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RIAA Sues Nearly 500 New Swappers 637

Digitus1337 writes "Wired has the story. " U.S. music industry group says it has sued 493 more people for copyright infringement as part of its campaign to stop consumers from copying music over the Internet. The Recording Industry Association of America has now sued nearly 3,000 individuals since last September in an attempt to discourage people from copying songs through peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa and LimeWire." "
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RIAA Sues Nearly 500 New Swappers

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  • I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kemapa ( 733992 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:48AM (#9246911) Journal
    The trade group, which represents the five largest recording companies, has settled more than 400 of those cases for around $3,000 each.

    I know that file sharing of unlicensed copyrighted works is illegal, but the practice of threatening lawsuits left and right still bothers me. As many of you are aware, a number of the people already sued did not have the financial ability to fund a lawyer even if they wanted to. The question is, what happens if a company (like DirecTV mentioned here []) starts blanket suing for something that is not necessarily illegal? These corporations have deep pockets, and they could threaten to sue the crap out of you for looking at them cock-eyed, to which many people would have to settle out of court (I'm not being literal). If you can't afford a lawyer then what do you do? 'Admit' to wrong-doing you didn't committ? Again, I realize that a lot of file sharing IS illegal, but the whole blanket lawsuit thing does raise some interesting (or scary?) questions.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:55AM (#9246985)
      Why not have a panel of like-minded legal experts sit down and prepare a self-defense template for these mass suings? If the cases are all the same, a cookie-cutter defense should work too. As cases filter through, the defense template could be refined. It would enable individuals to defend themselves against the lawsuits, yet with the experience gained through a peer-to-peer legal network.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CmdrMooCow ( 213594 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:57AM (#9247007) Journal
      I guess the underlying problem is what to do about the apparent file sharing that the internet has given us.

      Suing people won't stop piracy.
      Any amount of software to stop piracy will be circumvented/broken (see how long a piracy-catch in a Linux kernel will last before it gets cut and rebuilt).

      This is one of those things that our tech is going to force us to change socially.... how/when/to what, I'm not sure.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mwood ( 25379 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:30AM (#9247446)
        Security measures rarely stop anything in the long run, but they do slow it down and thin it out. Good measures can abate the problem to a level one can live with.

        One helpful social change would be to *stop cheering the thieves on*. If you dislike the big labels, fine, but don't lionize criminal behavior just because it hurts someone you dislike. History seems to show that "the enemy of my enemy will probably turn and attack me next." I don't want to hang around with dishonest people; I get a crick in my neck from watching my back all the time.

        If you want to oppose incorrect behavior, the most productive way in the long run is to oppose it with correct behavior, not more incorrect behavior. Reward good behavior by doing business with good people. Refuse to reward bad behavior -- *anyone's* bad behavior -- and find ways to punish it *properly*.
        • by ahfoo ( 223186 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:46AM (#9247687) Journal
          Well this is the crux of the problem. The people that you're accusing of *cheering the thieves on* are of the opinion that exchanging information non-commericially is not thieving. Your opinion is value laden and you can choose not to see that, but you can't prevent others from pointing that out.
          • Ok, yes they are exchanging information non-commercially. That information happened to be produced at a cost though. That information happens to be copyrighted. It is stealing. They took something and didn't pay for it. They knew they weren't supposed to do this. That said, the RIAA is really getting on my nerves. The tactics they've used are entirely wrong and threaten to abuse gestapo legislation to infringe on rights that have been held quite dear in this country. I have feelings both ways on this unfo
            • by ChuyMatt ( 318775 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:49AM (#9248600)
              I would appreciate it if everyone would start using good analogies: cars are material, songs are data. While I believe that songs should be payed for, it is not *stealing* or *Pirating*, it is copyright infringement. These foolish euphemisms make it out to be worse than it is. Call a rose a rose, a thief a thief and a copyright infringement just that.

              Disclaimer: Unless the songs being shared were not available on any of the available download stores, these people are deserving of what they have received (if the idiots at the RIAA have done their research). But going after stupid kids is kinda cheep, i must say.

              • From Webster Online []

                Main Entry: copyright
                Function: noun
                : the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, and sell the matter and form (as of a literary, musical, or artistic work)

                Webster Online []

                Main Entry: infringement
                Function: noun
                1 : the act of infringing : VIOLATION
                2 : an encroachment or trespass on a right or privilege

                Unless the songs being shared were not available on any of the available download stores...

                Even if the material is unavailable in the format that you want it in, one doe
            • by blighter ( 577804 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:08PM (#9248846)
              Alright, I'll go with your car analogy.

              But I think it needs some reworking to more accurately reflect the role that the RIAA is playing now-a-days...

              Let's say that the car companies got together to form the APIA (Auto Producers Industry Association) and used their considerable lobbying clout to influence Congress to pass new legislation that outlaws the selling of or owning of used cars.

              Say then that the automakers decide to not sell cars in the tradional way anymore, but only lease them with extensive "appropriate-use" regulations attached and extensive monitoring equipment to ensure that you comply.

              Additionally, after a couple of years when the car makers release a new model they refuse to offer any of the older models for lease and instead recall them and refuse to make these models available for any purpose.

              That is closer to the situation that the RIAA is trying to bring into existence.

        • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:57AM (#9247833) Homepage Journal

          Not to go about trying to legitamize the booger-flinging little brats that run around ripping off songs on p2p and ruining a good thing for everyone else, but how, exactly, do you propose that we reward good behavior when there isn't any around? The problem here is that there are so many ridiculously deep levels of the RIAA that, even with ongoing lists of tainted labels, it's almost impossible to keep up with what is and what isn't poisoned by the RIAA's presence. Even individual bands flipping between labels can confuse matters. My KMFDM collection is clean so far, but I won't finish up the rest of it because some of the later albums aren't. What now?

          This problem extends beyond the RIAA too. Where do I go for high speed internet? I can get *DSL from Verizon, but they're pure evil, and I can get cable from Adelphia, but they're staffed entirely by morons and escapees from a Down's Syndrome group home.

          With the conglomerates and monopolies overrunning government policy makers and quietly spreading their tendrils through previously independant operations, it's almost impossible to find any "good behavior" in a company in this country anymore, and I can't afford the higher prices of little local mom and pops (beause, despite what many, many very stupid people say, the economy is still a shithole).

          It's hard to reward good behavior when there isn't any....

        • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Neil Watson ( 60859 )
          Exactly who is the thief? There is certainly stealing being done on both sides of this argument. What really frustrates me is that when I by blank CDs I'm aready considered a thief [] by having pay a levy. I haven't bought music CDs in years. I don't download music. Yet, I'm still considered a thief.
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Albion11111 ( 723615 )
          Define correct behavior vs. incorrect behavior. Just because something is illegal, does that make it incorrect to do it? I mean who determines what's incorrect and what's wrong? God? Government? Ourselves? I think it's incorrect behavior to use current marketing techniques to limit music and film to a company's whim. I believe correct behavior is to allow ALL people to experience all music without having to worry about stealing money from the grocery fund to do it. You tell me who's legally offering all mu
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:06PM (#9250358) Journal
          One helpful social change would be to *stop cheering the thieves on*.

          Let's travel back to say 1830...If I "stole" somebody's slave and set him free, am I really stealing? To the owner and possibly the gov't of the time, yes. However, I feel I have the "moral high ground"(favorite phrase of mine lately) in setting a person free that nobody has a right to own, even if society says otherwise. What's being done is merely against the law. It doesn't mean that it's wrong. Many times the law is wrong, and has to be made, by violations, to be unenforceable. The controlled substances act is a good example. Weed was made illegal, not for the benefit of society in general, but simply to round up and deport the Mexicans out of California during the depression. The law is wrong, but too many people believe the propaganda, and thus will be difficult to repeal. This is one reason democracy is called tyranny by the majority.
          The selling of copies of information is no longer a viable business. And if you want to know who is really hurt by P2P, it's the pirates who SELL copies as a business. They are the first who will cease to exist due to P2P. And they are probably the ones "complaining" to the RIAA about all this file sharing on the net. They stand to lose the most. The pirates who sell unauthorized copies in Asia and other parts are the ones helping the RIAA/MPAA/Microsoft acquire and maintain mind share in these markets. The net just made them obsolete. Society and its "criminals" maintain a bizarre(but apparently necessary) relationship.

          History seems to show that "the enemy of my enemy will probably turn and attack me next." I don't want to hang around with dishonest people; I get a crick in my neck from watching my back all the time.

          So very true. I don't believe that file sharers are dishonest. On the contrary, the RIAA has settled with the gov't on several ocassions to avoid being convicted of the wrongdoing they are so obviouly giulty of. They appear to be the dishonest ones. You will get no argument from me on your last paragraph. If we simply followed that, the whole world would definitely be a better place.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goldspider ( 445116 )
      "Again, I realize that a lot of file sharing IS illegal, but the whole blanket lawsuit thing does raise some interesting (or scary?) questions."

      Can you really call these "blanket lawsuits", given that the RIAA has sued only 3,000 out of millions who are illegally downloading music?

      And yes, I think the tactic has been more successful at embittering thir customers than at preventing illegal distribution of their product, and that generally these lawsuits are a Bad Thing (tm) but let's not make this someth

      • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by silentbozo ( 542534 )
        Well, given that these 3,000 lawsuits tie up a whole hell of paper, and a certain amount of lawclerk time that could be used to process one of the hundreds of thousands of other cases that are backlogged in the US court system, it's certainly non-trival.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ( 614258 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:00AM (#9247046) Homepage
      I've always wondered what it would be like if we sued one of them all at once. The headlines would be awesome:

      "1.2 million people file lawsuit against RIAA this month. The court system is grinding to a halt, and congress begins deliberations to resolve the problem."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:01AM (#9247069)
      The problem with lawyers is that 99% of them give the rest a bad name.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sheepdot ( 211478 )
      Simple. Threaten to kill yourself if they follow through with the lawsuit. If even one person actually follows through with it, the outrage would be outstanding.

      Don't mod this funny, I'm actually being extremely serious. And yes, it would work. The one thing corporations do not want is a young male or females blood on their hands.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Patrik_AKA_RedX ( 624423 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:09AM (#9247168) Journal
        The one thing corporations do not want is a young male or females blood on their hands.
        They don't want to be seen publicly with that blood on their hands. Don't forget to make a lot of noise about it, otherwise they'll happely lend you a gun and help you aim.
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eclectic4 ( 665330 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:26AM (#9247391)
          Nail on the head.

          Large corporations have plenty of blood, sweat and tears on "their hands". My god, ever been to a sweatshop in China, Taiwan? I've actually seen the pee buckets near their seats. This was a shop making clothes for the Gap.

          Don't want blood on their hands. Pffft. If they can do it, they will. Remember that.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:17AM (#9247268) Journal
        No need to go to those extremes. Just band together with like-minded lawsuit recipients, and go on a hunger strike! The novelty of it would probably get you enough media coverage to make the *IAA folks rather nervous - like roaches, they really don't like it when people start shining spotlights on them. They want the media to report people folding, not people fighting back and questioning the flimsy sheaf of "rights" that the media conglomerates have built empires around.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:06AM (#9247131) Homepage
      If you can't afford a lawyer then what do you do?

      You represent yourself, you find a lawyer that will work pro bono, you settle, or you admit liability.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mwood ( 25379 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:15AM (#9247242)
      You've been subjected to a frivolous suit and you can't afford a lawyer, so what do you do? If you have lots of company, you all pool your chips and file a class action countersuit. There are limits to just how far baseless suits could go before the consequences become unacceptable. A litigant both unscrupulous and incautious will be eaten by his own greed.

      In the meantime, I suppose you do negotiate for a smaller out-of-court settlement or plead "no contest", hoping to recover your loss later when the class suit wins. Audacity usually succeeds in the beginning -- it's only later that it becomes plain whose was the stronger position.

      What you don't do is meekly take whatever deal they offer. You push back with whatever you have. Negotiate the best deal you can, and if that is not good enough then you have some breathing space to gather the power to force renegotiation for more favorable terms. And don't agree with false charges; just put off fighting to disprove them until you are prepared to win. In any conflict, never give up anything that doesn't buy you something better.

      [*sigh* in case it's not obvious, IANAL and this is not legal advice.]
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto ( 537200 )
        Wrong. Some of the DirecTV defendants fought back in the courts -- and the legal system slapped them with $10,000 in _DirectTVs_ legal fees for their troubles.

        The game is rigged so that the more you fight the more you lose.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Abjifyicious ( 696433 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:28AM (#9247416)
      I know that file sharing of unlicensed copyrighted works is illegal, but the practice of threatening lawsuits left and right still bothers me.

      Yeah, I agree. I used to be very anti-piracy. I knew that the labels were corrupt and everything, but it wasn't enough for me to justify breaking the law and pirating more than the occasional song. When the lawsuits started though, that was it for me. Legal or not, I'm not willing to pay money to a company when I know my money is going to be used to do things like that. It may be wrong of me to pirate, but IMHO what they're doing is more wrong than what I'm doing.

      • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Avallach ( 228083 )
        Their unethical behavior does not necessitate yours. (I realize that sometimes this does happen, but this is not one of those cases.) You can live without music, in the end, or find music from other sources. Your refusal to give any further money to the RIAA through its various tentacles is admirable, but to use an admirable behavior to justify an unethical one is a dangerous precedent. Boycott them entirely and buy from independant artists instead. It's generally better music anyways, IMO.
      • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:39AM (#9248455)
        It may be wrong of me to pirate, but IMHO what they're doing is more wrong than what I'm doing.

        "It may be wrong of me to sodomize these prisoners with a glow stick, but IMHO what they did to us on 9/11 is more wrong than what I'm doing."

        I admit, my analogy isn't perfect -- for one thing, in my version both acts are illegal, whereas you're undertaking an illegal act to respond to something that's entirely legal.

        If you don't want to give your money to RIAA-member companies anymore, don't consume their product anymore! Stop being a jackass.
    • by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#9247515) Homepage
      "I know that file sharing of unlicensed copyrighted works is illegal, but the practice of threatening lawsuits left and right still bothers me."

      Nobody likes lawsuits (except, perhaps lawyers). But in all likelyhood, they will remain part of the response to unauthorized file-sharing.

      Even the EFF acknowledges this. Not so long ago the EFF suggested that the RIAA should be suing infringers [] and in the EFF's more recent file-sharing solution "white paper" [] they continue to suggest the same. (under "What about file sharers who won't pay?" you'll see "Copyright holders (and perhaps the collecting society itself) would continue to be entitled to enforce their rights against 'free-loaders.'"

    • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Simonetta ( 207550 )
      I simply refuse to accept that music file sharing is illegal.

      People are sharing recorded sounds with each other, it is not a big deal. Since the companies put the recordings out into the public in the first place, they shouldn't be upset or surprised that people are sharing them with each other.

      Sharing music files is about as big a 'crime' as sharing a can opener at a company picnic. The RIAA is simply exposing the gangster underbelly of the music industry that has always been discretely hidden (e
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:27AM (#9248276) Journal
        File sharing is definately ILLEGAL!

        The thing is, its not UNETHICAL.

        There is a big difference. Ethical actions can be illegal, and Unethical actions can be legal.

        LEgality has nothing to do whether an action is right or wrong.
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta ( 162192 )
          I think what he means is that he refuses to accept the legitimacy of any such law. And I for one am with him.

          Think about it sometime. Where does the government derive it's power to issue commands?
    • ....want a serious, across the board fundamental change in the US. The government is corrupt, broken, out of control. Think about what we do. Millions trudge to the polls and allegedly "elect" a mostly priveleged millionaire class of people to a professional and pensioned "career" of outright "rule" over us. they DO NOT in fact, represent us, you and me, they represent and work for some fairly wealthy and exalted inteerests qwho have nothing in common with 99% of the US population. Nothing. And MOST of them
  • "John Doe" lawsuits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:49AM (#9246915)
    I don't like "John Doe" lawsuits. Today it's your IP address, what is it tomorrow? Your street address? Your DNA? Is there going to be a story on the news about shopkeepers who are suing a set of fingerprints for theft damages?

    I know that this is a civil case, not a criminal case, but I think you should still know who you are suing before you can do it. If the RIAA can't figure out who say, is, they can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned. Figure it out and come back, or don't, and drop it. And while you're at it, don't use our criminal justice system to go fishing for you.
    • "If the RIAA can't figure out who say, is, they can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned."

      Search results for:

      OrgName: Cable & Wireless
      OrgID: EXCW
      Address: 3300 Regency Pkwy
      City: Cary
      StateProv: NC
      PostalCode: 27511
      Country: US

      ReferralServer: rwhois://

      NetRange: -
      NetName: SC8-2
      NetHandle: NET-66-35-192-0-1
      Parent: NET-66-0-0-0-0
      NetType: Direct Allocation
      NameServer: DNS01.
      • by Feanturi ( 99866 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:38AM (#9247569)
        "If the RIAA can't figure out who say, is, they can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned."

        If you do a whois lookup on me, you won't get the correct city for starters. You'll get the location of head office, which is 4 hours away from me. Upon contacting them, you will discover that they don't want to tell you who I am, particularly if you identify yourself as being from the RIAA. So good luck..
    • Actually, there have been cases of DNA being charged with crimes as a "keep-alive" play when a statue of limitations is about to make it impossible to prosecute a crime. Basically, it's saying "We don't yet know the name of the person who did it, but we're damn sure it's the one person who corelates to this."

      That's exactly what these John Doe suits are basically doing. They don't need the name and address of the person you're suing, they just need enough info to uniquely identify the person, and then they
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If the RIAA can't figure out who say, is, they can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned.

      So... if somebody keeps calling your house from 555-1212 and breathing heavily at your daughter, then is it also *your* responsibility to track that person down before you do something about it? Seems like a double standard.

      And how about this for an idea:

      1. Don't break the law.
      2. ???
      3. Don't get in trouble.

      I have no love for the RIAA or the MPAA, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what's so difficult

    • In general, filing a John Doe lawsuit doesn't expose the unknown defendnat to any adittional harm or danger compared to not filing a lawsuit until you know the person's identify. The defendant is still protected by statue of limtitations, and the plainitff still needs to investigate the identify of the defendnat and amend his complaint prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations in order to keep the unnamed defendnat in the case.

      In general, a plainitff is allowed to amend a complaint for erro
  • by ram4 ( 636018 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:52AM (#9246946)
    Sorry for being pedantic, but LimeWire is not a network. It's the name of a Gnutella client. Since Gnutella is an open protocol, there are numerous clients for it.
  • by southpolesammy ( 150094 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:53AM (#9246957) Journal
    5,997,000 to go. Or thereabouts....

    Quick math tells us that the last user will be sued in January 3335.
    • In other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sosume ( 680416 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:10AM (#9247176) Journal
      The RIAA has lost a multitude of 3000 paying customers FOREVER.

      Would you *ever* *consider* buying another Britney Spears (RIAA-represented) cd if a member of your family, a friend, or a neighbour was sued?

      I for one welcome our new free music overlords and only listen to alternative music: trance, rock, whatever. It's there, just as good (even better!) and ready to be explored. I have over 30 GB (!) of mp3's in my shared folder, and run 30+ radio webcast stations, with solely music not represented by the RIAA. I'm still waiting for the subpoena so I can countersue for battery or slander!
      • by Turtlewind ( 781809 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:43AM (#9247637)
        I have over 30 GB (!) of mp3's in my shared folder, and run 30+ radio webcast stations, with solely music not represented by the RIAA

        This excuse keeps coming up, and it's starting to get on my nerves. Just because the record company who's stuff you're copying isn't part of the RIAA, it doesn't make it legal for you to distribute their material. Sure, they might not be sending rabid lawyers after you, but most record companies (even non-RIAA ones) don't take too kindly to you freely giving out the material they sell.
  • by (Maly) ( 742260 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:54AM (#9246964)
    So neurologists often compare the brain to a hard disk, storing data, etc. So how long until you think we get sued for listening to music and remembering it (illegal copying to another media). God forbid we try and hum a bit of it to a friend, or playing a song for a friend, because then we're guilty of transferring an unlicensed copy to another party. "Dude, you gotta listen to this song." "Sorry, my brain uses Media Player 9... damn DRM!"
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:10AM (#9247174)
      So neurologists often compare the brain to a hard disk, storing data, etc. So how long until you think we get sued for listening to music and remembering it (illegal copying to another media). God forbid we try and hum a bit of it to a friend, or playing a song for a friend, because then we're guilty of transferring an unlicensed copy to another party.

      Copyright law is completely out of touch with physical reality, technology, and our culture (and indeed it actively stifles the latter two).

      An example of how rediculous copyright law is, and how artists as well as the industry have grown used to double dipping. It isn't enough to cell the CD, they want to get paid every time it is played in a restaraunt or bar. It is even illegal to play the radio in a restaurant or bar ... never mind that the radio station has not only paid for the CD, they've also paid for the right to "broadcast" it -- that's twice the RIAA has now been paid for the legacy work, now the restaurant gets to pay then a third time for the same medium, and the restaurant down the road a fourth time, etc. ad nauseum!

      But, what is often unremarked about these absurd laws, is that a person humming a copyrighted tune as they walk down the street is technically breaking the same law, giving a "public performance" without a license. As is the busker on the corner, the teenage garage band when they perform at their local high school, etc.

      It really is past the time when we as a society should have repudiated the very notion that one can "own" ideas (patents) or their expressions (copyright). A far less draconian mechanism for reimbursing artists for their work needs to be devised, something that insures them a portion of the profits made without imposing restrictions on how the work may be incorporated into other aspects of our culture, but most of all, unlike copyright a mechanism that favors artists and culture rather than publishers and middlemen.

      A quick example of one of the many such alternatives that have been proposed: a tax on works sold, with a set percentage (say 50%) going directly to the original artist. Anyone can publish your book (and you can't stop them) but you get half the proceeds. As an artist or author you have no control, but you are generously compensated financially.

      It really is time we as a society started thinking outside the box on this issue, if we wish to have any kind of viable, free society left in the information age, and wish to do so in a manner that benefits artists and fans, rather than consortia of parasitical middlemen such as the RIAA (and more to the point, their attorneys).
  • by zenetik ( 750376 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:55AM (#9246984)
    I'm interested to see what happens when the RIAA sues a downloader who happens to have already purchased the CDs of the songs he is downloading -- which, in my opinion, would give him a right to those songs since he's already purchased them.

    For me personally, I've sometimes downloaded songs from CDs I because 1) it's sometimes faster than ripping it myself, 2) the CD is scratched or broken, or 3) I still have the case but the CD itself was stolen. Would downloading an MP3 of a song from a CD I rightfully purchased make me a pirate?
    • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:01AM (#9247065) Homepage
      They are not sueing downloaders they are suing thoses who make the files available.
      Even if you had purchased the CD/record that would be illegal.
  • Representation (Score:5, Informative)

    by InShadows ( 103008 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:55AM (#9246989)
    Who is the RIAA trying to represent? They say that they are representing the five major music labels. And in turn the music labels say that they are representing the artists themselves. But even the artists [] don't agree with the RIAA's methodologies.

    "According to the study, 60 percent of those surveyed do not believe the RIAA's efforts to halt file sharing through lawsuits will benefit musicians and songwriters.

    Additionally, 35 percent believe free downloading has helped their careers, 37 percent believe it has not had any effect and only 5 percent believe it has exclusively hurt their careers. Of those interviewed, 83 percent have provided free samples of their music online."
    • I believe it was Maxim that printed a breakdown of where the money from a $20 CD goes. According to the blurb, about 50% goes to the retailer with another big chunk going to the executives/producers/management and something like 5% actually goes to the artist. Courtney Love, in one of her rare coherent moments, said something along the same lines. DMX is leaving the music business because he hates the fact that the recording companies own his music and he can't so much as use his music without their perm
  • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:55AM (#9246995) Journal
    The IFPI/RIAA is fighting a lost cause. And I think they know it.

    First off all, I have difficulties with their acclaimed 'stealing' of music. As far as I know, stealing implies that the one that has been stolen has been derived of something. When you take a copy, you do not take the original away, thus they have not 'lost' anything. They might claim that they loose money when ppl d/l music, but even that is far from certain. Not only is it not shown statistically to have had that effect (they didn't even show a correlation thusfar - see aussie music-news - let alone a causality). Furthermore, in an individual case, they would have to show they actually lost revenue. Which is far from said, because I sure know some guys who d/l music, but would NEVER have bought that music if they were unable to d/l it. So, how did the RIAA/IFPI loose revenue, exactly? And if they didn't lose anything, how can the term 'stealing' apply?

    It would still be copyright-infringement, ofcourse, but that's another matter. I think maybe it's time we went beyond our current system of copyrights and walk into the era of cyberspace. With the industrial revolution, patents and copyrights knew a high flight, maybe it's time to let it leave and try something new? Maybe something in the lines of this: fairshare.

    And don't worry, contrary to what the RIAA claims, musicians will not starve to death, and music-making will not stop. We had music long before we had copyrights, and we will have music long after copyrights have vanished from the scene.

    And lastly, it's something that *can not* be stopped. P2P progs and their development act as organisms that follow the darwinian rules of survival. When Napster was 'killed' by the RIAA, immediately others (like kazaa) took over, being more resistent to attacks from the RIAA&co. Whenever kazaa will be shut down, others again will take over. When endusers are targeted, systems that protect the user will become dominant (like FreeNet).

    It really is a lost cause. But then again, they are not truelly battling for the survival of musicians (as I said; they will survive, just as they used to do), it's for their OWN survival they are fighting. There is no way in hell they are going to keep the giant profits that they have been gathering for the last decades.

    But ultimately, they will have to do what P2P systems are already doing: adapt to the new circumstances (and forget about the former levels of profit), or whither and die.
    • I call bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goldspider ( 445116 ) <.ardrake79. .at.> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:29AM (#9247442) Homepage
      "I sure know some guys who d/l music, but would NEVER have bought that music if they were unable to d/l it."

      Of all the justification attempts for copyright infringement, this one grates on me the worst.

      If you want to listen to a certain song, you currently have several LEGAL options:
      A. Buy the album (or single if available) on CD.
      B. Purchase the song from an online distributor like iTunes.
      C. Listen to it on the radio.

      Having no intention to buy the music is NOT a valid defense for copyright infringement. There are lots of people who ARE willing to pay for it, and do so. What makes you so fucking special that you shouldn't have to?

      • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

        by Luminari ( 689987 )
        Lets take a good look at those options...

        If you want to listen to a certain song, you currently have several LEGAL options:
        A. Buy the album (or single if available) on CD.

        Hmm, lets overpay for music, knowing the artist won't get any of the money anyway, and buy 13 songs I don't want to get one I do.

        B. Purchase the song from an online distributor like iTunes.

        This is overpaying even more than a CD, you pay the same price as a CD costs for the music, but get no CD, booklet, or Case, and you get ma
  • That's it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stephenisu ( 580105 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:56AM (#9247005)
    SO hear is my harebrained scheme. I want to catalog every CD I legally own. With reciepts in hand, I will download every song on them from every user I can. I will not share any files. Waiting for the RIAA to attempt to sue me, even though I never downloaded an MP3 illegally (the quality pains my ears, cd's are bad enough).

    I make them look like an ass when they ATTEMPT to sue me, and they lose.

    Now IANAL, but any of you lawyers out there wanna tell me if this is worth attempting. I would consult a lawyer first, but do you think I have a case for any kind of damages? I have money to front for a lawsuit if it means a good chance of decent return.
  • ... all is not lost (Score:3, Informative)

    by JMZorko ( 150414 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @09:58AM (#9247027) Homepage
    ... there is a _lot_ of high-quality music out there that is not shackled by the RIAA. They are not the only game in town, by a longshot, and this is not a pipe dream ... independent, non-RIAA music is as real as anything else, and a lot easier on the conscience, to boot.



  • IRS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stormcrow309 ( 590240 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:00AM (#9247051) Journal

    This use to be a big IRS tactic. Go after the guys without the funding to take you on. If the recording industry sued someone with the money and the inclination (sp?) to take them on through a significant series of appeals, then I think that the laws would be changed.

    Also, Congress needs to hold hearings on this. The General Accounting Office [GAO], the investigative brance of the Congress, helped get the IRS inline. Now, my personnal feeling about anything being done is that it would be unlikely. (I mean, come on, we call them Congress instead of Progress.) But, just maybe, someone will get a clue.

    The RIAA is trying civil court because they know that they can use the 'perponderance of the evidence' to thier own advantage. If they think they are right, let see some criminal charges. Gutless wonders

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:02AM (#9247083)
    Brilliant! These folks know that the RIAA doesn't want to actually take anyone to trial, just scare the bejeezus out of Mommy and Daddy so they don't let their kids use Kazaa. The risks are much too high for the RIAA if they should lose, and IMHO it's too much for them to prove, particularly in a college dorm-type setting, that the person they sued was actually the one doing the infringement. What about the wide-open Wi-Fi defense, or the zillion other instances where you just can't prove who was using a specific IP at any given time?
  • Terminology (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acomj ( 20611 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:02AM (#9247088) Homepage
    First off, this is hardly news. They're going to keep doing this. If the RIAA gets lucky with lobbying the price of swapping will increase and they're hoping to make it less worth it. The RIAA will continue to defend its member companies. Whether or not its good business practice is a question, but people are giving away their members stuff for free (Yeah I know copywrite is only temporary.. look up ASCAP for the artists/composers lobby)

    Its the terminology is what gets me. When I was in middle school I used to copy apple //e games from friends (I'm not to proud of this looking back). But back then it wasn't swapping/sharing/trading it was pirating because you got to keep your copy. I don't see how this is different, except for instead of doing it privately with your friends you let anyone anywhere copy off you.
  • by tim.kerby ( 206359 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:04AM (#9247108)
    I wish people would stop publicising the fact that the RIAA are suing people. It is the media who are now responsible for stopping file sharers, not the RIAA. The RIAA can only catch a small handful of people to set an example, if the media outlets just ignored the cases then they would most likely have to stop these heavy handed scare tactics.
  • by TheTXLibra ( 781128 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:06AM (#9247129) Homepage Journal
    Okay, so the people being sued can't afford the legal fees. However, they wouldn't be sued if they weren't performing illegal file sharing. The people they are going after aren't sharing private files, they are distributing, for free, the hard work of others. This is the risk that one takes when using file-sharing, and those users accepted that when they began the swapping. The companies are probably not going after Joe User who downloads a couple of tracks to see if he likes the music on an album before buying it. They are more likely going after large-scale file distributers. People who have hundreds of songs, movies, games, and other copywrited works. They left their server on too long, and got caught. I'd feel no more sympathy than I would for a pawn shop that got busted for fencing stolen goods.

    Now before the hate replies come in, I should mention that I'm all for file-sharing. I think RIAA are a bunch of corrupt bastages who overcharge for their products and services, and underpay the real talent--the entertainers.

    I think game design companies charge way too much for a product, which is not neccesarily a corruption, but a misunderstanding of market forces. They feel they have to correct for piracy by charging $50/game, when in fact, there would be a lot more copies sold if they offered the same product for half. But then, that's been said for years.

    I think the movie still quite fair. They churn out movies, $5-8 is a reasonable price to pay for a couple of hours of entertainment. If one does not like what they watch, then at most, an hour's minimum wage is lost. If it happens repeatedly, then they should take advantage of the local library.

    Does this mean I'm anti-piracy? No. If you got something for free, and you enjoyed it, then you should then pay for it. Because in America, votes are determined by dollars, not by voices. If you vote (aka "buy") a legit copy of that game/CD/movie that you loved, then you have just voted for more of the same genre/artist/director to be produced. Same goes for everything. Feel free to sample, if you feel you need to. But if you like it, and continue to use it, you have an ethical obligation to buy.

    That said, free sampling aside, piracy and distribution of copywrited material is still illegal, and those who participate in it take that risk willingly. The piper may be a total arsehead (read: RIAA), but that doesn't mean they don't have legal right in this matter.

    -The Libra
    "You've got no kids, no wife, no job, and you're not in The Tigger Movie!!!"
    - my best friend's son, Gabe, at 5 years old. []
    • However, they wouldn't be sued if they weren't performing illegal file sharing.

      The companies are probably not going after Joe User who downloads a couple of tracks to see if he likes the music on an album before buying it.

      You are assuming too much here

      Perhaps you are right, and they are only suing people that are doing something illegal. I'm not trying to bash you here, or discount what you are saying, but I have not seen any of the evidence in any of these cases (and I'm not talking about the press

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:11AM (#9247191)
    "I got sued by RIAA, and all I got was some low-quality NSync tunes."

  • by Dave419 ( 776133 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:11AM (#9247200)
    Who's to say that the owner of an IP address is the person who was sharing the music? I dont know how it is elsewhere, but in my apartment building there are a few unconfigured wireless routers. Which by default have WEP disabled, so anonymous access to the web is available through this "proxy". Would this be a valid defense in court: "I had no idea people were sharing music from my IP address, I bought a wireless router to surf the web from any room in my place. I had no idea you had to actually configure it."

    There seems to be nothing open and shut about this sort of thing, especially since most people infected by the bagel virus have no idea that they are spammers, will they be prosecuted under the CANSPAM Act?

  • by SammysIsland ( 705274 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:27AM (#9247399)

    If i take a song, represent it in binary (create a file out of it), and then just call it a number, can't i tell the court that all i was doing was sending a number to my friend? It's not my fault if the number can be decoded into sound. An artist can't possibly own all the numbers his song could be digitized into!

    I can't seems to figure out what is considered an artist's property and what is not. If i walk down the street and sing a tune to myself, can i be sued? Is it different if someone else hears me sing the tune, and then starts singing it themselves?

    If i get a song stuck in my head can they do a brain scan and sue me over and over again?

    All along the watchtower contains the chord progression Am, G, F, G, Am, and so does Stairway to Heaven (and many other tunes), so what's the deal with this?

  • In Numbers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SammysIsland ( 705274 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:35AM (#9247533)

    I was always under the impression that if you do something in numbers, that was the safety mechanism. This is a huge concept in nature for survival. 3000 out of millions! My chances of winning the lottery are only slightly worse than my chances of getting sued by the RIAA!

    How can the RIAA expect to thwart something that is so widely accepted, and internationally practiced? This is the equivalent of a strike or a boycott. Obviously these lawsuits aren't working very well, and even so, the sharing networks will just end up switching to a closed system like Friendster where 'known parties' will use strong encryption to transmit data.

  • 3000 Ex-Customers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:41AM (#9247602) Homepage Journal
    Great way to kill your business, between directly ending a relationship with a customer, and bringing bad press to your company.

  • I'm safe (Score:3, Funny)

    by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (cificap_4k)> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:42AM (#9247631) Homepage Journal
    In order to protect myself from the lawsuits, I have deleted my swap partit [CARRIER LOST]

  • by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:58AM (#9247860) Journal
    I heard a great thing on the radio today. They had a writer that contributes to Rolling Stone and has been on VH-1 quite a bit. He was talking about how the recording industry just doesn't get it and how every download does not equal a lost sale. His analogy was how when you go to a supermarket and they have the free cheese samples. When someone takes a piece of cheese, that doesn't mean there is a lost sale of cheese.

    I thought it was a great analogy. I wonder if/when the RIAA will ever get it.
  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:09AM (#9248002) Homepage
    and of them was used!

    SWING OUT SISTER -- Kaleidoscope World
    White Zombie -- Astro-Creep 2000
    Alice Cooper -- the eyes of...
    GRAVITY KILLS -- Gravity Kills
    SNAKEFARM -- Songs From My Funeral
    AMANDA GHOST -- Ghost Stories
    EVERCLEAR -- Songs From An American Movie
    ELECTRIC SWING -- Big Band Crazy
    NO DOUBT -- Return Of Saturn
    Various Artists -- HOUSE OF BLUES SWINGS
    BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY -- This Beautiful Life
    CHICAGO -- Night And Day (Big Band)
    ANGEL CITY -- Face To Face

    take that RIAA!!!!
  • I hope i get sued... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:11AM (#9248033) Homepage
    Someone needs to take them to court. I share copywrited music (about 400 songs), and i really hope that they get around to suing me. Why you may ask? Because i have the means (well my parents do) for a lawyer, my dad, working in the music industry understands the issue, and lastly i'm not sharing their music. This is why i hope i get sued. Every single one of the bands whos music i share is local and in fact a few have given me the OK. Most of the MP3s i got from the old and some ripped from cds that i've double checked to make sure the label isn't a subsidiary or connected to the RIAA in any way. Hell, the bass player from one band messaged me after he saw i was sharing their music and offered to put me on the guest list of their show that night. Lets see the RIAA make the misstake of fighting for something they dont have the rights too. Besides, i need something to do this summer...
  • Encryption (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jpmkm ( 160526 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:13AM (#9248072) Homepage
    This just hit me. Suppose we put our music files up, but then we either encrypt the files or encrypt the connection or something, and use a really shitty "encryption" algorithm like ROT13 or something. This should have two effects. Number one, one could claim that he had his files up for his own personal use and he had them encrypted so that nobody else could access them. Number two, if the RIAA broke the encryption to see that you are sharing files, then *BAM* sue them under the DMCA for circumventing encryption.

    Now there is a lot of stuff to be worked out with this method. And it would make a criminal out of everyone(for breaking encryption) but the kind of people who download music for free don't seem to care about that sort of thing(though I'm not saying downloading music is a criminal act).
    • Re:Encryption (Score:3, Interesting)

      The "shitty encryption" part won't work, because the law and the judges aren't stupid. Just like you can't put a bad lock on your house or car and claim to the insurance company that it was well protected.

      But, creating an encrytption scheme that would use DMCA as protection is a good idea. Possibly license the encryption method so that it cannot be used to track user habits or something.
  • Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by jcuervo ( 715139 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:34AM (#9248372) Homepage Journal

    You missed again, motherfsckers!
  • by Programmer_In_Traini ( 566499 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:37AM (#9248421)
    Two things constantly strikes me when I read about RIAA suing a group or doing this to discourage me .... or any action from RIAA really.

    1. Instead of discouraging me from sharing my music, why don't they encourage me to buy. It comes down to the same end result and this way, I don't feel attacked.

    2. Its all about evolution.
    History is a good teacher to prove us that if a company does not evolve, it will die. if you cannot understand / satisfy your clients, you will perish or be bought.

    RIAA's model hasn't evolved from when RIAA was created at all. Back then, there was no internet, thus, the market was different.

    Today, RIAA hasn't evolved one bit, they're still acting as though there was no internet, as though they had no opponent.

    But they do have one opponent : Evolution. They need to update their business model so that they stop losing money when we share music.

    As sad as it is for them, today, I can find most of the music I want on the internet, so why would I buy a CD ?

    for two reasons :

    1. I really like the band and I think they deserve some money
    2. The CD offers me something I cannot get on the internet.

    For instance, a local artist (Francois Pérusse - includes a small membership card with every CD, that membership gives access to a protected section where you can listen to stuff not available on the market such as unreleased material

    That's one reason why I would buy his CD..and I do.

    Sadly, many companies today refuse to evolve, they refuse because it'll cost them money, they'll need to change.

    What they do not seem to realize is that everyday they remain as they are is another day where they lose even more money trying to stop us...and in the end, they never do.

    Just my 2c.
  • Sue the RIAA (Score:3, Informative)

    by beforewisdom ( 729725 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:42AM (#9248490)
    A few weeks back on slashdot there was an article on how the RIAA was deliquent in paying royalities to many music artists.

    It would be a boon to cutting the RIAA down to size if these artists sued the RIAA.

    It would be hilarious to read about the RIAA suing people for stealing music while they would be under litigation for doing the same.

    It might just embarrass them enough to stop, but even if they continued in their historical stupidity it would definately poison their public image enough to reduce their influence.


"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"