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RIAA, Stop Suing Tech Investors!

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the stifling-innovation-in-the-crib dept.

The Courts 114

The RIAA isn't just suing tens of thousands of music consumers; they've also begun filing lawsuits naming the directors of and investors in tech companies that they believe contribute to copyright infringement. NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "ZDNet urges the big recording industries to stop suing tech investors, and cites the draft legislation that I posted, which would immunize from secondary copyright infringement liability any work done by a director in 'his or her capacity as a member of the board of directors or committee thereof,' and any conduct by an investor based solely upon his or her having 'invested in any such corporation, including any oversight, monitoring, or due diligence activities in connection therewith.'"

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Sue Intel! And AMD! (5, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029201)

Clearly there would be less copyright infringement without all these PC's lying around.

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (3, Informative)

dido (9125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029605)

This is more spot-on than the joker seems to realize. According to Bruce Schneier:

I have long argued that the entertainment industry doesn't want people to have computers. Computers give users too much capability, too much flexibility, too much freedom. The entertainment industry wants users to sit back and consume things. They are trying to turn a computer into an Internet Entertainment Platform, along the lines of a television or VCR.

(full article is here [schneier.com] ) Computers

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029767)

This is more spot-on than the joker seems to realize.

It wasn't a joke.

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27031031)

Well we are consumers after all. No citizens or individuals, consumers. Therefore, with freedom to choose, it interferes with the media companies business of providing media for us to consume. That doesn't fit at all into their plan.

I should start pirating just on principle alone.

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (1)

benji fr (632243) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031453)

In France we have a (quite famous now) guy who told about it a few years ago : Benjamin Bayart told us how the "free (as in speech) Internet" may become a "Minitel 2.0" (he means 'a centralized information-&-entertainment-distribution network')

http://www.fdn.fr/Free-as-in-speech-Internet-or.html

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (3, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030063)

It has even been considered here to require a license to have a computer since it's able to play broadcasted TV.

Weird...

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032069)

Well, in Germany, for private persons, as far an I know, this is the law... Apart from paying for empty media like cd-rs and hds, and other stuff. So we should pay multiple times. But they of course still think they can sue us. ...Well... nobody pays the PC tax anyway. If the government guy comes to your door, you simply tell him you have no PC, and then to go fuck off before you beat him up.
But usually, if opening the door naked does not drive them away quickly, letting him come in, closing the door, and then slowly starting to jack off, does it for sure. ^^

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033835)

Hey? Why the troll moderation?

Oh. Right. Americans + sex = not funny? Really??
Stop being prude. I might really do that to a very annoying salesman. And it would be very funny, to see him running away in fear. :D

And the rest of by comment (about the PC tax) is a fact. At least I did not heat the law getting overturned.

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (1)

mishmash (585101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27036419)

A licence is required if you have equipment capable of receiving broadcast TV live in the UK now. It is generally unenforced though in the case of those owning computers only, this makes a mockery of the TV licensing system. Arbitrarily enforced laws are very bad laws, they give too much power to those charged with enforcing them.

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031673)

Why not sue the descendants of Von Neumann and Turing while you're at it, RIAA? Without digital computers, we'd all still be listening to nice, easily-controlled vinyl records, now wouldn't we? This story gets the "ASININE" tag, for sure. Time to put a bullet in the brains of the RIAA.

Re:Sue Intel! And AMD! (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031699)

Oh, and BY THE WAY.. why doesn't Sony go and sue itself for contributing to copyright infringement? After all they're the ones who developed Compact Discs in the first place! Without them, we'd still be putting our vinyl music onto cassette tape, wouldn't we? For that matter, sue whoever invented cassette tapes! ASININE!!!

Legislation to protect *investors*, hell no (4, Interesting)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029207)

I should say - I think that this law suit is bollocks, obviously.

  But if you want to prevent this sort of thing, all you need is a law to indemnify inventors and distributors of technological devices and other services against contributory infringement. Why single out the investors and directors for legal protection?

  Investors and directors already have far too *much* indemnity against the actions taken with their money, generally speaking. This would set a terrible precedent, potentially causing tremendous harm to society in order to advance a very minor point of agenda.

Re:Legislation to protect *investors*, hell no (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030705)

This would set a terrible precedent, potentially causing tremendous harm to society in order to advance a very minor point of agenda.

Technology is not to blame for the harm it causes.
The people who misuse the technology are to blame.
The legal landscape should reflect this.

Otherwise, why not sue the creator of the http, ftp, scp, etc protocols?
Because all of those also enable file sharing.

You don't sue gun, car, or brick mfgs because someone was injured with a car or a gun or a brick.

Re:Legislation to protect *investors*, hell no (2, Insightful)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030885)

>gun

It's been done before.

Re:Legislation to protect *investors*, hell no (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034733)

An enormously bad idea, in fact one of the very worst I have heard in a long time. Directors, executives and investors already get away with the most heinous crimes all while hiding behind corporate facades and in the end only the shareholders get fined. The whole concept that directors and the executive team can routinely escape the responsibility for their decisions, whilst they earn millions of dollars as a result of them is obscene.

In fact legislation should be going in the opposite directions, directors and the executive team should be made criminally liable for all the actions of the companies they run, let alone attempting to introduce disgusting legislation to end their civil liabilities in any way or form, what a terrible precedent to set.

Let's see which other industries industries have benefited, pharmaceuticals have knowingly killed thousands with no criminal penalty for murder, cigarette have knowingly killed millions with no criminal penalty for murder, junk food companies have knowingly killed millions with no criminal penalty for murder (oddly enough ex-cigarette companies who know all about addictive additives), security companies knowingly murdering thousands of people in overseas conflicts with no criminal penalty for murder and, oh yeah, car manufacturers have killed people when they sold cars with known defects with no criminal penalty for murder.

Every time a penalty is applied against a corporation it should also be applied to the people within the corporation who made the decision break the law and those people in that organisation who actually broke the law.

Re:Legislation to protect *investors*, hell no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27032547)

This would set a terrible precedent, potentially causing tremendous harm to society in order to advance a very minor point of agenda.

So... business as usual then.

Go for it! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029219)

RIAA, we know you're running out of money, so by all means start suing well-heeled investors instead of grandmothers living off small pensions.

Hell, I'll even recommend a few law firms that bill starting a grand an hour to help you out.

Re:Go for it! (3, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030241)

If the RIAA starts suing well-heeled investors, then these investors will stop investing money in American companies, and take their money elsewhere.

Then who's going to pay your grandmother's pension? And who's going to give you a job so you can save up for your pension?

Re:Go for it! (1)

EveLibertine (847955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030329)

Well-heeled investor types generally don't like getting told what they're allowed to do with their money. Especially when they're told they're not allowed to put it somewhere where they think it will make them lots of money.

Re:Go for it! (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030505)

Well-heeled investor types generally don't like getting told what they're allowed to do with their money. Especially when they're told they're not allowed to put it somewhere where they think it will make them lots of money.

The reality is that 'investor types' could care less about such matters. They put their money where they believe it will make the most money relative to the risk. And if the making of the investment were to put at risk more than the investment itself, but their own assets, they will steer clear. Even if the only exposure were the legal fees incurred in defending a frivolous lawsuit, that is a substantial risk which could run into the millions.

The fact is, this is not a theoretical possibility. This is something that is happening now, ever since the judge in Napster incorrectly allowed the investors to be exposed to the record companies' frivolous claim. The investors did not choose to 'fight for a principle' or 'show the record companies what they could do with it' or show them how 'they don't like being told what to do'; they did what businesspeople do, they settled, to avoid the risk of continued litigation expense and exposure. Since then, some investors have balked at investing in digital music, preferring instead to put their money in other industries, where the competition are not a bunch of litigation-crazy freaks.

Grammar nazi here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034899)

Sorry but surely the 'investor types' *couldn't* care less about such matters.

Re:Go for it! (1)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038349)

Since then, some investors have balked at investing in digital music, preferring instead to put their money in other industries, where the competition are not a bunch of litigation-crazy freaks.

The dying companies attempting to kill the new companies before they arise. Anyone surprised services like Spotify is based in Sweden?

Re:Go for it! (0)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030557)

If the RIAA starts suing well-heeled investors, then these investors will stop investing money in American companies, and take their money elsewhere.

There are still plenty of American companies, that have nothing to do with theft of Intellectual Property and copyright violation — the two activities, that account for 99.99999% of the P2P traffic.

Truly, there are far more reasons to harass these software makers, than the gun manufacturers and retailers.

Re:Go for it! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033495)

But the American companies that do have to do with "theft"[1] of "Intellectual Property"[2] - telecoms companies, computer manufacturers etc, make more money every day than the entire music industry makes in a whole year.

[1] It isn't theft
[2] It isn't property

Re:Go for it! (0)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27036799)

telecoms companies, computer manufacturers etc, make more money every day than the entire music industry makes in a whole year.

True or not, this is completely irrelevant, because neither telecoms companies, nor computer manufacturers have anything to do with theft of intellectual property. Not any more so, than, say, bakers, whose bread the thieves eat...

[1] It isn't theft
[2] It isn't property

You are wrong on both of these counts too.

Re:Go for it! (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27037945)

[1] It isn't theft [2] It isn't property

You are wrong on both of these counts too.

IANAL, but AFAIK legally the gp is correct, copyright infringement is *not* legally the same thing as theft.

Re:Go for it! (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034081)

Good point. Blizzard's World of Warcraft has over 11 million subscribers, and online updates to the game offer P2P option for speeding up some fairly lengthy downloads. That's a lot of legitimate P2P traffic, and it's of significant import to the business model of an organisation that clears several billion dollars a year.

Not to sound as presomptuous as you, but (2, Insightful)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038415)

the two activities, that account for 99.99999% of the P2P traffic

Citation Needed

Re:Go for it! (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033561)

This comment was flamebait.
Or do you suggest that without foreign investment, all your pensions are worthless ?
If that's the case, you have bigger issues.

Silly proposal... (0)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029281)

What's really needed are some laws that prevent the mafiaa from filing frivolous lawsuits in general. Officers and directors of a specific class of companies don't need special protection.

Once that's accomplished, then it's up to the legislative bodies to determine what a pirate really is. And *then* various judicial bodies to hear test cases and rule on whether or not those laws make any sense. A long and drawn out process, but at least its somewhat transparent and allows all the various stakeholders to get their day in court if they're unhappy with the results.

Cheers,

Re:Silly proposal... (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030449)

There are already laws in place to protect against the filing of frivolous lawsuits. Why do we need more?

If anybody believe the RIAA or anybody else has engaged in such conduct, they can protest it. Of course, it will be a high burden to prove that it's frivolous, but there's a reason for that, namely the principle of American Law that everybody gets a chance in court, and even if they can't prove their case, this doesn't mean they did wrong.

Re:Silly proposal... (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030525)

There are already laws in place to protect against the filing of frivolous lawsuits.

Name them. (And once you do I will show you why every one you name is entirely ineffective to deter the filing of frivolous lawsuits.) The fact is there is big money in filing frivolous lawsuits and the Big 4 record companies are the best customers for this product. They have spent far more on it than they have on product development.

Re:Silly proposal... (0, Troll)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031433)

Why would I bother naming them, if you're just going to claim they're ineffective? Seems to me you're already admitting they do exist.

So why not cut to the heart of the matter...which I already addressed, so I refer you back to my prior post.

It's a high standard to prove, and I think you're illustrating quite clearly why it should be.

Re:Silly proposal... (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032759)

I do not know of any law that effectively deters frivolous litigation, which is why I expect that the laws you will point to are ineffective to deter frivolous litigation. If you take the trouble to name them, I will not just 'claim' they are ineffective, I will demonstrate to you why they are ineffective. If you'd like to learn something, fine. If you prefer to beat your gums and remain ignorant, well that's fine too.

Re:Silly proposal... (0, Flamebait)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033411)

I just don't see any reason to try to show you something you acknowledge exists, just so you can say something you've already said, and so I can reply with something I've already said. If you'd wanted to reply to that, perhaps we'd have had something to discuss, but you have yet to choose to address it.

Re:Silly proposal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034787)

I wish I had modpoints because I'd be modding you down. you were called out and now you're squealing like a bitch

Please elaborate on your stand (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034255)

"The fact is there is big money in filing frivolous lawsuits"

Well, we certainly agree on that statement. I've seen your nick around, and read a few of your posts, but other than your opposition to the RIAA, I'm really not aware of your stands on other issues. Since you indicate that you're a lawyer, and since you made the statement about frivolous lawsuits, I have ask, doesn't that put you in opposition to most tort lawyers? My state has been called "Tort Hell" for the habit of tort lawyers shopping for the for the most favorable courts and juries, and filing frivolous lawsuits. When you say "frivolous lawsuits", are you including all the ambulance chasers too?

Re:Please elaborate on your stand (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27036399)

I am not aware of any other area of the law that has been flooded with "frivolous lawsuits". The only such flood of which I am aware is the flood of 40,000 frivolous lawsuits brought by the RIAA against ordinary working Americans.

General tort law does not have the structural problem these cases have; in general tort cases there is an insurance company which has abundant resources with which to defend the insured.

Re:Silly proposal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27038761)

Ah, the Yes Minister strategem. "Ask them to name four. No one can do that."

Limited Liability? (1)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029293)

IANAL but I thought the whole point of corporations was to limit investors' exposure to the amount of their investment. Otherwise your grandma could be sued for the Ford Explorer rollovers since she owns 100 shares of Ford stock in her retirement savings.

Re:Limited Liability? (1, Insightful)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029369)

the whole point of corporations was to limit investors' exposure to the amount of their investment.

i would have to rephrase that as: "...the whole point of corporations was to print money without any personal accountability..."

Re:Limited Liability? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029399)

So? Given that people seem to sue for anything and everything, being threatened with the loss of everything you own because you own some shares in a company is excessive, and that basically the end result from taking away from that protection. There is some amount of personal accountability, it is limited to the value of those shares and nothing more.

Re:Limited Liability? (0, Flamebait)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030157)

ethics anyone?
when all you have to lose or invest is dollars, coupled with greed leads to the corrupt value system that seemingly plagues the world.
this is merely my opinion
recent cases of corporate criminal negligence:
pca (the peanut corp)
b madoff
chinese milk scandal
haliburton
british petroleum (BP)
union carbide
etc ad nauseum...
i missed alot but you know corporate greed is what has brought on this financial crisis that is gripping the entire world at this point.
my point? accountability has more to do with ethics and doing what is right by society not the ledger sheet.
so? FUCK YOU TO ALL CORPORATE GREED MONGERS AND ALL WHO ASPIRE TO BE ONE.

Re:Limited Liability? (4, Informative)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029433)

You've exaggerated the protection a bit, but you're correct. In most states, a corporation is a treated as a legal entity that can be sued, fined or sanctioned. The officers of a corporation are protected from suits, unless the plaintiff asks a judge to "pierce the corporate veil". Typically, judges are loathe to do this unless the plaintiff provides a significant amount of evidence that the officers knowingly participated in illegal activities.

Delaware and Nevada are corporation-friendly states and such a suit probably would go nowhere if filed in those states. Other states may have activist judges that think corporate protection is meaningless, and allow litigation on flimsy evidence.

As is often stated here, IANAL, but have formed two corporations and have paid a large portion my lawyer's kid's college tuition doing so.

Did someone else misread that? (0)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032783)

The officers of a corporation are protected from suits, unless the plaintiff asks a judge to "pierce the corporate evil".

Swapped them letters for you.

Re:Did someone else misread that? (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033375)

Except you shouldn't have done that. Anyone can be a corporation; your doctor/dentist/lawyer is probably a corporation for gawd's sakes.

Corporation != evil. It's a tax tool, damn good one too.

Re:Did someone else misread that? (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038049)

A corporation is far more than a tax tool, since generally you can't lose more money than you put in. With a partnership or sole proprietorship, if your business goes under, you and your partners are generally liable for all its debts. It doesn't matter if someone screwed you or even if your partner cashed in all the business's assets and bank accounts and moved to some exotic island. What do you think will happen if your business is sued? What if business isn't as good as you thought it would be, and your company racked up lots of credit? This is why you should never be in a partnership, and you should be very careful about starting a sole proprietorship. You may pay double taxes with certain types of corporations, but it may be worth it. Also look at LLCs (limited liability company) IANAL, you should really consult one if you plan to start or buy a business. Making a mistake can cost you more than those who chose to get an ARM mortgage, especially the ones who couldn't afford it in the first place.

Re:Limited Liability? (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038127)

Ugh, I hate modern corporateship. The point of forming a corporation is that the board and executives take legal and financial responsibility for the company in place of the owners (shareholders). The point is *not* to create a beast that can act without anyone taking responsibility.

Re:Limited Liability? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029581)

That's the general rule, but there are exceptions. Otherwise, it would be too easy to exploit the legal concept of limited liability corporations to avoid responsibility for your actions. IANAL either but I have come across plenty of people with "clever" ideas they think will limit tax or litigation exposure.

For example, Acme Freight Inc could set up a different subsidiary for each truck it owns with $100 of share capital each, and transfer ownership of one truck and one driver's contract to each one. That way, if there was an accident that particular subsidiary would be sued (but only owns the wreckage of the truck and $100). Acme Freight Inc would then claim that their loss was limited to their investment. Trying to get the courts to accept this scheme is likely to be tough, given that it is both grossly immoral and totally contrary to public policy and the intent of the road accident liability laws.

The subsidiaries have no significant economic capital or operations of their own, and effectively act as agents for the Inc. rather than separate trucking businesses. That sort of situation makes it more likely for the courts to "look through" the legal entity. Of course YMMV and IANAL etc...

In this case, the RIAA has effectively started claiming that the investors knew their service would be used for illegal ends and they set up a separate company to shield themselves from the legal consequences of their actions. Who knows what the courts will decide, but if the investee has a meaningful amount of capital of its own, has separate management and operates independently I wouldn't hold out much hope for this argument.

Re:Limited Liability? (2, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029695)

IANAL but I thought the whole point of corporations was to limit investors' exposure to the amount of their investment.

IAAL... and I was under the same impression.

Simple fix-- short 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029303)

These investors need to go all in short with leverage against the members of the RIAA that are doing this and drive their stock price to zero.

Make them go bankrupt.

Problem solved.

I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029323)

...but everytime I see an article like this I wonder why no one is listening. Just stop buying products associated with the RIAA and MPAA. Period. If people had done that when this whole fiasco started, they'd both be out of business by now.

You the consumer are just as responsible for what these asshats do because you feed their wallets! Knock it off!

You may have no choice but to give the government billions of tax dollars to fight pointless wars, bailout failing businesses, and remove tattoos in California, but you DO have a choice in what music/movies you buy. Use that freedom or don't bitch when the MAFIAA comes knocking at your legal door.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029511)

The vast majority of the public doesn't have a clue what slashdot is. The vast majority of the music buying public is essentially clueless about nearly anything related to law and rights and all that. The popular commercial news will not report on these stories for a wide variety of reasons. Even if they covered the story attempting to demonize the people being sued, it would be VERY difficult to spin the situation to look this way considering the targets and especially considering the ones that were excused from litigation once they were identified.

I don't buy music... but not for the reasons you might think. My reasons include 1) today's new stuff sucks, 2) I am not moved by music as much as other people seem to be, 3) I realize that music is not a possession but a thing to be licensed but is owned and even controlled by someone else.

But take heart. The movement of public attraction to the indies is growing steadily... perhaps not fast enough but still growing. The use of DRM technologies is also on the decline which is also indication of where things are going. But the progress may never completely uproot the real problem here:

The public is being led around by the nose by a LOT of popular notions. People think they need a "good credit rating" (aka the "I love Debt rating") and they think they need all of the crap and nonsense they buy. I am guilty of all of this same stupidity but I see it and increasingly fight this addiction to plastic. I gave up debt financing on anything but houses and cars and will soon give up on debt financing for cars as well. Spending cash and watching your checking and savings accounts erode with each individual item is far more sobering than watching "bills paid" come out of my accounts. (We see bills as necessary to pay and so we don't anguish about that as much right?)

Okay, this seems to be going off-topic a bit. But the point is that we are living in this consumerist culture that will literally require a cultural revolution to get us out of. If Obama were REALLY interested in bringing this country out of financial ruin, he would start movements that would result in a cultural revolution or at least a return to more simple values. This consumerist culture makes a few of people rich off of nonsense and crap... but that's not as bad as the other, larger side of that statement! This consumerist culture makes a lot of people poor because of nonsense and crap.

The music and movie industries are part of a larger classification identified as the entertainment industry of which the other forms of media are enlisted members. (So is it any mystery that 'the media' doesn't want to cover this topic?) Entertainment is not considered to be a necessity by the standards of most people and when people start watching their spending, that's usually the first to go.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029733)

While I agree with the general sentiment of your post I'd like to point out that working on getting a good credit rating is not actually about loving debt or actually a bad thing. To finicial institutions good credit means that I'm a reliable person and will not screw them over if they lend me money or give me goods/service with a promise to pay later. I've very rarely got myself into any sort of debt (student loan aside, here in the UK it's not very much and gets paid off automatically when you're earning) and as such I have a very good credit rating. I don't use a credit card and I don't buy things on the "buy now pay later" offers. If I don't have the cash in my bank I wait until I do. This means that when I want to buy a house, set up a business or something else that requires a credit check I'll be able to do so without any hassles.

In other words good credit doesn't mean constant debt. It means being careful and occasionally using a credit card when you can pay it off the next day.
Heck, just using one when you're buying something like flights or concert tickets is actually more sensible than using cash as the purchase is then protected if the flight or concert gets canceled.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030305)

You are completely wrong. Go look into how credit scores are calculated. Dave Ramsey has a rather simple and easy way to explain how it works. This guy is a multi-millionaire, always pays his bills, buys everything in cash and has a pretty crappy credit score.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032335)

How was what he said wrong ? .. He basically said it makes you think more when paying cash as opposed to lumping a purchase in with a credit card bill... he said people (the general public) are into the credit score thing.. You tell us that this one guy is not. This Dave Ramsey guy may be the smartest financial genius ever.. who knows, but that doesn't make what the poster said about people and their credit scores wrong.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033013)

There is no such thing as working on getting a good credit score. There is such a thing as buying one however. All you have to do is pay needless money in interest payments for something that should be paid for in cash.

Let's say you have a "perfect score" for credit and then you pay off all debt, close all accounts and remain debt free for seven years. What happens to your credit score? It goes DOWN. Why? Because you pay for what you buy instead of borrowing money and paying interest on it? In order to maintain a credit score, you have to maintain debt. How much sense does this make? It makes plenty of sense if you plan to stay in debt all your life.

Here is the unfortunate situation though. This credit score system is [ab]used by more than just lenders. It is used as a "reputation score" when it is nothing of the kind! Once again, a "pay in full only" guy like myself gets an unfairly low credit score and therefore an unfairly low "reputation score" when I live debt free and owe very little.

The way to avoid this terrible delemma, of course, is to borrow, pay interests and maintain a certain level of debt. But why does that sound wrong? Paying interest rates on loans I don't need just to boost and maintain a reputation score? Sounds like I am paying the system in order to keep in their good graces. If that sounds oddly like a tax then you'd be right to draw that comparison... but really, it's closer to "pay to play."

Don't get me wrong. There is a place for lending and borrowing. If we saved for things like houses, we could quite possibly die before being able to buy one. But for thiings that most definitely lose value the moment you buy them? (like diamonds, cars, computers, TVs and a whole host of other things) it makes less than no sense.

Somewhere between two and three generations ago and before, it was considered a sin to be in debt. If you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, you will know that their scriptures ALL say that borrowing is a bad idea as it makes the borrower a slave of the lender. But somehow a push for all of this illegal under the law social security number as a national ID number and people tracker became successful. (You *did+ know that law was expressly written to declare the use of SSNs for any purpose other than social security records tracking to be illegal? The IRS recognizes this and will issue you a tax payer ID number if you request it! And lenders could also issue account numbers to track you with, but since the SSN isn't quite so easy to opt-out of, they all want to latch onto that unique number ostensibly to avoid being defrauded.) And now we are stuck in a system with ridiculous notions like "we need to be in debt to prove we are worthy of... what? More debt of course!"

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27033453)

In order to maintain a credit score, you have to maintain debt.

Not really. You can have a credit line - via a credit card - and pay your bill in full monthly. You will incurr no interest charges and are likely to get some cash back or other rewards. The credit card companies like this because they charge the merchants 2% to 4% and the 1% you might get back is clearly a lesser fraction of that sum. Sure, they make more money out of people with late fees and interest payments but they also expose themselves to more risk. Bottom line, you don't need to "maintain debt". Rather, you may pay your debts monthly. Credit score is not just based on the payment history but also only using a fraction of your available credit. So if your credit limit is $20,000 but your monthly bill is $500 (which we have established that you pay in full monthly) then it appears that you are more prudent and not prone to overspend just because you can.

There are many, many problems with the credit system including the lack of security (and liability for those who screw up and allow "identity" theft - a term to make it look like you the individual is the victim and responsible). However, I don't think the credit score is a major problem.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038115)

So you are saying to shift the cost onto merchants, so we all have to pay more is a better plan? The CC companies require their merchants to charge the same for all types of transactions, so if you pay with cash, you have to pay more even though you don't use a credit card. How is this not "pay to play" like the above poster said? Also, even if you pay your cards off monthly, you are still maintaining a debt, unless you are redefining "debt."

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034571)

You are 100% wrong. I have no debt and an excellent credit score. I have numerous active credit card accounts, none of which have revolving balances. Therefore, I pay no interest at all. I even get cash back for using the cards.

Would I really be better off shoving my head up my ass, canceling all credit cards, and bitching some nonsense about having to "be in debt to get good credit"?

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

gadabyte (1228808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030187)

I don't buy music... but not for the reasons you might think. My reasons include 1) today's new stuff sucks, 2) I am not moved by music as much as other people seem to be, 3) I realize that music is not a possession but a thing to be licensed but is owned and even controlled by someone else.

i take no issue with points 2 and 3, but there's a ridiculous amount of music that is both new and good - it's just not being pimped by mtv or whatever casey kasem clone happens to be favored by clear channel at the moment.

granted, most of my music collection is older than a decade, and it does seem that the art to detritus ratio has tilted towards the britney spears - 50 cent end of the scale, but the good shit is still out there. off the top of my head, here's a list of artists who have released excellent albums in the last 2 years...

Drive-By Truckers
Citay
Mogwai
Modest Mouse
Solar Fields
Iron & Wine
Explosions in the Sky
The Bees

ok, that wasn't quite as impressive a list as i had hoped, but i'm too lazy to search. my point remains, however - there is good music being made now, despite the saddening signal to noise ratio.

The public is being led around by the nose by a LOT of popular notions. People think they need a "good credit rating" (aka the "I love Debt rating") and they think they need all of the crap and nonsense they buy. I am guilty of all of this same stupidity but I see it and increasingly fight this addiction to plastic. I gave up debt financing on anything but houses and cars and will soon give up on debt financing for cars as well. Spending cash and watching your checking and savings accounts erode with each individual item is far more sobering than watching "bills paid" come out of my accounts. (We see bills as necessary to pay and so we don't anguish about that as much right?)

now that, however, is spot on. i've never had a credit card, and never bought a car i couldn't pay for with cash on the spot. accordingly, i've never had a really nice car, but i've never had a jalopy either. my only worry is buying land, which i'm not sure i'll be able to do without credit, or with my heroic lack of credit history. luckily i want to live in the middle of goddamn nowhere, where land tends to be pretty cheap...

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032539)

Considering recent events.. A lack of credit history may make it harder in the future to finance real estate. The thing is, although banks are the norm, banks are not the only way to purchase real estate. In fact, with banks being tighter, and a glut of foreclosed properties and buyers harder to find.. buying direct from a seller is probably not a bad way to go right now. Ideally a seller who has no pre-existing mortgage on the property he is selling.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038175)

3) I realize that music is not a possession but a thing to be licensed but is owned and even controlled by someone else.

It used to be music wasn't owned or controlled by anyone...except for fascist regimes.

As for boycotting the RIAA not doing any good, I agree. In fact they will still get money from you because of compulsory licenses. If you buy something from a company who advertises on a music playing radio station or a store which plays music, you are indirectly paying money to the RIAA. I won't even go into the costs of them suing anyone who produces tech they don't like.

Re:I'm pretty much in "broken record" mode now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27038317)

I realize that music is not a possession but a thing to be licensed but is owned and even controlled by someone else

Yes! I also don't own a driver's license or fishing license for the same reasons. But I'll be damned if some evil government or conspiring company is going to stop me from driving on public roads or fishing commercial quantities of endangered species, just because they want to charge me money for it or place restrictions on how I go about my business.

Thanks for helping justify my cause with your flawless arguments!

Excellent News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029327)

This is just perfect, because up until recently they only sued people they knew couldn't fight back. I would love to see them snare a Senator, a Congressman or Warren Buffet in their carpet bombing assault on the internets.

Fight of the titans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029333)

So they're suing tech companies and investors related to said companies...

1. get the RIAA to sue IBM.
2. ???
3. Profit! (or at least, no more RIAA)

Re:Fight of the titans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27031291)

No, since that would give IBM more of an excuse to layoff its non-managerial US workers and outsource more to India.

Re:Fight of the titans? (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038199)

... then sue the RIAA into the ground for patent infringement. I'm sure IBM has a "typing information into computer keyboard" patent lying around somewhere...

Quick, dump your stock in... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029361)

Let's see...
Any computer company (ibm, microsoft, apple)
All online auction sites like eBay (because they are full of nothing but counterfeits)
Any company that sells ethernet cards or cables.
Oh hell, let's sue the mining industry because they produce the copper for the cables, because copper carries signals that could be carrying stolen bits of data.

As you can tell it's pretty damn stupid.

The only companies that profit directly from copyright infringement are in China. Anyone in the US profiting from copyright infringement is exempt under the DMCA safe harbor clause.

Re:Quick, dump your stock in... (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032831)

The only companies that profit directly from copyright infringement are in China.

There are some people who'd say you spelled "Sweden" wrong.

That is, if they had a sense of humor ;-)

Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029445)

All this faffing around trying to sue the copyright infringers or the people that may have helped them. Forget that, just go straight to the source and prosecute the content makers. Without any media, there would be no copyright infringing...

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27033025)

Breaking News: RIAA files lawsuits against Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Warner Music Group for making content that is too easy to infringe upon...

Oh for crying out loud (4, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029621)

Lets think about how this would have affected the development of: the personal computer, the VCR, the tape deck, CD burners, torrent distribution, the xerox machine, the printing press...

What's really going on?

RIAA warfare against "piracy?"

or

The RIAA is attempting to buy legislation which would allow them to destroy technologies that allow independent artists to compete with them.

Re:Oh for crying out loud (3, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029727)

Lets think about how this would have affected the development of: the personal computer, the VCR, the tape deck, CD burners, torrent distribution, the xerox machine, the printing press...
What's really going on?
RIAA warfare against "piracy?"
or
The RIAA is attempting to buy legislation which would allow them to destroy technologies that allow independent artists to compete with them.

That is their goal. To return to that glorious place they enjoyed for decades. A competition-free zone.

Re:Oh for crying out loud (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030015)

That is their goal. To return to that glorious place they enjoyed for decades. A competition-free zone.

IANAL, but isn't that blatantly illegal? Like, a monopoly or something? If I'm right, then how is it that they aren't getting struck down left and right?

Re:Oh for crying out loud (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27037965)

I would say it is a combination of:

  • The common problem of criminals violating the spirit of the law while not violating the technical letter of the law. In the same thread, "reasonable doubt" also comes to mind.
  • Corrupt politics. It seems to me the entertainment "industry" spends a higher percentage of their income on bri^W campaign contributions than other industries.
  • The RIAA has already essentially been given a monopoly. They get to "distribute fairly" all the license fees from compulsory licenses for radio, and I assume for blank music CDs. Look in copyright law, who do you think is the current organization to represent rights holders? (I forget the exact terms / phrase they used)

Re:Oh for crying out loud (2, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030965)

That is their goal. To return to that glorious place they enjoyed for decades. A competition-free zone.

And that's why they are not going to stop -- it's life and death to them. The alternatives society has don't involve the existence of the RIAA and its member companies.

Music publishers exist to identify music that large numbers of people would like and make it available. In the past, there was really only one way to do this and the record companies grew up around this method. We now have a much more efficient method -- let the masses sort out popularity and distribute it electronically. Sites that rank music based on some measure of popularity and genre provide a much more efficient method for individuals to find music that they might like.

Other technological changes have made the publishers redundant -- the cost of recording music has dropped dramatically. There is no reason that an artist should need a publisher/label for publicity -- its not a unique skill, except for one factor: the label's hold over what is played on the radio.

So, anything at all that threatens the RIAA's hold over radio playlists must (in the eyes of the RIAA) be killed off at all costs, because the alternative is the death of the RIAA. They are like a cornered animal -- almost defeated, but at their most dangerous.

RIAA as a cornered animal (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033367)

So, anything at all that threatens the RIAA's hold over radio playlists must (in the eyes of the RIAA) be killed off at all costs, because the alternative is the death of the RIAA. They are like a cornered animal -- almost defeated, but at their most dangerous.

Ideas? What they may do? What we can do? (I doubt they'll hire assassins, so I'll just focus on more probable issues.)

Re:Oh for crying out loud (1)

Eastender (910391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030193)

You have beautifully summarized the overall objective that drives decision making and actions of the RIAA. Thank you.

Re:Oh for crying out loud (1)

Yaotzin (827566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030215)

It's not a question of how this process would have affected anything, because the truth is that it has. Every information medium since the printing press has gone through the same process.
Remember when they said radio was going to kill music? When televisions were going to be the end of radio? When VCRs were going to be the end of cinemas?
People with power are afraid of change, and they will try to prevent it. That's simply the way things have always been.

Probably an even worse idea (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029631)

Suing individuals for ridiculous sums of money was like a playground bully beating up scrawny kids for their lunch money. It's easy, but there's not much profit in it.

Suing investors who can actually afford to mount a legal defense for similar sums of money is like trying to beat up the principal for his lunch money. And he's been itching to try out that new paddle.

Re:Probably an even worse idea (3, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029769)

Suing individuals for ridiculous sums of money was like a playground bully beating up scrawny kids for their lunch money. It's easy, but there's not much profit in it. Suing investors who can actually afford to mount a legal defense for similar sums of money is like trying to beat up the principal for his lunch money.

It's not the suing they're interested in. It's the sending a message to angel and venture capital investors, that they should invest in a different industry and stay far away from digital music, that they enjoy. If you're a VC, and you've got 100 different applicants from 15 different industries asking for a $250k investment.... it's pretty easy to decide to take a pass on the digital music startup and go somewhere else.

Precedent (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029977)

Except wouldn't it take only a few investors to stand up to the RIAA, get the charges toss out in court (and hopefully damages awarded to the defendant), and set a precedent which would strongly discourage future frivolous lawsuits?

That is, supposing they don't just fold and settle out (I'm hoping that the insult and idiocy of such a lawsuit would be enough to discourage such).

offtopic - sig site (2, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030075)

Why is login restricted on your sig site? Should I apply for a handle?

Re:offtopic - sig site (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031357)

It used to have a forum, but work has been keeping me too busy and it was getting nailed with all kinda of SPAM, so I've offlined it until I have a chance to add some better counter-measures.

Re:offtopic - sig site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27032381)

It's been re-opened now. Had to clean out a bunch of spam and spammers.

Re:Probably an even worse idea (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030189)

The whole thing is like the playground bully trying to beat the teacher, those guys they are suing probably have more funds than the RIAAs annual budget for legal defense!
What this means is the RIAA is in for a severe beating. Speaking of stupidity well applied this is the perfect example!
It is one thing going after people who do not have the funds to defent themselves and another thing trying to anger the big boys. The first thing is morally wrong and may the rot in hell, the second thing is going into a club of sadists and crying for beating, or applying for a cell in Guantanamo Bay, you can see it from that side as well :-)

Re:Probably an even worse idea (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029869)

IANAL, so I'd like to ask those are AL in the USA:

Couldn't the defendants sued by the RIAA (as described in this overall discussion) file for a judgement with prejudice, and thereby require the RIAA to pay all legal costs involved?

Could the defendants then file complaints with the appropriate Bar Associations against the RIAA attorney(s) for having knowingly harrassed the defendants, and/or barratry?

But wait, it's worse than that... (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030521)

I was at the Chicago Maritime Festival yesterday, and had dinner with a bunch of folks I know, mostly musicians. One member of a the group was very outspoken about how the DMCA and all had *seriously* screwed her group, and all indie musicians. From what she was saying, you have to pay the record companies... and if you're not signed, there is *no* *way* to sell, other than individually, via the online sources that sell by the track.

In addition, the recent screwing by the RIAA & buddies to increase the fees paid by streaming media stations drove *many* under... and a lot of musicians, such as those who are on the renfaire circuit, lost their outlets....

Then, of course, there's the clip I hear of Arlo Guthrie saying that it took him THIRTY YEARS to get the first dime of royalties from Alice's Restaurant.

But the RIAA is *so* about musicians getting paid for their art....

        mark

Re:But wait, it's worse than that... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031025)

. and if you're not signed, there is *no* *way* to sell, other than individually, via the online sources that sell by the track.

What about CD Baby/iTunes? [cdbaby.net]

Y'know... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030791)

I think it's a sign of how weak and sickly our nation has become.

This kind of behaviour is clearly rabid, and most civilized societies put a merciful bullet in the heads of rabid animals.

Whether literally or figuratively, the RIAA needs to be put down.

The Mafiaa Will Eat Itself (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030833)

They want to sue investors and tech companies? Good. It will be suicide for them. They'll have to sue AOL for funding the development of Napster. In so doing they'll have to sue Time Warner, a member of the RIAA. Not to do so will show bias between members and non-members, making all their claims questionable and if I'm not mistaken leave them open to a RICO suit.

The news from the last year or two is misleading in saying Napster acquired AOL Music. AOL already held interest in Napster because they funded its development. Pages on AOL's web site stating this were major points used by Harlan Ellison's attorneys in Ellison v. Remarq, AOL and Various John Does. AOL's attorneys appeared to be completely unaware of this relationship which placed AOL firmly opposite to its own claims of being anti-sharing.

Such corporate merging, spin-off and reacquisition is a common occurrence giving surface activity for various legal and financial reasons while the investors and holding companies retain ownership all along. Whether the Mafiaa's landsharks are unaware of the above, or (more likely IMO) hoping the defense attorneys and the judged are, makes little difference as long as the relevant courts can be made aware of the information. Anyone interested in the specific supporting details can contact Charlie Petit at authorslawyer.com.

Darwin Awards (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031033)

Can't be given to corporations? I know that RIAA is doing the "shoot yourself in the foot" task, but have to do it in each toe first? Whats next? Suing Obama?

About Time (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031197)

I'm glad that they've finally been so blinded by their greed that they are finally attacking people who can afford to fight back.

A modest proposal (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031459)

Specifically immunizing investors from secondary copyright infringement suits is putting a band-aid on a festering wound. Number one, they're already covered by the corporate veil anyway, unless the RIAA buys the judges (in which case the laws won't help). Number two, the whole concept of secondary copyright infringement is something made up out of whole cloth by the courts; it doesn't appear in the statutes. So how about explicitly eliminating the doctrine of secondary copyright infringement entirely? It's pretty much used only for evil.

Actually, that goes for copyright period. So here's my suggested draft legislation

1) The United States denounces the Berne Convention and denounces and withdraws from all other organizations, treaties, and/or agreements which would require it to enforce any provisions of Title 17 of the United States Code.
2) Title 17 of the United States Code is hereby repealed, as of thirteen months from date of enactment of this legislation, or when all denunciations and withdrawals in paragraph 1 have taken effect, whichever comes sooner.

Kaboom! (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031619)

It seems that since they've already blown off both their feet, they're now moving on to what they have left. I'm pretty sure that was one of their arms right there.

E4! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27031743)

Interest in having Visions going listQ of other

No. Please, RIAA, sue as much as you can... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032027)

(The more they sue, the quicker they are gone. Essentially, ZDnet tells them how to live longer... against their will... Well, I say: In this case, let them have their will. :D)

Dear RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27033633)

Fuck you and the whore you rode in on.

Chill out (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033635)

I can't believe the negative and adversarial mood this whole story has provoked here. Surely this is good ?

they have widened their aim, but they have targeted people with similar resources now - people who can and will fight back.
Remember, first they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. They've just started fighting for real.
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