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Aussie Students Face Jail Over Music Sharing Site

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the that's-reasonable-right dept.

The Internet 448

An anonymous reader writes "SMH this morning is reporting that three uni students may be jailed for their creation of a music sharing web site. Ok, piracy is not a good thing, but jail is just a tad extreme, don't you think? I hope ARIA (Australian version of RIAA) are pleased with themselves. What burns me about this article is the quote: 'Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."

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448 comments

fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441954)

fp for lunix fagz.

Overloards (-1, Offtopic)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441956)

I, for one, welcome out Copyright overloards

Re:Overloards (0, Offtopic)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441981)

I apologise for my horrible spelling, it's 2 AM

Re:Overloards (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441995)

You should apologize for the entirety of your post, not just the spelling.

Re:Overloards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441996)

I liked it though.. read it "Well, COME OUT..."

Re:Overloards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442007)

I wish I had mod points. I would mod down your original washed up joke, as well as your pointless correction of your original washed up joke. Oh well, I'm sure somebody'll get around to it.

Re:Overloards (2, Funny)

jerde (23294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442024)

I apologise for my horrible spelling, it's 2 AM

2 AM? For most true geeks, that's like mid-afternoon.

- Peter

Re:Overloards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442039)

i'm actually having my lunch now.

Re:Overloards (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442165)

It's 1:55 am and I just finished supper.

Four or five hours of work and it will be time for a nap.

Early post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441960)

Cock smokers!

PARIS HILTON tape..get it here (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441961)

Looking for the Paris Hilton porno tape? Look no further than Freenet.

CHK@qGlSiCK3HPMx38fCuSPlo81ws2AMAwI,LRhfAE-DMDcs nr QhkXEiBw/parissexmovie_256k.wmv

(Remove the spaces that Ashdotslay inserted into the key)

By the way, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that the power of Freenet is its anonymity. As the Hilton family threatens to sue anyone offering the video, one method of distribution stands impenetrable. Freenet.

real tape fscktart (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442139)

wget http://paris.psychz.net/paris.wmv
$ ls -la paris.wmv
-rw-r--r-- 1 john other 4927910 Nov 09 13:49 paris.wmv

nice non-sequitur (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441963)

*not only* was the website camouflaged...*but also* the student was interested in so-called "open source" software.

Book 'em, Danno.

FFS...we're getting our asses kicked here.

Re:nice non-sequitur (0, Troll)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442134)

Lets get RMS to sue the bastards for defaming his precious open-source license system by aligning it with piracy.

Alternately, we could just start arresting all Aussies as animal abuse sex-offenders cause... well... you know.

Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441964)

He is a theif. He deserves to be in jail.

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

harriet nyborg (656409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441991)

Ng ran the Napster-style website from his bedroom at his family's home in Blacktown, and while none of the students made any money out of the site, the music industry alleges the pirated music cost it at least $60 million.

Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing".

sort of speaks for itself.

a consideration in sentencing is the deterrent factor on others. jail doesn't seem unreasonable for a profligate offender who wontonly disregards the law.

the part about open source is entirely irrelevant - and it throw's dirt on lawful members of the community. give him an extra 6 mo. for that.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442081)

He is a theif. He deserves to be in jail.

Hello? - He's charged with breach of copyright, not theft. One is a civil offence, the other a criminal offence. They are not the same.

Get your facts straight, coward. Thank you.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442143)

He is a theif. He deserves to be in jail.

I don't know about the state of Australia's penal system, but here in Texas going to jail is synonymous with being beaten, tortured and raped. I find it difficult to believe that anyone, outside of the most uncontrollably violent criminals, deserves to visit these places.

How someone could sleep at night after putting three young men in such a place over COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT is a mystery to me.

this just gets worse and worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441966)

when will the situation improve?

Hmmm.... (4, Informative)

tehdely (690619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441967)

What's interesting is that while Paul Roberts says charles Ng was "well aware he was acting illegally", opinion on the internet seems to be different. I heard a little bit about the story before, and refreshing my mind with the help of Google rendered this choice post from a message board:


A similar fate has been met by a couple of university students/amatuer hip-hop deejays in Australia.

They ran mp3wmaland.net, which was shut down about half a year ago, and they were prosecuted about three months ago and were jailed. The whole story was rather grim ... deejays subpoened at clubs for playing illegal bootlegs, police raids into bedrooms and seizing everything, complete incomprehensibility of the fact they have broken the law and face jail, by the three responsible.


On a final note, I don't think anything really needs to be said about how his paper on "open source software licensing" is somehow evidence of culpability. A hefty roll of the eyes goes out to the genius who thought that up.

Acting illegally is a matter of opinion... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441982)

For example:

-----

Looking for the Paris Hilton porno tape? Look no further than Freenet.

CHK@qGlSiCK3HPMx38fCuSPlo81ws2AMAwI,LRhfAE-DMDcs nr QhkXEiBw/parissexmovie_256k.wmv

(Remove the spaces that Ashdotslay inserted into the key)

By the way, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that the power of Freenet is its anonymity. As the Hilton family threatens to sue anyone offering the video, one method of distribution stands impenetrable. Freenet.

-----

That was just a potentially illegal act. But it was worth it, to see Paris. Naked.

PARIS HILTON, PLEASE MARRY ME. I WILL STOP POSTING YOUR PR0NO IF YOU DO!

because open source guys are smart (5, Informative)

bromba (538300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442012)

On a final note, I don't think anything really needs to be said about how his paper on "open source software licensing" is somehow evidence of culpability.
Just a wild guess, but maybe Roberts just assumed that someone writing an essay about open source licensing must be knowledgeable enough to be aware that sharing copyrighted material without proper permission is a copyrigth infrigement.
This just shows that sometimes it is better to be underestimated and considered dumber than in reality ;)

(MOD PARENT UP) was Re:because open source guys ar (1)

tehdely (690619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442020)

That's a damn good point and I wish I had considered it. :\

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442029)

I don't think it was meant as anything negative about OSS licensing. But, to write a paper on OSS licensing, they would need to know about copyright and licensing, and thus cannot claim that they didn't know that what they did was illegal.

I.e, he was well aware that he was acting illegally.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Interesting)

Uatec (709860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442062)

He may have been technically aware that what he was doing was illegal. But it is still a matter of opinion.

If you friend says to you "could you lend me that Cd you just bought". would you say "no, its against the law, you criminal"? I dont think he would be your friend if you did say that often.

The point i am trying to make is that, he may not have seen it as a breach of the law. Music pirates are often seen as people who copy CDs and music and sell them on at a profit.

"These guys didnt make a penny (or so i believe), so they cannot be criminals."

Re:Hmmm.... (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442034)

On a final note, I don't think anything really needs to be said about how his paper on "open source software licensing" is somehow evidence of culpability. A hefty roll of the eyes goes out to the genius who thought that up.

I disagree. I'm not saying it's *correct* or anything, but the ideas behind free software are incomprehensible to non-programmers, and are therefore easily lumped together with piracy.

Remember, if you can't understand it, it's bad, or otherwise wrong, somehow. And the idea that you should have rights to software for *free* sounds an awful lot like piracy to many average Joes.

Re:Hmmm.... (4, Insightful)

DarkZero (516460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442135)

I disagree. I'm not saying it's *correct* or anything, but the ideas behind free software are incomprehensible to non-programmers, and are therefore easily lumped together with piracy.

Remember, if you can't understand it, it's bad, or otherwise wrong, somehow. And the idea that you should have rights to software for *free* sounds an awful lot like piracy to many average Joes.


You're missing the point. That quote wasn't about open source software, it was about the student's knowledge of copyright. This person was a student in an "information technology law course" and wrote a paper on "open source software licensing". A person like this claiming to know nothing about the fact that posting copyrighted works on the internet is illegal is like an accounting student claiming that he didn't know he had to file his taxes every year. If someone knows the advanced portions of copyright law, then they obviously know the basics, as well. That was what the counsel meant.

Not genius, a small white envelope (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442114)

Scene inside a smokey pub:

Grey hat: "So, you're writing up on the Ng case?"

Writer, peering into empty glass, "Yeah, guess so. Another beer?"

Grey hat: "It's on me. Look, I need you to throw in some comments about open source. My bosses say if I can get the words 'piracy' and 'open source software license' into the same web article, I get a thousand. I'll split it 50-50 with you"

Writer: "Ng did mention he studied software law. I'm sure that includes open source licenses. Sounds OK."

The grey hat is Michael Speck, who has provided this delicious quote to explain why the forces of law and order have to immediately jail every DJ and MP3 swapper in town:

"Music piracy helps finance organised crime and international terrorism."

Now it all makes sense, huh? Those underground DJs [smh.com.au] were actually working for Bin Laden in between mixing Mary J. Blige.

Re:Hmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442169)

"complete incomprehensibility of the fact they have broken the law and face jail, by the three responsible."

Not trying to troll here, and maybe this sentence doesn't apply down under.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Ng?? (1, Funny)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441970)

Somebody should buy that kid a vowel.

Re:Ng?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442030)

which vowel would you suggest?

i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442074)

Screw it (3, Interesting)

phrogeeb (621296) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441974)

For sure. Open source software licensing, music sharing for free - fricking communists! They should all be locked up.

Anyone ever seen "Born Yesterday"? Great line from that movie that applies here:

"I want EVERYONE to be smart. A world full of
ignorance is too dangerous to live in."

I hate stupid people.

Re:Screw it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442129)

You can't expect much from Asian kids (Especially from Taiwan/China/Hong Kong ) these days!

They expect everything should be downloadable and FREE. If you live in the area , figures how they set their P2P and BitTorrent ?
1 Kb upload and block IP people with Pirated Firewall because they used up too much Upload Bandwidth!

They are just too naive ....

Missing Alphabet (1)

Omega037 (712939) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441980)

Do they know any other letters to use than those three? By the way, everyone notice that even across the world, the recording industry is a four letter word:)

Re:Missing Alphabet (1)

dago (25724) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442032)

Not exactly, they learn FP (as in False Positive) from their recent blackmail actions.

As a result, the 'international' (mostly european based) version of the RIAA if IFPI.

But you are right for the 4 letters limitation.

Obvious (5, Interesting)

DarkZero (516460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441983)

What burns me about this article is the quote: 'Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."

Obviously anyone that chooses to write an essay for an information technology law course on "open source software licensing" knows at least SOMETHING about copyright. Such as, for instance, the fact that there is a such a thing as copyright law and that freely trading copyrighted material might violate it.

That quote had nothing to do with insulting your precious open source sensitivities. It was about an information technology law student obviously knowing when he's breaking copyright laws on a computer.

Re:Obvious (1)

RogueProtoKol (577894) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442014)

I support OSS etc..., and I understood this point, damn zealots make everyone of us look blind :)

Mod Parent Up, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442021)

I jumped to the same conclusion as the submitter when I read the paper this morning, but quickly realised the point that was being made.

Re:Obvious (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442043)


Obviously anyone that chooses to write an essay for an information technology law course on "open source software licensing" knows at least SOMETHING about copyright. Such as, for instance, the fact that there is a such a thing as copyright law and that freely trading copyrighted material might violate it.

That quote had nothing to do with insulting your precious open source sensitivities. It was about an information technology law student obviously knowing when he's breaking copyright laws on a computer.


I'm not so sure. Now, I'm not sure of what the lawyer was trying to get at there, but I think that if he was just trying to suggest the accused had experience with copyright law, it would have been sufficient to say he'd taken a course in law. If he wanted to be unnecessarily specific, he might have said 'information technology law'.

Instead he said that he "had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on 'open source software licensing.'".

The mention of open-source licences seems too specific and too explicit to be happenstance. As I said, I'm not sure what angle the lawyer is taking here, but my guess is that this is the usual "open source advocates are pirates" angle that we've heard so often before.

Re:Obvious (1)

cthugha (185672) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442087)

As I said, I'm not sure what angle the lawyer is taking here, but my guess is that this is the usual "open source advocates are pirates" angle that we've heard so often before.

More likely the prosecution is taking the angle that believers in Open Source believe that "information should be free" and that therefore breaching the copyright laws is not immoral or wrong. I'm not saying the premise it's based on is correct, but it does go to showing that the offender is likely to re-offend, which is the primary consideration when determining whether to impose a custodial sentence.

Re:Obvious (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442122)

it would have been sufficient to say he'd taken a course in law. If he wanted to be unnecessarily specific, he might have said 'information technology law'...The mention of open-source licences seems too specific and too explicit to be happenstance.
I think it was a PR move. Open source has become quite a buzzword and this guy is from the Aussie equivalent of the RIAA. The situation is ripe for him to throw in a few loaded words ofr a good sound bite. Open source is also an often mis-understood phrase. He's probably hoping to use that to his advantage. "What? You don't know what open source is? Well let me tell you what these people are like..."

Re:Obvious (2, Insightful)

NightSpots (682462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442084)

Speaking of obvious, I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for people who are just now getting in trouble.

The RIAA, et. al, have been increasing their anti-privacy measures as time goes on, with broader and broader sweeps and harsher penalties every time they announce a new round. Why anyone, four years after everyone knew it was illegal, still trades music online and expects not to get in trouble is silly.

Why anyone feels sorry for someone who knowingly and willingly breaks the law so that they can save themselves from buying a $15 CD (face it, 95% of the people downloading are doing it for selfish reasons) is beyond me.

Re:Obvious (2, Funny)

chgros (690878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442141)

their anti-privacy measures
Is that on purpose? Freudian slip?

Re:Obvious (1)

natet (158905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442097)

I beg to differ. If they wanted to indicate that he knew he was breaking the law, all they had to say was that he took an Information Technology Law course. That in and of itself is enough to show that he wasn't ignorant of the laws regarding copyright. I'm not sure I agree with the earlier post that indicated that they were trying to equate Open Source with piracy. If that was their aim, Free Software sounds a lot more sinister...

Re:Obvious (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442174)

I'm not sure I agree with the earlier post that indicated that they were trying to equate Open Source with piracy. If that was their aim, Free Software sounds a lot more sinister...

Sure, but it's much less of an industry buzzword. Anyone who's used a computer would, quite naturally, think they knew what the term "free software" meant when hearing it for the first time: software with zero cost. (Of course there's also the free-libre definition, but you won't bother to look that up if you already think you know what 'free software' means.) Because of this vagueness, it's no good as a buzzword: it's too easily confused with closed-source freeware, free downloads like IE, etc.

The term "open-source" is different. When you hear it for the first time, you won't know what it means: you might guess, but couldn't be sure of it. Thus the RIAA can kindly tell you their idea of what it means.

A word to the wise (1)

perf_monkey (719198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442111)

"That quote had nothing to do with insulting your precious open source sensitivities."

Reconsider the use of your rhetoric if you are trying to make a legal point and not just stir up sh!t.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442151)

> Obviously anyone that chooses to write an essay for an information technology *law course* on "open source software *licensing*" knows at least SOMETHING about copyright. Such as, for instance, the fact that there is a such a thing as copyright law and that freely trading copyrighted material might violate it.

Just to let you know, you can have licensing without software. The fact is, licensing for software was original done for the fact that whether or not programs could be copyrighted was in question. So, the issue of licensing in itself doesn't infer anything. The law course does, so that's a different issue. At the same time, if you RTA, you would note that they Ng wasn't distributing music. He was allowing a forum that allows trading, but then so does basically any place.

The fact is, trading mp3s isn't in itself illegal, as there are legally distributable mp3s available. Kazaa has been deemed to be legal in the US, and the US is as stringent if not more stringent than Australia when it comes to copyright (look at mod chips in Australia). So, I'm not fully sure why their website was pulled particularly. My point, though, is that it's "non-obvious" in some sense that Ng and friends should be responsible for policing the activities of others. I always that that was the work of..police. Or maybe Nq and friends did something directly wrong? I'm not sure, since this article is vague on the whole issue. If their site was just like Napster, I really don't see how they did anything wrong.

PS: The author of this comment does not condone the pirating of music, software, etc. The author believes instead that most of the DMCA should be repeled and copyright shortened to a more reasonable limit. Beyond that, the author prefers more open licenses when possible, and the belief that the best means of sanctioning companies is voting with money. If no one buys their products or those who force the buying of a product, companies will feel our sanctioning.

Evil terrorist (2, Funny)

azzy (86427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441986)

> Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy.

If he knew anything at all about open source, and especially if he advocated it, that makes him an evil terrorist.

Re:Evil terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442046)

Oh shut up, Bill.

Go back to writing on www.microsoft.com, where people expect to find you rants.

Ah, Australia... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441987)

Ah, Australia - maybe the only Western nation left on Earth that still makes the US look good by comparison.

Re:Ah, Australia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442100)

Not by much though :P

About time! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7441989)

Look, for every other crime, you do time in jail. Why should copyright infringement be any different? This is nothing other than the willful violation of copyright laws. A service with no other reasonable purpose than breaking the law should be considered violation of the law, just as someone who had set up an on-line drug trading site would be in violation of drug laws even if they personally weren't selling the crack themselves.

Piracy advocates used to say that there is no alternative to piracy, that there is nowhere else to get music online. Thats not true now; with the success of anti-piracy enforcement, there is a flourishing legal online music marketplace, and everyone should realize that if this new business horizon is to be truly successful, the illegal alternative must be suppressed.

Re:About time! (2, Insightful)

viware (680138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442006)

Copyright violations a crime?
I don't know about you, but that makes me wonder about our laws. As a fineable offence it would make more sense, but not a jailable one.

Re:About time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442093)

In other news, an Australian woman yesterday walked free from court after killing a cyclist in a car crash while sending an SMS text message on her mobile.

A suspended sentence has handed down.

Re:About time! (1)

rrowv (582861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442047)

You're right, it is a crime. But just because its a crime doesn't mean it deserves jail time. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? That's a crime. If we put every person in jail that speeded, we wouldn't have many citizens left. Setting up a piracy site is definately illegal and anyone that sets one up should be shut down. And maybe a fine could be set, but jail time? Don't you find that just a tad excessive for such a minor crime?

Re:About time! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442080)

Look, for every other crime, you do time in jail.
Damn straight!

Last time I got pulled over for speeding, I spent 11 months and 29 days in jail. Man, did that suck.

Then a cop saw me walking down Market street a bit inebriated. Instead of telling me to get my ass home, he locked me in the clink for a month.

You won't believe what happened when I got caught jaywalking. Don't EVEN get me started. 12 years in the county lockup for missing the crosswalk by 6 feet! Christ!

Yeah, that's right, every other crime results in a jail sentence. So why shouldn't this one...

You my friend are the problem in this country. You think that jail is valid punishment, or a valid deterrent. Well listen up, it's neither. People go to jail for selling drugs, get out, and sell drugs again. Do you understand? Jail and prison sentences have been PROVEN to do absolutely NOTHING in terms of physical and psychological remediation of inmates.

Want an example? When I was 16 I egged a guy's house and got caught. I went to juvy for 3 days. When I got out, I knew more about how to a) break into a house, b) steal a car, c) kill someone undetectably, than I knew when I went in. Jail - at any age - is a CRIMINAL EDUCATION PROGRAM.

JAIL IS NOT THE ANSWER FOR NONVIOLENT CRIMINALS.

Jail should be the "last resort" - the place we keep violent criminals (rapists, murderers, etc) to prevent them from committing similar acts upon society. Jail is NOT the proper prescription for jaywalkers, drug addicts, or COPYRIGHT VIOLATORS.

Re:About time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442138)

Yeah sure you did hardarse. You learned how to "kill someone undetectably" from abos in the lockup. Time to get off the petrol, Lenny.

Mixed Feelings (2, Offtopic)

Beg4Mercy (32808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7441997)

I do not think they should be going to jail. A fine at worst. I myself pirate software, music, and movies.

However sometimes I find myself feeling a little sympathy for the RIAA. I'm sure many Slashdot readers program or otherwise produce software for a living. Do you ever worry that widespread piracy hurts your salary and even your employability? When I talk to average joes who are getting a new computer I ask what software it comes with or what software they're getting and the usual answer is that they're getting someone they know to burn off all the software they need. Is this healthy for the many professional software developers? (Which I suspect a sizeable number of you are)

Re:Mixed Feelings (1)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442079)

" I do not think they should be going to jail. A fine at worst. I myself pirate software, music, and movies."

I think everybody has pirated something sometime. Whether it's ripping MP3 or making a casette (remember those?) or even making a copy down at kinkos. Technically all those things are illegal to some degree. Up to now the ip holders have not been willing to crack down but now they are.

It remains to be seen how effective suing and jailing your customers will be in the end.

BTW are the laws in Australia that different? In the US copyright violations are a civil offences.

"When I talk to average joes who are getting a new computer I ask what software it comes with or what software they're getting and the usual answer is that they're getting someone they know to burn off all the software they need. Is this healthy for the many professional software developers? (Which I suspect a sizeable number of you are)"

No it's not. Pirating software is bad for everybody. If people were forced to pay for software they would be more willing to explore cheaper or OSS alternatives. Open office looks great if the alternative is to shell out $300.00. The fact is though that people simply steal MS office.

Re:Mixed Feelings (1)

Beg4Mercy (32808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442117)

You make a fascinating point: stopping software piracy is in the best interest of the Open Source community. I had never considered it before, but OpenOffice does look great when the alternative is to shell out $300. :) But this just changes my original question. Now I warn the reader, this is something we seem to avoid, but:

Is open source software in the best interest of professional programmers? I would guess most open source projects are hobbies or academic projects. But many of you write commercial software for a living. If open source "wins" (everyone starts using it) could that kill the job market for programmers?

Don't get me wrong -- I love open source and getting stuff for free -- the only downside is what I mentioned above. And it's pretty serious.

On a side note, how many of you are getting paid to write open source software?

Piracy for evaluation (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442125)

Depends very much on how it's used.

As a developer (film fx software), I'd not only overlook, but probably encourage low-income students to use pirated versions of my app("third party demo versions", I call them). It's not like it's costing us a sale, and any exposure to our software will encourage them to ask for it when working at a real studio.

OTOH, I frown upon studios using cracks professionally, naturally enough. If you're using the results of my work to generate an income, you should contribute to my income. If you're just playing around, be my guest.

Of course, my employer may have different views, but that's my opinion.

Re:Piracy for evaluation (1)

Beg4Mercy (32808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442170)

I agree with pretty much everything you said. I also think it's great if someone downloads a warez version and then goes out and buys the real thing (or even finds it's crap and does not buy the real thing). I also think students should get big discounts on EVERYTHING. For Christ's sake, they're paying to go to school they are certainly not earning an income while they are there.

I am very interested in seeing some statistics on how much piracy goes on in the corporate world. Because I really have no idea it it's as widespread as it is amongst home users. There is no excuse for these companies not to pay for software that they are using to generate a profit.

Here's an idea (4, Funny)

coolmacdude (640605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442003)

We need a new music distribution movement.

Open Source Music Licensing

1. Someone posts a blank [ insert fav music editor of choice ] file

2. everyone adds one note and then reposts it

3. After thousands of people have contributed, release it on CD and P2P.

4. Profi... I mean, uh, watch as it dominates the current 800 lb. gorillas of the music arena. No one could match the raw emotion, tonal diversity, and freedom from coherence such a piece would possess.
Except maybe John Cage [bbc.co.uk] .

MAGNATUNE.COM (2, Informative)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442016)

magnatune.com [magnatune.com]

Re:MAGNATUNE.COM (2, Funny)

shione (666388) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442095)

I like the part on their site which says:

"No major label connections.

We are not evil. "

XDD

Jail over an indexing service? Again? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442005)

Reminds me of what USA citizens might face if they were to (gasp) post a link to the Paris Hilton movie (Freenet: CHK@qGlSiCK3HPMx38fCuSPlo81ws2AMAwI,LRhfAE-DMDcsnr QhkXEiBw/parissexmovie_256k.wmv).

It may seem off-topic, but it isn't, really. A movie was filmed consensually. It's being distributed - with disregard to any possible copyright - by one of the involved parties. And the other party involved is threatening lawsuits six ways from Sunday. Pot, kettle, black... You performed a work, you knew it was being recorded, you're well aware of this whole new-fangled "internet" thing, why is it someone else's fault when things start getting distributed? To be honest, the parallel between the Hilton tape and every MP3 out there is quite clear.

I'm disappointed to see that yet more college kids are facing punishment for writing what amounts to essentially an indexing service, but here in the US, that seems to be the status quo. As in, he who has the status, has the quo.

The RIAA is winning because they have money. The ARIA will win for the same reasons. It sucks, really.

Mod parent up +1 Sensible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442110)

It's about time someone recognizes the fact that digital copies cannot be controlled. Not even if you're the RIAA. Not even if you're the ARIA. Produce some value-added content and you'll get people to purchase. Period.

Unfortunate connection (3, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442011)

A lot of (well, too many) people draw a connection between the promotion of open source/Free Software and piracy, rationalizing that because the members of the previous movements are inclined to give away something for nothing they are also inclined to take something for nothing.

Nevermind that said movements survive on the concept of copyright and respecting the creator's wishes. Standard copyright doesn't even do that anymore, considering most creators of original content hand it over as a work-for-hire and aren't even able to assert moral rights (most copyrighted work being produced in the U.S. or for U.S. companies). So it's possible the prosecutor is attempting to trace the connection between open source and piracy that simply doesn't exist.

Re:Unfortunate connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442060)

A lot of (well, too many) people draw a connection between the promotion of christmas gifts and theft, rationalizing that because people who celebrate christmas are inclined to give away something for nothing they are also inclined to take something for nothing.

Re:Unfortunate connection (2, Insightful)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442092)

" A lot of (well, too many) people draw a connection between the promotion of open source/Free Software and piracy"

Do you really think this is because of some sort of an accident? People believe this because powerful organizations continually make this claim. Whether it's MS, SCO, RIAA or whatever. They spend millions of dollars creating this association in the minds of the public and they have succeeded.

Next time some executive at MS makes a casual connection between open source and (communism/cancer/socialism/terrorism) you better sit up and take notice.

Intellectual property Roxxors! (1)

Naffer (720686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442017)

Honestly, I can't think of a better use for Intellectual Property laws then throwing college students in jail. I'm pretty sure we all learned back in the 70's how dangerous students can be. If we're lucky, the RIAA, FTC, and FCC might form a special ops team that hunts down and "neutralizes" pirates in their sleep.

People walk out of the store I work at with items in their pockets all the time. The younger ones who are caught get yelled at and a picture snapped, and sent on their way. If they're older or been caught before, they get a trip in a cop car to the station and MIGHT possibly spend the night.

Hang me, I'm a pirate.

Re:Intellectual property Roxxors! (1)

perf_monkey (719198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442121)

Perhaps we need the V-Chips too...with GPS add-ons for quick neutralization. The modified V-Chip could zap us every time we even thought about breaking a cop ZAPPPPPPPP!!! yright....ouch.

Learn your lesson. (-1, Flamebait)

zymano (581466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442018)

Don't start a mp3 filesharing website.

Does earthstation5 [es5.com] do a good job of hiding your i.p. address ?

Re:Learn your lesson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442072)

Out of principle I wouldn't use Earthstation if I were you. They put a backdoor into the client. Its supposedly clean now but still...

Re:Learn your lesson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442078)

Here's the slashdot link

malware in earthstation [slashdot.org]

Don't get too burned.... (5, Insightful)

Penguin2212 (173380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442019)

Paul Roberts, SC, said Ng was well aware he was acting illegally. Not only was the site camouflaged - the web space had been let to him by a teenage boy in Perth - but Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on "open source software licensing."' Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy."

While the article was poorly phrased, I seriously doubt that it was an attack against the Open Source community. The author was implying that Ng was somewhat about copyright law, and that he probablly knew well that the site was illegal. It was trying to make his infraction seem more blatent, because he allegedly knew he was doing something wrong and still did it. Although, I would see little connection between software licensing and music copyright law, I guess it helps paint him as a bad guy. Bad journalism, definitely; but an attack on the Open Source community, highly unlikely.

Re:Don't get too burned.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442076)

Both depend heavily on knowledge of copyright law.

UPDATE post SET message = "humor" (5, Funny)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442027)

*Sung to 'Down Under' Men At Work'

Travelling in a fried-out combie
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
She was using a sniffer and watching my serivce
And she said...

"Did you use a pro-gram called Napster?
Where students thieve and swap music faster?
Can't you swap, can't you swap a bit faster?
You better run, you better take cover"

Trading songs with a man in Brussels
On a T3 his network had muscles
I said, "Do you use KazAa or Napster?"
He just smiled and called me a hackster
And he said...

"I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover"
Yeah

Trading warez in a chan on the efnet
feds are sniffin my whole damn co-nnect
I said in the chan, "MP3's I got plenty
Because I come from the land of plenty?"
And he said...

"Oh! "I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover"
Yeah ... men at work were are they now

Mod Parent Up (1)

Atticu5 (693001) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442167)

*Wipes tears from eyes* Now where did I put those mod points?

Coincidence, I think not! (0)

Nerviswreck (238452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442042)

I find it a bit odd that if you add an N to the end of ARIA you get a familiar oppressive orginization...

spelling? (1)

ahkitj (237143) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442147)

Google here [google.co.nz] seems to come up with http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01707c.htm [newadvent.org] -- these guys don't seem like they were oppressive (though they did apparently deny the divinity of Christ)... nor do http://www.arianmusic.com/ [arianmusic.com] ... unless you meant ARYAN or NAZI...? But back on topic, I don't quite see that ARIA went about it the right way. All they needed to do for these students it seems was to have shaken their tree enough to give the students the (figurative) runs enough to scare them, erm, rough them up a little.

Prison States of the Empire (3, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442058)

Ok, piracy is not a good thing, but jail is just a tad extreme, don't you think?

Recall that Australia [wikipedia.org] was Great Britain's prison state, during the heydey of the Empire.

What's next -- condemning hardcore Ausssie offenders to Tasmania [latrobe.edu.au] ...?

-kgj

Re:Prison States of the Empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442156)

Recall that Australia was Great Britain's prison state, during the heydey of the Empire.

What does that have to do with jail time for these students?

Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode.

they were surely sitting ducks (2, Interesting)

KiwiEngineer (585036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442063)

given the effort that is going into anonymous (sp?) trading P2P systems, it seems amazing that there are still sites out there that host MP3s that are not squeaky clean.

I have as big a chip on my shoulder as the next /.er when it comes to the RIAA / ARIA / "assorted recording acronym", but these guys were painting a large target on their foreheads and saying "come and get us".

Jail is over the top, but if you wanted to get away with doing dodgy things, these guys failed miserably.

I can think of a reason (2, Insightful)

Gwala (309968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442066)

Not entirely sure what OS licensing has to do with music piracy.

They are both hated by people with copyright-based monopolies.

There is one very simple solution to all of this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442067)

We have a free will.

This means nobody is making you buy things at gunpoint.

This also means, that if you stop buying music, stop "consuming" music and overall just don't touch anything provided by these *AA people, two things will happen:

1. You will always be safe from litigation

2. They will be hurt due to lost sales

And there is not a goddamn thing they can do if you choose to take this strategy!

Read a book instead. Or listen to the existing records you might have. Or get an instrument like guitar and learn to play.

'may' face jail (2, Insightful)

pbjones (315127) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442089)

People also missed the fact that they have not been given a jail sentence yet, they may get community service etc. or the chance to appeal. They knew it was illegal, do the crime, do the time!

This seems fishy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442091)

"Counsel for the Commonwealth, Paul Roberts said..... Ng had co-written an essay for his information technology law course on 'open source software licensing.'"

Hmm, who is this Paul Roberts? I decided to check him out. A little snooping around led me to an article [nwfusion.com] BY a Mr.Paul Roberts about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts QUESTIONING the effectiveness of Open Source Software, as well as this link [multied.com] detailing Mr. Roberts life from 1841 to 1910 - a life beginning in Gates County, NC.

Finally I discovered this picture of a CD [acceleratoronline.com] .

All coinsidence? I will let you decide.

Jail for linking to MP3s? (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442094)

My understanding from reading some previous article is that the site did not serve MP3s but merely linked to MP3s found online.

ALL SINS ARE EQUAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442096)

IN THE LORDS EYES!!

There's a bigger issue here (1)

physicsdemon (723199) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442098)

Is it just me or does it seem the RIAA and its cronies are missing the entire point of what's going on here?

When technology has evolved to a point where file sharing can easily bypass copyright laws en masse, its not the laws that need changing: its the way the industry operates. The answer to technology is technology - not lawsuits.

You should have see OUR Charles Ng! (2, Funny)

DickeyWayne (581479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442101)

Bloody Aussies think they have it bad because your Charles Ng (allegedly) violated copyright laws. Why don't you come to the U.S., and see what OUR Charles Ng [google.com] was like! You'll see just how easy you've got it down there!

Why do you think it's extreme? (0)

melted (227442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442107)

They were helping people stealing music. In the US you can get 5 years in prison or up to $250K fine or both for doing this. It's in every god damn DVD for Christ's sake, you can't even skip this portion.

Speaks volumes about their attitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442116)

From the Melbourne Herald-Sun [news.com.au]

Michael Speck, spokesman for the Music Industry Piracy Investigations Agency said while police had estimated the scam cost $60 million, the real figure was more like $200 million.

Mr Speck said the men deserved to go to jail. "These people made off with the equivalent of three million albums," he said. "If you walked into David Jones and took three million CDs, you'd be expecting to go to jail for a very long time".

The music industry alleges... (4, Interesting)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442127)

> the music industry alleges the pirated music cost
> it at least $60 million

That's one f*ck of a lot of Kylie!

Let's do a bit of maths on this. A CD in Australia costs around $20-25. Let's round this up to $30, to give ARIA the benefit of the doubt.

An average CD contains about 10 tracks.

I'm going to assume that ARIA used something resembling base-10 mathematics... $60 mill equates to 2 million CDs, or 20 million tracks worth of downloads.

That's one track for every person in Australia.

Let's further assume that each track was a 3Mb MP3 file, which is probably a bit on the low side. The 20 million tracks that were downloaded works out to about 60Tb of data.

Are we supposed to believe that these guys, using a site running from a suburban bedroom, managed to share 60Tb of data? **Maybe** ARIA's lawyer is assuming that each track that was downloaded from this site was copied to another 10 sites, and from each of these to another 10, ... - if so, that's hardly the fault of Mr Ng and his cohorts.

Does anyone have any more info on this case? Preferably, something a bit more credible?

He's stealing. (1)

Meor (711208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7442133)

People who steal go to jail. Despite what most Slashdot readers think, just because a lot of people are doing it doesn't mean it's leagal.

Well it shouldn't be a damn crime! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442136)

Most discussion so far seems to center on whether the punishment fits the 'crime'

remember it is only a 'crime' because it is a threat to a huge corporations outmoded business model. These kids should be lauded for making a stand against our greedy oppressors.

and dont go on with any shit about protection of the 'artists' - they could make a lot more money by using the technology to distribute direct and taking the whole cut rather than a miniscule percentage.

If all musicians made their music easily and cheaply available, 'piracy' would disappear - there is no money in it after all. The artists and the consumers would be better off - the only losers would be the record companies.

and to the guy who compared it to software - you can usually make more money out of being the guy who wrote the software that everyone uses because its good and free than the software that no one uses because, although its good, it costs $500.

Why pay royalties when they don't pay the artists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7442168)

What really p****s me off is that the same organisation that pretends to stand up for performers rights won't pay up when they have to:-

When a heavily backed singer with a number one album can't get paid what is happening to the little guy? See this article regarding Delta Goodrem and her number one album. -http://entertainment.news.com.au/common/story_pag e/0,4459,7804707%255E10431%255E%255Enbv,00.html

I'm not for breaching copyright but these guys are screwing the system for everyone except the big record companies!!!
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