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RIAA Sued For Fraud, Abuse, & "Sham Litigation" 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the chickens-coming-home-to-roost dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "It's been a rough week for the RIAA as massive layoffs are about to cost many employees their job. On top of that, the anti-piracy outfit is being sued in North Carolina for abusing the legal system in its war on piracy, particularly for civil conspiracy, deceptive trade practices, trespassing and computer fraud in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Moursy. Named along with the record companies as defendants on the counterclaims are Safenet (formerly known as MediaSentry) and the RIAA. This case first started out as 'LaFace Records v. Does 1-38' until the court required the RIAA to break it up into 38 separate cases, at which point it morphed into 'SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Doe.' Only after the RIAA finally got its 'expedited' discovery did it become SONY v. Moursy. And from the looks of things, it has a long, long way to go. The RIAA hasn't even filed its answer to the counterclaims yet, but is making a motion to dismiss them on the grounds of legal insufficiency. Sound like a good investment of record company resources, anyone?"
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RIAA Sued For Fraud, Abuse, & "Sham Litigation"

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  • by gavron (1300111) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:30PM (#27031367)
    Thanks for staying on top of it, Ray!!!

    Ehud

    • by gravos (912628) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:45PM (#27031513) Homepage
      I'd really like seeing them push the angle about their corporate attempts at controlling world art and culture, turning it into the bland, government approved, Pepsi and MTV generation and focus group designed, placid american/teen idol bands, and flooding us with that insipid product over controlled media.

      That's really what the RIAA's fight is about, controlling the media, itself, and thereby the content on it, which is used to market false images and idols rather than any real talent that could inspire, consol or rally.

      They're giving up the court battle only because they realize now it's cheaper, and entirely possible if not probable, to buy off the medium itself, once again, by having the willing ISPs in their pockets.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Microlith (54737)

        That's really what the RIAA's fight is about, controlling the media

        Is it really? Seems to me if you're referring to TV, Radio and Film they already control it.

        which is used to market false images and idols rather than any real talent

        Ah yeah, because the ones they market are FALSE and the ones that you've never heard of are REAL.

      • by rhizome (115711) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:03PM (#27032145) Homepage Journal

        I'd really like seeing them push the angle about their corporate attempts at controlling world art and culture, turning it into the bland, government approved, Pepsi and MTV generation and focus group designed, placid american/teen idol bands, and flooding us with that insipid product over controlled media.

        Yeah, um...good luck with that one.

        That's really what the RIAA's fight is about, controlling the media, itself, and thereby the content on it, which is used to market false images and idols rather than any real talent that could inspire, consol or rally.

        Is that a bible-thump I hear, way in the background? False idols?

        Here's another angle to consider: the companies that comprise the RIAA do not care about the content. They would just as soon sell you backwards recordings of Niels Bohr lectures as they would a solid hour of Robin Williams going "durrrr" if it made money. What the RIAA is concerned with is distribution and licensing of whatever it is that is being produced. That's it, the content is entirely secondary and merely a vehicle for acquiring dollars.

        • by causality (777677) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:30PM (#27032379)

          Is that a bible-thump I hear, way in the background? False idols?

          I'm not sure what the GP intended by that concept, but I can tell you what it means to me. "Idolatry", when separated from all of the religious language (not such an easy task...) has a very simple meaning. It just means giving undue importance to something, or making a big deal out of nothing. To make up an example that I hope illustrates the point, consider a completely obsessed sports fan who knows the entire lineup of every football team by heart and watches every single game while his wife is neglected and starved for attention. Now, in the proper "order of things", his wife should be more important to him than the antics of professional athletes, for one represents love and commitment while the other represents entertainment. In this case, the man has made an idol out of football, even though he's not bowing down and worshipping anyone or anything.

          Now consider the way marketing is done. There always has to be a big deal made of something that, most of the time, is really not very important or significant. It's always LATEST, FASTEST, GREATEST and there always has to be some kind of excitement attached to it. It's seldom "hey, maybe people will like this" and instead it's BEST THING EVER, BUY RIGHT NOW!!!! Few things that are marketed this way are essential to life and few of them would naturally inspire this sort of passion or enthusiasm; thus it is entirely artificial. There are only so many hours in a day, so someone who buys into the artificial hype would have to do so at the expense of something else that could have been given emphasis instead.

          Here's another angle to consider: the companies that comprise the RIAA do not care about the content. They would just as soon sell you backwards recordings of Niels Bohr lectures as they would a solid hour of Robin Williams going "durrrr" if it made money. What the RIAA is concerned with is distribution and licensing of whatever it is that is being produced. That's it, the content is entirely secondary and merely a vehicle for acquiring dollars.

          True, except that there is one concern about content that impacts the RIAAs of the world, which is the lowering of standards of excellence. If the public thinks something is crap, then it won't sell. Get the public conditioned to accept mostly crap and you can then sell more and more of your products without concern about the relative rarity of true excellence or the higher production costs that it might demand (due to taking more time to produce, if nothing else). Think of most of the popular music that is promoted by the RIAA, how little of it has any lasting or enduring value, how much of it does not require a ton of musical talent to write or to perform, and how the lyrical content is mostly immature prattle with no deep spiritual meanings and no ability to challenge its audience to think in new ways.

          The advantages for the RIAA are that such musicians are plentiful. When a one-hit wonder or a mediocre band gets old and stops selling very well, there are thousands more ready and eager to take its place, waiting for their turn in the spotlight. The perceived advantge for the public is an inexhaustible supply of "new" music (though much of it is formulaic) so they can quickly move on to something else when they have depleted the entertainment value of their current favorites, which won't take long. From a commercial perspective, superficial entertainment with little or no lasting value is quite desirable. It moves product. All of this depends on a general public that, as a whole, is not too discerning and doesn't have specific, refined, individual tastes. If the RIAA knows anything, they know their market. What they choose to promote and not promote is no accident. So in that manner, they do care about content and from their perspective, they'd be crazy not to.

          • by arminw (717974) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @04:34PM (#27033015)

            .....Think of most of the popular music that is promoted by the RIAA, how little of it has any lasting or enduring value, how much of it does not require a ton of musical talent to write or to perform, and how the lyrical content is mostly immature prattle with no deep spiritual meanings and no ability to challenge its audience to think in new ways. ...

            What you ascribe to the RIAA is really a part of our modern Western culture, where nothing lasts very long. It really began when the production of material goods went from one or two at a time in a skilled craftsman's shop to large factories cranking out mountains of identical merchandise. The individual craftsmen's touch on a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture was lost. Modern technology has made it possible for anyone to mass produce art and music in a similar way. Copyright laws must exist only if human creativity, especially in music and literature, is perceived as a commercial product to be bought and sold like any other product. Musicians created their music and painters created their paintings long before anyone had ever thought of copyright. They were content and delighted in having their fellow human beings partake in and be included in the joy of creativity of their art. People with means who enjoyed the art who were not so gifted, took care of the physical needs of these highly gifted ones. These creative artists could put all the effort and creative joy into their work without worrying about where their next bowl of soup was coming from.

            A number of years ago I visited the walled medieval city of Rothenburg in Germany. The quaint little modern shops, located in the centuries old buildings, sold modern goods. One of these was a pharmacy, which had a sign above the door that it had been such since 1497. I entered, and indeed it had much of the same merchandise at any pharmacy in Germany might have. However, in a section occupying about a quarter of the store, they had made a little museum of what the store was like and what was offered for sale to the inhabitants of the town at that time. All their potions were individually tailored by a weight to each customer.

            • by causality (777677) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @04:59PM (#27033259)

              What you ascribe to the RIAA is really a part of our modern Western culture, where nothing lasts very long. It really began when the production of material goods went from one or two at a time in a skilled craftsman's shop to large factories cranking out mountains of identical merchandise. The individual craftsmen's touch on a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture was lost. Modern technology has made it possible for anyone to mass produce art and music in a similar way. Copyright laws must exist only if human creativity, especially in music and literature, is perceived as a commercial product to be bought and sold like any other product. Musicians created their music and painters created their paintings long before anyone had ever thought of copyright. They were content and delighted in having their fellow human beings partake in and be included in the joy of creativity of their art. People with means who enjoyed the art who were not so gifted, took care of the physical needs of these highly gifted ones. These creative artists could put all the effort and creative joy into their work without worrying about where their next bowl of soup was coming from.

              I would say that in the past, skilled craft was essential because there was no other way to produce durable, useful goods. Now we have factories and mass production and economies of scale to take care of our material needs. The mistake we have made is that we act now like everything is a product and that craftsmanship or artistry have become more obsolete.

              What we could do instead is decide that we have raised our material standard of living to where we can now apply craftsmanship and art to higher expressions of our humanity rather than mundane material survival. An economy based on scarcity (as opposed to what is called a resource economy) and a monetary system based entirely on debt (fiat currency, the Federal Reserve and similar systems that the same international bankers have implemented in every industrialized country) and therefore unsustainable are the main reasons why this has been held back. If we can overcome these things, we would find that we stand at the brink of a new Renaissance far greater than anything that has been imagined before. That is our current challenge.

              I agree very much with Bill Hicks when he said that the reason why things are so fucked up right now is that we are undergoing evolution. Hicks went on to say that our institutions are crumbling because they are no longer relevant. Much of the abuses (in my opinion) perpetrated by the RIAA and others have been about these institutions trying to use force, typically the force of law, to remain relevant. I think they are merely prolonging the inevitable. This is a tough time because the old control-and-manipulation-and-coercion based ways of keeping order have to give way first before something new and better can replace them. The unrest and dissatisfaction that is so prevalent right now is part of this process. The one thing that is certain is that our current system is not sustainable. It absolutely must and will either radically change or cause its own collapse. I think something much better is coming that will be based on true love and respect and appreciation for ourselves and each other, for the simple reason that we've tried almost everything else and everything else doesn't work.

              • by smoker2 (750216)
                I agree with the thrust of your argument, but take issue with your second paragraph. Surely if we have achieved a standard of living so comfortable, we should now extend that benefit to all the people before moving on to esoteric symbols of triumph.
                Many generations have been where we are then fallen backwards because it was only ever part of the world that had those benefits. You can never afford to sit back when you have enemies.

                Maybe I'm being too critical, but I'm sure this is crucial if we are to progr
                • by causality (777677)

                  I agree with the thrust of your argument, but take issue with your second paragraph. Surely if we have achieved a standard of living so comfortable, we should now extend that benefit to all the people before moving on to esoteric symbols of triumph. Many generations have been where we are then fallen backwards because it was only ever part of the world that had those benefits. You can never afford to sit back when you have enemies.

                  We've had the physical ability to feed, clothe, and shelter every last man,

                  • For those globalist forces, the present time represents their end-game. They call it the "new world order."

                    Geez, just how old is the tinfoil on that hat of yours? Have a look at the back of one of your greenbacks - can't remember which denomination it is, but didn't one of them have "Novus Ordo Seclorum" on it?

                    I'd suggest you start listening to some younger conspiratorialists, get some fresh material. That one's profoundly dated.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Think of most of the popular music that is promoted by the RIAA, how little of it has any lasting or enduring value

              That's why I still listen to the music of the 60's compared to the pap of today.

              And that's why the RIAA and its foreign-owned record companies are trying to retroactively extend copyright into perpetuity with the cry, "But think about the artists!"

              • by MadKeithV (102058)
                Get off my lawn!
                Plenty of great music has been made in the past 40 years, but you have to *look* for it. Because of the sheer volume of music being produced not that much of it can get the limelight.
              • That's why I still listen to the music of the 60's compared to the pap of today.

                I listen to a lot of stuff from the '60s, and from the '40s, and stuff composed in previous centuries (although, obviously, not recorded until later), but this comment irritates me. There was a huge amount of crap produced in the '60s, but most of it didn't survive. No one aims to buy music that they don't like, and so for music to survive from the '60s enough people must have liked it and enjoyed it for copies to still be floating around.

                If you skim off the top 0.1% of today's music, you get some real

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Nice post, but I'm sure he meant to say false ideals.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Actually, this is more bad news for the artists, who will wind-up footing their own lawyers' legal bills. Truly a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't squeeze play for something that deserves neither. Hopefully, a lot of great artistic work will come from it, as the seemingly endless suffering should inspire mountains of artistic works.
    • by kheldan (1460303) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:59PM (#27031645) Journal
      You took the words right out of my mouth, with that subject line. Seriously.
      The RIAA has been swaggering around like they're Jack Bauer [wikimedia.org] for years now, with all the self-justification that goes along with the reference, but instead of chasing terrorists, or even true "criminals" (copyright violation is really a civil law matter, not a criminal law matter), they're chasing down little kids, moms or grandmas who don't even know what BitTorrent or P2P is, let alone consciously making a decision to use it (kids or grandkids in this case), etc.; if they were chasing down Russian mobsters selling knock-off CDs to fund their other illegal activities then I can see some of it, but they're NOT. Even most of the artists they're claiming to protect don't want much of anything to do with them! It's about time the RIAA legal machine was dismantled, and the pieces destroyed, preferably with fire. They're a relic of a time and a business model whose usefulness and relevance has long since past; it's time for the music industry to stop being in denial about it, embrace the fact that downloading of music is a reality, a genie that can't be put back into it's bottle, and stop beating a dead horse.

      Oh, and memo to the music industry: Please start backing and producing music that doesn't suck, k? We're sick to death of the crap you've been turning out lately.

      • You took the words right out of my mouth, with that subject line. Seriously. The RIAA has been swaggering around like they're Jack Bauer [wikimedia.org] for years now, with all the self-justification that goes along with the reference, but instead of chasing terrorists, or even true "criminals" (copyright violation is really a civil law matter, not a criminal law matter), they're chasing down little kids, moms or grandmas who don't even know what BitTorrent or P2P is, let alone consciously making a decision to use it (kids or grandkids in this case), etc.; if they were chasing down Russian mobsters selling knock-off CDs to fund their other illegal activities then I can see some of it, but they're NOT. Even most of the artists they're claiming to protect don't want much of anything to do with them! It's about time the RIAA legal machine was dismantled, and the pieces destroyed, preferably with fire. They're a relic of a time and a business model whose usefulness and relevance has long since past; it's time for the music industry to stop being in denial about it, embrace the fact that downloading of music is a reality, a genie that can't be put back into it's bottle, and stop beating a dead horse. Oh, and memo to the music industry: Please start backing and producing music that doesn't suck, k? We're sick to death of the crap you've been turning out lately.

        Yep, in all 40,000 cases I've never once seen one that involved actual copyright 'piracy' (the term they are so fond of throwing around). The only real pirates, other than the ones from Somalia, are the RIAA lawyers, who are engaged in a racket akin to extortion.

        • by rts008 (812749) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:54PM (#27033797) Journal

          The only real pirates, other than the ones from Somalia, are the RIAA lawyers, who are engaged in a racket akin to extortion.

          LOL!
          I can dress up like a RIAA lawyer [harlequincostumes.co.uk] next 'talk like a pirate day'! But where to find a vulture to ride on my shoulder? (to replace the standard parrot for 'normal' pirates)

          Back on topic:

          FIRST AMENDED ANSWER, DEFENSES,
                        COUNTERCLAIM, AND
                    THIRD PARTY COMPLAINT

          [the linked pdf from your blog]

          Reading the pdf, it sounds like the Defense is coming out fighting, eyes blazing. I hope they actually have a good case(from the judge's perspective), and the RIAA have unwittingly grabbed a pissed-off tiger by the tail.

      • You said:

        "Oh, and memo to the music industry: Please start backing and producing music that doesn't suck, k? We're sick to death of the crap you've been turning out lately."

        Truer words have not been typed into a computer keyboard!

      • by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:20PM (#27031817)

        if they were chasing down Russian mobsters selling knock-off CDs to fund their other illegal activities then I can see some of it

        In Putin's Russia the complaints of an American business organization, and especially one concerned with copyright, are going to be ignored and probably not even politely ignored. I doubt the Russian mafia is heavily involved in software piracy, there simply isn't a lot of money in knockoff CDs compared to what their other more lucrative criminal enterprises, such as drugs, extortion/protection, and guns, bring in. If the are involved then it is probably lower level functionaries and associates. Either way, those people are effectively beyond the reach of US laws and they could give a crap about copyright infringement. Those ex-KGB/FSB and their former Spetsnaz [wikipedia.org] enforcers make American organized criminals look like boyscouts. If you cross the Russian mafia or get in their way then they just kill you plain and simple (i.e. they "settle out of court"). The only people on the planet more violent than the Russian mob are probably Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The RIAA wouldn't dare go after such people, even if they could, because if they did and caused trouble then their executives and attorneys would become marked men when traveling abroad.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by kheldan (1460303)
          Point well taken; I used "Russian mobsters" as an example simply because it's the first thing to come to mind. Honestly, *I* don't even think anybody is really pirating CDs, except on a very small scale; it's another of the RIAA's red herrings, if you ask me seriously.
          • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday March 02, 2009 @02:04AM (#27037465)
            I think that the people who pirate the most are people in the foreign developing countries, especially Brazil, where incomes are much lower, prices are the same or even higher than in the US, and the chance of getting caught is low. In a previous article [slashdot.org] here on Slashdot it was mentioned that in Brazil a Nintendo Wii game purchased legally would cost the equivalent of $250 US dollars or roughly the monthly salary of the average Brazillian. If you are living in a developing country and you have no money and nothing much to lose (because you probably already live in a slum) then of course you are going to pirate foreign films, music, and games; it just makes sense and that is where the real piracy is around the world (they probably download and do a lot of file sharing from Internet cafes too). However, you are probably right that the downloads are responsible more often than the illegal street vendor selling physical media from the back of a stall in the street markets.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Paradise Pete (33184)

            Honestly, *I* don't even think anybody is really pirating CDs, except on a very small scale;

            I'm not sure exactly what you mean by small scale, but go to any country where the retail price of a CD is more than a day's wage and you'll find unauthorized copies for sale on seemingly every street corner.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by TheRaven64 (641858)
              These people aren't the target of the RIAA lawsuits though, and they can't count as a lost sale, because they can't afford the product. As with Microsoft, it's in the RIAA's interest to allow them to keep pirating in the short term, because it lets RIAA-produced music seep into their culture and when their standard of living has increased enough that they have disposable income to spend on music they will want to buy RIAA-produced albums.
          • Honestly, *I* don't even think anybody is really pirating CDs, except on a very small scale; it's another of the RIAA's red herrings, if you ask me seriously.

            Probably because the professional "pirates" have, unlike the RIAA, realized that it's pointless and has continually shrinking profit margins with the advancing of technology

      • by Cally (10873)

        "It's been a rough week for the RIAA as massive layoffs are about to cost many employees their job [...]"

        Awwwwwwww. We had a whip-round at the office for 'em. Guess we'll just have to go looking for them on skid row - I hope they remember to wear those ATF-style RIAA jackets and caps so we know who to tip it over. To, I mean, who to tip it TO.

      • For what its worth, my opinion is that the RIAA is comprised of lawyers who cannot find work otherwise.

        At some point this country had met its needs of lawyers, but we kept producing more and more. And a present day makes obvious, those lawyers not wanting to take jobs outside of their education (such as managing the shoe dept at Sears), we end up with litigious bullshittery left and right.

        Imagine an America where people are not afraid of garbage litigation to tie them down and rape them for lawyers fees;

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Stormwatch (703920)

        Oh, and memo to the music industry: Please start backing and producing music that doesn't suck, k? We're sick to death of the crap you've been turning out lately.

        Also: stop with the loudness war [wikipedia.org]. It makes even the best artists sound like shit. Seriously, it makes a CD muffled and flat like an old cassete tape.

        • It's really surprising how much better vinyl releases of some modern bands sound. Although an LP has a lower signal to noise ratio than a well-authored CD, the LP release tends not to be compressed so you get all of the bandwidth on the LP used while the CD version is discarding to top few bits of precision and ending up as an inferior version.
    • by Gerzel (240421) *

      What I want to know as a NC voter is who did this and when will they be running again?

      It is nice to have someone worth voting for!

  • by GreenEggsAndSpam (658869) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:32PM (#27031385)

    Before anybody starts in on the "Yay, less employees!" style rant, please remember that there are GOOD people who work at bad companies... not everyone is an evil backstabbing conniving shrew with the goal of proving that everyone is evil and owes them billions of dollars.

    Of course, I have no proof of this "decent people" there, but one can only assume there would be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scubamage (727538)
      Nuremberg defense much? If you work for the bad guys, don't cry when bad things happen.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:12PM (#27031741)

        No, wait. The Nuremberg defense is "I was under orders" - it's used when you actually DID something bad YOURSELF. Merely working for someone who also does bad things is not bad in itself unless and until you yourself do bad things.

        Take Osama's chauffeur, for example, who was kept for years (and probably still is) in our lovely concentration camp at Gitmo. What did he actually do, other than being connected to/working for a genuine bad guy?

        Of course, working for a bad guy isn't really something you SHOULD do, but if you do it anyway, it's not something that should be legally actionable. You are responsible for your OWN actions, not anyone else's. (And in fact, the fact that you ARE responsible for your own actions is precisely why the Nuremberg defense is not considered valid by most.)

        • You're like the asshole who complains about all the innocent contractors on the Death Star!

        • by causality (777677) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:38PM (#27033645)

          Take Osama's chauffeur, for example, who was kept for years (and probably still is) in our lovely concentration camp at Gitmo. What did he actually do, other than being connected to/working for a genuine bad guy?

          Which is pretty funny considering that Osama bin Laden's brother, Sheikh Tarek bin Laden, and his construction company have very close ties to the Bush family, including of course former Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush. In fact the more research you do, the more both the "good guys" and the villians seem to all be one big happy family. They are all connected to each other and either know each other or know each other's immediate families. Anyone else think it's just a little, I dunno, odd, that the media hasn't made this common knowledge? I mean, you'd think that'd be newsworthy considering the utter trivia that's tirelessly discussed about other celebrities and public figures.

          By the same standard that was good enough to indefinitely detain somebody without charging them with any crime, a certain former President should be at Gitmo, too. That's if we're going to invest so heavily in guilt by association. Intentional or otherwise, we Americans certainly haven't lost our sense of irony.

          • Anyone else think it's just a little, I dunno, odd, that the media hasn't made this common knowledge?

            Hasn't it? The BBC ran quite a few stories on this subject around 2001/2 and The Power of Nightmares (BBC documentary from 2004) covered it in a lot of detail, and was released into the public domain to ensure it got even wider coverage.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by meringuoid (568297)
              The BBC ran quite a few stories on this subject around 2001/2 and The Power of Nightmares (BBC documentary from 2004) covered it in a lot of detail, and was released into the public domain to ensure it got even wider coverage.

              This was because no mainstream American channel would touch that documentary. Can't imagine why not, although I gather the phrase 'we would be crucified if we showed that here' was used at one point. So they released it freely to let the Internet bypass that unfortunate bottleneck.

      • by db32 (862117)
        Damn you! I invoked Godwin first and you have a higher +Insightful than me!
    • by db32 (862117) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:47PM (#27031529) Journal
      There were a lot of good people that were Nazi soldiers too. That doesn't make it any less of a good thing that their team lost and they lost their jobs.
    • by causality (777677) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:29PM (#27031879)

      Before anybody starts in on the "Yay, less employees!" style rant, please remember that there are GOOD people who work at bad companies... not everyone is an evil backstabbing conniving shrew with the goal of proving that everyone is evil and owes them billions of dollars.

      Of course, I have no proof of this "decent people" there, but one can only assume there would be.

      This is why many religions have an idea called "right livelihood". The Buddhists are very good at using sensible terms with simple descriptions and so I borrow their term here, but it's a recurring theme appearing in many belief systems. It goes by different names but the concept is that part of having integrity involves earning your living in an honest way that causes as little harm as possible, whether that harm is intentional on your part or incidental.

      I know I could not in good conscience work for the RIAA. I could not see the harm and the human suffering and persecution that they perpetrate and join up with them without having a lot of inner conflict. Most of that conflict wouldn't even be a conscious thing. It would manifest in terms of a general dissatisfaction, of the vacuous sort that "you need more stuff, latest fastest greatest" rampant consumerism is designed to fill. It would be the opposite of being strong and needing very little and having a joyous satisfaction with life that comes from trying as much as possible to live in harmony with other beings. It would cost me my principles and therefore my well-being, not in a catastrophic sense but in a subtle corrupting double-minded sense. When I say double-minded, I mean that sensation that one part of you is for something while another part of you is against that something. It's become common, but that is not at all normal and is properly regarded as a disease (or "dis-ease") state.

      I'm not advocating a religion or a religious belief. I'm saying that sometimes concepts become incorporated into these beliefs for what you might call practical reasons. It's unfortunate that religion has become such a divisive tool for control but I think that for most of them, this was later added onto the original beliefs and observations to make them into "systems". Most of them started out as sincere efforts to experience true health and joy on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. You can see that if you can perform the not-so-easy task of unravelling and getting past the practitioners who know little about their own beliefs, the needlessly complex religious language, and the institutionalization and systematization of what are supposed to be personal beliefs. For most religions, I think the early founders would be quite horrified to see what their ideas have become, not unlike how the Founding Fathers would feel about the monstrosity that our federal government has become. In both cases, that does not mean that the original ideas were unsound, it means that the ideas become monsters when they turn into systems and demand that people conform to and become subservient to those systems. This process is in direct opposition to the idea that a belief is a tool or a helper that is there to give you ideas to consider, test, and accept or reject as part of your own personal quest to decide for yourself what you believe. The idea of "right livelihood" is one that I was thankfully able to test by observing other people instead of having to make my own mistakes and I have found it to be a sound idea.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        So you're talking about morals. And too many people think of the moral law as restrictive and break it. Just because it's the law doesn't automatically make it a bad thing. Some things were actually for all our benefit. Like music. Oh, hang on that's the wrong side of the argument. But the RIAA companies want to play both sides. Have their money and break copyright terms. They are responsible for copyright extension, they have pirated from us. Hah HArRr!!!
        • by causality (777677)

          So you're talking about morals. And too many people think of the moral law as restrictive and break it.

          And if they are thinkers, then they wonder why they have inner conflict or they wonder why they aren't truly enjoying their lives. What you refer to as moral law is not some system that can be cheated. Speaking not of human institutions but of what you might call karma or "divine law", we are never punished for what we do. We are punished by what we become when we do it. No one evades this and there a

    • by Tassach (137772) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:03PM (#27032141)
      There are no good people working at bad companies. They chose to work there. Even the "it was the only job I could get" defense is complete bullshit. You ALWAYS have a choice, even if you don't like the alternatives you have to chose from.

      After I got laid off the last time, I got a VERY lucrative offer from an extremely scummy company that did data mining and direct marketing. After a long discussion with my wife, I turned it down, even though there was a very real chance that doing so would have meant losing my house. Fortunately something else came along, but it was scary there for a while.

      • by rts008 (812749)

        Hear! Hear!
        Well said. Glad you took a positive stand on your principles. That seems too rare of an occurrence these days, but refreshing when it does.

        I was put in a similar position about a year ago. The only difference was when I brought the job offer up to my wife, she told me in no uncertain terms that I should not work for "Those assholes".[quote]

        I too, shortly thereafter got my present job. (and love it)

        P.S. I'm glad to here it worked out well for you! :-)

        • by rts008 (812749)

          *face>palm! *D'oh!

          P.S. I'm glad to here it worked out well for you! :-)

          here!=hear

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Maelwryth (982896)
        "There are no good people working at bad companies. They chose to work there. Even the "it was the only job I could get" defense is complete bullshit. You ALWAYS have a choice, even if you don't like the alternatives you have to chose from."

        Although I applaud you turning down the "scummy company" at risk to yourself and family. I don't agree with your logic. Following the same line of thought leads to;
        "No good Americans" because of the Iraq war.
        "No good Israeli's" because of the attacks on Gaza.
        "No good P
    • by nametaken (610866)

      Bullshit. I hope they all default on their mortgages.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If you are supporting evil, you are evil. You might think you are good, but you are lying to yourself; you might say you are good, but you are lying to others. Hence the whole saying about how hard it is for a rich man to get into Heaven - I think you have to acknowledge the validity of the idea regardless of whether you appreciate the religious window-dressing (I don't, but it doesn't stop me from quoting either. Or at least referring to.) If you own shares in genocide, you're a murderer. It's okay to say

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lalo Martins (2050)
      First: what everybody else is saying re "just say no".

      Second: if there are good people working there, then good for them, the layoff is an opportunity and incentive for each and every one of them to go find a morally acceptable job which won't ruin their health with buried guilt.

      • First: what everybody else is saying re "just say no". Second: if there are good people working there, then good for them, the layoff is an opportunity and incentive for each and every one of them to go find a morally acceptable job which won't ruin their health with buried guilt.

        That's what I say. Let them find honest work.

        • by wasted (94866)

          ...That's what I say. Let them find honest work.

          Is there legal team even slightly qualified for honest work?

          • by wasted (94866)

            Is there legal team even slightly qualified for honest work?

            I meant "Is their legal team even slightly qualified for honest work?"

    • For myself, I will be saying "Yay, fewer employees!" but then that's just me.
  • To quote NOFX... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubamage (727538) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:34PM (#27031401)
    The dinosaurs will slowly die

    And I do believe no one will cry

    I'm just fucking glad I'm gonna be

    There to watch the fall

    Prehistoric music industry

    Three feet in la brea tar

    Extinction never felt so good

  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:41PM (#27031485) Homepage
    • Music isn't sold it's licensed
    • minors cannot enter into a licensing agreement
    • replaying of digital music - downloads or CD - require copying of data to a buffer
    • Using a legitimate copy of digital media is a violation of copyright if there is a lack of a valid license.

    All music sold to and played by minors results in technical copyright violations. Since the RIAA heavily promotes music sales to minors, they are guilty of inducing copyright infringement.

    This could be fun.

    • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:59PM (#27031643)

      • Music isn't sold it's licensed

      No that is not correct. You buy a CD like you buy a book. You only need a "license" if the copyright holder has to give you a limited subset of his or her limited monopoly on copying/distribution. You buy the CD, you do not need any of the copying/distribution rights that are reserved to the copyright holder.

      I don't know where this idea that music is "licensed" comes from. Sometimes I think the RIAA is spreading this to make us believe we don't really own the CD's we bought.

      • Sony tried just that with their autorun exe... so they could say you "accepted" the malware on your computer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by westlake (615356)
        You buy a CD like you buy a book. You only need a "license" if the copyright holder has to give you a limited subset of his or her limited monopoly on copying/distribution.

        When you a buy a copyrighted book, you do not buy the rights to copy and redistribute the book. You do not buy the right to produce or perform derivative works. I see no difference here.

      • by tinkerghost (944862) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:41PM (#27033685) Homepage

        No that is not correct. You buy a CD like you buy a book. You only need a "license" if the copyright holder has to give you a limited subset of his or her limited monopoly on copying/distribution. You buy the CD, you do not need any of the copying/distribution rights that are reserved to the copyright holder.

        The whole point is that the RIAA is arguing that music is only "sold" when it's convenient for them to deal with it in those terms. Otherwise it's licensed. I am looking at 15 of 20 random CD's having the notice that 'unauthorized lending' is prohibited.

        Copying to buffers for use as intended was supposed to be covered under law. According to Blizzard V Michael Donnelly it actually requires a valid license. That's software, but as we are fond of pointing out here, data is data. If copying software to ram is a copyright violation without a valid license, then copying music to the ram buffers in an MP3 player without a valid license is also a violation.

        The original statement is sort of a unintended consequence train with all of the push to increase copyright strength.

  • crap.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by kribby (964773) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:51PM (#27032039)

    who here knows how to play the world's smallest violin?

  • News for Nerds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:14PM (#27032261)
    It's been a rough week for the RIAA as massive layoffs are about to cost many employees their job.

    It has been tough week all around.

    You could preface every Slashdot story with this line and only the cast of characters would change: Novell lays off openSUSE Linux developers [betanews.com]

  • Ham Sandwich Sued For Not Being Anything Like A Set Of Golf Clubs!

    Got a lawyer? You can file suit. I don't quite get why people got so mightly pleased when they hear that someone of whom they don't approve now gets to spend a bunch of money to deal with the fact they just got sued. Because your neighbor could sue you for the fact that your hubcaps are too shiny, and the reflections aren't being properly stopped by their tinfoil hat. And you'd still have to hire a lawyer.
    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      I don't quite get why people got so mightly pleased when they hear that someone of whom they don't approve now gets to spend a bunch of money to deal with the fact they just got sued.

      When humands feel that they are threatenend, they try to identify that threat. They like it when something is being done about that threat.

      Basic human instinct.

    • Re:This just in! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @04:30PM (#27032971)

      I don't quite get why people got so mightly pleased when they hear that someone of whom they don't approve now gets to spend a bunch of money to deal with the fact they just got sued.

      Because if this lawsuit is successful, it could help to end a long series of persecution and, in my personal opinion, abuse of the legal system (IANAL). This is a good thing. There are solid principles involved here that have nothing to do with personal feelings of "approval".

      It's simple. There are times when wrong things go on. There are times when the legal system has a good chance of correcting those wrong things. This is one of those times.

      Because your neighbor could sue you for the fact that your hubcaps are too shiny, and the reflections aren't being properly stopped by their tinfoil hat. And you'd still have to hire a lawyer.

      If that bore any resemblance to "ending persecution and abuse" then I would see your point. It doesn't, so I don't. Frivolous lawsuits do happen. All frivolous lawsuits are lawsuits; this does not mean that all lawsuits are frivolous. I mean no offense, but please tell me that I have misunderstood what you were getting at, that you in fact are not advocating a position with such a glaring and easily addressed flaw. It's quite easy and tempting to feel "jaded" about our legal system and this will cloud your reasoning if you allow it, but it doesn't have to be that way.

  • ...Let me be the first to say, "Its about fucking time".

  • by olddotter (638430) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @04:28PM (#27032955) Homepage

    While I would love to see this be the beginning of the end to the abuse of tax payer money for the services of the RIAA, I expect they will be around for a while.

    I really do think the thousands of lawsuits they have brought are an unfair burden to the governments that support the courts these suits clog up. We have more important things to do with money in times like these. The RIAA needs to get with the program and give the people what they want, in the format they want it in. If they don't then ultimately they will be pushed aside no matter how ugly or bloody (hopefully figuratively) the battle becomes.

  • by WidgetGuy (1233314) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:40PM (#27033679)
    In my junior year at college, I took an elective course in FORTRAN programming. The bug bit hard. I changed my major from pre-law to electrical engineering. I, then, went on to graduate studies and a 25+ year career in commercial software development (mostly in Silicon Valley). The money was great and I never "worked" a day in my life.

    Until, that is, I turned 50.

    All of a sudden, I couldn't buy a job. Worse, I had to endure being interviewed by 20-something project leads who thought hexadecimal was "some sort of weird religion" (hey, maybe they were right at that). Adding insult to injury, I later heard in one case that they decided not to offer me the position because they didn't think I was "technical enough."

    But, with douche bag outfits like the RIAA, SCO and Microsoft around, it looks like the lawyers are (as usual) going to do just fine. No layoffs in that "profession" (except maybe for a lowly paralegal here and there).

    Does anybody else here now wish they'd become a lawyer? Naw!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      with douche bag outfits like the RIAA, SCO and Microsoft around, it looks like the lawyers are (as usual) going to do just fine. No layoffs in that "profession"

      Not so. Lawyers have been getting laid off in droves. I am sure the RIAA lawyers are, or will be, among them. I only hope their prospective employers read my blog.

  • Interesting timing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @06:58PM (#27034327)

    Massive layoffs just as consumers are starting to bring litigation against them. Just as soon as they actually need those lawyers...they're gone. With any luck we'll see more countersuits now that people know they're less able to defend themselves.

    The irony is obvious if this trend continues. I'd love to see more layoffs and then a freaking gigantic class action countersuit of some kind. Nothing like having to defend against a vastly superior opponent, eh RIAA?

    I like where this is heading.

  • If there's any legal insufficiency in any of this it's in the RIAA initial suit. Making Available != Actual Distribution, except in the pinhead minds of the RIAA themselves.
  • Sound like a good investment of record company resources, anyone?

    I think it is brilliant - the more they engage in this idiocy, the sooner they will collapse. I have, as you might guess, little sympathy for a recording industry that for decades has tried to monopolise our culture with bland muzak, boy/girl bands and all the other, vapid crap that's out there. The real musicians - the ones who don't just stand by the assemblyline, mechanically producing trivial variations over the same, tired old theme over and over - they are not going to suffer, because the fact of the

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