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Appeals Court Knocks Out "Innocent Infringement"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the innocent-infringement-has-a-glass-jaw dept.

Music 232

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A 3-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has ruled that a Texas teenager was not entitled to invoke the innocent infringement defense in an RIAA file-sharing case where she had admittedly made unauthorized downloads of all of the 16 song files in question, and had not disputed that she had 'access' to the CD versions of the songs which bore copyright notices. The 11-page decision (PDF) handed down in Maverick Recording v. Harper seems to equate 'access' with the mere fact that CDs on sale in stores had copyright notices, and that she was free to go to such stores. In my opinion, however, that is not the type of access contemplated in the statute, as the reference to 'access' in the statute was intended to obviate the 'innocence' defense where the copy reproduced bore a copyright notice. The court also held that the 'making available' issue was irrelevant to the appeal, and that the constitutional argument as to excessiveness of damages had not been preserved for appeal."

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Not really the point (5, Insightful)

legio_noctis (1411089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306474)

Whether she was innocently infringing or not isn't really the point because it's fairly obvious that no teenager on the planet who pirates music doesn't know that it's illegal.

The problem is that she's in court for downloading 16 songs. Randomly attacking people who will find it difficult to defend themselves legally isn't the right way to go about reducing piracy.

Re:Not really the point (4, Insightful)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306538)

It's the statutory damages used to intimidate would-be pirates into not pirating. They make an example of someone who caused less that $16 dollars of damage to try to convince people to stop downloading. Not that that even directly nets any money, since many people (especially in a recession) pirate things because they're broke.

Also, keep in mind that the RIAA probably isn't even trying to get any money out of the defendant. What will happen is that the defendant will declare bankruptcy after getting a million dollar verdict or something slapped on them. If they RIAA actually wanted get money out of people, they would sue for reasonable amounts, or actually stop suing people and actually do something productive.

Re:Not really the point (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306630)

Then I'd say intimidation can work both ways. Attack the RIAA lawyer directly, I'd say a "stern warning" would suffice. Failing that, assassinate him.
Of course, it goes without saying that RIAA executives and their families must be executed without appeal.
Let's see how many bodies they need before they get the message. Remember, even their money cannot revive them.

Re:Not really the point (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306926)

Yes, let's all fly off the handle and come to the conclusion that murder is the only solution to a civil matter.

Re:Not really the point (3, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307054)

Well, when the system is set up so the little guy can never expect to win, while the fat cats have their way... one fella [wikipedia.org] or another [wikipedia.org] may just crack, you know?

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307442)

Boo on /. for deleting the referenced incitement to violence.

Re:Not really the point (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307994)

Well, when the system is set up so the little guy can never expect to win, while the fat cats have their way... one fella [wikipedia.org] or another [wikipedia.org] may just crack, you know?

Except that in this case, it was the little guy that stole content from the fat cat, knowing that this particular kitty has claws and is not afraid to pursue ridiculous vendettas against random individuals. Regardless of whether current copyright laws are fair, it is the law (until we are able to effect change on it). Individuals that knowingly violate that law have no right to turn around and complain that the law is unfair. If someone breaks into my home and steals from me, I certainly would want the legal system to do everything possible to ensure that I get justice, and the robber gets boned.

It is unreasonable to expect that this person was completely unaware that what she was doing was illegal. I personally find it ridiculous that the copyright laws are structured the way they are, but until they are changed, anyone that knowingly breaks them is playing with fire. To include an obligatory car analogy, its like talking on your cell phone while driving without a seatbelt. Most of the time you will walk away just fine, having only inconvenienced other responsible drivers (or those that pay for their music); but every now and then you will suffer consequences for being so wildly irresponsible.

Re:Not really the point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307300)

It really is. I say we publicly lynch the record company executives and the IP lawyers that do their bidding for them.

I'm not even kidding.

Re:Not really the point (4, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307394)

Bankruptcy isn't the most wonderful solution if the debtor has anything of value. The Chapter 7 trustee gets to sell all the debtor's non-exempt assets.

On the other hand, if you have nothing, bankruptcy is a good way to make a fresh start.

I'd be willing to bet that people who don't own much of anything are big advocates of unrestrained piracy and people with property are much less eager to advocate piracy.

Re:Not really the point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307516)

I could get behind this theory if we applied it to other situations - for instance, if the penalty for running a giant bank into the ground so hard that the government had to spend $17 trillion dollars cleaning it up was, say, public execution. But instead what we get is a system that somehow only manages to hand out draconian punishments to the poor and (typically) non-white.

Steal a set of golf clubs and get three-striked? Jail for life.
Steal billions of shareholder dollars via mismanagement and outright fraud? Giant "severance package" and a cushy new job.

Something's just slightly fucked up there....

Re:Not really the point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306592)

I think it's possible for a teenager (or anyone) to not know that downloading music off LimeWire or other systems is not copyright infringement (or worse, 'illegal'), some examples:

1) You download an MP3 of a song that you purchased on CD because you need a digital copy for your portable music player and don't want (or know how) to rip the CD yourself. Copyright infringement? Illegal?
2) Some small artist has a new song that you download. Copyright infringement? Illegal? What if your just mistaken and confused this artist with another small artist that has released their music free on the Internet?

Of course, if said teenager was downloading a Britney Spears song then it is of course wrong, and they should be harshly punished. If they bought the Britney Spears CD then they should probably be executed.

Re:Not really the point (1)

legio_noctis (1411089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306706)

Yes, I agree with you apart from 2), which is probably a bit tenuous. I regard it as important that I am able to pirate things if I need to, just in case (i.e. 1 or Ubisoft goes bust and shuts down its must-be-connected-to-at-all-times DRM servers)

Re:Not really the point (3, Informative)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307230)

1) certainly applies, and here in the UK more-so. Why? Well here it is illigal to bypass copy protection or DRM of any kind regardless of the purpose. In the US I believe you are allowed to rip DVDs or CDs for personal use (i.e. to transfer them to your portable media player or whatever) under fair use laws. However, in the UK it is technically illigal to do even for that reason. I think it is technically legal to download tracks etc as long as you own the CD, providing it is equal or lower quality (an MP3 almost certainly is) as YOU havn't bypassed the protection. Oh well at least when people get sued for that kind of thing here they get somewhat more reasonable charges (in the thousands maybe, rather than hundreds of thousands/millions).

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307238)

Actually, your case 1 is just a form of media shifting.
My mother does tons of that because she doesn't like to try and rip them herself.
She doesn't have any ripping software that she understands, she has no idea how to tweak the settings to get a good quality rip, and I'm several states away.

I seems to recall that media shifting was declared fair use (or whatever the term is) a few years back by the U.S. courts.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307310)

It must be called 'The Pirate Bay' because it's so cool to be a pirate, and pirates sing a lot.

Re:Not really the point (3, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306614)

I certainly don't believe that she was innocently infringing, but I see no reason why her lawyer wasn't allowed to make that argument and for the court to weigh the evidence.

Re:Not really the point (5, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306638)

Hi, I'm a teenager in Canada, which is on the planet. I know that downloading music is legal where I am.

Re:Not really the point (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306812)

glad to see Canadians love sucking on the 'tit of Hollywood' for their material

Just because your country allows for it to be legal doesn't mean it is everywhere, maybe one day your entertainment and music industry will not suck to put it harsh. It works both ways with that argument when people like to yell it at America, except America has a lot more say in this for the simple fact we produce it all and you ride our coat tails.

No wonder all the good Canadian artist come South to America to turn themselves into something and make better music.

Re:Not really the point (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306996)

This post is insulting to me as a Canadian, and really showcases the insulated mind-set of Americans. Canada produces a LOT of really great music. Probably half of my music collection is by Canadian artists. Just because you are completely oblivious of other cultures or the origin of the music you listen to, doesn't make everything made by Americans.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307048)

... doesn't make everything made by Americans.

They still make things here (in N. America)? Someone in China isn't doing their job...

Re:Not really the point (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307796)

> and really showcases the insulated mind-set of Americans. Canada produces a LOT of really great music.

Yeah? Like what exactlly?

Re:Not really the point (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307546)

Actuall we, Canadians, already pay a 'tax' on blank media to cover music downloads. This money is distributed to the copyright holders.

Re:Not really the point (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306840)

Is it still "piracy" when it's not illegal?

Re:Not really the point (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307150)

I think it's called privateering, isn't it?

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307308)

Privateers had a government license

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307786)

So do Canadians, in essence.

Re:Not really the point (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307332)

Then the entire statement that everyone knows that piracy is illegal that was made by the GP is meaningless. It's like saying "crime is illegal". It's useful only as a dictionary definition.

Re:Not really the point (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306666)

There's also the issue that although TFA is submitted with "file sharing" as keywords, there is no evidence or claim that the defendant made any attempt to do so. Tarring a kid with the brush of having downloaded a paltry 16 tracks is hardly a virtuous or useful pastime for a record company.

But it could certainly be profitable. If said companies can succeed in extorting 750K per track (assuming the defendant has any capacity to pay), that might constitute a valid business model from a shareholder's point of view. Fuck, I suppose I'm in the wrong business.

But then, I'm a musician too, and I'd rather my music was heard than exploited in this way.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306960)

The defendant downloaded far more than a "paltry 16 tracks".

If you'd read the fine PDF you'd see that when the plaintiffs first noticed the defendant's infringing activity that the defendant's shared folder had 500+ tracks and that they initiated a download of the entire group to ensure that they were all downloadable.

At some point after this plaintiff's forensic examination of the defendant's computer found that Windows had been reinstalled on it and Limewire had been reinstalled on it. This examination revealed about 700 shared files.

(Please don't take this as meaning I support plaintiff's actions, merely passing on the findings.)

Re:Not really the point (3, Informative)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307204)

In this case the RIAA didn't bother pursuing the "uploading" angle. Instead it asked for $750 per song, the minimum damages for non-innocent DOWNLOADING.

(Harper said it should just be $200 per song, the minimum damages for INNOCENT downloading, on the grounds that she was too young and naive to know that her downloads were illegal. But the court ruled that ignorance of copyright law is not a defense in this case.)

Re:Not really the point (5, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306692)

Seriously, the labels needs to start with this:

"We have evidence that you downloaded X songs (attach a list) for which we own the copyrights. We would like to settle this matter quietly and without legal action. To that end, we would accept a settlement of X * 1.5 dollars in order to resolve this matter. In return, we will arrange for you to have legal digital versions of the songs in question via one of the listed services (iTunes, etc) If you decline this offer, we suggest you retain a lawyer and have them contact our legal department."

It's simple, reasonable, and only mildly threatening. It carries a modest 50% penalty over the cost per song.

They should be going after distributors with the big penalties, not the downloaders.

Re:Not really the point (1)

legio_noctis (1411089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306950)

That is the beginning of a much better solution.

Re:Not really the point (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306962)

It's P2P right? The downloaders are distributors.

And a 50% penalty is ridiculously small. You really think they catch more than 2 out of 3 such infringements? So that's really no penalty at all and you'd be an idiot to buy them upfront if they only cost 150% as much if you happen to get caught.

Re:Not really the point (0, Flamebait)

matazar (1104563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307534)

It's P2P right? The downloaders are distributors.

And you can prove that they did distribute? Since the RIAA isn't able to or prove much for that fact, yet the defendants still end up paying the price when they lose.

I don't think suing teenagers is the way to go. Regardless of whether she knew it was illegal or not.

Re:Not really the point (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307828)

Given the way P2P works, I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to meet the "greater than 50 percent chance" standard of a civil case. Though I'm not a lawyer, and have no plans/desires to be...

Re:Not really the point (3, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307526)

Well, the issues that instantly spring to mind are:

1) The costs of tracking someone down in order to connect a person with the observed infringing behavior, and then sending out the nasty letter, are likely to exceed 1/3 of the amount demanded (assuming that the other 2/3 are to make the copyright holder, etc. 'whole' for the infringing copy). Thus, they still lose money on the overall deal.

2) Because they can't observe every infringement, and can't successfully track down every infringer that they did observe, many, perhaps most, infringers will get away scot-free. This may encourage more people to infringe in the future, if they think that the money they save when they don't get caught will be greater than the money they would spend legitimately, or would lose if they did get caught. This having been said, enforcement efforts currently only deter people from going to court if they have been caught; the odds against being caught are low enough that they don't seem to deter anyone.

3) If there is another person who had their rights infringed, who isn't represented by the authors of the letter, they could still sue, using the infringer's acceptance of the settlement offer as evidence of infringement. Unless the infringers are protected from this in some way -- by the letter-writers offering to indemnify them for any other damages caused by the infringement at issue -- then the infringers aren't made safe. And the letter-writers are never going to willingly accept that kind of risk for such a low reward.

Downloading is not about saving money (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307852)

The costs of tracking someone down in order to connect a person with the observed infringing behavior, and then sending out the nasty letter, are likely to exceed 1/3 of the amount demanded (assuming that the other 2/3 are to make the copyright holder, etc. 'whole' for the infringing copy). Thus, they still lose money on the overall deal.

The costs of tracking and suing a teenager vastly exceed any amount she is able to pay. They will lose money on the overall deal.

This may encourage more people to infringe in the future, if they think that the money they save when they don't get caught will be greater than the money they would spend legitimately

That's assuming a music downloader would be willing to pay what a CD costs.

People don't download to save money. You don't save anything when you get for free something that you wouldn't buy at any price higher than zero dollars. People download because it's there and who knows when something interesting might come up.

If I had a significant risk of having to pay $0.05 for every song or $0.25 for every film I download I would never download anything at all, that's how much that shit is worth to me. I haven't even listened to most of the tracks I have downloaded. Downloading is like this: I hear a song that I like, I download the full discography of that artist, I scan over it to see if there's some other song I like.

If the media industry made an effort to understand how and why downloading works I'm sure they could find a way to get a profit from it. But calling me a thief and threatening to sue me will get them nowhere.

Re:Not really the point (4, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307622)

I was with you up until your solution for the 'distributors'.

These people are generally one and the same as the 'downloaders' with the vast majority of non-commercial copyright infringement.

If on the other hand you changed "big penalties" to, I dunno, 5x cost, maybe you'd have a solution worth talking about.

Of course however reasonable the penalties were - assuming the impossible were to happen and your solution was operational - the copyright cartels would lobby to make them higher and higher, and want more draconian laws enacted. It's the nature of copyright and the people who are in the business of making money through using it's monopoly to restrict distribution that they are draconian: the illusion of 'property' is a strong one and goes against the nature of the medium which is inherently copyable and distributable. They want strict property laws because they believe they own the copyrighted material in much the same way as they own their trousers or their TV, and that means that every infringement (lawful or otherwise) is viewed as intolerable - it violates their control.

They stand against your solution as vehemently as they would if you proposed the abolishment of copyright: it would diminish them as masters of their own 'property' and they could only see it as a defeat.

Re:Not really the point (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306988)

Whether she was innocently infringing or not isn't really the point because it's fairly obvious that no teenager on the planet who pirates music doesn't know that it's illegal.

Actually, by my reading of the Audio Home Recording Act [wikipedia.org] is that, while uploading is illegal, downloading is completely legal as long as you burn it to an audio CD (a CD with royalties paid as part of its sale price). So an affirmative defense would be simply to produce such a piece of plastic and tell the RIAA lawyers to get bent.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307704)

I had never seen that before. Seriously, thanks for that.

Re:Not really the point (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307752)

Your reading of the law is completely wrong, and it might not be a good idea to rely on that sort of defense.

Re:Not really the point (2, Interesting)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306994)

I'm really not sure the RIAA has any intention of reducing piracy. Piracy is their source of income.

In fact, I'd bet they hope to increase it. Then they can bring more cases against more 'infringers'.

They only have to win a handful of the cases they make in order for their efforts to be worthwhile.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307082)

Whether she was innocently infringing or not isn't really the point because it's fairly obvious that no teenager on the planet who pirates music doesn't know that it's illegal.

You'd be referring to Planet America, I take it? In our part of the world, sharing those bits of data isn't illegal, and we like it that way.

Re:Not really the point (1)

legio_noctis (1411089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307348)

No, I'm not in America.

Re:Not really the point (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307174)

Downloading music is illegal now? I live in the US and am aware of laws to stop the *distributing* of copyrighted works, but I have never seen any legal restrictions on downloading or possession. I am also under the impression that the MPAA/RIAA has never been able to show that an IP address is a person, and thus bound by the distribution laws.

Re:Not really the point (2, Insightful)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307962)

Downloading music is illegal now? I live in the US and am aware of laws to stop the *distributing* of copyrighted works, but I have never seen any legal restrictions on downloading or possession. I am also under the impression that the MPAA/RIAA has never been able to show that an IP address is a person, and thus bound by the distribution laws.

The act of downloading to your computer is the creation of a copy of that work. Which is forbidden, unless you are authorized by the rightsholder to create said copy.

That said, the RIAA et. al. will never sue just over downloading. Because if you are caught having downloaded x number of illegal copies, you can definitively prove the amount of damages (x times cost per track), and as such can avoid those ludicrous "statutory damages" that are at the heart of the record industry's terror campaign.

As for the "IP address is not a person" issue - they're ignoring that one, and just claiming that the "owner" of the IP addresses (whoever it's assigned to at the time of the alleged infringement) is automagically liable for any damages resulting from the infringement. Which is, unfortunately, enough to get most people to roll over and pay the extortion money rather than risk the huge court costs of fighting them.

Re:Not really the point (2, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307444)

You are totally right, that there is no free music on the internet and that RIAA is representative for all musicians on the planet and should be the sole determinant of who is, and is not infringing.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307760)

Actually, however sad it is, I have explained to people that downloading songs off of limewire or such is illegal, and they stare at me in awe. Is it really? Why?

Rape. (5, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306510)

When will it finally be seen that the effect civil law has when applied to criminal cases is really rape? The civil law if I'm not mistaken was for big counterfeiters and other corporations screwing each other over. If copyright is never to be reformed then at least apply criminal law against music file sharers: 24 songs -> 1 CD = $20 = $200 fine, move along. Not $1.92 million rape judgement. And yes, rape is a strong word but so is what American courts are doing to their citizens at the behest of a minority of corporations.

Re:Rape. (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306584)

And yes, rape is a strong word

So is "stealing" when applied to copying a CD.

Re:Rape. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306624)

Exactly, if "they" want to misappropriate words then I shall too. Imagine if every slashdot story concerning the latest copyright travesty led off with the words "Citizen financially raped by corporation..." Newspeak all around if the corporations insist on it.

Re:Rape. (4, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306778)

He who controls the language in use controls the debate. In recognition of that I used to feel as you do. If others are going to try and conduct discourse with loaded terms like "piracy" when the mean copyright infringement; than we should do the same and brand the fascists and the like.

I have not given up the above tactic just yet but more and more I am thinking the strategy does not work. Look at DC the debate just gets ever more shrill; on all subjects. Its getting to the point were we wont be able to discuss the issues at all because those with opposing viewpoints can't even understand what the are saying to each other.

I am starting to to think a better answer would just be to call them out on the language. Just state plainly you used a bunch of loaded terms that connote unrelated but emotionally charged subjects to distract form the matter at hand and I am not going to consider your arguments or ideas as valid if you are unwilling to state them in a way that at least attempts to use neutral language.

Re:Rape. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307608)

That is quite hilarious.

http://www.google.com/search?&q=%22gpl%22+%22open+source%22+%22stealing%22&start=10&sa=N

From the first hit:

"Microsoft Caught Stealing Code From ImageMagic and Violating GPL"

"the bigger issue here is such blatant violation of the GPL undermines ALL available open source software. if you want to have authors continue to create open source software, you need to prevent stealing it and charging for it."

"the original author could have charged for it in the first place, but chose not to. @thanks jackass — you’d repay him by . stealing his software?"

"So here Microsoft wasn’t able to deny the FACT, but they try to limit the damage of them stealing the open source code to claim it as their own. "

"Microsoft couldn’t be worse, it has killed off developers and it’s gotten so bad, even Rafeal had noticed Microsoft isn’t developing it’s own solutions anymore, it’s stealing them from other developers."

"That statement of apologizing is insufficient, as it’s no different than robbing a bank and then expecting to say, if I apologize by stealing the money, I get to keep it now?"

"Rafeal is a hero, Microsoft should has been found guilty, and for that crime of stealing the works of others, having become pirates, they think just by saying no harm was done, that those developers work was stolen, just who are they kidding?"

"And “Jo Doe” thinks Microsoft “behaved well” as pirates, stealing the works of others, claiming the source code was their own!!!"

"Why should anyone respect Microsoft for stealing open source code software, for breaking the law, for claiming the code was their own solution and for not keeping their word as promised to make available within the time frame the source code under the General Public License?"

"It’s very clear and obviously to everyone, by stealing the works of others and by claiming the code was their own, that makes Microsoft a Pirate of software!"

"You really got to ask yourself, why didn’t Microsoft develop it’s own software solution to install Windows 7 without stealing the works of other developers?"

"Should Microsoft be rewarded for breaking the law, stealing the works of others, repackaging the code as their own, claiming the software tool as their own solution, failing to catch the stolen code in their own review process, and failing to follow through on time to release under the GPL license the source code as promised?"

Of course, we could all invent new terms. For example, to me, paying tax is the same as 'rape with a jar of acid', so I would refuse to discuss with anyone who doesn't substitute the words 'rape with a jar of acid' for 'tax'. At the minimum, that because _my_ view is that 'rape with a jar of acid' is the correct one, and _their_ view is that 'tax' is the correct one, the moral and ethical and debate-conducive compromise is that we come up with a term that is neither 'tax' nor 'rape with a jar of acid' to discuss the highly prevalent practice of the government raping people with a jar of acid.

In real life, we have to adhere to certain conventions, and these include that sometimes connotations work in your favour and sometimes they don't - and the deciding factors when it comes to "fair" should include how old the word is and how many people would consider it the default word. The principles of copyright, patents and control of knowledge go back a long time, so in this case, they work in your disfavour.

Nobody has yet attacked Open Source advocates with a chainsaw for claiming the word a definition of the word 'Free' in a way which 90% of the population would not be able to enunciate on their own volition (the closest approximations would be 'Public Domain'). Be very glad for that, because someone probably should have.

Re:Rape. (2, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307688)

Don't forget to mention that only people who have a weak case use inflamatory language to bolster their argument that viewed in the cold light of day would barely arouse any sympathy.

  And that's why the copyright cartels will never submit to your proposed reasonableness.

Re:Rape. (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306724)

An argument _does_ exist that it is stealing... it's just that what one is stealing by doing so isn't what the copier actually cares about, and so doesn't even notice that they took it from the copyright holder.

Copyright is supposed to be an _EXCLUSIVE_ right to copy the work... (right to copy = copyright). Anybody else requires permission by virtue of that exclusivity. If somebody else does it without permission, they literally *DO* deprive the copyright holder of some measure of his or her exclusivity on their right to copy their work, since by definition, exclusive means that nobody else is supposed to be doing it.

As I said, however, somebody who is copying a CD likely isn't thinking about the exclusivity on the copyright they are depriving the copyright holder of, so it tends to go completely unnoticed.

Some might offer the counterpoint that you can't steal something intangible like "exclusivity", but really, how different is it from tangible materials if one can still actually deprive somebody else of it by their actions?

Whether or not such exclusivity on the right to copy is a good idea in the first place is another matter, although without it, copyright loses a lot of its value for most people.

Stealing [was: rape] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306800)

By your argument, nearly every infringement (at least those which are detrimental to someone else) might be seen as stealing.

Sleep stealing by making loud noises at night, stealing of health by polluting the air, stealing everywhere.

I hereby propose that law books be changed and that they henceforth only talk about stealing.

Law Is Stupid (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306822)

The situation we find ourselves in right now is that the Internet is something we've never seen before. Existing law is a shitty fit for it, it needs to be torn down, rethought, and rebuilt. It is exactly the situation like when automobiles were first introduced and laws requiring a flag person to run ahead of the car to warn of its coming existed. The law is stupid. Everyone is arguing from stupid positions and instead of fitting the law properly to the new situation we have initiatives like ACTA which seek to cement the stupidity even further.

Re:Rape. (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306954)

If somebody else does it without permission, they literally *DO* deprive the copyright holder of some measure of his or her exclusivity on their right to copy their work, since by definition, exclusive means that nobody else is supposed to be doing it.

Depriving someone of something entirely immaterial is not stealing, by any measure. "Exclusivity" is something that cannot by itself be converted into anything that has material worth, so it cannot be stealing.

What the entertainment industry complains about is not the loss of exclusivity, they claim instead that they would have bigger profits if no one copied their works.

Which is an argument that's not supported by either reason or facts. It's one thing to say they would have more profits if more people would buy their $30 CDs, it's a different thing to say that people would spend $30 on a CD if they didn't have the option to copy it from someone else.

Re:Rape. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307050)

Material worth is arbitrary, as even material worth is simply measured by the immaterial value that society has agreed happens to be place on something.

Works of art, for example, are commonly insured at values *FAR* in excess of their actual material worth. If immaterial value was of no significance, that sort of situation could never exist.

Re:Rape. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307168)

Copyright is supposed to be an _EXCLUSIVE_ right to copy the work... (right to copy = copyright). Anybody else requires permission by virtue of that exclusivity. If somebody else does it without permission, they literally *DO* deprive the copyright holder of some measure of his or her exclusivity on their right to copy their work, since by definition, exclusive means that nobody else is supposed to be doing it.

Well, to be slightly more precise, copyright is not a right to copy, but a right to exclude (hence 'exclusive') others from copying. The right to copy is already handled by freedom of speech and of the press, and is the reason why, if you wrote something libelous, say, you could be prohibited from making copies of it, while still having a copyright.

The analog of copyright in the world of real property would be a negative easement, which is when you have a right to prohibit the owner of a piece of property from doing certain things with it, regardless of whether or not you have a right to do those things, or any thing, with that property yourself.

Infringing doesn't alter the copyright holder's right to exclude. In fact, that's finally the point at which he can exercise that right (no need for an enforceable right if people will just honor your request). In fact, only two things can reduce the copyright holder's ability to exercise his right: If he gives permission to someone, he can't turn around and sue them for doing the permitted deed. And, the law, which puts boundaries on the right, including the statute of limitations, which can result in the copyright holder's apathy toward an infringer limiting his ability to sue that infringer for that infringement once the clock has expired.

So again, I just don't see where this 'stealing' thing comes from, other than as vilification.

Re:Rape. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306858)

Civil law attempts to make you, the plaintiff, whole with the only commodity the court system has access to: money. Criminal law has the capability to put you, the defendant, in jail since the plaintiff is traditionally the State. This distinction is relevant because a criminal fine will end up with the state, like a speeding ticket, which will certainly not make the RIAA "whole" again since they won't posses the capability to sue in the criminal system, or directly recieve any damages.

The only workable solution is for media producers to develop a new way to make money off of media. The current models either hurt the consumer or the producer and are therefore untenable in the ling term.

Re:Rape. (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307250)

When will it finally be seen that the effect civil law has when applied to criminal cases is really rape?

Right about the time we start treating it like rape. The belief that enhanced understanding of a problem will stir a people to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions. You must be the change you wish to see in the world, not count on others to "see the light".

Since you mention rape specifically, let me share a personal anecdote. Of the people I know who have been raped (and I am counted amongst that number), the community response is usually not to go to the police (who are useless and will do nothing anyway) -- it's to get the person to a hospital and checked out, and while that's happening we assemble a bunch of people, find the fucker, and beat him to within an inch of his life. And there's usually a couple of us after that keep an eye on him wherever he runs to, and makes sure wherever he moves, that scarlet letter follows him around. Little birdies, you know. At least that's how we do it in the projects and lower-income parts of town. I don't know how rich people do it. I mean, if you're 19, blonde, white and got C cups or better you've got a chance at getting a conviction... The rest of us, well... Our justice springs from a darker place. And our sufferance is a quieter kind. Very few of us ever see the inside of a courtroom.

In this, you and I are alike in our common desire for change -- we wish for justice, pray for it, ask those in power to bring it to us, but we get form letters back, with xeroxed signatures on official letterhead. They don't care about you, or me. They care about money. So if you want justice, you either need money, a lot of people who will stand with you... or a gun. I wish it weren't that way, I really do. But when a government ceases to listen to its people, who shout in the night "Please help us!" ... Such actions are inevitable.

If the legal system offers no remedy for you, and there is no way for peaceful assembly and protest to have any influence upon the institutions which are responsible for the redress of your greviance then our founding fathers made it clear what a citizen's last recourse is: Take up arms. They've broken the most basic of social contracts between a citizen and its government, which is this: In exchange for protection of my person, of my personal interests, and peaceful redress of my greviances, I will in return offer you compensation in the form of taxation, military service (in some countries, but not ours) and will do my best to uphold the lawful principles and standards of my community. When this contract is broken and cannot be mended, the government has sewn the seeds of its own destruction. The justice system is the cornerstone of this negotiation of that contract. If it fails, everything else falls.

Fight hard to mend it. Write letters to everyone you know. Write to the judges. You don't have to be a lawyer. Just be a person, a citizen, and state as clearly as you can why this must be changed. They are human beings too, just like you. They will listen, even if they do not answer you in kind. Beg them if you must. Do everything you can, and fight until you can't. And when you've done everything you can, when you've put your full force of will behind your actions, you may find that the universe assists in mysterious ways. Believe it or not, human beings aren't fundamentally evil -- just often misled. And most problems have a solution that is peaceful, if only you can maintain the patience and self-respect for your own morality to do so.

Of course, as I said in my example above, you might have gathered I don't have that kind of resolve. But you might.

Re:Rape. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307504)

A strong word perhaps, but in many cases the punishment for actually raping someone is a lot more lenient compared to downloading an mp3. Society's priorities are completely out of wack.

Texas (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306640)

I motion before the assembled citizens that Texas have it's state status revoked with immediate effect. Lately it seems like every legal ruling and precident that comes out of that state is a violation of one human right or another, or at least criminally stupid. We beat them once, I'm sure we can do it again! :(

Re:Texas (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306730)

What are we Texans supposed to do? Most of our judges basically tenured appointees. We're as stuck with them as you are.

Re:Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31306804)

Move

Re:Texas (1)

el3mentary (1349033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306910)

What are we Texans supposed to do?

I suggest proclaiming independence

Re:Texas (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307008)

What are we Texans supposed to do? Most of our judges basically tenured appointees. We're as stuck with them as you are.

I heard you guys have several military bases and a lot of guns. I'm sure you can work something out there.

Re:Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307748)

Move, so the remaining residents of Dumbfuckistan don't get as many seats in the House.

Re:Texas (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307044)

Two out of the three appellate judges in this case are in Louisiana.

Re:Texas (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307414)

Two out of the three appellate judges in this case are in Louisiana.

Okay, we'll outlaw Louisiana too.

Re:Texas (1)

thechao (466986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307972)

So ... wait. You're claiming every Texan is responsible for a few judges, probably locally elected? This sounds like gross generalization of guilt, to me. How about I turn around and make a responsible demand: since you demanded punitive action against every person in the state of Texas regardless of guilt, how about having your personal citizenship revoked?

Also, having lived/stayed in a number of states now, I can say that racism and other breeds of bigotry are universal (or not), and that none of the states I've been to have I met people more/less bigoted than anywhere else [mostly not bigoted]. Well, except upstate New York and northern California; some of the people I met up never got past the 1950s.

No bling for the sing bitches. (3, Interesting)

illboding (579780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306662)

The RIAA is the best argument in the world not to buy music. They've made me lose respect for the entire profession of musician. I'm not going to buy anymore music until they stop this crap. The buck stops with the people on stage. I have bought -1- CD in the past 5 years. I used to spend $100 a week minimum on them. Every week, every year, for close to a decade of music buying. Then, because of the RIAA I just stopped cold. Now I just stream music, listen to the radio, and play what I already own. Yes, that's a lot of money I'm not spending on "art" anymore. It works for me though. I'm entirely capable of managing my own digital rights in a legal manner, and this is part of my chosen regime to avoid the risk of predatory abusers of the US legal system. Don't get me started on DRM either. In a nutshell DRM means it needs to be discarded, not purchased, used, or otherwise exposed to the use of electricity in any way. DRM is a disease that needs careful washing to avoid. It's most noticeable in that it makes whatever has it smell like shit.

Re:No bling for the sing bitches. (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306758)

You could buy music from Magnatune [magnatune.com]

Re:No bling for the sing bitches. (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306786)

The RIAA is the best argument in the world not to buy music.

The RIAA is the best argument in the world why you SHOULD be buying music -- NON-RIAA MUSIC (see RIAA Radar [riaaradar.com] ).

Re:No bling for the sing bitches. (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307066)

The RIAA is the best argument in the world why you SHOULD be buying music -- NON-RIAA MUSIC (see RIAA Radar).

Actually, I specifically get as many RIAA and MPAA-sponsored media as I can and then offer it for free to as many people as I can. Sometimes I even leave DVDs filled with AVI files of the top 20 movies of the week from Piratebay just laying around on buses and such. The way I figure it, a handful of terrorists only managed to bring down four planes and three buildings at a cost of a few billion. By our legal system's reakoning, I've caused about $14.6 trillion dollars worth of damage so far. I'm very disappointed, because I figured by now I should be the most wanted woman in this country. And yet boys never call me back. :(

Re:No bling for the sing bitches. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307650)

I don't get the arguments anymore. Either that or I'm just getting old. If there is something out there the producer owns and wants you to pay for to have and you take it without paying and get caught, you should have to pay the consequences. If you host for free and without a contract with the producer a bunch of files they own the rights to then you shouldn't bitch about the consequences when being caught.

Stating "I'm not going to buy any more music until they stop this crap" just sounds stupid. And being ignorant of the law has never been a reasonable excuse to get away with stupid shit either. If I produce something and want someone to pay for my troubles and you take the shit for free and then turn around and give it away expect me to try to take you for all you got.

Now, the amount of money given for damages does need to be dropped for non-profit citizens. I agree and don't argue that case. But it's when people start sprewing nonsense like this that the judges, politics, government, etc. stop listening.

Re:No bling for the sing bitches. (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307878)

> you should have to pay the consequences

The "consequences" should not be glorified sharia law.

We even have a bit of constitutional law here in the US of A to that effect.

hmm (4, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306796)

seems to equate 'access' with the mere fact that CDs on sale in stores had copyright notices, and that she was free to go to such stores.

I don't read it like that; the Court seems to be saying the trial judge's ruling, that the copyright notice alone wouldn't bar an innocent infringer defense, is incorrect as a matter of law. Since she did not contest she had access, her understanding (or lack of it) does not support an innocent infringer defense under the statute. If she had argued access, she might have had a shot.

Re:hmm (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306846)

seems to equate 'access' with the mere fact that CDs on sale in stores had copyright notices, and that she was free to go to such stores.

I don't read it like that; the Court seems to be saying the trial judge's ruling, that the copyright notice alone wouldn't bar an innocent infringer defense, is incorrect as a matter of law. Since she did not contest she had access, her understanding (or lack of it) does not support an innocent infringer defense under the statute. If she had argued access, she might have had a shot.

Maybe. The decision is unclearly written and I can't be 100% sure what they were saying, which is why I said "seems". But I thought the facts were pretty clear in the record that she made the copies through a p2p file sharing program, and that the ones she saw had no copyright notices.

Re:hmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307400)

I could see it being a stretch from a strategy point to argue that she had no way of seeing the copyright notice because she was downloading illegal copies. Kind of like killing your parents and asking the judge for mercy because you're an orphan.

What exactly are the ethics of the RIAA? (3, Interesting)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306896)

How is the RIAA running their sting operations anyway? You figure they'd go after mass production counterfeiting at flea markets instead of just sitting on their asses hijacking or sniffing or whatever the hell they're doing. I thought the main reason such downloads took off in the first place was because of the price gouging of legal downloads. Since prices for legal downloads haven't really dropped in a meaningful way, I assume they're more in it for the money than the moral purpose of legal behaviour. So, if they're going to stoop to making an example of a kid, then I say they've opened the door for anyone to stoop to any level to make an example out of them. Damn I'm scatter brained this morning!

Re:What exactly are the ethics of the RIAA? (3, Insightful)

gauauu (649169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307022)

Nope, the reason they don't go after the counterfeiters at flea markets is because that's not the "threat" to them...(how many people do you know that buy fake cds at flea markets)...kids downloading songs off bittorrent is. The price of legal downloads has very little to do with it...yes there are a few people out there that make choices of pirate vs buy based on price/value/etc, but for most, it's "free vs pay?" and free always wins. (yes, you can argue that YOU would just buy instead of pirate if it was just cheap enough, for whatever magical value of "cheap enough" you've defined, but if so you are either a minority or a liar)

So they go after kids who download, and shoot for as big a penalty as possible. Not because they themselves even believe that the penalty is correct, but because they are trying to scare other people away from downloading. If people think "wow, my life will be ruined if I get caught" then the RIAA believes just maybe less people will illegally download.

Now I'm not saying it's right, but it's at least reasonably logical.

Re:What exactly are the ethics of the RIAA? (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307136)

I get this. I was ultimately trying to fish out a response that would lead to someone identifying the RIAA's footprint/ methods on the web and inspire someone to combat/ block the same so that we can subtly tell the RIAA to go to hell.

OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31306974)

She was not busted for making unauthorized downloads of the tunes. She was busted for making those files available for other people to download. She was distributing and that was the crime.

Because, as we know, downloading tracks is not, itself, a violation of any section of the Copyright law.

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307030)

Because, as we know, downloading tracks is not, itself, a violation of any section of the Copyright law.

Since when has what the law said or was intended to do had any effect on what actually happens?

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307102)

True... and it's interesting that the Appeals court gets it completely wrong, because in their summary they *DO* say they're finding her guilty of downloading tracks (based on the principle that she "duplicated" the tracks, a violation of the Copyright), but duplication requires access to source material, and she did not have that, only the "sender" did.

So basically, she's getting screwed three ways 'til Sunday, mostly because she doesn't have an Attorney worth a damn.

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307522)

So basically, she's getting screwed three ways 'til Sunday, mostly because she doesn't have an Attorney worth a damn.

"The rule of law does not mean that the protection of the law must be available only to a fortunate few or that the law should be allowed to be prostituted by vested interests for protecting and upholding the status quo under the guise of enforcement of civil and political rights. The poor too have civil and political rights and the rule of law is meant for them also, though today it exists only on paper and not in reality."

Supreme Court of India, PUDR v. Union of India (AIR 1982 SC 1473, 1477)

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307538)

it's interesting that the Appeals court gets it completely wrong, because in their summary they *DO* say they're finding her guilty of downloading tracks

Where do you see that? They uphold the trial court's finding that she downloaded the files based on the evidence presented in the lower court pretty effectively proving that. And where do you get the idea that once someone else breaks the law by duplicating a file, anyone who does it after that is free and clear?

Unless you paid for the downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307068)

Unless you paid for the downloads from AllOfMP3. In that case, the downloader is breaking the law but they can only go after the uploader (who has a license to distribute, so it's not the uploader who is illegal, but the downloader who wasn't in Russia).

Re:Unless you paid for the downloads (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307336)

Which law is the downloader breaking when downloading from AllOfMP3 ?

(There haven't been any court cases about downloaders from AllofMP3 to set precedent, of course...)

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307312)

NO.

Page 6, "Harper did not appeal the finding that she had infringed copyrights by DOWNLOADING the songs."

Page 6, "Because [RIAA] only seek minimum damages [$750/song], the question before the court is WHETHER Harper violated the copyright act, not TO WHAT EXTENT she violated it."

Page 7 cites several legal precedents where downloading alone constitutes reproduction, and hence is subject to copyright restrictions.

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307424)

In all of those cases on p.7, they're referring to bi-directional P2P sites (where "to download" you are also "uploading").

So I stand by my "she should have hired an attorney who would have appealed the finding that she infringed by downloading", because that would have been her strongest defense.

I've asked the Copyright Office a number of times now to point me to the specific section of USC that "downloading" violates, and have never received any response from them other than "they're researching my answer". :-)

Re:OP Gets Something Wrong (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307508)

No they're not. The Alcatel v. DGI case wasn't P2P at all. The copyright argument goes that downloading means "making a copy in your computer's memory or hard disk", and this act of copying is what's subject to copyright.

NewYorkLaywer gives another dishonest summary (3, Interesting)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307164)

NewYorkLawyer characterized this decision as one about "access" (i.e. the argument that the defendant would have had *access* to other CDs with their copyright notices and so should have known that the same notices would have applied to downloaded music).

But the decision clearly states [page 9], "Rather than contest the fact of "access", Harper contended only that she was too young and naive to understand that the copyrights on published music applied to downloaded music."

Thus, the issue of "access" was NOT AT STAKE. It was not contested. The decision was made purely on whether Harper's ignorance of copyright law counts as a valid defense. And the court ruled clearly that ignorance of copyright law is not a valid defense. (If it were, then someone would be able to violate e.g. GPL merely by persuading the court that they didn't know how copyright worked.)

Re:NewYorkLaywer gives another dishonest summary (2, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307274)

Of course he gives a dishonest summary... He is after all a lawyer. That's pretty much his job.

Re:NewYorkLaywer gives another dishonest summary (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307304)

NewYorkLawyer characterized this decision as one about "access" (i.e. the argument that the defendant would have had *access* to other CDs with their copyright notices and so should have known that the same notices would have applied to downloaded music). But the decision clearly states [page 9], "Rather than contest the fact of "access", Harper contended only that she was too young and naive to understand that the copyrights on published music applied to downloaded music." Thus, the issue of "access" was NOT AT STAKE. It was not contested. The decision was made purely on whether Harper's ignorance of copyright law counts as a valid defense. And the court ruled clearly that ignorance of copyright law is not a valid defense. (If it were, then someone would be able to violate e.g. GPL merely by persuading the court that they didn't know how copyright worked.)

1. The name is "NewYorkCountryLawyer".

2. Your characterization of my summary as "dishonest" was quite dishonest on your part.

3. The decision was based on access; it was because of their conclusion on "access" that her lack of knowledge, etc., became irrelevant. Had she not had access, it would have been quite relevant.

4. I found the discussion of "access" vague, and for that reason used the term "seems". I wasn't sure exactly what they were saying. From their decision it seems that they had established that the copies were downloaded from copies that bore no copyright notice. So it would seem that the record supported the lower court's finding that there was no "access", and that they were defining access differently.

Prove it's available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307180)

So now the prosecutors will have to prove that copies of each item were on public display in the stores which are available, at the time that the violation occurred? (Hey, that store isn't available, I don't ride the bus over there!) Are stores required to keep records of what they buy, when they put it on display, and when they sell it? And will a separate search warrant be needed for each store, for each song?

Once again, reality imitates DA (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31307576)

Mr Prosser said: "You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time you know."

"Appropriate time?" hooted Arthur. "Appropriate time? The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."

"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything."

"But the plans were on display ..."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

"That's the display department."

"With a torch."

"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs."

"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."

Good ideas, make them public! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31307924)

There are a ton of wonderful ideas here. How come you only read them in the comments of a slashdot thread. Where is the public outcry about how ridiculous this is. So many good points made here today already. It seems the RIAA is free to do what it wants because nobody takes a stance to counter. Yes I realize slash dot is public domain. So go more public.

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