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RIAA Sues Backbone ISPs to Censor Website 916

prostoalex writes "Music labels filed a lawsuit against major Internet service providers for not blocking access to, music site located in China. The defendants in the suit include AT&T Broadband, Cable & Wireless USA, Sprint Corp., Advanced Network Services and UUNET Technologies." Wow.
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RIAA Sues Backbone ISPs to Censor Website

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  • by Cliff ( 4114 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:23PM (#4086335) Homepage Journal
    Now if this doesn't convince you that the RIAA Amoeba is the lowest, most evil form of life on this planet, I don't know what will.

    If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss your fair use rights good-bye.

    I think I will end this before I start stringing together several run-on sentences comprised solely of Carlin's Seven Words you Don't Say...

    Music industry indeed. Why not call it like it is and start calling them the Music Mafia? Oops. That's insulting the mafia...I shouldn't do that.

    • by ejdmoo ( 193585 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:34PM (#4086390)
      "If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss your fair use rights good-bye."

      If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss justice goodbye, as well as the common sense of that judge.
      • by spoonist ( 32012 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:42PM (#4086449) Journal
        "If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss justice goodbye, as well as the common sense of that judge."

        If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss The Constitution goodbye.
        • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:00PM (#4086576) Homepage Journal
          "If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss The Constitution goodbye."

          If this suit passes in favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss .... Uuh... shit you guys got all the good ones. Why couldn't you let me go first?
        • by for(;;); ( 21766 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:12PM (#4086671)
          > If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then
          > you can kiss The Constitution goodbye.

          Uh, The Constitution's *already* gone, "like a turkey through the corn." You can satisfy your kissing urges by kissing the police state hello.
        • by kapella ( 3578 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @09:04PM (#4086939)
          If this suit passes in favor of the RIAA, then the terrorists have won.
      • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:28PM (#4086768)
        "If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss justice goodbye, as well as the common sense of that judge."

        If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss goodbye. The rest is only speculation.

        Before you mod me as redundant, consider this: What are the real consequences of the RIAA winning this? Well, will probably be blocked, fair enough. Does this give the RIAA too much power? Well, that depends. Let's say that the RIAA demands that ISP's sue another site like Listen4Ever that pops up. Will that mean the RIAA can demand ISP's to block it? That depends on the exact findings of the judge. The judge could say "ISP's must block this site..." or he/she could say "ISP's must block sites that break copyrights...".

        In the first case, the RIAA would have to sue again in order to block another site. (Eventually that'll get a bit spendy...) In the second case, the ISP's could appeal. They could challenge any site that the RIAA attempts to block. It wouldn't take long for a freedom of speech case to come up. It is hard to imagine that the RIAA could develop any real policing powers.

        In other words, nothing is absolute. The more ridiculous steps that the RIAA takes to control content (especially when they can't prove they've lost money on 'unauthorized copies'...), the harder it is for any legislation to be passed to lock up the content. "We shut down this site, but our income didn't suddenly grow." -- How well will that hold up? I think this type of crap makes it less likely that new versions of the SSSCA will get passed. I see a silver lining either way.
        • by alouts ( 446764 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:52PM (#4086887)
          Please. Speculation, sure. But fairly well-founded speculation.

          If the RIAA wins this, they have a legal precedent for blocking whatever the hell they want to under the guise of copyright infringement. Now, the second time around their case may not be as strong, and the backbone operators may stand a chance of winning if they challenge, but with precedent on the **AA's side, it is not in the financial interest of ISP to follow through on that challenge. Defending yourself against litigation is costly, and the lesser your chances of winning, the smaller your desire to pursue.

          The problem with your scenario is that so far as I know, the ISPs aren't altruistic slashdot readers, they're businesses. And when backed into a corner by the legal system, businesses usually prefer to just pay the fee to the troll under the bridge rather than fight it for a chance to pass for free. It ends up costing them less in the long run.

          • And when backed into a corner by the legal system, businesses usually prefer to just pay the fee to the troll under the bridge rather than fight it for a chance to pass for free.


            1. Become a Slashdot troll. Position yourself under a bridge.
            2. ???
            3. Profit!


          • by berzerke ( 319205 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @12:27AM (#4087760) Homepage

            I'm not so sure. First, the ISP's being sued do have the money to fight. At least they have a chance (the old justice to the highest bidder game). And they have incentive to fight.

            If they win, they now have a legal precident which would help deter future lawsuits, not just from the **AA, but from anyone with a gripe about a website. Think abortion friend/foe, various religious groups, companies (MS suing to block Linux sites for instance), etc. Face it. If every web site that contained something someone didn't like was blocked, there would be very few websites. If they fail to fight, they are just inviting many more lawsuits, again, not just from the **AA (see list above).

            Now the big question is are the execs at the ISPs bright enough to see this.

        • by Fat Casper ( 260409 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @10:06PM (#4087272) Homepage
          If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss goodbye. The rest is only speculation.

          No, you just won't be able to reach from anywhere that goes through these backbone carriers. Carriers. That's an important word here. The RIAA isn't suing a copyright infringing website, they're suing the phone company. These backbone folks are "common carriers," meaning that they are not responsible for what passes over their cables.

          An FTP request is an FTP request is an FTP request. If it goes to, or, it doesn't matter to them. They've got a really fat pipe that they're trying to keep up. They're not some public library that went and accepted federal money to get on the net and has to put mommyware on their boxen, they're common carriers. Once they start picking and choosing what traffic to allow, they're responsible for all the traffic they carry: terrorists' instructions, gay bashing emails, kiddie porn and auctions of Nazi memorabilia.

          The telcos aren't going to let anything take their common carrier protections away from them. I think that the RIAA finally took on the wrong opponent.

      • If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss justice goodbye, as well as the common sense of that judge.

        I expect the judge will provide the best justice that money can buy.

    • by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:38PM (#4086413) Homepage
      Damn, a good first post for once. ;)

      Seriously, if the RIAA goes through with this, you can kiss your ISP's fiscial stability good-bye.

      Can you imagine how many sites for illegal content appear outside of the US? Can you imagine how many requests every large backbone provider would have to deal with? Can you imagine how quickly the blocking tables on the router would be stuffed to the gills?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:39PM (#4086426)
      I find your association of the recording industry with amoebae patently offensive, and demand an immediate retraction.

      That Gigantic Fucking Amoeba-Thing from Zelda 64

    • by tim_maroney ( 239442 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:49PM (#4086492) Homepage
      If this suit passes in the favor of the RIAA, then you can kiss your fair use rights good-bye.

      Providing complete copies of copyrighted recordings is by no means fair use. Fair use would be providing short sections for critical discussion and analysis.

      Take a look at this excellent article [] on real threats to fair use. It defines fair use as follows: "If you are accused of infringing, you can make an argument that your use of the protected works is 'fair' because of some combination of these factors: The nature of the original work makes it important that it be publicly discussed; the nature of your use of it is important because of teaching, research, or commentary; you do not use very much of the original work; your use does not significantly affect the market for the original work." All of these four criteria fail in the case of pirated popular music.

      Tim Maroney
      • A good point, but the real issue here is censorship. Why should an ISP have to block ANY website? They aren't the ones breaking the law. It is up to individuals to follow the law/do what is morally right, and corporations should not be enforcing morality, and especially should not be enforcing the law!
      • The problem here isn't about fair use.

        Should we sue the Post Office for anthrax sent through the mail? Sue the Dept of Highway Safety because a gangster robbed the bank then made his getaway on the highway? Sue the telephone service because a stalker keeps calling your house?

        No company - no company - should be able to sue a communications company just because they don't like what somebody says. If the government of China doesn't want to shut it down, then the RIAA should be applying the powers that be there - not on the communications medium.

        Personally, I hope that AT&T et all take them on and give them what for.
    • Going sue-crazy is usually the last gasp of a dying company. Maybe the problem will take care of itself. (Dare to dream.)
    • As someone else metioned, the ISPs defending this suit should just blackhole all of the RIAA members' sites.

      And I don't mean just their music sites, either. I mean everything owned or operated by any RIAA member. All of those sites should be made to simply disappear.

      The RIAA, through its members, needs to be made to understand that there are some things that you simply do not fuck over, and infrastructure is one of those things. Backbone ISPs provide the infrastructure of the internet, and the RIAA needs to be forced to understand that they are just as vulnerable to being cut off as any site they might wish to see blocked.

  • Good idea (Score:3, Funny)

    by AmigaAvenger ( 210519 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:34PM (#4086389) Journal
    RIAA doesn't need them sensored, slashdot will probably take care of the site themselves with a good slashdot effect!
  • O_o~ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Twintop ( 579924 ) <> on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:37PM (#4086410) Homepage Journal
    *Quickly bookmarks and downloads everything not on newsgroups.* Seriously though, this is the direction that things are going, and the RIAA is just trying in a futile attempt to stop it. There isn't ever going to be a way to police anything on the internet: it's to large and too spread out. Eventually the RIAA is going to have to realize that album sales aren't going to be bringing in the big bucks anymore, and instead there are going to have to focus on promoting concerts, t-shirts, and other things that can't be ripped from the web.
  • oh cripes (Score:3, Funny)

    by JayDoggy ( 200317 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:37PM (#4086412) Homepage
    Wherever will I download "Songs of Ocarina" and soundtrack to "Legends of the Fall" if they shut off access to this great site!!!!!
  • Maybe... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dokutake ( 587467 ) <peter AT epiccentre DOT com> on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:38PM (#4086414)
    ..they could start paying off government officials in China, it's worked well enough in the US.
  • Damn.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by mhandlon ( 464241 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:38PM (#4086418)
    Thanks for the link slashdot this is better then Kazaa!
  • Makes sense to me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phraktyl ( 92649 ) <(wyatt) (at) (> on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:38PM (#4086419) Homepage Journal
    This is wonderful! With this precidence set, I'll be able to sue the state for the highway I was on if I have an accident, and the power company for supplying the electricity that started a house fire.

    Now would *needs* to happen is that someone needs to pass a law that bans the RIAA from doing *anything* on the internet. Hell, even saying or writing the *word* internet should hold hefty fines for them!


    • This is wonderful! With this precidence set, I'll be able to sue the state for the highway I was on if I have an accident, and the power company for supplying the electricity that started a house fire.

      Believe it or not, you can sue the city for negligence (e.g. if your car gets a flat tire from a pothole) or the power company for negligence (e.g. if a power line breaks and sets your house on fire).

      You can hold a business accountable for negligence, even if you are not their customer. Banks can have their assets seized if they don't take steps to prevent money laundering. On a smaller scale, pawnbrokers are held responsible for selling stolen goods.

      Generally, when an industry creates a technology that facilitates an illegal or dangerous act, that industry is held responsible for part of the cost of monitoring and preventing that action.

  • by professortomoe ( 540098 ) <> on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:38PM (#4086423) Homepage
    Thanks guys, I never knew this site existed. Good job bringing it up for us who never heard of it. ;)
  • -1 Obvious (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wee ( 17189 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:39PM (#4086425)
    The RIAA is a monument to litigious frivolity and professional stupidity. The whole lot of them need to be wished into the cornfield.


  • by kid zeus ( 563146 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:39PM (#4086427)
    Hey, at least now some of the defendants have equally deep pockets. We're talking AT&T here, not some little indie ISP. Seems to me that the RIAA might have been better off not pissing off some of these companies who can field as good or better a legal team and who can throw as much money at Congress.
    • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:47PM (#4086480) Homepage Journal
      Great post, kid zeus.

      Those RIAA nimwits may be meeting their match here. Not only do they have deep pockets, but think of it this way - when the folks in Washington see this battle, they may rethink what's more important: keeping the Information Superhighway (tm) alive and propelling the New Economy, or keeping the music industry alive in its current bloodsucking incarnation.

      T-Rex, meet Godzilla. :-)

    • Yes we're talking AT&T. But remember that AT&T is on the financial skids. As is C&W and WorldCom, the parent of UUNet. Don't know about the other defendant, Advanced Network Services. These companies are all big, but they may not be able to afford the legal battle.

      Notably missing are two leading ISPs owned by one of the plaintiffs: AOL and CompuServe. I'd be interested to know if those ISPs are blocking this site.

      Well, at least they're suing, not blacklisting. My big fear has always been that freedom-loving ISPs would be made to restrict user access, or lose their backbone connections. And AOL/TW is a big backbone provider.

      • Notably missing are two leading ISPs owned by one of the plaintiffs: AOL and CompuServe. I'd be interested to know if those ISPs are blocking this site.

        Yes and no. I've got RoadRunner, and automagically routes me to, which looks nothing like the cached version of Listen4Ever that Google gives me. So, there blocking it, but in a backhanded way that doesn't even let the average mp3 leech know what they're missing.

        • by NotoriousQ ( 457789 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @12:08AM (#4087711) Homepage
          Same with verizon....silent redirects to Guess who seems to also be missing from the list of sued companies

          Funny though when I went to, there was no redirect.

          I will try to mod you up some more if I can, to get more people to notice.
          • by Spazzz ( 577014 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @01:29AM (#4087915)
            I've tested this from Cable and Wireless, BellSouth, and AT&T's networks and below is what I get. It might be interesting to note that traceroutes do end up in China, so it looks like the packets are making it there unmolested, but the web server on the other end is what's making the redirect:
            $ host
   has address
            $ telnet 80
            Connected to
            Escape character is '^]'.
            GET / HTTP/1.1

            HTTP/1.1 302 Object moved
            Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
            Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 04:23:11 GMT
            Content-Length: 149
            Content-Type: text/html
            Cache-control: private

            <head><title>Object moved</title></head>
            <body><h1>Object Moved</h1>This object may be found <a HREF="">here</a>.</bod y>
            It's also interesting to note that it appears that BellSouth uses UUNet for *all* of their transit. At least every traceroute I've done out of BellSouthLand has gone through UUNet's network, and the traceroute to is no exception. As for I don't see anything there that's worth the RIAA getting their panties in a bunch except for some links to sites that can help find MP3s. -Jeff
          • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @01:39AM (#4087935) Homepage Journal
            Strange. Lets take a little look at the this website/server.

            GET HTTP/1.1
            User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0; I USE MOZILLA, Support Mozilla
            Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,tex t/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,video/x-mng,image/pn g,image/jpeg,image/gif;q=0.2,text/css,*/*;q=0.1
            A ccept-Language: en-us, en;q=0.50
            Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
            Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1, utf-8;q=0.66, *;q=0.66
            Keep-Alive: 300
            Connection: keep-alive

            +++RESP 112+++
            HTTP/1.0 302 Moved Temporarily
            Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
            Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 04:25:24 GMT
            Content-Length: 149
            Content-Type: text/html
            X-Cache: MISS from sexy
            Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
            +++CLOSE 112+++


            [iw@sexy] ~ >lynx -noredir -dump -source
            This object may be found @ HREF=""

            Interesting ports on (
            (The 1542 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
            Port State Service
            21 ftp
            25 smtp
            80 http
            85 mit-ml-dev
            135 loc-srv
            139 netbios-ssn
            1021 unknown
            1025 listen
            1030 iad1
            1433 ms-sql-s
            3389 msrdp
            6666 irc-serv

            Port 6666, looks like some gnutella clone or something..
            -> repeats this line "f:\songlib/-NeAmL/IN/s/w1r`O"

            I think this is a persons workstation, so they are redirecting to save bandwidth. (IMHO)

            BTW, /. junk filter bites.

  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:41PM (#4086436) Homepage
    Perhaps one of the potential outcomes of globalization is that we all sink to the lowest common denominator. America blocking access to foreign sites? That's so... Chinaesque!
  • theme party (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:41PM (#4086438)
    Can we just get the RIAA, MPAA, most major computer software and hardware vendors, the major ISPs, portals and most patent holding corporations together and have one big fuckin' sue party? I mean christ, Adobe sues Macromedia, Macromedia sues Adobe, RIAA sues ISPs, one member of RIAA sues another member, someone gets ready to sue everyone who ever made a bot, the hyperlinks are claimed to have been patented and we're fucking liable, some of the genes in my body have been patented by some asshole. Fuck it all. Christ, the whole goddamned American-inspired capitalist corporate world fucking sucks and it's swallowing us all. Somebody please help me find a better country. How are Iceland and New Zealand?
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:42PM (#4086450) Homepage
    In other news, congress has passed the DMTA (digital millenium transit act), which will force people to continue using horses for transportation despite the fact that a faster and more effective format, known as an "automobiles", has been available for some time.

    "We can't make money on cars," said a representative of the Harness Makers Association of America (HMAA), "so they should be illegal. Think of all the poor horsies that would be turned into Elmer's if these criminal 'auto enthusists' got there way."

    Politicians hailed the passing of the DMTA as a "strong step towards halting all progress and keeping the world exactly as it is. After all, change is scary!"

    • by pangloss ( 25315 )
      Isn't the next logical step for the RIAA to sue U.S. airlines for continuing to provide service to countries known to harbor merchants of pirated music? ;)

      I mean it's the airlines' responsibility to ensure that music pirates aren't using their routes to facilitate their misdeeds.

      It's a good thing the RIAA hasn't heard of those Canadian pirates, coz then we'd have to shut down the highways, too.
  • by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:43PM (#4086454) Homepage

    It seems there are at least four or five stories about the RIAA every week on Slashdot. Most deal with circumventing their legal lobbying, technical approaches for dealing with proposed DRM techniques, and whatnot.

    Meanwhile, it seems the RIAA sinks to a new depth every week. With this latest story, I think it's time the tech community started asking a different question. What can the tech community do to damage the RIAA or render them irrelevant? And what are the best legal methods for kicking the RIAA where it hurts?

    • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:57PM (#4086560) Homepage
      And what are the best legal methods for kicking the RIAA where it hurts?

      Er, don't buy music from recording labels? The best way to express your disapproval towards any business or group of businesses is to not buy their stuff.

      Of course, as we've seen (bnet vs. Warcraft 3, MPAA vs. LOTR DVD), sticking to your principles is pretty tough. For example, I bought the new Linkin Park CD because I'm against the RIAA and, as it turns out, a hippocrite.

    • The way one shows distaste in a free market is to use the power of the market.

      Everyone: stoy buying music and instead get illegal copies from your friends.

      Oh, wait...
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by matthewn ( 91381 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:43PM (#4086459)
    Am I the only person who hadn't heard of this site till now? At any rate, I appreciate the big labels bringing it to my attention!
  • Audacity indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:44PM (#4086461)
    The article says that the plantiff's claim that is registered under a "U.S. domain name". What the heck is that all about? So websites in any other country must use their nation's domain, but only "U.S." websites can use a .com ? The RIAA truly astounds me with what they'll say/pull.....
  • by phr2 ( 545169 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:45PM (#4086464)
    Surprisingly it's not slashdotted--there must be big pipes behind it. I didn't try loading any mp3's.

    Just viewing the site launched endless popup ad windows some of which resized themselves to fill the whole screen, popped more windows when you closed the old ones, etc.

    Interestingly, the actual mp3's come from an entirely different set of domains, that don't appear related to the gateway site and probably aren't hosted in China. The site being sued over is more like a portal (link farm) than an actual mp3 host. It has tons of "legitimate" advertising including audio devices, Visa cards, etc. But I couldn't stand looking at it long, because of all the damn popups.

    Anyway, this isn't some warez kiddie's server, it's a highly commercial site, and it astounds me if RIAA is really having trouble finding its owners (asking its advertisers where they send their checks is an obvious approach).

  • by joebp ( 528430 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:45PM (#4086468) Homepage

    1) Screw customers
    2) Screw now former-customers
    3) Censor the internet
    4) ???
    5) Profit!

    • Can we please call a moratorium on the use of the Underpants Gnomes bit? This is getting as bad as "All your base," and at least AYBABTU had a string of funny photoshops to give it some merit!

      Thank you,

  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:46PM (#4086476)
    I can hear it now...

    "Every time I build, you American show up and take down my wall! Stop it! You take down my wall for the last time! Stupid Americans!"

  • by jmoloug1 ( 178962 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:47PM (#4086481)
    As if this story isn't ridiculous enough,

    The copyright infringement suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks a court order requiring the defendants to block Internet communications that travel through their systems to and from the Listen4ever site.

    I am a RoadRunner user and have no problem accessing the site. If AOLTW is going to sue somebody to block communications, why haven't they taken this "simple" measure within their own systems?

  • by matthew_eeph ( 579435 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:49PM (#4086498)
    The news media says "The suit states... the site... appears to target an American audience" If that's so, why does the top of the site itself say "Add to your Favourites"?
  • Nice... (Score:4, Funny)

    by doi ( 584455 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:52PM (#4086513)
    I love the irony of a U.S. organization (RIAA) suing U.S. corporations (ISPs) for NOT doing something they're NOT required by law to do, thereby destroying the ISPs potential revenue (!), just because they're NOT blocking a site in a Communist, totalitarian country! (with whom the U.S. is spending a great deal of time, money and effort in opening new trade and business relationships)
  • by Sangui5 ( 12317 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:52PM (#4086518)

    You may think that the RIAA is good at influencing the legal and political process, but I think they've just picked a fight they can't hope to win. The big backbone providers got to where they are through skillful manipulation of the system. If any set of entities is capable of playing the litigation game, it has got to be the phone and cable companies.

    First off, every other case the RIAA has attempted has been against shallow pockets. Not so here. While WorldCom is in trouble, they do have a large legal team sitting around doing nothing (can't work on the bankruptcy 'cause that's not their area). I don't think I need mention how deep the pockets of ATT, Sprint, et. al. are.

    Also, in the past they've gone against entities without experience. At any one time any major phone company is involved in more litagation than you can imagine (minimum of 3 major legal actions per state--justifying their current rates, attacking the justification their competitors give for their rates, and fighting to keep their preferred status as incumbant carrier, besides various federal and local actions). They know how to take full advantage of the rules, which rules they have to follow, which they can bend, and which they can break. They'll make dragging any information out of them during discovery a total nightmare, while at the same time demanding the most minor scraps of records the RIAA has. They'll abuse the calander, run the clock, and overall be just not very nice.

    The RIAA may act like an 800 lb. gorrilla, but they've just picked a fight with the 8000 lb. bunch. Not a good idea.

    • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:08PM (#4086641) Homepage

      I think the RIAA does not actually expect to go to court. They probably just want the backbone providers to compare the cost of going to court versus simply blacklisting "just one web site". Once the precedent has been set, then the RIAA could keep pestering the backbone providers with more web sites to blacklist.
      • by Sangui5 ( 12317 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:29PM (#4086773)

        Also in response to Renraku's comment above.

        The trouble is, there is a cost to blacklisting : violation of their contractual peering/carrier responsibilities. They have agreed to carry a lot of traffic. Some for money, some in exchange for peering, but they've agreed to carry it nevertheless. If they just cave, then they open themselves to suits from all of the people they've contracted with for breach of contract.

        Now, true, you can't contract to do something illegal and have the contract be enforcable. However, they need to make a reasonable effort to fulfill their contractual obligations, which would include fighting back. Additionally, this is a civil matter, and not a criminal one, so even if they fight and loose, they could still be drug into court over failure to deliver. They may win such cases, but if they just cave to the RIAA, they can't also just cave to all of their customers. And their customers aren't small fry either -- I believe UUNET now requires you to have 3 geographically distant POP's connected by 10 Mbit to even vaguely consider peering.

        Also, corporations are fully aware of the idea of setting a bad precident (shit, is that spelled right? 'prolly not). Every time they let somebody dictate what they can carry, it makes it that much easier for the next person who wants another IP block to be stopped at the border. The big baddass backbone routers already have oversized routing tables--they simply can't afford to add any unnecessary entries. And if adding these entries causes service to slip, well, most big backbones include all sorts of lovely penalty provisions against themselves in their carrier contracts, because they know that they can charge extra for the ironclad guaruntee.

        No, they all but have to fight. They can either fight the RIAA in one big battle, or fight their customers in a hundred big battles. 1 is a lot less than 100...

  • by LowneWulf ( 210110 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:53PM (#4086521)
    Yeah that's right. Pick on the ones who can fight back. Take on the industry that has taken every opponent, even the government, and lived to tell about it.

    Hehe. I can imagine the executives meeting.
    "What do you guys control?"
    "I control cell phones."
    "I am the master of cable."
    "I am the undisputed champion of the US Internet backbone."
    "So... what do you control for world domination?"
    "Ummm.... CD music. Not anything good though, just the really commercialized stuff."
    *crowd contains guffaws and laughter starts leaking out*

  • Self-Inflicted? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:56PM (#4086554)
    I can't help but wonder if some of this is self-inflicted. As various corporate entities capture the ISP market and begin to play fast and loose with content control, they have began to give up the "common carrier" stance that has been the ISP's protection in the past. Once an ISP is no longer a common carrier, they are immediately liable for any kind of traffic coming through their network.

    The only reservation I have on this point is that I'm not sure all the parties involved have taken steps that could be considered abandoning common carrier status. For example, while I'm sure I remember seeing AT&T Broadband taking such actions, I don't remember seeing anything from UUNET that would expose them to this kind of action.

    Of course, previous establishment of common carrier status for ISPs was under a slightly different political climate. The attitude towards the Net has changed. New deals have been done in business and politics. All bets could very well be off.
  • by halftrack ( 454203 ) <jonkje@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Friday August 16, 2002 @07:58PM (#4086565) Homepage
    * Markerpen and PostIt makers for publishing technology enabeling people to use their CD's.
    * Power suppliers for making peoples computers run.
    * CD-R makers for making piracy easy.
    * Microsoft for making WMA (which uses)
    * Linus Torvalds for making Linux and Bill Gates for making Windows which both enable music on computers thus encouraging piracy.
    * Consumers for not buying enough CDs.
    * Movie companies and game creators for making products that are worth the money so that kids use their money on DVDs and games instead of music.
    * Themself for publishing music, thus making it subject to piracy.
  • by DoctorFrog ( 556179 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:02PM (#4086588)
    This could be terrific. It's about time that ISPs were clearly defined as common carriers, like telephone companies are. It's absurd to expect an ISP to monitor and vet all traffic through it, and there's no good halfway solution; any requirement for ISPs to act as a censoring agent is fraught with so many issues as to be unworkable.

    The RIAA would be well within their rights to sue Listen4ever in an international court, but suing the ISPs because it's too difficult to track down the copyright infringers is like suing the phone company because someone is hassling you from a series of public telephones and it's too hard to catch the caller.

    The only point I can think of for the RIAA is that maybe there should be a process for shutting down a domain that is clearly violating international law. That raises all kinds of other issues, but pushing for amendments to international treaties might be an acceptable way for them to deal with their problem.

    (Admittedly it would also be awfully hard to implement effectively given how easy it is to register a new domain name. In the end the only real solution is to catch the perpetrators; if that's too difficult, then you just have to live with the issue until you can improve your methods of finding and prosecting them.)

    Making the ISP responsible for the messages it conveys basically shuts it down as a medium of free communication, and that's a price that is way too high for protecting copyright holders.

  • by lanner ( 107308 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:04PM (#4086611)
    Dear Sir

    The issue at hand has absolutely nothing to do with fair rights usage.

    It is not your fair usage right to violate copyright holders by downloading all of the warez and mp3s that you so desire. If you want that, stick with cable TV. This is the Internet, an information sharing network -- if the information is not your's to publish, then don't.

    The issue at hand is the question of if the communication network which provides access by Americans to a Chinese based system which violates United States law.

    For people who violate copyright law by publishing duplicate copies of commercial software and copyrighted music and movies, I have no sympathy. Shut this server down.

    The Chinese website in question is clearly violating United States law. It may also be violating Chinese law, but to this I am not knowing.

    This action seems very similar to the legal pursuits of the French government against eBay and Yahoo for posting content which is illegal in their country, but not in the U.S. Specifically, they were after WWII memorabilia, and anything deemed to be offensive by the French government.

    Are ISPs which provide transit access to illegal material themselves responsible for the illegal material itself, even though it is under a different administrative domain outside of their control, and outside of the control of the U.S. government?

    I do not think so. This is like holding the phone companies responsible for someone who did something illegal using their network. The ISPs in question do not condone or approve of the server in question which is violating U.S. law.

    I hope you do not condone it either. There are enough mp3 downloading fools on this network already. I use the Internet to publish a daily journal, to share pictures that I take with my digital camera, and to communicate ORIGINAL WORKS by myself to others, and to obtain their own original works.

    Fair rights ain't got nothing to do with it.
  • Whoa (Score:5, Funny)

    by WndrBr3d ( 219963 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:09PM (#4086648) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone else see the irony in the US blocking CHINESE web sites ??
  • by cnkeller ( 181482 ) < minus berry> on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:12PM (#4086674) Homepage
    The RIAA domain has been dropped by its ISP. Something about turnabout being fair play....
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:14PM (#4086683) Homepage Journal
    I dont understand how the RIAA could make a case. How is the ISP violating copyright? The ISP is a non-descriminant transport vehicle. They shouldn't have to know what's in the packets and then police them. The RIAA shouldn't get special powers to get sites blocked for such a silly offense.

    This is a serious problem with the digital world. The more digital things become, the more individual things can be blocked. Imagine if the power-grid was digital. Your computer would need a form of address to get the appropriate amount of power for your device. Then imagine the power company could specifically disallow power to that device. In a case like that, I could see the RIAA suing an electric company to not provide power to computers that go to an offending site. It's ridiculous that the RIAA could win, but if a case like this one goes the right way, it could establish a bizarre precedant.

    I guess what I'm saying is: Just because somebody has the power to block this type of thing, doesn't mean they are obligated to. The RIAA has laws in their favor to go after somebody who does something like Listen4Ever has. The ISP's shouldn't have to pay because the RIAA isn't willing to do the necessary investigation to find out how to shut that server down. They're not the ones committing the crime, they are not even aiding them in copyright infractions. If the ISP's aren't treating them any differently than they are treating anybody else, I don't see how they can be held accountable if somebody breaks the law.

    No organization should have that kind of power.

    • by cthugha ( 185672 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @12:43AM (#4087794)
      You might want to check the links (including court papers currently filed) provided by the GrepLaw story [] on this topic. The suit is being brought under Title 17, Section 512(j) of the US Code, which explicitly gives the right to a plaintiff with standing to seek an injunction against an ISP or backbone provider to block a particular infringing site. I'm not sure whether the offending provision was inserted as part of the DMCA, but I suspect it was. I'm sure you can come to your own conclusions about the kinds of burdens that this provision could place upon backbone providers given the number of infringing sites out there.
  • Thank you, dear RIAA, for informing me of that site which I had no idea even existed.

    Now, I think I'll go and download some Christina Aguilera music. I don't particularly like her (more of a B. Spears person), but since its free, I'll take it.

    Seriously, ISPs have no business blocking web sites, or otherwise censoring the net. They are there to connect people to the internet, not to block them off from parts of it that special interests think we shouldn't see.
  • Legal equivalent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:39PM (#4086827) Homepage Journal
    This is the legal equivalent of suing the contractor who maintains your local streets, because some people used said streets as a getaway route after a bank robbery -- a robbery that happened over the border *in another country*.

  • Avoiding U.S. law (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clem.dickey ( 102292 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:40PM (#4086830)
    "Listen4ever has clearly located itself in China to avoid the ambit of United States copyright law," the suit said.

    Interesting. The same device that the U.S. is using to hold prisoners indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay. Too bad we (America) didn't think to patent that practice. Though if we did, RMS would probably object ...
  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @08:43PM (#4086844)
    Look at it this way - if a backbone provider begins to block traffic based on content, then:

    1. - they may put their common carrier status at risk; and,

    2. - other illegal content should be blocked as well.

    So, if you live in a state where spam is illegal, a natural extension would be for the backbone carriers to block spam sites (of course, the problem with open relays means all of the far east may be blocked, but hey, spam is spam.) Of course, when jurisdictions start forcing the blockage of legitimate (read RIAA member) music sites because of language or other content, cutting them off from their customers, the RIAA may wish they never went down this road.

    Not that I really think forcing the pipe owners to block content is a good idea, but the law, like landminds, can harm friend and foe alike. It's all in how a weapon is used.
  • by sessamoid ( 165542 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @09:14PM (#4087010)
    The RIAA member labels can be found here []. Don't buy music from them. There are plenty of good independent labels with good artists that deserve your money. Don't give it to those RIAA shills.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @09:45PM (#4087166)
    Between the DMCA and DRM and Congress helping corps trash Title 9 and the First Amendment I've had my fill. The only thing members of Congress (like this guy []) seem to be doing is opening their wallets to lobbyists and campaign contributors and don't seem to give a rat's ass about the people they're supposed to be representing. I'm getting to the point where I fear the only way things will change is if I do it myself.

    I turned 25 last month. I'm a resident of my state. I've still got three months until November. Does anybody know of any "Running for Congress for Dummies" websites or books out there? I think I've found most of the necesary paperwork [] but I don't think that's all there is to it...
  • by Aexia ( 517457 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @11:25PM (#4087569)
    the next time some redheck jarhead incoherently screams "Love it or leave it" as a response to any argument, I may have to take him up on that offer.
  • by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @11:25PM (#4087570) Journal
    It appears that they have a user-agent redirect setup to go to

    Any IE derivative browser gets to listen4ever, anything else gets

    Thanks to Ethereal and Mozilla's customisable user-agent setting, I can now actually get to the site in Mozilla and turn off those squillion pop-ups.

    Oh and a big thanks to the RIAA for letting us know about this site
  • by Drew_Arrowood ( 601229 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @12:12AM (#4087719)
    who oppose the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. There is a viable candidate in my home district who has clearly come out against it. His name is Tripp Helms, and he is running in the 8th District of North Carolina for U.S. Congress. See [] his comments.

    He could sure use everyone's help.

  • by Milo_Mindbender ( 138493 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @01:37AM (#4087930) Homepage
    This site is strange, every time I connect to it with a different machine, I'm redirected to a different site. My (linux) PC sent me to, my (windows) laptop went to and my home (windows) machine went to Maybe this is why they are having trouble tracking the thing down!
  • Question... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @01:57AM (#4087958) Homepage Journal
    Any lawyers know, Can we counter SUE with the telcos, for trying to censor the Inet access I pay for? Get a couple million people to sign up. Hell, lets find some small town, where the Judge is a card carrying EFF member. :)

    If its all legal battles, why cant we fight back? Why are we so powerless? Why cant we win?

    I regret to say that we of the F.B.I. are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce. - J. Edgar Hoover
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @01:59AM (#4087961)
    Rather than complaining, there are a number of things you can actually do about RIAA.

    The number one thing you can do is to get them legally disbanded (discorporated).

    The Government Giveth... The Government Can Damn Well Taketh Away.

    The Recording Industry Association of America is a California Corporation, corporate number C1858372.

    Contact CAlifornia Secretary of State Bill Jones, and request that their incorporation as a legal entity be terminated. Contact information follows...

    Mail or in person:
    California Secretary of State
    1500 11th Street
    Sacramento, California 95814

    Public Contact Phone Numbers:
    General Information - (916) 653-6814
    Corporations Unit & Branch Offices - (916) 657-5448
    Executive Office - (916) 653-7244
    Legislative & Constituent Services - (916) 653-6774
    Political Reform Division - (916) 653-6224


    PS: For good measure:

    - Governor Gray Davis
    - State Capitol Building
    - Sacramento, CA 95814
    - Phone: 916-445-2841
    - Fax: 916-445-4633

    -- Terry
  • by spirality ( 188417 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:48AM (#4088590) Homepage


    We don't like this. So let's put our money where our mouths are. Stop buying from them, and stop buying from their sponsors. Stop listening to the radio stations that broadcast their crap, and encourage others to do the same. This kind of shit has to stop.

    Yes, what I'm saying is boycott the music industry.

    I don't listen to the radio anymore (pop music sucks anyway). I go and watch local bands in bars, and buy their CDs from them. It's good stuff too. You can always find someone in your area doing good stuff.

    Also, there are tons of independent record labels. They also have good music. Buy from them.


    That's my two cents.



May all your PUSHes be POPped.