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RIAA Can't Have Defendant's Son's Desktop

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the greedy-buggers dept.

Music 283

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's attempt to get Ms. Lindor's son's desktop computer in UMG v. Lindor has been rejected by the Magistrate Judge. The judge said that the RIAA 'offered little more than speculation to support their request for an inspection of Mr. Raymond's desktop computer, based on ... his family relationship to the defendant, the proximity of his house to the defendant's house, and his determined defense of his mother in this case. That is not enough. On the record before me, plaintiffs have provided scant basis to authorize an inspection of Mr. Raymond's desktop computer.' Decision by Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy. (pdf)"

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not supporting the RIAA (1, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570919)

I'm not supporting the RIAA but this seems wrong to me. If the person they are sueing has access and may have used the PC for copyright infringement should the PC not be investigated?

It's like going "you can only have 2 of the 3 knives I may of used for that murder".

Not really, because... (5, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570935)

Not really, because the RIAA tactic has been to call everyone a murderer and then ask to search their premises for knives. We have laws against that sort of thing when the police want to do it, and we should have laws against that sort of thing when corporations want to do it.

Not allowing baseless evidence gathering is the same as not allowing baseless search. But casting a very wide net and calling everyone a thief, and then when asked to produce evidence, claiming that you'd have it if you could go searching for it - this is just simply not the way the American justice system works, for better or worse.

Re:Not really, because... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571207)

Watchers of the news from outside you country have a slightly different opinion about the American justice system.
Is looks more like there is a basic system in place that pretends to be fair, but exceptions are so easily made that groups of people a treated in an unfair way.

Re:Not really, because... (5, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571387)

Watchers of the news from outside you country have a slightly different opinion ... exceptions are so easily made that groups of people a treated in an unfair way
 
Because the rare exception makes for more exciting news than the countless boring reasonably fair cases. It's the same reason why Americans think the rest of the world is constantly having some horrific natural disaster, fighting internal wars, or attending lavish film festivals.

Re:Not really, because... (4, Funny)

Finn61 (893421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571473)

How naive!

Answered from my Blackberry at a lavish film festival.

Re:Not really, because... (5, Funny)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571383)

But casting a very wide net and calling everyone a thief, and then when asked to produce evidence, claiming that you'd have it if you could go searching for it

Sounds exactly like SCO. :)

Re:not supporting the RIAA (3, Insightful)

i_wanna_be_a_scienti (1042298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570937)

I agree with you on this point. If a crime has been done, then all of the evidence should be investigated, and not just parts of it. You don't get a good picture, and it ends up being that you come to the wrong conclution.

Which actually could be bad for RIAA.

But we want it to be bad for them through the full picture.

Right?

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18570961)

You completely missed the point. If a crime has been committed by the son, then a new case with evidence must be brought against him. Since when do we, as Americans, allow witch hunts in order to save failing court cases? The only reason the RIAA is going after the son is because he is vigorously defending his mother and they want to put him back on his heels.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1, Offtopic)

Adelle (851961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570981)

> Since when do we, as Americans, allow witch hunts in order to save failing court cases?

For as long as you have had "grand juries".

Adelle.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570989)

Okay, but the witch hunt doesn't start from the get-go.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571105)

"For as long as you have had "grand juries"."

But this isn't about a crime. It's about a tort. No grand jury involved.

Please learn the difference.

One of the reasons why the RIAA isn't asking for criminal charges is that the evidence they have is so slim that even thinking about filing criminal charges, which require a _much_ higher burden of proof, is idiotic.

The RIAA is on pretty thin ice. Their "expert" claims to be a "software engineer" yet when asked if he's got a PE stamp, he says...well...no. Yet another wannabe expert.

--
BMO

Re:not supporting the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571525)

But this isn't about a crime. It's about a tort. No grand jury involved.
And that's why I prefer crumble!!1

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570945)

IANAL, but just because an armed robber lives in the same town as a relative, and they both have cars, and are close, doesn't mean there is need, or cause to search the relatives car for evidence of the crimes committed by the armed robber. Yes, I know that might not be the best analogy, but where is the judge to stop? Can the RIAA look at her neighbor's pc? Can the RIAA request that all her friends computers be searched? If there is no evidence of infringement, well, then there is no evidence. Going fishing in the computers that she might have had access to is just that, fishing.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570947)

On the record before me, plaintiffs have provided scant basis to authorize an inspection of Mr. Raymond's desktop computer.

Except it seems like nobody has been killed, therefore there is no murder weapon that will go to court.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571151)

Except the livelihood of the poor starving artists!

Please mod parent as trool... (-1, Redundant)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571295)

Except the livelihood of the poor starving artists!
This is getting old. Please cite just one case of an artist that is starving because people swapped his songs using peer-to-peer technology.

Re:Please mod parent as trool... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571441)

Please cite just one case of an artist that is starving because people swapped his songs using peer-to-peer technology.

      Yeah, I'm still waiting to meet one of the "thousands of people" the MPAA claim are put out of work each year by piracy.

Re:Please mod parent as trool... (2, Funny)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571505)

Well according to South Park swapping music means Lars Ulrik can't get his gold plated shark tank and Britney Spears has to fly around in a Gulfstream IV - it means they get to live in slightly less luxury.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18570951)

Mr. Turn-X Alphonse, I think you may have infringed on my copyright. Please have your PC ready for inspection. Oh, and I want your son's PC as well just in case.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570955)

I'm not supporting the RIAA but this seems wrong to me. If the person they are sueing has access and may have used the PC for copyright infringement should the PC not be investigated?

She "may have" had access to your computer. That doesn't mean that she did. Even if she did, that doesn't mean that she used it to commit the alleged offense.

It sounds to me like you just don't get it.

If your mother is accused of a crime, why in the hell should they be able to search your property, at a different house, without probable cause?

If the police can't do it for a murder case, why should the RIAA be able to do it for a civil suit?

LK

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570965)

If the person they are sueing has access and may have used the PC for copyright infringement should the PC not be investigated?

You're not making sense here. First off, you have to mean if the person they're suing has access and may have used his PC for copyright infringement, should his PC not be investigated? That's the first correction. They've already checked the PC in the house itself, and come up dry. It does not contain the hard drive with any of the infringing files or programs on it.

Secondly, they're not suing the son. So he is not the person they're suing, and they should have no right to anything on his PC just because he's a son who lives 4 miles away and, like any good son should, visits his mother.

Thirdly, if you have your own computer at home, it doesn't make much sense that you'd pack up your computer, drive miles to your Mother's house, and commit copyright infringement there, before packing up your computer once more and driving back home again to use your computer for everything else you normally use it for. Even if you have a notebook computer, do you drive somewhere else to do all your filesharing? That's too much of a reach for even this judge to accept, hence they're not allowed to just look at a non-party's computer hard drive because of a casual relationship between a mother and her son. There is no evidence that the son's computer has ever been in his Mother's house.

It would be like the RIAA saying that, we tracked filesharing to the IP address of your best friend who lives a few miles from you. But because we couldn't find the evidence on his computer, and we know you're friends who often got together at his house, and because you have a computer too, we want to give your computer a digital anal examination as well, hoping we'll find something to incriminate you with. And it's not even like said best friend told the RIAA to get his own butt out of the sling that, "Hey, my best friend always came over with his computer and we downloaded music on it." He would have told them nothing of the sort.

Now do you get it?

Re:not supporting the RIAA (4, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571077)

Just playing the devil's advocate... My Mum has an unlimited home DSL account... which she uses to send about 6 mails a month with. It would be perfect to add a router and Mac Mini with a bit torrent client running on it to her existing setup. She would never notice and I could occasionally FTP in and download the files obtained. Then if she ever got into one of these lawsuits I could remove the whole setup and she could honestly deny having anything to do with it.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (2, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571167)

Glad you're not my kid, ya little brat.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (4, Interesting)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571289)

Even simpler. Bittorent-capable router [asus.com] . With web interface.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571293)

By the same token, just have two computers a cheapy pirate machine, no real speed power or display quality is required for P2P, a typical $200 odd worth of 2nd hand notebook would be quite sufficient, when they ask for your machine give them them a ghost of your regular machine and drop your pirate machine off at a buddies place for the duration. If your gonna make up stories at least make them realistic ;).

I know it is pointless, because the RIAA does not target technophiles that can afford multiple computers and a lawyer, the target those who can not afford neither and who lack technical expertise (at least not any more ;)). It saves the embarrassment of continually losing cases and likely hood of some rather severe legal ramifications, for what is becoming pretty clear is nothing more than legalised extortion.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571323)

And ya know what?

That's a defense that your mom's lawyer can use. Indeed, having an insecure POS computer infected with malware, a wide open wireless router, IP addresses being spoofed, etc, yadda yadda yadda, were all used to pull Dr. Jacobson's deposition into a million little pieces in this case.

In other words, there is _no way_, using the RIAA's methods, to definitively trace music files to the specific computer, not after reading Dr. Jacobson's testimony. Read it. The URL is in one of my earlier postings.

--
BMO

Re:not supporting the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571363)

You'd buy a mac mini ($679.00 CDN currently at apple store for the basic model), and a router (around 50$ for something half-decent like a WRT54GL) -- around 850$CDN with tax and shipping (that's ~750$USD) just so your P2P traffic comes from another IP? Nevermind you'd have to drive a few miles routinely to transfer the files off the mini to something else to burn it afterwards (no DVD burner built in)? (FTP would be kind of stupid, download over P2P to redownload several GB it over a slow home DSL link?) That's a bit extreme.

Nevermind your mom could end up having legal issues because of you? Even if the RIAA/MPAA doesn't win, it's still stressful, annoying and expensive. Either ways, you'd have to hide your setup if it happens. It would be just as easy to hide your PCs at her place if you ever got caught, and hand them a generic 2nd hand cheapo XP box (with basically nothing on it) to analyze instead and save yourself hundreds of dollars if it doesn't happen (and the driving/FTP part too).

Using P2P on her internet might also go over some caps (lots of ISPs set caps, especially on the cheaper plans which she likely has if she only uses it for 6 emails a month), and going over that is all too easy and often expensive.

Bad idea in general. Nobody's stupid enough to really do this.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571303)

we want to give your computer a digital anal examination as well
Easy solution:
iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 79 -j REJECT
So there, RIAA!

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

baileydau (1037622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571467)

It's even better than that ...
Didn't their "experts" "prove" that it _must_ be Mrs Lindor's PC that was used and that it was connected directly to the Internet and that there was no internal network involved.

Or are they now saying, they don't have a clue and that it could have been anyone and they aren't actually sure what (if anything) they did.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18570967)

If someone in your family downloaded something illegally off BitTorrent, should they seize your computer and search through all the files on it?

It all sounds kind of reasonable until you're the victim.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (3, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571401)

It all sounds kind of reasonable until you're the victim.

Lots of people don't think that far.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571001)

More like "We want everyone's steak knives that happen to know you."

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571045)

I'm not supporting the RIAA but this seems wrong to me. If the person they are sueing has access and may have used the PC for copyright infringement should the PC not be investigated?

It's like going "you can only have 2 of the 3 knives I may of used for that murder".

A brief history of the case was that the plaintiff (RIAA) demanded that the defendant turn over her computer to their experts for analysis. The defendant objected and would only agree to a third party copying the hard drive and handing the copy over to the plaintiff. The judge ruled in the defendant's favor and the HD was copied. However upon further analysis, it appears that HD had no traces of any filesharing software or the copyrighted songs that the plaintiff claimed were being shared. So the plaintiff went back to the judge saying, "Well, the defendant's son had access to her house, maybe it was his personal computer that the culprit." I suspect that the MediaSentry methods of identifying infringers are error prone and that is the most likely cause of the discrepancy. What the judge has ruled is that besides just speculation, the plaintiffs have offered no compelling evidence to search the computer of the defendant's son who has his own machine in his house and does not live with his mother. Although the decision doesn't mention it, the defendant's son claimed that his files are protected by attorney client privilege (as he is a lawyer and uses his computer for work). There has to be very compelling reasons for the plaintiff to over come that objection.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (3, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571237)

A brief history of the case was that the plaintiff (RIAA) demanded that the defendant turn over her computer to their experts for analysis. The defendant objected and would only agree to a third party copying the hard drive and handing the copy over to the plaintiff. The judge ruled in the defendant's favor and the HD was copied.

Sounds like a reasonable judge. Taking the defendant's computer would deprive them of it for a long period of time, whereas taking a copy of it's data only deprives them of it for a short time.

However upon further analysis, it appears that HD had no traces of any filesharing software or the copyrighted songs that the plaintiff claimed were being shared. So the plaintiff went back to the judge saying, "Well, the defendant's son had access to her house, maybe it was his personal computer that the culprit." I suspect that the MediaSentry methods of identifying infringers are error prone and that is the most likely cause of the discrepancy.

Or something as simple as a typo on the part of the plaintiff.

What the judge has ruled is that besides just speculation, the plaintiffs have offered no compelling evidence to search the computer of the defendant's son who has his own machine in his house and does not live with his mother.

To the judge it may look as though the plaintiff is on a "fishing trip".

Although the decision doesn't mention it, the defendant's son claimed that his files are protected by attorney client privilege (as he is a lawyer and uses his computer for work).

Plenty of people may have confidential material on their computers. A lawyer has the advantage that he or she can phrase this in language a judge is likely to understand.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571047)

Viacom is being sued for copyright infringement, too (by people whose copyrighted works were the subject of misguided DMCA removal demands to YouTube). I like the idea that these plaintiffs could get, not only all of Viacom's computers, but also all of Viacom's employees' computers.

Unfortunately for that, you need to convince the judge that there's a good reason to think that you'll turn up evidence for the crime you already have a good reason to think has been committed.

Re:not supporting the RIAA (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571255)

Viacom is being sued for copyright infringement, too (by people whose copyrighted works were the subject of misguided DMCA removal demands to YouTube). I like the idea that these plaintiffs could get, not only all of Viacom's computers, but also all of Viacom's employees' computers.

If you applied the RIAA's "logic" that would probably include computers belonging to any relatives of Viacom employees. "Hand over your PC your third cousin, who you never knew existed, married the second cousin of someone who once did some agency work for Viacom!"

Re:not supporting the RIAA (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571425)

evidence for the crime

IANAL, but this is a civil case. There is no "crime".

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Interesting)

MLease (652529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571057)

I'm not supporting the RIAA but this seems wrong to me. If the person they are sueing has access and may have used the PC for copyright infringement should the PC not be investigated?

It's like going "you can only have 2 of the 3 knives I may of used for that murder".


It's more like, "You can only have the knives that you have a plausible reason to believe may have been used for that murder." Why should they get the defendant's son's knife, just because he lives 4 miles away from the defendant and vigorously asserts the defendant's innocence? They need a reason to search other people's property; they can't just conjure up a hypothesis out of thin air that the property was used to commit the crime, and use that as justification to examine it.

This is all about intimidation. The RIAA doesn't like the son for defending his mother so vigorously, so they're spitefully trying to fish for evidence on his computer, on the off-chance they might be able to drag him into a lawsuit. They have no probable cause to accuse the son of any wrongdoing, or to assert that the mother is committing infringement using his computer rather than her own, and the judge is perfectly correct in denying their motion.

-Mike

Re:not supporting the RIAA (5, Funny)

Mydron (456525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571213)

I'm not supporting the inquisition but this seems wrong to me. If the person being investigated is a woman and has a cat, then shouldn't we see if she floats?

Re:not supporting the RIAA (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571419)

shouldn't we see if she floats?

      She turned me into a newt!

      What? Well, I got better!

Re:not supporting the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571271)

... but the third knife is in another house.

By your reasoning, the RIAA should be allowed to inspect all computers of all family members living nearby, and why not all friends, guests at the house, and neighbors. Talking about wide net fishing...

Re:not supporting the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571343)

"Have you or any members of your family ever been a member of a file sharing service?" Question sound a bit familiar?

Re:not supporting the RIAA (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571415)

If the person they are sueing has access and may have used the PC for copyright infringement should the PC not be investigated?

      I think you are infringing on the RIAA's copyright. Expect them to take your PC soon.

      Get it? It takes more than someone's "say so" to go into someone's private property and rummage through their things. The RIAA has to actually show some sort of proof that you've wronged them, not just "oh, we say you did it". Unfortunately (for them) they don't have enough proof to convince the judge. So why should they get the hard drive? First things first - establish that copyright infringement happened by some other means.

Who cares? (0, Troll)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570921)

This isn't some sort of ideological blow that cuts to the core of the RIAAs actions. It's a mundane legal decision in one of their many cases. Why, exactly, is this newsworthy?

Re:Who cares? (3, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570959)

It's frustration for an organization I despise and I enjoy that. Think of it as a feel good story on the nightly news.

Re:Who cares? (5, Interesting)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571089)

The RIAA has been breaking new ground with the legal branch of their customer service division. A large portion of the law is not in the laws that have been passed by legislatures, it is in previous decisions by the judicial system and is called case law.

Since the RIAA's new approach to customer service is, shall we say, innovative decisions in earlier cases can have a great effect on later cases. For example, in a previous RIAA story on Slashdot it was reported that when the RIAA draws a blank in discovery against a particular custo^H^H defendant, then they are liable for the defendants legal fees. This could be a serious blow to the RIAA's current shotgun approach.

Likewise, if this current ruling stands it could help establish limits on how far the RIAA can go poking their nose into other people's business. IMO, the RIAA (like SCO) has greatly abused the legal system to pursue their own selfish and greedy ends. It's great news that the legal system is responding and is putting in limits on how far the RIAA can go.

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571091)

> This isn't some sort of ideological blow that cuts to the core of the RIAAs actions.

I don't know how ideology applies to this unless you believe that unrestricted fishing expeditions without any real probably cause make good law. If you believe that, then is is a major blow to your ideology, because the judge just said no, I'm not going to allow you to examine computer unless you can directly link that computer to the alleged violation of intellectual property law.

> It's a mundane legal decision in one of their many cases. Why, exactly, is this newsworthy?

Its not mundane at all. Its a major blow to the RIAA's current policies and it sets up a much larger blow that I suspect we'll see ordered shortly. The RIAA had it easy when they were bullying college students into handing them their savings in order to avoid a costly litigation. All too often these students hadn't done anything wrong. Now that people are fighting back, decisions like this will start to cost the RIAA something, and that may cause them to rethink their strategy.

Re:Who cares? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571099)

Why, exactly, is this newsworthy?

Where the **AA is involved, schadenfreude is a perfectly good reason.

Bad Week for the RIAA (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570923)

This has been a bad week for the RIAA, with more going against them than ever before. If you'll allow me a moment...

Yeah!!!

Now back to our normal post. The RIAA is like a bacteria that has multiplied to infect many hosts. However, like a simple bacteria that replicates perfect copies of itself, the RIAA lawsuits are all exact clones. What this means is that, if you can kill one of them, you can kill all of them. Reading the postings just this week on Ray's blog will tell you that the many enemies (a.k.a. innocent defendants who are fighting back) of the RIAA are coordinating and refining their tactics in search of the magic bullet that will kill this plague once and for all. And from the looks of things, they're getting mighty close.

baadweek (1)

FMota91 (1050752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571031)

Maybe, like bacteria, the RIAA will evolve their strategy after failing enough times. Hopefully that doesn't mean rewriting copyright law. Oh, and a suggested tag: baadweek

Thankfully (0, Offtopic)

johansalk (818687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570963)

I stopped downloading music when audiogalaxy effectively died (ie, when they removed all copyrighted content). Ah, good days those were when it was active, what a wonderful site that was. Check out the section in this story about why it was better than other p2p networks http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/6/21/171321/675 [kuro5hin.org]

Forgive my ignorance... (4, Insightful)

asninn (1071320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18570993)

Forgive my ignorance, but... can someone who's actually from the USA explain why the RIAA would get *anyone's* computer at all? Even if there is a reason why it should be inspected at all, shouldn't that be done by a (hopefully) neutral third party, like the police? It seems like a bad idea to me to give someone who's got a vested interest in finding evidence against you an opportunity to plant it.

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (5, Informative)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571013)

HARD DRIVE
*Plaintiffs may not have access to the defendant's hard drive; the hard drive must be turned over to a mutually acceptable neutral computer forensics expert; and his report must be done at the RIAA's expense. (SONY v. Arellanes)

they can't [blogspot.com]

RIAA doesn't trust the police to do it right? (2, Insightful)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571063)

No, that's not the reason. The primary reason the police are not involved is that the RIAA is not pursuing these as crimes, but as civil offenses (or something like that).

I'm having trouble right at the moment trying to define the difference in a way that makes sense in these cases.

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (4, Informative)

sgent (874402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571087)

No problem.

The RIAA action is a civil tort case -- not a criminal case. In civil cases in the US both sides are essentially required to turn over all relevant evidence to each other, and then they argue in court which one has the better evidence for their side (preponderance). This is the same type of case that IBM vs SCO is undergoing, and is two private parties.

In criminal cases, the state is the prosecutor (not plaintiff), and jail time may attach. You need a unanimous jury rather than a majority decision. RIAA cannot initiate a criminal case other than to make a complaint to the local police.

Now, what am I supposed to believe? (1)

Maradine (194191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571003)

The problem with OMGPonies-day at /. is that I begin to doubt even pleasant, plausible news by proximity . . .

Re:Now, what am I supposed to believe? (4, Insightful)

Loonacy (459630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571033)

That's the whole point of April Fool's day. To remind you to be skeptical.

Re:Now, what am I supposed to believe? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571511)

The slashdottit boxes were meant for the april fools-impaired. There is no such box next to this story.

Artists funding this action (4, Informative)

Builder (103701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571021)

Please note that the following artist's revenue is helping to fund this action by UMG and the RIAA:

Amy Winehouse
Bon Jovi
Charlatans
Counting Crows
Limp Bizkit
Live
Ocean Color Scene
Puddle of Mudd
Sonic Youth
Texas
The Who

By buying anything from these or any other UMG artist, you are helping to fund these lawsuits. Please stop!

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571027)

Personally I like mp3.com and archive.org

Re:Artists funding this action (2, Funny)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571069)

Good Lord. Anyone purchasing these artists should have a lawsuit brought against them. Slightly ironic that the artists helping to fund this haven't had a hit in years. I'm sure Fred Durst needs all the cash he can get at this point...

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571079)

It's sad and telling, isn't it? When I haven't heard half those names on that list, and the ones I do know I wouldn't listen to even if they were offered freely.

I must be getting old.

Re:Artists funding this action (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571095)

That's why I download all my music. Don't want to fund lawsuits against... myself.

Grafitti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571119)

Just the word "The Who"...

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571125)

I've only heard of "Limp Bizkit" from that list, the only reason why I know them is because my sister was playing their music a lot and it annoyed the hell out of me.

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571197)

You have never heard of Bon Jovi? Where have you been living for the past 25 years?

Re:Artists funding this action (0, Offtopic)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571273)

You have never heard of Bon Jovi? Where have you been living for the past 25 years?
I've only been alive for the last twentytwo =).

I don't own a TV (the high pitch noises they make annoy me -- sensitive ears, never mind the adverts) or even a radio (I don't know many people my age who even listen to the radio outside of a car).

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

Sinbios (852437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571317)

However do you deal with your monitor, various computer components, and fans in said computer?

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571353)

However do you deal with your monitor
I don't hear high pitch noises on modern computer CRTs -- I use LCD screens at home.

various computer components, and fans in said computer?
Fans don't bother me, some fluorescent lighting on the other hand...

In particular, the only computer hardware I've ever had a issue with is Apple's. More than once I've encountered Apple hardware that was emitting high pitch noises (that others couldn't hear).

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

Sinbios (852437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571359)

Maybe it's just me, but both my motherboard and PSU emit barely noticeable whines that drive me nuts.

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571461)

I don't own a TV (the high pitch noises they make annoy me -- sensitive ears

The high-pitched noise is generated by the scan line oscillator. This noise only exist on CRTs, so flat-screen LCDs and plasma screens do not emit these noises. In addition, the noise level varies significantly with the quality of the television set. Some sets emit such a loud noise that even I can hear, and some more expensive sets are so silent that not even my brother (who has sensitive ears) can hear it.

Also note that this noise can only be heard from 50-60 Hz televisions, because higher frequency television sets, such as those utilizing a 100Hz update frequency, is too high to be heard by humans. The frequency can be computed by multiplying the number of scan lines with the update frequency. My 50 Hz PAL set has 576 lines, but only half of them are updated on each picture refresh (PAL = Phase Alternating Line, also known as interlaced). So for my set, the frequency is 50*576/2 Hz = 14400 Hz. A 100Hz set with the same number of scan lines would emit a noise with a 28800 Hz noise, which is too high to be heard even by sensitive (human) ears.

Re:Artists funding this action (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571139)

Charlatans? Is that a group made up of the RIAA's lawyers?

Re:Artists funding this action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571403)

A charlatan [answers.com] is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money or advantage by false pretenses.

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

Alterion (925335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571145)

Please note that the following artists revnue is helping to fund their production of music : Counting Crows Limp Bizkit Live Ocean Color Scene Puddle of Mudd Texas By buying anything from these, you are helping to fund people with no talent in their assault upon our eardrums. Please stop!

Re:Artists funding this action (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571157)

I don't know how it works in the States but Ocean Colour Scene have their own label now. Maybe they need a contract to expire or something over in the USA.

Re:Artists funding this action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571205)

At least one of those is misleading.

Thurston Moore (a Sonic Youth cofounder) speaks in favor of file-sharing. [wired.com] The fact that a label he is on is one of the ones helping to fund lawsuits is unfortunate. However, to stop supporting their music is like not shopping at a store that pays "protection" money. Once you start hitting the major charts, it is difficult to release solely on independent labels.

Re:Artists funding this action (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571211)

Amy Winehouse
Haven't heard of her. Probably sucks.

Bon Jovi
Sucks very hard.

Charlatans
Haven't heard of them. Probably suck.

Counting Crows
Sucks.

Limp Bizkit
"Three dollar bill yall" was good, everything else by them sucks.

Live
90's stuff was decent. Everything else they've done sucks (V and later), though.

Ocean Color Scene
Haven't heard of them. Probably suck.

Puddle of Mudd
"Come Clean" was good, everything else sucks hard.

Sonic Youth
The only good band on this list.

Texas
Haven't heard of them. Probably suck.

The Who
Overrated. The coolest thing about them was when Jimi Hendrix set Pete Townshed's guitar on fire...

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571485)

Texas is a great band from Scotland.
Amy Winehouse is a singer from the UK
So yeah to many people from the USA, they suck because of NIH syndrome.

The Who!
They probably are overrated now (since Keith Moon popped his clogs) but when I first saw them in 1967 at the London Roundhouse WOW.
Their stage show was brilliant.

Take a listen to "Live at Leeds" recorded 30 years ago last month and you might get some idea about how good they were on stage.

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571509)

can't say, whether amy winehouse sucks or not, her songs though suck very much.

Re:Artists funding this action (1)

ankarbass (882629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571215)

It's much simpler. Simply stop purchasing music. That's what I've done.

Why does the RIAA do police work anyway? (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571029)

Where I live, evidence that can be easily manipulated is worthless before court unless collected by an party that's considered impartial, like the police. And even they have been shown to screw up when it comes to examining computers, changing files on the hard drive and rendering the evidence basically useless, therefore casting doubt on the police's general ability to handle computer evidence. Someone care to explain to me how disk content can count as evidence if the prosecutor had write access to it?

Re:Why does the RIAA do police work anyway? (3, Interesting)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571043)

The problem with this in the US is that the defendant has to understand that and bring it up in court. A green lawyer might easily be intimidated by some of the RIAA's paper work and anyone representing themselves is usually SOL on properly discrediting bad evidence, we tend to understand the theory, but not the procedure.

Re:Why does the RIAA do police work anyway? (5, Informative)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571137)

Actually, the big thing that emerged in discovery is that they hadn't done any real police work.

All they had was one expert witness who wrote three statements, all of them questionable on a number of grounds, based on a ten minute examination of a hard drive and additional examination of IP records generated by software that has dubious reliability and a statement from Verizon about an IP address that could easily have been wrong in several different ways.

That's one of the big reasons this case is crumbling and, from all appearances, taking a lot of RIAA cases with it.

The truth is that this was never about good "police" work. It was about intimidation; about identifying people who could be easily intimidated and railroading them with a blizzard of impressive looking paperwork; about using their settlements to intimidate others into not accessing online audio files, even when it was perfectly legal to do so. The intimidation worked (and continues to work to some extent) because the legal costs of fighting this RIAA paperwork were much higher than the price of a settlement.

Congratulations (3, Insightful)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571055)

This is a big decision, because it finally sets some limits on the scope of RIAA's fishing expeditions. Its not a surprising decision, given the outcomes of your discovery process with RIAA's witness, and one can only presume that the other shoe, dismissal with prejudice and a court ordered payment of Ms Lindor's legal expenses by the RIAA will soon follow. It will, unfortunately, take a lot more than this to deter the RIAA from this scorched audience policy, but its a step in the right direction. Well done.

Please be real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571123)

I hope this isn't a late April Fools submission

Re:Please be real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571155)

To go completely off-topic for a moment. Is it possible to block a story based on its Slashdot tag. I really would like to be able to block all April Fools articles next year. The alternative up until now is NOT read Slashdot for two days around April 1st. Thanks

Re:Please be real (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571179)

I just continued a flamewar from yesterday, around five o'clock today I thanked the witless bastard.

Soo...some ideas (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571165)

Posting anonymously....

In discussions with a real lawyer about all this, my lawyer friend and I came upon the solution...

Should you get The Letter, which has no legal value whatsoever, put a bullet through the drive, do a Jeff Merkey and bash it against a rock, melt it in a Sentry heat treating oven at 2250F (FUN!!). "We're sorry, but the drive no longer exists"

Should you get The Subpoena, it's too late and you're hosed. Bend over and take it or mount a real defense, because if you destroy the drive, it's spoilation of evidence and the court really frowns on that. That's what hosed Jeff Merkey when Novell subpoenaed him.

Timing is everything.

Re:Soo...some ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571397)

So "lose" the drive, and tell them you use Knoppix [knoppix.org] , and a USB key to store your data. Supposedly, there never was any evidence, as the filesystem is read-only.

To follow up even further... (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571223)

Watch, in fascination, as the RIAA "expert" in the Lindor case is eviscerated....

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200703020 73736822 [groklaw.net]

This is why the RIAA wants to go on a fishing expedition. They have no case, and what they have is ...less than unassailable.

--
BMO

Completely Offtopic (-1, Flamebait)

joss (1346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571253)

Now the annual idiocy is over can we have a vote
on what readers actually think of /. april 1st edition:

[ ] lame
[ ] really lame
[ ] totally fucking lame
[ ] gay
[ ] I'm an idiot

You know what would be good for next year.. how about no april fools
stories at all. That would be really novel and confusing,
people might actually read each story wondering.. come on, this cant
be real, its april 1. Having every single story on april 1 be bogus
is so stupid it might be genius if they drop the retarded idea next year.

Re:Completely Offtopic (2, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571331)

[X] You're an idiot.

While many people agree with you that April Fool's day on Slashdot is indeed way over the top, it's still no reason for insulting random strangers that did you no harm.

Re:Completely Offtopic (1)

joss (1346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571355)

I'll leave the hypocrisy detection as an excerise for the reader

Re:Completely Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571421)

I don't know - there doesn't appear to be any evidence that the people who composed the april 1st stories for /. are either disabled or homosexual.

You may also not be mentally deficient, but you do seem to be quite ignorant. Luckily, that is a flaw that can be corrected by some effort. Good luck on that.

Re:Completely Offtopic (3, Funny)

joss (1346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571449)

For those who havent noticed, gay doesnt necessarily mean homosexual anymore, it often just means crap. I can understand that some Gays might be upset about this but that doesnt change the fact. Gay is just one of those words that changes meaning from time to time: once upon a time it meant happy, then it meant homosexual, now it means crap and at some stage in the future it will probably mean quiche or something.

Avoiding RIAA (0, Offtopic)

picketech (1013491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571357)

There is one Internet Provider out there that will help you keep your IP adress as an unknown. I stumbled accross it in one of my many searches. http://www.relakks.com/ [relakks.com]

Your money are used to sue you or your friends. (4, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571409)

Every time you buy an album or a movie through these big companies, your money will be used to sue you or your friends.

If you stop paying them they will fold with less collateral damage, and music will be free sooner.

Screenshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571435)

I dont understand how the RIAA get a screenshot of your computer.

Re:Screenshot (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571465)

"I dont understand how the RIAA get a screenshot of your computer"

Here's an idea....

They violate the law and upload spyware that you think is merely a "song that doesn't play"

That's how.

If they truely are getting screenshots, that's how you do it. There isn't any other way than getting trojaned.

Unfortunately, for them, that's quite illegal in all of the 50 states (unauthorized use of a computer, RI General Laws 11-52-1 through 8 and similar in other states) and in the eyes of the court "unclean hands."

--
BMO

Encryption anyone? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571519)

Why not use a program like http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org] to hide your data if your going to download illegally. Secondly what ever happened to privacy? Surly thats more important than a few stupid songs is worth.
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