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Senate Majority Leader Takes On File Sharing

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the in-the-bag dept.

Music 591

An anonymous reader writes "Colleges are up in arms — and the entertainment industry is ecstatic — over Sen. Harry Reid's plan to crack down on file sharing by students. Floor votes could be imminent." A commenter on the post said, "Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."

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fp???? or no??? i dunno (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19966917)

ohnoes they fileshare

oh really? (0)

SaberTaylor (150915) | about 7 years ago | (#19966925)

Someone bother to cut & paste the actual numbers in context, since I think that comment is way off base.

No way to combat filesharing (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19966943)

Let's be honest here, P2P will continue. Legally or illegally. The only difference is that if it becomes "illegal", only illegal content will be distributed via P2P and distributors of Linux and other legal distribution of software and content suffers. Currently, a lot of distributions benefit from being able to use their users' connection for distribution, taking pressure from their own lines. If P2P is "outlawed" (or not outright outlawed, but disallowed by universities and ISPs), people wanting to share illegal content will find a way around this filtering (because, well, whatever the ISP could do against you is peanuts against being sued by the mafiaa), while people who now spread Linux distributions will not risk breaking the law just to keep spreading their legally spreadable software.

What do you want to do to avoid it? Log the IP addresses of people using it? People will start onion routing their packets, using also existing onion routers so you can't tell that an IP you got is actually a culprit. Also people will start using "private" trackers and networks more than they already do. To avoid packet identification through mandatory logging at ISPs, packets will get wrapped in other headers (HTTP offers itself due to being the perfect "noise" to duck into).

Re:No way to combat filesharing (2, Insightful)

Justin205 (662116) | about 7 years ago | (#19967073)

And of course, encryption. Encrypt a packet and all you're getting is where it's from, and where it's going to. Make this look like SSL-crypted HTTP (i.e. using the standard ports, etc.), for example, and it's going to be pretty indistinguishable...

Re:No way to combat filesharing (3, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | about 7 years ago | (#19967497)

Then they'll turn off connections for "excessive" bandwidth usage, or for using a high number of SSL connections to IPs listed as residential in a DNSbl [njabl.org] . Encryption is not a panacea.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (2, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 7 years ago | (#19967091)

Not to mention that many are now getting their "illegal" content fix from YouTube and its various clones which have their own private channels.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (4, Insightful)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 7 years ago | (#19967107)

Let's be honest here, P2P will continue. Legally or illegally. The only difference is that if it becomes "illegal", only illegal content will be distributed via P2P and distributors

The report talks about colleges enforcing illegal downloading, not P2P technology. It's funny that even a defender would confuse the two.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19967409)

The problem is, what is an "illegal download"? How do you distinguish it, technically, from a legit one?

Simply: You can't. So what colleges will do (and already do) is to simply disallow any kind of P2P traffic altogether.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (5, Funny)

t_ban (875088) | about 7 years ago | (#19967477)

The report talks about colleges enforcing illegal downloading

Really? That's where I'm sending my kids, then :-)

Re:No way to combat filesharing (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#19967545)

Damn! You so beat me to it!

If only there were more attempts at making laws to enforce illegal downloading.. or even making no download illegal. Assuming any actually are.. the complete lack of case law on anyone, ever, being sued or incarcerated for "illegal downloading" not being a good enough indication to some people.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967281)

Let's be honest here, P2P will continue. Legally or illegally. The only difference is that if it becomes "illegal", only illegal content will be distributed via P2P and distributors of Linux and other legal distribution of software and content suffers. Currently, a lot of distributions benefit from being able to use their users' connection for distribution, taking pressure from their own lines. If P2P is "outlawed" (or not outright outlawed, but disallowed by universities and ISPs), people wanting to share illegal content will find a way around this filtering (because, well, whatever the ISP could do against you is peanuts against being sued by the mafiaa), while people who now spread Linux distributions will not risk breaking the law just to keep spreading their legally spreadable software.

What do you want to do to avoid it? Log the IP addresses of people using it? People will start onion routing their packets, using also existing onion routers so you can't tell that an IP you got is actually a culprit. Also people will start using "private" trackers and networks more than they already do. To avoid packet identification through mandatory logging at ISPs, packets will get wrapped in other headers (HTTP offers itself due to being the perfect "noise" to duck into).
Hmm... According to TFA this plan proposes that colleges be required to:
  • Report annually to the U.S. Education Department on policies related to illegal downloading.
  • Review their procedures to be sure that they are effective.
  • "Provide evidence" to the Education Department that they have "developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."

The article does not say that P2P networks will become illegal which would be strange since there is nothing so fundamentally wrong with P2P computer networks that they have to be banned any more than there is a reason to ban hammers because they are occasionally used to murder people. Using P2P networks to distribute pirated multimedia content and pirated software is however illegal. Unfortunately, at the moment, the only really effective way to stop illegal sharing of pirated software and multimedia content over P2P networks is for educational institutions, government institutions, businesses and even ISPs to disable P2P completely. From my point of view this is unfortunate since I don't pirate software or media content, I cover most of my software needs with FOSS and purchase any additional software and what little multimedia content I use. The fact that people use things like Bittorent to distribute pirated material is unfortunate since it has made it impossible for me to download Linux distributions and other FOSS software that is distributed via Bittorrent when I am at work which has impacted my productivity as a worker. Until recently Linux distributions like Centos, for example, relied heavily on Bittorent for distributing their DVD ISO images and it's only recently that these became fairly widely available via FTP/HTTP. Distributing pirated material off P2P networks isn't a fundamental human right, it's not legal, it's something people are able to do because they can get away with and now draconian measures are being taken to kill off the distribution of pirated material over P2P networks to the huge inconvenience of those of us who use P2P for legitimate purposes. Another reason why this amendment is crap, apart from it's detrimental impact on the legitimate use of P2P, is because it singles out colleges when there are communities and institutions who are much worse than college students when it comes to distributing pirated content and software via P2P so to that extent I agree with you.

Just my €0.02.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19967421)

Ok, let me rephrase that. I will not become illegal to use P2P, but the only way for colleges to stop the illegal transfer of data through P2P is to disallow them, essentially resulting in the same.

Re:No way to combat filesharing (2, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | about 7 years ago | (#19967519)

The "safe harbor" with the Department of Education, should this actually make it through and become part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, will be to install an IPS that blocks all P2P. IT administrators are lazy and protective of their sinecures--they don't care if there are legal files to be had via P2P when it's easier to block it all, or to at least be able to say they've made the effort.

Yeah, so I suppose ... (4, Insightful)

pallmall1 (882819) | about 7 years ago | (#19966945)

... that this is somehow going to end up being blamed on George Bush.

You want some copyrighted lyrics? How about this, from The Who [thewho.net] :

"meet the new boss
same as the old boss"

Re:Yeah, so I suppose ... (5, Interesting)

Swampash (1131503) | about 7 years ago | (#19967049)

Here is a story.

It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a Congress. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said:"The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.

And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.
With apologies to Clare Gillis [saskndp.com] .

When the Democrats swept into power in Congress I listened to all the liberal commentators talking about how it was Good News and how Things Would Be Different Now and how the Bad Guys were out and the Good Guys were in. And I shook my head and thought of Mouseland.

Re:Yeah, so I suppose ... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19967187)

Well, it is different. This would be one of the few laws attempting to deal with this that has actually made it to a vote and will likely be one of the few laws that were actually passed since they took office. Less is good right?

that's incrediby retarded (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#19967581)

that's a nice story about aristocracy, where there is a presumed ruling class. but if you look at your average member of congress/ senate, they are from all walks of life, mostly self-made people with usually middle class backgrounds. now there is plenty wrong with the us govt, and plenty of issues to criticize it about, such as cozying up to corporations. however, this retarded fable about cats and mice is not a valid allegory, in the least

classism is NOT the issue here. please, folks, criticize the us govt. but know your enemy: corporations, not aristocracy

Corporate political sponsorship (4, Interesting)

The One and Only (691315) | about 7 years ago | (#19966953)

So now it's come to this--the Hollywood Perpetual Copyright Party vs. the Petroleum Industry Party. Except the Petroleum Industry Party also wants perpetual copyrights for Hollywood, both parties want to prop up the farm industry, and for all we know, the Hollywood Perpetual Copyright Party will end up helping out the oil industry as an added bonus (or a bone-us to the common people).

Oblig. comment (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19966961)

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos"

Re:Corporate political sponsorship (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | about 7 years ago | (#19967051)

Is it any wonder that approval numbers for the House and Senate are lower than Bush's? All we can hope for is that the same sociopolitical forces that lead to the defeat of the recent immigration bill will stay in play long enough to appropriately stymie future legislative misbehavior.

Normal democracy in a capitalist nation? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 7 years ago | (#19967079)

Isn't that just the normal form of democracy in a capitalist nation?

Something I was reminded of recently (possibly stolen from Terry Pratchett): People are confused about Politicians. People think Politicians run the country in the way that the people think is best. Really, Politicians run the country in the way that they think is best for the people.

I think it has always been a touch of Hollywood Vs Petrol in politics, only now it's coming to the front more and not being so well hidden.

Re:Normal democracy in a capitalist nation? (5, Insightful)

niktemadur (793971) | about 7 years ago | (#19967335)

Isn't that just the normal form of democracy in a capitalist nation?

Not quite. During most of the XX century, more often than not, Washington managed to strike a balance between business interests and the interests of society as a whole - think of the cries of corporate outrage when recordable cassettes and VCRs came out, how it supposedly signaled the end of the world as we now it, etc, and how Washington stood its' ground, deeming the technology legal for public consumption.

However, since the advent of the internet, something snapped. Panicking, ignorant fossils (democrats and republicans alike) who think in terms of dump trucks and series of tubes and don't even know how to bookmark a page in their browsers, have now allowed a few major corporate players to determine, one insidious step at a time, how the internet should work and what constitutes fair use and theft, in the exact opposite direction of what used to be the norm.

A corporate iron grip on western culture is almost complete, on paper, on an unprecedented scale. And now, the do-nothing, good-for-nothing distinguished congressman from Nevada is giving us a glimpse of just who owns everything - those who own him. I am convinced that he is completely ignorant on american legal history of intellectual property and ownership.

Re:Normal democracy in a capitalist nation? (1, Flamebait)

dwandy (907337) | about 7 years ago | (#19967593)

Isn't that just the normal form of democracy in a capitalist nation?

No. This is the normal form in a corrupt system. Public Officials taking money used to be called "bribery", now it's called "lobbying".

Really, Politicians run the country in the way that they think is best for the people.
These days, they run the country in the way that they think best lines their pockets. This has nothing to do with the interests of the common person.

The final problem/answer is in the form of a quote:
In France the government is afraid of the people,
In the US the people are afraid of the government.
-- French Doctor in "Sicko"

*gasp* democrats can be evil? (5, Insightful)

OKCfunky (1016860) | about 7 years ago | (#19966963)

Not shocked in the least. This is merely another showing of the American political arrangement favors not the citizen, but the biggest donor.

Raise your hand if you thought your congressman would listen to you.

Who would you listen to: a very small donor at best, or the group who bankrolled your campaign(especially the "care about the people" PR)?

Why is this shocking news? Hell as a former die hard repub, I've lost pretty much all faith in the nation and it's future

Re:*gasp* democrats can be evil? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967001)

Or, to quote Michael Moore, of all people ...

"In the last presidential election (2004), the richest 2% of Americans had TWO political parties representing their interests, while the other 98% had NO political parties representing their interests. And that 98% included all of the folks running around waving flags and saying 'I'm free, I'm free, I live in a democracy'"

You know we're in serious trouble wheh Michael Moore sounds (at least on this one occasion) like a beacon of reason ...

Re:*gasp* democrats can be evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967283)

Micheal more couldn't be closer to being wrong than if he tried. And some people claim he tries real hard to misrepresent the facts there.

The truth of the matter is, every one is represented by all the parties. It is just a matter of how much they and you agree. This idea of having to screw the rich people in order to keep the rest of america happy is crazy to begin with. The idea that congress is paid for by special interests are too. In the end of anything, it takes you as in WE THE PEOPLE, not hollywood or EvilBigOil (EBO) or any of them to cast the vote that places them in office. They are working to stay there by pleasing the people that voted for them every bit as much as the people who paid they bill for running.

Moore's last movie was nothing but an attempt to convince the American public that we need socialized and government control medical coverage where somehow the country had been stupid enough to be duped for over 200 years into think otherwise. I wouldn't take anything coming out of that movie or Micheal More as "like a beacon of reason" or anything close. This just means you have drank the coolaid.

Re:*gasp* democrats can be evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967557)

ahh, the irony ...

re-read the post again ... here's what it DID NOT say:

1) That Michael Moore is to be generally regarded as a beacon of reason. In fact, the poster seems to find it amusing that Moore might have a valid point, just one time, out of all of the various 'issues' Moore has raised over the years.

2) Screwing the rich is never mentioned or alluded to, just the reality that wealthy people generally have a different political agenda than non-wealthy folks.

3) Congress being paid for by special interests. But, now that you've brought it up, surely you're not that naive ? Note that 'special interests' can have either D (hollywood) or R (oil) shills in government.

4) Anything at all about Moore's latest movie.

Other than that, you're spot on .. insightful, fair, and balanced reply ..

The GP is right, we really are in trouble ...

That is consequence of the one party system (4, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about 7 years ago | (#19966973)

His relationship with powerful lobbyists [sourcewatch.org] makes him (or any other Democrat congressman) no better than the ones in the other side. They are all puppets, hold in the hands of the same puppeteer. Naive are the ones that thing that party allegiance is guarantee of anything at all.

The politic system is rotten, third party can't win (even if they had more support, there are so many hurdles for an independent candidate to overcome), majors parties are in fact one, people are cattle and vote based on frivolous fads and superstitions instead of on important issues and past actions.

The "manifest destiny" ended up being a self defeating prophecy, U.S. people got so used to the idea that U.S. fate is to lead the world that forgot to care about their own house and get a decent leadership for themselves.

Sad... But Not Suprising (3, Informative)

Shifty Jim (862102) | about 7 years ago | (#19966983)

I think a lot of us have seen something like this coming for a while. In fact the point in Reid's proposal that requires colleges to report their policies for policing and dealing with illegal file-sharing were already in the reauthorization bill before this. Congress is simply going after the easiest target in the conflict. There is plenty of illegal file sharing that goes on outside of colleges and universities, but if you target colleges and universities you get to blanket a number of people through a state-supported middleman without having to go after big telcom companies.

But I think the biggest points in the bill are the following. From the Article:

"Provide evidence" to the Education Department that they have "developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."

How can any viable and self-respecting college network do anything like this without crippling their network and expending an obscene amount of money and man-hours. Congress constantly proves themselves to be less that tech-savvy, and this extremely tall order is just more proof. And, more importantly, the last thing I need is another tuition increase to pay for it. :P

And secondly:

The measure would also require the education secretary to annually identify the 25 colleges and universities that have in the previous year received the most notices of copyright violations using institutional technology networks.

I think the /. has had enough articles knocking and attacking and explaining the DMCA and how easy it is to use them without any basis whatsoever. The threat of a public scolding is only going to make already jumpy school administrators more likely to cave to pressure and/or institute stiffer punishments.

But, I don't really think it matters all that much, something like this is going to go into law eventually, I'm afraid.

Re:Sad... But Not Suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967031)

If its so easy to send baseless DMCA notices, it couldn't be too hard to turn this top 25 list into a list of the top 25 universities attended by members of congress. I'm sure they'd love the program after that.

A slightly premature story? (2, Informative)

More_Cowbell (957742) | about 7 years ago | (#19966997)

Yes I RTFA, It is (from what I can tell) a possible amendment the Senator is "expected to try to attach" and "While those provisions are in the amendment Senator Reid unveiled last week, they could easily change today or tomorrow, and lobbyists following the situation described it as fluid."

Sorry, not biting. Given the number of bills and amendments that do not pass, I think this narrowly escapes being described as FUD.

FUD, yes, but useful FUD (4, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 7 years ago | (#19967047)

By continually bemoaning that the Dems are "just as bad" as the Republicans, we can muddy the waters enough that some people may, just may, forget what party gutted habeus corpus, thinks torture is OK, continues to block votes on Iraq, ran up the biggest defecit in national history, and so on. Psshaw! Going after filesharing is just as bad as Abu Ghraib!

If you can't bring your party up to where people could vote for them with a clean conscience, you can at least bring the other party down and pretend that they're at the same level. Responses, if any, will be along the lines of "yeah, because Democrats are such angels, perfect in every way, and they always do what the people want" which is not what I said. I have long said that Dems and Repubs are about the same when it comes to pork spending, subservience to lobbyists, and general corruption (including legal but unethical stuff), but Repubs are essentially The Torture Party as far as I'm concerned. You don't have to impress me much to beat out The Torture Party.

If the Dems just run as the "We Think Habeus Corpus is Important" party, that's good enough for me, even with the usual complement of pork spending and knee-jerk overreaction that we always expect from congress. I wish Dems were better, but this equivocation where going after filesharers proves that the Dems are just as bad as the Republicans is a bit ridiculous. If torture, habeus corpus, and warrantless surveillance aren't part of the discussion about which party is better, at least right now, then we aren't really having a discussion.

A little matter of history? (3, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | about 7 years ago | (#19967355)

forget what party gutted habeus corpus, thinks torture is OK,

Didn't the Democrats put 200,000 Japanese citizens in concentration camps during World War II?

Run MK-ULTRA, and numerous CIA / FBI abuses during the Cold War?

Allow J Edgar Hoover's FBI to amass data on US Citizens for almost 40 years?

Run illegal wiretaps throughout every Presidency since Truman?

The whole notion of Democrats having of moral superiority when it comes to civil rights has no historical basis in fact.

Our best hope would have been to have conservatives acting like conservatives, gutting the government rather than expanding it.

the distinction... (1, Offtopic)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 7 years ago | (#19967405)

The distinction between the past and the present is that the present is happening now. I didn't say the Democrats had the moral high ground--they're a political party, not a convention of saints. But one political party is comprised of members today who support torture and voted to gut habeus corpus--which party was it? Wait, wait... I can look this up. This is part of fact-base reality. Do you know the answer?

I can't vote against the people who interned the Japanese Americans, or pushed for MK-Ultra. I can vote against the ones who are supporting torture, imprisonment without trial, and warrantless surveillance now.

You might as well say I should vote Republican because of Abe Lincoln. Torture matters. Habeus corpus matters. What the hell is wrong with you? You're muddying the waters, not adding perspective. There is a difference.

Re:the distinction... (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | about 7 years ago | (#19967559)

Google WhoDB

Re:FUD, yes, but useful FUD (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | about 7 years ago | (#19967435)

Reid's methods are warrantless surveillance, but the surveillance is conducted by Universities and the entertainment industry that sends out copyright violation notices. The violations are defined by the same RIAA et al that sues dead people and threatens children in grade school. Reid's methods force legal requirements on Universities based on these often baseless accusations. So what good is habeus corpus if you can be legally burdened or punished solely on the basis of an accusation? And I don't know what your definition of torture is, but I do know that terrorizing parents with threats to subpeona young children and calling up their schools to find out when they can nab them without the parents being there, or de-facto telling parents of college kids, "pay us $3000 or we'll have your kid expelled from college," fits my definition of mental torture.

The Democrats are throwing out constitutional protections for a song, and the Republicans are humming along. So are you.

Re:FUD, yes, but useful FUD (1)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 7 years ago | (#19967467)

And I don't know what your definition of torture is, but I do know that terrorizing parents with threats to subpeona young children and calling up their schools to find out when they can nab them without the parents being there, or de-facto telling parents of college kids, "pay us $3000 or we'll have your kid expelled from college," fits my definition of mental torture.
Well, I think the Taguba report related items a bit more draconian. People have been beaten, burned, raped, sodomized with lightsticks and other objects, waterboarded, attacked with dogs, etc. Your "definition" of torture might be clarified a bit if you were chained in a cell while someone was beaten to death in front of you.

And no, I'm not "humming along" while anyone throws out constitutional protections. You just need to realize that people really are being tortured in facilities operated by the US Government, right now, as I type this. People are being held indefinitely, without trial, without due process. If you think these things, which are already happening, are as morally compelling as a bill that may or not be presented, and may or not be passed, sometime in the future, in an overzealous and heavy-handed attempt to fight filesharing, your moral compass may need a bit of calibration.

Re:FUD, yes, but useful FUD (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 7 years ago | (#19967553)

What about the entirety of the Clinton tenure?

Look, I'm all liberal in my personal politics (socialism should temper capitalism, civil rights, etc), but I've been just as disappointed by Democrats as Republicans, if not more so. And as the adage goes, if you're not a Democrat when you're younger, you don't have a heart, and if you're not a Republican when you're older, you don't have a brain. I don't find it unrealistic that I might gravitate more to Republicans over the years.

In truth, really I hate partisan politics on the whole. But for Clinton being the Good Guy, and Democrats being Good Guys, we seem to gloss over accusations that Clinton took illegal money from China, that he refused to take China to task over how they pirates billions in American IP, or their human rights record, but instead renewed their status as favored trading partner.

What about all the mafia members and drug lords he pardoned on his way out of office?

Let's not even touch the lengthy Kenneth Star report, which claimed to have truck-loads of evidence linking Clinton personally to untold levels of corruption. Right now people in this country are seriously considering putting that family back in the White House to run the country, conveniently forgetting this is the same couple that never really did find those real estate records the courts ordered them to produce.

FUD=RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967303)

Take a stroll back in history, "works for hire" was added without the known assistance of any elected official, other then their votes on the unrelated unread bill it was attached to. Since this one is "known", it is more likely to be a notice to institutions of higher learning that they want them to cooperate with the RIAA's current efforts, see recent Slashdot articles for details.

The Federal Government is responsible for huge chunks of funding for these institutions, just how many of their presidents or trustees do you think won't kowtow to them for fear of adjustments to this flow of cash? It would not suprise me in the least if this isn't the reason that so many institutions of higher learning are somewhat ignoring their student's rights in this regard.

You may think this is "premature" but really that is how we should be watching our government, try to catch, stop or influence their actions before they act. It really wouldn't hurt and might help change some federal officials attitudes if the people of this country flooded their elected officials with their opinions of this matter and maybe included some of the real information like is posted and linked at sites like NewYorkCountryLawyer's, especially his open letter to those institutions of higher learning. That is of course if Ray don't mind.

Side note to the Slashdot editors: How about inviting Harry Reid here, offer him the handle SenatorRIAA. (Think this through and try to keep your morning coffee off your monitors:)

Not that anyone asked, but... (5, Insightful)

Arceliar (895609) | about 7 years ago | (#19967003)

"Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."


Call me cynical, but if a politician shows sense, they won't get enough of the conservative vote to ever get elected. And if they show principle, well, they're probably so lacking in even common sense to ever get liberal vote. So why should we expect either in any measurable form?

That trolling asside, from TFA:

Bainwol noted that many campus networks are created with taxpayer funds and are intended for "academic and research purposes," but end up, he said, giving students "a means to steal."


Roads also facilitate theft. Roads also have police to patrol and set up roadblocks if necessary, that sort of thing. But funds are appropriated for such services. If one is to mandate that measures be taken to prevent intellectual property theft, one should provide a plan for funding of such an endeavor. It's not a universities fault that students steal any more than it is a construction worker's fault of someone later uses a road to facilitate a crime because the road happens to go past a bank.

At least, that's the way I see it.

Re:Not that anyone asked, but... (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 7 years ago | (#19967269)

The road analogy is a nice one actually.

If students are found to be illegally downloading/sharing content then they need to be tackled individually. The blanket approach that they are proposing is horribly intrusive. Effectively saying "A load of you are probably guilty of something so you're going to give us the money required to carry out random searches without actually trying separate the guilty from the innocent."

In other news, the parents of a child executed by the RIAA reacted with dismay on receiving an invoice for the cost of the bullet.

Re:Not that anyone asked, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967307)

you guys really need to get off that 'either conservative or liberal' crap

Re:Not that anyone asked, but... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 7 years ago | (#19967447)

Just an idea (which I know won't become true); what if you'd privatize student housing? Set up a number of non-profits which work closely with but are independant of the university? This would eliminate the big, easy targets that universities are right now and substitute them with numerous smaller, more obviously unresponsible organisations. Or how about just outsourcing the network to an ISP, suddenly it becomes corporate vs. corporate instead of the RIAA fighting public insistutions. Just to demonstrate that universities really have no blame in this.

Re:Not that anyone asked, but... (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | about 7 years ago | (#19967549)

It is my opinion, as trollish as it may seem, that persons possessing both common sense and strong principles don't even want to be in a position with that much power. Common sense, after all, dictates that the demands of such a position would frequently put one in a position where one's principles are difficult, painful, or illegal to uphold.

Re:Not that anyone asked, but... (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#19967565)

When you build roads, you have to follow some construction norms in order to have a minimum of security, accessibility, ... etc.

The same analogy could be used here against your argument, if the government decides that a minimum of security is needed over students network in order to monitor the careless acts of piracy, it would be like putting CCTV and speed radar over the highways in order to find the careless drivers.

Though I agree that the only people who will agree with my analogy are the RIAA and MPAA members ...

Unsure (4, Interesting)

Stevecrox (962208) | about 7 years ago | (#19967023)

I'm from the UK the place with a far less insane record industry but I'm not certain how Universitys think this is unfair. I've just finished a 3 year course at University of Plymouth in order to connect to the network you had to go through a VPN which only allowed HTTP and FTP access. We had a extremely fast network I remember downloading Ubunutu at 1MB/s as well as Myst Online at 1.3MB/s. I could check my email, manage a domain I own and could view every website on the internet without issue including sites like http://www.stage6.com/ [stage6.com] , http://www.youtube.com/ [youtube.com] and at various times I saw other students looking at xxx sites. I did get HL2: Deathmatch and Myst Online working (intially the later required a blocked port) but bittyrant or limewire didn't work.

I can understand that bittyrant does help spread the load of linux distributions but I don't understand why other university's and colleges can't implement this as well. How does it hurt people? I don't know why people are fighting so hard. The university's policy did not stop me from learning nor did it stop me from playing (if I had lived in halls) it just stopped activities which either used high amounts of bandwidth or could land the univeristy in legal trouble.

Then again with iPods, portable usb drives and the messenger share folders most students could share music/video if they wanted to and I did see people moving to these methods in my final year.

Re:Unsure (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 7 years ago | (#19967201)

wow. A student who actually realises that university exist so he can become better educated. Sir, I applaud you. Unfortunately, standard slashdot opinion is that universities exist to supply high speed downloads of hollywood movies for free to students. I can't pretend to be vaguely surprised that the industry creating such movies, and employing thousands of people, is going to lobby to protect itself from people taking their product for free. You might as well complain about stores having security measures to prevent shoplifting.
Please don't bother trying to point out the difference between a physical product and a copy, it just means you don't understand economics.

Re:Unsure (2)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | about 7 years ago | (#19967541)

Please don't bother trying to point out the difference between a physical product and a copy, it just means you don't understand economics.
Okay, you are a moron. If it can be copied at zero cost, then the marginal production cost of that copy is $0. Especially since any movie that does not recoup its costs in the first weekend in theaters is called a commercial failure - thus the thousands of people have BEEN ALREADY PAID for the work they've done. So, zero-cost copies hurt their sales? Fuck them. They're getting paid. I pay for movie tickets, I download what I want to keep.
(And sometimes I buy a DVD on impulse, but it's pretty much guaranteed to be music and region-free.)

Re:Unsure (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19967351)

The issue isn't common sense and practicality. It is of an organization being forced to do something to combat an issue that isn't their job to do. In essence, How would you feel I i told you that you had to device ways to stop people from speeding past your house and you would have to provide technical measure and submit a report detailing them to me. It is a little similar in this effect.

Now, the reasons people fight it so much is less along those ideas and more along the idea of they are entitled to the content. The idea of actually not being a click away from the music and video they want without regard to their legal right to have it or distribute it pisses a lot of people off. Quite frankly, while they are in college, they probably don't have the capacity of experience to make the decisions properly and likely shouldn't have a voice in the situation outside the government forcing someone to do something they shouldn't be obligated to do.

democrats (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 7 years ago | (#19967043)

"Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."
/Insert your favorite comment about American political system in general here/

democrats-Bad guys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967205)

Ummm, isn't it the gaming industry suppose to be the biggest cash machine? Second since when has filesharing been just about music or movies? Third to address the "everyone's doing it, so you should too" argument. Well a lot of people and companies are violating the GPL. I think everyone should just give up and let them do it. It's inevitable and we shouldn't resist something we can't do anything about.

So the Republicans would be better? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 7 years ago | (#19967057)

"Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."

(Emphasis mine)

Now is it just me, or does that quote imply that if it was the Republicans bringing in this possible law (or law amendment or whatever) then they wouldn't be influenced by Hollywood or [insert other large corporation/group with large amounts of money]? To put it politely, that idea is laughable!

Re:So the Republicans would be better? (1)

karmatic (776420) | about 7 years ago | (#19967131)

does that quote imply that if it was the Republicans... they wouldn't be influenced by Hollywood


The point of the quote is not that the Republicans aren't corrupt - everyone knows they are. The Democrats, on the other hand, are supposedly "different".

Re:So the Republicans would be better? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19967361)

They are different they have controlled the machine describing who is what were the republicans haven't. Everyone knows the controllers are special.

Re:So the Republicans would be better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967385)

It's just you. The quote seems to be referring specifically to the fact that the senate is currently led by the Democrats...

It doesn't seem to say anything about if the crazed russian were to walk in and propose a new law that it would show up any different either...

Reporting to Hollywood (1)

Potor (658520) | about 7 years ago | (#19967093)

So the senator from Nevada actually wants universities, in essence, to report to Hollywood? Wouldn't their money be better spent on, say, sports programmes, or perhaps even education (if they still do that these days)?

Re:Reporting to Hollywood (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19967381)

Their money? You mean your money. They aren't going to take a hit on the costs of this when it is specifically intended to limit your breaking of laws if you did.

A commenter writes... (5, Funny)

rilister (316428) | about 7 years ago | (#19967095)

A commenter on the post said, "Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."

...you think that's bad? you should see some of the crap I've posted as comments here...

stealing and theft (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 7 years ago | (#19967103)

The article is replete with terms of "stealing" and "theft".

They are trying really hard to associate these terms with filesharing in a subversive way, just to make filesharing sound worse than it is. I think filesharing is a better term --> it's not called file-theft for a reason.

B.

Re:stealing and theft (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 7 years ago | (#19967255)

If something is for sale, and you get your copy without paying. That's theft. Dance around the issue all you want, anyone who had a decent upbringing understands theft when they see it.
How exactly do you expect people to produce new content if the target market all steals it. People whine that all music is sanitized commercial crap, yet that is the music that *sells*. people who pirate stuff have no rights to whine about any content, because you are not part of the market, and therefore the market will not produce stuff you will like.

Re:stealing and theft (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 7 years ago | (#19967289)

I'm sorry, but I did have a decent upbringing, and still can't see this as theft. As indicated many times in the past, theft implies that you bereft someone of their property. Copying is a sort of half-theft in that manner, you will not pay for your copy, but the provider can still sell theirs, and is thus not directly financially impeded. Mind you, copying does not imply that I'd have bought the album were it unavailable for copying.

So, to make a long-ish story short: Copying is not stealing. Copying is not theft. Copying is copying. Copying wa Copying-des.

Instead of ad hominem attacks on my argument, I'd be very pleased to see clear, unemotional responses here. No talk about people complaining about content either, the argument here is that copying is not stealing.

B.

Re:stealing and theft (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 7 years ago | (#19967357)

wow, you still couldn't resist could you.

If you are interested in the product enough to download a pirate copy, you are by definition within the target market.
If you are in the target market and satisfy your need for it without payment, you have distorted the market.
products are made on the basis that a reasonable proportion of the target market will pay for the product, assuming a quality product.
The product has 100% up front fixed costs and zero marginal costs. You do not save the producer anything by copying as opposed to taking.

What part of this eludes you? If you would not have bought it anyway, then DON'T TAKE IT.
By absolute clear logical definition, if you are interested enough in a movie /game to download it and watch / play it, what the fuck makes you think you are not in the target market? and please explain why you think its ok for you to take other peoples work for free? because 99% of the world would describe that as theft, and you as a thief, and rightly so.

stealing and theft-This means War! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967471)

You do realize these kind of arguments (and excuses) have been going on for eight years? Slashdot may not be a pirates haven but it sure is a "head, hard-as-a-rock" haven. Theft and illegal filesharing also have another aspect in common. They both destroy the social fabric. People who illegally download are "oathbreakers" in that they don't hold up their end of the terms that society agreed up. And, no the "copyright extension" argument doesn't apply because the majority of material that gets downloaded (there's examples of material that hasn't even been released) is within ALL terms (old and new).

Re:stealing and theft (2, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | about 7 years ago | (#19967571)

I disagree. I think there's a whole grey area between interested enough to copy it, and interested enough to pay money for it. The grey area spans the economic value range of 0 to the price of the article. There are many reasons not to be interested enough to pay money for it (e.g. when it means having no money left for food) and interested enough to try. The target market is the people that have the money and are willing to spend that money on the product. Here, the pirates (arr) are not willing to spend their money on the product and thus fall outside of the target market. Apparently, the value they associate with the product does not warrant their spending.

(by the by, the tone of your article makes it sound as if you've got problems with me, personally. Well, I buy my stuff, but that doesn't mean that I disagree with the Pirates (arr.) on all of their points. I think there is a reason for the existence of this "market", and as with many markets, it cannot be force away. Thus an alternative is to be found)

B.

Re:stealing and theft (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19967397)

More importantly, it doesn't matter what the GP thinks is "theft", doesn't matter what you or I think is "theft", it matters what the law considers to be "theft".

Re:stealing and theft (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 7 years ago | (#19967513)

I beg to differ. I think it matters what the dictionary considers to be theft, and there (the Oxford Am. Eng. dict) it is clearly stated that it is the taking of another persons property without intending to return it. Therefore calling copying thieving might skew the definition of theft, and therefore the dictionary has to change, or the law has to change to address copying instead of thieving.

Besides semantics, thieving has a much more negative association to it in the mind of the public than copying. I understand the goal of the Industry to further this goal, but in the end it might be trying to call an apple a pear. It is simply not the same.

As a side note, your sentence raises an interesting point, capable of separating individuals between those whom live by the law, and those whom live by their dictionary. I'm not sure what I mean here, but it feels like there's something... Law is in the State (or country) of the beholder, but a dictionary spans the entire world. I'm not sure what to make of that.

B.

Re:stealing and theft - get your facts straight. (1)

FeepingCreature (1132265) | about 7 years ago | (#19967343)

If something is for sale, and you get your copy without paying. That's theft
Not really.
theft: The act of stealing property.
to steal: (transitive) To illegally, or without the owner's permission, take possession of something by surreptitiously taking or carrying it away.
Learn to use a dictionary. Wiktionary on steal [wiktionary.org] .
That
  • is
the common sense definition, however much you'd like to twist the facts.

How exactly do you expect people to produce new content if the target market all steals it.
Oh my gosh. How could people ever survive without copyright. Verily, the market would completely collapse!
There was capitalism before the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org] , you know.
Also, many people here are not fundamentally against copyright, but against the perverted version Disney made of it. [wikipedia.org]
Get your facts straight.

Re:stealing and theft - get your facts straight. (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 7 years ago | (#19967371)

you seem to be under some delusion that we have bittorrent before we had copyright. When you had to copy a book by hand, people didn't copy it for 500 people across the face of the globe while they slept. I thought that was stunningly obvious, and yet still we see this argument repeated on slashdot with a sense of triumphalism.
You have to be really delusional to think that copying content without paying for it is sustainable in the middle or long run. Content producers have to eat.

Wordgames and excuses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967277)

I see. So you'd be happier with articles that had terms that made illegal filesharing sound better than it really is then? Somehow I don't think the illegal filesharing is OK crowd is any better than the illegal filesharing is bad crowd. Both of you want the public to accept your version of reality and don't give a damn about the facts in order to do so.

"I think filesharing is a better term --> it's not called file-theft for a reason."

It's called "fluffy, cutie pie". There, now it's OK to download, like anyone really needed a change of words to tell them otherwise.

That thing about Hollywood is strictly horseshit (4, Interesting)

Get Behind the Mule (61986) | about 7 years ago | (#19967109)

"Hollywood is the main source of cash for Democrats" is just another legend in the rich and bizarre mythology of conservatism, and as such it is typically puerile and easily refuted.

Opensecrets [opensecrets.org] reports that the top industries donating to the DNC [opensecrets.org] , based on contributions from PACs, Levin money donors, and individuals who self-identify their employer, are:

1. Retired ($7,389,597)

2. Lawyers/Law Firms ($3,250,708)

3. Securities & Investment ($2,301,530)

4. Real Estate ($1,570,877)

5. Education ($1,429,546)

6. Misc Finance ($1,176,402)

7. Business Services ($1,108,889)

8. Health Professionals ($1,044,045)

9. TV/Movies/Music ($1,042,810)

Thus the "industry" making the largest contributions to the DNC are retired individuals, contributing over $7 million to a total of about $37 million. The entertainment industry, which is presumably what the myth-entranced poster meant by "Hollywood", comes in 9th place with just about one measly million.

For the DCCC, which is responsible for elections in the House, it breaks down like this [opensecrets.org] :

1. Candidate Committees ($28,987,184)

2. Retired ($6,473,164)

3. Securities & Investment ($5,237,572)

4. Lawyers/Law Firms ($4,730,490)

5. Real Estate ($2,846,870)

6. TV/Movies/Music ($2,299,387)

So the top contributors to the general DCCC funds are, by far, the individual campaign committees (who of course must get their own contributors). "Hollywood" comes in sixth place with about $2 million out of a total of over $80 million.

For the DSCC, responsible for Senate campaigns, the picture is about exactly the same [opensecrets.org] as for the DCCC:

1. Candidate Committees ($10,312,550)

2. Lawyers/Law Firms ($9,989,631)

3. Securities & Investment ($7,938,319)

4. Retired ($6,967,505)

5. Real Estate ($4,864,610)

6. Misc Finance ($2,585,026)

7. TV/Movies/Music ($2,286,687)

This time, "Hollywood" comes in 7th place, again with about $2 million out of over $80 million.

However we much we may dislike what Harry Reid is doing, the claim about "Hollywood" and the Democrats is load of peanut butter. We need to get these reality-challenged conservative canards out of our public discussion; they certainly have no business of the front page of Slashdot.

Re:That thing about Hollywood is strictly horseshi (0, Troll)

dammy (131759) | about 7 years ago | (#19967229)

Funny, Wall Street Journal reports Dems have raised 100 Million more then Republicans: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB11851538260 9874577.html?mod=blog/ [wsj.com] . That tells me your numbers are not giving us all the information on donations. Isn't that like failing to tell folks the amount of money Speak Of the House's husband is making of the Iraq War while blaming Bush?

Dammy

Those were Open Secrets' numbers from 2006 (1)

Get Behind the Mule (61986) | about 7 years ago | (#19967389)

I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that those numbers are from the 2006 election cycle; I wanted to look at the donations from the most recent completed cycle, and the 2008 campaigns are still in the midst of raising money (there will be a lot more from now until November of next year). The WSJ article covers the Presidential campaigns for 2008, and we just can't know yet which industries will make the largest contributions by the time it's over.

And incidentally, they're not "my" numbers, they are from Open Secrets [opensecrets.org] , as indicated by about five links in my previous post, so if I haven't got that across to you yet, here's another one [opensecrets.org] .

Here's the thing: "Hollywood is [the Democrats'] biggest cash machine [and hence controls them]" is just like "Liberals control the media" and "There's no global warming" and "There are WMDs in Iraq" and "God said Shazam! and then Adam and Eve were standing there" are all assertions that conservatives assert to one another feverishly nodding their heads, based exclusively on the evidence of It Feels Good To Believe It. And yet, just a cursory look into publicly available evidence will typically show that these things are not true. Nevertheless, these legends permeate the mainstream media and our public debate, in this case the front page of Slashdot. For the sake of a sane future for our democracy, this has got to stop.

For the sake of getting this thread back on topic: despite what I'm saying, there's plenty to criticize what Harry Reid is doing about file sharing, but it doesn't help to base that criticism on assertions that are plainly false. That's precisely my point. For the pushback to be effective, we must cease and desist from mustering arguments that are this easily exposed as nonsense.

Re:That thing about Hollywood is strictly horseshi (0, Troll)

value_added (719364) | about 7 years ago | (#19967285)

"Hollywood is the main source of cash for Democrats" is just another legend in the rich and bizarre mythology of conservatism, and as such it is typically puerile and easily refuted.

LOL. Somebody bothered not only to think about it, but research the subject for himself? That's the problem with the world today -- too many of you free-thinkers running around disagreeing with everyone and spouting off facts. You must be a real lonely guy without a group to belong to.

Seriously, though, good for you. Reminds me of the the liberal media meme. Didn't occur to anyone that the most of the major networks are owned and operated by a bunch of rich white guys with too much money that vote Republican. Or that the news divisions heads and most of the anchors fall into the same group.

As for Hollywood, it's a vocal crowd consisting of people with easy access to free publicity living in a state that traditionally leans left of center. It's worth pointing, however, that the most vocal individuals do donate heavily to the Democratic party. Easy target at any rate. A hundred years ago it wasn't Hollywood, but those darned New Yorkers. I guess when you live in middle America, it's inevitable that you feel surrounded.

Re:That thing about Hollywood is strictly horseshi (2)

krou (1027572) | about 7 years ago | (#19967331)

While that's strictly true (i.e. it's not the main source), it's certainly one of their main contributors, and far more so than the Republicans. You should do some comparisons between Republican vs. Democrat to understand the Hollywood/Democratic link. (All figures from the websites you linked to).

For example, the contribution of the TV/Movies/Music industry to the Democratic Party is considerably higher than the Republican Party ($6,045,582 vs. $2,434,205), and while the RNC and the DNC are very similar in contributions ($949,844 for the former vs. $1,042,810 for the latter), the NRCC doesn't even register TV/Movies/Music as being a big contributor. The NRSC comes in with a measly $627,684.

Main contributor, no, but certainly one of them, and certainly more pro-Democrat than Republican.

The whole thing reminds me of Bill Hicks' comment: "I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. 'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.' 'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!'"

Getting better (2, Insightful)

Get Behind the Mule (61986) | about 7 years ago | (#19967523)

While that's strictly true (i.e. it's not the main source), ...


You were getting close, but then you said:

... it's certainly one of their main contributors ...


Sorry, but the "Hollywood" cash contribution to Democrats is just too small to warrant the phrase "one of the main". It consistently comes in at something like 2.5%.

Main contributor, no, but certainly one of them, and certainly more pro-Democrat than Republican.


All right, this is indeed a true statement, and point well taken. While a couple of million bucks will not necessarily make or break the Democrats, it's certainly nothing for Harry Reid to sneeze at. And the fact that Democrats get a lot more from the entertainment industry than Republicans do is certainly at least part of the politics at play here.

There's also the fact that the entertainment industry has a lot of public influence unrelated to the size of their cash donations, for obvious reasons. If good relations with "Hollywood" will get positive publicity for Democrats that comes "for free", well hey, no wonder they like it.

But I suspect that this issue is not well understood if we overestimate the influence of "Hollywood" on the Democratic leadership; certainly if we let false assertions about the "biggest cash machine" go unanswered. I think there's also the fact that the entire political class in Washington, Democrats and Republicans, is firmly entrenched in the belief that file sharing is criminal and immoral, and damaging to the economy.

Re:That thing about Hollywood is strictly horseshi (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#19967451)

A /. discussion is no place for facts and reason.

Not quite (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 7 years ago | (#19967489)

Retired people are not an industry. Going by your numbers, it's the trial lawyers who are the #1 contributing industry. I'm not sure that's any better than it being Hollywood.

Would downloading an HTML file be file sharing? (2, Insightful)

CockMonster (886033) | about 7 years ago | (#19967111)

The ISPs should switch off the internet for a day. That'll learn 'em.

Any hope of balanced coverage? (1, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 7 years ago | (#19967127)

"Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."

Flat out wrong. Other corporate sources far outweigh Hollywood they just don't sound as good as saying left wing Hollywood rules the Democrats. Also the bulk of the contributions are from individuals not the studios and the rights organizations. I realize there's only one position on Slashdot, copyright holders are evil and file sharers are good, but at least try to appear more balanced. I believe in the freemarket which makes me just this side of Satan but it's a system that worked and supported the production of new content. Free exchange of copyrighted material will eventually dry up the well. It may seem cool to download the latest blockbuster free but revenues are falling and eventually if the trend doesn't reverse they will disappear. The only reason the theaters are still in business is $10 tickets and $5 popcorn. The number of tickets sold have been steadily dropping not as radically as the music industry but it'll eventually get as bad. If you don't care about Hollywood movies why are you downloading them? If you do care then downloading for free is threatening the future of film. Just the facts.

Re:Any hope of balanced coverage? (1)

cliffski (65094) | about 7 years ago | (#19967237)

Excellent post, wish I had mod points right now. Its good to see not everyone is taken in by the groupthink of "file trading is teh c00l"

Re:Any hope of balanced coverage? (2, Informative)

robot_love (1089921) | about 7 years ago | (#19967263)

You imply that if the current system were gone, there would be nothing to replace it. I disagree. Something will replace it (for humans have always told stories). In fact, I think that whatever replaces it will actually be much better.

Technology now allows anyone with minimal finance to create their own movies or music. What will happen, when the current colossus tumbles, is that you will experience more and better movies and music than you ever dreamed possible. Certainly, at the beginning there will be less big budget action spectaculars, but honestly, is that a bad thing?

With the current gate keepers gone and the internet there to do the distribution, a much brighter and vibrant world awaits. We should do all we can to hasten the demise of the media industry.

Any hope of balanced BS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967373)

"You imply that if the current system were gone, there would be nothing to replace it. I disagree. Something will replace it (for humans have always told stories). In fact, I think that whatever replaces it will actually be much better. "

Let's put this "the gravy-train will go on" argument to a test. How about we start abusing OSS any way we can. From verbally assulting them, to violating their licenses. According to you even if the OSS well dried up something (contrary to human nature) will come along and fill the void, AND it will produce code better and consistenly than before, even when faced with a hostile audience.

"Technology now allows anyone with minimal finance to create their own movies or music."

Geeks and your damn faith in technology. The issue isn't technological, it's social.

"What will happen, when the current colossus tumbles, is that you will experience more and better movies and music than you ever dreamed possible."

Maybe, maybe not, but not in the continued presence of a hostile entitlement-driven never-ending audience.

"With the current gate keepers gone and the internet there to do the distribution, a much brighter and vibrant world awaits. We should do all we can to hasten the demise of the media industry."

You should write religious tracts for a living.

Re:Any hope of balanced coverage? (2, Insightful)

eclectro (227083) | about 7 years ago | (#19967465)

copyright holders are evil and file sharers are good, but at least try to appear more balanced.
I just bought a CD as a gift for my sister that I wanted to stick on the new mp3 player I wanted to give her for her birthday. I discovered that the CD *would not* play in the computer CDROM player, which prevents me from converting it to mp3. But it plays in a crappy standalone CD player, indicating DRM is involved

I look up the CD on the pirate bay and sure enough it's there and being seeded.

So from my simple experience (I listen to little music and rarely use mp3s) the copyright holder (warner music) really is an evil scumbag and the filesharers are good by doing me a favor by making available to me music that I bought myself. I also have lost respect for this artist for whoring himself out to that label.

The music industry is crying elephant tears about how CD sales are going through the floor. Maybe it's because they are selling a crap product that people don't want to buy (I'm taking the CD back as defective tomorrow). I hope that the freemarket puts them out of business. This would not be a loss.

So much as downloading movies are concerned, the vast majority of the population 99% do not do it. So that's not much of an argument. In any event, what's going to kill hollywood is people not turning off cellphones in theaters.

But in reality, you and I know that you are astroturfing here anyway.

GOOD (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967175)

It's about time something was done about the masses of idiots pirating music, movies and games. I'm sick to death of self righteous thieves on slashdot thinking the world owes them a fucking living. you have NO RIGHT to take other peoples work for free. grow up and deal with it kids.

Re:GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967301)

Go die in a fire!

Re:GOOD (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19967415)

And you have no understanding of the bigger picture, in which copyright infringement is but the tip of the iceberg, and not even the most important issue.

Re:GOOD (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 7 years ago | (#19967469)

I have learned over the years, that people like you have no brains, and debating a topic is pointless, hence i just take pleasure in insulting and degrading you.

help yourself to a big bowl full of SHUT THE FUCK UP.

GOOD troll! (1)

giafly (926567) | about 7 years ago | (#19967555)

Both these statements are true. Live with it.
  1. the world doesn't owe you or me a living
  2. the world doesn't owe the RIAA and MPAA a living

If history has told us anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967225)

If history has told us anything... (Mark Foley, et al.) it's that senators who are really aggressive on bills are in fact the biggest violators of the laws they wish to pass...

Sen. Harry Reid's plan to crack down on file sharing
Therefore I humbly submit my theory that Sen Harry Reid will be ousted as the leader of The Pirate Bay.

Also in a double whammy Al Gore style revelation, he also invented BitTorrent.

I for one... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 7 years ago | (#19967235)

... am glad the Democrats have completely fixed all of the USA's other problems so that they have the spare time to go after illegal copyright infringment.

I mean obviously copyright laws are much, much more important that say rising fuel costs, a war in Iraq, or fixing healthcare / education.

If a politician votes against me... (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | about 7 years ago | (#19967239)

they have to be corrupt.

What a stupid, childish attitude. If you think that those who disagree with you politically are by-and-large stupid, evil, greedy and/or corrupt, it is a sure sign that you are simply too stupid to understand them.

GREAT!!!! Now is the time for us to.... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967293)

prepare all our DOS and civil disobedience techniques.

Colleges require information to flow as freely as possible, so they depend on a fair amount of corner-cutting. No one really waits to get approval or check the copyright position before downloading something from the Wiki, for instance. If they were forced to, a college could not function.

So we need to spam the most righteous Bible Colleges with spurious DMCA takedown notices, and claim obscure copyright privileges over any communication we have with them.

Perhaps we could find encrypted streams passing between government buildings, and 'fake whistle-blow' to the RIAA that films are being passed on these links. Send copyrighted data to prominent supporters of the bill without the copyright message, and then get their systems turned over....

The possibilities are endless!!

Stupid, just follow the contribution money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967379)

This is a waste of time. Just like when Hillary Clinton sponsored that bill for Puerto Rico to get money. It was a stupid bill, yet it is the only bill that she has **ever** sponsored alone in her public service.

Content will always find a way to be free/leaked. Sharing of music has been a problem since reel to reel tapes existed. My father had a bootleg collection of Xmas music that he brought out every fall. He's dead now - I have no idea were those tapes are or where that machine ended up.

In college 20 years ago, I recorded every album I could get my hands on onto high quality tape with the best encoding available at the time - abour 1,000 of them. I don't listen to cassettes anymore, don't even own a player.

Two years ago, a large group at work (20 poeple, but not me) passed around a 300GB USB drive, twice. The first time to load the music and the second to pull everything off. Of course, I wasn't involved - that's illegal. They ran out of space on the drive. Exactly how will anyone other than those people ever know about that - they only run open source software here.

If p2p networking is removed from the internet and in the open, certainly a group of college students will figure out how to physically share just like all those years go. Or, if they were smarter, just use freenet instead.

Enough is enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967449)

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THOUGHT

Hereby I declare my full sovereignty over the content my data storing
devices (including, but not limited to magnetic and optical media, flash
memory and, most importantly, my brain) and establish my unalienable right
to receive, record and process any information that I have been exposed to
as I see fit. This implies, in particular, the practical and legal
impossibility of making it illegal to record or memorize any information on
the grounds of intellectual property claims.

As of the moment of signing the declaration, national, international etc.
laws concerning the content of my data storages are null and void, as I
declare my data outside of any government's or international organization's
jurisdiction.

I am willing to protect my sovereignty over my internally and externally
stored memories by any means available to me, including strong encryption
and geographically spread backup copies.

I am also willing to help other people to protect their data, memories and
thoughts and would thankfully receive any help in such matters myself. I am
fully prepared to respect and support other people's full sovereignty over
their respective data, memories and thoughts.

I invite every individual to explicitly declare the independence of their
thoughts by digitally signing this declaration.

excuse to Dem bash? (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 7 years ago | (#19967515)

Sure, a lot of Democratic politicians pander to Hollywood. But you'll have a hard time finding a Republican politician that doesn't jump at the chance to pander to big business - and Hollywood is most definitely big business. And for all the bashing of "Hollywood liberals", the GOP suuuure likes actors that give them the time of day - Schwarzenegger (before he moved away from the right wing so he could get elected), Fred Thompson, and of course, Ronald Reagan.

Put up or shut up... (0, Offtopic)

tyroneking (258793) | about 7 years ago | (#19967529)

... vote for Cmdr Taco to the senate! Or Sarah Silverman (which would be funnier).

Who cares?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967543)

As long as the rest of the world won't suffer the consequences (except on paper, maybe) the US can throw shit on itself and its citizens as much as it wants.

Aside from the normal BS (1)

DanielMarkham (765899) | about 7 years ago | (#19967551)

It seems the normal way of business here any more is to have some politically-charged headline, then all the commenters take their partisan sides and go at it.

As a libertarian, I've found both parties very willing to sell individual freedoms away. Aside from the war, which is so charged to prevent rational discourse, the Republicans were eager to sell out bankruptcy protections. The DMCA was passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate and signed by Clinton.

So for all you fanboys and fangirls, it's not related to political parties, at least not where I can see. I guess when your ATM is Hollywood, you're probably going to pander to Hollywood more and if your ATM is banks, the banks get the favors. But in general, to me the game looks rigged and the only interesting thing is the different BS excuses they use each time they take something away. Keeping people under an iron hand of debt collectors was called "promoting personal responsibility", as if eliminating risk from the creditors business plans was merely an afterthought. Reid's new idea sounds like it's out to "stop theft in publicly funded universities"

All the BS sounds good. And if it's your party, and your guy, usually you'll find some way to forgive him and/or rationalize it was the best thing to do. We have long memories for bad stuff the other guys do, but short ones for our own guys. That's a shame, really. Keeps people from ever learning anything.

Campaigns against the politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19967569)

Since the election year is near, campaigns should be started against the politicians that are basically pushing for laws that are not in the interest of the people. Stupid as it may sound as the likelihood is that another evil will gain a politic foothold, at least it will ensure that politicians will think twice before they will push for certain laws for it is not in their personal interest to be voted out.
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