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RIAA File-Sharing Lawsuits Top 10,000 People Sued 490

An anonymous reader writes "While Firefox broke the 50,000,000 barrier today, the RIAA broke a more dubious barrier this week: It has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel. Taking an academic look at what's best for the industry, this economics article shows the financial upside to P2P file sharing. And on the flip side, this legal article argues that file swappers have a constitutional right to pay much smaller penalties than the millions of dollars they can be liable for under copyright law, making the RIAA's lawsuits much less profitable."
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RIAA File-Sharing Lawsuits Top 10,000 People Sued

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  • by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:53PM (#12394811) Homepage
    It has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel.

    Doesn't your corner only throw in the towel if you're getting your ass kicked? From what I understand, the RIAA is settling nearly each of these cases out of court for a substantial profit. If that's the case, why would they ever throw in the towel?

    • Though, arguably, on a whole it's not stopping the P2P flood. So they're facing a losing battle in that sense.
      • by grolschie ( 610666 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @09:28PM (#12395374)
        Though, arguably, on a whole it's not stopping the P2P flood. So they're facing a losing battle in that sense.

        It's never been about stopping the P2P flood. It's always been about making money.
        • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @03:26AM (#12396827) Journal

          It's never been about stopping the P2P flood. It's always been about making money.

          Rubbish. The money an organisation the size of the RIAA is doesn't care about the dribs and drabs that they can get out of individuals. It's about (a) stopping the sharing of music that the record labels think is costing them so much and (b) the RIAA capitalising on the record label's belief so that they can justify their existence further and make more money out of the record labels.

          Artists no longer need the major labels for distribution and that's what scares them. The lawsuits are just trying to fit the genie back in the bottle.
    • Has anybody really tried to fight one of these suits yet?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:02PM (#12394872)
      > From what I understand, the RIAA is settling nearly each of
      > these cases out of court for a substantial profit. If that's

      That is exactly correct. So far one person has stood up and resisted settling out of court.

      So a press release saying the RIAA has sued 10,000 people is a complete fabrication. The RIAA has threatened to take people to court for everything they own over IP violations, and the people have backed down and paid multiple-K settlements instead.

      They haven't paid the RIAA through judgments, they haven't paid *fines* to the RIAA, they haven't paid legally required fees to the RIAA, they have paid a *settlement* to the RIAA in order for the RIAA to not go ahead with legal action.

      Repeat after me: The RIAA have not yet sued anyone. They have applied extortion using the threat of a costly legal battle involving megacorporation vs one individual.

      • by Baricom ( 763970 )
        Repeat after me: The RIAA have not yet sued anyone.

        Yes, they have [google.com].
        • by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @09:22PM (#12395344)
          Apparently, a Google search is too complicated for some people even when spoon-fed to them. I'll summarize.

          The mere fact that the RIAA knows who is doing the file sharing is a result of them filing lawsuits. Judges have limited the scope of the RIAA's legal activities at least twice. The first action required the RIAA to file a John Doe lawsuit, rather than merely requesting customer identities from ISPs under the DMCA. The second action, filed last year, requires the RIAA to file separate lawsuits for every John Doe they wish to challenge.

          The RIAA is obviously suing - if they didn't, they wouldn't know where to send the extortion (err, settlement) letters.
      • >> They have applied extortion using the threat of a costly legal battle involving megacorporation vs one individual.

        I'm betting virtually everyone who is served by the RIAA are counseled by their lawyers to settle. Do the math - pay a settlement that'll be less than your legal fees or face the prospect of a court ordered fine that crushes you financially from now to retirement.

        Small wonder people reach settle.
  • by StarWreck ( 695075 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:53PM (#12394812) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA will never quit suing P2P users because the RIAA is making a profit from it...
    • Profits from suing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Corpus_Callosum ( 617295 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:00PM (#12394852) Homepage
      The RIAA will never quit suing P2P users because the RIAA is making a profit from it...

      How right you are! Imagine, 10k lawsuits. Let's assume that each one of them settles for an average of $5k (a pittance compared to what they could get by copyright law, and I believe many of these settlements are much higher).

      At $5k a pop, 10k of these settlements is worth $50,000,000 dollars.

      How long will it be before the profits from lawsuits exceeds that of music licensing for the RIAA? Is it really that far fetched to imagine? Settlements are better business than records ($5k vs. $9)...

      Perhaps, like antivirus companies spinning virus out into the wild, the RIAA will begin quietly sponsoring P2P programming efforts in an attempt to expand their new market (defendants)...

      These are strange times...
      • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:57PM (#12395195) Homepage Journal
        "At $5k a pop, 10k of these settlements is worth $50,000,000 dollars."

        How much do the lawyers get?
        • by mingot ( 665080 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @10:12PM (#12395605)
          Well, you can actually hire lawyers. As employees. Trades the whole percentage/hourly billing thing for a nice yearly salary. So assuming they have a few lawyers and small army of paralegals (who are fairly inexpensive) doing the majority of the gruntwork I'd answer your question with "very little".
      • by patio11 ( 857072 )
        Why did this get modded to +5? Its in Slashdot fantasy land. One corporate lawyer who writes three letters to get a $5k settlement has already eaten half of it (and even $50m wouldn't rate a line item on a single record company's annual report). The suits are only an adjunct to their anti-pirating publicity campaign -- its a strategic hedge to ensure that their constituent companies can continue making $9 / CD.
  • Networks? (Score:2, Funny)

    by killawatt5k ( 846409 )
    I am under the impression emule is safe. Anyone heard otherwise? Any other p2p networks I should know about?
  • by RichardX ( 457979 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:54PM (#12394816) Homepage
    Either the RIAA throws in the towel, or advances in anonymous secure filesharing make their efforts redundant - there are already several very promising and useable systems in development.
    Either way, the RIAA can't keep up forever.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:55PM (#12394818)

    i fit home systems for a large PC company and the first thing customers ask me when i have installed their broadband and PC is

    "where can i download MP3s ?"

    "illegal or legal ?"

    "i dont care"
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:55PM (#12394826) Homepage Journal
    The day they are out of business, or they have managed to have every customer jailed. Remeber this is their new long term business model.

    However, as time goes on the effects will diminish and they will look even more foolish.
  • by BinBoy ( 164798 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:58PM (#12394842) Homepage
    You fund these lawsuits every time you buy a CD. Then they sue you, you settle and they sue even more people. Solution: stop buying CDs.

    • And don't get sued, because your settlement will fund their lawsuits too.
    • you're talking crap. Every time you buy a CD they get like £1-2 at very most. It doesn't even dent the money they have laying around. Several billion makes buying CDs laughable when you can just sue people and get a few thousand.
  • by blueadept1 ( 844312 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:00PM (#12394858)
    1) Start a band (Alternatively: illegally download some techno making software)
    2) Release some songs on p2p networks
    3) Wait for it...
    4) Wait for it...
    5) Sue 10,037 people for a profit. ("...the RIAA's probably collected over $30 million from individual file sharers.")

    Absolutely perfect. I see no flaws.
    • Until the guys who first downloaded the tracks from you (legal copying, with license to distribute) come forward, give evidence you publicly released your music, and you get a class action from 10,037 people for (slander/libel - I can never remember which is which).
    • that would be called perjury when you lie in court, then bubba makes you his new "special friend"
    • " 1) Start a band (Alternatively: illegally download some techno making software)
      2) Release some songs on p2p networks
      3) Wait for it...
      4) Wait for it...
      5) Sue 10,037 people for a profit. ("...the RIAA's probably collected over $30 million from individual file sharer"

      I know this was supposed to be a joke, but it doesn't make sense, because why would 10,000 people download a song from a band they've never heard of (unless you make the file name a song they have heard of)
  • They will stop.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Palal ( 836081 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:01PM (#12394860) Homepage
    .... only after people stop settling outside of court and ask for jury trials.
    • What happens when people start losing? And they will lose, big time. How about you step up to the plate though and show us all how it's done.
    • by pomo monster ( 873962 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:07PM (#12394903)
      You do realize "It's not stealing, Your Honor, it's just copyright infringement" isn't a valid legal defense, don't you?
      • No jury will fine someone a billion dollars for sharing music.
        • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) *
          The jury doesn't decide how much, they decide whether you are guilty or not. The Judge's job, other than to precide over the court, is to determine the sentence (in this case, the fines).
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:50PM (#12395152)
        One defense is to say you didn't do it, and their proof iks too weak to meat even the burden in civil court. Basically they come in with a list of files that the company they hire to find them claims came off a computer with a certian IP address that your ISP said was yours.

        Ok problems:

        1) How do you know those files are what they say they are? There's plenty fo files with fake names on filesharing networks. Sometimes it's people being assholes, sometimes it's small bands trying to pimp their shit, sometimes it's people who mislabeled because they are dumb. Since they don't download and check there's no real way to know.

        2) For that matter, how do you know that list came form the right computer? Some networks, like Kazaa, aren't all that good at returning the correct list of files. You ask them for a list of files on host X, you get a list from host Y. How do you know this list is actually from the correct computer?

        3) For that matter, how do we know the company they pay isn't making it up? These people get money for finding this stuff, there's incentive to find bigger lists of files. How do you know they are adding to those list or in some other way pumping it up to get more cash?

        4) How do you know the ISP gave you the right data for the IP? Espically with dynamic IPs, this can be hard to tell. Sure some geek says this is what it is but how do you know he's telling the truth? All you've got are some easily altered text logs. For that matter how do you know the logging software was working right?

        5) How do you know it was a certian computer behind that IP? Given the prevelance of wireless APs, it's easy to see that someone might ahve been using a connection without the owner's knowledge or consent. Where's the proof that it was actually a computer owned by that person that did it?

        Basically what they are saying is these guys we pay gave us a list that might or might not be truthful that might or might not have come from this IP that might or might not belong to this person that might or might not have been them using it. Ya, THAT'S a strong chain of evidence.

        Another defence would be to try for jury nullification, or argue on appeal, that the law they are suing under is unconstutional. The statutory damage are absurdly high. Well the constution states in ammendment 8 that "nor excessive fines imposed,". Seems the law allowing for high statutory damages in in violation of this. Since all laws must conform to the constution, it should be thrown out (and thus the case dropped).

        Along those lines, there's other legal case history (as cited in the /. story) that establish the illegitimacy of excessive statutory rewards in civil cases.

        This is not at all an open and shut issue. We do not have some highly trained computer crimes police optaining incontrevertable proof of MP3s on the person's computer and then the justice system imposing a resonable penalty. We have a corperate instrest group, who's members have been multiple times convicted of illegal practices such as price fixing, presenting a very shaky chain of evidence and asking for outrageously excessive awards.

        If it got fought in court, it is not at all certian the RIAA would win.
        • Generally, judges do not like being yanked about. Do that at your own risk, even if you might have won a case, trying to "play the system" will most likely have you loose as punishment.

          "1) How do you know those files are what they say they are? There's plenty fo files with fake names on filesharing networks. Sometimes it's people being assholes, sometimes it's small bands trying to pimp their shit, sometimes it's people who mislabeled because they are dumb. Since they don't download and check there's no re
    • by westlake ( 615356 )
      .... only after people stop settling outside of court and ask for jury trials.

      You need a factual dispute to get and keep your case before a jury. If it is generally agreed that you uploaded files and can't produce a license to distribute them, there is nothing left for a jury to decide.

  • by Rupan ( 723469 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:05PM (#12394893) Homepage
    Now I know that many people enjoy music as a form of entertainment. However, consider also what the politics behind this entertainment are. What kind of companies are you supporting by listening to / buying this music?

    When the RIAA started these lawsuits a few years back (what was it? 1999? 2001?), I was shocked and outraged. I couldn't believe what lengths these corporations would go to in prosecuting what amounts to a few cents' worth of theft per song. The defendants, while they did execute illegal act(s), are being punished far beyond the damages they caused.

    What can one do, then? I decided to stop buying music CDs. I no longer listen to the radio, and hardly ever download music from p2p. I believe that since these lawsuits started several years ago, I have bought a total of about 3 CDs. Instead, I spend my time with more productive activities such as programming or spending time with my wife.

    I know this isn't an option for many people, but it works for me. By refusing to purchase CDs, I vote against the RIAA with my wallet. By not listening to the radio, I don't support the stations that license the same music. You, as a reader of slashdot, might do well to try to find something like this to voice your disapproval. Heavy-handed tactics used as a business model = lost customers.
    • By refusing to purchase CDs, I vote against the RIAA with my wallet.

      Sorry, but this simply isn't an option for people who actually enjoy music from artists on RIAA labels. Boycotts can be effective, but it's not the greatest idea to make the artists suffer because of the actions of an organization that their record label belongs to.

      • by linguae ( 763922 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:21PM (#12394977)

        There is a solution to get your music legally (in the United States, don't know about other places) without funding the RIAA; just buy used CDs and tapes. Your local library might have some CDs and tapes that you can borrow for a few weeks and listen to. In this scenario, you can get your music legally without giving the RIAA any more cash. Try it before the RIAA bans the resale of music.

        Now, this idea isn't effective for the latest music available, but you should be able to get lots of old CDs of many genres and musicians.

      • Why? That's a ridiculous argument, really. In fact, it is the argument that the RIAA uses: "Think of the children ... I mean .. uh ... the artists! Think of the artists!" How much do we have to put up with from the music industry's leaders before we realize that the music isn't worth it. It just isn't. The RIAA (and their soulmates, the MPAA, oh, and let's not forget Disney) have already done permanent damage to the United States' legal system with far-reaching effects. Don't excuse their aberrant behavior
    • I agree totally. I've recently grabbed a copy of irate - rate & download freely released & CC'd music, by unknown bands - no license fees to anyone. The only downside of this is that now I want to go see a load of bands in other countries (e.g. Quick Fix - Boston, Girl With A Monkey - Stockholm)
    • Just stop buying RIAA CDs. There are people outside the RIAA memebers that make music, good music. A good one is cdbaby.com, they are all indy, all the time. They deal directly with artists. They categorize and recommend music and there's lots that's quite good. Another place to check out is cdroots.com. They don't do the indy thing per se, but they are all about world music, and most of their stuff comes from outside the US and is rarely big label things. If you are looking for something different, it's a
    • I buy cds, and have no problem with them suing people guilty of opyright infringement. That's much better than suing people making p2p software, which isn't a strategy that's working in court.
  • by thorpie ( 656838 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:07PM (#12394904)

    Can anyone actually comment on the legality of downloading what you already "own" in another format?

    I am a fairly old fart and mostly I have downloaded music that I have already paid for, mostly old vinyl records and some that I have on video

    Just what are the legals of this situation in the USA? What are the legals elsewhere, europe & Australia?

    • No one (to my knowledge) has been sued by the RIAA for mere downloading or posessing mp3's. They are going after uploaders.

      I've found it MUCH easier to record my own LP's into mp3/OGG/format of choice. No problem with dicked up recordings from dubious sources.

    • by abbamouse ( 469716 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:17PM (#12394954) Homepage
      During the Napster case, the Napster people called this "space shifting." The phrase was meant to evoke the "time shifting" that the Supreme Court had ruled was fair use for owners of VCRs. The district and appeals courts both rejected the argument that consumers had the right to download MP3s of songs they already owned so they could listen to them away from home.

      Unless you are personally making the copy from the actual physical CD or LP you own, owning the music in a different format is not a defense. If you personally rip your own CDs to MP3s, however, then you're actions are legal under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992.
    • Well, if I understand the law correctly, in the United States, you're not allowed to download unauthorized copyrighted material, even if you already own a copy of it. The reason for this is because you are still infringing the copyright of the owners of the material; even though you're not the one redistributing the material, you're not legally allowed to knowingly get a bootlegged version of copyrighted material. However, you are allowed to "rip" the tracks off of the vinyl (I'm using CD terminology here

    • Pracically speaking, the legalities would only matter if you were threatened by the RIAA and had enough resources to fight them in court rather than paying them a settlement.

      Were you to be making a copy of the records you own, the law seems to be pretty clear on that point - you're allowed to make a backup copy. Once you get beyond that, the actual legalities are pretty fuzzy. One of the problems is that "copyright" focuses on the right to "copy". Looking back a hundred years this made sense. Copying a
  • by Lumpmoose ( 697966 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:08PM (#12394909) Homepage
    ...making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel.

    Shoot! It's hard enough to fight a behemoth conglomerate like the RIAA without it having the most useful thing in the universe on hand.
  • by mrterrysilver ( 826735 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:09PM (#12394912) Homepage
    the referenced legal paper says:

    When a minimum statutory damage award has a large punitive component, the danger arises that the award's punitive effect, when aggregated across many similar acts, will become so tremendous that it imposes a penalty grossly excessive in relation to any legitimate interest in punishment or deterrence.

    i believe this means the RIAA is suing for ridiuclous large sums of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars for each mp3, even though in actuality the damages to the RIAA is much much smaller than what they're sueing for. a similar type of incident occured before in a court case:

    BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, where the Court held unconstitutional a jury's punitive damage award of two million dollars to a plaintiff who suffered four thousand dollars in actual damages from the defendant's deceptive trade practices.

    the author of the legal document is simply making an argument that the ruling of the BMW v Gore case should also apply to this case. the actual damages to the RIAA are a closer to a few dollars per song rather than the hundreds of thousands they're suing for. it will be very interesting if anyone being sued actually takes this kind of approach.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:11PM (#12394924) Homepage
    WE come up with a business model that THEY can live with (from/via/off of/.../whatever.)

    They're in the business of sueing people until they don't have a reason to do so anymore. That's what they've been doing since the nineteenth century and before.

    Every advance from the piano roll to the MP3 has been met with the kind of dogged, to the death, resistance normally encountered in a Pit Bull arena.

    When you're stealing other people's creativity and have none of your own, you defend your right to be a parasite with legal anti-piperazine.

    Of course, every now and they they go too far and get their wrists slapped, like the last time they were convicted of price fixing in California.

    They emptied they warehouses filled with every piece of back catalog crap that time. "We ripped you off. Have this audio dog, uh, wonderful vynil recording of "Milton Freebish sings 'Sony and Cher'" album to make up for it."

    You want's to get them to cease and desist, you have to figure out a way that they can keep on collecting money for other people work every second of every day.

    That's when they'll shut up. Not before. They're thieves egardless of how they justify it. And YOU are going to have to find them a new pocket to live in.
  • OK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:12PM (#12394931)

    Granted that copyright infringement is against the law and should be pursued more by the government like other crimes that the government has established, I wish the government would rerecognise their belief in a free economy and that no company has any right to profit nor compensation for loss of profit.

    I don't do MP3, so I'm free of this, but the core here is not copyright infringement, but rather the price of distribution of a product. This is pretty much exclusively what the RIAA companies make money on. The sale of an aluminum disc impregnated in plastic. However, these guys are getting their music in an inferior format with a different distribution channel at a much lower cost of distribution.

    Am I missing something, or is this how supply and demand works? I pay 80+ dollars a month for cable and about 40 for broadband internet that satisfies a good deal of my music concerns. I just paid almost $2,000 for my car stereo in my new car and I buy blank CDs in bulk. In the past week I spent about $150 in concert tickets.

    What the fuck else do these people want from me? Its getting to the point that it almost appears more productive to simply go to prison or jail the rest of ones life, but even then your subject to chronic searches and whatnot to make sure your not doing what your "supposed" to do while there.

    In summary, fuck you RIAA. Provide at some bare minimum a competing product to p2p downloads, or just go away. Music has lasted before you, and will outlast you. Your relationship with the music industry is entirely up to you. So long as you are providing a valuable product to consumers, you will exist. So long as you sue your customers, your annoying.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:21PM (#12394973)
    I'd bet that the economics of P2P depend on the "popularity" of the artist. P2P file copying probably helps obscure artists because it helps listeners overcome the cost and risk barier of buying an unknown artist. But file copying probably hurts more popular artists when people download must-have (but don't neccessarily want ot pay-for) manufactured hits by a known artist. P2P fragments the listening population by connecting them with more artists. In theory, the total outcome can be better as P2P file copying expands people's interests and helps them find music they consider worth paying for.

    On the other hand, RIAA, I'll wager, is more concerned with preserving blockbuster artists than in promoting obscure ones. It's easier (and more ego-boosting) to ride the back of a Britney Spears than it is to promote a thousand no-name bands. Moreover, its more cost-efficient for music distributors to sell 10 million copies of one album than hassle with selling 15,000 copies of a 1000 artists. Even in a digital age, creating a distribution relationship with 1000 artists is harder (and less sexy) than having a single relationship with a megastar .

    Fragmentation of people's musical interests is not in RIAA's best interests even if it expands the total music industry by more effectgively matching content creators to content consumers.
  • by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:27PM (#12395008) Journal
    Okay, so the RIAA has sued 10,000 people. Fine, great. That's an interesting statstic. But I'm more interested in the RESULTS:

    How many of the suits have gone to court, rather than being extorted... urr... "settled" out of court?

    Of those that weren't settled out of court, how many are slated to go to trial?

    Of those that have gone to trial, what are the results of the trail? How many traders were found guilty? What evidence has the RIAA presented thus far?

    THAT is the information I'm more interested in. They can sue as many people as they want. I want to know what the results of those suits are.

  • [The RIAA] has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel.
    Was that a Hitchhiker's Guide reference?
  • by NotoriousQ ( 457789 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:32PM (#12395046) Homepage
    Look on the bright side. Firefox is 5000 times more successful than RIAA.
  • Bankrupt the RIAA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Stonent1 ( 594886 )
    If every one of those people had fought back, the RIAA wouldn't have been able to keep up with the legal stuff. Better yet, get a class action suit against the RIAA for invasion of privacy.
  • Perhaps... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:42PM (#12395104) Journal
    Perhaps I am repeating myself or someone else, but the point is not what is done with digital content, the point is what the laws are doing. Currently, they are reinforcing an outdated and unworkable distribution business model for the film and music industry.

    The lure of being in those industries is the money that can be made... now there is a cultural revolution against that business model. The time is right for revolution...so to speak.

    We keep talking about what is right and what is wrong, but we seem to skip over the facts. The facts simply stated, are that the law supports an outdated business model. The music and film industries cannot continue to force their ethics on the populace when the populace is revolting. Music and video content is simply not worth what is being charged. The current distribution and licensing practices DO NOT work in the information age. They used to work, but no longer. When anyone with a basement and some cheap electronic technology can duplicate what big industry is charging huge dollars for is common place as it is today, the old business models don't work.

    Its time for the music and movie industry to get into the 20th century (yes, I said that right). Its time for them to get with reality. Sure, they deserve to be paid for their work, just like the rest of us, but like the airline industry, they do not deserve to be propped up by government so they can survive. If they cannot survive the changes on their own, so be it. Its time for a change, the old ways are not working.

    Still, I have not seen or read any evidence that file sharing has damaged either industry, yet they seem to have the government's permission to harm anyone they feel like. This smacks of conspiracy and business based totalitarianism.

    Sure, you can tell me that I'm wrong, that I have not respected the rights of these industries, but I have done something that you did not expect.... I have stated that its time for evolution or revolution. I don't particularly care if they go broke... there are literally millions of artists that want a cheap and easy way to get their art to the masses without having to deal with those big companies and their bias.

    Anyone that thinks this is about the law is just kidding themselves... this is about evolution. It is time for thing to change. I'm tired of paying taxes just in case I decide to break a law, I'm tired of being thought to break the law before I actually do, I'm tired of people trying to enact law to prevent me from breaking other exisiting laws.

    If business finds that the current laws are unenforcable, they need to look at what they are doing and how they are making their money. Small businesses have to weigh the value of persuing a patent infringement case against larger companies and individuals against what is good for the business. The music and video industries have SO MUCH MONEY that they don't have to worry about it... they just bring the litigation because the cost is a pittance against what they stand to gain. The patent and copyright laws have, in essence, broken the anti-trust laws, in order to protect the very rich and powerful, those that don't need protection.

    They have successfully perverted the intent and design of the laws they use to protect their profits.


  • Profitable? (Score:5, Informative)

    by zorander ( 85178 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:47PM (#12395140) Homepage Journal
    "making the RIAA's lawsuits much less profitable."

    The RIAA is currently settling for $1/song + legal fees. The lawsuits aren't a revenue stream, and sharers are almost all paying under $5000. $1500 (average sued sharer shares 1500 songs, other costs are for legal fees) * 10,000 = $15 million. For a multibillion dollar industry, this is nothing.

    The disparity between the offered settlement and the potential liability could easily constitute a coercement of the violators to choose the settlement, and I hope that this point comes to light (is there really a choice to take a lawsuit? If the RIAA wins, then the liability is too huge. Paying a few grand and getting out is almost always the better choice). The sued party is pretty much being denied the right to a trial because the liability is too high. The right judge could illuminate this point and really change the law for the better (said by someone who generally condemns judicial activism)

  • by MHobbit ( 830388 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {90tibbohm}> on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:54PM (#12395180)
    What do the RIAA *really* have to benefit from all of this, aside from a huge profit? Intimidation. They obviously know that half of their cases wouldn't stand up in court anyway (oh wait a minute, I forgot they had huge pockets and huge teams of lawyers), so they take the horrible way out (for us) and demand huge settlements.

    From what I've seen the RIAA will never throw in the towel unless legislation is brought up to impede on their "progress." As long as they can make a huge profit, they'll continue.

    This is why I'm writing to both of my state's senators on why they should impose legislation to prevent the RIAA from taking all of this action. There's a better way to prevent piracy instead of suing dead 83 year-old people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 30, 2005 @09:14PM (#12395288)
    Coincidentally, just today I attended a conference, where in a lecture, the Head of the Computer Crimes Departement said this kind of thing won't begin in this country in the near future. BSA just recently made a public threat to start going after P2P file-sharers, it also naggs this police department quite a bit with all kinds of requests and propositions, but the police keeps it real - if all file-sharers were prosecuted by criminal law, we'd have more criminals than law-abiding citizens. Almost everyone who uses a computer, has downloaded some copyright-infringing stuff from Internet, but should every computer-owning individual be prosecuted? I think not, and so did the police officer giving the lecture today. They'd like to keep going after real criminals, not teenagers who downloaded the Spider-Man movie. They won't come after home users in the near future, unless they'd have too much free time - which they won't.
  • by rlamoni ( 443974 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @09:50PM (#12395511) Homepage
    10000 suits * $3000.00 dollars settled/suit = 30 million dollars paid to the RIAA over 20 months or 1.5million/month.

    1. Get the millions of people pirating music to each pay $5 a month for RIAA Insurance.
    2. Use that pot of money to pay the $3000.00 out-of-court settlement for each of your members that gets caught.
    3. Get rich.
    4. Sell your company to the RIAA to eliminate the middle man.
    5. Your members pay $5 a month to the RIAA directly and they make a killing. ;) ;) ;)
  • my mp3 file topped 10,000
  • 10.000 people sued (Score:4, Insightful)

    by klang ( 27062 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @09:20AM (#12397598)
    ..and no musician has been paid any damages.

    A great day for the music industry.

    When I grow up, I want to be a music industry lawyer!

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