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A Look at The RIAA's War Against College Students

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the tomb-of-the-anonymous-peer dept.

The Courts 159

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "p2pnet.net has put together a fascinating retrospective on the RIAA's war against college students, commenced February 28, 2007. The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy — corporate "content," as the Big 4 call their formulaic outpourings.' In a scathing indictment not only of the major record labels, but of those schools, administrators, and educators who have yet to take a stand against it, Jon Newton reviews a number of landmark moments in the 11-month old 'reign of terror'. They include the announcement of the bizarre 'early settlement' sale, the sudden withdrawal of a case in which a 17 year old Texas high school student had been subpoenaed while in class during school hours to attend a deposition the very next day during his taking of a standardized test, the call by Harvard law professors for the university to fight back when and if attacked, and the differing reactions by other schools."

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when (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283070)

when will common sense prevail?

when will the courts realize that big business is assaulting citizens.

why can't anonymous declare war on the RIAA, they are a far bigger threat to society than Scientology.

"steal, steal, give it to all your friends, and steal some more...they're ripping people off and its not right" - Trent Reznor
http://youtube.com/watch?v=TJ5iHaV0dP4 [youtube.com]

Re:when (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283272)

This coming from the same guy who complained [news.com] that only 1 in 5 people who downloaded Saul William's album, which he produced, chose to pay for it. I find that to be a pretty good ratio considering they didn't even offer a way to sample the album without downloading the entire thing.

Re:when (3, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284054)

I find that to be a pretty good ratio


I must say, he really swings from one extreme - "steal, steal ... and steal some more" - to the other - ISP tax to do things normally covered by Fair Use. How bout we meet somewhere in the middle, Trent?

These guys made $140,000 in three months. If they used opportunities like the interview you linked to put out a positive message, those numbers could grow, maybe to the point where they could "cover the costs and perhaps make a living doing it." Hell, they could even partner with one of those evil record labels at a later data and release a physical CD ala In Rainbows.

Whining to interviewers that four fifths of the people who downloaded the album you put on your website "stole" it and proposing to tax everyone - even those who don't listen to pop music - doesn't entice me to buy - or steal - his album.

Re:when (2, Informative)

xXShadowstormXx (939073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284296)

I find that to be a pretty good ratio


I must say, he really swings from one extreme - "steal, steal ... and steal some more" - to the other - ISP tax to do things normally covered by Fair Use. How bout we meet somewhere in the middle, Trent?
Trent never said he supported an ISP tax:

"I left the conversation thinking I'd cleared up the misconception that I thought the entire release of "niggytardust" was a failure. Well, it appears the story was written before I was involved, and I woke up the next day to find out I'm a supporter of an ISP tax. Thanks, CNET."
From http://www.nin.com/index.html#2882965178223012038 [nin.com]

Re:when (2, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284594)

Trent never said he supported an ISP tax


Well, here's what the blog CastrTroy linked to has to say on that:

More than a week after this story was published, Trent Reznor accused CNET News.com of misquoting him about the issue of a music tax on ISPs. We have posted an audio excerpt of the Reznor interview here. For the sake of full disclosure, we have also updated this story to include the text of what he said following his remarks about the ISP tax.


And here's the relevent quote, again according to the blog:

For me, I choose the battles I can fight. In my mind, I think if there was an ISP tax of some sort, we can say to the consumer, "All music is now available and able to be downloaded and put in your car and put in your iPod and put up your a-- if you want, and it's $5 on your cable bill or ISP bill."

Someone asked me recently whether I've used 4-1-1 lately. I said 'Not really." They said do you know you're paying for that every month? 'I am?' Yeah, X-amount of your money goes to a service that you don't even use.'


Is Trent saying that those are not his words? Because if they are, it sounds a lot to me like he's endorsing a tax on ISP use as a means of compensating artists, just like the tax Canadians pay on blank CDs.

The problem with these taxes is that they are levied against everyone, including people who don't "consume" Trent's music. They also penalize - and put at a disadvantage - those who use blank CDs or Internet connections in the running of their own small business or even the production of their own art.

It's great that Trent is out there talking about these issues, I just think he needs to take a more moderate point of view. Somewhere between stealing everything and taxing everyone, there is a solution.

Re:when (5, Funny)

davecarlotub (835831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283532)

"why can't anonymous declare war on the RIAA, they are a far bigger threat to society than Scientology."

Scientologists get angry, real angry. makes for better lulz. as they say...

Re:when (1, Funny)

dieth (951868) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283744)

No sadly anonymous' hacking attempts are rather meh, their collection of hackers probably have the combined IQ of all the mIRC script kiddies from the late 90s. Sadly that's still a single digit number.

Re:when (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283894)

anonymous != hackers. mediafag.

Re:when (2, Funny)

lattyware (934246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283984)

Yeah, They are hackers on steroids! There is a big difference!

Re:when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22284338)

IMMA CHARGIN MAH HAXORS!

Re:when (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283840)

yeah..big business is making the citizens steal from them! how dare they want defend themselves against having their product stolen. everything should be free...and stealing should be a right! we should all just open up our houses and bank accounts and let citizens take whatever they want...that's how the world should operate man! whatever we do to make a living should just be up for grabs. if we make something and someone takes it...that's fine. if we work and our bosses decide just to take our work and not pay us for it...that's fine. peace out and groove on.

$$$ is King (5, Interesting)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283088)

More and more, corporate America has been ready and willing to screw over the "consumer" in order to make more money. The media industry's stranglehold on their particular market is a stockholder's dream come true.

As long as people are willing to shell out the $$ for the crap they keep shoveling out, not much is going to change.

True, but not as recent as you think (-1, Offtopic)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283376)

Yeah, the RIAA sucks. They're predatory. But they can't hold a candle to the tobacco industry.

Read this. [gaspforair.com]

This is an industry that tries to hook people by marketing to children, adding adjuncts to tobacco so it's more addictive, and putting 4.9 million people per year in an early grave. [who.int] By a painful death too - I got to watch my father die from cancer. It's horrific. And these people do it to millions every year.

For money.

And they're not the only ones. Big business has been dumping toxic waste next to day care centers, [nytimes.com] clear cutting rainforests, [mongabay.com] and blocking access to AIDS medications [actupparis.org] for a long time now.

You will never see the evil that human beings are capable of until you mix big money and big business. It's astonishing that these people are even the same species as the rest of us.

I guess that's why I'm not shocked and outraged about the RIAA. I won't get really surprised until they start shooting people in the head over a $15 cd. That'd be about par for the course, IMHO.

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283462)

Was that a supposed to be a threadjack attempt, or just a troll? Whatever else it was ... it was off topic.

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283786)

Yes, but they don't sue their fucking customers.

It's really not that hard to not smoke.

Being wrongfully accused of theft, and then sued for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, is caused through no fault of your own. Unlike smoking.

Yes, I said wrongfully accused.

Oh, and yes, I do smoke cigarettes. And if I die from it, I am not going to whine like a little baby and blame the company I bought them from.

I bought them. No one forced me to.

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (3, Insightful)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283980)

And if I die from it, I am not going to whine like a little baby and blame the company I bought them from.


Because, of course, you would be dead...

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284012)

I completely agree with you - but you don't take a copy of the cigarettes, make a copy of them yourself and pay nothing to the manufacturers do you? ;)

Although actually, I'd be interested to hear of a comparison between what percent of music is pirated and what percentage of cigarettes have not had their tax paid.

Similar situation?

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284090)

Umm, if you could copy cigarettes would you consider it necessary to invent a law to prevent it or would you consider that an insane law that could only exist if the government were corrupt and taking bribes from cigarette manufacturers?

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284200)

Slightly leading question... but isn't non-monopolistic competition healthy?

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] - it is estimated that 25-30% of all cigarettes smoked in the [UK] country avoid UK taxes.

From the BPI [64.233.183.104] - 10% - estimated UK music piracy rate, of which Internet comprises of 5% of that 10% (yeah, thats 0.5% of the total population).

Maybe the RIAA/MPAA should move into cigarette taxation. Seriously, is 5% a major amount? Markets, Car Boot Sales & Street Vendors apparently contribute to 31% of that 10% (that's 3.1% of the total population, obviously). Why are Internet users and students being attacked the most? Easy targets?

Re:True, but not as recent as you think (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284772)

Why are Internet users and students being attacked the most? Easy targets?


From their standpoint, I'd guess that they see the Internet as a larger expansion risk. Street Vendors aren't going to open up stores and move into major malls, but the web 2.0 epoch is upon us, and the internet shows a lot of potential for expanding that piracy.

Not that I defend them, it's just that I can see how they'd fall into the blunder of fighting the goliath.

Stranglehold? (4, Informative)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283724)

The media and entertainment companies' stranglehold on a dying business model is hardly a stockholders' dream.

Warner Music (WMG) stock, 2006: ~$30, Today, ~$8.00; DreamWorks SKG (DWA), 2005: ~$40, Today, ~$25; CBS Broadcasting (CBS) 2000: ~$45, Today: ~$25.

The market conditions surrounding the film, music and broadcasting industries are incredibly volatile right now. I'll grant you that they're pursuing mostly counterproductive strategies in their efforts to stabilize themselves, and DRM + consumer abuse is hardly helping matters. Still in all, mere perception that (Is Media Corporation) == (Rolling in Money and Laughing Maniacally) is a gratifying mental image, but it isn't exactly the case.

Re:$$$ is King (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283886)

As long as people are willing to shell out the $$ for the crap they keep shoveling out, not much is going to change.

Haven't bought a single CD or DVD since Sony/BMG put that root kit thing out. Not a one. Not going to either until this fix the problems in this industry. My form of protest to the way the music industry is treating their customers like criminals.

Re:$$$ is King (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284754)

On an unrelated note, there has been quite a turbulence here in Hong Kong which basically shattered my last hopes in a fair and just legal system. It seems that the only conclusion here is that $ is king too.

A (rather unsatisfactory) link here http://batgwa.com/story.php?id=556 [batgwa.com] . Western media coverage has been scarce AFAIK.

I don't know how things are in the US of A, but what the police has done here is arresting unrelated people (the guy arrested was OBVIOUSLY just a random internet guy, and OBVIOUSLY he wasn't the main perpetrator, nor even distantly related in any way. And everybody with half a brain knew that. And they still arrested him. Granted the charges (porno related charges basically) are technically within the letter of the law but the measures were drastic. No bail, awaiting trial 8 weeks. In fact actual prison time even if the charges were proved might have been less... And all that because there's a lot of $ at stake in the photos... we're still a pretty conservative place when it comes to bedroom matters, and those celebrities "lose" so much face emotionally and socially that it's quite hard to wash off all the negative press. It's not like we can have celebrities like Paris Hilton selling their sex videos....

OK this is way off topic. It's just outrageous and I'm just venting the fumes here... sorry...

"Soulskill"? (-1, Troll)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283118)

The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy -- corporate "content," as the Big 4 call their formulaic outpourings.

This new editor is really off to a rousing start, with one of the most pointless Ask Slashdot's ever, followed by something that's moronic even by New York Country Lawyer's rather ambitious standards of moron.

Re:"Soulskill"? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283212)

Yeah, but I like too much his special tongue swirl around the head.

Plus, he's a heavy rimmer, which is hard to come by.

-cmdrtaco

Max Headroom all over again. (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283124)

The world is starting to look more and more like the world of Max Headroom [maxheadroom.com] .

So it seems like the controversy if the rights to the TV series may actually be a facade that's used to avoid citizens to be too well-informed about the dark future that lies ahead.

Death throes (2, Insightful)

HW_Hack (1031622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283144)

A large predatory animal can be quite dangerous once wounded (by lack of CD sales) and will attack anything

Re:Death throes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283352)

The RIAA/MPAA morons haven't figured out that attacking the teens and young adults of today is the same as attacking the older adults of tomorrow. And those older adults will remember how they were treated and some will become politicians. "Death throes" is right on target.

Re:Death throes (2, Insightful)

ilikepi314 (1217898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283470)

That's too far in the future for them to even fathom. The whole reason they're doing this is they want profits NOW. No delayed gratification, they want to be rich right now.

These organizations may not survive another generation if they keep bullying the younger kids, but it won't matter to current CEOs at all; by then, they'll be rich and retired and possibly even already passed away. It largely won't impact them if we aren't going to do anything about it for 20 years, so why should they care? They're getting away with it so far. They may not be all that stupid; actually, somewhat smart, just very near-sighted and not very ethical.

They'd stop this nonsense in a heartbeat if a couple judges made a stand and said they owed millions for making a stupid lawsuit; that threatens their retirement in the Bahamas, and they'd rather lay off the lawsuits than loose their riches.

Re:Death throes (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283674)

A large predatory animal can be quite dangerous once wounded (by lack of CD sales) and will attack anything

By the same token, when a large predatory animal starts being a threat where they were a member of society, they find the community no longer will do business with him and only has a party when he is dead.

He hasn't yet figured this out to fix lagging CD sales. Some of the labels are figuring it out. The RIAA radar is a hint for some.

http://www.riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com]

Being listed here is a bad dent in sales. Failing to display the Compact Disc tm logo is another dent in sales as without it, DRM and copy protection problems are likely. A high price is also a factor as is participation in the loudness war. A few are getting it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war [wikipedia.org]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7t40xBpqfE [youtube.com]

Re:Death throes (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283998)

That has lot of errors though... I just looked up an independent artist I know of and it listed one of his albums as published by the RIAA which is just plain wrong.. he hates record companies, after a brief fling with them about 10 years ago, and so publishes under his own label (and does quite well in fact).

Incoherent article (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283176)

"The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy -- corporate "content," as the Big 4 call their formulaic outpourings.' "

If it's really crap like you say, is it really worth listening to at all? Why even download it "for free" if you think it's crap? It just sounds like a sad excuse to download. There are alternatives to "Big 4" music, unfortunately, sometimes the anti-RIAA crowds neglect to mention them.

Re:Incoherent article (4, Informative)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283348)

There are alternatives to "Big 4" music, unfortunately, sometimes the anti-RIAA crowds neglect to mention them.
Here you go: http://blue.jamendo.com/ [jamendo.com] free, legal and... sounds better.

Re:Incoherent article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283404)

Most of it is crap, but people aren't downloading most of it; they're downloading just the songs they like. And that's a large part of the problem: the consumer just wants the one song on the album, while the RIAA wants to force them to buy the whole album, and have them pay for the dozen worthless songs they'll never even listen to.

I think that's what he's trying to say, anyway. I'm not sure how valid that particular argument is now that you can buy individual songs online, and he's probably overestimating the taste of the average consumer anyway.

Re:Incoherent article (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283810)

>the RIAA wants to force them to buy the whole album

I'm sure our definitions of the word "force" differ.

Re:Incoherent article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283458)

Formulaic is not necessarily bad. Northern Soul is pretty damn formulaic, and old records in that "genre" of music could go for thousands of dollars as I recall.

Re:Incoherent article (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283792)

it should be downloaders war on the recording industry...stealing is stealing...and they download and steal from the indie labels as well. everyone tries to find an excuse, such as...well the record companies are rich enough anyway...or the record companies are evil...or they exploit the artist..etc etc etc...it's all an excuse for stealing...we need to stop ignoring that.

stealing music is stealing from the artist...stealing from a creative industry...it's plain stealing. it's a crime and should be punished...not something to be turned around and blame placed on the victim.

Re:Incoherent article (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283834)

>stealing is stealing

And copyright infringement is distinct from theft, no matter how badly the plaintiff wants to claim otherwise. Saying it's "theft" or "stealing" in a deposition would probably simply end your case.

Re:Incoherent article (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283970)

If it's really crap like you say, is it really worth listening to at all?

To a large extent it isn't. Compare the lists at user fed sites like last.fm with billboard lists; the overlap is not particularly impressive. Apparently the RIAA labels have yet to go payola on last.fm's ass. Perhaps they'll catch up eventually and screw those listings too, but as yet they only seem to influence them indirectly through other channel payola.

Why even download it "for free" if you think it's crap?

Well, apparently people don't even do that as much as the labels might wish. I recall a recent article mentioning, I think, EMI execs who finally got the message when the group of youngsters they had invited for advice were offered a table of complimentary CD's. And nobody took any.

It's rather amusing to watch last.fm's top list for the moment. Radiohead is somewhat overrepresented.

sometimes the anti-RIAA crowds neglect to mention them.

Sometimes, yes. So I can only recommend using last.fm and/or pandora or similar sites to build your interest lists and buy through emusic or other largely independent sites. I'm spending more money on music now than I have ever done in my life as I'm actually finding music I'm interested in, rather than the crap peddled by the RIAA.

Scathing indictment? (4, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283180)

The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy -- corporate "content," as the Big 4 call their formulaic outpourings.' In a scathing indictment not only of the major record labels, but of those schools, administrators, and educators who have yet to take a stand against it


The way I see it is: If the content is so terrible, don't download it. As you will not be infringing on anyone's copyright, you will not get sued.

If the content is good enough that you want access to it, you either have to pay for it, or accept a small but nonzero chance of being sued and fined for copyright infringement.

I also don't see that universities need to cover for students engaging in copyright infringement. If you connect to a torrent of 'Heroes' or 'House' or whatever, your IP address gets recorded, and the copyright holders subpoena the university to know what user had that IP address at that time, why does the university need to 'take a stand against it'?

Now, I'd certainly agree that some stories on slashdot talk about inexplicably large fines being requested. And certainly innocent people who are wrongly accused should be entitled to reclaim reasonable costs for their defence. But to say students are being forced to buy record labels' music, or to say that universities have a responsibility to cover up lawbreaking by their students, doesn't really make sense to me.

In other words I found the article less 'scathing' and more 'worded emotively'.

Just my $0.02.

Re:Scathing indictment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283242)

IP addresses do not map one to one with students, so the RIAA sends out "pre-litigation" letters to every student that might have been using that IP.

Go ahead, try and claim that isn't a blatant attempt at extorting money from students.

Re:Scathing indictment? (3, Insightful)

whthat (808519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283372)

Problem with just say if the RIAA's content is bad don't download it is that the RIAA has a bad track record of going after suspected downloaders. Often they "catch" other peoples copyrights in their fishing expeditions. Perfect example is in your statement: Neither 'Heroes' or 'House' would fall under the RIAA, being NBC and Fox held copyrights, but the copyright laws are so mucked up that its almost impossible for even the people who study it to clear up. The other point most people forget is not all downloading is illegal, some of it falls under fair use. The reasoning behind the universities protecting their students are two fold: 1) The RIAA's cases tend to be over zealous and often disruptive to the network. 2) If the RIAA can push hard enough they may be able to claim the university is enabling the copyright infringement and then charge the university as an accomplices.

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283766)

1. Parent addressed recourse for people wrongly accused of infringement.

2. Your speculative "enabling" argument could be applied to the entire telco industry, but we don't see that actually happening.

Re:Scathing indictment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22284394)

I doubt they pick people at random. Why would they need to? Its trivial to fire up a bittorrent client that will log the IP's and timestamps of everyone that supplies chunks of a particular file to you. Given that even a really inefficient and lazy RIAA/MPAA/BSA geek could probably log 1000 IP addresses and data per day, why the hell would they even need to prosecute people who had not clearly and definitely transferred data to them.
We hear a lot of loud noise about a very few cases where someone innocent is apparently caught up, and good luck to them in getting compensation for any wrongful accusation etc, but the numbers always seem to be blown out of any real relation to what is going on. In a way this is understandable, people love to cling to the idea that the RIAA are always getting the wrong guy, and the cases are on dodgy ground and easily thrown out. That makes it easier for people to justify running the risk. But it doesn't make it vaguely true.

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283378)


I also don't see that universities need to cover for students engaging in copyright infringement. If you connect to a torrent of 'Heroes' or 'House' or whatever, your IP address gets recorded, and the copyright holders subpoena the university to know what user had that IP address at that time, why does the university need to 'take a stand against it'?

Now, I'd certainly agree that some stories on slashdot talk about inexplicably large fines being requested. And certainly innocent people who are wrongly accused should be entitled to reclaim reasonable costs for their defence. But to say students are being forced to buy record labels' music, or to say that universities have a responsibility to cover up lawbreaking by their students, doesn't really make sense to me.
I think there is an important 'other' side to this argument you pose. Lets look at how music has been sold for the last... well, since the invention of the record. Music labels decide who gets publicity and attention, then funnel your desire to hear more from them through their money making machinery. To argue that they are not trying to rob the public is fatally ignorant of the situation. There has never been a competitive alternative to the music labels. They have put smaller labels out of business, and used tactics that keep MS in court all over the world.

Radiohead and NIN are finally showing that there is an alternative, and having to butt heads with the major labels to get it to work. Is it in the public interest that such battle should be necessary? Have the record labels EVER made 50 years worth of music available to you at the ease with which it is now possible? Are they doing so now? NO, they are using every means possible to create and foster the never ending and voracious needs of music fans to buy whatever the music labels tell them is popular right now. If the music labels were so deserving of our business, why are the working so hard to fsck over their customers? Why are they not innovating?

The fact that they are suing customers in ALL countries is absurd, completely. People have always ignored copyrights when it comes to music, yet they made how much money? What's wrong here is that people are not taking it from them anymore, and the labels are not changing with the times. Instead, they intend to litigate everyone else in the world to become little zombies in the labels idea of the ideal world.

Get with the program, the labels are WRONG, and no amount of justification will excuse any of their behavior.

The schools act like ISPs for the most part, and should not be held accountable more than any other ISP. period. ever.

Re:Scathing indictment? (5, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283426)

The way I see it is: If the content is so terrible, don't download it. As you will not be infringing on anyone's copyright, you will not get sued.

And an innocent man has nothing to fear from the Police... Good luck with that.

The issue is not that people who download music without paying for it should get given a lollipop and a pat on the back.

The issue is that people who are accused of downloading music should get a fair hearing, the chance to defend themselves (mistakes do happen) and face a punishment proportionate to the "damage" done to industry and society by their "crime".

They should not be faced with a "Hobson's choice" of "Confess, and pay this meerly ruinous fine - or defend yourself and hope your parents don't mind selling their house & one of your little sister's kidneys if you loose."

So how much damage is done? Well, look at your CD collection: how of them are only there because, once upon a time, someone gave you a tape (remember those?) or MP3 of the artist, and when their next album came out you bought it? Hmm...

Re:Scathing indictment? (4, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283596)

The issue is that people who are accused of downloading music should get a fair hearing, the chance to defend themselves (mistakes do happen) and face a punishment proportionate to the "damage" done to industry and society by their "crime".


Well, I did say that some of the fines talked about on slashdot are inexplicably large, and that people who are wrongly accused should be entitled to reclaim reasonable costs for their defence.

I was under the impression that you could go to court, demonstrate (through inspection by an impartial expert third party) that there was no evidence of file sharing on your computer (e.g. your MP3s are ripped from CDs, or are from iTunes, or are distributed as MP3s by the copyright holders; and you don't have KaZaA or something installed with your MP3 directory shared, your BitTorrent client has only legitimate downloads running, etc.) and you'd be let off. It should take an afternoon, and cost no more than a few hundred dollars, which the record labels have to pay after you are found innocent.

Does it not work like that?

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284004)

I agree with you, and I'm surprised you've not been modded to hell for these posts. But:

(e.g. your MP3s are ripped from CDs

The RIAA wants to say that this is illegal, too. So being able to prove that isn't necessarily going to help when fighting them.

Re:Scathing indictment? (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284258)

I was under the impression that you could go to court, demonstrate ...that there was no evidence of file sharing on your computer and you'd be let off. It should take an afternoon, and cost no more than a few hundred dollars, which the record labels have to pay after you are found innocent.

Does it not work like that?
Are you kidding? How much does your lawyer cost? How much does this impartial third party expert cost? How much many days off work does it take? Not a chance in hell you could get away only a few hundred dollars down. When the RIAA brings you to court, they're there for blood. They want you to pay their settlement, not challenge their assertion. They'll stretch it out till the end in an attempt to run out your money. And uless you can show they brought the suit basically knowing you were innocent, don't expect a dime's reimbursement for your costs.

Re:Scathing indictment? (5, Informative)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284546)

Erm, no it's not that easy, and costs more than a few hundred dollars. It's not like the RIAA lawyers are going to let you go into a courtroom and say "I'm innocent! See? No evil Kazaaware on THIS computer! They get "experts" to testify that someone at your IP address was downloading songs, and you need to hire your own experts to counter them or the judge rules for the RIAA and not for you. Here in Canada an expert witness runs about $2k for a written report and at least as much to appear in court for you for a day. I'm sure it's more in the US. so we're already over the $3k "settlement offer" the RIAA customarily makes, and we haven't even hired a lawyer yet. We have one expert (you'd be lucky to get away with one -- you need one expert for every one the other side has if you're at all serious about defending yourself), and one Defendant, representing himself or having a lawyer do the work pro bono. For one day. If you won your motion (the average joe probably couldn't afford a Trial, the lost wages alone would kill you), then you get to argue for costs, which means several more days in court, and you're not guaranteed to win. All this is assuming that the Plaintiff's lawyers aren't playing dirty, which of course is false. If one side plays a dirty game you can multiply the costs and time taken by 10, easily. Now all this is assuming the most bare-bones defence you can get, and if you go against the music companies with bare bones, you will get beaten soundly. There's no question about that. To mount a proper defence you would need a very good lawyer (this may be the cheapest part, given that there may be lawyers looking to make a name for themselves in this area of law, possible assistance from the EFF; a growing body of legal resources helps too), a battery of expert witnesses, buckets of money, and lots of free time. And don't expect to recover all your costs. You can expect to be out thousands of dollars, maybe tens of thousands of dollars, and that's if you win.

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283694)

They should not be faced with a "Hobson's choice" of "Confess, and pay this meerly ruinous fine - or defend yourself and hope your parents don't mind selling their house & one of your little sister's kidneys if you loose."
Or the Samurai choice of Seppuku [wikipedia.org] or Jigai [wikipedia.org] .

The actual effect of all these actions will only be that the record and movie industry will be more and more alienated from the public and that the public in general will either wait until some channel sends the film anyway or until it is on a severe discount sale somewhere with a price that it should have had from the beginning.

The "Damage" inflicted by a copy can never be considered more than the market price, because everything over that is excessive. Since this is a company and not a person there can not possibly be a question of mental injury.

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

Chris Carollo (251937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284168)

They should not be faced with a "Hobson's choice" of "Confess, and pay this meerly ruinous fine - or defend yourself and hope your parents don't mind selling their house & one of your little sister's kidneys if you loose."

Agreed, but that's more an issue with our legal system than an issue with the RIAA itself, right?

Any large corporation can threaten to sue, and given that simply taking a case to trial is prohibitively expensive for most people, the corporations have all the power. I don't like the RIAA any more than the next guy, but if you're doing something illegal like blatantly violating copyright, it's certainly within their rights to sue you. They're going to get it wrong sometimes -- nothing's perfect -- but if the system is set up so that they feel little pain for getting it wrong and the falsely accused feel huge pain, then the system needs to be fixed, not whoever's doing the suing.

Popularity is a curse. (2, Insightful)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283454)

> The way I see it is: If the content is so terrible, don't download it.

I don't. Wouldn't be caught dead listening to their music. However, there are a couple of factors you've neglected:

1) They sue the wrong people often enough. Remember that guy who didn't have a computer? I wonder if MediaSentry gave one of their boilerplate expert reports in that lawsuit? Because it would be really interesting if they had.

2) Anything popular is crap, according to simple statistics. That's a contradiction in terms, right? But a really good song might be liked by 80-90% of the people who hear it (the actual percentages don't matter, just accept those numbers as an example). So now we have 10-20% of the people who hear it who don't like it to some degree, a few of whom will likely hate it. Now realize that every song has a different percentage and that percentage is made up of different people. So the more popular you are, the more people there are who hate your music. In fact, the more people who hear it, the more likely it is that there are people who hate every single bit of music you've produced.

It may be counter-intuitive, but it's pretty clear that the more popular your music is, the more it's heard, so there are more people who hear it and hate it. It's the "Curse of Popularity"

There's a counter-point to this, too, BTW. If enough people hear an awful song, there's likely to be at least *one* guy who really loves it (probably the guy who wrote it). Thus, you have niche music that's horrible to most people, but which attracts a tiny fan following which absolutely loves the music. This is how you explain the Indee crowd.

Oh, and nothing here is exclusive to music. You can get the same thing with wine snobs, art, sex or anything else based on personal taste.

Re:Scathing indictment? (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283556)

I'll admit TFA doesn't make it obvious, as they seem to be against copyright or something, but

The way I see it is: If the content is so terrible, don't download it. As you will not be infringing on anyone's copyright, you will not get sued.

Are you really that naive?

The RIAA (or MPAA? I always lose track) has, so far, sued 12-year-olds, people who have never used a computer (and don't know how), people who are dead...

Frankly, I don't care whether who they catch, or how guilty they are -- they are the worst example of a "fishing expedition". I honestly don't know how they "catch" people, but I suspect they just throw a dart at a phone book or something.

But to say students are being forced to buy record labels' music,

I'd have to look up the exact article, but yes, there have been cases where universities have bought subscriptions to services like Napster or the Zune Store in order to provide students a place to legally download music, on the assumption that without providing this service, students would illegally download music.

or to say that universities have a responsibility to cover up lawbreaking by their students

NO. WRONG ATTITUDE.

Why should the universities have a responsibility to turn over their students? Especially on practically no evidence?

I'm sorry, but this is pretty much like saying "You're with us, or you're with the terrorists." Refusing to cooperate doesn't mean you're suddenly taking the other side, or that you're "covering up" anything, or, indeed, that there is even something to cover up.

In particular, if an IP-address-to-student mapping is considered private, I'd say you need more than "Well, 50% of college students pirate -- oh wait, I totally pulled that number out of my ass, but give me their names anyway!"

Re:Scathing indictment? (3, Funny)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283748)

or to say that universities have a responsibility to cover up lawbreaking by their students


NO. WRONG ATTITUDE.

Why should the universities have a responsibility to turn over their students? Especially on practically no evidence?

I'm sorry, but this is pretty much like saying "You're with us, or you're with the terrorists." Refusing to cooperate doesn't mean you're suddenly taking the other side, or that you're "covering up" anything, or, indeed, that there is even something to cover up.


It's pretty easy to gather evidence - so easy, in fact, I assumed the record labels do it. You just connect to a torrent, download the content to ensure it is infringing, and log time/IP address of all the other peers who are downloading/uploading.

You then take this evidence to court, and the court issues a subpoena for the recorded holder of the IP address (the university) to identify the person using the IP address at that time.

If record labels have enough evidence to get courts to issue subpoenas (they could easily gather this much evidence), and have a court-issued subpoena, I hardly call that "hardly no evidence". I also wouldn't say I have a "You're with us, or you're with the terrorists" attitude.

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284738)

It may be easy to gather evidence, but they don't appear to bother. The comment about darts and phone books may not be entirely hype. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be any other explanation as to how they select their victims.

Once you assume that most people won't dare to defend themselves, and that the costs of losing are small to you, then you don't end up being careful that you are only targeting those actually violating your rights. It's less efficient. (Of course, one who was ethical wouldn't start by considering whether the proposed target could mount a defense, but would rather FIRST consider whether he was actually guilty. This does not appear to be the modus operandi.)

Re:Scathing indictment? (2, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283770)

>>The way I see it is: If the content is so terrible, don't download it. As you will not be infringing on anyone's copyright, you will not get sued.

The problem (at least according to one semi-conspiracy-theory) is that there's lots of GOOD music on those Big 4 labels as well, but the labels don't respect what they "own." They'd much rather have people encountering music through avenues they basically own, like ClearChannel radio and MTV and big chain record stores. Why? Because bands that become popular on their merits will eventually figure out they can do without the labels, like Radiohead did, whereas artists that are totally reliant on the industry's marketing (like Britney Spears) aren't likely to stray from the flock.

>>I also don't see that universities need to cover for students engaging in copyright infringement.

The issue is that the RIAA isn't just using due process to get colleges to turn over IP records. They're trying to strong-arm universities into installing programs to monitor their students' internet downloads. For a lot of universities, this is seen as a bad idea on principle, since they want to at least seem "pro-free-speech." (They've got the free-speech zones and everything!)

Re:Scathing indictment? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283836)

To me the holy grail of litigation would be, somebody gets sued by the RIAA or some other media establishment for broadcasting or downloading some content to which they themselves have all rights reserved.

I'd love to see that. And if it happened to me over my work, I'd parlay it into a comfortable retirement.

Choices we don't have (1)

Len (89493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283850)

If the content is good enough that you want access to it, you either have to pay for it, or accept a small but nonzero chance of being sued and fined for copyright infringement.

We often don't have that choice. There are plenty of DVDs that are not sold and cannot be played in certain parts of the world (no Battlestar Galactica season 3 in North America, for example). And here in Canada it's hard to buy major-label music for an MP3 player that's not an iPod. (Most of us think it's OK to buy and rip CDs, but apparently the record companies disagree.)

In many cases the only way for us to get "content" is to download it illegally. The content producers have very deliberately set it up that way, so why are they suing us?

Re:Scathing indictment? (2, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284026)

If the content is so terrible, don't download it. As you will not be infringing on anyone's copyright, you will not get sued.
I don't buy CDs anymore. I also don't download. I just don't give shit anymore. Entertainment is not a necessity, though it would be nice for some form of culture to actually exist. Unfortunately, with the slipshod way RIAA handles things in pre-litigation (I'm surprised they haven't tried to sue cloistered monks by now), there is still a chance that I will wind up getting sued.

The only way to save any kind of culture in the US is to stop buying or downloading anything. We don't have a real culture anymore because culture is now largely what RIAA and MPAA says it is.

Hey Mods! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283192)

Shitty mods waste perfectly good points to mod down AC posts and ignore the good posts that deserve to be modded up. I want to waste the points of shitty mods. Soooo....


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Re:Hey Mods! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283388)

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Re:Hey Mods! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283434)

You, sir, are a true inspiration to us all. I, too, would like to take this opportunity to take mod points away from the insightful comments and have them wasted on myself. So, without further ado...

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In closing, I would like to thank all the people who made this possible: myself, the AC I replied to, and any dumb-ass moderator who wasted points on me. Also, none of this would be possible without my personal lord and savior Jesus Christ; all glory to God. Thank you, and good night.

Just a cursory overview (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283202)

This is nothing more than a mere glance at the true extend of the RIAA's campaign. The number of students the RIAA has sued, most of whom couldn't hope to pay off a settlement or a lawyer to bring the case to trial, numbers way into the thousands. The truly insidious part is just that: the RIAA has billions of dollars available to sue people, and could keep the cases in litigation until the defendant just runs out of money and is forced to settle. There is no due process here, there never could be in cases like these.

Let's just rephrase that a little. (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283214)

The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what clearly value enough to download by the terabyte -- corporate "content," as the Big 4 call the media that college students claim to think is all formulaic and worthless, and yet consume at an at enormous rate when it's free and easily pilferable.'

Re:Let's just rephrase that a little. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283422)

The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what clearly value enough to download by the terabyte -- corporate "content," as the Big 4 call the media that college students claim to think is all formulaic and worthless, and yet consume at an at enormous rate when it's free and easily pilferable.'

I'm not taking a position on whether downloading copyrighted music is right or wrong either way (although some fool will probably respond with an argument against the position I'm not taking) but I did want to point something out. That they will consume it at an enormous rate when it's free and easily pilferable but will not pay for it actually tends to support the premise that it's formulaic and worthless. That is, if you think something isn't worth paying for, you are not contradicting yourself by refusing to pay for it, even if you do obtain it illegitimately for free.

Re:Let's just rephrase that a little. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283790)

Agreed, economic value doesn't correspond with entertainment value.. why is that hard?

Re:Let's just rephrase that a little. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284438)

never underestimate the power of social conformity.

sure it stinks but everyone "must" listen to it to be "in"...

but then i guess the very concept of being "in" is foreign to people reading slashdot...

Who cares how it's 'described?' (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283246)

How something is 'described' by someone else with an agenda matters very little (unless a lot of people fall for it). It's just as reasonable to 'describe' millions of college students as "people who want to force their favorite artists to provide them with entertainment for free." Which is more accurate? That performers, and the studios they work with, want to actually "force" someone to buy something, or that many people who swear they love a particular performer or recording artist are none the less happy to rip of that person's work, despite the wishes of the very performer they claim to respect?

Neither description covers everyone. But saying that a recording artist wants to "force" people to pay for the entertainment they're providing is a lot like saying that a movie theater wants to force people to actually pay for a ticket on their way in to see a movie. It's absurd. No one is forcing you to listen to a recording, and no one is forcing you to see or hear any other performance, either. Don't be a consumer of it, and no need to pay for it. Except, of course, those countries that are insane enough to think it's reasonable to levy taxes (and thus, literally force people to pay) which are then spread around to artists - whether or not the people paying the taxes would ever want to be entertained by those artists or not. That's the only "forced to pay for entertainment" that it's worth talking about. Otherwise we may as well talk about how grocery stores are forcing their customer to pay for what they want, or how a chef is forcing his customers to pay for the creative services she provides.

Don't use the word "force" when it doesn't apply. Don't want to pay for Bruce Springteen's latest recording? Then don't acquire it, unless HE chooses to give it to you.

Right... (2, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283268)

The campaign is described as one to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy -- corporate "content,"
Sure, because people only download stuff because it's so much better. Nobody ever downloads Britney Spears. These evil corporations don't just want money for their goods, they are conspiring to keep the real artists away from us.

Realizing your true power as the consumer (2, Insightful)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283280)

The truth is that the corporation (or the few that benefit to the detriment of the many) only has greater power when the consumer is divided amongst themselves, consumed by fictional issues and kept ignorant.

The day we use technology to unite in collective effort, disseminate intelligence and wisdom to dissolve ignorance and share a single intention then the consumer the citizen will take control as master.

The "Many", the consumers combined wealth far exceeds that of the "few" because the consumer delivers real value every day.

Many of those individuals or corporations that control vast wealth only do so because we perceive the fiat currency, the intangible symbolic units to have value. As soon as this illusion is destroyed their power is gone.

We the people control the cash flow of business and labor, the worker produces the products and services that make the world go around and this is where the real tangible value is.

We the people are very powerful, but we have been blinded to our own power by an illusion created by those that benefit from the current systems and don't want them to change.

Re:Realizing your true power as the consumer (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283494)

The day we use technology to unite in collective effort, disseminate intelligence and wisdom to dissolve ignorance and share a single intention then the consumer the citizen will take control as master.

They already thought of that. It's called public education [cantrip.org] . Nothing like a bunch of passive people who think that staying informed isn't very important to hinder something like that (although I would love to see it happen myself).

Random wittering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283336)

It's great business sense to sue your potential customers.

Students - people with very little money by definition - should be sued until they decide that music as an entertainment form is not worth it when there are games and DVDs and other activities to do instead.

It's not like students go on to be big earners who may in the future have the disposable cash to buy lots of music.

The music execs are on so many drugs that they believe that the losses from infringing the copyright on music can exceed the gross national product of the country. This type of thinking does them no good at all. The basic fact is that someone who downloads 100 albums in a month ($1000-$2000 value) is in no way ever going to have paid for all of them. They might have paid for a few, and indeed a lot are still buying CDs alongside downloading them. Why do people download music - for people with money it's often as a taster, and that's the best route given that there is no variety on the radio, so no way of good music getting to the audience unless they download it. And no, listening in a shop is not a viable option, and thirty second snippets aren't great either.

I think they would be better off selling (for a nominal fee) music rental services to students affiliated with universities. Get them hooked and getting the music via approved music rental systems. Once they leave university, the music will stop working after a short time (say 6 months) - or they can pay the adult rates - the ex-students will be earning money, and they will have a budget for entertainment, and they may choose to spend that limited budget on music! Yes, "limited budget" - the execs in their $200k cars might not appreciate that people have to live (and there's a credit crunch, etc) and that frivolous entertainment expenses are the first things to be cut back.

Chase the piracy-for-profit people, not your actual potential customers.

But the real problem is that the business model is flawed at its heart. EMI know this and they're struggling through the beginnings of reworking things - doesn't help that the artists are complaining that their drug funding and advances will end. There will be a lot of pain over the years.

Re:Random wittering (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283464)

I like the idea of leaving college students alone in the hopes that they'll eventually buy the music themselves, but I have a mjor problem with the basic principle behind DRM (which, at the moment, is the only way I know of to get the music to expire effectively) and therefore can't get behind that idea.

And yes, the RIAA as a whole is having issues, litigating when they should be innovating and all. Want college students to download less music, or at least buy much of it? Find a new medium that can't be reproduced and leaves students without the desire to reproduce it. I don't have the answer, but if the major labels want to survive they had better find it soon.

Re:Random wittering (1)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284076)

I think they would be better off selling (for a nominal fee) music rental services to students affiliated with universities. Get them hooked and getting the music via approved music rental systems. Once they leave university, the music will stop working after a short time (say 6 months)

Thing is, they already offer that service. Napster.com gives you access to unlimited music for $15/month. It uses Windows Media DRM (not cross platform) and you lose access as soon as you stop paying. If you don't like that idea, you can buy your music from iTunes or Amazon and keep it forever. So students are choosing not to pay for their music. Compared to the cost of a college education, $15/month is peanuts.

Chase the piracy-for-profit people, not your actual potential customers.

You mean the Pirate Bay? But how can they be attacked if not through the people who use their service?

I don't know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283346)

I'm not sure exactly what the article was trying to convey. The corporate influence on the music industry today is what it is, and while the industry's shotgun approach to dealing with copyright infringement is not the right way to go I still think that these people getting sued have only themselves to blame. The industry wasn't really concerned with copying back in the old days when you had to actually get physically involved; it was difficult, time consuming, and expensive to set up any kind of large-scale effort. A couple of guys copying each others' tapes wasn't much of a threat. Today, technology has made it infinitely easier to reproduce and distribute world-wide. Of course the industry should have had the foresight to take advantage of this themselves in the first place, but that doesn't excuse what's going on right now. These works still benefit from the protection copyright offers; that it is trivial to infringe is irrelevant. If you don't want to risk being sued then don't infringe. If you think the laws are unjust, petition to have them changed; that doesn't give you a free ticket to do whatever the hell you want. More importantly, if you truly believe that these guys are corrupt, evil bastards, wouldn't it make more sense to completely boycott their product altogether? Otherwise it gives them the false impression that the demand for (and infringement of) their product is continuing to increase and as a result they will seek stronger protection they deem necessary to protect their investments. If you really want to hurt them, completely ignore them and make use of alternative suppliers.

War on this war on that, war on you (5, Funny)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283440)

So this morning I got up and waged war on eye crud. I followed shortly after with a war on two fronts. A war on full bladders and a war on clean toilets. Next I waged war on not being at my computer. Then I went to war on dark monitors. Then I declared war on Firefox.exe. Then I went to war with slashdot's servers and blank Firefox pages. Then slashdot's text had the audacity to wage photon based war on my retinas! In retaliation, I counterattacked with a covert war on the Reply button, then followed up with a brief war on empty subject text boxes. Then I engaged in a somewhat protracted war on empty comment boxes. Now in closing, I'll stage a blitzkrieg on the submit button and preemptively declare victory.

Re:War on this war on that, war on you (1)

vnaughtdeltat (1167485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284498)

I noticed that nowhere in there did you wage a war on morning breath OR nudity, nor did any water or soap start a war on your body.

Darth Vader's Diaper Dandies (1)

liveevil (814109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283450)

Why would they do this? You read a headline like "RIAA war against college students" and it just seems so ridiculous you only kinda half-believe it. I mean, you all know about their tactics and what they're up to - and true, it is deplorable and grotesquely selfish and short-sighted for the betterment of all. But why a war on college students? College students - the people who are at the pinnacle of our nation's pride, those hard working fun loving kids, struggling to better themselves and who are the bright future of our nation and society. And besides that, they party their asses off and are enjoying what is the best period of their lives! God love 'em, college students! We do love 'em, and not only that, we remember how our college years were the best times of our lives too, and we care deeply that the fun and traditions of college life that we enjoyed be continued for future generations to come.

So, as a whole one of the most beloved groups of people in our country, our very future is in their hands, and these RIAA assholes want to war with them?! To knock them all down a peg and into submission?! What is wrong with these people? Who do they think they are?

And they are serious people. This is not a game. It is a sickness that exists in our society, only in this case showing it's ugly head on a much grander scale. The same kind of sickness that, on a smaller more individualized and private scale leads to child abuse and neglect. The sickness of the old and infirm who see the younger generations, not as human lives that should be nurtured and taught lessons, but rather as objects to be used and exploited.

Are we as a nation and society going to allow this? Never. These RIAA sons of bitches are going to pay for what they are doing. Even now they are dying off into slow extinction. This period we are in now, unfortunately for us to be witness to it, is their last ditch effort, like a cornered wild animal, to save themselves and their way of life at any cost, no matter how ugly.

But they can't win. Human nature and millions of years of evolution are against them.

college students > rich media kingpins

Force? Where is the force? (1)

centauratlas (760571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283466)

>to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy -- corporate "content," Where is the force? My heavens, if they really are using force (e.g. guns, knives etc) then the criminal courts need to get involved. If you don't like it, don't download it or buy it. If you do like what artists have done, then be willing to pay for it. If you really believe in free music, then go out there, learn to play an instrument, write some music, record it and give it away. Get some friends in your area or on-line to play other parts. Encourage others to do so. Don't forget you have to buy or rent an instrument, and get some lessons or books, spend a lot of time learning and writing music and lyrics. You may need something to record with and record on to. If you are popular you may need a site with lots of bandwidth (youtube could work here for free). It is not rocket science. In fact it sounds more like "Millions of people forcing the artists to work for free or feeling free to steal music." If you don't like the record companies, find some local bands, get together and start your own, but make sure you don't charge anything for your time to record and digitize music. Also find out if the local bands really want to work for free.

Re:Force? Where is the force? (1)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284222)

to 'force "consumers" to buy what they're told to buy -- corporate "content," Where is the force?

It gets sillier...

From TFA..

"...Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG and their RIAA is trying to sue students into buying 'product'."

So the articles suggests that if you don't buy their product, they'll sue you. Such a conclusion is more than a bit ridiculous, no?

Pointless beating around the bush, again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283474)

All of these articles about the minor skirmishes in *AA's war against infringers are boring and serve no purpose other than to provide yet another forum for some people to say: "Copyright infringement is wrong, like stealing," and for others to claim: "No, it is not exactly the same as stealing, and therefore good." The exact details of each legal encounter don't change anything, and are only useful to the practicing lawyers...

Unlike the emacs vs. vi flamewars, this one can, actually, be resolved with some certainty, and whoever can be convinced is convinced already....

Perhaps, our distinguished editors can delegate these articles to some peripheral subsection instead of the front-page?

Going for the masses (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283526)

My main concern with RIAA's methodology is not that they are suing people, but that they are doing it at the wrong end. They should focus all their firepower on the distributing powers of the pirated software, because going after individuals will only screw up the life of a few selected ones. It doesn't scare anyone because the odds of a lawsuit are about the same as winning a Megaball lottery.

The music industry is one of a few industries that struggles with technological breakthroughs. A car maker will obviously want to adopt to the latest gadgets. As will cell phone makers and so on. For some reason, that piece of plastic is the only viable option to the music industry - as if the age of digitalization was totally absent.

please adhere to the rules for comments... (3, Funny)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283588)

10 rant against RIAA
20 generic comment that piracy is still wrong
30 tangent about DRMs originating in Nazi Germany
40 someone yells Godwin's law
50 next RIAA article is posted
60 goto 10

Why do people get worked up about this? (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283594)

Music is non-essential entertainment.

The providers of it offer it for sale.

You can buy it if you like.

If you don't like the terms, or the seller, or something, the answer is extraordinarily simple - don't buy it. This won't kill you. You can live without music.

We have laws saying you can't steal stuff. What do people think is special about music that you should be able to steal music in contravention of this general principle? (If you don't believe in the general principle please let me know where you live and I'll come round and help myself to all your stuff.)

Re:Why do people get worked up about this? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283742)

We have laws saying you can't steal stuff. What do people think is special about music that you should be able to steal music in contravention of this general principle?

Because it is possible to copy music, so that I get music for free, without depriving anybody else of their music.

(If you don't believe in the general principle please let me know where you live and I'll come round and help myself to all your stuff.)

If you have a magic wand that can create perfect duplicates of my stuff without depriving me of the originals, come along and help yourself.

Here's some reasons to get worked up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283776)

  • The possibility of winding up in a courtroom trying to prove you didn't download any illegal content -- when you really didn't download any illegal content -- and discovering you don't have a leg to stand on because you're facing very legit and polished (but inaccurate) technical reports of your "illicit activity". Your pleas of "But it must have been a proxy installed on my system without my knowledge!" or "I run a wireless router and somebody next door must have been hopping on" are wholly unconvincing.
  • Throttling of your legitimate Internet usage because you prefer using BitTorrent to grab the latest DVD release of your Linux distribution instead of hitting the main FTP site.
  • Your Internet provider, operating system developer, or consumer electronics manufacturer deciding they have a right to put their nose in your business because of something somebody else does or might do.
  • Congress working out ways to "solve the problem" and settling on a solution that increases costs to or wipes out music services (or even unrelated Internet services through unintended consequences) that you use legitimately.

Even those of us who don't care about music in the slightest are still impacted when the RIAA rocks the boat. Ask a Vista user.

Nothing new except the RIAA is very aggressive (1)

COredneck (598733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283604)

I went to college in the last half of the 1980's for my undergrad. At the time, the RIAA was working very hard to push for the tax on blank cassette tapes. Fliers were frequently posted around campus strongly urging students to write to gov't officials to bring in the tax. The school administrators would frequently mention that the RIAA needed our support and to write our letters. Most students saw it for what it was, bullshit.

At the time also, Digital Audio Tape (DAT) was in its infancy and there was a lot of discussion concerning it especially implementing copy control. The DAT players were too expensive to become a concern to school administrators unlike the music downloads of today.

My personal connection. I bought the CD's but I made cassette tapes off the CD's for use in my car since CD players were very expensive at the time and if CD's are left in the car, they were subject to wide temperature variations or being stolen. I made copies to Metal (Type IV) tape. The pre-recorded tapes were of cheap materials and were subject to becoming breakfast to the tape player.

Indie, anyone? (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283624)

I can't speak for anyone else, but the only thing that the RIAA has ended up doing is driving me toward indie labels who either don't care about p2p downloads or want the extra publicity that results from file sharing. Without the RIAA I likely would never have discovered the likes of Spoon, The Books, or Andrew Bird and the level of quality from those artists outstrips anything I've heard on the radio in a long time.

So, RIAA, thank you. Thank you for being dumb-asses, and showing me how much your music really kinda sucks.

The Truth About War (1)

OrtegaPeru (1201867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283696)

Atrocities are committed by both sides in any war.

Sure the RIAA has an outdated business model and they are doing some serious wrongs to people who haven't broken the law.

But I at the same time I am a college student and I have no illusions about younger peoples' attitudes about sharing copyrighted material. It has nothing to do with DRM or outdated business models. Even if the RIAA and MPAA were to disappear tomorrow and be replaced by the most streamlined business model with everything in an open format, mass piracy will be unaffected as long as students can't afford to pay for the content. The vast majority of the students could care less about the "War". Ideologically they may agree with people against the RIAA, but only so much as they don't want to be sued. As long as there's little to no risk of an individual being sued, there's no better business model than free. Because of modern technology, when we pay for a song or movie now, we aren't paying for the content itself anymore. We are paying for the guarantee that we won't be sued. In order to make money off of content now, the copyright holders have to set the price according to what people are willing to pay for that guarantee. If there's no risk or a super tiny risk of being sued, then people aren't going to pay anything or are going to only pay a small amount such as a penny per song. So yeah keep fighting your fight against things like DRM and shady enforcement tactics, but stop assuming that everyone is on your side. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of filesharers do it because it's free. It's just part of our culture now that you don't have to pay for stuff because you won't get caught

Ruckus.com (1)

LikwidN2 (970073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283698)

This may seem like a shameless plug for a service, but it's an easy and LEGAL way to get free music. http://www.ruckusnetwork.com/aboutus.php [ruckusnetwork.com] Basically it's an add supported service compatible with Windows XP DRM. You have to be actively enrolled in a subscribing university [list here: http://www.ruckusnetwork.com/affiliated.php%5D [ruckusnetwork.com] . If you're school is already footing the bill, why not? Don't pay RIAA tax twice if you don't have to.

Re:Ruckus.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22284524)

If you're school is already footing the bill, why not? Don't pay RIAA tax twice if you don't have to.

The word is "your". Why can't you fuckers get this shit straight?

Your = possessive

You're = "you are"

Is this really so god damned hard you fucks?

The big record labels know their music is crap (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283704)

The big record labels know (most of) their music is crap. That's why they don't offer free, reduced quality, 30 second samples. They know that if sampled, most people will decline to buy. They'd also decline to download. I wonder just how many downloads people make end up being deleted or simply ignored because that's when they discover it's crap. I also wonder how many people who find something they like end up buying it from a legal source (but aren't do this as much as in the past just because they now know which songs are crap and not worth buying).

Re:The big record labels know their music is crap (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284422)

The big record labels know (most of) their music is crap. That's why they don't offer free, reduced quality, 30 second samples.

You want the free sample? Turn on a radio. Go to Amazon.com.

Same song, different verse? (2, Interesting)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284028)

More and more, the RIAA war on download piracy makes me think of the government's war on drugs. Not a perfect analogy, but think about it:

One war spends vast sums of money to interdict a tiny percentage of illegal drugs, while overall use continues to rise. The other war spends vast sums of money to sue a tiny percentage of illegal downloaders, while overall downloading continues to rise.

Both wars target users who do not consider what they are doing to be immoral or wrong, and who will likely continue their activities despite any laws passed against them.

Both wars have generalized popular support from Mr. and Mrs. America, who are ignorant of or blind to the tactics involved and the overall futility and low success rate.

Both wars snag innocent people in their dragnets. If you happen to share a house with someone who has drugs, you can be arrested. Likewise, if you happen to own a computer on which someone else downloaded copyrighted material, you can be sued.

Both wars are stubbornly persistent and deny reality. The government refuses to acknowledge that legalizing and regulating recreational drugs would result in less crime, fewer overdoses, and far more money available for treatment and prevention and education. The RIAA refuses to acknowledge that digital technology has made their system of distribution and compensation rapidly obsolete and in need of a quantum change.

I could go on and on, and y'all could probably come up with some of your own parallels. The only real difference is that being caught up in the war on drugs can land you in the slammer for a long time, while illegal downloading will not.

Yet.

Back in the day? (3, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284246)

From TFA: Years ago, college students were our best customers," he said. "Now they're among our worst customers."

Perhaps 'cause:

  • Those college students of yore are all growed up now?
  • People had fewer choices for purchasing (or acquiring)?
  • Music today isn't what it once was (a generalization, but perhaps with some truth)?
  • Music was more art than commodity?
  • Any / all of the above?

Sure, I use to buy music when I was younger, but I don't buy much anymore -- nor have I ever downloaded anything. I've purchased 3 CDs in the last 10 years. What I already have is either better than what's new, or I'm simply just happy with it. In the car, I either listen to a CD or NPR; commercial radio is crap.

Great music never goes out of style. Perhaps some of the younger crowd have music from their parents :-) I mean, would you really want to listen to "Oops, I did it Again" over anything in your parents collection? How about instead of a baby whining on an airplane - oh, wait, that could be Britney too.

Re:Back in the day? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284808)

I still buy CDs.

Well, not that garbage either.

Well, what do I buy? I download first and buy cd's to fit the collections I cant easily download. Now, my music selections is eclectic, so I search for a while before I buy.

As of now, I've bought 2 cd's from Japan by the group known as Ali Project. Jinsei bimi raisan (praise of delicacy of human life), seishoujo ryouiki (domain of the holy girl), and sensou to heiwa (war and peace) are my current favorite songs.

There's tons of ali project vids on youtube if one would want to listen to a piece of the quality that I demand. US groups couldn't cut it, so I go elsewhere.

BTW, if anybody has listened to ali project, would anybody recommend a US group that puts out something quite similar?

This isn't a big deal... (1)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284290)

Study after study shows that people 16-25 years of age are such a vanishingly small percentage of the music listening public, that any backlash is likely to go totally unnoticed. If they were actually targeting the core fanbase demographic of most artists, it might be more of an issue.

Are concerts in college towns still making money? (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284454)

Has the RIAA stopped to consider that college students are spending as much as ever attending live shows? Downloading is not hurting ticket sales. Offering free MP3s with the purchase of concert tickets or club admission would probably earn more than copyright lawsuits. The RIAA can adapt or die. It appears to me they are more interested in licking their wounds than seeking greener pastures.
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