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Music Media Sued for 'viral' Copyright Infringement? 386

Are We Afraid writes "Apparently the RIAA isn't the only one looking to make money off of They have just been sued by a group of independent artists for, get this, "viral copyright infringement". What does that even mean???" They claim that people who downloaded MP3s from contributed them to napster, so owes them. It's really bizarre.
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  • is going down fast. I'd try to get money out of them too, if I could. I wish the artists the best of luck. The only thing I hope for is an out of court settlement so we don't get a legal precedent on this sort of stupidity.
    • Bzzzt. Wrong! If your wish comes true, these hapless artists will set a precedent for the legal validity of "viral criminal activity" claims.

      How will you feel when the lawyers come after you, simply because you committed a lawful act that allowed someone else to commit a lawful act that in turn allowed someone else to commit an unlawful act?

      You better hope that cowering under the covers in your bedroom doesn't enable one of your employer's subsidiary's employees to embezzle from the company!

      "But the artists were robbed!" you say. "They deserve to get some money back!" Sure thing, pal. It doesn't justify them beating it out of me with a stick, though. Let them sue Napster, or some other actual "criminal". Getting robbed is no excuse for breaking the system. Unless they're anarchists, of course - in which case, they probably shouldn't have been sucking up to in the first place. Posers.

      • This is a common legal strategy. It's no different that it's a .com that's being sued (because it really isn't. It's Vivendi Universal). The won't set any prescident here because Vivendi Universal's team of flesh-eating lawyers will chew them up and spit them out. This won't be setteled. It will go to court, and it will get thrown out.

        You can't blame the artists. They're just doing what their lawyers advised them to do and sueing the nearest deep pocket they can find; after all, what kind of settlement could they get from Napster. It's already been bled dry in legal fees (almost).

      • I said (and I quote): "The only thing I hope is for an out of court settlement so we don't get a legal precedent on this sort of stupidity." Thus your main point is based on an interpretation of my writing that is blatantly contrary to the actual view taken. I have also not said the things that you attribute to me in your straw-dog attack.

        A lie and a logical fallacy do not make a rational arguement. Please do try again, though.

    • What they should do is sue the record companies. The record companies sold the cds to the people, who then ripped the cds, and put the resulting mp3s on napster. After they sue the record companies, they should sue that Fraunhofer guy. Ooh! And they should sue God for allowing all this insanity to occur.
    • Really, CD's get their music ripped into MP3 format all the time... the recording companies should sue the music stores too.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nobody listens to them any way.
  • MP3.COM (Score:2, Funny)

    by methangel ( 191461 )
    This is what I like to call "kicking your fellow man" ... why are they not going after Napster which is where the MP3s are being shown? It is not MP3.COM's fault that the end-user shared (sometimes inadvertantly) the MP3 with Napster. I am sick of the RIAA, sick of and most of all, I am sick of Napster. Why can't we all just get along?
  • by room101 ( 236520 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:25PM (#2205270) Homepage
    Anyone with half a brain should comprehend that if you release you music on one site, you can expect it to be posted to some other site.

    I guess they should have used SDMI or something, oh wait, that wouldn't work either.
    • Anyone with half a brain should comprehend that if you release you music on one site, you can expect it to be posted to some other site.

      I think this relates to the feature that got in trouble, where they ripped songs themselves and provided access to the files to users who possessed a CD. As far as I'm concerned, that's fair use, but if you were wondering why the labels cared when supposedly CD's still had to bought, this is why.

      Out of curiosity, is there any way to distinguish the files from user-ripped ones? Or is the suit just proceeding on the assumption illegal trading must have happened?

      • so, does this make any mp3 generating software liable for "viral" infringment? abcde [] is about as viras as Madona's pap smear. how about more comercial offerings? how about my trusty tape recorder?
  • Won't Hold up! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:26PM (#2205272) Homepage
    If people cannot sue gun companies for what people do with guns, then I sincerely believe this lawsuit will be fighting an uphill battle trying to sue for what other people did with their downloaded files.
    • OTOH, car makers are taken to court [] quite often if their vehicles have defects that contribute to the loose of life or property. Perhaps that is the angle being taken here. In other words, since allowed the download of unrestricted MP3s (not that there is any other kind), is liable for that music ending up on Napster, et. al.

      I don't agree with it, but I think that it is certainly possible.
      • Re:Won't Hold up! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rude Turnip ( 49495 )
        I'm not sure about your analogy. If you mean to say that car makers are sued over the loss of life and property because of *faulty manufacturing*, then your analogy doesn't work.

        The better analogy is that a car maker would be sued if someone allegedy uses the car to commit a crime.

        • Is it not the "manufacturing" of (i.e. how it was set up) that allowed people to download (and hence distribute) the MP3s? My analogy is that the plaintiff (is that even the correct term?) in this case could be claiming that due to the "faulty manufacturing" of the site, they have lost "property" (money).

          Again, I'm not saying that this is right. I'm just trying to reconcile how litigation like this occurs.
          • It was my understanding that in order to sign up for's service, one had to have the CDs and that they would be scanned by a program that to get a cddb-like key, and only then would the person have access to the mp3s. If that was the case, the same users could have just as easily rip the CDs and create the mp3s themselves. Depending on the speed of the connection and the computer, it could have been faster.

   must have been a lawyer's dream come true. Those bloodsuckers are the only ones making money from it. Maybe should have a form on their site: Click here if you are a lawyer wanting to sue us.

            If the RIAA, MPAA, "the artists", song writers, etc. care so much about their precious IP, then they shouldn't ever allow it to be recorded in medium that can be read by an electronic device. Only give live concerts or only allow the films to be shown in theaters and check for recording devices at the door. The movie industry made lots of money before the advent of TVs, VCRs, DVDs, etc. So they won't make as much money as they do now. Boo-f-ing-hoo. Maybe they would start producing good quality movies, music, etc to consistently put people in the seats instead of multi-million dollar piles of crap. Also, given the advances in wearable computer technology, the really paranoid IP control freaks would only allow their IP to be viewed/heard by a naked audience.

    • Yeah, after all, people cannot win suits against Napster for what Napster users do with it... oh, wait.

      Get a clue. American judges are idiots when it comes to technology.
    • If people cannot sue gun companies for what people do with guns, then I sincerely believe this lawsuit will be fighting an uphill battle trying to sue for what other people did with their downloaded files.

      Sorry, buddy. Napster tried that excuse and the judges didn't buy it. Not saying that it's not a valid argument, just that judges don't get it.

      • If people cannot sue gun companies for what people do with guns, then I sincerely believe this lawsuit will be fighting an uphill battle trying to sue for what other people did with their downloaded files.

        The reason that people cannot sue makers of guns over the use to which they are put is that the gun lobby got bills passed in several states to block them.

        This is not a manufacturing defect case however. It is a claim over the consequences of a scheme that a court has already found to be a breach of copyright law. Even though the action was eventually settled out of court the precedent has been established because the judge issued a rulling on the case. In this case it is pretty difficult for to escape the precedent because it directly refered to their own conduct.

        The difficulty here will be in assesing the extent to which the scheme helped people put tracks on Napster. I suspect that it is very difficult to quantify, but that does not help all that much much because they set up the idiot service.

  • Following that logic, shouldn't they be able to also sue the recording industry for releasing their songs on media that allowed, in effect, the same thing (i.e. redistribution via Napster)?
    • Following that logic, shouldn't they be able to also sue the recording industry for releasing their songs on media that allowed, in effect, the same thing (i.e. redistribution via Napster)?

      Or maybe the artists should sue themselves for choosing to have their music released on such a format. Or, for even creating the music in the first place!

      This "viral" concept is limitless, and I'm sure will be laughed out of court. Then again, with the way tech-related legal cases have gone lately...
  • by The Spie ( 206914 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:28PM (#2205293) Homepage
    This is like laws that permit gun shops to be sued for selling weapons later used in crimes. Silly. Damn silly. Thank you, DMCA. You've opened up the Bottle of Stupidity and let the genie loose. It's now becoming quite apparent that the only way around this is to scrap every copyright law and develop a new set for today's methods of content distribution.
  • but it applies equally to the RIAA and non-electronic music distributions. I purchase Britney Spears latest and greatest from Sam Goody's. I rip it onto MP3 and distribute it via LimeWire. Sam Goody's is equally guilty of viral copyright infringement. If you accept this argument (which I don't), you can also trace it back to the RIAA or even through some convuluted logic, the artists themselves.

    So, I suppose the next step is for the independent artists to sue themselves for creating music which can be pirated.
  • I'm an independent musician [] on, and I want people to download my music and spread it on Napster (well I did, until Napster started to suck. OK, WinMx [] then.) It's all about exposure. Nobody will hear my music on the radio, and Napster et al are my best venues to advertise. made compressed copies of about 900,000 songs, which it placed on its computer servers -- without obtaining the rights to do so.

    I wish they gave more details, this makes no sense. makes you click-sign an agreement saying that this is all OK.

    • made compressed copies of about 900,000 songs, which it placed on its computer servers -- without obtaining the rights to do so.
      I wish they gave more details, this makes no sense. makes you click-sign an agreement saying that this is all OK.

      You are thinking of the service that you and other indepenent artists use.

      For a while, before getting their pants sued off, offered a different service in which you could put a cd you owned into your cdrom drive, let their software would detect it, and then listen to mp3's of it anywhere and anytime without ripping it. This was possible because they already had mp3's of 900,000 songs on their servers. It just didn't let you download them until you demonstrated (by putting in your copy of the cd) that you owned the cd already. Once you proved you owned the cd, the song was on your account and you could stream it anywhere anytime. And you could download it and trade it on various file trading services.

      So, while you click-signed an agreement, Britney Spears did not.
      • I don't care that Britney Spears did not sign an agreement.
        I have bought a CD (acutally a liscense to the music on the CD). Under fair use I can listen to that CD, a tape of that CD, a .wav of that CD, a mp3 of that CD or a I can take the CD, set it on fire and listen to the sound of burning plastic for as long as I own that CD. Now why can't I put the cd in my drive, proving that I have this CD in my possesion, and listen to mp3s of that CD being streamed from a server on the internet? Explain please.
    • maybe it is in their best financial interests to do this. MP3's are taking a bad rap lately and clueless people in the system may continue along this trend.

      maybe their lawyer is telling them that their returns will be much greater than the $300 that I have seen on music pages..
  • What a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rkent ( 73434 ) <rkent&post,harvard,edu> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:30PM (#2205304)
    It's really unfortunate that was chosen to be the whipping boy for all of the RIAA (and other artist)'s frustrations. They had the one online music service I actually LIKED and would have been willing to - gasp! - pay for, if only they'd let it go.

    Back in the glory days, I made a purchase at, and the CDs I bought were AUTOMATICALLY made available on my account! Unfortunately, I only listened to them about 3 times each at work before locked everything up in response to the Universal complaint.

    Think about it: was everything Napster claimed to be. "I have the right to space shift! I have the right to backup!" Well, actually allowed for just those things, with (and admittedly cursory) verification that you actually owned the CD you were listening to. All arranged in neat lists, with high-quality mp3s and decent bandwidth. If, for example, cdnow had the option to charge an extra 50 cents or buck per CD to enable functionality like that, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    A much bigger concern with, it seems, and one that's widely ignored, is the way they screw over their own independent artists. They take a big share and charge huge fees for services like "payback for playback," and you have to sign away all kinds of rights to put your stuff up there. But all this about "contributory infringement" (I can only assume that's what they meant by "viral"?) is hogwash. Bring back my online music locker!

    • ...especially when you compare the percentage of money and rights they give to their artists to what the RIAA typically gives its artists.

      And for a lot of us, it's a great way to supplement our income from gigs and real album sales.

      The $19.95 "Premium Artist" service done right is actually ludicrously easy to break even with. I have yet to have a month where I even came close to going negative, and my only form of advertising is a link at the bottom of my slashdot sig!

      Also, just because you put songs up on doesn't mean you have to put ALL of them up there. In fact, not doing so is a great way to draw listeners into buying your CD's and attending your gigs.

      So I don't think is ripping me or anyone else off. I think the people who complain about such things are the people who tend to complain about everything -- the ultra-paranoid who think EVERYONE is out to rip them off.

      Or agents of the RIAA. (hehehe...just kidding) ;)
      • So if I listen your music like nonstop for a month, do you make uber-amounts of cash?

        So really the question is: What would make you more money?
        One guy-> A hundred streams
        10 guys-> 10 streams each?
        • So if I listen your music like nonstop for a month, do you make uber-amounts of cash? I do make real money; if one person listens to each one of my songs once every day, it ends up being worth about $10-$15. The formula for P4P payments is pretty closely guarded, so I don't know if 10 people listening to 10 songs a day is more valuable than 1 person listening to 100; however, 10 people listening to the SAME 10 songs per day is worth more than 1 person listening to 100 if they do it all in the same day, because that will boost those songs in the charts, causing more people to click and listen to them, generating more money overall.
      • It seems [] that you've only made $250 total, and you're up to $37 this month. How much of that do you see? I notice you haven't sold a single CD this month; is this typical for a given month?

        One artist I'm rather fond of, Anet [], apparently makes off like a bandit []. Comparatively, that is.
        • True. The main reason is that until the past few months I didn't do any self-promotion at all; and even now, I don't do very much. The reason is because I have a day job, and I'm pretty happy doing what I do for a living (coding!). But my friend [] who DOES want to do music for a living does a much better job, and (as you say) makes like a bandit.
  • Given how insane the courts have been about decisions like this (100% Napster compliance or else), I'm sure they'll win.

    Of course, there'll be no money to win from's corpse.

    • Think about it.

      You must guarantee that, of all the people you encounter in a day, you do not kill, assault, steal from, or kill 100% of them. You must also guarantee that of everything you say, 100% of it is neither slander nor libel, nor someone else's work.

      If you are a previous offender of any of these instances, the government assumes that you *can't* assume this by yourself, and you need to convince them that you can to get them off yoru back
  • god help us (Score:5, Interesting)

    by furiousgeorge ( 30912 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:31PM (#2205312)
    This should be'll all boil down to who the judge is and who cluefull/less he is.

    Lets recap: the service that offered required you to prove that you had the CD. They used their special little app that would then be queried by their servers for a number of random pieces from the CD. If all the pieces lined up, then you 'owned' the CD, and they put it in your locker for you. Even Bruce Scheiner (sic? i can't be bothered to look it up) evaluated their protocol and found it cryptographically secure.

    So - You can only get access to the mp3's from if you already own (or are at least IN POSESSION of) the CD. Therefore you could rip the mp3's for napster yourself. Getting a streamed version from them gave you nothing - except slowing you down.

    But with the typical justice system they'll get reamed........ again..........
    • No, i think this is just for the music that the regular provides, not the service. So these are the independant artists suing for people downloading their music that they made availble for downod, and then the same music getting shared on napster.
      • "No, i think this is just for the music that the regular provides, not the service."

        That was what I thought at first, too. However, by reading the article a lot more closely, I came to the conclusion that they are probably referring to They specifically talk about illegally providing the songs in question, which would tie back to In the case of regular, they've got the consent of the artist to distribute it, so the initial distribution wouldn't be considered illegal.

        Then again, trying to guess technical details from a less-than-clear news article is almost always a losing battle.

    • True, once you have the streaming version in winamp, it is a bit difficult to get an actual mp3 on your hd, unless they allow you to download it, which some of them they don't. (there are ways to get around that, but read on)

      So, given that, seems like most of the people that were putting their songs on napster would have been people that either bought the CD and ripped it themselves ( doesn't even enter into this discussion then), or they borrowed a cd, and ripped it (see #1), or they went to the trouble of trying to download the streaming mp3 (which is a pain in the ass).

      Which do you think constitutes the majority here?

      but you are correct, they will probably go to jail for the rest of their life.
    • You can only get access to the mp3's from if you already own (or are at least IN POSESSION of) the CD.

      You pointed out a subtle distinction: possession != owning. Yes, the cliche goes "possession counts as nine-tenths of the law," but the other one-tenth comes from contracts. For example, I often borrow CDs from a public library, but they come with a contract that I must return them after 21 days or pay late fees. I certainly do not own them under first sale and most likely may not keep backups in my possession.

      • No one asked me to sign, verbally agree to or otherwise enter into a legal obligation with anyone the lasst time i plunked down 20 bucks for a cd. Librarys are a different story.
    • The judge in the original case realized all that. The problem was that there's case law that says it's not legal to convert someone else's copyrighted works from one format to another format for profit. The reasoning is that the original author should 1) get the profit for the new format, 2) should get to set the price for the new format, and 3) should get to say whether or not the new format is allowed. was ruled to be liable for #1 and #2. Now it's time for #3.

    • "You can only get access to the mp3's from if you already own (or are at least IN POSESSION of) the CD."

      On the possession issue, obviously even temporary possession was enough to satisfy the system. On the other hand, temporary possession is also enough to satisfy a CD burner, so...

      The bigger potential abuse came in the form of account sharing. People could easily use shared accounts as a means of illegally distributing songs to a wider audience. Imagine, for example, if someone signed up with the userid and password of "Slashdot" and included a mention of it in their sig.

      Still, overall, I honestly believe was trying to provide a legitimate, fair use system that provided convenience to people who had already paid for the right to listen to a given CD, while at the same time trying to protect the artist from piracy. The latter was something completely ignored by Napster, and the reason I'm more or less unsympathetic to that plight. But every time I hear about getting hit with a lawsuit, it annoys me as they were trying hard to develop a system to make everyone happy.

  • It's sad to read that this lawsuit is being filed by a representation of over 50 independent artists and labels. Why aren't they fighting the real battle?, while not perfect, has paved the path for independent artists to find success on the internet without signing with a large, corrupt record label.

    If these artists found their work being passed around Napster, they should be happy, not angry. I bet more people have now heard their names and maybe even some bought an album or went to a live show. If not, well they're probably not very good.
    • "If these artists found their work being passed around Napster, they should be happy, not angry. I bet more people have now heard their names and maybe even some bought an album or went to a live show."

      Well, back when Napster was under major attack, it was pretty widely spread (at least here, if not in the major media) that Napster use correlated with people who bought more CD's, not fewer.

      But you've got a better point that finding your music on Napster is a good thing. I'd be thrilled if I found my music on Napster. In general, you have to be doing really well to find people trading your music on Napster. I have a friend who makes $50-$100 per day on just one of his pages (the one for his band, as opposed to his solo work), and even then he's only got a couple of songs I've seen on Napster. But those couple are an indication of his success, and don't represent real money he's lost.

      I look forward to the day I find my music's popular enough that people will want to trade it on Napster.
  • by krmt ( 91422 )
    How can they truly demonstrate the is responsible for putting these songs up on Napster? Granted, if they did create this "bootleg library" then they're liable for the infringement there, but how can the songs there be linked to the ones that are proliferating "virally"?

    I get the feeling that this one will have paying a hefty fine over the library they created, but hopefully they can fight off this viral thing, which is pretty absurd. Even if they distributed the songs to people illegally, they didn't force anyone to throw them on Napster, if those versions on Napster even came from them in the first place.
    • How can they truly demonstrate the is responsible for putting these songs up on Napster?

      I was just thinking the same thing. Can you prove a files origin, whether it be audio, video, or data? Me thinks not, unless it's somehow digtially signed. I never used MP3.Com, so maybe they did some kind of watermarking. If not, then we're obviously missing some facts; I don't think a tech savy lawyer would try and prove an association from Napster to Mp3.Com based on a file name, bit rate, etc.

      Then again, maybe they're going to supponea someone to say, "Yep, that's my copy of Boys on the Radio (Hole). I downloaded it from MP3.Cpm and uploaded to Napster. I'd recognize that encoding rate anywhere."

      Not that I'm encouraging it, but how can NOT have been DDOS'd by now? Haven't they pissed just about everyone off in some way shape or form.

  • Out of Control (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M_Talon ( 135587 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:35PM (#2205346) Homepage
    While we're at it, why doesn't somebody sue MCI Worldcom, Sprint, and any other backbone provider for upkeeping the Internet which allows file sharing to occur in the first place?

    This kind of litigation is ridiculous. It's merely an attempt to bleed more money out a dying company, and any judge with half a brain would realize the absolute dangerous precedence this would set. Anyone who merely touches a certain technology could be sued if the tech was used for copyright infraction. "Oh, those CDR manufacturers should be sued, since they're making discs that carry pirated material. They're accessories to infringement."

    Once again, I say puuhleeeze. This whole attack on "piracy" is doing nothing but making the recording industry look bad. It pushes people to find better ways to circumvent the process and causes others to completely boycott legitimate music purchases all together.

    Industry, find someway to make the customer happy without ramming lawsuits and unethical CD mods down our throats. Customers, support reasonable attempts at legitimate digital music, but let your voice be heard when abuse of the law and standards occurs. Until then, a lot of good people will lose out.
  • If cities can sue handgun makers for the costs associated with innercity crime, I suppose this is a valid suit. I'm still waiting for them to sue kitchen knife makers, then charity hospitals for makeing bad people. It's obvious that those people have no other use than murder and mayhem and the cost to us is astounding. Give me all your money. Barf.
  • It's because they released some mp3's under the GPL.

  • I know! Lets all sue the media for viral dissemination of sites know to distrubute MP3's of artists music. Since it is quite obivous that if the media had not spent so much time publicizing and napster, then less people would hear about it less "damages" of course would have been done :) .... 3-4 years before we are this level? what do you think???

    • To understand recursion you must first understand re... wait.

      I like the idea. In fact, let's sue the broadcasters and ISP's for bringing us the information from the media. How far can the chain extend? How about suing the lawyers for making public the complaints against which drew the media to the story which increased the number of pirates, and so on, and so on...

  • I'm a copyright infringment virus. Run me and I'll send copies of all your MP3's to everyone in your address book.
    • Not even kidding - imagine a worm thar tried to send just one .mp3 to each person in an address book. The bandwidth consumption would be HUGE. Considering the default Napster download paths are often in place, lots of users will have .mp3s in a known location (still) ... oops.
      • I think that's a brilliant (though devious) idea. Everyone has mp3 files, as opposed to PowerPoint files (10's of Mb) or whatever. But then, why send MP3's when you can send random .jpg's from their hard drive? True, the bandwidth would be less but the damage would be much greater. I bet at least a dozen rich and important people would have to retreat from public life because of what was revealed...
  • This is my theory. It is mine, and it goes like this: the brontosaurus is small at the front...

    It sucks that entites like the RIAA and now this class-action lunacy always go after the so-called "enablers". The fact is that the law-suits themselves would not be lucrative if they went after actual bone-fide music pirates (god I hate that word). The fscked up part is that when they stop one "enabler" a dozen others pop up in place.

    The only way to stop this madness is for the record companies to make a harsh example of anyone they catch pirating music. This would (at least partially) dissuade music pirates from continuing to trade files. I think the reason we don't see this kind of action is that it is not lucrative for the lawyers involved. In order to make a law suit viable, they must: a) target a single entity instead of an unidentifiable group, and b) that target must have lots of money to fork over in a settlement.

  • Bad trend. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity@sbc g l o b a l . n et> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:43PM (#2205397) Homepage Journal
    I really don't like this trend of everyone and their dog suing I, and many of my friends, depend on as a means of distribution for our music. I've also found it a wonderful place to find new music. I don't even go into record stores any more, simply because I appreciate being able to listen to the music I want to buy before I buy it. Even if people just click and download songs to try them out, we get paid.

    I'm not going to be rich because of it, but for at least one friend of mine's band (The Brobdingnagian Bards:, it's a really good step on the way to being able to make music for a living.

    For all its flaws, it's a great service both to music fans and to musicians. I hope that a few bad apples won't ruin it for the rest of us.
    • Re:Bad trend. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by h0rus ( 451357 )
      "I don't even go into record stores any more, simply because I appreciate being able to listen to the music I want to buy before I buy it."

      You said it, pal; That's precisely why they get so worried about places like that.
  • by cnkeller ( 181482 ) < minus berry> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:47PM (#2205414) Homepage
    They claim that people who downloaded MP3s from contributed them to napster, so owes them.

    At least they aren't suing:

    * Intel/AMD for providing chips that enable computers to function. Thus making Internet piracy possible.
    * U Illinois for creating a means of accessing web sites where said info can be traded (watch out Berners-Lee!)
    * The US government for funding the creation of the internet, which has enabled piracy to run rampant.
    * My parents. For obviously not teaching me right from wrong.

    I'm so sick of law suits I can't even tell if I was kidding....

  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:48PM (#2205419)
    Why? Because I was playing some MP3's that I downloaded from Napster in my car with the windows rolled down as I was driving down the street = unauthorized public performance. Honda should be ashamed. of themselves for robbing hard working artists this way.

    RIAA will soon insist that car manufactures locked windows in the upright positions when music is being played unless it comes from a royalty-paying souce.

    On a side note...this is why you NEVER EVER settle a case out of court. MP3.Com settled and has been taking up the ass ever since (insert obligatory goatse reference). The newest game in the music industry is to flaggelate the expired equinine. Napster is still fighting. And really, if they do lose, could they possibly any worse off than MP3.Com?

    - JoeShmoe
  • by bsdbigot ( 186157 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:49PM (#2205423) Journal
    Everyone knows that is tanking. Ask yourself this: what's the value of a company that has little or no market capitalization?

    You want the answer? Neil Stephenson knows. The only thing to be gained from such a lawsuit is a majority share (read: control) of the company. screwed up, and now a consortium of independent artists are going to step up and try to do it better. This makes perfect sense. The RIAA is going to end up owning Napster, so the Indies need a way into the market, too.

  • This is still absurd (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @04:49PM (#2205426) Homepage
    The argument goes like this: made compressed copies of about 900,000 songs, which it placed on its computer servers -- without obtaining the rights to do so. purchased all of the CDs containing those 900,000 songs. Why shouldn't they have right to compress them and put then in a database (that is what they were sued for in the inital lawsuit, not distributing the music afterwards)? That seems like fair use to me (but not judge Rakoff, I guess). Once you pay for the music, why shouldn't you be able to shift it to another format so that you can use it more easily? Forget for a second about what they wanted to use it for - they got in trouble for the shifting, not for the intended use. The previous ruling would indicate that the shifting would have gotten them in trouble regardless of the intended use.

    That created a vast bootleg library, from which subscribers could download songs.

    What they fail to mention is that users were only allowed to download songs on CDs that they owned. You had to run's "beam-it" software on your PC and insert each CD that you wanted to be able to use with their service before you could download any music from that CD. Nothing here was "bootlegged".

    The judge in the previous case ruled that the service was not legal, but I still think it should be. Everybody involved had paid for a copy of the music that they came in contact with and only served to increase the value of owning a CD (I used it all the time because I could listen to my 150+ CDs from anywhere and it encouraged me to buy more CDs).

    • Again... yes, they had the right, as the owner, to rip the CDs.

      But they did more than that; they distributed the compressed versions to people.

      Yes, I know they required the users to prove they first had the CD. Yes, I know it sounds perfectly fair.

      The problem is, under the law, you cannot distribute copies of someone's copyrighted work without permission, ESPECIALLY if you are doing it to make a profit.

      You see, although the mechanism was indirect, they are still profiting by distributing copies of someone elses work, without permission.
      • Again... yes, they had the right, as the owner, to rip the CDs.

        But they did more than that; they distributed the compressed versions to people.

        But that's not what the court said. The ruling against them from judge Rakoff found them guilty on the grounds that they made the database of ripped MP3s - I don't think the ruling touched on the distribution at all. Even the RIAA web page on this [] says that the creation of the database was the problem. Read the very first item - the one that discusses the ruling. The RIAA also says elsewhere on their website that ripping a CD for your personal use is illegal.

        I think a lot of people are confusing what was actually found guilty of with what one would assume they had been found guilty of if the laws in the US made some sort of sense. Being found guilty for the distribution would certainly be more intuitive (although I would still disagree with the principle of the law), but that's not what the ruling stated - it was the database creation itself that got them in trouble.

  • They actually tried very hard to prevent such copieds. It actually seemed like a resonable system at the time.

    1. The make you put the cd in your computer before you could listen to the songs
    2. You could only 'stream' the music files once they were on your list.

    granted, someone did come out with software to capture the streams, but then those files would have to be renamed and tagged. In reality, it's the cd rippers that that contibuted to napster files.

  • The only reason that the RIAA is so arrogant is they they have power. Their power, however, comes from us, i.e., from the money they make when we, the public buy their products. They use this power to lord it over us and help enact their fascist laws.

    There is only one way to cut them to size and reclaim our liberties. We must hit them where it hurts the most, their pocket book. We must refuse to buy their products. Download it all and copy it all! Then make copies for your friends and neighbors. Let's see them put an entire population in jail.
  • Outside of being just plain bizarre, could use a few legal tricks. For example, they could say the full set of users is completely disjoint from the full set of napster users (meaning if someone is a user, they're not a napster user and vice versa).

    Failing that, they could point out that because you have to own a CD before you can download the corresponding mp3s from, why would a someone who uses Napster even bother to buy the CD just to get the mp3 from, when all along they could just get the mp3 from Napster, regardless of whether they own the CD.
  • While we're at it, let's go after the car companies. After all, there's no way they can deny that every drunk driver needs to have a car to drive while intoxicated. I think it's a reasonable assumption that Ford knows the drunks need vehicles.
  • I think I'm getting the hang of it:
    • Anyone who copies music is breaking the law.
    • Anyone who permits copying of music is breaking the law.
    • Anyone who creates software that permits copying of music is breaking the law.
    • Anyone who allows music to be spread by software that permits copying of music is breaking the law.
    • Anyone who links to software which allows you to copy music files is breaking the law.

      Anyone who wrote software that allows you to copy music in another country where its legal is also breaking the law

      This discussion is probably illegal because it mentions copying music

  • like this one [] was. Said the judge:

    ``The complaint is hopelessly redundant, argumentative and has much irrelevancy and inflammatory material.''

  • Record companies provide music via the popular CD format. These digitally encoded music files can easily be 'ripped' to a computer hard drive, facilitating the illegal sharing of copyrighted materials across computer networks.

    Of course, CDs were widespread long before internet access, and most judges probably own a CD player, and are thus familiar with the format. But most judges (and politicians) have shown themselves to be clueless about the internet. And most have probably never played an MP3.

    So we have law suits like this.

    Steve M

  • That they are trying to prove that is responsible for the actions of their users when their users are not using their service ?

    Does this mean mcdonalds can get sued if i eat burger king and get sick as i normally eat mcd's ?

    It seems to me that once the user has verified their right to download from (their security as has already been said, appears unbreakable) then hands over any legal responsobility for copyright violation to the user - which of course poses a problem to the companies as you cant sue everyone (as much as the RIAA would like too)

    I havent seen one artist named yet and i wonder how much of this is one clever lawyer getting artists to buy into this suit on a basis of 'i might get you some money' ? would be interesting to find out if he is getting paud upfront or working on a percentage of money he can get ?

    Also wouldnt an independant artist want as much exposure as they can get ? you would think napster would be good news for the struggling guys, you know word of mouth etc etc.

    The problme is that the music industry has been hijacked by the likes of who go out and actively seek out violation (how many people actually download Roy Orbison MP3's anyway ? he's been dead over 10 years - wouldnt eminem have more of a problem) which sounds to me like a desperate attempt to screw every last cent out of their copyright property - most of the artists theyt seem to represent are dead or unknown.

    Check out their site at - is it a coincidence that after being involved in lawsuits against P2P services they have one of their own (PeerGenius) - seems to me like someone is making a lot of money off of this issue (and it isnt !)
  • I would like to sue the RIAA, the MPAA, the owners of the website, the writers of and voters for the DMCA, as well as the 52 "independent songwriters and music publishers" for "viral" stupidity.

    Each of these groups in their own special ways have contributed to the widely-assumed fallacy that all of their efforts are to protect the world from eye-patched, peg-legged, rum-swilling pirates (let's face it, the masses think of visions of Blackbeard at a keyboard when the term piracy is used in conjunction with computers).

    Instead, the RIAA sued to become the only legal group to be allowed to steal vast sums of money from musicians. Microsoft only dreams of such power. The MPAA sued to make sure that they weren't forced to expand their potential DVD market to include Linux users (after all, VHS killed the movie theaters so they need to keep on top of these things).'s suit will be charged to their advertising budget. The DMCA suits are to make sure that the horrible IBM cloning nightmare never happens again (boy did THAT hurt the industry!). And those independent songwriters and music publishers sued to make sure that they had a plan to fall back on in case the rest of the world never realizes how truly brilliant their musical indeavors are.

    For obvious reasons I'm claiming a massive amount of damage has been done to what was left of my beliefs that the justice system works, instead of the justice system "Will Work For Bribe Money". They have taken a corporation-sized DUMP on my First Amendment Rights as a US citizen, and used the laws of foreign countries to wipe their asses as they prosecute individuals from around the world for letting their Tools of Mass Copyright Infringement to flow through THEIR (big business') Internet.

    I am seeking their collective disbandment as my compensatory damages to make sure they don't ever attempt shit like this again, and for punitive damages I want their leaders' gene pool drained. It may not keep these things from happening again, but it sure goes a long way towards that dream.


    John Q. Citizen

  • It could be argued (and successfully i think) that Napster and services like this have actually contributed to the sales of albums and development of artists.

    As evidence look at Eminem - due to his lyrical content the amount of airplay he could and did get was limited - Top40 tends to stay as far away from controversial subjects as possible - yet the eminem album Marshall Mathers quickly rose to be a best seller ? why ?

    I posit that the availabilty of the tracks on napster and other file sharing systems help break him as an artist and build his popularity - look at the demographics or his audience - they range mainly in the 14-25 group - co-incidentally the major user base for napster users - the songs were readily available on naspter befoe the artist made it big and were heavily downloaded (based on the huge number of hits a search on his name would return).

    Without napster would this artist have had the worldwide success he has ? His lyrics contain mysonginist, racist and viloent overtones so redio play would have been limited in many countries (in Aust it is very very limited except for Stan) who have less liberal views, yet his albums sell, the marketing for the artist started after he became popular - after people were downloading his songs.

    And this is not isolated - How many people would have heard of bands like Sigur Ros if it werent for napster, how much success worldwide would 2nd teir artists like Lil Romeo have ? Groove Armada ? etc etc.

    Face it RIAA - MP3 has helped you sell albums - it can i think be succesfully argued that in the range of artists on the market, the number of record companies etc that the music industry is at it's most buoyant point in the last 50 years ?

    And where would these independant labels be without Napster, etc - by being able to get outside the record company dominated retail chains they have been able to cut sosts and use 'viral' marketing to build artist presence and sales.

    Something stinks here i suspect - does the term biting the hand that feeds you mean anything to these guys ?
  • By releasing any music at all, they're just opening the opportunity for pirates, thus is the root of all copyright infringements.
  • ... and the goat they rode in on.

    From now on, I will not listen to rock music on the radio. I have not bought a CD, or downloaded an mp3 the last year or so. From now on, only live performances, or talk radio will benefit from my listening.

    Since I hardly ever go to concerts, that means the guys who play on street corners and the subway will receive $.25 or so every time they play something I find worthy of listening to.

  • They should also sue the ISP, the phone company, and the manufacturers of the dial up modem or cable modem/dsl equipment.

    Be sure to sue the people with money. It's a waste of your money to sue poor people.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.