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Judge OK's MediaSentry Evidence, Limits Defendant's Expert 283

Posted by timothy
from the crash-course-in-civil-procedure dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset, the judge has denied the defendant's motion to suppress the MediaSentry evidence for illegality, holding that MediaSentry's conduct did not violate any of the three laws cited by the defendant. The judge also dismissed most of the RIAA's objections to testimony by the defendant's expert, Prof. Yongdae Kim, but did sustain some of them. In his 27-page decision (PDF), Judge Davis ruled that Prof. Kim could testify about the 'possible scenarios,' but could not opine as to what he thinks 'probably' occurred. The court also ruled that, 'given the evidence that there is no wireless router involved in this case, the Court excludes Kim's opinion that it is possible that someone could have spoofed or hijacked Defendant's Internet account through an unprotected wireless access point. Similarly, because Kim explicitly testified that this case does not involve any "black IP space," or any "temporarily unused" IP space ...., he is not permitted to opine at trial that hijacking of black IP space or temporary unused IP is a possible explanation in this case.' Dr. Kim was also precluded from testifying as to whether song files were conspicuously placed in a shared files folder or were wilfully offered for distribution. The judge also precluded him from testifying about Kazaa's functioning, but it was unclear to me what the judge was precluding him from saying, because the offered testimony seemed to relate only to the question of whether the Kazaa-reported IP address precluded the possibility of the device having been run behind a NAT device."
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Judge OK's MediaSentry Evidence, Limits Defendant's Expert

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  • So, what now? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr_eX9 (800448)
    Are we fucked, or are we really fucked?
    • Re:So, what now? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:39PM (#28302321) Journal
      Jammie is, if her defense is blaming it on a wireless router that she doesn't have.
      • And gasp, shock, horror... the judge is sustaining an objection to the defendant's OWN EXPERT stating that the use of private non routable addresses (first time I've heard them called Black IPs) was a "possible cause" when he'd previously testified that there was no such network involved?

        Quelle horreur!

      • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:19PM (#28302697)

        Simple. Change this:

        The court also ruled that, 'given the evidence that there is no wireless router involved in this case, the Court excludes Kim's opinion that it is possible that someone could have spoofed or hijacked Defendant's Internet account through an unprotected wireless access point.

        To this:

        The court also ruled that, 'given the evidence that there is no wireless router involved in this case, the Court excludes Kim's opinion that it is possible that someone could have spoofed or hijacked Defendant's Internet account.

        Then a demonstration. Take a PC into the courtroom and hook it to a cablemodem. Then tell the guys at Defcon [defcon.org] to give the judge a live demonstration of pwnage.

    • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:11PM (#28302617)

      Are we fucked, or are we really fucked?

      This is slashdot. Nobody here gets fucked.

      • Aw.. don't be so negative. Some of us around here are even married. And busy making babies.

      • Hey, not all of us are single geeks living in our parents' basement. Some of us are married and... hmmm... Nevermind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We wait to see what happens once the trail gets underway.

      IANAL, but I did read the objection the first time around on Slashdot (something probably 99% of commenters didn't do) and I thought at the time that the RIAA's side was making some pretty good points, especially about the 14 different ways in which Dr. Kim *speculated* about what might have happened. Whether that's really what his deposition said or not, that's the way they phrased it in the objection, and I'm pretty sure that courts don't generally

  • Could be a victory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:36PM (#28302295) Homepage Journal
    This could be a victory for Jammie. The judge carefully lays out, at pages 13-14, the standards for admissibility of technical evidence.

    I know for a fact that neither MediaSentry nor Doug Jacobson could satisfy those standards.

    Assuming the judge applies those standards evenly, this trial may end abrutly, because the RIAA's only witnesses may both be precluded from testifying.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SomeJoel (1061138)

      Assuming the judge applies those standards evenly,

      In your experience, is this generally the case?

    • by Steve1952 (651150) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:41PM (#28302335)
      I'm not too happy about the ruling that MediaSentry evidence was legally obtained. Then again, since apparently it's now OK to snoop on other computers for purposes of obtaining evidence to use against someone, perhaps I'm just a bit slow to recognize that this is the dawn of a whole new industry!
      • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:44PM (#28302365) Journal
        if by snoop you mean connect to a program that the user willfully loaded and interact with that program in it's normal manner of operation then yes people can do that.

        assuming otherwise is as silly as the "if you are a cop you are not allowed to enter this site" disclaimers that used to be all over the internet
      • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:49PM (#28302431) Homepage Journal

        I'm not too happy about the ruling that MediaSentry evidence was legally obtained.

        Me neither. But I'm not familiar with the Minnesota statute and caselaw. I'm sure that with most state licensing statutes, the result would be otherwise.

      • by jd (1658)

        There are all kinds of needs in the various worlds of the police, detective agencies, spy agencies, supremacy groups, monitoring groups, pressure groups, political groups, etc, that would LOVE to have packet sniffing software installed 100% legally on the computers and/or modems of opponents and rivals.

        Maybe the BBC can start by selling their software for injected targeted ads to US ISPs.

      • by Fieryphoenix (1161565) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:13PM (#28302633)
        There was no ruling that it was legal. There was a ruling that it did not violate any of the three particular laws the defense argued it violated.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by osu-neko (2604)
        If I place a webserver on my computer, and you access the publicly available web page I place there, you're not "snooping", even if your purpose is to obtain evidence to use against me. That's what the court's ruling boils down to. And I think it's fundamentally correct. Reading any information I publicly publish does not constitute "snooping" -- there is, as the court says, "no expectation of solitude or seclusion" when you run a server the purpose of which is to make data available to the public.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      This could be a victory for Jammie. The judge carefully lays out, at pages 13-14, the standards for admissibility of technical evidence.

      I know for a fact that neither MediaSentry nor Doug Jacobson could satisfy those standards.

      Assuming the judge applies those standards evenly, this trial may end abrutly, because the RIAA's only witnesses may both be precluded from testifying.

      Please, make up your mind and tell me how to properly react to this already. I feel like Philip J. Fry when he found out he was going to be snusnu'd to death [wikipedia.org]. Or is watching humans squirm precisely what lawyers just like to watch?!

      • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:54PM (#28302467) Homepage Journal

        Please, make up your mind and tell me how to properly react to this already.

        eldavojohn, you're a cool guy, you can figure it out.

        But seriously...
        1. most of the rulings are totally right down the middle and easily anticipated
        2. the ruling on the MediaSentry is bad, but it's not applicable to the other 49 states
        3. the ruling on the expert is ok except for the part about NAT
        4. if the judge applies the standards he described to MediaSentry and Jacobson, case closed, Jammie wins.

        So it all boils down to whether he applies the same rule; and he appears to be a fairminded Judge, so I would say this portends a victory for the good guys.

        • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:05PM (#28302557) Journal

          eldavojohn, you're a cool guy, you can figure it out.

          Cool -> cold -> frigid -> frigerator -> meat -> meat locker! Meat locker, that's it! Of course!

          Figure -> filter -> filler -> filbert -> finger ... FINGERS !!! Oh my god, how could I be so blind?!

          They're going to kill her, cut off her fingers and hang her in a meat locker! It's brilliant and evil all at the same time.

          Ray, we have to warn her! I'll meet you at the comic book store down the street from my house in fifteen minutes! Our detective crime fighting team name will be the "The Extraordinary Super Aces!"

          • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:38PM (#28302861) Journal
            Ray, where are you Ray? It's been a half hour, Ray! Ray, we were going to stop the RIAA together, remember Ray? Remember?

            I'll just wait outside your office until morning and get an update from you.

            [Posted via Slashdot Mobile.]
            • Ray, where are you Ray? It's been a half hour, Ray! Ray, we were going to stop the RIAA together, remember Ray? Remember? I'll just wait outside your office until morning and get an update from you.

              I was there. Where were you?

              Maybe you were waiting at the wrong comic book store.

              I waited as long as I could, and then went drinking.

              OK I'll expect you at my office bright and early. See you then. But if you miss that appointment too, then just forget it. I can't partner with someone unreliable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by blind biker (1066130)

          if the judge applies the standards he described to MediaSentry and Jacobson, case closed, Jammie wins.

          I am confused (and with a bit of a fever, actually), so forgive my possibly silly question: what standards do you actually mean? And: a few lines above you wrote that MediaSentry's evidence was ruled admissible, so how is now MediaSentry in trouble?

          • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @08:37PM (#28303273) Journal

            When considering the reliability and relevance of expert testimony, the
            Court may examine "whether the theory or technique is subject to testing,
            whether it has been tested, whether it has been subjected to peer review and
            publication, whether there is a high known or potential rate of error associated
            with it, and whether it is generally accepted within the relevant community."

            MediaSentry's evidence is admissible but their "expert" testimony w/re
            to the theory/techniques behind the evidence will never satisfy those requirements.
            subject to testing: yes
            been tested: yes*
            peer review: afaik none*
            publication: afaik none*
            high known or potential rate of error: yes
            generally accepted: /.ers would say no

            Obviously it is better to shut the door on MediaSentry completely,
            but technical evidence with no expert testimony to support it is essentially useless.

            *or at least none validating their method.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833)

      What do you make of the judge's decision on pages 6-7 that the MPDA doesn't apply because MediaSentry isn't based in MN? If the company is investigating someone who lives in MN, and they were in MN when they were being investigated, why is it relevant where the investigation was conducted from? If I go a few hours down to Mexico and start hacking computers in the US, am I no longer liable under US laws just because I'm in Mexico when I did it? I don't understand that decision, I really thought that claim

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I don't agree with the decision on the Minnesota statute, but truthfully I'm not familiar with the statute or caselaw. Under NY law I believe the result would be different.
        • Is it possible to file some sort of hosticus curiae brief? Can I troll the judge?

          Bah, well here's to hoping that MediaSentry is held to the same standards as the defense witness.

      • I agree with you that this kind of rule does not seem evenly applied. If Somebody at MediaSentry was doing this from their living room, then that is where the law applies? If so, your argument would seem to be valid; I could hack from some other country and be beyond U.S. law (assuming no treaty applied, etc.)

        So, how about a hypothetical? I live in a state where both parties must be informed before a telephone conversation can be recorded. But not all states are that way. In some, only ONE party need kno
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      I know for a fact that neither MediaSentry nor Doug Jacobson could satisfy those standards.

      Please provide, in detail, proof of your statement above as it pertains to this case, complete with references.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        The parent post was brought to you by the "Help the RIAA Build a Case from its Current Indefensible Position" fund, and the letter J.

        Two! Two non-testifying witnesses! Haa haa haa!
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      This could be a victory for Jammie. The judge carefully lays out, at pages 13-14, the standards for admissibility of technical evidence.

      I know for a fact that neither MediaSentry nor Doug Jacobson could satisfy those standards.

      Is there a motion before the court on this point, or time to put such a motion forward before the trial?

  • So is the judge saying that any old schmuck can skip being licensed as a P.I., then go out and collect evidence (possibly in bad faith) on private citizens, and have it be admissible in court?

    Whoa. I smell a business opportunity writ large.
    • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:59PM (#28302501) Journal

      Apparently, you have no clue as to the law. Licensing of Private Investigators takes place on the state, and some times even lower, level. The judge ruled that MediaSentry did not break the Minnesota law because they never entered the state, have no employees in the state, never engaged in PI behavior in the state, etc.

      In other words, Minnesota law does not apply to people OUTSIDE of Minnesota.

      Also, MediaSentry argued that the data they did gather was provided by the respondent's computer during the normal course of downloading the data. In other words, they looked at the IP address of requesting computer. Or, do you contend that Slashdot is being a private investigator by logging the IP address your post from?

      • That's the part that I don't understand though. Theoretically, in order to "investigate" a Minnesota resident, would they have to be engaged in activity inside the state of Minnesota?
        • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @08:34PM (#28303253) Journal

          Nope. Because of the joys of the internet, they never had to physically go into Minnesota. They didn't even have to access the computer in Minnesota because Kazaa provides identifying information about the source of the files, including the IP address.

          Here is the judges determination:

          The Court concludes that MediaSentry is not subject to the MPDA. Based
          on the language of the MPDA, the Act does not apply to persons or companies
          operating outside of the state of Minnesota. See Minn. Stat. 326.3381, subd. 5
          (providing procedures for licensing outofstate applications for those who
          "establish a Minnesota office"). Additionally, there is a general presumption that
          Minnesota statutes do not apply extraterritorially. See In re Pratt, 18 N.W.2d 147,
          153 (Minn. 1945), cited in Harrington v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., No. A03192,
          2003 WL 22016032, at *2 n.1 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 26, 2003) (unpublished) (noting
          that Minnesota courts employ "the presumption against a state statute having
          extraterritorial application").
          MediaSentry does not operate within Minnesota. (Connelly Decl. 3.) It
          has no employees in Minnesota and does not conduct any activities in Minnesota.
          (Id.) It pays no taxes in the state and has no agent for service of process here.
          (Id.) MediaSentry conducted no activity in Minnesota relating to this case, and
          all of the information it received was sent by Defendant from her computer to
          MediaSentry's computer in a state other than Minnesota. (Id.) Merely
          7
          monitoring incoming internet traffic sent from a computer in another state is
          insufficient to constitute engaging in the business of private detective within the
          state of Minnesota.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by khope (1302019)
            "MediaSentry does not operate within Minnesota. (Connelly Decl. 3.) It has no employees in Minnesota and does not conduct any activities in Minnesota. (Id.) It pays no taxes in the state and has no agent for service of process here. (Id.) MediaSentry conducted no activity in Minnesota relating to this case, and all of the information it received was sent by Defendant from her computer to MediaSentry's computer in a state other than Minnesota. (Id.) Merely 7 monitoring incoming internet traffic sent from a
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I am uncomfortable with this because Mediasentry sent requests to Minnesota to instigate that sending to Mediasentry. Further, downloads began only after Mediasentry requested them. It seems to me that such requests, which had to go to a specific IP address that plaintiffs allege to have been in Minnesota, constitute activities in Minnesota.

              I agree with you, and I feel that Judge Davis missed the boat on this issue.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        MediaSentry argued that the data they did gather was provided by the respondent's computer during the normal course of downloading the data.

        But was MediaSentry "Making Available" the data themselves, or were they operating a hacked client that would never serve a valid block?

      • by mudshark (19714)
        The defendant lived in Minnesota at the time the investigation took place. If the result of the investigation was to furnish evidence of an alleged activity which took place in the state of Minnesota, to be tried in a Minnesota court, then shouldn't there be a requirement for state oversight of the investigator? Or is the next Nigerian cottage industry going to involve a swarm of C&D letters? Whatever the answer, I sure as hell won't ever move to Minnesota if that's how individual rights are treated.
        • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

          Nope. Read the judge's decision, complete with case law. If the data collection did not occur in , the company has no agents in, and the investigators never entered Minnesota, why should Minnesota have any say, especially when Minnesota law does not apply outside of Minnesota?

          Under your theory, you don't need to move to, live in, or even be in, Minnesota to fall under Minnesota law.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Read the judge's decision, complete with case law. If the data collection did not occur in , the company has no agents in, and the investigators never entered Minnesota, why should Minnesota have any say, especially when Minnesota law does not apply outside of Minnesota?

            Your reasoning is entirely circular. We are discussing whether the Judge erred his decision, and in order to defend the decision, you are citing the decision itself. That makes no sense.

            IMO, the judge erred in concluding that Minnesota's licensing statute can be circumvented by an unlicensed investigator conducting an investigation in Minnesota of a Minnesota resident to gather evidence to be used against that Minnesota resident in a Minnesota courtroom, merely by reason of the fact that his viewing pla

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      What the court is saying is that if you're a person in California sitting behind a computer in California and decide to look up some information on another person, and the information you find is located on a public webserver that happens to be in Minnesota, you are not required to apply for and receive a private investigator's license from the State of Minnesota before reading the web page.

      In this case, the server was a Kazaa server, but it makes no difference if it's a Kazaa server or an FTP server or an

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:42PM (#28302353) Homepage Journal

    Is there a jury involved in a situation like this, or is a judge looking at possible testimony and then deciding which of that testimony he (himself) is allowed to hear vs which he (himself) isn't?

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:43PM (#28302357)
    We've been complaining about judges that were clueless about technology. It appears we have finally gotten one who understands the technology and wants to conduct a fair trial. If this doesn't go the way we want, then not only have we set a precedent, but we also have few remaining valid complaints.
  • We're hearing a lot of concern about whether a nominee for Supreme Court justice has a bias in favor of the people on the lower social levels in this country.

    I think the obvious bias that our judges have in favor of corporate interests is much more worrisome.

    In the US, justice is something you buy.

  • Moral of this story: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:45PM (#28302391) Homepage Journal

    "no wireless router involved in this case".. so be sure you have one, just in case...

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I've got 2, just in case. Leave one configured for open access, but don't connect it to your network, and you can truthfully say "But I was running a open access point... anybody could have connected to it!"
      • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robertNO@SPAMchromablue.net> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:07PM (#28302573)
        Perjury! What an awesome defense strategy! What fantastic intellect!

        The alternative...

        "Are you in possession of an open Wireless Access Point, which allowed any client within range to connect, if its operator so chose?"

        "I am."

        "On the day in question, was this Wireless Access Point connected to your internet connection through ABC ISP Inc?"

        "Uhhh...."

        • "I don't recall"

          • In other words, perjury. Wow. Way to have the courage of your convictions, able to stand up and say "I believe that copyright is wrong, and it's a belief I'm willing to defend." Instead, you're going for weaseling and "w00t. score. free shit."
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        I have set up my home wireless so that it only has access to the Internet and other machines on the wireless network. Machines that need to be secure are on a separate wired network.

        If I want to access the protected network from a "wireless" machine, I do this though a VPN.

        Through the magic of stateful firewall (Netfilter/iptables), the protected machines can access the wireless machines.

      • I've got 2, just in case. Leave one configured for open access, but don't connect it to your network, and you can truthfully say "But I was running a open access point... anybody could have connected to it!"

        Not sure why everyone persists in believing all lawyers are stupid. Some are, but most aren't. Good luck with your strategy.

  • Get over it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:49PM (#28302433)

    Putting up copyrighted files for anyone to download (which is what Kazaa does) is willful copyright infringement. Does anyone actually think that's not what the defendant actually did? Why do we need a ten-sentence story about what the judge did or didn't exclude? It sounds to me like a pretty fair trial so far.

    Wishing that it wasn't illegal to willfully and blatantly violate copyright doesn't make it so.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      +1, Harsh But True.

      The interest here isn't in justice, or even the law, it's in whether we can get away getting something for nothing.

    • Re:Get over it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by davmoo (63521) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:04PM (#28302549)

      I've made similar comments to this case in the past, as recently as yesterday. While I despise the RIAA and think they are a perfect example of how not to conduct business, at the same time its obvious from the evidence of the first trial that Jamie [what ever her last name is this week] did in fact infringe copyright. Thus I have a very hard time wanting to root for her side. I wish the Slashdot community could have found a better case to rally around.

      • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sirsnork (530512) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:28PM (#28302777)

        I think there would be a lot less sympathy for her if a guilty verdict wasn't going to destory her life. No act of copying/sharing a few MB should end up costing you your life savings (and then some) unless it's treason (and in that case you had it coming).

        I think most of us would be fine with all of these cases if the defendants involved had to pay a reasonably amount of money but clearly that isn't the way it's going.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by artor3 (1344997)

          While I certainly agree that the punishment does not fit the crime, the overwhelming majority of people on Slashdot aren't taking that stance. Instead, they are insisting that the RIAA can't prove it, or hoping for legal loopholes to get her off. They aren't interested in the system being fair, only in their side winning.

          What it comes down to is that people on this site believe themselves to possess a God-given right to enjoy other people's work without paying, and they'll demand that "right" be defended

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            I think that the punishment does not fit the crime, and I hope for legal loopholes to get her off. (there's just no way that doesn't sound dirty though) :/

            On the other hand, I don't necessarily think that the creator should necessarily have sole rights over all their creations. I don't advocate killing anybody over it, but I suspect that the actions of certain record company execs have caused plenty of unnecessary death. They should at least be stopped.

          • Re:Get over it (Score:4, Insightful)

            by paulwye (1465203) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @08:57PM (#28303389)
            Right, because the RIAA is *totally* interested in the system being fair, and really has *no* interest in seeing 'their' side win...they aren't trying to create loopholes or engaging in anything underhanded... nope, not THIS gang...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dr. Hellno (1159307)
            I don't believe I have the right, I believe I have the ability, and I'll cheer anyone who agitates to protect it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bane2571 (1024309)

            If a bully punches you in the face for sitting in his seat, you don't hope that next time he will ask nicely, you hope he will get kicked out of the class.
            Same is true for RIAA, we don't hope the punishment will be reduced to a reasonable level, we hope the RIAA will have it;s life ruining lawsuits rammed up someplace uncomfortable.

          • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

            by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @09:56PM (#28303801)

            While I certainly agree that the punishment does not fit the crime, the overwhelming majority of people on Slashdot aren't taking that stance. Instead, they are insisting that the RIAA can't prove it, or hoping for legal loopholes to get her off. They aren't interested in the system being fair, only in their side winning.

            I would hazard to guess that these people don't see the option for a fair system. So failing that, they want to see the entire system fail. I've been infringing copyright in one way or another for well over 20 years. Sometimes it is by accident. Sometimes it is debatable (depending if you're an industry group and your views on fair use). Sometimes it has been entirely willful with full knowledge of my actions. And in this way, these acts tend to be along the lines of when I've gone faster than the posted speed limit (which I've been doing on occasion for less time than I've infringed copyrights). I don't ever expect to have my financial life destroyed because a cop caught me speeding. Of course, I'm not going a hundred miles over the posted speed limit but then I'm also not running a black market DVD manufacturing facility.

            What it comes down to is that people on this site believe themselves to possess a God-given right to enjoy other people's work without paying, and they'll demand that "right" be defended by any means necessary. I can't even count how many times I've seen people advocate the murder of record company execs as an appropriate response.

            That's an awful broad brush you're using there. I agree that there are definitely a large number from the something-for-nothing crowd. But you're being willfully ignorant by claiming that is the entire breadth of the issue and ignoring the complexity and diversity of arguments that are made on this site. Copyright is a complex little beast and is being made more complex over the years by the very people who claim to have the creator's interests in mind.

          • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sasayaki (1096761) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @10:42PM (#28304127)

            While I certainly agree that the punishment does not fit the crime, the overwhelming majority of people on Slashdot aren't taking that stance. Instead, they are insisting that the RIAA can't prove it, or hoping for legal loopholes to get her off. They aren't interested in the system being fair, only in their side winning.

            What it comes down to is that people on this site believe themselves to possess a God-given right to enjoy other people's work without paying, and they'll demand that "right" be defended by any means necessary. I can't even count how many times I've seen people advocate the murder of record company execs as an appropriate response.

            No, I think you're exaggerating pretty substantially (I'm sure other replies will correlate this). Almost everyone outside of the "IP is immoral, man, dude, bro... you can't OWN an IDEA, man!" crowd accept that torrenting is, basically, wrong. It's just the degree of 'wrongness' that's at question, along with how much people should be punished for doing it.

            I believe jaywalking is wrong. I jaywalk frequently and I sleep perfectly well, because I believe it to be a very, very minor wrong. If I was caught jaywalking, I would just shrug and pay the $50 fine or whatever, because I acknowledge what I did was wrong and accept that I should be lightly punished for it.

            I believe torrenting stuff is wrong too. I bittorrent frequently and I sleep perfectly well, because I believe it to be a very, very minor wrong. If I was caught bittorrenting, I would either pay the exorbitant settlement ($3,100 or so) OR (far more likely) refuse and get dragged through court, paying many times this amount in court fees, legal fees, lost wages etc.

            This is the big difference. That copyright infringement is considered by most people to be a minor offense, much akin to jaywalking. The problem is that the MPAA/RIAA/etc believe copyright infringement to be in some cases worse than murder- so I would counter your argument that "people advocate the murder of record company execs as an appropriate response" by saying that the RIAA/MPAA do also believe that utterly destroying someone's life/life savings (and if they had their way serious jail time and felony status) is an appropriate response to downloading a CD. But instead of just talking about it, they *actually go out and do it*.

            Who are the real zealots?

        • by davmoo (63521)

          As the saying goes, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

          She made her choice, and now she has to face the consequences.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by osu-neko (2604)
        I have no problem with this person being found guilty. What I have a problem with is being fined such a ridiculous amount for infringement that, even if we assume every download made was a purchase lost to iTunes or the like (highly unlikely) amounted to about $20. It's a ridiculous fine for petty theft. Neither letting her off completely nor fining her thousands of dollars is justice. But if those are the only two options offered -- letting her off completely is closer...
    • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jay Clay (971209) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:08PM (#28302577)

      1) it may or may not be willful. I know plenty of people who didn't realize what they were getting into with file sharing apps. As a matter of fact, most people I know who aren't fairly computer savvy thought the whole illegal internet music thing was about downloading, not uploading.
      2) it's not what we think happened. It's if there are other PLAUSIBLE things that could have happened.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't disagree, though your assumed wish.

      Personally, I:

      Wish that copyright law followed the constitutional purpose and limited duration.
      Wish that non-commercial copying was recognized as the minor act that it is, and not one having consequences comparable with armed robbery.
      Wish that a hunt of non-commercial copying was not a legal excuse of private wiretaps and invasion of privacy.
      Wish that there was a balance between protecting the public interest and protecting corporate

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)
      Except that even if it's wrong, there is no justification for putting her through years of court cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, and emotional trauma enough to push some people to suicide.
    • Re:Get over it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday June 12, 2009 @05:04AM (#28305713)
      If the RIAA were asking for $1 per song to cover a license from iTunes, I'd agree.

      If the RIAA were asking for $5 to offer a token gesture of restitution for having done wrong, I'd agree.

      If the RIAA were asking for $50 per song to offer a significant deterrant from offence by others, I'd agree.

      The RIAA were asking for $150,000 per song [thespacelab.tv] which I cannot agree with on any level. They were awarded $9,250 by the jury in the original case, which again I cannot begin to comprehend.

      You tell me how that is in any way just. The law is, after all, about justice.
  • Judge OK (Score:2, Funny)

    by dangitman (862676)
    Who is Judge OK, and why does he have MediaSentry evidence? Usually judges aren't supposed to be directly involved in cases.

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