Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Making Files Available Breaking the Law?

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the learn-not-to-share dept.

Privacy 538

lordhathor2001 writes "The RIAA has argued in one of their cases that simply "making files available for distribution" violates copyright laws. This means that regardless of the legality of a file somebody has on their computer, just putting it in a shared files folder that can be accessed by other people is illegal. Although it's asinine, it really shouldn't come as any surprise given the RIAA's legal campaign that's more about what it believes than what the law actually says."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Lying assholes (1, Interesting)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563935)

Well, if the file is not vilating copyright law, then it is not illegal. The RIAA should take its ill informed post and shove it...

Re:Lying assholes (0, Redundant)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563978)

Whoops, that should read "The sharing of files not in violation of copyright laws is not illegal. The RIAA should take its ill-informed and fire them, then take the propaganda they spew and shove it."

Re:Lying assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564036)

Does not wash.
See making guns available, making alcohol available or shops that sell g-strings and sexy clothing for the 4-12 year old bracket etc. It is not even an invitation to treat.

This article is hysteria (5, Informative)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564175)

Did anyone read the linked-to material? They are saying that putting *copyrighted* materials in a shared folder is illegal. Not just sharing any files. I'm no defender of RIAA, but let's try to get a fact straight.

Below is some material quoted from it, by one of the attorneys for Ms. Barker.

Opposition Papers in Elektra v. Barker in Manhattan Argue for Expansion of Law

[Legal]

In opposition papers served yesterday in Elektra v. Barker in Manhattan federal court, the RIAA has argued that merely making files "available for distribution" is in and of itself a copyright violation.

Were the courts to accept this misguided view of copyright law, it could mean that anyone who has had a shared files folder, even for a moment, that contained copyrighted files in it, would be guilty of copyright infringement, even though the copies in the folder were legally obtained, and even though no illegal copies had ever been made of them.

Re:This article is hysteria (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564262)

They are saying that putting *copyrighted* materials in a shared folder is illegal. Not just sharing any files. I'm no defender of RIAA, but let's try to get a fact straight.

In opposition papers served yesterday in Elektra v. Barker in Manhattan federal court, the RIAA has argued that merely making files "available for distribution" is in and of itself a copyright violation.

All materials are copyrighted, automatically. Sometimes the owners don't bother with the copyright (implicitly giving everyone permission to use it) or sometimes it gets licensed (such as with the GPL). Sharing the files only becomes copyright infringement if they don't have permission from the copyright owner to share it. So the sharing of copyrighted files is not automatically copyright infringement. If it was every website would be illegal, all music shops would be unable to sell CDs etc etc.

Sharing copyrighted files without permission from their owner is probably what they meant, but it doesn't sound like it's what they said.

Re:This article is hysteria (2, Insightful)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564263)

Isn't a webpage essentially a set of files placed in a folder that are meant to be shared?

By their logic wouldn't any website containing copyrighted material be breaking the law?

Bizarre.

Re:Lying assholes (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564245)

It is not clear from the summary exactly what the argument is (and the "article" is just a blog saying the exact same thing, and its link is yet another blog mentioning this supposed argument, so I have yet to see an actual article regarding this), but if they are arguing that you cannot distribute files even if you got them legally (such as if you ripped them from your personal CD collection), that is almost certainly illegal.

Of course it would be easier to know for sure what the argument is if the editors stopped letting people use /. as nothing more than a clone of their blog...

FUCK THE RIAA THEY SUCK GOATSE ASSHOLE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563940)

Distinction (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563945)

Putting files in a shared folder may be found to be illegal in a court of law. The mere act does not a crime make.

Re:Distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564006)

Here's to another 7 years of not buying a CD...

Re:Distinction (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564294)

What? You're saying "the act of putting files in a shared folder" is not a crime? But "putting files in a shared folder may be found to be illegal in a court of law? Are you seriously claiming nothing is illegal until tried?

Re:Distinction (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564347)

One of the main problems with the RIAA and their tactics so far, is that they're suing people who had files "available".

None of what I'm going to say applies to bittorrent, but from what I've gathered of their tactics, all they do is list the files your P2P prog has shared & that they claim copyright to.

That should not and will not stand up in court. Even civil law has minimal standards of evidence and a list of files + your I.P. address doesn't prove anything.

All the files you're 'sharing' could be fakes.

The RIAA would have to prove otherwise and by the time legal arguments are being made, they won't be able to, since they don't have your computer and they didn't download anything when they had the chance.

I'll say it again: An IP + list of files = nothing

Oh bloody hell (5, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563946)

oh, guess i better take the music I'VE made (which is free and legally distributable) out of there too, because i guess I (the owner of said music) have broken the law, too.

Re:Oh bloody hell (1)

Scroatzilla (672804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564285)

Although I don't really see a credible news source supporting the sentiment in the summary, that has long been a fear of mine. I'm too lazy to find a post I made with your exact thoughts, that crap like this might actually come to pass where you don't even own your own originally created music.

That is what I'm particularly sweating with DRM, and player lockdown, and stuff like that. How long before I literally need to buy a license to listen every rough draft of a musical creation? It's not so far-fetched in a world where Microsoft and Apple and Sony are in bed with the RIAA. With so much money and power, there is really no particular reason for them to even consider the independent musician who may or may not even be interested in making them money, and who at the moment can totally circumvent their creative and distributive channels.

The one thing that labels provide is a way to filter through the billions of songs and bands that exist. Who can keep track of it all? I think that at some point we need to fill the gap between the "anybody can post music here for everyone" type of sites--which will always be a microcosm of the real world with 99% crap and 1% decent stuff-- and the "you're good looking, let us write all your music and you can make a million dollars" big labels which have 99% polished turds.

I've been trying to tell my brother, who runs http://www.sonarama.com/ [sonarama.com] to start being super judgmental about the music he accepts so that he can build meaning and quality behind his "brand." I know there are sites like garageband and iuma, but I don't necessarily equate those with easily finding *good* indy music.

Somebody needs to balls to take on a critic role in the world of no-income music and stop worrying about hurting people's feelings. In this manner, at worst you'd have a relationship with that person like you might have with a Roger Ebert and movies--you may not always agree with him, but it's the beginning of a baseline of knowing what to listen to. Or what not to listen to.

Re:Oh bloody hell (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564383)

and who at the moment can totally circumvent their creative and distributive channels.

Of course, this is what they're really scared of... the artists eventually won't need them for distribution.

It's been a few years now, but I do recall having read an article about musicians getting cease-and-desist orders from the IFPI for having download links to their own created music. If it were me, I think I'd have to take them to court for copyright violation.

In other news... (4, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563951)

...the sky is blue, dogs still bark, cats meow, and down is still down.

I mean, really. What did you expect them to argue? "Oh, yes, we can't prove that they ever actually distributed a copy, so let's let all the nasty pirates go and we'll stop our campaign of lawsuits. Cherrio!"

Let's be serious here.

Re:In other news... (1)

Aziel777 (927534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564004)

I dont think it has anything to do with whether or not someone has downloaded a file, thats not what the story is talking about.
I think it just means that if any file whatsoever, be it a picture or a simple notepad file, is shared then they say it is illegal, whether it is copyrighted or not.

Re:In other news... (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564027)

And I care, because? It's a fraking court filing, not a finding! I can file a document that says, "It is illegal to drive on the right side of the road," and a judge would no more accept it than he'll accept this nonsense. If a judge does accept it, THEN make a news story out of it. In the meantime, this amounts to nothing more than, "RIAA is acting like the RIAA! News at 11!"

Re:In other news... (1)

ender06 (913978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564112)

"...the sky is blue, dogs still bark, cats meow, and down is still down."

No.....the enemy's gate is down.

Er.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563958)

Freedom of speech surrendurs

Brilliant! (5, Funny)

graveyardduckx (735761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563962)

So now owning Windows is illegal due to the default shares enabled! I hope the slashdotters are happy about this one!

Re:Brilliant! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564029)

\\<machinename>\c$

Not only are there media files shared, but there is also all sorts of proprietary Microsoft software files in there as well. Maybe Microsoft should sue Microsoft. With their legal spending, I am sure they can find a way to win.

Re:Brilliant! (2, Funny)

graveyardduckx (735761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564414)

How many RIAA lawyers use Windows NT/2000/XP/whatever? They can sue themselves!

Re:Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

loteck (533317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564126)

and more importantly, the internet is illegal, by its very nature!

Thoughtcrime? (5, Interesting)

The evil non-flying (947059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563966)

Somedays I get the sinking feeling Orwell was an optimist.

Re:Thoughtcrime? (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564007)

Somedays I get the sinking feeling Orwell was an optimist.

Agreed. I mean, just look at the instant SlashThink(TM) reaction around here. From the venhemence, you'd think the judge had actually accepted the argument.

Re:Thoughtcrime? (1)

The evil non-flying (947059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564355)

I agree that on this particular case we are jumping the gun. However, I'm worried because I see people who have no understanding of technology creating laws that will be used by those who DO understand how technology can be used to control/monitor innocent people. And we are all heading down that road. Completely unabated and almost without any dissent. Until that dissent is one day easily squashed (and hence rendered meaningless). So whenever I see these sorts of stories my guy reaction is: "not again."

Re:Thoughtcrime? (4, Insightful)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564039)

Or perhaps that we are already living in his society and just fail to realise it...?

His work was a metaphor or a possiblity. We could already be living it, it just looks different.

Instead of the ominous TV screen, we have cable Sport, Xbox and DVDs.

Instead of a "father figure" telling our kids how to behave we have Britney(TM) or, more correctly, RIAA & MPAA?

Instead of factories where the poor go to work and large, souless offices for the rich we have....oh wait...

Re:Thoughtcrime? (2, Interesting)

Storm (2856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564271)

If the MPAA and RIAA had their way, every time you thought about a scene in a movie or every time you got a song stuck in your head, they would be able to charge and eventually sue (because just charging you won't make their bottom line look as good as getting random individuals to settle for thousands...

--Storm

Sue sthem for restraint of trade or interstate com (4, Interesting)

killdozer3k (779295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563969)

Simply author a file that you are the copy holder and then sue them for restraint of trade or insterstate commerce problems. Who are they to restrain trade?

Re:Sue sthem for restraint of trade or interstate (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564033)

The problem is the words "sue them". That implies that you say, have 10 million dollars or so to see the lawsuit throught. I mean, even if they are clearly at fault (which they would be, IMHO but IANAL), and even if they strangle a litter of adorable puppies on live coast-to-coast TV, they still have armies of lawyers to throw up every motion imaginable and 50 counter suits that while baseless, would force you to hire a whole law firm. So unless you had major, major backing, you'd run out of money first.

Re:Sue sthem for restraint of trade or interstate (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564193)

You don't need 10 million dollars to sue someone in small claims court. You don't even need ten. If you're that poor, the judge will waive court filings fees etc.

And every knows that you don't strangle a litter of adorable puppies. You put them in a sack and drown them.

First Amendment (4, Insightful)

auspiv (769470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563972)

Doesn't the first amendment give us the right to free speech? Couldn't that be applied here to give us the right to put files up for sharing on our computers if the material isn't copyrighted? It might just be me... but I think this is breaching our rights.

Re:First Amendment (1)

TobyKY76 (948433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564001)

I totally agree 100% with you. The files that we pay money for (i.e in a store where it is legal to distribute) then yes, we should be allowed to distribute as we seem fit.

Re:First Amendment (1)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564032)

Doesn't the first amendment give us the right to free speech?

I REALLY wish the lawyers here on /. would step in sometime!

IANAL. From what I understand, ONLY the Governement can restrict the FIRST Amendment [cornell.edu] . What I'm getting at is that a corp can do what ever the fuck they want to.

Re:First Amendment (1)

Supurcell (834022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564091)

I REALLY wish the lawyers here on /. would step in sometime! IANAL. From what I understand, ONLY the Governement can restrict the FIRST Amendment. What I'm getting at is that a corp can do what ever the fuck they want to.
Shouldn't there be a "can't" in there somewhere?

No, (1)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564194)

just a comma.

And I'm going to blab on because the /. "Lamness filter" won't let me post. So, let me take this time to say, that all of your evil corporate people are in charge of /. . That's right. /. is an EVIL corporate enitity. Comder Taco, et al. fucking stepped in it. They're Millionaires on OUR backs. Us, who provide thoughtful comments, free of charge.

They just sit back an collect their millions ---doing nothing.

spelling is code from the suftwyer.

Re:First Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564298)

Well ah actually under new secretly created executive powers that cannot be revealed to you (for national security reasons) , you now dont have that right or any other we choose to repeal on an 'as needed' basis.

Its for the 'war on terrorism' and its also 'for the children'.

Just trust us.

Thanks for watching tonights show "the new america"

Next week :

Watch ! as the newly expanded presidential powers crush all before it

Hear ! the lamentation of the women.

See ! the legistlature and judiciary and constitution bypassed.

Re:First Amendment (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564323)

Couldn't that be applied here to give us the right to put files up for sharing on our computers if the material isn't copyrighted?

The summary is misleading. Clicking the /. link, and a link from that page, leads to the actual story [digitalmusicnews.com] . There, it states that (paraphrasing) the RIAA's position is that makingcopyrighted files available for sharing (at least those for which you don't have the permission to distribute), is a violation of copyright law.

Given that, it will still be interesting to see how the courts view the RIAA's arguments. It seems like a huge stretch in interpretation of copyright law, but IANAL.

Great sources, guys. (5, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563983)

The article links to a blog (Techdirt) that says exactly the same thing as the Slashdot post. The Techdirt post links to another blog (Digital Music News) which says about the same thing, though at least apparently the Techdirt poster had the decency to reword the summary. There are no links to any even semi-credible source (like, say, the documents where they supposedly said this.)

Could Slashdot at least wait until there's actually some proof before posting this crap?

Re:Great sources, guys. (1)

Polyhazard (730570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564108)

seriously.

I would be outraged, but I can't quite work up the right feeling until I see the case itself.

While I agree that this anti-file-sharing madness has gone too far, I find it hard to believe that even the RIAA folks would argue something that stupid.

OMG Teh Google is GOD (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564158)

http://www.lifeofalawyer.com/riaa/atlantic_does1-2 5_rogersaffidavit.pdf [lifeofalawyer.com]

Teh Google CacheL http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:www.lifeofala wyer.com/riaa/atlantic_does1-25_rogersaffidavit.pd f+%22making+files+available+for+distribution%22 [64.233.167.104]

They've said this type of thing before, in public and obviously have said it in court filings.

In Public: They aren't trying to make a nuanced argument. They just want to get the point across that sharing files = teh badness

In Court: Fucking n00bs. That's what they get for not trying to get across a nuanced idea to the public. The lawyers end up making the same argument they see over and over in the press releases.

I skimmed that affidavit and I wonder how that trial came out. It seems like the plaintiff (an RIAA company) filed a seriously defective lawsuit.

Re:OMG Teh Google is GOD (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564400)

OK, I've now looked at that too. That document is not one filed by the RIAA, rather, it is from the lawyer who represents one of the people sued by them. Actual quote from the document:
As mentioned above, the complaint alleges three forms of activity purportedly constituting copyright infringement - (1) downloading copyrighted files, (2) distributing such files to the public, and/or (3) making such files available for distribution to others.
From the context of the rest of the paper, it is quite clear that the "copyrighted files" referred to are ones to which the record companies actually own the copyright.

In other words, your document doesn't show them saying anything like what is claimed by this story. How about you actually find one that does? (For starters, try looking for something actually written by the RIAA or its lawyers if you want to show that they said something.)

Re:Great sources, guys. (1, Informative)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564188)

The Digital Music News blogger, Ray Beckerman, claims to be a defence attorney in the case in which the RIAA made this argument. I'd rate this as at least a semi-credible source.

Re:Great sources, guys. (1)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564192)

Yeah I got burned by something like this just recently, where Bush apparently helped make it illegal to "annoy" people online according to a supposedly credible blog (online columnist = blogger, right?). I spouted off about how ridiculous and unfair it was, and then had to stick my foot in my mouth when I actually read the damn law, which I now believe the writer had completely misinterpreted.

So I'd like to see a transcript or whatever of RIAA's actual argument. I'm no fan of RIAA, but I'm leary any time somebody claims something this retarded (unless it's regarding SCO, heh).

Re:Great sources, guys. (1)

hacksaw56 (934313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564354)

Next thing you know, someone else is taking this info and posting it saying "It has to be true, I read it on Slashdot!"

Wouldn't even surprise me if that article/blog/post then gets referenced in a "new" Slashdot article.

Which brings up another point: Could the Slashdot dupe generator get a stack overflow from infinite recursion? /:-0

of course it is a violation (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563987)

If the person putting the file up doesn't have copyright permission to do so, then yes it is a violation.

Just like it is a violation for me to photocopy a book and attempt to distribute the photocopy.

gah.

Re:of course it is a violation (1)

jonfelder (669529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564248)

It's only a violation if someone downloads it.


Just like it is a violation for me to photocopy a book and attempt to distribute the photocopy.


Actually it's more like you putting a book next to a photocopier.

Re:of course it is a violation (1)

soapthgr8 (949548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564398)

Actually it's more like you putting a book next to a photocopier.

Incorrect. In the case of music being shared, a copy of the original media has already been made and that copy is placed in a location freely accessible to others. So the first metaphor is correct. The book (the original media) was copied and placed in a shared area for freely available distribution.

Of course it is a violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564391)

Just like its a violation to leave that book sitting on top of the photocopier - who knows who will come along and maliciously copy it.

I guess I cant let anyone in my house either, in case they decide to rip all the files on my computer.

Info (5, Informative)

mendaliv (898932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563996)

The case in question is Elektra v. Barker, and here's some of the legal docs and stuff.

Complaint [digitalmusicnews.com]
Exhibit A [digitalmusicnews.com]
Exhibit B, Part 1 [digitalmusicnews.com]
Exhibit B, Part 2 [digitalmusicnews.com]

Re:Info (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564130)

I didn't see anything regarding the illegality of shared folders in the complaint, nor in either exhibit. All I can find is a link to a link to a blog, in which somebody claiming to be the counsel for defendant stated what is quoted in the headline. I do not see anywhere the paper he is talking about, has it been released? Not that I wouldn't put it past the RIAA to do this, but the whole thing seems a little off to me.

Re:Info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564195)

So does the RIAA research people actually attempt to download and play these files? Or do they just run a search. Otherwise the guy could've just had crap he named as mp3 files, to avoid quotas on gnutella(pausible, does Kazaa have a similar mechanism?).

That's like saying all webservers are illegal... (2, Interesting)

camzmac (889291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563998)

...after all, your /var/httpd/docs directory is technically a "shared folder".

Slippery Slope (2, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564000)

I see where this is going. If there is a file sitting on my hard drive with no DRM, it can be "distributed" by being used by two different operating systems (dual-booting). Or you can set up a share to stream music over your LAN. Or if you connect an external drive to another computer (and not copying it to the other one), does that count as "distribution"?

You can probably guess what the answer is.

Does that include... (5, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564002)

The file at http://www.riaa.com/images/pics/pic2.jpg [riaa.com] , which is served by their web site?

Re:Does that include... (1)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564056)

Not only them! Millions of so called 'web pages' (i.e documents which unsightly individuals have created and then dared to 'share to the rest of us') are breaking this law! It's about time someone paid up for this...

Oh, and don't read this comment...it's not for sharing.

Re:Does that include... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564116)

Is this some sort of clever DDoS by Slashdot-proxy?

Re:Does that include... (1)

dancallaghan (890674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564375)

Heh ... did we just slashdot the RIAA? Or is that just my shonky ADSL connection?

where is the context (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564015)

anyone got a link with any damn context? the links above seem to be just someone stating something out of context.

I hahe a feeling that in context it means files that are violating copyrights.

Look... (5, Funny)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564018)

Dear RIAA,

Let me make this simple for you: I learned on Sesame Street that sharing is GOOD. It's going to be more difficult than you think to reprogram the inner-workings of my psyche that were molded by watching educational television as a child in the 80s.

Sincerely,
Me

Re:Look... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564222)

It's even more difficult for me ... I received my programming back in the 1960's.

I'd better cover my windows (2, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564019)

as someone might see my cd collection and then steal it when I'm not home. Then I'd be guilty of piracy as I didn't do enough to protect the music I bought from being shared legally or illegaly.

So now here's one for you. Say I beak into someones car/house and I get busted with their cd collection. Can the record companies now sue me for stealing music? I didnt pay for it.

Re:I'd better cover my windows (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564264)

Here's another one for you. One of the reasons for fair use is making backup copies of purchased works. If the originals of such works are stolen from the owner, did the backup copies just become illegal? Can I back up my backups in order to maintain the same level of loss protection? Can any lawyers answer that one? Capt. Kangarooski ... you out there?

Re:I'd better cover my windows (1)

zlyoga (834337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564272)

Then there's also the issue of if that perosn has all their music from those cds on their computer. Just because the cds are gone doesnt mean the digital music is gone

"any files" is pretty general (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564021)

I'm assuming that would include the RIAA and MPAA websites. Those files that their web pages consist of were pretty easily accessible last I checked.

So... (1)

rscoggin (845029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564051)

The internet is illegal? You know, having hypertext files available for download on millions of servers around the world...

The end of the Web as we know it? (1)

7macaw (933316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564074)

Doesn't putting a file on a web server constitute sharing the said file?

Poster didn't RTFA at all... (5, Informative)

henrythehorse (935734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564110)

The post seems to imply that putting anything on the web or in a shared folder is under attack. Not so. And clearly many responders also didn't bother to RTFA.

Putting _copyrighted_ files (for which you don't have a license to distribute) on the web or in a shared folder is under attack. The only "news" here is that they're arguing that you may have committed a crime before the first download of your pirated mp3 occurred.

You may all hate the RIAA, but you have to admit that putting Kelly Clarkson's new single in your shared folder is different than putting your own jpg's on the web.

Well, yeah (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564120)

Of course they're going to argue any point concerning distribution, no matter how silly. The RIAA doesn't make anything. They distribute (at least, that's what they used to do anyways). And since that's their bread and butter, they're going to defend it. No matter how bizarre their argument. No matter how silly their logic. They're used to getting huge ungodly piles of money for doing nothing. And anything that could possibly be used to set a precedent would be a lot like the very first tiny hole poked in a huge dam. As soon as there is one legal way to bypass them, everyone will eventually do it.

Although it's deplorable, at least you can see why they make these arguments. Without the current distro model in the music industry, they'd have to get real jobs for fair pay. And when you've been a thug for that long, it's pretty much unthinkable.

What if... (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564125)

... I own all of the computers on the network, and the CD, is it still illegal then? or if it's someone else's CD and I'm just using my computer as a CD player? Where is the legal line?

share this (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564135)

here are some free files. help yourself

http://web1.nugs.net/stash.asp?cmd=dl&artist=-1 [nugs.net]

I am sure this is all illegal if some asshole at consortium_x says so

because SURELY those that CREATE the files have no rights to them

Is Slashdot turning into Digg? (1, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564152)

What's with the teenage responses?

Yes, putting copyright or bootleg content in a shared directory is intent to break the law.

- Would you argue that B&E isn't a crime until you pick something up and leave the property?
- Is pointing a gun at somebody not a crime if you don't shoot them (or say you had no intention to)?
- How about having kiddie porn on your PC, is that ok as long as you don't have any kids tied up in your basement being filmed? What about if you are a "journalist doing research on child abuse"?

What's wrong with society when ANYONE who is caught doing anything is suddenly a victim?

And what argument is there to support distributing content that is not yours to distribute? Is it hard to discern the difference between putting bootleg stuff in a shared folder, and having a shared folder? Or serving up stuff that is not bootleg? Jesus what idiocy!

What we really need is clearly codified user 'bill of rights' that spell out (and defend) exactly what fair use rights are. Until then, childish arguments that suggest that illegal bootlegging and mass distribution of copyright material is somehow a "free speech" or "privacy" issue is just hurting the cause of people who want FAIR use, not piracy disguised under a layer of self righteous ignorance.

Re:Is Slashdot turning into Digg? (1)

MissP (728641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564270)

I think the point the "teenage" respondents are trying to make is that this idea sounds about as absurd as making it illegal to put books next to a xerox machine. The person who xeroxes the books is the one who is breaking the law not the person who stored the books there. This rule also requires a level of sophistication on the part of the user that I don't think exists. Most people don't understand "the net" and I would wager that many users are sharing files unknowingly. It is OK to leave the doors to your house wide open (stupid, but legal). The person who steals stuff/files/whatever is the thief, not you.

Re:Is Slashdot turning into Digg? (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564404)

Putting books next to a copier might be "helpful" to somebody who wanted to make copies, but it isn't illegal, and the issue in this case seems to be an implied motive behind having files in your P2P outbox.

If I copy a bunch of Metallica MP3s into an FTP pub directory, my webserver, or my P2P upload bin, I'm not enabling someone else to commit an infraction, I'm actively publishing materials I don't have the right to distribute.

It's similar to having a pound of weed found in your car's trunk. It would give the cop the idea that you have stepped beyond possession and into the area of intent to sell.

MP3s aren't illegal to possess (like weed), but it isn't right to be widely distributing them, so the clearly implied intent is the same.

What I find worrisome is that "enabling P2P style distribution to widely publish copyright content" is an obvious intent to break the law; I don't want that mixed up into a grey area with the idea of using a VCR, an iPod, DVR or computer to use/mix/share content on a very small scale. THAT is fair use.

I don't want fair use destroyed by both sides (corporations and P2P users) of the issue not getting that there is a difference between reasonable and absurd.

It is not reasonable to suggest that the RIAA can't protect their Britney IP by trying to stop people from publishing it. It is unreasonable to suggest that a kid can't make a mix tape that dubs in the same pop song to show at school.

Re:Is Slashdot turning into Digg? (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564287)

Yes, putting copyright or bootleg content in a shared directory is intent to break the law.
No it isn't.
And what argument is there to support distributing content that is not yours to distribute? Is it hard to discern the difference between putting bootleg stuff in a shared folder, and having a shared folder? Or serving up stuff that is not bootleg? Jesus what idiocy!
Apparently, it is hard.

1a. There are plenty of people who give away their own copyrighted material, free of charge. As a matter of fact, they would encourage you to do the same. The same thing goes for Bootlegs of Bands.

2. Just because a directory is shared, does not mean the files are accessible. Even if they are accessible, there is no law against putting them somewhere 'shared'.

What is against civil law is distributing material without the copyright owners permission. Your argument is wacked, because you compare a bunch of criminal matters, with a civil one.

Re:Is Slashdot turning into Digg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564303)

- Would you argue that B&E isn't a crime until you pick something up and leave the property?
*Yes, because you've already broken and entered.

- Is pointing a gun at somebody not a crime if you don't shoot them (or say you had no intention to)?
*Bad analogy. Correct analogy would be being charged with murder for pointing a gun at someone. I wouldn't agree with that.

- How about having kiddie porn on your PC, is that ok as long as you don't have any kids tied up in your basement being filmed? What about if you are a "journalist doing research on child abuse"?
*No, because those are two completely different crimes.

You seem to be confused.

Bullshit (1)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564367)

Yes, putting copyright or bootleg content in a shared directory is intent to break the law.

So you're saying that if I rip my CDs onto my computer and put them in the Shared Music folder in Shared Documents so that the wife and kids, who also use this computer, can access them that I'm breaking the law?

You're not too bright are you?

Re:Is Slashdot turning into Digg? (1)

jonfelder (669529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564410)


And what argument is there to support distributing content that is not yours to distribute? Is it hard to discern the difference between putting bootleg stuff in a shared folder, and having a shared folder? Or serving up stuff that is not bootleg? Jesus what idiocy!


Simply putting something in a shared folder is not distribution. Someone has to copy it first. Windows by default comes with all of your drives shared. Is it that inconceivable that someone could have a blank admin password and no firewall? Do you really think that should be a crime?

Your previous arguments (kiddy porn, B&E, pointing a gun at someone) all involve things that in most cases harm people. Try these arguments instead:

Should it be illegal to have photocopiers in libraries?
Should it be illegal to install Microsoft Office using a cd burner?
Should it be illegal to posess a video camera at a movie screening?
Should it be illegal to leave your door unlocked? What about doing so and leaving a sign that says your door is unlocked?
Should it be illegal for stores to leave stuff out where shoplifters can get at it?

Speeding ticket? (2, Funny)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564155)

What's next, getting a speeding ticket for having a car that's capable of violating the speed limit? Being sued for copyright infringement when renting a DVD for simply owning a DVD burner? I mean you could make a copy of said DVD. We'd better proactively defend ourselves against this threat....

Reallly??? (1)

Siberwulf (921893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564177)

Can't believe the RIAA would stretch so far as to make something commonplace illegal in order to profit. Just don't buy it sir </sarcasm>

Ownership (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564185)

In that same frame of thought one could say that having a file on a computer would be a violation. If I have a machine that can be compromized and I have files on that machine then do I violate the law? Does the violation occure before or after software making it possible to access a file remotely is installed. This could go on ad nausium. "The only secure machine is the one that is unplugged". The issue is ownership of the machine. The relationship between the machine and the files has already proven too difficult to restrict regardless of where they are placed.

Welcome my son,
Welcome to the machine,
Where have you been?
Thats alright we know where you've been.
-- Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon.

Re:Ownership (1)

sabat (23293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564233)

The RIAA's point of view seems to be: we don't want you putting those files on those blastard computers in the first place. Just pretend it's 1985, and listen to your expensive CDs on your expensive tradition CD players. And don't go lending your CDs to your friends -- that's illegal sharing. We're coming after you.

Re:Ownership (1)

breadboy21 (856238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564236)

Your signature is incorrect. Those lyrics are from wish you were here not dark side of the moon.

Re:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564242)

Those lyrics are from Wish You Were Here, not Dark Side of the Moon.

Been downloading mislabeled MP3s illegally?

Re:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564312)

Actually, thats from Wish You Were Here.....great tune nonetheless.

A Polish-style revolt? (3, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564203)

One little-heard story in the West is concerned with how many Polish workers fought back against communism during the last 1970s and early 1980s. I think it may hold relevent in America these days, since the oppressor is quite the same (even if it's called called an "industry association", rather than a "government").

Since many Polish workers were limited in what they could write, they couldn't necessarily make signs or posters. So what they did was launch mass verbal assaults. Not a protest, per se, since they were still working or going about their everyday lives. As they were building ships, or working in a factory, or while heading to work, they would sing chants.

The songs/chants were quite varied. One particular song basically translated to: "We are the people. United we stand." Over and over they would repeat those verses. Other times they were just overtly obscene. Chants which translate to "Penis, anus, defecation!" were commonplace.

Would such protests work in American record stores, for instance?

Another day, another reason to hate RIAA etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564211)

If they would just for a minute put effort into coming up with ideas and services that the people actually want, like fair use and a fair price, and stop trying to double or triple dit into the revenue streams and keep their noses out of peoples lives, we might actually want to buy their product.

But as long as the invasion into our homes, via the back door, into the living room, around the couch and over the coffee table and smack bang into our wallets to suck more money out of us for stuff we have already paid for; then I guess people will keep resisting and illegal activities will continue in protest.

sorry but it's true (1)

digitalrevolution (904258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564220)

It's probably illegal. The question really should be is it ethical ?
My take on this is that it is ethical. Just because the RIAA has a business model that involves taking the risk that people will circumvent their protections and violate the laws they have lobbied to put in place, doesn't make it unethical, especially because there are other business models for releasing digital media without this risk.
Ethics don't change just because laws are passed one day.
Ethics do change when conditions change around your business model. There are many examples. It's caused by progress.
It's time for laws to change, and they will, it's unavoidable.
D.R.

The Difference... (1)

Taimoor (891521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564253)

...between the recording industry and God, is that God does not think that he is the recording industry.

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here 'till Thursday.

--Nick

License To Sue More n00bs (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564257)

The real problem here is that making the act of placing copyrighted material in a shared folder a crime is just another way to ensnare more technically naive people. Most computer users really don't understand the difference between a shared folder and one that is not, to say nothing of all the different ways that said sharing can be configured. This gets even more complicated when one considers all of the compromised PCs out there doing things their owners have no clue about. Making the lack of understanding of how your machine is set up a crime, will only bring more grandma's, kids, and average Joes into court. And, as usual, the professional pirates will continue to make money.

Isolating Knowledge (1)

rbong (935066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564302)

Great, so any file = any contained data unit can't be distributed, then last time I checked, the webpage that announce this information and the word processor RIAA used to type up their reports are files, and hence, illegal to be posted, much less shared, anywhere.

RTFA (1)

Foerstner (931398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564315)

OMG WTF TEH RIAA SAYS SHARING ANY FILE IS ILLEGAL!!!1!

The entire "article" (blog posting [digitalmusicnews.com] ) that started this ruckus says

"In opposition papers served yesterday in Elektra v. Barker in Manhattan federal court, the RIAA has argued that merely making files "available for distribution" is in and of itself a copyright violation.

Were the courts to accept this misguided view of copyright law, it could mean that anyone who has had a shared files folder, even for a moment, that contained copyrighted files in it, would be guilty of copyright infringement, even though the copies in the folder were legally obtained, and even though no illegal copies had ever been made of them.

I am one of the attorneys for Ms. Barker.
" (emphasis mine)

The RIAA is not claiming that sharing, for example, a file placed in the public domain is illegal, the RIAA is claiming that if you make a copyrighted file available, you are violating the law. (Even if the file is never actually downloaded.) Ordinarily, you have to prove that infringement (ie, downloading by an unauthorized party) has actually occurred. The RIAA is claiming that creating the opportunity for infringement is sufficient.

In the real world that would mean... (1)

0x537461746943 (781157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564317)

if I leave one of my legal ripped copies of music on my car at work, I can be sued because someone could take advantage of it?

Windows? (3, Funny)

darkain (749283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564332)

Next thing you know, the MPAA will make it illegal to watch movies in your living room, because someone might watch the movie from the window.

RIAA v. Gonzalez and RIAA v. Grokster (2, Informative)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564333)

I am a lawyer. I have actually read parts of the Grokster and Gonzalez opinions. Although I did not read the opinions with the same care I would have if for professional purposes, Gonzalez certainly seemed to quote Grokster as supporting the proposition that merely having files in a shared folder was sufficiently part of a scheme to distribute to be the equivalent of actual distribution. In other words, it would not be a defense in a suit by the **AA that no one downloaded a complete copy of the file from you, or indeed, that the total bytes of the file uploaded were less than the total bytes in one copy of the file. Five shared songs may equal five times $750. (min.) in damages even if no one downloaded a byte. I'm quite concerned this will be how Grokster is interpreted in the future.
I do think we need legislative relief for the tens of thousands of little guys victimized by the double-A's.

Calm down, you schmucks. (5, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564344)

Most of the posters here so far have been flying off the handle over nothing.

One of the links in the story post tells us [digitalmusicnews.com] that the cases is Elektra v. Barker. While we don't yet seem to have the argument referenced there in front of us, we do have the original complaint from about mid-2005, here [digitalmusicnews.com] , thanks to one of the few people that's posted here whilst keeping there wits about them.

Basically RIAA is merely saying that Barker ran Kazaa, and was sharing some music with it. They're suing her for having done so.

Copyright does include an exclusive right of distribution (17 USC 106(3)) which has frequently been held to cover serving files. And just to preempt some people who will surely latch on to that, note that there are many different rights within copyright, and this is but one of them. Making copies of files, which necessarily happens when you download, is also covered under copyright, and can be infringing as well.

Obviously the RIAA is not saying -- as many people here assume -- that putting any file on a server is illegal. That's beyond even them. What they are saying is that where the files are copyrighted, and the copyright holder hasn't authorized it, and there's no applicable exception in copyright that would permit it, then it's illegal. Certainly as a civil offense, and possibly also as a criminal offense. (Compare 17 USC 501 with 506 and 18 USC 2319)

So if Alice writes a book and puts it on the Internet for anyone to download, that's fine. If she puts a public domain book on the Internet for people to download, that's fine too. But when she puts up Bob's book, without permission, she's got some trouble.

So far this seems to be an amazingly boring case. And, if the facts are as RIAA says, it's probably open-and-shut in their favor. Like it or lump it, copyright suits are generally pretty simple.

So what could be interesting about this? Well, and I'm just guessing here, since I have not seen anything recent about this from the plaintiff, I suspect that the plaintiff said that making the files available to be shared via Kazaa was unlawful distribution, even if no one ever downloaded the files.

This runs contrary to another case, where the court held that an offer to distribute (which is what placing a file in a share is) is not actual distribution, and that only the latter is unlawful. So RIAA or another plaintiff has to catch a defendant actually serving the file to someone. I would not expect that it matters who it is served to. If the copyright holder were to download it themselves, in order to gather evidence, that would probably suffice. (And before someone claims entrapment, let me remind you that that only applies where one is coerced into doing something that one would not have otherwise done. If you were going to share the file with anyone who requested to download it, then the fact that you did so with the wrong person is bad luck for you, but won't get you off the hook)

If the plaintiff never d/l'ed the file, then this also raises the question of whether the files were actually copies of the music in question, or if they were just labeled that way. Given that the plaintiff appears to have the file listings in hand, they'll probably win this. In a civil suit, which this is, the standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. It is not the beyond a reasonable doubt standard reserved for criminal suits. In this case, reasonable doubts as to the facts will not save the defendant; instead whatever is felt to be most likely, even if only by a hair's breadth, is considered the truth. In my experience, when someone (other than RIAA et al) puts up a file claiming to be an mp3 of a song, it usually is.

All told, it seems like a humdrum case that is not worth getting worked up about (unless you think P2P of this sort should be legal, in which case lots of cases are worth getting worked up about). There might be one interesting issue in it -- whether an offer to distribute is distribution -- but right now we don't even know if that's an issue.

What is not at issue in this case? What has the plaintiff not claimed? No one has claimed that all sharing is illegal. Or that sharing copyrighted files is illegal when there is permission to do so. Or that sharing copyrighted files is illegal when there is an applicable exception in copyright law. Or that you cannot share files you yourself are the copyright holder of.

So calm down. Or if that's too much, then at least only get pissed off about something connected to reality, rather than your latest fantasy.

Depends on Scope of Sharing (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564351)

'Sharing' has a very broad connotation.

To me, there is a *BIG* difference between sharing my *PURCHASED* music on a private fileserver on my LAN and sharing my music on a publicly accessible server. If it is on my private LAN, the only one enjoying the music is me (the purchaser). However, placing it on a server accessible by *ANYONE* is analogous to photocopying a copyrighted book and placing stacks of it on your front porch.

Public libraries.... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564358)

...make books available for distribution, don't they?

Shedding a little more light... (1)

My_Name_Is_Robert_Pa (949549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564415)

To view the actual Opposition that is being discussed on the blogs:
http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2006 /01/riaa-argues-merely-making-available.html [blogspot.com]

Keep in mind this is an Opposition to a motion to dismmiss the complaint that was filed by Barker.

This is all preliminary paperwork - they haven't even made it to court yet.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?