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RIAA to Sue You Now 831

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sue-sue-suedio dept.
An anonymous reader writes "MSNBC reports that apparently the music industry feels so satisfied with going after file swapping software makers that they want to sue the pants off the file swappers themselves. Of course, you'll need to be a big fish with lots of illegal music to get their attention." This is what they should have done in the first place- go after the people who are actually doing it instead of making P2P seemingly illegal.
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RIAA to Sue You Now

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  • by mhore (582354) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:26PM (#3816678)
    *adds the RIAA to his hosts.deny file*

    Problem solved. :-)


    • I wonder if the RIAA will look into recruiting "spies". That is, people who are rewarded for turning in the big fish. Heh, they could even work out a system of more mp3's=more money. In that case your hosts.deny file just got a lot bigger...

  • by InnereNacht (529021) <> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:26PM (#3816681)
    A special humour game.

    This is a special humour game
    This game is my first work.
    You're the first player.
    I hope you would like it.
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:29PM (#3816714)
    "they want to sue the pants off the file swappers themselves"

    I'm not wearing any pants!
  • the article says that they are going after "for profit" orginazations. What if the so-called orginazation doesn't ask for money, just a donation... wouldn't that put a crimp in their court case. After all, a big business charging for music they don't have a right to sell is just asking to be caught and have a big fine slapped on them...
    • Re:well now... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ImaLamer (260199)
      I believe piracy-for-profit is evil.

      Trading mp3's or copying millions of albums where no one profits... that it is okay.

      Because that is where theft comes into play. That _is_ money that could go to the RIAA's pit-o-cash.
  • Gaaah! FUD from hell (Score:4, Informative)

    by drew_kime (303965) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:29PM (#3816725) Homepage Journal
    Instead, the industry has focused on lawsuits against for-profit piracy outfits

    I expect this from MSNBC, but this is a WSJ article.
    • The trick is to get people to read the article. Making it sound like they're coming after -you- is a pretty decent way to do it, right? Slashdot uses the same technique..
  • Of course, you'll need to be a big fish with lots of illegal music to get their attention."

    That's good news for all of us humans out here, but what about our aquatic File-swapping friends? Unite with our fishy friends and protect their rights to music!
  • by hatter3bdev (533135) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:30PM (#3816736)
    One of the things people have been claiming to be a disadvantage to gnutella is now showing itself as an advantage. People cannot browse your file lists in gnutella and thus cannot see how many illegal files you are swapping. They only learn of what files you have when they do a specific search for them.
    • by praksys (246544)
      In gtk-gnutella (and I suppose others) you can also limit the number of search results that will be returned. Pick a low number and you should have no trouble.
    • by ian stevens (5465) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:18PM (#3817231) Homepage

      As I understand the Gnutella protocol, this is possibly although none of the present clients have such a feature. When Gnutella first came out I toyed with the idea of building a Python-based client which allowed you to limit searches to one host. I might be wrong, but this is how it would be done, assuming your target host has given all their MP3 files a ".mp3" extension:

      • Find the IP address for the host you wish to search. Connect to the host.
      • Issue a search request to that host (and no other hosts) for "mp3" and set the TTL remaining to 1, or possibly 0.
      • The search request will not be passed on to other hosts as the TTL will expire. The results which will be returned will only exist on the queried host.

      If this is true, and if it isn't then no doubt someone will correct me, then I am surprised why nobody has implemented this feature.


    • by MadAhab (40080) <slasher@ahab.cEEEom minus threevowels> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:29PM (#3817337) Homepage Journal
      I thought that the protocol allows for getting full listings, but that the clients, in general, do not. Gnutella is now at an advantage in that it really is really distributed. People who run big OpenNap nodes might find themselves getting nastygrams.

      On the other hand, Hilary Rosen is a gigantic fucking stupid neanderthal cunt who should be shot into outer space naked.

      If I were a label musician, well, first off I'd be completely fucked having sold my career to the mafia, but second, I'd be wondering why an organization that I subsidize "for my protection" is spending my money to stop people from hearing about my music.

      I haven't bought a single CD in the past two years unless I previewed songs via mp3. I buy far more CDs than the average person. Copyright infringement has made me spend more money, not less, on the CDs I want to own. It's also completely eliminated purchases I'm not satisfied with and made me a happier customer.

      It's also let me buy music I never would have known about otherwise, because the music industry does such a shitty job of letting people know about its artists. Imagine a bookstore that had the best-seller list in display cases, the vast majority of their inventory in a back room where you can't see it or know what's there, and no ability to browse whatsoever (though you can listen to someone read chapters aloud in between endless advertisements). You have just imagined the current operation of the music industry and their partners in crime, the playlist managers. And you've just seen how phenomenally fucking stupidly the music industry is behaving; someone has set up a lending library around the corner and they are trying to shut it down on the theory that one person bought it and others are enjoying it for free (the CARP fees for webcasting are an offer to take $1 from the library each time a book is loaned (for free)). Don't tell me that getting mp3s and burning CDs from it is stealing unless you want to get smacked; it's like going to the library and photocopying a book; you aren't likely to do it to save money, because if you could just buy the damn thing it would be much quicker and easier and possibly even cheaper and definitely better than making a copy. ($20 CDs kinda fuck up that equation, but I don't recall the part of copyright law that says you can raise prices indefinitely without consequence)

      If the RIAA really went after individuals, they'd be shooting their best customers and their best new promotional vehicle since radio. Really smart!

      • by alizard (107678) <alizard@ecis . c om> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @07:25PM (#3818718) Homepage
        s. And you've just seen how phenomenally fucking stupidly the music industry is behaving; someone has set up a lending library around the corner and they are trying to shut it down on the theory that one person bought it and others are enjoying it for free

        No, the idea is to prevent end users from getting exposed to musicians who don't have contracts with RIAA labels.

        That's the reality underlying "concerns about piracy" and artists being enlisted behind industry propaganda and payola, why LP FM radio has been given so much trouble, etc. and why Internet Radio is being shut down in the US.

        The RIAA wants a situation where an artist who wants to make a living in music must be signed to an RIAA label. An artist who sells music otherwise isn't contributing towards the lifestyles of the suits at record companies. The RIAA suits consider this immoral and where possible, something to be made illegal.

        I'm sure that the record industry knows that the P2P networks can be quite reasonably seen as a group of individuals promoting music for RIAA companies and artists at their own expense. This isn't what they have problems with.

        The problem is that since the RIAA has no control over these channels, there's no way to prevent them from presenting the music of musicians not signed to RIAA labels.

    • They only learn of what files you have when they do a specific search for them.

      Presumably record companies will only be suing over songs they actually own the copyright to anyway, so I don't see how this is any advantage.

    • by Shadarr (11622) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @07:21PM (#3818686) Homepage
      If you're using Gnutella, you're protected by the fact that nobody can successfully download any of the files you have "shared". This makes the search results more like a web page listing the CD's you own, and thus you aren't actually distributing copywrite material. Kazaa has no such protection.
  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:31PM (#3816741) Homepage
    "Filing suits against individual users is complicated. Entertainment companies frequently hire services that specialize in tracking copyrighted material online. But to get the name of an individual user, they have to send a subpoena to that person's Internet-service provider. Even for the ISP, linking the Internet address to a name can be complex. Moreover, it's hard to verify which person was logged on to an Internet connection at a given time."

    So in other words to find most individual users they will have to invest time+money, yeah this'll fly for an association thats primary concern is profit!!
  • good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by waspleg (316038) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:32PM (#3816748) Journal
    maybe they'll sue themselves out of business, lawyers ain't cheap and even if they bust half of the teens they prosecute they won't recoup their losses

    going after users doesn't work, ask the DEA

    stupid wars on freedom waste time and money, why not go the way of BMG and at least attempt to make a profit from it insted of trying to slow your demise.. death to teh riaa
  • by MisterBlister (539957) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:32PM (#3816749) Homepage
    The commentary above is completely off. Its not that the RIAA feels smug in their victory against the file sharing companies, its that they realize that none of these victories matter in the long term. Shut down one P2P service and 3 more pop up..

    This isn't about an industry that is feeling smug and self-assured...This is a LAST DITCH EFFORT to assert their right to exist. And in the long run, I don't think its going to work.

    RIP RIAA -- 2006

    • I wish I have your assurance on this one. Remember not long time ago a article ( methinks) about woman fired over having some mp3 on her comp at work? This is where they gonna start, effectively forcing companies to ban fileswappin and mp3-listening @ work (lets not talk about company resources, working comp for work and all other related issues)

      This (I expect) will kill effectevely about 30 to 50% of possible users. Then, on much clean ground, they will sue couple ISPs and get them involved somehow. AND THIS IS IT. ISPs will fight rest of swappers to the end of contract. If file swapping will be reduced to 5-10% of current, It would be effectively "RIP Swapping -- 2006". And then, as you can imagine, they will come with "new, cost effective, legal" way to sell music over internet.

      Screw us ?

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:52PM (#3816994) Homepage Journal
      to assert their right to exist

      No, no one challenges their right to exist, what they are trying to protect is their "right" to impose an outdated buisness model on the public. They want complete control on the music, they want their oligopoly to be able to set extravagant prices on low quality products so they can keep getting their 8 digit salaries. And above all, they do not want to either 1-get with the times and adapt to new technology nor 2- give the public what they want.

      I used to buy a lot more CDs when I could sample them freely on napster. Now that they've shut it down and called me a thief, I'm boycotting them.

      I hope they go least then N'sync will be forced to go back to being regular male strippers.
  • by SkyLeach (188871) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:32PM (#3816750) Homepage
    their profits will be -$2,000,000,000 and they will claim it's "Due to piracy".

    The funny thing is, they'll be more correct than any of the other times they have made that statement. :-)
  • by Patrick13 (223909) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:32PM (#3816752) Homepage Journal
    "The United States versus KazaaLite User "SpankyPants27", AKA"
  • In the case of the RIAA vs the inhabitants of the planet earth.....

    judge --> will the defendants please rise
    (defendants) --> Everyone rises
  • Wow did someone hit RIAA with a Clue Stick? this is one of the first smart things they have done. This of course is assuming the following

    If they find someone who is sharing music that could only be there if it was pirated.

    That means you should only be under suspicion if you are sharing music that is not yet released (Eminem was a recent one that I heard of being out there well in advance). That's it. Otherwise who knows maybe some insane freak does buy every song on the top 100 list. There is no probable cause, no reason to sue.

    Just my $16.99 (My thoughts might have become easier to produce but marketing and branding still cost money)
    • Re:About Time!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skidge (316075)
      That means you should only be under suspicion if you are sharing music that is not yet released (Eminem was a recent one that I heard of being out there well in advance). That's it. Otherwise who knows maybe some insane freak does buy every song on the top 100 list. There is no probable cause, no reason to sue.

      Buying the music doesn't give you the right to share it. So the insane freak still could get into trouble.
  • by jmd! (111669) <> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:33PM (#3816770) Homepage
    Say I own the "rights" to 500 songs. I bought the CD, tape, payed for an individual mp3 download, whatever.

    How is offering them over napster servers any more illegal then what a library does? If user X downloads them, and keeps them permanently, or sells them, or otherwise violates HIS local copyright statutes, I don't see how that's my fault for simplying for having /tunes shared out.
    • by Tarrek (547315) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:45PM (#3816922)
      In my opinion, it's totally legal, though I'd like to see that stand up in court =P

      As per the Home Audio Recording Act of 1992 (If I remember correctly), you are allowed to make infinite copies of a copyrighted material that you own the rights to for personal use, and, in that case, personal use INCLUDED giving copies to friends, as long as it wasn't for profit.

      That's no different than Napster, if you ask me. I'm just giving copies to my friends, and I'm sure as hell not profitting from it.
      • Friends? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by r_barchetta (398431)

        And everyone who has ever downloaded an mp3 you've put in to a file-sharing system has been your personal friend? Someone you have met/spoken with frequently/some other activity generally shared among friends? Or are they strangers from around the world and you have no idea who they really are?

        You are stretching the definition of "friend" just a bit.

      • by burris (122191)
        You are correct but unfortunately the statute was amended by the DMCA. Now the definition of "financial gain" includes the "receipt or expectation of receipt of copyrighted works." In other words, they amended the law to forbid "trading." It's going to be difficult to assert that you setup a file-sharing client with no intent to download anything else (assuming file sharing on computers is even protected by AHRA, which it probably isn't.)

    • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:53PM (#3817006) Homepage Journal
      > How is offering them over napster servers any more illegal then what a library does?

      Here and there in the midst of all this discussion, I've occasionally run across an estimate from the publishing industry that each book sold is read on the average four times. One of their interests is cutting this number down and making people pay for the books they read.

      Now, I have very few books that I've ever loaded out to anyone, and I doubt if any of my couple hundred books have been read by three other people. So where could all these extra readers be coming from?

      Right. Libraries. The publishing industry doesn't make much of a public fuss of it, but one of the goals that they are starting to consider reachable is using the growing copyright restrictions to shut down public libraries. In the eyes of publishers, libraries are nothing but open copyright violations. All the arguments being made about "piracy" apply directly to libraries.

      In the 1800's, the development of the public library system was one of the really significant advances in public education. We are seeing an attempt to end this social experiment, and to restrict education to those who can afford the publishers' price.

    • How is offering them over napster servers any more illegal then what a library does?

      Libraries distribute, napster sharers copy and distribute.

    • by r_barchetta (398431) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @05:03PM (#3817615)

      From your comment I can infer that you feel buying the cd/tape/mp3 grants you copyright ownership and, therefore, distribution rights of said contents.

      It does not. Fair use and personal use are not the same thing as putting songs into file sharing systems where who knows how many people will access them. Why do you think Diamond won the lawsuit over the RIO mp3 player and Napster lost theirs?

      Libraries walk a fine line on this issue. It troubles me greatly that the book publishers and other industries (assuming the rumors are true) are trying to limit libraries' ability to provide materials to the public. More and more the U.S. drifts toward a "if you do not have money you are worthless" attitude toward its own citizens. That's why the health care in this country is so fscked up.

      But I'm straying from the topic. I think the difference between a library's CD collection and file sharing is that only one person can have a copy of the cd at a time. Yes, 1000 people might check the CD out over the time it survives in the collection, but 1000 people don't have it all at once. Isn't file-sharing usage somewhere in the millions of people? That's a different scope now isn't it?

      More importantly, you only get the CD for a limited time. If you don't return it you are usually charged the cost of replacing it.

      Neither of those are true for file-sharing and I think they are significant differences.

    • Libraries have explicitly granted rights. Go read the Code. And no, unless you're an educational institution, you probably don't qualify.

      In fact, if memory serves, the Code was at one point modified to explicitly state that public online sharing constitutes public performance, which is a violation unless specifically authorized.
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:33PM (#3816774) Homepage
    Years from now, law students are going to have to remember the names of groundbreaking cases that formed the latest incarnation of IP law...

    RIAA v. l33t d0Wn104d3r
    RIAA v. i oWnz j00
    RIAA v. cr4pfl00d3r

    Can't wait to see how those textbooks handle it...
  • by mesozoic (134277) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:33PM (#3816775)
    The RIAA has tried (successfully) to paint P2P networks as festering cesspools of piracy and other sorts of illegal activity. I think this is part of the reason P2P networking has not been used to come up with more innovative technologies. Also, independent artists -- who could benefit immensely from distributing their music through P2P instead of through recording companies -- have been reluctant to embrace P2P as a truly new way of doing business.

    So this might be good. Granted, the RIAA won't _stop_ prosecuting P2P networks, but at least they'll be shifting some of the blame to the people who actually use these networks for illegal activity.

    But it won't help them. People like free music, and they'll fight tooth and nail when you try to take it away from them. Imagine the public backlash they'll have when they trace some huge fileswapper, have the Feds bust down their doors, only to find that their suspect is a 15-year-old whose father works at a university and whose mother is a nurse. They'll have to arrest someone, and no matter who they do, they'll be setting themselves up for negative publicity. Online file-sharers will be galvanized to the "cause" of free music, and the RIAA's troubles will continue to pile up.

    Companies like the RIAA and the MPAA are going to go out of business. Period. When people have the ability to make an infinite number of copies of your product, at virtually no cost, you can't make money anymore. It's as simple as that.
    • The RIAA has tried (successfully) to paint P2P networks as festering cesspools of piracy and other sorts of illegal activity.

      Whether you like the RIAA or not, this is a pretty acurate description of what most P2P networks are. Log onto Kazaa or Gnutella and see what is there. It seems like a bunch of pirated MP3, some pirated movies, some pirated software, and lots and lots of porn (some of which is priated, the rest is wholesale stolen from porn sites). There is very little "legal" content on P2P networks. Even the few independant artists who have released their work on P2P networks get very little traffic, because P2P is set up mainly to be used by searching, and it's hard to search for new material since you don't know what it is your looking for (yes, you can find some stuff based on looking at a users files, but even then, you need to find the user somehow). The P2P networks are painted as havens for piracy because that is how they are used, and mostly what they were designed for.
  • will they be scanning for files? I'll be sure to DENY their packets before they touch me.
  • by FatRatBastard (7583) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:34PM (#3816788) Homepage
    Can they leagally go after the people with legitamate MP3s who happen to make them available on the internet or those who illegally download them?

    To better explain: if I leave my doors unlocked and someone steals my CDs I may be a moron for not locking my doors, but I certainly didn't commit a crime (the thief did).

    Also, if User A has a Old97s CD and legit MP3 copies of the disc on his machine and I also own the same Old97s CD and download his copies (instead of burning my own) did either of us break a law?

    I am sorta hazy over both issues.
    • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:58PM (#3817047) Homepage Journal
      Also, if User A has a Old97s CD and legit MP3 copies of the disc on his machine and I also own the same Old97s CD and download his copies (instead of burning my own) did either of us break a law?

      Yes, if the case is precedent. In that case, had a CD, and a challenge-response protocol virtually guaranteed that a user had the CD. But transmitting a song to the user, was found to be copyright infringement.

  • I imagine that they will be coordinating with the service providers to find those 1 or 2 percent (or what ever it is) that are using up 25 percent of the bandwidth.

    I know that this would be a quick way to get a short list.

    I can also imagine them then trying to get the FBI to help them out tracking down which of these are actually music file trafficers, vs merely trafficing in other warez, although there might not be that much difference.

    After all, this fits into the war on terrorism. These folks are terrorizing American Industry (tm).

  • It looks like the RIAA has decided to attack innocent file swappers! If someone doesn't stop them, the lawyers will take over!
  • Yah, I'm sure the expense of filing suits against thousands of college kids is really going to help their bottom line.
  • This is what they should have done in the first place- go after the people who are actually doing it instead of making P2P seemingly illegal.

    Actually, since they'll never succeed in stopping P2P networks, i'd much rather have them trying to do that. If they actually stop the people distributing them, I won't be able to continue to steal their music.

  • I am SURE that there is a law regarding noise pollution... and I am positive most of you have heard the latest Booby Spears and N Stink songs at least in passing...
  • just keep several smaller stockpiles up rather than one large one. keep them small enough to stay under the radar. seems simple enough.

    or you could move your server to Sealand

  • It's funny because the suing will only happen in the US. Here is Canada the artists supposedly get money from CDR's and other recordable media meaning they still get rich from doing very little.

    RIAA really can't pull that off because what do they do with Minors, sue the parents? What about other people who have their machines hacked? You could play stupid. It's worked with so many companes in the past (@home). Uh, I'm running a server thats doing something illegal, how do I fix it.
  • by Malc (1751)
    Isn't there something in our copyright laws up here that allow us to make personal copies of CDs, irrespective of whether we own the original or not? Besides, with the hefty increases in the blank media levies that the Copyright Board want to introduce, I feel that I have the right to do this. So, how are the RIAA going to stop Americans grabbing files from places outside their jurisdiction?

    The owner of my ISP (small company in Ottawa) posted something to the Usenet last year or so. He'd received an email from some lawyers in the US about somebody sharing files on his service. I think the complaint was about a file sharing programme running, not the actual files. All he did was laugh.
  • by Tarrek (547315) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:39PM (#3816863)
    I support going after the people breaking the laws rather than the P2P networks, definitely, however something just doesn't seem right to me about the way this is going. Sure, it can be just the big fishes now, but if they eventually start going after everyone with 10-20 gigs shared, well, that's a lot of people, and I'm one of them. It's not because I'm stealing music, I swear I'm not, it's just that I use mp3 to test out music I'm considering purchasing, or to discover bands I never would have dreamed of listening to otherwise. Seriously, with a 5 minute investment I can hear almost any band in the world by simply picking one I've never heard out of someone else's directory. I can't even begin to imagine how much music and music related merchandise (Tickets and such) that I've purchased over the years because of things I heard on mp3. Literally, probably at least 60-75% of my collection of nearly 400 CDs. That's a lot of money. That's a lot of money that I didn't mind spending. Though, it's also a lot of money I'm not going to be spending anymore. I'm personally boycotting first run music stores if the album I want is on a label that is involved in supporting the RIAA. I just can't reconcile my love for music with my hatred of them blaming the fans, the customers, legitimate customers such as myself, for their slagging profits. Cut the prices, guys. Just slash them heavily. THEN think about going after people who still share 500 gigs, but damnit, please don't blame the customers for your losses due to greedy price fixing, and backwards attitudes towards fair use.
  • Go ahead [] try it.

  • Scare tactics could be very effective. Just one random, not-for-profit, casual MP3 pirate being sued is enough incentive for me to stop using P2P programs.

    They can pick random users from Gnutella, and do a little detective work to find out who they are based on your IP-address.

  • Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:42PM (#3816898) Homepage Journal

    go after the people who are actually doing it instead of making P2P seemingly illegal.

    While it could be argued that RIAA is just taking an expedient course of action, this is the one thing that they should have done.

    Go after the burglars - don't penalize the manufacturers of crowbars.

    I'd just as soon live in a free society where I have my choice of combining Napster with crowbars as long as I don't infringe on someone else's rights.

    However, I will admit that trading an MP3 from a CD of mine that I've ripped to someone I don't know for a song which I don't have constitutes a commercial transaction (albeit cashless) and, while copyright exists, the possessors of the it should have the exclusive right to charge for distribution. Exactly and only that.

  • by mikethegeek (257172) <.blair. .at. .NOwcmifm.comSPAM.> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:44PM (#3816911) Homepage
    We've now reached the endgame... When the whole music industry comits mass suicide like Metallica did when filing suit against 300,000 of it's own fans.

    I've been waiting for this to happen, as this will push things to a final resolution.

    BTW, Why can I buy a movie that has been out for 3-4 months for $15-16 on DVD, with extra features, etc, but a 20 year old album costs more than that? I can buy DVD's of older movies for around $10.
    Yet, DVD sales boom. The best anti-piracy protection is reasonable prices. So long as the RIAA engages in illegal, anti-competitive practices (the FTC found them guilty of CD price fixing again), I say they deserve whatever happens to them.

    It's a Mexican standoff... Pirates will pirate from P2P networks, the RIAA won't obey the law.

    If it can be heard, it can be ripped. If it can be ripped, it can be traded. No amount of lawyering can change this, and indeed, the music industry will only become an even greater villian to the average Joe by the attempt.

    Sell CD's for $10. Watch the sales rise. Quit wasting $millions bribing stations to play songs they will play anyway. Watch profits rise...
    • by JahToasted (517101) <> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:53PM (#3817514) Homepage
      Sell CD's for $10. Watch the sales rise. Quit wasting $millions bribing stations to play songs they will play anyway. Watch profits rise...

      Actually its not so simple as that. It's a matter of game theory: if you as a record company stop giving the record companies payola, none of yor songs will get played, and your competitors' will. Kind of like the prisoners dilemma, If all the record companies stopped shelling out payola they would all be better off. But if one does it it has an advantage. If you could all agree not to break the law you'd be better off. Of course such an agreement depends on the record companies being trustworthy...

      As for lowering prices, they have no reason to do that. If you really want Britney Spears there is only ONE label selling her "music". so in effect they have a monopoly, so pricing is not dependent on cost but dependent on what the buyer is willing to pay.

      To summarize: The RIAA owns the artists and Clearchannel owns the listeners... music-listeners get screwed twice over. P2P is a loophole to this system. A music listener has to choose between getting screwed or breaking copyright law.

  • Ooooohhhhh! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The_Shadows (255371) <> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:45PM (#3816931) Homepage
    But many music executives, watching revenue sag as home compact-disc copying has soared, feel that they have little choice if they are to save their business. World-wide music sales dropped 5% last year, while global sales of compact-disc albums declined for the first time since CDs were launched in 1983. So far this year, U.S. music sales are down steeply from a sluggish 2001.

    Or could it be because people are getting fed up with the latest crap from Britnay Spears and N'sync? I have bought 5 albums in as many years. They were all albums that I knew I would enjoy, start to finish (w/ maybe 1 or 2 songs as exceptions). I didn't buy the same album over [], and over [], and over again. []

    Hell, I download a few songs that I want to hear, but there's no way I'm paying for an album for one song. I know that argument has long been shouted loudly and proudly from our ranks here on /., but I have to say it again. If they would just realize that people WANT digital music that they can download and throw onto a custom CD/MP3 player/etc, then they could give this up now! Yes, there'd still be copying of CDs, and all that, but it would drop. If they have lost revenue because of filesharing, not their own lack of quality, then setting up a system where we can buy ONE song would do wonders for their revenues. They are, bluntly, idiots.

    On a side note, RE: the article, I don't see how they can get someone beyond reasonable doubt. It's a simple matter to give the HD a complete wipe (7 times over, 1s and 0s) and users can just claim that they downloaded a song from Kazaa to hear it before they bought an album. The only way they could truly "get" someone is if the user had perpetually downloaded copies of the same song.

    Anyway, that's my $.02

  • That suing your customers is NOT good marketing...

    Anyone care to speculate how hard it'd be to graft some sort of encryption into Gnutella? Stuff that deliberately obfuscates IP addresses, etc, at least enough to make it hard to identify users?

    BTW, wouldn't breaking such encryption be a DMCA violation?
  • by sameb (532621) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:47PM (#3816946) Homepage
    IANAL, but wouldn't a shared warning file protect you?

    Have it say something like, "By downloading files from my computer, the recipient agrees not to press charges resulting from the contents of the file."

    Hell, it's about as legal as a EULA.

  • Geeze! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:49PM (#3816968) Homepage
    World-wide music sales dropped 5% last year, while global sales of compact-disc albums declined for the first time since CDs were launched in 1983. So far this year, U.S. music sales are down steeply from a sluggish 2001.

    Name one GOOD album that was released this year (Mainstream please)! I cant think of ONE MP3 that I have downloaded that was released in the last two years...

    put out a quality producat and people WILL buy it, music today is like the "K-car" or the 80s... no soul...
  • FreeNet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tbmaddux (145207) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:50PM (#3816975) Homepage Journal
    They sued Napster, it pushed people to true P2P networks like Gnutella. Now they go after the people on the networks, won't this just push people to something like Freenet? [] (Freenet masks users and files so it'd be more difficult to target specific people for trading specific things)
  • Countersue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mikethegeek (257172) <.blair. .at. .NOwcmifm.comSPAM.> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:51PM (#3816986) Homepage
    On the basis that the RIAA has been found guilty by the FTC of price fixing, AGAIN... It would at the very least make things a little less black and white...

    And might sway a jury.

    Remember, in the USA, jurors have the right of "jury nullification", to judge that the criminal is the LAW in question, not the accused...
  • by Big Toe (112240) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:56PM (#3817029) Journal
    1. Notified of lawsuit against you
    2. Drive to local music store
    3. Buy CDs of songs downloaded
    4. Show up to court
    5. Laugh in face of RIAA as they accuse you of stealing what you already own
    6. Yawn.
    • 1. Notified of lawsuit against you

      2. Drive to local music store
      3. Buy CDs of songs downloaded
      4. Show up to court
      5. Laugh in face of RIAA as they accuse you of stealing what you already own
      6. Yawn.
      7. Countersue for court costs (including the costs for all the CD's you had to go out and buy)
      8. Point pinky to edge of mouth
      9. Laugh evily.
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:56PM (#3817032)
    So what if everyone out there has an mp3 of random backround noise listed as a hit song? Or even better, what if we all have ten, twenty, or even 100 hit songs? If the RIAA wants to go after users, shut the RIAA down by making them find so many copies of barking dogs, farting babies, and happy birthday listed as Eminem and Moby that lawyers and staff get wasted working around the false hits and it costs too much to keep up. Someone could even create a program to create random tracks from libraries of samples.

    The downside of course, is that filesharing users would get sick of downloading garbage files, but then again it also might push people to start using P2P for legit purposes...
  • by theRiallatar (584902) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:59PM (#3817067)
    I'm not quite sure who said it, but when the vast majority of people disobey specific laws, those laws become unenforceable due to the sheer amount of effort needed to curtail offenders.

    Look at prohibition as an example. The government tried to make alcohol illegal, but due to the overwhelming amount of people who simply ignored those laws and continued to consume it anyhow, it was eventually repealed when they discovered just how much effort would have to be put into stopping offenders. Similarly, music trading will never be stopped, simply because people will move between media as necessary, even going so far as to design an anonymous program which does not allow the tracking of IPs or other identifying sources.

    Oh, and don't forget the good old days of searching through websites for mp3's.
  • by starX (306011) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:05PM (#3817102) Homepage
    I just graduated from college with a liberal arts degree. If they want massive amounts of money from me, they're just going to have to get in line and wait their turn.
  • "Of course, you'll need to be a big fish with lots of illegal music to get their attention."

    Gee, I dunno where the RIAA would get any ideas [] about how much disk space that we use [] to store our MP3's [].

    Note to RIAA: "If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane."
  • by tcc (140386) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:45PM (#3817453) Homepage Journal
  • Position Statement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chazzf (188092) <cfulton.deepthought@org> on Thursday July 04, 2002 @01:16AM (#3820355) Homepage Journal
    I've grown tired of responding to incessant peer-to-peer/music industry/IP/Congress (they all seem to revolve around the same issue) stories, so I will simply state my position on the whole matter once and for all.

    1. Filesharing networks are a tool, as is a car or a firearm or an aircraft. There are legal and illegal uses for all of them. The fact that a majority of users misuse filesharing networks is no more relevant than the fact that a majority of American motorists break the speed limit. Period. End of story.

    2. Certain songs are copyright their respective copyright holders, in this case the Recording Industry Association of America. Those songs are their intellectual property. This is not a gray area. Now, should it be demonstrated and upheld in a court of law that they, the RIAA, have abused this copyright, this may change. Hasn't happened yet.

    3. End users that have not paid for said music or otherwise acquired a LEGAL license to said music do not have the legal right to possess their own distinct digital copy of said music for any purpose other than parody. In English: If you didn't buy it you don't own it.

    4. End users who download music that they do not otherwise own are committing theft, recognized as a crime in most countries. End users who back up their music are not, so long as they have purchased said music.

    5. End users who make available copyrighted material that they have paid for but others may not are abetting theft. Analogy: You set up a card table outside a record store. You offer CD's burned with music. You put up a notice stating that you may only take the CD if you already have bought the music legally. You do not attempt to verify whether or not anyone has done so. Right. Sure.

    6. Suing someone for engaging in the above practice is indeed legal. That person is willfully distributing something that is not theirs to distribute. This is illegal.

    7. To copy-protect a CD to prevent ripping is a violation of fair-use. However, fair-use is not defined in stone. Moreover, to circumvent the copy-protection is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998). Like the law or not (I don't), it is law. It conflicts with fair use, therefore the courts must decide boundaries.

    I could go on, but that about sums it up. I dislike the RIAA intensly for the way they treat artists, end-users, et al., but they do have legal standing here. As for CD-ripping, I can only hope they get knocked ass-over-teakettle.

    This is not a troll, but what I hope is a clear stating of the matter as I see it.


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