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RIAA To Stop Prosecuting Individual File Sharers

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the declare-victory-and-withdraw dept.

The Courts 619

debatem1 writes "According to the Wall Street Journal, the RIAA has decided to abandon its current tactic of suing individuals for sharing copyrighted music. Ongoing lawsuits will be pursued to completion, but no new ones will be filed. The RIAA is going to try working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users. This very surprising development apparently comes as a result of public distaste for the campaign." An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

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Film and TV producers also call for action (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171635)

Dear Sir,

We are a group of UK film and TV producers, directors and writers. We are concerned that the successes of the creative industries in the UK are being undermined by the illegal online file-sharing [today.com] of film and TV.

We are asking the Government to show its support by ensuring that internet service providers play their part in tackling this huge problem by giving us money. Lots of money. Just keep piling it in, we'll tell you when it's enough.

In 2007, up to (well, it could be) 25 per cent of all online TV piracy took place in the UK. Popular shows are downloaded illegally hundreds of thousands of times per episode, and some of them might even be ours rather than something American made with an actual budget.

It is true that in 2008, UK commercial TV broadcasters enjoyed the highest viewing figures in five years, that total TV viewing was up 10% year-on-year, and the valuable yet hard-to-reach 16 to 24-year-old demographic (the typical file-sharer) watched 4.9% more commercial TV and saw 12% more ads. But it's the principle of the thing: someone is getting money from something that touches something one of us once touched, therefore the money belongs to us. This is the style of corporate thinking that brought Britain its great economic gains from 1997 to 2007, after all.At a time when so many jobs are being lost in the wider economy, it is especially important that our gravy train be maintained.

Internet service providers have the ability to change the behaviour of those customers who illegally distribute content online. They have the power to make significant change and to prevent their infrastructure from being used on a wholesale scale for illegal activity. They have the power to stop people looking at the cover of Virgin Killer. They have a secret magic wand that will fix everything wrong with the media industry's income streams and they are refusing, with malice aforethought, to use it. If they are not prepared to give us all the free money we ask for and a bit more besides, they should be compelled to do so.

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171703)

>>>some of them might even be ours rather than something American made with an actual budget.

LOL.

What ye need is a pan-European broadcaster that produces dramas with mega-budgets. Something like NBC Europe.

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (1)

daniorerio (1070048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171749)

Really? And in what language should they be producing this?

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (3, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171777)

Esperanto. I bet the market for that is on the cusp.

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171853)

Europanto. The proto-language of bureaucratic circumlocutions and evasions that translates equally meaninglessly into all standard European languages. After a while, Eurocrats begin to think in it.

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (0)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172103)

English of course. It's the international language of the internet, and everyone understands it. (Or soon will.)

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172175)

English of course. It's the international language of the internet, and everyone understands it. (Or soon will.)

In that case Chinese probably would make more sense in the long term...

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171907)

Dear God, no. Not NBC, thank you. We'll happily take HBO off your hands, though...

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (4, Informative)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171925)

In case anyone is wondering this seems to be a variation on this Letter to the Times [timesonline.co.uk] .

Re:Film and TV producers also call for action (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172057)

I've actually just now sent the above text as a letter to the Times ;-)

Did they finally get some legal advice? (5, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171651)

I mean, their current methods have apparently atleast been in breach of investigative laws in several states and they may still end up in mess because of it, but ending the thing will atleast lessen the exposure..

Alternative explanation is that they have actually understood that extortion is bad.. nah.. not likely.

Re:Did they finally get some legal advice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171875)

I suspect the former instead of the latter in this case. If they persisted, they could have made things worse when the stuff hits the fan over their unlicensed PI (which is what MediaSentry, et al. are acting as...) doing investigative work in Mass, Texas, and elsewhere- and it's not just civil crimes they're committing, it's criminal. (Not to mention that they're going to have trouble with prosecuting those cases because they can't commit a criminal or tortious act in defending their rights or determining that their rights are being infringed...dirty hands invalidates any civil filing...)

Re:Did they finally get some legal advice? (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171917)

The new tactic is lobby not litigate - far worse in the long run since they can keep trying to influence policy and legislation ad infinitem even if they get shot down the first time.

Re:Did they finally get some legal advice? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172147)

It also shifts the costs of enforcement (and the negative PR) to the government. Why bother pursuing people you *think* might be infringing and deal with the situation via civil means when you can just have the FBI issue the appropriate paperwork, and have them bust the door down?

Re:Did they finally get some legal advice? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172035)

FTSummary: An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

Success, my ass -- this justification is the same as saying, "We did it because, 'Nyah, nyah, made you look!'"

3-Strike Law coming soon... (2, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171659)

Just like the French. First you give us fried potatoes to clog our arteries, then you dump your "huddled masses" from your country to the U.S., and now you invent the 3-strike law to ban us from ISPs without due process of law (a jury trial).

>>>The RIAA is going to try to working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users.

Thanks. ;-)

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171719)

Which leads me to ask - what would entice an ISP to follow the RIAA's 'suggestions'? Very few of them have anything to do with the entertainment industry directly. And I believe the DMCA renders immunity to anyone acting as an ISP/gateway IIRC. On the other hand, you have a paying customer.

It would help to know what weapon an opponent such as this is going to use.

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (5, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171753)

"Banning repeat offenders will reduce your congestion issues and your costs." - RIAA

"That sounds good to us! We already impose limits on high-bandwidth users; if you back us up we can ban them completely!" - Comcast

"Excellent." - RIAA

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171813)

Yes, but music files are relatively extremely small these day compared to video. You probably consume the same magnitude of bandwidth looking at your average webpage these days. Or more watching youtube.

It's just not on the same scale or torrenting videos.

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (5, Funny)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171989)

You are applying logic to RIAA's fanaticism? How amusing. ;-)

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (3, Interesting)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172111)

Yes, but music files are relatively extremely small these day compared to video.

But I would be willing to bet that a majority of movie pirates also pirate music. It doesn't matter to the ISP why they kick them off; it reduces bandwidth consumed either way.

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (3, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172197)

And as more and more users become interested in mass streaming media, a less restrictive ISP will suddenly show up and steal all their customers away.

It's bandwidth. Bandwidth is relatively cheap - what Comcast users are allocated in a month, most servers push out in a single day, yet my cable bill costs more than any one of my servers.

The infrastructure is already there, and much of it was built with government funds anyway. With deregulation and all that fun stuff, there is a lot of room for a new player to join the game, with a slightly less greedy image and a whole lotta more intertube goodness. In reality, these cheap alternatives already exist in many areas, they just don't advertise because, well, I don't expect the cable company to give good ad rates to its competitors... but they exist, and while some of them suck, a lot of them are far more generous than their colossal adversaries.

Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172079)

Which leads me to ask - what would entice an ISP to follow the RIAA's 'suggestions'? Very few of them have anything to do with the entertainment industry directly.

Most, if not all, major ISPs in the US have television offerings with pay-per-view and premium channels. Verizon, Comcast, Cox - just off the top of my head. Piracy is competition for those services.

Unfair! Unfair! (5, Funny)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171791)

Just like the French. First you give us fried potatoes to clog our arteries

Hey, wait a minute! French fries allegedly come from Belgium [wikipedia.org] . Both the French and the Belgians consider the term "French fries" to be grossly unfair: the Belgians feel they deserve the credit, and the French feel they don't deserve the blame.

Of course, there is the possibility that the first prototype fries were planted in Belgium by French agents provocateurs.

Re:Unfair! Unfair! (5, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171839)

It isn't like the rest of French cuisine is Richard-Simmons-Approved when eaten in the kind of quantities Americans typically eat things, so I don't see why they'd care about fries in particular.

I liked that period of time where we were supposed to call them "Freedom Fries". It made it easier to spot imbeciles.

Re:Unfair! Unfair! (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171933)

Hell, wherever they come from, they don't *need* to be forced in in double handfuls...

Exhausted (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171671)

Can you blame them? I mean you rape and you rape, and then one day, well, you just can't rape anymore. For five minutes. Then you just switch holes and go for another round.

File sharing isn't illegal. (4, Interesting)

spike1 (675478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171677)

There is absolutely nothing "illegal" about using bittorrent to download the latest linux distro or open office release.

But they want to tar every use with the same brush so they can stamp it out completely because it CAN be used in a naughty manner.

A bread knife CAN be used to kill someone but that's not what it was designed for.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (0)

bigerik7 (722707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171713)

"it CAN be used in a naughty manner". Tee hee hee, he said in a naughty manner... I feel slightly dirty now...

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (-1, Offtopic)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171745)

A bread knife CAN be used to kill someone but that's not what it was designed for.

That's a bad analogy. Knives were most definitely first created for killing -- well, hunting anyway. Early man needed to kill and slaughter beasts for food, so they sharpened stones. Eventually they refined the sharpened stones -- well, you get the idea.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171895)

No.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171901)

Knives were most definitely first created for killing -- well, hunting anyway.

A knife is a pretty poor weapon for hunting wild animals; you have to get awfully close to use it.

It's a bit more use for cutting them up after they're dead.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171999)

That's a bad analogy. Knives were most definitely first created for killing -- well, hunting anyway. Early man needed to kill and slaughter beasts for food, so they sharpened stones. Eventually they refined the sharpened stones -- well, you get the idea.

Um, no... That is. A breadknife was first created for cutting bread. Your argument says that all items with certain properties have the same usage. I.e. Cows are mammals, we eat cows. Humans are mammals, we should eat them too.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (0)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171751)

A bread knife CAN be used to kill someone but that's not what it was designed for.

A bread knife probably wouldn't be a very good choice. Try something pointy.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (2, Funny)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171793)

No, like a spoon, it's DULL...it'd hurt more.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171869)

you twit ;)

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (5, Funny)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171809)

Should be interesting to see how they handle that whole FTP and HTTP stuff next. After all, it's not like anything illegal hasn't ever been transferred this way as well.

After that, maybe they can start suing carrier pigeons. You know you can't trust *those* little bastards... just look at New York!

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171863)

"A bread knife CAN be used to kill someone but that's not what it was designed for."

Yeah, but doing it with your bare hands is SO moch more satisfying....

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (0, Offtopic)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172025)

What about if 99.9% of all butter knives are used to kill someone... does that slightly change things?

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172077)

A bread knife can work... but it's much more fun with a spoon :D -Evil grin

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (4, Informative)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172081)

Downloading shows isn't 'naughty' either. If my comcast PVR (I'm on unit number 3, soon to be 4, and then just buying a tivoHD) would record things properly without killing the sound every 3 seconds, I wouldn't need to go through the effort of downloading content that I'M ALREADY PAYING A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT FOR AND *NOT* RECEIVING.

Re:File sharing isn't illegal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172087)

Linux and open office are illegal. Don't you know that?

Sure has raised my awareness (1, Insightful)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171679)

Not only do I know that its illegal, I encourage it!

Thanks RIAA, for letting me know all about the super fun world of piracy.

Re:Sure has raised my awareness (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172085)

I know, right! And the software you get from piracy works better, has patches included quite often, doesn't include bundled DRM, and you can't argue with the price.

Single song downloads (5, Insightful)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171687)

"Meanwhile, music sales continue to fall. In 2003, the industry sold 656 million albums. In 2007, the number fell to 500 million CDs and digital albums, plus 844 million paid individual song downloads -- hardly enough to make up the decline in album sales."

Wow, so now that people are given the option of buying only the track they like instead of the whole album... album sales are dropping. Imagine that! I guess blaming it on piracy is easier than making all 12 songs on an album worth buying.

Re:Single song downloads (4, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171811)

500 million albums
844 million singles
==================
1344 million sales in 2007 >>> 656 million in 2003. Someone at RIAA needs help with math. Yes more singles sold mean less money, but it also means more happy customers which builds long-term income over the next decade.

Re:Single song downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172029)

This is the great US of A!

We are only concerned with short-term profits.

NOW GET BACK TO WORK OR I'LL HAVE YOU FLOGGED!

  -- Your Boss

p.s. $50 will be taken form your paycheck to pay for your visit to this site.

Re:Single song downloads (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172099)

They also neglected to mention a few other facts: there has been an ongoing boycott of RIAA fare since Napster; CDs cost as much as DVDs to purchase, yet movies are incredibly expensive to produce while the cost of producing a CD has dropped to the point where bar bands now record without the RIAA; that RIAA fare's quality has dropped far more than their sales have (with one or two exceptions, such as Kid Rock and Buckcherry); that last century an independantly produced CD was practically impossible, yet today there are more indie titles than RIAA titles and the indies are eating the RIAA's lunch. Most indies encourage their songs to be shared.

Oh yeah, fuel costs skyrocketed during that period, and fuel is cheap again but we're in a worldwide recession.

Either they're stupid or they think we are.

Re:Single song downloads (5, Insightful)

eredin (1255034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172109)

Considering that individual song downloads practically eliminate the physical media and distribution costs, I suspect that the RIAA isn't being completely honest regarding their profitability. Actually they don't mention profitability; they want you to assume they're hurting based on their sketchy statistics.

Re:Single song downloads (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171817)

Yep. The math indicates that on average, an album contains only five songs worthy of repeat listening. That gels quite nicely with my own informal listening experiences.

Re:Single song downloads (0, Redundant)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171899)

Perhaps if they stopped pushing one hit wonder, talentless without a studio team, pop stars then we'd be more inclined to buy albums. The recording industry has saturated the market with craptastic artists with no staying power (American Idol, I'm looking at you).

Almost everything on mainstream radio these days are one hit wonders, where are the artists that worked hard to get where they are and have to work to stay there? Now the recording industry seems to hang out at beauty pageants and pick up whichever ditz sings for the "talent" portion of the competition.

Too many people got burned buying a 20$ cd for one decent tune.

Re:Single song downloads (0, Redundant)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171927)

That's what happens when it's possible to buy the ONLY new track on the latest album of rehashed crap. Guess the music industry needs a new trick to sell dusty b-sides at premium price.

Re:Single song downloads (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172059)

Suing people who don't download, but also don't buy, for loss of revenue? A tax for the joy of Britney's continued presence in the music world?

Re:Single song downloads (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172067)

I guess blaming it on piracy is easier than making all 12 songs on an album worth buying.

Well, yes, of course. It's impossible to make an album of 12 songs that universally appeals to everyone, unless it's a Greatest Hits album.

Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171693)

Working with the ISPs is an arms race at best. The ISPs block stuff, P2P devs come up with more and more devious ways to work around the blocks. Plus, in markets where competition is good, consumers will just vote with their feet.

Give it up, RIAA. Come up with better ways of making money. No one is willing to spend $20 to buy an album with 1 or 2 good songs on it. And few are willing to pay for what they will always be able to get for free.

Re:Good luck with that (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172065)

This doesn't sound like just blocking stuff. Sounds like the RIAA wants to be able to give your ISP a ring and then the ISP cuts off your service.

This way the RIAA doesn't have to deal with horrible things like due process and the law. All real nice like; bow to your corporate overlords!

Re:Good luck with that (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172181)

Yeah, because all the ISPs have been real cooperative with the RIAA in the past ... (hint: No.)

Even worse. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171695)

For the individuals caught in them, the RIAA individual lawsuits really, really suck. Extortionate demands, no real ability to defend yourself(if your day in court costs you more than you can afford, it isn't your day in court), etc. On the other hand, though, the lawsuits as a tactic have been magnificently ineffective, and do very little to project RIAA power beyond those directly affected(and, indeed, the seem to project displeasure much further than they project obedience).

Focusing on the ISPs is potentially much more sinister. ISP user agreements, for anything other than expensive business accounts, typically have pretty broad service agreements, so they almost definitely won't even need to involve the courts to cut you off. If the RIAA and friends are successful, they could easily obtain de facto veto power over almost anybody's internet access, without any actually illegal conduct(unlike their present tactics). There is no reason to suspect that they would be any more discriminating or accurate in using such power than they currently are in filing lawsuits(probably less, in fact, since it will be cheaper than lawsuits), so the circle of the affected will be even wider. Not good.

Don't panic. (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171859)

So the RIAA is offering to "work with ISPs." From the sound of it, what they want is for the ISPs to do a lot of work monitoring users, and take a serious public-relations risk for banning them. If I ran an ISP, I would not exactly be falling over myself to embrace those new headaches.

What's in it for the ISPs? If the RIAA is offering a carrot, then the size of the carrot is limited by the ever-diminishing money the RIAA has to offer. If they're trying to threaten with a stick, they're relying on either regulation, lobbying, or lawsuits -- in all three arenas, ISPs are more than a match for them in terms of money and influence.

The more I think about it, the more I realize this is just a face-saving tactic, and the "cooperative relationship" can't last because it's contrary to the ISPs best interests.

Re:Don't panic. (5, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171961)

What's in it for the ISPs? If the RIAA is offering a carrot, then the size of the carrot is limited by the ever-diminishing money the RIAA has to offer.

Not necessarily.

The carrot could be the ISP's right to manipulate their user's traffic in other ways that make them money. If the RIAA can help them legitimize selective traffic management, then ISPs can start signing agreements with content providers.

Given the reputation that the RIAA has built themselves with the lawsuits, I'm a little skeptical of their ability to help the ISPs legitimize anything, but if it succeeded it could be a big moneymaker for the ISPs.

There may be other, less obvious, benefits to ISPs as well.

We need net neutrality legislation to ensure that the ISPs can't do any of this.

Re:Even worse. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171953)

>>>the RIAA individual lawsuits really, really suck. Extortionate demands, no real ability to defend yourself(if your day in court costs you more than you can afford, it isn't your day in court), etc.

Guns are cheap. "What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party

Re:Even worse. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171959)

If not for the unique situation in the US, monopoly over the last mile: you could just switch to a competitor.

Large businesses can, possibly, by running their own cabling, but it's costly. Home users can't because they don't own their cable company or FTTP provider's wiring that feeds their house, and laying their own cable would be extroardinarily expensive, and obtaining the necessary legal rights almost impossible.

Broadband internet service is every bit as critical today as phone service is, if not more so.

We need telecom regulations to catch up and mandate that cable companies, telcos, etc, DO provide access, and do under fair terms.

And that competing providers be allowed to use any infrastructure that was built at times when any funds were being received from taxpayers.

It's one thing if your ISP turns you off, and you have other viable equivalent options.

If you have no competitor you can go to with an equivalent service, and this monopoly was assisted or created by the government, then it should be illegal for the ISP to turn you off, except on a temporary basis for an enumerated list of reasons.

(Proof you were spamming, scheduled maintenance of a few hours a year, something on your LAN creating a catastrophic problem: turned off for no more than 7 days in a year while they add better protections to their system, AND illegal hacking/cracking, provided evidence has been submitted, for no more than 30 days, unless criminal charges have been filed)

it's a trap! (3, Insightful)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171701)

1. announce an end to lawsuits
2. mediasentry keeps logging traffic
3. ???
4. file thousands of simultaneous lawsuits
5. bask in your crapulence

They have lowered the burden of proof. (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171705)

Because they were starting to lose.

They were starting to get in trouble with the courts, because they were filing lawsuits, and they in many cases had insufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing.

There were many cases where they were prosecuting innocent people, and this would ultimately be seen as harassment/abuse of the courts, resulting in sanctions for the RIAA.

The new approach will be more expedient, and less costly, since their victims don't get any due process rights.

They just send a letter to your ISP, and your ISP assumes you guilty.

You no longer have a chance to prove your innocence. If the RIAA doesn't like you and wants your connection turned off, they'll now have the means to make it happen, if your ISP joins their program.

See the article:

Depending on the agreement, the ISP will either forward the note to customers, or alert customers that they appear to be uploading music illegally, and ask them to stop. If the customers continue the file-sharing, they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether.

The RIAA said it has agreements in principle with some ISPs, but declined to say which ones. But ISPs, which are increasingly cutting content deals of their own with entertainment companies, may have more incentive to work with the music labels now than in previous years.

Re:They have lowered the burden of proof. (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171889)

they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether.

And after that, the customer will stop paying the provider and go to whatever any other ISP...

Outside (4, Insightful)

Meneth (872868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171707)

So, they're going to try running their extortions entirely outside the courts now? This'll be a good test of the ISPs.

And in other news... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171709)

...porcine aviatrixes...Hades Icecapades...etc etc..you get the idea.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172171)

...porcine aviatrixes...Hades Icecapades...etc etc..you get the idea.

Get the idea yourself -- it's "aviatrices". Can you spell any better in English?

It raised awareness alright (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171717)

An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

The spokesman went on to say that the campaign will be stopped after it became apparent that "it was also successful in raising the public's awareness that the RIAA are douches."

Why the lawsuits then? (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171723)

An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

If it's so illegal, then why did they sue for damages (that is, compensation) rather than prosecute file-sharers for a crime? You don't sue people because they robbed banks or stabbed someone, you sue because they owe you money for some reason.

So the real message they were sending to the public is, "File sharing takes money out of our pockets." Well, duh.

Re:Why the lawsuits then? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171835)

Because "illegal" isn't just criminality. It's also conceivably tortious, meaning you can have civil law violations.

Infringement can either be tortious, criminal, or both. There's truthfully no way for them to pin criminal charges on anyone they've "caught" in that "dragnet" of theirs, so they're trying for civil violations which have less stringent requirements for proving a tort was committed by the parties. Unfortunately for them, they don't have much of a valid case in any of the instances so they're folding when push comes to shove, relying on the costs to crush anyone that doesn't settle up with them.

More misinformation. (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171725)

An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

That says it all really. They have managed a disinformation campaign to make people think that file sharing is illegal. No mention of the fact that it is perfectly legal if you have rights to the work, it is public domain, or you are using it under "fair use" terms, or a number of other more obscure legal circumstances.

Think of it this way, nobody bats an eyelid when you say "filesharing is illegal", but you would get some surprised looks if you said "video recording is illegal" or "photocopying is illegal" - they have managed to taint the technology with a possible illegal use.

Re:More misinformation. (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171951)

As with the VCR piracy that was said to destroy the entire movie industry decades ago it was the very same deal. People who saw their outdated business in peril convinced officials (that don't use the technology and don't how about it's workings and benefits) to outlaw those who tried to improve how things are done, so they can make more money of prolonging the process of adaption.

Cleanse, purge, repeat.

Re:More misinformation. (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172157)

They don't really care if you share that AC-DC file, you can sample it from the radio (they've been pushing the hell out of AC-DCs latest album). It's their competetion's tunes, the indies, who don't have access to the radio that they don't want you to share.

It's not about piracy, it's about crushing the competetion.

Re:More misinformation. (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172189)

An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

That says it all really. They have managed a disinformation campaign to make people think that file sharing is illegal. No mention of the fact that it is perfectly legal if you have rights to the work, it is public domain, or you are using it under "fair use" terms, or a number of other more obscure legal circumstances.

Think of it this way, nobody bats an eyelid when you say "filesharing is illegal", but you would get some surprised looks if you said "video recording is illegal" or "photocopying is illegal" - they have managed to taint the technology with a possible illegal use.

Don't worry, they'll get rid of those "public domain" and "fair use" concepts soon enough.

Still targetting individuals? (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171743)

It says "The RIAA is going to try to working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services and cut off repeated users.". So they're not going to take you to court, they're just going to get your ISP to kick you off and with any luck blacklist you. ISPs are presumably so scared of the RIAA that they'll comply wherever possible.

Re:Still targetting individuals? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171911)

Heh... The biggest question I would have is that how are they going to get legit PI licenses to investigate all of that; they can't have this plan without breaking the law in the same manner they've been doing with the lawsuits themselves. And with this plan, now they're involving the ISPs with those civil liabilities. Nice...

If I were an ISP, I'd tell them to go stuff themselves unless they had proof obtained in a manner that a court of law would consider legit.

Justified Cautious Optimism (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171769)

Cautious optimism:

First the sad stuff

  • You know they didn't stop this plan before developing a new one.
  • Working with ISP's? These guys already are attacking "Bandwidth heavy" (a.k.a. I-use-what-I-paid-for) users. I don't think it would be a stretch for them to add "If we suspect you of potentially illegal activities... resulting in immediate suspension of service" could easily hide in page 2973 of the Terms of Service.
  • New laws anyone?
  • ONewYorkCountryLawyer will probably have fewer opportunities to entertain us.
  • Slashdot's signal to noise ratio for those who are concerned about law and copyright goes down.

Good news:

  • Fewer trolls confusing copyright infringement with theft (less opportunity)
  • Fewer computerless/internetless/lifeless people getting sued because of a shotgun approach to legal combat
  • This means they are paying attention to the fact that they are losing, both in the courts of law and public opinion
  • No more 150,000 time actuall damages (I know, I know, "That's over 9,000!!!111one!1!")
  • People not being sued based off of an 8 digit hexadecimal number is unequivocally "A Good Thing".
  • Slashdot's signal to noise ratio for those who don't care about law and copyright goes up.

Oblig. Question... (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171773)

How in the Sam-hell did y'all manage to scoop NewYorkCountryLawyer on this?!

Way to go. ;^)

--
Toro

No such thing as bad publicity, huh? (2, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171789)

An RIAA spokesman is quoted as saying that the litigation campaign has been "successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal."

It's also raised public awareness that the RIAA is the scum of the earth who will sue 12 year old girls for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've personally never understood the concept that any kind of publicity that could make people spit on you when you walk on the street could possibly have any positive value down the line.

Not so much public opinion, but a matter of justic (3, Funny)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171795)

The RIAA has taken to suing a lot of people who turned out to be innocent, on very flimsy evidence. If there is one thing that Americans generally dislike, it's programs, no matter how well-intentioned, that end up often getting the wrong people.

Thank God (1)

ACAx1985 (989265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171799)

My 89-year old next door neighbor who is blind and deaf got a notice was next, so at least she's safe.

Moot point (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172047)

The party has moved to Internet radio. Streamripper will record your MP3s at 128kbps and lay them nice and neat into their own directories for you while you work or sleep. The only problem you have is burning them off to DVDs when your HD gets full. And, of course, finding the time to listen to all of them. As Heinlein once said, "It's raining soup, get a bucket!"

Awareness that is wrong (4, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171803)

http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.1/iso/openSUSE-11.1-DVD-i586.iso.torrent [opensuse.org]
http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.1/iso/openSUSE-11.1-DVD-x86_64.iso.torrent [opensuse.org]

I am sharing these, now come and try to sue my ISP. He will be having a laugh. Try go after the originating provider and they will tear you a new one.

It is nice to see that what they wanted was to misinform people about their rights.

Appropriate timing (-1, Offtopic)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171807)

Christmas is the best time to release this piece of news, considering we are now in a season where we are asked to believe that the child of the sky god was born in a stable to a mother who never had sex. The alternative belief seems to be that a fat saint (who isn't even a saint) slides down every chimney in the world in one night delivering present to boys and girls, traveling in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.

After believing those two things, believing the RIAA won't be a problem.

Re:Appropriate timing (1)

groslyunderpaid (950152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171955)

Oh come on, someone mod the parent flaimbait AND irrelevant.. My own personal beliefs aside, how does this belong here?

I wonder... (1, Redundant)

sskinnider (1069312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171849)

A new can of worms is about to open. What will the burden of proof be for an ISP? It is very likely that it will be in their best interest to limit the amount of P2P filesharing whether it is legal or not. This seems like a win for the RIAA. What recourse will a cut off user have? If they signed a year contract with an ISP will they be required to pay a penalty because they were cut off? The judicial system is flawed, but what system will innocent people have if ISP's decide to cooperate whole-heartedly with the RIAA.

File-sharing is not illegal. (-1, Redundant)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171881)

To the RIAA: let's fix that statement for you...

"file-sharing is illegal."

should read

"distribution of works covered by copyright without prior authorization of the copyright holder is frequently illegal." ... there's no law against sharing files. If you've ever used a web browser, you might be surprised to learn that it's downloading files, even saving copies in a "cache". In the modern era, sharing is the norm -- not sharing is the exception. Further, sharing with permission from the copyright holder is most certainly not illegal, and it's often OK to distribute pieces of a work without permission (a video clip or picture in an editorial, for instance).

Also, if the RIAA intends to stop it's current campaign ostensibly because it generates bad PR, it should be cognizant that using extralegal means (asking an ISP to pull the plug) is probably going to be more poorly received.

That said, I think that the RIAA is finding it's current protocol untenable. There's no good way to match an IP to a real person beyond a reasonable doubt, and the only means that they've come up with have flaws (including using unlicensed investigators). They have to give up and take another approach.

Give it up altogether for God's sakes (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171939)

So the RIAA gives up on doing evil to pursue something more evil?

It's not worth it to go after individuals because of all the bad press, so instead attack the technology?

How about instead the RIAA just get over it? When the horse and buggy gave way to automobiles, buggy makers found another line of work. The recording industry should accept their fate, redefine themselves, and find a niche.

In short, it's over.

Re:Give it up altogether for God's sakes (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171985)

agreed. Though it makes you wonder exactly when they noticed the public 'distaste' for their campaign of litigous terror.

I honestly believe the RIAA is a loud-mouthed herald who's king and kingdom are dead. He doesn't know this yet, so he keeps up the facade.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26171957)

I'm glad to hear that the record industry's gestapo organization (otherwise known as the RIAA) is going to stop going after the little people, but they have exchanged one morally impotent tactic for another; there going after net neutrality. These Nazi bastards are giving the music industry a bad name. I fear they won't stop until your paying them royalties not only for every song you own but also for every time you play it! I have no problem paying ONCE for the music that I own. I do have a problem when some money hungry politicion says I can't make backup copies of MY investment which I purchased legally and in good faith and then goes after filesharing in general. Suppose you were an artist and you wanted to share your creations with the world free of cost? Would you allow some A**hole in a suit dictate to you that the only way you could share your creations was by charging for them? I sure as hell wouldn't! O God please smite these f**king bastards!

SSL from now on!!! (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171975)

Its just going to push every last communication on to SSL.

At the network level, it is almost impossible to determine the nature of the communication without inspecting the packets. They can't eliminate peer to peer packets because things like instant messaging, vonage, skype, ssh, etc. will fail as well and these are legitimate non-RIAA objectionable services. So, once ALL the p2p systems start using SSL, even the ISPs will be powerless to stop P2P without making their system largely unusable.

Besides, ISPs have more to gain by adding a "premium" service (at a price premium) that allows better P2P performance and user priority for gaming.

Re:SSL from now on!!! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172131)

I think you mean: ISPs have more to gain by restricting SSL connections to a whitelist of "Financial services and shopping experience partners" and offering a "business grade" service(at a price premium) with uncrippled SSL.

No court no appeal process (1)

sxmjmae (809464) | more than 5 years ago | (#26171983)

No if RIAA says your account is at fault and your ISP cuts you off can you appeal? What about lost productivity? I really do not want my ISP monitoring my connection. It is like asking the postal service to open all your mail that you send and receive. What about the getting the phone company to monitor all your phone calls. Well you are at it get monitor in your houses and cars so home builders and car manufactures can monitor you as well. Where does it stop. I really hope the ISP tell the RIAA to F off. When will some people with enough money band together to total fight the RIAA to the end.

Except... (1, Redundant)

kevind23 (1296253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172023)

...file-sharing isn't illegal.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish torrenting a Debian DVD.

It's Over? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172051)

Really? It's over? Really? This isn't just a ruse to lull people into a false sense of security? This isn't April 1st? Really? Wow...

Shut down the interweb (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172055)

Just remove the internet altogether. I mean 90% of the world traffic is spam, porn, viruses and illegal stuff. /sarcasm off

ISPs won't bite (2, Interesting)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172151)

I don't think the ISPs will bite down on this. The ISP will obviously need to report the results to the RIAA, otherwise the RIAA will cry foul. Then, if the ISP misses an obvious "illegal activity" the ISP might be held liable by the RIAA for not protecting the RIAA's intellectual property.

"You failed to notify your customers that we knew they're stealing. So now, it's your fault."

I'm willing to bet more than a few ISPs will worry about this possible outcome.

affect on universities? (2, Interesting)

bravo369 (853579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26172161)

How does this affect their campaign against colleges? i know there was an article in which RIAA wanted to extort money from colleges and agree not to sue them but what if colleges say no. is the ISP going to shut down internet access to the entire university if the RIAA asks for it?

No more lawsuits!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26172167)

Woohoo!
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