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RIAA Doesn't Like Independent Experts

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the pirates-are-everywhere dept.

258

Krishna Dagli writes to tell us Ars Technica is looking at the latest in the comedy of errors that is the RIAA's crusade against supposed pirates. From the article: "As one might expect, Arellanes isn't too keen on the idea of sending her hard drive (PDF) to an RIAA star chamber for examination. Citing the RIAA's numerous missteps in its ill-conceived crusade against music fans, she requests that the court require a "neutral computer forensics expert and a protocol protective of non-relevant and privileged information" be used to conduct the examination."

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News? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16036961)

RIAA doesn't like anything.

How much longer can this go on? (4, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | about 8 years ago | (#16036966)

It seems that every other week I am reading about another flaw in the RIAA's legal cases. Now it seems that anybody who wants to fight and starts getting close to winning has the RIAA cancel the case. Will there come a time when enough people (or their lawyers) get educated as to the ways to win/stop the cases that the RIAA will start using different means of oppression? Am I right in thinking that in the US, the RIAA does not have to pay the court costs for the loser if they withdraw the charges?

Re:How much longer can this go on? (2, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | about 8 years ago | (#16036972)

court costs for the loser

That should obviously be court costs for the winner.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (5, Funny)

Elemenope (905108) | about 8 years ago | (#16036996)

That's like calling the guy who was attacked by a lion, tossed arond like a rag doll, disemboweled, but let go because he tasted bad a 'winner'. Sure, it's technically true, as he didn't get eaten, but that's really a small comfort for the guy. I bet he doesn't feel like a winner. ;)

Re:How much longer can this go on? (3, Funny)

legoburner (702695) | about 8 years ago | (#16037013)

Yeah, but then the guy can have a t-shirt made that says 'winner' with a picture of a lion [weebls-stuff.com] on it, and for the rest of his life he can bask in the glory of his conversation-piece t-shirt, making him very popular at social gatherings and allowing him to get over his latent social anxieties. I am sure there is some decent, similar t-shirt option for an RIAA lawsuit. ok I'll shut up now.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037183)

If the result should be that the lion won't attack another guys based on this 'bad taste' experience, then yes, he won, as did we all.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037216)

I thought he was stung by a stingray.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037282)

Oh, I thought it was a reference to Siegfried and Roy. [wikipedia.org] But either way, it is not really in good.. taste.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (1)

ViaD (860177) | about 8 years ago | (#16037511)

Ye, that lion example says it all. The title of the /. article says nothin. I did not even know that RIAA liked anyone :)

Re:How much longer can this go on? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 years ago | (#16036987)

I think a countersuit is necessary to collect that sort of thing. Of course, the RIAA may offer to pay your lawyer fees as part of the settlement if they decide the best course of action is to withdraw and withdraw quickly.

On the case itself, wouldn't the best course of action be to make a few exact copies of that harddrive, just in case the original craps out if nothing else and also so the data can't be slightly altered by the "expert" witnesses.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 8 years ago | (#16037197)

Now for the normal user additional copies of the hard drive is expensive, not to mention the technical ability to create them. There is also the issue of a gross invasion of privacy.

The RIAA want their expert so they can grossly invade the privacy of the user (an issue which an obviously biased judge seems to forget when looking at personal, rather than business use) so other information can be used to force the issue in their favour.

Deleted embarassing photos or private letters or even childrens photos (and nobody wants the pervert asshats at the RIAA pawing over the photos of your friends and family), no, you destroyed incriminating evidence.

They obviously want to go far beyond what they are entitled to, like a bunch of perverted freaks. Deny everything, admit to nothing, make them prove anything.

Re:How much longer can this go on? (5, Funny)

dyamkovoy (993805) | about 8 years ago | (#16037060)

It's like a bad poker game.

RIAA bets 1 bogus charge
Defendant raises 1 "let me see your evidence"
RIAA sees "let me see your evidence" and raises 1 "give me your hard drive"
Defendant raises 1 countersuit
RIAA folds.

Most lawyers give tacit approval to RIAA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037271)

The reason why it goes on and on is because lawyers do not consider the RIAA as rogues like the rest of the world does.

If the RIAA were a rogue legal outfit in the way that SCO is a rogue computing outfit, then they'd get criticized, disowned and marginalized by their own legal community.

That's not happening though --- lawyers throughout the US (and beyond) are almost 100% quiet about the antics of these "brothers" of theirs. That's tacit approval.

Supposed pirates (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16036968)

Yeah, I don't think I know anyone who illegally copies MP3s. I certainly know that know all of mine are legit.

"NOT!!!"

Steve Irwins death a tradegy? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16036973)

Obviously his friends and family weren't too fond of him, or they would have stopped him endangering himself. This is one of the reasons we have loony-bins folks, it's a little late to be compassionate when the fool is dead.


Nature (1) Vs. Steve Irwin (0)


The nutjob probably had life insurance anyway.

How can you allow such treatment? (4, Interesting)

elh_inny (557966) | about 8 years ago | (#16037005)

I live outside US, in an EU country and I constantly see how many basic freedom rights are violated in US.
With all the recent actions of NSA, RIAA, MPAA, it seems like you hardly care about things like:
-freedom
-what is not explicitly banned should be allowed
-all citizens should be considered innocent unless explicitly proven otherwise, within US agencies, it seems the assumption is the other way around
Perhaps your life is still very bearable with those restrictions, but I would firmly rebel against such treatment...
I can't provide you a withsimple solution, but it seems nothing is being done to counteract the wrong-doings of your government, it can only deteriorate form that point :(
I don't know how many people have changed their minds recently, but I don't want to go to USA anymore.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (4, Interesting)

oclawgeek (861555) | about 8 years ago | (#16037043)

I agree with you, somewhat. First, however, copyright violations are explicitly forbidden, so that argument does not seem terribly relevant. However, the people currently in control of the federal government (as opposed to the governments of at least some of our states), are people who have decided that they prefer safety to liberty, and are perfectly willing to trade most or all of the latter for the illusion of the former. In this Faustian bargain, they will end up with neither - which is only just, as Benjamin Franklin famously (in the U.S., at least) observed. There is a simple word for this, naturally: cowardice. These same people tend to now populate the courts, but with the added vice of intellectual dishonesty so that the rights expressly granted to the citizenry in our Constitution are simply interpreted out of existence; any who dare acknowledge them are branded as "judicial activists" or traitors. But don't give up hope, world: we have a rich heritage of eventual rejection of the kind of nincompoopery you see in our federal government today. Let us hope we reject them soon.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (4, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | about 8 years ago | (#16037204)

Yes, copyright violations are explicitly forbidden; but not every MP3 represents a copyright violation. The idea of "innocent until proven guilty" (we used to have that in the UK once) should still hold: any copy should be presumed to be permitted under the doctrine of "fair use" unless it can be proved otherwise. And the scope of fair use in the USA is quite broad.

If the US courts still work anything like the UK courts on which they were modelled, decisions in one court can set precedents. If enough people claim "fair use" and win, the scope of fair use will be widened. I guess the RIAA would sooner drop a case than continue prosecuting it and risk further expanding fair use. In the best case, a jury could even decide that P2P filesharing constitutes fair use!

Also, there are two things very wrong with the US legal system. One is that lawyers are allowed to demand payment before a verdict is agreed upon by all parties. And two is that even if you win a case, you have to pay your own costs. These two make it possible to bankrupt someone in the courts before a verdict is delivered. In a truly fair legal system, the lawyers would only be paid after all appeals were exhausted and both sides' costs would be borne by the losing party.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (3, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 8 years ago | (#16037353)

In a truly fair legal system, the lawyers would only be paid after all appeals were exhausted and both sides' costs would be borne by the losing party.

It sounds nice, but if you don't sort of implicitly assume that all cases are resolved in a just manner. Well... Suppose you have $citizen who wants to sue $EvilCorp for being evil. The citizen does so. The citizen loses. The citizen has to pay EvilCorp's lawyers millions. That's a really good way to discourage suing EvilCorp. (Or consider the other way around. $EvilCorp sues $citizen because it's evil. They win. To add insult to injury, the citizen now also loses millions paying for the lawyers.)

That's the three-second Slashdot version, admittedly, but loser-pays is not all peaches and cream and pretty fluffy bunnies. Here's some random Internet paper that looks to present a few of the issues:

The fundamental problem with a loser-pays proposal is that it would chill counsel from pursuing cases involving potentially legitimate claims where success is uncertain ... Given the numerous variables that counsel must weigh, and the uncertainty of the outcome, the prospect of facing automatic sanctions for merely being incorrect would undoubtably deter a great number of claims that warrant pursuit.
-- MARC I. GROSS LOSER-PAYS -- OR WHOSE "FAULT" IS IT ANYWAY: A RESPONSE TO HENSLER-ROWE'S "BEYOND 'IT JUST AIN'T WORTH IT'" [duke.edu]

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037435)

The citizen loses. The citizen has to pay EvilCorp's lawyers millions. That's a really good way to discourage suing EvilCorp.

It's actually worse than that in the UK. EvilCorp's lawyers go to the court and point out that if they win you probably won't be able to pay them. So the court orders you to post a bond; in other words, you have to find EvilCorp's lawyers' fees (in addition to your own) before the trial even starts.

This has recently been mitigated by the introduction of "no win no fee" cases where your lawyer takes the risk (which he hedges through an insurer). However, "no win no fee" can't be used for all kinds of cases. Even where it can be used it requires you to find a willing lawyer and insurer. If you have a good but unusual case you may be out of luck.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

complete loony (663508) | about 8 years ago | (#16037524)

And then neither party would admit defeat because they are betting everything. There is a point where you have to cut your losses even if you might be able to win.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

dirk (87083) | about 8 years ago | (#16037591)

Yes, copyright violations are explicitly forbidden; but not every MP3 represents a copyright violation. The idea of "innocent until proven guilty" (we used to have that in the UK once) should still hold: any copy should be presumed to be permitted under the doctrine of "fair use" unless it can be proved otherwise. And the scope of fair use in the USA is quite broad.
If the US courts still work anything like the UK courts on which they were modelled, decisions in one court can set precedents. If enough people claim "fair use" and win, the scope of fair use will be widened. I guess the RIAA would sooner drop a case than continue prosecuting it and risk further expanding fair use. In the best case, a jury could even decide that P2P filesharing constitutes fair use!

You don't seem to understand how fair use works. Fair use basically let's you do something that would otherwise be illegal. It is illegal to copy copyrighted works except for under the terms of fair use. So if you are accused of copying copyrighted works, you have to then prove it falls under fair use. Fair use is basically a loophole. Fair use is a defense you can use. If you are accused of copying copyrighted works, the court will look and say "yep, they were copyrighted". You're denfense is then "this copying falls under fair use", which the court will look at and either confirm or deny.

I know everyone hates analogies, but fair use is similar to saying you killed someone in self defense. It does not say you didn't break the law, but tries to say why you broke the law and why it is allowed.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (3, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 8 years ago | (#16037262)

I don't agree, they are not prefering safety over liberty, they are prefering their fortune to your safety or liberty and using the illusion of safety to get their hand on public money.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037448)


The quote you use is redundant.

Every society sacrifice liberty for security. Why?

Because on train cars, the door cannot be opened while the train is in motion. If you want to open the door and jump out as the train is coming to a halt, you will be unable to, as the freedom to do so has been removed from you for the sake of the security of the passengers.
Add to this that going to the bank to withdraw money requires you to present identification, and that taking a flight does the same. You also cannot sell a property without legal documentation, and you cannot enter many situations without a press pass.

These are all limitations of freedom for the sake of security.

Of course, you could still argue that only _additional_ levels of freedom-vs-liberty tradeoff are bad. But that means you would have to argue that the current level is the best of all levels, which seems slighty absurd.

In fact, even tax is a limitation of liberty for the case of security.

I find that quote to be ridiculously misinformed, it's just sad to see how many still use it.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 years ago | (#16037054)

From my observations, the continued abuses on our Freedoms comes from the bottom up in society in a lot of situations. I mean, a lot of things ingrained in our basic groupthink (as a country) about things allows this sort of thing to happen. Many of the defiencies in the legal system (mostly that it seems Justice is bought, and that courts seem to care more about protocol than right or wrong anymore) stem from English Common Law and works it's way up from there - sort of like how Microsoft's security problems continually stem from the same sources. Until we address more than the symptoms, the problem continue to happen.

But you should specify where in the EU you are from. I recently hosted an Englishman at my place, and he says that while England is a police state and none of the younger generation want to live there any longer, he's for more draconian reforms since "if you have nothing to hide, what do you have to worry about?" Funny that, since he's moving out of England soon.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (5, Insightful)

Phillip2 (203612) | about 8 years ago | (#16037096)

In general, when people say England is a police state, it's preparatory to a diatribe against either a) speed cameras or b) immigration.

Holding people without charge for years, shooting unarmed civilians or searching people for having beards or being Asian is fine, of course, and a necessary response to terrorism.

I'd like to say that such people can be safely ignored as the sad lunatics that they are. But, sadly, they are becoming more of a political force now than they have been for years.

Phil

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 8 years ago | (#16037113)

"In general, when people say England is a police state, it's preparatory to a diatribe against either a) speed cameras or b) immigration."

Absolutely, if you meet these people at outdoor events they will usually try to sell you some sort of magazine and attempt to explain how the current government is directly comparable to Nazi Germany. They will not listen to reason and should be shot out of hand.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (3, Insightful)

cruachan (113813) | about 8 years ago | (#16037156)

...usually try to sell you some sort of magazine...


You are of course refering to the Daily Mail?

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037207)

it's preparatory to a diatribe against either a) speed cameras or b) immigration.

And CCTV covering entire cities leaving nowhere except indoors to privacy, and police that shoot unarmed citizens just because they run away from unmarked officers, and traffic systems that track vehicles everywhere they go leaving no privacy, and stranglehold warranty laws that make it impossible to sell inferior goods *when the customer is informed*, and ...

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (2, Insightful)

greenechidna (824493) | about 8 years ago | (#16037215)

A lot of nonsence is, indeed, talked about a) speed cameras or b) immigration. However, as far as I have noticed, only the former gets cited as an example of police state behaviour and then rarely. Normally it is seen as a cynical revenue raising tactic. I don't have a problem with either a) or b). I do have a problem with the proposed ID cards bill, the attempt to limit access to trial by jury and similar initiatives. Your mixing of several points suggests but does not make explicit, that these are a set of views expressed by a reactionary right wing cabal. Such people do exist but I think placing the blame for the latter, more important points, avoids placing the blame where it belongs: the police and the current government.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037219)

>In general, when people say England is a police state, it's preparatory to a diatribe against either a) speed cameras
>

Excuse me, but in case you hadn't noticed, they are now called "safety cameras"!

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

lga (172042) | about 8 years ago | (#16037359)

My local town centre is subject to a police control order.

A police officer can ask anyone to leave the town centre, and refusing to do so is an arrestable offence.

Now that, is the genesis of a police state.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (2, Insightful)

Paperkirin (888073) | about 8 years ago | (#16037372)

My only problem with speed cameras is that on a dual carriageway near my home, the morons in other cars see the speed camera signs and immediately drop their speed to less than 50 mi/h (80 km/h) - ignoring totally that they are still allowed to go at the statutory dual carriageway speed of 70 mi/h (110 km/h). Though I suppose this is more of a problem with people not knowing the highway code than the cameras themselves.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 8 years ago | (#16037414)

In general, when people say England is a police state, it's preparatory to a diatribe against either a) speed cameras or b) immigration.

Well I dont know too much about what a police state is but from the time I have spent here (2 years now) I can say that the government DO have you controlled under a "scared to hell" tactic. I mean, you just have to read the letters I have received from the "TV Licesnse authority", god, although I dont give a shit about the TV license ( as I dont watch TV doh!) I have quite a lot of fun at reading those letters "To the occuppier of XXXX, I am in charge of TV licensing in you area, surrender to us and pay the license or we will fine your ass until you can only shit legal bills".

And, from the comments that my girlfriend has told me other ppl at her work (all of them British), it seems they are *affraid* of their government. I mean, dont you guys know that the government was made to serve people? of course maybe I should be affraid as the new mode is to shoot foreigners because they seem suspicious and are running in the tube stations (not that they had to get early to work of course...).

Well, besides of that, UK is great :) but really I understand why Britons are so cold and that (can you imagine that the *most* "crazy" thing Britons do in a ROCK concert [steve vai or joe satriani] is to *clap* their hands, people saw me with a weird look because I was head-banging on some songs... COME ON PEOPLE!!).

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (3, Informative)

MartinB (51897) | about 8 years ago | (#16037444)

Holding people without charge for years,

28 days is the current limit, although the government wanted 90 days.

shooting unarmed civilians or searching people for [...] being Asian is fine, of course, and a necessary response to terrorism.

Replace Asian with Irish and that was the case for a *long* time. Travelling in possession of an Irish Accent was a defacto offence throughout the 70s and 80s, which is why the treatment meted out at airports these days is making me absolutely furious, having had enough friends and relatives who were on the receiving end of this.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (4, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | about 8 years ago | (#16037176)

"From my observations, the continued abuses on our Freedoms comes from the bottom up in society in a lot of situations. I mean, a lot of things ingrained in our basic groupthink (as a country) about things allows this sort of thing to happen."

How are gutting judicial oversight, running up the national deficit, invading countries without just cause and removing civil liberties like privacy and free speech coming from the bottom-up?

I see plenty of people apologising for Bush after he announces each new violation of civil liberties or due process, but very few people campaigning to have cameras in every house and strip-searches every time you enter a building before he announces the ideas.

"Many of the defiencies in the legal system (mostly that it seems Justice is bought, and that courts seem to care more about protocol than right or wrong anymore) stem from English Common Law and works it's way up from there - sort of like how Microsoft's security problems continually stem from the same sources. Until we address more than the symptoms, the problem continue to happen."

Hmmm. Our democracy has problems, true, but it's lasted for several hundred years longer than yours so far. You've now got fewer civil liberties than us, your country's younger, and you're already vastly more institutionally corrupt than we are.

<FLAMEBAIT>
I'd say your problems stem fro mthe things you did differently, not the things you did the same... >:-)
</FLAMEBAIT>

Reversing the 1886 decision to give corporations most of the same rights as people would be a good start.

"But you should specify where in the EU you are from. I recently hosted an Englishman at my place, and he says that while England is a police state"

Hyperbole, although it's slowly tending in the same direction as the USA. It's common knowledge in the UK that whatever the US does, five years later the UK is at least seriously debating.

"and none of the younger generation want to live there any longer,"

Hyperbole. If the younger generation wanted to leave we all could. People grumble and worry about the government, but not nearly as much as in the USA. TBH, polls indicate we worry more about the US government than our own, as they're much more of a threat to world peace.

"he's for more draconian reforms since "if you have nothing to hide, what do you have to worry about?" Funny that, since he's moving out of England soon."

Where's he moving to? Highly amusing if it's the USA.

Referring you to a quote by Robert Anton Wilson (IIRC): "It only takes 30 years for a liberal to turn into a conservative, without changing a single idea".

Also, remember the usual caveats about generalising from a single data-point.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

MartinB (51897) | about 8 years ago | (#16037465)

and none of the younger generation want to live there any longer,
Hyperbole. If the younger generation wanted to leave we all could.
You didn't see the last census numbers then..? There's a huge hole in men aged 18-30 not explicable through birth & death data, which is analysed as being due to emigration.
People grumble and worry about the government, but not nearly as much as in the USA.
Perhaps that's because people aren't really paying attention. Can't see even the most rabid members of PNAC seriously proposing ID Cards.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

reminor (221472) | about 8 years ago | (#16037236)

But you should specify where in the EU you are from
From the poster's URL ending in .pl, it looks like Poland to me.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | about 8 years ago | (#16037059)

I left.

And I'm not going back until I see things better back home, or until everywhere else I could be just happens to be worse:-(

Sigh. Not this shit again (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 8 years ago | (#16037077)

You know, I had a post written up on this kind of thing some time back, but it's too old for me to find a link and I don't really feel like writing another "Welcome to how the US legal system works guide." So I'll summarize:

1) If you get your news on the situation from /. please stop forming opinions. This is not a balanced source.
2) Please take the time to enlighten yourself about the US legal system (difference between criminal and civil) before spouting off about it.
3) Get off your fucking high horse. Are there disturbing things happening in the US? Yes. Are there in your part of the world too? You betcha. I don't know what country you are from and really, it doesn't matter. Wherever it is, I guarantee there's some scary big brother stuff that some people are pushing. Hell, some of it you may already have and are just used to it, you might even think it's normal whereas it'd scare me. Either way this "I'm scared to go to the US," is an attitude that screams ignorance.

Seriously it is really tiresome seeing Europeans with this high and mighty "We are so free over here and the US has become a horrible dictatorship," attitude. It's as bad as Americans that see the French as weak, cheese eating surrender monkeys.

I know it's trendy to hate on the US. It's even trendy for many over here. But if you are going to do it, at least be intelligent about it.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (4, Insightful)

zootm (850416) | about 8 years ago | (#16037118)

I'm not one of the "US-hater" crowd, but I think I should at least point out why so many people take America's politics so seriously when, to a US citizen, it probably seems like none of their business.

Basically, this all comes back to us. If the RIAA/PATRIOT act/name your favourite anti-American act seemingly supported by the federal goverment here prevail in the US, international pressure appears for our countries to adopt similar ("compatible") measures. I get very much up in arms about these things happening on my doorstep (I live in the UK, and we have a lot of equivalent situations, as you point out), but all the while, in order to be conscientious, I have to keep an eye on the goings-on in the US, and I feel the right to speak on them, even though it is not my government, because the decision made will come back to me.

Of course, the extreme incarnation of this nonsense is people gaining a large resentment of the US, which on the whole it does not deserve. The US is a country whose base principles are those of freedom, and even if it didn't affect the rest of us, the perversion of these principles would be a tragedy to behold for those of us with "more traditional" societal backgrounds.

But, yeah, don't feed the trolls and so on.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037497)

I'm not trying to be a troll myself, but it appears to me that you should focus your effort on your own country, specifically to resist the "international pressure [..] to adopt similar ("compatible") measures." Personally, I think that's the biggest problem - the creation of all of these international groups that seek to enforce other countries laws in all member countries.

We have a simlilar issue over here in the US with some particularly clueless Supreme Court Justices who seem to think we should use court cases in other countries as precidence in our own system. That's idiotic, and I'll be glad when we get a chance to replace those Justices with some that posess common sense.

Now I understand that much of that international pressure comes from the US itself. However, my advice would be for your contry to "Just Say No" like a former First Lady of ours used to say. You can only do that in your own country, not by criticising the US.

It's all because of the UN. The UN is basically a failure, and all of its specialized organizations like WIPO are the source of all your issues. Join some of us in the US who believe the best would be for the UN to be disolved. It is failing, and will fail, in its primary mission of preventing another World War and Holocaust. Nothing significant will be done from preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and they will not hesitate to use it on Israel. The destruction of Tel Aviv and murder of hundreds of thousands of people will unleash the full World War III. Most of Europe, however, will still have their head stuck in the sand and will refuse to believe that Muslims will do what their religion says they must do, kill all infidels, and what they say they will do.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (1)

mrcolj (870373) | about 8 years ago | (#16037523)

I think people need to realize also that there is an organized marketing movement by each government to downplay the importance and perceived infallibility of the U.S. Remember, the stronger the dollar gets, the weaker the euro, the pound, the peso, whatever... On a macro sense, they're better off letting the US raise the world's standard of living, but corruption on both sides leaves unnecessary competition. If you're in Germany, you think there are all kinds of atrocities going on in the US because your competitive, zero-sum, government-owned news tells you so. That was the whole fight over trying to get German to be the official language of the EU. If you live in any other country, ditto. The US is doing a darn good job at most everything it does, and the perceived atrocities of the Bush administration are mostly marketing campaigns financed and written by those who would feign to compete.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (1)

zootm (850416) | about 8 years ago | (#16037549)

I'm not so convinced about that — most sensible people are savvy enough to get their own news these days, and at the very least news across Europe in general seems as unbiased as American sources. There's a degree of nationalism in most localised presses, though, and it can be hard to filter this out. On the other hand, the internet has made doing that a hell of a lot easier, of late.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037589)

Hey $ doesn't need our comments to become a weak money, did you realize how much is costing to any US citizen the wars they are conducting around the world ? Did you know how much is your national debt ? You know that is china financing 1/4 of your money ?
You know that china is starting doing business in euro instead of the dollar ? You know that russia sell his petrol and gas in euro and in future in russian currency.
Indeed is not a surprise since dollar value lost 40% against euro in 5 years (you noticed it when you make the full to your car, isn't it ?).

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037536)

the USA country of the freedom is just a propaganda/marketing ad.

Did you really belive that in a country where native people has been "exterminated" and oppressed or where slavery has been so widely used or where there are been only 2 political party in ages and where presidency pass from dad to son (or maybe from husband to wife in future)where cia or nsa can wiretap your comunication without a warrant from a judge there is or have been freedom ?

Hey in which year black people get the right to vote there ?

USA is just a bully nation that exploit his own people.

A lot of strikes in the country of freedom,right ?

Maybe for better social services or pay rates or retirements or education system, and moreover what about the interference with the rest of the world, what about the "giunta" governement that the USA put up in the different nations in the latin america or tried to in the middle east, see in particular iran and iraq ?

Yes probably there are more freedom than in the ex urss or nk or in the fascist italy or the nazi german, but come on...

democracy and freedom are far from been born and living in the USA

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 8 years ago | (#16037221)

Seriously it is really tiresome seeing Europeans with this high and mighty "We are so free over here and the US has become a horrible dictatorship," attitude.

You reap what you sow.

The image your government projects is that of trying to spread freedom and democracy around the world, when they actually just work in the interests of the USA. And many Americans are also under the belief that the USA is the place with the most freedom in the world. These things wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that many Americans, and even your leaders, tend to mock and berate the rest of the world about this issue. This is of course annoying for the rest of us, especially when the USA doesn't actually look any freer to us than any other first world country.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (1)

griffjon (14945) | about 8 years ago | (#16037455)

hear hear. The US has been spreading democracy since WWII (before, too, just not as well marketed). We've had some great successes! I mean, just think of the democratic governments we've replaced with dictators in such culturally diverse locations as the Philippines, Nicaragua, San Salvador...

Oh, wait. We're supposed to be doing that the other way, right?

I'm certainly biased, but has there ever been a case where the US has muddled around in the affairs of another nation's government and had it turn into a flowering democracy? Do any of the Marshall Plan "graduates" count?

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037569)

That's so true. As a European it's really funny when the americans describe terrorists as "freedom haters"...NO, they are "US Foreign Policy"-haters.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (5, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | about 8 years ago | (#16037232)

Amen to your points 1 and 2, and everything Zootm replied with.

However:

"3) Get off your fucking high horse. Are there disturbing things happening in the US? Yes. Are there in your part of the world too? You betcha. I don't know what country you are from and really, it doesn't matter. Wherever it is, I guarantee there's some scary big brother stuff that some people are pushing."

There are several things wrong with this position:

1. You don't know what country your reader is in, and yet you're absolutely sure there are equivalent problems going on. This is clearly bullshit, since you don't know exactly what's going on in every other country on earth. Also, anyone from (for example), Sweden could then bitch about the USA all they liked.

It also speaks volumes about why the US administration is allowed to get away with it. You blithely assume the US is no worse than everyone else, so by extension whatever the US government does is "normal" across the world. It is not. The USA is the current thought-leader (and worse, arm-twister) pushing this kind of gutting of democracy and abuse of power across the world.

Tony Blair would be having wet dreams about the kind of police state he could construct, were it not for the US destabilising whole regions of the globe, upping the frequency of terrorism and cultivating the atmosphere of fear TB needs to get his (and Bush's) agenda across.

2. You appear to not understand the difference between a qualitative and a quantitative difference. Do many/most other countries have problems with lack of education/authoritarian governments/new technology eroding civil liberties/corrupt representatives/corporate interference in politics? Yes.

Does any other country on the face of the planet have as many problems (and quite as publically) as the USA has for the last decade or so? No.

3. You reap what you sow. The rest of the world has spent over a century listening to the USA's claims to be the leader of the free world, shining example of democracy and free-market capitalism, and epitome of open-minded tolerance. Although never as white as you painted it, the USA was generally viewed as arrogant, but essentially the "good guy". Now your freedoms are violated and removed, your democracy is tainted and corrupt and your political and legal processes are often an open market for corporations to purchase the results they want.

And if this wasn't a come-down enough, at the same time your administration is crowing even louder than ever about your "Freedom" and "Democracy" (which seem to be different to "freedom" and "democracy", since both of those are clearly being eroded right before everyone's eyes).

"Hell, some of it you may already have and are just used to it, you might even think it's normal whereas it'd scare me. Either way this "I'm scared to go to the US," is an attitude that screams ignorance."

Not if you're asian. Or wear a turban and sandals. Or a muslim. Or expect officials to have any kind of sense of humour. Or don't like instantly acquiescing to authority without explanation. Or vocally disapprove of the administration's policies. Or have a name that sounds like a known alias of a terrorist. Or...

Sure, if you're a middle-class republican white guy you're laughing. Any different and there's a small (but significant) chance you could end up in legal trouble. And given the world no longer trusts the US legal system, that's a frightening possibility.

Would I still visit the USA? Yes, but I'd be careful while I was there.

Would I blame anyone who fitted any of the above descriptions from being wary of doing so? No.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037295)

Seriously it is really tiresome seeing Europeans with this high and mighty "We are so free over here and the US has become a horrible dictatorship," attitude. It's as bad as Americans that see the French as weak, cheese eating surrender monkeys.

Personally, I live in Canada and do admit that the Canadian Government has serious issues which need to be addressed (like transparency and accountability) and that the Canadian Government is also bullied around by its own lobby groups. I still see these issues with liberty and freedom that the Patriot Act, NSA spying and RIAA/MPAA represent in the USA as huge issues; in part because they happened in The United States of Fucking America.

The United States is one of the few countries where all political parties are reasonably protective of personal rights and freedoms mainly because they have a strong independant press and they have an electorate which is willing to hold people accountable; contrast this with Canada, where the largest Radio/Television network is Governemnt owned and controlled (CBC) and has a vested interest in keeping a conservative government out of office because the funding to the CBC would be cut (because the Conservatives have a crazy belief that if the CBC played programming people wanted to see they could become sustainable off of advertizing revinue, like every other network in Canada). If this is happening in the The United States of Fucking America how long is it going to be before it is a problem everywhere?

Now there are other reasons for people being all preachy when they hear about things like this happening in the United States, and I think they're justified. Under shrub, the United States has taken on a Campaign throughout the world to spread Democracy and increase the personal freedoms of everyone through-out the world; and at the same time they have been working at home to reduce the personal freedoms of their citizens. A hypocritical position always brings out stone throwers.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (5, Informative)

j35ter (895427) | about 8 years ago | (#16037404)

3) Get off your fucking high horse. Are there disturbing things happening in the US? Yes. Are there in your part of the world too? You betcha. I don't know what country you are from and really, it doesn't matter. Wherever it is, I guarantee there's some scary big brother stuff that some people are pushing. Hell, some of it you may already have and are just used to it, you might even think it's normal whereas it'd scare me. Either way this "I'm scared to go to the US," is an attitude that screams ignorance.

When my wife (who was a resident of the U.S.) decided to give birth to our daughter in a U.S. clinic, I applied for a visa so I could attend the birth of my first child. Everything was set for the trip, and even though I worked in Austria at that time, had a lot of cash on my account, I was not issues a visa out of concerns that I might not leave the U.S. Oh, btw. I am a Croatian citizen.
Quite a few Americans I talked to were comparing their democracy to the Romans or the Greek. There is one similarity they quite likely missed: The Greek and Roman treated non-citizens barbaric. Regardless of what you think, your gvt. treats non-US-citizens like shit

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (2, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 8 years ago | (#16037433)

3) Get off your fucking high horse. Are there disturbing things happening in the US? Yes. Are there in your part of the world too? You betcha. I don't know what country you are from and really, it doesn't matter. Wherever it is, I guarantee there's some scary big brother stuff that some people are pushing. Hell, some of it you may already have and are just used to it, you might even think it's normal whereas it'd scare me. Either way this "I'm scared to go to the US," is an attitude that screams ignorance.

Oh, definitely. The big difference is that the US of A is by far the leader in the field when it comes to flagwaving, touting the "home of the brave, land of the free" and showcasing that constitution you seem to be so terribly proud of. You see, the rest of us don't go around pretending we're the beacon of hope and salvation for all mankind, and seeing the US say one thing and then turn around and do something completely different starts to get a bit old by now.

Re:Sigh. Not this shit again (0, Troll)

JockTroll (996521) | about 8 years ago | (#16037460)

Seriously it is really tiresome seeing Europeans with this high and mighty

Euros aren't "high" and they aren't "mighty" for sure. They're at best fourth-class midgets only good for kickin'em around.

"We are so free over here and the US has become a horrible dictatorship," attitude.

The only "freedom" Euros enjoy is to be the pedophile scat-porn perverts they are. Everything else, they're so in love with their Komisars.

It's as bad as Americans that see the French as weak, cheese eating surrender monkeys.

But they are. And being "weak, cheese-eating surrender monkeys" could actually be considered a virtue, if you compare it to the rest of their, ehm, "cultural traits".

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 8 years ago | (#16037082)

It's not much better in the EU with the EUCD... I think the only reason we're doing a bit better against these lobby groups is that they are simply not financed as well or otherwise as influental.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (4, Informative)

herbiesdad (909590) | about 8 years ago | (#16037116)

To my non-US friends. The RIAA and MPAA are non-governmental, private industry groups. They have nothing to do with the US government, nor do they take direction from the US government. Those groups are formed and run by companies in the entertainment industry. There are no penalties imposed by these industry groups directly; they act only through the US court system, and pursue strictly civil matters (i.e. there is no opportunity for prison time). Outside of the court system they have no direct power. Where someone is suspected of large-scale distribution of copyrighted material, these groups might refer that person to various criminal prosecutors. These are government entities, but it is their discretion alone whether to pursue the wrongdoing and file charges. I hope this clarifies some things; there appears to be some confusion about this on /.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (4, Insightful)

Simon Garlick (104721) | about 8 years ago | (#16037193)

< Outside of the court system they have no direct power.

When the corporations in question can quite brazenly buy politicians and get laws rushed through Congress specifically to make these charges possible, that's quite enough INDIRECT power to give me the shits.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

RodgerDodger (575834) | about 8 years ago | (#16037286)

The RIAA and MPAA don't take orders from the US government, they give them, primarily through their bought-and-paid-for senators and congresscritters.

Oh, and said politicians for hire are actively trying to make copyright infrigment a crime worthy of prison time. One of the reasons for hammering the "piracy is theft" mantra is to equate copyright violations with shoplifting - a crime that is jail-worthy. Already the DMCA makes any attempt to bypass a copy-protection mechanism (such as the CSS encryption on a DVD) a crime worthy of jail.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16037546)

Outside of the court system they have no direct power.
Yes, these corps have no real power. [wikipedia.org] It is indirect, but the fact that congress pushed the DMCA and other bills is starting to show who congress represents.

It is time for Americans to push Joel hefley's ideas concerning how to stop this slide towards corruption and fasicism.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (3, Insightful)

jackjeff (955699) | about 8 years ago | (#16037160)

I would like to be as optimistic about Europe. But I'm not...

In most EU countries the EUCD (=local DMCA) has just been voted. Despite the bad example DMCA set, the powerful media industry managed to make the law voted nearly everywhere (ah yeah.. Denmark is a bit of an exception). It's just been voted, so it will take a while before you have the first cases... but there will be.

And regarding the involvement of the NSA. I'm sure similar practices are used by security services in Europe. You just don't know it. A story similar to the watergate failed to impeach the President in France. And the press simply does not have the power here than it has in the US. Odds are that newspapers would be pressured one way or another not to publish such information. Remember. We're 25, with different languages. Newspapers belong to press groups, which are divided among nations... and some of them belong to Universal in the end. Got the picture?

And how about those automated cameras in London and UK which take pictures of license plates/people in the streets? Don't you think Bush is jealous and dreams about it at night?

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037339)

And how about those automated cameras in London and UK which take pictures of license plates/people in the streets? Don't you think Bush is jealous and dreams about it at night?

Alas a result of the US sponsored terrorism in the form of the IRA.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16037503)

Don't you think Bush is jealous and dreams about it at night?

Why should he be? Have you seen the traffic cameras that we are busy installing at stop lights? Most are not just simple snapshots cameras. They can and do stream images.

Likewise, notice the tollroads? Easy to track a car now.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

vtcodger (957785) | about 8 years ago | (#16037188)

How can we allow such treatment?

We're slow learners.

It's safe enough to come here BTW -- at least for the time being. On the other hand, Canada is very similar, in better contact with reality, and if the cops decide to beat you up, you'll be bashed by guys in really spiffy uniforms.

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 8 years ago | (#16037246)

Funny, I live in the US and wonder about how people manage to live in EU countries where extreme right wing parties are on the rise as voters get paranoid about foreigners. Certainly the EU can't make any great claims to tolerance right now. And as far as innocent until proven guilty, I thought French law didn't have that concept?

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (2, Informative)

lovebyte (81275) | about 8 years ago | (#16037370)

And as far as innocent until proven guilty, I thought French law didn't have that concept?
tout homme étant présumé innocent jusqu'à ce qu'il ait été déclaré coupable (26th august 1789).
You might not know it, but the French, by law, must also eat their first child!

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (3, Interesting)

LnxAddct (679316) | about 8 years ago | (#16037279)

You have to keep in mind that you only see negative things reported. The good things that are happening far outweigh the bad and you're getting a very biased view of the state of affairs in America. Things have certainly been better, but the things you see reported on /. and pretty much any news source (including the BBC in recent times, unfortunately) are extremely biased, twisted, and typically statistical anomalies pushing an agenda or grasping for headlines. Europe has it's own problems, with a lot of countries either already forcing you to hand over your encryption keys, or working on legislation that will (regardless of guilt in a crime), and in some places it is practically impossible to not be surveilled by government camera equipment. Europe has some issues with police corruption, and in many places free speech is limited. Not being able to use nazi related terms is ridiculous, at least in the U.S. you won't get arrested for standing outside the whitehouse and screaming "9/11 was a government conspiracy" or "9/11 victims deserved what they got" or any other ridiculous statement on such a sensitive topic, however discussing certain topics in Europe will almost certainly get you in trouble. Sometimes I get the feeling like the Europan governments helps highlight certain deficiencies in the American system in hopes that Europeans will be pointing fingers and laughing, and forgetting that their own rights are deteriorating.
Regards,
Steve

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037291)

You should note that as a European, i.e. non-American, you are afforded no privacy rights or protections from the spying activities of the USA, unlike americans. And they are mostly focused on spying foreign targets, not the americans. That means you as a European are among their prime targets. The 3-letter agencies of America a file on most people, especially nearly all Europeans. With a $100+ billion dollar annual spying budget, how would you distribute the money to be used for spying on 6 billion people of this planet?

Keeping a database of all your personal information, google searches, web accesses, emails, travels and credit card information is being done right now. Orwell's nightmare is true. If you want to experience some personal attention, attracting their attention is easy. And actually, if you have nothing to hide, it should be your civic duty to attract as much Intelligence agency attention as you can just to overload the Orwellian system.

For starters, making claims about 3-letter agency inside information and using relevant keywords is easy. They are required by laws to check up on you. It is time for some civil disobedience to regain some measure of privacy rights for all. Not just americans.

 

We use to care. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037458)

When I was a kid (back in the 60s), my elders would NEVER have allowed any of the actions that we have allowed (in fact, they were the ones that took back freedom for much of Europe). As much as I know that GWB is stealing our rights, it did not really start with him. This has been a slow slide for the last 20 years. And it is not just the presidents who is responsible for this. Every congressman that voted for the PATRIOT act or the DMCA is responsible. While democrats pushed this reprehensible theft of our rights to ideas/property (DMCA), the republicans pushed the PATRIOT act(which says that any information found from spying is to go to DOJ/admin). This is a a 2 fork attack on all of our liberties. 40 years ago, we had such presidents as Eisenhower and Kennedy who had fought in wars and understood the sacrifices that were made and what was gained. Now, we have Clintons (draft dodger; actually started the NSA spying), GWBs(also a draft dodger who evaded war and the label; Sibel Edmunds; Patriot Act; etc.), ted Stevens, orrin hatch, etc who have no problem with stealing rights from us. This is something that every citizen NEEDS to fight against. All congressman's voting record WRT rights should be closely examined. See which ones supported DMCA and PATRIOT act. Perhaps the EFF will start publishing these. After all, the biggest sets of rights being stolen affect the internet heavily. BTW, democrats; if you really feel that this is just a republican attack; consider that if more rights are stolen, then your guns to own gun will become very important. As was said before "a gov. should fear its citizens, not the citizens fear its gov."

Re:How can you allow such treatment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037575)

Well, we will just tell the millions of immigrants to go to your little fucking patch of paradise.

And searching a hard drive proves what? (4, Interesting)

Mia'cova (691309) | about 8 years ago | (#16037008)

I'm currently using six machines solely to myself between work and personal use. If I were acused of specific infringement, I could easily submit the drive from another machine (assuming that the accusation was true)... I don't see how that evidence is even admissable. Add on friends who use their laptops on my wireless network... I think it all just gets back to the point that there really isn't any proof. Using IPs are certainly going to be accurate most of the time but that's a long shot from proof. I still don't understand how they get away with all this.

I imagine that they will change their tactics. More deals to deliver bundled music subscription services with internet access, for example. Or perhaps we'll see something like myspace clean up in the next few years. Really, how long does it take to steal market share online?

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (4, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | about 8 years ago | (#16037035)

Following your logic, the best tactic would be to set up an open WiFi access point "by mistake". If you then get an inquiry, it's easy to show that anyone in a 250m radius could have accessed a P2P network through your IP address...

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (2, Interesting)

madcow_bg (969477) | about 8 years ago | (#16037151)

Following your logic, the best tactic would be to set up an open WiFi access point "by mistake". If you then get an inquiry, it's easy to show that anyone in a 250m radius could have accessed a P2P network through your IP address...

And the problem exactly is?

I mean, with all the spambots and zombies out there, and the viruses, are YOU supposed to be held responsible for bugs in the software, that allows remote exploits and trojan horses? I know the all EULAs disclaim warranty of any kind, but to actually sue the user you must proove intent.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 8 years ago | (#16037198)

Yes, if you're going to be doing illegal things it's a better strategy to try to obfuscate the evidence. That's been true for pretty much all of civilization. On the other hand, if you're accused of something based on that type of evidence, it's a reasonable defense that the evidence could have been caused by means other than that of which you're accused.

That's just the way it goes. It's not right to deny a reasonable defense simply because it could also be used by criminals.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 years ago | (#16037241)

Possible, yes. Probable, well... One thing is reasonable doubt, another is to do it in a civil suit. First of all, you have to feign technical and probably legal ignorance, which also means you need some technical expert witness, plus a lawyer. If you act all knowledgable about how it gets off the hook or an open network invites everybody in the neighbourhood in, it looks like your planned scapegoat. So I'm thinking it'll be a very expensive defense.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 8 years ago | (#16037462)

Following your logic, the best tactic would be to set up an open WiFi access point "by mistake". If you then get an inquiry, it's easy to show that anyone in a 250m radius could have accessed a P2P network through your IP address...


Y'know, that's just crazy enough to work, in the U.S. at least. The RIAA does have to prove that I possess the material, and not only that, to win a case of willful copyright infringement (as opposed to incidental copyright infringement, which doesn't carry statutory damages), they have to prove intent.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 8 years ago | (#16037055)

They get away with it because it's a civil dispute. In a civil case it's not your vs the government and the standard isn't beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil court is just for two parties to hash out a dispute.

Like let's say you are renting a place from me. I claim you've done damage and thus owe me money, you claim you don't. We can't settle it so I sue you for the cash. We then argue it in civil court. So the one that wins will be whoever provides more convincing proof. Doesn't have to be beyond a reasonable doubt, I just have to argue a bit more convincingly than you and I can win, at least a partial judgement.

Also, there's no real burden for filing a civil suit. You just go to the courthouse and do it. I don't have to present evidence or anything, I just file a suit against you and you have to respond. So that's how the RIAA gets these cases to trial.

Now in terms of proof, well that's why they drop any case that people actually start fighting. They don't have any good proof. However you don't have to have good evidence to file a case, just to win it.

The problem arises out of the fact that it's unbalanced. Since it's not the government going after you, there's no right to a lawyer for civil court. In person to person cases, it rarely matters, it's usually just small claims court and lawyers don't enter the picture. That's what you see on things like Judge Judy and such, that's small claims court. Because of the statutory amounts involved with copyright violations, it's not small claims. So you have one side with resources and lawyers, the other just being some person with no special assets.

Thus it's no surprise most people settle. Responsible or not (civil court determines responsibility, not guilt) it's an expensive proposition, so people take the settlement offer. It's not cheap, but you'd pay that much in legal fees anyhow.

The good news is in at least one case that someone fought back, the judge awarded her legal fees, even though the RIAA dropped the complaint. However, you can't rely on that. It's up to the judge.

That's the whole reason this goes on is because it's all civil law. This is perhaps the best example I've yet seen for the need for tort reform. Our civil system was designed so that people had easy access for remedies in disputes. Unfortunately it's being abused by those with resources to bully people to doing what they want.

So if you want a chance to put a stop to this one of the biggest things you can do, other than refusing to buy RIAA music and encouraging others to do the same (they can blame it on copyright infringement if they want, doesn't matter if their member labes get no money, they go out of business) is to encourage your representatives to get behind tort reform, and to support any that do. When people hear tort reform they think about medical malpractice lawsuits. While that's certainly an issue these shotgun lawsuits are another part of it.

It is actually something that we can get changed. People on /. love to get all cynical and say only money talks. They are right that having money gets you congress' ear like we normal people can't, however votes talk waaay more than anything else. The RIAA members can toss all the money they like a representative, if that rep believes they will be voted out for supporting them, they won't.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 8 years ago | (#16037114)

According to wikipedia:
Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to involuntarily behave in a certain way (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation or some other form of pressure or force.

So when the RIAA comes to you and say: Sign this paper or I'll sue you (ie, I'll drown you under legal fees you can't afford), why is this not coercion? How is all this legal?

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#16037158)

They have more money than you.

Next time, stay awake in Civics class.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037238)

"Q: Why don't lawyers get cancer?
  A: Professional Courtesy."

Q: Why don't snakes bite lawyers?
A: Species courtesy.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 8 years ago | (#16037385)

Thanks for your insight. Let's resume:

1. They have more money than me so coercing me is legal for them ??? (Remember, that was my question)
2. I don't live in the US, so I guess the civics class you are referring to doesn't quite apply to me.

But if Civics class really teaches me #1, so I'm really glad I'm not american...

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

RodgerDodger (575834) | about 8 years ago | (#16037325)


votes talk waaay more than anything else


Unfortunately, voters talk "waaay" more than they vote. Voter turnout in a presidental election year hasn't hit 60% of eligible voters since the Vietnam War; the "off-season" Congressional elections don't even get to 40% of the eligible voters. Heck, at the last election, 20% of the eligible voters didn't even bother to get registered [infoplease.com] !

Politicians know that the vast bulk of voters don't really care about these issues. Not one politican has lost office over this issue. A lot of them took the money offered by lobbyists and used it to fund their campaign or retirement. So, the politicians ignore the protests and take the cash.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

zotz (3951) | about 8 years ago | (#16037349)

"So if you want a chance to put a stop to this one of the biggest things you can do, other than refusing to buy RIAA music and encouraging others to do the same (they can blame it on copyright infringement if they want, doesn't matter if their member labes get no money, they go out of business) is to encourage your representatives to get behind tort reform, and to support any that do."

You know, I am not necessarily against tort reform, and it might help in this situation, but my take is that this is mainly caused by the inclusion of statutory damages in the copyright law. If the copyright holders had to prove damages, and could only collect those damages in civil court, the game would be a whole lot different don't you think?

all the best,

drew
(da idea man)

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037119)

Which raises an interesting point. Is it possible to prove IP infringment when perpetrated by private individuals (it's easier in a company, they won't erase their drives just because they're scared)? If so, how?
If they raided my house they'd find a box full of anime DVDs. Pretty incriminating. But in other circumstances (eg many people download a move, watch it, keep it around for a while then delete it) how could you ever prove IP infringment? IPs are not conclusive, an ISP's log is not sufficient.

Re:And searching a hard drive proves what? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 8 years ago | (#16037321)

If you send the disk of a machine that has no traces of the MP3 or the P2P logs they are looking for, they will simply say you tried to destroy the evidences and it will look plausible to the court (since they gave you the time and opportunity to do so). Trying to prove you are innocent will just make things worse.
You're screwed anyway, so the only solution would be to fight them on procedural ground.

Link to the PDF??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037058)

The article is quoted like this:
"As one might expect, Arellanes isn't too keen (PDF) on the idea of...
Where is the link to the PDF file [ilrweb.com] ? If the link is not supposed to be included, then why is there a "(PDF)" in the quoted text?

Re:Link to the PDF??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037093)

You expect the submitter to copy, paste, AND edit?!

Re:Link to the PDF??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037222)

You expect the submitter to copy, paste, AND edit?!

I know that you meant this as a joke, but basically: yes! If it is not done by the submitter, this should at least be done by the editor. That's what editors are for, after all.

And now I expect dozens of comments saying: "this is Slashdot, blah blah..." or "the editors never do their job anyway". Sigh!

Privileged communication (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037079)

This makes me wonder, what if you had a large amount of communication with your lawyer, letters and emails and such on your computer. Then if the RIAA conducted a search of the computer, would that render the entire search inadmissiable because of the presence of the communications?

Re:Privileged communication (2, Informative)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | about 8 years ago | (#16037255)

No. It would mean that the information in those messages could not be discussed in court, and possibly that the expert witness who stated he had seen them would be reclused, depending on the mood of the judge. This is not legal advice.

recipe for success? (5, Insightful)

DarrylKegger (766904) | about 8 years ago | (#16037146)

Step 1. Convince humans to grant me the legal rights of a natural person.

Step 2. Leverage my ability to never die and to farm the responsibilities for my actions out to replaceable 'employees'

Step 3. Become the dominant cultural organisation to such an overwhelming extent that the majority of humans don't even consider the idea that my powers are illegitimate.

Step 4. profit!!! (no, really)

Re:recipe for success? (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 8 years ago | (#16037355)

At least I'm not the only thinking this.

So why do Corporations get so many protections, not just in the US, but the world over?

Re:recipe for success? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 years ago | (#16037430)

Actually I don't think it's a problem if you have laws that make sure the people at the top go to jail if they do something really wrong AND those laws are enforced.

The typical sociopaths at the top usually won't want to go to jail.

Now the problem is when you have a situation where responsibility is "outsourced" and spread over many allegedly distinct entities/organisations.

Say A promised to people that they will do X, and then outsources it to B who promises to do Y=X*0.95, who outsources it to C who promises to do Z=Y*0.95 and so on.

When the people get shafted, A can say we were just cutting costs a bit, and point a finger to B and so on.

There are other sort of "pathological" scenarios similar or otherwise - e.g. bosses intentionally not wanting to be aware of bad stuff going on.

Then it gets hard to legally pin any particular person down for a crime.

While the recent "stolen houses" in Canada thing isn't a great example because the people doing the fraud are the crooks - the banks are arguably doing something wrong even though apparently _legal_ as of now.

Misleading Article (3, Informative)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | about 8 years ago | (#16037261)

This entire article is misleading. The article is trying to make out the RIAA for being bad for having their expert witness examine the evidence and not allowing anyone else to do this. This is BS.

The way expert witnesses work is that each side always gets to have their own expert witness examine the facts of the case. One expert witness for the plaintiff and another for the defendant. And not surprisingly, the plaintiff pays for and chooses their expert witness while the defendant does the same. Then in court each expert witness presents their findings.

You don't have a situation where the RIAA pays for and has to use only the defendant's choosing in an expert witness. That's because the defendant could just pick an expert which will say what the defendant wants.

All rules of evidence allow an expert witness of the own parties choosing. If there is confidential information then what the Judge will do is just issue a protective order noting that information cannot be used in the suit or released.

Re:Misleading Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037398)

Uhh, what good is that?

A: I claim this.
B: I claim that.
Judge: Uh-uh, I can't decide. Let's call.. expert witnesses!
Expert A: This is right.
Expert B: That is right.

Now there are 2 against 2 and still no majority. There should always be 1 expert witness and he should be impartial. Anything else sounds like a bad joke only fools would come up with.

Re:Misleading Article (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 years ago | (#16037480)

There should always be 1 expert witness and he should be impartial. Anything else sounds like a bad joke only fools would come up with.

The point of expert witnesses isn't to replace the judge, it's to present both sides of the case to the judge. You might as well say we shouldn't have prosecutors and defence lawyers, and simply replace them with one impartial arbitrator who'll present the evidence.

Actually NOT quite correct... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 8 years ago | (#16037419)

The paper asks for a third neutral party (i.e. Someone the court picks that has NOTHING to do with either party) to do the search.

In a civil case, that's NOT an unreasonable request- and since the Plaintiff is the one ASKING for the discovery, they have to
pay for the third party's time; but they don't get to just use their experts unless the Defendant says, "Yes" to that piece of
discovery.

Re:Actually NOT quite correct... (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | about 8 years ago | (#16037558)

Nope. If the defendant wants a neutral expert witness then all they have to do is pick one (or have one picked for them by anyone in the industry) and then present that witness as their expert in court. You can have as many experts as you want examine the evidence outside of court (you just have to pay for them), but you only get to present one expert testimony in court. There is no need for another *neutral* expert witness when they can just do this in the first place.

is Ars exempt from journalism ethics? (2, Insightful)

beaverfever (584714) | about 8 years ago | (#16037393)

"Citing the RIAA's numerous missteps in its ill-conceived crusade against music fans..."

Setting aside my personal opinions about the RIAA's actions (and yours), I find this one line to show an incredible amount of bias. But wait; there's more!

"That case aside, the RIAA's history doesn't inspire much confidence in its ability to objectively examine what could be a piece of crucial evidence."

"Neither plaintiffs or defendants are objective parties in a legal dispute." ...and apparently not Ars News item either.

"When one of the parties has a history of bullying witnesses into perjury and is seemingly incapable of admitting they were wrong and clearing the names of those they wrongfully accused, it becomes even more crucial." Wow, that is an incredible accusation; bullying witnesses into perjury! How many times has this happened? What did they say to perjure themselves? Were they bullied into lying in the RIAA's favour or in their own favour? If they lied in their own favour, why would the RIAA bully them into doing this? If they lied to protect themselves, then why was telling the truth a less attractive option?

Much more insight from Ars into this accusation would be very interesting.

Re:is Ars exempt from journalism ethics? (1)

kindbud (90044) | about 8 years ago | (#16037578)

If they lied to protect themselves, then why was telling the truth a less attractive option?

You're not really this naive, troll. Under threat of lawsuit, the RIAA got people who would otherwise have plead innocent, to sign a statement vowing not to do something again they didn't believe they had done once. It's called a settlement. You can sign the paper and get off with $2000 or more out of pocket in damages, or you can contest it and be out many thousands more in attorney fees.

So many people have perjured themselves, admitting on a legal document to deeds they believe they never committed, in order to avoid a RIAA lawsuit.

Eat it, troll.

you f4il it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16037402)

Whether to repeat It a break, if FrreBSD because another charnel
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