can be adequately explained by greedy self interest.

      • by eredin (1255034) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:11AM (#26172109)
        Considering that individual song downloads practically eliminate the physical media and distribution costs, I suspect that the RIAA isn't being completely honest regarding their profitability. Actually they don't mention profitability; they want you to assume they're hurting based on their sketchy statistics.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:25AM (#26171693) Homepage Journal

    Working with the ISPs is an arms race at best. The ISPs block stuff, P2P devs come up with more and more devious ways to work around the blocks. Plus, in markets where competition is good, consumers will just vote with their feet.

    Give it up, RIAA. Come up with better ways of making money. No one is willing to spend $20 to buy an album with 1 or 2 good songs on it. And few are willing to pay for what they will always be able to get for free.

  • Even worse. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:26AM (#26171695) Journal
    For the individuals caught in them, the RIAA individual lawsuits really, really suck. Extortionate demands, no real ability to defend yourself(if your day in court costs you more than you can afford, it isn't your day in court), etc. On the other hand, though, the lawsuits as a tactic have been magnificently ineffective, and do very little to project RIAA power beyond those directly affected(and, indeed, the seem to project displeasure much further than they project obedience).

    Focusing on the ISPs is potentially much more sinister. ISP user agreements, for anything other than expensive business accounts, typically have pretty broad service agreements, so they almost definitely won't even need to involve the courts to cut you off. If the RIAA and friends are successful, they could easily obtain de facto veto power over almost anybody's internet access, without any actually illegal conduct(unlike their present tactics). There is no reason to suspect that they would be any more discriminating or accurate in using such power than they currently are in filing lawsuits(probably less, in fact, since it will be cheaper than lawsuits), so the circle of the affected will be even wider. Not good.
    • Don't panic. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:45AM (#26171859)

      So the RIAA is offering to "work with ISPs." From the sound of it, what they want is for the ISPs to do a lot of work monitoring users, and take a serious public-relations risk for banning them. If I ran an ISP, I would not exactly be falling over myself to embrace those new headaches.

      What's in it for the ISPs? If the RIAA is offering a carrot, then the size of the carrot is limited by the ever-diminishing money the RIAA has to offer. If they're trying to threaten with a stick, they're relying on either regulation, lobbying, or lawsuits -- in all three arenas, ISPs are more than a match for them in terms of money and influence.

      The more I think about it, the more I realize this is just a face-saving tactic, and the "cooperative relationship" can't last because it's contrary to the ISPs best interests.

      • Re:Don't panic. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:58AM (#26171961) Homepage Journal

        What's in it for the ISPs? If the RIAA is offering a carrot, then the size of the carrot is limited by the ever-diminishing money the RIAA has to offer.

        Not necessarily.

        The carrot could be the ISP's right to manipulate their user's traffic in other ways that make them money. If the RIAA can help them legitimize selective traffic management, then ISPs can start signing agreements with content providers.

        Given the reputation that the RIAA has built themselves with the lawsuits, I'm a little skeptical of their ability to help the ISPs legitimize anything, but if it succeeded it could be a big moneymaker for the ISPs.

        There may be other, less obvious, benefits to ISPs as well.

        We need net neutrality legislation to ensure that the ISPs can't do any of this.

        • Re:Don't panic. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday December 19, 2008 @12:17PM (#26173563)
          There's another possibility that occurs to me by a line in TFA:

          Over the summer, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began brokering an agreement between the recording industry and the ISPs that would address both sides' piracy concerns. "We wanted to end the litigation," said Steven Cohen, Mr. Cuomo's chief of staff. "It's not helpful."

          As the RIAA worked to cut deals with individual ISPs, Mr. Cuomo's office started working on a broader plan under which major ISPs would agree to work to prevent illegal file-sharing.

          It looks like the RIAA could be lobbying governments to force ISPs to forward infringement notices.

          I am worried about this because if some jack-ass at MediaSentry goes and mistakenly identifies my IP because I'm sharing some linux distros or whatever, then I get a note from my ISP saying they're slowing my service down because I'm a pirate. Now, I'm forced to sue the ISP in order to get the service I paid for. All the onus is on me to take action against the ISP to clear my name, this is much, much worse than what was happening before because rather than the RIAA having to prove that their copyrights have been infringed upon, it will be up to the accused to prove that he or she isn't guilty.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dwandy (907337)

            mistakenly identifies my IP because I'm sharing some linux distros or whatever,

            You don't even have to be sharing anything, since an IP on a tracker means nothing: [torrentfreak.com]
            However, the tracker owners are aware of this, and trick these tracking companies by polluting the list of IP-addresses the tracker returns. That is one of the techniques The Pirate Bay uses, just to show how flawed the evidence gathering is.

    • by theaveng (1243528)

      >>>the RIAA individual lawsuits really, really suck. Extortionate demands, no real ability to defend yourself(if your day in court costs you more than you can afford, it isn't your day in court), etc.

      Guns are cheap. "What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party

  • it's a trap! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:26AM (#26171701)
    1. announce an end to lawsuits
    2. mediasentry keeps logging traffic
    3. ???
    4. file thousands of simultaneous lawsuits
    5. bask in your crapulence
  • by mysidia (191772) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:26AM (#26171705)

    Because they were starting to lose.

    They were starting to get in trouble with the courts, because they were filing lawsuits, and they in many cases had insufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing.

    There were many cases where they were prosecuting innocent people, and this would ultimately be seen as harassment/abuse of the courts, resulting in sanctions for the RIAA.

    The new approach will be more expedient, and less costly, since their victims don't get any due process rights.

    They just send a letter to your ISP, and your ISP assumes you guilty.

    You no longer have a chance to prove your innocence. If the RIAA doesn't like you and wants your connection turned off, they'll now have the means to make it happen, if your ISP joins their program.

    See the article:

    Depending on the agreement, the ISP will either forward the note to customers, or alert customers that they appear to be uploading music illegally, and ask them to stop. If the customers continue the file-sharing, they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether.

    The RIAA said it has agreements in principle with some ISPs, but declined to say which ones. But ISPs, which are increasingly cutting content deals of their own with entertainment companies, may have more incentive to work with the music labels now than in previous years.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xtracto (837672)

      they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether.

      And after that, the customer will stop paying the provider and go to whatever any other ISP...

  • Outside (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Meneth (872868) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:27AM (#26171707)
    So, they're going to try running their extortions entirely outside the courts now? This'll be a good test of the ISPs.
    • Re:Outside (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:33AM (#26173031) Journal

      So, they're going to try running their extortions entirely outside the courts now? This'll be a good test of the ISPs.

      Test Case: Subscriber gets cut off and sues the RIAA for tortious interference with contract.

      The RIAA is now forced to prove, in front of a Judge, that they are not making "false claims and accusations" in order to induce your ISP to breach your contract. Now the RIAA is right back where they've started: in a civil trial with the same quality of evidence that isn't worth jack diddly in court.

  • ...porcine aviatrixes...Hades Icecapades...etc etc..you get the idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

    The spokesman went on to say that the campaign will be stopped after it became apparent that "it was also successful in raising the public's awareness that the RIAA are douches."

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:28AM (#26171723)

    An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

    If it's so illegal, then why did they sue for damages (that is, compensation) rather than prosecute file-sharers for a crime? You don't sue people because they robbed banks or stabbed someone, you sue because they owe you money for some reason.

    So the real message they were sending to the public is, "File sharing takes money out of our pockets." Well, duh.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Because "illegal" isn't just criminality. It's also conceivably tortious, meaning you can have civil law violations.

      Infringement can either be tortious, criminal, or both. There's truthfully no way for them to pin criminal charges on anyone they've "caught" in that "dragnet" of theirs, so they're trying for civil violations which have less stringent requirements for proving a tort was committed by the parties. Unfortunately for them, they don't have much of a valid case in any of the instances so they're

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:28AM (#26171725)

    An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

    That says it all really. They have managed a disinformation campaign to make people think that file sharing is illegal. No mention of the fact that it is perfectly legal if you have rights to the work, it is public domain, or you are using it under "fair use" terms, or a number of other more obscure legal circumstances.

    Think of it this way, nobody bats an eyelid when you say "filesharing is illegal", but you would get some surprised looks if you said "video recording is illegal" or "photocopying is illegal" - they have managed to taint the technology with a possible illegal use.

    • by meist3r (1061628)
      As with the VCR piracy that was said to destroy the entire movie industry decades ago it was the very same deal. People who saw their outdated business in peril convinced officials (that don't use the technology and don't how about it's workings and benefits) to outlaw those who tried to improve how things are done, so they can make more money of prolonging the process of adaption.

      Cleanse, purge, repeat.
    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:16AM (#26172157) Homepage Journal

      They don't really care if you share that AC-DC file, you can sample it from the radio (they've been pushing the hell out of AC-DCs latest album). It's their competetion's tunes, the indies, who don't have access to the radio that they don't want you to share.

      It's not about piracy, it's about crushing the competetion.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:32AM (#26171743)
    It says "The RIAA is going to try to working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users.". So they're not going to take you to court, they're just going to get your ISP to kick you off and with any luck blacklist you. ISPs are presumably so scared of the RIAA that they'll comply wherever possible.
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Heh... The biggest question I would have is that how are they going to get legit PI licenses to investigate all of that; they can't have this plan without breaking the law in the same manner they've been doing with the lawsuits themselves. And with this plan, now they're involving the ISPs with those civil liabilities. Nice...

      If I were an ISP, I'd tell them to go stuff themselves unless they had proof obtained in a manner that a court of law would consider legit.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:36AM (#26171789)

    An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

    It's also raised public awareness that the RIAA is the scum of the earth who will sue 12 year old girls for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've personally never understood the concept that any kind of publicity that could make people spit on you when you walk on the street could possibly have any positive value down the line.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:37AM (#26171795) Homepage

    The RIAA has taken to suing a lot of people who turned out to be innocent, on very flimsy evidence. If there is one thing that Americans generally dislike, it's programs, no matter how well-intentioned, that end up often getting the wrong people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fnord666 (889225)

      The RIAA has taken to suing a lot of people who turned out to be innocent, on very flimsy evidence.

      Citation needed please. Specifically I would be interested to know how many people the RIAA has sued, and of those people, how many have been found innocent in court. Anyone who has settled must be excluded from this count since their guilt or innocence has not been proven. Thanks.

  • by houghi (78078) on Friday December 19, 2008 @09:38AM (#26171803)

    http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.1/iso/openSUSE-11.1-DVD-i586.iso.torrent [opensuse.org]
    http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.1/iso/openSUSE-11.1-DVD-x86_64.iso.torrent [opensuse.org]

    I am sharing these, now come and try to sue my ISP. He will be having a laugh. Try go after the originating provider and they will tear you a new one.

    It is nice to see that what they wanted was to misinform people about their rights.

  • So the RIAA gives up on doing evil to pursue something more evil?

    It's not worth it to go after individuals because of all the bad press, so instead attack the technology?

    How about instead the RIAA just get over it? When the horse and buggy gave way to automobiles, buggy makers found another line of work. The recording industry should accept their fate, redefine themselves, and find a niche.

    In short, it's over.

  • ISPs won't bite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:15AM (#26172151) Journal
    I don't think the ISPs will bite down on this. The ISP will obviously need to report the results to the RIAA, otherwise the RIAA will cry foul. Then, if the ISP misses an obvious "illegal activity" the ISP might be held liable by the RIAA for not protecting the RIAA's intellectual property.

    "You failed to notify your customers that we knew they're stealing. So now, it's your fault."

    I'm willing to bet more than a few ISPs will worry about this possible outcome.
  • Victory (Score:5, Funny)

    by monkeySauce (562927) on Friday December 19, 2008 @01:00PM (#26174107) Journal

    An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

    Did the spokesman make this statement in front of a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner?

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Friday December 19, 2008 @01:47PM (#26174615)

    What's really happened is a happy confluence of internal corporate reality, legal reverses, new political calculations, technological innovation, and irreversible shifts in consumer behavior.

    The internal corporate reality is that the old, hard-liner Baby Boomers have seen the writing on the wall and taken early retirement to spend more time with their families and write their memoirs, or they have been sacked for year after year of plummeting revenues. They have been replaced with Gen X or near-Gen X people and younger who are not deaf to the scorn of their peers nor to the trends in technology and music consumption.

    The legal reverses include losing individual cases and having entire methodologies banned by the courts, but what's perhaps worse is that defeating the RIAA has become a teaching exercise for entire law schools. When future generations of lawyers are being trained to fight evil with your organization as the EVIL, you know this particular strategy is in trouble.

    The new political calculations are what others have mentioned and discussed here, that they're now pinning their hopes on winning the debate over net neutrality. But they don't have a good shot at that because too many other players' interests, players who are much bigger and richer than the RIAA, are aligned against them. Never mind the consumers, since they never count for the people like those in the RIAA who like to play like they're Masters of the Universe.

    Technological innovation continues, well, at least in the forms in which people use it to access music. iTunes is the model now for how people get new music. CDs? Please. Downloads in all their forms are the way anyone under 35 now gets their music. Artists may be in the music business, but the RIAA is in the CD business. The RIAA would have as much luck trying to force everyone to go back to 8-track as trying to force them to go back to CDs.

    Consumer behavior has irreversibly shifted against the RIAA. As others have pointed out, the cartel made sense when it was hard to produce professional sounding music and difficult to distribute it. Both those barriers have been almost totally eliminated. Musicians can do it all themselves now, and fans can find them through so many channels like Facebook, etc. that are outside the control of the cartel. But it's not just the How and Where that have escaped the cartel's control, it's also the What. The average band and average fan have a wealth of indy music to sample and find influences in that is beyond the wildest dreams of those brought up under the tyranny of the old cartel system. And they have found the quality of the stuff out there to be much higher than the synth-pop that cartel-produced music ultimately devolved into.

    So the RIAA is the walking dead. The record stores like Tower Records have already gone. The parlor game now is to guess how much longer the RIAA needs to bleed before they implode entirely. Their abandonment of the legal strategy is a strong indication that we don't have much longer to wait. If this recession/depression lasts longer than 6 months, the RIAA will not survive the year.

  • that they stopped filing lawsuits "months ago" and haven't filed their mass lawsuits since early Fall, and that the last suit they filed was in August....I did a little investigating and found out that they've been filing tons of lawsuits right through last week [slashdot.org].

RADIO SHACK LEVEL II BASIC READY >_

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