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RIAA Admits ISPs Have Misidentified "John Does"

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the record-keeping dept.

The Courts 271

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has sent out a letter to the ISPs telling them to stop making mistakes in identifying subscribers, and offering a 'Pre-Doe settlement option' — with a discount of '$1000 or more' — to their subscribers, if and only if the ISP agrees to preserve its logs for 180 days. Other interesting points in the letter (PDF): the RIAA will be launching a web site for 'early settlements,' www.p2plawsuits.com; the letter asks the ISPs to notify the RIAA if they have previously 'misidentified a subscriber account in response to a subpoena' or become aware of 'technical information... that causes you to question the information that you provided in response to our clients' subpoena'; it notes that ISPs have identified 'John Does' who were not even subscribers of the ISP at the time of the infringement; and it requests that ISPs furnish their underlying log files, not just names and addresses, when responding to RIAA subpoenas."

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The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001660)

...the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

It's a justified analogy to what the RIAA is doing, but I welcome the work they spend trying to button up music "piracy." For one thing, the costs of the RIAA are pushed onto the consumer -- leading to higher prices of the music they're trying to protect, giving consumers more reason to work with alternative distribution mechanisms. This will also hopefully lead to more anonymous forms of file sharing, or even file-piece sharing, where you're only hosting a tiny portion of a specific songfile. At what point would a "pirate" not really be guilty of much if they're only sharing a small portion of a particular songfile, say 0.01%?

ISPs are being financially harmed, too, because they're going to have to keep these logs, and also keep them consistent. DHCP makes things more difficult since it increases the amount of tracking they have to do. What all will they track? Port usage, IP address, data transfer totals and rates, etc? As the ISPs have to spend more for legal aid and log data stores, their costs will go up. I can see a market for third party services off-shore that allow you to transfer all of your data through their proxies for a given price -- especially as bandwidth prices fall as bandwidth becomes a commodity.

Consider this: most of us demand fast (low latency) response to websites we browse. We need less response time for some use -- e-mail, file sharing, software patches. The RIAA is powerful in the US, and its power is growing internationally, but it is impossible for a cartel to control everything -- we even see that in the energy market as alternative forms of energy are a barrier to the oil cartel increasing their costs beyond a certain price point. All the RIAA can do is make their overhead so expensive that artists find reason to pick alternative distribution mechanisms.

I'm noticing that medium-level artists are finding more ways to produce an income without the sale of recorded music. I received an e-mail about David Martin, an artist I never heard of, offering a free T-shirt if you pre-buy his album. That's value added incentive to buy HIS album, rather than bootleg it. Good idea. His downloadable music is right from his site, a great way to get music without worrying about the RIAA. What will the RIAA do when their legal costs outweigh their collections, which then creates a high overhead for their artists in the form of lowered commissions?

Are these "early settlements" financially profitable for the RIAA? Lawyers aren't cheap, and settlement lawyers even less so. Even if you agree to a settlement, they still need collections agents to process the payment and make sure it is done in full.

This form of cartelization can't last forever, not with the Internet changing faster than the law can control. I'm surprised the RICO act doesn't cover an industry where 90% of published music is controlled by one cartel. The law fails us in both cases, as the law always does. If you're in a band that isn't in the top 1% of music sales (the long tail is appropriate here), do you find that you make most of your music from ticket sales, beer sales percentage, and T-shirt/sticker/button sales? Why would you need the RIAA?

When will artists start appearing with logos imprinted on their merchandise that says "0% of the proceeds of this CD/t-shirt/sticker goes to the RIAA cartel"? If you're in a band, maybe that time is now. Maybe it is time for small to medium artists to be the ones to inform the customers that there is NO reason to buy a CD or a download from a distributor affiliated with the RIAA?

I can't wait for the day when the RIAA goes back to what they started doing -- making sure that music sounds good across all playback systems through equalization and consistent sound modification.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18001844)

Is "commodity" your Word of the Day?

I missed the business news shows today so I'm guessing one of their guests was going on about commodities, or commoditization, or some other derivitive.

I can't wait to read what you grab on to tomorrow.

I'm on the edge of my seat.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002166)

He's an anarchocapitalist. Commodity is just part of the economist jargon that's very pervasive amongst that crowd.

I actually think he's at least partially right and has a very interesting perspective.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001892)

It's a justified analogy to what the RIAA is doing, but I welcome the work they spend trying to button up music "piracy." For one thing, the costs of the RIAA are pushed onto the consumer -- leading to higher prices of the music they're trying to protect, giving consumers more reason to work with alternative distribution mechanisms

They're making record amounts of money, despite what they tell you. This is about maximizing profit. They aren't dumb, they've run the numbers.

ISPs are being financially harmed, too, because they're going to have to keep these logs

Why should the RIAA care? Besides, in lots of cases, the ISP is going to be owned by the same set of companies that own the members of the RIAA.

'm noticing that medium-level artists are finding more ways to produce an income without the sale of recorded music

It's always been that way. The $$$ for the artist is in touring and merchandise sales, why do you think they'd work 11 months a year, if they can get fat and rich floating in their gold-lined swimming pool? Love of art? Maybe for 1 in a million, for the rest - performing live is their job. Recording an album is marketing.

Are these "early settlements" financially profitable for the RIAA? Lawyers aren't cheap, and settlement lawyers even less so. Even if you agree to a settlement, they still need collections agents to process the payment and make sure it is done in full.

Financially profitable? Maybe not in and of themselves, but they're looking at the big picture: say, for every 1 guy we sue/settle with, 10 guys get scared off of kazaa and onto iTunes.

Although, I wouldn't be surprised to find the whole sue cycle to be at least financially self-sustaining.

Remember, lawyers are behind all this - the RIAA is basically nothing but industry lawyers, and they're pretty good at making sure they get paid.

It wouldn't have been going on this long if they didn't feel it was effective.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (4, Interesting)

shark72 (702619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002218)

"They're making record amounts of money, despite what they tell you. This is about maximizing profit. They aren't dumb, they've run the numbers."

Hey, do you have a cite for that? I've heard that a lot but can't find any evidence. Warner Music made a profit margin of 0.27% and an operating margin of 6.29% last year. Their quarterly revenue growth of NEGATIVE 11% yoy and a quarterly earnings growth of NEGATIVE 74%.

I know, it's because they're not spending their money wisely, people who pirate wouldn't have bought it anyway and it actually helps artists by giving them free exposure, and so on, but is Warner the exception? Are there others in the cartel who are reporting profits in the sense of "record amounts" that I think you mean -- ie. moving in the upward direction?

But I agree with you, that the cost of all of these lawsuits likely isn't much, given the size of the industry, and I don't think it has a real effect on music pricing.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (4, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002490)

Depends who you ask and for what purpose.

The RIAA themselves will tell you that sales have never been better, and the industry has never been healthier - if you're an investor.

Warner music losing money doesn't mean that album and song sales can't be going up. They are, but the numbers are weird.

Digital music sales tripled last year, but album sales continued to slowly trickle off. This article [siliconvalley.com] says overall sales are up 19% - including digital music, videos, etc.

The market is different - people are less likely to buy a CD, when they can buy just a song, or with so many portable video devices like video iPods, are buying music related DVDs - live concerts, or video compilations. The market is much more diverse - music listeners don't necessarily buy "albums" as they have conventionally.

At the end of the day, it's all (potential, if they can realize it) profit for RIAA members.

However, when the discussion turns to piracy, they only talk about CD sales. These are of course dwindling - they would be even if there was absolutely no piracy at all. But a huge chunk of the money they "lose" in album sales they make up in digital downloads, or other products.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (1)

yoder (178161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002584)

I don't have numbers to argue your numbers, but what would make Warner Music any different from any other major corporation? They have one set of numbers for the stockholders, one set for the IRS and another for the public. They can and do make their profit or loss look like whatever they need it to look like at that time.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (2, Funny)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002016)

To Photoshop! Away! I must design a label! The "Anti-Label Label" is the new "organic" or "all-natural"!

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (2, Funny)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002056)

I'm really not so excited as to merit such a prodigious number of exclamation points, I swear. They just happened, officer! Really, they did!

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (1, Insightful)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002032)

At what point would a "pirate" not really be guilty of much if they're only sharing a small portion of a particular songfile, say 0.01%?
That is why there are judges and juries: real people, not algorithms; in the judicial system. So a judge can look at a software system that distributes subsets of a file, and decide the perpetrators are guilty.

Even if, in other circumstances, holding a subset of a file would not be a crime. Or even recognizable as a song file.

Footnote: I am not a fan of the RIAA, their tactics, or their lawsuits. Engaging in illegal activity, however, is not a good way to express dissent. And if someone believes that file sharing is some form of social protest, be prepared to face the consequences (ie fines or jail) for that protest.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (5, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002356)

Engaging in illegal activity, however, is not a good way to express dissent.

So Rosa Parks should have stayed in the back of the bus? Some guys dressed up as "Indians" shouldn't have thrown a bunch of tea into Boston harbour?

Civil disobedience has been a core technique in the expression of political dissent for as long as there have been laws and politics. Yes - it's a calculated risk to violate the law to make a political statement, but it's also one of the few ways to be heard at all.

Rosa Parks did not hide what she did (5, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002560)

If she had somehow hidden her act (which was impossible of course), then her act would have had little impact. Civil disobedience [wikipedia.org] does not mean breaking the law without being caught. It entails breaking the law to bring about change. "Pirating" music is about breaking the law in order to save yourself some change. Two very different things. Please, don't demean Rosa Parks by the comparison.

Yeah, and those "indians"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002730)

They went without the tea.
They sure as hell didn't take the tea home without paying for it.

In complete agreement (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002448)

Absolutely (and on all accounts). More than one person can be guilty of a single crime, whether that crime is murder, theft of a single object, or even copyright infringement of a single object. Do not think that being only 0.01% responsible for a crime will mean that you will be only 0.01% responsible for the penalty associated with that crime. It's not how our justice system works. Of course, IANAL.

Re:The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin... (2, Interesting)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002044)

It's a justified analogy to what the RIAA is doing, but I welcome the work they spend trying to button up music "piracy." For one thing, the costs of the RIAA are pushed onto the consumer -- leading to higher prices of the music they're trying to protect, giving consumers more reason to work with alternative distribution mechanisms. This will also hopefully lead to more anonymous forms of file sharing, or even file-piece sharing, where you're only hosting a tiny portion of a specific songfile. At what point would a "pirate" not really be guilty of much if they're only sharing a small portion of a particular songfile, say 0.01%?
All the great heap paradox [wikipedia.org] . I'd say that the method by which to put the parts back together or the part map would be the pirate file.

Pirate! (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002108)

At what point would a "pirate" not really be guilty of much if they're only sharing a small portion of a particular songfile, say 0.01%?
We at the **AA have identified your recent post as containing both zeros and ones, which are concidentally found in illegal MP3 files ripped from the latest Dave Matthews CD, scanned PDFs of every book on Oprah's list, and illicit DivX copies of all the "Lord of the Rings" films (including the crap one with the cartoons.) Please come with us, sir.

Re:Ugh... (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002324)

In inverse order from your post.

I can't wait for the day when the RIAA goes back to what they started doing
You will be waiting forever then.

When will artists start
1. Is a starving artist is going to bite pretty much the only hand that has the potential (note phrase carefully) of feeding them? The economics of being an independent artist are depressing.
2. There are bands doing this. I have a feeling you want the music to show up at Walmart/Worst Buy. RIAA members control retail outside of a handful of indie stores. No, they won't tollerate someone cutting into their business.

This form of cartelization can't last forever
Yes, it has and it does. Music distribution is simply one of many cartels who have been prosecuted many times over in the U.S. to no effect.

Are these "early settlements" financially profitable for the RIAA?
Yes. They've got a fleet of full-time lawyers who have probably turned this into a cookie-cutter operation with low paid admins doing most of the work. Strike fear into the consumer's heart and demand the highest price possible for their goods. Sounds like standard operating procedure for any business to me.

This issue's been around for years now and there's no coordinated political reply to any of it. No call to action, just moral outrage. I hope you feel better because it's only going to get worse unless _you_ do something about it.

www.p2plawsuits.com eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18001662)

Think this would be a good target for dDoS attacks?

Why? (3, Funny)

okinawa_hdr (1062664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001670)

Why don't the American people storm their buildings with pitchforks?

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18001756)

Because we are not only incredibly lazy but we corner the market on apathy.

It is a complete truth that the typical American is too lazy to fight for their rights let alone change their buying habits when a company acts badly.

Yes I AM an American.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001872)

Funny thing about modern civilization, we have traded dueling at dawn and other acts of violence over squabbles with lawyers and the court system. In most cases this is good. But there are times when violence is necessary, and Americans have not only forgotten this but view anyone who disagrees as barbaric.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002286)

But there are times when violence is necessary, and Americans have not only forgotten this but view anyone who disagrees as barbaric.
One word counter-argument to that statement: Iraq.

Re:Why? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002418)

That's funny, because Americans are usually panned by Europe whenever we pick up arms. We're vilified as the nation of gun-toting, war-mongering, rednecks. Someone please harmonize that dichotomy!

Talk, don't fight. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002650)

What you suggest is both unreasonable and illegal. They may act like assholes, but there's absolutely no reason to stoop to that level and become an asshole yourself. If you really want to voice your displeasure, why not talk things out with them and explain why you disagree with them and what they're doing? It's not like it's impossible to contact them, I mean, if you read the letter:

National Coordinating Counsel for the Litigation

Ms. Katheryn Coggon
Holme Roberts & Owen LLP [hro.com]
katheryn.coggon@hro.com [mailto]
Phone: (303) 866-0408
Note: The letter was from Steve Marks, also with this law firm. These are the people the ISPs are being instructed to deal with.

Record Company Representative

info@SettlementInformationLine.com [mailto]
http://www.p2plawsuits.com/ [p2plawsuits.com]
Phone: (913) 234-8181
Fax: (913) 234-8182

Note: The website is a GoDaddy parked domain without any content just yet. These are the people the folks getting sued are supposed to contact.

Just remember to be civil; it's not like you'll convince someone they're wrong by acting like an asshole, and you'd probably get in well-deserved trouble. However, if you politely make it clear to them just how many people think what they're doing is wrong, they just might reconsider their actions.

Re:Mod Parent Down (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002658)

You and the moderators who blessed this rant are part of the problem.

We all have the tools to stop this. I can think of two right now: voting and legislation;

Go ahead, get involved in politics if you are so angry. We have a system. Learn it and use it. Other small groups have done so to great effect. Prohibition is one example. No gun-toting rants necessary. Not one.

Re:Why? (1)

organgtool (966989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002694)

Trust me, my fellow Americans have not forgotten that violence is occassionally necessary. We use violence even when it is not necessary. If you don't believe me, take a long, relaxing trip to Iraq.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18001794)

I know the liberals on Slashdot are going to hate to hear this, but chances are that John Doe is guilty. The guy's a constant trouble maker, always up in court on charge after charge. Yeah, innocent until proven guilty but no smoke without fire!

Re:Why? (1)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001940)

His wife Jane is a bit of a sleaze too...

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002224)

I know the liberals on Slashdot are going to hate to hear this, but chances are that John Doe is guilty. The guy's a constant trouble maker, always up in court on charge after charge. Yeah, innocent until proven guilty but no smoke without fire!
He's also constantly found dead in shallow graves across the United States.

Re:Why? (1)

Drey (1420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002402)

He turns up in the morgue a lot as well, leading me to believe the walking dead really exist.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002676)

I know the liberals on Slashdot are going to hate to hear this, but chances are that John Doe is guilty. The guy's a constant trouble maker
Yeah, Exene too.

Because! (1)

President_Camacho (1063384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001954)

Why don't the American people storm their buildings with pitchforks?

Have you ever tried stabbing a vampire with a pitchfork? it doesn't work!

Re:Because! (1)

irlanthos (1040152) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002592)

Yeah. Not many farmers can afford silver pitchforks and the ones that do exist are only for show. The tines would be too soft for actual work. Silver plate might work but it's best to use pure.

Re:Because! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002596)

Just ram it in until the wooden part makes contact with the vampire's heart. Failing that, just nail him to a slab of concrete and see how far immortality gets him.

I think they are about to (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002154)

See the post ahead of yours.

Because I don't care. (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002200)

I don't buy their music. I don't download their music. I hope to educate my daughter to do the same (I know what a challenge that will be, with her friends pushing the 'drug' the RIAA creates, peer pressure, etc.).

Bottom line, I am not a consumer of RIAA music, so I don't care. Eventually they will die off, and we'll all relegate this to a footnote in history.

Re:Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002296)

Because there is no evidence that the RIAA has weapons of mass destruction

Re:Why? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002654)

Britney Spears isn't enough evidence?

So.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18001692)

So the RIAA argument of "well, your ISP says you downloaded 100 movies, we don't care if you don't have access to or own a computer, or perhaps even died a few years ago, you did it and our records are infallible" maybe won't fly anymore?

Re:So.. (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001922)

I'm incredibly astounded it ever flew... and so should be anyone with a law interpreter and a logic parser...

This makes it even more obvious that all those lawsuit threats, properly settled out of court, should be treated as extortion, couse that's what that is.

Re:So.. (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001948)

I don't think it ever would actually fly. In such an instance, their case would be dismissed. Perhaps the consumer would have a counter-suit against the ISP for providing faulty data and causing damage to the consumer (specifically, the hassle of getting a dismissal), but if the RIAA uses information provided by the ISP with respect to an IP that had been used for illegal file sharing, it isn't really the RIAA's fault if the name/address data it receives is faulty. It is the ISP's fault and that's where liability ought to lie.

Yes yes yes -- cue the ad nauseum replies about open access points, friends, or compromised machines. Those are all defenses that may or may not be more or less successful in a suit. What they're talking about here is faulty data provided by the ISP and it seems to me that the RIAA can't be blamed for that, but the ISP sure can.

It makes sense (3, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001728)

If you agree that the RIAA is correct in its lawsuits (which is an if on the order of magnitude If you believe the earth is flat), then this makes sense. I think we can all assume that the RIAA believes that it is correct in its lawsuits, which means it should persue means to make the law suits more effective. This is just a another means to do so. Really, it helps consumers in that the RIAA is less likely to sue innocent people, and only sue those people who are actually violating the law. I don't condone the activities of the RIAA, nor it methods in general for reaching its goals, but at least this one is based on making its lawsuits more accurate, and its willing to pay to do so, rather than just going back to courts and attempting to get contempt charges against the ISPs, which it may be able to do. That said, there will be fewer instances of the RIAA suing grandmothers for filesharing that people can use to illustrate the futility of the overall RIAA campaign.

Let us help the living hell out of you. (5, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002260)

Really, it helps consumers in that the RIAA is less likely to sue innocent people, and only sue those people who are actually violating the law.
Let's say for the sake of argument, hypothetically speaking, I'm not violating the law. Should I be okay with my ISP's logs being an open book to some agency whos only source of authority comes from having a shitload of money? All they need to do is scribble my IP address on a form letter and they get all my online activities. Yours too, for that matter.

Now let's look at it another way, and say I'm in a related business. Let's make me a writer, musician, or other professional independent artist, self-publishing my own work out of my basement for burger money. I'm slightly suspicious that all of you people are illegally trading my copyrighted work, and depriving me of my burgers. I want to investigate this. Can I have the underlying logs from all of your ISPs as well, or is the shitload of money a requirement?

Re:It makes sense--I don't agree (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002454)

Really, it helps consumers in that the RIAA is less likely to sue innocent people, and only sue those people who are actually violating the law.

I don't agree with your logic here at all. Making suits more expensive makes you be more selective about whom you pursue. This makes them very much less expensive because they are now -- or will be under this -- able to send you settlement demands directly without having to file in court. They can't lose on these, be awarded court costs when they do lose, or worry about setting any legal precedents. I feel this makes them more likely to pursue alleged filesharers, not less likely. Also, nothing in here says anything about making the process more accurate in identification. Every log in the world doesn't say who was sitting at the computer, or coming in over an unsecured wireless connection.

In fact, I feel the reason they want the complete logs is a Trojan Horse. If you say you never uploaded any data, except to their Media Sentry lapdog, and they come in with logs showing gigabytes of uploads along the way, you'll now have to defend on a new front of just what your other activities are -- which may be completely legal and none of the RIAA's, or public court's business. All the same, you may find yourself in hot water for running a completely legal Tor server, or anything else that utilizes all the unlimited bandwidth you thought you purchased. It's bad all around.

So... (4, Interesting)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001760)

If you go out of your way to make it easier to harass your customers, we'll be happy to give you a little something extra... Wonder if we can get a list of ISP's that are volunteering to comply with this.

That would be nice. (1)

alienuforia (1009777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002302)

A black list of ISP's that actively sell out to the MPAA/RIAA companies would be effective. I'd certainly glance at that list before committing to an ISP in my area. In fact, I'd change my provider in a heartbeat if it ended up on that list. Money talks.

Revised business plan (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001790)

Sue customers

Blame ISP's for suing wrong customer and try to make them do your job

?????

PROFIT!!!!

Re:Revised business plan (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002534)

Sounds like Bush's exit strategy. "Bad Maliki! Bad! Bad! No more help for you!!" America declares victory (again).

IP_address aliasing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18001824)

Is there a service that I can subscribe to that aliases my IP_address? Preferably one outside of the US, that has a reputation for not keeping logs. I wouldn't mind paying for storage hosting and SSH access either.

Re:IP_address aliasing (3, Informative)

VE3MTM (635378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002488)

Do you even have the foggiest understanding of how the IP protocol works? You can't "alias" an IP address to make it look like you're coming from somewhere you can't. That's like saying, "I'm going to send a letter to you, but tell you I'm from New Jersey, and hope to God that the response finds its way back to London, England."

You want either a proxy or a tunnel, both of which exist.

Welcome to www.p2plawsuits.com (5, Funny)

mcguirez (524534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001826)

Thank you for visiting our new p2p lawsuit settlement site.

By reading this text you acknowledge your interest which implicates your guilt.

Your ISP has been notified of your crimes - expect a bill.

Love,

    RIAA

Extortion? (4, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001840)

IANAL, but isn't this "pre-lawsuit settlement opportunity" plain-old extortion? "We know you did something illegal. Pay now and we won't bring it to light."

Re:Extortion? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001958)

No, that only works if the act isnt illegal that you did in the first place.

Re:Extortion? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002180)

They *say* you did something illegal, but you're innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. They actually *believe* you did something illegal.

you're not innocent until proven guilty (2, Informative)

vinn01 (178295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002502)

This is a civil, not criminal, matter. You're not innocent until proven guilty. The standard is the presumption of guilt. And they presume a lot.

Re:Extortion? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002514)

You're thinking criminal law. This is civil. I believe here the rule is "The perponderence of the evidence". That's because it's written to benefit those who hire lawyers rather then merely the government. (Well, there *ARE* other explanations...but they don't wash in the modern legal system.)

Re:Extortion? (1)

aquabat (724032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002556)

It's extortion if you know someone did something illegal, and you demand compensation to keep quiet about it.

However, it is not illegal to threaten to sue someone for compensation, if they refuse to settle the matter out of court.

www.p2plawsuits.com (5, Funny)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001848)

I get a kick out of the fact that www.p2plawsuits.com [p2plawsuits.com] currently points to a GoDaddy placeholder page filled with ads for P2P software and instructions for streaming satellite signals to your computer.

Re:www.p2plawsuits.com (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001994)

Indeed, especially since the domain is owned by the RIAA. Isn't that something like entrapment?

Re:www.p2plawsuits.com (4, Funny)

tx_kanuck (667833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002252)

wait a second.....I go to *their* website, and see that they are advertising P2P programs that allow me to download files for free? Wouldn't that then give me a good excuse of why I was downloading? "I swear your honour, I went to their website and the RIAA had advertisments on their website for eDonkey. Why were they advertising something that is illegal?"

Just an idea, and IANAL

Re:www.p2plawsuits.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002408)

We really need someone to take a screen shot of that, for the defense! (I tried to post it here, but the lameness filter blocked it)

Re:www.p2plawsuits.com (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002330)

Good one!

Ha! That's funny... WHOIS (2, Informative)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002640)

I was skeptical until I actually saw it with my own eyes. What kind of genius works for them and pulls a bonehead move like that? Switch your nameservers and set up your own placeholder you lazy bastards. I wonder if the idea of pre-lawsuit settlement violates a GoDaddy TOS...

Registrant:
      RIAA
      14 8th Street NE
      Washington, District of Columbia 20002
      United States

      Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
      Domain Name: P2PLAWSUITS.COM
            Created on: 23-Jan-07
            Expires on: 23-Jan-10
            Last Updated on:

      Administrative Contact:
            Lamy, Jonathan lkennedy@riaa.com
            RIAA
            14 8th Street NE
            Washington, District of Columbia 20005
            United States
            (202) 775-0101

      Technical Contact:
            Lamy, Jonathan lkennedy@riaa.com
            RIAA
            14 8th Street NE
            Washington, District of Columbia 20005
            United States
            (202) 775-0101

      Domain servers in listed order:
            PARK9.SECURESERVER.NET
            PARK10.SECURESERVER.NET

I the Nigerian scammer will fun (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002710)

Dear victim My name is Prince Umlecki and if you Pay me $1000 usd to www.p2plawsuitsolved.com then i will pray to god that that the riaa won't sue you.

Regards Prince Umlecki the third of Nigeria

Door to door searches (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001854)

So when do these start?

Geesh..

Meanwhile... (4, Funny)

castiron5615 (1061608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001856)

...John Doesn't is still SOL.

DoS? (1)

mycroft822 (822167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001864)

So who's going to coordinate the DoS attack on their band new website first? Beuller?... Beuller?...

Hahah parked domain ads (4, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001906)

Nothing like having the *AA park their domain on godaddy, complete with such relevant ads as "Gnutella P2p: Download free MP3 music" or "eDonkey Free Downloads: Unlimited music, movies and games. 15 billion files". Also listed are ads for "American Legal Funding: pre-settlement advance, pay only if you win" and "Illegal Downloading: Experienced, aggressive criminal attourney in Texas"

On top of that, two separate ads for "The Beacon Review" [thebeaconreview.com] and "The Download Guide" [downloadguideonline.org] , which were amusing to compare side-by-side.

Counter-sue individually (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001924)

I'm certainly no lawyer and I don't know for a fact that this idea could work, particularly since I'm not sure what the terms of settlement may be but...

Why doesn't each and every person who has settled their case with RIAA counter-sue, providing this letter as evidence that they have been co-erced into their agreement with evidence that has now proven by RIAAs own admission to be suspect. Sue for damage to reputation, hardship caused by the settlement etc. Sue individually, not as a class action. Even if the cases weren't won, I'd imagine the number would keep the RIAA legal team tied in a knot for some time. Use the same frivolous tactic back against them.

Re:Counter-sue individually (2, Insightful)

planetmn (724378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002136)

Because if they had wished to challenge the evidence, they would have had to take the case to court. Instead they came to a mutually agreed upon settlement. Once you settle, you agree to the terms. Period. A criminal who confesses to a crime, doesn't get to go back to court 6 months later and say "well, I was under a lot of stress, the evidence against me at the time looked good, but now I don't think it's as solid, can I please have a second chance? Pretty please?"

If the accused had doubt in the evidence, trial is where you attack it in our judicial system.

-dave

Re:Counter-sue individually (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002518)

Really? A convicted criminal couldn't appeal on the grounds that his confession was coerced? What are appeals then?

Re:Counter-sue individually (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002722)

A criminal who confesses to a crime, doesn't get to go back to court 6 months later and say "well, I was under a lot of stress, the evidence against me at the time looked good, but now I don't think it's as solid, can I please have a second chance? Pretty please?"

Yes you can. A person can appeal based on a confession that was 'coerced'. Showing someone overwhelming faked evidence against them and offering to let them off easy is coercion. People do get off from crimes they previously confessed to. It has happened in murder and rape cases where DNA comes in later that clears them. Look at the duke rape case, the DA didn't show the DNA evidence that could have cleared the defendants. He could be disbarred for that. Besides, in most settlement cases there is no admission of guilt.

They want the log files? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001950)

Isn't that some kind of breach of privacy for all the other users listed in the log files?

On the flip side, I'm waiting to see one of the spambot systems start churning out e-mails that copy the text of the "Dear Customer" letter at the end of the RIAA's missive... wouldn't it be funny if all the spam filters became trained to mark such mail as spam? (read the actual letter here [ilrweb.com] )

If your name is really John Doe? (4, Funny)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001964)

Can you sue for libel?

Re:If your name is really John Doe? (1)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002686)

Ask him [xtheband.com] .

i just done get it.... (1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18001988)

I was wondering why old grandmas where getting sued for sharing music... Why didn't they do this in the first place?

Better discount.... (2, Funny)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002030)

The RIAA is now offering a pre-settlement discount of 100% for customers of ISPs who agree not to keep DHCP logs beyond the current leases.

Hackers would love a site like that. (3, Interesting)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002034)

Giving the RIAA a real presence on the internet beyond their press release regurgitating main site will give everyone the world over a big red bullseye on which to lock their sights.

I can't wait to hear about the hilarious exploits of various hackers having their way with those servers.

When Lawyers Attack! (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002042)

FIRST LETTER TO ISP's

Dear Sir or Madam:

It has come to the RIAA's attention that our requests for subscriber information has not been........ blah blah blah.

Please correct this matter at once.

Best regards,
RIAA Legal Hack

SECOND LETTER TO ISP's

Dear Sir or Madam:

It has come to our attention that our requests for subscriber information has not been corrected... blah blah blah...

Be prepared for further strongly worded documents sent via Next Day Delivery!

Best regards,
RIAA Legal Hack.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

In it's unadulterated form. (1)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002050)

Extortion. Plain and simple.

What a country! (1)

RRRobotHouse (949354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002068)

A government with laws written by the businesses for the businesses.

The laws that support this don't help us at all, yet we support the government that makes the laws. I don't see a way out of this. You're not going to be able to coordinate the masses to do anything about this. This is the result of corporations pursuing the maximum return to its shareholders under our current legal constructs.

We're screwed from both ends.

mod d0wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002092)

and sling or table We nned to address

Not even this will make the effort worth it.... (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002102)

Networks, as we know, are designed to work around the problems. New technologies and equipment will very soon make it possible to establish citywide dark mesh networks such that your packets of a torrent will be shared among hundreds or thousands of IP addresses across multiple ISP's. Now run those packets through an anonymizer like Tor and things get more difficult for the *AA by orders of magnitude.

Even if the ISPs were required to keep logs, the logs will show nothing. This is the exact opposite of what the *AA and governments actually want. It is possible to make it incredibly difficult for them to track who does what. The FBI will find it even more difficult to find purveyors of child pornography. Don't think that I support child pornographers, but I certainly won't sacrifice my rights to privacy in order to catch them, or rather make catching them possibly easier for the police.

With all the post 9/11 rhetoric, I'm certain that any would be terrorists are already encrypting their communications. Its really not difficult to do. There are tons of ways currently to hide or encrypt data communications that make it impossible for the FBI/governments to efficiently make sense of it. That means that the ONLY reason for tracking and logging is to control honest citizenry. George, you were right.

The *AA can log all they want to, and try to sue anyone they want. In the same fashion that DRM is worked around, darknets will appear and ruin all the lawyer's fun. They are fighting a losing battle on all fronts. Eventually they will either capitulate and sell it cheaper and without DRM, or they will go out of business because more artists start selling their art without using the *AA.

What we have to ask ourselves is WHY do we continue to elect politicians that support this type of active spying on the citizenry?

Cooperation=liability (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002158)

IANAL, but if an ISP "cooperates" with the RIAA as they suggest, doesn't the ISP become an agent of the RIAA? As an agent, wouldn't the ISP be liable in any lawsuits initiated by the defendant. It's one thing for the ISP to answer a subpoena or supply the RIAA with information that the courts have ruled they legally can request. It's another thing to help the RIAA with enforcement.

Standards and burdens (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002174)

See, here's the thing. The RIAA is filing affidavits and suits based on the information they get from the ISP's. And the information that the ISP's have is fallable.

Contrary to the RIAA's apparent claim, it is NOT a legal requirement for ISP's to collect information to which they can swear on a stack of bibles is true to track all customer activity. Even if the RIAA subpoenas them. They are obligated to provide what information they have. It's the RIAA that's turning around and swearing before a court of law that what they have is true, without verifying it.

Basically, the RIAA has discovered it's overstated the evidence that they have before them, and have potentially committed perjury or at least violated procedural rules. So now they want to say it's all the ISP's fault, apparently for not collecting information they're not obligated to collect, and which RIAA has used in court as "proof" without knowing what it entails.

maybe the riaa should keep suing people (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002234)

and then make all of their products free. so everyone enjoys free unfettered access to music. and if every once in awhile you get sued, you just have to pay your share plus the share of 100,000 other people. oh well. i'll call it "music distribution by reverse lottery"

the riaa knows it will get paid, and every once in awhile, some random joe you hardly know becomes bankrupt and homeless. if it's you, well the rest of will try to remember you fondly for providing a copy of "meet the fokkers". just stop trying to squeegee my car windows please. and take a bath

sure you laugh, but i'm going to the riaa right now with my master plan, and since it actually makes more sense then what the riaa is doing now, you'll just have to gnash your teeth at me as i throw a nickel out the window at you in your cardboard box on the curb from my big black ri-fu-aa provided limosine with nellie furtado and christina aguilera. sorry

All the ISP's Fault (5, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002240)

Ah,so it's all the ISP's fault. Couldn't be anything that the RIAA is doing wrong.

This is nothing more than an attempted end-run around the courts. Having proven that they are willing to go to court in a few thousand cases (out of a few million, and rising, number of filesharers), the RIAA wants to dispense with the courts altogether. Before they couldn't get their message to you that they knew who you were, and were gonna get you if you didn't fork over thousands of $$$s first, without a court subpoena. And a few million [Who is] John Doe lawsuits weren't going to fly there. Now they claim their victims are crying out for this solution, and it is a "favor" for the ISP's to offer it. And oh, if you RTFLetter, they don't want the ISP help desk employees directing any of these victims to other web-sites any longer. Sites that might tell them what their actual rights truly are, or where lawyers can be found. That's verboten.

So this becomes a quick, cheap route to shake out those willing to settle at the first whiff of danger, and a great time and money saving opportunity for the RIAA. Anybody think that this won't just increase the number of threats they make? Like to maybe everybody Media Sentry and their still questionably secret methods can point a finger at (and we know which finger they're pointing). The record companies are certainly trying to find a way to collect their due from everyone in the entire country who they believe has infringed their copyrights, under their own expansive and untested definition of what constitutes infringement!

All this on the same day a report has come out saying that filesharing, at least back in the 2002 timeframe when the record industry claimed they were being "devastated" by P2P users, say that the effect of P2P filesharing was "statistically insignificant" in causing the drop in CD sales.

So where do I find ISP's who don't keep logs?

But what really pisses me off about this is the continual recording industry refrain of: "We doing it for the (starving) artists." What I hear is that the record companies are trying to reduce the royalty payments from digital sales -- sales that occur at virtually no cost at all to the record companies themselves -- to the artists themselves.

Re:All the ISP's Fault (1)

cweber (34166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002660)

You're right, this whole thing is very disingenuous. Everybody who complained about Steve Jobs' self-serving stance last week must RTFLetter and tell us how it could get any worse in terms of disinformation. Steve at least was technically correct, and on the pulse of things. But this is simply awful in how it tries to co-opt ISPs to do the dirty work. I hope ISP lawyers will talk some sense into their companies' management before they get with this program.

Why does this sound so familiar to me? (2, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002322)

George W. Bush: "Yes, I'm sure, there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! I swear!"
The RIAA: "Yes, we're sure, these are the people stealing our intellectual property!"

(time passes...)

George W. Bush: "Oops, sorry. It wasn't my fault! I didn't know the reports were wrong!"
The RIAA: "Oops, sorry. It wasn't our fault! The ISPs were wrong in identifying people!" :-/

RIAA Legal Counsel Contacts (1)

sup2100 (996095) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002332)

I wonder how long before they have to change the phone numbers and emails listed in that letter?

So what? (1)

lamegovie (1055366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002406)

Have any of you actually PERSONALLY know someone who has been sued as a result of downloading music/movies? I sure dont, and no one I have ever met either in real life, or on-line has. To be honest, the scope of these RIAA actions seems to be over-hyped and overblown, unjust as they may be...

Re:So what? (1)

wizkid (13692) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002682)

We have Thousands of LawSuits, and 10s of Millions of Downloaders. The chances of knowing someone....

The cost of ISP's keeping these logs is very expensive. And, likely, not extremely accurate. Yep, it's hyped. It's also ridiculous to sue your customers. I used to download music to check out bands. And I still do. I won't buy/download anything RIAA(hereafter refered to by there true nature - scum) associated with the scum now by the way, so if the scum lawyers are reading.... (If I have to have it, I buy it used when used prices drop).

The scum love all this publicity. They're not smart enough to figure out that they're slowly putting themselves out of business. It's been proven statistically that Sales are directly proportional to downloads. So I hope they kill off all the downloads. Then they will go out of business, and die horrible deaths.

Unfortunately, that simplistic view fails in real life, but both the music industry, artists and patrons of the arts would be better off without this scum. They screw everyone, the artists, and the patrons. At least we will have the pleasure of knowing they will rot in hell.

Properly validated data (2, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002460)

It seems to me that the ISPs should make a reasonable offer to comply with the RIAA's request. They should jointly decline to release any records that have not been and cannot be properly validated, for whatever reason. They would also charge the RIAA on a per-record basis, based on the reasonable time taken by suitably skilled people to go through hard copy print-out from logs.

After all, this is what top of the range direct mail houses do to ensure that their clients do not send the same letter to the same household under two different names, or that the new Porsche brochure is addressed to the father and not the 15-year-old son, so an equal standard should obviously apply to cases where a lawsuit might be involved. They could reasonably argue that a judge in a court does not have access to the necessary technical skills to make a proper judgement on correct identification, so it would be improper to release data that could not be fairly assessed by a court.

Assuming one dollar per record, the ISPs could be entirely funded by the "music industry" in short order.

ISP neutrality (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002576)

ISPs should remain neutral and not identify anyone to private parties or organizations demanding information without a valid court order. After all, YOU PAY the ISP for an account - the least they can do is avoid double dipping, especially with those vultures from RIAA.

Misidentification happens rarely (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18002582)

Having been employed at an ISP a few years ago, there are a few typical reasons that a "John Doe" gets misfingered:

1.) The time is off on the RAS, radius server, or other networking gear during the timeframe the RIAA asks records to be preserved for.

2.) The admin is having a bad day and messes up the time zone shift from RIAA's request to UTC or whatever time zone the records are kept in.

3.) (Rarely anymore...) The request from RIAA fails to indicate an IP or time or some other piece of information to clearly identify what account / user was responsible is being targeted.

Requests from the MPAA, FBI, and local law enforcement can be even worse. Many were still giving timeframes of HOURS, when you could point to 10-30 or more possible infringers.

Anyway, this sort of recordkeeping is trivial for any ISP - just plunk the accounting information in a database and (depending on the size of the ISP) you know who had what IP address where up to a year ago with a simple query in a matter of seconds.

Before this post becomes flamebait, let me just say that the best course of action I found was to simply relay the notice to the customer if that's what the requester wanted, as the ISP itself has no quarrel with RIAA or the customer. ISPs simply provide a series of tubes - what comes out of your straw is your own business.

Oh yeah, and ISPs don't like getting sued. So they follow the law.

But misidentification happens rarely. Good admins do their best because they know what's at stake for a customer.

WRONG (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002706)

ISPs simply provide a series of tubes - what comes out of your straw is your own business.

The internet is a sort of truck you can just dump stuff on, not a series of tubes.

You need actual EVIDENCE to sue someone? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002648)

Who'd have thought it?

info@SettlementInformationLine.com (0, Troll)

sgauss (639539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002666)

Hmmm. Spam, spam, spam, SPAMMITY-SPAM!

When did the RIAA become a law enforcement entity? (2, Insightful)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18002726)

If the RIAA is pushing forward with criminal cases, shouldn't they be brought forward by the local district attorneys?

If the RIAA is pushing forward with civil suits, what gives them the legal right to subpoena information from other entities?

There's already been cases that have thrown out ISP responsibility for copyright infringement cases, so they don't have that *handle* to hold onto with ISPs anymore.

I'd say, make the RIAA file charges with a REAL law enforcement agency and wait for trial.

If they choose to make civil cases, make them come up with the identities on their own - they should not have the right to force ISPs to hand over any information whatsoever.
Why do they think they have a right in (and seem to have gotten away with) asking for this information so far?

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