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RIAA Wins In Court Against UW Madison

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the when-you've-said-wisconsin-you've-said-it-all dept.

The Internet 200

Billosaur writes "A judge has ordered the University of Wisconsin-Madison to turn over the names and contact information for the 53 UW-M students accused of file sharing over the university's networks by the RIAA. 'U.S. District Judge John Shabaz signed an order requiring UW-Madison to relinquish the names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and Media Access Control addresses for each of the 53 individuals.' The ruling came as no surprise to the university, which had previously rejected the request of the RIAA to hand out their settlement letters to alleged copyright violators on their campus. The school feels the RIAA will have a hard time tracking down who did the file-sharing anyway, as the IP addresses the RIAA has for the violations may be mapped to computers in common areas, making it difficult to determine just which people may have made the downloads."

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200 comments

Where's your 'haha' tag now? (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890069)

ice burn

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890105)

What do they actually hope to achieve by filing these lawsuits? Is it profit? I just don't understand.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890151)

They hope to indicate to the consumers that they are fully in control. The idea is for everyone to understand that they WILL buy RIAAs music or else. In the meantime, they'd like to recoup their legal fees and maybe even make some extra money by taking the kids' lunch money.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890161)

Scare tactics. FUD. Call it what you will, but they hope to accomplish punishing/cowering a generation of kids so that they can continue their outdated business model.

Yes and no (4, Informative)

geek (5680) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890375)

It's directed more at Universities and parents. They know full well kids wont take the moral high ground and stop pirating. They are aiming these suits at the kids to show parents who the boss is. I know several parents who've taken action against there kids for fear of the RIAA knocking on their doors. My father, when this all began, even took time out to come talk to me about whether or not I was pirating songs on his cable modem (I was 25 at the time and staying with them while in college still).

Lawsuits are rarely profitable on a corporate scale. They are more or less used to scare a certain segment of the population, in this case, parents and gaurdians. This in turn puts pressure on the actual offenders. They aren't looking for compensation for the theft which is what lawsuits were supposed to be for to begin with. Instead it's being used as a message which, to me, is an abuse of the system and the judges and lawyers involved should be taking action to stop it as it significantly reduces the credibility of their own system.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890673)

Scare tactics. FUD. Call it what you will, but they hope to accomplish punishing/cowering a generation of kids so that they can continue their outdated business model.

More than likely, when the next generation gets into power, they'll remember this and pass legislation that will move the pendulum the other way to the detriment of the copyright holders. Corporate America being corporate America, they'll make sure they don't lose and those and the talent/creators will be the ones who take it in the pocket book.

As far as outdated business models are concerned, there are legal ways to get this material, so the "outdated business model" argument is no longer valid.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890803)

Most of the legal methods also depend upon the idea of artificial scarcity though- in this case scarece bandwidth. I'm surprised there hasn't been a group of artists yet to band together to form a new music licensing website and group that licenses digital recordings at $.25/track- double what ASCAP/BMI offers artists while still underselling ITunes.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890933)

Because the major labels' marketing power, which iTunes relies on too, lets artists sell more than twice the amount of recordings some website would. Basically.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891443)

Ok, so up it to $.50- more than 4x what the RIAA pays the artist. Good for society still because it encourages the artist to release more new tracks- in other words, actually do their ART instead of living off of copies of their art.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (5, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891401)

'More than likely, when the next generation gets into power, they'll remember this and pass legislation that will move the pendulum the other way to the detriment of the copyright holders.'

I doubt it, this generation has learned the same lesson the Vietnam baby boomers learned. They've learned that you can't beat the man. They will grow up to do the same thing the baby boomers did, sell out and sell out hard.

'As far as outdated business models are concerned, there are legal ways to get this material, so the "outdated business model" argument is no longer valid.'

Are they still charging based upon artificial scarcity and the number of 'copies'? Supply and demand dictates that productions and distribution bottlenecks define costs. The music industry is based around old bottlenecks that no longer apply. Bittorrent and Digital copying means that 1 song is no more valuable than 10,000 songs. You can set up a studio in which to record and cut albums for less than 5k now. There are and always have been plenty of talented artists, they are a dime a dozen (sorry artists, but its true). Music is cheap to produce and in virtually unlimited supply.

Once upon a time when market dynamics changed this drastically companies went out of business, even huge companies, and new ones sprang up that worked differently. Now D.C. has sold out to the point that those companies effectively buy legislation to keep them relevant.

Music was never a good way for an artist to make a living. Most bands sound great when coupled with great recording. Its time for professional music to be about concerts and recorded music to be free promotional material. The recording industry should effectively be artist unions that do just that, offer high quality recordings as REASONABLE prices perhaps even free recording and hosting with union dues.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890721)

"Scare tactics. FUD. Call it what you will, but they hope to accomplish punishing/cowering a generation of kids so that they can continue their outdated business model."

By your reasoning, money is an obsolete way of keeping track of wealth. After all, if I counterfeit money, I'm not hurting anyone, right? People still want music and are willing to pay for it. Copying it because it's easy is no more ethical than counterfeiting money.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (3, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891061)

By your reasoning, money is an obsolete way of keeping track of wealth.

It is. Has been for some time now- ever since the US government decided to try to create one world currency only loosely linked to a commodity instead of strongly linked (the fiat petrodollar). Of course, the final thing that killed it is the number of banks that keep extra dollars around that only exist in cyberspace- there are far more "dollars" out there than can be accounted for by the government printing offices.

After all, if I counterfeit money, I'm not hurting anyone, right?

Given that the government has been counterfieting money since the 1930s, how could you?

People still want music and are willing to pay for it.

Now that is a separate issue. The broken business model is the one of artifical scarcity- the music isn't scarce anymore. NEW recordings are what is scarce. Therefore, I'd propose a whole new business model for the music industry- low bandwidth (8 bit, 22khz, mono) recordings for free, higher quality tracks (16 bit 44khz stereo) for $.25 (double what the bands get now from ASCAP/BMI), and all of the money going to the band. Forget the record labels- and if you want a CD, buy the tracks you want off the band's website and burn it yourself. No DRM or copyrights. This encourages the bands to continue to put out new stuff- as high quality bitrate recordings will get out into the wild on the filesharing networks, the sales will drop off for older tracks,so to keep making money bands will have to put out new stuff.

Copying it because it's easy is no more ethical than counterfeiting money.

Wrong end of the stick. Copying it because it's easy means that the copying itself has very low real ecconomic value- it's the creation that should have high ecconomic value. The RIAA is in an obsolete business model, because their business model depends upon getting money from COPYING other people's work. They need badly to become extinct as the buggy whip makers. The artists are who deserve the money, not the RIAA.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (0, Flamebait)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891253)

It is. Has been for some time now- ever since the US government decided to try to create one world currency only loosely linked to a commodity instead of strongly linked (the fiat petrodollar).


Money is an obsolete way of keeping track of wealth? Then why is it still in use? Did you pay for the computer you're typing on, and do you receive paychecks or student loan money? If money is obsolete, the answer to both questions would be no. But it's not, is it?

What a load of goofy, leftist crap. Money isn't obsolete and never will be. The capitalist free market is how nature works. Your "outdated business model" argument is really a red herring to justify piracy so that you feel better about the ethical nature of your activities. "I'm not ripping off artists. My actions are just a result of an outdated business model! Whew, now that I'm off the hook, time to download the latest Bad Plus album so I don't have to pay them for their work."

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891717)

Money is an obsolete way of keeping track of wealth? Then why is it still in use? Did you pay for the computer you're typing on, and do you receive paychecks or student loan money? If money is obsolete, the answer to both questions would be no. But it's not, is it?

Just because something is obsolete doesn't mean it doesn't exist anymore. My parents still have a hand pump in their garden well- but it's rarely used. Likewise, my paychecks are direct deposited, and I spend with a debit card. I rarely even have any coin at all in my wallet anymore- my computer was paid for with bits and bytes, not dollar bills.

Worse yet though is that even those bits and bytes are too large to effectively cover low-ecconomic value activities like copying CDs and DVDs- the actual cost to produce is too small to be counted, which is what we're talking about. The only way the RIAA's business can be supported is with artificial scarcity.

What a load of goofy, leftist crap. Money isn't obsolete and never will be. The capitalist free market is how nature works.

Really? When was the last time you saw a baboon using money? When was the last time you saw a stock market in a beehive? So much for the free market being "the way nature works" LIE, just another "I want to use guns to oppress my neighbors and take their property" argument.

Your "outdated business model" argument is really a red herring to justify piracy so that you feel better about the ethical nature of your activities.

No, sorry- I'm FOR paying the artist and creating a better model to do so. It's really against the unethical nature of the RIAA's business model- charging money for something that can be done for free, that is, the copying and distribution of music.

The rest of your rant fails to take this into account, so I'm not even going to dignify it with an answer. But someday soon you're going to have to face it when a petabyte hard drive, a fast processor, a desktop fabricator, and a bunch of grass clippings will allow you to copy a steak dinner as easily as we copy a spreadsheet today. After all, it's just the ARRANGEMENT of the carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen that makes it a steak and not grass clippings. If you can scan the steak, and rearrange the atoms, you can make as many steaks as you have grass clippings.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1)

fatlaces (848825) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891653)

money is a very efficient way for 2 people to exchange services. For example, I am a carpenter, and you are a programmer. Do we barter, our skills or are you going to give me chickens when I finish your deck?

Or do you mean that physical money is outdated, and we need something like Federation Credits for intergalactic trade?

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890869)

They have radio (free music) and empty-v (more free music) that you can sample at a far higher quality than any lossily compressed file. But they can't control P2P or MySpace. Those two things are the only ways indies can be heard.

They don't want to stop you from downloading Aerosmith's song "Changes", or Black Sabbath's song "Changes", they're trying like hell to keep you from hearing the (fictional, this is just an example) Blue Vaginas' "Changes".

Do you have any idea how many songs there are named "scatterbrain?"

Watch for the RIAA to work on getting MySpace shut down next. This isn't about losses from "piracy", it's about losses from competetion. And the indie bands ARE their competetion.

THAT'S what it's REALLY about.

-mcgrew

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (0, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891073)

"Outdated business model?" The one where they go after people who are violating their rights and ripping them off?

What exactly would you consider a modern business model, online sales? They've been doing that for years through iTunes. You just want to scapegoat the RIAA to make yourself feel better about pirating other people's work. Admit it already.

Protecting your rights isn't "scare tactics." If you guys don't like copyrights, then you'd better abandon the GPL since it relies on them. You also can't bitch whenever someone takes GPL code without attribution.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891495)

What exactly would you consider a modern business model, online sales?

Separating out from the rest of your rant- a modern business model separates the low economic value stuff out (like making copies of CDs) from the high ecconomic value stuff (writing new songs, live performances) and finds a way to make money on the high ecconomic value stuff while giving away the low ecconomic value stuff for free.

As for your rant about the GPL- well, yes. Agreed. Not a problem for me. I don't care to get paid by the copy or by the license- I want to be paid for my time being creative. Once I've finished writing the software, what do I care what happens to it?

What a load of bullshit (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891193)

The "outdated business model" response is just as tired and irrelevant as the perennial favorite, "free advertising." Neither has anything to do with the actual topic--the RIAA suing people who are infringing on its members' rights by distributing artistic works so that people don't get paid for them. The group has every right in the world to do this, and the outcry over it is quite bizarre. People always cheer the EFF on when it sues people, but for some reason the RIAA isn't allowed to.

In truth, what's really going on in your post and others is that you're purposely drawing on anti-capitalist stereotypes by portraying the RIAA as some faceless corporate badguy so that you can feel better when you fire up Bittorrent and make sure System of a Down doesn't get paid today. Pirates never, ever mention the artists in their posts. It's always RIAA, RIAA, RIAA. The reason for this is that the idea of there being hard-working artists in this equation has to be swept under the rug or feelings of guilt might surface over ripping them off, and that goes against the true cause of piracy-- an unwarranted sense of entitlement and no desire to contribute back to the artistic community.

Expect to see this post modded down.

Re:What a load of bullshit (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891553)

The "outdated business model" response is just as tired and irrelevant as the perennial favorite, "free advertising." Neither has anything to do with the actual topic--the RIAA suing people who are infringing on its members' rights by distributing artistic works so that people don't get paid for them.

Uh, no. See other posts where I put forth a different business model that doesn't include advertising or copying CDs- which I consider to be low ecconomic value activities. The rest of your rant makes no sense given that- separation of ART from COPYING and making sure the ARTIST gets paid for CREATING NEW ART.

Re:Where's your 'haha' tag now? (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890175)

It's all about intimidation. They're hoping the next person who wants to illegally download via P2P will wonder if they will get sued and think twice about doing it.

Cheers.

oh... (5, Funny)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890103)

...how i hope that the ip-adresses can be matched to the biggest computer pools available at UW. and that all the login-data was lost in a miraculous backup-failure.

did i say anything? why is it ringing at the door at that late time of day? what the f...AAAAAAAARGH...


connection reset by peer.

Re:oh... (5, Funny)

djSpinMonkey (816614) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890981)

did i say anything? why is it ringing at the door at that late time of day? what the f...AAAAAAAARGH...

BEDEVERE: What is that?
MAYNARD: He must have died while typing it.
LAUNCELOT: Oh, come on!
MAYNARD: Well, that's what it says.
ARTHUR: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't bother to type 'AAAAAAAARGH'. He'd just say it!
MAYNARD: Well, that's what's typed in the post!
GALAHAD: Perhaps he was dictating.

No "win" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890121)

They didn't "win in court". They filed suit, which UW Madison said they'd have to do before they'd give up the records.

Re:No "win" (2, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891645)

They didn't "win in court". They filed suit, which UW Madison said they'd have to do before they'd give up the records.


So they won in a way that didn't involve following judicial process and was much cheaper in legal bills.

Yea.

I JUST TOOK A DUMP IN THE SLASHDOT SERVER ROOM!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890141)

You guys should let the smell subside before you go in there to clean it up.

I should have picked a better day than Bring Your Daughter to Work Day [daughtersa...towork.org] to do this, but I couldn't hold it any longer!!!

lmao @ Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work (1)

agent (7471) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890373)

Should I make a racist joke, like... Will the prison system let that little black girl pictured on the website inside to watch her daddy make license plates?

How about a joke about Alec Baldwin?

RIAssA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890169)

Cnuts

Moral of the story (3, Informative)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890171)

The school feels the RIAA will have a hard time tracking down who did the file-sharing anyway, as the IP addresses the RIAA has for the violations may be mapped to computers in common areas, making it difficult to determine just which people may have made the downloads."

The moral of the story is if you download illegal music; do it from a university and with a forged MAC. Of course, who's mac is it anyway? Are they going to get a subpoena for every single person that uses the university's network to supply their network cards so the mac address can be examined? That should be fun...

Re:Moral of the story (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890273)

Actually, I'm still waiting for the RIAA to send letters to TMobile asking for user names of those who downloaded files from a Starbucks hotspot.

This would seem to be the best test of that little IP == user question.

Re:Moral of the story (2, Informative)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890791)

Actually, I'm still waiting for the RIAA to send letters to TMobile asking for user names of those who downloaded files from a Starbucks hotspot.

This would seem to be the best test of that little IP == user question.
Except for the fact that the case you mention might just be the *only* case where they could actually tie your credit card information to the IP address issued to that card-holder thereby proving it was either you, or somebody with access to your credit card that did the downloading... Not the best "test case."

Re:Moral of the story (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890925)

Funny last I checked people clone users mac addresses as they leave to surf for free and anonymously. Since open wifi is a shared medium it's easy to do.

Re:Moral of the story (4, Funny)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890505)

New anti-RIAA bumper sticker:
"When MAC address spoofing is outlawed, only outlaws will spoof MAC addresses"

spoof? (2, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891151)

so when are we going to start seeing spoofs; maybe something like:

hi, I'm a MAC address.
and I'm the RIAA.


just got to get hodgeman to do the voice-over and we're all set.

A breakthrough in Internet security (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890187)

For years, we have been struggling with performance of SSL, difficulty of choosing good passwords, vulnerabilities in encryption algorithms. No more! As evidenced by RIAA lawsuits, a new 100% reliable way to identify yourself online has been discovered - an IP address! After all, it's found to be a proof of identity in legal proceedings! Starting immediately, banking websites no longer have to ask for those pesky usernames and password. They can just use an IP address provided by ISP to give you an unrestricted access to your bank account. After all, US courts did much the same thing for RIAA.

Re:A breakthrough in Internet security (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890609)

As evidenced by RIAA lawsuits, a new 100% reliable way to identify yourself online has been discovered - an IP address!

Even if it came to a civil trial, the standard would be preponderance of evidence. What this is about is making a case before a judge that their opponents should be named, which would be considerably lower than what's required for a conviction. This is just the standard to have your day in court, since you obviously can't even hold the trial without an opposing party. Reasonable suspicion? Perhaps even lower, since more evidence can appear in discovery. Seriously, even the RIAA have a right to their day in court and they have provided enough to get at least that.

Re:A breakthrough in Internet security (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890749)

And why would they have the right to that day in court when it is certain they will drop this suit once they have their coveted names to extort?
This is a clear sign of corporatism, now where is that well regulated militia you were so proud of?

Re:A breakthrough in Internet security (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891329)

So let me get this straight: if you believe they have no right to use the court system, we ought to start shooting people. I like the way you think. You're obviously a smart feller.

Re:A breakthrough in Internet security (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890973)

Perhaps even lower, since more evidence can appear in discovery.

What would that evidence be if I drop my FileVault image into trash and do a secure erase? It seems that one should show a probability of producing compelling evidence before dragging someone to court. If you have never identified yourself except by IP address and there is no immutable trail of your actions, this seems like a stretch.

Re:A breakthrough in Internet security (1)

mythar (1085839) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890887)

really. who needs 2 kinds of picture ID when a piece of paper with some numbers written on it will serve just as well? it's impossible to forge, and works for all of your kids, too!

Re:A breakthrough in Internet security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18891199)

192.168.1.7 is that you? Come 127.0.0.1 right away!

strategy life-span (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890221)

The lawsuit path *has to be* a short-lived strategy while the RIAA attempts to get some othe revenue generating system in place.

With DRM implementation plans facing so many hurdles has there been any talk of other avenues this organization might go down.

I refuse to believe that the RIAA believes their current strategy of making examples of isolated individuals will work in the long-term.

Are they fresh out of ideas or have I just missed some news on this front?

Regards.

Re:strategy life-span (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890667)

I refuse to believe that the RIAA believes their current strategy of making examples of isolated individuals will work in the long-term.

Most of the RIAA goons are getting a bit too old to be breaking kneecaps - which is just about
the only other thing they have experience with.

Isn't there an Old Mobsters' Home somewhere they could sign up for?

Re:strategy life-span (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891139)

EMI's experiment in non-protected sales of music may be the news you missed. That's a genuinely new model for them: put it out there at $1.29 and hope that people would rather buy it reliably from a store than depend on unreliable P2P networks, getting it from friends, etc.

This model probably does still depend on considerable numbers of lawsuits. If P2P is unreliable it's only because they keep suing people, driving them out of business, and making people scared to keep their shares open lest the lawyers come down upon them like locusts. Otherwise everybody would have long since joined Napster and downloaded everything for free.

This change doesn't work without other changes. They make considerably less money selling 1 song for $1.29 than selling 12 songs for $18. Their model still depends on massive marketing to make you spend $1.29 at iTMS for a song, when you can get legal songs for less at eMusic. The difference is that you hear the songs at iTMS on the radio, in TV ads, in record stores, etc.

So EMI (via the RIAA) will still have to keep up pressure on the P2P services and allofmp3.com. But they are at least trying a small change in the business model, and that may lead to other changes, ultimately resulting in (hopefully) fewer lawsuits.

Or they'll discover that it doesn't work. Part of the problem with heavy marketing and trying to make a song universal is that people can just get it from their friends. And if the album is dead, people are shying away from the dreck they hear on Clear Channel, then everybody eventually ends up buying something they really like from eMusic instead. The major labels become far less profitable, dwindle, and maybe die.

Re:strategy life-span (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891277)

See, the thing is, the RIAA doesn't *have* have to catch the actual pirates. All they need to do is spread enough FUD that people will think twice before installing that file sharing software. If you're Joe Average, you probably don't know how to mask your IP on a public network; but you probably do know that the RIAA has been suing people for downloading music. This campaign isn't about prosecuting music pirates - it's about scaring people away from this new (and thus, not yet under their control) technology.

Didn't even take the comfy chair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890225)

Third-year UW-Madison student Jacob Dalton said that he often downloads free audio files. He lives off campus, mostly using a laptop, but sometimes uses campus computers and networks.

"I'm interested in whether I'd be affected," he said. "If I am, it's kind of scary."
That depends on if you mean free, or "free". If you meant "free", then congratulations on confessing. If the RIAA didn't know your name before, they know it now.

Common area IP addresses won't exactly stop them.. (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890231)

the IP addresses the RIAA has for the violations may be mapped to computers in common areas, making it difficult to determine just which people may have made the downloads.
... in which case they will simply sue every student at UW, thus making even more money in the settlements than they would to begin with.

Re:Common area IP addresses won't exactly stop the (1)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890913)

Or, you know, check their logs to see who was logged in at the time of the alleged downloads. They DO make you log in, right? My school did...but who knows.

Re:Common area IP addresses won't exactly stop the (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891099)

You bring up an interesting point. If I have a 2GB U3-enabled USB pen drive, with Azureus and Limewire, I can plug into any Java-enabled Windows box and do my thing, even at a public terminal. If I do that, how is liability possibly going to be assigned to me? The computer doesn't know; it's a public box with a single, anonymous login. The IP addresses can only tell them which physical box in the public pool it was, and that's assuming that the residential Internet is tied to MAC addresses.

So, in this hypothetical, who takes the liability? What if I do this at a public library? Is the library responsible?

Re:Common area IP addresses won't exactly stop the (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891431)

So, in this hypothetical, who takes the liability? What if I do this at a public library? Is the library responsible?


My local library makes patrons scan their library card to log into the public computers. Instituting this means the person at the reference desk no longer has to keep track of how long people have been on (since there are not enough computers to meet demand generally). But I think the real reason they did it was so they could track who was looking at what online in case the FBI and the PATRIOT Act came calling.

Change title (5, Insightful)

boobavon (857902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890241)

Can we please for all future articles involving the **AA, instead of saying "**AA does something stupid again," we say "Sony and friend do stupid things again?" Slashdot can do its part in ruining the big labels/studios by revealing the true culprits.

Re:Change title (1)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890687)

I don't know why you got modded Flamebait, because I think your comment has merit, and I'd mod you up if I could. RIAA consists of a slew of labels that are party to these activities. If we really want to exert effective pressure, these labels need to be held to account. That means not supporting the artists associated with those labels, and that means voting with your wallet to support non-RIAA artists.

I know it's probably hard to do. For some reason, many people seem compelled to have their lives lived to some soundtrack from a Sony (or other label's) artist. Mount a meaningful resistance: support independent music; or better yet, make your own.

Expressions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890899)

At the very least, why does everyone use **AA ? This is Slashdot. Everyone should know **AA is the same as *AA. Why not use ??AA ?

Re:Expressions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18891387)

or [A-Z]{2}AA

Re:Change title (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891083)

The acronym is SUE-W (Sony universal, [emi?], w???) for sue the world.
dang- I've already forgotten the evil "W" company.

Re:Change title (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18891223)

Warner (Bros)... as in Time-Warner

Same old... (0)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890245)

Another Federal level politician (judge) who has been miseducated as to the importance (scope) of his appointment. A proper interpretation of the Constitution would easily show that this is well outside the realm of federal legal jurisdiction.

Two hundred years of constant, relentless, plodding expansion of the authority of the federal government has skewed everyone's perception of what their proper jurisdiction is, though.

Can anyone answer why slavery wasn't covered by "interstate commerce"? Even after fighting a war Congress still went through the motions of passing a Constitutional Amendment to give themselves the power to regulate that. If a Constitutional Amendment was necessary for something as obvious as slavery--a business which trafficked in human life--then how is "interstate commerce" purported to be enough to micromanage nearly everything else which happens in our economy?

Chalk one more up for the communist (ie. a government which controls everything by using a choke hold on the economic financing) politicobankers.

Re:Same old... (2, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890613)

Part of the problem was that while the importation and exportation of slaves was interstate commerce, the existence of slaves already in certain states did not involve interstate commerce.

Re:Same old... (2, Informative)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891417)

Part of the problem was that while the importation and exportation of slaves was interstate commerce, the existence of slaves already in certain states did not involve interstate commerce.
Under the current interpretation of the meaning of interstate commerce the fact that the cotton that the slaves picked was sold to a buyer in a different state would be sufficient.

Re:Same old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890717)

Chalk one more up for the communist (ie. a government which controls everything by using a choke hold on the economic financing) politicobankers.
Chalk one more up for the ignorant (ie. an individual who doesn't know what the hell communism is -- a stateless society) dumbasses.

Re:Same old... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890845)

Another Federal level politician (judge) who has been miseducated as to the importance (scope) of his appointment. A proper interpretation of the Constitution would easily show that this is well outside the realm of federal legal jurisdiction.
I think you missed the sections about copyright in the constitution.

Two hundred years of constant, relentless, plodding expansion of the authority of the federal government has skewed everyone's perception of what their proper jurisdiction is, though.
I think one of the key cases is Wickard vs. Filburn [wikipedia.org], which appears to have re-interpreted the Constitution from "Interstate Commerce" to "anything that affects Interstate Commerce". There are few things that don't fall into the latter category. Wikipedia notes: 'One commentator has written: "In the wake of Jones & Laughlin and Wickard [v. Filburn], it has become clear that . . . Congress has authority to regulate virtually all private economic activity."'

Re:Same old... (2, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890979)

Congress has authority to regulate virtually all private economic activity.
Shouldn't that assertion be preposterious enough to let any thinking citizen know that the judgement was wrong? Not that I would dare suggest that the government is just a puppet show designed to ensure profit for the rent seekers managing the banking system.

At some point the citizens of the United States need to accept that, by and large, 90% of their patriotism is being exploited for the profit of a select group of individuals who wouldn't risk a single hair on their heads if the tables were turned. We have to ask ourselves--is this really the government that we want to support with our tax dollars?

Facing reality, though, leads us to the greater question: what can we really do about it? Personally I suggest that everyone quit their jobs and tell the bankers to stuff it.

Re:Same old... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891037)

Can anyone answer why slavery wasn't covered by "interstate commerce"? Even after fighting a war Congress still went through the motions of passing a Constitutional Amendment to give themselves the power to regulate that.

The point of the Civil War amendments was to make crystal clear to the South what the war had decided.

There would be no more talk of slavery, there would be no more talk of succession. There would be - ultimately - no legitimate legal argument for a second-class citizenship within the states based on race, creed or color.

Re:Same old... (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891117)

It sounds more like a confirmation of a "might makes right" policy than any real civil, moral, or political assertion.

Re:Same old... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891327)

It sounds more like a confirmation of a "might makes right" policy than any real civil, moral, or political assertion.

The winner of a civil war gets to define the political meaning of the victory it paid for in blood.

Re:Same old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18891393)

it paid for in blood
Reading the 14th Amendment will give you new insight into who paid for what in the long run. Emotional appeals may work in the polls but they don't work in debate.

Just so long as it sucks up the RIAAs resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890261)

If it's not an undue burdern on the University, I hope this goes really slowly and eats up tons of RIAA time and money.

Ratfucking bastards. (and my CAPTCHA is vulgar)

Misleading Headline. Not "Win".Not against UW. (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890307)

It's a misleading headline.

It was an ex parte proceeding. It was not a "win". There was no one else in court. No one to oppose it.

It was not against University of Wisconsin. It's against the "John Does".

Re:Misleading Headline. Not "Win".Not against UW. (1)

defile (1059) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890643)

It's a misleading headline. It was an ex parte proceeding. It was not a "win". There was no one else in court. No one to oppose it.

Did the university have any way to oppose this? Could they have, say, filed some kind of restraining order to force the RIAA to bring a proceeding against the university on the matter of uncovering John Doe identities?

Re:Misleading Headline. Not "Win".Not against UW. (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891631)

IANAL, but UW could have said they were not the responsible party and so the subpoena was for the wrong party and that's why they didn't need to comply with it (if, for example, they had contracted network operations out), but that's not true. UW owns the network, so they will have the information (if anyone does).

RIAA: On the basis of fact and belief, we allege people did this on your network. Give us the information so we can find them.
UW: Make us.
RIAA: OK. See you in court.
UW: No you won't.
RIAA: Bastards!
Judge: Give them the info.
UW: OK.

Basically, UW made no effort to aid RIAA, but they will (obviously) comply with a lawful judge's order.

This may be a stupid question (4, Insightful)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890309)

From TFA

Generally, RIAA investigators monitor peer-to-peer file-sharing networks - in the UW-Madison case those were the Gnutella and AresWarez networks - and take down the IP addresses of those who are sharing files. The 53 UW-Madison IP addresses accounted for 24,977 shared audio files, according to court documents.

How does monitoring which IP addresses were on these networks necessarily imply that they were trading copyrighted material? The same goes for the 24,977 shared audio files, who can say that those weren't audio recordings of lectures given by professors, or poetry, or local bands trying to get promotion, etc? Hell, for that matter, who's to say they were music/movies at all? Couldn't they have been ISO's of Linux Distro's, JPG's of the topless drunk prom queen, PowerPoint presentations that study groups were collaborating on via the internet?

I realize that probably not everyone is innocent here, but in terms of PROOF, I just don't know about "facts" like these.

Re:This may be a stupid question (0, Troll)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891047)

The fact that I'm homeless is "proof" enough that I am unsuitable for gainful employment, a place to live, a professional career, and the same level of common courtesy that any other citizen receives.

Why should proof be needed to go after people who might be *gasp of shock and awe* sharing headphones or cassette tapes?

Re:This may be a stupid question (1)

breckinshire (891764) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891571)

JPG's of the topless drunk prom queen
I will need to see a copy of that... strictly for legal reasons, of course. Information wants to be free!

Settlement, BSA Style (1)

anonicon (215837) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890317)

"The school feels the RIAA will have a hard time tracking down who did the file-sharing anyway, as the IP addresses the RIAA has for the violations may be mapped to computers in common areas, making it difficult to determine just which people may have made the downloads."

Oh, that won't stop them. I'm sure they'll be happy to offer an enterprise licensing settlement for every student at UW-Madison with auto-renewal on a yearly basis.

Remember, if one infringes, they're ALL liable. ;-)

"RIAA will have a hard time tracking down..." (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890323)

"The school feels the RIAA will have a hard time tracking down who did the file-sharing anyway."

I didn't think they needed to? I thought that when the RIAA comes calling, what happens is that you get a notice saying you've already lost a court case some out-of-state court, because the judge rubberstamped their claim that this IP address is you, and now it's up to you to either a) pay a lawyer, go to court, and try to prove your innocence, or b) pay the nice RIAA their reasonable thirty-five-hundred dollars and get on with your life.

Re:"RIAA will have a hard time tracking down..." (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891545)

Or c) admit mea culpa. I know it's a stretch, but some of these people may have actually downloaded some craptastic RIAA-protected music on Kazaa.

On, Wisconsin - Redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890345)

Against, Wisconsin! Against, Wisconsin!
They sue you all the time!
Download songs and they will fry you
Lawsuits sure this time. (those bas-tards)
Against, Wisconsin! Against, Wisconsin!
How the judge did find:
Against! Students! - fight, fight, fight!
You'll lose this game.

(Good luck - from a Spartan)

Computers in common area (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890437)

It would actually be interesting to see what the RIAA would do with IP's mapped to University Common Area machines. Should they then sue the University since they are the owners of the machines that are linked to the IP, like they do with ordinary people?

Re:Computers in common area (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891213)

It would actually be interesting to see what the RIAA would do with IP's mapped to University Common Area machines. Should they then sue the University since they are the owners of the machines that are linked to the IP, like they do with ordinary people?

The answer is probably yes. Which is why it might be a good idea for the university to lock down these systems now rather than later.

MAC addresses? (2, Informative)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890583)

How is that going to help them find anyone?

Hey RIAA - read this first. [irongeek.com]

And everyone else too. Never hurts to know stuff like this, y'know. Just in case. Yeah. That's it.

Re:MAC addresses? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891397)

Hey RIAA - read this first.

For Windows and other OS'es on a laptop, a PCMCIA card is a simple solution. Most of the time you use the built in NIC. For other activities, use a slide in card. I use that for road warrier stuff. The built in connection is for my home LAN (Static IP & Gateway) and the slide in is for on the road (DHCP Lease). Having an extra slide in card is trivial. Making it vanish is trivial. Explaining it away is simple. My old one broke/lost and it has been replaced. Using it with a spoofed MAC for each session is simple. Using it on a live CD leaves no traceable footprints when you use a USB drive.

Note to self: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18890775)

TODO: 4/26/2007
1) invent Time machine
2) travel back to College
3) change Mac Address
4) Proceed to share music files as planned
5) Also, Invent Google
6) Profit!!

Isn't this about the same as (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890789)

Dear Mr and Mrs Joe Average

We, the RIAA, represent copyright holders of digital content, and as such, it has come to our attention that you own a computer which is also connected to the Internet via Globalcom ISP.

We have acquired web surfing logs from Globalcom, and have determined that several people in the Northern Hemisphere have been downloading music files illegally. Since you connect to the Internet via Globalcom we are prepared to offer you a discounted amnesty program. You may choose this option, sending us the requisite $5,000 payment via check or major credit card, or you may choose to wait till we take you to court, confiscate your computers, all the computers you have had access to, and the computing and entertainment devices of yourselves, all your family members, and anyone who has been within 50 feet of your wireless router.

We cheerfully await your reply and are certain you will do the right thing.

Sincerely,

The RIAA

Re:Isn't this about the same as (3, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891597)

Perhaps the legal community should spend some time with IT auditors. The real question that gets to the problem with the RIAAs tactics is "How do you know that...".

When you keep asking that question, it opens up opportunities to ask about the processes used to derive the answer. You keep drilling down bit by bit until you know (to a reasonable certainty) whether or not they really know what happened or whether you are being snowed. It all breaks down once you get to the ISP-assigned IP address. Unless the ISP can attest to a certainty that a customer had the IP address, they can't get anywhere. Once the IP is known, present facts (and even demonstrations!) on IP spoofing. Ask if they (the RIAA) can attest to a certainty that the traffic they monitored came, in fact, from the legitimate IP address and not from a spoofed one. They often jump that hurdle, but I don't understand why the courts keep allowing the RIAA to insist that person A was on the other side of an IP or MAC address. They are allowed to present as fact that which has no proof whatsoever. Are our judges so tech illiterate that they cannot understand such simple concepts? Would they be confused if a letter was presented into evidence with a return address of 1313 Mockingbird Lane? Could they not comprehend that anyone can print ANY reuturn address on any envelope, and they can mail it from any city (not necessarily the writer's city of origin)?

I'm just amazed by people who are so dense as to believe the entire snake-oil pitch thrown by the RIAA. Do they have a right to go after copyright violators? Absolutely? Should they be allowed to gill-net entire lakes just to prove the presence of an invasive species? No, no, a thousand times NO!

If you've purchased a cd recently.. (0, Offtopic)

aurelian (551052) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890839)

The RIAA thanks you for your support in its fight against piracy and theft.

Re:If you've purchased a cd recently.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18891049)

You're welcome. I'm against piracy and theft, and have no objection whatsoever to a bunch of freeloading students having the pants sued off them.

Perhaps they'll learn an important lesson in being a responsible adult and net contributor to society this time. And perhaps the UW Madison should think a little about what exactly it's telling people by refusing to give up information on clearly avoidable and illegal activity on the part of its students.

Re:If you've purchased a cd recently.. (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891651)

The RIAA thanks you for your support in its fight against piracy and theft.

I haven't purchased any CD's lately because they are overpriced, lower quality (compressed to sound loud), and might not work properly to the point of damaging the operating system on a computer (DRM).

For less money I can and do buy buy better content for less money. (Recent DVD's 2 or 3 for $20)
I can Rip them to my media server (see recent MPAA ARS article on Slashdot and the Kalidascope rulling).

Even the recent SONY copy protected DVD's seem to have had to be recalled. I'm avoiding the SONY DVD's for the time being until I figure out where they are on this issue going forward. I got burnt on their release of Open Season. I'm going to see if the replacement disk works OK.

Both the music industry and DVD industry MUST do a better job labeling their defective by design products so I know what to avoid in the future. Poisoning the whole barrel is what has kept me from buying CD's along with high prices and low value. It is very hard to find a Compact Disk logo on a shiny round music disc anymore to assure me it is a real Compact Disc tm.

FYI (1, Informative)

Khammurabi (962376) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890905)

For reference:

"UW-M" = University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
"UW" = University of Wisconsin - Madison

Whoever submitted the article mistakenly used the wrong abbreviation.

UW vs. UW-M (2, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18890959)

This often comes up in stories about UW-Madison. The University of Wisconsin is a big system with many campuses. UW-M refers to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. UW alone (pronounced "u double-u") refers to UW-Madison. By contrast, UW (pronounced "u dub", as I understand it) refers to the University of Washington.

MAC addresses? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891071)

oh, please. for decades now, you can soft-set mac addrs.

worst case, kids, is you have to ditch your $5 ethernet card and buy another one ;)

(that doesn't help with onboard ethernets though. for that, you'd have to ditch the whole mobo.)

if I was a student and someone was going to finger me on my MAC addr, dumping my ethernet card would be one of the first defensive things I'd do.

"hey, it just broke. not my fault. but I bought a new one just yesterday..."

Question Via Analogy (1)

Valiss (463641) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891081)

Ok, so let's say that I loan my car to my friend on Saturday, who then runs a red light. Using the intersection photo, the police mail me a ticket. But of course, I wasn't the one driving.

The **AA claim that they IP address 1) points to such-and-such computer, and 2) the owner of that computer must pay.

Except in my analogy, the license plate doesn't change each time I turn on the car.

Is that the same type of logic going on here? Can it be that simple to explain to someone like, say, a judge?

Re:Question Via Analogy (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891351)

Here in Minnesota, such red-light cameras were deemed unconstitutional on a technicality (that the law enforcement officer did not directly witness the offense), but the issue was raised that some of the violations that were documented (before the cameras were ordered off) were of stolen vehicles or vehicles under the control of another. The question then comes down to how the laws are written--is the driver responsible for the illegal action, or the owner of the car? The biggest obstacle the RIAA is facing is that although they can often point to a piece of hardware or at least a street address, they cannot know who was driving the download device. I think the courts will eventually normalize the standard here as well, but it will be a painful few years before that happens.

Re:Question Via Analogy (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 6 years ago | (#18891493)

Not so easy. They're going to go after the DHCP logs.

When I went to school in the late 90s (I remember so well--a 10m ethernet cards strained my budget but it was worth it to play Quake) everyone had to register their MAC address. So if the school is doing this then they at least have a name to point a finger at.

But, DHCP logs fill up pretty fast. Have they been retained all this time? I'm guessing the answer is no.
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