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File-sharing and AOL

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the close-your-eyes-for-10-seconds dept.

Music 319

Andrew Leonard writes "Farhad Manjoo's cover story in Salon today, on AOL's refusal to take a stand on the RIAA's (so far) successful attempt to get subscriber information from Verizon, is a detailed look at the most important battle in the file-sharing world right now."

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319 comments

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"Online Privacy" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285194)

Sounds good to me.

I would glady trade my privelege of "online privacy" (whatever that means) in order to live safely in a world free of terror.

What makes you think that you have some inherent right to "online privacy" or "online freedom"? I don't see that in the bill of rights or the constitution itself, do you?

We are living in a new era. Get used to it or go somewhere else⦠Delta is ready when you are.

Troll 66 of 208 from the annals of the Troll Library [slashdot.org] .

Didn't someone say "Give me liberty or... (2, Interesting)

Qinopio (602437) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285208)

...give me death"? And then good old TJ said something to the effect of "He who would sacrifice his freedom for safety deserves neither". /me wonders how far this all will go...

Re:Didn't someone say "Give me liberty or... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285272)

"Give me liberty or give me death" was Patrick Henry, and "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." was Ben Franklin, not Thomas Jefferson.

Patrick Henry, Slave Owner (4, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285276)

Patrick Henry said "Give me liberty or give me death" -- but he didn't say it to the slaves working his plantation.
"He concedes the evil, laments his entrapment in the system, suggests it will be abolished in the fullness of time, and declares that he will transmit to posterity, together with his slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery. Henry was skilled at the politics of gesture and brave in defiance of convention, but on this issue -- the gravest and most fateful in our history -- [he followed] the common path of least resistance and left successor generations to sip the sorrow of his era's default."

The Political Legacy of Patrick Henry [redhill.org]

Re:Patrick Henry, Slave Owner (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285291)

Yeah, but slaves aren't people. Everyone knows that.

Re:Patrick Henry, Slave Owner (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285319)

SOILENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!!!

Slaves: different cultures, different status (2, Informative)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285494)

Slaves weren't people under the American system of slavery: they were property, to be used as the property owner saw fit.

But that's not true of all slave systems throughout history. The laws of ancient Greece and Rome granted various rights to slaves. (A lucky slave might even save enough money to purchase his own freedom.)

Sparta was a particularly interesting case: slaves belonged to the State, and were only "on loan" to their current master.

Re:complexities (2)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285459)

And that old rabble-rouser opposed ratifying the Constitution butterly. A very independent-minded guy.

The other example mentioned, Thomas Jefferson, is an even more complex character, given his shifting views aas he contributed far more material to our culture than Mr. Henry's one classic line. On slavery, he wrote, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." His relationship with Sally Hemings, still not entirely resolved, adds to the mix. (Speaking of complex icons, I felt a little sheepish when I realized the White House and Congress were built with slave labor. Of course.)

Metaphors are nice, but ... I'm not suggesting God is going to weigh in on copyright enforcement, and if anyone wants to dies over it, well, I'll be sure to read about it. To exaggerate the debate is to trivialize it. :)

Re:Didn't someone say "Give me liberty or... (-1, Redundant)

the_Speed_Bump (540796) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285484)

I believe the quote you're after is

"Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

Re:"Online Privacy" (3, Funny)

davidj0228 (543196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285212)

Very true, deviant activity such as file-sharing is just like marijuana smoking, it supports terrorism.

Re:"Online Privacy" (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285344)

You know... Marijuana smoking (although, if you had any clue, the ad the was for cocaine and heroin not marijuana) as well as the use of other drugs does indeed support terrorism. It has nothing to do with deviant activity. It's a simple question of economics: until the fall of the Taliban (and arguably still so), Afghanistan was one of the world's largest opium (aka Heroin) producers (talk about the "war on drugs.") As for cocaine, well, that money goes to support Columbian rebels -- who rape, pillage, bomb, and perform other acts of terrorism all over that country. Everywhere in the world, drug money goes to supporting groups that spread violence against basically innocent people -- whether they be leaders in cities (such as Bogota), the rural poor (in Columbia), or women in Afgahnistan. Normally I don't respond to trolls, but this post is an affront to my very sense I human decency. Get a clue man.

Re:"Online Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285440)

If drugs were legal, though, then that money could stay in the US and support hard working Americans! The government could even tax it, and use that money to cover related costs of legalized drugs.

I've...got to...try... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285196)

mister...
Priced Fost?

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285197)

and i'm eating french bread pizza

mitnick got hacked you dim fuckwits and mister open source poster boy was using iis instead of shitty apache and teh lunix

fp ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285201)

hm?

Wait (0, Redundant)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285213)

AOL is part of TimeWarner and vise-versa. So shouldn't they we on the same page with this. Well, it looks to me like they need to start using a faster delivery system for memos and the such maybe Slapper hit them.

Re:Wait (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285256)

What the fuck are you saying? Thats one of the least understandable posts Ive ever seen on /.

Remember - think before you type, or you'll look like a cock gobbler.

Re:Wait (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285358)

I'd be more worried about being an incoherent cock-gobbler.

Not in a possition (5, Insightful)

bace (628761) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285214)

I dont think that AOL will cave into the demands. If they do cave in, people might think twice before signing up for AOL, and present users might think about jumping ship. The numbers might sound trivial, but see numbers drop ould hardly be a good thing for AOL in its current financial situation.

Sorry about the spelling, too much free beer.;)

Re:Not in a possition (5, Insightful)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285374)

So are you assuming that people choose AOL based on rational analysis of cost, quality, support and political agenda?

Re:Not in a possition (0)

coder256 (456938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285450)

Content-makers and content-distributors vie for control until they collide (e.g. AOL-TW, Sony) at which time they engage in fierce legal battles which garner headlines.

Meanwhile, their customers carry on performing "criminal" actions.

You don't have to be Jeffrey Friedl to match this pattern.

It's A Fucking Slashvertisement. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285219)

Andrew Leonard writes...

mailto:aleonard@salon.com

Re:It's A Fucking Slashvertisement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285278)

mod parent up, not down - its the truth! have a look!

Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285423)

Like Salon has the money to buy advertisements... even on Slashdot.

Was that my IP? (5, Funny)

crisco (4669) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285222)

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94.
Hmm, I wonder what my IP was last July 15th...

Re:Was that my IP? (1)

trmj (579410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285254)

I read that and began to think for a minute.. then realized I'm not a verizon customer, and that I have no place on p2p: I'm on dialup.

Re:Was that my IP? (1, Offtopic)

ReverendRyan (582497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285257)

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an
eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94.
I see four numbers made up of eleven digets, but if they're only worried about the first eight digits, then whoever the RIAA is after doesn't have anything to worry about ;)

Re:Was that my IP? (2, Insightful)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285304)

In hexadecimal, that address is eight digits. 8D.9E.68.5E

Re:Was that my IP? (0, Troll)

Masami Eiri (617825) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285421)

Except that letters aren't digits.

Re:Was that my IP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285454)

in hex they are!

Re:Was that my IP? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285258)

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94.
Hmm, I wonder what my IP was last July 15th...

Even better question: How on earth is that an eight digit IP address?

Re:Was that my IP? (4, Funny)

kruetz (642175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285353)

Hexadecimal? It becomes: 8D.9E.68.5E ... but then again, since the RIAA can't even count burners (maybe they were using octal, so 150 becomes 104!) it's more likely they got lost counting the digits in the IP address - "one, two, three, ... three ... ummm ... oh hell, there can't be more than eight! yeah! there's eight!"

Re:Was that my IP? (3, Interesting)

Peterus7 (607982) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285329)

Hmm. If AOL had the bandwidth to support p2p they'd be for it, but since they just plain DON'T....

Re:Was that my IP? (0)

yourmom16 (618766) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285402)

AOL/TW is part of the RIAA so im not sure they would support p2p

3 + 3 + 3 + 2 = ? (1, Redundant)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285369)

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94.
8 digits eh? Well, whoever's at 141.158.1.0 should be worried - thats a whole network address.

Re:3 + 3 + 3 + 2 = ? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285429)

8 digits eh? Well, whoever's at 141.158.1.0 should be worried - thats a whole network address.

Not necessarily. You could subnet into larger segments. You're thinking of the old "class" system. In fact at work a good chunk of our internal routing equipment lives on 172.16.0.0/24

Re:Was that my IP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285370)

Apple is generally marketed toward homosexuals, correct? Most Apple users happen to be of that choice, so is it Apple's marketing or what? I don't understand why Apple has a higher number of homosexual users than Dell, for example.

Re:Was that my IP? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285447)

Good question. I'm actually straight myself (though I usually sleep with gay and straight men), and I haven't heard anything about this.

And you're wrong about Dell. Michael Dell himself is quoted as saying "man, I'd love to flutter my tongue gently...against the underside of [Microsoft CEO Bill] Gate's [testicle] sack". [InfoWorld v 12 issue 24, April 25 1993]

Why do you think the internal code name of the Dell PowerEdge servers was the same as a popular brand of anal dildo?

The only 100% "straight" computer company was Digital, but they had to "go funny" when they were bought by Compaq (with a name like Compaq, well, you pretty much have to!).

Anyway, if you uncover any more info on Apple's marketing campaign, I'd just die to hear about it.

Re:Was that my IP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285392)

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94.
Hmm, I wonder what my IP was last July 15th...

Sounds like a confession to me! Time to get all John Ashcroft on your ass.. GET 'IM BOYS!

Interview with Bob Goatse (-1, Troll)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285491)

Bob Goatse - the passage of the century
Bob Goatse, semi-mythical figure and regular guest on the FC Forum, spoke to our special reporter in a telephone interview from his home on the Christmas Islands.
FC-uk: Hello? Hello? Mr Goatse?
Bob Goatse: (muffled) Where's the cellphone? I thought I heard it.
FC-uk: Hello?
Bob Goatse: (sounds of movement) Agh. Hello? Who's this?
FC-uk: Mr Goatse, I'm Huw Jaersal, calling from the UK. We were going to do an interview?
Bob Goatse: Sure. I remember. Sorry 'bout the mixup - I couldn't find the phone.
FC-uk: Couldn't remember where you'd put it?
Bob Goatse: Couldn't reach it when it rang, actually. Had to jump a bit to get to it.
FC-uk: Ah. On a high shelf?
Bob Goatse: Not really. Let's not talk about my phone, huh?
FC-uk: Sure. You've become quite a celebrity, Mr Goatse...
Bob Goatse: Bob
FC-uk: ...OK, Bob. Much like Mahir and the the 'All Your Base' phenomenom, your fame is due to the internet. People think they know what you're like inside without getting to know the real you. Does that bother you?
Bob Goatse: It's a bit of a stretch, I'll admit. I feel I've put more work into my reputation than the others. Opened myself up more, you know.
FC-uk: The others?
Bob Goatse: Mahir - I mean, all he had to do was scan in a couple cheesy photos, put some silly greeting on his site, and he's doing ads for IBM. All your base - like, where did that come from?
FC-uk: So that bothers you?
Bob Goatse: Do you see me doing ads for IBM?
FC-uk: Well, no, but...
Bob Goatse: Or Microsoft? 'Suddenly everything fits'?
FC-uk: You've got to admit there's a certain niche appeal in what you do. Have you explored the idea of sponsorship or publicity?
Bob Goatse: The genie's out of the bottle now, son. You have a skill, and then before you can take a breath it's been circulated all the way across the world. Let me tell you - I go to talent scouts, theatrical agents, and I tell them my name. Know what they say?
FC-uk: Ah, no.
Bob Goatse: They laugh. They say 'we've seen that already, thanks'. Then they hang up.
FC-uk: So, what's next then?
Bob Goatse: I had a Vegas tour arranged before the pictures got out. Vegas, for Chrissake. 'The Amazing Goatse and his Magical Secret Pocket' - had the flyers and everything. That's gone.
FC-uk: I heard you worked as a drug mule for a while?
Bob Goatse: Who told you that? Why do you think I'm living on the frigging Christmas Islands now, huh? Two trips from Columbia and I've flooded the market. The price of cocaine in the entire state of Ohio dropped to half because they didn't realise how much I could carry. The drug barons want to put a cap in my ass now.
FC-uk: To limit it?
Bob Goatse: No, I mean they want to kill me. They weren't happy.
FC-uk: OK, moving on. Tell us some more about Bob Goatse. Is there a Mrs Goatse?
Bob Goatse: There is. We've been together ten years now.
FC-uk: And how does she feel about you?
Bob Goatse: Carefully, with a lot of lube.
FC-uk: No, I meant, uh,
Bob Goatse: Oh, I getcha! She loves the fame, but it's kinda 'through a glass darkly'. I mean, she says 'my husbands a star - he's Bob Goatse' and if people don't already know us, they say 'Yeah? Prove it', so I do. And they don't come round any more.
FC-uk: So tell us some more about those photographs. How did it happen?
Bob Goatse: Allergy
FC-uk: Sorry?
Bob Goatse: I've got an allergy to poppy seeds.
Fc-uk: Is it serious?
Bob Goatse: Not really. It only seriously affects a band of flesh about six inches long.
FC-uk: Where?
Bob Goatse: You've seen the photos. Where do you think? It began one night when we'd been out for a meal. I came home, and I itched. All over. So I got out of my clothes and started scratching. Gwen (that's Mrs Goatse) thought this was hilarious, and she began taking pictures of me in the lounge, scratching like an ape with fleas. We'd just bought a digital camera, see, and she figured this was a great joke.
FC-uk: And then what happened?
Bob Goatse: The itching got worse. Just in one place. Gwen's taking pictures, we've had a bit too much to drink, and it's driving me mad. I turn to her and I say - 'Look, hon, it's really stinging - can you see anything?'
FC-uk: What did she say?
Bob Goatse: She said it was echoing. So then she took a picture - that's the one everyone sees.
FC-uk: But there's a series, aren't there?
Bob Goatse: Kinda. Gwen's taking shots and laughing and I've had too much to drink and I'm trying anything I can get my hands on to stop the itching, and we end up taking forty or so pictures. By the time I'm done I've almost tried to get a back-scratcher there to stop the itching.
FC-uk: And then what?
Bob Goatse: See, there's the funny thing. It just went. Gone. No more itching. Sure, I'm RAW, I mean I've tried everything to stop the itching inside, but it's gone. So me and Gwen go to bed and sleep off too many bottles of red wine.
FC-uk: Why did you release the pictures?
Bob Goatse: We didn't release the pictures. We got burgled.
Fc-uk: And the camera?
Bob Goatse: Taken. We didn't tell the cops - how are we to say 'Well officer, you'll know it's ours because there's pictures of my ass in the card. Here's what it looks like so you'll know when you get it.' Gwen figured we should just write it off.
FC-uk: So when the pictures arrived?
Bob Goatse: That was the Stile Project. Made me into a star overnight. Gwen saw them first and thought it was funny. I realised pretty quick that someone in one of the major cartels was going to recognise my butt - it's not like we're all built for that kind of capacity. So it was time to move on.
FC-uk: You were trying to hide?
Bob Goatse: Something like that. You know how hard it is to hide when you're an icon? There's pictures of me all over the world, you know. Hell, there's even a 'net shrine to me hosted in Spain of all places. Home of the Inquisition becomes host to a church of butt-worshippers. Who makes this up?

FC-uk: But we don't see your face, do we?

Bob Goatse: Hell, no. But if you want to - where's the issue? I mean, you get a coupla Columbians in sharp suits waving 'that' picture around saying 'We want to see his face', people say 'You want help'. You get hundreds of geeks across the world saying 'What does Bob Goatse look like from the front', it's a joke. Sorta like 'Where's Waldo?' but for the very sick in the head.

FC-uk: But why's it an issue?

Bob Goatse: Hey, Sherlock - they might not all be geeks, might they? Christ, the chat rooms are fulla middle-aged Feds pretending to be 12-year-old girls, why can't you have a coupla pissed-off guys from a Columbian cartel pretending to be teenagers wanting to know what Bob Goatse looks like?

FC-uk: So you've tried to stay anonymous?

Bob Goatse: Yeah, right. Y'know, it's like God wants me in the spotlight. Put it this way - fall 2000 we go do a bit of sightseeing in NYC. Take in the tourist places, all of that. Gwen takes a shot of me on the observation deck - and when we get it back, it's like wow! There's me in the right of the picture, and there's New York behind me. Great shot. We bought a new camera, see?

Bastards.

FC-uk: What's the problem?

Bob Goatse: September 18th, I check out one of the bulletin boards and see the picture again. There's me - hat and glasses so my friends in Medellin won't recognise me - and someone's pasted a plane into the background. Next thing I know, I'm all over the friggin' 'net. Bob Goatse tries to hide and they latch on to me and make me into another freakin' joke, for Christ's sake. Don't get your pictures developed at Boots, that what I say.

FC-uk: You mean the 'Tourist of Death' pictures?

Bob Goatse: Oh, and thank you very much for making my day. You know how good it feels to be called that when you've got Escobar's little helpers looking for you day and night?

FC-uk: OK, the WTC guy.

Bob Goatse: That's better.

FC-uk: So what's next on the horizon for you, Bob?

Bob Goatse: I've finally found an agent, so we're going to go into merchandising. GoatseGoods.com - that's the plan.

FC-uk: What sort of merchandising?

Bob Goatse: Novelty items. Mousemats, t-shirts, that kind of thing. We're working on an icon set for windows at the moment - your trashcan becomes 'that' picture. Latest idea - an inflatable 'Bob Butt' to fit over your real wastebin in the office. Those basketball nets are an old idea - this'll give it a new bit of life. There's talk of a whole range of clothes - like if Heidi Fleiss can do it, then I can: 'red cavern outerwear - cover yourself!'.

FC-uk: Any other plans?

Bob Goatse: That's enough for now, don't you think?

FC- uk: There's been some talk of a career in adult films, for example?

Bob Goatse: You can stick that right up your.... Anyway, Gwen won't allow it. She doesn't want me going near another camera for a while. Same with the Jim Rose Circus. I'm just too distinctive now, that's the problem.

FC-uk: We understand. Thanks for your time, Mr Goatse.

Bob Goatse: Bob. It's been a pleasure.

U s'posed to be makin' bref-fass or sumfin' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285225)

It's like an alarm clock. They ain't trippin off the flow. It's just for deckuhrashun.

Internal company conflict (5, Interesting)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285228)

AOL's media division need the DRM leash. AOL's ISP side need to sell bandwidth. THese obviously conflict. This is just like the Sony Music (pro-DRM) / Technical department (pro cool gadgets and anti DRM functionality killing) problems - two departments company that HAVE to work out the conflicts inherent in the situation and can do quickly beaacue it is internal to their company.

If you want to see where we will be in 5 years as a general, having a look at the solutions adopted in these situations would seem to be a damn good guide.

Re:Internal company conflict (1)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285249)

typo - that's as a general *society*...

Heheheh... (4, Funny)

YellowElectricRat (637662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285230)

From the article:

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94

...and a nasty case of trying to count without taking their socks off... :)

Re:Heheheh... (3, Funny)

pimpinmonk (238443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285379)

...and a nasty case of trying to count without taking their socks off... :)
No... it's a nasty case of subconsciously thinking in hex... even worse IMHO

Re:Heheheh... (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285418)

...and a nasty case of trying to count without taking their socks off... :)

They might have to take their pants off to count the last digit...if they are male that is. :)

Re:Heheheh... (1)

silvaran (214334) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285426)

8D 9E 68 5E

But yeah, I know what you mean ;)... leave it to the non-technical writers to write a technical report.

This doesn't make any sense. (5, Funny)

goatasaur (604450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285232)

It takes, like, five hours to download an MP3 on AOL.

Re:This doesn't make any sense. (4, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285296)

And does it go "beep beep beep beep beep beep" and then half of your MP3 is gone?

Re:This doesn't make any sense. (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285299)

But AOL is really big right? So in RIAA logic that's like a normal person downloading an MP3 in 25 hours.

No wait, RIAA math makes things worse and that would be better. My RIAA math skills seem to be failing me. How can RIAA math not be right?

I guess they've switched the way their math works. That would make more sense because that IP address that they say is 8 digits is 11.

Does this mean my 24x CD drive now only counts as 1/4 a drive instead of 6?

I'm confused :(

Thats funny (4, Insightful)

trotski (592530) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285233)

Warner music is one of the most imortant members of the RIAA

AOL is a part of the AOL-Time-Warner corporation; so is Warner music. Is there therefore a conflict between divisions of the company? Hmmmm... me thinks it's time to sell my ATW stock.... wait, I don't have any anyway.

I don't see the big deal (5, Insightful)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285237)

The article even points out that MSN and others have refused to comment. Why then is AOL so suspicious just because of their TW relationship?

If _I_ had an ISP, I wouldn't comment either (I'd just go for another swim in my money....)

These big companies rarely have a unified front, as /.ers have pointed out many times on the media/hardware manufacturer copy protection debates.

for those who hate flash / on dialup (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285239)

Feb. 10, 2003 | One day last summer, a person using Verizon to access the Internet logged on to Kazaa, a popular peer-to-peer music-swapping service, and started downloading MP3s. It was the sort of thing that millions of people do every day; the only difference this time was that an analyst at the Recording Industry Association of America was monitoring the action.

The RIAA's efforts to obtain this single Verizon subscriber's identity has ballooned into a major courtroom battle over the scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the 1998 law that outlines protections for online content. The litigation has split the ranks of Internet service providers and content companies: ISPs, who say they worry about their subscribers' privacy, have generally sided with Verizon, while copyright holders have supported the RIAA.

But stuck in the middle of this fight is a firm that is both a huge copyright holder as well as a huge Internet company -- in fact, it is the leading company in each industry. This is AOL Time Warner, a neither-fish-nor-fowl hybrid of copyright and consumer interests, a combination that has left the company pretty much speechless on a case that could determine the privacy rights of its more than 30 million subscribers, not to mention the rest of us. While other ISPs are running scared, AOL, the biggest ISP of all, is keeping mum.

In January, after months of legal back-and-forth in the Verizon-RIAA case, U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled in the recording industry's favor, ordering Verizon to hand over the Kazaa user's name and address. Internet service providers, privacy advocates, and people critical of the growing influence of copyright owners were devastated by the Bates opinion. The ISPs are worried that they'll be flooded with requests for their subscribers' information, and that they'll have no way to determine the accuracy of these claims.
"You could simply walk into a courthouse, sign a form, and send us a subpoena," says Les Seagraves, the chief privacy officer of EarthLink. "We would have to turn over the name and address of that user. And of course that could get abused -- and there's really nothing we could do about it. The volume of these things would increase, and we'd find ourselves in the subpoena-compliance business, not the Internet business."

Verizon plans to appeal the ruling, and dozens of ISPs have supported its position. But AOL Time Warner has said nothing about the case. The company's online unit has declined to explain what it thinks of the legality of the type of DMCA subpoenas the RIAA seeks, or whether, like other ISPs, it fears being inundated with requests for its users' private info.

Ordinarily, AOL's silence might not mean much. Giant corporations tend not to comment on ongoing litigation, and MSN, the huge ISP owned by Microsoft, has also refused to say anything. But AOL's silence is conspicuous given its unique position as a troubled sister-company to the world's largest media firm. Its silence may also have important practical effects. "They're the biggest ISP, and if they said, 'Wait a minute, we think there's a problem here,' that would be taken very seriously by the courts," says Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "I think there's no question that would be a tremendous voice."

But will that voice speak out -- or will it be muffled by the media interests that now appear to control AOL Time Warner's future? It's not really an exaggeration to suggest that the privacy of your actions on the Internet could depend on what this single company does next.
The RIAA analyst who logged in to Kazaa last July 15 discovered that the Verizon subscriber had 666 music files available for others to download, including songs by "Billie Holiday, the Beatles, the Who, Pete Seeger, James Taylor, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Barry White, Aerosmith, Janet Jackson, Madonna, U2, Jennifer Lopez, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, and countless others," the RIAA says.

The person was obviously a music lover and may have been one of the record industry's best customers. But the RIAA considered this person a significant threat to its business, guilty of "theft ... on a massive scale." To make matters worse, the crook was anonymous; the person's age, sex, phone number and address were unknown to everyone outside Verizon's billing department. All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94.

When the RIAA asked Verizon for the identity of the user at that IP address, Verizon declined to release it. The trade group filed suit against Verizon, citing the provisions of Section 512h of the DMCA.

Section 512h of the DMCA is just a bit more than 500 words in length and about as easy to decipher as an ancient hieroglyphic scroll. Legal experts are fond of saying that the DMCA was conceived as a grand bargain between ISPs and copyright holders -- the law freed the ISPs from liability for their users' copyright violations as long as the companies cooperated with media firms' anti-piracy efforts. Section 512h reflects the muddle of that grand bargain, and everyone seems to have a different idea of what the passage means.
The recording industry says that Section 512h allows copyright holders to obtain a subpoena ordering an ISP to identify a subscriber accused of infringing upon a copyright. To be granted such a subpoena, a media firm must draw up a list identifying the works in question, must provide "a statement of good faith" testifying that it believes infringement has taken place, and must swear "under penalty of perjury" that it wants the information only to protect its copyright. The copyright owner would present these documents to the clerk of the court, not to a judge; the clerk would check to see that the documents are in order and then issue the subpoena. Neither the clerk nor the ISP would initiate any investigation to determine the accuracy of the claims made by the copyright owner.

Since last July, the RIAA has served other ISPs besides Verizon with 512h subpoenas, and some of them, including EarthLink, have also rejected the requests. But according to Nicholas Graham, a spokesman for AOL, the RIAA has not recently sent such a subpoena to AOL -- a company whose member base is at least 10 times the size of Verizon's and probably includes at least one or two, if not 1 or 2 million, peer-to-peer file traders. Asked what AOL would do if the company received a 512h request for member information right now, Graham declined to answer, saying that it would require him to comment on a hypothetical situation closely related to an ongoing legal case.

Did the recording industry purposefully not serve AOL with a 512h subpoena because of its ties to content companies? The RIAA says no -- in fact, the group says, AOL has been served with such requests for subscriber information in the past, and it has complied. "We have sent AOL these subpoenas and they have responded," said Matthew Oppenheim, the RIAA's vice president of business and legal affairs. (AOL's Graham did not confirm or deny this charge.)

Determining exactly what AOL is really doing with RIAA subpoenas -- if it has actually been on the receiving end of them -- is critical, because other ISPs, including Verizon, read section 512h very differently from the RIAA. Verizon says that the law requires ISPs to turn over a subscriber's name and address only under one condition -- if the subscriber has stored copyright-infringing material on the ISP's computers. For example, if a Verizon subscriber saves an illegal copy of an 'N Sync song on a Web site hosted by Verizon, the company would have to tell the record labels how to contact that subscriber; but if the material is just on the user's computer, as it is for people who use peer-to-peer services, Verizon says it has no obligation to disclose any information at all.

"I was one of the 10 industry representatives who was there to draw up this law," said Sarah Deutsch, associate general counsel for Verizon. "There were five people from the telecom sector and five from the content sector -- and it was clearly our interpretation that the content would have to be on our network. We agreed to a process called 'notice and takedown' for material that was on the network." Deutsch says that the use of the word "takedown" in the DMCA is important, as it implies that the content in question must be on an ISP's system to trigger the law -- if the material is beyond the ISP's control, she argues, how can the company take it down?

The RIAA says Verizon's position is illogical. "There are so many ways it doesn't make sense," Oppenheim says. Why, he asks, would Congress have decided to protect online content in one location -- on the ISP's network -- and not in another? And how did Congress expect the copyright holder to determine where the content was being hosted?

The DMCA doesn't care where the content is being hosted, Oppenheim says. Whenever a copyright holder sees media of its own that appears to have been illegally copied, whether on the Web, on a peer-to-peer service, an e-mail message or some other digital form, the DMCA allows the content company to find out who did it. Oppenheim says that the law is straightforward, and he rejects the idea that the RIAA's case against Verizon is a "test" of any kind. Since the passage of the DMCA, the RIAA has obtained 96 such subpoenas, Oppenheim said, and Verizon was the first ISP to reject one. "Before that, nobody ever objected," he said, "and the only reason it's now a test case is because Verizon thought there was a question."

In documents filed in the case, the RIAA points out that Verizon may have only recently come to that position. On several occasions in 2000, the RIAA asked Verizon to take down infringing material from its network -- and nine times, the company said that the content in question was not on Verizon's network, but that the company would be happy to provide the RIAA with subscriber information if the RIAA obtained a subpoena under the DMCA's 512h.

"And that's not surprising," says Oppenheim, "because everybody knew 512h allowed that. So you have to ask: Why would Verizon suddenly change their view? And, well, I have my answers. They've got an enormous base of infringers. Their view is there would be an economic hit if they started to allow this."

Nobody has a larger number of subscribers than AOL, or would be likely to take a bigger hit if suddenly forced to crack down against every instance of file-trading that an AOL subscriber engages in. But, at the same time, no company has more media properties at risk from file-trading than AOL Time Warner.
Oppenheim points out that the only interpretation of the DMCA's Section 512h that counts, so far, is that of Judge Bates -- and Bates' decision is not even a close call. He sided fully with the recording industry. "The Court disagrees with Verizon's strained reading of the act, which disregards entirely the clear definitional language of subsection h," Bates wrote in his 37-page ruling. (PDF file here.) Verizon's position, Bates said, "makes little sense from a policy standpoint. Verizon has provided no sound reason why Congress would enable a copyright owner to obtain identifying information from a service provider storing the infringing material on its system, but would not enable a copyright owner to obtain identifying information from a service provider transmitting the material over its system ... It is unlikely, the Court concludes, that Congress would seek to protect copyright owners in only some of the settings addressed in the DMCA, but not in others."

Verizon says it will appeal the decision. The stakes are enormous. If you accept that Congress really meant to say what Bates and the RIAA say it meant -- that anyone who suspects a copyright violation can obtain the alleged infringer's identity rather easily and without judicial review -- then the DMCA would seem to be much more unreasonable, and much scarier, than even critics of copyright owners have previously said. According to ISPs, consumer groups, and legal experts, the practical effects of this ruling would be terrifying -- and AOL's silence on the issue despite these consequences "is deafening," says one person in the industry.

"The scope of copyright is infinite in the Internet era," says Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University and the nation's first (and last) chief counselor for privacy at the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration. "Every time you send an e-mail you could say it's copyrighted." The 512h subpoenas, he notes, are "automatic -- no judge is involved. So you will have all these automatic subpoenas where the underlying facts may never have been checked by any human being. You have bots that search for files," and the findings of those bots will simply be passed along to a court clerk, who will order up a subpoena.

These copyright-sleuthing bots -- software programs that scan the Internet for files that "seem" like illegal copies, a determination that can be made on as little evidence as a filename that appears fishy, like "MetallicaSong.mp3" -- are already in use today. They are run by copyright-enforcing firms hired by media companies; everyday, these firms bombard ISPs with requests to pull from their network material that appears to be illegally copied.
Documents Verizon presented in the case show that these bots can sometimes be wrong. For example, the company produced a letter sent to UUNet by MediaForce, a "DMCA enforcement" firm that represents Warner Bros. -- an AOL Time Warner company and a member of the RIAA. The letter demanded that the ISP take down a file that MediaForce said was an infringement of the "Harry Potter" series of books. You can see how the bot might have made that mistake -- the file, which was tiny, was called "harry potter book report.rtf."

"The ISPs get thousands of these things, and they get a not insignificant percent that are not just wrong but are spectacularly wrong," says Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "And if the Verizon decision under 512h is upheld, we'll start seeing the same thing for people's identities, and they're going to be wrong in the same percentage that they're wrong now." That's because a key problem with the DMCA, critics of the law say, is that it provides little incentive for copyright owners to make sure that they're providing the court with accurate claims. "They may as well make these things as broad as possible," Cohn says. "There's nothing in the system to make them do otherwise. It's just takedown, takedown, takedown."

Critics of the Bates ruling also worry about intentionally fraudulent copyright claims making it through the system. If you have an entire legal apparatus devoted to "expeditiously" divulging people's private information, there's a chance that the system will become a target of people with something much more sinister than copyright enforcement in mind. "We have seen copyright laws abused by people who have other agendas," Cohn says. "This is a method by which an angry ex-husband can locate an ex-wife, or a process by which stalkers can locate people."

The RIAA's Oppenheim rejects such horror stories. He notes that the DMCA requires people filing for 512h subpoenas to attest to their "good faith" intentions under "penalty of perjury" -- which he says is a strong standard and punishment. Moreover, the judge, Oppenheim says, found the DMCA 512h subpoena process more protective of consumer rights than the process Verizon suggested: that copyright companies file "John Doe" lawsuits against alleged infringers, a scenario that would allow a judge to decide the merits of the case before any personal data was revealed.

One attorney that the RIAA said would back up its view is Douglas Lichtman, a professor of intellectual property law at the University of Chicago Law School. "The cases we should be worried about [with 512h] is where the accusations are not true," Lichtman said. "A case where there's a false accusation, or even worse where there's someone who's using anonymity in an important way -- say where I have a site where I'm making political comments. So the core question is: Does the system as interpreted by [Judge Bates] protect the system enough from false accusations. Verizon says no, the music industry says yes, because the statement is a sworn statement.

"And I have to tell you, I've been torn," Lichtman said. "I've gone back and forth. And I think that the right answer is that a sworn statement under penalty of perjury provides a strong protection." But Lichtman also said that he felt "reasonable minds" could disagree about the consequences of the ruling.
Although AOL Time Warner has refused to say much about its position on this case, the company hasn't, really, been officially silent. Rather, it has held two diametrically opposite views that, taken together, signify a deeply split identity. On one side are many of the company's media subsidiaries -- its record labels and movie studios -- which are part of the RIAA. On the other side is the company's online division, AOL, which is part of the U.S. Internet Service Provider Association, an ISP trade group that filed a legal brief in support of Verizon, and therefore against the RIAA in this case. Through two trade groups, then, AOL has technically told the court that it's on both sides of this issue. Talk about a tough merger!

When asked any questions regarding the specifics of the RIAA-Verizon case, Graham, the AOL spokesperson, repeatedly declined to comment, explaining that the case was a "legal matter that did not affect AOL directly." But he said that the mystery over AOL's stance on this case didn't indicate anything about its privacy policy. "We have a strict privacy policy in place at AOL that prohibits us from providing personal information about our members, unless there are specific circumstances under which the information was requested," Graham said.

Those are cases in which the company is served with a criminal or a civil subpoena. In the case of a criminal subpoena, one obtained by law enforcement in the course of a criminal investigation, AOL will "absolutely" turn over a user's identity, Graham said. In the case of a civil subpoena, "there is careful legal scrutiny, and we have a right to review or contest it, which is what happens in many cases. We check to see whether the subpoena has any merit whatsoever, or whether the subpoena asks information that we do not have and do not keep." If a member's identity is requested through a civil subpoena, Graham said, AOL would first get in touch with the user and let the person know of "their right to contest it. And we'd give them a certain period of time in which they can answer us."

The process set by AOL to comply with ordinary civil subpoenas would seem to be protective of a user's identity; but the scheme wouldn't work with the sort of DMCA 512h subpoenas that AOL's media siblings are seeking. If AOL received a 512h subpoena, it would not have the opportunity to check whether such a request had any merit. And the subpoenas -- which Bates said were designed to be "expeditiously" processed -- would not give the company and users a few days to think over the request.
This will be made all the clearer if ISPs are served with hundreds or thousands of such subpoenas at one time, a scenario some people fear. Dave McClure, the president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, an ISP industry group that does not include AOL, says: "If an ISP receives 60 boxes containing 10,000 IP addresses for which the RIAA wants you to cut off their access and give up their information, the ISP has no way of knowing whether these people were guilty of infringement or not."

Does AOL recognize, or share, these fears? That's impossible to tell. If you ask people in the ISP industry what they believe AOL's position on this case to be, many say that they couldn't guess but that they suspect the company's silence so far means it has taken a back seat to Time Warner. Others in the industry will tell you of rumors, whispers -- unconfirmed, and denied by the company -- that AOL Time Warner has told lawmakers it's pleased with the Bates decision.

One person conjectured that the RIAA met with AOL before serving other ISPs with 512h subpoenas, but the RIAA's Oppenheim said that the story was absolutely false. "That's just one of those myths you hear," he said.

What if, deep in its corporate heart, AOL Time Warner really, truly, has no position on this case, if only for the reason that neither side presents a very good option?

If AOL Time Warner sides with Verizon -- and therefore its own online subscribers and their privacy rights -- it faces a clear cost: the wrath of its media divisions and of others in that business, companies who believe that file trading will be the death of them. And what benefit would it get from protecting consumers' privacy? Perhaps not a whole lot; the subscribers would likely be oblivious to the whole matter anyway. (The sort of people who care about how their ISP interprets obscure sections of the DMCA aren't likely to be on AOL in the first place.)

How would AOL TW do if it took the RIAA's side? If 512h subpoenas become a frequently used tool of media companies, and if RIAA applies them fairly across ISPs, AOL would probably face a hurricane of such requests. It might very well have to kick off many of its own users for the sin of file trading -- which would be terrible for its image, and help depress already stagnant subscriber growth rates.

Perhaps, in the end, silence is AOL's only rational option, at least until its internal politics are solved.

"AOL's problem is they're just a two-headed monster," Mark Cooper, of the Consumer Federation of America, likes to say.

The important question now is, which monster is bigger?

This gets modded up? (5, Insightful)

ALoverOfPeace (586114) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285463)

Salon is having major financial troubles. They make their money by having people view their ads when reading their content. There is no registration required to view their content. If you have a problem with viewing an ad as a requisite for accessing their content, why not try to find a print substitute of Salon's quality that costs money.

Re:for those who hate flash / on dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285474)

What? You see Flash animations, moving gif's and pop-ups on Salon?
HAHAHAHA, you must be using Internet Explorer..

Verizon? (0, Offtopic)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285240)

Can you hear me now?

Okay that probably sucks... my excuse is that I get high with the dell dude....

Great. (5, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285247)

Not only are all the tech jobs going overseas, but now the US is going to lose it's warez site superiority too.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285393)

Too late. Do a search for "warez" on Google. Nothing but German sites!

Salon Ads (0, Offtopic)

chill (34294) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285248)

Wow! And I thought Slashdot's ads were large!

ATTENTION RIAA! NO NEED TO CONTACT MY ISP (5, Funny)

Veovis (612685) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285255)

I just downloaded Metallica's "Enter Sandman" from the following P2P network:

Kazaa

My IP is 204.39.65.157, a proxy

My information is:

Home Address:
John Abshire
14387 SeeYouInCourt
Whatareyougonnadoaboutit, MI, 48hahaha

You may also contact me at my work address:
John Abshire
1 Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA USA 98052-8300

Just do it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285259)

...anonymous mail goatse them.

Yea, Right (5, Funny)

Veovis (612685) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285262)

Dialing..... Connecting... Loading... WELCOME! YOU GOT LAWSUIT!

Who writes the law? (5, Insightful)

migurski (545146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285266)

"I was one of the 10 industry representatives who was there to draw up this law," said Sarah Deutsch, associate general counsel for Verizon. "There were five people from the telecom sector and five from the content sector -- and it was clearly our interpretation that the content would have to be on our network."

Why are industry people there in the first place, to draw up the law? Are they balanced by ten representatives of the public?

Re:Who writes the law? (1)

goatasaur (604450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285309)

Why are industry people there in the first place, to draw up the law? That's easy. They needed consensual agreement to terms; otherwise they'd have to leverage their powers through the congressmen they bribe.

Re:Who writes the law? (1)

Hex4def6 (538820) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285334)

No kidding - its like the saying "democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding whats for dinner"
- in this case the lamb didn't get a say at all :)

COWard COWboy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285269)

aol sucks the big one waw! oh yea, what do you have with cows? "slow down COWboy!". anonymous COWard. i know this REALLY FUCKING GAY kid that is OBSESSED with cows...:-/

8, 12, what's three digits between friends? (5, Funny)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285275)

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94

Of course, it would have been 8 digits if it was written in Hex. maybe the author was just a hard-core nerd? And thought, digit = 4bits?

Re:8, 12, what's three digits between friends? (1)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285363)

$ perl -e 'printf "%x.%x.%x.%x\n", (split(/\./,"141.158.104.94"))'
8d.9e.68.5e
$

There ya go. Now it is 8 digits (but 4 numbers).

--sex [slashdot.org]

heyyyy (4, Funny)

The Other White Boy (626206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285280)

wait a minute ... people still use aol?? now that's what i call a news story!

666 (4, Funny)

rolux (99682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285292)

from the article:

The RIAA analyst who logged in to Kazaa last July 15 discovered that the Verizon subscriber had 666 music files available for others to download

and, imagine: he or she had even set the file permissions to 0666!!

All that the record industry had on the alleged thief was an eight-digit Internet protocol address, 141.158.104.94

so, lets see... 1+4+1=6... 1+5=6... 8 ("eight-digit internet protocol address") is the 6th digit... 104+94=66+66+66...

bring on the californian inquisition!

What if?... (1, Interesting)

dosh8er (608167) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285293)

What if AOL decided that it was going to take a stand against piracy... what if, the RIAA went after AOL along the same lines that they did Verizon. Wouldn't that be like me turning around and suing my mom? (AOL is part of Time Warner which is a record company in the RIAA five fingered hand of the future)

User vs IP address (5, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285305)

This will get interesting when the RIAA comes crashing into a dorm room that is NATted behind a proxy/firewall.

They have a warrant to search...

IP WW.XX.YY.ZZ, but THAT is the IP of the NAT proxy/firewall. Oops, no music THERE! No warrant for any OTHER IP, such as the PC which is 192.168.0.100...

User "Joe Schmoe", who, by the way, HAS no MP3s. THOSE are all stored on his friend's PC -- who isn't named in the warrant.

OR, "Joe Schmoe" doesn't OWN the PC, he only is paying for the service. The PCs actually belong to someone else -- who is not named in the warrant.

OR, the PC with the goods belongs to a minor, who just happened to be the purchaser of all the CDs that he ripped and shared. A minor who CAN'T ENTER INTO A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT such as a music licensing agreement...

OR... take your pick. The costs for the RIAA to start tracking down and legally pursuing individuals would be astronomical.

Good luck proving successful downloads of songs for copyright infringement. Not to mention proving the downloads were of the SONGS claimed, and not some other file with the same name. Even if the file "baby_one_more_time.mp3" exists on the subject's machine, and the RIAA downloaded it and tracked back to to the subject that is only ONE violation. There is no way they can legally prove other infringements -- maybe the person was sharing a copy of bible reading masquerading as Brittany Who's-Dumping-Me-Today Spears? Maybe the RIAA was the only one that got the real thing?

The sheer expense will deal with this issue.

Re:User vs IP address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285342)

Thank you for bringing a 3rd grader's understanding of criminal law into this.

Re:User vs IP address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285385)

That's the overstating the intelligence of most jurors!

*rimshot*

Thank you folks, I'll be trolling here all week!

--MBCook

Re:User vs IP address (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285367)

Well all know that this is just a fear tactic. The idea is that if they can make a few big cases and get a few big sentences on some of the major sharers, it will make the news. And your average person doesn't think P2P is that bad, but if they see people going to jain for 10-20 years for using P2P, they'll stop. Let's not forget that the major news outlets are owned by the same parrent companies that own MPAA and RIAA companies, so the stories will be

Man in Utah arrested for downloading music files, gets 20 years

not...

Man in Utah arrested for giving 50,000 copies of unreleased movies away to people on P2P and selling copies of CDs and making kiddie porn and...

That will be enough to scare most of the people away from P2P, thanks to half truths. They don't intend to actually go after everyone because that wouldn't be cost effective, as you've noticed.

Delegated enforcement (3, Insightful)

xixax (44677) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285509)


That will be enough to scare most of the people away from P2P, thanks to half truths. They don't intend to actually go after everyone because that wouldn't be cost effective, as you've noticed.


Ideally the *AA's would also want to make p2p expensive to condone/tolerate on their networks. Pestering ISPs with subpoenas is one avenue of doing this. Hopefully p2p customers bring in more revenue than it costs to service the RIAA.

Xix.

Re:User vs IP address (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285508)

They have a warrant to search...


IP WW.XX.YY.ZZ, but THAT is the IP of the NAT proxy/firewall. Oops, no music THERE! No warrant for any OTHER IP, such as the PC which is 192.168.0.100...

User "Joe Schmoe", who, by the way, HAS no MP3s. THOSE are all stored on his friend's PC -- who isn't named in the warrant.

OR, "Joe Schmoe" doesn't OWN the PC, he only is paying for the service. The PCs actually belong to someone else -- who is not named in the warrant.

OR, the PC with the goods belongs to a minor, who just happened to be the purchaser of all the CDs that he ripped and shared. A minor who CAN'T ENTER INTO A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT such as a music licensing agreement...

OR... take your pick.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but in cases of computer-related crime (or any crime for that matter), search warrants are not issued for IP addresses and are very rarely issued for individuals. Search warrants are issued for locations. It's extremely unusual for a warrant to be issued to search "The residence of Joe Schmoe" or some other indication of a name.

The warrant will usually specify something broad enough to make it useful, like "The premises at 123 Cherry Street" and then go on to detail the items covered under the search. This won't be "The computer which had IP address 1.2.3.4 on November 13th 2002," it will be more like "All computer systems, computer storage devices, disk drives and devices, compact disc drives and devices, Digital Video Disc drives and devices..."

Bottom line is that when they come busting into the dorm room, it doesn't matter who lives there, and it doesn't matter whose computers are inside. _All_ of the computers will be searched (or perhaps seized).

Conflicting interests (2)

gregmac (629064) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285310)

This is actually the other article that I was basing my comment about AOL on in a previous /. thread [slashdot.org] . I will just repost a bit of what I said in that thread, because it is relevant to this too:
The industry is in turmoil right now anyways. The RIAA is bringing lawsuits to everyone they can. Then theres the media companies:
  • Sony has their music division, which grosses something like $6 million/year. They also have Sony Electronics, which makes things like portable MP3 players, CD burners, etc. This division grosses $40 million/year.
  • AOL Time Warner is another one. Time Warner has an entertainment divison, selling CDs, etc. AOL is an internet service provider, and obviously one of the reasons people use internet is for downloading music.
Does Sony really have an interest in killing off half the business for another division that makes 8 times as much money? Does AOLTW want to back the RIAA and push their subscribers away (which they will do if you can't download music on AOL)?

Prejury Punishment from RIAA? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285317)

"The RIAA's Oppenheim rejects such horror stories. He notes that the DMCA requires people filing for 512h subpoenas to attest to their "good faith" intentions under "penalty of perjury" -- which he says is a strong standard and punishment."

IANAL, but it would appear that if i put "Harry Potter Book Report.rtf" or Metallica fan.mp3 or MatrixParody.avi on Kazaa, and the RIAA bot sends a letter to a court demanding my home address, name, etc, that they could get in trouble for violating the "good faith" intentions, which apparently carry quite severe punishments. That would be a good way to screw over the RIAA and MPAA. They would have violated that provision and my right to privacy.

encrypted networks (3, Insightful)

smd4985 (203677) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285336)

if the subpoena of IP addresses based on pure suspicion as supported by the DMCA holds, then media and/or ISPs will be powerless when p2p networks provide authenticated, encrypted services. freenet is already making strides in this area but i think it can be even better.

as much as they fight it, AOL/RIAA/whatever are only shooting themselves in the foot. embrace digital content as a viable content delivery mechanism or die....

stallman recommends aol-time warner (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285365)

Sex can be dangerous, especially when it involves toys. Wearing a three-foot, five-pound "double dong" around his neck, Todd Wonders, a representative from Dvdadultempire.com, advised students to start small when it comes to anal penetration.

"If you've never put anything in your ass before, you don't want to start with this," Wonders said, gesturing to the two gigantic members hanging from his shoulders.

"Sex Toys 101," sponsored by Rainbow Alliance as part of World Aids Week, sought to inform students of some of the dangers of sex toys. Wonders, along with co-worker Lauren Calloway, informed students about the different kinds of sex toys and how to use them safely.

"It's hard to get this kind of information out there because no one likes to talk about how they play with sex toys," Calloway said, waving a lengthy black dildo in the air. "Also, this stuff isn't regulated by the FDA, so it's really easy to buy a faulty product."

According to Calloway the most common type of dildo is basic rubber.

"This is the type of dildo your grandmother used," she said. "It's cheap and it's flexible."

Used without condoms, common rubber dildos can deteriorate rapidly. Calloway recommends using the new gelatinous dildos in their place. Made with PVC rubber, the jelly dildos come in a variety of colors and are relatively cheap.

According to Calloway the best kind of dildo to use is one made out of silicone.

"You can hand it down from generation to generation," she said. "And it's dishwasher safe."

Silicone tends to warm up to body temperature with use, Calloway said, plus it's very flexible and transmits vibrations well. According to Calloway, they are also ideal for anal penetration as they are flared out at the bottom and cannot get lost in the rectum.

Most importantly, Calloway said, it is especially dangerous to share sex toys. If sharing is necessary, a condom must be used. Silicone based toys can be sterilized with boiling water or can be put in the dishwasher.

"Wash the stuff and keep it clean," Wonders said. "Don't use it, toss it under your bed and then use it again later."

Wonders talked extensively about anal penetration. According to him, the most appropriate object for beginners to place in their anus is a finger -- preferably their own.

"If you're really inexperienced with anything anal, start small," Wonders said. "Also, you can never use enough lube, especially when it comes to putting things in your ass."

Wonders and Calloway passed around other sex toys including anal beads and "the cock ring." The two stressed the most important thing to look for when shopping for anal beads -- which are inserted, then pulled from the anus -- is a retrieval ring.

"You don't want to shove something in your ass that doesn't have a retrieval ring," Wonders said. "Otherwise, your ass will swallow it."

Wonders passed around a toy called "the gerbil," a wand-style vibrator with a gerbil's face on the end. Wonders said the toy is ideal for anal pleasure as the handle insured that the "gerbil" would not get lost in the rectum.

Lastly, the two discussed the different types of lubricants. According to Calloway there are two main types, water-based and silicon-based. The water-based lubes come in a variety of flavors, while the main appeal of the silicon-based is that they stay slippery in water.

Many students turned out for the event, most of them curious about the different kids of sex toys.

"I'm very interested in sex toys," said freshman Crystal Sickles. "I've never experienced any type of sex toy, so I wanted to come and try it out."

Above all, Calloway and Wonders stressed the importance of safe sex. Because this event was a part of World Aids Week, they urged students to know the sexual history of their partner and to always use some sort of protection -- even when it comes to sex toys.

Economic Hit (2, Insightful)

Poeir (637508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285382)

I'd like to put emphasis on this part of the article:
"And that's not surprising," says Oppenheim, "because everybody knew 512h allowed that. So you have to ask: Why would Verizon suddenly change their view? And, well, I have my answers. They've got an enormous base of infringers. Their view is there would be an economic hit if they started to allow this."

Isn't it widely held that the DMCA is intended to maintain revenue streams for the prosecutors in this case? So this case is essentially about whose revenue is more important: The RIAA components, or ISPs. Since I'm on Slashdot, you know which one I'd regard as more important.

Market darwinism in action (2, Interesting)

kien (571074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285384)

Content-makers and content-distributors vie for control until they collide (e.g. AOL-TW, Sony) at which time they engage in fierce legal battles which garner headlines.

Meanwhile, their customers carry on performing "criminal" actions.

You don't have to be Jeffrey Friedl to match this pattern.

--K.

Go-Go-Go (1)

Thurog (592871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285507)

Can't wait to see which corp gets a Darwin Award first.

And if only for that would require a major blunder on behalf of said corp.

(That sentence made more sense in my head... forgive my sleepy, european brain.)

End of the Internet (2, Insightful)

Mizery De Aria (554294) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285390)

If the RIAA wins, wouldn't it cause the downfall of the Internet? Well, I mean, if the RIAA goes after everyone who downloads their music (rather than buying it, or even along with buying it-download to find new and interesting music, then buy), what will they do to them? Have them jailed for their actions? Okay, so the USA becomes a jail country, where 50%+ of its population is held hostage by the RIAA.

Obtaining of media will never be the same! It's been brought up many times in the past; to have video on demand. Well get on with the implementations already. Perhaps do such with audio as well, although this will probably have to be free since it can be obtained freely anyway. Perhaps, in regards to audio, add some quirks and then charge for them. In my opinion, 75%+ of the population of the U.S. ages 12-30 download their music instead of buying. Although, there probably are some accurate statistics already (anyone know where) which would be interesting to see. We need to stop trying to censor our technological advances, but rather develop upon them while allowing them to flourish.

It sucks when your lap dog bites you like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285398)

Doesn't AOL-Time-Warner own a record company that funds RIAA?

Now anyone can be traced (1, Offtopic)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285406)



Thank you RIAA, now I can trace everyone on slashdot just by claiming they infringed on copyright, of course theres no proof required, i just have to claim you are a copyright infringer and I have your address to send my hitmen to.

Thank you RIAA for making my job as a serial killer/hitman much much easier and I will dedicate my next victim to you hilary rosen! I know you are reading this.

Idiots can't even do a reverse DNS lookup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285407)

Technology isn't just passing these guys by - I think the discovery of fire left them in the dust!

They found the devil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285416)

..anyone else think it's funny that the
user had exactly 666 music files? What
are the odds that they'd actually catch
the devil? ;)

Welcome! (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285417)


You've Got Warez!

One question about this article (1, Troll)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285420)

"Farhad Manjoo's cover story in Salon today, on AOL's refusal to take a stand on the RIAA's (so far) successful attempt to get subscriber information from Verizon."

So is this just another non-news story about nothing? I can understand posting a story when AOL does have a stance, but how is this more than just filler?

Aaaaaah, sweet, sweet abuse.... (1)

gnovos (447128) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285441)

This, my friends, is what makes like worth living... I have just made a set of 26 "songs" that I have labeled A through Z... Now, When I see a link that contains letters, I fully suspect that it is being linked to stolen copies of my songs... I especially suspect this on personals and dating sites. Name and address please!

lawsuit crazy (3, Informative)

Xerxes of Zealot (637155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285455)

Wait...if they're going to try to sue to get IP addys why not just go for the gusto: Sue Microsoft for allowing it's operating system to run Kazaa and other "piracy" software. Don't forget about harddrive makers, after all without them we wouldn't have enough space to store those MP3s for very long. Oh hell, why not just go after the makers of computers in general? Without those damn computers the software to pirate music is useless.
Here's a better idea, dont charge goddamn $20 for a CD with 2 good songs on it and maybe we'd be willing to buy them a bit more often. Dont get me wrong support the artist, go see a concert or something. But $20 for a half hour of music? Thats insane. I'd be willing to pay about $12 for a CD, you can't tell me that you can't make a profit on $12 a CD. Maybe if the record companies fired a few lawyers they would realize that the problem comes from within.

This could come in handy! (1)

poisoneleven (310634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285471)

Wow, I could really use this. Find the IP of someone who pisses me off for some reason or another. Go get a subpeona claiming they have downloaded something of mine that is copyrighted, tada, have name and address, can now open can of whoop ass.

RIAA taps AOL chatroom (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285476)


Welcome to: w4r3z_w4ld0

40L_h4x0r: g1bb0r m3 j00r ju4r3zzzz!
h4x0r_g0d: gn0, j00 g1bb0r m3 j0000r ju4r3zzz!!!
40L_h4x0r: J00 f4gg0rzzz!! G1BB0R M3 J002930mczxcfsdf lsd3 0 013
###CARRIER LOST
***40L_h4x0r has joined w4r3z-w4ld0
40L_h4x0r: where was I.. oh ya.. G1BBOT M3 J00R JU4R333ZZZZ F4GG000RRRRZZZZ!!!!

Now I see why the RIAA is so worried. Crime as organized as this is a threat to everything that keeps democracy flowing.

Cohn should know better (1)

Thurog (592871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285481)

(The sort of people who care about how their ISP interprets obscure sections of the DMCA aren't likely to be on AOL in the first place.)

Mod +5, Insightful

Other than that, I don't like the prospect of RIAA guys getting everyones address faster than the DEA can too much, either.

But saying that "This is a method by which an angry ex- husband can locate an ex-wife, or a process by which stalkers can locate people" - Ox feces. You'd have to have an IP address of your mark before that, and it's impossible to get that of a specific person without prior installation of spyware on the target comp.

Which would of course render the whole shebang superfluous.

Two Things: (5, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285489)

1. AOL doesn't want other agencies snooping into its network, because it'd make it easier to find out the other illegal stuff going on in there. Nice, wholesome kiddie pr0n, for example. The fewer eyes that aren't theirs, the better.

2. Yes, TW is in the music business. They don't have a good way, however, of preventing filesharing from happening. As others have poined out, the slow speeds within AOL itself are enough of a deterrant there -- where they ought to be concerned is in the TW broadband area.

So they're gonna cool their jets and see what happnes. Makes sense to me.

Novel solution to p2p woes. (3, Funny)

praksys (246544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285497)

What p2p software needs is a login procedure where a message is displayed that expressly forbids certain classes of individuals from using the network. The classes should be carefully defined so that no mention is made of protected groups (of course) and so that absolutely everyone is covered. Something like "You may not access this network unless your bodyweight is either more than 1000 pounds or less than 10 pounds" would do. Anyone who logs on would be violating the law by gaining unauthorized access to a network.

At this point the proposal probably doesn't seem very promising, but here is the advantage:

Presumably people who were planning to break the law by trading copyrighted material wouldn't be scared of by the warning, but on the other hand, if the RIAA came along with evidence that someone on this network had violated copyright then that alone would be evidence that the RIAA had violated the law, or encouraged someone else to do so.

Do filenames prove us guilty (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5285498)

This just pop'd in to my mind about the whole filesharing issue...
Ok all they have are a list of filenames.
if a person have say 1000 zero-byte or whatever-byte sized files with filenames of whateversong.mp3.
Does having just a list of filenames provide enough evidence to use DMCA as a legal stance?
Does anyone know with some fair amount of detail what evidence the RIAA provided in court to provide some proof other than the list of filenames?

Maybe the kid had 666 files of porn and he renamed them so his parents wouldn't find out...ha ha ha

---
tkt

Report (4, Funny)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5285521)

I say we report to the RIAA Officials that we've found Millions of Illegal MP3's on IP 127.0.0.1

See what happens.

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