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RIAA Victory Over Usenet.com In Copyright Case

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the dropping-like-flies dept.

The Courts 289

ozydingo writes "The RIAA has scored a victory in a decision on a copyright case that they filed back in 2007. US District Judge Harold Baer ruled in favor of the music industry on all its main theories: that Usenet.com is guilty of direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement. In addition, and perhaps most important for future cases, Baer said that Usenet.com can't claim protection under the Sony Betamax decision stating that companies can't be held liable of contributory infringement if the device is 'capable of significant non-infringing uses.' Bear noted that Usenet.com differed from Sony in that the sale of a Betamax recorder was a one-time deal, while Usenet.com's interaction with its users was an ongoing relationship. The RIAA stated in a brief note, 'We're pleased that the court recognized not just that Usenet.com directly infringed the record companies' copyrights but also took action against the defendants for their egregious litigation misconduct.'"

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Let me be the first to state... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28541817)

OH GNOES!!!!!

In other news . . . (-1, Offtopic)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541863)

Usenet is still being used? I didn't think anybody posted there anymore. Oh wait, that's right -- it's only used for sending spam and trading copyrighted files. So, by shutting it down, they can claim to be fighting internet piracy under the guise of fighting spam. Sounds like a win-win for them!

Re:In other news . . . (1, Redundant)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541887)

And Usenet.com is something entirely different - I'm guessing one of these usenet portals that advertises itself as a portal to safe, unlimited copyright material.

Re:In other news . . . (3, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543167)

I see a lot of new faces here tonight, which means that a lot of you have been breaking the first two rules or fight club.

Re:In other news . . . (5, Insightful)

The Pirou (1551493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541949)

When people are paying subscription fees to binary aggregators like Newzbin and Giganews to get 90% of their daily media (music, movies, etc) content it's understandable why the RIAA is taking such steps. Of course this isn't the trading of copyrighted files - it's a simple download and doesn't behave the same way as P2P networks.

Re:In other news . . . (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542413)

"Of course this isn't the trading of copyrighted files - it's a simple download and doesn't behave the same way as P2P networks."

Someone HAS to upload those file my friend. That content doesn't just magically appear there by itself.

Re:In other news . . . (5, Informative)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541973)

This is Usenet with a capital 'U'. Some crap upload and share service that got hold of the domain www.usenet.com

Re:In other news . . . (5, Insightful)

IbnSlash (922267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542769)

This is Usenet with a capital 'U'. Some crap upload and share service that got hold of the domain www.usenet.com

Before you go down further and start panicking please make note of what he said, it's really important. usenet and Usenet are two very different things.

Re:In other news . . . (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542081)

Usenet is still being used? I didn't think anybody posted there anymore.

Yes! You are correct. Nobody is using Usenet. Nobody. I can definitely say with complete cromulence that Usenet is a ghost service of no great importance. Whatsoever. At all. Now or ever, in fact.

Re:In other news . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542253)

Agreed. Usenet is a useless service these days. So much so in fact that it's not even worth looking at or mentioning ever again. Please, stay away. Let the trolls post and download in peace. They like their happy little home.

Re:In other news . . . (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542593)

When the pirate bay is outlawed (or sold), only outlaws will have usenet servers tunneled between each other with trust models based on invite only ;)

Re:Now and Forever! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542599)

Now and Forever,
Remember the songs from a CD,
Can always be sold again.

Lock it as tight,
as DRM will allow,
Until all the money is gone.
The Freedom that existed,
Is all over now.

Re:In other news . . . (4, Funny)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542955)

Well, I sure wish I could figure out which service provider the people not using Usenet are not using, because the ones I've been not using sure don't have anything worth not downloading to not download these days.

Any good news lately? (4, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541873)

I think we may be losing.

Re:Any good news lately? (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541953)

What do you mean "we", you copyright infringer?

Re:Any good news lately? (3, Funny)

Phoenixlol (1549649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541995)

my wife's a copyright infinger you insensitive clod!

Re:Any good news lately? (3, Funny)

toriver (11308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543121)

My wife's an insensitive clod, you ignorant buffoon!

Re:Any good news lately? (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543181)

Hey, my wife's an ignorant buffoon, you overbearing troglodyte!

Re:Any good news lately? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542127)

He could mean that, or he could mean fair-use advocates.

It seems that the judge's ruling that the Beta-max precedent didn't hold because of the 'on-going relationship' could strike a blow for any and all P2P networks.

Re:Any good news lately? (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542155)

If you lay twinkies on the road and say, "dont steal these twinkies", thats nearly entrapment, dont you think. If you have a swimming pool with no fence around it, thats a public nuisance. You gotta make copyrighted material BD+ or harder to crack. Thats your job, not to sit back like the Devil and say be-good! Ten years from now, you will see I am right. Both sides gotta move, not just me "the hardened criminal".

Re:Any good news lately? (2, Funny)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542683)

You can have a backyard pool and not have a fence around it? It is a law everywhere I have lived. If you have a pool you must have a 4 foot (or higher) fence around the yard or pool.

It may be different in other countries. The 6 US states that I have lived in all have had that law.

Was the RIAA around back in the days of the cassette tapes? Why did they not go after people copying those tapes? Did the RIAA know that the cassette would at some point break or wear out so it was not an issue? MP3s last a long time but not forever. I have copied my collection to a few different computers now and I have had to re-rip a lot of it. The songs started to sound wrong. They had pops and squeals and scratches that were not there before. If the RIAA left people copying cassettes alone since the cassettes would go bad for some reason, they same can be said for MP3s. At least for me anyway. It may take a longer time for the 'damage' to happen.

If this is for distribution, again why did the RIAA not go after the cassette people? I remember seeing one cassette player playing and 15-20 others recording the music while I was in college. There was a room setup for it. I really doubt that I was alone. Yet I never heard of the RIAA going after college students back then.

Re:Any good news lately? (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542887)

Very true. The difference is scale, worldwide scale.

What I propose is localized filesharing. The way I see it is using routers where TTL doesn't get past N=10. So it will maybe stay in your city, but thats it.

Maybe the guys at ddd-wrt could build this somehow. That ddd-wrt-local.exe.torrent (lame name) would be thereafter be known as the last-public-torrent....

Re:Any good news lately? (2, Interesting)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542985)

Yeah, music sales were still on the upswing at that point. After video games and dvds starting making a dent in their bottom line, the RIAA turned on the internet as a scapegoat to blame for their loss of sales, willfully ignoring the fact that the overall quality of their product has been dropping for years and their obstinate refusal to adapt and adopt new technologies and methods. The writing is on the fucking wall, RIAA isn't just fighting progress, it's fighting evolution.

Re:Any good news lately? (3, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542989)

> MP3s last a long time but not forever. I have copied my collection to a few different computers now and I have had to re-rip a lot of it. The songs started to sound wrong. They had pops and squeals and scratches that were not there before.

You are suffering from bit-rot. Your computer needs more voltage. Try attaching raw A/C power directly to your motherboard. That should give your bits the extra juice they need.

I hope you are not responsible for any important data.

Re:Any good news lately? (5, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542471)

If you say you have never infringed copyright (at least how the RIAA sees copyright), you are either a lier or a fool. Ever sang happy birthday in a "public venue?" Ever emailed a colleague a recent news clip, journal article or comic? For that matter, are any of those comic posted up in your office? Do you loan or give away books to friends? do you want to do that with e-books when they become ubiquitous? are you an artist that learned your trade by emulating others? perhaps in public venues?

Like it or not, these people want to make the world a less free place, where only money guarantees freedom and permission is king. File sharing just happens to be the current edge case where the battle is being fought. If they haven't made your life more difficult yet, they will once they have locked up the file sharers and can concentrate more energy on your pet infringement.

Re:Any good news lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28543051)

For the record, singing 'Happy Birthday' in a public venue is perfectly legal as long as you're not doing it for $$ or promotion. Everything else is solid.

Re:Any good news lately? (0)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543109)

Ever sang happy birthday in a "public venue?" I think you will find the copyright on Happy Birthday expired some time ago. At least in most of the world, if not America.

Re:Any good news lately? (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543207)

[nazi]
True, however the grammatical rule calling for the word "sung" in this instance is still in effect.
[/nazi]

Re:Any good news lately? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542573)

Some of us not only see nothing wrong with "infringement", but would also like to see it become codified. I would like to see all non-commercial IP laws abolished.

Re:Any good news lately? (1)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542917)

Probably moreso along the lines of "we" as in "common sense", RIAA-lover.

Re:Any good news lately? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542043)

Guess what? the law applies to you and even with clever lawyering you cannot get away from that fact.

Why do people like you think you SHOULD be able to download music and movies with impunity. Oh, something about information wants to be free or the unfairness of the Intellectual Property laws...yah, good luck with that

Re:Any good news lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542309)

yeah! when the air is compressed in exactly that pattern, it's owned by the first guy to tell the gods of IP that he did it that way

Re:Any good news lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542703)

cough up your lunch money dweeb. Now lick my boots. Who gave you permission to breath worm?

Re:Any good news lately? (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542159)

And we will until enough people get upset at the abuses and stand up. Until the average person knows that he is caught in the RIAA net too, he won't care, and nothing will change.

This also applies to encroaching state policies. And yes, they are related.

Re:Any good news lately? (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542523)

Until the average person knows that he is caught in the RIAA net too, he won't care, and nothing will change.

Since the average person probably isn't sharing copyrighted material, he probably won't have anything to fear from the RIAA.

Re:Any good news lately? (2, Interesting)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542969)

ince the average person probably isn't sharing copyrighted material, he probably won't have anything to fear from the RIAA.

I am having a hard time telling if this sarcasm or not. If it isn't you might want to read up on some of the recent MPAA/RIAA related cases.

Re:Any good news lately? (0, Flamebait)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543049)

Of the many, many cases the RIAA has filed, a very small number involve people who probably really did not illegally file share. However, I am fairly sure that 99% of the people who are sued actually did break copyright laws.

Re:Any good news lately? (3, Interesting)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542551)

I'm curious of when that will happen. When bill C-61 (the Canadian DMCA) was introduced, there was way more noise from the general public than I expected. I think the average (younger) citizen is starting to understand what's going on, even if they don't seem to care yet.

Re:Any good news lately? (3, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543199)

That assumes that the average American cares. Our population is currently massively bloated from top to bottom with those who neither understand, enjoy, or particularly want the freedoms they could have if they stood up for them.

I'm having difficulty finding the quote, but not long after our invasion of Iraq some very senior general was quoted as saying that he thought that the United States constitution would not survive another attack on the scale of the September 11th bombings and that our 'Experiment with freedom' would have failed.

That smacks of Mussolini-type fascism to me. Here's one of our most ranking military leaders indicating he thinks its about time to declare nation-wide martial law.

On the lower end of the personal power meter, Joe Midwest Sixpack has a very few things he cares about. He wants to be treated well at work and home. He wants his family to do what he tells them. He wants to feel like he's part of a larger animal that's going generally in the right direction. Those desires are met entirely by church and the kind of neo-conservative ramblings that pass for 'news' on cable television these days. He gets a sense of superiority that's entirely fictitious. (Another facet of old-school fascism. Mussolini had the farmer class eating out of the same hand all the WWI vets did.)

If he thinks about freedom at all, it's in the context of 'Obama better not take my guns!' without ever thinking about why the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights at all. In the land of the 'Free and the Brave', this individual is neither free nor brave enough to stand up for his freedoms. He would, frankly, be happier with a absolute monarchy or theocracy.

Re:Any good news lately? (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542827)

We have been losing since the beginning of the widespread use of the Internet. The state (which is ran by such enterprises) wants to keep tight control over this (originally free and open) medium because they want to turn it into a sales channel for their products.

And then the populace votes for these enterprises while feeling good that they had a choice and made the right one.

NYCL around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28541877)

So what does this mean for my precious, precious news....

If you ever go to court... (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541889)

...do not piss off the judge! It really is batshit stupid to do things like destroy evidence and make witnesses vanish (even temporarily). Why not go to court naked except for a t-shirt that says "Guilty as Hell" on the front and "Kiss my hairy butt" on the back?

The only way to handle such things is to find a way to be the victim of the situation, to prove that you did what you could to help, and that the case is unfair, aggressive, and misplaced.

And, if you don't like the law, work to change it, don't sell ways to get around it. Bad laws exist because people pretend they are helpless to change them.

Re:If you ever go to court... (1)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542123)

The only way to handle such things is to find a way to be the victim of the situation

But... but... Aren't we the victims?

Re:If you ever go to court... (1, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542329)

But... but... Aren't we the victims?

In some ways I'd like to think this was said tongue-in-cheek but given some of the rants I've seen on here in recent years...

You're not the victim. Downloading copywriten works is not your right nor do you have some special privilege to it. As the OP said, if you don't like the system, change the system. I agree that copyright is extended in a manor not fitting the original intent and that copywriten out of print works should have some way of being made available if the copyright holder allows without the copyright holder losing their rights to the distribution of the work. But I still do not see "ripping off the man" as a valid form of protest.

I know that these facts aren't going to stop a single download but an artist should have some limited rights to the use and distribution of their works. If a non-artist copyright holder pays for the privilege it should be upheld to the same standards as the original artist. If you think it's a rip off than, by all means, produce your own work and release it as public domain. People will love you for it and maybe if you follow through on the process and create works of high enough quality you'll understand the need for limited protection under the law. It's a lot of work and money to produce something worthwhile.

Re:If you ever go to court... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542543)

You're not the victim. Downloading copywriten works is not your right nor do you have some special privilege to it. As the OP said, if you don't like the system, change the system.

What the hell are you smoking?

You said two completely incompatible things there.

Re:If you ever go to court... (3, Insightful)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542621)

Downloading copywriten works is not your right nor do you have some special privilege to it.

Getting paid when someone copies some content you once worked on is not your right nor do you have some special priviledge to it.

That was too easy

Re:If you ever go to court... (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542797)

The RIAA/MPAA does not actually make any of the content. And for that matter, they rarely pay the actual content creators a reasonable percentage of the gross. And if you think the big boys at least get paid, tell that to folks who have been screwed like Peter Jackson.

Re:If you ever go to court... (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542939)

I said worked on. That includes things like doing marketing, getting discs pressed or sorting out a barcode.

Re:If you ever go to court... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28543189)

Another one of these stupid comments. OK, don't like that model? Let's try a new one. Go to some member of the RIAA, and negotiate with them to sell you the copyrights to the next song (insert your favorite artist) produces. It shouldn't cost you more than a few million dollars. Now, when the song comes out, give it away for free (if you don't want to give it away for free, just make sure you don't attempt to assert any kind of 'rights' over it). Let us know how long you can sustain that. Or are you one of the morons who thinks that everyone involved in 'art' should just do it for free (including everyone who built the studios, everyone who made the equipment, the cleaning crew, the utility company, anyone supplying materials to the above, etc)? If it is neither one of those, then exactly what is your proposal? Or are you just a crybaby who is envious of those involved in the business, and greedy enough to think you have some sort of right to whatever you want, when you want it, on the terms you want, without giving anything back?

Re:If you ever go to court... (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542713)

You're not the victim. Downloading copywriten works is not your right nor do you have some special privilege to it.

I think the real problem is that people who don't download copywritten (copyrighted?) works are also being affected. Just look at the legions of users, particularly of PC games, who find to their dismay that the people who pirated the game have an easier time using it than the people who purchased the game. That's just one side-effect of DRM. Look at some of the other side-effects of DRM, such as the possibility of killing off the first sale doctrine (this is properly called a power grab) and the generally unfriendly practice of telling you what you may do with media after you purchase it and use it legally.

As the OP said, if you don't like the system, change the system.

Do you have millions of dollars that you're willing to part with, a small army of lawyers and lobbyists, and perhaps also the ability to run a national media campaign? Because that's what it would take to even have a chance.

I know that these facts aren't going to stop a single download but an artist should have some limited rights to the use and distribution of their works.

Sure. That was once twelve years, and at a time when the mechanical printing press was the most technologically advanced method of distribution available. Just think of how many more copies of a work we can produce and sell in twelve years with modern technology and digital distribution. That would be a system that people can respect once again because it represents a good balance between the artists' temporary monopoly on their works and the public-domain benefit of society for being willing to grant that monopoly. When you make something respectable, people have a much higher chance of respecting it.

That's much better than making something unworthy of respect and grossly out of balance and then threatening people into going along with it. That's what the system is doing today, and gee, I just can't imagine why it's not working out ...

If you want to get an idea of what kind of people you're dealing with and why there is increasing resistance against them, try this link [brandnamebullies.com] .

Re:If you ever go to court... (3, Insightful)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543029)

You're not the victim.

Tell that to the deceased, those without a computer, and those who were mis-identified (IP address)and were targeted by the RIAA.

Re:If you ever go to court... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542709)

I said but but in the wut?

Re:If you ever go to court... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542679)

Only partially. Ideally the judge is there just to make sure the court works according to the law so his personal feelings should never come into it. Never happens that way but that is the theory. I know that the last time I was in court, I pissed off the judge and landed behind bars for a few days. Not even sure what I did.
And bad laws exist because some politician had a knee jerk reaction to some event and got it pushed threw into law. And once a law exists it is nearly impossible to get it removed. They usually have to pass another law to kill the bad law but that gets bogged down in legislation. People aren't helpless and unless a large number of people organize it is very difficult to get a law removed or changed.

FURIAA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28541943)

Doesn't that cover about anything on the internet, ftp, http, ssh.... Gee they could sue just on a grounds that the technology "maybe" used for illegal activity.

Hmmm.. sue the founders of tcpip because they allow for the "transport" of such illegal activities...

Re:FURIAA (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542083)

Doesn't that cover about anything on the internet, ftp, http, ssh.... Gee they could sue just on a grounds that the technology "maybe" used for illegal activity.

Hmmm.. sue the founders of tcpip because they allow for the "transport" of such illegal activities...

That would be the logically consistent position, yes.

Re:FURIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28543103)

Something of that sort is already in place in Canada. There's an extra fee on blank media because it COULD be used to infringe.

Course, that's right now about the only thing saving us from the DMCA at the moment, so I'm not going to argue with it :P.

Re:FURIAA (1)

jacksinn (1136829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543161)

That's what they're trying to set a precedence for so they can push legislation to lock-down the internet.

Re:FURIAA (3, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542209)

They sued usenet.com. Not usenet itself. This was because the company was contributing to copyright infringement, not because the technology was.

Re:FURIAA (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542819)

"They sued usenet.com. Not usenet itself. This was because the company was contributing to copyright infringement, not because the technology was."

But, doesn't this ruling mean that ANYONE running a USENET server is now in jeopardy legally?

Thank goodness (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541977)

This legal decision has restored my faith in the legal system. A small group of people were able to fight for their rights against a huge behemoth corporation and win. ~

RIP Usenet (-1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28541985)

She had a good run of life; the best of the Internet's early years were spent in her company, and well before Facebook or Twitter existed Usenet was the original crowdsourcing environment on the Web. But then the Eternal September happened, and well, she was just a gibbering, incoherent wreck after that, filled with barely comprehensible screeds by Holocaust deniers and recommendations for means of male enhancement.

She'd been suffering terribly the last few years of her life, kept alive mostly by a continuous IV drip of copyrighted materials. But the government told the hospital "no more heroic measures," and she was just too weak to survive on her own after the stream of movies, porn, and cracked software was removed.

Re:RIP Usenet (4, Informative)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542115)

Sir, do you realize that this has nothing to do with Usenet (NNTP)? The courts just found against a file sharing site called usenet.com. Still, it's a nice little tribute anyway.

Re:RIP Usenet (1, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542229)

File sharing is the only thing keeping Usenet alive right now. If the RIAA can successfully shut down that segment of the service by targeting prominent big-pipe Usenet providers, then the whole thing will come crashing down in a couple of years at most. Looks like Oct. 1, 1993 finally arrived.

Re:RIP Usenet (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542929)

Depends on what you mean by usenet. There are still quite a lot of non-federated NNTP servers in their own namespace, and some of these have good discussions. I don't know if it still works, but Microsoft used to run their own NNTP server for product support. I used it to get some help running Fedora in MS VirtualPC 6 on Mac a few years back. You don't get the scalability of usenet from this kind of arrangement because there's a single server, but it's easy to run and easy to use. For a while, I ran an NNTP server for my friends to use for announcing parties and so on, but now we just use a mailing list.

Re:RIP Usenet (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542323)

You have forgotten the first rule.

Re:RIP Usenet (1, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542695)

Still, it's a nice little tribute anyway.

If a trifle premature, at least in the case of some moderated specialist forums.

So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (4, Insightful)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542011)

So does this mean Google is in the same boat? Technically google can do the same thing with filetype.

filetype:iso has been one of my greatest search modifiers when looking for my pirated copies.

Re:So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (1)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542283)

Technically, there's nothing in the law against it despite DCMA safe harbors.

Ever since the Grokster case got settled, courts have been ruling for "contributory infringement" on a I-know-it-when-I-see-it type basis. Usenet actively promoted the fact that it had lots of infringing content and used that as a selling point in it's business model. And despite disagreeing with the model, they are EXACTLY what is pictured and depicted as "contributory infringement". Until we can reverse it, if your going to run a file sharing site or network, then don't advertise you're doing so.

Re:So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (3, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542299)

Nope.

a) Google actually reacts to DMCA-like request and does remove search results if companies ask them to. see: http://www.google.com/dmca.html [google.com]

b) Their business model is not build around enabling piracy, very much unlike sites that depends on it to exists and make profit, hence a) works and there is no reason nor legal grounds to sue them.

Compared to cookie cutter pirate site where a) will not ever work because b) they will be out of business if they complied and removed copyrighted material as they would be out of content and ad revenue fast. At best they will post childish reaction on their site.

Re:So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542321)

Google removes items from index (yes, torrents too) if they point to copyrighted material.

Re:So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (4, Informative)

thesp (307649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542547)

I really hate to have to point this out, but almost everything on the internet is copyrighted, in some aspect or another, at least. In fact, nearly everything has some copyrighted component.

I refer you to the US copyright office, with similar provisions applying in almost every other Berne-convention country (including my very own UK).

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#mywork [copyright.gov]

"When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created."

Copyright is not acquired, it is merely asserted.

Google cannot possibly have a policy that it only indexes works in which no copyright subsists. I suspect the real policy is that Google removes items from the index if there is a reasonable case that they are infringing copies of a copyright work, or that accessing them is likely to constitute infringement of copyright.

Re:So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542853)

Well, I know nothing about US copyright laws, since I'm not a lawyer and not US citizen.

I only say what I have seen in search results. I searched for a recent movie with "filetype:torrent" modifier. No results showed up and there was a message at the bottom of the page saying "Some search results were removed as a response to some complaint, US DMCA blah-blah blah" and a link to the complaint [chillingeffects.org] I'd post the link to search results here, but the whole page is in Russian, so there is really no use. The same message does not show up when searching with another locale.

Re:So can you sue Google for finding my ISO files? (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542575)

filetype:iso has been one of my greatest search modifiers when looking for my pirated copies.

Isn't it simpler to just use a local file search to find your own files? To each his own I guess...

Not a seminal case (5, Informative)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542071)

This is merely a district court case where Usenet got hammered for discovery abuses.
This case does not set any copyright law precedent.
Mainly this case stands for the following proposition:
Play by the rules or the judge will get pissed off and then you're fucked.

The sky is not falling.
For a recent case with bigger precedential implications for copyright law, and which goes against the MPAA/Copyright Alliance, see the Cablevision case:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/technology/30cable.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss [nytimes.com]

Re:Not a seminal case (1)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542375)

Why? The rules don't seem to apply to SCO (unfortunately).

Re:Not a seminal case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542987)

When a judge is dealing with a nothing-to-lose frivolous lawsuit, they have to be very careful, because they know that any attempt to punish them for misbehavior will be used as an excuse for an appeal.

Re:Not a seminal case (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542409)

Bear noted that Usenet.com differed... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542157)

Bear noted that Usenet.com differed from Sony in that... ...they weren't a multibillion dollar multinational corporation with deep pockets and more lawyers than law school reunions.

Re:Bear noted that Usenet.com differed... (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542595)

Actually, what he seems to be saying is: If you sell someone a thing, your rseponsibility for how they use that thing after the sale is less than your responsibility for how someone uses a service you are actively providing. Given the nature of secondary infringement, it certainly seems like a plausible distinction. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good cynical punchline.

(Now, whether I agree with his conclusion I couldn't say without digging quite a bit deeper into the issues.)

a new age in file-sharing is born (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542165)

Kids, forget the internets.. I've got a whole NEW way of file-sharing with no pesky lawyers, no judges, no colluding ISPs, no Orwellian gubment "oversight".
It's called a "flash drive".

1. Put a song or movie onto your flash drive and give it to a friend.
2. They give it back to you with some of their songs or movies on it.
3. ???
4. We both haz profits!!!!

Re:a new age in file-sharing is born (2, Informative)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543185)

Except that goes contrary to the primary benifit (in my eyes) of music over the internet. The capability of listening to music that's NOT local and/or sold locally. A few of my favourite genres I'd have never encountered in my entire life if it hadn't been for the internet.

How Many Separate Cases? (3, Interesting)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542233)

I'm curious - we frequently hear of the RIAA suing this, that, and the other thing. Is there somewhere we can go to see just how many concurrent ongoing cases involve the RIAA on a global scale?

I'm guessing no.

Though I posit that if we had access to a simple count of current litigation broken down by who is suing whom, the RIAA would be somewhere near the top in terms of the number of suits they have filed and are currently working.

Re:How Many Separate Cases? (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542875)

I'm curious - we frequently hear of the RIAA suing this, that, and the other thing. Is there somewhere we can go to see just how many concurrent ongoing cases involve the RIAA on a global scale? I'm guessing no. Though I posit that if we had access to a simple count of current litigation broken down by who is suing whom, the RIAA would be somewhere near the top in terms of the number of suits they have filed and are currently working.

Makes me wonder one thing. Do you think it would benefit the general population or harm the general population if we simply outlawed all trade organizations and forced all companies in an industry to act as completely independent entities? Because personally, I have never seen them do anything that I found to be desirable though I admit that such things probably don't make the news.

Back in my day.... (5, Insightful)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542241)

Back in my day (I'm 48)....

When I was a young whipper snapper in the 70's-80's. I'd buy an album and copy it to tape for my car. If asked by a friend for a copy, I'd take a blank cassette tape and make a copy in my cassette recorder with the high speed dub feature.

I'd also ask friends the same, and they'd make me a tape of an album I didn't have.

I'd also buy cassette tapes of music at the store.

Now my 69 Dodge Dart back then is carting around 150-200 cassette tapes, some my own made copies, some a friend made copies for me and other store bought tapes.

The music industry and RIAA seemed to live through that era. If one friend bought an album, all his friends would get a cassette copy if they wanted it.

I don't ever recall the cops ever asking me if I got pulled over for speeding or something..."BTW son, Do you have a license for all those home recorded cassette tapes back there."

Seriously, what are the RIAA trying to prove here. I just can't wrap my head around all this frivolous suing.

Now get off my lawn, etc...

Re:Back in my day.... (2, Insightful)

Robin47 (1379745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542403)

They want more power. Money is portable power. They don't care how they get it as long as they get it.

Re:Back in my day.... (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542421)

I remember that high-speed copy dub button. I felt like such a pirate having that highspeedcopy button! It was the reason I bought a dual-cassette-deck...

Re:Back in my day.... (1)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542623)

I remember that high-speed copy dub button. I felt like such a pirate having that highspeedcopy button! It was the reason I bought a dual-cassette-deck...

I hope that was a joke that whooshed over my head. But the legality of what I was doing when I was 16 never even entered my mind, let alone being a "pirate". Probably much like today's young file sharers.

Re:Back in my day.... (4, Insightful)

cil1mia (1165281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542693)

Here! Here! Also living through the 70's, 80's AND 90's when this was all the norm! Even recording TV shows on your VCR to loan to a friend who missed that episode of Dallas! HAHAHAHA!

The only reason I can figure is mainly because most of the "mainstream" music that has been coming out sucks horribly! So the recording industry had to figure out a way to make up for lost revenue seeing they couldn't figure out a better business model or find/make better bands!

Lets not forget the whining of Lars Ulrich http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS6udST6lbE [youtube.com] that really started all this mess! And now he see's his mistake and downloads his own music off the internet! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lars_Ulrich [wikipedia.org]

You also never really hear of the actual BANDS out there complaining about file sharing. They know the truth that the more people that get a taste, the more they will actually go out and buy the whole album/cd/what ever, the more people that will come out to see them live! I can't tell you how many albums I bought when I was younger after hearing a song on a "mix tape" at a party or something!

Which brings me to another thought. What the hell ever happened to making music for the pure joy of it? Oh that's right, greed!

Re:Back in my day.... (1)

Yert (25874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543059)

Bang on, man. Bang on.

Digital Changed The Game (2, Insightful)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542983)

The music industry and RIAA seemed to live through that era. If one friend bought an album, all his friends would get a cassette copy if they wanted it.

But what happened if the friend tried to make a copy for his friend, and that other friend tried to make a copy for his other friend. Surely you remember that, don't you? The quality stank so badly nobody wanted to listen to that copy, thanks to lossy analog dubbing.

With digital media, each copy is lossless, so if a friend copies a song for a friend, who copies it for another friend... even 10, 20, 1000 friends down the chain, and the music still has its original quality.

So I don't think your Dodge Dart comparison is particularly apt here. The game has changed.

Now mow your fucking lawn, pops.

Re:Back in my day.... (1)

Soubrause (1429687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543055)

There were a lot more albums worth buying back then. 10 out of 12 songs would be worth owning now you get 2, no wonder we only want to trade 1 song at a time we'd be wearing out the tapes fast forwarding through all the crap. The RIAA dropped their standards for what they distribute and blame us for not dropping our standards in what we pay for.

Re:Back in my day.... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28543179)

I just can't wrap my head around all this frivolous suing.

It's not that hard.

The underlying fact that has changed from the days of cassette tapes is that today we live in a mostly digital world. The ability to make perfect copies and distribute them on a scale unimagined just a few years ago changes all the rules. That's not to say, however, that cassettes or other analogue recordings weren't an issue way back when (recall the diatribes of Jack Valenti predicting the death of the movie industry and comparing VCRs to the Boston Strangler), just that those issues for the content industry have been upgraded from problematic to critical.

What hasn't changed, and what represents the ultimate challenge for the industry, is basic human nature. The behaviour you described (making copies and sharing them) is very much alive and well. Any effort to change that makes as much as sense as trying teach preschoolers, for example, that "sharing is good unless local laws state otherwise", and is doomed to fail. That's not to say we won't write even more laws and create even more "criminals" in the process.

usenet.com's own fault (2, Interesting)

seekret (1552571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542607)

They shouldn't have been advertising the availability of illegal material, they dug there own grave by literally saying "come here to download any copyright material you want and we will help you get away with it". Usenet is useful for many things that are perfectly legal, I feel no remorse for usenet.com because their own arrogance brought this on them.

nt (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542645)

Andnothingofvaluewaslost

Re:nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542793)

no need to be a jerk

And always remember: (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542877)

This has nothing to do with the rights of the artists. It's purely about the copyright.

May they live forever, only wishing they could finally die from the horrors.

I Find This Troubling (5, Interesting)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28542881)

Maybe it's because I'm not really involved in the legal system, but I find the way the jduge sanctioned usenet.com to be very troubling.

If you'll read the article, you'll see that usenet.com destroyed evidence and arranged for witnesses against it to be out of the country for the trial. For this, usenet.com absolutely deserves to be sanctioned.

But the judge's sanction was effectively to rewrite the DMCA. Lawmakers inserted a Safe Harbor provision into the DMCA that shielded service providers from responsibility for criminal activity of their users. When Judge Baer sanctioned usenet.com by preventing them from raising the Safe Harbor defense, he effectively rewrote the DMCA in a way that lawmakers never intended!

Without the Safe Harbor defense, usenet.com's case was lost. I'm not sure what the appropriate sanction should be for usenet.com's blatant discovery violations, but a judge rewriting a law as it applies to just one company seems wrong to me.

hahahah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28542891)

I just illegally traded 300 albums online thanks to P2P. I did that by hiring an illegal alien from Home Depot to do it! All while being an underage kid driving without a license backwards with a large bag of weed in the car held by a rebellious and naked nun!

Top that RIAA!!!

Re:hahahah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28543131)

I used screenshots to tie you into litigation for months while you and your family went bankrupt from the legal costs.

- RIAA

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