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RIAA Walks Away From Another "Discovery" Case

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the seeking-the-light-switch dept.

The Courts 164

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "You may recall that the RIAA walked away last week from one of their 'discovery' cases seeking the identities of 'John Does' who attended Rhode Island College. We have just learned that they walked away from another one, BMG Music v. Does 1-14, in Greensboro, North Carolina. 2 of the 14 John Does had settled, but the other 12 — who hung tough — will never be identified to the RIAA lawyers and will not have to pay any 'settlement.' This adds fuel to the debate over whether the RIAA has finally seen the light or is still sneaking around in the dark."

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Objection (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505515)

I object to the verb 'sneaking' in TFA.
It suggests purpose, strategy, and some level of intelligence.

Re:Objection (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505531)

r MM MM MMNMMMM MMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMM MMMNM MM M Fuck your mother and your father
r MrMrr'ro',oro',o',oro',o',oro',o',oro', ',oro',o',rrrrr@MM Fuck your mother and your father
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'ror` MMMMMMrMr,rr;'ror,r'ror`ri'ror,r'ror`rirrrrMMMMaMa Fuck your mother and your father
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Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characterso

Re:Objection (4, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505657)

I agree with you about "sneaking"; I was thinking more along the lines of "groping".

But then I realized "groping in the dark" had too many positive connotations.

Mmmmmm.... Boobs

Re:Objection (1)

howman (170527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506365)

I was thinking this too... stumbling was my thought... or at least stubbing toes on occasion and hoping for a tittie grab.

PR (1)

pondermaster (1445839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505543)

"This adds fuel to the debate over whether the RIAA has finally seen the light or is still sneaking around in the dark."

Just another case of advanced public relations.

Re:PR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505595)

... by NYCL. A closed case gathers no billing!

Tell me, NYCL: when this has all blown over and you no longer have the ears of the Information Wants To Be Anthropomorphised crowd, will you have enough work at your usual day job of aggressively defending corporation IP?

Pity the (2) fools. (4, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505555)

I suspect the two people who paid up are now wishing that they hadn't.

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (5, Interesting)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505633)

I second that statement.

I actually got a letter a little over a year ago which was one of these you are in deep s$%t for downloading music. Only issue it was addressed to "Occupant". I almost wet myself laughing. In my over exuberance I tore up the letter. I will probably regret that move for many years. It is something to be framed.

The best part is. I have never ever downloaded music from the net illegally. I still like that physical quality of a CD.

Oh Nothing happened. There was ZERO follow up on the letter by the sender.

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505833)

re: RIAA

Nuke them 'til they glow, and then shoot them in the dark. They are no better than communists.

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (2, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506427)

They are no better than communists.

One could argue that the RIAA is a lot worse than the Communists were. Consider the Soviet Union: The Communists were voted out of power despite all the vote rigging that the party in power always does everywhere, and they accepted the vote. This wasn't a fluke; it has happened in most of the countries that had Communist governments. The RIAA and MPAA were never elected to their positions, and we can't vote them out. They'll be around longer than any Communist government, and there's not a whole lot we can do about it. They are private corporations created by other private corporations to "coordinate" their business so that no real market could develop. Judicious bribery, uh, I mean campaign contributions, led to the draconian copyright laws that helped prevent a market in music or movies.

Maybe the move to the Internet will end this whole centrally-controlled system. Or maybe they'll find a way to bring it under control. Stay tuned ...

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505853)

Classic example of consumerism brought on by a lifetime of extreme brainwashing from the music companies.

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506597)

Consumerism - A system in which the ignorant masses are held in bondage to the Corporatist establishment.

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (4, Interesting)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505985)

I wish you would have saved it as well. It seems to be a well kept secret of how often this type of intimidation is used under the guise of 'legal threats'.

A year ago, I received a Cease and Desist letter about some domains that I owned. The level of accuracy was similar, as it was addressed to my name but a different address, apparently pulled from the phone book. The letter was threatening all sorts of off the wall things; civil charges, punitive damages, and CRIMINAL charges among others. You can read the letter here sent by
Caton Commercial [demystify.info]

Sure, I could have played along and used the same legal system to smack down the lawyer for making such unfounded threats(it would fall under ethical rules of the bar assn), but instead I decided to post it for all to read.

In that period of time, when searching for the name of the company who sent it, the letter comes up in the top 4 results, along with a link to all the court cases the company is involved in in the local county courthouses publishing of cases. According to my logs, almost 10,000 people have read the letter since its posting.
oops...

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (4, Interesting)

Rasit (967850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506959)

It is even more fun now that you can vote up/down certain search result. I already voted your site up, I wonder how many votes it would take to get your site above theirs.

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508071)

I actually got a letter a little over a year ago which was one of these you are in deep s$%t for downloading music. Only issue it was addressed to "Occupant". [...] Oh Nothing happened. There was ZERO follow up on the letter by the sender.

Maybe it was simply misaddressed and they found "Occupant" elsewhere?

Re:Pity the (2) fools. (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506719)

I suspect the two people who paid up are now wishing that they hadn't.

That was my first thought as well.

Is iit over yet? (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507355)

Any chance they could sue to get their money back? If the settlement letter they paid off is bogus (and it demonstrably is in this case since the RIAA dropped the discovery and walked away from it, which says they had no intention of following through with prosecution) it seems to me that the RIAA gained the money through something resembling fraud.

I'm not sure if it would be fraud, or extortion, or whatever - but it just seems to me that the RIAA doesn't have a legal claim on the money. "Pay us and we won't take you to court." So someone pays. But they didn't take the non-paying people to court and dropped the case. So the settlement letter is absolutely bogus. Shouldn't be too difficult a point to make in front of a judge. IANAL though, so I might be very wrong, but it seems that way.

Do not steal (-1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505589)

Will we ever see NewYorkCountryLawer unequivocally condemn the little thieves, that RIAA are fighting?

Nope, never. Instead, watch yet another thread bogged down by "troll" moderations and objections to my use of the term "thieves"...

Overview of noun theft
The noun theft has 1 sense (no senses from tagged texts)
1. larceny, theft, thievery, thieving, stealing -- (the act of taking something from someone unlawfully; "the thieving is awful at Kennedy International")

Re:Do not steal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505607)

What was that? I couldn't hear you over all this PIRATED MUSIC.

Re:Do not steal (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505639)

How many times do we have to repeat this?

*Copyright infringement is not theft*

No it isn't. No.

Now ask if NewYorkCountryLawer unequivocally condemns his own clients' alleged infringement. What kind of a lawyer would do that? A stupid one.

Re:Do not steal (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505875)

*Forcing people to create music without pay is not theft*
"Forcing people to plant cotton without pay is not theft"

You can repeat those sentences again-and-again (like propaganda), but it still won't make either sentence true. You're stealing labor in this case, and in the other, and theft of labor is a violation of human rights.

Re:Do not steal (3, Insightful)

LEMONedIScream (1111839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505927)

*Forcing people to create music without pay is not theft*

Careful here, how does copyright infringement force people to continue making music?

Re:Do not steal (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505931)

I never forced them to create music, in fact no one did. They chose to do so of their own free will. Do not try to compare this to slavery, that's just disgusting.

Re:Do not steal (3, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505975)

And slavery isn't fucking theft either. It's goddamn kidnapping, assault, probably some rape, all sorts of other crimes, but it's not theft.

Re:Do not steal (1)

WhyMeWorry (982235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507975)

That is actually somewhat debatable. While most societies considered the enslavement of foreigners, especially conquered people, to be normal, they considered the enslavement of their own to be a form of theft. One of the definitions of "Thou shall not steal" given in wikipedia is you shouldn't steal people.

Further, I would argue that kidnapping is the theft of people whether or not they are used as slave labor.

Re:Do not steal (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508101)

How about unconscionable contract? Even non-compete clauses have an expiration date and valuable consideration for compliance.

Re:Do not steal (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508779)

*Forcing people to create music without pay is not theft*

...which is why record companies do it that way ;-)

Re:Do not steal (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506135)

*Copyright infringement is not theft*

Reading Merriam-Webster, I find "stealing" to be:
1 a: to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully

So you don't think that copying music without paying for it is appropriating it without the right to do so?

Re:Do not steal (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506165)

Appropriate (or "take") is still implying the same thing -- the taking of a physical object. It has nothing to do with creating a copy.

In fact, here's a dictionary, to back me up:

Appropriate \Ap*pro"pri*ate\, v. t. [imp. & p. p.
          Appropriated; p. pr. & vb. n. Appropriating.]
          1. To take to one's self in exclusion of others; to claim or
                use as by an exclusive right; as, let no man appropriate
                the use of a common benefit.

Creating a copy does not exclude others from creating a copy, so no.

Re:Do not steal (2, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506875)

To take to one's self in exclusion of others; to claim or use as by an exclusive right; as, let no man appropriate the use of a common benefit.

Hmmm. Exclusion of others. That means it's not theft if we play it loud enough for the neighbors to hear?

Re:Do not steal (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508751)

If you play your music loud enough for the neighbors to hear, isn't that either disturbing the peace (if they don't like it) or public performance without permission of the copyright holder (if they do)?

Re:Do not steal (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508159)

Creating a copy does not exclude others from creating a copy, so no.
No but your appropriating the rights holder's right to distribute; better to support a good local band and go to their proformances and buy your CDs directing from the band and let the RIAA vampyres die of their own accord.

Re:Do not steal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26509291)

"No but your appropriating the rights holder's right to distribute"

Uh, no. The rights holder is still fully capable of distributing their own shit. As has been said, "appropriating" the right to distribute in this case would mean that the infringer has taken the ability for the rights holder to distribute. The only thing that has been "taken away" was being the ONLY person able to distribute (aka monopoly) the media. What is this artificial monopoly on distribution called? why COPYRIGHT of course! So what has this dirty internet person done? He's infringed on a government created monopoly (that is in practice these days unlimited, despite there being a technical limit - a limit that gets longer and longer and longer)

So as we've said. He didn't steal anything. he COMMITTED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

Re:Do not steal (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506641)

Now ask if NewYorkCountryLawer unequivocally condemns his own clients' alleged infringement. What kind of a lawyer would do that?

An honest one? Seriously, it's a popular crime. Sooner or later he's going to get one that is guilty (at least, in the informal sense).

Re:Do not steal (2, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507043)

An honest one? Seriously, it's a popular crime. Sooner or later he's going to get one that is guilty (at least, in the informal sense).

Why is it honest to sell out your client? You realize that a lawyer's job is to be a zealous advocate (though within the bounds of the law), don't you? A lawyer is not the judge and jury. It's not the attorney's role. Everyone deserves a fair trial, no matter how guilty. And even if found guilty, there is the question of how much punishment the guilty person deserves. I guess you think a lawyer should just say "Yeah, my client is guilty of crossing against the light. Go ahead and shoot him. What a minute, I'll do it myself." [bang]

Re:Do not steal (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26509015)

A lawyer is, first and foremost, an officer of the court. If the lawyer knows that his client committed an offense, and pleads not guilty, under most laws and bars, that would be grounds for sanctions, if not charges, "I swear under penalty of perjury that I believe the above to be true", and disbarrment - of course, you could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of lawyers who've been sanctioned for pleading not guilty for a client that they know to be guilty of the crimes as charged.

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505643)

The RIAA's music is overpriced and crap, you wouldn't have bought it anyway, therefore you have the right to get it for free and fill your hard disks with as much of it as you like.

Re:Do not steal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505665)

No, no you don't. But you aren't hurting anybody, so you may as well do it anyway.

Re:Do not steal (4, Insightful)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505797)

When someone shoots a photograph of your house, did they steal it? It seems you don't understand your own sources.

I know that despite the intense advertising campaign to call downloading music theft, legally the definition of theft requires depriving someone of their property, intellectual or otherwise. To deprive someone of any such item, they can't use it after you steal it. Therefore, while copying music is damaging to the RIAA, the RIAA's tactics of pretending that music copying is theft is just plain dishonesty.

Copying music is already illegal, so there's no need to add in theft charges. Just like there would be no need to add in murder charges for copying music because you are proverbially killing the artist.

Re:Do not steal (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505943)

I agree it's questionable as to whether it's legally stealing. But what about morally? That seems pretty clear-cut - taking someone else's work without paying for it, and without permission, is stealing.

Regardless if you're stealing from the garage band up the road, or a RIAA member - it remains stealing.

This isn't riaa brainwashing, it's the basic "right and wrong" thing that most folks are taught when growing up. I seem to be part of dwindling number of people who think that such actions are wrong. Who think that when I want a product, I don't have a right to just take it - even if the taking incurs no physical loss for anyone else.

Re:Do not steal (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506089)

I agree it's questionable as to whether it's legally stealing. But what about morally? That seems pretty clear-cut -

Yep, you forbidding me from freely sharing my knowledge with Bob is the worst kind of intellectual slavery.

taking someone else's work without paying for it, and without permission, is stealing.

Copying something is very different from taking something.

This isn't riaa brainwashing, it's the basic "right and wrong" thing that most folks are taught when growing up. I seem to be part of dwindling number of people who think that such actions are wrong. Who think that when I want a product, I don't have a right to just take it - even if the taking incurs no physical loss for anyone else.

Then people must be realizing that what they've been taught is nonsensical [micheleboldrin.com] .

Re:Do not steal (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506351)

I agree it's questionable as to whether it's legally stealing. But what about morally? That seems pretty clear-cut -

Yep, you forbidding me from freely sharing my knowledge with Bob is the worst kind of intellectual slavery.

taking someone else's work without paying for it, and without permission, is stealing.

Copying something is very different from taking something.

This isn't riaa brainwashing, it's the basic "right and wrong" thing that most folks are taught when growing up. I seem to be part of dwindling number of people who think that such actions are wrong. Who think that when I want a product, I don't have a right to just take it - even if the taking incurs no physical loss for anyone else.

Then people must be realizing that what they've been taught is nonsensical [micheleboldrin.com] .

I think that the point the RIAA is trying to make is that by depriving them of the money they would have made from selling the CD to you, you're in essence stealing it.

Personally, I don't really care one way or the other. It's your business, and if they want to prevent you from downloading it they should make it harder. Of course, it'd make better economic sense for them to realize that people will download because it's easier, and because most of the stuff they're producing is crap and not worth the price of a CD, but still. I'm not holding my breath. It'd be nice if they realized that and adjusted their business model to suit, but I doubt it'll happen.

Re:Do not steal (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506465)

I think that the point the RIAA is trying to make is that by depriving them of the money they would have made from selling the CD to you, you're in essence stealing it.

I'm pretty sure that point has been completely discredited, it's fairly obvious that downloads do not equate to lost sales. (Their point also raises the absurd question of, buying from their competitors instead of them also deprives them of sales they could have made, so is that stealing from them?)

Of course, it'd make better economic sense for them to realize that people will download because it's easier, and because most of the stuff they're producing is crap and not worth the price of a CD, but still. I'm not holding my breath. It'd be nice if they realized that and adjusted their business model to suit, but I doubt it'll happen.

These companies are big enough that they might have a hard time going out of business fast enough to avoid having that realization forced on them. Well, at least in normal economic times.

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506145)

it's the basic "right and wrong" thing that most folks are taught when growing up.

On one hand, I agree that music "sharing" is wrong - on the other hand, if downloading a few 1 dollar songs off the internet is just wrong in a petty sort of way, then the practices of the RIAA are inhuman and despicable. Me, I have a nice collection of Creative Commons music, a good portion of which has been paid for. I'm glad I don't have to be a part of the whole thing; Stealing from the RIAA is wrong, but as far as I'm concerned, doing business with them is wrong as well.

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506147)

Bullshit

The thing that makes stealing stealing is the fact that you take something AWAY from the person you're stealing from.

If i steal your car, you'll be pissed off because you dont have a car anymore, not because im driving the same car without paying for it.

Re:Do not steal (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506183)

Clear cut? Morally?

Nope.

I'm sorry, but this notion of cultural 'work', that is valuable when copied infinitely etc. is an EXTREMELY recent invention of humanity.

Civilization existed for millennia without this invention of 'copyright'.

If anything, it's the OPPOSITE - the morally acceptable thing is for HUMANITY as a whole to get the most benefit, regardless of the individual...

Therefore it's up to the individual creators to do the best they can, and offer a product the people HAVE to buy and reward them, because it can't be gotten any other way, similar to paying for a performance, or paying for someone to create the music to begin with, (rather than ask for money afterwards) - similar to how it used to be done at times.

Unfortunately, digital INFORMATION is not such a limited product.

Re:Do not steal (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506619)

I agree it's questionable as to whether it's legally stealing. But what about morally? That seems pretty clear-cut - taking someone else's work without paying for it, and without permission, is stealing.

I guess it has to be repeated (at least) one more time...

No, it isn't. Unless one were to physically "take" a physical thing, that thing has not been stolen. Get it? The thing is still in the possession of it's owner. Get it?

Yes, of course it is morally wrong to make (not steal) a copy of a work for which the owner/creator has demanded compensation, but that is (pay attention now) not the same thing as theft.

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506759)

Once again, there is no owner of the work. There is only the holder of the copyright. The song/video/photograph etc. is not the property; the copyright is the property. This is why people get so muddled in their thinking on this topic.

Re:Do not steal (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507007)

You aren't stealing their property, you are stealing their money. If I take your wallet, empty it into my pocket and hand you your wallet back I've not stolen anything from you, right? You still have your wallet. This rather unclear concept in today's society of "money" is really quite abstract and you can't be prosecuted for stealing abstract things, now can you? Only physical property. So while your wallet is yours, the money in it is just an abstract concept and free for the taking.

Re:Do not steal (1)

tonto1992 (922918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508295)

I don't steal music because if I had to buy it I wouldn't. So there was a zero sale with either my downloading it or my not buying it. :)

Re:Do not steal (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26509513)

The only University study of the issue of which I am aware, done clear back around 2001, found that at least 80% of the cases of copying music or movies were done under circumstances in which there would have been no sale anyway! (The most obvious example being a teenager who does not have the money to buy a CD, so would not have bought it anyway.)

In such cases, what money are they "stealing"? Profits that even theoretically would not exist?

In the other 20% or so of the cases, you might have a point. But in the vast majority, no.

Further, one cannot ignore the free publicity that is given to such products by the copiers and downloaders! The movie and music industries are not exactly going broke... if they were, this all might have a lot more credibility.

Re:Do not steal (1)

ethicalBob (1023525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507369)

I'm not in ANY way agreeing with the tactics of, or defending the RIAA; but for a note of clarification - the theft isn't of the physical (or digital) product, it is the theft of the revenue from the licensing of that music.

Make no mistake, when you are buying a CD, or purchasing a song online (or however you purchase it), you are purchasing a personal license for the listening of that music, and "First Purchase" rights to the physical CD (which is why you can legally re-sell your used CD, but not re-sell your digital files). But in no way do you "Own" the music you purchased (you purchased a personal usage license).

I always see a lot of confusion in how this is explained when it comes to music... I've been photographer (photojournalist and commercial) for 23 yrs, and its directly analogous to how when someone uses my work without paying for it, it is theft of my revenue. If I create a piece of work that is intended for commercial purposes, I've taken the time to create it and put up the money to purchase the necessary equipment, paid the crew, bought or rented the props, etc. Licensing allows me to recoup those costs and make a living from my profession. If that same work is created to sell as a print or poster, and someone decides that they are going to make prints of it and sell (or give it away), it is a definite loss of revenue for me. People who would have purchased it from me are getting it somewhere else, because someone is giving away my work for free (or selling it without my permission).

Now; in the case of music, does the loss trickle down to the actual artists who created the music? VERY little, and not directly - Fewer new artists get signed and the labels have had to down-size, but its the record labels own fault for not keeping up with technology and the potential of loss they would suffer from operating in an analogue philosophy of business.

Its common sense that if someone can get the same thing you are selling for FREE, and it goes largely unchecked, they are going to take it.

I am careful enough with my own work that I don't make large digital files of my photos available (except to clients who purchase the rights) and I watermark my images that I want to display but need to make revenue from - Some work I license under Creative Commons on if I don't need to generate revenue from it.

Bottom line is that it is theft (you are depriving them of money) - they question just becomes whether or not you care if you are taking money from the RIAA... (and its not difficult to guess how most 99% of us are going to answer that question...)

Re:Do not steal (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507533)

Make no mistake

You are mistaken. When you purchase a CD, you own the CD. There is no license, it is yours, and you can do with it almost as you wish. The only limit is placed upon it by the law, not the company that sold it to you. That company may opt to allow you to do more with it than you would normally be allowed to do, and for that they may demand that you pay for a license.

But make no mistake: when you buy a CD, it is yours and there is no license involved. Only the government, via the law can tell you what you cannot do with the CD.

Oh and bottom line, it is not theft. That doesn't make it OK, after all, murder, rape, kidnaping and assult aren't theft. But it still isn't theft.

Re:Do not steal (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508299)

When you purchase a CD, you own the CD.
but not the music on the physical media, nor the right to redistribute the contents; reselling the used physical media with it's contents are a grey-area.

Re:Do not steal (1)

ethicalBob (1023525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508865)

Please re-read the posting; You own the physical CD, with First Purchase rights to the physical object, but not the music. You can't do with it as you wish; you can only listen to it, make a personal use physical copy, or re-sell it under the rights as a first purchaser. You cannot use it in your film production, in a commercial, or play it in a for-profit venue without additional licensing.

and it is still theft - when you take someone else's money, you are charged with larceny (which is a subset of theft)...

Re:Do not steal (1)

eat here_get gas (907110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508051)

"When someone shoots a photograph of your house, did they steal it? It seems you don't understand your own sources."

for some reason I don't see the parallel between shooting and thieving. care to point that out please?

Re:Do not steal (2, Interesting)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508989)

Musician and sound tech chiming in here, I smell a troll mod coming, but here goes anyway.

Copying music without authorization from the copyright holders is theft, no doubt about it. This notion that the copyright holder is in no way deprived of property is simplistic and misguided. Music is marketed in so many different ways and none of them are benefited by illegal file sharing.

If you think managers, agents, and labels do not investigate how much a band's music has been pirated before agreeing to promote them (or continue to promote them) you're dead wrong. If you think a band has never been deprived of market positioning because of illegal file sharing you're dead wrong. There are so many aspects that have to be in good order before anyone spends the $6-digit amount it takes to get a band the necessary attention in the mainstream, and that is exactly the market that is hit hardest by piracy.

I do not defend the RIAA's draconian tactics and failure to adapt to the market, in fact I detest what they're doing to my industry with such counter-productive campaigns. But theft is still theft.

Wanna really fight back at the RIAA? Don't buy their catalog, instead get out and see some live music and buy the albums of bands that deserve to make a living off music. Unsigned bands generally get 70-85% of album sales as profit, where signed bands are lucky to see 15%. Where would you like your money to go?

Re:Do not steal (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505811)

It's hard to believe someone is actually defending the actions of the RIAA, but I checked your posting history and no, you aren't joking. Although technically you are correct and under existing law you could use the term thieves, you conveniently ignore the fact that the RIAA has run the campaign more like a protection racket than as a legitimate campaign to prosecute (or educate, depending on which RIAA shill you believe) the supposed offenders. They've collected "evidence" illegally, ignored court orders, used questionable legal arguments and arguments based on legal principles that do not exist. Any time anyone actually chooses to fight them in court they walk away in order to prevent a precedent from being set. The large corporations backing the RIAA can't or won't adapt to the changing market and instead are attempting to use legislation to cling to a failing business model. The existing body of law was largely set before the internet came into being, and subsequent changes have been heavily influenced by the same large corporate copyright holders. Your average person doesn't understand IP and your average congressman knows who is buttering his bread. Their entire campaign is a sterling example of how a large moneyed interest can abuse the entire legal system both in the courts and in their efforts to influence the lawmaking process itself.

All this leads me to one question: Why are you so mindlessly insistent that the law is just?

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506121)

Which is the real problem, people not paying for music, or people trying to make them pay for it?

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506223)

How does one mild wrong(stealing things valued at 99c) and one revolting wrong(harassment and ruining lives, often innocent, over petty theft) make a right?

Re:Do not steal (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507157)

You are mostly correct, but misunderstand the situation the RIAA and all companies selling "recorded music" are in. The value of a song today isn't $0.99 on iTunes - it is zero on BearShare, LimeWire, Kazaa, Shareaza, and many, many other services. Just because iTunes can sell 1% of the downloaded music doesn't mean very much when the other 99% is freely distributed.

The RIAA's position is quite simple - stop downloading or die. They aren't going to stop free downloading which means there is no revenue in selling recorded music. Period. There is no "new business model" for them to adopt. The only possible business model is "give it all away for free" which really doesn't offer any revenue at all. Ad-supported downloads? I don't think so. Not when their "competition" is offering DRM-free, ad-free cost-free downloads.

Obviously, you don't belive in copyright law. I don't think it has much of a chance in the next 10 years of still existing. Which measn, if you stop and think about it, that the biggest distribution pipe wins. On the Internet this can mean anything from the "most bandwidth" to "highest ranking on Google". Brick and mortar are likely to continue but only as a very small niche, like the record stores still selling vinyl LPs today. It does mean that the neighorbood band, no matter how good, doesn't stand a chance again Sony and WalMart who can out-distribute them and out-mindshare them on the Internet.

It also means that compensation for "creativity" isn't going to happen much. I trust you aren't very creative and don't find this a problem. It does mean that WalMart and Sony will be selling copies of anything they can put their hands on and the original author, musician, etc. will just get swept under the rug like a hot dog stand next to a McDonalds.

This is the logical outcome of the current copyright battle. We are training every schoolchild in the Western Hemisphere that copyright is outmoded and pointless - take whatever you want. And most are absorbing the lesson quite well. So I really don't see any alternative.

Re:Do not steal (2, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508793)

Why not just continue conventional copyright protection for commercial use -- restaurants, television commercials, and so on -- while allowing unlimited personal use? Even without non-commercial use, there's still a revenue stream, albeit a smaller one, and still an incentive for artists to create popular music.

Plus, artists will always have live events and merchandise.

Re:Do not steal (1)

C0L0PH0N (613595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507325)

I will never (*never*) buy anything from a company that sues its potential customers. I have donated money three times this last year to companies who produce free software. Any company benefitting from the RIAA tactics will never see a dime of my money.

A bailout would be better for the RIAA (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505905)

If, instead of claiming that people are stealing their music, the RIAA would accept the simple fact that their product sucks, their marketing strategy sucks, their whole business plan sucks, then they could claim their problems are the result of the economic meltdown and get a few billion $$$ from Washington. [wikipedia.org]

Re:A bailout would be better for the RIAA (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508901)

Hmmm - cheaper and greener too: 1 letter to Washington, rather than 1 letter to each citizen. Citizen pays in the end, of course...

Re:Do not steal (3, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506051)

Overview of noun pirate
1. a person who robs or commits illegal violence at sea or on the shores of the sea.

There, fixed that for you...

Re:Do not steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506441)

the act of taking something from someone unlawfully

What has been taken? Not the song. It is not composer's/performer's property.

Re:Do not steal (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506547)

Whaah. If you would use the term properly, no one would object.

What has been taken? Perhaps property rights have been infringed upon, but nothing has been taken.

There is a difference

Re:Do not steal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506941)

Indeed. A landowner has exclusive rights to the use of his land. When someone comes along and decides to use it for a picnic, they are trespassing. Ergo, copyright infringers are trespassers!

Question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505693)

How is it, with these "voluntary" dissimissals, the RIAA gets to walk away without paying the other side's legal fees? Where does this leave the defendants? Are they still out several thousand dollars from paying their lawyer, the same as if they had "settled" with the RIAA?

(Although, in this case, the costs might be relatively low, seeing as they would possibly be split amongst several does ...)

Re:Question (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505847)

It's doubtful the John Does spent a single penny. I know that I would not, until my name actually appeared on a court document. Meanwhile I'd be hiding.

Also: Recall that RIAA may win a case, but they still have to collect the money.
Good luck trying to find me.
I hear Canada is a nice place to live.

wised up ? More likely found a softer target ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26505729)

As has been posted here, the RIAA is changing its target from suing individuals to (trying to) sue ISPs who do not do the their dirty work (checking, tracking, denying access) for them.

Small ISPs who cannot do that (too few customers -> no business) will simply die from the RIAAs litigations, and the bigger ones (who can deal with a few less customers) are softer targets, as they have got less to loose (as opposed to an individual which can loose upto a few times his yearly income), especially not when simply ending a customers contract on the first sign of RIAA related trouble.

Lets hope the Judges are allready sensitivised to the RIAA to such a level that even seeing their paperwork will give them an instant itch ...

The calm before the storm (4, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26505919)

All that retreat mumbo-jumbo at the moment is just the precursor to what will be brought against the people in 2009 and beyond. Obama has selected an RIAA supporting ass. attourney general [cnet.com] with David Ogden and now that the industry has a seat on the presidents team and wan't to "cooperate" with ISPs they don't need these awful lawsuits anymore.

My piratey sense is tingling ... I sense a great disturbance in the warez.

Re:The calm before the storm (2, Interesting)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506249)

Do you know that David Ogden personally supports the position of the RIAA or do you just presume that because you happen to know he worked for them? If the latter, do you also presume that lawyers who work for murderers and rapists are also themselves keen on rape and murder?

Re:The calm before the storm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506429)

Pretty much, yes.

Re:The calm before the storm (2, Interesting)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26506537)

Do you know that David Ogden personally supports the position of the RIAA or do you just presume that because you happen to know he worked for them?

I think that can be safely assumed. Nobody put a gun to his head and forced him to represent the RIAA. Lawyers are free to refuse cases if they can't reconcile the need for zealous representation with their own personal code of ethics. (Except public defenders, but that's a whole different ball game, and beside the point here.)

So yes, Mr. Ogden probably does support the position of the RIAA.

Re:The calm before the storm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26506555)

When "working for" includes knowingly violating federal rules of civil procedure and ABA ethical guidelines, I would qualify that as highly suspect.

Re:The calm before the storm (2, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26508343)

The first time I heard the name David Ogden I didn't know either. Then I went on Scroogle.org and found myself some documents with his name on them. Lots of them were from copyright litigation cases and such. He effectively assisted in the legal proceedings that lead to sentences in favor of the RIAA and other organisations. That to me, personally, acts as proof. I obviously can't say what he'll do once in office but his team has pretty much been called. Read the article I linked my first post and then do some research on Ogden. Looks definitely plausible to me.

Thanks for stealing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26507147)

I'll go the "Anonymous Coward" route...
My fiance works for a music distributor. They make an everyday wage and they're about to layoff 400+ people from their offices. Oh yeah, my fiance also has Multiple Sclerosis. Her MASSIVE medical expenses are paid for through health insurance provided by her company, which she will lose if she gets laid off.
So...THANK YOU for stealing music!!!

Re:Thanks for stealing! (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507321)

I was unaware I had also been stealing cars and computer chips. I need to lay off the Ambien.

Re:Thanks for stealing! (1)

rozthepimp (638319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507783)

So let's consider the case where more purchased music is paid for/downloaded instead of being purchased as a CD. A distributor that handles CD's find themselves with 1000 employees when they now need only 600. They lay off 400 employees because the business model has changed. Your fiance gets to look for a new job because.....

Re:Thanks for stealing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26507835)

Oh, I understand this completely. Things change and people must adapt to those changes. The newspapers are the same. My girl and I understand this well and take it in stride.
Stealing, however, is a different animal completely! I used to think this was a victimless crime myself a few years ago....
An economy in the tank, a changing industry, AND then add theft? The "theft" part doesn't help.

Re:Thanks for stealing! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26508019)

I have never illegally downloaded any Music. I did buy three tracks a few years ago but they were so heavily DRM'd that I deleted them after hearing only one (David Bowie singing Pink Floyd) I but physical media whereever possible but there is so much stuff that I want to listen to that the publisher have never released on CD. Most of this stuff is pre 1974 Prog Rock. I have much of it on Viynl but all albims were heavily played in my Student days. Ok, this is a small market but I'd like to buy a CD with music on it. Before anyone asks, most of it is not available for download either. One day I may give up trying to get some of this stuff legally and download a pirate copy. If the publishers can't be bothered got get of their fat bums then is there any wonder why people resort to piracy? I got laid off last week so I know how you must be feeling. Times are hard all over the place. But, don't blame your situation on the downloaders. Blame the record companies for acting like dinosaurs.

Re:Thanks for stealing! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26508253)

I agree completely! I'm a musician too and I've been telling my girl that the music industry has their collective heads up their ass considering a business plan. Thank GOD they do video too!
IMO, music will return to being regional like way back in the day when there were traveling minstrels and such. Record companies should adapt to serve locals, like all the people (myself included) that put out music for free on myspace and the internets in general.
The days of the all-powerful giant record companies are surely over. They just don't want to accept it.

NYCL, does it? (2, Insightful)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 5 years ago | (#26507195)

This adds fuel to the debate over whether the RIAA has finally seen the light or is still sneaking around in the dark.

Does it? Really? Or, does it point to them just not having the money in this downward spiraling economy to continue these frivolous lawsuits while they, in parallel, scramble to redesign their digital content schemes?

I have a feeling that this is going to be a lull for a few years while they regroup, retask and come at the file sharers again, or seek legislation to aid their fight; the latter being less likely under the incoming administration. The RIAA (and MPAA) are not going down without one hell of a fight. This type of battle may be ending, but evil never sleeps and is constantly trying to devise new ways to overcome good. These idiots are just confused and don't see the good in what file sharing does for their (still growing) sales.

To quote Frank Herbert, "This is all far from over..."

mistagged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26509063)

what the fuck does 'republicans' have anything to do with this?

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