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

Thank you!

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

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

RIAA Seeks Estimated $97.8 Billion From MTU Student

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the can-you-take-a-check dept.

The Almighty Buck 827

theodp writes "The Detroit Free Press does the math on the damages sought by the RIAA from the Michigan Technological University student. The total? About $97.8 trillion--yes, trillion with a T--or enough money to buy every CD sold in America last year over again for the next 120,000 years, according to RIAA statistics." Update: 04/05 21:58 GMT by M : The Free Press can do the math, but not very well: the numbers provided show the RIAA is seeking some $97 billion dollars, not trillion. I'm sure the student is *much* happier. Headline updated.

cancel ×


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

97 Trillion? (5, Funny)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669604)

Well that explains the lawyers with frickin' lasers mounted on their frickin' heads...

for that kinda money (3, Funny) (562495) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669607)

i want 2 copies of each CD!!! :)

One million dollars... (3, Funny)

djocyko (214429) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669611)

Oh, I just had to say it..

Throw me a frick'n bone, people.

97 trillion.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669612)

the number of times ive tried to get fp and missed

One Billion-Kagillion Dollars (4, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669613)

But Dr. Evil, that kind of money doesn't exist in 2003!!!

a little much? (4, Insightful)

kmcg83 (634003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669614)

U.S. gdp is 10.2 trillion...

Sure, if you say so (5, Insightful)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669616)

Right, like the RIAA really lost $97.8 trillion worth of potential income from STUDENTS.

Re:Sure, if you say so (5, Insightful)

0x00000dcc (614432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669658)

Right, like the RIAA really lost $97.8 trillion worth of potential income from STUDENTS.

They're about to loose the same weight in credibility.

Re:Sure, if you say so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669687)

Right, like the RIAA really lost $97.8 trillion worth of potential income from STUDENTS.

This is from one student.

Wow... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669618)

That could buy a really large Beowulf Cluster.

Re:Wow... (1)

gearheadsmp (569823) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669701)

Along with a heaping mound of nuclear reactors to power all them boxen. :/

Well.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669619)

Seems like a fair amount....


Cough cough, Hahahah etc...

Only in United Bluff.

Seriously America, snap out of it !!

$97.8 trillion??????!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669626)

My God, I'm sure Thommas Jefferson is spinning in his grave... Are such a fucking greedy bastards like RIAA those who our fathers died for? Today it's a shame to live in this country... Very sad...

Can any students comment? (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669628)

Are there any students here from the affected colleges? What has this done to the volume of swapping on your networks? Are people eager to jump in and replace them?

Re:Can any students comment? (2, Interesting)

FrayLo (146128) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669721)

While I don't attend any of the affected colleges, my college (Gonzaga University) at one point did have a search engine (developed by a student, put on his personal web site) that searched everyone's PCs who had enabled file/folder sharing on the network (Windows).

People found out about it via word of mouth, eventually the network people found out, first forced him to make it "Opt-In" (it searched everyone's PC whether you wanted in the database or not), and then decided to shut it down entirely because of the availability of copyrighted files on the search engine.

At first, when they told him to make it opt-in, they also made him put up a warning that stated to not make available copyrighted files...yeah, that really did the trick.

So, in conclusion, we don't have a search engine anymore, but I was lucky enough to have bookmarked a couple people's IP addresses so I can access their PC's still :).

Oh, and BTW, our network admins have pretty much blocked all P2P/file sharing programs network ports, it's pretty much impossible to download anything that's not over the WWW/FTP.

RPI... (1)

Patik (584959) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669755)

At RPI [] , it doesn't seem two different. The two Phynd sites are down, one waiting to update us [] soon, and the other claims to be down for "technical difficulties [] ".

However, one network searching site run by an RPI club [] is still alive and well.

Interestingly enough, network sharing has been way down this year. During my freshman year I could 'phynd' anything I wanted, but now in my junior year there only seems to be a handleful of popular divx movies and most mainstream mp3 albums. Certainly not the selection that Kazaa offers.

...or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669629)

"or enough money to buy every CD sold in America last year over again for the next 120,000 years"

...or enough money to buy one enormous, city sized CD that contains music that's so incredibly pleasing to the ear that it displaces all thought and willngness to live... to the extent that the listener dies whilst 'rocking out' to it. The giant sized CD has only been produced and played once. To defeat Godzilla.

Yeah, but... (1, Interesting)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669630)

Asking for such a ridiculous sum of money is just begging for the courts not to take it seriously.

we'll sweet (1)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669631)

I'll just stop buying music all together for the next twenty years and convince 10 other people to do exactly the same. Even better I'll just convince ten people to only buy direct from small labels. This way the big record companies can shove those trillions up their ass.

But wait ... (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669706)

... isn't this exactly what we want the RIAA to do? Go after the big violators rather than make life difficult for the individual users by imposing access control?

Oh Yeah (1)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669632)

Where do I register?
I want some money too.

Re:Oh Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669672)

Well, maybe it _could_ all boil down to two positions:

1) Those doing the illegal trading just stop and the RIAA ends their rampage.

2) Those really pissed off about RIAA tactics just stop buying music period, regardless of whether or not they are involved with piracy.

Well, it's fairly obvious 1) isn't going to happen. But what about 2) ????

uhhh... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669633)


In other news... (5, Funny)

Penguuu (263703) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669636)

"RIAA starts funding US military actions in countries with highest piracy rates"... you can buy many missiles with $97.8 trillion.

Re:In other news... (1)

gearheadsmp (569823) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669694)

Or even worse, they could buy many blimps and bombard 3rd world countries with Britney Spears and N'Sync CD's.

$ 97 TRILLION ?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669637)

... at least give em a break on the Hanson tracks, we all knew they were a fad

As if they're gonna collect on that... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669639)

Apparently no one has realized that 97 trillion dollars is far more than the record label has ever, or will ever, make off of any album ever. It's not like he took the albums and made people smoke them and get lung cancer! if the RIAA gets the money, then what? Do they sign every artist in the world?

It only hurts RIAA (1)

0x00000dcc (614432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669640)

Why does it only hurt them back? Credibility. Consumers are not stupid. These type of scare tactics undermine credibility in the eyes of those not involved (like everyday consumers).

This seems a bit much (1)

Sudilos (663913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669643)

This seems a bit much to account for the "lost revenue" the music industry has been "suffering" from file sharing.

Presumably this is a scare tactic to try and disencourage college students from sharing across their networks. If they actually expect to receive all of this money they are more insane than I orginally thought

Re:This seems a bit much (2, Funny)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669734)

Ya think?

Hmmm, should we seek some reasonable amount to compensate for our loss? Something like $4,000 or so? That ought to cover it.

Umm, no... we need to send a message. We need to make sure that it gets in the papers. Let's sue them for (wait for it...) a _million_ dollars!

What?! Are you nuts? You'll never collect, these kids don't have that kind of money and no judge in the universe is going to award that kind of judgement! You might as well sue them for a hundred-trillion dollars.

Oh, I see... Then we'll do that! That way they'll know we are _serious_!!!


High Prices (3, Insightful)

ShishCoBob (516335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669645)

And we thought the prices of CDs were high before. If this is any indication of where things are going I doubt I'll even be able to afford a single cd.

Here's a little more math (4, Insightful)

rritterson (588983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669646)

Assuming a person lives for exactly 76 years.... With that sum of money a person would have to spend $40.78 every second for his/her entire life, every day, and including during the night. That isn't taking into account the massive interest it would generate. Isn't that amount of money larger that the GNP of the US for a several year period. Honestly though, how do they expect to prove that each and every song did $150,000 worth of damage. If each album has 12 tracks and retails for $15, they'd have to prove that each album he offered caused 120,000 less copies of that album to be sold. Please!

Re:Here's a little more math (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669716)

I believe they are doing this more for the attention and not to actually have him pay that.

Re:Here's a little more math (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669726)

Isn't that amount of money larger that the GNP of the US for a several year period.

Yes. The number is more than the GDP of the entire world for a two-year period.

Re:Here's a little more math (1)

Auriam (85155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669732)

Exactly. Here's where the real thrust of the law comes into play - it's meant to serve as a deterrent, not to be impartially, universally enforced. And so, like capital punishment, it merely serves to ruin a few, while scaring the many into compliance out of fear. Is this how we want our government to work, by the fiat of corporations?.. then again, perhaps that's what they want, to eventually criminalize the entire populace, so they can control us through selective enforcement..

nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669746)

40.48 * 60 * 60 * 24 * 365 = 97.7 BILLION.

So you'd have to spend $40,000 every second of your life, not $40.

One question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669647)

Where are those trillions which that "thief" has stolen?

let me count the CD's here (0)

PsYcOBoRg (6613) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669648)

nevermind, Slashdot does not have the time.

looks like RIAA is loosing the lawsuit battle, so they wanna make an example outa this pooorr collage student.

welp, i have a great one for RIAA.. how bout bankrupsy?? :P

Does the RIAA want to be hated? (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669650)

So, honestly, how much longer can the RIAA keep doing thid before *everyone* turns against them?

Do they think that people will even treat this as being realistic (even if you don't think about how big the sum is we're still talking about students here)

Remember (3, Funny)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669651)

John Ashcroft says there is no such thing as excessive punishment! (unless if it's drunk driving and snorting coke and you're in Texas and... oh, never mind)

Re:Remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669695)

or murder []

They did the math? (4, Insightful)

silvaran (214334) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669653)

$150,000 * 652,000
= $97,800,000,000
= $97,800,000 thousand
= $97,800 million
= $97.8 billion

I think they're off by, ... ohh, about a factor of a thousand?

Re:They did the math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669690)

Nope, they're right.

Americans count a trillion as 1000 million.

I don't like it either.

Fucking moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669708)

No we don't. 1000 million is a billion here in US. Dunno where the hell you were or who you asked.

Re:They did the math? (1)

shobadobs (264600) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669724)

They do not. A trillion is a million times a million.

1,000 = thousand
1,000,000 = million
1,000,000,000 = billion
1,000,000,000,000 = trillion.

Re:They did the math? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669748)

You got trillion and billion mixed up. The Brittish 'billion' is what American's consider a 'trillion'.

Re:They did the math? (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669692)

Six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

Re:They did the math? (5, Funny)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669707)

I think they're off by, ... ohh, about a factor of a thousand?

I'm sure the students are breathing a sigh of relief that it's only $97.8 billion...

Re:They did the math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669710)

please mod this up. the poster seems to be the only numerate person involved in this discussion.

Re:They did the math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669729)

Yup, you're right. Kinda embarassing for Mrs. Newman..

Re:They did the math? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669731)

They should not have used that MS calc.. That will teach them.

Re:They did the math? (1)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669741)

No kidding Silvaran...some crappy math going on here. It's funny that no one else noticed it. Of course, 97.8 billion is MUCH more reasonable for a single person to pay!

Re:They did the math? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669750)

I was gonna smartass this, but I can't think of any non-lame ways. ("Metric, or English, billions?" was the best I could do. Aren't you glad I didn't?)

/us is silly for buying the title "arithmetic" verbatim. /editors are silly for doing it too, but what can you expect? And, of course, the Depressing Freep Ress [] is outstandingly silly for muffing the math, but whatever.

Nonetheless, billions or trillions... that's still a lot of money. My other comment about the legal credibility of such damage claims still stands pretty well.

Flight Risk (5, Funny)

spoonist (32012) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669654)

Dude, I'm thinkin' that if I were staring down the barrel of $97.8 TRILLION dollar lawsuit, I'd be tempted to find a country without extradition treaties. Preferably a friendly, inexpensive country with a tropical climate and lots of nude beaches.

What's the statute of limitations for copyright violations?

Brought to you by:

The United States of America(R) (A Wholely Owned Subsidiary of A Consortium of Multinational Corporations)

"Stealing is stealing" (4, Interesting)

FrayLo (146128) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669656)

It really bugs me when the RIAA calls copyright violation, "Stealing." This is not stealing music. If I were to steal music, I would walk into my local Circuit City, grab some CDs, and run out the door. They lose their merchandise, I now have their CDs.

Downloading or having mp3s, as I'm sure every person who reads /. knows, is NOT stealing.

At the same time, while I understand the need for deterrent from downloading copyrighted mp3s, I still don't understand why the RIAA seems to be resisting the method of distributing music digitally. Are they planning on going back to cassette tapes? We've got this incredible method of getting into almost everyone's home to distribute music and reduce their costs, and all they want to do is sue people who are allegedly taking their business away.

Not that this is a justification of my downloading mp3s, but I wouldn't have bought probably 3/4 of the mp3s I have because I simply want one song off of the CD. If the record companies would just come up with a service that charged 25-50 cents a song, ...I'm such a music lover that I'd be downloading probably 50 songs a month, probably more. That's $25 that the record industry would get out of my pocket that they would have never seen before.

Re:"Stealing is stealing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669719)

Good point. But what is it then? A copyright violation? An intellectual property violation? What's the difference between the two?

Re:"Stealing is stealing" (1)

FrayLo (146128) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669737)

Well, yeah, I suppose, the people are violating copyright. It may seem like a thin line between the two, but the two are still completely different things.

I got my car broken into this summer, got a nice pair of sunglasses stolen, my car stereo, and a subwoofer/amplifier. That was stealing. They broke into my personal property, violated it, blah blah, I was pissed.

If I download an mp3, the artist still has the master copy of their song. No one, "in a sense", loses any personal property. Just my opinion...there's a distinct difference between the two...

Re:"Stealing is stealing" (1)

Art Tatum (6890) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669757)

Yeah, but then they'd have to change their business model. God knows, we don't want to put them to any trouble. Their heads might explode.

How did they come up with that? (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669662)

Are they saying that the Music Industry lost more money in the past 3 years than the cumulative net worth of the middle easts oil deposits!!! (and probably the worlds!)

Meanwhile... (1)

fault0 (514452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669663)

File Sharing/p2p is becoming more and more novel.

Bittorrent [] , for example, can integrate seemlessly through the web. This kind of file sharing would be very hard to stop--- to the point where the RIAA would have to crack down on search engines.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669727)

They're already cracking down on search engines. That's what this whole issue is about.

97.8 Trillion big deal (1)

JSmooth (325583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669664)

Well sure, it seems like a lot of money but at the rate concert and sporting event prices are rising this should be just enough to enjoy Paul's tour and maybe have a beer or two...

Heck yeah! You have to ask for that much... (4, Funny)

VitrosChemistryAnaly (616952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669665)

How else are they going to buy more laws? I mean, come on, buying laws isn't cheap.

That kind of money could buy a lot of laws.


At this point im afraid to buy cds. (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669666)

What happens if i listen to them in a way that isnt approved by the riaa even accidentaly? No thanks, the penalty is too high.

Re:At this point im afraid to buy cds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669758)

What happens if i listen to them in a way that isnt approved by the riaa even accidentaly? No thanks, the penalty is too high.
I'm sorry, but not purchasing CDs is ``stealing''. You see, since you would have liked to listen to the music, you have in a sense listened to the music and by not purchasing the CD, you are stealing from the RIAA and the artists who created the music that you would've liked to have listened to. I think that a tril'll cover it.

Hate to say it... (2)

Unruly (249984) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669667)

... but they were violating copyright, and the RIAA has every right to go after them for whatever damages they see fit.

Though, whether this holds up in court (90+ trillion??) is another matter.

Property Value = 97.8 Trillion. (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669668)

Quick! Call the Tax Assessor!

Free CDs! (1)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669670)

You know, like most people I have a bunch of CDs that I never listen to and have been too lazy to take to the used record store for a buck or two apiece.

Maybe it's time to just offer them to whoever wants them, for free. Just to show he RIAA that not only do I never want to buy another album (not hard, since I listen to adult music that gets no radio airplay so I can never learn about new artists anyway, except via word of mouth) - but now I consider the value of most of my collection essentially worthless. But maybe others will find it useful.

I could organize a swap, but it feels more important to arrange informal swaps. Some people are now leaving books in public places, with notes asking people to register where they found the book (and what they thought of it) on a website, before passing it on.

Maybe the same thing can be done with CDs. I just print out some labels, stick them on the jewel case, then leave them on the local pedestrian mall, at the local trailheads, etc.

What's the RIAA going to do, sue me for $150,000 for leaving a CD I purchased a decade ago on a park bench? Sue somebody else for picking up and enjoying that music, and leaving their own music for others?

What a shame (1)

JJahn (657100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669671)

Its things like this that make me very unproud to be an American citizen. I can't believe the RIAA is not considered an illegal monopoly. It just goes to show how effective bribes are.

Stealing is Stealing (4, Interesting)

RedCard (302122) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669673)

From the Article: "Stealing is stealing," Oppenheim said. "Those are major, significant networks. This was a student who created a piracy bazaar."

Yes, stealing is stealing.

Stealing is especially stealing when your corporate interests have bought and paid for laws, which are now being used to essentially ruin the lives of (ie: steal the futures of)students who never would have even heard your product had it not been for file-sharing.

I don't agree with most arguments for file-sharing. It is common sense that the artists and lavels should make money for the songs, and there should quickly set up some usable system - a good one does not currently exist. When it does, I and many, many, many people like me will eagerly use it.

But $98 TRILLION??? [choke] That's just stupidly extortionate.

IANAL... (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669679)

But I find it hard to believe that RIAA's legal weasels actually think goofy-ass numbers like this are credible. Never mind "in the public eye", but before the legal community. If the case proceeds before a jury, can anyone imagine the plaintiff stating the requested damages with a straight face?

It's like a cosmic (and late) April Fools' joke.

Again, IANAL, but I would have guessed that RIAA would have gone after multiple deep pockets in a "joint and several liability" mode. At least then, the numbers would be outrageously high by only about 3 orders of magnitude.

And just when I thought the pigopolists had lost their ability to amaze and disgust...

Increased profits (2, Insightful)

nidarion (654639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669680)

The majority of piracy is done by those who either can't afford to buy 20 cds a month or those who find it easier to pirate than to run to the store (Which can be a lot of effort for some of us) and even then, we often don't find what we are looking for.

If anything, The RIAA is doing better because of the so called illegal fringe of people who are fans of all the artists that generate even more popularity and exposure above and beyond paying customers.

If they could adapt to this new situation, they might even get the fringe to become legit, but don't slam them, they're some of the most dogged fans. =)


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669682)

This massive file sharing is causing higher pings in UT2003. If one sucker gets caught and scares hundreds of others off the fad, then I should be able to lower the lag.

The math is wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669685)

The article says the student was sharing 652,000 songs, and the RIAA wants $150,000 per song. That's 652,000 * 150,000 = 97.8 billion, not trillion.

Nope, not allowed (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669688)

You can't sue someone for more than the GDP of the planet.

Indexing systems (2, Insightful)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669689)

Can somebody explain to me why an indexing system, which simply provides a catalog of what's on a network, is "a sophisticated network designed to enable widespread music thievery"? What if nobody was sharing music? I'm concerned, because if this precedent is set, then potentially any program whatsoever that can be used illegally will be illegal. I don't want that to happen.

98.7 Trillion? Cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669691)

That's how Bush has figured out how he's going to pay for the war AND include tax cuts. He's going to get his cut out of that... Hehehehehehehehe...

RIAA Credibility? (1)

peterprior (319967) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669693)

Surely if the RIAA insist on going after students and / or other people, they should seek reasonable amounts of damages that, if they win, could actually BE PAID.

Seeking this stupidly high amounts (so high they are hard to imagine in "real money") simply makes them lose even more credibility and makes the lawsuits laughable.

I can help this kid with legal exspenses. (0)

PsYcOBoRg (6613) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669696)

(opens pocket, pulls out lent, paperclips, bubble gum, 45 cents, and a cool indian nickle.)

ummm... how much more do i need to raise for Bail???

Stealing (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669697)

"Stealing is
stealing," Oppenheim said. "Those are major, significant networks. This was a student who created a piracy bazaar."
Let's see what the dictionary says about it:

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:

Theft \Theft\, n. [OE. thefte, AS. [thorn]i['e]f[eth]e,
[thorn][=y]f[eth]e, [thorn]e['o]f[eth]e. See {Thief}.]
1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious
taking and removing of personal property, with an intent
to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the
owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious;
every part of the property stolen must be removed,
however slightly, from its former position
; and it must
be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of
the thief. See {Larceny}, and the Note under {Robbery}.

Copying mp3's isn't theft, it's a copyright violation, something completely different.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:

Piracy \Pi"ra*cy\, n.; pl. {Piracies}. [Cf. LL. piratia, Gr. ?.
See {Pirate}.]
1. The act or crime of a pirate.

2. (Common Law) Robbery on the high seas; the taking of
property from others on the open sea by open violence;
without lawful authority, and with intent to steal; -- a
crime answering to robbery on land.

A pirate is a guy with a parrot on his shoulder who says "arrr.. matey" all the time.

Re:Stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669723)

A pirate is a guy with a parrot on his shoulder who says "arrr.. matey" all the time
I forgot about the eye patch, he needs an eyepatch too, eyepatches are essential to being a pirate ;)

Re:Stealing (1)

Auriam (85155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669745)

Exactly!.. and grog.. I think grog has something to do with it.. and 'pieces of eight,' whatever they are. Oh, well, I'd better *cough*ARR*cough* get back to work..

Eighth Amendment Problem? (3, Informative)

Sunlighter (177996) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669698)

The Eighth Amendment says: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Are we talking about a claim of actual damages? If so, the RIAA is claiming that it and its members would have made up about 99% of the U.S. economy had this one person not pirated that music. Or are we talking about statuatory damages? In that case I think the eighth amendment would come into play -- that part about excessive fines in particular.

Boy, that's a lot of money.... (3, Funny)

geewiz45 (310903) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669699)

It makes me sad to think about someone facing that kind of lawsuit. So, to feel better, I'm firing up my Kazaa client and downloading some happy songs. I suggest you all do the same, just not on any school campus.

The legal fees... (4, Insightful)

NOT-2-QUICK (114909) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669702)

Sure...97.8 Trillion might sound like quite a bit upfront...

However, after all of the lawyers take their cut, the appropriate RIAA officials remove their share and court costs are assessed, I calculate the net gain for the actual artists to be somewhere in the neighborhood of about $20 bucks and smack on the ass! :-)

- n2q

Great quote from the article (4, Insightful)

Osiris Ani (230116) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669704)

I think all university officials should be singing this tune:
"If you agree that you're liable in any way, then you have no alternative to monitor the networks. You're putting yourself in a position that you can't possibly fulfill. Even if that were technically possible with the staff the universities have, monitoring the flow of information on college networks is contrary to everything schools of higher education are about. We're providing this access as part of an environment for learning and teaching. It's used by a growing, learning community."
- Virginia Rezmierski, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Information and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Laughable (1)

ickoonite (639305) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669709)

The whole thing is ridiculous. Obscene and ridiculous.
Surely the courts can only laugh at this case. That is if there is any justice in this crazy world.
May the RIAA and all who subscribe to its ways burn forever in hell.

do they take IOU's? (1)

EZmagz (538905) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669711)

The damages sought by the suits are astronomical: $150,000 per song, the maximum allowed by law.

Seriously, this is the most mind-blowing and re-fucking-tarded thing I've heard in quite a while. What's the kid supposed to do if he's found guilty? Mow the RIAA's lawns for the next 10,000 years in order to pay back the money the RIAA's "lost"? We're not talking about a broken window from a stray baseball here...we're talking about a lump sum that's WAY more than just about every country's national defecit on earth!

I have a feeling that this will get dismissed (hopefully). These thick-headed RIAA turds can't get it through their greedy minds that chances are these students wouldn't have bought the CD's anyways. Why? Because they most likely are like every other CD out on the market these days...they SUCK! People aren't willing to drop $20 on a terrible CD these days so they can get the one song they like. That's a fact.

Serves as an 'example' (1)

Auriam (85155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669717)

As I'm sure many others have already stated.. the point isn't to make $100 trillion off of students; they're probably not crazy enough to think they can get more than a pittance from each. The point is to crucify these four scapegoats on the cross of copyright, and put all the rest of the 'pirates' on notice that they're next. It's a selective enforcement of a law, intended to serve as an example - and as such, is patently unfair to the few unlucky enough to be picked for martyrdom.

Wow (1)

The Phantom Buffalo (613874) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669718)

I just thought they were greedy, now I've come to realize they're insane. This is pointless. We are not even talking about real money at this point. Yes, there is an amount on it, but 97.8 trillion dollars? This is like the speed of light, or the size of the universe. It is just way too big a number.

Ninety Seven Point Eight Trillian Dollars! MWAHAHA (1)

Shazow (263582) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669720)

Does anyone else get the feeling that the RIAA is being run by Dr. Evil?

- shazow

Who didn't see this comming? (2, Interesting)

Klaruz (734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669725)

"If you agree that you're liable in any way, then you have no alternative to monitor the networks," she said. "You're putting yourself in a position that you can't possibly fulfill."

This goes with what many people said years ago, networks, and possibly search engines should be common carriers. They shouldn't care anything about the content, they should just locate it and move it around. If the content happens to be 'illegal', go after the individual.

This student, and the uni's network staff didn't pirate 10 gazillion songs, other people did. Go after them. The brain dead napster lawsuit didn't help matters.

I'm waiting for the RIAA to sue google for letting people find mp3s, and AOL for running a broadband network that facilitates the sharing of illegal files.


Just enforcing the law (1)

senducemhere (563189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669728)

From the article '"Stealing is stealing," Oppenheim said. "Those are major, significant networks. This was a student who created a piracy bazaar."'

Meanwhile, in Feildsboro, NJ, the Mayor is comparing yellow ribbons to nazi flags - He is also enforcing the law.....

Where did common sense go? Do either the RIAA or the mayor of Feildsboro know when to stop, or how to choose the right battle? No...

This is just ridiculous! (1)

Cyb3r (224792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669733)

How can they expect to be taken seriously when they make such STUPID claims!!!

One more reason... (1)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669735)

It is tactics like this that make musicians, like myself, tend to look to the small indie lables or even cosign our own cds out to local music shops. It really bothers me the way the RIAA cotrols the artistic sense of a musiician. I will gladly put my own music on various P2P nets just to get it heard. I have downloaded many songs then turned around and bought that artist's cd because I liked what I heard. It seems the RIAA is more concerned with the almighty dollar that the beautiful sound of music.

Who is organizing a boycott of these fucktards? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669740)

All four students are CS majors.

The systems in question don't appear to be much different than Archie or other fundamental tools for information discovery in a networked environment.

This is intended to send a message to all those with the capability and inclination to build and deploy networked information systems - and that message is that you'd better not think it's acceptable to build open indexing systems like Archie in post-DMCA 2003.

There's only one way to stop these thugs in their tracks, and that's to make it more expensive for them to file these sorts of lawsuits than it would be for them not to. Money is ALL these desperate idiots understand.

The way to make it expensive, of course, is to organize a campaign to decrease the level of CD sales in this country far below today's already low levels.

Such a campaign would require some organization, creativity and footwork. We'd need a simple-to-remember logo or slogan that could go on flyers, bumper stickers and T-shirts. We'd need some effective - and hopefully amusing - propaganda to distribute. We'd need people to go out to record stores, nightclubs and other places where music lovers hang out.

Does anyone know of any groups that would be good candidates for organizing such a campaign?

I'm angry enough right now that I could imagine standing outside the door to a Tower handing out flyers asking people not to spend their money inside.


OK.. Here's where we go after Iraq (1)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669744)

We definately need to take out the RIAA assholes. They rival Saddam with their dictatorship.

How much money is there in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5669749)

100 T$ sounds like pretty much all of it!

Obviously (1)

DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669751)

Obviously they don't expect the poor kids to pay that kind of money. So, the only tactic really there is to try to scare people who have mp3's. But come on, with that much money, who can take this thing seriously? This is going to be more of a joke I tell my friends than a warning.

Better alternatives (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#5669753)

Ok, so I believe that the article is off in their calculations and it should be billion with a "B". At any rate, it seems that given the silly amount of money they are going after, the "accused" would simply laugh that sort of claim off. Yes, stealing is stealing. However, this sort of suit does nothing to help the RIAA's case. They would be far more effective by bringing more realistic suits in terms of dollar amounts that would actually perhaps frighten folks and keep them from posting media to the net for download.

This whole music suit thing brings up another interesting exchange I had last week. One of the campus network guys was asking if I had any music on my workstation. I said yes, about thirty gigs or so, to which he replied, I had to take it off as the RIAA was "querying" systems on the network to determine if they contained music files. I replied as every song on there was purchased, paid for, and personally ripped from CD via iTunes, and I had every CD for which there was music for, I was not going to remove the music. Additionally, while my workstation was on the network, it was not open, the songs were not available to the outside world and anyone wanting those songs would have to hack into my system. So, no. I would not remove them. Even if the RIAA does somehow "query" my system, (Is this somehow possible if the system is "secure"?) they would be barking up the wrong tree.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

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

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

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

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