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RIAA Gets Nervous, Brings In Big Gun

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the headlines-that-would-be-better-if-they-were-literal dept.

The Courts 423

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "I guess the RIAA is getting nervous about the ability of its 'national law firm' (in charge of bringing 'ex parte' motions, securing default judgments, and beating up grandmothers and children) to handle the oral argument scheduled to be heard on Monday, August 4th in Duluth, in Capitol v. Thomas. So, at the eleventh hour, it has brought in one of its 'Big Guns' from Washington, D.C., a lawyer who argues United States Supreme Court cases like MGM v. Grokster to handle the argument. This is the case where a $222,000 verdict was awarded for downloading 24 songs, but the judge ultimately realized that he had been misled by the RIAA in issuing his jury instructions, and indicated he's probably going to order a new trial. But, not to worry. A group of 10 copyright law professors from 10 different law schools and several other amici curiae (friends of the court) have filed briefs now, so it is highly unlikely the judge will allow himself to be misled again, no matter who the RIAA brings in as cannon fodder on Monday."

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I dunno (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24442743)

Those RIAA people are pretty sneaky

Re:I dunno (0, Redundant)

Enlightenment (1073994) | about 6 years ago | (#24442833)

The summary should read "...amici curiae..."

Re:I dunno (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443195)

Honestly... (-1, Redundant)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24442773)

If this was any other business or industry doing this, other then the music/movie/software industries, they would be laughed at. Think of it this way, would Starbucks sue the customers it has because they switched over to McDonalds coffee? I don't really think so...

Re:Honestly... (3, Insightful)

PunditGuy (1073446) | about 6 years ago | (#24442799)

They'd sue the hell out of McDonalds if McDonalds offered Starbucks coffee without a license.

Re:Honestly... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24442835)

Ummm... Isn't that practically what McDonalds is doing with the new "McCafe" or whatever it is called? Sure it isn't the same recipe, but it could be argued that the torrents on the site because they are MP3s and not the original CDs, are different.

Re:Honestly... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#24443035)

That's right. A transcoding is not a "copy." It bears no relation whatever to the sound or video recording alleged to be infringed. At most the misleading title is a trademark violation. A sufficiently engineered codec could take as input the source code to the Linux kernel and produce as output Britney Spears' latest single too. That doesn't mean that linux is a copy of a computer simulated tonally corrected mixture of a woman's voice with bad background music.

Re:Honestly... (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24443181)

Analog 'copies' have long been considered copies, even thought they really aren't. Dancing around and pretending that you could possibly engineer an encoder that does what you state without ever referring to the original slutmix is just silly non-sense.

Re:Honestly... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24443269)

When you take a file, it is binary. Be it the source code to Linux, the newest hit song, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. When you convert an audio file from CD format, to MP3, the bits change. Rather than the first few bits being 00101010001010, they might be 1101010001.

And when you throw in fair use, the same string of bits that might be used for 3 different things. Face it, our laws were meant for an analog world, when you use them in a digital context they just are plain stupid

Re:Honestly... (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24443383)

Oh please. I challenge you to come up with a string of 1000 bits that has 3 different (meaningful!) meanings, let alone a string of 4 million bits, which is much more representative of mp3 compressed audio. If you manage to accomplish that, I challenge you to find 9 more.

(Note that there are [301 digit number starting with 1 that the lameness filter will not accept] different 1000 bit numbers...)

Copyright terms and so forth do not fit current technology, but the digital/analog divergence that you are arguing is the worst kind of logical contortion (the kind where you simply ignore inconvenient facts and information).

Re:Honestly... (3, Informative)

Siffy (929793) | about 6 years ago | (#24443575)

Just a pedantic correction to help make the task even harder. It's actually closer to 48 million bits for the "average 3.5 minute song". Almost no one uses 128kbit mp3s anymore with storage so cheap, 192kbit is more the norm. I just looked at an album here and average per track was over 70 million bits, but those were extended length remixes.

Re:Honestly... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24443609)

Yeah, thanks, I left out at least one 8 in there. Yay beer.

Re:Honestly... (3, Funny)

Siffy (929793) | about 6 years ago | (#24443655)

Remember to drink those in multiples of 8 as well. That should help your Slashdot experience.

Re:Honestly... (5, Interesting)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#24443515)

Don't be an idiot. Copyright holds the concept of a derived work, and you cannot distribute a work that is derived from a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright holder. An encoded version of a music track is clearly derived from the original music track, and as such distributing it without permission is against the law.

Programmers tend to think that any law which can't be expressed in Perl (or Python or whatever) is too ambiguous to be useful. This is, however, not how things actually work.

Re:Honestly... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24443635)

Use of "fixed that for you" shall be considered proof that the user is a complete tool.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Honestly... (3, Funny)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24443051)

The first guy to cook a piece of cow loves the way you think.

Re:Honestly... (4, Insightful)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 6 years ago | (#24443301)

but it could be argued that the torrents on the site because they are MP3s and not the original CDs, are different.

No, it couldn't. Regardless of the format, be it MP3, CD, cassette, 8 track cartridge, vinyl LP or Edison phonograph, if the order of notes and chords, lyrics, style, and performance are the same, it's the same as far as copyright is concerned.

Or, to put it another way, if the listener can identify it as the same song, it's the same song. The actual order of 1s and 0s is irrelevant, because they're only a storage medium that has to be translated back to something you can hear. CD and MP3 differ only in the accuracy of reproduction; if encoding to MP3 changed the fundamental nature of the music it would be an utterly useless format.

Re:Honestly... (2, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | about 6 years ago | (#24443447)

Yes, all that and even if it wasn't, an MP3 would certainly be a derivative work of the CD.

Re:Honestly... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#24443481)

Right, but even if for the sake of argument one wishes to consider the MP3 different than the original recording that doesn't change anything.

An MP3 file would then be a derivative work and as such could only be made legally by the original copyright holder or somebody licensed the the holder to do the work.

You'd still have to demonstrate that the particular use was qualified for a fair use defense. You've gained nothing at all from the exercise. You'd still be banned from distributing the files without permission.

Re:Honestly... (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#24442943)

And if this was about people actually selling pirated DVDs, it'd be a different story.

This is closer to suing one person for over $10k per cup of coffee they stole.

I'm going to stick with that for the moment, as it's equally unfair to both sides -- stealing a cup of coffee actually deprives someone of potential revenue, whereas stealing a song is just a copy. But stealing a cup of coffee only feeds you (or your caffeine addiction) for a day -- you'll be back later, either to steal or to buy -- whereas stealing a song means you can listen to that same song again, as many times as you like.

But no matter how you want to spin it, stealing a cup of coffee does not carry a $10k fine. Stealing a song shouldn't, either.

Re:Honestly... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443013)

This is closer to suing one person for over $10k per cup of coffee they stole.

Actually stealing a CD doesn't get you into that, it's copying that does.

Re:Honestly... (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#24443047)

Let's face it, the penalties levelled were never going to stand up in court in the long run. They were never meant to. They're a threat designed to scare people into settling. If a few of the RIAA's actual court victories are overturned, so what? Their main revenue stream is out-of court. Until a judge puts down an injunction forbidding them from sending out threatening letters to the populace, they'll still have that.

Re:Honestly... (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24443233)

Their main revenue stream is out-of court.

Really? Is that true anymore? I haven't bought a single RIAA CD in 10 years and I don't think anyone I know has either.

Re:Honestly... (2, Interesting)

RobertM1968 (951074) | about 6 years ago | (#24443325)

Sadly (or gladly) enough people do still buy CDs. I know if it is a band I like, that I do.

The problem is, if (assuming) CD sales are declining, it's just more ammo for the RIAA to push for more legislation to "combat" their flawed sales model.

One thing that always gets a laugh out of me are all the people who claim they refuse to buy RIAA member released CDs thinking that will somehow stop the RIAA - when the truth is, as evidenced by too many statements made by the RIAA, they blame every decline in CD sales on piracy and use it as a lobbying effort for more intrusive laws and less consumer rights.

It's not like their money will run out tomorrow... thus, not buying from RIAA labels because they are RIAA labels, only helps them to change the legal landscape in a fashion that hurts consumers even more.

In that, the Bush Administration has already chimed in (on this very case) trying to convince the judge to not do what he is currently doing and to uphold/allow the judgement that currently stands.

When it's a matter of money or business in this country (especially with so many lobbyists helping craft these laws) who do you think is going to win?

Re:Honestly... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#24443507)

Right, because telling the courts how to do their jobs really worked well for his gitmo problems.

Judges are not perfect and in cases where they set aside laws they face a significant amount of backlash from people with no legal knowledge accusing them of judicial activism. Yes, sometimes the rulings absolutely boggle the mind such as whenever the SCOTUS chooses not to set or affirm precedence, but like it or not they do have the right to set aside laws that they deem to be in violation of the constitution.

Re:Honestly... (2, Informative)

Jimmy King (828214) | about 6 years ago | (#24443671)

The post you replied to was not saying their main revenue stream is selling CDs, it was saying their main revenue stream is getting people to settle out of court rather than going to court and possible having to pay more plus waste a bunch of time.

Re:Honestly... (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about 6 years ago | (#24443083)

Back before the Internet, copying a song from a record onto a cassette might deprive the RIAA member of a single sale. If that was what we were talking about, you would be correct.

This is not suing someone for downloading a song. This is about putting the song up for everyone on the Internet to download - potentially at least thousands or tens of thousands of people. So comparing it to stealing a single cup of coffee isn't quite correct. It is a lot closer to stealing hundreds of cups of coffee, maybe more.

The problem is, nobody knows how many people downloaded from Ms. Thomas. Nobody. Not even Ms. Thomas. Could be nobody. Could be the entire Internet-using population of the world. Nobody can find out. According to some, this means her liability should be ... nothing. I'm not sure that makes sense either.

Re:Honestly... (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#24443173)

This is not suing someone for downloading a song. This is about putting the song up for everyone on the Internet to download

I was going by TFS, which says, and I quote:

This is the case where a $222,000 verdict was awarded for downloading 24 songs

Furthermore, "making available" has, in fact, failed in court, at least once -- which means that they would have to show that he was actually distributing it.

The problem is, nobody knows how many people downloaded from Ms. Thomas. Nobody. Not even Ms. Thomas. Could be nobody. Could be the entire Internet-using population of the world. Nobody can find out.

Not strictly true. Depends what kind of logs the filesharing program kept, or her ISP.

According to some, this means her liability should be ... nothing.

I like to call it "innocent until proven guilty", but apparently, this doesn't apply to civil cases.

Re:Honestly... (1)

PK_ERTW (538588) | about 6 years ago | (#24443549)

This is the case where a $222,000 verdict was awarded for downloading 24 songs

RTFA. RIAA downloaded 24 songs from her.

Not strictly true. Depends what kind of logs the filesharing program kept, or her ISP.

And you are giving the RIAA the logs from your computer? Her ISP is not logging her file sharing activities.

I like to call it "innocent until proven guilty", but apparently, this doesn't apply to civil cases.

No, it does not. You are correct. One example of Oranthal, who was found innocent of double murder in a criminal trial, but guilty in a civil trial. At a civil trial the burden is not on the prosecutor to prove guilt. The court tries to determine what the most likely thing to happen was, then applies what they feel are the appropriate damages.

Re:Honestly... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#24443611)

And you are giving the RIAA the logs from your computer?

If subpoena'd, I think I'd kind of have to, right? My impulse is to destroy them, but that would be tampering with evidence.

Her ISP is not logging her file sharing activities.

And you know this how?

ISPs are starting to do deep packet inspection, which means some will have exactly these kinds of logs.

Re:Honestly... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443565)

Innocent until proven guilty does apply to civil cases in the sense that jurors are not to come to a conclusion about the case until the end after the judge's instructions have been given and closing statements made. If you serve on a trial of any length you'd hear the judge say that to keep an open mind at least twice daily.

It does not apply in the sense that it's not beyond the shadow of a doubt and the outcomes are often about liability rather than anything that could reasonably be considered guilt.

Sometimes for one reason or another a summary judgment will be entered on a particular issue, but as far as juries go who is found to be responsible or at fault is held to the end.

I'm just posting this AC style because I'm on the jury for a current case and I'd rather not have the one off chance of this screwing with things.

innocent until proven guilty (2, Informative)

falconwolf (725481) | about 6 years ago | (#24443649)

I like to call it "innocent until proven guilty", but apparently, this doesn't apply to civil cases.

Unlike criminal cases where guilt has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in civil cases it only require a preponderance of evidence or some such. That's why OJ won his criminal case but lost the civil case.

Falcon

Re:Honestly... (2, Insightful)

mariushm (1022195) | about 6 years ago | (#24443411)

No, this is actually like buying the newspaper and then leaving it on a bench in the park, for (potential) people to read.

You don't get sued if you leave the newspaper now, do you?

Not all people that see the newspaper will read it (download but never play or not download at all).

One person may actually take the newspaper and throw it in the trash (download and delete right away).

Other person may take it from the bench simply because he spilled coffee on his copy and he wants a better newspaper (download for backup or improvement over original copy).

Also, just because the song is available for others to download, it doesn't mean the owner intended to have other steal it (in some cases).

Re:Honestly... (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | about 6 years ago | (#24443663)

Aye, there's the rub. Prove how many people downloaded the share. Otherwise it should be considered a broadcast, and it is not the RIAA who should be mitigating the offense, but ASCAP and BMI.

Re:Honestly... (5, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | about 6 years ago | (#24443187)

Technically, it's closer to getting fined $14,000 for drinking coffee you found in the McDonald's dumpster. The company wasn't going to get any money from you anyway, but you still managed a caffeine buzz and a thirst quenchings. Meanwhile, dumpster diving means that you won't have to be asked "Do you want fries with that?" but it's questionable as to the quality of food you'll get, or whether you'll end up with a virus once you've finished getting what you're looking for.

Nervous? (4, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | about 6 years ago | (#24442783)

I think they're just bringing in the best hired gun that they can. No different from any other company or organization in that respect. This case is absolutely huge to them. Of course they're going to get the best counsel they can. Wouldn't they be foolish if they didn't?

Re:Nervous? (5, Insightful)

seanonymous (964897) | about 6 years ago | (#24442817)

Apparently industries are a bit like stars, in that the larger they are, the more they take with them when they collapse.

Washington DC lawyers are the best (5, Funny)

Nymz (905908) | about 6 years ago | (#24443029)

...and here is his unique game plan.

1) Ban reporters from courtroom
2) Turn off the lights
3) Win!!!

Re:Nervous? (1)

Longwalker-MGO (816354) | about 6 years ago | (#24443199)

Wouldn't they be foolish if they didn't?

Of course they would, however, you are acting like the RIAA is a sane entity - they arent. Even MS would think twice before sueing a 2000 year old grandmother, on social security, who dont have a clue how to work a computer. THATS foolish. I think the RIAA still thinks they can win this case. They are still so out of touch with reality and how their consumers are waking up to the fact thaat they are being ripped off, and are having their money stolen by the RIAA. When judges, who are so rich they probably have people use computers for them but never actually touched one, are starting to undestand the lies the RIAA is spewing, one would think the company weould get out of court as fast as possible.

Correct me if I am wrong but the RIAA is still opening new cases, are they not?

Re:RIAA thinks it can win... (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 6 years ago | (#24443289)

Suppose they do. Do you have enough energy to be angry, or shall we skip the effort and just wilt?

Re:Nervous? (4, Funny)

number11 (129686) | about 6 years ago | (#24443547)

Even MS would think twice before sueing a 2000 year old grandmother, on social security, who dont have a clue how to work a computer.

Whoa, slow down, if she's from a civilized part of the world, she probably speaks Latin or Chinese, but maybe not English (which didn't appear until she was at least 1000 years old, how many 1000-year-olds do you know who can learn a new language, so it's hard for her to defend herself in court). And I doubt that she's on social security, since her working years were well before the time that social security was invented. In her day, "social security" meant having a lot of male children. As for computers, she was probably pretty good in her day, but when your hands are gnarled with arthritis, it's difficult to slide the beads on the wires.

Re:Nervous? (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 6 years ago | (#24443287)

I'd even argue that it's un-American. And the good, Jeffersonian kind of American. Every entity in court should have the best representation possible. Monetary issues obviously come into play, but that's the "possible" part.

Re:Nervous? (1)

xs650 (741277) | about 6 years ago | (#24443395)

"Wouldn't they be foolish if they didn't?"

They have already established the foolish part by using unlicensed PIs etc.

Only on Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24442787)

Only here can you start a summary with "I guess...," followed by complete speculation and get away with it.

Re:Only on Slashdot (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24442819)

Only here can you start a summary with "I guess...," followed by complete speculation and get away with it.

Yeah, that Ray Beckerman, what a poser. *facepalm*

Mod parent down pls, kthx.

Re:Only on Slashdot (3, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 6 years ago | (#24443299)

Actually... he's an incredibly respectable lawyer who is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject, and writes the entire story based off good, solid facts. His only fault is for using a good lead-in sentence to get you hooked.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24442811)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
RIAA gets nervous, brings in goatse man [goatse.cz]

A battle of most epic proportions! (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24442857)

Sounds pretty epic! Do they allow people to take pop-corn into the court?

Re:A battle of most epic proportions! (4, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 6 years ago | (#24443305)

No, they'd make a movie out of it, and it would do brilliantly at the box office. Then they could sue people for copying it.

Ouroboros FTW!

Don't forget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24442869)

Don't forget to tag this article (and all articles relating to the RIAA, MPAA and anyone similar) with the tag "bastards".

The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (4, Insightful)

grolaw (670747) | about 6 years ago | (#24442883)

And, this seems like a good stopping point. As of 1976 we had 2 26 year terms for a copyright, the act was amended that year and has been amended so many times since that whole treatises exist just to explain the changes in the law over a 32 year period.

What is particularly outrageous is the Sonny Bono extension - or, Save Mickey from the Public Domain Act. That crazy amendment brought material that was in the public domain back into copyright!

The great argument was that the authors would be more motivated to create with longer royalty periods - the only problem: I haven't heard any new creations from George and Ira Gershwin - the lazy bastards (ok, they're dead). The real reason to extend and extend these terms is to allow the corporate assignees to continue to profit. Disney was a strong backer because Mickey was about to become public domain - and that mouse is worth millions to its corporate masters.

The RIAA has been raking in the loot for 10-15 years now - and it is about time to put a stop to this kind of bs. I think that Monday will be the beginning of the end of the RIAA's tactics.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (1)

twmcneil (942300) | about 6 years ago | (#24443043)

and that mouse is worth millions^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ga-zillions to its corporate masters

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (1)

grolaw (670747) | about 6 years ago | (#24443207)

Is that in 1928 dollars?

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (0)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24443169)

Agreed. End copyright. We'll get along without it.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (4, Insightful)

grolaw (670747) | about 6 years ago | (#24443271)

I wouldn't go so far as to end it. A reasonable time - say 30 years - ought to be enough. Romeo & Juliet became West Side Story. Now, Leonard Bernstein's music is still in copyright as is Arthur Laurents (book), and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics....

But, from 1957 when the play opened on Broadway, only Sondheim is still alive. That show is 51 years old and by our current copyright laws it could remain in copyright (for one or more of the three creations) for at least another 50 years. What makes a fine derivative work like West Side Story so special that another Bernstein or Laurents or Sondheim couldn't build onto West Side Story and create another masterpiece - but not for another 50 years?

As for that damned mouse and its creator - Disney needs less income - it owns so much now that it can't keep track of it all.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24443579)

No. A law that tries to control the right to copy makes no sense in a world where everyone has every day access to copying machines. The direct social benefits of copying cannot be denied by the naive backwards belief that restriction of that copying is the best way to encourage the creation of new works. We now know that is wrong. We now know that, in fact, the exact opposite is true - people create more new works when they have free access to the work of others. Some of us have known this for centuries, but we tolerated the nonsense of the singers and song-writers because there really wasn't much harm being done. Now this absurd conspiracy against the public interest must be stopped.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (5, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#24443519)

"That crazy amendment brought material that was in the public domain back into copyright!"

Now that is what I call stealing.

Anyway, if people think the pace of progress is getting faster and faster (or want it to be so), and that marketing and distribution is better than years ago, then it makes no sense that copyright terms should be getting longer and longer.

Logically they should be getting shorter and shorter.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 years ago | (#24443657)

"That crazy amendment brought material that was in the public domain back into copyright!"

Now that is what I call stealing.

Hell, just extending the term of copyright is blatant theft from the public domain. The works were created under the terms of the social contract that existed at the time. The creators agreed to the terms, the public agreed to the terms when it paid the creators and their distributors. Then the lawyers yanked the rug out from underneath us, kept the money and kept the creations.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | about 6 years ago | (#24443607)

"What is particularly outrageous is the Sonny Bono extension" I concur. The most egregious theft of public property in the history of the nation, IMHO.

Re:The abuse of Copyright has gone far enough (3, Interesting)

Blackhalo (572408) | about 6 years ago | (#24443625)

Of course the real breadwinner for Disney is Pooh. Also saved from public domain by Bono, may he burn in hell for his crimes against the people he should have served.

It proves how stupid they were to begin with (2, Insightful)

LM741N (258038) | about 6 years ago | (#24442911)

1. Using a crappy law firms
2. Using unlicensed PI's to supposedly download songs
3. Using a business model from 50 years ago in a post Y2K world
4. Not figuring out for years how to make money off of music the old fashioned way- by earning it through new ways of distribution, not by suing people.
5. By potentially generating so much case law that even the MPAA will have to give up as well

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about 6 years ago | (#24443137)

I think you miss the point with #4. There is no revenue in recorded music anymore. I know I'm not buying any, and nobody I know is buying any. Anyone that knows how to is downloading it for free. Some folks think they are clever by saying they will eventually buy something when it is the right price and right quality. In the meantime, they are downloading as well and not paying.

I'd like to hear about a business model whereby the artists produce the music and put it out on the Internet for free. Where is the "business" here? If I download and never, ever even think about going to a concert or buying an overpriced T-shirt, where exactly is the "business"? I surely do not see one.

I think the "business" of music is pretty much over. There are the people that know the world owes them an audience because they are so great, and there are the people that love the idea of singing or playing and will do it no matter if anyone pays them or not. We don't need more of the first sort - watch the beginning of the American Idol season for some examples. We may benefit in the end from the latter sort, but they gotta eat too. So there will be very few of them. Too bad, really.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443223)

If I download and never, ever even think about going to a concert or buying an overpriced T-shirt, where exactly is the "business"?

Then you are very short sighted. The business is in commercials, radio, and movies. Royalties from these areas will have to be the new model. You create a song to make a product popular. Whenever people hear the song, it's instant advertising. "Start me up" makes me think of windows every time.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (2, Informative)

entrigant (233266) | about 6 years ago | (#24443265)

I have membership accounts with emusic.com and magnatune.com. There, now you know someone who is buying music.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443273)

I buy recorded music from artists I like. Artists I don't like I wouldn't download anyway...

The only music I download is before it comes out and I'm going to see that band in concert. Then I buy it when it comes out.

Maybe I'm crazy

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (1)

LM741N (258038) | about 6 years ago | (#24443277)

Sorry, but I'm going all vinyl. So music files in my computer are of little importance. I love looking around in used record stores, occasionally finding some gems on the cheap.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (3, Informative)

dahitokiri (1113461) | about 6 years ago | (#24443319)

Nine Inch Nails "Ghosts I-IV".

A week after the album's release, the official Nine Inch Nails site reported over 750,000 purchase and download transactions, amassing over US$1.6 million in sales. Pre-orders of the $300 "Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition" sold out in less than three days of its release.

Ghosts I-IV [wikipedia.org]

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443349)

I agree that American Idol and fuckwit nu-metal and pop bands that can't put on a live show to save their life are on the way out. However, there will always be a huge portion of the population creating music and other forms of art whether they can profit from it or not, and the fact is if something is enjoyed widely enough those who produce it will be able to live off of it.

Look at Radiohead's new album. Download it, then pay for it if you can, however much you think it is worth. It still made millions.

We're watching the dying throes of the music "industry" which has been humping musicians for a half century, but music isn't going anywhere my friend.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (1)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | about 6 years ago | (#24443455)

I think you miss the point with #4. There is no revenue in recorded music anymore. I know I'm not buying any, and nobody I know is buying any. Anyone that knows how to is downloading it for free. Some folks think they are clever by saying they will eventually buy something when it is the right price and right quality. In the meantime, they are downloading as well and not paying.

Apple Apparently Turned $570 Million Profit from ITunes Last Year [wired.com]

Quote: "So when revenue is brought back to the States, Billboard estimates iTunes' music download revenue at $1.9 billion last year"

That must be 1.9 billion imaginary dollars.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (2, Insightful)

smoker2 (750216) | about 6 years ago | (#24443561)

The recording industry as we know it has been going for around 60 years. And in all that time, all that has changed (that they have provided) is the packaging. Vinyl, 8 track, cassette, cd, all of which needed specialist manufacture. Now they have nothing left to offer the artist, except maybe an advance - which they won't get if there is no "product" to recoup the advance from.
<Something deep here>

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 6 years ago | (#24443595)

"I'd like to hear about a business model whereby the artists produce the music and put it out on the Internet for free."

The same business model whereby writers write books, the publisher sells a single copy to a library and fifty people borrow it for free.

The existence of the public library doesn't stop people from buying books. On the contrary, libraries creates book-lovers and sustain the book business.

Re:It proves how stupid they were to begin with (4, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 6 years ago | (#24443445)

I hate the RIAA as much as the next /.er, but let's not forget - that business model fucking rocked. Not for the artists, but for them. And they're not the artists, they're themselves. I know if my seven-figure paycheck depended on screwing everyone else, I'd just ask where the condoms were!

To quote Upton Sinclair,

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

hahah (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 6 years ago | (#24442923)

knew this was gonna happen eventually when 1 person fights and finds a flaw its not long before more start and the cracks in their "concrete solid" case start to be found and people start hittin on them with the hammers.

Friend of the court? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 years ago | (#24442931)

Well, I didn't know the phrase amicus curiae before, so I looked it up in Wikipedia and... I can't help it, it sounds a tad bit like "lobbying for courtrooms".

How do courts keep this from happening? Or do they, actually?

Re:Friend of the court? (4, Informative)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#24442993)

The Court can decide what briefs it accepts or not.

Arguably, I think the briefs are misfiled and that the process of the amicus curiae is being abused; A good amicus brief should, in my opinion, not be filed in support of any particular side, but in defense if a particular argument of law or explanation of fact.

What do you think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443089)

> Arguably, I think the briefs are misfiled and that the process of the amicus curiae is being abused; A good amicus brief should, in my opinion, not be filed in support of any particular side, but in defense if a particular argument of law or explanation of fact.

Will they throw out the "amicus" brief from the RIAA-owned organization, or just ignore it?

Re:What do you think? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#24443175)

Or perhaps they will incorporate some of its information.

How should I know? I haven't read it.

The difficulty with these briefs is that everybody's got an angle. Everybody wants something, and to be perfectly honest, it's never 'good will toward mankind and advancement of the human race'- or if it is, that's only incidental to the primary purpose.

At least where the plaintiff and defendant stand is clear. Where 'friends' of the court stand is much less so, and for that reason I think they're being (not just here, but in general) and are abused.

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | about 6 years ago | (#24443117)

Arguably, I think the briefs are misfiled and that the process of the amicus curiae is being abused; A good amicus brief should, in my opinion, not be filed in support of any particular side, but in defense if a particular argument of law or explanation of fact.

In fairness to the amici, the briefs are on a particular point of law ("whether the Court committed a manifest error of law in instructing the jury that '[t]he act of making copyrighted sound recordings available for electronic distribution on a peer-to-peer network, without license from the copyright owners, violates the copyright owners' exclusive right of distribution, regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown." ), not just in support of one side.

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#24443227)

Yeah, I know... but I think that, as a question of law, is really too broad a topic. I wouldn't mind a nice brief (and as I said in a sibling comment, I haven't read the briefs, so keep that in mind) that merely sets out the qualifications for how one might mis-instruct a jury and how the elements of this case press upon those elements, without drawing a conclusion- because, to be perfectly frank, I feel that is the job of the Court and the Court alone. Counsel for the parties are allowed to propound a specific view of the facts; the Court decides on one- but an Amicus should just bring forward information.

All that said, let's be honest- all amicus briefs are filed in support of one side or another. Nobody goes to the trouble, expense, and time of filing one just to turn around and say "Oh well, we don't care who wins just so long as the Court knew what they were talking about!"

I just really dislike intervenor status... because it's a way for people to jump in on the sides of an argument they really shouldn't be in in the first place. You might say (and people do) that they do have a right to be in the argument because their rights will be unfairly prejudiced if the conclusion goes one way or another... and I think that's the excuse that many 'friends of the court' use.

But in that case, they're not friends of the court- they're plaintiffs or defendants, and they should join the action as one or the other if they feel that way. The problem is, I don't doubt most of them fail to meet the basic qualifications to do so. In that respect, then, I'm not sure they really do have sufficient status to back-door their way in by claiming to be friends of the court.

Now, I suppose I should point out that this is my opinion, and not the way things work, but that should really be obvious.

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | about 6 years ago | (#24443315)

I understand where you're coming from. You're right that, in practice, they are supporting one side or the other - the only way it could be otherwise is if the amicus wrote a brief on a point that didn't effect either party, but then it would just be a waste of the judge's time (or, more likely, the clerk's).

Be that as it may, though, I think that they are, on the whole, a good thing. Amicus briefs can serve a useful purpose - they may bring up arguments that the parties missed. Since all they can do to influence the decision is have good arguments or be from impressive authors, I think that the benefit outweighs the harm.

Anyway, I don't think the kind of dispassionate "bringing forward information" you're talking about is really possible. If you're qualified to be writing an amicus brief, you have to be well-versed in the law. If you can't see the effect the information you're presenting would have on the parties, then the information is probably so general as to be useless. If you can see how it effects the outcome, then doesn't it seem sort of ridiculous to have to hold your tongue, and walk the judge just short of the conclusion?

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#24443361)

I'm not sure that's true at all. For example, I often go to the Law Library to look up vague topics related to cases- for example, I was there today looking up the law of evidence as it relates to hearsay and exceptions to the hearsay rule. The work as presented in the text was certainly well written, wasn't useless at all, and despite that was entirely unbiased when related to the case at hand (for obvious reasons).

It's possible to write a legal treatise about specific points of law without making it obvious you're supporting a side- essentially, bringing up directions, trends, case law, other reference works, and so on. And I think that, essentially, was what the amicus was supposed to represent- not to mention other matters (than law) which the Court would not be well-versed upon, like the mechanics of soil-irrigation or whatever the case was about; in those cases, the amicus brief would merely explain the specific matters relating to the topic for the Court.

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | about 6 years ago | (#24443533)

Yes, but presumably the judge already has access to treatises on jury instructions generally - if this were all that the amici were presenting, I don't see it as being very helpful. When you actually get down to the specific question at issue here, you could try to simply present the most relevant material, but something tells me that in most cases, the parties have already done this. Perhaps in a situation where the courts do not have access to the kind of information that is now easily available, I would agree that just presenting a short tutorial on the law of jury instructions would be helpful, and that is probably the role in which amici curiae evolved. However, the situation being what it is, I just don't see the use of this sort of limited assistance.

I guess our disagreement comes down to whether or not it's appropriate for third parties to present analysis of any kind to the court. Would you think it wrong for the judge to read a bunch of opinionated law review articles on the subject while trying to decide the case? What's the difference between that and being presented with amicus curiae briefs? I see allowing legal minds to present arguments on both sides as almost a sort of crowdsourcing - this way, deficiencies in the individual parties' lawyers can be compensated for, and the best consensus on the meaning of the law presented.

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#24443583)

I think you brought forward the difference yourself- 'is it appropriate for third parties to present analysis of any kind to the court' is different from 'can people write opinionated analysis?'.

The answer in the latter case is, of course, yes. In the former, I would argue no; that's what the parties to the action are for. They're there to present their cases, and nobody else should be doing so unless they can get themselves added to the action as parties.

As for crowd-sourcing, I think that's a reasonable argument... but I would turn around and point to the group polarization phenomenon. People who are surveyed in a vacuum are likely to be more 'realistic' for lack of a better term than those who are involved in a matter with a group of other people who have differing opinions- the natural reaction is to become more radical in your own opinion to counter it.

I wouldn't mind at all if the judge went to the law review and had his clerks flip fifty coins to decide on half that number of randomly-selected journal articles about the issue. At least then s/he can be said to be going out on their own and conducting investigation (in much the style of the inquisitorial court system, vaguely.)

 

Re:Friend of the court? (1)

LeafOnTheWind (1066228) | about 6 years ago | (#24443503)

Mod parent up - amici curiae are fine and were often meant to be used in this manner. The main concern is if the brief has merit prima facie - which can and is determined by the judge when he reads the brief.

Re:Friend of the court? (4, Insightful)

adminstring (608310) | about 6 years ago | (#24442995)

Unlike letters to members of Congress from lobbyists, amicus briefs are generally not sent with a check stapled to them.

This means that they are not really a problem the way lobbying Congress is a problem, because amicus briefs contain nothing to influence a judge other than the merit of their arguments (and maybe a bit of the perceived prestige of whoever wrote them.)

Re:Friend of the court? (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24443041)

Well, I didn't know the phrase amicus curiae before, so I looked it up in Wikipedia and... I can't help it, it sounds a tad bit like "lobbying for courtrooms". How do courts keep this from happening? Or do they, actually?

For the most part, amicus curiae briefs are encouraged, much like pro bono work. Anyone with enough money can hire lawyers to exhaustively research legally grey areas looking for precedents. Friend of the court briefs are generally used to help even the odds for people without those kind of resources. In this case, for example, an important precedent being discussed and high priced lawyers funded by a huge cartel (convicted of criminal actions) is suing an individual with no real resources. When concerned experts volunteer their time to help the court have all the information from the other side, well I think that is a good thing.

And this is surprising because? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24442977)

Having good lawyers on both sides can really cut through a lot of the fluff and the misery in a case like this. Of course, if the lawyers deliberately want to exacerbate the problem and the judge isn't on the ball, they can make things worse. But otherwise, why would the RIAA not want the best lawyer it can get?

They've already had their expert "ambushed" with Daubert in the previous UMG vs. Lindor deposition that Ray Beckerman posted. This is 100% a rookie mistake. A competent firm would have briefed the expert and all related parties extensively on Daubert to ensure this doesn't happen. The downside for the opposition is that a better lawyer has a better chance of avoiding these rookie mistakes, so you have to actually argue facts rather than procedure.

Do all of you who rail against the RIAA really want them defeated because they hired crappy lawyers, or do you want them defeated on the merits? I fear that the answer from the Slashdot crowd at large is "either way, doesn't matter" but I think that's a little intellectually dishonest.

In P2P file sharing, copyright infringement is taking place. It is almost certainly NOT fair use. If you don't like it, you really need to be writing your members of Congress to change Copyright law. An issue like Capitol v. Thomas, where the issue seems to have shifted toward the magnitude of damages, is something that can be fought in the courts. And if it is to be fought in the courts, let it be fought on the essence of the issues and not on accidental factors such as the quality of the attorneys involved.

Re:And this is surprising because? (5, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | about 6 years ago | (#24443323)

Do all of you who rail against the RIAA really want them defeated because they hired crappy lawyers, or do you want them defeated on the merits? I fear that the answer from the Slashdot crowd at large is "either way, doesn't matter" but I think that's a little intellectually dishonest.

Personally (and I don't think I'm alone in this) I want to see them defeated because of the tactics they are using. It's not so much that they have crappy lawyers (I couldn't say one way or the other), but that they are using crappy evidence in order to intimidate people into coughing up money. I couldn't say how many people who get hit with these lawsuits are *actually* infringing copyright. But what I can say with some conviction is that the evidence the RIAA is presenting should not be enough to decide the case. Couple that with the shotgun approach to selecting defendants (targets), and it really makes me want them shut down.

Many people on Slashdot (possibly even most) make their living from creating copyrighted works. The people here are in an interesting position of being creators *and* users. Many of us would prefer to see different business models emerge that make life better for users. This, despite the fact that we are creators (imagine that!). Given our position, I don't think it's terribly unusual that we have a bias against distributors, who are neither creators nor users. We would prefer that the link between creator and user be shortened -- to 0 if possible.

So while I understand your point, I think it's quite reasonable for many of us to despise the RIAAs tactics, fear their use of shoddy evidence *and* wish that they (and their ilk) disappear for good. From our perspective, life only gets better without the distribution cartels.

Re:And this is surprising because? (3, Interesting)

Celarnor (835542) | about 6 years ago | (#24443329)

In P2P file sharing, copyright infringement is taking place. It is almost certainly NOT fair use.

All of the times I have downloaded music via torrents, I either already own the piece that it was ripped from, or the music was licensed in such a way that this form of distribution was allowed.

Fair use says (or it should, at any rate; it may not have been tested in courts yet) I can have a copy of my music that isn't encumbered with DRM crapware; if I've bought my music outright, then I'm sure as hell entitled to play it on anything I want--not just in itunes and on my iPod Touch.

The RIAA wants you to believe that you need extra licenses to play it on your computers if you have more than 4 of them, that it is reasonable to have to deal with these measures.

Its sad that they've managed to convince you that these are reasonable measures, but I'm not so easily persuaded.

Re:And this is surprising because? (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | about 6 years ago | (#24443367)

In P2P file sharing, copyright infringement is taking place. It is almost certainly NOT fair use.

I think most /.'ers want "Fair use" to be extended to include any copying/distribution that is profit free.

I know I do.

Re:And this is surprising because? (5, Insightful)

magus_melchior (262681) | about 6 years ago | (#24443405)

Do all of you who rail against the RIAA really want them defeated because they hired crappy lawyers, or do you want them defeated on the merits?
I realize that the case law precedent would be stronger if they were defeated on a thorough review of their arguments, but if a loss by a technicality grants an injunction against their driftnet attack on their own customers, I for one am all for it.

And, aside from the idiots who screwed up in UMG vs. Lindor, they're not crappy lawyers, IMO. They are lawyers who know the law and procedures enough to avoid following the intended purpose. That's not easy to do, unless you divest yourself of your conscience and common sense. After reading NYCL's article summarizing their tactics, I am sure many here would agree that they should at least be investigated and sanctioned, if not disbarred.

That said, if this big-shot lawyer plays by the rules and if he's defeated by reason in the Capitol hearing, this will effectively ice the RIAA's campaign and crush any hope of the same tactic by the MPAA and BSA. I'm thinking NYCL's excited about this, as the RIAA has spent time and resources to try to keep the courts from seeing that they are acting much like the stereotypical mafia boys roughing up innocent people for payment. I'm sure you'll agree that while there are legions of downloaders grabbing infringing content, there are far more people who only use the Web and email without any clue what a P2P application is.

Re:And this is surprising because? (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | about 6 years ago | (#24443571)

I just want them defeated. On merit would be a bonus.

Thanks for the Heads-Up Ray (1)

twmcneil (942300) | about 6 years ago | (#24443071)

This is going to be a good one.

Excuse me, got to get some popcorn.

Stop the RIAA!!! (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | about 6 years ago | (#24443105)

Please...think of the grandmothers.

Big Gun? (1)

DustoneGT (969310) | about 6 years ago | (#24443115)

Can we keep and bear his arms after we cut them off?

Maybe is time (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#24443365)

to go to their level and start to use the Chewbacca defense.

wake me when you have something new to say (1)

westlake (615356) | about 6 years ago | (#24443369)

Everyone brings in their big guns in on appeal.
.

Granny is not the victim - the incontinent - drooling - rocking-chair stereotype the Geek chooses to project.

These days Granny is sitting on the Bench.

Little Red Riding Hood has got herself a Wii and is whooping it up in the basement with the Big Bad Wolf - and don't think for a moment she doesn't know it.

The appellate judge is quite deliberately from the removed from the pumped-up moral outrage and melodrama of the courtroom. It is perhaps just as well, because he has every reason to be cynical.

Precedent (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 6 years ago | (#24443401)

It is not about money, it is about precedent.

.

Money is strictly short-term, precedents affect the long-term.

The RIAA want precedents to be set such that they can continue to harass innocent people without regard for the consequences of their mistakes.

THIS IS AWESOME!!! (4, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | about 6 years ago | (#24443499)

Now we know they're almost done!

From video game experience, we all know that the boss brings out his most dangerous and powerful weapon right before you win.

just among friends? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24443527)

can't we just call a nigger a nigger?
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