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Inside the RIAA and MediaSentry

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the belly-of-the-beast dept.

Music 218

bsdewhurst sends along an interesting article about how MediaSentry and the RIAA identify file sharers. Since 2003, while the RIAA has been filing 28,000 lawsuits, the percentage of US Internet users using P2P for downloading music has dropped from 20% to 19% (there is no knowing how much of a factor the lawsuits have been). The list the RIAA uses for ISP takedown notices is about 700 currently popular songs that are updated based on the charts, so not liking the top 40 could save you. The list of songs tracked for the user-litigation program is said to be larger.

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The best way to not get caught (1, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723529)

is not to download. Put your money where your mouth is and do not listen to it.
Whatever you call it, it is forbidden by law, so stop doing it. If you do not agree with their policy, do do not be a hypocrite and still use their product.

You would not like it if they would compromise your GPL license, so do not compromise theirs.

Re:The best way to not get caught (4, Funny)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723587)

Put your money where your mouth is and do not listen to it
I find it's a little hard not to hear the scrunching and gagging sound. The clinking of coins is also a little hard to ignore.

Re:The best way to not get caught (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723849)

I find it's a little hard not to hear the scrunching and gagging sound. The clinking of coins is also a little hard to ignore.
Oh, for fsck's sake! I give him money for lunch and what does he do? Eat the money! *sigh* *hangs head in shame*

The Law Needs to Change. Sharing is Good. (1)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725291)

PJ sang the praises of file sharing [groklaw.net] years ago but well. We are all richer if we share and artists benefit most of all through well earned fame. If we don't share all we are left with 19th century distribution efficiency and ratings. Many people do share their work [archive.org] and P2P of the same is perfectly legitimate, but idiotic laws make that difficult.

I'm not going to bother reading this article because I know enough already. We have already seen how the Media Defender dirt bags attack trackers [slashdot.org] by stuffing them with RIAA crap and DoS attack. Big publishers have no place in the P2P world and would rather eliminate free press than give up their position in the world. They may be punished for that but that won't cure copyright laws that are equally obsolete.

Copyright needs to allow us to share our culture without worry. To that end, non commercial personal copy should be allowed.

Re:The best way to not get caught (5, Informative)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723601)

it is inaccurate to say that downloading copyrighted music is forbidden by law. it is 'unlawful' rather than 'illegal', so the law allows for the possibility of the copyright owner to seek reparations, but does not forbid it whatsoever.

Re:The best way to not get caught (5, Informative)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723885)

it is inaccurate to say that downloading copyrighted music is forbidden by law. it is 'unlawful' rather than 'illegal', so the law allows for the possibility of the copyright owner to seek reparations, but does not forbid it whatsoever.

Even this isn't quite right.. Copyright refers to the distribution of a work. Here in Canada (at least for the moment), it is perfectly lawful (and legal) to download copyrighted works, in the same way that it is lawful to use a photocopier at a library. The part that is not lawful is the sharing back of the work to others. At that point, you are "distributing" the work and infringing on the copyright holder's rights.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724043)

This is true, for now, but it won't be for long if our current government gets their way. I'd blame Harper and his lackey Jim Prentice, but it's likely the Liberals would cave as well if they were in power. I hate Harper more though.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724205)

I thought the RIAA was only going after those who are seeding and not those leeching.

Which is what RIAA sues for, isn't it? (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724685)

Well, AFAIK the RIAA never sued anyone for downloading. They sued people who "made available" the songs for download by others.

The waters are muddier, because apparently some P2P programs do (or did) effectively default to sharing anything downloaded right back. (I guess because the whole P2P model wouldn't really work if there were 1 or 2 guys offering it for download, and a few million downloading from them. At that point, you're back to the classic server model, and not in a good way.)

Who cares? (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725359)

Laws should follow morals, instead of morals following laws. We know that sharing is good, so it should be legal.

Re:Which is what RIAA sues for, isn't it? (0)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726347)

Anyone too stupid to alter their settings deserves to get caught.

Re:Which is what RIAA sues for, isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23726751)

Anyone generously sharing their bandwidth doesn't deserve to get caught. Leecher.

Their claims are bullshit! (5, Insightful)

M1rth (790840) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725385)

I can't believe nobody caught this one from the article: When a consumer rips a song from a CD and gives the digital file a name, the computer hardware, ripping software and other digital data together create a digital file identified by a distinct hash code. If the user rips the same song with an older computer - even with the same software - the file will have a different hash code. The slightest change in the music source, computer hardware, ripping software, P2P protocol, file name or length of recording will change the hash code identifying the resulting MP3 file. 99% of all ripping software rips the track digitally from the CD and uses lame to encode it, setting up the id3 tag from a free online database. The processor and timing don't matter for shit. I say it's quite easy that 6 guys ripped a CD and came up with the same hash. This is the level of "evidence" the MafiAA's been giving to judges, and they won cases? I wanna know how many whores and bags of cash did it take to buy those judges off?

Re:The best way to not get caught (3, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724049)

"law allows for the possibility of the copyright owner to seek reparations, but does not forbid it whatsoever."

So if the law allows me to download songs (i.e. "not forbid it whatsoever"), why should I pay the record companies for a legal act?

You are trying to show a difference in meaning between 2 words where there is none. Whether you use the word "unlawful" or "illegal", downloading is not allowed under the law. The "reparations" associated with that act are damages and penalties, NOT licensing fees - they just happen to be collected by the injured party, not the State. (Note that I disagree with that practice, but it is the law as currently written). Similar to parking ticket - it's not a fee for the parking space, payable to the state. It is a fine for doing something that is not allowed under the law.

Re:The best way to not get caught (2, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726513)

Similar to parking ticket - it's not a fee for the parking space, payable to the state. It is a fine for doing something that is not allowed under the law.

Call it what you want, I can still park under a stop sign every day if i'm prepared to pay the $35 fee. Oddly similar to paying $18+ to park in a real parking spot, just you pay at the end, not the beginning.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724957)

Oh well. It has all the important parts of illegal activity: you can be punished for it, it's frowned upon, and it's immoral. Whether or not it is illegal or a civil matter in your jurisdiction, the GP still raises valid points.

Re:The best way to not get caught (5, Informative)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725275)

Let's be really really clear about what you are trying to say, since I think a lot of people will misinterpret.

What weierstrass is commenting on is the semantic difference between "unlawful" and "illegal." It's an important point in law theory, but quite unimportant with regards to the main discussion here, since regardless of whether it's "unlawful" or "illegal", the penalties are the same.

What some of you reading this may have gotten hung up on is "but does not forbid it whatsoever" to mean "so go ahead and download all you want without fear." This is simlpy not the case.

"unlawful" in this case means this: there is NO law that says "Thou art not allowed to tranfer KaiserChiefs-Ruby.mp3 via limewire." In fact, for the most part, "the law" says nothing about mp3 files, p2p networks, ipods, and so forth.

What the law does lay guidelines for, however, is what constitutes LEGAL IP distribution, redistribution, and fair use. Frankly, if you're reading this thread in 2008 and don't know the four or five US provisions for something to be classified as "Fair Use" off the top of your head, then you have no business being in this discussion - get thee to a wikipedia.

So, the law does not "forbid" transferring "KaiserChiefs-Ruby.mp3" via limewire - what it does, however, is state the principles and guidelines under which transferring such intellectual property could be considered legal. Since basically all interpretations have found that wantonly sharing this file on a P2P network does not fall under such guidelines, it is therefore "unlawful".

What does this mean for you? Not much. The penalties and the penalties are the penalties no matter whether it's "illegal" or "unlawful." "The law allows the copyright owner to seek reparations" basically means that if you do it, you can get sued for a lot of money. I'd add to this that it takes very little actual P2P use to cross into the line of CRIMINAL copyright infringement ($1000 worth of material in any 180 day period - I guesstimate that most p2p users exceed this by a considerable margin.)

If you're interested in reading more, please see http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html [copyright.gov] . It's short reading, but worthwhile for anybody who participates in these threads other than to throw up more piracy-"justifying" obfuscation and FUD.

Oh wait - i said "piracy!" This gives green light for some of you to blather on (incorrectly) about the inappropriateness of the term for copyright infringement and its reservation for high seas crimes. Whew! That sure will get you out of actually confronting the issues.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725963)

Oh, I think that it's appropriate.
From one of the kings of the MPAA...

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho,
thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

The king and his men
stole the queen from her bed
and bound her in her Bones.
The seas be ours
and by the powers
where we will we'll roam.


Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

Some men have died
and some are alive
and others sail on the sea
- with the keys to the cage...
and the Devil to pay
we lay to Fiddler's Green!

The bell has been raised
from it's watery grave...
Do you hear it's sepulchral tone?
We are a call to all,
pay head the squall
and turn your sail toward home!

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726277)

it is inaccurate to say that downloading copyrighted music is forbidden by law. it is 'unlawful' rather than 'illegal', so the law allows for the possibility of the copyright owner to seek reparations, but does not forbid it whatsoever.
In fact, in US/UK legal terms, it is a civil rather than a criminal matter. Or at least, it still is in the UK, the US I'm not sos ure about any more.

Re:The best way to not get caught (5, Interesting)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723697)

If you do not agree with their policy, do do not be a hypocrite and still use their product.

Well, what if it is not their product?

For instance, what if you cannot buy the songs in question in the format you want?

Besides, what choice do I have? I live in Croatia, and I cannot access the iTunes store, though I would very much like to purchase some music in a high-quality format. My time is more worth than the meager sum I save by hunting it through various torrents, where I may or may not find acceptable quality both in sound and in tags.

And, of course, if there is something available free of charge, many people will take it. It may be illegal (though not in the way you imply), but there is more than one way of putting one's money where their mouth is. One of those ways is copyright infringement.

Re:The best way to not get caught (4, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725551)

2For instance, what if you cannot buy the songs in question in the format you want?"

Tough.
If I'm a plumber, and don't work weekends, you don't have the right to force me to work weekends because that's what you would prefer. As a plumber I sell my wages. if a content producer sells licenses to his work, you are no more entitled to dictate what licenses he sells than you are to tell the plumber when he should work. It's their content, not yours.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725735)

For instance, what if you cannot buy the songs in question in the format you want?
Then you are out of luck. It is their decision whether or not they want to sell it to you or not. The license (copyright in this case) lies with them to decide who gets access to it, not by you. All you can do is accept or decline their license.

Re:The best way to not get caught (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23723733)

turn off your radio, switch off your TV, and put your head in a bucket...

leave this world of "products" and "intellectual property" and "piracy IS theft", where words can mean whatever you want as long as you pay them enough (the Humpty Dumpty principle)...

if they are going to lock you up for copying bits, they'll lock you up for dissent too, for this is the way of the land of freedom

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725279)

I didn't know John Prine read slashdot...
Spanish Pipedream [jpshrine.org]

Re:The best way to not get caught (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23723831)

Downloading is not forbidden by current law in the U.S.

What constitutes current "copyrights law(s)" forbids the distribution of copyright-controlled work without creator's approval. The act of downloading is not distribution, unless you are using a P2P sharing program with its defaults set to "share" the contents of your download folder. This is how RIAA lawyers discover and attack.

A more accurate term to use would be "sharing". That would constitute distribution.

Recently, RIAA lawyers have tried to assert that any copy of a copyright work that does not originate with their member corporations is illegal, and have written/supported legislation that would attempt to redefine such works, but that has failed in the courts and has yet to pass through Congress.

So, why put money to something that has essentially been set to minimal value by the market availability of music? Shouldn't the author of said music be happy we're even listening to it? Should they not PAY US to listen to them, above the fray of MILLIONS of artists around the world, now recording and distributing their own music through the Internet?

Re:The best way to not get caught (1, Informative)

Pofy (471469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724699)

>Downloading is not forbidden by current law in the U.S.

But creating a copy is in many cases.

>The act of downloading is not distribution,...

It does normally includes creating a copy of what you download on your computer. Hence it can, and often is, a copyright infringement.
 

Re:The best way to not get caught (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723883)

Whatever you call it, it is forbidden by law, so stop doing it.

Eldred [wikipedia.org] was a miscarraige of justice. When Congress starts writing respectable laws, I'll respect the law. The current copyright laws are no more respectable than the marijuana laws.

However, stop sharing RIAA files because sharing RIAA files only helps the RIAA labels! If they didn't want you to hear it they wouldn't allow it on the radio. File sharing is free advertising, and the RIAA is against it because it is as useful to their competetion as it is to them, while they have radio and the competetion doesn't. If you want that new top-40 song, just plug your radio into your computer and "download" it from your radio.

How to rip from vinyl or tape [kuro5hin.org] or radio, and defeat any and all music DRM in the process! The linked file is an illegal thought crime under the DMCA.

Thats a very one sided view of things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23723909)

yes, thats right. I'm going to give ALL of my money to record companies. Actually, I'd be willing to do this if it weren't for the fact that I'm, well, broke. permanently.

When buying things isn't an option than it becomes a simple matter of deciding "am I going to download this or not have it." Any reasonable person will download it, and if you say otherwise you clearly haven't been in this situation, or are just incredibly stupid.

Re:Thats a very one sided view of things... (0)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726193)

or have a sense of right and wrong, something that seems to have eluded you.
For a long time I couldn't afford the car I wanted, so you know what I did? I got the flipping bus, and saved up to buy it. We can all guess what you would have done.

Re:Thats a very one sided view of things... (2, Funny)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726289)

Gone over to his neighbor's garage in the middle of the night and made a copy of his car? Oh Noes! PIRATE!!!11

Re:Thats a very one sided view of things... (1)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726753)

what about my large multinational corporation which suffers from imaginary loss of profits, you insensitive clod!

Re:The best way to not get caught (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724029)

1) How do they know it's illegal? Are they aware of every jurisdiction?

2) Are they aware of the *actual* contents of any particular file downloaded? Some cases have been brought on the basis that the filenames were suspicious.

3) Are they aware of my private collection of CD's which, in this modern era, are quicker to download than to rip from the CD? No.

4) Are they aware of my fair use rights, and therefore my ability to exercise them by downloading songs I already have, which has been "approved" by some record labels / artists / courts in some jurisdictions?

5) Do they bother to check their facts BEFORE filing a lawsuit? Apparently not, unless it's to offer "peace treaties" where people sign away rights (including fair use) on the basis of a promise not to prosecute, even when that wouldn't stand up in a court of law.

Apparently, none of the above count when they file lawsuits. That's the problem, not them chasing after people copying copyright material.

So I disagree with their policy. I disagree with many of the lawsuits. I disagree with their tactics. I disagree with their interpretation and publicity surrounding copyright law (the word "pirate" or "theft", for example, when there is no intention to permanently deprive). I disagree with their ignorance of jurisdiction and applicable laws. I disagree with their attempts to strip *existing and well established* rights of my own, on the basis of rumour. I disagree with blanket contracts that people are frightened into signing. I disagree with their pricing policies. I disagree with their segmentation of the market (only offering certain songs online etc.).

And yet, I'm *trying* to give them bloody money. But I'm not doing anything wrong. And all the methods where I can do this either want to charge me all-over-again for the same songs I already have, or punish me by removing my ability to do so (DRM, FUD etc.). Guess why a lot of people hate them. Guess why a lot of less-lawful people just decide to rip their music anyway and don't care for their ramblings. Guess why "piracy" (Yuck!) is rife and they "aren't making money" (Rubbish!).

It's all a scam, based on little actual legal content. The big players won't be stopped by a little bit of DRM or their favourite torrent site going down. The only people to suffer are their prime customer market - people who want to pay them for a song, once, and then have their song (minus broadcast, performance rights etc.) for the course of their life.

Re:The best way to not get caught (2, Insightful)

Whibla (210729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724607)

Granted, a lot of their (RIAA) behaviour is reprehensible, but you seem to have ignored virtually everything the article said and trotted out the same old rant.

They, rightly, do not mention suing for copyright infringment for those people who download songs...they do mention suing those people who share their tracks and make them available to upload.

You are not in breach of copyright for dowloading a track; you are in breach of the 'distibution' clause if you allow others to copy it from your computer... ...Quite how you can download if someone else is not uploading though...

p.s. Ianal, so take the above with a pinch of salt

Re:The best way to not get caught (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725491)

The whole world is backward on this issue.

It's _downloading_ that should be wrong--but only if you don't already own the CD. If you already own the CD or have bought the MP3 you should be able to download it as many times as you want.

_Uploading_ should always be fine. Since when is it my responsibility to make sure you're entitled to have a song or not.

I know this doesn't mesh with current copyright law, but that just means the law needs to change.

MOD PARENT DOWN - DID NOT RTFA (0, Flamebait)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725405)

Objections 1 - 5 (all of them) are accounted for in the article, which explicitly describes how, when, and why takedown decisions are made and what the verification process is. Please mod the parent post down, as he is throwing up FUD which clearly shows that he did not RTFA.

Re:The best way to not get caught (4, Informative)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725451)

After reading the article:

1) They concentrate on college and university networks here in America, and your IP address generally betrays (at least) your nationality. Yes, they are aware.

2) Sources? You may very well be right, but the article says they download the file themselves and run it through a "fingerprinting" software to see if it matches a song they hold a copyright to. (You know, one of those nifty programs that'll tell you what's playing on the radio.) If it's an infringing file, they record its size and hash and look for matches.

3) They're probably not aware of your CD collection. But, what in Xenu's name are you doing torrenting an album you already own, when just putting the disc in the freaking drive gets you whatever quality (even Windows Media Player lets you do lossless!) correct tags, album art, and is done in a few minutes? In what case is finding a torrent faster than ripping the actual disc? Do you have a T3 line connected to a Windows 98 box with a dual-speed CD-ROM drive? And has anyone actually been sued for downloading their own CD collection?

4) Again, why are you downloading songs you already have? And again, has anyone actually been sued for this?

5) It's called "settling out of court." Our courts prefer it, actually. Now, the RIAA has done a lot of stupid, reprehensible things - but if I just finished pirating a record label, I'd rather spend a few hundred bucks to settle out of court than actually go to court for something I know I did illegally/unlawfully/contrasanguinous kittenous.

Now, the prices for a new album are pretty rediculous, especially if you only want one song on the disc. $.99 doesn't cut it, either, if the track's DRM'd. I was burned by the closing of the "URGE" music store, and I had to burn/rip my (rather small) music collection onto disc and off again to play my tracks after they shut down.

I also am a huge fan of Japanese music - but a lot of that's hard to get a hold of without spending $bucks at an importer. (Amazon.com has a surprising selection, though.) It's not like they'll let you into the Japanese iTunes store without a Japanese mailing address and credit card, either - although you can get around that by having someone send you (or e-mail you a scan of) a Japanese iTunes gift card. (Here's the one advantage of our entertainment industry being one evil **AA tradegroup - it's easier to license music. From what little I've heard, their entertainment industry is somewhat more fragmented, which makes it harder for people to license music.)

What a rant! But two points I want to make - it's still illegal/unlawful/contrasanguinous kittenous to "pirate" music, and it's just stupid if you own the disc. If you don't like it enough to pay $.99, then it probably wasn't worth downloading anyway, was it?

Re:The best way to not get caught (2, Interesting)

Pofy (471469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726731)

> You may very well be right, but the article says they
> download the file themselves and run it through a
>"fingerprinting" software to see if it matches a song
> they hold a copyright to.

Out of curiosity, what if they found out through the fingerprinting that it was NOT a song they hold the copyright to, do they then report themselves for copyright infringement? And how large is the fractions of files they download something they don't hold the copyright to? 1%? 50%? Something else?

Re:The best way to not get caught (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23724035)

I could agree with you, except that the record industry has shown itself to be more than willing to trample all over other peoples rights.

I have a memory of the SonyBMG/XCP-debacle, parts of it were about XCP containing source code protected by GPL, but not distributing the source code (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Copy_Protection#Copyright_violations)

Also, here in Sweden a record company distributed a CD with seven photographs on the cover. They had not obtained the photographers permission, not printed her name and turned the pictures into black-and-white without permission. As per standard pratice the photographer sent the record company a bill of (approx) 160K SEK (not quite US$27K), but was offered 2K SEK plus two tickets for the bands next concert. (http://www.fotosidan.se/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=29644, only Swedish text unfortunately). From the silence from the photographer I think this was settled out of court.

Further, and also in Sweden, IFPI has published a copy of a newspaper article on their website. When asked about this they answered that they didn't know that copyright also extends to written material (http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.146198, only Swedish text.)

When the record industry tramples other peoples rights under thier feet like that I see no major reason for me to bother about their rights, as long as I don't do it for profit.

Two wrongs don't make a right, though (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725331)

Two wrongs don't make a right, though. (Though three lefts do ;)

Far from me to defend the RIAA, but IMHO the best way to put an end to their own lawlessness is to smack them with the law, not to get into a "he did it first!" kindergarten show. I mean, going by "he did it first!" just sounds like a way to spiral into complete chaos, as everyone eventually finds some pretext as to why he/she shouldn't obey the laws either.

Re:The best way to not get caught (4, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724105)

I agree in practice: there's no good reason to download major-label-crap anyway.

But I disagree with the theory; that I should not do something -because- it is illegal. It's not as if laws are infallible sources of moral guidance. There are lots of laws which are flat-out wrong.

You shouldn't do stuff that is WRONG. You should however apply your own head to the problem of right and wrong, and not let your morals be dictated by whomever wrote the laws of your country.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724571)

Put your money where your mouth is and do not listen to it.
Sorry, but the cars driving by all day booming the crap prevents me from not listening to it.

Re:The best way to not get caught (2, Insightful)

Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724729)

In Australia, I have noticed nothing but an increase in MP3 downloads. It's just such a common thing. Why pay when you can get it for free?

I mean I do buy the occassional album if it's a smallish metal band I love, and who do actually reap most of the profits, but really, even with the RIAA's ridiculous amount of lawsuits, it's still a tiny percentage of the whole 'music piracy' community.

Most people at this age are like that.

~Jarik

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725715)

"The best way to not get caught is not to _upload_."

There, fixed that for you. Downloading is perfectly legal, except in very specific situations.

Re:The best way to not get caught (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726121)

For those of us that don't believe in IP rights, we are 'putting our money where you mouth is' and are downloading what we want.

We always have ( even before the commercial internet ), and always will.

I don't see it being a hypocrite.

Re:The best way to not get caught (3, Insightful)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726613)

Have you heard of civil disobedience? If you don't believe a law is right, you just don't obey it, but you bear the full extent of the consequences of your actions. The theory is that your disobedience, if justified, will potentially lead other people to follow your example eventually either creating a political trend that can no longer be ignored, or by creating a status quo which renders the law de facto obsolete. Sponsored by Ghandi and friends.
----
Left Wing: Poor people stealing from the rich
Right Wing: Rich people stealing from the poor

Numbers (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723545)

Since 2003, while the RIAA has been filing 28,000 lawsuits, the percentage of US Internet users using P2P for downloading music has dropped from 20% to 19%
So the actual number has doubled or something, and the percentage might have gone from 20.1 to 19.9 depending on how it is rounded.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics (5, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723737)

Dropped from 20% to 19%? Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) said there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

First off, how are these numbers generated? Finding out how many file sharers there are may not be as impossible as finding out how many Linux users there are, but how are these metrics obtained?

Second, what is the margin of error? If there is a +- 4% margin, then the actual percentage could have risen.

Third, if the total number of internet users has risen by, say 5% (number pulled from a dark hairy orifice) and file sharing dropped by 1%, the actual number of file sharers has risen.

Fourth and most importantly, not all file sharers are breaking the (civil) law. There are far, far more musicians (and programmers, etc) with files they WANT you to share than there are RIAA musicians. How many file sharers are sharing legitimate content? The corporate media would have you think everything on Kazaa or Morpheus is illegal, when in fact that "fact" is a damned lie.

Re:Lies, damned lies, and statistics -- not Twain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23724487)

"Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) said there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics."

And he attributed that statement to Benjamin Disraeli. http://www.bartleby.com/73/1769.html

Re:Lies, damned lies, and statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23726051)

Don't forget, also, that P2P users are getting smarter. Some people have transitioned to using private networks (like myself, the AC) that would never show up in these statistics. All that's decreased, by a measly 1%, is the visible number of P2P users.

Re:Numbers (1)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723929)

Don't take them, or this article, serious. It's a puff-piece, something to make Joe Public think that what the MAFIAA is doing is a legitimate way to identify offenders, and to make them think that their methods are so technologically complex that they can't be wrong. It's also another big-publication article the MAFIAA can point out to Congresscritters they are trying to influence/buy.

Just stay away from MAFIAA music - support indies, and those artists who have broken out from under the "protection" they had foisted on them by signing a contract with a big label.

Re:Numbers (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725525)

The big problem with supporting independent music is finding artists that you like. Since they're not part of the RIAA marketing machine, odds are that I'm never going to hear their music on the radio, see it on TV, or find it as a featured download on iTunes.

I wish that there were more mainstream methods out there of promoting independent music. And my mainstream, I mean something that most people have actually heard of and use to find independent music! Yes, I'm sure that there are already tons of indie fan sites out there, but they aren't much help if most people have never seen them.

Re:Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23726291)

Question : do you really think calling them the MAFIAA makes your point seem a grown up approach to the issue? or just a silly teenage angsty rant against whoever its cool to bash this year.

In other news (2, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726159)

. . . the number of P2P clients that use peer blocking jumped 40%.

I suspect that the people measuring P2P downloading are the same people being paid to find downloaders. It's in their best interest to show that they're making a difference and should continue to be paid.

now lets do the math (5, Funny)

queldor (1184789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723553)

5 years for 1%. so in 2103 it will be down to 0%. Way to go RIAA!!! That will also be 532,000 lawsuits.. and don't forgot that is IF that 1% was from them..

Re:now lets do the math (2, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723847)

I might just be getting old, but I think that music today is less compelling than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Seriously, music today is crap. The drop probably has more to do with people not wanting big label music even if they can get it for free over the internet.

Of course, it should be noted that one percent is much smaller than the sampling error for this kind of thing, so for all we know it could have gone up.

Re:now lets do the math (2, Insightful)

loutr (626763) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724419)

I might just be getting old, but I think that music today is less compelling than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Seriously, music today is crap.
If by "music today" you mean "Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake", then you are right. However, there's plenty of brilliant bands that are worth listening to nowadays. For example, if you were a prog rock fan in the 70's you might want to check out Porcupine Tree, or Ozric Tentacle. Same goes for almost every genre, you juste have to search a bit (emusic [emusic.com] is a good place to start).

Re:now lets do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725821)

Most pop music today is crap, yes. There's still a LOT of good stuff coming out. You just have to put some effort into finding it.

Re:now lets do the math (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726103)

I am an old fart, since my parents bought our first record player in the 60's I have seen a handfull of great albums appear each year (same with films). IMHO the output of good music/films/TV has stayed relatively stable even though the volume and variety of all these different mediums has exploded.

"has dropped from 20% to 19%" (5, Insightful)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723563)

a complete meaningless statistic.

The error inherent to measuring something that is 'unlawful' and often frowned upon is far greater than the difference between 19 and 20 percent. Perhaps everyone has simply got better at concealing their downloading of copyrighted material (mp3 blogs, private trackers, etc) or perhaps the effect of the RIAA's grandma-suing onslaught has been that people lie about their online activity more.

As a music lover (5, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723589)

so not liking the top 40 could save you.

In ways that are too many to count.

Targeting Certain Universities? (5, Insightful)

slifox (605302) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723595)

From the article:

"There is an idea that we target certain universities," the investigator says. "That is completely incorrect and, technically, not possible. We find what we find by song and through public means; we don't try to get into a university's internal system."
Who said anything about trying to get into a "university's internal system"?

The question is more like: Are they only sending take-down notices to certain universities?

No notices have been sent to Harvard, supposedly because they have lots of money, power, and law professors

Re:Targeting Certain Universities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23726725)

On the contrary - Harvard certainly has received notices through their IT department. I can't say whether they've received them specifically from the RIAA, but I would be surprised if they hadn't. http://www.dmca.harvard.edu/copyright_policy.php

No drop in file sharers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23723653)

"Since 2003, while the RIAA has been filing 28,000 lawsuits, the percentage of US Internet users using P2P for downloading music has dropped from 20% to 19%" http://www.internetworldstats.com/am/us.htm [internetworldstats.com] Internet Users in 2003 - 172,250,000 - About 320000 file sharers Internet Users in 2007 - 212,080,135 - About 420000 file sharers That's not a drop by any means, although the sentence in the article reads: "Since 2003, labels have filed more than 28,000 lawsuits against individual file sharers.", so I don't know where these figures are coming from

Statistics - Surveys? (4, Interesting)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723701)

If these statistics are based on surveys obviously they are going to be low. If I got a survey saying "do you pirate RIAA music over P2P" obviously everyone is going to say no. No one is going to admit to doing something illegal on a survey.

You mind as well send out a survey asking "do you sell, traffic, or push Illegal Drugs", I wonder what the actual "infringers" are going to mark as an answer?

Pretty everyone I know has pirated some music. Even the mos moral guys have pirated an album or two because hey weren't able to buy it or just really wanted it.

So in actual people who have pirated anything in their lifetime I'm guessing its pretty high (50% at least). But people who are casual pirates who download one or two things whenever they feel like it (maybe once a week) or moderate pirates who download stuff whenever they want it.(maybe an album ever 3 days).

Than you have the serious guys who never have their computer going without downloading something (eg me :P). Especially people with a usenet connection. Just leave your computer running for a couple hours and download stuff.

I am slowly making a shift to usenet because it has no logs whatsoever. Even if the RIAA begin fighting usenet they aren't going to able to fight the users.

The battle for usenet will be a big corporation vs another big corporation battle. Considering their are only a few usenet companies and all of them are massive conglomerates such as giganews, usenet.com, astraweb.com (my fav...real cheap).

So they are just trying to chip away and do some fear mongering. But they will never defeat piracy. It has become almost cultural and most people with a computer have pirated something. Heck i remember when kazaa came out and people would have a computer dedicated to kazaa just because of all the Spyware :P

Good times!

Re:Statistics - Surveys? (4, Funny)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723869)

If these statistics are based on surveys obviously they are going to be low. If I got a survey saying "do you pirate RIAA music over P2P" obviously everyone is going to say no. No one is going to admit to doing something illegal on a survey.
You almost had it right:

"Do you still pirate songs off the interwebs?"

A. Yes.
b. No.

Re:Statistics - Surveys? (1)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725421)

Yep you are probobly right. I remember when people had napster and would brag about all the music they downloaded....oh we were so innocent back than. We only downloaded music...movies, games, and shows were simply a pipe dream.

Well see how we have progressed!

Re:Statistics - Surveys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725777)

You broke the first rule of Usenet:

You DO NOT talk about Usenet!

Hash value? (1)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723789)

From TFA:

If the user rips the same song with an older computer - even with the same software - the file will have a different hash code.
From Wikipedia:

To serve its purpose, a hash function must be fast and deterministic --- meaning that two identical or equivalent inputs must generate the same hash value.
So the article seems mistaken in this regard. Somebody care to give some more insight?

Re:Hash value? (3, Informative)

J_DarkElf (602111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723965)

Assuming they're talking about something like MD5 hashing here--

Two rips of the same CD music track do not necessarily lead to the exact bit-by-bit identical MP3 file. Thus the hash is different, even if the same software, same CD, and same settings are used.

Two people with /exactly/ the same MP3 file will have the same hash. /Exactly/ the same, so if person B has added or changed ID3 tags, the file will already get a different hash.

There are other identification methods for music files, such as the one used by http://musicbrainz.org/ [musicbrainz.org] , which /will/ provide the same hash for the same track even if it was ripped with different settings or on another computer. But from the article this is not what MediaSentry uses.

Re:Hash value? (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726117)

Assuming they're talking about something like MD5 hashing here--
The article references the Gnutella network, so I'm assuming that they're talking about the standard SHA1 hashes that are used to identify a particular file on Gnutella.

Re:Hash value? (2, Informative)

sjf (3790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724075)

Both statements are correct. In the former, however, one of the inputs may be some function of time: time since power on, date, etc... Actually hash functions encoded in this manner, are intended to be unique and are equivalent to GUIDs.
Actually there's a little bit of loose terminology. I expect that Wikipedia is talking about true hash functions which are really short cuts to otherwise complex algorithms. LimeWire on the otherhand is really using GUIDs and the main requirement is that they are globally unique. Determinism is a consequence of being globally unique. Being fast is desirable, but by no means necessary for GUIDs.

Hash functions and GUIDs are related, but not the same thing.

Re:Hash value? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724903)

As far as I understand, the hash values in file sharing networks are to identify identical files so that the client can download from multiple peers. Doesn't matter to the network when they were generated or what software was used as long as they have the same output, so there's no need to distinguish between these.

So if they do mean that files have a GUID, they're wrong.

Lets hear it for pop culture (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723915)

The list the RIAA uses for ISP takedown notices is about 700 currently popular songs that are updated based on the charts, so not liking the bottom 40 could save you.
There, fixed that for ya.

Seriously, use the library (4, Informative)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23723991)

In the U.S.A. the public library legally lends CDs, DVDs, and even, gasp, video cassettes.

Borrow the CD, rip it at the format and audio quality you want, listen to it until you get sick of it, then return the CD for the next person.

100% legal and moral behavior. That, quite frankly, is the purpose of the library.

Re:Seriously, use the library (0)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724427)

To be 100% legal, you would have to either delete the ripped audio, or purchase a copy of the CD from some vendor (BestBuy, Amazon.com, iTMS).

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724787)

To be 100% legal, you would have to either delete the ripped audio.

That was kind of implied, however, I'm not entirely sure that is true.

There are some ambiguous areas in the law around "fair use." If you do not redistribute the music, use it only for your own personal and private use (i.e. not in a commercial venue), and obtain it with proper rights, it may be perfectly legal to keep the copies. Your public library and every thing in it is shared property of your city or town and its residents. This is especially true if you keep only a few songs from the whole CD.

I was talking about this with a lawyer (socially over alcohol, of course) a while back and he thought it was a very interesting point. We laughed about coin-op copying machines in the library as a revenue generation system for copyright infringement being no different than a web site selling ads.

That, however, has not even been prosecuted by RIAA and I don't even know how they would.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726197)

I realise that it's ambiguous, but the issue I had thought of was the fact that ripping is generally accepted under Fair Use under the making-a-backup policy. But if the media does not belong to you, and is no longer in your care, then... you're backing up something that isn't yours. You need to remove the data after the asset is returned to it's owner.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726463)

You need to remove the data after the asset is returned to it's owner.

That's kind of one of the the points I was making, if it is owned by the library, it is "public property." So, you have some shared property rights.

also, "format shifting" i.e. ripping for an MP3 player or other device has been upheld as reasonable "fair use."

Re:Seriously, use the library (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725621)

It's also more environmentally friendly since you don't have to drive back and forth to the library every time you want to listen or view the CD/DVD.

I guess if you walk or ride you bicycle, but that's kinda of difficult for most during bad weather and the winter months.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725961)

I guess if you walk or ride you bicycle, but that's kinda of difficult for most during bad weather and the winter months.

In rural communities that may be a problem, but in most urban areas the public libraries have multiple "branches." More than that, communities of multiples towns sometimes join forces and provide a common library system.

Where I live, we have one main library and two branches, on top of that our library is in a larger network of libraries. I can get practically any book, CD, or DVD I want for free. I can even call or email the library to get something, and get an email or phone call when it is in. The branch is a couple blocks walk away.

Do I donate to my local libray? You bet I do! The younger generation should really really look closer into their local libraries, it is an AMAZING resource.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725987)

100% legal and moral behavior.
Wrong, ripping CDs (defeating copy-protection) is illegal under the DMCA.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726157)

Wrong, ripping CDs (defeating copy-protection) is illegal under the DMCA.

CDs do not, generally speaking, have copy protection. Besides, format shifting, comes under fair use.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726045)

Except that the local library has nothing i want.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726215)

Except that the local library has nothing i want.

I don't know where you live, so I can't say 100%, but where I live, my Library is part of a larger network. I can call or email the library, search the whole network on-line, and order what I want and get a call or email when it comes in.

Take a closer look!

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726377)

Even then, i doubt they have much from my taste ( that i dont already have )

And ive never seen a bootleg at the library.

Re:Seriously, use the library (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726529)

And ive never seen a bootleg at the library.

A bootleg, by definition, is illegally obtained.

Bad Taste? (4, Funny)

inamorty (1227366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724021)

The RIAA should be given a medal for prosecuting people that listen to that charts drivel.

doV7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23724039)

Statistics? (2, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724155)

50% of statistics are completely made-up. 40% of all people know that.

Re:Statistics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725229)

Ha, that's meaningless! You didn't give the standard deviation!

Downloading has gone down 1% because... (5, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23724257)

... because most people have downloaded everything they ever wanted to download.

Seem Incomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23724349)

So... where's the part where they cut to a "Most Wanted" poster of the dreaded Lexmark bandit?

Decrease in file-sharing...hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23724701)

I think it is more likely that the percentage decrease really shows that fewer people are willing to admit to file-sharing in a survey. With the chance of getting sued, what percentage of file-sharers are going to say, "Oh yeah, I do that all the time?" From what I have seen, file-sharing has grown tremendously since the lawsuits started. The proliferation of file-sharing and torrent sites across the internet has grown dramatically, and many more of the people I know have used file-sharing today than a few years ago.

Useless statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725031)

Internet users using P2P for downloading music has dropped from 20% to 19%


The problem with reporting statistics has gotten worse over the years and this is a prime example of why. You report a single statistic in percentages but give no context or relevant data to understand it or the impact of it.

By presenting the statistic as "dropped from 20% to 19%" gives the illusion of a 1% drop in P2P activity which may or may not be accurate. If you want to provide a cocktail party snippet or provoke a simple reaction then you have succeeded, most media outlets stop at this point. Giving percentages of something over time when it's based on a different changing base does very little good when you don't give any information on that changing base.

If the actual number of internet users has increased 20% since 2003 then the number of P2P music sharers have actually INCREASED 2.8% over the number of P2P music sharers there were.

Based on Internet World Stats [internetworldstats.com] the number of US Internet users between 2000 and 2007 actually increased by 125%. This would imply that between 2002 and 2007 the ACTUAL number of P2P music sharers actually increased a significant number even if the aforementioned percentage relative to total users dropped.

Method (3, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23725195)

how MediaSentry and the RIAA identify file sharers.

  • Tea leaves?
  • d20?
  • Gut feeling
  • C:\>find pirate
  • Every citizen's name in a gigantic, wind-powered "grab-a-prize" booth?

Hash Codes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23725687)

could someone pleas explain what the hash code nonsense mentioned in the article actually is? Seems like nonsense.
"The slightest change in the music source, computer hardware, ripping software, P2P protocol, file name or length"

Re:Hash Codes (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726201)

I'm guessing they are talking about something like this [wikipedia.org] .

I don't know why they keep putting "hash" in quotes though.

not liking the top 40 could save you (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23726011)

In more ways then one.

Question from a "not-so-geek" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23726093)

If they're using hash to identify specific files, can software be used to change the hash each and every time???
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