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RIAA's Request For Appeal Denied In Thomas Case

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the seeking-one-mulligan-too-many dept.

The Courts 197

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's request for permission to appeal from the decision setting aside its $222,000 jury verdict has been denied by District Court Judge Michael J. Davis. In a brief, 6-page decision (PDF) the Judge dismissed the RIAA's arguments that there is a 'substantial ground for a difference of opinion' on the question of law presented, whether the Judge had erred in accepting the RIAA's proposed jury instruction that merely 'making files available' could constitute an infringement of the plaintiffs' distribution rights. He likewise dismissed their argument that granting permission for the appeal would 'materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation,' since (a) depending on the outcome of the trial, plaintiffs might not wish to appeal from the judgment, and (b) no matter how the appeals court rules on the 'making available' issue, the case will still have to continue in the lower court, since even if the RIAA wins on the 'making available' issue, the Court will still have to address the constitutionality of the large jury verdict, which may result in a new trial."

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197 comments

hehe (-1, Redundant)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246237)

First Post!!! Not... Now on to my comment. I am very glad that the RIAA is finally getting it's rear kicked by the courts.

Re:hehe (0, Redundant)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246243)

Oh wow it was first.... And I hope the RIAA continues to get trounced...

I've heard enough about the RIAA (5, Insightful)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246291)

Fuck them. Will they not go away? I own 1800 cds collected over the last 15 or 20 years. I download the songs from the internet.. too lazy to rip em, so what? Fuck off already.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (5, Funny)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246519)

Fuck them.
  -Adult film producer (866485)

Parroting your industry standard reply I see.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246583)

I've frankly heard enough from Mr. NewYorkCountryLawyer, who appears to use Slashdot as his personal advertising space for his business (legal services) and his cause (defending people being sued by the RIAA). I might not suspect that if he were doing all of it pro bono, but he's personally profiting from it, and possibly very handsomely (knowing lawyers, he's hardly going hungry or driving an old Chevy). He's hardly an impartial news source or observer in this process; rather, he's right smack dab in the middle of it. It seems quite possible to me that his motive in his very frequent Slashdot submissions is not to inform, but rather specifically to drum up more business. He's not the only entrepreneur who appears to do this, but I find this instance to be particularly distasteful. I smell an ethical conflict of interest.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (4, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246615)

So? If you have a problem with him, then don't hire him to represent you.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246871)

I smell an ethical conflict of interest.

So do I. Your employers may dislike Mr. Beckerman for displaying them as the soulless vampires I believe them to be, but the rest of us think he's doing a good thing.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (-1, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246961)

That's a truly odd accusation to make; my employer(s) had no influence nor relevance to my comment. This is true because I simply don't even have an employer. I haven't had one in nine years. I assume you were accusing me of being employed by the RIAA? Your insinuation is baseless. I'd like to see the RIAA staff burned at the stake and copyright law reformed or abolished as much or more than you, but unlike you I don't have a Machiavellian bone in my body. I'll call a spade a spade even if it's serving my values.

If Beckerman is doing a "good thing", I'm suggesting that the goodness is incidental to his real goal, which is enriching himself... not the other way around. I see no reason to admire or idolize a person who would behave in such a fashion. Displaying the appearance of ethics to mask ambition and greed is not something I can admire, nor should anyone else who values ethics.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247047)

That's a truly odd accusation to make; my employer(s) had no influence nor relevance to my comment.

Well, you clearly missed the GP's point (or perhaps are deliberately misconstruing it.) Generally, those who express opinions similar to yours on Slashdot are considered to be RIAA shills. Frankly, the fact that the media people have taken such an obvious dislike to Mr. Beckerman in particular indicates that he's doing something right. If he's enriching himself over this he's no different than the majority of attorneys in this country. He's on the right side, and that's sufficient for most of us. I do suspect you're right in one sense: he's probably not driving a used Chevrolet, and isn't giving his services away for free. What, exactly, was your point again?

So far as impartiality goes ... well. Given that his blog refers to original legal documents whenever they're available makes it hard to claim any degree of journalistic bias or manipulation of facts (other than the fact he makes no bones about his opinion of the way RIAA attorneys practices law.) There aren't too many other sources of reliable information on this subject, anyway, and honestly some of us appreciate his efforts.

You're free to disagree, and you're opinion is certainly welcome so far as it goes. Just don't expect a lot of support for them in this particular venue.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (5, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247147)

Ironically Machiavelli never had a Machiavellian bone in his body. The guy was being honest about how he saw countries being run in The Prince; it wasn't really how he thought they should be run.

This is brought to you by the people to give the old Italian politico farmer a proper memory in the public consciousness committee or PTGTOIPFAPMITPCC

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (2, Insightful)

Maguscrowley (1291130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247389)

Some of it was his observations, and other parts were his suggestions to Medici. However, none of what I'm reading paints him as overly cynical and certainly not malevolent. Just a bit bitter at times.

Haven't gotten to the chapters on conducting war yet.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247457)

Uh, WTF? You basically agree with his campaign, you just don't find it agreeable that he might be profiting over it?

Weird.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (1, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247523)

It's not weird; haven't you ever heard the phrase, "doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons"? It involves socialism and ethics here. If his real predominant motive is his own enrichment, then I disagree with his motive, even though the result might be one I like. I would be disagreeing with WHY he's doing it, not what is accomplished. Should I throw the baby out with the bathwater and criticize the result, too?

It kinda like companies that "go green" but do it for no other reason than the publicity and goodwill it might generate; are they really still doing such a good thing if their motives are so contrary?

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (1)

innerweb (721995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247887)

Or.. Is it that even though they do the right thing, as it is for the wrong reason, they might not continue doing the right thing? That would make sense to me and be completely understandable.

I do know some lawyers who do the right thing for the right reasons and make lots of money doing it. They happen to be very good, and say no to anything they find ethically problematic. Not many, but a few. lol

InnerWeb

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247319)

hehe zaphod (zaphod is just this guy you know), I guess you're quite controversial... next to your name it shows the whole selection of dayquill, nyquill, and various gel-caps painkillers for me. How do you do that?

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247437)

So do I. Your employers may dislike Mr. Beckerman for displaying them as the soulless vampires I believe them to be, but the rest of us think he's doing a good thing.

Sir, I am a soulless vampire, and I find your comparison to be highly offensive.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247355)

He's hardly an impartial news source or observer in this process; rather, he's right smack dab in the middle of it. It seems quite possible to me that his motive in his very frequent Slashdot submissions is not to inform, but rather specifically to drum up more business.

And I'd say it's working rather well. He seems to be FAR more knowledgable on these matters than the RIAA's goons. If I were to find myself wrongfully positioned in their crosshairs, Mr. Beckerman would be the first person I would call.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247911)

There is no conflict of interest. We here at slashdot are very interested in these cases.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (1)

tebee (1280900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26248037)

I'm personally rather sad we have had the first "too much of NYCL on /. posting" but I suppose fame and popularity always result a few detractors.

It's people like him that have help restore a little of my faith in the (US) justice system. When I see large rich corporations throwing cash at cases just to make it harder for their much poorer opponents to defend themselves it's good to know there are people out there who will help the underdog. These cases are particularly redolent for myself and many slashdoters as they invoke a certain "there but for the grace of God go I" feeling.

I would sincerely doubt Ray is becoming a rich (or much richer) man because of them. I would expect that most of his potential clients with any amount of money would rather pay the RIAA's pound of flesh and settle without going to court than risk several years disruption to their lives.

Most of people he will be defending will be those who cannot afford to pay and so his only hope of ever getting adequate recompense will be if courts award fees in his favor, which I believe is a bit of a lottery at the best of times - at least he believes enough in his own skills and his take on the law to take that risk.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247579)

> Fuck them. Will they not go away? I own 1800 cds collected over the last 15 or 20 years....

With the kind of funding you and others have given them over the years... no they aren't going to just go away. In fact, they would like you to buy those 1800 cds all over again for each and every device/location/listener you have.

Re:I've heard enough about the RIAA (0, Flamebait)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26248103)

I own 1800 cds collected over the last 15 or 20 years. I download the songs from the internet.. too lazy to rip em, so what?

15-20 years? Ok, are you catching more live bands now than you were 15-20 years ago? Do you still have your LP's and cassettes from 15-20 years ago? Educated guess: no on both accounts. You've got most of it on your hard drive, mostly illigitimately, and it's not going to wear out.

So what, right? So what is you not giving a damn about anything but your bottom line. So what is great musicians not being able to quit their day jobs. So what is music venues closing down. So what is your cheap ass turning your back on everything music has ever meant to you.

Know when you're fighting the RIAA and when you're fighting music. There is a distinct difference.

Beware (4, Insightful)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246299)

This is very welcome news. However, we need to remember that a cornered wounded beast has nothing to lose and can therefore be very dangerous. This isn't over.

Re:Beware (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246319)

That has to be the most pointless comment I have ever heard about the RIAA.

Re:Beware (3, Funny)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246631)

And *that* has to be the most clueless comment I have ever heard about a comment about the RIAA.

Re:Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247663)

Yay, let's all be pointless together!

Re:Beware (2, Funny)

innerweb (721995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247959)

mod parent redundant. It is slashdot.

InnerWeb

Re:Beware (1)

TeraByte911 (1434819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247963)

It beats sitting around doing nothing on a Sunday evening. Oh, wait...

Re:Beware (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246323)

...a cornered wounded beast has nothing to lose and can therefore be very dangerous. ...

As my ex-spouse discovered to her dismay a few years back.

Re:Beware (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246727)

Hans? They let you have Internet access for Christmas...?

Re:Beware (4, Funny)

Idefix97 (725474) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246817)

Hans?! Is that you!

Re:Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247559)

Oh, com'on mods! +3 Funny is more like it.

Re:Beware (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247075)

This is very welcome news. However, we need to remember that a cornered wounded beast has nothing to lose and can therefore be very dangerous. This isn't over.

The RIAA has little to lose no matter what happens. Eventually their masters will tell them to stop, and that will be that. Well, either that, or the legal system with bitchslap them sufficiently. Hard to say which will happen first.

I wish people would keep firmly in mind that the RIAA is a tool, no more and no less. It is the organizations wielding that tool who should be held accountable.

Please translate OP into English (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246325)

Even Slashdot's Cookie displayed on the same page agrees: "State the problem in words as clearly as possible"

Judge's kids (4, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246329)

I cannot wait 'till the day the RIAA accidentally hits a judge's, congressman's, or senator's kids in a lawsuit. I wonder how long they'll be able to keep that lawsuit going.

Re:Judge's kids (3, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246355)

They don't need to worry about that. If they do then they silently drop the case and score points and maybe even a "friend" Washington.

Re:Judge's kids (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246393)

What would be really funny is if a member/employee of the RIAA was busted or even one of the RIAA's lawyers.

Re:Judge's kids (4, Interesting)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246469)

There was a similar story mentioned on Slashdot. Some record executive, I think. His child was caught downloading music. Rather than making the child pay $3000, they made the child promise never to do it again. I wish that case could be used to set some kind of precedent for the rest.

Re:Judge's kids (4, Informative)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246803)

Drunken karma whoring! [slashdot.org]

Re:Judge's kids (2, Insightful)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247005)

"I wonder how long they'll be able to keep that lawsuit going." About zero seconds. I am sure that as soon as it is clear that the RIAA minions have targeted anyone of notoriety or influence, the suit is dropped. These suits are just to keep the rabble in line and the settlements rolling in. The LAST thing they want is a public champion with the means to get good lawyers.

Re-read it a few times (3, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246373)

And it seems to be better news than simply the RIAA getting smacked on their request to appeal.

The RIAA claimed this: "there is a substantial ground for a difference of opinion on the question of law presented"

Concerning: "whether the Judge had erred in accepting the RIAA's proposed jury instruction that merely 'making files available' could constitute an infringement of the plaintiffs' distribution rights"

Now, I occasionally have a difficult time translating from Lawyer to English, but it sounds to me like the judge is not only saying "no you can't appeal" but "making available isn't copyright infringement, and there is no wiggle room to discuss the matter further because it's obvious that it's not."

Do I have that right, NYCL? Because if I do it really sounds like bigger news than a trivial appeal request getting smacked down. Sounds like the Judge just dropped The Big One.

Re:Re-read it a few times (2, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246423)

As the Court fully explained in its September 24 Order, in National Car
Rental System, Inc. v. Computer Associates International, Inc., the Eighth Circuit
held that "[i]nfringement of [the distribution right] requires an actual
dissemination of either copies or phonorecords."

Basically they said that even though their earlier decision was appealed by another court that appeal is not binding so they'll stand by their earlier decision which I quoted above.

IANAL but I think this just matters for this particular court and won't affect any other court.

Re:Re-read it a few times (4, Informative)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246531)

Disclaimer: IANYetAL, but I'm a law student.

Usually you're right, the Eighth Circuit doesn't have to follow the Ninth Circuit's decisions (for example) and vice versa, but in this case, The Honorable Judge Davis does have to abide by that decision, since Minnesota's in the Eighth Circuit.

What "actual dissemination" actually is, though... that's an open question, and I think that's what they're trying to figure out.

I have no idea if I got that right, it's late and I'm on break. (And hence trying not to think about all things legal :-D )

Re:Re-read it a few times (4, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246581)

The Honorable Judge Davis does have to abide by that decision

When I see that written in a context like this it always seems that it's in order to distinguish this Judge Davis from some other less honorable Judge Davis. As in "No, this one was by the honorable Judge Davis."

Re:Re-read it a few times (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246669)

The Honorable Judge Davis deserve all the respect we can give. This man is protecting our rights.

Re:Re-read it a few times (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246691)

That's why he's known as the honorable judge, not that other judge.

Re:Re-read it a few times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246713)

Yeah, I had a case with the other judge.

That judge tried to touch my crotch twice and then tried to sell me on some timeshare in Florida.

Re:Re-read it a few times (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247281)

That judge tried to touch my crotch twice

So? He was just trying to be friendly.

and then tried to sell me on some timeshare in Florida.

That filthy bastard!

Re:Re-read it a few times (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246845)

Disclaimer: IANYetAL, but I'm a law student.

[citation needed]

Re:Re-read it a few times (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246915)

Ya got a subpoena?

No? Then buzz off.

Re:Re-read it a few times (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247677)

As the creator of the {{fact}} tag on Wikipedia, I can say that you just grossly misused it :-)

Re:Re-read it a few times (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247985)

[citation needed]

Re:Re-read it a few times (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247091)

Maybe I should have brought more context.

Reading the PDF it basically says this:

1) The court has at a prior point stated what I quoted above (That a copy has to be made for it to be copyright infringement, aka making available doesn't work.)
2)However, that part of the judgement is not dictum (dictum means it's precedent)
3) Irregardless of 2), Only that previous judgement, not any other judgement from any other court has any binding on this court, so it doesn't matter how many other courts the RIAA can convince about their making availible argument, it won't work in the 8th circuit.
4) They can't find any reason to disagree with the previous judgement.

There is a simple fool proof solution to all this. (4, Funny)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246389)

The RIAA shoudl just stop making the music available.

this will all change soon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246425)

nigger obama has confirmed that he's going to give the riaa a free hand in law enforcement thanks to all the hollywood friends he now has.

Too many ads (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246427)

The "Recording Industry vs. the People" site has become incredibly ad-heavy. It now has layer ads that won't dismiss, a link farm, and regular Google ads. This thing has advertising from services I've never even heard of, like "shareasale.com". Amusingly, it has ads for RIAA-controlled music, and even for the iTunes store.

Block "st.blogads.com" to make it at least tolerable.

Re:Too many ads (5, Informative)

hostguy2004 (818334) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246617)

The "Recording Industry vs. the People" site has become incredibly ad-heavy. It now has layer ads that won't dismiss, a link farm, and regular Google ads. This thing has advertising from services I've never even heard of, like "shareasale.com". Amusingly, it has ads for RIAA-controlled music, and even for the iTunes store.

Block "st.blogads.com" to make it at least tolerable.

Before you get modded OT and NYCL will miss your post, I suggest that you politely email him.

I enjoy his many submissions to Slashdot, so perhaps people should consider donating to his website, instead of criticizing his advertising.

Re:Too many ads (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246867)

I couldn't agree more.

I, for one, love his advertising and hope people stop donating to his site.

That way he'll add more glorius advertising for people, such as myself, to enjoy.

Re:Too many ads (-1, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246623)

You might find my reply comment to an earlier comment worth reading. I proposed the theory that Mr. NewYorkCountryLawyer's motives for his frequent Slashdot submissions are not at all what they appear. I think it's simple profiteering, not "news". Your observations seem to further confirm my own suspicions.

Perhaps all lawyers are ethically dubious, regardless which side of the courtroom they occupy? Given that their stock in trade is manipulation, can there ever be a truly honest lawyer?

Re:Too many ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246937)

You're an astro-turfer (not to mention a grade-A dick), and you don't speak for real libertarians, rationalists, or atheists. Please go away, and take your blog with you. Thanks.

Re:Too many ads (-1, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247023)

You don't even speak for yourself, much less anyone else: you're anonymous. Further, I've never spoken for Libertarians, because I think Libertarians are delusional idiots. Finally, I didn't actually claim or even imply that I spoke on behalf of anyone but myself. It's amusing that you thought that such a non sequitur would be a good supporting argument for demanding my silence.

I won't be considering your criticism because it was almost entirely ad hominem and lacking any rational argument why I should feel obligated to "go away".

By the way, you're not much of a "real libertarian" yourself, if you would dare to suggest that I be denied my right to publicly voice my opinions just because YOU don't happen to like them. What you are is an anonymous hypocrite.

Re:Too many ads (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247087)

if you would dare to suggest that I be denied my right to publicly voice my opinions just because YOU don't happen to like them.

Well, I'm not posting AC, but I also wish you would go away. You're trying to hijack this thread and make it about your dislike for NYCL, rather than discussing the real issues.

Re:Too many ads (0, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247283)

If Beckerman is as disingenuous as I currently suspect he is, that is very much a "real issue" and relevant, even if it's not one you choose to acknowledge or prioritize. The "hijacking" accusation is trotted out by people intent on controlling the flow of the conversation. If you really wanted to have some other conversation, shouldn't you be off talking to other people who want to discuss the same thing instead of engaging and belittling me, as you and others have actually done? That behavior belies an intention to exclude and control.

Re:Too many ads (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247315)

If Beckerman is as disingenuous as I currently suspect he is, that is very much a "real issue" and relevant

Very well, you've made your point. Find something else to talk about: you're dangerously close to trolling. And there's nothing wrong with a desire to exclude those who you find irritating or irrelevant ... that, ultimately, is the basic function of the Slashdot moderation system. I have a sneaking suspicion you're going to find that out for yourself soon enough.

Re:Too many ads (-1, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247449)

Find something else to talk about

I think I should mirror your own directive back at you. Oh, wait... I already did!

I might be modded down, because people react badly to any argument and often get careless where they place the blame for it. I didn't start this argument: that would be the AC who called me names, and then you when I responded to the name-calling. You've continued the argument rather than heeding your own advice.

Interestingly, NONE of what has been said by others in this sub-thread even tried to refute my allegation about Beckerman, so the argument wasn't really even about the point I made at all: rather, the argument has been about my right to make the point in the first place. I've been defending that right, and you and the name-calling AC have been claiming the right to take it away and shove me out the back door. I'd say your Slashdot alias fits you pretty well.

Re:Too many ads (0, Troll)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246659)

Step 1: Build a reputation on Slashdot
Step 2: Flood your site with ads
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Profit!

Re:Too many ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247027)

Meh, with Adblock Plus running I still see a few ads but it's not nearly as bad as what you described.

Maybe try running a better browser?

Re:Too many ads (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247107)

Meh, with Adblock Plus running I still see a few ads but it's not nearly as bad as what you described.

Maybe try running a better browser?

A better browser, or if he really is offended by the advertising he could run Privoxy or something similar.

Re:Too many ads (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247351)

The "Recording Industry vs. the People" site has become incredibly ad-heavy. It now has layer ads that won't dismiss, a link farm, and regular Google ads. This thing has advertising from services I've never even heard of, like "shareasale.com". Amusingly, it has ads for RIAA-controlled music, and even for the iTunes store.

Block "st.blogads.com" to make it at least tolerable.

If that bugs you so much, install Privoxy (or something similar) and then hit the Paypal link and send Ray a donation. I'm assuming that you find his site valuable content-wise, or you wouldn't be complaining about the ads.

The judge said it best (4, Insightful)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246463)

The defendant is an individual, a consumer. She is not a business. She sought no profit from her acts. The myriad of copyright cases cited by Plaintiffs and the Government, in which courts upheld large statutory damages awards far above the minimum, have limited relevance in this case. All of the cited cases involve corporate or business defendants and seek to deter future illegal commercial conduct. The parties point to no case in which large statutory damages were applied to a party who did not infringe in search of commercial gain.

The term "piracy" has been misused on individuals. An individual may be guilty of theft, like a shoplifter, but it's not piracy. Someone that takes an item without paying for it is very different than a rogue company selling unauthorized copies of another company's product. The RIAA treats individuals like profit-seeking organizations, and until now they've been successful. It's refreshing to see a judge recognize the distinction. I believe most critics of the RIAA would be a little more sympathetic to their position if they were pursuing misdemeanor charges for stealing $0.99 songs.

Re:The judge said it best (5, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246523)

As it's been said in the courts,

they're treating it like criminal matter but it's civil.

The reason is that you can't subpoena people's addresses and stuff like that if it's civil. Also, unlike criminal court, you absolutely have to pay the fines if you lose. Since there is no proof of distribution, they'd have to pay for every single case.

Re:The judge said it best (3, Insightful)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246607)

I believe most critics of the RIAA would be a little more sympathetic to their position if they were pursuing misdemeanor charges for stealing $0.99 songs.

I wouldn't be, for reasons I'll explain below.

You seem to have fallen for the RIAA line that "ZOMG PIRACY IS THEFT". It isn't. In order for something to constitute theft, somebody has to be permanently deprived of property. Not profits, not the possibility of profits. When somebody's deprived of profits, that's not theft, that's copyright infringement.

Theft is a criminal matter, punishable by possible jail time. Copyright infringement is a civil matter, punishable only by monetary damages. If you steal something, then yeah, I'm all for misdemeanor charges. Felony charges, even, if the value of the stolen goods is high enough. But I'm very, very wary of pursuing criminal charges for civil infractions, and you should be too. Would you have Tracy Thomas thrown in jail for a couple years, or perhaps longer, if the RIAA got their way? That's what could happen if you make a criminal case out of a civil dispute. Down that road lies fascism, my friend, and none of us want to go there.

Re:The judge said it best (3, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246655)

"ZOMG PIRACY IS THEFT". It isn't.

Of course it is. It's also frequently murder. But it only really counts if you use a cutlass and wear an eye patch.

In order for something to constitute theft, somebody has to be permanently deprived of property. Not profits, not the possibility of profits. When somebody's deprived of profits, that's not theft, that's copyright infringement.

That's not necessarily true. Many, if not all, states have laws concerning theft of services. I'm not saying that copyright infringement is or is not theft, but I get really annoyed when people keep repeating the incorrect statement that theft must involve loss of physical property.

Re:The judge said it best (1)

Frion (942886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246935)

"ZOMG PIRACY IS THEFT". It isn't.

Of course it is. It's also frequently murder. But it only really counts if you use a cutlass and wear an eye patch.

In order for something to constitute theft, somebody has to be permanently deprived of property. Not profits, not the possibility of profits. When somebody's deprived of profits, that's not theft, that's copyright infringement.

That's not necessarily true. Many, if not all, states have laws concerning theft of services. I'm not saying that copyright infringement is or is not theft, but I get really annoyed when people keep repeating the incorrect statement that theft must involve loss of physical property.

I am not trying to be a smartass here but what does theft of service actually mean? Is it signing a contract for work done and then not paying? This doesn't sound anything like illegal downloading to me. On the other hand maybe I should become a plumber. Then I can sue all the other ones in my town for theft of services. Obviously if they didn't exist then all their customers would come to me! How dare they take my livelihood!

Re:The judge said it best (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246945)

Theft of services generally refers to failing to pay for a previously agreed upon service.

If I hire someone to write a song for me and then fail to pay them, that is theft of services.

If someone writes a song and I "steal" it, that is not theft of services. That is copyright infringement.

The theft of services usually has to prevent the victim from providing the same service to someone who would pay for it (because it was provided to you instead) in much the same way that property theft prevents the victim from being able to provide the property to someone who would pay for it.

Re:The judge said it best (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246815)

When I say "more sympathetic" I don't mean I expect everyone to completely agree with the RIAA. I still have a problem with perpetual copyright for example. But what if their position was: "Hey, we produce songs and expect people to pay for it over the next few years. If you make copies for personal use and to share directly with friends, or resell the music you legally purchased, no problem. But downloading songs from distribution channels that fail to compensate our company is theft." That would be fair and logical. If downloading a song you simply didn't feel like paying for was the legal equivalent of stealing a Chapstick from Walgreens, I don't think most people would feel it was an injustice.

I'm an avid music fan that has always paid for music on whatever the predominant media was at the time. But now I'm treated like a criminal or burdened by bizarre DRM schemes when I try to share and enjoy music like I used to.

Re:Then what do you call... (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247017)

...theft of service? It's quite real, yet quite intangible.

Re:The judge said it best (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247115)

That begs the questions of whether downloading music files is either theft or copyright infringement. It seems highly unlikely that downloading something that someone is offering to you for free and devoid of restrictions or licenses, could be theft. This is especially unlikely since creating another digital copy does nothing to the original. It's like lighting your candle from someone else's taper. Your flame does not diminish theirs. I can see how the idea of copyright can work to protect authors and creators of content. That's not how it's being applied here though. It's being used to try to protect revenue streams from a bad business model.

I think until the music industry and the RIAA work out whether music is a product, or a license, we can expect this to continue. If it's a product, I can do what I want with it.

If it's a license, they must follow all proper laws and regulations regarding that type of business.

copyright works just fine for print books because they are in paper form. When they become ebooks, they suffer the same fate as music and movies. Copyright doesn't seem applicable to something you can duplicate at will with no need for raw materials and no discernible effect to the original. We need new laws that protect both the consumers' rights to use their property, and the commercial entities' rights to sell their property. What needs to be clarified is that when a transaction takes place, ownership changes. If not, rental contracts must be issued that protect both parties. I don't like buying a game and being told where, when, and how I can play it.

the same goes with music and movies and books.

Re:The judge said it best (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247299)

It does not Beg the question [nizkor.org]

Re:The judge said it best (1)

Maguscrowley (1291130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247447)

*hugs you*

Let it be known that nifty sounding fallacies should not be miscast as catch-phrases!

*feels your ass a bit*

That's not begging the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247505)

Begging the question is a form of circular reasoning. The GP was actually trying to answer the question of whether or not copyright infringement is theft.

Also, music isn't a product or a license. It's art that's protected by copyright. Copyright is surely about things that can be copied, that's the whole point. That the current form is broken isn't in doubt, the question should be as to what the new form of copyright is. What rights should be all have when we purchase a copyrighted work?

No need to redraft copyright in terms of rental contracts or what have you.

Re:The judge said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247683)

Theft is a broad lost of things, including an array of crimes (larceny, embezzlement, fraud, etc.) and civil wrongs (torts).

A tort may be any action which violates a statutory or common law pre-existing tort (e.g. copyright / patent infringement), or some novel notion of a tort based on first principles of tort law (e.g. recognizing the wrong of an invasion of privacy on the grounds, for example, that it is a compensable wrong worthy of recognition by Courts, and that recognition of a wrong isn't outweighed by deliterious effects). In most cases the remedy for a tort is damages, viz. monetary compensation, though the Court does have a range of other legal remedies (viz. specific enforcement).

Incidentally, when somebody is deprived of profits, a cause of action needn't be copyright infringement per se- it can be any of a list of recognized or novel torts, or it could also be a situation where the facts allow the Court to give an equitable remedy: if the facts give rise to (essentially) an outcome based on the law that is particularly unfair, but which may be avoided by employing one of a number of equitable tools recognized in the common law (i.e. constructive trust, unjust enrichment, unconscionability, quantum meruit, breach of fiduciary duty, etc.).

Just an interlocutory appeal routinely denied. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246587)

This isn't a big deal either way. The judge denied an "interlocutory appeal", one made regarding some legal point before the decision in the case was final. Such appeals are rarely tried and even more rarely successful. The issue can still be appealed, just not until the current case is finished.

Re:Just an interlocutory appeal routinely denied. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247531)

Actually, the Judge indicated that an appeal was unlikely to prevail as part of his reasoning for the denial of the IA- and explained why it's unlikely to do so.

There's precedent (as indicated in the denial order by the Judge) indicating that "making available" doesn't constitute an act of infringement- and that having made this instruction to the Jury, the Judge did, in fact, predjudice the trial conclusion, thereby requiring a mistrial to be declared. They can appeal all they want- unless they can find that the relevant jurisprudence is wrong or get into a position to get the SCOTUS to decide on the matter, they're not going to get very far on that front.

I can't read Legalese (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26246661)

What's that mean in English?

Re:I can't read Legalese (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247061)

RIAA is barking up the wrong tree.

Re:I can't read Legalese (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247541)

When are they NOT barking up the wrong tree?

muslims die in the gaza strip? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26246773)

thank god there was some good news today. every muslim that dies is a victory in my mind. fuck those islamic bitches. they need to be destroyed wholesale. thank god for the israelis! finally someone has the balls to do what's right.

there is hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247193)

I hope someday the RIAA will be forced to pay back all the money they've collected from these lawsuits, plus substantial damages to the plaintiffs.

Right back to the first lawsuit.

Seems things haven't been going well for the RIAA and I hope it continues to get worse for them.

What does it mean? (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247205)

Sorry to ask such an obvious question, but what does "making files available" mean? Say I lose my laptop or mp3 player and it is used by even a single user, or say they dump in on Limewire.... What then? What would happen if I lost in the US? (Canuck here)

Congratulations (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247411)

If you can read this, you're now a criminal.

L'ENVOI
What is the moral? Who rides may read.
When the night is thick and the tracks are blind
A Friend at a a pinch is a friend indeed;
but a fool to wait for the laggard behind;
Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne,
He travels fastest who travels alone.

White hands cling to the tightened rein,
Slipping the spur from the booted heel,
Tenderest voices cry, "Turn again."
Red lips tarnish the scabbarded steel.
high hopes faint on a warm hearthstone --
He travels fastest who travels alone.

One may fall but he falls by himself --
Falls by himself with himself to blame;
One may attain and to him is pelf,
Loot of the city in Gold or Fame:
Plunder of earth shall be all his own
Who travels the fastest and travels alone.

Wherefore the more ye be holpen and stayed--
Stayed by a friend in the hour of toil,
Sing the heretical song I have made--
His be the labor and yours be the spoil.
Win by his aid and the aid disown--
He travels the fastest who travels alone.
- Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936, from "The College Survey of English Literature", (c)1942, Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.

Yes, the author's life plus 70 years has passed. Unfortunately I took this work from a compendium that owns the rights of reproduction that will persist well into the next century. This bit our our culture has been stolen from us by lawyers and sold legislators. Under current law there is no legal difference between you downloading Britney Spear's latest attempt at vocal rehab and your browser loading this poem written nearly a century ago on this page. That's wrong. That's very wrong.

And now you're a dirty information property stealing criminal. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Re:Congratulations (2, Insightful)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247515)

If you can read this, you're now a criminal.

Naa, you are a criminal (supposedly criminal) for posting it on a public website. If what you say were true, all the RIAA has to do is, get some loud speakers, play a copyrighted song, and sue everybody within the hearing radius (except the deaf of course).

Thanks (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247719)

You've just invented a new business model. Did you think to patent that?

On the contrary (3, Interesting)

butlerm (3112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247765)

Copyright does not protect portions of derived works that lack originality. That principle is the basis of the recent court decision Bridgeman Art Library vs. Corel Corp. [wikipedia.org] . Unless the publisher has made substantial changes to Kipling's work, I dare say we are not dirty rotten intellectual property stealing criminals after all.

Re:Congratulations (1)

lloydchristmas759 (1105487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247943)

your browser loading this poem written nearly a century ago on this page.

What ? Rudyard Kipling was on Slashdot ?

Subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247417)

No wonder the RIAA plans to abandon individual suits; because when individuals take it to trial instead of "settling" for a life of debt, the RIAA appears to be getting pounded.

Re:Subject (1)

SinShiva (1429617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247909)

and when they start trying to get the ISPs to disconnect users for infringement, lawsuits will start springing up in regards to the people leeching off the morons with open wifi connections, etc. good game, RIAA. the people will still win.

Re:Subject (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26248095)

...morons with open wifi connections,...

I keep my WiFi open on purpose. In fact the purpose is just this sort of case. Let anyone try to prove it was me who did whatever 'crime' was alleged. Until there is a law outlawing my open connection, I'll keep it open.

Slashdot is dead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247455)

Even on Youtube they don't comment on the RIAA

Re:RIAA is dead... (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26247919)

Maybe that is why they don't talk about it on YouTube? There is seriously quite some music on YouTube, some of it is good and often linked to a site where you can get a hi-quality version, buy the CD or otherwise support the performers/producers directly. Who needs the RIAA?

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