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BusinessWeek Takes On the RIAA

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the palpable-hit dept.

The Courts 241

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "BusinessWeek magazine has gone medieval on the RIAA, recounting in grisly detail the cruel ordeal to which the RIAA has subjected a completely innocent defendant, Tanya Andersen of Oregon. Nobody can read the story and come to any other conclusion than that the RIAA and its lawyers are total jerks. Of course we've been reading about Atlantic v. Andersen on p2pnet.net and on my blog, and discussing it here, but there's something extra special about a mainstream publication like Business Week really letting them have it."

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241 comments

It would be a good thing... (5, Insightful)

HetMes (1074585) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213296)

...if Slashdot started naming the large companies behind the RIAA at every occurrence, so any misbehavior on their part is directly related to the "Big Four". Right now, most of us reading about the RIAA don't directly associate them with Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal. And this is exactly what they intended! Let's not endulge them any further.

Re:It would be a good thing... (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213370)

That's probably rather true. In my mind, I expand "RIAA" into "Sony Warner EMI Universal" but almost no one else thinks this way.

Re:It would be a good thing... (4, Interesting)

jnmontario (865369) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213404)

I would have to agree. As a consumer, I avoid, if I can, businesses whose sales tactics/merchandise irritates me. This sometimes 'paints me into a corner' where my stubborn streak of punishing businesses means I forgo their product entirely. It drives my wife insane....I find it amazing she sticks with me.

Re:It would be a good thing... (2, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213588)

Problem is. If we avoid products made by companies that use unethical, unmoral or borderline illegal means of production, marketing or just trying to maintain a monopoly situation; there really wont be too many products left for us to buy.

Then again I guess that is consumers/citizens faults in the first place for not insisting that regulations are enforced unconditionally; and to ensure that those regulations are fair and in the interest of the people and the individual first and foremost.

Unfortunately the music industry comes across as one industry that has grown fat on not only screwing its own customers; but on screwing over many of its own artists to. And they has used some of the vast quantities of money that has passed through their accounts to "inform" (influence) political decisions, in relation to the music industry, for decades.

Re:It would be a good thing... (4, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213840)

Unfortunately the music industry comes across as one industry that has grown fat on not only screwing its own customers; but on screwing over many of its own artists to. And they has used some of the vast quantities of money that has passed through their accounts to "inform" (influence) political decisions, in relation to the music industry, for decades.


It isn't just the media industry that has a choke hold on Congress. Yes, it is our fault but not for the reason you give. It is our fault because we give corporations, an immortal entity, the rights of a mortal man. Worse, because those corporations have no motivation beyond greed, they wield their power to feed that greed even to the detriment of real people.

For the specific case of copyright, it is the only business model on the face of the planet where employees (read: distributors+"Artists") are expecting to be paid decades or even centuries after they are finished the job. Where this idea that a person can make a one-hit-wonder and be paid perpetually for it is so wrong it is laughable. In no other industry do you find employees being paid beyond what they actually worked much less having that paycheck go to their heirs well after their death. Imagine if every business had to continue to pay all their employees+heirs for 90+ years after they quit. Business would come to a screeching halt then. But yet we are OK with it when it comes to copyright....Go figure.

You mean besides pension plans? (1)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214232)

"For the specific case of copyright, it is the only business model on the face of the planet where employees (read: distributors+"Artists") are expecting to be paid decades or even centuries after they are finished the job."

You mean, besides pensions?

Oh yes - creative artists don't get those...

Re:You mean besides pension plans? (2, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214508)

You mean, besides pensions?


Pensions are paid into as agreed upon by the employer and the employee with the lion's share being footed by the employee. All the while, corporations are playing financial games with those pensions declaring bankruptcy to get out of them.

Oh yes - creative artists don't get those...


And neither do McDonald's employees. What's your point?

Re:It would be a good thing... (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214252)

Yes, it is our fault but not for the reason you give. It is our fault because we give corporations, an immortal entity, the rights of a mortal man. Worse, because those corporations have no motivation beyond greed, they wield their power to feed that greed even to the detriment of real people.
I agree whole heartedly. Though I reckoned I had covered that when I wrote "Then again I guess that is consumers/citizens faults in the first place for not insisting that regulations are enforced unconditionally; and to ensure that those regulations are fair and in the interest of the people and the individual first and foremost." ;)

Political Will comes from the people, when the people do not speak up the Will to resist the manipulations of lobbyists is minimal. Lawyers and marketing work hand in hand to perpetuate the fantasy that corporations need to be protect and given special license to act in whatever way they see fit. Corporations, yes I generalize now, will not hesitate to subvert or change any law they see as a treat to their bottom line. Fierce regulation need to be in place and, as I said earlier, be enforced in all cases. If not, they will continue to test the boundaries that are in place and stretch those to the limit to get as much profit for their investors as possible.

Re:It would be a good thing... (4, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214290)

I forgot to make a link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation [wikipedia.org]
The movie/book might not be entirely objective, or cover all bases as well as it should, but I thought it would be relevant in reference to the debate about giving corporations "the rights of a mortal man" as the previous poster wrote.

Re:It would be a good thing... (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214578)

Interesting link. Too bad I commented here or you would have gotten the points...

Re:It would be a good thing... (3, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214370)

The trick is to start with something easy to avoid. Thanks to torrentz i can avoid buying all RIAA much, i do rarely go out to by music from indie lables tho.
What id quite like is somebody to produce a scanner that lists all non-RIAA music in my collection so i can go and buy the albums the RIAA doesn't "protect".
The problem is when you start trying to apply ethics to buying your snacks & drinks. Think Ms has a monopoly, look at coke. Snacks while not bieng as owned by 1 company are instead owned by 2/3 companies, but atleast they make it obvious so its easier to avoid say nestle than coke (coke, fanta, oasis, powerade, etc)

Re:It would be a good thing... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213488)

"Right now, most of us reading about the RIAA don't directly associate them with Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal. And this is exactly what they intended! Let's not endulge them any further."

Hear, hear. Henceforth let RIAA == SUW_MEI.

Re:It would be a good thing... (2, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213570)

Exactly I have suggested before we do the same thing. Instead of saying the RIAA they should be refered to as an organization that represents {Insert specific party as appropriate here}, Sony, Warner, EMI, and Universal. It would really help our cause. Sure we slashdots know that Sony is the hieght of all evil, SHAME ON THOSE OF YOU WHO WENT OUT AND BOUGHT PS3s, but others dont. Most people know the RIAA is a bunch of dickheads, that is eactly the point. The real reason for the RIAA is to provide a layer of inderection. So that Sony et al, can act like dickheads and not have to look like dickheads.

We make that the assoication that they are the RIAA and suddenly the RIAA has no more value.

Re:It would be a good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213614)

a bold plan, and i see the sense in it. but what about all the other 'RIAA members' [riaa.com]?

Re:It would be a good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213826)

how about the summary mentioning "Atlantic vs Andersen", then? Anyone care to clarify how the "big four" are in on this one?

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The RIAA have good intentions (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213322)

...but a terrible implementation. Like it or not copyright law is on their side. And piracy is a net drain on the economy (I know I'm gonig to get modded down for that statement so I'm possting AC).

For example, I own a struggling record store. CD sales have dropped through the floor. People aren't buying half as many CDs as they did just a year ago. Revenue is down and costs are up. My store has survived for years, but I now face the prospect of bankruptcy. Every day I ask myself why this is happening.

I bought the store about 12 years ago. It was one of those boutique record stores that sell obscure, independent releases that no-one listens to, not even the people that buy them. I decided that to grow the business I'd need to aim for a different demographic, the family market. My store specialised in family music - stuff that the whole family could listen to. I don't sell sick stuff like Marilyn Manson or cop-killer rap, and I'm proud to have one of the most extensive Christian rock sections that I know of.

The business strategy worked. People flocked to my store, knowing that they (and their children) could safely purchase records without profanity or violent lyrics. Over the years I expanded the business and took on more clean-cut and friendly employees. It took hard work and long hours but I had achieved my dream - owning a profitable business that I had built with my own hands, from the ground up. But now, this dream is turning into a nightmare.

Every day, fewer and fewer customers enter my store to buy fewer and fewer CDs. Why is no one buying CDs? Are people not interested in music? Do people prefer to watch TV, see films, read books? I don't know. But there is one, inescapable truth - Internet piracy is mostly to blame. The statistics speak for themselves - one in three discs world wide is a pirate. On The Internet, you can find and download hundreds of dollars worth of music in just minutes. It has the potential to destroy the music industry, from artists, to record companies to stores like my own. Before you point to the supposed "economic downturn", I'll note that the book store just across from my store is doing great business. Unlike CDs, it's harder to copy books over The Internet.

A week ago, an unpleasant experience with pirates gave me an idea. In my store, I overheard a teenage patron talking to his friend.

"Dude, I'm going to put this CD on the Internet right away."

"Yeah, dude, that's really lete [sic], you'll get lots of respect."

I was fuming. So they were out to destroy the record industry from right under my nose? Fat chance. When they came to the counter to make their purchase, I grabbed the little shit by his shirt. "So...you're going to copy this to your friends over The Internet, punk?" I asked him in my best Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry voice.

"Uh y-yeh." He mumbled, shocked.

"That's it. What's your name? You're blacklisted. Now take yourself and your little bitch friend out of my store - and don't come back." I barked. Cravenly, they complied and scampered off.

So that's my idea - a national blacklist of pirates. If somebody cannot obey the basic rules of society, then they should be excluded from society. If pirates want to steal from the music industry, then the music industry should exclude them. It's that simple. One strike, and you're out - no reputable record store will allow you to buy another CD. If the pirates can't buy the CDS to begin with, then they won't be able to copy them over The Internet, will they? It's no different to doctors blacklisting drug dealers from buying prescription medicine.

I have just written a letter to the RIAA outlining my proposal. Suing pirates one by one isn't going far enough. Not to mention pirates use the fact that they're being sued to unfairly portray themselves as victims. A national register of pirates would make the problem far easier to deal with. People would be encouraged to give the names of suspected pirates to a hotline, similar to TIPS. Once we know the size of the problem, the police and other law enforcement agencies will be forced to take piracy seriously. They have fought the War on Drugs with skill, so why not the War on Piracy?

This evening, my daughters asked me. "Why do the other kids laugh at us?"

I wanted to tell them the truth - it's because they wear old clothes and have cheap haircuts. I can't afford anything better for them right now.

"It's because they are idiots, kids", I told them. "Don't listen to them."

When the kids went to bed, my wife asked me, "Will we be able to keep the house, David?"

I just shook my head, and tried to hold back the tears. "I don't know, Jenny. I don't know."

When my girls ask me questions like that, I feel like my heart is being wrenched out of my chest. But knowing that I'm doing the best I can to save my family and my business is some consolation.

Some people are offended by my blacklist system. I may have made my store less popular for pirates and sympathisers, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to save my industry from destruction. I am inspired by artists such as Metallica that have taken a stand against the powerful pirate lobby. When everyone believes 2 + 2 = 5, to simply state the truth, that 2 + 2 = 4, is a courageous act.

This post is a Cut/Paste dupe of one that appeared (0)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213362)

here not too long ago when there was another article on...

The RIAA

Now there is a surprise indeed.

Re:This post is a Cut/Paste dupe of one that appea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213392)

Dude, they're popping up every time.. Occasionally with slight differences. Welcome to the world of trolls...

Re:The RIAA have good intentions (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213396)

how many times has this been copy-pasted now?

Re:The RIAA have good intentions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213606)

About as many times as someone posts an anti-RIAA/MPAA article where a 1 line "fuck the RIAA" post is modded insightful and any post even moderately pro-copyright (let alone posts explaining why most of the anti-RIAA/MPAA stories that get posted are FUD) is marked troll/flamebait

Re:The RIAA have good intentions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213536)

This guy's been out of business for years; with online music stores and his "Music Nazi - No CD for you!" attitude, he can't have enough to stay in business.

Re:The RIAA have good intentions (1)

c-reus (852386) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213722)

Having blacklist is, of course, a great idea, as we already know from sexual offenders blacklist and the no-fly list

Good on you (5, Insightful)

jnmontario (865369) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213336)

"The RIAA is fighting very hard to make sure that [Andersen's case] never reaches a jury," says Heidi Li Feldman. I would too if I were doing something on the fringe of legal in a twisted business model that pits your clients (recording artists) vs. their money source (consumers). Asshats!

Nothing legal about Extortion. (3, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214242)

The only thing legal about any of this is abuse of process. What you are looking at is mass produced fraud that should result in disbarment of everyone involved and jail time for the ring leaders. They knew what they were going to do to "dolphins" like Anderson with their "drift net" tactics. They also thought they were aiming for a less sympathetic but more pliable target when they targeted "rich" college kids. In all cases, the victims were stripped of their life savings if they caved in and of everything now and forever if they fought. The RIAA music sharing cases are one of the most degraded abuse of the legal system by the rich and powerful ever.

It's time for a backlash. The emails and reports behind this fraud should be ripped open to expose the guilty at the big music publishers.

Re:Nothing legal about Extortion. (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214688)

The only thing legal about any of this is abuse of process. What you are looking at is mass produced fraud that should result in disbarment of everyone involved and jail time for the ring leaders. They knew what they were going to do to "dolphins" like Anderson with their "drift net" tactics. They also thought they were aiming for a less sympathetic but more pliable target when they targeted "rich" college kids. In all cases, the victims were stripped of their life savings if they caved in and of everything now and forever if they fought. The RIAA music sharing cases are one of the most degraded abuse of the legal system by the rich and powerful ever. It's time for a backlash. The emails and reports behind this fraud should be ripped open to expose the guilty at the big music publishers.
Well spoken, gnutoo. I share your sentiments.

Re:Good on you (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214296)

It may not have reached a jury, but it's definitely caught the public eye. Here on slashdot we're just a bunch of unorganized geeks, not necessarily from America, and not likely to put up a concerted defense. But perception out there is changing. Once lawyers smell money in the air from defensive and counter-offensive lawsuits against the likes of Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal (deep pockets to draw money from), we could have a case of ambulance-chasing here.

Ad hominem (2, Insightful)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214544)

Asshats!

Though you didn't imply that copyright law needs to change because the RIAA are asshats, the entire theme of this post did. So I would like to challenge that directly.

1) The RIAA claims that we need to strictly enforce copyright law (and charge per copy) in order to ensure that artists get paid and continue making music.
2) The RIAA are asshats.
Therefore: we don't need copyright law (and strict enforcement) in order to ensure that artists get paid and continue making music.

This is an example of the "ad hominem" [wikipedia.org] logical fallacy. Yes, they are asshats, but that has no bearing on the arguments they use to defend their business model.

I would summarize their position as a variant of the Hypothetical Syllogism [wikipedia.org] (I am adding more premises than allowed, for brevity).

1) If we do not have strict interpretation and enforcement of copyright law, then people will be able to get an artists work for free.

2) If people can get an artists work for free, then most people will.

3) If most people get an artists work for free, then artists will not be able to make enough money to sustain themselves.

4) If artists cannot make enough money to sustain themselves, then they will have no economic incentive to produce music.

5) If artists have no economic incentive to produce music, then they will not make music.

Therefore: in order for there to be music (which we obviously want), there must be strict enforcement of copyright law.

To the best of my knowledge, that is the line of reasoning being advocated, and it should therefore be logically attacked.

I would specifically (and individually) attack premises 3, 4, and 5. According to the US Department of Labor [bls.gov] most musicians work part time (already can't sustain themselves but work anyway) and also many of them earn money through live performances (monetizing their work even though free music is presently available). So my attacks, specifically, are:

3) Artists can still monetize their work, through live performances, merchandising, and alternative business models.

4) Even the lesser gains of part time employment or low-income alternative business models qualify as economic incentive.

5) Some artists produce music for the love of producing music, and think of compensation only after the fact.

So there you have it. In a nutshell I would say that we should at least experiment with the alternative business models, and see how they pan out. If all artists stop making music and America starts to experience cultural starvation, we can always reintroduce strict copyright enforcement later on...and then with much more universal support. As it stands, we are unwilling to even try, largely as a result of irrational argumentation (and, of course, a few wealthy/powerful entities who stand to benefit from our irrational behavior).

Contradictions (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213368)

But aggressive steps are necessary, it says, to stop rampant piracy that it figures costs the U.S. record industry at least $3.7 billion annually in sales. "The magnitude of this [theft] is incalculable", says Richard L. Gabriel, lead national counsel for the RIAA and a partner at the Denver law firm Holme, Roberts, & Owen"
You got to love that. When they are talking to judges the histrionics starts and the damage is "incalculable". Yet, when they need to justify their actions, or their claims for damages it becomes calculable pretty quickly doesn't it?

Funny thing is, that I think their first statement is actually right. The damages are "incalculable" since they quite often used flawed studies, doctored data, fallacious logic, etc. to come up with that "3.7 billion" number in the first place.

Of course at the rate they are going it won't be long before they claim that every single TCP session established with the defendant is an instance of possible copyright infringement, or theft, and that it would just be easier to calculate damages based upon some one's bandwidth :P

Re:Contradictions (0)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213506)

Lets just think about that 3.7 billion.

According to the 01 US Census, there were only 43,639 home's with internet connections. Safely assuming that has tripled over the last seven years, thats about 130,000 homes.

So, 3.7 billion divided by 130,000 = 28,461.54

Im supposed to believe that every internet user in the US has stolen equivalent of 28,000 dollars worth of music? Please. Lets be realistic.

Re:Contradictions (1)

untree (851145) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213576)

I think your 130,000 number is very low. This is just a hunch, unsupported by any effort on my part to ascertain the correct number. But I went to a university with over 40,000 students, and I assure you every single one of them had access to the Internet.

I wouldn't want to provide support to an RIAA argument or statistic, but you can't possibly be serious that you think only 13 out of every 30,000 (130,000:300,000,000) Americans has Internet access.

Re:Contradictions (0)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213594)

Your right, my initial estimations were a bit low. But, I was basing that on the 2001 US Census.

According to http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm [internetworldstats.com] the current number is actually closer to 238,000.

Still, even that my point stands. $16,000 per internet user is a bit high.

Re:Contradictions (2, Funny)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213604)

Damn my decimals.. Its 238 million.

Ok, so my point is naught. Im going to go bury my head in the sand now and pretend that Im still smart.

Re:Contradictions (1)

reallyjoel (1262642) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213678)

Are you serious? I thought there were millions of homes with internet access in USA.. There are 9 million people in Sweden, and while I don't know how many homes that translates to, I think there's actually more homes with internet access here than 238.. edit: Just googled, and as of may 2007 there are 1.2 million homes in Sweden with -broadband- connection, and another 600k can have it if they like....

Re:Contradictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213662)

Do you honestly believe there are only 130,000 homes in the US with internet connections? Or that teenagers with laptops aren't using bootleg internet? The number of CDs and songs that need to be downloaded to achieve that 3.7 billion dollars goes down in proportion to the number of households using your theory, and trust me, .13 million households is conservative.

Re:Contradictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213784)

Wow. That's quite possibly the dumbest post I've ever seen on Slashdot. Not only that, the dumb has been multiplied by a moderator who frankly shouldn't have breathing rights, let alone mod-points.

At no point did you stop and think "Gee, for a country as big as the United States, 130,000 seems a little low."?

Re:Contradictions (1)

Scratch-O-Matic (245992) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213990)

This has bugged me for a long time. I have a strong suspicion that they just take the number of downloaded songs, add up the retail price if they had been purchased (or worse, in the case of each song, use the retail price of the ALBUM, since that's what their sales model has been based on for years,) and claim that those are the damages. This ignores, of course, the fact that the great majority of casual downloaders would never have purchased the music they downloaded for free. That doesn't make it right or legal, but it does reduce the "damages" by a few orders of magnitude. My opinion.

Re:Contradictions (1)

Curien (267780) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214062)

This ignores, of course, the fact that the great majority of casual downloaders would never have purchased the music they downloaded for free.

That only matters from a political and business standpoint. From a legal standpoint, all that matters is the market value of the item stolen.

I mean, come on. Should a car jacker be treated less harshly because he never would have actually bought the car at market value?

Re:Contradictions (2, Interesting)

Snocone (158524) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214174)

False analogy.

Carjacking is theft. Downloading is copyright violation.

The difference is that theft deprives the owner of use of the original.. Copyright violation does not.

An unfalse analogy would be "Should someone who constructs a fibreglass replica of my Lamborighini, violating Lambo's design copyright, be treated less harshly than a carjacker of my Lamborghini, because he never would have actually bought the car at market value?" To which the answer, to any sane person, is "Well, duh."

Re:Contradictions (1)

Curien (267780) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214780)

The difference is that theft deprives the owner of use of the original.. Copyright violation does not.

So what? The law is very clear on what the punishment is.

Re:Contradictions (1)

hung_himself (774451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214268)

I mean, come on. Should a car jacker be treated less harshly because he never would have actually bought the car at market value?
Trollish - but it's a lazy Sunday...

The actual analogous question is "what is the loss to the owner of a car's design if a copy of the car is made for private use?" In this case, whether the car copier would have bought the car at claimed market value or not does indeed speak to the losses that the car copyright holder incurs and the damages that he should receive if any...

The car jacker is analogous to the person who steals a CD from a store - which, as we know, brings far lower penalties than copying it...

Tag Suggestion (0, Offtopic)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213382)

abouttime

Re:Tag Suggestion (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214012)

It's pretty amazing, huh? First Vanity Fair does their article on the evils of Monsanto (although I was upset to see a piece on weather control in the same issue lambasting chemtrail-believers are conspiracy kooks, especially after the latest tidbit about German chemtrails) and now this attack on the RIAA. It's almost like the media is developing a conscience. This is of course not what is happening; in reality, they are discovering that we like articles like these, which is good enough.

I guess the question is, how do we get more magazines to do more articles like this?

Deceptively Simple (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214186)

It is really as simple as writing the editors of the publications in question. If enough people write them with cogent messages (not things like TEH MAFIRIAA SUX0RS!) then our voices are more likely to be heard.

I surprised what the NewYorkCountryLawyer says (0, Flamebait)

iamsamed (1276082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213432)

and not get into trouble.

I wonder if he can say that the RIAA lawyers and the RIAA are a bunch of needle pricked mother fuckers who'd sell their own mother into prostitution.

Or, the NewYorkCountryLawyer thought of working for the RIAA one time but his parents were married and they turned him down because of it.

By the way, is there a lawyer(s) that have the same zeal towards our Government's intrusion on our Civil Liberties. Yeah, the EFF and ACLU are doing things, but not quite on NYCL's level.

Re:I surprised what the NewYorkCountryLawyer says (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213616)

"I wonder if NYCL can say that the RIAA lawyers and the RIAA are a bunch of needle pricked mother fuckers who'd sell their own mother into prostitution."

He might be able to work it into parody somehow? Besides, pointing to a well researched "David and Goliath" article in a respected bussiness magazine and letting people paint thier own picture is much more effective.

Speaking of law, does anyone know if it would be illegal for think geek to print and sell a deck of cards [wikipedia.org] using images of their faces?

Re:I surprised what the NewYorkCountryLawyer says (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213854)

That has allot to do with the fact that they could not get very far that way. The government pretty much gets to decide if you can file a civil suit against them or not.

You mostly have to wait for them to come after you for a criminal matter, which you can then turn into a constitional matter via appeals if your rights are possibly being infringed. So someone basically has to be on the hook for something. Historically people have broken laws so as to create that situation, especially during the civil rights revolution. You have to be willing to accept the consequences of likely imprisonment though before you can go down that path.

A little OT, but... (1)

gwniobombux (941420) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213448)

A little OT, but the link in TFS actually points to the print version of TFA (no, I didn't read it). This is like "Submitting To Slashdot: Best Practices". Kudos to NYCL.

Ridiculous lawyers. (4, Funny)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213476)

Gabriel says it's not accurate to say the RIAA dropped its suit for lack of evidence. He says the user name Gotenkito may have been inspired by Kylee, since she admitted she liked Dragon Ball Z, a Japanese anime TV series that has a character with a similar name. He also says Andersen said in her deposition that she knew or listened to some of the country and rock artists whose songs were offered for download.

If you take a far enough stretch, you can 'prove' anything.

Hey, anyone here ever heard of Bon Jovi? THERE! PROOF YOU'RE A THIEF!

Hey, is your kid a fan of a wildly popular TV show? THERE! THE COMPLETELY UNRELATED GUY'S USERNAME WAS VAGUELY JAPANESE! PROOF POSITIVE YOU'RE A THIEF!

Hey, RIAA member companies brought Rammstein, a german band, to prominence. Hitler was German. THERE! PROOF POSITIVE THAT THE RIAA HELPED RUN NAZI DEATH CAMPS!

Re:Ridiculous lawyers. (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214070)

Hitler was in fact Austrian.

There is an old saying about the three mayor achievements of Austria in history.

1) Making everyone believe they were a victim in WWII.
2) Making everyone believe Ludwig van Beethoven was from Austria.
3) Making everyone believe Hitler was German.

Re:Ridiculous lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23214224)

hitler was, in fact, made a german. he denounced his austrian citizenship sometime between the wars and was granted german citizenship by the state of braunschweig. german citizenship was a prerequisite of him being chancellor.

It's worrying actually (5, Insightful)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213484)

And here's the part that worries me, "The record labels declined to comment for this story, referring questions to the RIAA."

Lets take the best case scenario and say this class action lawsuit ends up being 100% successful and destroys the RIAA. The record labels behind the organization will simply dissolve it, like a snake shedding old skin. The next day a new association will spring up, using new devious tactics for the next 10 years before they too are finally ousted, and so on. Until Sony, Universal, EMI and Warner are held accountable for the actions of the RIAA this won't change.

They've done it at least once already, "The Settlement Support Center was a less public part of the initiative. Its name may suggest a neutral organization set up to resolve disputes with evenhanded objectivity. In fact, it was financed by the record industry and operated like a cross between a call center and a debt collection firm. The SSC has since been dissolved."

Re:It's worrying actually (4, Informative)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213744)

The difference is, of course, that we're on to them now. Although the scenario you describe may have used to work, the 'net is putting a crimp in such plans. The web allows "regular people" to interact and organize at almost no cost. We can share information via blogs like Slashdot, p2pnet and Recording Industry vs. the People. The article says that Anderson "searched the Net for a case like hers." Her lawyer can use the 'net to find and communicate with other lawyers who are fighting the same fight to share advice and strategy.

The 'net helps even the playing field. Think about Sony, still recovering from getting their asses handed to them over the rootkit debacle, backing off on their plan to charge extra for a crapware-free PC http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/03/sony-pay-an-ext.html [wired.com] within a day of the news hitting the intertubes.

Go read the stories on the Consumerist http://consumerist.com/ [consumerist.com] about customers using the 'net to get refunds on bad deals and real service from fake "service departments" from the likes of Sears, Citibank, and Comcast. (Well, maybe not Comcast.)

The Internet, like the printing press, is a transformative technology. That means nothing is ever going to be the same. You and I already know it and sooner or later Big Business will, too. For an excellent book on the power that the 'net brings us, check out Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

Re:It's worrying actually (3, Insightful)

aitikin (909209) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213774)

It's worth pointing out that the suit isn't just the RIAA, it has been specified (in TFA) that the suit is "...against the RIAA, the SSC, MediaSentry, Warner Music Group, EMI Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group..." Hopefully, if and when they win their case, it takes out more than just the RIAA and SSC (which is already dead, as parent pointed out), it can move on to all the others. Not saying that it's going to happen, just pointing out that the likelihood is there.

Re:It's worrying actually (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214092)

...it takes out more than just the RIAA and SSC (which is already dead, as parent pointed out)....
thankfully, there's a fine legal maxim that applies: "just because it's dead, doesn't mean you can't riffle through the corpse."

Re:It's worrying actually (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214320)

It's been pointed out before, but the RIAA doesn't actually file any suits, instead referring the case to the parent corporation whose rights had been allegedly infringed. Any countersuit would have to include that corporation. No weaselling out of that one, nope.

Re:It's worrying actually (1)

Lunarsight (1053230) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213940)

Lets take the best case scenario and say this class action lawsuit ends up being 100% successful and destroys the RIAA. The record labels behind the organization will simply dissolve it, like a snake shedding old skin. The next day a new association will spring up, using new devious tactics for the next 10 years before they too are finally ousted, and so on. Until Sony, Universal, EMI and Warner are held accountable for the actions of the RIAA this won't change.
Right, so you kill the snake. Starve it until it shrivels up and dies.

This means BOYCOTT their product. Don't buy it. Don't pirate it. Don't LISTEN to it.

Will people actually do this? No - because most people are wimps. The rebellious spirit that founded this country has been dead and buried for a long time.

There's also the matter of exposure. Think about it - how long can you go in any given day without hearing a song by a major record label artist? They're on television. They're in commercials. They're used in sporting events, video games, movie soundtracks. Heck - you can't even turn on the news without hearing about pop stars. You walk down the street, and the music is frequently played outside. It's pumped into stores you may be shopping at. Of course, there's also the pop-music-infested internet. (Take Last FM, for instance - I can't go thirty seconds there without seeing some inane banner advertisement for a pop star.)

I think the other half of the battle is somehow snuffing out this exposure, which is an uphill battle, to say the least. (It has to be done one television and radio at a time, I guess.)

Existing cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213942)

OK, so what happens to existing cases if the RIAA dissolves? Can a nonexistent/disbanded entity sue, or does the case simply pass on to one of the child corps?

Re:It's worrying actually (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23214314)

Not really.

There is actually an easy way to get rid of the RIAA and the "Big Four":

1. Seed the P2P networks with files containing random noise named as popular songs.
2. Get a large group of sharers, with easily associated IDs, to share these files.
3. Let the RIAA collect the IPs and song titles and try to sue thousands to millions of people (and lose)
4. Profit!

Privacy lost (2, Insightful)

masonc (125950) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213486)

Where did Verizon get teh right to hand out usage information to other businesses? Last I heard the USA was not China, we were not supposed to be subject to monitoring in a Big Brother fashion. Who lets these assholes away with reading our mail, watching our internet usage, censoring our access to information. The culture of the free internet is gone, we are now mice under observation in a lab. Nothing we say or do is private, everything is made available to big business to chew on for opportunities to market to us, extort us, or sue us. And it will only get worse.

Re:Privacy lost (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214388)

TFA says they were responding to a subpoena. Last I heard subpoenas were issued by the justice system, not other businesses.

ho8o (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213566)

That The project infinitesimally

Q's and A's (4, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213596)

About time. The more "mainstream" pub on this whole debacle, the better. I think, if you were to lay out all the facts and history in front of the American people (well, those with brains, anyhoo), they would feel this way:

Is piracy wrong? Yes.

Does much P2P activity infringe on copyrights? Yes.

Do copyright holders have the right to defend and protect those copyrights? Yes.

Do the "yes" answers above justify bullying, intimidation, and harassment; spurious, questionable, and sometimes downright wrong technical claims; spying by 3rd parties; end runs around the legal system; or a general reluctance to allow accused file sharers to defend themselves, or take their case to a court of law? NO.

The last question is where the RIAA loses whatever moral high ground they may have.

Re:Q's and A's (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214038)

The American people are in general not qualified to discuss copyright law, not just because they are ignorant of the law but because they have been brought up to believe that the current system is the only possible system and they will defend that idea to the death even though they have actually not put one iota of thought into the issue.

Personally, I think that copyrights are wrong, and that piracy is therefore basically a force of nature and the road to repairing the situation.

However, copyright being wrong is tied into the belief that capitalism as it exists today is wrong, so I doubt I'll get many takers. (For those who disagree, however, can you please explain how it is reasonable to create a system in which one person's right to have more than they need while others are dying in the gutters, at least partly due to the actions of the members of the first group, is enshrined?)

Re:Q's and A's (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214364)

The very fact that you have the time and opportunity to spend on the internet tells me that you have more than you need. (As do I) So do you really believe what you are saying or does it just make you feel good? You simply can't claim to believe something like that without it changing entirely the way you live your life. There's probably some single parents in your area that need help (your extra time) and access to the internet (why not yours?) But you're too busy telling everyone on /. that having more than you need is wrong to help them at the moment.

I'm not saying your views are wrong, I'm not trying to insult you personally, I just hate hypocrisy. And beliefs like the ones you're espousing are not things you argue with people, they're the ones YOU ACT ON if you believe them. Mother Theresa believed as you claim to, she changed a LOT more peoples' minds on issues of human rights and suffering than you will ever do... And one is hard pressed to find any bit of wasted time in her life or any bit of extra possessions that were not essential to her existence.

I know it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to say you think this way, just try to remember that the next time a drunk on the street is asking for your help, and ask yourself "Do I really BELIEVE all that crap about people dying in the gutters? Or do I want to go home and read /. instead of taking this guy to a hotel and getting him cleaned up, fed, and to a good counselor?"

Better living conditions come when people ACT, not when they simply "believe" something.

Re:Q's and A's (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214644)

The very fact that you have the time and opportunity to spend on the internet tells me that you have more than you need. (As do I) So do you really believe what you are saying or does it just make you feel good?

You are making a specious comparison. I do not have money pouring out of my ass. If I did, I would be making investments that help people; you can make money AND help people at the same time.

I'm not saying your views are wrong, I'm not trying to insult you personally, I just hate hypocrisy. And beliefs like the ones you're espousing are not things you argue with people, they're the ones YOU ACT ON if you believe them.

When I have a few million dollars and can choose to oppress people or not, you'll have a point.

I know it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to say you think this way, just try to remember that the next time a drunk on the street is asking for your help, and ask yourself "Do I really BELIEVE all that crap about people dying in the gutters? Or do I want to go home and read /. instead of taking this guy to a hotel and getting him cleaned up, fed, and to a good counselor?"

What you're talking about is the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." What I'm talking about is the rule of law. So really, you're way off topic. I'm not sure if you constructed this off-center argument because you didn't understand what I'm saying, or because you want to discredit me without actually addressing the subject. So let me clarify my position.

In this world, you have only what you can take and hold. All the talk about "human rights" and whatnot is lovely and idealistic, but the simple truth is that the system is not designed to protect these rights - and it can not be. For instance, there is nothing about declaring your "right to life" that will prevent your death.

The system of law throughout the Western world is entirely capitalistic. While in theory we live in a semi-democracy (a republic, with some democratic process at some levels) in reality you only really get to vote with money. In fact, a lot of our tax money is used to lie to us, to get us to vote for things we don't want or need. Some of it is also used to silence detractors. Some of these people disappear; some of them are served with gag orders; some are recruited, and silenced in that fashion. It's all. about. money.

Having beat that point home, let me move on to explaining the meat of my former comment: The law is set up to protect those who have a lot of money and thus help to perpetuate the system. Besides the system in which the government gets to blow our money any way they like, and the proliferation of unfunded mandates today, let's just inspect tax law. In 2000, the top 10 taxpayers paid taxes on only 50% of their income. If all were forced to pay taxes at the same rate, the situation for the other taxpayers would be much better. You know, the people who actually do the work and make it possible for these assholes to own everything?

Let me just underscore this point with the former point, now: In a natural system, when someone amasses that much wealth, someone or someones come along and take it from them. If you're a lion and you're standing on a pile of 200 gazelles, you can be pretty sure that you will have some competition for it. I feel that this comparison is fairly apt because that Lion simply can not eat all that meat before it spoils. By the same token, when someone sits on money (and a lot of the money held by rich fuckers is in the form of cash, not even invested; a significant portion of the investment money is also held as cash reserves) it harms the economy. The money represents work, and when we're not working, we're not getting paid. See how that works? Any time companies transfer a bunch of money in exchange for some antiquated IP, a crime is being done to the American people.

Better living conditions come when people ACT, not when they simply "believe" something.

That's true. This nation has a shortage today of true patriots, who will react with direct action when they see the nation going in the wrong direction. I'm not quite there, but I hope to be, one day.

I'm quite certain, however, that the solution is more along the lines of "make the game more fair" than "try to help one poor bastard who's been fucked over by the system". Helping one person in an inherently unfair system is a futile act because people are getting fucked over faster than I can do anything about it. There is probably dramatically more to be achieved through proselytization; I know that I have an audience, and I intend to educate it.

In other words, I am doing something. What are you doing, besides trying to defeat my work by naysaying me? You are part of the problem and to suggest that I am doing nothing to help is specious at best.

Wrong Questions give bad Answers. (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214398)

The real question is the central point of copyright law, "What is the best way to share culture and knowledge?" Words like "piracy" have nothing to do with that question and are propaganda terms invented by companies that grew fat off government grants of spectrum in the 20th century. The internet allows people to bypass paper and broadcast publishing so those interests should be ignored. The best way to share culture and knowledge may be to allow limitless, non commercial reproduction by individuals and non profit organizations. It may be that there's much less money in publishing than there was when it was limited by scarce resources like spectrum and paper but it's better to live in freedom with abundant knowledge and culture than it is to preserve the companies that would profit by robbing us of those good things and the ability to share.

Don't bullshit me about the death of culture either. People will continue to amuse and educate each other without Sony, EMI, WB and their ilk. Live performances will regain their value as the scarce resource they really are. Nothing could be worse than current radio broadcasts. Textbooks will stabilize around real knowledge and lots of other good but unpredictable things will come out of free culture. It will be better than what we have known in the past.

The questions you ask lead us to policies like SoundExchange and other mechanisms of extending broadcast power over the internet. The question I've asked leads to freedom and justice. Which do you like better?

Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (5, Interesting)

rathehun (818491) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213612)

Reading through this story, it continues to shock me -- not what asshats the RIAA etc are -- but that we here, at the collective hive-mind that is Slashdot, haven't already come up with a way to help people wrongly being prosecuted by them and their sleazy lawyers.

There seems to be a clear pattern to their targets - people who know relatively little about technology and who are more likely to settle than battle it out in courts. I'd argue that we need to help these people out.

About halfway down the story, the defendant, Tanya Andersen is said to have looked up information online, hoping to find information on similiar cases.

Why don't we, through /., set up a site, aggregate information about similiar cases and build up a body of evidence to "[...] show that the RIAA engaged in serial bad-faith lawsuits [...]". In the long run, the space could serve as a place for debate on the current copyright regime, the inflated monetary value assigned to the songs/movies downloaded, etc.

I'm sure that some of us here are lawyers as well - maybe some time could be spent decoding the various court documents/legal stuff that the RIAA sends out - a distributed legal advice centre (cue Beowulf joke)...

This is just an idea, of course - but I'd be happy to get involved in whatever way I can. I have some small amount of expertise in building websites - perhaps that's the first place to start...

Re:Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (4, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213668)

Why don't we, through /., set up a site, aggregate information about similiar cases and build up a body of evidence to "[...] show that the RIAA engaged in serial bad-faith lawsuits [...]".

Because that would take away from precious time ogling the latest Star Trek film or signing petitions to stop Uwe Boll from making movies. d:

All jokes aside, if you are serious about such a project, then figure out what you need to do it technologically - is the site going to use PHP? Would you just do it easy and go with Wikimedia? etc.

Once you have a rough plan, you would have to find people with the talents you need who are willing to help on their free time. Projects like this (ones where people don't get paid) often have staff members that abandon ship faster than a rowboat full of Cuban refugees at the Florida coast. Anyone working on it would have to document/comment everything appropriately so their inevitable successor can continue their work.

What can you do? Well, if you wanted to fill the ambiguous position of "Project Lead", you can start by registering a .com and getting some decent hosting for the site. Again, you'll need a plan ahead of time aside from a few paragraphs in a /. comment to get some people to get on board with the project.

Is theriaaareabunchofthievingbastards.com taken? It might be too long, but it makes the point...

Re:Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (2, Informative)

rathehun (818491) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213766)

Because that would take away from precious time ogling the latest Star Trek film or signing petitions to stop Uwe Boll from making movies. d:

It's surprising - I just read a transcript of a talk by Clay Shirky titled Here Comes Everybody [herecomeseverybody.org] which talks about the 'cognitive surplus' that we have these days - and how the potential exists for large-scale distributed social projects to grow, given the rampant free time which exists with our four/five day working weeks.

Once you have a rough plan, you would have to find people with the talents you need who are willing to help on their free time. Projects like this (ones where people don't get paid) often have staff members that abandon ship faster than a rowboat full of Cuban refugees at the Florida coast. Anyone working on it would have to document/comment everything appropriately so their inevitable successor can continue their work.

More important than the underlying technology would definitely be planning for and accomodating the 'rowboat nature' of this project, yes.

What can you do? Well, if you wanted to fill the ambiguous position of "Project Lead", you can start by registering a .com and getting some decent hosting for the site. Again, you'll need a plan ahead of time aside from a few paragraphs in a /. comment to get some people to get on board with the project.

Well, for me, /personally/, it's not completely out of the blue - it's really the culmination of plenty of thought on copyright and the desire to do _something_, but never really knowing how my limited HTML/CSS skills could take on teh mighty Empire!

If anybody's interested, do chime in - I have some hosting and I could afford to register a .com/.org.

Oh, and ;-) [yahoo.com]

Re:Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214068)

You're making the whole thing too complicated. WAY too complicated. Social sites work like this: You put up a forum and take some suggestions. Then you figure out which ones are good, and implement them. Need more people? If your site is popular, just ask for some assistant admins or editors, and you'll get more responses than you can use; then you just have to read all these people's posting history to see if they a) post and b) have a brain. Work your way up from there. Once the forum starts getting unwieldy then you implement the other parts of the site and just C&P info from the forums into them. Then users can comment on those new pages, et cetera. Wordpress, Drupal, whatever; it all begins with the installation of a CMS, and takes little more if you know what you're doing at all.

Remember, a major point of using Free software is the lack of lock-in. Until the site gets large it's usually fairly easy to migrate your data. So you have some time to pick your software.

Re:Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (2, Informative)

ricosalomar (630386) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213694)

EFF [eff.org] does this, better than we could. Give 'em a hefty donation.

Re:Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213734)

Reading through this story, it continues to shock me -- not what asshats the RIAA etc are -- but that we here, at the collective hive-mind that is Slashdot, haven't already come up with a way to help people wrongly being prosecuted by them and their sleazy lawyers.

Slashdot readers != Superfriends

Re:Let's Stand Up - A Call to Action (mildly O/T) (4, Informative)

n1ffo (1140017) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213742)

Why don't we, through /., set up a site, aggregate information about similiar cases and build up a body of evidence to "[...] show that the RIAA engaged in serial bad-faith lawsuits [...]". In the long run, the space could serve as a place for debate on the current copyright regime, the inflated monetary value assigned to the songs/movies downloaded, etc.

It seems to me like Groklaw [groklaw.net] would be a perfect place for this sort of activity. After all, isn't it the sort of thing they did in the early days of the SCO trial?

RIAA Deathwatch (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213660)

Consumers are abandoning physical media in droves; filesharing is way up; Radiohead, NIN, Madonna, and now Metallica (!) are eschewing the labels; and those who have been sued by the RIAA are starting to win cases and university law schools are turning beating the RIAA into class projects.

How long before the RIAA and the labels behind them vanish?

If /. implements new features, a deathwatch meter (like a /. poll, but ongoing) would be a fun one...

Saw the future last night (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213706)

Yesterday I heard about Nine Inch Nails new album (Ghosts) on NPR. I visited the band homepage, paid $5 (yes $5) via paypal, and downloaded the new album in FLAC. I didn't have to install a special software client (this turned me away from the amazon store), didn't have to use a centralized service, didn't have to create an "account" with a new password I'll never remember, nothing. Buy and enjoy. I'll admit I have downloaded unauthorized copies in the past. But at $5, which mostly goes straight to the artist, what is the excuse?

Re:Saw the future last night (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214142)

I didn't have to install a special software client (this turned me away from the amazon store),

I had a similar distaste for yet another vendor "utility". But as Amazon did at least make the effort to work cross-platform I decided to try it on my current stable Debian machine. I had to satisfy one dependency via "apt-get", after which the Amazon utility installed very gracefully, inserting menu items into my KDE desktop and all. As far as I can tell all it does is act as the download agent and drop the files into a special directory, using sub-directories named as artist and album name (which is exactly what I would have done by hand). The files are high quality MP3. Yes, a FLAC option would be nice but at the bit rate they use I don't think I could tell the difference.

I had been using iTunes previously, but I don't want to be locked into always having OS X available as I am one of those weird people who prefer Linux to OS X.

Steal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213732)

The article keeps using the word "steal". I don't think that word means what they think it means.

Enforced subject here (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213756)

He also says Andersen said in her deposition that she knew or listened to some of the country and rock artists whose songs were offered for download.
RIAA: Ma'am, have you ever heard of Johnny Cash.
Andersen: Yes, I saw that movie about him.
RIAA: Pirate!!!!! Say goodbye to your children, it's Gitmo for you!!!

RICO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23213818)

At what point can the RIAA be brought into court on RICO charges?

The article has it all wrong (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213866)

The article has it all wrong. There is nothing personal in the RIAA's action, it's strictly a business decision.

Interesting quote (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213878)

"The magnitude of this [theft] is incalculable," says Richard L. Gabriel. I'm wondering how they calculated the 3.7 billion in lost sales or any supposed 'lost sales'.

Re:Interesting quote (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214124)

"The magnitude of this [theft] is incalculable," says Richard L. Gabriel. I'm wondering how they calculated the 3.7 billion in lost sales or any supposed 'lost sales'.

They count every download as a lost sale.

This is an obviously specious metric. Everyone has downloaded music for perusal, found out that it sucked ass, and deleted it. And pretty much everyone with bandwidth and friends without it has downloaded music for someone else and either deleted it or has it lying around, never listened to once. These are of course not necessarily lost sales, because these days you can go to a record store and listen before you buy.

The law takes the attitude that duplication and distribution are themselves illegal acts. However, if they do not result in a lost sale, who is being harmed? This is the basic problem with copyright law as it is today written.

I think it's pretty clear that if you can't demonstrate a simply provable loss of revenue, that no one has been significantly hurt. An argument that someone is giving away an endless supply of what you're selling and therefore harming your profits looks reasonable on its face, but if you are selling squid-flavored apple-rutabaga smoothies, then most of the people who get one are just going to pour them out anyway. THIS is what the music industry is upset about today. They want to control the previews of the music. With mp3 downloads people do not need to buy music without knowing if it's good or not, so they can't just make a SUPERSHIT album with one hot single and then sell it to you on that basis any more; practically no one listens to music in the store before they buy it unless it's in the little kiosk, although you can do this in many stores. This is also why the MPAA is so upset about bittorrent downloads. The Movie Theater experience is getting worse all the time and if you know the movie sucks, you aren't going to go see it.

The solution is to make movies and music that aren't shit, and sell them on their merit, but most of these guys wouldn't recognize talent if it ran a train on their ass, so that's pretty much a non-starter business model for the major labels.

They brought piracy on themselves. (1)

mrthundercleese4 (1280096) | more than 5 years ago | (#23213986)

It seems years back when CD's were just beginning to be marketed, and almost immediately people were complaining about their high prices.I really doubt piracy would be as big now if CD prices would have started and stayed at $5 a CD. I also think because of the high prices of music it has gradually played a smaller role in our lives. Compare how much you spent on music 10 years ago to today. People are spending their money on movies and video games where you get more value for the dollar.

Re:They brought piracy on themselves. (1)

linesma (869062) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214406)

I remember those days. At the time, manufacturing a CD ran from $3 to $5 each. The rest of the $25 that a CD cost supposedly went to the record company and the artists, and if memory serves, the artist got about $2. During the days of records, artists were getting so little from their products that they would go on tour just to make money. This was all happening as the price of recordings was increasing. Then came Tom Petty. He fought his record label over the high price of music and was semi-successful in having the prices frozen and lowered in some cases. Then when Metallica started this mess, they were asked if they ever made illegal copies of music, and they said YES! This whole mess reminds me of Disney bring a lawsuit against the manufacturers of VCR's because you could record "The Wonderful World of Disney" back in the late 70's and the controversy over cassette tapes when a tape recorder was finally priced where your average consumer could buy one.

Re:They brought piracy on themselves. (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214422)

I wish people were spending that money on video games, but no, your average slashdotter probably pirates 99% of the games he plays too.

If you pirate content, the content provider won't make any more, because it didn't sell and he has rent to pay too. the #1 best way you can ensure nobody makes stuff you enjoy, is to pirate the stuff you enjoy.

Interesting choice of words (4, Interesting)

lysse (516445) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214210)

Mr Gabriel, for the RIAA, asserts that:

we could have pursued the case until the end of time.
That's interesting in itself, considering that most people who engage in litigation only pursue a case until they win; is he in fact implicitly admitting that the RIAA could not have won the case, merely strung it out for as long as it took to bankrupt everyone else involved?

Re:Interesting choice of words (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214656)

Mr Gabriel, for the RIAA, asserts that:
we could have pursued the case until the end of time.

That's interesting in itself, considering that most people who engage in litigation only pursue a case until they win; is he in fact implicitly admitting that the RIAA could not have won the case, merely strung it out for as long as it took to bankrupt everyone else involved?
Yes. That's his specialty. Stringing cases out until the end of time, until everyone else -- including his clients -- are bankrupted.

A fundamental Cultural Change (1)

JoltCola (1275220) | more than 5 years ago | (#23214766)

For those that haven't already seen this movie. 'Steal This Film II' and it's really quite good. It relates the crisis of the scribes fighting the revolution of the printing press to the current situation of the controllers of media and p2p. Enjoy. http://ilovextra.com/ [ilovextra.com]
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