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EFF Jumps in Against RIAA for Copyright Misuse

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the big-guns-call-for-bigger-guns dept.

Music 147

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Arguing that the RIAA and big record labels may be misusing their copyrights, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has jumped in on the defendant's side in a White Plains, New York, court conflict. The case is Lava v. Amurao, and the EFF will be defending Mr. Amurao's right to counterclaim for copyright misuse. EFF argued that the RIAA, by deliberately bringing meritless cases against innocent people based on theories of 'secondary liability', are abusing their copyrights. In its amicus brief, EFF also decried (just as when it joined the ACLU, Public Citizen, and others on the side of Debbie Foster in Capitol v. Foster) the RIAA's 'driftnet' litigation strategy. They argue that the declaratory judgment remedy must also be made available to defendants, in view of the RIAA's habit of dropping the meritless cases it started but can't finish."

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First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682147)

First!

Hm (3, Funny)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682151)

Better late than never

Re:Hm (5, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682477)

Well, they had to give the RIAA enough rope to hang themselves with first. If the RIAA did only once or twice, the RIAA could say it was a simple mistake and/or blame it on the lawyer. With many cases in many states, it establishes a pattern. They don't do their homework. They sue people without cause. They do it often.

Re:Hm (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682771)

If the RIAA did only once or twice, the RIAA could say it was a simple mistake and/or blame it on the lawyer. With many cases in many states, it establishes a pattern. They don't do their homework. They sue people without cause. They do it often.

More importantly:
  - They continue to initiate new suits doing the same thing after it has been established that they're doing things wrong, and
  - they admitted in public that they knew they were hurting innocents and that they considered this collateral damage legitimate.

I suspect that these were the last two ducklings that had to fall in line. Once they were in position the EFF could fire their shot the next time a case got to the stage that exposed the target.

Danger danger, Will Robinson! Mixed metaphors off the starboard bow!

Re:Hm (5, Funny)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683821)

I suspect that these were the last two ducklings that had to fall in line. Once they were in position the EFF could fire their shot the next time a case got to the stage that exposed the target.
If we can hit that bulls-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate! [1] [gotfuturama.com]

Re:Hm (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683971)

As I understand it, the RIAA was set up as the legal arm of the recording industry for this reason - to provide a buffer between them and the copyrights(just in the incredibly unlikely chance that something like this might happen).

So nothing really changes. Except that the companies have to come after you themselves. And this of course effectively means they would only have the resources to go after the servers and major distributors. And, honestly, that should be their job - to go after the big fish and leave the consumer alone. Going after P2P sites and imposing DRM and so on, that's all legal(if annoying). Using Mafia-esque tactics to pressure college students into coughing up money that they need for tuition? Not good at all.

And last I checked, nobody, not even Congress has any love for the RIAA. They get complaints by the hundreds or thousands I bet - each and every single Congress Member - about the RIAA.

Re:Hm (1)

Darkinspiration (901976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684631)

Unfortunatly if the RIAA falls then you can bet the labels are going to be hard at work building RIAA version 2. If it worked once it can work twice. They will never expose themselve to public ire if they can help it.

Re:Hm (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685829)

And last I checked, nobody, not even Congress has any love for the RIAA. They get complaints by the hundreds or thousands I bet - each and every single Congress Member - about the RIAA.

All of which are helpfully read by some unpaid staffer and promptly placed in the "circular file."

Meanwhile, those members of Congress do seem to be listening to the entertainment companies that sign the donation checks -- or did you forget about all the Senators and Representatives who signed on to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act [wikipedia.org] ?

When push comes to shove, unless it's immediately preceding an election and it's an issue that's being widely covered by the media, cash talks and bullshit -- which includes pretty much anything not written on check paper -- walks. Politicians only care about two things: how they'll get re-elected, and how they'll get paid. And it's going to take a lot more publicity than we have right now to turn digital media into an issue that drives votes, like abortion, gun control, or taxes.

Want some names? Dianne Feinstein, for starters, is practically the film and recording industry's representative to the Senate. [1] She's personally cosponsored more pro-industry, anti-consumer legislation than anyone else that I can think of, and she gets re-elected, year after year. Orrin Hatch is another one, on the other side of the aisle. Ditto for Ted Stevens -- the man's a borderline retard, but he brings home the bacon to Alaska, and that's all voters there care about.

Until you can get enough interest to knock some of the politicians who are obviously in the pocket of the industry out of office, nothing's really changed. They'll appear to clean up their act for a while when they know their offices are on the line (in theory), but once back off the hook they'll just go back to screwing the public like they always do.

[1] Here's one sample that looks like it was probably drafted by the RIAA itself; the "ART" Act from 2005: http://feinstein.senate.gov/05releases/r-piracy-ar tact0201.htm [senate.gov]

Re:Hm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684479)

...they considered this collateral damage legitimate.

Aah, the old "Timothy McVeigh" defense.

Watch out RIAA (2, Insightful)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682199)

At least the RIAA now knows they have to have some sense of decency in their hearings and lack thereof will have consequences.

Re:Watch out RIAA (5, Insightful)

Doctor-Optimal (975263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682233)

Only if they lose.


(Hope hope hope...)

Re:Watch out RIAA (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683327)

I'm having a great deal of difficulty parsing this sentence, being as it contains both "RIAA" and "sense of decency".

Thus far, their actions have conspicuously lacked decency, morality or even sanity.

Their aim puports to be to make more money for their members, but their actions are evidently not acheiving that, and no rational analaysis that I've seen shows that their current course has any chance of achieving it.

Re:Watch out RIAA (3, Insightful)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683915)

Their purpose is much like the president of the universe. It's purpose is to draw the negative attention away from the record companies.

Unclean Hands (4, Insightful)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682251)

IANAL, but Copyright Misuse is related to Unclean Hands if I'm not mistaken, and the RIAA/MPAA's pursuit of legitimate non-law enforcement"pre-texting" [wikipedia.org] is about as unclean as it gets, not to mention this "drift-net" and "extortion" strategy.

Wonderful letter, but now lets hope the judge thinks so too.

Re:Unclean Hands (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682343)

IANAL your mom!

Re:Unclean Hands (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683351)

well you could ask nicer .
this is what you need ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IANAL/ [wikipedia.org]

Re:Unclean Hands (3, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682401)

That is a beautiful thought, but it is extremely unlikely to happen. The labels have already been widely accused and convicted of behavior that should have resulted in an injunction against their copyrights (e.g., collusion to fix prices). I doubt anything will come of it now, just as nothing came of it then.

Re:Unclean Hands (4, Insightful)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682497)

But the RIAA *can* lose its ability to enforce the copyrights at all. The original copyrights are intact - just the industry wold have to find other means/another method to do it. And of course, it would invalidate all of the RIAA notices in the music you bought to date. Now, the music still is copyrighted, so copying it illegally is still as wrong as it ever was - but the companies would have to come after you individually - at least until they get a new method in place.

I can definitely see a judge thinking this way.

Re:Unclean Hands (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682851)

But the RIAA *can* lose its ability to enforce the copyrights at all. ... the companies would have to come after you individually - at least until they get a new method in place.

I can definitely see a judge thinking this way.


Since acting as its members' copyright-enforcement organization is virtually the entire function of the RIAA such a decision would utterly sink it.

Leaving exactly the decision-makers who chose to proceed with these tactics, along with the hirelings who implemented their policy when they should have known it was wrong, looking for work.

How perfectly right!

Re:Unclean Hands (2, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683899)

Since acting as its members' copyright-enforcement organization is virtually the entire function of the RIAA such a decision would utterly sink it.

Leaving exactly the decision-makers who chose to proceed with these tactics, along with the hirelings who implemented their policy when they should have known it was wrong, looking for work.

Which means they'd likely do what most corporations in such positions do: dissolve and form up as a different corporation, which would then sign the same contracts the RIAA currently has with its members, and then continue with business as usual.

In other words: same players, same game, different name.

The only way to really kill the RIAA is to break through its corporate veil and nail its members.

Re:Unclean Hands (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684019)

The only way to really kill the RIAA is to break through its corporate veil and nail its members.

...with a wooden stake. Don't forget the wooden stake. That's the most important part, because they'll just rise from the grave [ananova.com] if you don't. Although maybe exposure in full sunshine will do them in too, I never remember which remedy works best on which kind of monster.

but this does not suffice, however, (1)

umeboshi (196301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684913)

for they may be brought back to life by means of a secret rite, which can be performed once a century, when the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius.

Re:Unclean Hands (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686189)

...with a wooden stake. Don't forget the wooden stake. That's the most important part, because they'll just rise from the grave if you don't.

Maybe several, but where do you get a suitable nailgun?

Although maybe exposure in full sunshine will do them in too, I never remember which remedy works best on which kind of monster.

Decapitation is also known to be effective as is fire. So a flame thrower might be the best weapon. IIRC there's a guy in Chicago who might be able to help out with this...

If you wanna kill them... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686381)

there really is no other point than to make the mass-public opinion known and kill these people outright. They have the balls to restrict their own buyers by foul illegitimate licenses? fuck that noise, kill them all and let God (and applicable law concerning 1st and 4th amendment rights [since the gov't decides that your property is their property,]) or some other recognized higher power sort them out. Seriously, they need to shut the fuck up and quit trying to control us, unless we fight for the ability to crush any corporation by physical violence, which I forsee hapening soon enough, since US law cannot contain such a thing when it's very concerntrated and has the manpower and political power to override any negative gov't action. regardless, the corporation loses.

Re:Unclean Hands (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686713)

What makes you think the RIAA _have_ any copyrights? They don't! The labels that are member companies have copyrights.

I really wish we would stop lumping these all together so that the record companies are shielded.

Re:Unclean Hands (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682831)

[rant]I read the Wikipedia entry about "pre-texting", but I remain unconvinced that calling it "pre-texting" makes it any less of a lie or anything more than a lie.[/rant]

Holy Dave Barry, Batman (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682905)

Copyright Misuse is related to Unclean Hands

Both of those would be great names for a band!

NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phone (5, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682291)

NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phone, please. We have an RIAA related legal item that needs translation. Thank you.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (5, Funny)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682329)

I don't know if I can really assist. I'm a native Legalese-speaker.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (3, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682443)

Ok that's funny. =)

But hey - since I have your attention I'd like to say thank you for all your posts here on this topic. It's enlightening to read your take on things. Even if you are native-legalese.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (4, Funny)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682557)

Thanks, Weasel. Much appreciated. (I say this at the risk of being modded down for having nothing interesting to say.).

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682659)

I have a sneaking suspicion that your karma can take the hit.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683359)

You mean sneaky suspicion. A sneaking suspicion sounds more like full-blown paranoia.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683733)

Perhaps, but the common idiom is "sneaking suspicion", not "sneaky suspicion". Google lists many times more uses of the former, as well as actual definitions of the phrase.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683799)

Hmmmmmm. I should lay off the coffee.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18683343)

If you want, you can just turn off the +1 for posts like that. Besides, I find it better to save the +1 bonus for those posts that need more attention (i.e. the posts that aren't "thanks" or "I agree") instead of posting at +2 all the time. Also, believe me, you have little worry of losing your +1 as a well-known Slashdotter, unless perhaps you join the GNAA troll group, or worse, the RIAA ... :-)

Now in a more on-topic note, does any of this relate to the new John Doe suit trying to get access to Mr. Merchant's computer? Or, for that matter, will his lawyer be able to complain at all? The lawyer's letter basically said that they were annoyed about not having standing before the court and I really don't trust the RIAA to mention any of that stuff in the John Doe suit.

Then again, maybe we can address that whenever Slashdot posts the story on it. I suspect you might have submitted it as well, and if not, I submitted it, too. Although, not being a lawyer, the best I could do to translate that case into English was that the RIAA was moving the case to federal court and using dirty legal trickery to get his computer without allowing him to object.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685691)

Or modded up because you're, well, popular around these parts. ;)

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18686215)

I say this at the risk of being modded down for having nothing interesting to say.)
Yeah. Right. :)

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686399)

What I find funny is though you appear for the fun of it, you have nothing worthwhile to say. Basically, for this aera of slashdot, you're just karma-whoring. I haven't read further below yet, but I haven't seen any serious post from you detailing anything like you normally do, so my question is have you given up on defense of the greater good and moved to petty things or are you still a potential major player in the game? If you're not in the game, forget on me betting our rights and liberties upon your shoulders.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686417)

Of course, I'd be a damned fool to bet any rights or liberties upon any one man's shoulders, so what are you bringing to the table worth mentioning for us Joe Sixpack types? So tell me just what you've got planned to fight this BS before we decide to get violent and wipe out CEOs of major companies?

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686439)

Hey by the way NewYorkCountryLawyer...

When are you going to run for a public office already?

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (2, Interesting)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682551)

Perhaps you can help someone who's trying to learn it now.

We just finished covering copyright in my IP survey course, and while we covered misuse as it applied to patent law, we didn't for copyright. Is there an existing doctrine that my professor didn't get to, or is this extending the idea of patent misuse into the copyright sphere?

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682599)

It started in patent misuse and has expanded into copyright law. The EFF's brief gives a pretty good explanation of its current status in copyright law.

About time. (3, Insightful)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682375)

Of course, the question gets murkier since they in theory could lose their patent/copyright if they abuse it too much - or at least the ability to enforce it at all, which would spell the end of the RIAA if I read it right. And get more than a few companies and artists mad at them in the process.

But the RIAA doesn't hold any copyrights (2, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682981)

The RIAA is merely acting as an agent for others (the labels) who hold the copyrights.

If the RIAA is found to be abusing the legal process, forbidding them from continuing to prosecute copyrights would not touch the rights of the actual copyright holders, it would merely that they either act directly themselves, or hire a new agent.

I have not idea how likely such a decision would be, but to me it would appear just.

Re:But the RIAA doesn't hold any copyrights (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683913)

The RIAA is merely acting as an agent for others (the labels) who hold the copyrights.
Doesn't matter, really. Since they're acting as agents, presumably with permission, their client eats the blame. Think of it this way: when a defense attorney loses a case, the client goes to jail.

Re:But the RIAA doesn't hold any copyrights (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685439)

The cases are filed as Sony vs John Smith ok? I don't know how anyone gets the impression that RIAA is the plantiff in any of these cases.. except, of course, by not reading any of the legal documents.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (5, Funny)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683323)

We have an RIAA related legal item that needs translation.

... Does anyone speak jive?

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer to the white courtesy phon (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683401)

Does anyone speak jive?

Barbara Billingsley does [imdb.com] .

Worst case for RIAA? (3, Interesting)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682349)

In the unlikely event that the RIAA is found guilty of "misuse of copyright" (not that they aren't; I just find it unlikely that the case will get that far) what's the worse that could happen to them? Would it be just a monetary penalty, or does the copyright owner (I would assume the record company) stand a chance of losing the copyright?

There's a thought. (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682535)

Get convicted of abusing copyright, the work becomes public domain.

That would stop them from using thre current techniques, and put more focus on people who are mass producing unauthorized works. NOteble becvause those people, when caught. have a ton of physical evidense that can be used against them.

In reality, they will probably be sued for damages.

Re:There's a thought. (2, Interesting)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683579)

But does the RIAA own the exclusive rights to the song recordings, or are they shared between other parties (such as, dare I say, the artists themselves)? Remember that the "amnesty" they offered didn't protect against legal action from other stakeholders. In this case, the work can't be put into public domain just because one party abused their rights - wouldn't that be an undue deprivation of property for the other copyright holders? IANAL.

Agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684225)

IANAL, but the RIAA is acting as an agent for enforcing copyrights. Their actions as an agent count as acting on behalf of those they represent (otherwise they lack standing for bringing suit). If the record companies know what RIAA is doing, then they can't disavow the actions later either.

Re:Agent (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686105)

IANAL either, but I don't think the RIAA actually enforces any copyright. They just collect evidence, and pass it on to the record companies. That's why all the law suits have recording company names in them ("Lava", "Capitol", etc.), rather than "RIAA".

Re:There's a thought. (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686085)

The record labels own the rights to the recordings. The rights may be shared with songwriters & publishers, sort of--recording rights are built off publishing rights.
The labels don't share copyrights with the artists if they have a choice. When the artists have a share of the copyrights, then the labels have to pay them more & sooner.

Re:There's a thought. (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684105)

geekoid (135745) proposed:

Get convicted of abusing copyright, the work becomes public domain.

They've already hornswoggled you, I see. The way copyrights work is that the work immediately becomes public domain, and in return for this, the artist (and, through later legislation, whoever the artist sold the rights to) gets a time limited exclusive right to control copies. What the *IAA wants you to believe is that they own the works.

The artist can retain ownership, but then he would have to not claim copyrights, and instead distribute copies of the works through other methods, like sales contracts. That gives him the right to go after copiers for contract infringements. But he can't have the cake and eat it -- either time limited copyright protection in exchange for making the work public domain, or ownership and no copyright protection.

And yes, the distinction matters. Because the works are public domain from day one, you are free to do what you like with them except copying. Cause you're the rightful owner. That's one right the *IAA wants to take away, with their fight for perpetual extension of copyrights and their talk about "theft" instead of copyright violation. You can't steal something that already belongs to you, but when they get enough people to believe they have ownership, including judges who grow up "knowing it's so", then copyrights no longer hold any meaning -- it's free protection in return for nothing. Which never was what was intended nor promised.

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:There's a thought. (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684171)

Which is why nerfing their ability to sue you for infringement is such a horrendous prospect to a business that nobody smart goes after someone unless they think they have a pretty good case.

Good post, btw. :)

Mod parent down -1 Incorrect (2, Informative)

Pfhorrest (545131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685957)

IANAL (though I did take a couple of courses in intellectual property while getting my multimedia arts degree), but it sounds to me like you're confusing copyright and patent somewhat. What it MEANS to be in the public domain is that there is no copyright/patent/etc claims on the work in question. I know wiki is a horrible thing to cite, but this isn't a paper and I'm lazy tonight, so two relevant sentences from the top of the wiki page on public domain [wikipedia.org] :

Public domain comprises the body of knowledge and innovation (especially creative works such as writing, art, music, and inventions) in relation to which no person or other legal entity can establish or maintain proprietary interests within a particular legal jurisdiction.

and

If an item ("work") is not in the public domain, this may be the result of a proprietary interest such as a copyright, patent, or other sui generis right.

What it sounds like you're thinking of is how patents are designed such that people will tell the world about their invention, in exchange for the security that others can't just run off and produce that invention without the permission (usually at a price) of the inventor; as opposed to keeping all inventions as trade secrets, which then die quiet deaths if the inventor is unable to bring it to market himself.

The closest analog to that in the realm of copyright is simply not publishing your creation, which is kind of pointless unless you're only creating it for your own enjoyment. Even then, copyright is automatic, and if you show a friend your awesome painting that you've never shown anyone. and he snaps a nice high-res photo while you're in the bathroom and runs away to publish his photo, you have grounds to sue him for copyright infringement, even if you never registered your copyright or any such thing.

You are right, at least, that the record companies do not "own" the works in any sense beyond the right to say who can make copies of them. So all this nonsense about you buying a license to use their music is just that - nonsense. The only licensing going on is their licensing of the distributor to create the CDs. Once that's done, you're buying a physical disc on which is a legally-made copy of some music, and you're free to do whatever the hell you want with that, aside from make further (unlicensed) copies; though even then there are fair-use exceptions.

Of course if you happen to be a lawyer or something and it turns out I'm talking out my ass, please feel free to correct me, but as far as I understand intellectual property law in America, that's how things work.

Say WHAT?!?!? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686465)

"The artist can retain ownership, but then he would have to not claim copyrights" You contradict your own self. Now explain yourself out of a paradox concerning customer influence. HINT: You're not gonna accomplish it.

Re:There's a thought. (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684625)

You can't get "convicted" or be "guilty" of anything in a civil case. And to the best of my knowledge, criminal cases cannot be brought against corporations (would be nice though).

Re:There's a thought. (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684629)

Whoops, didn't put everything in my last comment.

No, a finding of copyright misuse does not place the work in the public domain. It is similar to sitting on knowledge of copyright violations for 10 years and then deciding to go after the infringer, you may be prohibited from asserting your copyrights against that infringer but you don't lose the rights entirely. You could still sue someone else.

Re:Worst case for RIAA? (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682605)

What will happen? Most likely nothing... Don't forget about this story [slashdot.org]

Re:Worst case for RIAA? (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683773)

Would it be just a monetary penalty, or does the copyright owner (I would assume the record company) stand a chance of losing the copyright?

You ask that as if our Litigation Industry is some sort of "Justice System". Living in a capitalist democracy, you should know better.

Re:Worst case for RIAA? (1)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685089)

I thought I couched my question in enough assumption, hemming and hawing to make that clear, :)

Re:Worst case for RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684161)

I think your sig would be substantially funnier if it ended in, "We might like pizza, but boy do we make sense!" or "We might make sense, but we don't," or even "We might like pizza, but we don't."

response to this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682459)

This is very interesting in light of the recent coverage on this matter. However you might find an interesting counterpoint here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUzqLg0dHrQ [youtube.com]

RIAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682483)

shitfaced asshole mother fucker RIAA I hope you burn in shit hell you desereve all the piss you get

do7l (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682567)

juggernaut either been lmany, not the they are Come officers. Others

Tides are turning but what next? (3, Interesting)

MaelstromX (739241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682607)

It seems like with the tides turning against the RIAA and its members (Sony, Universal, EMI, Warner, et al) that their next act of massive dickheadedness will be to lobby Congress, under cries of massive copyright infringement destroying their industry, that music will die as long as this loophole exists of being able to play host to illegal activity, so long as you aren't aware of it, with no penalties for not taking any preventative measures. Of course I don't think that will kill music at all but the RIAA has a little more sway than me with Congress. :)

So how long until the owner of an internet service account becomes responsible, no matter what, for what happens via their connection? When incompetence and ignorance are no longer valid excuses? It honestly looks inevitable to me, because it's not like the RIAA is just going to roll over and I hardly think free distribution (aka free advertising) will appeal to them if they haven't gotten the clue this far.

Re:Tides are turning but what next? (2, Insightful)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684639)

I doubt legislation like that would pass. Considering, for instance, the relative ease of hacking into and (ab)using a wireless router, there is simply no practical way to completely control your internet connection, especially for non-techies.

Re:Tides are turning but what next? (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685913)

You say that like it matters. If the music industry could get some sort of strict liability pushed into law, the courts would just treat that unsecured wireless router like they treat a loaded handgun left sitting around. They'd just say that your failure to secure it was so grossly negligent that you're automatically responsible for any misuse that occurred as a result.

Sure, it would mean fining a lot lot of grandmothers (and children, and dead people, and children of dead people, etc.) into bankruptcy, but do you really think that's not acceptable to the RIAA, if they feel that their cash cow is in jeopardy?

I don't think the RIAA is ever going to go quietly. It's not just going to wink out of existence some day. It, by which I mean the people who make it up, have too much invested already to not go down without a fight. Which means they're going to call in every favor from every two-bit politician and lobbyist that they have, and get things passed (tack on to this must-pass bill here, another voice-vote there...what the people don't know, they can't blame anyone for later, right?) without any regard for the consequences.

Re:Tides are turning but what next? (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684893)

...but the RIAA has a little more sway than me with Congress. :)
That's what has always chapped my ass about the MAFIAA's relations with the two parties in this country. While the Repuglicans despise the 'Godless, immoral' entertainment industry on the whole, their brutal monopolistic behavior to squeeze as much cash as possible out of consumers fits right into the GOP's belief set. On the other hand, the Demmycrats give these thugs a free pass on being dicks about fair use and consumers' rights becuase the 'tainment industry is somewhat progressive on most other issues (the campaign donations don't hurt either). So it doesn't matter who is in majority in Congress; someone always has the MAFIAA's back.

attempted translation (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682717)

i'm not a legalese speaker myself, just a close follower of the latest legal setbacks for the riaa:

the riaa's legal tactics against casual downloaders are not surviving closer scrutiny, and this latest legal tidbit from nycl is but another hole in a growing number of holes that the legal system is poking in the riaa's legal tactics

nycl, a question: if i were to go online now and, using a well-known, well-trafficked file sharing site, downloaded a well-known track, and this were to attract the attention of the riaa driftnets, is it safe to say that i could survive the legal attack using one or a number of the new legal routes around the riaa's tactics you have brought to slashdot's attention?

or, more succinctly, is the era of the riaa driftnet over? or merely hinted at?

Re:attempted translation (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682803)

I'm pretty sure a lawyer answering that question would run afoul of ethics rules.

Re:attempted translation (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683997)

I'm pretty sure a lawyer answering that question would run afoul of ethics rules.
Ethics? I'd be worried about liability. You know how the messages are sig'd "I am a lawyer. I am not YOUR lawyer. This is not legal advice". Liability, baby.

Re:attempted translation (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683055)

nycl, a question: if i were to go online now and, using a well-known, well-trafficked file sharing site, downloaded a well-known track, and this were to attract the attention of the riaa driftnets, is it safe to say that i could survive the legal attack using one or a number of the new legal routes around the riaa's tactics you have brought to slashdot's attention?

IANAL (also IANANYCL), but previous to your posting I would say "possibly or even maybe". However, since your posting here in a public forum, I would say "not a snowball's chance".

Re:attempted translation (3, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684311)

circletimessquare asked:
if i were to go online now and, using a well-known, well-trafficked file sharing site, downloaded a well-known track, and this were to attract the attention of the riaa driftnets, is it safe to say that i could survive the legal attack...

I have no idea what you're referring to when you say a "file sharing site", or what you mean by downloading attracting the attention of the riaa driftnets...I don't know why your question was modded up, because you don't seem familiar with the factual matrix of these cases at all.

heh (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684691)

i understand perfectly

(wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

I think I know what he meant... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684703)

Unfortunately, I think he was asking if a person who was guilty of copyright infringement could get away with it because of the unscrupulous RIAA tactics in prosecuting the cases.

Alas, I'm not sure he was aware that no reputable lawyer will ever advise you to break the law, although I should hope he was aware that you are, in fact, a reputable lawyer.

Re:attempted translation (2, Insightful)

presidentbeef (779674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684649)

nycl, a question: if i were to go online now and, using a well-known, well-trafficked file sharing site, downloaded a well-known track, and this were to attract the attention of the riaa driftnets, is it safe to say that i could survive the legal attack

Golly, how many times must this be said?

No one gets sued for downloading. The illegal activity is distributing copyrighted materials without consent of the copyright holder. So, go download as many songs you would like, you are not going to be sued unless you also redistribute those files.

The people who are getting in trouble are those who are (at least allegedly) sharing out a massive amount of songs, very possibly without even realizing it. It is the default (and, rightly so, it's the point) for most P2P applications to share whatever you download. BitTorrent explicitly makes this a necessity. The RIAA is not going to send you a cease and desist letter for downloading a song off of a website (standard HTTP or FTP connection). However, the person operating the website can be sued...because they are distributing the materials.

Not to be too hard on the OP, but this is what they (the *AA) want you to think: downloading is evil, morally wrong, and illegal. That is not the case (at least not the illegal part).

Re:attempted translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684963)

thank good you are just the president of beef and not a lawyer that must defend clients that download and learn about the United States No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NET_Act [wikipedia.org]

and legalese
http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/17-18red. htm [usdoj.gov]

Re:attempted translation (1)

presidentbeef (779674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685747)

Hi Mr. Coward,

You are quite right, IANAL. Sorry for the lack of disclaimer above.

FORTUNATELY, I can read. So, I read the documents you linked. Nowhere does it say that the person receiving the copies is in any way guilty of anything. Only the person who copies and/or distributes the infringing articles is guilty.

While it has not been proven in court, if if I were a lawyer, I bet I could argue that the person receiving the downloaded materials is not the one producing or providing the copy.

No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18685421)

> No one gets sued for downloading. The illegal activity is distributing copyrighted materials without consent of the copyright holder. So, go download as many songs you would like, you are not going to be sued unless you also redistribute those files.

That's only because they can't easily catch those who merely download, not because they wouldn't prosecute you if they could. Making a copy, as well as distributing it, is a violation of the copyright holder's exclusive rights. At least under US law, there are some other countries where you may have more (or less) right to make copies for personal use and such in certain circumstances.

Mind you, I don't agree with copyright law at all, I just don't want misinformation to bite someone in the ass.

----
I, the author, hereby disclaim all copyright on this post and release it into the public domain. If that is not possible in some jurisdiction, I release it in the least encumbered manner allowed by law and covenant not to sue or authorize anyone to sue over any misuse of it whatsoever.

RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (-1, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682927)

despite he is dead.

because lots of funds were spent a prior to 1990s for preparing u.s. military for occasions that would necessitate an operation in the desert, mainly due to instable dictators in the region like saddam, the u.s. government was not able to spare enough resources from budget for protecting "intellectual properties" of u.s. citizens (actually only riaa members).

henceforth this resource shortage have led to the current environment in which members are forced to protect their own "intellectual property" rights with a finest of organizations, RIAA, that they founded from their own pockets, which increases the collateral damages to the participating members.

this is a state of affairs that is unacceptable. rights of the participating members of RIAA should be delivered, justice be done, reparations should be made.

henceforth RIAA should file suits against Saddam, and consequently current iraqi government, and iraqi people, and demand that a share from the proceedings of the oil pumped out of the region should be levied in taxes in order to compensate infringement of RIAA members' "intellectual property" rights.

if you have read so far, and yet you do not know RIAA, or you are new to slashdot, keep in mind that RIAA can successfully sue dead people.

next in to-sue list : aliens

in the works : lawsuits against whatever was there before the big bang that created the universe, on grounds that it/they/us/whatever have also created the concept of photons, electromagnetism, and thought, which are all utilized in excess by parties that infringe upon RIAA members' "intellectual property" rights.

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (-1, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682975)

because lots of funds were spent a prior to 1990s for preparing u.s. military for occasions that would necessitate an operation in the desert, mainly due to instable dictators in the region like saddam, the u.s. government was not able to spare enough resources from budget for protecting "intellectual properties" of u.s. citizens (actually only riaa members).

[...]

henceforth RIAA should file suits against Saddam, and consequently current iraqi government, and iraqi people, and demand that a share from the proceedings of the oil pumped out of the region should be levied in taxes in order to compensate infringement of RIAA members' "intellectual property" rights.

More realistically (ha) they should sue the US government, for putting Saddam in power in the first place.

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683135)

not before they sue saddam, iraqis. then the suing order would break down. if not broken down, suing order will go to the start of the creation, ultimately, suing all that there is and was.

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (0, Offtopic)

Oswald (235719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683185)

No one with any knowledge of history alleges that the U.S. installed Saddam or facilitated his rise to power. That's not to say that Reagan didn't support Saddam after the invasion of Iran, or that we did anything to help the people the Baath Party so brutally oppressed within Iraq, but there's no need to make things up. There are plenty of things the U.S. can be criticized for, but it's not the sole source of banality, stupidity or malfeasance in the world.

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (1)

pinkocommie (696223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684985)

Not trying to be a troll here but from what little I've read I thought the 1963 coup was CIA sponsored? Mind fleshing out what you've read about the events preceding the Baathist's rise to power?

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685499)

I wasn't really going back to 1963. It was another 16 years and four U.S. presidents before Saddam consilidated his power, so it would have been beyond the ability of the CIA or anyone else to have foreseen what would eventually come of Qassim's murder. Perhaps that's what the OP was referring to--if so, I was misleading in my response. Still, from what I understand, the Baathists were going to have their coup with or without help. The British journalist Robert Fisk says that Saddam was

"...among the first Baathists to try to kill Qassim; his subsequent flight across Iraq...was to become an official Saddam legend." (The Great War for Civilization, p. 149)
I don't think you can say that U.S. intelligence played a pivotal role in Iraq as, eg. when they foisted the Shah on Iran.

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (1)

der'morat'aman (1076365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684413)

Don't forget suing DARPA for creating the internet in the first place. Or maybe Al Gore...

Re:RIAA should "secondary liability" Saddam too (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686431)

you said it

Punitive Damages ? (1)

cyberianpan (975767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683001)

This is one case that could be a candidate for punitive damages... no not enough to bankrupt the RIAA but enough to put some serious manners on them. As TFA says

We are lawyers in New York City. We practice law at Vandenberg & Feliu, LLP. Through the Electronic Frontier Foundation we have undertaken to represent people in our area who have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) ... We established this blog to collect and share information about this reign of terror
Maybe the terror will end ;-)

I've said it once... (2, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683205)

...and I'll say it again. Take that you fuckers!

Only on Slashdot... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684255)

... could that be considered "insightful".

Re:I've said it once... (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684677)

Why was this modded insightful? I certainly don't feel anymore enlightened after reading this post, and it sure didn't provide an insight into anything that I'm aware of.

Not that I don't agree with the original poster, but come on, why waste mod points when there are plenty of more useful comments that still have a rating of 1 or 2???

Copyright = Monopoly (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18683339)

Frankly, I think that we the people should revoke the members of the RIAA's charter.

do we have to say this again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18683511)

FUCK THE RIAA!
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