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RIAA Must Divulge Expenses-Per-Download

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the treble-damages-are-for-wimps dept.

The Courts 305

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Court has ordered UMG Recordings, Warner Bros. Records, Interscope Records, Motown, and SONY BMG to disclose their expenses-per-download to the defendant's lawyers, in UMG v. Lindor, a case pending in Brooklyn. The Court held that the expense figures are relevant to the issue of whether the RIAA's attempt to recover damages of $750 or more per 99-cent song file, is an unconstitutional violation of due process."

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305 comments

oh don't worry.... (4, Funny)

nilbog (732352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488773)

Oh don't worry, they'll come up with a way to justify the cost.

"See, we have a team working full time copying the bits by hand."

Re:oh don't worry.... (5, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488807)

IANAL, but I think the problem is that they would have to show that they were doing that before this request to itemize the costs was made. Otherwise they could make up anything they wanted.

"Yes your honor, we encode the bits into a 1 oz. gold coins and mail them to our other office where they are melted down and made into a plaque for this specific case"

Re:oh don't worry.... (2)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489467)

I'm surprised no body else has mentioned this, but if the person put songs on a file sharing network the RIAA could claim that on average the files were downloaded 750 times so its 750 x $1.

Worse still if this person ripped the CD and shared that on the internet, if the RIAA really thought about it, they could claim that ANYONE who downloaded the song illegally ultimately sourced it from this individual. This is even more true if they did it before the CD was even released (say by having a preview copy).

Re:oh don't worry.... (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488827)

Of course they will , they will just add in lawyers costs and then jack it up past $750

Re:oh don't worry.... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488857)

I don't think they can add in legal costs before the fact. They can ask for it to be rewarded though, no?

NB: IANALAILTTIAWDFGDA.
I Am Not A Lawer Although I Like To Think I Am When Drinking Fort Garry Dark Ale [fortgarry.com] . Burp.

Re:oh don't worry.... (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488895)

I believe they can , but would the judge allow it ?

Re:oh don't worry.... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488917)

Maybe, I don't know how that would play out. 100 songs would be $99. The RIAA asking for $74,901 to cover legal fees would get most sane people (even judges! :)) raising an eyebrow.

Re:oh don't worry.... (2, Insightful)

WorldDominationOrBus (1050248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488987)

It would probably please the ISPs too, if the RIAA could get a 'per copy uploaded' or 'per fileshared minute' type of outcome, as that would link the penalty to the transmitted datavolume.

Minority Report (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489415)

Remember Minority Report? The wooden balls?

Those held a single name. Imagine the size of the balls you'd need to record an entire song.

Movie makers; they have the biggest balls in the industry.

Re:oh don't worry.... (5, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489581)

Like the phone company [ph33r.org] did back in the day when they went after some kids for allegedly hacking a 911 system when actually, they downloaded a 'confidential computer text file' reputedly worth over $80k when they were selling copies of it for about 30 bucks. IIRC, they wanted to charge the kids for the cost of the computer system used to create the document, the time logged by the person that typed the document up, plus the salary of said typist's supervisor for the time the typist reputedly spent creating the document.

Simply put... (0, Redundant)

lamarguy91 (1101967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488781)

... it's about damn time.

Re:Simply put... (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488873)

I just don't get it. Damages of $750 dollars for downloading a song? Let's be reasonable. I mean, I hate Celine Dion as much as anyone but I don't think the RIAA should be forced to pay more than $500 for every time I download one of her MP3s.

Wouldn't it be ironic (5, Insightful)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488817)

Wouldn't it be ironic if the lawsuits brought by the RIAA in an attempt to preserve/enhance strong copyright ended up severely diminishing U.S. copyright law instead?

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic (5, Interesting)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488865)

It's already happening. My neighbors are a couple lawyers. Albeit they are criminal and Divorce , they are saying that most people in their firm are getting crap from judges for bringing stupid patent cases to court.

Thankfully their firm is downtown boston so tons of stupid companies go to them daily. These patent trolls are losing money quickly and it's great to see the RIAA is running into the same issue.

They need to update thier business model or face becoming extinct.

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic (5, Insightful)

John_The_Savage (990442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489039)

While judges complain it will still not stop the problem. Judges complain all the time. They complain about silly discovery disputes that they think should not be in their courtroom. But there are still discovery disputes everyday. The bar does have a way of self regulating and keeping the most egregious ones out of court. But the lawyer is still driven by the client. And the client (the business) is driven by simple capitalism. $50 dollars in legal fees for a chance to win millions in licensing. Hell even the threat of a lawsuit might just get them to settle. In sum, judges can complain all they want but ultimately the legislature needs to step up and fix this mess.

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489427)

Thankfully their firm is downtown boston so tons of stupid companies go to them daily. These patent trolls are losing money quickly and it's great to see the RIAA is running into the same issue.
Yes, they're only getting six figure damage awards that may or may not get lowered, surely they're going bankrupt any day now... A little early to declare victory don't you think?

Nothing "ironic" (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488933)

Wouldn't it be ironic if the lawsuits brought by the RIAA in an attempt to preserve/enhance strong copyright ended up severely diminishing U.S. copyright law instead?

They were in a lose-lose situation before they started. Ignore the problem, and the copyright law is useless. Try to enforce your rights, and the legal protections degrade, as you observed.

Fighting the mob is very difficult — but they are trying. At least, a watered-down law may still be a law they may be able to enforce...

Re:Nothing "ironic" (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489339)

They were in a lose-lose situation before they started. Ignore the problem, and the copyright law is useless. Try to enforce your rights, and the legal protections degrade, as you observed.

No, really it wasn't. The biggest problem they had was that they weren't selling a product wanted to buy, and that they weren't putting most of the money into making a compelling product. Most people are decent enough, but most people aren't sufficiently stupid to pay for an item that they don't value.

I bought many CDs in the couple of years up until the lawsuits began, I bought a few since, but at this point I won't buy any, and I discourage people from giving me any albums. I'll still buy indie albums, or at least the ones that come from non RIAA affiliated labels, when I can be reasonably sure they aren't paying dues.

They wouldn't be this unpopular if they were just enforcing their legal rights, they're this unpopular because what they are engaging in better resembles extortion than seeking legal relief. Their lack of interest in following typical courtroom procedures, and the very fact that their evidence is frequently unverifiable all but ensures that they will be both loathed and despised for years to come.

They also wouldn't be this unpopular if they were prosecuting their own relatives for similar acts of infringement. I think that was one of the more egregious points, when that child of an executive was caught red handed. Rather than being forced to settle or being drug into court, he was given a stern lecture from his father.

Honestly, how can anybody observe any of that, and still feel like it was a lose-lose. They didn't have to destroy their own image to make the pirates pay. The amount of damage they have themselves willfully inflicted on themselves has been huge. What with the random lawsuits, DRM and the rootkit ready audio CDs.

Re:Nothing "ironic" (5, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489357)

Except it wasn't lose-lose. CD sales were up during Napster. Studies show those who pirate are more likely to buy cds. File sharing is just free advertising. This abuse of their customers has lost them business (I have not bought a cd in 4 or 5 years due to these lawsuits). The correct strategy was for them to ignore personal copying and go after commercial piracy, but they were too big a control freak to do that.

Re:Nothing "ironic" (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489547)

They were in a lose-lose situation before they started. Ignore the problem, and the copyright law is useless. Try to enforce your rights, and the legal protections degrade, as you observed.
Yes they were in a lose-lose situation, but they themselves created that situation. What we're seeing is a disparity between the market domain (i.e. reality) and the legal domain shaking out. The market recognizes that software (including patents, music, pictures, video) has essentially zero cost of duplication and (thanks to the Internet) zero cost of distribution. It wants to drive the cost of such services towards zero. The *AA saw that, panicked, and got a bunch of laws passed which made it illegal to do what the market wanted to do; that made common sense illegal (e.g. I paid for that DRM's music, why can't I have a copy of it both on my computer and my MP3 player?). They took laws created ostensibly to crack down on commercial copyright infringers, and started (ab)using them as a sledgehammer against petty personal infringement.

What we're seeing now is reality reasserting itself over these nonsensical laws. If the RIAA had recognized what was happening and concentrated on developing a workable business model, they wouldn't have put themselves into a lose-lose situation. But the industry as it pre-existed were so abusive of performers' rights that I'm not sure that was even possible. The Internet has made the value of the distributor nearly worthless -- anybody can distribute now, just slap your MP3s onto a web server. Since any workable business model has to accurately reflect the value the distributor adds to the music production process, their revenue would've gone from >95% of the pie to less than 5%. The MPAA is in much better shape because movie production involves a lot more capital (they add much more value to the process), and their final product is more realistically priced ($20-$30 for a DVD or BR/HD-DVD feels about right to me for the value I'm getting, so I don't have much problem justifying to myself paying for it).

Re:Nothing "ironic" (4, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489557)

They're in the position of monks making a living from hand-writing bibles, a year -after- the printing-press has been invented. Sure, neither ignoring the problem, nor trying to sue every user of a printing-press is likely to solve the problem.

There is however potential -- if they want to adapt. And there's signs they're -slowly- getting it. All major record-companies in Norway experimented with various DRMy non-cds, and had massive problems. They've stopped. All of them. Today, unlike 2 years ago, when you buy a CD you actually get a CD.

Online music is also changing to plain unencumbered formats, away from DRMy ones. The DRM -doesn't- stop piracy, and it prevents a lot of otherwise honest customers from shopping. Me for example, I'm happy paying say 2/3rds of the price of a physical-cd for a downloaded-cd (I reckon it's fair the reduced distribution-costs should benefit me to some degree too), but I absolutely refuse to pay even a -single- cent for DRM-encumbered music.

So, in short. The old-fashioned music-industry is doomed. They've got a choice though: do they want to figth the future tooth and nail until it arrives anyway and they're extinct. Or do they want to evolve and adapt and be relevant -- allthough in a different form than today -- also in the future.

Re:Nothing "ironic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489579)

Interesting you would say "Mob". Are we down to mob rule where if the mob doesn't want to pay then they don't have to? It's a no win situation because when profits dry up so will product so in the end the public will loose.

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21488959)

News flash! Kevin DuBrow was found dead after choking on a giant cock. The Medical Examiner reports that DuBrow's mouth and throat where overflowing with cum.

Well Deserved Backfire (4, Insightful)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489565)

They are not trying to preserve copyright, they are trying to make it into something unAmerican that violates the US Constitution. In other words, their actions have destroyed copyright regardless of success or failure. They have used several techniques to make their exclusive franchise eternal, have redefined the meaning of the franchise from protection against commercial publication to nonsensical "making available" and "unauthorized copy," and worst of all have made a civil mater into a criminal one with unusual punishment. To do this they have trampled free speech, due process, the fourth amendment and have technically sabotaged legitimate competitors. That's not copyright, it's information and market control straight out of the former Soviet Union.

It will be good to get back real copyright law and put it in balance with the way information really flows. The goals of copyright law is encouragement of the public domain and to advance the state of the art. People should not lose their house for sharing a few songs, books, movies and other material with their friends. Businesses that can't compete in freedom don't deserve to exist.

$750 (4, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488833)


I've always been amazed by the gall they have quoting that number. What other type of copyright infringement can claim 757.6 times the value of the product as damages? When the SPA goes after companies using pirated commercial software they don't look at an old copy of Windows 98 and try claiming $8000 as damages, do they?

Re:$750 (5, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488941)

Yes, they do. They claim whatever they can get away with. And considering if you have a site license with MS, you agree in part of the license terms to be searched AT your cost.

And if you legally fight them, they have Congress on their side: you pay THEIR lawyer bills.

Re:$750 (5, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488989)

"I've always been amazed by the gall they have quoting that number."

That's the minimum statutory amount. Per S504:

(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just.

Note that the record labels are asking for the minimum allowed. Could be much worse!

"What other type of copyright infringement can claim 757.6 times the value of the product as damages?"

Any other type of infringement where the retail value of the product is around a buck -- that is, not much. The $750 is arbitrary; ie. it'd be the statutory minimum amount if you were nailed for sharing copies of, say, PhotoShop... in which case the ratio would be much lower than 750:1.

The $750 minimum is out-of-date; a remnant of the days before it was so easy to share so much music. It was written in a time when it took a lot of work to distribute 1,000 unique pirated songs.

Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers, but I think that a more fitting statutory minimum should be in the neighborhood of $50 per work. Yes, I know, information wants to be fweeeeeeeeeeeeee, but for as long as copyright law is still around, the courts should be able to issue judgements that are an effective deterrent. If I were nailed for sharing 100 songs and the RIAA could only collect a statutory minimum of $5K from me rather than $75K (as under current law), I'd still get the point that perhaps I shouldn't have helped make other people's information so free after all.

Re:$750 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489337)

Note: That clause says:

a sum of not less than $750

It does not say $750 per song downloaded giving a sum of no less than $billions.

Re:$750 (2, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489389)

"It does not say $750 per song downloaded giving a sum of no less than $billions."

The key phrase in the portion I quoted is "per work." It refers to distinct works, not multiple copies of the same work. For example, the Jammie Thomas judgment was based on the number of unique songs she was sharing, and was not a count of how many times each might have been downloaded from her PC.

Re:$750 (5, Funny)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489345)

This is one of the most honest and unbiased assessments of the whole copyright issue I have ever seen on Slashdot. shark72, you have obviously reached a higher echelon that is beyond the reach of this site's populace. Go! Leave us to our one-sided demise and forge new hopeful alliances to spread your even-handed message!

Copy drug punishment (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489371)


I don't think the laws have adapated to the fact that people are happy to give away copyrighted material for absolutley nothing.
There are two types of groups breaking copyright now.

The actual pirates, copying material and selling it for their own commercial gain, to the detriment of the owner of the IP, and then you have the kids, mothers, grandmothers, students and anyone else dabbling in copyright infringment for personal use.

As with many drug laws in many countries, they have developed laws to severley punish the dealers and producers trying to use drugs for commercial gain, and have a seperate set of punishments for users, only interested in getting high, not making a profit.

This should be taken into consideration in copyright law as well I think. Someone is not recieving fair legal judgment when they are brought up on civil claims designed to punish commercial copyright pirates, for freely sharing, not for profit.

People don't really learn a lesson when you send them bankrupt for sharing 3 or 4 songs with JoeSixpack up the street, they only end up resentful, and make a lot of loud noise which gives your company a very very bad public image.

Re:$750 (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489395)

Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers, but I think that a more fitting statutory minimum should be in the neighborhood of $50 per work. Yes, I know, information wants to be fweeeeeeeeeeeeee, but for as long as copyright law is still around, the courts should be able to issue judgements that are an effective deterrent. If I were nailed for sharing 100 songs and the RIAA could only collect a statutory minimum of $5K from me rather than $75K (as under current law), I'd still get the point that perhaps I shouldn't have helped make other people's information so free after all.

And what if the number of songs is 10000? You'd need to be fined for half a million to "get the point"?

The minimum should only apply to the complete fine, not each item. And then even $750 would make sense.

Re:$750 (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489491)

"And what if the number of songs is 10000? You'd need to be fined for half a million to "get the point"?"

Slippery sloping can be fun, but let's call it what it is. Does anybody reading this really have 10,000 songs in their share directory? That's about 30GB of music, if my math is correct. It's also about 10X of the threshold for criminal infringement. It's probably best to stick with numbers that are applicable to the real world.

"The minimum should only apply to the complete fine, not each item. And then even $750 would make sense."

That's an interesting idea, but it's a bit like the flat tax: the large-scale pirates would get off easy, and the little guys would get the rough end. Can you imagine what the record labels might do if the law were changed so that the minimum statutory were $750 total? They might start suing college students with one song in their share directory. And, your hypothetical fellow distributing 10,000 songs might only be liable for a $750 fine.

Re:$750 (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489545)

More likely, the guy with 10k songs would get the 30,000 dollar maximum. There is a reason they have a large gap between the two numbers.

Re:$750 (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489497)

The $750 minimum is out-of-date; a remnant of the days before it was so easy to share so much music. It was written in a time when it took a lot of work to distribute 1,000 unique pirated songs.
Actually, it was written in a time when there was significant economics of scale. Imagine this:
100 people each make 100 copies of 1 work, swapping physical copies (no further copyright violation) so they have one copy each = 10000 illegal copies, 100*750$ liability.
100 people each make 1 copy of 100 works using a P2P network = 10000 illegal copies, 100*100*750$ liability.

Basicly the damages increase immensly when you go from "few works*many copies" to "many works*few copies".

Re:$750 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489519)

Note that the record labels are asking for the minimum allowed.


Isn't it more likely the actual damages are the minimum allowed?

Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers, but I think that a more fitting statutory minimum should be in the neighborhood of $50 per work.


Disagree. $50 per work is just as punitive as $750 per work to most individuals - and really screws over the folks with, say, $400 software being infringed upon.

A fitting 'statutory minimum' should be [statutory price of a work (based on market values for the type of work)] * [some statutory number of infringements]. The plaintiff can then decide whether it is worth it to nail down the actual damages. The end result will be judgments that are fair for all involved and a lot of saved time. It will behoove the plaintiffs to go after the really big guys for actual damages, but still be fair to the 'little guy'.

obvious (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488859)

The Court has ordered UMG Recordings, Warner Bros. Records, Interscope Records, Motown, and SONY BMG to disclose their expenses-per-download

downl0wned!

Am I the only one? (4, Insightful)

TheGoodSteven (1178459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488861)

Am I the only one that gets some sort of happiness from the RIAA's obvious abuse of copyright laws? The more and more they are able to stretch them, the more and more obvious it becomes that the whole deal needs an overhaul. At one point lawmakers are gonna put their foot down and make sure this comes to an end, and that it can never happen again, right?...........right?

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488937)

Why would any law maker help people ? It's not their job any more. They are bought and sold by these people daily.

Short of the public getting up and saying enough is enough, I don't think we will see any lawmaker get up and notice this. If they do they will probably be given a hefty donation to their "re-election" campaign and the spouse of the lawmaker hired for a job pouring milk in the head quarters for $250 k a month.

Re:Am I the only one? (4, Informative)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488955)

At one point lawmakers are gonna put their foot down and make sure this comes to an end, and that it can never happen again, right?...........right?

Have you ever paid attention to all of those 10,000 page "free trade" treaties we keep signing? Almost every treaty has a provision regarding copyright. Generally each treaty requires stronger and stronger copyright provisions. If congress actually did come to their senses and balance copyright law, we would be in violation of tons of treaties and subject to massive economic sanctions.

Balanced copyrights will require a worldwide effort and support from the heads of state of dozens of countries...just to get started.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489171)

Have you ever paid attention to all of those 10,000 page "free trade" treaties we keep signing? Almost every treaty has a provision regarding copyright. Generally each treaty requires stronger and stronger copyright provisions

I am just guessing based on things I have read elsewhere, but I suspect that those provisions are usually included at the insistence of the U.S. and if the U.S. asked to have them dropped, many of the treaty partners would do so in a second.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489567)

The US is not going to drop them. The executive makes up the treaty. They know that the US mostly export IP, in the form of cultural items mostly (films, music, some software). The US wants severe and enforced IP laws everywhere in the world, because this is in its best commercial interest. The US executive does not care in the least for civil liberties of non-voters.

Here the judiciary arm of US gov. is asking itself whether this rigmarole makes sense, but this debate will not affect treaties in the least.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489461)

The US ighnores many treaty provisions at their own leisure anyway, I don't think there'd be much of a response.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489283)

At one point lawmakers are gonna put their foot down and make sure this comes to an end...

Only if it was to become a public issue at election time. We're not there yet. Not even close. The lobbyists(and we all know who finances them) are the only ones to bring it up to congress while the rest of us stand by and watch and generally re-elect them anyway.

Re:Am I the only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489293)

[...]lawmakers are gonna put their foot down and make sure this comes to an end, and that it can never happen again, right?...........right?
You *must* be new here.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489503)

Sometimes, if you can scare enough people with the threat of the end of all they hold dear, people will let you rob them blind.

Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (5, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488871)

You don't have to pay the iTunes Music Store to download music legally. Many musicians offer free downloads of their music as a way to promote themselves. I'm one such artist [geometricvisions.com] . You could really help me out if you shared my music over the Internet.

You can find many other such artists, and free, legal music hosting sites in my article Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads [goingware.com] .

Re:Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (2, Interesting)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489001)

Yeah just don't use bit torrent to help market yourself , or the isps will throttle you and your fans who are trying to help you out.

Re:Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489013)


I'm not sure that it's my type of music (will listen tomorrow) but I'll help with your efforts by downloading and seeding your 32 MB, 192 Kbit MP3 [oggfrog.com] version.

Come on /.ers, put your bandwidth where your mouth is.

Re:Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489097)

You can register your music with imeem.com & snocap and get a cut of the ad revenue whenever anyone plays your songs on imeem.com, that's a new business model which I've not seen discussed on slashdot no download needed when things can just stream from the network.

Re:Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489479)

Streaming music sounds like a horrible idea, that stuff isn't big and local storage conserves bandwidth and reduces the possible points of failure, never mind it's compatible witht he other locally stored music.

Re:Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489291)

That's good stuff you have. I submitted it to StumbleUpon, I hope that helps spread your material

Re:Stay out of trouble by downloading legal music (3, Interesting)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489303)

I just found iRATE [sourceforge.net] on one of the pages you linked. It's a nifty idea. Downloads a bunch of random stuff for you directly from the publisher, and you rate it. Then it downloads more stuff based on what you like, and what other users who liked that like. Fun :)

iRATE Radio will be relaunched soon (4, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489353)

It was unmaintained for a while, but has some fresh new developers. Many of the download links in its server are broken, mainly due to the Internet Underground Music Archive going out of business. But they are even as we speak removing the broken links, and adding new ones.

So if you find that iRATE doesn't work well for you today, give it a week or two and it should work much better.

Good for the Goose (2, Insightful)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488905)

As the saying goes "What's good for the goose is good for the gander". If the RIAA can press for wide ranging discovery that is intrusive for the defendants, they have to be able to do the same to plantiffs when they're after information that is relevant to their defense.

I would hope that a judge wouldn't accept costs more of than 70c per song since that's about how much they get from iTunes (the cost per download shouldn't include Apples cut of the 99c since of course that's Apples income not the Record Companies). I'd run whatever they come up with past an accountant though given the recording industrys penchant for creative accounting.

This is really slow (3, Interesting)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488909)

Is it just me or is there a ridiculous number of exhibits and motions in this Lindor case? I count 239 links on Ray's blog just for this one case. I noticed this link [ilrweb.com] from December 14, 2006--a year ago--in which the plaintiffs appear to be stalling on this very issue. The letter makes reference to a hearing from August of 2006. Has this one issue really been going on that long?

Re:This is really slow (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488931)

Yes. Click the third link in the story summary to see an article on Slashdot about the beginning of this motion, over a year ago.

Re:This is really slow (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489213)

Is it just me or is there a ridiculous number of exhibits and motions in this Lindor case? I count 239 links on Ray's blog just for this one case. I noticed this link from December 14, 2006--a year ago--in which the plaintiffs appear to be stalling on this very issue. The letter makes reference to a hearing from August of 2006. Has this one issue really been going on that long?
1. No it's not just you; it is ridiculous. Ms. Lindor has never even used a computer.

2. It took us 6 months to get the revenue information. Now it's been 4 1/2 months so far to try and get the expense information.

Re:This is really slow (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489347)

Now it's been 4 1/2 months so far to try and get the expense information.

I read the request. It is comprehensive and complete. Please post the response you get. I am interested in the other information you requested such as the setting of the clocks, (you should have asked for time zone for all and if DST was in effect) as well as all the information on how the data was collected, even to the naming of the text file. Great job. I hope they provide the information. I can't wait to add the Media Sentry IP range to my blocklist.

I am sure others will want to block the username they use, but I don't have any P-P installed except the BitTorent that came by default on Ubuntu. Trying to remove it is a problem because it is used for program updates.

Well.. (5, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488911)

According to the copyright office [copyright.gov] , damages go from 750$ to 30,000$. Unknown infringement is no less than 200$. Known, willful infringement is no greater than 150,000$. These all are statutory damages.

I guess the next question is to actually ask if these statutory damages are constitutional or not, which is being asked now. Really, what else is there?

Re:Well.. (2, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488999)

I suspect the court will rule the extreme statutory damages amount to a fine rather than compensation for a tort and thus can only be imposed after a criminal trial.

That's what is being asked, more or less (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489029)

Just because there's a statue that says X, doesn't mean said statue is legal. It appears that they are claiming it's a 5th and 14th amendment violation, specifically the due process parts. My guess is the argument is based along the lines of the fact that the fines are excessive in relation to the damage. While it is not uncommon for fines to exceed damages, there is generally a somewhat reasonable limit to it. 1000 times, which is what it being claimed (the claim the songs are worth basically $0.70 to the record companies) is well, stupid. Imagine if you took something from a store, maybe you didn't even mean to you just weren't thinking. So they press charges for shoplifting. You then find out that there's a $3000 fine for that $3 pack of gum. A bit excessive maybe? Or how about you are in an accident that's your fault. You cause about $1000 worth of damage to the other guy's car. However you are informed the fine for doing that is $1,000,000.

So their argument is, and I think quite reasonably, that the fines are just unconstitutional. Remember: Laws have to be legal too. Plenty of times in this country idiot legislators pass laws that are in contradiction to higher laws. Just because there is a statue setting damages at a minimum of $750 per song, doesn't make it right.

Re:That's what is being asked, more or less (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489195)

---Just because there's a statue that says X, doesn't mean said statue is legal.

Too true. But getting The Judges to even accept the case will be tough. Better hope it gets past their clerks and 3 of them 'like' the case enough.

---It appears that they are claiming it's a 5th and 14th amendment violation, specifically the due process parts. My guess is the argument is based along the lines of the fact that the fines are excessive in relation to the damage. While it is not uncommon for fines to exceed damages, there is generally a somewhat reasonable limit to it. 1000 times, which is what it being claimed (the claim the songs are worth basically $0.70 to the record companies) is well, stupid. Imagine if you took something from a store, maybe you didn't even mean to you just weren't thinking. So they press charges for shoplifting. You then find out that there's a $3000 fine for that $3 pack of gum. A bit excessive maybe? Or how about you are in an accident that's your fault. You cause about $1000 worth of damage to the other guy's car. However you are informed the fine for doing that is $1,000,000.

I can explain till I'm blue in the face. Statutory is statutory. However, reasoning behind those numbers will probably come out in the courtroom.

The copyright sections Title 17 Chapter 5 Section 504 basis is from the year 1976, in which the only real copyright infringement cases carried out were against commercial infringers. Since the legitimate copyright holders had no way to tell how many infringing copies were sold, they petitioned Congress to create "fair" statutory penalties. The reason for these massive penalties were solely to shut down any business that violates them, and fast. Remember, these were the people who had shell companies to mass-produce copyrighted works for a nice profit.

I think it'd be fair to say that individuals were not harassed for infringement when they traded 8-tracks and cassettes.

Fast-forward to today.... The stated laws do not enclose for- or non-profit, but they do differentiate willful and unknowing. Since these laws are on the books, they are being used in ways unintended when they were first passed through Congress. It's up to people like Ray Beckerman to get through to the Supremes and fight for due process and possibly 'cruel and unusual punishment', although I doubt that would go anywhere (it must not be both, one or the other is A-OK).

---So their argument is, and I think quite reasonably, that the fines are just unconstitutional. Remember: Laws have to be legal too. Plenty of times in this country idiot legislators pass laws that are in contradiction to higher laws. Just because there is a statue setting damages at a minimum of $750 per song, doesn't make it right.

But it's been around since '76. Inflation and all says that the cost of infringement now is cheaper than before. I'd imagine that a court would look at the long term stability of that law and perhaps have an issue on doubting its constitutionality now, but I could be very wrong.

Re:That's what is being asked, more or less (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489245)

For some good reading on the constitutionality issue, I recommend Cam Barker's article in Texas Law Review, "Grossly Excessive Penalties in the Battle Against Illegal File-Sharing: The Troubling Effects of Aggregating Minimum Statutory Damages for Copyright Infringement" [blogspot.com]

Explicit encouragement of promotion? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489489)

Ray,

Elsewhere Michael D. Crawford posted the following:

  by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Tuesday November 27, @12:52AM (#21488871)
(http://www.geometricvisions.com/ | Last Journal: Monday May 02 2005, @05:35PM)
You don't have to pay the iTunes Music Store to download music legally. Many musicians offer free downloads of their music as a way to promote themselves. I'm one such artist [geometricvisions.com]. You could really help me out if you shared my music over the Internet.

--

If we were to talk about the scientific method, we'd need "unknown artists" (zero initial expected sales) who actively encourage such promotion and then report later linked sales. Does your firm have any suggestions about a kind of standardized document that describes this kind of "license to promote" but would protect him should an aggressive media company were to usurp his music as alleged in the Timbaland/Nelly Furtado situation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV2fTEeP6GM [youtube.com]

Is there precedent for different types of encouraging licenses similar to the software world? (Share only, derivatives allowed, etc.)

So far on my list are Mr. Crawford and Adam Dada who actively promote sharing of their material. But how can we standardize this?

Re:That's what is being asked, more or less (3, Interesting)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489281)

The question I'm asking is whether damages are a form of punishment. If they are, then asking the defendant to pay 1000x the value of a work could constitute cruel and unusual punishment in my eyes.

Re:That's what is being asked, more or less (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489425)

Now that I think of it, that is an interesting point of view..

Justice Brennan said in the case Furman v. Georgia (1972) about "Cruel and Unusual Punishment":

        * The "essential predicate" is "that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity,"
        * "A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion."
        * "A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society."
        * "A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary."

One could argue that the punishment is completely arbitrary. Case in point here [engadget.com] . Record exec's son given a pass on infringement. Handing down these punishments seem indicative as a detractor due to falling quarterly earnings. They also intentionally go after poor and sick people as they are more likely to 'pony up' more than well to do people. I guess cancer-ridden English-illiterate Mexican immigrants are a prime target...

And I wonder if the 750$ MINIMUM per song could be shown to be "clearly and totally rejected throughout society" could be proved? Perhaps a Zogby poll could be arranged, but phrasing the questions for fairness are extremely hard. The big question: How many people support these large mandatory amounts?

The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (5, Interesting)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488935)

Just out of curiosity, has anyone on Slashdot been on the receiving end of an RIAA suit, or possibly a lawyer dealing with a client who has been? Or not even directly involved, but just know someone who's been through this ordeal?

Every time a story like this comes up I read as many comments as I can and think, "Well fuck, if it's this obvious to everyone here that what's happening is out of line and in some cases illegal, why can't that message be communicated more broadly?"

I have an extensive list of information I've been saving from Slashdot just on the off chance I ever get an RIAA letter in the mail (I d/l maybe an album per month, 90% of the time I buy it after listening). If I find myself facing one of these suits, I would immediately turn over to my lawyer everything I've compiled to be sure they're aware of what should be argued and what RIAA claims are total BS.

Is there an existing repository for information like this, or is it time people like us Slashdotters created one?

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488969)

Just hope you hire a good lawyer.

About these lawsuits: Their settlements do NOT waive their right to still sue you. They'll just claim it was for those 5 songs.. they are worth750$ per song, dontchaknow.

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (2, Funny)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488979)

Just out of curiosity, has anyone on Slashdot been on the receiving end of an RIAA suit, or possibly a lawyer dealing with a client who has been? Or not even directly involved, but just know someone who's been through this ordeal?
...
Is there an existing repository for information like this, or is it time people like us Slashdotters created one?


The story submitter is a Slashdotter/lawyer [slashdot.org] who has a site dedicated to this sort of stuff [blogspot.com] . Of course, for legal advice that's not technically advice, I pay attention to whatever cpt kangarooski [slashdot.org] has to say. Because he has a cooler name and a lower UID.

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488983)

Errm, you're not from around here are you?

This story was submitted by a lawyer (the almighty Ray Beckermann) who has been involved in this stuff for quite a while now.

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (5, Interesting)

Adam8g (1181859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489015)

Yes - My son.

He is a second year student at USC (University of Southern California)

The attorney letter is from Holm Roberts & Owen LLP from their Denver office.

The school passed on the letter and when I called the school's Acting Litigation Manager - was told that the school would pass on student info if a lawsuit is filed and the school receives a subpoena.

To say I am disappointed at the school's passive position is an understatement. California has very strong laws requiring schools to protect the privacy of students - and if there should be legal action would be compelled to act in protecting student privacy.

Since the school has very strong ties with the recording / film industry, and the LA basin is full of attorneys and judges that are graduates, the lawyer I consulted suggested settling.

hummmm

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489069)

Well, that's what your son gets for ripping off other people's copyrighted IP. Your son is a THIEF. Clearly YOU are not a good parent.

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489125)

You're kidding, right?

How many stories have we seen about people being sued that didn't even own computers or were deceased?

I am not saying that is the case here, or that his son did not steal anything. What I am saying is that the RIAA is by no means an entity that does not make mistakes. Just because they say he's a thief does not mean he is.

Besides, I think it's about time we took a second look at this whole digital music thing and decide what actually constitutes thievery.

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (1)

mingot (665080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489183)

How many stories have we seen about people being sued that didn't even own computers or were deceased?

5 or 6.

And all of the rest?

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489105)

"California has very strong laws requiring schools to protect the privacy of students - and if there should be legal action would be compelled to act in protecting student privacy."

Maybe I'm missing something here, but what I get out of this is that California law requires that the school protect your son, but is choosing not too. Shouldn't this be a major concern in the overall case?

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489277)

Here's what I see out of it...

USC is a private university [google.com] .

California has stringent laws concerning privacy.

Does a private university have in loco parentis on students who enroll there?

The Kentucky State Supreme Court says according to the case Gott v. Berea College [wikipedia.org] that they do have that right. They successfully claimed their right was derived from the contract between the student and the College.

I'm wondering if this is how they wish to play that... if it so, good luck.. not it'll do you any good.

Re:The Slashdot crowd and the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489541)

"I have an extensive list of information I've been saving from Slashdot just on the off chance I ever get an RIAA letter in the mail (I d/l maybe an album per month, 90% of the time I buy it after listening). If I find myself facing one of these suits, I would immediately turn over to my lawyer everything I've compiled to be sure they're aware of what should be argued and what RIAA claims are total BS."

For starters if you do get a letter from the RIAA, you'd have a rather difficult time arguing your innocence given that you just publicly admitted to illegally d/ling music...

Even discounting that 90% you're still talking about enough songs to make you liable for $10,000 or so dollars under the current law (around 15 songs).

Can't scare New Yorkers (3, Interesting)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21488965)

While the Brooklyn bench has its issues, the RIAA, etc have no "home court advantage" in NYC, nor do they impress the Court system on any level. Unlike a smaller burg this will cut no ice in NYC. RIAA, welcome to an unimpressed, hot Bench. Bout time.

Lawyers fees? (1)

ITI_guy (1021879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489045)

Maybe the lawyers will find out how much the songs are actually worth to the RIAA and demand they be paid the typical ~30% for settlements. Or will this backfire and show the artists how much they are getting screwed on their end of the record deals? ..sig goes here..

750 (5, Funny)

NetNed (955141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489093)

RIAA:"It's 70 cents for the song and $749.30 in cost of PR for restoring faith of our customers/artists/record labels"

Judge:Are you sure?

RIAA: "Ok, it's really 70 cents for the song, $749 for lawyers and $.30 in PR"

Judge: Come on now?

RIAA: "Alright, it's $.03 for the song, $200 for lawyers and $549.97 for your reelection campaign and all the free downloads of "The Gap Band" you can handle? How's that sound judge? Judge? Judge? Is this thing on?"

Punitive Damages and Unusual Punishment (5, Interesting)

bagsc (254194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489107)

Quoth the Wikipedia "Punitive Damages:"
"statistical studies by law professors and the Department of Justice have found that punitive damages are only awarded in two percent of civil cases which go to trial, and that the median punitive damage award is between $38,000 and $50,000.[7]

In response to judges and juries which award high punitive damages verdicts, the Supreme Court of the United States has made several decisions which limit awards of punitive damages through the due process of law clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In a number of cases, the Court has indicated that a 4:1 ratio between punitive and compensatory damages is broad enough to lead to a finding of constitutional impropriety, and that any ratio of 10:1 or higher is almost certainly unconstitutional."

If the song costs $1, and punitive damages of $749 are assessed, it's almost certainly unconstitutional. So why should it be legal statutorily?

Re:Punitive Damages and Unusual Punishment (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489227)

Does it really matter though? Let me explain...

A lawyer charges 400$ an hour. You need 15 hours billable time to fight 12 "songs" or settle and have possibility of suit later.

Or lets fight it out.. You win a unconstitutional punitive damage challenge.

They sue you for 12 more songs.

Sounds like a winner...

Just like the S.L.A.P.P.

Sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489175)

I am for abolishing copyrights altogether. But I feel even more strongly that people should abide by the law. I have more sympathy for illegal immigrants than I have for people who intentionally violate the copyright law by distributing music and TV programs without the copyright holder's permission.

It is sad when you achieve your political objective through rampant illegality instead of the perfectly suitable political process.

Martin Luther King said "One has a moral... (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489333)

... responsibility to disobey unjust laws." From his Letter from a Birmingham Jail [upenn.edu] .

One reason it's important to do so is that the US Supreme Court doesn't render advisory opinions; to have the Court overturn a law that makes something a crime, somebody has to actually break it, be tried and found guilty, appeal and then lose in the appellate courts, then appeal to the Supreme Court.

Martin Luther King for illegal copying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21489431)

Civil disobedience comes into question in serious civil and human rights issues. Music downloads are not among them.

Every law is wrong in somebody's opinion, or the law wouldn't have been needed in the first place.

A glance into the crystal ball (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489359)

I asked my crystal ball (my magic 8 ball is in the laundry, sorry), and here's what we got.

RIAA lawyer: "You asked for the reason of asking for 750 dollars per song shared, and here's the result:

70 cents per song earned.
An average of 1100 downloaders per song and per source.
That would net about 770, we rounded down in favor of the defendent."

Judge: "I see. And where do you get those numbers? The 1100 downloaders per song and source?"
RIAA lawyer: "Statistics" (slams five pounds of paper onto the judge's desk."
Judge: "I see. But wouldn't after some time a saturation set in? With everyone feeding 1100 downloaders, and each of them again feeding 1100..."
RIAA lawyer (pauses): "Indeed. Well, then let me also file against the defendent for running a pyramid scheme."

Re:A glance into the crystal ball (1)

tygt (792974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489469)

Except, of course, that the lawyer is only capable of filing a civil suit, and so would have to ask a DA to file the ponzi charges (criminal)...

It would kind of make sense... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21489507)

It would kind of make sense for them to to try get larger sums of money if they knew how many had downloaded the music. Then it's reasonable to think they could demand quite a bit more than 99 cents per song at least. But it's just that I rarely hear them coming forward with such numbers, and I'm not sure if they even know them, or if they just eavesdrop on the file sharer.
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