Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RIAA Brief Attacks Free Software Foundation

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the but-copyleft-needs-copyright dept.

The Courts 554

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has requested permission to file a response to the amicus curiae brief filed by the Free Software Foundation in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Boston case against a Boston University grad student accused of having downloaded some song files when in his teens. In their proposed response, the RIAA lawyers personally attacked The Free Software Foundation, Ray Beckerman (NewYorkCountryLawyer), and NYCL's blog, 'Recording Industry vs. The People.' The 9-page response (PDF) — 4 pages longer than the document to which it was responding — termed the FSF an organization 'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs,' and accused the FSF of having an 'open and virulent bias against copyrights' and 'blatant bias' against the record companies. They called 'Recording Industry vs. The People' an 'anti-recording industry web site' and stated that NYCL 'is currently subject to a pending sanctions motion for his conduct in representing a defendant' (without disclosing that plaintiffs' lawyers were 'subject to a pending motion for Rule 11 sanctions for their conduct in representing plaintiffs' in that very case)."

cancel ×

554 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Ok . . . (4, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667001)

The RIAA thinks it's a bad man in a big town when it reality it wouldn't make a pimple on a simpleton's ass in a village.

Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (4, Interesting)

McCat (1438893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667013)

But what's with all of the RIAA action all of a sudden? What's got a bee in their bonnet now as opposed to, say, five years ago?

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (5, Insightful)

supersoundguy (1308579) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667045)

Probably because they keep losing. If they make themselves loud enough in the courts, a judge is bound to find something he agrees with and rule in their favor. They're grandstanding to win.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (4, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667225)

Yeah, but they probably don't know about Stallman's twin katana prowess... I certainly would never try to provoke him to anger...

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667299)

Probably because they keep losing. If they make themselves loud enough in the courts, a judge is bound to find something he agrees with and rule in their favor. They're grandstanding to win.

Or it could be because they now have a more sympathetic justice department.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (5, Interesting)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667211)

Five of their lawyers are now placed in high-level positions [wired.com] within the Department of Justice?

I dunno. It could be something else, or just a coincidence, but this does seem to be the simplest explanation among those them...

Speaking abstractly, it's not a bad national strategy in a way. We're fucked economically, and have no manufacturing base to speak of. There's not much we can do except enforce "intellectual property" overseas. The downside is the implicit effect that this will have on domestic freedom and true innovation. I suspect we (as knowledge workers) will be learning some hard lessons in the next few years. I would not be surprised if the FSF and EFF (among others) are forcibly nationalized and destroyed/reorganized within four years.

Then we're fucked (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667387)

GNU General Public License, version 6, 2013

1. Pull down you pants.
2. Bend over.

GPLv2 or later doesn't sound like such a good idea now, does it?

Re:Then we're fucked (2, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667427)

Very good call.

Though, I suspect that FSF would take a page from the corporate playbook and re-incorporate in a friendlier country, transfer the FSF copyrights there, leaving a powerless shell-subsidiary in the US.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (5, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667393)

If you can't innovate, litigate.
If you can't litigate, legislate.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667649)

If you can't innovate, litigate.
If you can't litigate, legislate.

If you can't legislate, watergate?

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667699)

If you can't watergate, waterboard.

x283.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667741)

If you can't watergate, masturbate.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667521)

Speaking abstractly, it's not a bad national strategy in a way. We're fucked economically, and have no manufacturing base to speak of. There's not much we can do except enforce "intellectual property" overseas. The downside is the implicit effect that this will have on domestic freedom and true innovation. I suspect we (as knowledge workers) will be learning some hard lessons in the next few years. I would not be surprised if the FSF and EFF (among others) are forcibly nationalized and destroyed/reorganized within four years.
Give me a fucking break. W and the neo-cons are no longer in control. As such, we are less likely to see constitutional violations. In addition, we are far more likely to see our manufacturing lines come back as oil prices rise. The simple fact is that getting our cheap housewares from China is becoming expensive. Oil will rise it as well.
Such trash talk of nationalization always cracks me up.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (5, Insightful)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667667)

It is not the neo-cons that we have to worry about. It is which oligarchs have the reins of which legislators and judges. It is beginning to look like the oligarchs that control the Obama group are going to take our intellectual and cultural freedoms from us, rather than our constitutional freedoms.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (0, Troll)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667757)

Please explain what is unconstitutional about nationalization? Also please note distinct lack of change, in re: torture policy, U SAP AT RIOT Act, telecom immunity, &c.

We'll see.

Re:Maybe I haven't been paying attention... (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667759)

I'd guess the bee's pissing them off more. Usually that means things are working in our (read: not the conglomerates) favor. Sometimes it's just a show of bravado, but I think in this case, they're really grasping at straws... DRM is becoming less and less useful (though it's not dead yet), and the conglomerates are slowly realizing that too many pissed off customers means no money. :) That doesn't change their behavior, mind you... but it does piss them off. First they ignore you... (well you get the idea...) At some point, they'll get the message. Trouble is, I think it'll be when they run completely out of money (which isn't any time soon, I fear.)

Only Terrorists... (2, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667027)

...support piracy, so the FSF must be a terrorist organization, right?

Re:Only Terrorists... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667213)

Whoever said that the FSF supports piracy?

Re:Only Terrorists... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667487)

Didn't you read their name? It's the Free Software Foundation. Who's going to give away free software??? Obviously they support piracy.

Re:Only Terrorists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667775)

...support piracy, so the FSF must be a terrorist organization, right?

Bin Laden has a beard, so does Richard Stallman. . .zOMG!!!

Their aim is improving (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667071)

It seems the RIAA is getting better at picking targets. Your job just became harder, NYCL. They *can* learn.

--
Toro

Re:Their aim is improving (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667317)

Targeting lawyers instead of, say, people who don't even know how to defend is "getting better at picking targets" when it comes to law suits that are not far from simple harrassment?

Dunno if I can follow your train of thought.

"anti-recording industry website" (5, Insightful)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667093)

You say that as if it's a bad thing.

Re:"anti-recording industry website" (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667165)

Much as I dislike the RIAA, an organisation 'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs' actually sounds like a pretty fair description of the FSF. Of course, they fail to mention that the FSF is dedicated to doing this through legal means.

Re:"anti-recording industry website" (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667499)

Of course, they fail to mention that the FSF is dedicated to doing this through legal means.

Hell, it isn't just through legal means, it is through practising what they preach with their own creations. Something RIAA members haven't been so keen to do themselves what with all of their shady accounting schemes to bilk creators out of their copyrights.

Re:"anti-recording industry website" (4, Insightful)

zoips (576749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667515)

Without copyright law, the FSF would no longer be able to achieve its goals. With no copyright, everything is either trade secret or public domain. I fail to see how that ensures that end users will always have access to the source of the programs they use in order to update them.

Unless, of course, I've completely misunderstood the FSF's goals. Which is entirely possible.

Re:"anti-recording industry website" (4, Insightful)

gerddie (173963) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667539)

Considering (L)GPL 2 and even more 3 and all the BSD vs GPL flame wars, it seems to me that the FSF puts some pretty strong restrictions on copying, modifying, and redistributing software. Actually, it's exactly that set of restrictions that lets me choose the GPL over the BSD License nearly all the time.

Over-reaching much? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667127)

The RIAA is way over-reaching itself, and a vicious backlash would appear inevitable if they don't learn to at least tone it down a bit. I'm kind of amazed they've gotten this far with virtually nothing but a bully's bluster.

Re:Over-reaching much? (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667753)

You describe the backlash as though it hasn't already happened. Remember Tower Records? Virgin Megastore?

The music industry is dying, and this is their last stand.

silly billy... (0, Offtopic)

kallisti5 (1321143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667135)

silly slashdot, it isn't the 1st of April any more. :3

Bias? (5, Interesting)

anjilslaire (968692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667145)

'open and virulent bias against copyrights' and 'blatant bias' against the record companies.

Funny. I always thought the RIAA has an open and blatant bias against Fair Use. (yes, I know file sharing is not F/U, but those guys don't even want you copying your own stuff even if you never share it)

Re:Bias? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667727)

The other side in an adversarial system has a fundemental ideological problem with you. Imagine that.

Time to call out captain obvious.

When you can't argue the law any more, just start name calling.

Brillliant...

The RIAA... (-1, Redundant)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667163)

is a bunch of greedy dickhead lawyers. 'Nuff said.

Anti-Copyright? (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667181)

The FSF's centerpiece, the GPL, depends wholly on copyright for enforcement.

So saying that the FSF has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights" clearly demonstrates either a lack of research, a lack of understanding, or a lack of honesty on the part of the RIAA's lawyers.

Not completely inaccurate. (4, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667309)

On the other hand, saying that the FSF is "dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs" is extremely accurate. In fact, though I didn't see it on the home page, it's the quote that comes up in the Google blurb [google.com] when you search.

Also, just because the GPL requires copyright to function doesn't mean that the FSF isn't against copyright. I think most of us concede that the GPL is a case where the FSF is using copyright law in a novel, unintended way to accomplish their goals.

If the FSF could rewrite copyright law, it'd be completely different. I'd say they have an open dislike (maybe not "bias") against the current typical use of copyright, especially for computer programs.

Re:Not completely inaccurate. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667399)

On the other hand, saying that the FSF is "dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs" is extremely accurate. In fact, though I didn't see it on the home page, it's the quote that comes up in the Google blurb when you search.

I think that's their paid Google keywords link.

Re:Not completely inaccurate. (2, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667485)

It's actually from The Open Directory (DMOZ) [dmoz.org] .

Re:Not completely inaccurate. (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667551)

I think most of us concede that the GPL is a case where the FSF is using copyright law in a novel, unintended way to accomplish their goals.

That's why they call it the "copyleft" - not out of some right/left ideology, but to indicate that the GPL is a hack of copyright - the definition of hack being a novel and unintended use.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667319)

The FSF's centerpiece, the GPL, depends wholly on copyright for enforcement.

Yep; they should have criticized those BSD people for their license which basically allows an author to turn his work into the virtual equivalent of that nasty abomination that is known as public domain!

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667321)

I believe you're wrong. GPL depends on copyright, but at least originally, the FSF would have been happy to lose the protection of the GPL by copyright on software being abolished. Indeed, I believe that is still the case, but I don't speak for the FSF.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667517)

If that's the case, then why don't they use a BSD-like license? Because that's all they will have if copyrights are eliminated -- anyone can take FSF code, modify it, and lock away their modifications.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (2, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667603)

If that's the case, then why don't they use a BSD-like license? Because that's all they will have if copyrights are eliminated -- anyone can take FSF code, modify it, and lock away their modifications.

In such a world, the "locking away" would be through technical, not legal, means. If someone did that, you could still reverse engineer their software, distribute their software, etc., but this wouldn't be possible today with the BSD license.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667729)

In practice it doesn't work that way, it's just way too expensive to keep it locked away especially when one is merging in bug fixes and improvements.

Sure people can do that with the BSD license, it's just terribly impractical.

But hey, you can even do it with the GPL, you just don't redistribute the binaries outside of the organization.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

novakyu (636495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667751)

If that's the case, then why don't they use a BSD-like license? Because that's all they will have if copyrights are eliminated -- anyone can take FSF code, modify it, and lock away their modifications.

Because BSD-like license will not motivate the big players to abolish copyright. The only way to get traditional backers of copyright to oppose copyright on certain things is to poison it—and copyleft is exactly that. If enough software libraries and tools are under copyleft, and the big players want to use them without putting their own work under copyleft (or paying for separate license, if such option is available), then the only way is to abolish copyright.

Using BSD-like license (which is little better than just putting it in public domain) will just let the big players keep trampling on you.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

novakyu (636495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667773)

the FSF would have been happy to lose the protection of the GPL by copyright on software being abolished. Indeed, I believe that is still the case, but I don't speak for the FSF.

Well, I don't speak for FSF either, but I will say that I support FSF because I also believe that FSF would rather see copyright (at least ones on software) abolished than to keep its leverage of copyleft.

If I ever see evidence that's not the case, well, FSF would lose my support.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667359)

And from their record of suits so far, it's really hard to tell which one it actually is now. My guess is that it's a little of everything.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667371)

The FSF's centerpiece, the GPL, depends wholly on copyright for enforcement.

So saying that the FSF has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights" clearly demonstrates either a lack of research, a lack of understanding, or a lack of honesty on the part of the RIAA's lawyers.

Or it could demonstrate that they've read more of the FSF's works than just the GPL. Their very clear stance is that preventing copying and preventing modification are wrong. While it is amusing that they use their own legal privilege of refusing to let people copy their work to push others to permit copying and modification, that doesn't mean that they like copyright.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667411)

The GPL does depend on copyright, but they are using it as a means to an end in some sense. They would rather have software copyrights abolished entirely than keep the GPL around.

So saying that the FSF has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights" clearly demonstrates either a lack of research, a lack of understanding, or a lack of honesty on the part of the RIAA's lawyers.

I'd say your comment illustrates one of those things on your part; the RIAA's description in that part is actually pretty accurate.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667439)

The FSF's centerpiece, the GPL, depends wholly on copyright for enforcement. So saying that the FSF has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights" clearly demonstrates either a lack of research, a lack of understanding, or a lack of honesty on the part of the RIAA's lawyers.

Picky picky.

The truth has never been seen as an obstacle by the RIAA's lawyers.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667755)

Heh, I just want them to stop this nonsense so I can go back and buy some CDs. With all the time this is stretching out there's a huge number of albums that I haven't been able to buy without breaking my boycott.

But, I'm sure they've just recharacterized that tiny drop in sales as "due to pirates" and used it as an excuse to waste even more money on piracy prevention and buying elected officials.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (2, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667455)

So saying that the FSF has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights" clearly demonstrates either a lack of research, a lack of understanding, or a lack of honesty on the part of the RIAA's lawyers.

That may well become the 'classic understatement of the year'...it is a strong contender...win, lose, or draw.

BTW, well said. I did not mean/imply any sarcasm in my above comment!

Re:Anti-Copyright? (5, Funny)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667471)

The FSF's centerpiece, the GPL, depends wholly on copyright for enforcement. So saying that the FSF has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights" clearly demonstrates either a lack of research, a lack of understanding, or a lack of honesty on the part of the RIAA's lawyers.

I agree with the first sentence of your comment. As to the second sentence, I question your use of the word "or". The correct word should be "and". With that minor correction.... respect.

Re:Anti-Copyright? (3, Informative)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667525)

Not really. FSF created the GPL to use copyright to enable it to specify the terms to keep code open and free. If there were no such thing as copyright, there would be no need for the GPL in the eyes of the FSF (or, at least, in its founder's eyes). I think it's pretty safe to say RMS would agree that he has an "open and virulent bias against copyrights." Actually, he'd probably be more likely to not say that, but to turn it around on you and accuse you of having an "open and virulent bias against freedom"... Here's an excerpt from the summary of his upcoming speech [fsf.org] in Austin:

Copyright developed in the age of the printing press, and was designed to fit with the system of centralized copying imposed by the printing press. But the copyright system does not fit well with computer networks, and only draconian punishments can enforce it.

Stallman would, if he had his way, abolish copyright as we know it and replace it with a system that forbids closed source and gives users rights to modify and share source code. This really isn't the same thing as what we call "copyright." But this is unlikely to happen, so the GPL uses copyright law against itself to try to guarantee some of those things for code that is GPL licensed.

Who cares about the length? (4, Insightful)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667185)

"4 pages longer than the document to which it was responding"

And?

Re:Who cares about the length? (1)

vivaelamor (1418031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667437)

Maybe I can't count but I only count 3 pages longer. Still, the reason the response was so long mostly owes to the fact that the RIAA first state in no uncertain terms that they consider the FSF to have no business filing the motion and then go on to try and counter the motion's argument anyway.

I do wonder whether they lessen the effect of their argument by giving the credence of a response at the same time that they are trying to dismiss the issue.

Re:Who cares about the length? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667491)

Not really. It's a very common legal tactic. "My opponent is full of shit! But just in case you don't think so, here's another fifty reasons why he's also wrong!"
(I hate this tactic, by the way. I think, like you do, that it's essentially absurd. However, all lawyers I know use it because it is basically the most successful tactic, as it allows you to make multiple submissions on issues even if you don't think they're likely to be ruled on- you don't want to be caught having NOT MADE any submissions at all.)

Re:Who cares about the length? (1)

vivaelamor (1418031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667669)

Yeah, the cynic reflex was screaming that it is probably par for the course with these sort of things. I suppose that judges may actually prefer it as it could speed things up too.

On another note, the response is a great read.. full of irony. They go on about how the FSF are unfit to present their motion because of their bias towards wanting to change copyright when copyright has got where it is today mostly through the lobbying of the record industries and their ilk.

I only hope their technical arguments are as shallow.

Re:Who cares about the length? (1)

icedcool (446975) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667443)

Making the assertion that size matters.

If you know what I mean.

Re:Who cares about the length? (1)

malloc (30902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667509)

"4 pages longer than the document to which it was responding"

And?

...implying that, combined with their bogus arguments, is it's kind of like adding <rant> ... </rant> ?

Re:Who cares about the length? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667555)

I just read this brief and it is pretty good. It would win.

FSF and defendants will not get anywhere arguing proportionality like that.

The better argument is to ask "What it if was $10 billion per song in statutory damages?" If so, that crosses the line into "putative" damages, well beyond any consideration of encouragement to seek redress, deterrence, and compensation. SO somewjere between $10 billion and $0.35, the line is crossed. Where is the line?

Only if the court deems the copyright act damages as "punitive" will FSF and defendants stand a chance.

Early drafts were much worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667189)

'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs'

was changed from:

  'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, modifying computer programs and not bathing'

'open and virulent bias against copyrights'

was changed from:

'open and virulent boils'

It sounds like they are getting desparate.

RIAA is a criminal organization (2, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667195)

The RIAA is an organization that has repeatedly shown no respect for other persons or property, including the myriad recording artists, the plain intent of the Constitution, or its corpus. It is a usurper and an invader. It is an organization that needs prosecutions under RICO as well as numerous civil suits.

RIAA has it right (3, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667197)

I love the FSF, but which of the quotes listed here is inaccurate? The FSF *does* want to get rid of copy restrictions, and does dislike the RIAA. Although, I would say the FSF hates on the RIAA, not the "recording industry", but I suspect the RIAA doesn't see the difference.

Re:RIAA has it right (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667413)

As it has been pointed out above, and despite being modded redundand I want to stress it again, the FSF relies on copyright law. One of its cornerstones is the GPL, and like all licenses it does depend on enforcable copyright law or code protected by it could deliberately be used in proprietary software and neither the FSF nor anyone else could do anything about it.

Re:RIAA has it right (1)

loonycyborg (1262242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667583)

the FSF relies on copyright law. One of its cornerstones is the GPL, and like all licenses it does depend on enforcable copyright law or code protected by it could deliberately be used in proprietary software and neither the FSF nor anyone else could do anything about it.

Without copyright law there will be no proprietary software.

Re:RIAA has it right (2, Insightful)

fregaham (702982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667761)

Without copyright law there will be no proprietary software.

Wrong. It would just be full of DRM and the source code would still be held as a trade secret.

Re:RIAA has it right (5, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667417)

I would say that the aspersions cast concerning Beckerman and the "pending sanctions motion" would be inaccurate. If I were in a lawsuit, I could potentially move to have sanctions entered against my opponent for various miscellaneous reasons, such as making out with the court reporter while the judge's back was turned, etc., regardless of whether any of those things were true or not. For the two seconds it would take the judge to deny my motion, that motion would be pending. At that very moment, someone could file a brief in another court involving the person who is my opponent in my case, stating that there is a pending sanctions motion against that person.

In Beckerman's case, while the motion isn't based on pure ridiculousness as in my straw man above, it's still based solely on allegations made by the RIAA against Beckerman with no consideration of any evidence.

While the assertion may not be "incorrect", as there is a pending sanctions motion against Beckerman, the fact that the RIAA frames it as a reason to discredit Beckerman makes it inaccurate.

Re:RIAA has it right (1)

droopycom (470921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667663)

the FSF hates on the RIAA, not the "recording industry", but I suspect the RIAA doesn't see the difference.

Well, frankly, I dont really see the difference either...

For one thing, RI in RIAA stands for "Recording Industry" so it would be easy to assume they are indeed the Industry

The other thing is if you just look at the members list and the board of directors list, its hard to see which parts of the Recording Industry is NOT mixed up with the RIAA... I'm sure there are some independent record labels not part of it, but frankly I would not classify those little guys as an Industry...

Re:RIAA has it right (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667725)

To me, the artists are a significantly more important part of the recording industry than the studios or labels...

No "Duh" Tag (3, Insightful)

S7urm (126547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667203)

This is news how?

The only thing newsworthy I got from this is that the RIAA is just slightly more petty than I thought. Of course the Free Software Foundation is about making software "FREE", and of course, anyone with a blog aimed at bringing to light the RIAA's idiocy is going to be the target of their Ire. The thing people need to get over, and real quick, is the thought that the second they see anywhere in media the acronym RIAA, that they need to immediately post it on Slashdot.

We also need to realize, as a whole, that the RIAA hates us as much as we hate them, and we also need to note that the RIAA is a litigous bunch of pr1cks and that they will bring DMCA takedown notices, and law suits, and anything their multi-million dollar legal team can come up with against anyone who thinks differently than they do. The thing is, they have this crazy thing called MONEY backing them. When you have a band like Metallica, or Universal Studios supporting your cause, you can then afford frivolous lawsuits and such because money is no object

What we need, to effectively fight back against their idiocy, is SUPPORTERS. Find some corporation (good luck) that shares our ideals, or even a political movement. Then get them to help with the money to cover the expenses of all these court proceedings, offer legal support to the unfortunate few that get randomly targeted by the RIAA (like the ACLU does) and find someone to help us get some lobbying going in Washington.

Those are the things we need to do, or maybe even get some of us geeks to inundate media with easily comprehended information that average Joe blow can read and care about, and help spread the word to the masses about their evils. Find a way to make the average citizen give a crap about this issue, and you've found a way to get some money and influence behind this issue on a side that is NOT the RIAA. But until then, we'll always be a flea, biting the back of the Mammoth that is Industrialized politics at work.

Re:No "Duh" Tag (2, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667675)

But until then, we'll always be a flea, biting the back of the Mammoth that is Industrialized politics at work.

Perhaps, but even the bite of a flea may deliver the horrible wasting disease that fells the mighty mammoth. The RIAA is not beyond our reach and their vain attempts to discredit Mr. Beckerman and defame their opponents, which are reminiscent of the Scientology theory of "lawsuits to harass and annoy, not to win" and policies of "fair game", prove that well reasoned counter-arguments from informed informed groups and individuals can be brutally effective in exposing the malicious nature of the RIAA spamigation campaigns, the flaws in their legal arguments, and the specious nature of their "evidence" for all to see. In fact, we should take it as hopeful a sign when they single us out for special attacks because it proves that we are being effective. The RIAA has lost the initiative as the shock of their initial lawsuit charge has petered out and now they are stuck in a melee which they cannot win against a new generation of music consumers whom they have now lost forever as customers due to their own ineptness and incompetence which they have also repeatedly demonstrated during their lawsuits (contradicting even their own statements and arguments in different cases over the same issues).

Re:No "Duh" Tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667719)

"Find some corporation (good luck) that shares our ideals, or even a political movement"

Hmm, a corporation that stands up for people's rights...

http://www.inquisitr.com/15446/google-files-amicus-brief-against-proposition-8/

MAFIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667205)

It seems like there's going to be a need for a NYCL fan club.

Facebook group incoming.

Uh-oh (2, Insightful)

Khan (19367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667281)

I can't wait to see what RMS is going to say in his reply :-)

Re:Uh-oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667793)

...and I do hope the BBC are good sports again and publish his response, if in the form of an essay.

First they ignore you... (3, Interesting)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667333)

  • First they ignore you.
  • Then they fight you.
  • Then you win.

We have achieved stage two, they have learned to fear us...

Re:First they ignore you... (2, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667425)

We've been on stage 2 for a looong time now. Perhaps even on the beginnings of stage 3, depending on who you ask.

Attack their lawyer... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667363)

If their facts are wrong, attack their law; if their law is strong, attack their facts; if both their law and their facts are strong, attack their lawyer. I guess we can now assume that both their facts and their law pretty much suck 'cuz they're attacking somebody *elses* lawyer...

Wow, high praise indeed. (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667375)

Of course I'm not gonna RTFA (Do you know what site this is!?!), and I'm sure that the brief was fired with vitriolic language and attempted to nitpick every sentence they could find a misplaced comma or a shade of meaning that they could use and ignore every valid point in the FSF's document, but from the summary this looks like its high praise coming from the RIAA.

Re:Wow, high praise indeed. (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667507)

from the summary this looks like its high praise coming from the RIAA

Yes. I like to think of it that way.

Rat Bastards, don't get me started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667383)

These corporate welfare rat bastards need to be killed off. Their greed and corruption knows no bounds. They can go fuck themselves. If they want a fight --a real one-- then go ahead, take on the FSF! The RIAA is in dire need of a good beating. Their clock needs cleaning. There are many groups and corporations related and connected to the FSF, much, much bigger than the RIAA. If they really want to signal the end of their time, just keep it up.

Things I found interesting (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667385)

Because the FSF has an open and virulent bias against copyrights in general, and against the recording industry in particular, it does not--and indeed cannot--play the traditional role of amicus curiae, which is to provide a neutral source of information or legal analysis to aid the court.

I am not a lawyer but my understanding that amicus curiae briefs came from parties not directly involved with the case but are very rarely neutral. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : "The role of an amicus is often confused with that of an intervener. . . The situation most often noted in the press is when an advocacy group files a brief in a case before an appellate court to which it is not a litigant. . . Non-profit legal advocacy organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Center for Law and Justice or NORML frequently submit such briefs to advocate for or against a particular legal change or interpretation."

Apart from the fact that the argument relies on "facts" not in the record in this case, the contention ignores the nature of Defendant's infringement.

Again from wikipedia: "Amicus curiae or amicus curiæ (plural amici curiae) is a legal Latin phrase, literally translated as "friend of the court", that refers to someone, not a party to a case, who volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it." Offering additional information is the point of amicus curiae.

Re:Things I found interesting (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667569)

I am not a lawyer but my understanding that amicus curiae briefs came from parties not directly involved with the case but are very rarely neutral.

Of course you are correct, UF. If the amicus curiae felt 'neutral' on the subject, why would they be filing a brief? We were not asking to be appointed judge; we were submitting a brief which would help the Court see why the plaintiffs were dead wrong.

Well, is he? (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667397)

They called 'Recording Industry vs. The People' an 'anti-recording industry web site' and stated that NYCL 'is currently subject to a pending sanctions motion for his conduct in representing a defendant' (without disclosing that plaintiffs' lawyers were 'subject to a pending motion for Rule 11 sanctions for their conduct in representing plaintiffs' in that very case).

So, is Ray "subject to a pending sanctions motion", and if so, what does that mean anyway? NYCL, as much as I respect you and wholeheartedly support and appreciate what you're doing, I'm not a fan of the "they did it too!" defense.

Re:Well, is he? (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667657)

So, is Ray "subject to a pending sanctions motion", and if so, what does that mean anyway?

There is a link to the term "pending sanctions motion"; if you follow the link you can read all about it. They made a motion to withdraw their own case, and joined it with a motion for "discovery sanctions" against Mrs. Lindor and myself. The motion was based on nothing but lies. It is still pending. Our Rule 11 motion against them is strictly based on the fact that their motion for "discovery sanctions" was based on nothing but lies, so the 2 motions are closely interrelated.

Relevant... how? (1)

Mi1ez (769713) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667405)

Let's just assume that everything they said were accurate accusations and that the FSF is anti-copyright, anti-RIAA, anti-whatever...

How is this relevant to their case? If anything, doesn't that make the FSF the opposing balance in the scales of the arguments? I'm just not sure that what they're saying really comes down to much more than just 'name-calling' and doesn't really explain whether their case has merit.

Re:Relevant... how? (2, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667683)

Let's just assume that everything they said were accurate accusations and that the FSF is anti-copyright, anti-RIAA, anti-whatever... How is this relevant to their case?

It's not. The amicus brief simply brought certain legal authorities to the Court's attention. Either the authorities are in the book, or they're not. What FSF's personal opinion of the RIAA is, or what my personal opinion of the RIAA is, is completely irrelevant to anything.

Uh, they are LAWYERS! (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667445)

If you or I were to do things like that, then we'd be called lying assholes... but if a lawyer does it, then he is simply doing his job.

Millions of damages (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667461)

The RIAA claims that the damages are much higher than 35 cents per song, because the song could potentially be downloaded by millions of people.

But that is a lie. Bandwidth is limited. For example, with a 10 GB upload allowance, I can upload a song with a typical size of 4 Megabyte only 2.500 times per month. But that is not the limit per song, that is the limit for _all_ songs.

I would also add that newspapers in the UK have been regularly adding CDs to their complete circulation. That is complete CDs packed full with music that was commercially produced and sold successfully have been distributed to say 2 million readers of the Daily Mail. As an example, I have a CD titled "Daily Mail - 20 Love Songs" (don't ask) containing the following songs:

Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Piece Of My Heart (Erma Franklin)
If You Don't Know Me By Now (Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes)
Me & Mrs Jones (Billy Paul)
It's Over (Roy Orbison)
The Most Beautiful Girl (Charlie Rich)
Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson)
Ain't No Sunshine (Bill Withers)
Love Really Hurts Without You (Billy Ocean)
After The Love Has Gone (Earth Wind & Fire)
I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Tony Bennett)
...
Eternal Flame (The Bangles)

These twenty songs have not been distributed to "potentially millions of downloaders", they have been distributed to two million real newspaper buyers!

I would really like to know how much the Daily Mail paid for this.

Re:Millions of damages (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667655)

I would really like to know how much the Daily Mail paid for this.

I don't know, but after reading that songlist I'm gonna go home and make sweet, sweet love to my wife.

OK, I'm actually going to go home and try to put the moves on my wife, who will reject me because she's "too tired" or "has a headache" or "is dying from some venereal disease" or some other lame excuse.

Who am I kidding? I'm going to go home, go downstairs to my cave, and masturbate quietly so my mom doesn't hear, just like every night.

Snippet Rewrite please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667489)

Can the snippet be re-written in English please? I don't speak Lawyeresse.

So? (3, Insightful)

Faylone (880739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667495)

The RIAA is an organization dedicated to maximizing restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying music. They have a virulent, though perhaps less open, bias against music customers; and are blatantly biased for the record companies.

We're not *your* friend, buddy! (3, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667519)

termed the FSF an organization 'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs', and accused the FSF of having an 'open and virulent bias against copyrights' and 'blatant bias' against the record companies. They called 'Recording Industry vs. The People' an 'anti-recording industry web site'

What part of our confrontational legal system does the RIAA not understand?

Re:We're not *your* friend, buddy! (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667717)

The part where it works against them.

People disagree with you from time to time (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667557)

Looking over the summary, at least, I'm left with one question: Are there any actual legal ramifications to this, or does this more or less boil down to "Mommy, make them stop saying mean things about meeeeeee!"?

I am shocked! (4, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667633)

I am shocked and amazed that the people who filed an amicus curiae brief opposing the RIAA's actions in court are all actually members of organizations with a history of opposing the RIAA!!! We cannot allow this bias to continue! Anyone submitting an amicus curiae brief should first have to prove that they no particular bias towards either side of the argument! Look, it is by definition an adversarial relationship; it is a lawyer's job to paint their opponents in as poor a light as possible. Any judge who can't see through this blatant hyperbole doesn't deserve to sit on the bench.

As far as the "pending sanctions motion", anybody can _request_ sanctions against opposing counsel - I've done it myself, when somebody suing me for $500,000 couldn't even be bothered to meet the court imposed deadlines. A pending motion is standard operating procedure. Get back to me when a judge actually imposes sanctions -- that is much more rare.

I love the RIAA... (3, Funny)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667707)

No matter what you do to them, you don't feel bad.

Seriously, it is great to see them being openly evil like this, for those that are slow or haven't gotten the point.

Well done, RIAA. Try twirling your mustache the next time you accuse anyone, just to really seal the deal.

Why Pay These Thugs To Beat People Up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667733)

Why pay these thugs to beat people up?

We pay their salaries. No-one else does.

Boy

Cott

RIAA

Boy

Cott

RIAA ...

Ah ah ah "violent bias" (2, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667799)

That reminds me, pardon my Godwin, of an old line from the late Pierre Desproges: "You will never manage to completely convince me that jews weren't at least a LITTLE bit guilty of irrationnal anti-nazi bias."

My favorite quote (5, Insightful)

Evets (629327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667803)

To support its proportionality argument, FSF contends that Plaintiffsâ(TM) lost profits in the
case should be based on a per/download loss of âoeapproximately 35 cents.â Apart from the fact
that the argument relies on âoefactsâ not in the record in this case, the contention ignores the nature
of Defendantâ(TM)s infringement.

And then in the very next sentence:

Defendant has not only infringed Plaintiffsâ(TM) works through
downloading, he has also distributed Plaintiffsâ(TM) works for years to potentially millions of other
file sharers.

I mean... unless something has changed in their pattern, they only have documentation of one legal download and that being from an investigation team that may or may not be licensed.

Why has no attorney ever taken a look at the finances and circumstances associated with one particular song - how much revenue did this earn in the year prior, the year during, and the year after the alleged infringement. Most of the songs that I've noted have been out for at least a decade if not two, with little or no marketing, and zero spins on any of the radio stations I listen to.

Another argument I never see in any of these is the challenge the RIAAs ownership of the material. A 20 year old song may or may not have a clear ownership record, and with the history of the industry, you really should establish that the recording artists, the producers, and the songwriters all have given the RIAA authority willingly and contractually prior to the filing of any individual lawsuit.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>