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Programmer Challenges RIAA Investigators

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Music 238

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In court papers filed today in Manhattan federal court, programmer Zi Mei has slammed the investigation on which the 'ex parte' orders obtained in the RIAA's cases against consumers are based. Armed with Mei's affidavit, a midwesterner -- sued in Atlantic v. Does 1-25 in New York City as 'John Doe Number 8' -- has asked the judge to vacate the 'ex parte' order on the ground that the RIAA doesn't have the evidence it needs to get such an order. If Doe wins, the RIAA's subpoenas to the ISP, for its subscriber's identities, will be thrown out."

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IMPRESSIVE (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361686)

but probably not effective, young master.

SILLY HU-MAN (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361692)

You will be crushed by RIAA! Rocket-subpoena arms-- ACTIVATE!

ex parte (5, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361697)

Here [lectlaw.com] is an explanation of "ex parte".

Re:ex parte (4, Informative)

eatmadust (740035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361730)

or here [wikipedia.org] on wikipedia.

Re:ex parte (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361754)

or here [legal-explanations.com] or here [dictionary.net] or here [answers.com] or here [thefreedictionary.com] or here [wordwebonline.com] or here [thefreedictionary.com] or here [m-w.com] or here [studycrime.com] or here [legal-definitions.com] .

Re:ex parte (5, Funny)

Heem (448667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361770)

or here [slashdot.org]

Re:ex parte (1, Funny)

sd_diamond (839492) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362623)

A.K.A. "The Recursive Slashdot Effect"

Re: ex parte (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361773)

> or here or here or here or here or here or here or here or here or here.

You can also find a lot of links about it on Slashdot.

Re: ex parte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362735)

A.K.A. "The Redundant Slashdot Effect"

Re:ex parte (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361756)

Thanks.

Re:ex parte (5, Interesting)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362377)

You US people are lucky that ex parte decisions are only allowed for giving the identity of someone with a certain IP address.

A few years ago, the US government bullied my country into making new law under the threat of a trade war.

This new legislation allows copyright holders to obtain an "ex parte" court order to enter and search private homes without informing the people living in these private homes if the copyright holder can show that it is "probable" that someone living there has infringed on a copyright. There is no requirement that the police be involved in such searches of private homes (first time this has been allowed in my country), and the law gives the copyright holder a right to be present at the search (never before have the other side in a civil case been allowed to be present during a search of a private home in my country).

This has regularly been abused. In very few cases the "evidence" found in such searches has ever been used in a court of law. Instead most cases have been settled before court by the people searched in fear of the copyright holders releasing information on what was found during the search (legal or not).

I used to have a hard time understanding why some people were thinking the US was imperialistic and why the US had to be opposed in any way possible, but no longer.

Tomorrow it may be my door that the US entertainment industry kicks down.

Does somebody want to take a guess if I still like the US?

Re:ex parte (2, Insightful)

Eccles (932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362421)

And you wonder why so many Americans seem so fond of the Second Amendment... (Not to mention the Fourth, of course.)

Re:ex parte (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362607)

Soooo, your weak country caves to US demands, and it's the US you're mad at? Try voting, if you're allowed to still do that in the crappy third world nation you seemingly live in.

Re:ex parte (3, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362620)

Sounds like a Danish problem to me--why blame the US? "Under the threat of a trade war" with an E.U. country? That happens every day...

Re:ex parte (3, Insightful)

Adams4President (849082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362630)

Yeah that seems to be a popular tactic of the tyrannical leaders of certain third-world countries these days. Pass a law that gives said leader more power and blame the US for "forcing" him to do so.

Re:ex parte (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362675)

You're fixing the blame in the wrong place.

The evilness that is the RIAA may have spawned here, but it is no more American than BP.

Corporate monsters are a side effect of liberty and capitalism. Yes, they do rise and must be slain, but they are easier to quell than the monsters that arise under other systems.

The real America and real Americans want for you the same thing they want for themselves: the liberty to do as you will so long as it harm none, the opportunity to provide for yourself and your family, the security of a stable society in which to ply your trade, a government that serves you rather than the reverse, a little fun now and then.

If our implementation differs from the ideal, please forgive us. We're working on it. Look around and you'll seen that others have fared not so well.

Ex Parte (4, Informative)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361699)

IANAL, but have been paralegalling for a few years now. Ex parte is the term used when one side in a case speaks with the Judge without the other side being privy to what is said.

If he can get this tossed it would be a pretty big blow to the RIAA's case.

Re:Ex Parte (4, Insightful)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361820)

A Big Blow? It might be the Mike Tyson-style knockout punch that the defendants have been looking for. It will establish a precident for the rest of the "John Doe" lawsuits that the *AA's have slathered all over the nation.

About bloody time someone found a way to cripple these borderline-illegal 'suits once and for all... That is, IF the judge sees it the right way.

Ex Parte is not applicaple here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362388)

He will lose.

Ex Parte is not applicapable.

He is being sued but he is not being sued. The owner of the IP address at the given point in time the RIAA cites in its lawsuite is being sued. It is like saying a reltal car was involved in a hit and run and it is illegeal to make Hertz diclose the identity of the person who had it rented at that time.

just so you are sure about what I said. HE WILL LOSE, as he should.

Re:Ex Parte (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362715)

That is, if the judge sees it the right way.
In the modern "justice" system, "the right way" has become a synonym for "whoever has {more/the most} money and/or connections."

:/

Ex Parte = Butt Pirate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361847)

Eat my anal matter

Represent yourself? (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362296)

Question: How does a 'John Doe' fight a lawsuit?

My guess: At some point, their ISP notified him, they retained a lawyer and the lawyer is making motions and appearing on his behalf.

This works, but only for people who can afford a laywer .

How are you supposed to represent yourself in a John Doe case?

Re:Represent yourself? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362451)

Have your name changed to John Doe?

what the fuck (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361731)

is the summary trying to say? it's nonsensical gibberish

Re:what the fuck (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361749)

is the summary trying to say? it's nonsensical gibberish

Ah, young Padawan learner, you have discovered a truth. Now put down your light saber, it is time to teach law, so that in time you to will be paid $200 an hour to write word salad.

Word Salad? (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361909)

Fictional RIAA Victim: I paid my lawyer $200 an hour, still went to jail and all I got was a tossed salad.

Re:what the fuck (5, Interesting)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361768)

Right now the RIAA is the only person talking to the judge about this case, because the defendents are all "John Doe" and thus are unable to be identified and brought before the judge.

From the impression that I gett, I think RIAA is trying rigerously to get a finding against these individuals for copyright infringement, and then get their identity. More likely, they're using these ex parte appearances (where the defendent isn't present) to get the judge to authorize them to be able to obtain the names required in order to bring a proper suit against these people.

I'd say this is pretty similar to a situation where someone breaks into your house, and leaves a very weak trail, and the cops peeter out. So, you sue the person as a John Doe, then try and use that to find out who John Doe is.

Basically, it's like putting the cart before the horse to me. They're suing people before they even know who they're suing. For all they know, they could be suing someone on their legal team, or even the judge!

Re:what the fuck (1)

joey.dale (796383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361808)

Or as in the past, A dead person

Re:what the fuck (3, Informative)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361810)

Right now the RIAA is the only person...
Never say that.

Re:what the fuck (2, Informative)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362187)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_entity

Courts deal with "persons", which are actually legal entities. It just so happens that in the vast majority of cases, legal entities are confined in squishy tissue boundaries.

But there are a number of "persons" who can appear before court that aren't confined in squishy tissue boundaries. (btw, that's a real legal term... squishy tissue boundary...)

sorry, I just got totally sidetracked there...

Re:what the fuck (4, Insightful)

InvalidError (771317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361906)

Some ISPs will not release customer information unless a court order tells them to... and this is how things should be.

To get these court orders, RIAA/MPAA/etc. usually have to file lawsuits. The *AAs know the ISPs have the customers' info but until they get the court orders, all they have to work with are activity logs showing people from certain IPs accessing illegal content at specific times. Once they have the order, the ISPs are legally required to tell them who owned those IPs at those specific times and amend the lawsuits with the actual names.

Which do you prefer? ISPs readily disclosing customer info to *AA leading the *AA to extort people directly or ISPs refusing to disclose info until forced by the courts during the normal discovery process? Following due process at least prevents the *AA from picking specific targets and also forces them to more thoroughly investigate each case they plan to file. Having to file formal lawsuits also prevents them from pretending it never happened when cases turn out to be dead-ends or backfire.

The *AAs fought long and hard to circumvent due process but they failed, now they're forced to sue Jon Doe by following due process... everybody should be happy that the *AAs are finally using the legal system the way they are supposed to instead of trying to work around it.

Re:what the fuck (4, Interesting)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362173)

Which do you prefer? ISPs readily disclosing customer info to *AA leading the *AA to extort people directly or ISPs refusing to disclose info until forced by the courts during the normal discovery process?

Neither. I want the ISPs to have the ability to refuse to disclose customer information to the RIAA unless they have been issued a court order. Note, this isn't EXACTLY what you said in the second part, because it allows that the ISP can choose to disclose the information, if upon their own evaluation the information is warranted.

If the ISP releases the information and it wasn't warranted or permitted, then you have the recourse of acting against them. Also note, this is the way it is now.

Following due process at least prevents the *AA from picking specific targets and also forces them to more thoroughly investigate each case they plan to file.

That's exactly the point. Who knows it's due process, until the court examines it. John Doe #8 is asserting that the RIAA has not sufficiently followed due process in their actions against him and the other 25 John Does.

It's all a legal battle. In court, everyone says their going to do something, and they try and make their case, and the court either agrees or disagrees, then they move on to the next matter.

The *AAs fought long and hard to circumvent due process but they failed, now they're forced to sue Jon Doe by following due process... everybody should be happy that the *AAs are finally using the legal system the way they are supposed to instead of trying to work around it.

Crap, wait... were you agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. Either way, I agree with this statement...

If you were agreeing with me, then it's all good, but if not... um... I don't know what to argue about since we both agree that it's a good thing that the RIAA is being forced to operate under due process.

RIAA & Due Process? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362437)

You and the GP seem to be making the mistake in assuming that the RIAA is working according to the letter of the law.

The news is only reporting the number of John Does being sued.

I think it would be naive to assume that there aren't a fairly large number of people who got turned in by their ISP & settled instead of being sued first.

Re:what the fuck (1)

ademaskoo (727406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362394)

Why can't the ISP's simply stop keeping this data?

Re:what the fuck (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362402)

Once they have the order, the ISPs are legally required to tell them who owned those IPs at those specific times and amend the lawsuits with the actual names.

That is not correct.

First of all, the first step is a subpoena, not a court order. A subpoena and a court order are two entirely different things.

If the ISP does not have that information, then they can't tell them. There is, to my knowledge, no law in the U.S. requiring ISPs to collect and store that information.

Once subpoenad, most ISPs, especially small ones, will provide the information at that point, if they have it. An ISP could, if they desired, fight the subpoena in court.

Once the court orders the ISP to turn over the information, the ISP must either comply or appeal to a higher court.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.

Re:what the fuck (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362021)

For all they know, they could be suing someone on their legal team, or even the judge!

Yeah, I'm waiting for them to sue someone awkward, like a celeb or someone in the gov't. I mean, with all the people pirating, it's almost a gaurantee that they'll get someone important sooner or later.

Re:what the fuck (1)

E8086 (698978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362216)

"or someone in the gov't"

like good olde Senator Hatch?

Re:what the fuck (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362257)

like good olde Senator Hatch

Problem: These are Senators we're talking about. You think the people who pass these sorts of ridiculous laws actually know how to turn a computer on? I mean, if they tried to fileshare, it'd be beyond their abilities to google "BitTorrent".

Yea that will work (-1, Troll)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361751)

Hope this works. cause I wasnt there when the judge issued that search warrent to the police. So that means the warrent isnt valid. Which means anything they found cant be used against me (Fruit of the poisoned tree). Does this mean i can sue the police to get my 650 pound stash of pat back ?

Re:Yea that will work (3, Informative)

dark404 (714846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361760)

except that this is a civil case, not a criminal one, and a motion for discovery not a request for a warrent.

Re:Yea that will work (-1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361764)

Another stoner with impeccable grasp of the law.

well done sir, well done.

Re:Yea that will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361800)

Does this mean i can sue the police to get my 650 pound stash of pat back ?

Only if you promise to smoke it all.

ahem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361806)

Does this mean i can sue the police to get my 650 pound stash of pat back

Who's Pat, and why do the police have him? Why would you want someone who's so heavy?

Re:ahem (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362408)

Why would you want someone who's so heavy?

To have someone who can throw his weight around?

Re:ahem (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362710)

He ain't heavy, he's my brother. (You insensitive clod.)

down with Media Sentry (3, Interesting)

E8086 (698978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361772)

Chances are the majority of accused John Does are guilty but there's always the chance of a false positive(Mythbusters drug test), incorrect data reporting, creative accounting practices, wait that was Enron, I mean creative data reporting, MediaSentry: if we add to this big list of shared songs to the small one we just found the RIAA will may us more money.
I don't recall hearing the results of any challenge to their data mining, but if they go with the closed source/proprietary code/industry secret response I hope it results in all their "evidence" being tossed.

unfortunately the pdf link is broken or has been slashdoted

Re:down with Media Sentry (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361845)

the majority of accused John Does are guilty but there's always the chance of a false positive

I absolutely disagree. I'm the registered agent contact for a regional ISP and routinely receive RIAA communications regarding their allegations of offenses within our address space. Here's a few aspects of my ongoing experience with the RIAA and other intellectual property protection parties (mostly publishers in my experience outside of the RIAA):

  • ignoring the registered agent requirement: In almost every single case since the change in the law, the RIAA has ignored the registered agent provision. They are required to go through this party and follow certain notification requirements to comply with the law and obtain their ability of recourse by demonstrating this compliance. They repeatedly and intentionally ignore the law. Typically, they will notify helpdesk or receptionist employees at the company via telephone, or notify our upstream ISP with a demand for compliance inconsistent with the law's specifications (e.g. they will file a suit within two business days if the address in question is not shut off).
  • They do not provide evidence required by the law. I've been repeatedly demanded to shut off a subscriber, name the subscriber and provide contact information (name, billing address, phone, and other items that would clearly violate Gramm Leach Bliley if there wasn't legal grounds for giving it out) on evidence like this: "We've discovered IP address 192.168.3.3 has copied our intellectual property." Name of file? Evidence that the filename is actually property-holder's IP and not just another file with the same name? Evidence that the alleging party holds the IP rights to this property? Time/date and details of the event? (I've *yet* to be given timestamps from the RIAA - wtf? Somebody give them a dollar so they can buy a freaking clock).
  • Threats that exceed legal authority and actually may encourage legal recourse when a response is made notifying them of their obligation to comply under the law. I've even had RIAA attorneys contact our upstream and notify them that we "hadn't complied" (with a noncompliant request with zero documentation, ignoring the law) and the upstream was given hours to shut our connection serving 1/3 of a state off or face lawsuits.


The appropriate response is a legal one, and mind you, a legal one that has a letterhead of partner names that spans the top of the piece of paper (meaning not a small private practice, but a large firm that is enough to scare the RIAA into understanding your counsel has deep resources that can counterclaim and hurt them).

Another strong recommendation is for all smaller ISPs to provide their upstream with a letter on the lawfirm's letterhead just briefing them on your compliance with the registered agent provision, requesting evidence of their compliance, and a subtle reminder that if they ever fail to follow the law, they'll get to know your counsel really well as you recover damages from business interruption, damage to goodwill and all sorts of exciting, expensive claims.

This letter will probably cost you $300 to $500 depending on your firm, but it'll save your ass. It has done so for us at least two times when the RIAA completely ignored the law and sent its night-school, white-shoe attorneys after our upstream carrier.

Oh... and in my investigation of the John Does, I've usually found P2P running in a bit more than half the cases with parents unaware that Bearshare was loaded by their minor child, and in about a third the cases, no evidence in traffic flows of any P2P (nor any historical data from NIDS monitoring). Not that we'd ever keep such data (don't and have a policy of wiping it weekly).

Re:down with Media Sentry (1)

freakybob (715183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361923)

Finally, a clear account of what the RIAA does that isn't biased, gossipy hearsay. My god, they really are assholes. Your ISP rocks.

Re:down with Media Sentry (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362146)

They do not provide evidence required by the law. I've been repeatedly demanded to shut off a subscriber, name the subscriber and provide contact information (name, billing address, phone, and other items that would clearly violate Gramm Leach Bliley if there wasn't legal grounds for giving it out)

Are ISP's covered by Gramm-Leach-Bliley?

Re:down with Media Sentry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362227)

What is the name of your ISP, good sir?

Gramm Leach Bliley (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362419)

http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/glba ct.html [ftc.gov]

The Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the "Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act" or GLB Act, includes provisions to protect consumers' personal financial information held by financial institutions. There are three principal parts to the privacy requirements: the Financial Privacy Rule, Safeguards Rule and pretexting provisions.

The GLB Act gives authority to eight federal agencies and the states to administer and enforce the Financial Privacy Rule and the Safeguards Rule. These two regulations apply to "financial institutions," which include not only banks, securities firms, and insurance companies, but also companies providing many other types of financial products and services to consumers. Among these services are lending, brokering or servicing any type of consumer loan, transferring or safeguarding money, preparing individual tax returns, providing financial advice or credit counseling, providing residential real estate settlement services, collecting consumer debts and an array of other activities. Such non-traditional "financial institutions" are regulated by the FTC. ...
I think the defining part of the above description is: financial products and [financial] services to consumers.

I'm not sure how this applies to ISPs in any way shape or form.

My ISP doesn't provide a financial service...

Re:Gramm Leach Bliley (1, Informative)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362467)

> My ISP doesn't provide a financial service...

Your online banking information magically appears on your computer, then? Funny... I thought it went over your ISP's wires.

Re:Gramm Leach Bliley (1, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362556)

ISPs are common carriers you nimrod.

They no more provide financial services than my telephone company provides financial services when i call my bank to check on my accounts.

Summary:
ISP != financial service
Telephone Company != financial service

If you really want to parse words, my ISP provides a service in return for financial reward. But that is neither here nor there.

Re:Gramm Leach Bliley (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362537)

I'm not sure how this applies to ISPs in any way shape or form.

Anonymous ISP here... good question! My understanding of GLB as explained by the law-speaking guys is that it doesn't usually apply, but we offer a package of enhanced services to community banks including managed VPNs and their auditors are pretty inclusive on who's doing what. It's like SAS-70 - I'd probably never initiate one myself but we have to do it since our customers (and their auditors) expect us to. You'd be surprised how many companies that have no business passing a SAS-70 manage to do so btw...

GLB is probably something good for an ISP to know if it deals with customers in the financial industry.

Re:down with Media Sentry (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362428)

I believe that the "registered agent" is a person to contact to have copywritten information removed from a computer owned or otherwise control by that person's organization.

If a customer of the ISP has the material on their own computer, not the ISP's computer, I don't understand why they would contact the registed agent. Maybe it's because that's the only name and address they can readily identify for a person at the ISP.

wrong wrong wrong (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361867)

" Chances are the majority of accused John Does are guilty..."
at best, they can nly see that there are music files on a computer.
Who put them there? are they legal? How many people use that computer?

Re:wrong wrong wrong (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361989)

"Chances are the majority of accused John Does are guilty..."
at best, they can only see that there are music files on a computer.
The GP is talking about actual (as in known to deities) guilt. You are talking about RIAA's ability to prove it.

Yes, maybe 1 out of the 25 John Does wanted to share new Debian CD-images, but had her computer hijacked by the evil mp3-sharers. Chances are very good, however, every one of them was illegally sharing the protected works knowingly.

Objectively, RIAA is being wronged here. The answer to someone's zeal in protecting their works from copying is in not buying them, not in buying and then distributing them anyway (illegaly)... The burden of proof is on RIAA, of course, but we should not be cheering the people, getting off on a technicality, too much either.

Re:wrong wrong wrong (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362306)

Yes, maybe 1 out of the 25 John Does wanted to share new Debian CD-images,

Or maybe they were sharing CD images of a new Operating System derived from the Debian source code, but without providing, in fact refusing to provide, the source code.

People should be careful about setting up legal precedents where anything-goes distribution is the norm.

Re:wrong wrong wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362154)

Who put them there? are they legal? How many people use that computer?

Anonymous ISP here again... funny story to share about the "who put the file there" comment.

About a year ago summer, the customer service manager referred a customer issue to me (I get all the fun ones that deal with policy issues as CSO). I should mention the process we use - we actually (hold onto your chair) presume our customer is innocent first. The process we developed (and reviewed with counsel) does the following when we get either a DMCA inquiry or an internally-generated incident request from NIDS monitoring (usually from P2P server operation or serious P2P client over a threshold).

Step 1. Collect basic data and confirm from traffic flows. We're PPPoE throughout our network into an MPLS fabric, so it's pretty easy for us to redirect a stream for analysis from anywhere in the network to an analyzer. We don't go into the traffic other than looking at what it is and confirming/rejecting the information of P2P flows. (Always, always document these processes too - it'll save your ass someday since courts and judges do give a bit of discretion to those who exercise diligence in their practices).

Step 2. Contact the customer via phone (with followup email for legal requirements - just to CYA). We let the customer know what's going on. Like I said previously, it's almost always a minor child who's installed P2P. Occasionally I have an adult who I have to explain the issues of P2P server mode being like driving 110 MPH in a 45 zone per getting attention. Simply downloading won't get our attention, but they do need to be aware that it can get the RIAA's and if they have good evidence and comply with the notification provisions, we will have to pass along the customer's info. (Hint: Be discrete and don't be a P2P pig! Drive with the flow of traffic!!!)

So anyway, we had one of the server type incidents and helpdesk called and notified a parent. I got the call back from the mom, demanding to speak with a company officer about our behavior. Figuring we had someone unaware of DMCA and just needing to talk with, I called mom up.

Mom proceeded to tell me that she had talked with her 15-year-old son after she investigated the PC and found gigabytes of porn on the family hard drive. However, the son explained that the ISP put it there, since that's the "only way it could have gotten there." I was actually being threatened with lawsuits from mom about our allegedly hacking in and forcing her 15-year-old kid to watch all this stuff.

I kindly (holding back the laughs) told mom that if she really believed this to be the case, we'd need to have authorities immediately take the PC as evidence and conduct a forensic audit on the contents. Of course, if it was determined that her son put it there...

As always, you can help most people out but occasionally you get a nut!

Re:down with Media Sentry (1)

Almost-Retired (637760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362097)

unfortunately the pdf link is broken or has been slashdoted

I even changed the prefs in ff1.5 to use acroread, version 7 on this linux box as opposed to the default of ggv. Acroread was a bit more imformative in that it said the file was not a supported filetype, or that it had been sent as an email attachment and not properly decoded, meaning the mimetype received wasn't matching.

In any event, I've sent the site managers a request that it be fixed.

--
Cheers, Gene.

documents (2, Informative)

hylander_sb (181045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361775)

Any mirrors of these documents? I'm getting empty files on their site.

Careful about the ex parte whooping (5, Insightful)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361782)

The ex parte orders are being used to figure out who exactly to sue... with out them there's no way anyone would be able to have any sort or recourse since ISP's tend not to share subscriber info without a court order. They could require that each ISP be formally sued for the info, in which case they have to come in to court... RIAA wouldn't have much of a problem with this, but ISPs would lose out HUGE time. The ISPs still have some recourse after the order is entered as well, and as we see here, even the person getting sued can take some action as well as soon as they are identified. (Some ISPs will notify you before they answer, and give you a chance to try to quash before they answer) Alot of the rest of their tactics are crap, but this is a legitimate use of ex parte, and I dread what the alternative would be.

Re:Careful about the ex parte whooping (4, Insightful)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361805)

While I agree that this is what ex parte is intended for. It's perfectly reasonable for the person to fight against it, and ask, is this really what we should be allowing?

But in some ways, it could be misused. Say someone walks past my front yard and throws a bag on my lawn. I didn't see them, but when I get the bag, there's a reciept in there with a date and time of where he bought something. If I wanted to sue the person should I be allowed to ex parte sue them as a John Doe on the first hand, so that I can then contact the store and force them to reveal who the person was?

The question is just how much justification need be shown to grant an ex parte order of this nature (they're arguing it's insufficient).

Re:Careful about the ex parte whooping (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361856)

The question is just how much justification need be shown to grant an ex parte order of this nature (they're arguing it's insufficient).

Absolutely agreed

I just wanted to head off the "ex parte is inherently evil" knee-jerk reactions that are popping up.

I'm sure they shred everything, (1)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362018)

But this gives me an evil urge to do some RIAA dumpster diving, and then file some ex parte "littering/trespassing" lawsuits.

Is this so unreasonable? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361807)

Right, let's be clear. I think a lot of behaviour by the RIAA and its ilk is disgusting.

Now that I've got that little disclaimer out of the way, let me ask: is this use of ex parte tactics really so unreasonable? From the RIAA's point of view, the law has been broken. They just can't find out who did it to take legal action against them directly, because the ISPs and such (quite rightly) won't disclose confidential information to the RIAA on demand.

So, the RIAA do what any sound legal system should require them to do if they want to proceed: they must go to a court, and make a case that there is a reasonable need for them to have that information, and ask the court to give them the authority to get it. The court can consider their argument -- which, if they've got information that someone was swapping songs, almost certainly illegally, is a fairly solid one -- and grant the permission if it finds it appropriate.

At that point, no individual has yet been brought to court to face any claim, so no individual has been harmed. The RIAA just has a name, and it's up to them to demonstrate, in a separate court action with the defendant given due process, that the named person committed some illegal act and should be required to pay compensation or whatever.

Now, personally I think the US "everyone pays their own fees" system sucks, because it's wide open to abuse by large and well-funded organisations in this sort of context, but that's a separate problem. With US law as it is right now, what would be a more reasonable way for one party that has genuine evidence that they may have been damaged by some other, unknown party to seek fair compensation than by asking the courts to agree with them based on their evidence to date, and to enable them to find the person likely to be responsible so that they can be properly taken to court?

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (5, Interesting)

Spock the Baptist (455355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361883)

Now, personally I think the US "everyone pays their own fees" system sucks, because it's wide open to abuse by large and well-funded organisations in this sort of context, but that's a separate problem.


The real problem with the state of civil litigation is that corporations are allow to act as a "person". It's a matter of an inequity of resources. A corporation typically has enormous financial, and legal resources compared to an individual.

The real solution is to treat corporations as the commercial organizational entities that they truly are, rather than as persons. For that matter governmental organizational entities also ought to be treated as such.

There needs to be a change to the civil standard between individuals from *proof by a preponderance of evidence* to a more rigorous standard. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is too strong a standard a civil standard between individuals, or between organizational entities. In a civil case between an organizational entity, and an individual where the organizational entity is the plaintiff, then the *reasonable doubt* standard ought to hold.

Part of the reason for the *proof beyond a reasonable doubt* standard in criminal cases is to prevent malicious prosecution. A high standard for burden of proof in criminal cases reduces the potential for false witness to be used as a means to 'get even with', harass, or intimidate individuals. The high standard lessens the potential impact of 'frame ups'.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361888)

because it's wide open to abuse by large and well-funded organisations in this sort of context, but that's a separate problem.

Not just the biggies... I'm out over $200,000 in legal fees fighting a psychotic single mother, who happens to be a reasonably intelligent paralegal. She knows enough to file everything on her own, and files enough that I have to have attorneys spend alot of time dealing with the filings.

And since she's a poor single mother (who lost custody of her kids in fact), the courts don't want to cause her to risk not having a clean safe place for her kids to visit. Nevermind that I'm on the edge of homelessness as a result...

I don't think the loser pays system is the way to go either... that puts too much risk on the little guy suing the bigger guys.

We just need the judges to be a bit more liberal in using their discretion to award attorney's fees to the losing side.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362294)

What possible scenario is worth $200k in legal fees against a woman without any resources?

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362663)

She was suing me and my employer for over twice that amount. (No, the employer had nothing to do with it... she was just using them as an extortion method)

She did offer to settle initially for $100,000... but remember, I had actually done nothing. (And I didn't think the legal fees were going to mount tht high at that point... but you add delays, rounds of discovery, fights over discovery, motions for contempt for no reason, adjoining other mostly unrelated cases, adding actions, etc...)

If I didn't fight it, a judgement gets ordered. She was alleging some pretty eggregious stuff too... if I didn't defend it, I am basically accepting her facts as stated, and given what she stated, you could argue that huge sum was reasonable. On top of that, it's all public record, and I wouldn't have been able to pass any nontrivial background check for anything, could never teach, could never get a government job, etc...

The judge was giving her every chance to prove her case, I'm assuming so nothing could get appealed, and it was fairly clear he didn't buy the case in general... I just couldn't last long enough to get to that point.

As a point of trivia... after a year of this, she settled for about $2,000

The lesson as nearest I can tell: Never become friends with anyone who has ever been (or is) married.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362521)

It might be more interesting if the losing side's attorneys had to hand over their fees to the winning side's attorneys and pay their legal expenses as payment in full for the winning side's attorneys.

An attorney who didn't think there was much chance of winning would be less inclined to continue the case just to get paid by their client.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361908)

and ask the court to give them the authority to get it.

In Belgium it works differently. A company notices something illegal going on. Naturaly the ISP is not allowed to give anybody any information. So The comapny files a lawsuit against unknown people. It is then up to the law to identify the individual.

A layer would have a fieldday if the ISP had given the information to the company. So either you start a courtcase go on, or you don't. The courts won't be very pleased if you give them work all the time and nevr pull throough.

Probably that is the reason they don't follow up on cases against individuals who just copy for themselves. Now when you start selling, they will haunt you till you die.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (4, Interesting)

THE MAC GOD (647860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361960)

The Problem isn't that they are seeking money lost on pirating... Anyone who's owed money that isn't getting it. has a right to be pissed off (just ask the artists that are under the RIAA). The Problem is that they, the RIAA, are hypocritical. They are attacking run of the mill people who have pirated a couple songs... When they should REALLY be going after the massive black markets in indonesia, malaysha, china, etc. But, it's a lot easier to sue 80-year old women, or 20-year old guys with no money than to run up against the Triads. You know, another thing, obtaining music isn't really the crime, it's listening to music you haven't paid for. If it was just HAVING the music, then every person in the world could get sued as a potential distributor. Also, RIAA should be forced to go back and sue everyone who ever made tape copies BEFORE going and suing people who are downloading songs off the net. It's unfair that they are able to pick and choose who to sue when it should be an unbiased, across-the-board thing. But, NO, IPs are easier to harrass people with. Shoot, most people who pirate go and actually buy the music. And the harder and harder they make CD DRMs (aka SONY), they will only be making things harder for the honest people when hackers will ALWAYS find a way around it. I don't care what kind of scheme you have. It will be hacked... sooner or later. Usually sooner... look at the 'unhackable 360' as evidence for that-and just wait for dvd-John to get into the mix. Anyway... my rant... people who make billions in profit and bitch about not making another billion piss me off... like they need another hot tub in their jet.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362044)

Just to correct you, there isn't any proof, from what I read, that any illegal activity has taken place. Just because someone makes available a file called 'Eminem - When I'm Gone.mp3' doesn't mean it's copyrighted material, indeed, it might not even be an audio file. The action for dismissal even points out that it is settled law that the mere fact of making copyrited material available is in and off it's self _not_ a copyright violation.

That is the crux of Doe 8's 3rd(?) argument seeking dismissal, the fact that the plaintiff hasn't demonstrated that any copyrited material has been distributed.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362074)

> Just because someone makes available a file called 'Eminem - When I'm Gone.mp3' doesn't mean it's copyrighted material, indeed, it might not even be an audio file.

I would argue that if you are offering a file called 'Eminem - When I'm Gone.mp3', a reasonable person would expect that it would contain that song. Based on that they have enough reason to begin discovery.

Now, they have steps after this that need to be done... like, now that they know you, they can subpoena access to you comptuer, etc... but that's a different ball of wax.

It mostly sucks, but anyone can sue anyone for most anything and get into court. If it was truly frivolous, fees can be ordered to the losing party. BUT if you are offering a file with that name, there's a reasonable chance that you are offering what you appear to be advertising, so the case would most likely not be judged frivolous on just that.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (2, Interesting)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362244)

a file called 'Eminem - When I'm Gone.mp3', a reasonable person would expect that it would contain that song

It's very common on P2P to get files whose contents and titles have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Much of that is put there by the RIAA, so they cannot deny the reasonable doubt that exists there.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362498)

Just to correct you, there isn't any proof, from what I read, that any illegal activity has taken place.

And just to correct the AC, I never said there was. We're not talking about bringing a case for copyright infringement, we're talking about whether there is sufficient grounds to justify further investigation.

Just because someone makes available a file called 'Eminem - When I'm Gone.mp3' doesn't mean it's copyrighted material, indeed, it might not even be an audio file.

Sure, it might not. But there's a good chance that it is, and a reasonable person might expect it to be so. IMHO, it's clearly a reasonable basis for a court to allow further investigation.

If you don't want to be investigated as if you're infringing copyright, don't put up a big neon sign outside your door saying "Copy latest Eminem tracks illegally here!" :-)

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1, Flamebait)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362094)

It *is* unreasonable, simply because the RIAA is not the police. If you want to sue someone but don't know their name, go to the police and file a complaint; then, the police can handle the actual investigation.

Nothing unreasonable about that, is there? The moral of the story: the RIAA, or any private organisation or individual for that matter, does not and should not wield any police power. Period.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362169)

> the RIAA, or any private organisation or individual for that matter, does not and should not wield any police power

Well, they don't... so that wraps that up nicely =-)

They are exercising CIVIL powers that are available to any civil entity.

I don't want the police in the middle of this... They are so busy and afraid of getting sued as it is, they won't investigate hit&run accidents half the time. I couldn't get them to come to my house to get rid of my roommate's ex-wife when she was violating a CLETS restraining order, simply because she wasn't actively physically threatening anyone at the moment. (That woman is large enough she can actually cause physical harm without a weapon...) Never mind that if she did get violent the Sherriff's wouldn't be able to show in less than 10 minutes, assuming I was able to contact them at all after that... wonder why I'm pro 2nd ammendment? =-)

Do you really want to have your right to sue taken away because a single cop didn't think your case was worth developing for whatever organizational reason was relevant at the moment.
Do you really want to tie up two government branches with each wrong?

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362290)

The moral of the story: the RIAA, or any private organisation or individual for that matter, does not and should not wield any police power.
It's not that easy. Some private companies actually do have private police forces. Railroads, for example, with their huge land and long rail lines; they carry valuable cargo that is naturally the target of many theft attempts (for examples, all automobiles carried by train carry their own legal papers and are unlocked. If you can get hold of one, it is virtually impossible to prove that you stole it). So they have to have their own police forces to patrol their yards and lines.

There is also several cases of mixed rail/road bridges whose roadway belong to the railroad, and the railroad police do enforce traffic regulations. Speeding and parking tickets are marked with the railroad's name instead of the city/county/state/ province/country/continent /planet/solar system/sector/quadrant/arm/galaxy/universe.

Re:Is this so unreasonable? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362171)

Now, personally I think the US "everyone pays their own fees" system sucks, because it's wide open to abuse by large and well-funded organisations in this sort of context

No, what sucks is the complex legal system that requires expensive representation. It's a de-facto standard and nothing more, by lawyers for lawyers. Everyone pays their own fees is the epitomy of fairness; it is simply an unfortunate and unavoidable byproduct of the ability of groups to leverage their power over individuals combined with overly complex laws that lead to the current situation. You really can't do anything about the RIAA suing people, in a free country you can generally sue anyone for civil action if it's justified, and currently copying other people's stuff falls under civil law. The problem is that no one has the expert witnesses nor the expert social engineers^W^W lawyers needed to sway the jury.

Probably one could fix the entire legal mess in this country by requiring a jury of legal experts instead of a jury of one's peers. When one's peers are lagging behind some second and third world countries in math and english and reasoning scores, who on earth would want them on a jury? They'll buy the big flashy lawyer's story in a heartbeat, because obviously no one who looks and acts just like them could get the attention of such an obviously famous and important lawyer unless they had done *something*... I welcome the singularity, that's all I can say.

TaDa (0, Redundant)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361860)

Beggining of the end for the Riaa?

Let's hope so.

Is there anything to stop people having anon conns (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14361884)

er, anonymous connections?

As in the ISP activates a particular access key to a wireless network in an area of town assuming that X much money is deposited in Y postbox in a brown envelope.

That way the ISP ceases to have the names/addresses of it's subscribers however much they get subpeonaed for them.

Or is that illegal (since they won't have a proper paper trail for where the money is coming from).

Could they handle billing offshore so the data wouldn't be in the US?

Re:Is there anything to stop people having anon co (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362016)

Personally, I think that's a fantastic idea. There's this expectation in our society that everything should be traceable, but as far as I know (IANAL) it's not based on any solid legal ground. The hypothetical ISP you describe would probably still be required to provide FBI wiretapping capabilities, but if their structure is such that they themselves don't know their users identities, they might get away with it.

Not get picky...but... (2, Informative)

redwoodtree (136298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361899)

programmer Zi Mei has slammed the investigation on which the 'ex parte'

No.... actually, progammer Zi Mei's LAYWER has slammed the investigation. Unless he's a lawyer and a programmer of course, in which case it should say "programmer and lawyer..." But I digress.

What I'm trying to say is, I'm no fan of laywers, but let's give them a little credit here and say that they've come up with a good way to defend this Mei guy. If anything Mei can afford a good lawyer, yay!

...........Anyway... back to digging for slugs....

Also..EFF (5, Insightful)

redwoodtree (136298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361913)

Also, one more thing before I go back to the slugs...

It would have been nice to mention the Electronic Frontier Foundation and how much they deserve YOUR support (as well as mine... and everyone elses.) For it is through the EFF that we have even the slightest hope of regaining some sanity in the digital world.

Re:Not get picky...but... (2, Informative)

rodentia (102779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362045)


No, actually, Zi Mei is a programmer hired by lawyers for John Doe #8, party to Atlantic vs John Does #1-25, to investigate and give expert opinion upon the RIAA's evidence gathering. Mei hasn't been accused of anything.

Read before you pick.

Re:Not get picky...but... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362117)

I didn't RTFA, just the summary, so I may be wrong. However, it sounds to me as if Zi Mei is not the John Doe, but instead is an expert witness or something (a third party, at least), who filed an affadavit saying that technically, the RIAA doesn't have enough evidence to file the ex parte orders.

Anyone able to get at those PDFs? (2, Informative)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361900)

I keep getting 0 bytes files... even from coral cache...

I really want to read what was filed for this

Re:Anyone able to get at those PDFs? (1)

SpinJaunt (847897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362000)

Yeah, I got teh source code:
ln -sf atlantic_does1-25_noticeofmotion.pdf /dev/zero
ln -sf atlantic_does1-25_ziaffidavit.pdf /dev/zero
ln -sf atlantic_does1-25_rogersaffidavit.pdf /dev/zero
ln -sf atlantic_does1-25_memooflaw.pdf /dev/zero

Re:Anyone able to get at those PDFs? (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362510)

Point: that would make files of an infinite length of zeros.

Perhaps linked to /dev/null? ;)

Atlantic vs DOES 1-25 (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362019)

IANAL, but for those of you who are, maybe you can help me...

This sounds like the opposite of a class action lawsuit. How is it that this is considered one case, instead of 25 different suits against 25 different people?

Part of the reason I am interested is because I have an interest in class-action lawsuits. Sure, they end up making small fortunes for the lawyers, and result in the wronged party receiving a coupon good for five dollars off their next defective product, but it is the only recourse the little guy has when the stakes are lower than lawyer's fees (like an iomega customer wanting his one hundred and fifty bucks back). I'm just curious how the law works when one company wants to sue several people who are not conspiring together, but who have simply committed the same tort.

Re:Atlantic vs DOES 1-25 (4, Insightful)

rodentia (102779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362109)


John Doe #8 has also moved [blogspot.com] to dismiss this aspect of the suit.

You are right, it is an inside out class action, formed under Rule 20(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doe #8's lawyers essentially argue that any link between the 25 co-defendants is fortuitous and insufficient to grant the jointure. The rule is designed to collect partners or other's who jointly benefit from the transaction or actions at issue.

Albert Einstein (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362058)

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this county is closely related with this.
  - Albert Einstein

What language was that in? (2, Funny)

johnMG (648562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362066)

Did you ever read an article summary and just have no clue at all what they were talking about?

What is "slammed the investigation" supposed to mean?

Is Mei the midwesterner? Who's this "Atlantic" character? Is he the big boss?

Is there someone codenamed "Does 1-25"? Maybe that person is playing "John Doe Number 8" in the off-Broadway version of this article submission?

Also, I think that last sentence about about the RIAA's subpoenas could've used some parentheses in there somewhere.

Re:What language was that in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362396)

Did you ever read an article summary and just have no clue at all what they were talking about?

Are you seriously this dense? It's awkward prose, to be sure, but it's still quite clear.

What is "slammed the investigation" supposed to mean?

How about "dealt a blow to"? "Damaged"?

Is Mei the midwesterner? Who's this "Atlantic" character? Is he the big boss?

No, Mei is the programmer whose affadavit the midwesterner wa "armed" with. Atlantic, a record label, was the plaintiff.

Is there someone codenamed "Does 1-25"?

Yes. The people being sued by Atlantic. Their names were not known, part of the lawsuit was to obtain that information, so the lawsuit referred to them as "John Does".

Also, I think that last sentence about about the RIAA's subpoenas could've used some parentheses in there somewhere.

No, it could use fewer commas, but parentheses aren't necessary.

Grey Hat solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14362178)

Make a really good windows worm that rapidly infects every (fully-patched and lower) windows box on the net. The worm coordinates with other infected hosts and re-distributes copies of mp3s found, from one infected machine to another, such that the entire RIAA catalogue is evenly distributed across pretty much everybody's computer. It's a magic worm undetectable by security programs and does all its work in the background at idle priority, so users don't notice unless they run across the files slowly collecting on their hard drive. Random selections on any given machine, filling up half of whatever their free space is at the time of infection, then removing itself while patching the hole it used against any other worm of its kind including itself. The songs stay there, in some folder. When the worm has finished its deed its last act before terminating itself is to let the user know they've got all this music and where to find it.

Good luck proving anything about anybody after that.

Don't get too excited (4, Insightful)

Anon E. Muss (808473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362242)

The motion to sever the defendants may well succeed. In that case the RIAA will be forced to file separate lawsuits against each John Doe, costing them additional filing fees. This may slow them down for a few nanoseconds, but it won't stop them. They'll refile.

The motion to quash the subpoena is more interesting. Can the RIAA document the alleged copyright infringement with greater specificity? If not, the subpoena could be quashed, and this John Doe will skate. That won't stop the RIAA from suing other John Doe's using similarly flawed evidence. It will still be up to each John Doe to fight back, using their own time and money.

Remember, it's the legal system, not the justice system.

This always happens.... (5, Insightful)

Djarum (250450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362425)

Around Thanksgiving I was having this exact idea while talking to a friend of mine.
I am quite a law buff and I was arguing that the "ex parte" orders were illegal and if someone were to challenge them they would win. The counter that "well the person is breaking the law", you would have to remember that even though you have proof of a crime you can not arrest nor charge another.

Lets say your neighbour is making drugs next door. You see crackheads walking in and out of the house. There is weird chemical smells, and empty bottles of chemicals around. Hell lets even say he tried to sell you some and have it on video tape. Can you go across the street, knock down his door, arrest and charge him with a crime?

No, of course not. You call whatever Backwoods Nazi Law Enforcement Agency you have, they will conduct their own investagation, and then if they have enough evedence they knock down his door, arrest and charge him.

Now if the RIAA would want to follow the laws put into place in the United States they would report the person to the FBI's Copyright Infringement division and let them do their own investigation and charge the person with a crime. Most likely the FBI would take a look at the 13 year old with 300 mp3's on their drive and file it away far, far away.

The person that said that the RIAA should be charged under the RICO Act is indeed onto something. It is a form of racketeering. Also the RIAA should have to be forced to show the actual loss in revenue from each song, and where do they come up with the numbers they sue people for.
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