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Judge Rules Kazaa Distributors Can't Sue Labels

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the tripping-on-the-burglar-alarm dept.

The Courts 32

evenprime writes "Sharman Networks tried to file an antitrust lawsuit against record labels and movie studios. They alleged that the companies forced piracy to occur by conspiring to keep authorized and copy-protected versions of their songs and movies off Kazaa. U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson just dismissed Sharman's claims."

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They (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6400701)

can sue labels. It's just that they can't sue with their premise.

+5 insightfull (0)

arcadum (528303) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401742)

that is all

Related story: webcasters threaten RIAA (3, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 11 years ago | (#6400776)

This article [washingtonpost.com] talks about a group of small webcasters is threating to sue the RIAA for antitrust violations. They feel the royalty agreement favors only big webcasters and is being used as a stick to drive out the smaller ones.

HOW much are they paying their lawyers? (3, Interesting)

rumpledstiltskin (528544) | more than 11 years ago | (#6400784)


Seriously, they ought to consider suing their council for legal malpractice. I can't believe they would waste time with such an absurd argument. It's a silly argument, and the only thing it does is serve to postpone the final showdown. If it is indeed a delaying action, well, it's not the best way to do it, as it only weakens Sharman's credibility. &nbspMaking silly arguments doesn't strengthen your position; it only makes you a laughingstock *cough*SCO*cough*

Sharman had best get its ass in gear if they don't want to end up being the next napster.

free,, err, cheap publicity (0, Troll)

jpu8086 (682572) | more than 11 years ago | (#6400845)

come on guy.

you *seriosly* think that Sharman Networkds is that stupid? No one is that dumb. They must have sued knowing that they have no chance in hell. They just want free publicity.

Like the stunt they pulled with the "most downloaded program" in the history of the Internet. Blech. I think they just want to be the de facto P2P network before they start charging users for their services, or go "legit."

Note to Sharman Networks: if you charge a penny for your services, you will fail. Leechers don't pay. They don't the artists and the middlemen, why would they pay you -- a filthy spyware-based app maker?

Re:HOW much are they paying their lawyers? (4, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6400985)

I think it's a good idea.

The people downloading music are of two types: the computer literate and the mostly ignorant masses.

Computer literate folks are likely to be following the cases and have some degree of knowledge about the latest DRM legislation. Most of you all know how the cases are going, you read them every day on slashdot.

Most of everyone doesn't. When the RIAA says: "Don't do this, it's against the law!", and it gets reported in the national media, people will stop downloading. It has nothing to do with whether or not they're right, they have media control, so they can change the opinion of the public. KaZaA et al. can only gain media attention by being sensationalist, and they generate press coverage this way.

Here's the crux of the "generate press coverage" arguement: most people tend to ignore the correction of information. Told a statistic, you will likely go on believing that statistic even if you are later alerted to the fact it's false. Since KaZaA can't generate "real" positive press coverage, it has to resort to this type of marketing.

No one will hear that the judge says KaZaA can't sue. Everyone will hear that KaZaA says it's doing the right thing by making music available. That's the point. It weakens their arguments to the small group of tech-elite, and widens their appeal to the masses.

Re:HOW much are they paying their lawyers? (1)

Vokbain (657712) | more than 11 years ago | (#6413205)

Most of everyone doesn't. When the RIAA says: "Don't do this, it's against the law!", and it gets reported in the national media, people will stop downloading.
Then how come music downloading has gone up since they threatened to start suing people?
All people, not just the computer literate, don't like being told what or what not to do.

In Other News... (5, Funny)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6400846)

Thieves sued banks for forcing robbery to occur by not giving away free money.

Re:In Other News... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402747)

"Thieves sued banks for forcing robbery to occur by not giving away free money. "

I know you're being funny, but the metaphor bugs me a bit. It doesn't bug me because of how you wrote it or what you're saying, but because it sort of resembles arguments that Jack Valenti has made on this topic. "Nobody would complain if gas stations used a stronger lock to protect their gas."

It'd be more like "A number of bank customers were arrested today because they took a crowbar to an ATM and duplicated cash that fell out of it. Though a few of them were in on it to have cash they didn't have a right to, a lot of them were just fed up with the bank for only allowing them to use debit cards to make purchases. The bank claimed that the revenue lost from debit fees was hurting the employees they were only paying minimum wage."

Sorry to dump your amusing post, Jack Valenti's debate style just winds me up. Nothing personal intended.

Why of course. (3, Funny)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6400917)

"They alleged that the [record labels and movie studios] forced piracy to occur by conspiring to keep authorized and copy-protected versions of their songs and movies off Kazaa." (emphasis added)

Of course. I am sure that without this so called "conspiracy" (quote and quote) Kazaa users would post "copy-protected" songs and movies, which no one would be able to copy whatsoever. Of course, that is exactly what would happen --- people would share unplayable media and everyone would be happy.

Re:Why of course. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401024)

Um... Speaking of intellect (your signature), what the FUCK does this mean?:

I am sure that without this so called "conspiracy" (quote and quote)

Uh... you don't need to write "quote and quote" or "quote/unquote" in text. That's what ACTUAL QUOTATION MARKS are for. I mean, you quoted a comment. ANd then you SAID quote and quote... wtf?!

Hey MensaBabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401131)

Does your impressive brain mean that you give impressive head, too?

Re:Hey MensaBabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401682)

Yes, HE does.

Re:Why of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401191)

SUYT!!!

Re:Why of course. (1)

c0d3fu (594060) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403237)

You misspelled superior. My personal observances on the subject of intelligence show that people who brandish their "smarts" are frequently all talk. Notice the correct usage of quotes.

As for software piracy and copy protection, protected media can be broken, as proven this classic event some time back: http://news.com.com/2100-1023-274721.html ... and events like it. This site demonstrates why there is such a problem with piracy and why it will continue into the future: http://www.toad.com/gnu/whatswrong.html This site shows how everyone is sitting on their hands about the whole issue because nothing can be done: http://archive.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/06 /13/020613hnclash.xml

Software piracy has been around strong for over twenty years; it will remain strong for years to come. Ask yourself - is Adobe Photoshop 7, running at $579.99 on Amazon, at priced at a reasonable cost for the consumer? Software producers such as Adobe are getting the vast majority of their income from development companies, not consumers. At costs like these, a $100 drop in the price of the software isn't going to translate into more consumer sales, but it will result in a huge loss of money in software sold to companies. They figure piracy into their pricing equations.

Piracy is nearly impossible to crack down further upon at its present limit. Stopping the mass-distribution on decentralized networks along is nearly impossible, and copy-protection is useless as long as there is information passing along the internet between groups of people interested in breaking it. Think about it; if the media is going to eventually be played, it will eventually generate music, video, etc. This video and sound will always be able to be captured.

McDonald's Frivolous Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401652)

Now that the lawyers can't file frivolous lawsuits against record labels, they can go back to important business like the time they sued McDonald's because some clutz poured hot coffee on her own crotch.

Any time lawyers are prevented from making frivolous lawsuits, it is a good thing.

You have no clue what you're talking about (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6401947)

That was not a frivolous law suit... http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

You have no clue: it was frivolous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402181)

No matter how much ambulance-chasers try to obscure it with weaseling and irrelvancies (such as in your web link), the fact remains that the woman spilled coffee on her own lap. The fault for the incident is hers and hers alone.

Re:You have no clue: it was frivolous (1)

Loosewire (628916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6402730)

Phew - some common sense, thanks AC ;-)

Re:McDonald's Frivolous Lawsuit (3, Informative)

rumpledstiltskin (528544) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401971)

I agree that frivolous lawsuits are a scourge, but that woman actually had some really severe damage. 2nd and 3rd degree burns shouldn't result from a simple coffee spill. that's the kind of thing that results from sustained pouring of boiling water over an affected area.

She should have thought of that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6402208)

" I agree that frivolous lawsuits are a scourge, but that woman actually had some really severe damage."

She should not have tried to balance a liquid labelled "hot" in such a precarious place. The incident resulted from her choice(s).

McDonald's did not spill hot coffee: she did. This case is a perfect example of why we need tort reform to get rid of similar lawsuits.

Re:She should have thought of that (2, Informative)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6403648)

However, the lawsuit wasn't about the spilling of the coffee, or the lack of warning. It was about the fact that MacDonalds knew their coffee was at such a temperature (greater than most other restaurants/fast-food/etc) that it would quickly burn a person were it to make contact with skin.

If the coffee had been knocked off or something similar it would be the same thing, it was known to be too hot.

I used to laugh at the coffee-lap incident too, until I got more of the facts.

People like coffee hot (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404140)

I don't buy thta because coffee drinkers like their coffee hot. The complain when it isn't.

I worked at McDonalds at the time, in reaction to the result I (At the time it was my personal job to make sure all tempatures were in spec, checking weekly, my boss said go with the lower limit on coffee so I did) turned our coffee tempature down to the lowest setting, (140 degrees f) and got complaints about the quality of the coffee after that. Eventially we turned to the upper end of the range acceptable (160-165 IIRC - what is was before), and the complaints stoped.

Personally I can't stand coffee, but most who like it like it hot, and they will complain if it isn't. Those who don't like it hot know enough to order ice with it, which several people did.

Re:People like coffee hot (1)

TC (WC) (459050) | more than 11 years ago | (#6404834)

That was exactly the reason the coffee was so hot, though... McDonalds had the temperatures set high because their coffee tasted like crap.

Setting the temperature high makes it harder to taste, because you slightly burn your tastebuds when you first start drinking it. Instead of going with the non-jackass method of getting better coffee, the temperature was set at a dangerous level.

Re:People like coffee hot (1)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6411310)

McDonalds had the temperatures set high because their coffee tasted like crap.

Not true - Prior to this suit, McDonalds had what many considered the best coffee you could get short of making it yourself or going to a "specialty" coffee shop such as Starbucks.

And, more relevantly, they had this reputation precisely because they served it so hot - Believe it or not, the "experts" on coffee brewing suggest using water at 202-205F. McDonalds only used 180-195F.


And, even ignoring the negligence issue on the part of McDonalds, none of these "they shouldn't have had it so hot" arguments do a damn thing to lessen the basic problem most people have with this case - It doesn't take a genius to figure out that very hot water can cause burns. Only a moron would place such hot liquids near their crotch anytime, nevermind in a vehicle where any number of events beyond one's control can cause that beverage to spill.

Re:People like coffee hot (1)

goldfndr (97724) | more than 11 years ago | (#6405200)

A simple Google search for "mcdonald's coffee burns" [google.com] reveals the range at the time of the lawsuit as a scalding 180-190, not a somewhat moderate 160-165. If you were maintaining 160-165 ("what is[sic] was before"), I daresay you were violating corporate policy.

Re:People like coffee hot (1)

radja (58949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6406228)

the ideal temperature for making coffee is 82-87 degrees, or 180-190F. Freshly made coffee is supposed to be that hot.

here's [franke.ch] more. not expecting coffee to be hot is simply stupidity.

hmm (0, Flamebait)

miruku (642921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6401942)

was the judge a republican by any chance...? ;)

Jokes aside... (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6411251)

This doesn't count as quite so laughable a claim as many have suggested.

Consider the following three situations:

1) You buy a new CD. You go to listen to it in your car, only to discover that it won't play, since most audio CD players actually use CD-ROM drives that have difficulty (by design of the CD, not the player) reading copy-protected (ie, "broken") audio CDs. Solution? Download the album, of which you legally own a copy, and burn it to a non-broken CD.

2) You buy a new CD. Since you listen to 99% of your music while sitting at your computer, you just keep it all as Ogg files on your HDD. This shiny new 12cm hunk of plastic won't play on your PC, nor can you rip it to ogg. So, you download off the net, for personal use only, an already-ripped-and-encoded version of the album you have a legal right to listen to.

3) You purchased a copy-protected CD a year ago, and while you usually make backups of all your CDs, for obvious reasons you could not do so in this case. Your dog eats that CD. Not wanting (or legally needing) to purchase the same CD again, you download a copy of the CD off the net.


All COMPLETELY LEGAL reasons to "pirate" music off a service such as Kazaa. And, they all reflect the exact argument made in this case - That, if not for the annoying copy protection that renders a nice new CD nothing more than a round hunk of plastic and foil so far as your PC cares, such people would not have needed to download that music in the first place.

Does this describe the most common reasons to "pirate" music? That depends. A hit-of-the-week by the latest boy-or-girl pop group, probably not. For anything else, I don't consider one of the above (or some other similar and legal scenario) as all that unlikely.

Re:Jokes aside... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6412023)

ITs not to far off from what I do. But the honst truth is we are the bad guy.

We realize that yes these are legaly right reasons to download music, but what the RIAA would rather you have done was buy another CD, or listen to it in a non cd-rom player.

They dont like the fact that we, are too smart for our own good so they are going to argue that said laws dont apply because 9 time out of 10 the judge WONT realize that they are twisting the law, he will go with who makes the better argument and even if he's siding against the law he will allow it cause he's ignorant to that law thanks to technology progressing faster than people can understand.

I may be also just looking into this too much, but thats my honest what I think is happening

Re:Jokes aside... (1)

tegan001 (689161) | more than 11 years ago | (#6430480)

Technicalitys aside, p2p is here to stay. The RIAA is trying very hard to stop computer users from "pirating music". They believe (the RIAA) that people downloading music are taking from the money that is rightfully their's. My question is that, why music cost's so much in the first place. CD's are much cheaper to press then a cassete is to make, even at the conception of CD's. So why do CD's cost more. The record company's have mnay excuses, none valid though. All the legal talk going around about copyright had not been settled therefore I am not going to base anything on this. Though I will say that I have no problem downloading music even if it is wrong as it was wrong for the record companys to charge me so much for so many years!

Kazaa needs to tell its users they are right (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 11 years ago | (#6412460)


They have a distribution channel of 100M sites. They should beam down all sorts of stuff explaining why what the users are doing is right.

Possible arguments:

a) Making a copy of a song does not deprive the artist of anything. They have all of their assets and all of their goods and all of their money. You don't take anything from the music company. The music companies are just saying that they have a right to take your money whenever you talk about an artist.

b) Since music companies want you to pay whenever you talk about an artist, then perhaps artists should pay everyone that they talk about. If an artist can refer to Republicans, for example, should they not be required to pay every Republican a portion of the proceeds for the referral? Should not every gun owner be compensated when a song protests people with guns?

c) Kazaa is just a form of electronic discussion. It's no different than a song in and of itself. If artists do not damage people by discussing them, then how can Kazaa damage artists?

d) This is just about big companies being greedy. It's like the oil company saying they have the right to buy up fuel efficient engine designs so they can make more money.

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