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The RIAA's Rocky Road Ahead 542

Posted by kdawson
from the bring-checkbook dept.
The RIAA's new plan to enlist ISPs in its war on file sharing, once it announced it was calling a halt to new consumer lawsuits, is running into rough sledding. Wired reports on the continuing legal murkiness of the RIAA's interpretation of copyright law. And one small ISP in Louisiana asks the recording organization, "You want me to police your intellectual property? What's your billing address?"
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The RIAA's Rocky Road Ahead

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @05:57AM (#26209947)

    "What's your billing address?"

    That's not exactly an unequivocal rejection.

    Where would all you music sharers be if the RIAA responds with a valid billing address? It is just a matter of money before those ISPs start cooperating.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:07AM (#26209987)

      It's worse than that; it's a new justification for the RIAA to ask for money.

      RIAA: "Pirates are generating losses of millions of dollars. They force us to pay large amounts to every ISP so they enforce our demands."

      "Now when we catch a pirate we'll of course ask for compensation of all those millions."

      Soon sending a song through the web will bring larger fines than experimenting with nuclear weapons at home.

      I can see the prison conversations.
      "What are you here for?"
      "Eating babies. And you?"
      "Whistling a song in public."
      "Friking depraved garbage! I hope you rot in hell."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Soon sending a song through the web will bring larger fines than experimenting with nuclear weapons at home.

        If was only one song, rather than 1/3 - 1/2 of the traffic on the internet, I would see your point. As a legal user of P2P, and as a PC gamer (linux only, though), I really hate all the copyright infringements going on. I'd bet that the reason we don't see another monkey island or similar is due to piracy.

        The only up is that online games are having a ball, since cracking those are harder. My hope is that someday it will be feasible to simply host the game on some server and deliver all the content over the

        • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:01AM (#26210163)

          If it was only one gun, rather than 99.999/100 of the weapon production on the world, I would see your point. As a sword fight practicioner, I really hate all the gun buying going on. I'd bet that's the reason we don't see another grand master sword forge is due to gunfights.

          i.e.: Your personal feelings and/or situation don't make reality right or wrong.

          • by OneSmartFellow (716217) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:35AM (#26210283)
            Your personal feelings and/or situation don't make reality right or wrong

            Oh, contrair, his/her personal feelings and/or situation is reality as he/she is experiencing it.
          • by theaveng (1243528)

            "The best facet of the Second Amendment is that it's not needed..... until the government tries to take liberty away." - Founder of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson

        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:18AM (#26210215)

          As a legal user of P2P, and as a PC gamer (linux only, though), I really hate all the copyright infringements going on.

          If copyright law were a more reasonable reflection of reality, there wouldn't be anywhere near as much copyright infringement going on.

          I'd bet that the reason we don't see another monkey island or similar is due to piracy.

          And you'd be wrong.

          • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@noSPam.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @08:42AM (#26210499) Homepage

            Piracy was already rampant when monkey island came out. It came on floppies which were easily copied.
            But the fact is, making good playable games is less profitable than making lousy games with pretty graphics.

            • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @11:45AM (#26211897) Homepage

              But the fact is, making good playable games is less profitable than making lousy games with pretty graphics.

              It's a lot simpler than that - games with crappy graphics don't sell. Period. That doesn't mean it has to be state of the art, but people don't want games that look bad. If you bought say a board game then maybe the gameplay is good but if it was flimsy, tacky and of generally poor quality you wouldn't like it either right? People expect more as a base minimum and that means fewer and bigger games, I don't think the crap to good ratio has gotten any worse, there was plenty crap and there is plenty crap. And the good games have gotten bigger and longer when you find them.

              I used to play Civilization, but it doesn't hold a candle to Civilization 4 in so incredbly many ways. I used to play Dune 2, but it doesn't hold a candle to modern RTS games with lousy queue management, no formations and whatnot. I used to play Test Drive, but it doesn't hold a candle to any modern driving game when it comes to realism and immersion. When you take off the rose-colored glasses a lot of the old games lack features you'd expect today. A lot of the time the AI is quite pathetic. A lot of the genres liks MMORPGs or Sims-style games didn't exist. A lot is that you're not 15 anymore and demand different things from games.

              There are a few gems that survive the test of time, but it's a bit like comparing the very, very best of the last 50 years of music against last years hits. They don't "compare" as 90% of that will be forgotten, but then we've already forgotten the crappy 90% of the past. To each his own, but every so often I find a game that makes me go "Wow, we're really made progress here". I think that if you can't see it, you're a bit too blinded by presumption to look.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by yanos (633109)
                The parent said "making good playable games is less profitable than making lousy games with pretty graphics", I don't think he meant pitching old games from the 90s against what you find in the current generation.

                World of Goo was an awesome game and its gameplay didn't seem dated, nor was there some feature you feel was missing. It still feels like a modern game, despite not being a polygon powerhouse.

                Currently there is an obsession with triple A games in the industry that go way beyond my comprehensi
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Garwulf (708651)

            "If copyright law were a more reasonable reflection of reality, there wouldn't be anywhere near as much copyright infringement going on."

            The thing of it is that copyright law IS a reasonable reflection of reality. And as a creative artist and distributor myself, that's what annoyed me so much about the RIAA lawsuits - it made something that was realistic and reasonable look in the public eye like some sort of club for extorting money from dead grandmothers.

            The area of copyright law that deals with the gene

            • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @11:40AM (#26211851)

              I agree with you in principle, but I have to disagree with you on your analysis.

              While you say that copyright was fine, until the public became aware of it, I would argue that copyright was not fine. It has morphed from the original concept of protecting works for a long enough time so that the creator could gather compensation to something that exists for such a long duration that copyrights today are effectively granted in perpetuity.

              The life of the author plus 50/70 years is a damned long time. And it has now placed copyrights beyond the lives of human beings. That has made them the currency of corporations, and are no longer within the means of trade for us mere mortals.

              I disagree entirely with how copyrights have become the currency for corporations.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by drsmithy (35869)

              The thing of it is that copyright law IS a reasonable reflection of reality.

              If that were true, copyright infringement wouldn't be considered a significant problem because only a tiny minority of people would be doing it.

              When lots of people are breaking law, or do not consider others breaking it to be particularly "wrong", that's nearly always a good indication that the law is bad. The most obvious problem with copyright is term lengths. That copyright lasts an instant past the death of the owner at all

        • by troll8901 (1397145) <troll8901@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @08:10AM (#26210393) Journal

          I cannot understand why his post is rated "Score:0, Troll". He is merely stating his personal opinion.

          Isn't Slashdot all about reading the articles and discussing them in a civilised manner?

          • by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @10:23AM (#26211159) Homepage Journal
            Welcome to Slashdot, where your opinion matters.
            Here are your opinions:
            Music should be free
            Software should be free (except the software written by the developers in slashdot)
            Obama is awesome
            McCain sucks
            America sucks
            The war in Iraq is bad
            Homosexuality is awesome
            There is no God
            Criminals should receive a stern talking to, and having learned their lesson, be put back on the street
            Guns are evil
            Microsoft is evil
            Google is awesome (but stay tuned for further updates)
            Linux is awesome
            Apple is awesome
            We will keep you informed as you form other opinions or your opinion changes. Enjoy your discussion on slashdot!
            • by SoupGuru (723634) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:07PM (#26212137)

              Slashdot is news for nerds and nerds are typically well educated. Education is correlated with the left side of the political spectrum. So here you have an internet discussion involving nerds and I don't think it would be any surprise that the majority opinions reflect most of those you listed. There aren't many righties on here unless you count the libertarians, of which there are quite a few.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Myopic (18616)

              Guns aren't evil, they're awesome.

              Criminals shouldn't be put back on the street, they should be incarcerated in accordance with justice.

              America, despite its faults, is still the best and greatest country ever.

              Homosexuality is deeply unappealing, but otherwise okay.

              Other than that, yeah, you're pretty close.

        • by theaveng (1243528)

          >>>As a legal user of P2P, and as a PC gamer (linux only, though), I really hate all the copyright infringements going on. I'd bet that the reason we don't see another monkey island or similar is due to piracy.
          >>>

          I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect it.

          Similarly as a legal purchaser of CDs (I prefer uncompressed music) and also TV shows on DVD, it disturbs me that I can buy unmitigated crap like Season 6 of 24, or Star Drek Voyuer, and I have no legal recourse to recover my money

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Personally, I rent.
          • by BAKup (40339) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @10:19AM (#26211121)

            As a result I feel it's necessary to "test drive" media before purchase. With CDs I can get legal samples online, but with TV shows on DVD there is no method except to download it and see if it's any good. It's illegal, but I do it because I don't want to get stuck wasting thousands of dollars on trash.

            Other options.

            1. Netflix. They even happen to have Galactica 1980 on watch it now.
            2. Reading reviews online.
            3. Reading reviews in magazines.
            4. Netflix.
            5. Asking friends about shows.
            6. Hulu.
            7. Youtube (Ok, this one isn't fully legal)
            8. Blockbuster.
            9. All the other video rental stores.
            10. Did I mention Netflix?

            I know not everything would be on all the options listed, so there's up to 8 other options, unless you don't have any friends, then there's only up to 7 options.

            So don't say the only option you have is to download.

        • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @09:33AM (#26210769) Homepage

          I'd bet that the reason we don't see another monkey island or similar is due to piracy.

          That is not true. Adventure games, like Monkey Island, have been deemed not popular/profitable enough to make. The big publishers only want to turn out shooters, war sims, and the occasional fantasy/RPG title. It isn't just adventure games either...when is the last time you saw a decent flight sim? Or, more specifically my personal favorite - space flight sims.

          Piracy is being used as a digital bogeyman to explain anything and everything that publishers dislike.

          Music/Game sales slipping? Must be piracy, there's no way people don't like what we're selling or how we're selling it. Find new talent? Embrace on-line distribution? Why do that when we can just prosecute?!

          Producing games is expensive. Nobody wants to just break-even these days, they all want the next ginormous hit. So everyone is trying to copy the leader... That's why you get eleventy-billion Halo clones and GTA-alikes. MMORPGs, similarly, were seen as a cash cow. For a while there we had new MMORPGs being announced weekly.

          My hope is that someday it will be feasible to simply host the game on some server and deliver all the content over the net

          It already is [steampowered.com], and in such a way that it's actually a boon to both the producers and the players.

          Steam is good for producers because you've got centralized tracking of game registration/authorization. And people are hesitant to mess around too much with a game on Steam because it can get their entire Steam Account (and all their Steam games) banned. Sure, it can be cracked/bypassed... But it works at least as well as SecuROM does, and it's less invasive to the player. Plus you can distribute your game digitally, so you save on packaging.

          Steam is good for players because all you need is your username and password to re-install anything you've ever purchased on Steam. Lose the CD? No problem! Reformat your entire computer? No problem! Just log in to Steam, kick off the download, and wait. You also get all your game updates distributed automatically, built-in profile/achievement/friends/community support, and a very simple and easy-to-use on-line store.

          But distribution methods like Steam don't fix the problem. It doesn't matter how you distribute your games/music or how you protect them - if people don't feel that they're worth the price you're asking, they won't buy.

          Some people are going to pirate no matter what. There's no way they'll ever pay a cent. It might be the thrill of doing something "illegal"... It might be some kind of weird political statement... But they're just never going to pay.

          But then you also have folks who are just unwilling to pay $60 for yet-another-scifi-shooter that is a crappy imitation of Halo with only 5 hours of gameplay. They may be willing to pirate a copy of it just to see what everyone is talking about. They may be bored enough to play around with it for a few hours. But they aren't willing to shell out $60 for a piece of crap.

          You aren't the only person who likes adventure games. If EA was willing to put the time and resources into turning out a decent adventure title it would sell. But you (and the other adventure fans out there) can't buy what they aren't making.

          Similarly I would buy a decent space flight sim, if they'd make it.

          Hopefully recent titles like Dead Space and Mirror's Edge mean that EA is finally willing to try something new... But I'll believe it when I see more than one or two interesting titles.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @08:21AM (#26210445) Homepage

        Soon sending a song through the web will bring larger fines than experimenting with nuclear weapons at home.

        The fines are already at the level where it doesn't matter. The median household income in the US is about 50k$, and at 150k$/song you're being sued for your life earnings for sharing a CD with 15 songs. If you're sharing your music collection with your friends, say 200 CDs * 15 songs then even at a 750$ statutory minimum you're also looking at the same. It's the point where it just doesn't matter - if I owed 2 milion dollars or 200 million dollars or 200 trillion dollars it wouldn't matter. It's a "life" sentence for sharing music files...

        • by theaveng (1243528)

          >>>150k$/song you're being sued for your life earnings

          If I was fined 150,000 dollars the only kind of "payment" the CEO of RIAA would receive is a bullet. Tyrants must fall.

    • by johndmartiniii (1213700) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:09AM (#26209995) Homepage
      Of course this is how the statement should be interpreted. It does, however, indicate that the ISP in question might be pretty realistic about the reality of the RIAA interpretation of copyright law: that it is not tenable in the long run and that everyone cannot simply be expected to jump on board. While it is not an unequivocal "no," it does indicate a reluctance to simply comply: though, that reluctance might indeed be assuaged by a little cash (probably a lot of cash.

      Maybe the ISP's will charge RIAA so exorbitantly that they it will be a deterrent to their seeking compliance in the first place.
    • by MRe_nl (306212) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:26AM (#26210065)

      "It is just a matter of money before those ISPs start cooperating."

      From the article;

      "First, when a media company demands he kick a customer off the network, there is very little in the way of proof offered that the person in question has committed a crime, according to Scroggin. Yet, entertainment companies want Scroggin to simply wave goodbye to a customer who might have signed up for a three-year plan. At $40 per month, that customer is potentially worth $1,440 to Scroggin over the life of the plan. That, says the ISP owner, is unreasonable.
      Next, it's expensive and time consuming to ask highly paid technicians to chase down IP logs and customer IDs, Scroggin said, noting that it's especially difficult nowadays because it's extremely easy to spoof IP addresses.
      And then there are the letters Scroggin receives from Hollywood that demand he act or else.
      Scroggin warns that the film and music industries must try a new tack if they want cooperation from ISPs."

      It seems it's not just a matter of money, it's a question of proof, technical feasability, willingness on the part of the ISP's and quite a lot of money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Repossessed (1117929)

        I'll take that. At 50 million file sharers and 1,500 grand (minimum) a piece for the ISPs to drop them, how long could the RIAA hold out? And i love a good courtrom brawl, it'd make for funny trials.

    • by VorlonFog (948943) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:39AM (#26210295) Homepage Journal
      From the background article of the same source: "In regards to billing, we fail to understand what you mean with that!" Apparently, that question is far too complex and foreign a question for these money-hungry scum to comprehend.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "What's your billing address?" That's not exactly an unequivocal rejection. Where would all you music sharers be if the RIAA responds with a valid billing address? It is just a matter of money before those ISPs start cooperating.

      He's not saying that all the RIAA needs to do is open their checkbooks. What he really meant was that the Righteous Inquisition Army of Autocrats shouldn't be expecting a free lunch from the ISPs for the dubious honor of being their loyal army of thuggish lapdogs. And that any legal threat letters to do so for free will be redirected to the nearest convenient trashbin.

  • Legal? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @05:59AM (#26209953)

    What is the legality of this? RIAA tells them that they represent Metallica and I have a rar file called metalica. This would mean that the provider opens my rar file and looks into it. They should not be allowed to do so. Privacy and such, you know.

    In Belgium what happens is that a letter is send to the provider that user X with IP Y at time Z was downloading a file that they believe to contain copyrighted material. The provider then could do several things. Basicaly 1) forward the letter or 2) ignore it.

    No information could go to the local RIAA. This is called privacy. So the only thing they could do was try to sue. However the courts said that they would not follow up unless people where making money out of it.

    So copying songs and selling them: burn in hell.
    Downloading them and sharing with friends or strangers: nothing happens.

    The fact that I have 60 petabyte of songs downloaded does not mean they lost money. I stopped buying long before the internet made it possible to download. I shared music with friends on casette. Hey, that is a good casette, can you make me a copy? How did you get it?
    Well, I got copies from friends and using my dual-cassette player copied the different numbers so I had my own music, minus the crap.

    When I think since when this has been going on, I am getting old.

  • Rocky Road (Score:3, Funny)

    by retech (1228598) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:00AM (#26209959)
    Obligatory Take Down Notice:

    Dear sir or madame;
    You are currently infringing upon a protected named asset; "Rocky Road" ice cream. You are hereby notified to remove any and all uses of a known name, links to it and all other references.

    You may, however, re-title the article: "The RIAA's Moose Tracks Ahead" since that name is not copyrighted.
  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:01AM (#26209963) Journal

    why does the RIAA have to pay this ISP? Part of the value that the ISP provides to customers is the ability to pirate music. Therefore, the ISP should be paying for this.

    And the ISP should send the RIAA a pony.

    And a cute little puppy.

    Whups, sorry about that. I channeled the RIAA there for a second.

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sique (173459) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:00AM (#26210159) Homepage

      Hey! This screams for a car analogy ;)

      1. Part of the value that the car manufacturers provide to customers is the ability to use the road. So car manufacturers should be paying for roadbuilding :)
      2. Part of the value that light bulb manufacturers provide to customers is the ability to travel at night with your car, so the light bulb manufacturers should be paying for car building.
      3. Part of the value that roadbuilding provides to the road users is the ability to get away from a crime scene very fast, so road builders should sponsor the local police.

      Any more ideas? :)

    • why does the RIAA have to pay this ISP? Part of the value that the ISP provides to customers is the ability to pirate music. Therefore, the ISP should be paying for this.

      Hmm.. Looking at my contract with my ISP, running a server is not allowed. P2P is a form of a server, therefore, also not allowed.

      It also prohibits illegal activities.

      Finally, it states that termination of service due to violating the terms of the contract does not relieve the subscriber of the obligation to pay the service fees.

      Ergo, my ISP already has plenty of incentive to find excuses to disconnect subscribers: Money for service not rendered. (Same goes for the other ISPs available to me.)

      Out of curiosi

      • In that case sending, for example, pictures through MSN Messenger wouldnt be allowed to...
        If they'd go that far as a ISP I forsee good business for the first ISP that does allow servers. (Mine does btw)

  • by tsa (15680) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:02AM (#26209965) Homepage

    I can't believe sueing people like the RIAA does is a viable business model. The costs must outweigh the benefits by far. Even if the RIAA manages to win a case against a poor grandmother who has never heard of P2P and the like, she won't be able to pay the fine because the costs of defending herself have bankrupted her for good. I have a very hard time understanding the people who work for the RIAA and sue people for a living.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by icsx (1107185)
      Well apparently RIAA is not suing anymore. Instead they try to get ISP's into their bandwagon to cut off connections if people do illegal stuff. However, why any ISP which is doing commercial business would do this for free or why would they even consider going after their paying customers in the first place? ISP is not a police and people's privacy must be respected and law followed.
    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:14AM (#26210015)

      . . . it looks to me like they are ramping up to sue ISPs. They are probably lobbying right now to get laws requiring ISP enforcement.

      There is more money to squeeze out of them, compared to grandma.

      Viable business model? More like a dieing business model. I would prefer to see a music industry in the future, that is comprised of artists and consumers, where the artists are payed fair prices for their work.

      And no big record labels.

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:19AM (#26210033)
      I can't believe sueing people like the RIAA does is a viable business model. The costs must outweigh the benefits by far. Even if the RIAA manages to win a case against a poor grandmother who has never heard of P2P and the like, she won't be able to pay the fine because the costs of defending herself have bankrupted her for good.

      It's a terror campaign. The idea is to intimidate the public so that they're afraid to pirate. It doesn't matter if they lose money suing one victim, if a thousand others are thereby frightened away from piracy.

    • by gzunk (242371) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:08AM (#26210181) Homepage Journal

      It isn't a viable business model, it doesn't need to be, because the RIAA isn't a business. It's a business association made up of record labels, such as Sony, Warner et al - see Link, and it does the bidding of the member companies.

      http://www.riaa.com/aboutus.php?content_selector=aboutus_members [riaa.com]

      It's funded through dues, which all the member companies pay. It doesn't need to make a profit because it's not a business.

    • This isn't about getting the money back, of course, it's abou tstriking fear into the hearts of small people. Do maffia thugs care about the lost money when they break someone's legs, or sink his feet into cement and dump him in the river? Of course not, it's all about sending a message to others that this could be YOU next time.
    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @09:49AM (#26210861) Homepage

      I can't believe sueing people like the RIAA does is a viable business model. The costs must outweigh the benefits by far. Even if the RIAA manages to win a case against a poor grandmother who has never heard of P2P and the like, she won't be able to pay the fine because the costs of defending herself have bankrupted her for good. I have a very hard time understanding the people who work for the RIAA and sue people for a living.

      It isn't. Suing people is not the RIAA's business model.

      They're used to making money by being the gatekeepers of music. Traditionally, if you wanted to be a musician, it was expensive to get your music heard. You had to get it recorded onto a record/tape/CD... Get it packaged and distributed to retailers... Get it played on the radio... Get tours booked... This is what the RIAA did. They discovered people, provided the means for them to distribute their music, and profited from the whole thing.

      These days it is easy to distribute music. Anyone with a microphone and a MySpace page can make their music available to anyone and everyone who wants to hear it. You can easily collect payments directly through something like PayPal. You can even use Cafe Press to turn out promotional materials yourself. The RIAA, in short, is no longer needed.

      These lawsuits aren't intended to make money, they're intended to scare people. The RIAA wants to convince people that on-line distribution in general is bad. They want people to be terrified of downloading anything, regardless of where it comes from. Then they can go back to selling CD's and being the gatekeepers that they used to be.

  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:04AM (#26209975) Homepage Journal
    This small ISP is a perfect example of why the RIAA's new scheme for <strike>free money</strike> music protection simply won't work. Content filtering, detection and litigation on the ISP's part costs money and takes time. ISP's aren't NPO's, they don't do charity work.
  • Makes some sense (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jay Tarbox (48535) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:02AM (#26210167) Homepage Journal

    The equipment and software to do filtering properly (up to layer seven) can cost a lot of money. Most ISP's don't already have this stuff unlike corp or edu environments which may already have this gear to protect their internal networks.

  • They wont win (Score:5, Informative)

    by johnsie (1158363) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @07:17AM (#26210209)
    This whole story bores the crap out of me... It's been going on pretty much since the mp3 was invented. I remember it being an issue back when the original mp3.com was founded in the 90's. The RIAA cant ever stop people recording or distributing sound. Maybe they have some influence in the US, but there are billions of people on the web who don't live in the US and will continue to copy and share music/videos. I've heard that there are chinese p2p programs like ppstream that allow you to watch hundresds of recent movies on demand and there's nothing the Americans can do about it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ferd_farkle (208662)

      "It's been going on pretty much since the mp3 was invented."

      In fact, it (the grubby behaviour of Music Publishing) has been going on since the invention of the player piano.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pipatron (966506)

      It started a long way before any computer was invented. I guess the first one was the copying of musical scores. Then there was automatically playing pianos that would kill the pianist industry... then there was (in random order) radio, FM radio (this was a separate threat because the quality was better and stuff), record players was a threat to the performing artists, tapes, cassettes, recordable CDs, etc etc.

      Just face it, they will use every excuse imaginable to maintain the status quo. The arguments wil

  • Seems to me that the RIAA doesn't need every ISP to join it in this fight anyway. As long as the RIAA can get some of the big ISPs involved, they might be able to get people to cut-down their downloading.

    Anyway, I don't really understand what slashdoters want the RIAA to do exactly (well, other than curl up and die). It seems to me that the recording industry has hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. I think it's fairly obvious that a group watching it's life-blood sucked away by illegal downloadi
    • by Gorshkov (932507)

      I think it's fairly obvious that a group watching it's life-blood sucked away by illegal downloading is going to get over-zealous in this fight.

      And that's the crux of the issue there - it has not been established, nor has it come even CLOSE to being established, that downloading is the cause of their problems - and you can make the case that the illegal downloading actually INCREASES their sales.

      I have a huge music collection - 90% CD/DVD/vinyl, 10% downloads. One of the things I have is the top 100 song

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Modern technology has rendered their business model obsolete, and they are trying to hold on to it by force instead of adapting to the new way.

      When they were founded distribution and advertising of media cost a lot of money, so they actually provided a semi useful service.. These days distribution and some level of advertising can be done for free, so the value they provide is now considerably less and yet they insist on charging more and placing more restrictions.

      Technology moves on and makes things obsole

  • Outsourcing.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NfoCipher (161094)

    It could be the RIAA is getting ready to sue the providers who will in turn sue its customers to recover costs. Essentially outsourcing the individual lawsuits and focusing on those companies who might just have the cash to pay up when they lose.

  • Not perfect, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @08:11AM (#26210399)

    The RIAA's new strategy isn't perfect, but it's a helluva lot better than trying to sue their customers into lifelong financial ruin.

    When it comes right down to it, you're not supposed to share their music, and the content industry is well within their rights to tell you to stop if they see you doing it. And if ISPs agree to block you for repeat offenses, then you're pretty much out of luck if you don't heed those warnings.

    There are two things still shady about this plan, though, and both have to do with reducing the RIAA's liability. One has to do with MediaSentry not being licensed as a private investigator. It's possible that the new plan will prevent them from having to get a license in each state where they operate or investigate. Most likely, MediaSentry will never get taken to task for their alleged illegal actions in most states, even though their activities won't change.

    And two, the RIAA lawsuits have had a lot of missed targets, each carrying the possibility of backfiring in a big way. The RIAA reduces this liability once they're sending nastygrams to ISPs instead. Under the new plan, they can pretty much send letters complaining about Intartubes users at random, and they never have to worry about countersuits or heinously large legal expenses. Of course, this also means that there's little avenue for protest - if your ISP cuts you off, how are you going to convince them of your innocence (aside from paying a jacked-up reconnection fee, of course)?

    • by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @09:19AM (#26210655)
      Not to be overly optimistic, but I would guess that if/when they put this plan into action and start disconnecting innocent people, the ISPs will be the ones to start getting taken to court. I have a sneaking suspicion that if (hopefully before) that happens, ISPs will be very reluctant to go along with their plans.
  • by Aerynvala (1109505) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @08:30AM (#26210467) Homepage
    Honestly, the only thing that got me buying music again (after about 10 years of not buying more than a single mp3 here and there) was not only finding music that I really, really liked but also artists who I respected. When the music isn't disposable, in terms of quality and my investment in the artists, I found myself wanting to pay for it. And in some rare cases, pay for it more than once: ie a physical as well as digital copy. The only reason I would download an album via torrent/download site now is if I couldn't preview the whole thing on the artist's website. The 30 second previews on iTunes/Amazon just is not sufficient to make a buying decision. Giving me the ability to preview an album, more than once, in a way that is not too difficult (no installing anything more than say flash in my browser) for me to use and I'm more prone to give the music a chance, care about the music and (if it appeals to me) buy it.

    The artists/bands I'm most willing to spend my spare money on are the ones that are able to interact with fans on a somewhat personal level: twitter, blogs, youtube videos, etc. I get to see them as real people and it increases my estimation of the value of their music. I spend money to go to their concerts, buy their merchandise and physical cds.

    But the industry seems to be designed to work on quantity not quality. Corporate funded 'artists' like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus are part of a huge hype machine that is about being 'cool' rather than creating music that really makes an impression or impacts people emotionally. It's about getting as much crap sold to as many people as possible, not putting out the best you can put out there. And so, naturally, people will treat it like the disposable crap that it is. This week my niece OMGLOVES! the Jonas Brothers, next week it'll be some other corporate construct. And she'll never remember any of it past the following year.
  • What it always comes down to is that the RIAA never has any proof. When you buy a song, you get a right to use license, which means you have access to one copy of song/album xyz to listen to. But you could loose or have your copy stolen from you, that doesn't mean you lost the right to use license.

    How can they prove that you never purchased what you downloaded? They can't!

    Remember Eiffel 65? I had their CD, then I lost it, so I hit up WinMX (I think it was at the time), and downloaded it. What do you have t

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @10:13AM (#26211071)

    Chris Rock has a routine that bullets should cost $5000, because if a bullet cost $5000 there would be no death by random bullets.

    Similarly, if RIAA and MPIAA has to pay a HUGE fee UPFRONT to remove a single user from an ISP, then they would target serious offenders, not just attempt to create an environment of fear.

    I'm not unsympathetic with what RIAA and MPIAA claim they want to do, ensuring that artists get fair compensation for their work, what I find despicable are their actions and tactics and the fact that the artists get next to nothing (or actually nothing.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rossz (67331)

      Chris Rock has a routine that bullets should cost $5000, because if a bullet cost $5000 there would be no death by random bullets.

      And it's a damn stupid idea. I like to target shoot. On a typical trip to the range I go through several hundred rounds of ammo. Under his idiotic plan, my hobby would cost me at least a million dollars. He wants to tax an innocent hobby so that only the very rich and elite chosen class can afford it.

      His idea also assumes that criminals would follow the law and only buy their

  • Shameless plug! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shin0r (208259) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @10:29AM (#26211213) Homepage

    http://superawesomebroadband.com/ [superaweso...adband.com]

    Unlimited connections on static IPs. Secure VPN exits in Sweden and Switzerland. No download or upload limits. No content filtering. No port blocking. No packet shaping. No transparent web caches. No fair usage policy. No Phorm. No small print. No call centres. No lock in period. No cooperation with the RIAA / MPAA.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:38PM (#26212555) Homepage

    It is all free now. Period. No recourse.

    Law enforcement? Ha. Nobody gives a damn. Civil suits? Sorry, but we're putting roadblocks in the way to ensure that anonymous users on the Internet STAY anonymous and cannot be sued.

    Now the down side to this is pretty clear - if I use the Internet, I can get away with anything. Either the court doesn't understand the technology or there are regulations and customs in place to prevent any real prosecution. Sure, if I run to a cop and say "I did it! Aren't I kewl!" I will find myself in trouble. But if I can contain my glee I have nothing to fear.

    But the RIAA isn't going to benefit from the "downside" to this. There isn't any rescue for them - if it is in digital form, then it can be shared. They get to sell one and only one copy so it better be priced right. From then on, it is a free-for-all with everyone with high-speed Internet downloading whatever they want. Don't have a broadband connection? Too bad, you aren't included in the new economy. I guess you still have to pay. Until you wise up or we have a tax payer supported Internet Utility so everyone gets stuff for free.

    Recorded music has been forced into being an ad-supported loss-leader. Sure, there are some folks that will pay iTunes to aswage their guilt. Or the latest incarnation of AllOfMP3.com. Whatever. None of this makes for a "business" to the people producing the stuff, and the more people learn about BitTorrent and other P2P tools the less traffic iTunes will have. Guilt? Well, I'm sure the guilty will always be with us, just like the poor. I don't think it will be enough to keep them in business, but there will always be people that find a store to pay 10x as much as somewhere else. Why do these stores stay in business?

    But no matter what, the idea of anyone paying for recorded music will be pretty much like the idea of paying for sex from 26-year-old crack whores. Some people do it, but nobody really understands why and everyone thinks it is disgusting.

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