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MPAA Goes After Gnutella 526

President of The US writes "C|Net is reporting that the MPAA is going after individual users of Gnutella through their ISPs. 'What we're trying to do is educate the population about what is appropriate, both from an ethical standpoint and from a legal standpoint,' is what they are saying, but it looks like more of the usual intimidation tactics. It looks like they want to scare individual users from even trying to share movies, for fear they will be cut off from their precious broadband. Will the ISPs cave in?" Yes, they will. But its gonna be interesting to see where this goes.
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MPAA Goes After Gnutella

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Article here: []
  • How can any law be just when it results in the criminalizing of so many epople? Maybe the law needs to be changed.

    Libraries have photocopy machines, yes? Maybe you say copying one article is not the same as copying the whole magazine. Well, I say copying one audio track is not the same as copying the whole CD. Same? Different? How?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Trolls are like clowns.

    There are funny clowns
    There are angry clowns
    There are sad clowns
    There are bored clowns
    There are clowns that eat you when you sleep

    Room for all under the big green and white /. tent
  • So, the MPAA is _already_ being hit with full-length movie copying. *G* I remember when that was a hypothetical notion...

    Here's what gets me: the MPAA is working to 'educate' people as in, beat into their brains a particular view of things. Now, government could do this as well, but it's difficult because there's a lot of precedent to suggest that this is not the place of government- that government is for establishing a social framework within which people can make up their minds. This move by the MPAA is an ideological power-grab: expressing the idea that people do not have a right to make up their own mind if the result is at odds with what is profitable for the corporation. In practice, either the government or the corporation can send police and have you put away for ten years- this should be obvious in this day and age.

    Does this provide evidence that corporations are more powerful than governments?

    If they were to be kept to comparable powers, which would make more sense: to give government the fully exercised capacity to brainwash its citizenry, refusing to tolerate 'dissent'- or to hold corporations to the same standard that government is vaguely held to, and take the position that, although there is debate on the subject, it may be that the MPAA does not have the right to 'educate' the citizenry in this one-sided manner?

  • Isn't this what we've always asked for? Target the specific lawbreakers, not the network as a whole?

  • But please, don't say it's not stealing.

    Why not, seeing as how it isn't? Sure, its wrong, but stealing isn't the only kind of wrong there is, so why try to apply such an innappropriate label to the act? It's wrong because it's copying without permission. That's not stealing, it's plagerism.

  • I was with you until your signature. From your sig it's clear you don't live in this universe. What is this "free tibet" type of MS software you are referring to?

    Simply claiming for yourself the rights to the property/wealth/etc. of any other person is stealing. How can you even attempt to argue this point?

    Not to defend the communist idiot, but the word "stealing" also implies that you took the rights to the property/wealth/etc AWAY from the original owner, not that you merely copied them. (Stealing is like using the "mv" command, while pirating is like using the "cp" command.) This type of crime needs a brand new word to describe it, since it's a crime that only became possible in recent times (making perfect copies effortlessly that are 100% as good as the original is something our laws and language haven't evolved to handle yet.)

  • I fear that the MPAA will do the same thing that the RIAA did to the end-users on Napster, that is they will presume users guilty with only half the necessary evidence, and paint innocent people with the same wide brush as the criminals. Here's what you need to prove that someone is trading illegally:
    1. Prove the user is sharing something.
    2. Prove that this something is in fact the content you think it is.
    3. Prove that the recipient doesn't have a legal copy of the the work in some form already.

    All the RIAA did was prove the first one. They failed to prove that the content was what they thought it was (Just because I share a file called "one.mp3" doesnt' mean that this is the Metallica song called "One".) They also made no attempt to prove that the recipient didn't already have a copy of the song in question. If I already own a copy of the Metallica Black album (that contains "One"), then if a friend gives me an MP3 of that song, nothing illegal has happened. It's merely a change of format, which IS protected as fair use.

    The assholes at the RIAA coerced Napster into kicking people off with only the first criteria above being met. I fear the MPAA will do the same thing. They don't exactly have a great track record with being fair and understanding. And the DeCSS case has already shown that they don't mind painting everyone with the same brush just to get the few actual criminals in a group.

    I'm fully in favor of MPAA and RIAA going after the actual culprits (instead of a large group that happens to include some culprits along with a bunch of innocents). Once that actually starts happening, then you can gloat if people continue to complain.

  • You are taking away the owner's copyright's.

    Bull. He's still got them. "Take" means to REMOVE the thing in question from one place and put it elsewhere. It does not cover the act of making a SECOND thing that is identical to the first. I'm not defending pirating, but it really doesn't fit the existing terminology and trying to pigeonhole it into the crime of "theft" drags along some connotations that don't apply. We hate theft because it deprives the original owner of the thing in question. Piracy is different. It is more akin to copying the answers off of someone else's test in school.

  • And there does appear to be a large body of people who fit into that area of the venn diagram.

    A large body? How bout some names to back this statement up?

  • He begins by noting the obvious argument against intellectual property, namely that sharing intellectual objects still allows the original possessor to use them.

    To start with, that argument is nonsense, because for every "use" there must be a "what for". If a piece of information in crucial to my competitive position in business (as patents are) then if you use it without my permission, you literally have deprived me of the use of it. If I have invested money in developing that piece of information, I have done so on the understanding that the information is valuable enough to enable me pay back that investment through the use of that information; if you take it without my permission you are literally stealing cash.

    Intellectual products are social products.

    To what extent individual laborers should be allowed to receive the market value of their products is a question of social policy.

    Ah, now we cut to the chase. You mean there is no room for individual achievement in your socialist collective utopia?

  • Now once the company starts producing the units anybody can duplicate the invention and make their own, even improving on it. If the company is smart they'll keep the project under wraps until they're ready to hit the market, then they'll go out there with a reasonable price and large quantities. If they do things right it will take a while for competitors to have a means to challenge them.

    That won't work. There's no way a small company could capture a market large enough in a so little time that, say, Sony Corporation couldn't get a competing product out of the door, at a better price, everywhere in the world, and market the hell out of it.

    It sounds paradoxical, but patents do promote diversity by making it possible for small innovators to compete on equal grounds to large incumbents.

  • What if the courts decided that information such as, music and movies become free? It's not exactly like all these entertainers will stop entertaining...

    The courts, eh? What if the courts decide that, say, farmers, should work without pay? After all, we all need food, right? They should be glad to do it to feed the rest of us! In fact, paying farmers is stealing from society!

    The short answer is, any society that passed such a law would starve, and would deserve it.

    What are they going to do, join the workforce like everyone else?

    Any other industries you think should be provided by slaves?

  • If your friends come over and watch the movie, that's fine. If your friends come over, and you give them a copy of the movie that they keep and take home with them, that's when it becomes illegal.

    I don't dispute that it's illegal, but what I fail to understand is why I should feel some moral revulsion at it. If I lend a book to a friend it's OK. (right now; check back in a few years once the book industry gets their lobbying up-to-date..) If I copy a few pages out of a book and lend it to a friend, this is illegal, fine.

    But trying to tell me that it's a despicable act, equivalent to breaking-and-entering or to accosting ships on the high seas, is something that just fails utterly to convince me.

    Every piano teacher or conductor I have known occasionally gives their students/conductees photocopies of pieces of music which are either expensive, hard to get, or are simply one piece from a weighty volume where the student doesn't want or need the rest. Are you accusing them of being conscienceless scumbags?

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @10:02AM (#282402) Homepage Journal
    "That doesn't change the fact that it is theft. Taking something without permission is still illegal."

    So if I meet you in the street and you light my cigarette, I've stolen the fire from match manufacturers?

    We need to start a What Would Dogbert Do?" movement.

    I don't think it is valid to compare a flame made with a cheap lighter to copyright ownership of intellectual property. Bic doesn't licence lighters, they sell them, and the music and movie owners licence movies, they don't sell them.

    If you don't like intellectual property, fine, but the GNU-ish ideal isn't exactly taking over the world that I can tell, despite what the "free software" fans like to think. I probably won't be writing free software because I need to do something that MAKES MONEY, and I can't live on tips and I can't support users thousands of miles away.

    It is the software or music owner's every right to determine the distribution and sales method of the product they make, and I believe in fair compensation. Yes, some companies take it too far, but there is the other extreme of sharing movies that you don't own the rights to share.
  • Paradox: Slashdot has continually said that the MPAA should got after individual copyright infrigers rather than services like Napster. Yet as soon as the MPAA does that it becomes labelled "intimidation tactics".

    Answer: There is no Slashdot.

    At least, not in the sense you mean. There are hundreds of thousands of readers here, tens of thousands of occasional posters. We do not agree on everything. Slashdot does not march in lockstep with libertarianism, communism, or whatever gestalt you think you have assembled from hundreds of people shouting at each other every day.

    In this case in particular, a large number of Slashdot readers apparantly believe that copyright violation is wrong, but that copyright violators should be individually punished, not the authors, possessors (DeCSS), or providers (Napster) of tools they happen to use. I fall into this category, for example. On the other hand, there are a large number of Slashdot readers who believe that "intellectual property" isn't property, and that because copyright violation isn't theft it isn't wrong. "President of the US" may be in this group.

    There is no hypocrisy here, because the two groups do not overlap.
  • How is my taking a book out of the library, or a cd or a dvd for that matter, different from sharing music on the web? My wife and I have bought exactly four books since September while in that same time we have read over 60 books. So, basically, we have denied the publishing houses of about $600 or more. Should we be looking to be arrested for this subversive behavior?
  • Just asking - I mean this article's comment posting is littered with uninformed biased op-ed pieces you could have lifted from the MPAA website or Foxnews. You do realize that your're whoring yourself out in the name of 'being cool on /.' Right?

    And why is that? because if it just was about the poor starving artists than someone other than Don Henley or Alanis Morisette would be testifying in Congress. Because if it was about compensating the actual artists then you would hear someone demonstrate how they were actually harmed. They would trot out their facts and figures and point to an amount. But they don't they merely accuse in the blandest of board statements and if you press them they will carp "Well it's unethical and un Judeo-Christian !!!!!" Because the facts don't exist. Prices are up and unit sales are up and this entire issue is about the record industry's ability to dictate the retail price. For if it were not they would come to some compromise about micropayments. Let's say each track was worth a dime - would the MPAA bite? Of course not. What the industry is telling you is they get to set the price and no one else. Micropayments could support.

    Same with movie industry. Find me an artist who was impoverished by a movie theater not raising their ticket prices from 7 to 10 dollars. But if you had a way to sell one viewing for a buck would they do it even if that meant distributing that viewing to a hundred million PC's? Of course not - they want your ass in the seat for 10 bucks for the first two weeks of distribution. After 2 weeks the movie theater starts to make some money so the distributor needs to pull it out and replace it with another movie that can make THEM money for 2 weeks.

    On a related front did you get a load of the suits on the news yesterday, from Disney who actually said that paying TV and movie writers any more than they get now could destroy the entire industry and imperil the US's place at the top of the entertainment food chain.

    But I guess none of that matters when most of the folks here who post are either in the paid employ of PR industry or deluded apologists.
  • Pushing all of the development risk to the artists and all of the revenue side of the equation between the consumer and the artist is not going to change how artists are compensated one iota. Record companies will continue to collect 98% of the backend revenue and large chunk of the front end 'coopted sales' piece as well.

    Movie companies will continue to shift all of the risk to development and production companies while banks finance the whole shebang and movie companies take in 80%+ of all gross revenue the first two weeks of theatrical show and 100% of the video sales. Artists will continue to get the proverbial shitty end of the stick.
  • It's interesting how he makes an argument that is perfectly valid, however you attack him as a biggot or corporate whore. In fact, you shouldn't be scolding him. You are 'ethics major', therefore you understand that ethics is based on value systems. He has a particular value system and you have a particular value system. His value system doesn't match your value system so you flame him. Making analogies between hitler and 1980's corporate gluttony, doesn't make sense.

    It would seem that you don't truely understand ethics at all. Perhaps you need to rely on your 'sociology major' work more.
  • On a related front did you get a load of the suits on the news yesterday, from Disney who actually said that paying TV and movie writers any more than they get now could destroy the entire industry and imperil the US's place at the top of the entertainment food chain.

    Changing "US's place" for "Holywood's place" and I think you clearly set your position... Let's remind that US's film industry also suffers a lot due to the golden spot of a small LA downtown...
  • by Croaker ( 10633 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @08:21AM (#282419)


    Suppose you have written an essay or made an invention. Your intellectual work does not exist in a social vacuum. It would not have been possible without lots of earlier work - both intellectual and nonintellectual - by many other people.

    So? everything is a social product. Let's say you manufacture something. You do not do this in a vacuum. You do pay the people who contribute directly, employees, supplies, etc. But, what about the guy that built the building that you work in, the guy who paved the road that you drive your products over, the folks who built the truck that you use to transport goods. Do you have to include them in a cut of your profits? Do they, therefore have the right to take your goods?

    The answer is: no. Those people have already been compensated by you in some manner (you rent or bought the building, you paid taxes to get the road paved, you bought or rent the truck). In the case of intellectual property, why would we treat anything differently? The intellectual work performed by someone should be just as valid in the marketplace, and be justly reward, as phsyical labor.

    The second point is utterly baffling. Let me get this straight: if you are a dull, plodding worker who punches a time card, by all means, you should benefit from your labor. However, if you're talented, gifted, or busted your ass to be able to creating something new, innovative, and popular... well, jack, you don't get squat for that.

    What a load of horse shit. Who the hell is this Hettinger dweeb to decide that if I make a symphony, that I can't benefit from it monitarily? Because "natural talent" is involved? Does that mean that since I'm out of shape, I should get paid more to go dig a ditch than someone who's fit, since it is a lot easier for him? No, the end result is what we judge. In Hettinger's mind, for the greatest reward, I should find the job I'm least suited to do, and go struggle with it. Obvious idiocy.

    From the practical, market standpoint, if we want to see more of something, like innovation, we reward it. Of course, the market isn't perfect. I think it's pretty obscene that someone playing a child's game ends up making more than several hundred teachers, who are responsible for educating our young. But, unless someone can wave a magic wand and remove the necessity for people to pay for food, shelter, and the other necessities, not to mention luxuries, we need to somehow compensate people for the intellectual work they do. The market is the only functional way we have found to do that. And to enable the market to work, we have to treat intellectual labor as if it were physical labor, within the bounds of copyright law.

  • Yet as soon as the MPAA does that it becomes labelled "intimidation tactics". I read the article and from what I gathered Excite@Home told people if they didn't stop sharing copyright material they would lose their service.

    Point: Why is it the ISP's job to terminate a user's service if the MPAA simply alleges that a user may be illegally copying a movie that is protected by the MPAA?

    If there is an allegation made, it is up to the MPAA to prove that allegation, and up to the courts to determine if said allegation is correct, and for a judge to award damages based on a legally made judgement.

    In this case, the MPAA is acting as the prosecutor, judge, and jury, and is making the ISP do the dirty work of punishing somebody who may have simply had a "" file that was an animation of a mathematical matrix being inverted.

    This sort of intimidation is not only illegal and immoral, but is reprehensible. The MPAA is not trying to, quote, educate the population about what is appropriate, both from an ethical standpoint, and from a legal standpoint, since they are not acting legally or ethically themselves.

    People using Gnutella should be afforded the benefits of being innocent until proven guilty. And, if I were to be one of the people targeted by MPAA's Stalinist tactics, I would expect them to show me notarized evidence of (1) exactly what of their intellectual property I have supposedly pirated, (2) proof that I had offered it on the Gnutella service, and (3) that I had actually pirated (or gave to somebody) that item. If any of the above three things are not given to me when they make their accusation, then the do not have any chance at all to win in a court case, and as such, any preliminary action taken against me by anybody, including my ISP, is totally unwarranted.

    Remember, this isn't about piracy. It's about intimidation tactics.

    If the MPAA can have my ISP shut me down just by asking my ISP to do so because they simply say that I am a pirate without any proof, then I should have the same legal rights to have the internet hosting service that provides, say, MPAA.ORG disconnect them just because I claim that they are guilty of slander and/or libel for calling me a pirate.

    Until such time as human beings have as much rights as big-bucks trade organizations, there is little hope for America to be the "land of the free."

  • Sharing movies is illegal. If someone shares a movie, they aren't going to buy it.

    Is inviting some friends over to see a movie illegal? After all, they may not buy the movie after they've already seen it...

  • No - however, if you choose to PUBLISH what you read/download, you are REDISTRIBUTING, and can't do so without a permission. This does, however, more or less apply whether or not the author applies a copyright statement. In other words, just because something doesn't have a copyright-statement doesn't mean it isn't copyrighted.

    - Vegard
  • by Outland Traveller ( 12138 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:01AM (#282424)
    The answer to this and other tantalizing questions is of course - privacy.

    - Use freenet.
    - Subscribe to a Zero-Knowledge type of service.
    - Use trusted, logless proxies with SSL.

    By default there's no privacy on today's internet, but the technology is there. So far the convenience factor has prevented most privacy technologies from achieving critical mass, but draconian content-control powergrabs by the MPAA and RIAA might just tip the balance.
  • Why didn't they use this tactic against Napster? At least they aren't attacking the tool and are focusing on the people violating the law. What possible excuse could the MPAA have for treating Gnutella different other than, "We could attack the tool with Napster." Bah.

    Bad Mojo []
  • The first argument for intellectual property is that people are entitled to the results of their labour. Hettinger's response is that not all the value of intellectual products is due to labour. Nor is the value of intellectual products due to the work of a single labourer, or any small group. Intellectual products are social products.

    When the producer of intellectual property recieves intellectual property protection, the producer almost always only recieves protection on what the producer adds. In other words, even though that piece of IP is probably ultimately derived from public works, it is truely not the public works that are adding the value to the end product or service. If the IP producer adds nothing of value, he simply won't sell his product or service (because all that is public can already be had by other means); nor will the public be deprived of the works that the producer derived his work from. If, on the other hand, the producer adds value the public still gets to keep all that was public, while recieving the benefit of the producer's innovation, albeit for a price.

    Now granted, there have been some rare and notable exceptions, but these are issues of abuse of the system, not the system itself. I don't have time to address the other "points", maybe later...
  • The MPAA should go after individuals instead of technology platforms. But what their doing is an ip-terrorism tactic; Forcing their concept of Intellectual Property of the world by creating an atmosphere of terror. People are uncertain if they are legal or not, or what the legal status of IP should be or even is. The MPAA wants peole to be afraid, deathly afraid, that they might run afowl of the MPAA. The MPAA want people to be afraid so there is a lower probability that they will be challenged and thus a greater probability that the MPAA will get their way as legistlation changes. The MPAA doesn't have a legitimate platform, if they did they wouldn't need to terrorise citizens around the world. They want you to believe that if you enjoy any form of entertainment using a digital technology platform without their specific and ongoing approval that you will befall an uncertain fait. That uncertainty combined with specific horrifying examples of what they've done to those they've accused of minor and uncertain transgressions constitutes terrorism.

    The MPAA is an IP-Terrorists.

  • So civil rights protection is the 60s was not useful legislation?
  • Internet access is not a civil fucking right. Besides which you are paying for a service from a corporation. If they are threatened with a lawsuit if they don't axe your account they're going to drop your account faster than you can say "Wait that's unfair". Internet access is not fucking essential either. If it was so fucking essential you wouldn't be downloading movies under questionable legal premises would you? As for the ISPs think of it this way, they're making a scant revenue (40 or so dollars a month, a decent portion of which is not profit) from your personal account. If the MPAA sues them the legal bills merely for serving a court summons will cost more than you pay in a year.
  • Stop whining about ISPs axing accounts of people downloading files of questionable legality. It is a VERY simple calculus for the ISP. You pay them x numbers of dollars per month which over the course of a quarter amounts to so much revenue (4x). Then say the MPAA comes along and says "Cut of Joe GnutellaUser's broadband account or we'll see you in court for aiding his downloading of illegally copies movies!". The ISP quickly calculates the revenue you add for a quarter and compares it against the cost of an attourney showing up in court. If what you add to the company's revenue is less than what stand to cost them, they cut off your account.
    It can be argued that you can rip CDs to MP3 and share them over services like Gnutella and Napster as you're not making money or anything and there are no glaring warnings against said practices on the CDs. However, if you watch one of your downloaded movies and see the FBI warning about copying and redistributing the movie you're about to watch the thought should occur to you that you're not quite operating within the bounds of the law. Whether thats right or wrong doesn't matter. What does matter is that warning as well as explicit copyright prevention measures gives the MPAA plenty of legal backing to persue people making copies of and trading their movies via the internet. They aren't taking away any of your fucking civil rights. They are upholding their fucking copyright like the copyright laws REQUIRE THEM TO. Yes the sales scheme and market control the MPAA uses is fucked up. I think Joe Valenti is a dipshit both personally and professionally and the MPAA is a crock of shit. This still doesn't give people reason to whine after getting caught trading legally questionable material on peer to peer sharing services.
  • Bravo! Annoying as they sometimes are, there's something about having an active and humorous troll culture that just makes /. fun. Maybe because they don't take anything seriously - and wouldn't we all be better off if we were a little less serious? Sometimes I wish I had the time to be a proper troll, but oh well.

    Man, I miss MEEPT...

    1. Prove that the user is sharing something.
    2. Prove that this something is in fact the content you think it is.
    3. Prove that the recipient doesn't have a legal copy of the the work in some form already.
    The assholes at the RIAA coerced Napster into kicking people off with only the first criteria above being met. I fear the MPAA will do the same thing.

    As I understand it, there's no objection to someone having a private copy of a CD in MP3 form. The objection is against putting it up on Napster for multiple other people to grab.

    If you're argument is that *some* of the people getting your MP3 copy may have paid for the music in another form, I think you're trying to hide behind legalisms...

  • 2) Do you believe that fair use should be abolished for everyone, because someone might be illegally copying something?
    What I believe is that you should read up on what "fair use" is, before you spout off about it.

    As I remember it, the phrasing has something to do with brief quotations for purposes of review. Don't see how that applies here at all.

    You might be thinking of the practice of "sampling", which arguably is allowed under the doctrine of "fair use".

  • Oh yeah, it's pretty easy to share a couple GB of movies over a 56k modem connection. If the MPAA is so damn evil how come everyone wants their product?
  • The sense I mean is "the editors of Slashdot".

    Kinda like how you say "CNN said the markets are down" when what you really mean are the duly appointed representatives of CNN have said the markets are down.

    In my memory, the editors of slashdot have never said anything in support of intellectual property, have consistently editorialized that individual infringers should be prosecuted, and had no problems with the characterization offered in the story summary.
  • by kaisyain ( 15013 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:50AM (#282442)
    Slashdot has continually said that the MPAA should got after individual copyright infrigers rather than services like Napster. Yet as soon as the MPAA does that it becomes labelled "intimidation tactics". I read the article and from what I gathered Excite@Home told people if they didn't stop sharing copyright material they would lose their service.

    What, exactly, is the problem with that?
  • From the Ranger Inc. website:

    We never sleep. Our IOS software is constantly searching the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our intelligent scanning probes are customized to each client's needs and patrol the Internet searching for suspicious sites.

    Ok, lets do this: Form a company (Tonto Inc.?) that lives to bushwhack these nasty little critters.
    Offer a bounty for the "skins", like they used to do for wolves and such.

    Or maybe "turn" them like double agents, feeding bogus info into the intel databases...

    (big grin)
  • Most @home AUPs read in something about users not allowed to run servers. This would include your Quake 3 server, 5GB pr0n ftp, and gnutella servers. I _think_ things like PCAnywhere could qualify as *personal* use, but most other servers would not qualify.

    But most gnutella clients are also servers. The client is fine - a legitmate network client tool, much like lynx, telnet, or ssh - but the server part is not permitted - much like apache, telnetd, or sshd would be frowned upon.

    Most people seem to forget that these lines are intended for *personal* use only. More bandwidth comes at a cheaper price because some company will pay more for the right to run services - a premium.

    In the end, make sure you read your ISP's AUP to understand where you stand. If they do not allow server software, chances are the MPAA will only need to mention "server" to get you in trouble.

    Sorry, but that's the way it is - as I see it.

    Computer Science: solving today's problems tomorrow.
  • by BilldaCat ( 19181 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:58AM (#282447) Homepage
    seriously, I'm in full agreement. not everything can, or should be, free. I really would love to know how the Slashdot editors can say 'go after the users, not the service' and then turn around and pull this while keeping a straight face. what the fuck?
  • Yes,I'm concerned about the MPAA using heavy-handed tactics and intimidation. Their approach seems to be "someone may infringe, so we best scare you pre-emptively." Usually scaring people pre-emptively is often considered terrorism or harassment, but I digress.

    What is ignored all too often in stories like this is that there are companies out there spying on us. They monitor transactions, scan files, etc. just to see if we might be doing anything illegal.

    Now if our government did this, people would be up in arms. But apparently monitoring me and my ISP without given cause beyond "you might be doing something" is just fine and dandy if you're a company. The threat to the internet is not the governments directly - it's governments that allow this to go on.

    I suppose Big Brother is OK as long as he evolved via Free Enterprise. And sadly, intellectual property issues or not, this is plain disturbing.

    You know, I have to wonder if some class-action suits are in order against the MPAA and the cyberspyers. Invasion of Privacy? Slander? RICO? arassment? I'm sure some lawyers out there could make quite a witch's brew of legal trouble.
  • This is a bit obscure, but the reason napster is different is because

    - napster is a corporation
    - Napster's business plan is based on attracting users to their service because they *know* those users will use it to pirate music. They know people want to do that. That's called contributory infringement.

    That's very different than Gnutella, where the tool exists in it's own right and is obviously not limited to mp3. If you are an individual, and you are offering up copyrighted material for public download, why *shouldn't* they go after you?
  • is an urban myth, along with thinking saying 'no law enforcement personell are allowed to log in'. It's like asking 'are you a cop' to an undercover cop. Not gonna help you one bit.

    Lots of BBS' tried to call themselves 'tryware' and such. I doubt that was ever used in court. It doesn't matter if it's for 24 hours; if it's protected by copyright, you don't have *any* right to distribute it, for 24 hours only or not.

  • An injunction against a trader forbidding them trading movies online?

    Believe me,the *first* time they break that injunction by trading again, the judge will *NOT* be happy, or lenient.

  • You are assuming that there must be a way to keep the status-quo with regards to how musicians live and work, while providing a different method for them to receive compensation. That's not a fair way to look at things. There is no natural 'right' for musicians to exist; they exist because of the laws and desires of the society they are part of.

    A more realistic way to look at this is to say: If we abolish copyright, will we still have music? Of course we will. How will it work? That doesn't *matter*.

  • This is, of course, why people should download data with an anonymous system, so they can't be tracked. So go use freenet []
  • Ok, so Mozart died nearly penniless. You claim he had to "fight for every penny he did get", implying that he went through much of his life poor. Where do you get this from? From the biographies I've seen he was bad at managing his money but was paid lavish sums at various points in his life for his work.

    You also claim that "He may have been able to create more incredible music had he had the luxury of not having to take students". Yes, that's true. But it could also be that if he had had a very easy life his music would have been less intense and emotional. It's sad, but often the best art is the result of suffering.

    The fact is, Mozart did produce amazing music back when the concept of Intellectual Property didn't exist, and he's not an isolated case. The economics change when IP exists, but the fact is that great art will be produced whether or not IP rules exist.

    It's debatable whether or not IP rules benefit the artist in these days where IP is everywhere. Most IP producers are simply forced to hand over IP rights to their employers/managers/producers, whatever. But even more debatable is whether or not IP rules benefit society in general.

    In an extremely simplified case, which is better for society?

    • A few great pieces of intellectual material that can be freely redistributed to anybody interested
    • A large number of pieces of great intellectual material which are only distributed to those willing/able to pay
  • by Merk ( 25521 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @11:26AM (#282462) Homepage

    Sure, there's an easy way around patents. You go to a company and say:
    "I have a really great idea that I can't afford to make on my own but that's right up your alley. If you'll just sign this contract I'll tell you all about it"

    The contract would essentially say "If you use this idea you agree to pay me XXX dollars or YY cents per unit sold. In exchange I won't tell anybody else about the idea".

    Now once the company starts producing the units anybody can duplicate the invention and make their own, even improving on it. If the company is smart they'll keep the project under wraps until they're ready to hit the market, then they'll go out there with a reasonable price and large quantities. If they do things right it will take a while for competitors to have a means to challenge them. They will have trouble meeting the price unless they can take advantage of economies of scale, and if the invention is fairly complex it will take a while for them to figure it all out so they can make their own version.

    The only tricky thing is making that initial contract well. You have to make sure they don't get away with building something just different enough that it doesn't qualify then not paying you anything. But any good lawyer should be able to word it properly.

    The best thing about this system is that it only works for useful, non-obvious inventions. If someone were to try this with an invention like "you click once on something to buy it", copying the invention would be so trivial that nobody would want to pay much for the right to use it first.

  • Things that have this property, such as anything that can be represented in a bitstream, should not be able to be owned.

    Your bank account can be represented by a bitstream.

  • Uh, if we're hurting individual artists so much, how come artists like TLC, who were once extremely popular, still went bankrupt (this is before Napster of course)? I don't condone theft, but if you can't see that CD sales goes to the managers and NOT the artists in most cases, then you're pretty naive. (Now, if the manager IS the artist, like in many cases, then your case holds up - which is why I always buy the CDs of indepedents and other artists). Check out the dozens of wonderfully written articles on Salon (several well written ones by Courtney Love, to have my point proven).
  • So, what if, like me and most of my music, I make a copy for my friends who then keep it for, say, 2 months before taping over it with something else... is that illegal? How is that different then me just temporarily lending my own copy whenever they felt like watching it? I personally will never and have never kept any "illegal" stuff I've downloaded/copied for more then a short period of time...
  • You got an insightful for basically trashing every single popular artist out there... now THAT is just plain silly. TLC has more then enough proof to show their manager screwed them over (they've done so many interviews with news and other shows it's ridiculous)...

    Anyways, I dunno why I'm even responding to your flamebait/troll comment... ugh.
  • Sharing movies is illegal. If someone shares a movie, they aren't going to buy it. That's money lost for the makers. What's wrong with crime prevention.

    I'll make sure never invite friends over to watch a movie I rented - since I'm sharing the movie with them and all... wouldn't want the multi-billionaires to be harmed by me not forcing my friends to cough up $4 each at Blockbluster...
  • If you can spoof an IP and successfully transfer a movie file *FROM* the spoofed address, please let me know how.. we could re-implement the idea and do it intentionally...

    It won't happen.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @11:09AM (#282479) Homepage Journal
    If ideas can't be property because they are social products, then private possessions or property of almost any kind should also not exist. I cannot build a car without suppliers of energy; miners; rail and port infrastructure. Nor can I sell it without roads.

    A car is a product of a social process, one that is mediated by the exchange of money for private goods and exaction of taxes for public goods.

    And, it seems to me that it would be disastrous to build any kind of a system based on rewarding people for the the amount of effort or risk they undertake. How many fools do you know who take unnecessary risks, or monomaniacs who work endlessly at pointless tasks? Capitalism is reasonably workable because people are paid based on the willingness of other people to pay them; we don't always like the results, but it is better than most. The relationship between risk and reward is not mathematically fixed -- it is just in practice people are unwilling to take higher risks if the expected return is higher. To say people should be rewarded for risks sounds like the same thing, but it is not -- in fact it is logically inconsistent.

    Private property and possessions are a social convention that works for some kinds of things, because there is a maximization of effeciency if we allow peole to claim exclusive benefits from their work. More cars get built when the companies building them and consumers buying them get most of the benfit, than if the benefit were spread among all producers and consumers. Land gets used more wisely if you have to deal with what's left after you exploit it. There is a happy confluence between the pursuit of private gain and the maximization of public benefit; therefore the public can be expected to support private property.

    Ideas are a different story. The efficiency of idea production is not enhanced by restricting the flow of ideas or the benefits of ideas in the same way that physical goods are. Society does not benefit from the restriction of ideas, and therefore can't be expected to support it. Private individuals only benefit from the restriction of ideas in that it is inconsistently practiced.

    Songs, recorded performances and software are probably somewhat in between physical artifacts and pure ideas. Personally, I think that the main historical reason to support copyright was the need to attract the investment for expensive duplication, transport and marketing. I doubt that there would be fewer songs, or less variety , if there were no commercial market for music. However, it is probable that the existence of a private market for music means that different kinds of music are made than if there were no. No Phil Spector, no wall of sound. No Britney Spears. Probably plenty of corner jive, hip hop, folk, garage rock. Everyone would have a day job.

    The big question is absenting the cost and complexity of producing and distributing physical artifacts, is there a need for private property in music? Commercialism changes the kind of music that is created, but whether this is benefical or not is questionable. My tastes are pretty non-commercial, but there is some commercial stuff I like a great deal (not Britney Spears).

    One more thing. The thing about ideas, or songs, is that once they get into your head you really can't get voluntarily get them out. Some people here are probably old enough to remember Bobby Goldboro. He should have pay rent on all the brain cells in which "Honey" ("She wreckecd the car and she was sad/And so afraid that I'd be mad/But what the heck?")has taken up unwelcome residence.
  • How would you feel if something you'd spent 6-months of your life creating was being given away free?

    What, like Slash []?

    (Disclaimers: I haven't worked on Slash, I'm just defending the poster. I do agree with you that the MPAA is doing the right thing for them (for once))
  • If you don't think that stuff (like books, patents, software, games, movies, music) that can be represented digitally should be paid for, then how do you propose that anyone gets paid to product this stuff?

    I'd love to see what happens to any of these fields when the only way of getting paid is via pay-pal donations. Geez.

    Personally I'd rather pay $20 to buy the Matrix on DVD than to download some free-the-bits moviemaker's amateur effort and give him a 25c donation. Luckily it'll never happen, but it sure would suck it the law came down on your side and destroyed the business model for high quality digital content.
  • by yomahz ( 35486 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:13AM (#282491)
  • Not buying something deprives the artist or wallmart in the exact same way as copying the CD does. Every CD that you don't buy deprives the artists of profit that "could have made".

    So if don't buy the album because I don't like it then I am not a criminal.
    If I don't buy the album because I can listen to the one decent song on the album from my computer then I am a criminal and should be locked up.

    I guess intent is everything.
  • "The rich either have worked harder or have had their risks pay off. This is not an injustice."

    Statisticly most rich people have inherited their fortune. they neither worked hard nor took risks (unless you thing riding the polo pony after a scotch is kinda risky).

    And guess what since the only way to get money is to either print it or convince someone else to give it to you then the rich did get their money from the poor. Bill gates got to be rich by people giving him money for windows. Money always flows from the poor to the rich. Frequently if the uphill flow goes unchecked the number of poor incease so much that they end up killing the rich. So far societies have set up mechanisms to keep this from happening through taxes as welfare and such. The idea is to keep milking the cow without killing it. Keep that money flowing, keep the number of poor to a managable lever, keep the poor entertained by religion or television so that they get distracted. It works very well in the U.S. Everybody thinks they are middle class and everybody thinks they can get rich only if they tried hard enough. Statisticly of course they have a better chance of getting hit by lighning. Most of us will stay in the wroking class all our lives. No rolex, no mercedes, no penthouse suite in manhattan.
  • It's not unethical it's the american way.
    When faced with stricter environmental controls the chamber went to their puppet in washington and said "it costs too much to make our factories run cleaner" and the their puppet relaxed the clean air requirements.
    When faced with increased costs to prevent RSI the chamber went to their puppet and said "it costs too much to buy ergnomic keyboards and chairs" and the puppet dropped the law.

    In America it's perfectly OK to say "it costs too much to do the right thing". Good and right have to be balanced with the cost of doing the good and right thing. It's all a cost benefir analysis. The only difference of course is that I don't have a puppet in washington.
  • supposedly reputable website

    Which website is that?

  • I thought the whole idea of copyright, and the right to make your own copies revolved around getting something for free (or a reduced price) that you would have bought otherwise?

    No. What you described above would be a clearly illegal act of theft. Just the same as if you went to a bookstore, bought a book, copied it, and gave the copies to friends. You have copyright violation confused with plagiarism.

    let them read it, copy it, whatever

    That's copyright violation, and was illegal before the DMCA.

    I just cannot claim it as my own work

    Because that would be plagiarism.

  • MPAA: This user is trading illegal copywrited material, is a bandwith/resource hog, continues after repeated warnings and you are facilitating him.

    Broadband ISP: Errr ... ... ok.

    End of story.
  • MPAA: This user is trading illegal copywrited material, is a bandwith/resource hog, continues after repeated warnings and you are facilitating him.

    Broadband ISP: Errr ... < looks up EULA >... ok.

    <Broadband ISP pulls plug on user>

    End of story.

  • You would be a defendant. You don't get any money from that.
  • I doubt that this tactic would be very effective because you would also get other users and it doesn't take that much to verify a file or not.

    After the 5th time downloading a huge file of junk, a user would never come back. Less users means less usefullness of Gnutilla.

    To verify a file all you have to do is pick several random frames in the file and show it to a person for a few seconds. If it is junk, then ignore. If its something interesting, continue to verify and then proceed as normal
  • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:14AM (#282506) Journal
    >Here, they're just pathetic.

    It is actually an excellent tactic.

    Most of these areas have a limited number of cheap broadband options. Since MPAA is using the ISPs, a legally responsible corporation, against them, this will scare the sh*t out of the individual users. Either stop doing it or lose their sweet broadband. Which one would you chose?

    This will be doublely effective because movie files can only be effectivly traded through broadband connections and university/college students are about to go home for the summer so the content available will be dramaticly reduced.

    MPAA doesn't even have to go to court with any individual user to make this tactic very effective, all they have to do is convince (not legally court-style prove) the ISPs that these high-usage users are doing something illegal and breaking their EULA.

  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @09:15AM (#282507)
    I'm not in the music biz, but it seems to me record labels should instead be *services* that artists can *employ*. There should be many and they should compete, just like garages compete for your car service dollars. Instead of the other way around, where all the artists are competing and clawing their way up to get noticed by a label which has an steel grip on a physical supply chain of artificial scarcity, which will exploit them, chew them up, and spit them out. "Some of your friends are already this fucked"...
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @09:07AM (#282508)
    "In the case of intellectual property, why would we treat anything differently?"

    Please tell me how someone can have "compensated" any given artist, philosopher, writer, mathemetician, scientist, etc., etc., for something they invent. Markets are based on scarcity. Ideas are infinately duplicatable. Please show me a formula which generates a market value for an idea (no, as shown above, you can't use "effort", as a stupid person who works very hard, very long may create something a smart person could create in a much shorter time with much less effort).

    "Who the hell is this Hettinger dweeb to decide that if I make a symphony, that I can't benefit from it monitarily?"

    That's not what he's saying. He's just skeptical on the policy of granting a *monopoly* on that thing. A temporary monopoly probably *should* be created to generate incentive. However, total patent and copyright lengths are totally out of wack. What *possible* incentive could be conferred by copyrights which last 70 years **after the creator's death**?

    Some people seem to think that a free market is some magic that solves all problems. "We don't *have* to deal with moral/ethical/social issues. The free market will decide!"
  • MPPA: You have a pirate

    ISP: Errr ... ... ok.

    MPPA: Your honor, under the DMCA, the ISP would have been legally protected from a lawsuit had they complied with our order to shut the user off. They did not, so we are now taking legal action against them.

  • Whatever happened to the mantra "Information wants to be free"?

    Can you really speak of slashdot as one collective voice when some of us think the idea of Intellectual Property is not legitimate at all, others think that it's legitimate but needs to be thought about in a radically different manner due to the Internet, and others think that the idea of IP is a good one?

  • by MartinG ( 52587 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:46AM (#282513) Homepage Journal
    I'm not going to get in to whether its right or wrong to pirate peoples work but I will answer a couple of your points.

    and they don't feel in the least bit guilty about the fact that they're committing a criminal act

    That's because they are not taking something from anybody. All they are stealing is the potential for them to make more money. The "victim" doesn't lose anything physical.

    To explain....
    Using copyright together with non-redistribute licenses is based on the idea of artificial scarcity of a product. This is completely non-intuitive and unnatural-feeling to many people. It has worked so far, because a significant part of the price paid is for distribution and duplication. These days however, those two cost next to nothing and the people are starting to feel more and more that it's unfair to charge for these things if they can do it themselves. The industries business model is starting to fail. Remember that copyright is something that is not naturally present. It can only happen when some large authority intervenes and removes freedom from some people in order to grant protection to another group (and of course the two overlap)

    How would you feel if something you'd spent 6-months of your life creating was being given away free?
    Personallty, I would feel great because I do such things for the love of it and I want it to be shared by as many people as possible. (My main problem is that I'm no good at it :)
  • > How can any law be just when it results in the criminalizing of so many epople? Maybe the law needs to be changed.

    I dunno, criminalizing millions of people overnight seems to have worked fine for the laws that support the War On Some Drugs.

    Sure, it's buggered the population and turned the Fourth Amendment into toilet paper, but it's not like that's stopped it or anything.

  • > Why would a group of ISP's blacklist CUSTOMER's whe the MPAA's law clearly states that they are not responsable for their users actions.

    Probably because a guy on a cablemodem sharing movies with other people not on his ISP's network costs his cable company a small fortune in transit charges.

    > those 62 MILLION Napster users are going to have to go somewhere to get their fix....

    USENET is ill-suited to the distribution of large binaries, but I'll bet it's cheaper from an ISP's point of view to have a 4-5 Terabyte RAID array and an OC-3 (A full USENET feed is 250G per day) to download and serve the alt.binaries.* hierarchy over its own wires than it is to have "those 62 million P2P users" snarfing the same stuff from other networks.

    Consider - 500 people downloading a 600M DivX'd movie is 500 * 0.6G = 300G.

    When it's 500 different movies, something like USENET breaks down. But when it's 500 people all downloading The Matrix, it's cheaper to grab it once from a feed and serve it over your own LAN.

  • Here (Germany) the law realized, that stopping people from copying movies in their homes and giving them to friends is unenforcable. So it is *allowed* to make copies for private use (so to follow the law by the letter you may not give away a copy, but you can lease the movie to someone, he copies it (he may even give it to you to copy it for him) and returns the "original").

    To compensate this there's GEMA: for blank media a certain amount is paid to GEMA which (supposedly) hands it on to the artists. Now this system is getting out of hand since the GEMA wants money for anything "computer" since you can make copies with computers. We'll see where that leads to.

    I wonder if there really is a law forbidding to make copies of movies for private use, since that seems pretty much unenforcable and hence even unethical. There's quite a difference to *publicly* sharing movies via gnutella in my opinion and i think these issues shouldn't be confused.
  • For the sake of variety and the small artist, you definitely should be against the RIAA side.

    RIAA wants to make sure that no alternative channel will possibily get any efficiency. Napster is very effective in spreading non-RIAA music.

    Sure, your musician friend might lost some original sales they generate from thier fixed number of audience. But they will gain more audience in brand new ground because people accidentally download thier music. This is free advertizing for them, sorta like putting thier songs on radio for the masses. How do you know that some Japanese won't like thier scottish music? Napster expands the market beyond normal means of advertisement. It should be more rewarding to an artist that more people are listening to thier music. How to survive? Be creative. sell stuffs. do concerts. or...

    As a visual artist, I tend to think that the most important thing is to spread the music. I mean, what good does it do if you keep your music in your house and let no one listen to it? I know of a few small record labels and artists that give away thier MP3's at will. This is not to say that all musicians should do the same, but under current circumstances, it's the best optimization - sure beats whinning.

    If I were a musician, I'd do music to give it away on Napster or whatever channel, and find a real job like librarian or programming or something. In fact, I am an visual artist and programming is what I do. When you decided to become an artist, you have decided to choose a tough life. You must prepare for yourself. I remember Robin William's Oscar acceptance speech: "When I told my father that I wanted to by an actor, he said to me, 'that's ok, son, you can be whatever you want to be. Just make sure you learn something to make a living, like welding or something." Most artists are quite prepared to be poor. They have other means of making a living - barely, but that's the price they pay for choosing it.

    Keep in mind, not all of us Napster users are cheap bastards. Some people are well-to-do but simply are unwilling to buy CDs that they havn't tried. Eventually they will buy.
  • Well, what about my no-budget Kung Fu movie that me and my TKD friends put together and want to spread around to try to get our faces out into the martial arts stunt scene? It's perfectly legal for me to be distributing that movie to anyone and everyone I can get it to. But if all of my avenues of distribution are shut down I have to start either burning my own DVDs to pass out or making my own VHS cassettes, both of which are prohibitively expensive on our current budget. This kind of thing helps people like us who are just trying to get exposure just as much as it hurts the people who already have exposure and are trying to sell their image for money.

  • If you were to actually meet the people who have written this music, and tour the country playing just to make money to put food on their family's plates, would you fess up to doing this? Would you tell them: "No, I didn't buy I your CD. I downloaded it off Napster. I didn't even have to pay for it."

    No, I wouldn't tell them that. I would almost certainly tell them one of the following:

    A) "I downloaded your CD off of Napter--You guys rock, I went out and bought a copy the next day!


    B) "I downloaded your CD off of Napster--Aside from that single you guys have that's on the radio 50,000 times a day, you guys suck. I got rid of it faster than you can say "cookie cutter boy band".

    Of course, that's just me--I buy CDs--if they're actually worth it

  • I do not condone or condem the use of these technologies. I do believe in the Fair Use of stuff you already own.
    When will these people learn (RIAA & MPAA & Microsoft) that you really need to fight piracy with the cost to the user. Piracy WILL ALWAYS EXIST!

    **Piracy goes up when the cost of a product or service excedes the cost assumed by the consumer to be a reasonable price for that product or service.**

    Given this, the rise in MP3 File sharing becomes obvious, and the solution becomes even more obvious low the price. If consumers could afford to buy a CD whether or not they like the CD, they would buy them. When the RIAA released there numbers the vast majority of the loss was in singles. Customers wanted to here more songs before they bought and album.
    For the MPAA, if they insured that videos could be bought at a decent price and view on all applicable mediums, they will not have to many problem. Right now, DVD is causing problems because Linux users can't view it.

    I wish these companies would hire some people with intelligence instead of the greedy, money grubbing people they hire now.
  • Combined with the traffic statistics and other logs that your ISP probably keeps, they've got a very strong circumstantial-evidence case. IP spoofing is irrelevant because your ISP *knows* what IP they've assigned to your connection, how much data you're transferring, when, and to whom.
  • by The Code Hog ( 79645 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:01AM (#282551)
    I love the Ack-Acks (RIAA/MPAA). They are doing a fine job panicking as people realize the current value of their service, and are attempting to hang on to their business model with a death grip.

    Look, 60 million napster fans and who knows how many video downloaders have been hit in the face with the fact the margin cost (cost to reproduce) a CD is virtually nothing. A little more than virtually nothing to reproduce a DVD, just longer because of current bandwith issues. So they can legislate all they want, but people are now aware that the only value-add the Ack-Acks add is deliver a physical product from burn-in to your local Best Buy.

    And Gee!, that's gonna be irrelevant to a large portion to the population in a few years -- legitimate or not, digital dupes of oves and songs WILL be available somewhere.

    It *isn't* irrelevent yet because of technology limitations. Napster is rife with lousy recordings, bad bitrates, misnamed songs, etc. Movies take up to large a percentage of a users hard drive.

    So why aren't the Ack-Acks pushing to explore new value-adds while they still have the upper hand. Wouldn't it be nice to go to amazon and select 10 songs, and order a custom CD (not MP3 version either, true blue uncompressed versions)? Or select music label appproved MP3's, where you now there are no artifacts , at a specified bitrate, for $1 a song? Choosing from 40 different version, some live, some different studio riffs?

    People get it -- the copy of the Madonna (insert an artist you like here) album isn't worth $16 -- it's worth maybe $1. You know where the money in art has been, historically? Live performances! That means concerts for Music and movie theaters for movies.

    The Ack-Acks don't get it.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:18AM (#282568) Homepage Journal
    It sounds like they're trying to figure out a way to get the major ISPs and Universities to start policing themselves. I wonder if they actually identified IPs in their letters to the various Universities and ISPs or if they just said "We detected infringing users on your network. Remove them or we'll sue you!" Damn near everyone will roll over rather than possibly have to try to defend against a lawsuit. Make a case that Gnutilla's primary purpose is to infringe on copyrights, demand that ISPs add sections preventing its use to their AUPs and have them start policing themselves or risk lawsuits under the DMCA and you'd pretty well eliminate Gnutilla usage in the US (IANAL but I play one on TV.)

    Gotta wonder how thorough that investigation was by Ranger Online. What would happen if we all put 6 gigabytes of /dev/null on our FTP servers under the filename "Matrix.vob"? Do they just look for filenames or do they actually download the content and make sure its actually infringing material? And once you have 6 gigabytes of random, it's pretty easy to make a 6 gigabyte "Matrixkey.vob" which when xored with my 6 gigabytes of random, produces the first 6 gigabytes of the movie. Or another 6 gigabytes of random.

  • by jgerman ( 106518 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @10:03AM (#282604)
    I should have rephrased that, it was late. If the majority of the people decide it should be LEGAL than it will be made legal. At least that is how it is supposed to work. Legality is not a question of right and wrong at all.
  • From Information Liberation []

    Edwin C. Hettinger has provided an insightful critique of the main arguments used to justify intellectual property, so it is worthwhile summarising his analysis. [12] He begins by noting the obvious argument against intellectual property, namely that sharing intellectual objects still allows the original possessor to use them. Therefore, the burden of proof should lie on those who argue for intellectual property.

    The first argument for intellectual property is that people are entitled to the results of their labour. Hettinger's response is that not all the value of intellectual products is due to labour. Nor is the value of intellectual products due to the work of a single labourer, or any small group. Intellectual products are social products.

    Suppose you have written an essay or made an invention. Your intellectual work does not exist in a social vacuum. It would not have been possible without lots of earlier work - both intellectual and nonintellectual - by many other people. This includes your teachers and parents. It includes the earlier authors and inventors who provided the foundation for your contribution. It also includes the many people who discussed and used ideas and techniques, at both theoretical and practical levels, and provided a cultural foundation for your contribution. It includes the people who built printing presses, laid telephone cables, built roads and buildings and in many other ways contributed to the "construction" of society. Many other people could be mentioned. The point is that any piece of intellectual work is always built on and is inconceivable without the prior work of numerous people.

    Hettinger points out that the earlier contributors to the development of ideas are not present. Today's contributor therefore cannot validly claim full credit.

    Is the market value of a piece of an intellectual product a reasonable indicator of a person's contribution? Certainly not. As noted by Hettinger and as will be discussed in the next section, markets only work once property rights have been established, so it is circular to argue that the market can be used to measure intellectual contributions. Hettinger summarises this point in this fashion: "The notion that a laborer is naturally entitled as a matter of right to receive the market value of her product is a myth. To what extent individual laborers should be allowed to receive the market value of their products is a question of social policy."

    A related argument is that people have a right to possess and personally use what they develop. Hettinger's response is that this doesn't show that they deserve market values, nor that they should have a right to prevent others from using the invention.

    A second major argument for intellectual property is that people deserve property rights because of their labour. This brings up the general issue of what people deserve, a topic that has been analysed by philosophers. Their usual conclusions go against what many people think is "common sense." Hettinger says that a fitting reward for labour should be proportionate to the person's effort, the risk taken and moral considerations. This sounds all right - but it is not proportionate to the value of the results of the labour, whether assessed through markets or by other criteria. This is because the value of intellectual work is affected by things not controlled by the worker, including luck and natural talent. Hettinger says "A person who is born with extraordinary natural talents, or who is extremely lucky, deserves nothing on the basis of these characteristics."

    A musical genius like Mozart may make enormous contributions to society. But being born with enormous musical talents does not provide a justification for owning rights to musical compositions or performances. Likewise, the labour of developing a toy like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that becomes incredibly popular does not provide a justification for owning rights to all possible uses of turtle symbols.

    What about a situation where one person works hard at a task and a second person with equal talent works less hard? Doesn't the first worker deserve more reward? Perhaps so, but property rights do not provide a suitable mechanism for allocating rewards. The market can give great rewards to the person who successfully claims property rights for a discovery, with little or nothing for the person who just missed out.

    A third argument for intellectual property is that private property is a means for promoting privacy and a means for personal autonomy. Hettinger responds that privacy is protected by not revealing information, not by owning it. Trade secrets cannot be defended on the grounds of privacy, because corporations are not individuals. As for personal autonomy, copyrights and patents aren't required for this.

    A fourth argument is that rights in intellectual property are needed to promote the creation of more ideas. The idea is that intellectual property gives financial incentives to produce ideas. Hettinger thinks that this is the only decent argument for intellectual property. He is still somewhat sceptical, though. He notes that the whole argument is built on a contradiction, namely that in order to promote the development of ideas, it is necessary to reduce people's freedom to use them. Copyrights and patents may encourage new ideas and innovations, but they also restrict others from using them freely.

    This argument for intellectual property cannot be resolved without further investigation. Hettinger says that there needs to be an investigation of how long patents and copyrights should be granted, to determine an optimum period for promoting intellectual work.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @08:42AM (#282626) Homepage
    I can see a crackdown on servers coming. The day may come when you won't be able to accept incoming TCP connections on consumer ISPs. Everything has to go through an official "server".
  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:17AM (#282658)
    You don't get front-page articles on slashdot about people putting locks in shops to stop people to stealing the merchandise, so why should it be any different when try and stop other kinds of crime that costs money?

    uhm, because it is different!

    stealing software is quite different from stealing hardware. when you steal hardware, the inventory level of a store just went down. not so with software (ignoring the cardboard and plastic container for the software, which is nil for this argument's sake).

    when you engage in profit-oriented software business, you must realize that the very nature of your goods is quite different from all the other kinds of hard merchandise.

    the profit models of hard merchandise simply are not applicable to software. this is the revolt that we're seeing in the youth today. they fully know that 'stealing' a song doesn't cost the shopkeeper, the music industry or the artist nearly as much as if someone stole a cd player, itself. the rules should be different since the end effect on the 'harmed party' are quite different.

    consumers today recognize that new catagories need to be defined for software sharing. if the legal system can't keep up with the times, historically people have always started grass roots movements to overturn the laws. unfortunately the laws are bought and sold by payoffs and it will be quite a long time before the revolution finally causes real change.

    until then, follow your concionce! its a far better guide than current american laws.


  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @08:17AM (#282659)
    anyone going into the music business who plans to make millions due to sales of albums/cds alone is delusional. its not my job to help them survive due to sales of past performances.

    the notion of being paid royalties for past performances needs to be updated to today's reality. I fully agree that artists should be paid for their one-of-a-kind art. I'd have no problem paying for the time or materials or talent of a painter who paints a piece of artwork. but when he tries to get returning profit due to the mass production of said art, THAT's where I disagree. I disagree that the number of items that were mass produced (this has nothing to do with the artist, its a pure mimeo task) should cause the artist to become richer.

    I would also have no problem paying for a concert ticket since the artist is clearly WORKING for his/her money at that instance. but I won't pay for copied music (whether copied by the music industry or via pirates or even end consumers) since the artist didn't earn anything in this respect (IMHO).

    I guess I challenge the notion of being paid royalties AT ALL in the artistic world. I think this model is pretty well broken in today's economy. at one time, the distribution of music did cost a serious amount of money. now, cd blanks are 50 cents and burners are on many budget pc's. bandwidth is cheap and available today. the distribution middleman just isn't a requirement anymore; and I see no need to continue to pay his ransome for a job that is no longer needed.

    micropayments to an artist is the clean way to go. if someone produces something I like, I'll drop some quarters into his paypal (etc) account, DIRECTLY. no middleman, no RIAA, no MPAA, etc. this is regardless of how I came upon the music. I don't want to pay distribution since I don't see the value in that anymore. I will contribute to the artist if I feel I should patronize them - but again, this is quite different from paying distribution fees (most of which goes into the record companies pocket and NOT the artist).


  • by flamingcow ( 153884 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:07AM (#282671) Homepage
    Please note that this (horribly overused) style of analogy is blatantly wrong; the reason that copyright infringement is not theft is that, unlike the car, the original owner does not lose their ability to use their property. A new user simply gains that ability. Things that have this property, such as anything that can be represented in a bitstream, should not be able to be owned. To try to enforce the laws of physical theft on such items is silly and is destined to fail.
  • by AntiNorm ( 155641 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:57AM (#282674)
    I work at a college radio station. The munificant record companies have given us the right to play anything in their many catalogues (essentially any shrink-wrapped cd is ok to play on-air). The have, thus, given myself and the other progammers there the right to share many songs with many people, one at a time. Why, I ask you, is this form of music sharing any diffferent on a basic level than swapping mp3s or .mov's?

    Ask your superiors how much the station doles out in licensing fees some time. I think you'll be surprised by how high the rate is. This $$$ is what makes the difference to the RIAA about you being able to share/not share.

    The AOL-Time Warner-Microsoft-Intel-CBS-ABC-NBC-Fox corporation:
  • by 7days ( 192077 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:57AM (#282704)
    > it looks like they want to scare individual users from even trying to share movies,

    And the problem here is?

    Sharing movies is illegal. If someone shares a movie, they aren't going to buy it. That's money lost for the makers. What's wrong with crime prevention.

    You don't get front-page articles on slashdot about people putting locks in shops to stop people to stealing the merchandise, so why should it be any different when try and stop other kinds of crime that costs money?

    I don't understand why people are so defensive of pirates. I hear people talking about it all the time, and they don't feel in the least bit guilty about the fact that they're committing a criminal act.

    Moreover, it's not simply a 'white-collar', victimless crime. Piracy does hurt people.

    Games, which people constantly defend the pirating of, cost millions of dollars to create. Talented people put their very being into creating them. The same goes for movies.

    How would you feel if something you'd spent 6-months of your life creating was being given away free?

    And that a supposedly reputable website was defending this theft?

    I can't see how people can object to actions that stop piracy - people seem to think no-one gets hurt by these things. They are wrong. The people working for record and computer companies have jobs and families too. And these are the ones that get hurt by the revenue lost.

    It's never the big boss that gets hurt. Not Julia Roberts or Leonardo Di Caprio. It's the man who's packing the videos for $8/hour. It's the guy making them. He's the one losing the money.

    These are the real victims of this crime, and I feel horrified that slashdot can condone it.
  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:27AM (#282709)
    I don't see how the DMCA is even relevant when it sounds like what they're going after is people sharing movies (although it does appear on second thought to be related mostly in how it puts some teeth into sending a letter to the ISP, but that's not fundamental in my mind). It's one thing to have rules against things like DeCSS which is a tool, one that allows a user to act within both ethical and (previous) legal boundaries-- providing for the ability to use one's DVDs in a manner not provided for in existing hardware or software perhaps. But when has it ever been ethical or legal to share a complete copy of a movie?

    And yes, I'm aware that there is a Fair Use clause, but it does not allow third parties to completely independently to provide me with a "backup copy" of something I own unless (maybe) they do it by acting on the original copy I do own. The situation on Gnutella is analogous to me setting a streetcorner stand with CD-writers and a large collection of CDs, then strangers can come by and make a copy of any CD they want, provided they bring a blank CD-R along. Whether they have their own copy of the CD is irrelevant to whether what I'm doing is legal or ethical.

    On the other hand, if the entertainment industries seriously think Gnutella, DeCSS, or Napster are having any effect on their business, they really should guess again. In fact, it seems to be helping them. When I go looking for independent music, I rarely find it. Instead, I get in the habit of downloading their pop music (since it's free), but then I'm hooked so instead of saving my money for independent label CDs at a smaller record store, I just go plunk down my money at Sam Goody for some mainstream crud. I don't have the bandwidth to do movies, but I'm guessing it's the same with Gnutella and divx movies.
  • by ageitgey ( 216346 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:46AM (#282741) Homepage
    'What we're trying to do is educate the population about what is appropriate, both from an ethical standpoint and from a legal standpoint,'

    Thats exactly why I'm protesting the DMCA. They read my mind. Glad to know we are in agreement here.
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @07:09AM (#282746)
    "Slashdot has continually said that the MPAA should got after individual copyright infrigers rather thanservices like Napster. Yet as soon as the MPAA does that it becomes labelled "intimidation tactics". I read the article and from what I gathered Excite@Home told people if they didn't stop sharing copyright material they would lose their service."

    Let's say, for example, you are a "small" company that piggybacks on Sprints DSL network to provides DSL service to some city. You get a letter form the MPAA saying that 40 of your users are pirates. Now, at the current time, they make no legal threats towards you. You notifiy the users and ask them to stop being a leech and use lower profile way to pirate stuff. They don't comply. Now the MPAA wans to sue those users. It needs YOU to tell them who those users are. What do you do, go to court and make the MPAA prove for a fact they are pirates before you tell them who they are? No, you cave in.

    Problem here is a matter of precedent. There seems to be no avenue to protect users identities on the internet, since ISPs run from law suits (due to lawyer costs) faster than they can be filed. What's next, your employer sueing to find out who you are when you make "offensive" comments about the company online (which is done not to sue like the company said, since they would loose, but only to imtimidate)? Or Scientology getting user identites to harrass people who "violate their IP" by using their constitutional right to fair use?

    The problem is not the piracy, its the lack of legal protection for the little guy from harassment. What if the MPAA was wrong and took someone to court? That person would have to play lawyer fees. The MPAA doesn't have to make a prima-facia case, at current time, to sue. Thats my problem, and beleive me, they WILL sue.

  • "That said, this is exactly what the MPAA should be doing. Not attacking the enablers, but attacking the actual movie fans themselves."

    You are correct. This is what I want to see them and the RIAA do. Why? Because this will ultimately lead to the demise of the DMCA. This is our ONLY shot to wake the masses.

    Suing the customers is never a sound business model. Just ask Rambus. That's why the RIAA attacked Napster itself, instead of users, because the centralized nature of Napster allowed it. The only way to attack Gnutella IS to attack users.

  • by ethics major ( 325440 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:54AM (#282856)
    In this the MPAA is quite correct; the issue of pirating music on gnutella, napster and so on is primarily an ethical one. People on this site like to pretend they are socking it to 'The Man', and that the issue is financial, and that the only people being harmed are the mulyinational recording companies (never mind the millions of small shareholders who have investments in them, ordinary people like you and I).

    However, there is one small point missed here. That is hogwash.

    The people most harmed are the musicians. When you pirate music, you are stealing from the artist who slaved to create it for you. Gnutella and Napster are theft on a huge and organised scale.

    The fact that millions of ordinary Americans engage in this theft is no excuse - ethically and legally, it is wrong.

    I have some friends in the recording industry here in Nova Scotia, who strive to make good folk music in the Scottish tradition. They sing in Gaelic. They are affected by napster, because it is a small market for such things. They can barely support themselves as it is, and are only kept afloat by sales of albums.

    The final irony here is that the spread of napster and gnutella, and unauthorised piracy generally, would mean the collapse of such small outfits and an increase in musical homogenousness.

    For the sake of variety and the small artist, I am on the side of the MPAA in this matter, for once.

    If you think I am a troll, remember this:

    All great truths begin as blasphemies.

    -George Bernard Shaw, Annajanska.(1919)

  • by sllort ( 442574 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:55AM (#282881) Homepage Journal
    MPAA: using dynamic IP, user Bob was sharing the movie "Leonard Part VI" on 3/17/2000, at 6pm.

    Bob: No I wasn't.

    MPAA: We have ISP logs to prove that you were. They show your IP.

    Bob: But IP's can be spoofed. Meet my expert witness...

    They really can only enforce this if they raid your facility. I run gnotella at random times and IPs, and the HD that contains the stuff I share has a big electromagnet under it with a panic button, and is stored behind a door with a magnetic field generator.

    That said, this is exactly what the MPAA should be doing. Not attacking the enablers, but attacking the actual movie fans themselves.
  • by USian Pie ( 442971 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2001 @06:57AM (#282882)
    USian Pie

    A long, long time ago
    I can still remember
    How the trollers used to make me smile

    And I knew if I had to boast
    That I could try to get first post
    And maybe I'd be happy for a while

    But moderators made me shiver
    With every minus they'd deliver

    DoS scripts couldn't stop it
    They scored them all "Offtopic"

    I know that it's cheap crack they smoke
    And meta-moderation's broke
    At first I thought it was a joke
    The day that trolltalk died

    -- Chorus --
    Bye, bye, MEEPTy, OOG, and Grits guy
    Drove the Cruiser like some loser who starts posts with a *sigh*
    Those Steve Woston posts that we all knew were a lie
    Wonder what became of girls petrified?
    What became of girls petrified?

    Did you write a bunch of Perl?
    And did it make you want to hurl
    Feces at the Wall?

    Can you believe these lame-ass polls?
    Do you post big stretched-out assholes?
    Can you make the [] link not show?

    Well I know you think that Siggy sucked
    Will the real Bruce Perens please stand up?

    The bots don't have a clue.
    Man, I dig those trolls from Shoe!

    I was a rabid Free Speech advocate
    With a Red Hat T-shirt and a Free Beer gut
    Bought my Sony laptop working Pizza Hut
    The day that trolltalk died

    -- Chorus --

    It's been two years since the IPO
    And LNUX sinks to all-time lows
    But that's not how it used to be

    When Spiral showed how it was done
    Trolling as Jon Erikson
    Who worked for NPO Technologies

    Oh and while they tried to filter posts
    Somebody rooted Slashdot's host

    "Crack Slashdot? That's absurd!"
    Better go change your password

    While JonKatz wrote a Hellmouth book
    By using posts he simply took
    And we flamed him till he was cooked
    The day that trolltalk died

    And we were singin....

    -- Chorus --

    10 grams. Inchfan. Didn't log out. Goddamn
    The mods will find the sid real soon, man
    You can't hide if you aren't AC

    Your bud (George here) tried BSD
    A dead Streetlawyer's tips were free
    And WIPO helped letsriot turn Nazi

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    While 80md warned "liberals suck"

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    Do you recall the flood of crap
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    -- Chorus --

    Oh and then we were wearing out "All your base"
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    The day that trolltalk died

    -- Chorus --

    I met a troll they called The Rev
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    He said, "That's old. Get over it."

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    But it wasn't worth the trouble to submit

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    The three sites I don't see for weeks
    Segfault, kernel, Comp-u-geek
    Code is not art. This ain't Freshmeat
    The day that trolltalk died

    -- Chorus --

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe