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'Pirate Act' Would Shift Copyright Civil Suits To DoJ

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the corrupts-absolutely dept.

The Courts 440

mammothboy writes "News.com.com has a story about the new so-called Pirate Act, which seeks to allow federal prosecuters to file civil suits against file swappers. These lawsuits can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if you guessed that the RIAA is lobbying for it, you're right. What's scary is how fast and how quiet its march through the legislative process has been. In '97, the No Electronic Theft Act allowed for criminal lawsuits, but none have been filed, so isn't it clear that the Justice Department has better stuff to deal with?" There actually have been some prosecutions filed under the NET Act, but not many. Update: 05/26 18:51 GMT by T : Declan McCullagh (author of the linked News.com story) writes to clarify: "FYI there have been prosecutions under the NET Act, as you say. But there have not been any of P2P users. That's why the Senate is doing this."

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A good day for starving artists. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259522)


As a member of Citizens United against Network Thievery, let me be the first to jump for joy. For too long musicians and movie moguls have resorted to smaller mansions, some with empty garage spots, as wanton piracy has hurt sales of their reasonably priced products. This rampant hooliganism must be stopp... ed.. whoa... what's this square of blotter paper doing in my coffee?

Re:A good day for starving artists. (5, Funny)

Flagella (779588) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259584)

Arrr I'm a PIRATE. I Protect Intellectual Rights Against Theft and Expropriation arrrr. /me Walks the plank.

Re:A good day for starving artists. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259597)

I love you grub!

-- Anonymous Coward

Re:A good day for starving artists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259604)

its funny, you fucks. lighten up!

Re:A good day for starving artists. (3, Funny)

falconed (645790) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259623)

maybe a little OT, but this is all I could think of when I read your post:

I am the master of the C.L.I.T. Remember this ficking face. Whenever you see C.L.I.T., you'll see this fucking face. I make that shit work. It does whatever the fuck I tell it to. No one rules the C.L.I.T like me. Not this little fuck [referring to Silent Bob], none of you little fucks out there. I AM THE C.L.I.T. COMMANDER! Remember that, commander of all C.L.I.T.s! When it comes down to business, this is what I do. I pinch it like this. OOH you little fuck. Then I rub my nose with it.

From Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back [imdb.com]

Re:A good day for starving artists. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259692)

Mod parent up, it's not a troll it's a quote.

Re:A good day for starving artists. (4, Insightful)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259774)


It even *says* it's a quote and provides a link to the source. Apparently we got the short-bus mods today.

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259523)

FP!

your tax dollars at work... (5, Insightful)

havaloc (50551) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259530)

...spent on arresting pirating grandmothers and children.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (3, Funny)

Nosf3ratu (702029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259546)

Isn't funding your own prosecution a bit of a conflict of interest?

Re:your tax dollars at work... (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259576)

Remember where you money is going when you plunk down your cash for iTunes, CDs, or various other media formats when you are wanting to listen to RIAA controlled music.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259715)

"Remember where you money is going when you plunk down your cash for iTunes, CDs, or various other media formats when you are wanting to listen to RIAA controlled music. "

The problem here is that the less people pay the RIAA, despite how blindingly obvious a boycott is, the higher the losses variable in the piracy #s go. Wanna send the RIAA a message? Pick a day, buy a bunch of new albums, and on the next day return them unopened and in resalable condition. When a million dollars is made, and lost the next day, it's hard for the retailers not to notice. Suddenly we have a powerful ally...

Re:your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259796)

Last I checked, the definition of boycott was "refuse to use", "not acquire by theft".

There's no boycott here.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259820)

You can't steal bits and bytes.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259864)

Explain that to the prosecutor.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259888)

You mean the judge.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259851)


"not acquire by theft"

Re-read the grandparent: "return them unopened and in resalable condition".

Re:your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259899)

The problem here is that the less people pay the RIAA, despite how blindingly obvious a boycott is,

^^^ I was refering to that part. But yeah, I see your point.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259583)

What's up with this 'woman and children' stuff?

A bomb goes off, and it's women and children who are the only victims.

A country gets invaded, and it's the women and children who are the only victims.

A corporation sues, and it's the women and children who are the only victims.

Toss in a couple "grandparents" (a uniquely American embellishment, I gather) and you'll have what appears to be the essential rhetorical underpinning in global vicimization politics, no?

I get it: women and children are generally under-represented and -- perhaps, although not necessarily -- on the weaker end of the scale. (However you define "weaker").

But my question is this: in the search for the perfect rhetorical whammy ("Yeah, but you killed all the women and children -- what do you expect?") where are the men? Why don't the men count? And why aren't the men doing more to protect the women and children if, in fact, the women and children are the victims?

Enough with this bullshit rhetoric.

Re:your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259666)

it is kind of like how best to survive an airplane crash. statistics show that the best way to survive a crash is to be male. so basically the men are out there trampling the women and children.

Figures it involved Orrin Hatch (5, Informative)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259750)

It figures that Orrin Hatch is one of the sponsers. The Republican from Utah has been doing this stuff for years now. The guy thinks he is a musician, and is worried that pirating music could hurt other musicians. Last year, Orrin Hatch was the jackass who advocated developing technology to destroy the computers of people who download music. It was one of Hatch's staffer's who broke into a democrat's computer and read his docs. Hatch himself was found to have pirated some software a while back as well to host his website.

Hatch's boy is one of the lawyers for the SCO. No surprise there. Daddy's just trying to make the laws for his baby boy to enforce.

Call your senators (you have two) and tell them to oppose this bill. If you don't know who they are, go here to find out [senate.gov] .

Re:Figures it involved Orrin Hatch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259854)

Hatch designed his own website? Wow. I didn't know that.

Hey, wait a second... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259541)

Copyrights have to be asserted in order to be infringed upon. Therefore, the Justice Department can't just go accusing people of copyright violation without the copyright owner coming forward to claim the foul.

This is nothing more than the RIAA wanting to shift their legal burden over to the taxpayer...

Re:Hey, wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259620)

After reading a comment like that, I wish it was possible to mod to +6...

Not quite. (2, Informative)

aidoneus (74503) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259844)

What you're thinking of is trademark, not copyright. Since the mid-1970s (in the US) copyright has existed for a creative work from the moment of its creation. No assertation is necessary nor is any registration (although registration may help in any legal conflicts).

So no, copyrights do not need to be asserted for infringement to occur.

-jason

Re:Hey, wait a second... (5, Interesting)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259849)

I think that you are confusing trademark and copyright. One has to vigorously defend a trademark, or it's lost. Copyright does not require defense; published works are automatically copyrighted, and although the owner may seek restitution, he does not have to do so to maintain the copyright.

If he so wishes, under this new law, Ashcroft can prosecute at will. If he wants to be a dick about it, he can do it without bothering to consult with the copyright holder. Hell, even if the holder decides to release the disputed work into the public domain, Ashcroft could still prosecute the "thief" under the "the Law is the Law" clause of reactionary lore -- the work was copyrighted at the time of the "crime", so the wishes of the holder would be irrelevant.

This is the final stage in the criminalization of what once was a civil offense, if it was an offense at all -- copying a musical work. It used to be criminal if it were done for profit. Now it will be criminal whenever the AG wants to nail someone.

The Church of Scientology is turning cartwheels right now. This has been their pet evil project since the early ninties. They will get to file FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES against people who quote Hubbard's works about the great galactic federation and the atom bombs and the volcanoes. (Hell, I can't even say the "X" word, because the owners of Slashdot will pull my post if the COS says "boo!") This isn't a digression: they have instigated this crusade from '91 to the present day, ever since their flying saucer religion got outed on anon.penet.fi and up to the present day.

And as for Ashcroft and the Justice Department: what an incredible tool for harrassment. Political enemy? Check the ISP logs, see if the Enemy of the State or a member of his family ever downloaded music. Break his financial back, put him or his own in prison. How many people have downloaded tunes? How many are eligible for Club Fed if this law gets passed? If you ever hose some public official, you can spend years dreading the email summoning you to years of court-run hell because you hosted some Guess Who tracks in '02.

Damn, if only we could take over a country somewhere and declare freedom from the Berne Convention...

Charity for the rich (4, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259547)

Here, if you are a large company, then you can have the government file a civil lawsuit for you, recover money and give it to you, and if they lose the government pays your legal fees. If you are an individual that a large company pirates your copyrighted matterial, you have to pay the lawyer yourself, then if you lose you have to pay their legal fees.


Yep, seems fair to me.


Maybe the money recovered for the copyright lawsuit filed by the government should go to the government, and if the government loses, the RIAA/MPAA should pay the government's costs?

Best Governement $$ can buy! (3, Informative)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259552)

Yep...that's what we have.. and will continue to have until people exercise their responsibility and vote all the scoundrels out!

Re:Best Governement $$ can buy! (-1, Troll)

bliSSter138 (636922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259734)

you've got to be THE idiot of the millenium...the only reason that i vote is so i feel justified bitching about how bad things are...

you are obviously suffering under the delusion that your vote actually matters...go sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here...

- bliSS

Re:Best Governement $$ can buy! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259753)

How do you "vote all the scoundrels out" when only scoundrels run for office?

Crowded Courts (5, Insightful)

Analise (782932) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259555)

Aren't the courts crowded enough as it is? Why make more work for the courts/government? I mean, honestly, there're enough useless/pointless civil cases out there right now, we don't exactly need -more-. And it just seems that if the Justice Dept really wanted to go after music piracy, they ought to do it through criminal courts and leave the civil courts to, well, the RIAA to sue people. How would the Justice Dept sue for damages anyway? Did I miss something in that article? And since when does the legislature ever move that quickly on something?

Re:Crowded Courts (4, Informative)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259866)

Why make more work for the courts/government?

This might have something to do with it (quoted from the news.com article): "The Justice Department would receive an extra $2 million for the fiscal year beginning in October."

Re:Crowded Courts (2)

Luminari (689987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259881)

There is a reason they don't go after these people in criminal courts. ITS NOT PIRACY. It is civil copyright infringement. The RIAA calls them pirates to make it sound a lot more insidious.

Double fucked... (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259562)

Critics also charge that the Pirate Act may invent a form of double jeopardy: It would let the RIAA sue the same people already sued by the Justice Department.

"The kinds of things we have a double-jeopardy doctrine to prevent seem to be implicated by the bill," said Jessica Litman, author of "Digital Copyright" and a law professor at Wayne State University. "I find it disturbing that the committee reported this out without at least having a hearing to consider some of the alternatives."


Not only do they want the same taxpayers who pay for the prosecution of these people they also have the ablility to resue the same people after the DoJ is done with them.

This isn't a deterrent... It's just going to piss everyone off.

Re:Double fucked... (3, Informative)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259691)

From the 5th Amendment.

" nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;"

Your money is neither your life nor your limb. Like it or not Double Jeopardy is only for criminal prosecution.

LK

Re:Double fucked... (1)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259822)

Like it or not Double Jeopardy is only for criminal prosecution.

I was under the impression that government prosecutors were only for criminal prosecution too.

Time to call your Congress Critter (5, Insightful)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259565)

I will be sending faxes to my senators detailing my opposition to this proposed law. If I am not mistaken Hatch tried to backdoor the last one or these too a few years back.

Re:Time to call your Congress Critter (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259890)

Who keeps re-electing this jackass? I say we just kick Utah out of the union on general principal..

burden of proof differs... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259567)

a civil suit is by preponderance of evidence,
a criminal suit is beyond reasonable doubt.

civil suit is *much* easier to 'win'
that's how the bastar^h^h^h^hlawyers are getting rich...

Re:burden of proof differs... (4, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259630)

Although, it'll be much more difficult to prove damages in a Civil Suit, since it's nearly impossible to link a single individual copying mp3s to any financial loss incurred by the company.

damages are awarded by judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259880)

In a civil suite you don't need to "prove" damages.

To be found guilty in a civil suite all the person needs to do is find you were responsible in some fashion for the crime. The damages are awarded by the judge, no actual proof is needed. Also think about the following.

My pirate gets sued for sharing 1000 mp3's. These mp3's are from 300 different albums thus Mr. Pirate has shared (at a price of $16 a CD) $4800 worth of music. He is sued for the $4800 x the number of people who downloaded files from him. Or better yet the full album cost for every download of one song.

I am not saying it is fair, but if I was looking for money in a civil suite it is what I would site as damages.

Re:burden of proof differs... (4, Informative)

praksys (246544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259918)

Under current law there is no need to show damages in a copyright infringement suit. Copyright owners are automatically entitled to "statutory" damages if they can prove infringement.

Take a look here [gigalaw.com] .

There is a great deal of "wiggle room" with respect to what the court "considers just," and in 1999, Congress increased the amounts. In cases in which the plaintiff cannot prove that the infringement was "willful," the Copyright Act allows a sum of "not less than $750 or more than $30,000" per infringement. However, if the court finds that the defendant's behavior was "willful," the court has discretion "to increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000" per infringement.


So that is a minimum of $750 for every instance of infringment, even if it was not willful (i.e. even if you did not realise that you were infringing). That should give you some idea of why the people getting sued by the RIAA are all caving so easily. Even at $750 per mp3 (if they are lucky) the statutory damages can add up real fast.

Re:burden of proof differs... (2, Informative)

Cerv (711134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259689)

"The burden of proof" refers to which party - defence or prosecution - has the burden of proving their case. Funny that. Perhaps you meant the standard of proof.

So, this is saying... (4, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259568)

So, this is saying that there is a law out there file swappers could be prossecuted under. But, the RIAA is trying to get a law passed specific to their cause and what they want as an ends.

Nothing wrong with charging criminals (1, Interesting)

Cheirdal (776541) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259580)

I think the people sharing thousands of copyrighted items will be a lot happier to pay a few thousand dollars to the RIAA than face real jail time. If you were running a warehouse that was printing thousands of bootleg CDs and selling them you'd go to jail. If you download music, make sure you aren't sharing copyrighted material and you'll be safe.

Re:Nothing wrong with charging criminals (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259615)

And if you are sharing the copyrighted material with someone who already has a license, but he lost the CD or the tape broke?

Re:Nothing wrong with charging criminals (1)

slntnsnty (90352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259769)

What other consumer goods do you buy and expect to last you a lifetime or be replaced for free if it doesnt?

Cars? TVs? Sneakers? Why should movies or cds be different?

Re:Nothing wrong with charging criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259809)

In the case of software / music, you are not paying for the physical media but the right to use, and it is not (meant to be) tied to the lifetime of the media.

Re:Nothing wrong with charging criminals (2, Insightful)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259869)


> Why should movies or cds be different?

Because the industry insists on having it both ways. If we say "I paid for that CD and I'm making a copy in case it gets scratched," then they say "You don't have that right! You only bought the rights to listen to it, not to make copies!" But when we say "I paid for the rights to listen to that music and the CD's scratched, so I'm going to burn/download a new copy!" they say "Screw you! Buy a new CD!" The media companies have stopped going after anything even remotely resembling fair revenue in return for fair use and now they're attempting (and succeeding) to have laws custom-written for them that will precisely spell out and make enforceable what they want, which is for their absolute control over their revenue streams by eliminating the possibility of you ever owning and having control over media they produced. By the time Hatch and the other corporate-owned politicians are done, all media will be pay-per-listen, copy-flagged, encrypted, and non-portable... and I don't think I'm being a slight bit paranoid when I say that. Our only hope is for the non-geek world to wake up one day, realise that they can't take their music to the beach with them, and start paying attention to what's been happening.

Re:Nothing wrong with charging criminals (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259924)

Because, using the record industry's own reasoning against them, you're not buying property, you're buying a license. If you've paid the license fee to listen to a song, it's probably legal to listen to it in whatever form you wish, even if it's from a digital file you downloaded off the intarweb.

Arrr! (5, Funny)

Rhesus Piece (764852) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259599)

Being a swashbuckler myself, I find the name
"Pirate Act" to be highly inaccurate.

It's copyright infringement.
Piracy is a different matter altogether.
Anybody can download a song, but it takes
quite a bit more daring to pilage at a professional
level.

Arrr.

Re:Arrr! (2, Funny)

ydnar (946) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259717)

Wait I'm going limp

Re:Arrr! (2, Funny)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259916)

Anybody can download a song, but it takes
quite a bit more daring to pilage at a professional
level.


They all end up in elected government offices.

Interesting (3, Interesting)

greywar (640908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259602)

OK, so now a group of companys that have been found to run a business selling overpriced plastic with artificially high pricing is now trying to get the govt to handle prosecuting their civil matters. I can't imagine this getting passed. However many futurests predict a future controlled by large corporations. This would be a good first step.

Great, MORE laws (5, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259613)

Just what we need. The DOJ must have TONS of resources left over from finding terrorists, rapists, murderers, drug smuggling rings, human smuggling rings, organized crime, white-collar fraud, embezzlers, etc... etc...

This should *clearly* be left a civil matter. Stealing is already illegal. Piracy is already illegal. It should NOT be a federal offence to share a file, even if it is copyrighted. There are plenty of civil remidies for copyright holders already.

From causal perusal, and IANAL, at least 30% of the US code should be ditched. There's a lot of redundant, unenforcable bloatlaw in there.

Re:Great, MORE laws (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259702)

This should *clearly* be left a civil matter. Stealing is already illegal. Piracy is already illegal.

In the first sentence above you state that this should "clearly" be a civil matter. In the second sentence, you note that 'stealing is illegal' and we all know that prosecution for 'stealing', such as burglary, is a criminal matter, not a civil matter (ie, police go after robbers). In your third sentence you note a strong similarity between piracy and stealing (both are AGAINST THE LAW).

Do you find consistency unimportant when making your arguments?

Re:Great, MORE laws (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259755)

Your subject line says it all.
Whenever we get the legislature involved, we making a deal with the devil. Vague laws, riders that have nothing to do with the subject but get more campaign contributions for the politicians (or, free private jets, stays at beach front houses, etc...), and/or promote the adjenda of said politician.

I'm stopping now because I'm about to go off on a rant....

Re:Great, MORE laws (2, Insightful)

praksys (246544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259776)

There are plenty of civil remidies for copyright holders already.

Hmm... Well there are a lot of people who think that copyright is doomed because in this digital age there is no way to stop copyright infringement. But isn't that just another way of saying that there are no effective remedies for copyright holders?

I think it would be more plausible to argue that this new measure will be just as futile as existing measures, rather than trying to argue that existing measures are already effective.

There's a lot of redundant, unenforcable bloatlaw in there.

There is no bloatlaw from the government's point of view. Everybody is guilty of something. If they want to get you, it's just a matter of figuring out what that something is.

Was this from the Onion?! (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259626)

The article reads like a story from the Onion. I love this quote, "copyright owners have been left alone to fend for themselves, defending their rights only where they can afford to do so."

Yeah, the members of the RIAA are just too broke to file their own lawsuits.

And if these civil suits are so easy to win, then why are the RIAA not filing them. It sounds like easy money to me. Heck, suing filesharers could become a new business model.

Re:Was this from the Onion?! (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259700)

This isn't about money, this is about public perception.

The goal of this strategy is to convince the people that music costs money. The way to do that, after the file sharing splurge of the past 5-7 years, is to make it criminal. The problem with that is the high burden of proof required by standards of criminal law.

If the RIAA sues people, it sends a completely different message - one of greed, which is being actively capitalized upon by certain anti-RIAA segments of society.

This bill puts Federal prosecutors in charge of the filing of the civil suits, making it look like a government action. It's fairly nifty. If this passes, file sharing in the US will die, mostly because of the deterrent factor of having the government enforce it.

This is odious law, though. It needs to be stopped. I might even write a letter, though my state has two scumbag Democrat rich men (Lautenberg and Corzine) as senators - they're probably bought and paid for by Hollywood already.

hmm... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259627)

They should test this idea out somewhere before applying it to this fine country. There are lots of good test data in places like China, India, and Pakistan. They'll see in no time how well their system will work.

robbIE to reveal motives for gnu online dating (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259633)

'service'.

was it love for your fellow hobbyists/introverts that inspired you? that would be nice, butt know, it was just for a little more phonIE payper liesense stock markup FraUD monIE. fauxking puppeterious billyonerrors. sheesh@#$% or is it yuk? lookout bullow.

real creators suggest using newclear power vs.
unprecedented evile, whilst participating in the increasingly popular planet/population rescue initiative.
(Score:mynuts won)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, @09:39AM (#9237105)
no contest. this stuff is unbreakable, & wwworks on several (more than 3) dimensions.

it's probably just a suggestion.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... with power to spare.

eye gas robbIE's fired up the pateNTdead PostBlock devise, wonce again?

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily (forever, if we had some ept) been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down (like with fuddles' phonIE bouNTy hunter scam). If you think this is unfair, we just don't care.

How about a more reasonable deterrent (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259634)

Considering people are not making any money from file sharing, I'd have thought that a fine of something like $100, would be more than adequate as a deterrent.

It would stop the record industry looking like violent thugs, and people who genuinely feel they've been wronfully accused wouldn't have too much to lose if they wanted to challenge this. The record companies are not doing their cause a lot of good with aggressive penalties against ordinary members of the public.

Re:How about a more reasonable deterrent (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259811)

Umm, because that would mean that for $100 you could download all the music and movies you wanted. And, of course, the average person spends more than $100 on music and movies.

And then you have to consider the immense cost in identifying, confronting, and collecting from infringers.

More to the point, your statement that "people are not making money from file sharing" is bullshit. Forget for a moment the kazaas and so forth who are making millions, but consider this: each person only has X amount of leisure time per week. If you spend ten hours playing a pirated video game, then that's ten hours where you didn't pay for some entertainment product. Now, I'm not saying that you in particular would have spent those 10 hours spending money--you might spend them in the park walking around--but IN AGGREGATE people are making money off file sharing--the infringers are because their entertainment budget necessarily goes down and the amount of extra money that they have for bills and savings then goes up.

Oh, Orrin... (5, Insightful)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259642)

"Tens of thousands of continuing civil enforcement actions might be needed to generate the necessary deterrence," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said when announcing his support for the bill. "I doubt that any nongovernmental organization has the resources or moral authority to pursue such a campaign." As always, they're looking for the "necessary deterrence" to stop a widespread cultural shift that has already occurred. Much like the war on drugs, this war on piracy is going to end up costing the tax payer more money, infringing upon non-infringing citizens, and lining the pockets of those in government who perpetuate heavy-handed methods of dealing with petty crimes. This nation doesn't want or need another war on drugs. It just doesn't benefit the majority.

Re:Oh, Orrin... (2, Insightful)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259694)

I apologize for the terrible formatting and the single grammatical mistake. What I meant to say was this:

"Tens of thousands of continuing civil enforcement actions might be needed to generate the necessary deterrence," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said when announcing his support for the bill. "I doubt that any nongovernmental organization has the resources or moral authority to pursue such a campaign."

As always, they're looking for the "necessary deterrence" to stop a widespread cultural shift that has already occurred. Much like the war on drugs, this war on piracy is going to end up costing the tax payer more money, infringing upon non-infringing citizens, and lining the pockets of those in government who perpetuate heavy-handed methods of dealing with petty crimes.

This nation doesn't want or need another war on drugs. It just doesn't benefit the majority.

*sigh* (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259649)

Yet another reason not to move to the united states. Europe is looking better and better every day.

There's other worms... (2, Interesting)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259837)

from that can.
I know this guy who took his "exams" (in quotes because I don't know what to call them) in Germany and "they" pinned him as a fuckup. Well, he moved to the U.S. and became a kick-ass programmer and then a kick-ass C.I.O.!
My point, the European way of doing things has their own set of problems! - as explained by my Irish friend.

Re:*sigh* (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259858)

No it's not. But Mars is. EU will follow suit in a matter of months.

Yea. because that's what our court system needs (4, Insightful)

Illserve (56215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259653)

The RIAA hammering through thousands of hundreds of thousands of court cases.

Meanwhile we are hard pressed to give rape & murder cases adequate attention.

On the other hand, guess all those new lawyers need something to do.

Ahh, the NET Act. (2, Insightful)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259668)

That very first amendment is my all time favorite. Let's look at that one more time. It's a beauty.

`The term `financial gain' includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value . . .

Let's crop that and move in closer.
Financial gain includes . . . anything of value.
Wow, that's pretty interesting isn't it? Receipt of anything of value is the same as financial gain. So, if I tell my wife I love her --that's a financial transaction, right? Should I declare that on my taxes? Or is it that love has no value? Must be one or the other according to the logic of this law.
This is so intriguing how Congress is basing laws on terms like "value" without stopping to consider that any freshman philosophy class flunkie could tell you that value is an extremely vague word. It could mean just about anything.
In fact, it has often been concluded that all speech is an exchange of value. Human speech is one step above grooming behavior in chimps. Now, clearly this is nothing buy the exchange of value. Where is the limit here? I'll tell ya, there is none. It is ambiguous to the core. This amendment alone seems to make the NET Act so absurd that it is useless.

Re:Ahh, the NET Act. (1)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259846)

You're right about the ludicrous broadness of the term. However, the legal definition of value is a bit different from the philosophical:
VALUE, common law. This term has two different meanings. It sometimes expresses the utility of an object, and some times the power of purchasing other good with it. The first may be called value in use, the latter value in exchange. 2. Value differs from price. The latter is applied to live cattle and animals; in a declaration, therefore, for taking cattle, they ought to be said to be of such a price; and in a declaration for taking dead chattels or those which never had life, it ought to lay them to be of such a value. 2 Lilly's Ab. 620.
[1] [thefreedictionary.com]

So it turns out that "value" is actually measured in terms of its fungibility, or "financial gain" -- which is a vicious little circle...

P.S. I hope you've never suggested charging your wife for the "I love you"s. ;-)

Re:Ahh, the NET Act. (1)

bestguruever (666273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259856)

Hmmm ... So all the flaimbait posts out there are are necessary to make the balance sheet add up correctly in the face of my blindingly insightful comments? Who'da thunk I, glorious me, could have been the cause of so much garbage

What's the right term? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259914)

I'm trying to think of an appropriate term that fits here instead though. In the case of the net trading is almost a barter-type system, so it's hard to tie into words:

Exchange of physical goods: Fine if you're getting a tangible item for your filetrading, but when you're just trading files there are no physical goods.

Exchange of assets: Perhaps, but then somebody could just do something for me in exchange for what I want (nobody has slept with me in exchange for Mp3's yet though).

Exchange of goods or services: Probably covers the above, but could be a bit too broad as well. Perhaps exchange of appreciable goods/services... something that basically states what being traded should have a value for trade. Theoretically you *could* even trade your wife kisses/etc for some other item that you value.

The problem is that much so-called "piracy" on the internet occurs without financial gain. It's done for fun or mutual benefit, not profit.

More Gvmt Spending - What does the taxpayer get? (5, Interesting)

SuperficialRhyme (731757) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259673)

I don't use p2p to transfer copyrighted material and this legislation still bothers me. Why is the federal government enforcing copyright? Because the music industry doesn't have the money to pay for it? The gvmt is currently running a large deficit. What makes the gvmt (and thus taxpayers) more able to pay than the **AA. People always think money from the federal government is free and available but our taxes are the money that pays for stuff like this. Where is the fiscal restraint in washington. (The sad thing is... that last line might get me modded funny). Contact your reps/senators and let them know that copyright infringement suits over p2p trading are not the government's burden. Even if it were filing suits over any type of copyright infringement (which would actually help the little guy more - when his source code is stolen by a large company/etc) I still don't feel it's the government's place.

Question About the RIAA Lawsuits (4, Interesting)

Beg4Mercy (32808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259688)

I know that people have settled, but has anyone actually prepared a defense and went to court? How did it turn out?

Re:Question About the RIAA Lawsuits (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259874)

i think i've heard that someone stepped up to the RIAA after being threetened, and the RIAA dropped the lawsuit.

maybe this is wishfull thinking, but i thought i've read it somewhere.

My business plan (4, Funny)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259698)

1. Convince all the software manufacturers in the country that they need someone to manage their industry.

2. Become president of the SIAA (Software Inudstry Association of America).

3. ???

4. Profit!!!

I think #3 has something to do with lawsuits...

Re:My business plan (3, Informative)

el_gordo101 (643167) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259797)

1. Convince all the software manufacturers in the country that they need someone to manage their industry.

We already have the BSA [bsa.org] to take care of this...

Re:My business plan (1)

SithLordOfLanc (683305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259855)

But this already exists. They're called the BSA, Business Software Alliance. They are the ones that conduct the "raids" on companies.

Re:My business plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259882)

*grumble* *grumble* BSA *grumble* *grumble*

Oh Wonderful =\ (3, Interesting)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259713)

Allowing people to be prosecuted in a civil trial for file swapping is a bad bad thing.

For a criminal trial, the prosecution has to prove to a jury that you stole music beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a civil trial, all you have to prove is that it's possible and probable that you did it.

So it's basically taking out all the expenses that a criminal trial would have needed. There's no need to do any computer forensics, deep investigating, etc. All they would need to do (basically) is get your ISP records and show you have used *file sharing program*.

So it's very possible that you might have installed Kazaa, et al, to download a new game demo, OSS, independent 'free' music, etc - but if you have a NOFX mp3 on your drive that alone is enough to get some money out of you. If this thing flies, I fear the power RIAA will have. They will truly become a company to fear.

Revenue on settlement goes to feds not states (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259745)

...and the feds get the revenue cutting the states out of the process... hmmm... sounds like a few state attorneys general could stop it...

Virginia Slashdotters... (5, Informative)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259749)

...be sure to drop a note to Rep. Rick Boucher! He has consistently been one of the few (and by few, I mean only) politicians who isn't totally in the pocket of the RIAA and their ilk. (cough cough... Orrin Hatch... cough cough) He recognizes the rights of copyright holders to make a fair buck off their work, but he also draws a damned firm line on the rights of citizens to control the things they've paid for. And if you're not in Virginia, he'll still listen to your opinions. It's about time we started paying attention to the pols who *haven't* been bought and paid for yet.

http://www.house.gov/boucher/

(Having been raised Mormon, I also have a lot of other reasons to bitch about Hatch, but I'll save that for later. That whole state is run by asshats.)

Can it be balanced? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259754)

The trouble is, the courts are free. But then if they weren't, the common man wouldn't get any justice since he couldn't afford it. So where can we put the split?

How about this: anyone (read: company) who makes campaign contributions has to foot their own bill in any court cases. I mean, paying for the judge's time, etc, instead of the government. After all, if they're rich enough to pay off the politicians to write the rules for them, they can afford to pay to use the system they've manipulated.

Is that fair? Would a system like this stand up or is there a problem that I'm missing?

The letter to my representative... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259758)

Dear Congresscritter,

Let the RIAA pay for their own damn lawsuits. DONT YOU DARE USE MY TAX MONEY THIS WAY!!!

Yours Truely
A taxpayer

Whatever. (1)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259761)

isn't it clear that the Justice Department has better stuff to deal with?

Isn't this the argument that all Slashdotters argue against? For example, if researchers spent more time looking for a cure for aids rather than medicine for penis erection, aids would be a thing of the past.

Have you contacted your senator? (3, Insightful)

Aiua (688192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259763)

I was outraged after reading this article that Senator Hatch (the senator from my home state) would sponser this bill. So, I went to his website and proceeded to send him a professional e-mail stating my concerns on the bill while asking him to withdraw his support and sponsership. My question to everyone else in the US: have you contacted your senator?

Re:Have you contacted your senator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259927)

You shouldn't send it as an email. Send it as a letter. They carry a lot more weight with politicians. They figure if you go to the trouble to put it on paper you must care a lot.

PRON (4, Insightful)

crackshoe (751995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259780)

Alright. SO, you know a big part of P2P traffic is porn - porn that is almost without a doubt copyrighted, but most Porn companies don't go out of their way to track down pirates (or at least joe average light downloader). If the porno industry no longer has to expend their own money or effort to crack down on copyright violators, don't you think they'd start? Pornographic copyright violations and investigations could, as i see it, drown out all the RIAA efforts by shear volume.

1000th post, write to your Senators (2, Interesting)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259788)

I've been sitting on my 1000th post (I'm such a nerd) for a while now, waiting for a good opportunity for a 5, Funny. But I just haven't been able to take the time to really put something good together.

So anyway, if you're in the U.S., write to your Senators. Tell them about your concerns about having your taxes spent on government officials pursuing civil suits on behalf of the RIAA. Point out the unconstitutionality of double jeopardy.

And while we're talking about senators, does anyone else think it would be a good idea to have senators in federal congress be the party leaders from the state congress? That would be a big step in going back to a republic of states (Assuming you're a propponent of states rights). It'd be kinda neat to replace the house that way too, but I can't think of a good way to do it with the current representation by population that we currently have in the house (which I think is a good thing). Something where voters elect our state government, and the president, and the federal congressional reps are a subset of the elected state reps. I think that would be really cool.

We need Falafel (5, Funny)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259814)

FALAFEL:

Federal Assistance for Limiting the use of Acronyms For Evil Legislation.

yeah but....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259821)

Consider for a moment just how large of cluster fuck this would create.... The DOJ attempting to individual process all of these suits.... LOL.
Sounds like a great plan to me, and a get out of jail free card for everyone involved......

"No Electronic Theft Act" was accurate name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9259827)

The name of the "No Electronic Theft Act" was very accurate. This law which concerned unauthorized duplication of files had nothing to do with theft at all. No electronic theft was covered in it.

And so we move to anonymous networks... eg.FreeNet (5, Informative)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259831)

And there we go again... Apart from the fact that I find the influence that big industries have on the justice system in the US nauseating, the music industry seems to think that it can "stop" swapping in any way. This is typical black and white thinking

What is actually happening here is that the "system" (in this case the swappers and the music industry together) shift to a new equilibrium location, where the trade-off between speed and ease-of-use on the one hand, and speed on the other hand, is optimal for the given situation on the legal battle-field.

First we had Napster: very easy to use, but having the flaw of a single point of failure. Then we had the FastTrack and Gnutella networks (think KaZaa and LimeWire here): good bandwidth, but no anonymity at all, but at least without the need for a single point of failure. Then came eDonkey and his friends: less bandwidth, more obfuscation. A step further along the line lies FreeNet: anonimity beyond reasonable doubt, but a slow network and it's hard to find things. In the future, the balance might shift even further to the side of obfuscation, encryption and low bandwidth.

Now before you start yelling: "But FreeNet doesn't work!". Think again: Since about mid-May, it works well again! Try it!

So: go to their website [freenetproject.org] and download that client! Happy browsing!

Looks like the US Government... (5, Funny)

Luminari (689987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259845)

Finally jumped the shark.

Don't they have anything better to do? (5, Interesting)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259853)

Ok, first Ashcroft wants to tackle porn (link [slashdot.org] ), then they want the DOJ to go after file swappers?

This is one of the biggest reasons Bush's continued 9/11 references make me ill. I could deal with it if they were actually working to fight terror. Instead, every time somebody waves the bloody shirt, all we get is some tired propaganda for drilling in the Arctic, a Federal Marriage Amendment, tax cuts for the wealthy, or some other thing we have to do to keep the terrorists from winning. Meanwhile, Homeland Security isn't getting the funds it needs for simple, basic port (seaport, not computer port) scanners: link [businessweek.com] (found on Instapundit [instapundit.com] ).

I'm a hawk on security, folks. A hard-core, let's get them before they get us, serious hawk. And I'm voting against Bush and his idiots for precisely that reason.

(Sorry for the rant, but I just couldn't take it any more. Feel free to mod this down.)

Ammend the constitution or... (4, Interesting)

hoffmang (174358) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259887)

Right there, way before the first ammendment, is the delegation of power to the federal government to enforce copyrights.

For all those people posting copyrighted material that they know full well is illegal to post which alternative is better? Criminal prosecution or civil liability? I think this makes the punishment far closer fit the crime.

Why Justice? Because that's the law enforcement arm of the federal government. This is an improvement to the NET act, not an extension.

a beter idea (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9259917)

Rather more laws to allow someoen else to foot the bil of lawsuits..why not gosh..

Have RIIA mangment accept that they have to pay for the lawwsutis they file?

Maybe RIAA should take a paycut for goofing up on the lawsuit strategy in the first place, no?

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