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How the RIAA Targets Campus Copyright Violators

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the lures-them-in-with-jim-hawkins-dolls dept.

Education 280

jyosim writes "The Chronicle of Higher Ed got a briefing at RIAA headquarters on how the group catches pirates. They just use LimeWire and other software that pirates use, except that they've set up scripts to search for songs, grab IP numbers, and send out notices to college officials. They claim they don't target specific colleges, though many feel that they do."

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Jeoparody (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23392832)

How the RIAA Targets Campus Copyright Violators
I'll take "with Lawyers" for $200 Alex.

Not exactly targeting... (5, Insightful)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392844)

I doubt they are 'targeting' any specific school, but I strongly suspect IPs resolving to unilag.edu.ng are handled differently then those resolving to yale.edu , where the students are more likely to just pay a settlement rather then wipe their arse with the notices...

Harvard anyone? (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393844)

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Harvard has never been hit with one of these RIAA money grabs. Most probable reason being that there is enough talent there to rip the RIAA to tiny ribbon sized shreds in front of the judge, which would pretty much end their extortion racket.

So, does that still hold true? Anybody at Harvard ever been hit with one of these?

How (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392898)

Judging from the number of elderly, children, blind people, dead people, etc. that the RIAA labels have targeted, I'd say most likely they do it with a random number generator.

Re:How (2, Insightful)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392922)

Is this seeded or unseeded?

Re:How (4, Funny)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393096)

They are probably using Debian.

Re:How (2, Interesting)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393418)

By what I've seen of the RIAA, they could make good use of the choke on a bucket of cocks function [debian.org] .

Re:How (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393916)

I'm tempted to suggest that they should go and run fsck -f /, but that joke is probably so old that I would get metamodded into karmaic oblivion.

Re:How (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393590)

Judging from the number of elderly, children, blind people, dead people, etc. [...]

Judging from the "quality" music they produce these days, it is only logical that they do first check from their captive audience.

Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392910)

If these dolts continue the net loss that also gives them bad media, they'll topple their own monopoly. I just can't wait until all artists start their own publishing so that they don't have enough money to buy their kids a Phantom to drown the tantrum they threw when they only got a BMW.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392982)

A lot of good artists do do their own publishing, and I enjoy buying their CDs, knowing that a substantial portion of the money (~50%) goes to the band. Since they rarely tour through my area, I have to support them somehow!

Chicago ordinance will put an end to independents (5, Informative)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393390)

Small music venues are being targeted [suntimes.com] in Chicago; it appears that the city wants to make sure the only live music shows are in large arenas. Who benefits? Let's see. No more opportunities for independent artists to perform. Hmmm, guess the only way to hear live music is to go to a huge arena to see some crappy pop act produced by riaa minions. So are laws like this being proposed in other cities? Is Chicago just the start? Is this the next step in music industry dominance?

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393018)

They are not losing, by any means. They actually are gaining lots of cash, at $3000 a head from people who don't have the legal resources to fight their multi-million dollar "dream team" attorneys with virtually unlimited resources.

This isn't a law enforcement issue anymore; the RIAA is a profit center now, and every cent coming in is nontaxable income.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393568)

Why exactly is it nontaxable? Any income that isn't specifically excluded by code is considered to be taxable. Just because the income is illegal or of dubious legality does not exempt it from taxation. Perhaps the most famous case being Al Capone being toppled by the IRS.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393926)

Money obtained by legal civil settlements is 100% tax free, because its considered making up for a loss, as opposed to "true" revenue.

The RIAA has it good. Judges love them and rubber-stamp their motions in courts, they have the ear of the politicians, and every dime coming in is tax free, heading to their legal team's Maybach fund.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (5, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393246)

I just can't wait until all artists start their own publishing

That's the real reason behind these suits. They can't possibly be afraid you'll hear top 40 crap, because if they did they wouldn't let the radio (easily sampled to better than iTunes or MP3 quality) play them.

It isn't Britney they want to keep out of your ears, it's the indies. Note they don't say "illegal downloads" except when the context infers that all downloads are illegal? Their aim, mostly met, it to make you think they do indeed have a monopoly (or rather, cartel) and that all music is RIAA music. it worked on you, didn't it?

"Piracy" isn't hurting their sales and they know it. The indies (and the gasoline and food companies) are eating their lunch. Most of us have only so many dollars to spend. If I buy four $5 CDs from the band that plays at the bar (professionally recorded and duplicated, with art and packaging) that's twenty dollars I don't have to buy an RIAA CD.

Their only hope for survival is to kill the internet. Good luck with that.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393334)

Is it exhausting to constantly assume that large groups of people are motivated, competent and organized?

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393636)

I don't see why anyone would make that assumption. The larger the group, the more intelligent people will be in that group, and the higher the likelyhood that some of them will be exceptionally intelligent.

But by the same token, the larger the group, the more idiots will be in that group, and the higher the likelyhood that some of them will be exceptionally stupid.

That also follows for competence.

The larger the group, the greater the need for organization. Above a certain critical limit, the bureaucracy bogs the effectiveness down.

But I don't see how this applies to evolution.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393744)

You spoke about the music industry having a collective 'mission' to prevent people from buying music at the bar or using the internet to find non riaa music.

Re:Maybe capitalism really does promote darwanism (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393650)

I wish I had mod points for you.

RIAA "making available" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23392924)

Sounds like entrapment to me, like the mafRIAA is "making avaible" the same mp3s they are accusing people of downloading... bastards.

Re:RIAA "making available" (4, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393116)

Not to side with the RIAA and similar, but wouldn't you figure, if they have the power to use a copyright of a given item to sue you, that they also have the legal right to "distribute" said copyrighted material?

Re:RIAA "making available" (2, Interesting)

closetpsycho (1175221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393224)

IANAL, but I believe that they would only be able to if that particular method is laid out in the contract with the band. Otherwise, the bands could sue them for breaking the contract AND copyright infringement.

Re:RIAA "making available" (2, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393392)

That isn't how the whole music industry works. When any random band signs a typical contract with the "Big Nasty", they essentially own your soul. They own the music, possibly the band name, and likely the logo and art that go along with it... and they have the right to do pretty much anything they want with it. They are a predatory bunch. Imagine all of this, and THEN finding out that YOUR on the hook for production costs of your albums too. It should be a crime. Unfortunately, they have more money than God.

Re:RIAA "making available" (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393760)

Yes, but if they do, then downloading the copy they distribute within their rights is not illegal. If I offer you something I own for free, then it is legal for you to take it.

Doesn't matter, though. That's not how they're using LimeWire (or other P2P clients), as the GP would've known if he'd RFTA.

They're not making the music available; they're using the client to search for others who are making the music available.

Re:RIAA "making available" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393272)

Does that mean you could legally obtain free content using a P2P client with a script that only downloads from RIAA IP addresses?

Re:RIAA "making available" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393276)

they do, but mediasentry and other agents operating on their behalf might not.

Re:RIAA "making available" (2, Insightful)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393770)

Not to side with the RIAA and similar, but wouldn't you figure, if they have the power to use a copyright of a given item to sue you, that they also have the legal right to "distribute" said copyrighted material?

In which case, if you download the music from them (the RIAA), then it would seem (IANAL, etc.) that they couldn't possibly charge you with copyright infringement since they, the copyright holder, offered the MP3 for download. Or am I missing something?

Re:RIAA "making available" (4, Informative)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393248)

Sounds like entrapment to me, like the mafRIAA is "making avaible" the same mp3s they are accusing people of downloading... bastards.
You can't entrap someone unless you're a government agent. They aren't suing people for downloading anyway, they're suing them for uploading.

Re:RIAA "making available" (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393280)

Sounds like entrapment to me, like the mafRIAA is "making avaible" the same mp3s they are accusing people of downloading

My understanding is that they search for songs, not serve them...seeing as they usually sue people for serving and not downloading. So I don't think there's any grand kind of entrapment conspiracy going on. They're just doing what normal Limewire users do only capturing the IP address instead.

Of course, the lesson here is to either not serve or use an anonymous proxy (or several) if you've decided to serve.

Re:RIAA "making available" (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393292)

...now try to prove that they set you up. Not to be pessimistic, I believe you, but big business knows big dirty tricks. They enlist armies of those schooled in the dirty arts and they use them on a daily basis, on a much greater scale than you do. Could you think of a bigger and better schemer than the cancerous offspring of Hollywood? Why is it so easy to launch bullshit-campaigns against people?

Easy answer: War [blackwaterusa.com] by proxy [slashdot.org] ...or, to put it in /. terms, being an AC modded -5 troll and still getting away with the same shit every day ;)

Re:RIAA "making available" (3, Interesting)

Yogiz (1123127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393640)

If you RTFA then RIAA doesn't make the mp3s available for download. It searches them and then checks who downloads.

The RIAA maintains a list of songs whose distribution rights are owned by the RIAA's member organizations. It has given that list to Media Sentry, a company it hired to search for online pirates. That company runs copies of the LimeWire program and performs searches for those copyrighted song titles, one by one, to see if any are being offered by people whose computers are connected to the LimeWire network. --- The LimeWire software allows users who right-click on any song entry and choose "browse host" to see all of the songs that a given file sharer is offering to others for download. The software also lists the IP address of active file sharers. --- Using public, online databases (such as those at arin.net or samspade.org), Media Sentry locates the name of the Internet-service provider and determines which traders are located at colleges or universities.
They do however download (and perhaps unintentionally share as well) the mp3s that they're not sure are the right ones. I doubt that RIAA will sue it's own investigators for copyright infringement but on the other hand, they seem pretty desperate. I wonder about "unintentional entrapment" however.

Watch Out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23392928)

The RIAA is watching you!

But, in soviet russia, you watch the RIAA!

Hate Emails (5, Insightful)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392938)

The demonstration was given by an RIAA employee who would speak only on condition of anonymity because of concern that he would receive hate e-mail.

If you risk getting hate mail simply because you work at a certain company, perhaps it's time to look for a different job?

On the other hand, if this guy actually stuck his neck out and shared how the RIAA really finds their suckers, he'd probably get thank you letters rather than hate mail.

In either case, he probably needs to do some deep self-examination to see why he stays at this job.

Re:Hate Emails (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393184)

and thieves hate the police, and therefore, police keep their private identities (home phone numbers, home addresses) confidential...so by your suggestion, police officers should do some "deep self-examination" regarding their jobs?

your post is hogwash

Re:Hate Emails (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393828)

So now members of an ethically-questionable trade group are equivalent to officers of the law? The police offer a real service to 99% of the population that would be worse off without them. The RIAA offers a service to 1% of the population and makes things worse for the other 99%.

Re:Hate Emails (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393332)

In either case, he probably needs to do some deep self-examination to see why he stays at this job.

It's called a paycheck. Not everyone has the luxury of quitting their job at the drop of a hat.

Re:Hate Emails (1)

ArIck (203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393352)

Who said he would get hate emails from the general public. The public would adore him for speaking out. He would receive hate email from RIAA (possible even a couple of notices or so) plus hate emails form all those 'really poor artists' represented by RIAA.

Come on, think about Britney Spears

Re:Hate Emails (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393556)

Come on, think about Britney Spears
Actually I pride myself on my ability not to. ...and the captcha comes up 'Effigy.'

Who says random scripts have no sense of humor?

Re:Hate Emails (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393354)

The hate mail would read:

"You're fired"

Re:Hate Emails (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393882)

How is this insightful?

Off the top of my head I can think of a number of careers that could lead to someone being victimised: Doctor who performs abortions, Scientists working in the field of genetic modification or stem cells and even Peace Keepers in numerous countries.

You might not like the work he does, but the fact some idiots will make his life difficult for sticking his head up is not justified by that.

Re:Hate Emails (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393988)

So nobody should do any job that pisses anybody off?

Target selection (2, Interesting)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392940)

Like article says, they ensure that the infringer is in the US before bothering to send a notice, but I'd be willing to bet there are some US schools too that they try to avoid spamming with notices. Not so much selective targeting, but selective non-targeting.

Re:Target selection (1)

bostonsoxfan (865285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393262)

There are some schools that tell them to cram it in their pie holes. All I know about my schools policy is that they take out full page ads and tell people not to do it and that they will pass letters on.

Saying that. I know of no one who has ever had a problem with it on campus. I've never had a problem even downloading probably close to 100 gigs some months. (And yes it was all porn)

Re:Target selection (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393666)

I noticed that, I also noticed that:

While the process for generating both takedown notices and settlement letters is largely automated, the RIAA said that before each warning is sent out, a full-time RIAA employee reviews each case to make sure the claim is legitimate and that the alleged pirate is in the United States. Thanks to the speed and ease of the automated process, though, the RIAA is "able to identify hundreds of instances of infringement on a daily basis," according to RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth. She also acknowledged that the RIAA can tell only when a song is being offered for users to illegally download; investigators have no way of knowing when someone else is actually downloading the song.
As well as:

On listservs and in interviews, some university administrators have recently questioned the validity of some of these takedown notices because they say they do not have any record of a download at the named IP address at the specified time. RIAA officials said this is because investigators performed only a "handshake."
And the obvious problem that mediasentry still doesn't have a valid license to engage in this type of work. This is neither evidence of offering nor evidence of distribution, this is nothing at all to see here.

This still sounds like racketeering to me, they never did answer the question of why they're singling out Universities in general rather than everybody they "catch" if the evidence is what it is, then they shouldn't be capable of singling out the educational community for this shoddy process.

Re:Target selection (1)

geekherout (1288768) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393762)

The RIAA has done the equivalent of a pissed-off little kid. After losing some recent cases they have started a vendetta against individual users. For example, at my college we usually get about 40 DMCA (digital millennium copyright act) violations a year at a school of about 20,000. In the last month we have had 60 sometimes coming in seven or eight at a time. There is undoubtedly some stepping up by the RIAA. Luckily, my schools policy is to take the matter internal instead of allowing any student to be given up. Lucky us . . .

Change LimeWire EULA now! (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392970)

Prohibit using LimeWire to harvest tracking and identifying information!

Re:Change LimeWire EULA now! (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393102)

And discover with shock that no one reads EULA ! Well it won't solve the RIAA problem, it will at least make a strong point against EULAs...

Re:Change LimeWire EULA now! (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393106)

that was my first thought - most programs now days have the no scripting/modifying thing in the EULA

(most non open source that is)

i wouldn't touch limewire except to punch it but someone else can check

Re:Change LimeWire EULA now! (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393154)

Change LimeWire EULA now!
And you think that the RIAA would follow the new EULA? Remember that they us a PI company that is not even licensed to practice in many of the states they do "investigations" in. Interestingly, they have not suffered any repercussions for breaking the law. Conclusion: They are above the law.

Re:Change LimeWire EULA now! (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393346)

And include this little diddy. There will be a $9,250 charge per IP harvested.

Re:Change LimeWire EULA now! (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393482)

They don't need to use LimeWire -- it's just the Gnutella network, and that's all information LimeWire happily and freely provides to anyone on the network. Technically they could use (or are using) a custom Gnutella client.

Sue LimeWire ... (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392986)

... for making available the IP addresses and tracking information.

Re:Sue LimeWire ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393090)

It's peer to peer. How else is your client going to know what machine to communicate with?

Re:Sue LimeWire ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393838)

Via the intarweb, duh!

arin.net or samspade.org ? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392992)

Using public, online databases (such as those at arin.net or samspade.org),
They leech off websites instead of using the whois service directly?

IP is not an identity (5, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23392994)

Since when can a person be held directly responsible for activity that occurs on their IP address? The RIAA is throwing charges for crimes without sufficient evidence that the person they are charging committed the crime. There are a million ways an IP is shared or used by multiple persons. Without substantial evidence, the RIAA is merely throwing litigious paperwork around at tons of innocent people. When will our government establish a recourse for recurring wrongful litigious activity? The ability to sue, blame, and then settle out of court is being so heavily exploited because lawyers know that most people would rather settle than pay the $$$ to prove themselves innocent. We need to either: 1) Not allow settling, thus making false accusations apparent, and thus the obvious waste of our judicial resources. This would be the cause of an impending need to reform and disallow repeat false accusers. or 2) Allow individual accusers or accusing bodies (such as the RIAA) a limited amount of legal cases, for which an appeal must be done to be allowed more.

Re:IP is not an identity (2, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393158)

The sad likelihood is that IP's will become tied to our identities by laws pushed by RIAA and MPAA interest groups.

They will stand on the side of Hollywood, not the side of the citizens. Just like they always have.

Re:IP is not an identity (1)

lysse (516445) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393300)

The RIAA is throwing charges for crimes without sufficient evidence that the person they are charging committed the crime.
Well, if it's good enough for criminal trials [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:IP is not an identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393452)

Hmmmm... Could the accused band together a class action lawsuit against RIAA for frivilous lawsuits?

Re:IP is not an identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393514)

Since when can a private company/group become the judge, jury, and executioner with police-like power?

Legality of MediaSentry (4, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393044)

The article details MediaSentry's tactics but wasn't there a bunch of fuss earlier this year on how MediaSentry may actually be illegal in some states because they don't have an investigator's license? Does this mean MediaSentry is filtering out schools from states where they can't investigate people from? Or are they still collecting everything they can and forwarding it on to the RIAA, which still seems illegal on their part.

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/11/1427257 [slashdot.org]
http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/10/1542222 [slashdot.org]

Could they not do the same with torrents? (4, Interesting)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393064)

After all Azerus has a section where you can see who is seeding and leaching. It shows IP info if I'm not mistaken. Can they not do this with Torrents? How does that differ from Limewire?

Re:Could they not do the same with torrents? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393350)

It's pretty trivial with torrents, but it's probably less effective because there isn't a search mechanism that spans the "whole network". Finding people downloading / sharing a particular (predetermined) torrent or using a particular tracker is fairly easy, but it doesn't facilitate making an enormous sweep for "anyone sharing one of these hundreds of files".

Re:Could they not do the same with torrents? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393502)

I'm sure they can but if they want to see who is seeding/leaching they probably need to connect to the tracker (I'm not exactly sure how DHT works). Limewire essentially serves as a tracker for Limewire and they obviously don't care that MediaSentry IPs are trolling for sharers, but Pirate Bay, etc. undoubtedly would be interested and probably respond in some (hilarious) way. Maybe by giving MediaSentry bad IPs which then lead to the RIAA falsely accusing someone and getting a ton of bad press. Who knows, but I wouldn't doubt it if they weren't limiting their searches to just Limewire, gives people a false sense of security that not using Limewire is safe.

Re:Could they not do the same with torrents? (1)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393626)

I could be wrong, but don't you have to be downloading the file(s) in order to see the seeders' and leechers' IPs when you use torrents? In other words, would the RIAA agents would be committing the same crime they're suing you for if they do this?

Re:Could they not do the same with torrents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393676)

Can they not do this with Torrents?
No not at all. Bittorrent is different in that it uses magic to find peers. No IP address needed!

no capability of targeting any school? (4, Insightful)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393140)

From the article:

"We have no capability of targeting any school at all," said the RIAA representative, who argued that there is a large "misperception" among university administrators that individual colleges are being picked on. "Technically we can't do it. We find what we find with this process, and that's what we send to schools."
Technically we can't do it? BULL***T! A simple filter that throws away all schools not A, B or C is very easy to create. It is possible that they CHOOSE not to do it, but it is technically possible.

Why Limewire and why Media Sentry? (1)

Essron (231281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393170)

1) Why does ANYONE even use Limewire? Its been a lame client for more than a few years.

2) I understand the RIAA doesn't "get" the internet etc but still, this seems like an approach so primitive and poorly devised that unless it is specifically to comply with some byzantine legal requirements the RIAA is being robbed by incompetent consultants at best. I guess Media Sentry could be sabotaging, but thats just wishful thinking.

Re:Why Limewire and why Media Sentry? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393410)

First, all Gnutella clients are the same for their purposes; it's one network. Second, tons of people still use LimeWire for whatever reason.

It may be a fairly straightforward system, but it's also potentially quite effective. The point of the Gnutella network is to search the network, and people label files to help searchers find them (otherwise, little point in sharing). Harness that and collect IPs from them, and you have a list of potential infringers. Sure, there are plenty of ways to "beat the system", but they're after large-scale effectiveness, not ensuring that Joe Thinks-he's-leet doesn't escape their wrath.

If you P2P then use protection. (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393172)

Peerguardian. http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/ [phoenixlabs.org]

Use it or dont whine about getting nailed by the RIAA,MPAA,BSA,NAACP,etc....

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393382)

You actually believe this will protect you?!

I agree with the statement "A false sense of security is worse than no security at all."

Check this thread

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/488917.html

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393470)

PeerGuardian is to protection what "safe periods" are to prevention. If they have any clue at all, they've got IP blocks under some unknown subsidiary, rented boxes in colos or using anonymizing whois registrars. Maybe they're happy to target the 90% easiest targets, but it's by no means safe as such.

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393604)

Do you honestly, really, truly believe that the RIAA has any clue at all? They're harvesting IPs off of limewire. They might as well put up a sign up sheet on their website saying "We're now on the Honor System for internet downloads. Please fill out this form, including your bank account number and the number of songs you have downloaded, and we'll just bill you for it."

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393674)

Your signature fits you well. Where do I buy?

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (3, Insightful)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393548)

Ahh, Peerguardian. Once they have a Vista client out...

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393562)

Are there certain blacklists that people use? I haven't checked mine in a while to see if they're still good and being updated accordingly.

Re:If you P2P then use protection. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393728)

FYI, PeerGuardian's history.db file gets HUGE over time. Gigs in size. You'll want to either delete it manually periodically, or turn off logging of allowed connections.

But how do they send notices to students? (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393206)

FTFA:

"The LimeWire software allows users who right-click on any song entry and choose "browse host" to see all of the songs that a given file sharer is offering to others for download. The software also lists the IP address of active file sharers."

There have been cases where RIAA sends out notices to individuals in these institutions. If they are behind the school network and the IP address shown is of the school's public IP, how can the individuals be targeted?

Re:But how do they send notices to students? (1)

lamona (743288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393774)

They send notices to the schools asking them to identify the persons at such-and-such an IP address. so from a MacWorld [macworld.com] article on the Oregon case:

"The modus operandi is to send the university - or Internet provider - a list of IP addresses on their networks that the RIAA claims was used for illegal file sharing. It then demands the institution to turn over the identities of the individuals to whom the IP addresses were assigned to."

As the article goes on to say, in some cases the IP address is in a single-occupancy dorm room, but others could be in public areas.

This is why I oppose mandatory log-ins on campus computers. The IT folks like to think that they "have control" by requiring log-ins, but in fact they are playing into the hands of the RIAA or the FBI by making it possible to identify users based on log-in and IP address.

Re:But how do they send notices to students? (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393808)

Some schools hand out public IPs to basically every computer. The school I went to and now work at does this - when you register your computer on the network, you choose public IP or private IP, and the private ones only have access to things within the campus - no outside connection at all. Thus, almost every student (and almost every computer in general) have public IP addresses, which are tied to the user's email address, which is tied to the user.

Time to do a counter-sting (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393256)

I assume the RIAA are already polluting filesharing networks with fake files, so why not do the same?

Create an audio file with the same name as a popular song, have the first 7-8 seconds or whatever is legal be the same as the song, followed by an oral essay that critiques the song.

Now, when they sue, not only will you have a bulletproof argument that the suit is without merit, you will have a good counter-suit on the grounds that they are trying to suppress legitimate free speech.

At the very least, this will force the RIAA to listen to songs before filing suit.

Re:Time to do a counter-sting (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393464)

You must've missed the part in the article where they describe how they determine if it's actually one of their songs or not.

Hint: neither file name nor first few seconds being the same will do it.

Won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393492)

RTFA

Re:Time to do a counter-sting (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393740)

They used to do that, I'm not sure if they do it anymore. I can't recall it being to widespread, but I think some of the Barenaked Ladies tracks were so tainted for a while.

This Is At Odds With... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393270)

This declaration now that they just use Limewire (and other P2P programs it would seem given the lawsuits filed) with a few simple scripts is greatly at odds with their court declarations that their proprietary methods are the result of "tens of thousands of man-hours of development" and constitute trade secrets.

So which is it?

And do Slashdot readers know what the legal term "estopple" means?

Re:This Is At Odds With... (1)

Smelly Jeffrey (583520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393558)

And do Slashdot readers know what the legal term "estopple" means?
Does it mean the same as estoppel [wikipedia.org] perhaps?

Bunch of disingenuousness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393420)

"The automated takedown notice program we have right now is solely university-focused," said the anonymous RIAA representative. "We're trying to make universities aware that they have an issue with peer-to-peer file sharing on their network, and so we don't send automated notices to commercial ISP's, I think because they are generally aware that there's a problem."
This makes no sense. They've been sending these things out for years, and yet they don't think the universities are aware that it's happening yet???

There is some other reason they are targetting universities with this automated business. Maybe because they know students don't want to get in trouble with the administration, or because the universities are more risk-averse and less likely to fight than the commercial ISPs, which would lose business if they tried to stop piracy.

The RIAA said it does not single out particular academic institutions to be "made examples of."

"We have no capability of targeting any school at all," said the RIAA representative, who argued that there is a large "misperception" among university administrators that individual colleges are being picked on. "Technically we can't do it. We find what we find with this process, and that's what we send to schools."
They don't have the capability??? Of course they do. He's just outlined how easily they could target particular universities. It's one thing to say that they don't do it. To say that they are incapable of doing it is a bold-faced lie.

Why The RIAA Has No Case (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393574)

...according to RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth. She also acknowledged that the RIAA can tell only when a song is being offered for users to illegally download; investigators have no way of knowing when someone else is actually downloading the song.

This is why the RIAA has no legal case, and why they must resort to bluffs, threats, extortion, smoke, mirrors, and press releases.

The song file has to be downloaded by another unauthorized person (RIAA investigators don't count) for it to be infringement. The RIAA itself admits here that they have no way of knowing if anybody else has ever downloaded this song. To properly win in court they have to convince judges and/or juries that despite this complete lack of proof that they were infringed anyway.

It's all the Big Lie on their part.

Is it reasonable? (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393868)

Is it reasonable to assume that if a search for a particular song returns hits that it has probably been downloaded?

Re:Why The RIAA Has No Case (2, Interesting)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393884)

It is being downloaded by RIAA's unlicensed PI firm. Does that count?

A humorous solution (4, Interesting)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393734)

In collecting evidence for those takedown notices, Media Sentry investigators do not usually download suspect music files. Instead, the company uses special software to check the "hash," a sort of unique digital fingerprint, of each offered file to verify that it is identical to a copyrighted song file in the RIAA's database. In the rare cases in which the hashes don't match, the investigators download the song and use a software program sold by Audible Magic to compare the sound waves of the offered audio file against those of the song it may be infringing upon. If the Audible Magic software still doesn't turn up a match, then a live person will listen to the song.
So they have to check popular songs audibly if they don't match their automated tests. It is quite likely that RIAA pays Mediasentry for work hourly or files searched. So I had an idea and propose we need the following tools: microphones, bored people, and lots of computers to host.

1) Figure out what music is currently quite popular.
2) Make your own covers of it without instruments. Sing both the lyrics and the melody with interpretive musicianship. The worse it sounds, the better.
3) Host as the file name.
4) ????
5) Waste their time!

IANAL but I don't think you could get in trouble for posting fake songs up. Technically, you could claim you're helping fight piracy while making Mediasentry's job harder. I imagine the in worst case they ask you to cease and desist. Perhaps someone more versed in law can say if this is valid.

Another option could be to simply use the band's name and make up fake songs with similar names to original songs with fictitious lyrics. This would replace step 2. Granted I believe they are solely looking for song titles.
Ben Folds - Rocking the Penguin
Beastie Boys - Ubuntu in Effect
Whitney Houston - OSX will save the day

Did they not infringe themselves? (2)

uselessengineer (1172275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393830)

In the rare cases in which the hashes don't match, the investigators download the song and use a software program sold by Audible Magic to compare the sound waves of the offered audio file against those of the song it may be infringing upon. If the Audible Magic software still doesn't turn up a match, then a live person will listen to the song.

So I put a song labeled "4 minutes", like the article said. And instead of it being the song, i have some song i created, then they can be fined for the maximum per song because they downloaded it from me? Sounds like they infringed on all the false positives they download. How is this legal?

RIAA> "Judge, i was able to catch these infringers by downloading songs off of their computer. When i hit the 20th song, i found one they infringed on"
Judge> "And what about the first 19?"
RIAA> "Those were songs the defendant made in his own studio.... oh wait."
Defendent> "Judge, i move to charge the RIAA for copyright infringing on my 19 songs"

Yea they havent been targeting specific colleges (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393840)

Thats why they have been avoiding messing with Harvard like the plague.

Make your own song (3, Interesting)

ninjapiratemonkey (968710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393880)

1) record your own song
2) rename it as a popular song: eg. Madonna - 4 Minutes
3) they download it after it fails hash check
4) sue them for copyright infringement
5) ?
6) Profit!

Correct me if i'm wrong. (1)

GodaiYuhsaku (543082) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393912)

But isn't the order of events impossible according to the article. Now I haven't looked at limewire, but does it display the hashs before the download? Even then they talk about comparing the sound waves and say this happens before the files are downloaded. And then they open a TCP link? I may only be working on my master's in computer science but this is pretty much counter-intuitive to most of my understanding of networking. If Limewire is displaying the files hash it would be possible for them to search. But then there's the problem that Hash's aren't unique and you could find a collision. I'm not sure how large of a false positive there is but it exists. And comparing the sound waves there's no way to look in the file before downloading. So the question is, is this BS being fed by the "anonymous source" or an author who didn't do thier research.

How the RIAA Targets Campus Copyright Violators.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393942)

if (student)
      {
            guilty = true;
      }
else
      {
            guilty = true;
      }

If this is true, why those non-computer owners? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393950)

Acto TFA:
=======
If there is a match, Media Sentry investigators will then engage in a so-called TCP connection, or an electronic "handshake," with the computer that is offering the file to verify that the computer is online and is ready to share the song.
=======

If they're going so far as to verify that the "computer is online and is ready to share the song", then explain to me how they can make the sort of mistakes they do, what with some targets having not engaged in filesharing at all?
Remember, if they are targeting 'em live and in action, like TFA says, this should give them a firm timestamp for when Filesharer X was using IP-address nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn

In other words, either their catch-a-thief-in-the-act system is broken (should not be making the kind of mistakes it does), OR they are lying outright about checking all of the targets for actual sharing activity.

Annotate your share (0, Troll)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393964)

It would be best if you didn't share at all, but if you feel you have to...

Place an annotation clearly stating that this folder is only available to individuals that are in no way, shape, or form affiliated with the RIAA, one of it's member companies, clients, or third-party company acting on behalf of said RIAA.

Then if they try to come at you, sue them for criminal trespass.
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