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RIAA File-Sharing Lawsuits Top 10,000 People Sued

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the maybe-there'll-be-cake dept.

The Courts 490

An anonymous reader writes "While Firefox broke the 50,000,000 barrier today, the RIAA broke a more dubious barrier this week: It has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel. Taking an academic look at what's best for the industry, this economics article shows the financial upside to P2P file sharing. And on the flip side, this legal article argues that file swappers have a constitutional right to pay much smaller penalties than the millions of dollars they can be liable for under copyright law, making the RIAA's lawsuits much less profitable."

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Montreal? (0, Offtopic)

Montreal!!hahahahaha (880138) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394803)

hahahaha

throw in the towel? (5, Insightful)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394811)

It has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel.

Doesn't your corner only throw in the towel if you're getting your ass kicked? From what I understand, the RIAA is settling nearly each of these cases out of court for a substantial profit. If that's the case, why would they ever throw in the towel?

Re:throw in the towel? (4, Insightful)

nwmakel (816545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394822)

Though, arguably, on a whole it's not stopping the P2P flood. So they're facing a losing battle in that sense.

Re:throw in the towel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395048)

They're getting payed big money for something that most people wouldn't have bought anyway. How's that a losing battle, on the whole, from RIAA's perspective?

Re:throw in the towel? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394830)

Has anybody really tried to fight one of these suits yet?

Re:throw in the towel? (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394866)

Um... on what grounds would you make your defense?

Re:throw in the towel? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394947)

Um... on what grounds would you make your defense?


On the grounds that they cannot prove it was you who did it. Why is everyone treating an IP log as gospel?

Re:throw in the towel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395009)

What grounds? That I'm a 12-year old girl, or a 80-year old grandma without a computer.

Seriously,tho:
1) Prove it was me. I don't mean showing some "IP logs". Any idiot can make up "logs". What real proof do they have?? (Hint: no proof, no case!)

2) _IF_ they can prove it came from my DSL line, they then have to prove it was MY computer, and not someone who hitched on my open WiFi.

3) _IF_ they can prove it was MY computer, well, gosh, gee... looks like I have a backdoor trojan (BO2K, subseven, Donald Dick, whatever), and maybe someone else was using my PC to relay the files.

Use those 3 things, in order, and throw in a heaping helping of "Poor me, being attacked by a huge corporation with fancy expensive lawyers, and I can't even afford one...", mix with plenty of media attention, and viola: One beaten lawsuit.

Re:throw in the towel? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394872)

> From what I understand, the RIAA is settling nearly each of
> these cases out of court for a substantial profit. If that's

That is exactly correct. So far one person has stood up and resisted settling out of court.

So a press release saying the RIAA has sued 10,000 people is a complete fabrication. The RIAA has threatened to take people to court for everything they own over IP violations, and the people have backed down and paid multiple-K settlements instead.

They haven't paid the RIAA through judgments, they haven't paid *fines* to the RIAA, they haven't paid legally required fees to the RIAA, they have paid a *settlement* to the RIAA in order for the RIAA to not go ahead with legal action.

Repeat after me: The RIAA have not yet sued anyone. They have applied extortion using the threat of a costly legal battle involving megacorporation vs one individual.

Re:throw in the towel? (1, Informative)

Baricom (763970) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394957)

Repeat after me: The RIAA have not yet sued anyone.

Yes, they have [google.com] .

Re:throw in the towel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394987)

More press taking the RIAA line as fact. None have yet been sued. it is all threats.

Re:throw in the towel? (1, Insightful)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395020)

"From what I understand, the RIAA is settling nearly each of these cases out of court for a substantial profit."

Actually, not quite right -- in all likelihood, the per-case settlement amount is less than the per-case legal expenses.

The RIAA Will Never Quit (5, Insightful)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394812)

The RIAA will never quit suing P2P users because the RIAA is making a profit from it...

Profits from suing (5, Insightful)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394852)

The RIAA will never quit suing P2P users because the RIAA is making a profit from it...

How right you are! Imagine, 10k lawsuits. Let's assume that each one of them settles for an average of $5k (a pittance compared to what they could get by copyright law, and I believe many of these settlements are much higher).

At $5k a pop, 10k of these settlements is worth $50,000,000 dollars.

How long will it be before the profits from lawsuits exceeds that of music licensing for the RIAA? Is it really that far fetched to imagine? Settlements are better business than records ($5k vs. $9)...

Perhaps, like antivirus companies spinning virus out into the wild, the RIAA will begin quietly sponsoring P2P programming efforts in an attempt to expand their new market (defendants)...

These are strange times...

Re:Profits from suing (0)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394878)

At $5k a pop, 10k of these settlements is worth $50,000,000 dollars.
It costs alot of money to prosecute a case in a Superior Court my friend. There is no "profit motive" as you suggest in the suits, but rather a pandering to their constituency.

There is no "market" in suing the general public.

Re:Profits from suing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394899)

It costs alot of money to prosecute a case in a Superior Court my friend. There is no "profit motive" as you suggest in the suits, but rather a pandering to their constituency.

There is no "market" in suing the general public.


And the RIAA know this. They also know that none of the 10,000 people they have threatened to sue have actually gone ahead to any form of prosecution. It's all settlements.

The RIAA has NOT YET SUED ANYONE, they have ONLY THREATENED TO. They may very well win if it came to it, but so far they threaten to sue, people pay up. It's little more than the cost of their own internal lawyers to the RIAA.

Re:Profits from suing (1)

djward (251728) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394929)

But most of these suits never go to court. If people could afford to defend themselves, and make the thing go to court, it might not be profitable for the RIAA - in fact the RIAA might start losing. Problem is, they're suing for an amount just small enough that it's cheaper to settle than go to court. Clever, they are.

Just good, old-fashioned extortion. Almost protection money. This is getting out of hand.

Re:Profits from suing (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395054)

How much does it cost to have your lawyer send out a boiler plate letter threatening a lawsuit if you don't settle for $5,000? Even if you need to have your lawyer talk to them for a couple hours?

Probably $500 investment for a $5,000 profit. Not a bad return on investment. I don't think they will throw in the towel on that rate of return anytime soon.

Re:The RIAA Will Never Quit (1)

mirqry (861861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394896)

Of course they are making money from it. They are collecting the money for songs, that people had downloaded illegally and not paid for.

Re:The RIAA Will Never Quit (5, Insightful)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394911)

They are collecting the money for songs
Too bad the RIAA is keeping the money for themselves (only paying the Lawyers and the CEO's). Not a single penny from any of the 10,000 lawsuits have gone to the artists from whom "the money was stolen".

Re:The RIAA Will Never Quit (2)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394995)

Not a single penny from any of the 10,000 lawsuits have gone to the artists from whom "the money was stolen".

That's a pretty broad statement. Care to provide a citation?

Re:The RIAA Will Never Quit (1)

mirqry (861861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394926)

While I agree that the artists are underpaid. The money won in court/a settlement for violating a copyright, goes to the person that owns the copyright, which in most cases is the record company. If someone is concerned about the artist they buy music and give the arist, i agree, an pitifully low percentage. Because downloading it the artist gets zero.

Networks? (2, Funny)

killawatt5k (846409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394815)

I am under the impression emule is safe. Anyone heard otherwise? Any other p2p networks I should know about?

Re:Networks? (4, Informative)

RichardX (457979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394829)

It's not a file sharing network per se, but i2p [i2p.net] is an anonymity layer for the 'net which allows, amongst other things, for anonymous bittorrent.

who told you emule was safe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394831)

R144 0wñz j00 1P!

Re:who told you emule was safe? (1)

killawatt5k (846409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394851)

"R144 0wñz j00 1P!"
Well I haven't heard from my lawyer yet. Emule does have an IP filter which blocks requests from know IPs from the RIAA/MPAA.

Re:who told you emule was safe? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394889)

Well I haven't heard from my lawyer yet. Emule does have an IP filter which blocks requests from know IPs from the RIAA/MPAA.

Of course, such a filter is nearly worthless. It's trivial for the RIAA to get a consumer ISP account and gather data with that.

Re:Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395010)

I download music using an Emule-like client. I never share music however and while I'm downloading, I'm sharing so much pr0n that no one is ever able to try to download my partially loaded music files, i.e., pr0n is in such high demand that the music files are completed and unreachable long before anyone could successfully download even a single bit from me.

Re:Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395029)

I once received a few bytes of the movie "Matrix Reloaded.divx" or something, by mistake. Emule immediately puts the downloaded file, even those few bytes, available for others to download.

Some company in New York City scanning eDonkey network, saw it on my machine (even if they were few bytes only) and 2 days later I received an e-mail from my ISP that this company sent them an e-mail threatening a law suit..

It is a company getting paid by movie studios and other interest groups, for scanning these networks. And I was using E-mule.

Don't use those P2P things much anymore.. not sure if that anonimity layer or something is new.. this incident was almost 2 years ago I think.

Doesn't really matter... (3, Insightful)

RichardX (457979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394816)

Either the RIAA throws in the towel, or advances in anonymous secure filesharing make their efforts redundant - there are already several very promising and useable systems in development.
Either way, the RIAA can't keep up forever.

Re:Doesn't really matter... (0, Flamebait)

dawnread (851254) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394841)

Yeah, the thieves always win! Yay for criminals!

The growth of file 'sharing' just shows that humans are by nature cowardly thieving scum who will get away with only what they are allowed to. Many file 'sharers' would sneer at muggers or drug dealers but are quite happy to commit criminal acts online, because of the perceived safety.

And then they whine when they get caught.

Please note I will not reply to any 'ITS NOT STEALING!!!111ELEVEN!!' replies.

Re:Doesn't really matter... (3, Funny)

01000011011101000111 (868998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394897)

I had a badge once. It read "Don't steal, the government doesn't like the competition".

ITS NOT STEALING!!!111ELEVEN!! (5, Interesting)

killawatt5k (846409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394936)

When I'm not selling drugs or mugging people, I am donwloading err STEALING mp3s. but seriously how does this affect you? I am a musician, I've got an album out now! Do I encourage downloading my bands songs? YES! then more people would PAY to get into venues where my band is playing. If most bands weren't lazy they could make money off of playing live shows. Ever seen Forbes magazine? Each year who do you think the wealthiest musicians are? THE ONES WHO ARE TOURING! I've never seen someone make that list just off of CD sales...You insensitive Clod!

Re:ITS NOT STEALING!!!111ELEVEN!! (2, Insightful)

Future Man 3000 (706329) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395065)

I'm not a big fan of the RIAA's behavior or our current copyright laws (the length of copyright should have gotten shorter since Jefferson owing to cheaper production and wider/faster distribution), but I would have a hard time dictating artists must perform their work live to get paid.

Not all music translates well to concerts. Not all artists want to or have the health/lifestyle that permits them to tour or play live continuously. Some depend on album money and honestly wouldn't produce any music without it. I believe the current market can sustain casual downloading if it is followed up with enough music purchases, but you can't enforce that and if people were told tomorrow that such an honor system was in effect the industry may very well be bankrupt by the end of the year.

Watch the lifecycle of a BitTorrent stream if you don't believe me. Features like ratio-enforcement and banning appear because if you rely on the goodwill of the masses you'll get screwed over. That doesn't even take money into account -- just bandwidth.

Average Joe doesnt care (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394818)


i fit home systems for a large PC company and the first thing customers ask me when i have installed their broadband and PC is

"where can i download MP3s ?"

"illegal or legal ?"

"i dont care"

Re:Average Joe doesnt care (5, Funny)

compm375 (847701) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395039)

Good idea with the AC, but I don't believe you. If you really worked for a large PC company, you would talk to your customers in capital letters.

The towel will be tossed (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394826)

The day they are out of business, or they have managed to have every customer jailed. Remeber this is their new long term business model.

However, as time goes on the effects will diminish and they will look even more foolish.

Re:The towel will be tossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394919)

The day they are out of business, or they have managed to have every customer jailed. Remeber this is their new long term business model.

Worth mentioning is they have not jailed anybody, because none of their cases have reached a court. none of their cases have reached a judgment for or against the RIAA. none of the cases have required a person to pay a fine or payment to the RIAA after being found guilty of copyright infringement.

What they have done is threatened to drag individuals through the legal system for all they are worth, and instead of facing this people have the option to settle for $5k, $10k etc.

"nurb432, pay me $5,000 or I (on behalf of megacorporation) will drag your ass through the legal system until you bleed. your choice"

Re:The towel will be tossed (1)

01000011011101000111 (868998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395027)

Love to see that sum over here! In the uk, under £5000 is small claims court. So they sue me, I say ok, wait until it goes to court, don't turn up, they win, the bailiffs come round to collect and... I don't let them in. As they have no rights (IANAL, but my lecturer is, and i got this from her) to enter a property w/out permission, they get £0. Then the BMI/*AA get their... £0... which after their expensive lawyers fees of £10,000 ish means they get a whopping £-15,000 for suing me... Cool!

You fund this by buying CDs (5, Insightful)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394842)

You fund these lawsuits every time you buy a CD. Then they sue you, you settle and they sue even more people. Solution: stop buying CDs.

Re:You fund this by buying CDs (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394962)

And don't get sued, because your settlement will fund their lawsuits too.

Re:You fund this by buying CDs (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394969)

you're talking crap. Every time you buy a CD they get like £1-2 at very most. It doesn't even dent the money they have laying around. Several billion makes buying CDs laughable when you can just sue people and get a few thousand.

Re:You fund this by buying CDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394993)

You left out an important step: You fund these lawsuits every time you buy a CD. You rip mp3s and post them for others to download for free. Then they sue you, you settle and they sue even more people. Solution: stop buying CDs.

Re:You fund this by buying CDs (0)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395019)

"You fund these lawsuits every time you buy a CD. Then they sue you, you settle and they sue even more people. Solution: stop buying CDs."

How about stop uploading copyright music illegally online for a solution? That would stop the lawsuits, and BTW, if you're paying for your music by buying CD's why do you care who's getting sued for copyright infringement.

Throw in the towel? (1)

ctk76 (531418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394846)

True, they've alienated a lot of their potential customers, but have they really lost that much? I don't think they're gonna stop any time soon; it might even become their perennial task.

Re:Throw in the towel? (1)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394892)

Task?

Generally, something that you profit from isn't called a task. More like an event.

Maybe they could pool all of their lawsuits into one day, and we could declare it an international holiday!

How about trying to 'fix' it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394847)

They've always been so adamant about file sharing being a huge problem for the industry, but they could be using part of the money they spend on legal fees by helping develop a solution to the "problem."

Re:How about trying to 'fix' it... (5, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394895)

The solution is for people to stop buying CDs and listening to music created by members of the RIAA. Until you stop doing this the "problem", as you put it, will continue.

New business plan... (5, Funny)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394858)

1) Start a band (Alternatively: illegally download some techno making software)
2) Release some songs on p2p networks
3) Wait for it...
4) Wait for it...
5) Sue 10,037 people for a profit. ("...the RIAA's probably collected over $30 million from individual file sharers.")

Absolutely perfect. I see no flaws.

Re:New business plan... (2, Insightful)

01000011011101000111 (868998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394907)

Until the guys who first downloaded the tracks from you (legal copying, with license to distribute) come forward, give evidence you publicly released your music, and you get a class action from 10,037 people for (slander/libel - I can never remember which is which).

Re:New business plan... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394928)

that would be called perjury when you lie in court, then bubba makes you his new "special friend"

Re:New business plan... (1)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394937)

I am sure that they could be released in such a way that they would have a hard time tracing it back to you. As well, if 10,037 people are willing to settle out of court with the RIAA, why not with me?

Re:New business plan... (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395047)

" 1) Start a band (Alternatively: illegally download some techno making software)
2) Release some songs on p2p networks
3) Wait for it...
4) Wait for it...
5) Sue 10,037 people for a profit. ("...the RIAA's probably collected over $30 million from individual file sharer"

I know this was supposed to be a joke, but it doesn't make sense, because why would 10,000 people download a song from a band they've never heard of (unless you make the file name a song they have heard of)

They will stop.... (4, Insightful)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394860)

.... only after people stop settling outside of court and ask for jury trials.

Re:They will stop.... (1)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394873)

Can they do this? I thought that only criminal cases can go to jury.

Re:They will stop.... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394881)

What happens when people start losing? And they will lose, big time. How about you step up to the plate though and show us all how it's done.

Re:They will stop.... (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394982)

First, RIAA has no reason to sue me. Second, if everyone starts going to trial, it won't be worth it for RIAA. Third, if people on the jury do filesharing (and your lawyer should make sure some do), then you have better chances of winning.

Re:They will stop.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395040)

They file for bankruptcy and start over. If you are a college student with little or no assets then chapter 7 is the way to go.

Re:They will stop.... (4, Insightful)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394903)

You do realize "It's not stealing, Your Honor, it's just copyright infringement" isn't a valid legal defense, don't you?

Re:They will stop.... (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395036)

No jury will fine someone a billion dollars for sharing music.

High profits with than without (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394862)

We show that the matching effect may dominate so that a label's profits are higher with P2P networks than without.

Yeah, but they'll be even higher with the networks and the lawsuits. I think everyone who's given the matter even a moment's though realizes that the lawsuits are not stopping file-sharing. It's just that they can milk their "opposed" position for settlement money in addition to benefitting the the "matching effect."

I doubt it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394877)

Just wait until their puppets in other countries penetrate their copyright laws.

Are they even losing money? (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394884)

For some reason no one seems to ever ask the question, are they really losing as much money as they say they are? I, for one, would do without something I don't want to pay for, which is why I "pirate" it, the programs, games, and other media that I really think are worth buying I do pay for, am I the only person who does this?

Re:Are they even losing money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394939)

No, you aren't.

Re:Are they even losing money? (1)

Murphy Murph (833008) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395013)

For some reason no one seems to ever ask the question, are they really losing as much money as they say they are? I, for one, would do without something I don't want to pay for, which is why I "pirate" it, the programs, games, and other media that I really think are worth buying I do pay for, am I the only person who does this?


You aren't the only person who claims to do this...

Vote with your wallet (5, Interesting)

Rupan (723469) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394893)

Now I know that many people enjoy music as a form of entertainment. However, consider also what the politics behind this entertainment are. What kind of companies are you supporting by listening to / buying this music?

When the RIAA started these lawsuits a few years back (what was it? 1999? 2001?), I was shocked and outraged. I couldn't believe what lengths these corporations would go to in prosecuting what amounts to a few cents' worth of theft per song. The defendants, while they did execute illegal act(s), are being punished far beyond the damages they caused.

What can one do, then? I decided to stop buying music CDs. I no longer listen to the radio, and hardly ever download music from p2p. I believe that since these lawsuits started several years ago, I have bought a total of about 3 CDs. Instead, I spend my time with more productive activities such as programming or spending time with my wife.

I know this isn't an option for many people, but it works for me. By refusing to purchase CDs, I vote against the RIAA with my wallet. By not listening to the radio, I don't support the stations that license the same music. You, as a reader of slashdot, might do well to try to find something like this to voice your disapproval. Heavy-handed tactics used as a business model = lost customers.

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394922)

By refusing to purchase CDs, I vote against the RIAA with my wallet.

Sorry, but this simply isn't an option for people who actually enjoy music from artists on RIAA labels. Boycotts can be effective, but it's not the greatest idea to make the artists suffer because of the actions of an organization that their record label belongs to.

Re:Vote with your wallet (4, Informative)

linguae (763922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394977)

There is a solution to get your music legally (in the United States, don't know about other places) without funding the RIAA; just buy used CDs and tapes. Your local library might have some CDs and tapes that you can borrow for a few weeks and listen to. In this scenario, you can get your music legally without giving the RIAA any more cash. Try it before the RIAA bans the resale of music.

Now, this idea isn't effective for the latest music available, but you should be able to get lots of old CDs of many genres and musicians.

Re:Vote with your wallet (2, Interesting)

01000011011101000111 (868998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394933)

I agree totally. I've recently grabbed a copy of irate - rate & download freely released & CC'd music, by unknown bands - no license fees to anyone. The only downside of this is that now I want to go see a load of bands in other countries (e.g. Quick Fix - Boston, Girl With A Monkey - Stockholm)

Re:Vote with your wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394940)

Instead, I spend my time with more productive activities such as programming or spending time with my wife.

You can't listen to music with your wife, or as you program?

Re:Vote with your wallet (1)

SocialEngineer (673690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394959)

You don't have to completely stop buying CDs - I stopped buying NEW CDs (except for those released under labels not affiliated with the RIAA).. Click here to find out whether a CD is or not [magnetbox.com] .

I hit used CD stores all the time - not only do I get my music without supporting the RIAA juggernaut, I get it CHEAP. I can get 5 CDs for around 30 bucks or less (Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Led Zep, VNV Nation, Holst, Vivaldi, KMFDM, and way more).

Plus, a number of used CD stores give indie artists an outlet for distributing their own music. I've both distributed my own and purchased others through lots of smaller shops.

Re:Vote with your wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394986)

What kind of companies are you supporting by listening to / buying this music?

None whatsoever, since every time I hear about record companies acting in an abusive manner, I am further discouraged from buying music. I download it instead.

Back when I was at university, I had a stupidly fast connection to the Internet. I downloaded a lot, but when I found stuff I liked, I usually bought a few albums by that artist.

After I left university, I had a slower Internet connection and much more disposable income. You'd think I'd download less and buy more, wouldn't you? Nope, the more I heard about how the record companies act (including what any reasonable person would consider government corruption in more than one country), the less I bought and the more I downloaded. A couple of years ago I stopped giving them any money whatsoever.

You don't have to stop buying CDs (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395060)

Just stop buying RIAA CDs. There are people outside the RIAA memebers that make music, good music. A good one is cdbaby.com, they are all indy, all the time. They deal directly with artists. They categorize and recommend music and there's lots that's quite good. Another place to check out is cdroots.com. They don't do the indy thing per se, but they are all about world music, and most of their stuff comes from outside the US and is rarely big label things. If you are looking for something different, it's a great place to go.

You don't need to stop listening to music, it's a wonderful thing to do, and many people find it helps them focus and be more productive. You just need to find it from sources not affiliateed with the RIAA cartel. While that's not as easy as walking to Best Buy, it's not very hard.

Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (3, Interesting)

thorpie (656838) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394904)

Can anyone actually comment on the legality of downloading what you already "own" in another format?

I am a fairly old fart and mostly I have downloaded music that I have already paid for, mostly old vinyl records and some that I have on video

Just what are the legals of this situation in the USA? What are the legals elsewhere, europe & Australia?

Re:Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (1)

Starbreeze (209787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394927)

It's not the downloading... it's the uploading/sharing that is illegal. You can justify it as format shifting. Just don't share it back out. Though, I know that's how the networks actually survive.

Re:Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395041)

Downloading music that you didn't pay for is indeed illegal. Copyright infringement cuts both ways. RIAA is only interested in those who facilitate it, not those who download.

Re:Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394952)

No one (to my knowledge) has been sued by the RIAA for mere downloading or posessing mp3's. They are going after uploaders.

I've found it MUCH easier to record my own LP's into mp3/OGG/format of choice. No problem with dicked up recordings from dubious sources.

Re:Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (4, Informative)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394954)

During the Napster case, the Napster people called this "space shifting." The phrase was meant to evoke the "time shifting" that the Supreme Court had ruled was fair use for owners of VCRs. The district and appeals courts both rejected the argument that consumers had the right to download MP3s of songs they already owned so they could listen to them away from home.

Unless you are personally making the copy from the actual physical CD or LP you own, owning the music in a different format is not a defense. If you personally rip your own CDs to MP3s, however, then you're actions are legal under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992.

Re:Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (1)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394964)

Ack.
"your" not "you're"

Re:Legals of Old fart digitising his vinyl (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395038)

Well, if I understand the law correctly, in the United States, you're not allowed to download unauthorized copyrighted material, even if you already own a copy of it. The reason for this is because you are still infringing the copyright of the owners of the material; even though you're not the one redistributing the material, you're not legally allowed to knowingly get a bootlegged version of copyrighted material. However, you are allowed to "rip" the tracks off of the vinyl (I'm using CD terminology here) and place it on another medium, since that is fair use and you're not distributing it to the general public.

In honor of a certain recent movie release (3, Funny)

Lumpmoose (697966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394909)

...making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel.

Shoot! It's hard enough to fight a behemoth conglomerate like the RIAA without it having the most useful thing in the universe on hand.

download now, pay later? (5, Interesting)

mrterrysilver (826735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394912)

the referenced legal paper says:

Abstract:
When a minimum statutory damage award has a large punitive component, the danger arises that the award's punitive effect, when aggregated across many similar acts, will become so tremendous that it imposes a penalty grossly excessive in relation to any legitimate interest in punishment or deterrence.


i believe this means the RIAA is suing for ridiuclous large sums of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars for each mp3, even though in actuality the damages to the RIAA is much much smaller than what they're sueing for. a similar type of incident occured before in a court case:

BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, where the Court held unconstitutional a jury's punitive damage award of two million dollars to a plaintiff who suffered four thousand dollars in actual damages from the defendant's deceptive trade practices.

the author of the legal document is simply making an argument that the ruling of the BMW v Gore case should also apply to this case. the actual damages to the RIAA are a closer to a few dollars per song rather than the hundreds of thousands they're suing for. it will be very interesting if anyone being sued actually takes this kind of approach.

Can I have a +5 mod Insightful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394923)

For spastically reacting thus: "Its not stealing its copyright infingement". Can I, huh? Huh?

The xxAAs aren't going to stop until ... (2, Insightful)

crovira (10242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394924)

WE come up with a business model that THEY can live with (from/via/off of/.../whatever.)

They're in the business of sueing people until they don't have a reason to do so anymore. That's what they've been doing since the nineteenth century and before.

Every advance from the piano roll to the MP3 has been met with the kind of dogged, to the death, resistance normally encountered in a Pit Bull arena.

When you're stealing other people's creativity and have none of your own, you defend your right to be a parasite with legal anti-piperazine.

Of course, every now and they they go too far and get their wrists slapped, like the last time they were convicted of price fixing in California.

They emptied they warehouses filled with every piece of back catalog crap that time. "We ripped you off. Have this audio dog, uh, wonderful vynil recording of "Milton Freebish sings 'Sony and Cher'" album to make up for it."

You want's to get them to cease and desist, you have to figure out a way that they can keep on collecting money for other people work every second of every day.

That's when they'll shut up. Not before. They're thieves egardless of how they justify it. And YOU are going to have to find them a new pocket to live in.

OK (3, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394931)


Granted that copyright infringement is against the law and should be pursued more by the government like other crimes that the government has established, I wish the government would rerecognise their belief in a free economy and that no company has any right to profit nor compensation for loss of profit.

I don't do MP3, so I'm free of this, but the core here is not copyright infringement, but rather the price of distribution of a product. This is pretty much exclusively what the RIAA companies make money on. The sale of an aluminum disc impregnated in plastic. However, these guys are getting their music in an inferior format with a different distribution channel at a much lower cost of distribution.

Am I missing something, or is this how supply and demand works? I pay 80+ dollars a month for cable and about 40 for broadband internet that satisfies a good deal of my music concerns. I just paid almost $2,000 for my car stereo in my new car and I buy blank CDs in bulk. In the past week I spent about $150 in concert tickets.

What the fuck else do these people want from me? Its getting to the point that it almost appears more productive to simply go to prison or jail the rest of ones life, but even then your subject to chronic searches and whatnot to make sure your not doing what your "supposed" to do while there.

In summary, fuck you RIAA. Provide at some bare minimum a competing product to p2p downloads, or just go away. Music has lasted before you, and will outlast you. Your relationship with the music industry is entirely up to you. So long as you are providing a valuable product to consumers, you will exist. So long as you sue your customers, your annoying.

Re:OK (1)

mirqry (861861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394971)

I just don't understand how people justify... violating a copyright, stealing, ect....what ever you like to call it, because the company charges too much. Just don't buy the product, and they will have to fix their ridiculous prices. By stealing it and getting caught you are stuck giving them more money then if you bought it.

File Sharing != Stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395025)

Downloading music that you didn't pay for is not tantamount to breaking into a record store and stealing an album.

RIAA and the long-tail (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394973)

I'd bet that the economics of P2P depend on the "popularity" of the artist. P2P file copying probably helps obscure artists because it helps listeners overcome the cost and risk barier of buying an unknown artist. But file copying probably hurts more popular artists when people download must-have (but don't neccessarily want ot pay-for) manufactured hits by a known artist. P2P fragments the listening population by connecting them with more artists. In theory, the total outcome can be better as P2P file copying expands people's interests and helps them find music they consider worth paying for.

On the other hand, RIAA, I'll wager, is more concerned with preserving blockbuster artists than in promoting obscure ones. It's easier (and more ego-boosting) to ride the back of a Britney Spears than it is to promote a thousand no-name bands. Moreover, its more cost-efficient for music distributors to sell 10 million copies of one album than hassle with selling 15,000 copies of a 1000 artists. Even in a digital age, creating a distribution relationship with 1000 artists is harder (and less sexy) than having a single relationship with a megastar .

Fragmentation of people's musical interests is not in RIAA's best interests even if it expands the total music industry by more effectgively matching content creators to content consumers.

what's wrong with this picture? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394976)

it looks as though the US Government is trying to place more importance on intellectual property (ip), without regard for individual rights and rights of fair use. first, there is that insane law that's just been passed about getting 3 years for distributing a pre release video. it feels that it will only be a matter of time before the audio version of this come out, and/or all digital content being entirely painted with criminal penalties.

the problem here is that individuals have come up with new ways of distributing content using the internet that the big players do not know how to incorporate into their business models without (they think) losing money. why is that? do they really think that sueing everyone into submission will insure that their content will not be distributed? and even if the US succeeds in 100% preventing ANY file sharing or content ripping, what about the rest of the world? will they extradite all of their 'criminals' so that the US can put them all in jail?

the content creators need to find that fast, easy distribution method that consumers will pay for. the government needs to stop giving away your rights, and finally, the people need to stop giving the politicians the ability to do this. how has this happened?

Put your money where your mouth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12394991)

Slashdotters are constantly complaining about the lawsuits, DMCA and other bad laws, etc. from the entertainment industry. Yet in the next article they are hyping the latest Star Wars, LOTR, or whatever other products from the SAME COMPANIES. You make these laws and lawsuits possible, every time you buy a CD or go to the movies. It will stop when you stop paying them to trample on your rights.

Ones and Zeroes (-1, Offtopic)

knightri (841297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12394994)

Its all just 1's and 0's. Who cares what order I keep them in?

You're asking the wrong question (0, Troll)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395001)

"It has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel."

Isn't the question to ask, when will people stop sharing copyrighted music online illegally? There's no reason why the RIAA does not have a right to sue these people. It doesn't matter how many arguements you put forward saying the p2p is good for the music industry, the copyright owners still have no obligation to do what you see is best for them.

Other statistics I'm interested in. (3, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395008)

Okay, so the RIAA has sued 10,000 people. Fine, great. That's an interesting statstic. But I'm more interested in the RESULTS:

How many of the suits have gone to court, rather than being extorted... urr... "settled" out of court?

Of those that weren't settled out of court, how many are slated to go to trial?

Of those that have gone to trial, what are the results of the trail? How many traders were found guilty? What evidence has the RIAA presented thus far?

THAT is the information I'm more interested in. They can sue as many people as they want. I want to know what the results of those suits are.

Favorite site taken over by whiny lawyers (-1, Troll)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395024)

You know what? I'm getting tired of all these stories about lawsuits and legalese. I come here for "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." To me this means discussion of things that are intellectually too demanding for the regular news. I expect more links to Nature. Or even New Scientist. And less to Groklaw. In fact, I actually want ZERO stories about law. Zero stories about corporations. And a lot less helpless whining.

Re:Favorite site taken over by whiny lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395056)

Stop whining yourself then, you moron.

Go to your preferences and make sure you don't get stories from YRO (Your Rights Online).

Problem solved.

Now go away.

Hitchhiker's Guide reference? (1)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395031)

[The RIAA] has now sued over 10,000 file sharers for copyright infringement, making it a good time to ask if the RIAA will ever throw in the towel.
Was that a Hitchhiker's Guide reference?

Lawsuits = Damaging to society (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395043)

It's interesting to me how the labels are able to generate a cycle of lawsuits aimed at "educating" people on IP laws, when in fact they point out that p2p increases sales. Where are the policy changes or the development of label-run P2P networks to cash in?

The status quo is detrimental to a society which runs on IP. I'm a little pissed that the data shows that P2P helps the labels' bottom lines, yet they fail to innovate. I suspect that this is due to an obese business model, which will die as our networks and technology replace elements of their vertical (and horizontal) integration.

I would like to see the labels pay the price when their limelighted artists realize that people are listening to digital music - which can be produced with skilled contractors and minimal management. It will require more geeks (who build the tools) and artists (using them) and less lawyers and protectionism (media conglomerates extending their IP rights)

I believe that, with time, the internet will help us route around this "damage" and reinstate fairness over obvious corporate greed.

-----
Viva la evolution!

Bright Side. (5, Funny)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395046)

Look on the bright side. Firefox is 5000 times more successful than RIAA.

Has *anyone* fought a suit? (1)

pumpkinempanada (522760) | more than 9 years ago | (#12395055)

I keep reading about all the settlements, but out of 10,000 cases, has no one taken it to court? I am curious as to whether these lawsuits ever lead to trials and convictions, or whether the RIAA can be beaten.

mo3 u4 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12395069)

play parties the if desir3d, we
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