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University of San Francisco Law Clinic Joins Fight Against RIAA

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the bay-area-reinforcements dept.

The Courts 106

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's litigation campaign has met resistance from the academic community before, but now it's been taken to a whole new level: the defense of RIAA victims who are not part of the college community. First the University of Oregon lashed out on behalf of its students, then it was the University of Maine's Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic on behalf of its undergrads. Now, the University of San Francisco School of Law has taken the fight a giant step further. Its Intellectual Property Law Clinic's attorneys-in-training, working under the supervision of law professors, are going to bat against the RIAA by helping outside lawyers to defend their clients, pro bono. They reached out 3000 miles to get involved in Elektra v. Torres and Maverick v. Chowdhury, two cases going on in Brooklyn, NY, against non-college defendants. Two of the law students in the USF's legal program assisted in the research and preparation of briefs in these cases, opposing the RIAA's motion to dismiss the defendants' counterclaims. Thousands of honor students throughout United States law schools, most of them digital natives who actually understand the legal fallacies and technological missteps the RIAA is taking, and who can't wait to expose them, make a pretty good resource for the poor and middle class people trying to defend these cases."

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106 comments

Get your own blog! (4, Funny)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598398)

Come on, NewYorkCountryLawyer, Slashdot isn't your personal outlet! Get your own blog.

Maybe something like http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] ?

Re:Get your own blog! (4, Insightful)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598440)

Unfortunately, due to the prominence and infamy of Slashdot, it is in fact very appealing as a public forum and soapbox. Plus, it'd take ages to drum up enough publicity for http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Just saying...

Re:Get your own blog! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22598560)

And if you want a soapbox for yourself, please earn some credibility first.

We enjoy articles by NewYorkCountryLawyer, and they raise the S/N ratio of Slashdot by quite a bit. GP, go away.

Re:Get your own blog! (5, Funny)

Deadfyre_Deadsoul (1193759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598470)

I imagine the RIAA is having seizures from this news.

Re:Get your own blog! (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598836)

For some reason, this made me think of a pub warcraft3 game and then lotr when sauruman sent all his troops to helmsdeep then the ents attacked and he had nothing but peons to defend. Hate that shit when it happens in a good game....

"The Ents! zomg the Ents!! wtf! all my creeps are attacking ur town! No fair fucking imba!" -Sauruman

I mean, like, the RIAA didn't see this coming and stuff and now their townz is gone and....

Sorry

Re:Get your own blog! (4, Insightful)

mrvan (973822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598510)

I like the posts of NewYorkCountryLawyer, and if the editors or readers of slashdot would get sick of them they would not get past the firehose. And if slashdot were against people keeping journals and submitting them as stories, why do you think "Slashdot journal entries can be automatically submitted as stories"?

If you care about Your Rights Online, I think both his stories and his comments are to the point and well written and at least HIAL. If you don't care about your rights online, you can choose not to see that section in your preferences.

NewYorkCountryLawyer, keep up the good work!

Re:Get your own blog! (4, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598556)

Wow you missed the sarcasm and the joke.

http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] IS run by Ray Beckerman. I'm a big fan of his, and his contributions to Slashdot. That post my subtle way of directing people to another source of information.

Re:Get your own blog! (0)

mrvan (973822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598578)

I'm sorry for that, I guess I'm not used to subtleties on slashdot :-$ Good thing you can still get modded up for missing jokes here...

I was aware that that was his blog; I thought you were telling him that since he has a blog over there he should stop harassing us with his frequent posts and stories. Anyway...

NYCL: keep up the good work :-)
Others: go forth and multiply the HTTP GET requests [blogspot.com]

Re:Get your own blog! (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22607000)

Wow you missed the sarcasm and the joke. http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] IS run by Ray Beckerman. I'm a big fan of his, and his contributions to Slashdot. That post my subtle way of directing people to another source of information.
Wow you missed the sarcasm and the joke. http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] IS run by Ray Beckerman. I'm a big fan of his, and his contributions to Slashdot. That post my subtle way of directing people to another source of information. Thanks kaos. Much appreciated.

By the way, let me tell you, someone just pointed out to me the other day that I'd missed some Slashdot sarcasm, and he was right; it's really easy to do. But it's part of what makes Slashdot fun, the dry humor delivered straight.

Re:Get your own blog! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599376)

And if slashdot were against people keeping journals [slashdot.org] and submitting them as stories, why do you think "Slashdot journal entries can be automatically submitted as stories"?

I dunno, just to piss off kaos07?

Re:Get your own blog! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600814)

[...] keeping journals [slashdot.org] and submitting [...]
Would you please stop promoting your stupid journal? Thanks.

Re:Get your own blog! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601542)

Would you please stop posting anonymously? Thanks. BTW, that link was on topic, and nobody is making you read the journals.

Re:Get your own blog! (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22606984)

I like the posts of NewYorkCountryLawyer, and if the editors or readers of slashdot would get sick of them they would not get past the firehose. And if slashdot were against people keeping journals and submitting them as stories, why do you think "Slashdot journal entries can be automatically submitted as stories"? If you care about Your Rights Online, I think both his stories and his comments are to the point and well written and at least HIAL. If you don't care about your rights online, you can choose not to see that section in your preferences. NewYorkCountryLawyer, keep up the good work!
Thank you for your kind words, mrvan.

Hillary Clinton's voice did her in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22598824)

People hate listening to that shrill little man in a pants suit rail on and on about nothing for hours in a style reminiscent of Fidel Castro in his "younger" days. Notice that she doesn't narrate her own campaign advertisements. The more people hear that awful voice, the less they like her. It's ironic that after all of the shady shit she and her bum of a hubby pulled, that an issue so out of her control would sink her presidential bid. Good riddance to the Queen of the Harpies!

Are they just lazy? (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598402)

Is there a legal way the RIAA could be achieving their goals or is the mere concept of aggressively enforcing their rights under copyright law against regular folk something the legal system is currently stacked against?

I guess what I'm asking is, are they just lazy or just stupid?

Re:Are they just lazy? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598714)

The problem the RIAA has right now is that the evidence they have to show that was talking sharing is not as ironclad as it should be (and the tactics they are using to collect that evidence aren't that good)

Re:Are they just lazy? (4, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598716)

The problem is the RIAA do not represent the Artists, and do not care about the buyers of music

They represent the Big Four music producers, and are only answerable to them ....

That is the problem - They have no Copyright (of their own) to defend, they have no customers to care about....

Re:Are they just lazy? (2, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599488)

They represent the Big Four music producers, and are only answerable to them ....

That is the problem - They have no Copyright (of their own) to defend, they have no customers to care about....


The big four that they represent own the copyrights. The Corporate Owned Congress made musical recordings "works for hire" granting copyright to the record company, not the people who actualkly perform the music.

As Lynard Skynard said,

Want you to sign the contract
Want you to sign today
Gonna make lots of money
Workin' for MCA


The MCA record company owns copyright to that song, not the band.

I'm surprised there is no "cease and desist" from EMI, who hold copyright (IINM) to Pink Floyd's Lunatic and Eclipse, the lyrics of which are in my latest journal, along with a little minirant about the RIAA:

I went out in the beer garden with Mary, she to smoke and me to look at the moon. It had gone from full to crescent. When we went back in I decided to waste some money and contribute to the evil RIAA, just this once, because there was an RIAA album that fit the situation perfectly.

I hate those damned internet jukeboxes. I'm no fan of jukeboxes anyway, and always let some other fool put money in them. But the new internet jukeboxes cost twice as much as a normal old fashioned CD jukebox, and if it has to download a song it takes a whole dollar, and it doesn't sound as good as a CD jukebox. But at least I should be able to hear a song from an album that was in the top 100 for twenty years.

I put my dollar in and searched for Dark Side of the Moon. The only song from the album was "Money". Fitting.

Fucking dickweeds. One more reason to hate the RIAA! And congress; that album should have been in the public domain long ago. So I played the old Patti Page song "Crazy" which should have been in the public domain when "Dark Side of the Moon" was recorded, and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". As the second song started, Linda broke and put the yellow ball in. "I should have played Big Balls" I said.

Re:Are they just lazy? (1)

Brad Eleven (165911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602138)

  1. Yes, they represent the copyright owners. No, they have no inherent right to sue, because they do not own the copyrights. Were they to file suit on behalf of the copyright owners, the suits would be EMI v. Joseph Blow or somesuch. The whole thing is a pathetic exercise in refusing to recognize that the game has changed, like a child who tries to keep players of the new game from playing because it wants to play the old game.
  2. Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced LEH-Nerd SKIN-Nerd).


"I'm taking my ball and going home!"
"Go right ahead. This game doesn't use a ball."
"Well... then... I'm going to get my dad to sue all of you!!!"
"So?"
"So you'll have to stop playing to appear in court."
"Now we definitely won't go back to playing that game that needs your ball."

All you need to know about music ownership (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604836)

The big four that they represent own the copyrights. The Corporate Owned Congress made musical recordings "works for hire" granting copyright to the record company, not the people who actualkly perform the music.

Yup, exactly right. All anyone needs to know about music ownership, the big labels, and the RIAA is summed up nicely in this comic. [imageshack.us]

Enjoy.

Share "software" (0)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598806)

share your own material rather than someone else' material and you'll be fine

Why Software Should Not Have Owners (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598870)

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-free.html [gnu.org]

Digital information technology contributes to the world by making it easier to copy and modify information. Computers promise to make this easier for all of us.

Not everyone wants it to be easier. The system of copyright gives software programs "owners", most of whom aim to withhold software's potential benefit from the rest of the public. They would like to be the only ones who can copy and modify the software that we use.

The copyright system grew up with printing--a technology for mass production copying. Copyright fit in well with this technology because it restricted only the mass producers of copies. It did not take freedom away from readers of books. An ordinary reader, who did not own a printing press, could copy books only with pen and ink, and few readers were sued for that.

Digital technology is more flexible than the printing press: when information has digital form, you can easily copy it to share it with others. This very flexibility makes a bad fit with a system like copyright. That's the reason for the increasingly nasty and draconian measures now used to enforce software copyright. Consider these four practices of the Software Publishers Association (SPA):

        * Massive propaganda saying it is wrong to disobey the owners to help your friend.
        * Solicitation for stool pigeons to inform on their coworkers and colleagues.
        * Raids (with police help) on offices and schools, in which people are told they must prove they are innocent of illegal copying.
        * Prosecution (by the US government, at the SPA's request) of people such as MIT's David LaMacchia, not for copying software (he is not accused of copying any), but merely for leaving copying facilities unguarded and failing to censor their use.

All four practices resemble those used in the former Soviet Union, where every copying machine had a guard to prevent forbidden copying, and where individuals had to copy information secretly and pass it from hand to hand as "samizdat". There is of course a difference: the motive for information control in the Soviet Union was political; in the US the motive is profit. But it is the actions that affect us, not the motive. Any attempt to block the sharing of information, no matter why, leads to the same methods and the same harshness.

Owners make several kinds of arguments for giving them the power to control how we use information:

        * Name calling.

            Owners use smear words such as "piracy" and "theft", as well as expert terminology such as "intellectual property" and "damage", to suggest a certain line of thinking to the public--a simplistic analogy between programs and physical objects.

            Our ideas and intuitions about property for material objects are about whether it is right to take an object away from someone else. They don't directly apply to making a copy of something. But the owners ask us to apply them anyway.

        * Exaggeration.

            Owners say that they suffer "harm" or "economic loss" when users copy programs themselves. But the copying has no direct effect on the owner, and it harms no one. The owner can lose only if the person who made the copy would otherwise have paid for one from the owner.

            A little thought shows that most such people would not have bought copies. Yet the owners compute their "losses" as if each and every one would have bought a copy. That is exaggeration--to put it kindly.

        * The law.

            Owners often describe the current state of the law, and the harsh penalties they can threaten us with. Implicit in this approach is the suggestion that today's law reflects an unquestionable view of morality--yet at the same time, we are urged to regard these penalties as facts of nature that can't be blamed on anyone.

            This line of persuasion isn't designed to stand up to critical thinking; it's intended to reinforce a habitual mental pathway.

            It's elementary that laws don't decide right and wrong. Every American should know that, forty years ago, it was against the law in many states for a black person to sit in the front of a bus; but only racists would say sitting there was wrong.

        * Natural rights.

            Authors often claim a special connection with programs they have written, and go on to assert that, as a result, their desires and interests concerning the program simply outweigh those of anyone else--or even those of the whole rest of the world. (Typically companies, not authors, hold the copyrights on software, but we are expected to ignore this discrepancy.)

            To those who propose this as an ethical axiom--the author is more important than you--I can only say that I, a notable software author myself, call it bunk.

            But people in general are only likely to feel any sympathy with the natural rights claims for two reasons.

            One reason is an overstretched analogy with material objects. When I cook spaghetti, I do object if someone else eats it, because then I cannot eat it. His action hurts me exactly as much as it benefits him; only one of us can eat the spaghetti, so the question is, which? The smallest distinction between us is enough to tip the ethical balance.

            But whether you run or change a program I wrote affects you directly and me only indirectly. Whether you give a copy to your friend affects you and your friend much more than it affects me. I shouldn't have the power to tell you not to do these things. No one should.

            The second reason is that people have been told that natural rights for authors is the accepted and unquestioned tradition of our society.

            As a matter of history, the opposite is true. The idea of natural rights of authors was proposed and decisively rejected when the US Constitution was drawn up. That's why the Constitution only permits a system of copyright and does not require one; that's why it says that copyright must be temporary. It also states that the purpose of copyright is to promote progress--not to reward authors. Copyright does reward authors somewhat, and publishers more, but that is intended as a means of modifying their behavior.

            The real established tradition of our society is that copyright cuts into the natural rights of the public--and that this can only be justified for the public's sake.

        * Economics.

            The final argument made for having owners of software is that this leads to production of more software.

            Unlike the others, this argument at least takes a legitimate approach to the subject. It is based on a valid goal--satisfying the users of software. And it is empirically clear that people will produce more of something if they are well paid for doing so.

            But the economic argument has a flaw: it is based on the assumption that the difference is only a matter of how much money we have to pay. It assumes that "production of software" is what we want, whether the software has owners or not.

            People readily accept this assumption because it accords with our experiences with material objects. Consider a sandwich, for instance. You might well be able to get an equivalent sandwich either free or for a price. If so, the amount you pay is the only difference. Whether or not you have to buy it, the sandwich has the same taste, the same nutritional value, and in either case you can only eat it once. Whether you get the sandwich from an owner or not cannot directly affect anything but the amount of money you have afterwards.

            This is true for any kind of material object--whether or not it has an owner does not directly affect what it is, or what you can do with it if you acquire it.

            But if a program has an owner, this very much affects what it is, and what you can do with a copy if you buy one. The difference is not just a matter of money. The system of owners of software encourages software owners to produce something--but not what society really needs. And it causes intangible ethical pollution that affects us all.

What does society need? It needs information that is truly available to its citizens--for example, programs that people can read, fix, adapt, and improve, not just operate. But what software owners typically deliver is a black box that we can't study or change.

Society also needs freedom. When a program has an owner, the users lose freedom to control part of their own lives.

And above all society needs to encourage the spirit of voluntary cooperation in its citizens. When software owners tell us that helping our neighbors in a natural way is "piracy", they pollute our society's civic spirit.

This is why we say that free software is a matter of freedom, not price.

The economic argument for owners is erroneous, but the economic issue is real. Some people write useful software for the pleasure of writing it or for admiration and love; but if we want more software than those people write, we need to raise funds.

For ten years now, free software developers have tried various methods of finding funds, with some success. There's no need to make anyone rich; the median US family income, around $35k, proves to be enough incentive for many jobs that are less satisfying than programming.

For years, until a fellowship made it unnecessary, I made a living from custom enhancements of the free software I had written. Each enhancement was added to the standard released version and thus eventually became available to the general public. Clients paid me so that I would work on the enhancements they wanted, rather than on the features I would otherwise have considered highest priority.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a tax-exempt charity for free software development, raises funds by selling GNU CD-ROMs, T-shirts, manuals, and deluxe distributions, (all of which users are free to copy and change), as well as from donations. It now has a staff of five programmers, plus three employees who handle mail orders.

Some free software developers make money by selling support services. Cygnus Support, with around 50 employees [when this article was written], estimates that about 15 per cent of its staff activity is free software development--a respectable percentage for a software company.

Companies including Intel, Motorola, Texas Instruments and Analog Devices have combined to fund the continued development of the free GNU compiler for the language C. Meanwhile, the GNU compiler for the Ada language is being funded by the US Air Force, which believes this is the most cost-effective way to get a high quality compiler. [Air Force funding ended some time ago; the GNU Ada Compiler is now in service, and its maintenance is funded commercially.]

All these examples are small; the free software movement is still small, and still young. But the example of listener-supported radio in this country [the US] shows it's possible to support a large activity without forcing each user to pay.

As a computer user today, you may find yourself using a proprietary program. If your friend asks to make a copy, it would be wrong to refuse. Cooperation is more important than copyright. But underground, closet cooperation does not make for a good society. A person should aspire to live an upright life openly with pride, and this means saying "No" to proprietary software.

You deserve to be able to cooperate openly and freely with other people who use software. You deserve to be able to learn how the software works, and to teach your students with it. You deserve to be able to hire your favorite programmer to fix it when it breaks.

You deserve free software.

Mod Parent DOwn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601986)

Why is this +3 Interesting: it is just standard FSF speil posted in an only tangentially related thread.

Re:Are they just lazy? (2, Interesting)

hhawk (26580) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598814)

They are trying though court cases and laws (DMCA) to over turn "fair use."

Also to be convicted of selling or distributing copywritten material, you typically have to a) charge for it and b) prove that you actually distributed it. But the RIAA is trying to say just "making it available" is the same. This isn't supported in case law (yet...).

I just can't wait until someone hits them with something like RICO.

Quote of the moment (5, Insightful)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598422)

The little funny quote at the bottom of the page at the moment read "What's done to children, they will do to society."

Would be great if this is the children that have been sued bankrupt for musicdownloads that finally (in time) sues the MAFIAA out of business. But being pesimi... erh, I mean, realistic, I'm not going to hold my breath...

Re:Quote of the moment (1)

ghostdancer (72944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598450)

Oh... Too bad I used up all my mod points, otherwise, I would definitely give you one for this.

Poor and middleclass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22598446)

"... poor and middle class people trying to defend these cases"
But, wait, don't you mean lawyers? Since when are -they- poor and middle class? Don't they usually try to make -others- poor and middle class? *confused*

Re:Poor and middleclass? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22598890)

You are confused indeed, simpleton. Not every person becomes a partner in a big-time law firm right out of college. In fact, no one does. The average graduating law school student begins their career with more student loan debt than you computer cave dwelling IT trolls can wrap your pony-tail ensconced brains around. And I know this last point might be too much for you to comprehend as well, but the field of law is so incredibly broad that not every attorney has to be a criminal defense lawyer or on the attack team of a mega-corporation. Please inform yourself before your next oral explosive diarrhea release.

Re:Poor and middleclass? (2, Insightful)

jriding (1076733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599378)

and if I had mod points they would mod you up. Everyone bashes the lawyer... thats like someone who knows nothing about networks bashing the network engineer.. "they just keep deisnging new technology so they can make money and the people who have to pay them will never know if they really need it or not. The lawyers that do their jobs well and with morals are just as good as the engineer who helps his client... this is also the same as the lawyer who is sloppy, does bad work, doesn't bother to learn the law, or looks for the quick buck, is the same as the engineer that rapes his client stating you really do need this $250,000 appliance or your network will be rooted.

Re:Poor and middleclass? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602366)

Nobody put a gun to your head and made you go to law school. And if you didn't already know about the debt, and the fact you don't become partner right away, then you are way to naive to ever make it as a lawyer.

Re:Poor and middleclass? (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599160)

The summary is referring to the defendants (you know, the guys - or gals - being sued) as being poor or middle class. Not sure where you get this as referring to the lawyers (or more accurately, lawyers in training, who also qualify as 'poor' seeing as many of them will be up to thier eyeballs in debt).

Honestly... (2, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598460)

it's about time that people outside of schools are tapping this resource. I would have expected law students to have been tapped a long time ago, not only for this but in general by law firms since they have an expertise in the field in question largely due to having lived and grown with computers their entire lives.

Re:Honestly... (2, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598564)

There is a big difference between between using a computer and an understanding of the law, nevermind grasping that there is an even bigger difference between the machinations of the legal system and justice.

Future scaping? (1)

Raphael Emportu (1143977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598572)

What interest me most is how this will evolve in the next generation of lawmakers. If these young people are going to step up against RIAA and win, who will be left to watch the RIAA propaganda videos like recently exposed on /.? Seems to me that RIAA with their complete propaganda machinery is no match for educational facilities :-)

Re:Future scaping? (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599600)

What interest me most is how this will evolve in the next generation of lawmakers. If these young people are going to step up against RIAA and win, who will be left to watch the RIAA propaganda videos like recently exposed on /.? Seems to me that RIAA with their complete propaganda machinery is no match for educational facilities :-)

Back in the seventies, we young people all smoked pot. Now that my genertation's rich people have taken over from the last generation's rich people, is it legal? Hell no, the assshats running things all deny ever having touched the stuff. Well, one famous asshat former doper claims he tried it once but never inhaled, as if he were talking to a nation of idiots. Well maybe he was.

But at any rate, I think when you in your twenties now are my age, your generation's rich people that become lawmakers are no more going to restore copyright to reasonable terms and legalize noncommercial copying than my generation's rich people that became lawmakers legalized the marijuana that nearly every single one of them broke the law smoking in the seventies.

Re:Future scaping? (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601254)

Which just goes to prove that the last people you would want sitting in goverment is rich old people. Unless you like having old lying hypocrites in power.

OK, that may be a little unfair to a few of them. But really, looking at it statistically, rich old people in power aren't really the best choice unless you want cynical people that could sell their own mother and afterwards convince everyone that it was for her own good.

Age may reflect wisdom, but it also reflects stagnation and cynicism. Riches may reflect good business sense and willingness to work, but it also reflects the ability to convince others to buy your bullshit lies. And wanting to be in power increases the chance that it is the bad traits that are strongest.

Re:Future scaping? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601386)

No doubt. Back in those days I thought by time my generation came into control, things would not be as anal as they were then. But the opposite has happen. The country has become more anal and less respected worldwide thanks, in part, to our nation's single-issue voting Evangelical Christians.

Cautionary Note (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598580)

This is a cautionary note based upon experience i have seen in the movies:

When you find a new super weapon and decide to use it to help the people, it almost always backfires.

We are cheering the fact that MORE lawyers are being created.
What will happen when they finish with the RIAA?

"It won't stop at anything, and it will never stop hunting you until you are dead."

Re:Cautionary Note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22598594)

They are not creating more lawyers here, they are utilizing existing lawyers.

Where is that quote from, a Digimon movie?

Thanks for coming out, ace.

Hey Mods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600236)

Plz fix P.

Re:Cautionary Note (1, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599124)

When you find a new super weapon and decide to use it to help the people, it almost always backfires.
"That's no moon... it's a gigantic grey ball of legal practitioners!"

Re:Cautionary Note (2, Funny)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601506)

We are cheering the fact that MORE lawyers are being created.
What will happen when they finish with the RIAA?
We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lawyers. Then, we've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat. Then comes the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

good for the proto-lawyers! (0, Offtopic)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598582)

I think the legal profession in this country has a lot to answer for, and this is a step in the right direction.

After all, lawyers in Pakistan are braving tear gas and risking their lives in defense of the rule of law.  Where are our lawyers, on the whole*, when our own country's government violates sacred human rights?  Raking it in on behalf of their corporate masters, that's what.

We have the greatest proportion of our population behind bars than any other country in the world.  The law is completely unintelligable to ordinary citizens, unless they happen to know latin and also be well connected.  And the powerful can bludgeon the poor for years on end with impunity, as normal people can't afford justice any more than they can afford health care.

Maybe Barack Obama will save us all, or maybe John McCain will, but all I know is we are powerless in the flow of potent greed, and we seem to have no recourse.

*EFF and ACLU excepted :-)

Re:good for the proto-lawyers! (1)

Legrow (1023457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598704)

Where are our lawyers, on the whole*, when our own country's government violates sacred human rights?

Which "sacred human rights" you're talking about that the government is violating (which I presume to mean "is violating unconstitutionally")?

Executive suspension of habeaus corpus has been constitutional since at least as long as the Civil War and Ex parte Milligan [wikipedia.org] .
Performing search without probable cause but with reasonable suspicion (as in, reasonable suspicion that you have already, or are about to, commit a crime) has been constitutional since at least as long as 1968 and Terry v. Ohio [wikipedia.org] .

The point is that there is a long and storied history in the U.S. legal system of support within the legal community for the authority of the Supreme Court. And although many do not agree with their rulings, and wish the outcome was different, there is respect for the rulings that they give because they have good rationale for their verdicts, even if it's just decided on the basis of stare decisis [wikipedia.org] .

In fact, the "big" time I can think of the executive violating judicial independence (FDR's court packing plan), there was such negative attention directed at the executive even though they supported the intention! That's the sort of thing that makes lawyers lash out, not recent applications of 40-140 year old Supreme Court decisions. They aren't about to get up in arms over people whose own interpretation of the Constitution does not match the history of decisions in the Supreme Court and presume that their interpretation is the one that is legally binding.

In short, cut the lawyers a break, and start the revolution your own damn self if you think the Supreme Court's wrong (or get elected President).

IANALBIATACLC (I am not a lawyer, but I am taking a Constitutional law class.)

Re:good for the proto-lawyers! (4, Interesting)

oojimaflib (1077261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598924)

Where are our lawyers, on the whole*, when our own country's government violates sacred human rights?

Which "sacred human rights" you're talking about that the government is violating (which I presume to mean "is violating unconstitutionally")?

The constitution, albeit a fine document, is not the be-all and end-all of human rights; not least because it is somewhat limited in the people to whom it applies. While I will freely admit that the US gov. has a positively sparkling human rights record compared to some, I note that the country is still not party to, for example, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [wikipedia.org] among others.

Apologies for being somewhat OT here, but the difference between human rights law in general and the US constitution is an important one and I think it important not to blur the difference.

Re:good for the proto-lawyers! (3, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599640)

While I will freely admit that the US gov. has a positively sparkling human rights record compared to some, I note that the country is still not party to, for example, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights among others.

That's a good thing, since none of the items listed in that covenant are actual human rights. There's a simple litmus test for whether a proposed "right" is reasonable: can you exercise the "right" in the absence of other human beings to exploit? In this case the answer is clearly "no"; their so-called "rights" cannot be exercised except by making one or more other people worse off than they would be otherwise.

Re:good for the proto-lawyers! (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601672)

I note that the country is still not party to, for example, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [wikipedia.org] among others.

Apologies for being somewhat OT here, but the difference between human rights law in general and the US constitution is an important one and I think it important not to blur the difference.

See, the trouble there is that the ICESCR isn't about rights, it's about socialism. A right that imposes a obligation on others isn't classically a right. ICESCR is full of "rights" like the right to paid vacations, welfare, social insurance, and "health".

Re:good for the proto-lawyers! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599814)

Which "sacred human rights" you're talking about that the government is violating (which I presume to mean "is violating unconstitutionally")?

You might want to read this old journal [slashdot.org] from last month where I chronicle how my fourth amendment rights against unwarranted search were violated TWICE last year. Or would you posit that it's OK for the police to search YOUR garage without a warrant or even your knowlege because a strange woman, who had not been accused of any crime by anyone, had been prowling around the neighborhood and may have been hiding there without your knowlege?

I wrote Liberty? What liberty? [kuro5hin.org] three years ago, and things have only gotten worse since then.

-mcgrew
(my latest journal [slashdot.org] mentions the RIAA. I'm sure to garner a few more freaks with it...)

Best practical project ever. (4, Interesting)

splutty (43475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598612)

I think if I was a law student, I'd be very very happy doing this sort of work.

Actual cases with a lot of what every defence lawyer is looking for: Suspense, Lying, Cheating, Inexpert Witnesses, Corporate Greed, Perjury, Farfetched application of laws...

This would be great. You could probably make a TV series out of it even!

(Okay okay.. Some of this is tongue in cheeck, but the basic premise is obvious: This is great material for law students to study and participate in. They get a real life example of how screwed up and convoluted cases can get)

And maybe, just maybe this'll breed a generation of lawyers not hellbent on making Escheresque pictures out of the law.

Noooooooooo! (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599286)

This would be great. You could probably make a TV series out of it even!

Please don't give David E Kelley any ideas.

Re:Best practical project ever. (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599574)

There is also the potential for a new lawyer to get media exposure in a high profile lawsuit. As long as they are winning, media exposure would have to be good for their budding career.

you are going to lose (-1, Troll)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598678)

basically all this is about is a demand for the right to freely copy music and video

that issue was settled when copyright law was established and it isn't going to change

it doesn't matter that you are able to crack the encryption codes. what matters is that the encryption codes are there and that the DMCA forbids anyone to defeat those codes

so if you crack the codes and crow about it you may as well yell "hey! come and get me" same as if you advertise rip copies of music/video over the net. defeating the encryption violates DMCA and if ya advertise rip copies ya may as well advertise "hey! come and get me"

don't worry: they'll be there for ya. Enjoy.

Re:you are going to lose (5, Interesting)

coats (1068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598710)

The supreme lw of the land says "for a limited time". Tell me:

When does that encryption expire? For that matter, is the term of copyright "limited" in human terms? (Name ten works whose copyright term has expired in your lifetime.)

It doesn't expire. The DMCA is unConstitutional on its face. The RIAA are trying to enforce an illegal law. Enforced by a corrupt judicial system.

you have 2 course of action open to you (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598838)

1 write your congress-critter and ask him to have the law changed

2 bring suit in federal court claiming the law is un-constitutional

Re:you have 2 course of action open to you (1)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599856)

2 bring suit in federal court claiming the law is un-constitutional
That's gonna happen. It's as slam dunk a case as you can get. And it will invalidate completely the entirety of all copyright law, since the SC itself is not allowed to amend the length of the term.

3 don't buy any, or buy a lot less, copyrighted stuff (even independents, if they aren't on board, are a part of the problem)

4 sue the RIAA lawyers and music industry executives for RICO violations, seize their personal civil assets and freeze their corporate assets for the restitution fund, put them in jail

5 develop faster better anonymous sharing technology, such that all the content ever created can be copied in seconds and stored on a flash drive

Re:you are going to lose (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599658)

The DMCA is unConstitutional on its face.

So is the Bono Act, but the Supreme Court says it isn't, that "limited" means whatever Congress says it means. That of course means that every word in the Constitution means whatever Congress says it means. Which means that the Constitution is now completely meaningless, and we no longer have rule of law but rule of men.

Encryption doesn't expire? (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600320)

Let's see. The CSS encryption on DVDs expired in about 30 days. The AACS encryption on HD-DVDs expired in about 6 months... FairUse4QT or WMA anyone? Trust me. Copyright law far outlives encryption.

Re:you are going to lose (5, Insightful)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598736)

Actually it's about the methods the RIAA is using. It's very important to do everything possible to prevent this sort of thing being seen as okay, or even normal, "so long as they're catching the bad guys". Just like it's not generally considered okay for the police to break the law in order to make an arrest, no matter how bad the guy they're arresting is, because it sets precedents of "acceptable behaviour" that are ultimately far more detrimental to society than the acts of even lots of individual bad guys.

Same deal here. If the RIAA can use these sorts of tactics with impunity, then so can everyone else with enough money. Even though some - indeed, probably almost all - of the people being sued did infringe on someone's copyrights, the harm they did pales in comparison to the harm these kind of abuses of the law would do to society if they became (even more) widespread.

It's not just the RIAA, but the fact that it's hard to show actual harm or even deprivation of income from copyright infringement seems to make this a more morally appealing battlefront than others.

Re: enforcement tactics (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599074)

It is not at all acceptable for the police to break the law in working a case and when they do the judge will dis-allow any evidence obtained illegally

RIAA is only acting to protect their copy-rights, which is their source of income. Some of their actions appear excessive; I'll be the first to agree in that.

Opposition to their copyright law is being presented in the form of civil disobedience

perhaps this will succeed, perhaps not. This remains to be seen.

Copyright and patent law however form the protection of intellectual property. These laws are beneficial to society in that they encourage investment in development by securing for the investors access to resulting profit. Combined with free market economics these serve to form the Lamp by the Golden Door and provide the environment in which the United States, with 6% of the world's population controlled 50% of the world's wealth by 1950.

With this in view I do not see success in the future of the civil disobedience movement against the protection of intellectual property

Re: enforcement tactics (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599412)

If you were alive in the 15th century, I'm sure you'd be arguing against the printing press too.

Re: enforcement tactics (1)

carpe.cervisiam (900585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599518)

I think your missing the point. For the sake of argument, lets presume that US copyright laws are fair (which I don't believe they are in their current state). Would the tactics the RIAA is using be acceptable?

Re: enforcement tactics (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22607110)

I think your missing the point. For the sake of argument, lets presume that US copyright laws are fair (which I don't believe they are in their current state). Would the tactics the RIAA is using be acceptable?
That's an easy one. NO.

The RIAA's tactics violate (a) copyright law (b) federal procedural law (c) constitutional due process and (d) morality.

Double Standards (3, Interesting)

fork_daemon (1122915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598686)

I dont Understand this RIAA Crap. The other day i was watching the Movie JUNO. A character in the movie burns a CD containing some songs for Juno. Now is that not illegal according to RIAA? Why not raise a voice against that rather than draggin their ass behind innocent students??
Honestly speaking RIAA and MPAA are not loosing anything near what they claim.

Re:Double Standards (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598808)

I dont Understand this RIAA Crap. The other day i was watching the Movie JUNO. A character in the movie burns a CD containing some songs for Juno. Now is that not illegal according to RIAA? Why not raise a voice against that rather than draggin their ass behind innocent students??

Honestly speaking RIAA and MPAA are not loosing anything near what they claim.
They are if each song download costs them $750 as they have once claimed.

So I owe the RIAA $11,250,000.00 wow!

~Dan

Re:Double Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22599968)

yeah ... it's not like the movies ever show people doing
illegal things!

FYI Meta Mods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22600348)

There is a pattern of someone "over-rating" harmless (but topical) AC posts. Shouldn't that be reserved for posts starting at +1, +2, or - heaven forbid -, +3?

Re:Double Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601722)

The other day i was watching the Movie Scarface. Tony Montant in the movie kills a lot of fucking people. Now is that not illegal?

Re:Double Standards-I First Thought... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601760)

character in the movie burns a CD containing some songs for Juno.

I first thought you meant that she destroyed it by tossing it into a fire. And that this was a comment on the lousy quality of current music, and its obvious destructive effect on teenagers and preteens (witness that Juno herself is pregnant at age 15).

Only after rereading your post a couple more times did I realize that you meant that they showed the creation of an illegal CD in a CD burner.

First it was drug use in the movies that had to go, or be rated in such a manner as to keep it away from vulnerable impressionable youth. Next it was smoking. Clearly CD burning is the new kid on this block now. Should make for an interesting contract with the FBI Warning when the DVD is finally released.

Re:Double Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22604656)

Clearly, they'd like to imply that burning CDs illegally will get you pregnant.

What happens now? (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598702)

In the past, the RIAA has shown that the grapes are too sour when it comes to attacking colleges whose law students and faculty stand ready to defend them. Now these same colleges are taking the fight to the RIAA? This cannot end well for the latter, I think.

How it ends does not matter so much (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598896)

The simple fact that the latest batch of lawyers see the wrongful doings of previous batches heralds a kind of change. It's not just a cry of 'that's not fair', it is a cry of 'that's not fair use'. The tide will have turned when older established lawyers hire the newer tech savvy lawyers. They will need to: DNA tests, AI, robotics, and many other new technologies will spawn legal cases that deal with matters unheard of before.

It is, in some way, perhaps the beginnings of the fight against the corporate control of America. It is definitely a fight against IP and copyright run amok, as well as shady lawyer tactics. It's not clear cut when looking at only one case but if you look at the situation on the whole, the RIAA still needs to get some wins in court somewhere. Add to this what is happening to MS and others in the EU with regard to their business practices a picture begins to form about the general state of play in courtrooms around the globe. In Russia schools are moving to F/OSS because of legal action. The EU lobbed a 1.3Billion Dollar fine against MS. US law students are fighting against the **AA. Of course that is only a few of the cases. The big picture is that the fight against software IP, extended copyright laws, and bad corporate tactics is taking shape one case at a time.

Re:How it ends does not matter so much (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599716)

The tide will have turned when older established lawyers hire the newer tech savvy lawyers. They will need to: DNA tests, AI, robotics, and many other new technologies will spawn legal cases that deal with matters unheard of before.

Just like doctors and programmers keep current, so do lawyers. Age doesn't keep one from learning, and it doesn't keep one from being able to understand technology.

Now get off my lawn!

-mcgrew

Re:How it ends does not matter so much (1)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599758)

If I had mods... Yes, this new conscience is creeping, like a thief in the night, toward a better world.

Law Clinic? (3, Funny)

presarioD (771260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22598936)

Hmmmm, a clinic is a place where sick people go in order to get well. A "law clinic" is a place where sick lawyers go in order to get well... nah, it's the place where sick laws get in order to get well... nah, it's the place where new lawyers test their immunity system when exposed to sick lawyers... nah, it's the place where the new breeds of laws test their immunity system against the sick laws... nah, it's the place where sick law interbreeding happens... aghhh, I give up...

Intellectual or imaginary? (1, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599318)

Its Intellectual Property Law Clinic's attorneys-in-training, working under the supervision of law professors, are going to bat against the RIAA by helping outside lawyers to defend their clients, pro bono.

Even a literate layman who takes the time to read the US Constitution can see that the concept of intellectual "property" is unamerican. "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries"

If I rent a hoouse I have an exclusive right for a limited time, but it isn't my property. If "IP" was "property" than rather than giving "exclusive right" for a "limited time" the founding fathers would have said "ownership".

So why does a law school have an "Intellectual Property Law Clinic" when the Constitution is so clear that it's NOT property?

Re:Intellectual or imaginary? (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22607076)

'Intellectual property' is a term used in American law to describe patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret law. No more, no less.

Excellent Class Project (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599380)

That's what this is. The best way to teach a subject is through the medium of something the student is interested in and cares about. What better way to instruct a generation of legal professionals on the previously arcane area of copyright law than to enlist them in the fight to bring down the RIAA/MPAA?

It seems to me that every law school clinic in the country should be doing the same thing--there'd be no shortage of students willing to participate. But if every law school doesn't do this, the ones that do should play it up in their marketing material to prospective students. Most kids go to law school because they want to help others; imagine how exciting it would be to lead the fight to help your peers against the most hated company and industry in the world.

Re:Excellent Class Project (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22607092)

That's what this is. The best way to teach a subject is through the medium of something the student is interested in and cares about. What better way to instruct a generation of legal professionals on the previously arcane area of copyright law than to enlist them in the fight to bring down the RIAA/MPAA? It seems to me that every law school clinic in the country should be doing the same thing--there'd be no shortage of students willing to participate. But if every law school doesn't do this, the ones that do should play it up in their marketing material to prospective students. Most kids go to law school because they want to help others; imagine how exciting it would be to lead the fight to help your peers against the most hated company and industry in the world.
I would not be surprised to see many follow suit.

By the way, speaking of "class project", did you see Professor Nesson at Harvard Law School assigned a project of drafting a motion to quash an RIAA subpoena [blogspot.com] ?

Gotta like that guy.

A couple of things I would like to say (0, Offtopic)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599706)

1: Fuck the RIAA
2: Fuck the MPAA

and while I am at it,

3: Fuck Microsoft.

There, I feel better now.

Re:A couple of things I would like to say (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599862)

1: Fuck the RIAA
2: Fuck the MPAA
and while I am at it,
3: Fuck Microsoft.


Trust me, they're all lousy in bed.

A New Legal Argument (3, Interesting)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22599892)

Maybe this idea will get to the right minds perhaps one of you know who they are and will create awareness. When we purchase music we purchase a license to listen to the songs we paid for. I don't think the music industry understands this; apparently this has not been clarified in the courts. We are not buying the piece of plastic they are printed on.

It does not matter what the source is or what format we have it in. We are purchasing a license to listen at our leisure to a song or watch a movie. We can have a thousand copies because we can only listen to one at a time. Somebody needs to argue this in court. That we are in fact purchasing a license to listen, not a piece of plastic or a digital file of zero's and ones.

This is the New legal justification for open downloads of music or copy righted material:

In fact the record labels need to, I think legally provide, free downloads of music. The record companies have not provided a way for me to enjoy my license to listen if the CD gets scratched, as it is now they force us to buy a new license they should probably reimburse anyone who has had to buy more than one license because of damage media.

I noticed about 10 years ago CDs became very easy to scratch not the bottom but the top. I wonder if this was by design to produce more sales? If so then the recording industry owes the consumers money

Because the carrier medium can be damaged we should all be able to get a download of a new instance of the song we paid for from the Internet if we purchased the license to listen to it. Since the record companies have not provided a way for us to get a replacement copy the Internet downloads can ethically be justified.

Truth is we don't need the record companies anymore. We can all buy from the artists direct and vote with a link what is most popular. I would be happy to pay the creative talent directly without the huge middle man cut. Another things is corporate pressure to maintain the status quo system cannot be put on artists by large corporations.

Hopefully someone will get this into the hands of the attorneys for the defendants.

Technically based on quantum physics there is only one copy of a piece of music in the universe. This exists in the intangible realm; all tangible manifestations of this one copy are simply a physical conveyance of this one real instance. It is an information universe, everything is ultimately just information.

Re:A New Legal Argument (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600968)

I don't know anything about this website, but it was the first google result when I typed in "legal torrents". Apparently they're revamping their site to allow for compensation directly to artists. Not sure if it's voluntary or not like Radiohead. Legal Torrents [legaltorrents.com] I would hope there is some kind of Netflix like rating system to filter out all the crappy bands that all they do is cover Lynard Skynard.

Re:A New Legal Argument (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601520)

I noticed about 10 years ago CDs became very easy to scratch not the bottom but the top. I wonder if this was by design to produce more sales? If so then the recording industry owes the consumers money

Actually, the "top" of the CD is more important than the bottom. The actual data is burned into the very thin layer of writeable material thats on the "bottom" of the top layer of the CD. Try scratching off the pretty picture from a music CD and see if it plays.

Re:A New Legal Argument-MOD +1 Insightful (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601826)

Technically based on quantum physics there is only one copy of a piece of music in the universe. This exists in the intangible realm; all tangible manifestations of this one copy are simply a physical conveyance of this one real instance. It is an information universe, everything is ultimately just information.

That's worth repeating. Excellent insight.

What Took Them So Long? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601548)

While it's nice to have another ally in the fight, I am left with the question of what took them so long to get involved? These suits have been going on for years, and the campaign against college and university students for over a year itself. Did the wrong someone at this school finally get extorted/sued?

You know you're evil when (2, Funny)

Amasuriel (1176527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603202)

even lawyers band together pro bono to help strangers fight you and your cause. I mean seriously. Seriously.
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