Five Years Into Suing Fans, RIAA's 'Sue Everyone' Strategy Has Failed, Miserably

from the and-yet-it-continues dept

The EFF has a long and comprehensive look into the RIAA's five year (and running) legal campaign against file sharing. It's a great overview that not only brings you up to speed if you haven't been following the whole thing, but also puts the entire campaign in perspective. The summary? Almost every move the RIAA has made in its legal campaign has backfired.

It started with suing technology providers. All that did was make more people aware of file sharing. When it succeeded in getting Napster shut down, plenty of others showed up that were much more difficult to shut down. So, then, the RIAA shifted to suing individuals accused of unauthorized sharing, claiming that it was an "education campaign" to teach people that unauthorized file sharing was illegal. All that's done is turn many more people against the RIAA, while continuing to educate them that file sharing exists. In fact, many more people engage in file sharing now than five years ago when the campaign started.

So, effectively, the lawsuits haven't worked (the RIAA has not had a full trial turn out in its favor yet). It's turned public opinion massively against the RIAA and its associated record labels. It hasn't done anything to slow down unauthorized file sharing, and may have actually helped promote it. About the only "success" of the strategy is that it's turned into something of a cash generator for the RIAA, by frightening people, with strong legal language around flimsy evidence, into paying "presettlements" to avoid being sued. It's like a protection racket from organized crime. Oh yeah, it's worth noting that the musicians don't actually see any of that money.

So, by now it should be clear that this strategy has absolutely nothing to do with helping the music industry thrive or to actually deal with unauthorized file sharing. From the beginning it's always been a way to squeeze more money out of people through threats and intimidation. While I strongly disagree with the EFF's proposed "solution" to this issue (a compulsory licensing scheme), the review of the history certainly puts the whole campaign in perspective, and makes you wonder why anyone (especially any politician) actually thinks it's about helping musicians.


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  1.  
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    Ben, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    But...

    But I doubt that the EFF doing this is going to make the RIAA wake up and smell the coffee anytime soon, which is unfortunate for musicians and consumers alike.

     

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  2.  
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    schmeckels, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 5:37pm

    More indie bands, fans, venues and labels flock to DiscoverOurBand.com

     

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  3.  
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    You never know, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 6:09pm

    "makes you wonder why anyone (especially any politician)actually thinks it's about helping musicians."
    One word answer GREED!

     

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  4.  
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    erv server, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 6:30pm

    the artists

    if only the musicians themselves would wake up and realize this campaign by the RIAA is hurting them more than doing any good

     

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  5.  
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    Mark Regan, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 7:33pm

    The SMART artists and labels PROMOTE their artists using YouTube, make their songs available for free or economical downloads, using the songs to promote their concerts, then make their BIG MONEY off ticket sales to the concerts.

    Check out Celtic Thunder's YouTube features (Billboard Magazine lists them as the NUMBER ONE AND NUMBER TWO group on their Top World Albums charts). Also Hayley Westenra, who has had three of her CDs top the world charts.

    Their labels and management are aware that it is better to use downloads and YouTube to PROMOTE and make their money off selling MILLIONS of CDs and DVDs and DOWNLOADS by allowing FREE VIEWING and SAMPLING.

    This is the business model for the future. RCIA take note.

     

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  6.  
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    NullOp, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 9:20pm

    Once again...greed is the order of the day.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 9:47pm

    The fans of P2P seem quick to lay "greed" at the feet of others without reflecting on whether or not they are likewise guilty of the same thing.

     

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  8.  
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    MIke, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 10:54pm

    Re:

    first of all P2P in not just for sharing copyrighted material by a looong shot... secondly most people who share their music copyrighted or not, are helping the musicians while enjoying and spreading their art, in the most convenient way. Even if they gave the obsolete plastic discs of music away for free, I would still download because it is easier, and most places that sell the music online also include software that limits/damages my PC. So I would say that trying to sue people because you don't want to keep up with technology is pretty greedy, downloading your music for free is just the smarter choice. Also, we all know that the artist don't get any of the money from the record sales... they can't pretend that we are supporting our favourite artist by buying the albums, I pay ticketmaster double what I should to see the bands live, and they actually get to keep some of that money. RIAA and MPAA are nothing but leaches on society and have no real relevance or place in the industry.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Cowherd, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 11:47pm

    Why?

    "makes you wonder why anyone (especially any politician) actually thinks it's about helping musicians"

    Why?

    I'll tell you why.

    Because the RIAA pays politicians to think it is, or at least to claim that they think it is.

     

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  10.  
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    Mr Big Content, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 12:57am

    The Strategy Is Working

    Sure, it's upsetting the fans, failing to stem the decline in sales of legitimate recordings, and even driving away the musicians. But apart from all that, it has been quite an amazing success, which is building a solid foundation that will take the industry forward into a glorious future.

     

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  11.  
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    gene, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 5:09am

    When Directv filed a fraudulant suit stating I never paid them when I did, it was evident there false charge was to take my money. I reported there crime and Justice did nothing allowing there crime to continue. The next time as a Juror or a witness, I will do to justice what they did to me. As a juror, I will vote against justice and will not be a witness for the state. Justice has to learn that it is a crime to sue innocent people.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re:

    I will remember this the next time I go to a movie. I will prop open AMC's exit door. The art will be shared and popcorn sales will hopefully go through the roof.

    Makes me feel like a new-age Robin Hood.

     

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  13.  
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    TPBer, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:16am

    Re: The Strategy Is Working

    It worked so well I DL about 10-15 gigabytes/day.. They really pointed me in the right direction. Thanks **AA!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "prop open AMC's exit door"

    except no one will be waiting there to take advantage

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    Zombies

    **AA are dead and they do not yet realize it.

    ~~ Brains ~~

     

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  16.  
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    Charles, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Don't bother with all the excuses and rationalizations. You who copy/download music without paying for it are thieves, and you might be able to delude yourselves, but everyone else knows what you are.

    Not that any of you care, but the reason our nation is slipping toward a Socialist slave-state is because people like you fail to respect the property rights of others, if you ever take the time to understand the life and death importance of those rights in the first place.

    Grow up, be responsible, stop stealing from other people, pay your way in life, or your life is going to suck more and more as time goes by, I absolutely guarantee it. That is the way reality works.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    The word "integrity" seems to be slipping away from our vocabulary, and what it represents seems to be missing from the character of many.

     

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  18.  
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    Jay, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 11:53am

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Since the majority of the money made by the CDs go to the RIAA, how are we hurting the artist? Artists make money via their tours and public appearances.

    So how exactly are we hurting the artist?

    Call us thieves if you want, but we are really people who refuse to step in line and shell out hard earned money to a company who rips off talent from other people.

     

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  19.  
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    kiba, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Except copyright is not a property right. It is a monopoly right. And you can't really steal digital musics on the internet no matter how immoral you think it is.

    You need to learn what property right is and what it is not.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Is that how you justify taking something you didn't pay for, and would have to pay for at an estore?

     

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  21.  
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    Taxpayer, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 2:09pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    "Socialist slave-state"? You must not live in the U.S.A. and did not read the 451 pages of the H.R. 1424, "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Of course, bail out the large corporations. Socialism at it's best!

     

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  22.  
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    Pass, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 3:08pm

    Satire ?

    Charles -> "the reason our nation is slipping toward a Socialist slave-state is because people like you fail to respect the property rights of others"

    Surely, this is satire.
    You can't be serious.

    No ?
    Just what are you smoking ?

     

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  23.  
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    Mike, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 4:17pm

    CD sales

    They continue to point to declining CD sales as a sign that piracy is rampant. I can't remember the last CD I bought, but I use Amazon and iTunes nearly every week. Just got tired of all the 'filler' crap they put on CD's...Guess that would make also make the record companies responsible for declining CD sales. Hmmm...

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 4:36pm

    Re: CD sales

    "They continue to point to declining CD sales as a sign that piracy is rampant. "

    Well that is undeniable proof.
    Certainly it could not have anything to do with the crap content. No way.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    The RIAA is a trade group. It is neither a copyright holder nor a content distributor.

     

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  26.  
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    t, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 5:34pm

    Like it or not, this is the age of digital media. The sooner the RIAA, realizes this the sooner they can use it to their advantage and we can all get on with our lives and stop being labeled thieves. Last time I checked, calling a fan of your product a thief isn't a good way to boost sales.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 6:19pm

    I was talking to a former CEO of Sony Records. (btw even he thinks that the RIAA now is insane) Back in 96, he wanted to put computers with cd recorders in record shops, so people could choose what they wanted to buy. But all of his peers said that it would be a bad idea. And the scrapped it. I think it was brilliant. I also think they wouldn't of had the issues they have now. I have no issues spending money's on music. but to spend $20 on 1 song, i have an issue with.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 6:37pm

    Re:

    So shoplifters are fans of what they take shoplift. Your argument screamS FALLACY. Of course, most arguments on this site are fallacies with poor evidence as support.

     

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  29.  
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    Kiba, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Um, if you have reread my comment, I never actually said anything about justifying illegal copying. I did say much about the commentator getting confused by monopoly and true property right. You need to learn reading comprehension skills.

    That's being said, monopolies can't justified even on only theoretical consequential reasoning. It must be justified on deonotological moral reason as well. I failed to see any justification in any form based on economic evidence or could be equal to natural rights.

    Now, even if copying isn't wrong, I still wouldn't recommend that somebody should copy musics for the sake of protesting the RIAA. That give your adversaries moral ammunitions which they can use to oppress you. The best way to protect one's property rights is to support somebody who respect your right.

     

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  30.  
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    Kiba, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Equating filesharers with shoplifters is a fallacious argument.

    First of all, filesharers never really stole anything. Secondly, They probably gotten it from somebody who brought the musics in the first place. So after the point that somebody brought musics, it should be none of the RIAA's business. Profit loss is only potential. No loss were actually incurred.

    Shoplifters actually stole something from the store. So the store have nothing to sell and they lost actual money. Profit loss is real.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Certainly your logic will present an unassailable defense should you ever be called upon by a court to answer charges pertaining to the violation of copyright law.

     

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  32.  
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    Dosquatch, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:12pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    You who copy/download music without paying for it are thieves,

    Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. Theft is theft. One is not the other.

    That's not delusion, fallacy, rationalization, excuse, or justification. That is the nature of the law.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Hint:

    "Theft" is a legal term, the scope of which is defined in statutes by legislative bodies, and not by internet blogs.

     

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  34.  
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    ARTOU, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 10:03pm

    They used to sell blank cassette / VHS tapes which were blatantly used to copy music. Often people copied movies / music for friends (or themselves after renting a movie for example) and it was never an issue. I think that sets precedent that it's okay to share with people. It's just now you can do it en masse, and a lot more easily. That's what technology does. All they would have to do is stay with the times / offer more for the money. Slide a fucking poster or a sticker in with that CD / DVD, Jesus Christ.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 10:11pm

    I don't feel so bad anymore...have you seen the new jukeboxes? The ones with the touch screens?

    Those things will suck you for $2 a song if you are not careful....

    They are making their $$, in little tiny ways everyday....

     

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  36.  
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    Kiba, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It will certainly mean no defense. A law is broken means that I will get persecuted for it.

    Whether or not if it is a moral action is irrelevant.

     

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  37.  
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    Kiba, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    I never heard of somebody copying musics getting charged for property theft, do you?

     

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  38.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 5th, 2008 @ 6:54am

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    "You who copy/download music without paying for it are thieves"

    Really? the following sites would like to disagree:

    amiestreet.com
    we7.com
    7digital.com / emusic.com (free downloads sections)
    archive.org
    music.download.com
    indiefeed.com
    residentadvisor.net/podcast.aspx
    creativ ecommons.org/audio
    KEXP & KCRW free music podcasts
    nin.com

    ...and so on.

    YOU, along with the mainstream music industry, are the fool for not realising that there is a great deal of profit to be made by not merely selling the recording. Failure to see this means you're just an idiot, blinded by how things used to work and not how they're changing (as they always will change).

    "our nation is slipping toward a Socialist slave-state "

    Oh...

     

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  39.  
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    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    "Theft" is a legal term,

    That's kinda what I was getting at. Be a good little fellow debater and go read what I wrote. I'll wait...

    the scope of which is defined in statutes by legislative bodies, and not by internet blogs.

    Which is why I keep pointing out that no matter how many times you wander through comments saying things about "stealing music" or "downloaders are thieves", it just ain't so. Copyright infringement and theft are separate legal concepts.

    But I suppose "downloaders are infringers!" just doesn't have the right ring of indignation to it, hmm? Aw, heck, silly me, who am I to get between you and a misinformed diatribe?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    You seem to have bought in to the arguments proferred on blog sites that "theft" can only happen when something tangible is taken. In some jurisdictions this is correct. In others it is not. For your sake I hope you live in a "some" jurisdiction and not in an "other" jurisdiction.

     

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  41.  
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    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    No, it need not be tangible, but it does need to be unique and taken such that the "thief" has it and "you" no longer do, except in certain narrowly defined situations (i.e., "Identity Theft") (which even is more properly a form of fraud than theft).

    Nowhere in the US does the concept of "theft" usurp the concept of "copyright infringement".

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 10:13am

    "Nowhere in the US does the concept of "theft" usurp the concept of "copyright infringement"."

    In a very general sense these can operate in tandem. Under federal law copyright infringement can be broken down into "infringement" as a civil matter and "infringement" as a criminal matter.

    Under state law (50+territories+commonwealths+protectorates) what could otherwise be viewed as federal infringement (civil or criminal) can be criminalized to varying degrees under state criminal law. In at least two states that quickly come to mind theft has been defined to include unauthorized copying of digital files (Florida and California).

    Importantly, theft as typically used here by those who decry file sharing is being used in a colloquial sense, much like a student who "steals" the answers to a test.

    The parsing of words does nothing to promote meaningful discussion. What is important is that the unlawful sharing of files can be subject to both a civil lawsuit and/or a criminal prosecution. Call the act whatever you want. The simple fact, however, is that the act contravenes federal and/or state law, and that such an act can have serious negative repercussions.

     

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  43.  
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    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 10:38am

    Importantly, theft as typically used here by those who decry file sharing is being used in a colloquial sense, much like a student who "steals" the answers to a test.

    But these same people then make the colloquial jump to "if 'stealing' music is ok then why not 'steal' a car?"

    To effectively argue why this is NOT a fair analogy one must use PRECISE and CORRECT language. I understand the colloquial use, but letting it go invites the conversation to wander into the weeds where it does nobody any good. The parsing of words, in this case, is ESSENTIAL to promoting meaningful discussion. Without this parse, meaningful discussion gives way to useless noise.

    and that such an act can have serious negative repercussions.

    Indeed, and there's the topic. Should it? I understand what the law says. I question if it should be so.

    Generally speaking, in most cases in history where large swaths of society basically ignore a law as written, we have come to decide (later with the benefit of hindsight) that the law was ill-conceive, unjust, or otherwise undesirable.

    We have spent the past hundred years recklessly expanding the realm and timeframes of patent and copyright protection, to the detriment of the needs of the public such protections are meant to serve. Works that should have fallen into the public domain by now, as copyright was originally written, will likely not fall into the public domain until after I'm dead. Orphaned works are, legally speaking, lost to us. yadda yadda yadda.

    What you are seeing is the public pushing back. That pain you feel, that is equilibrium reasserting itself. Don't worry. We'll all be better off for it.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    Personally, I do not feel any pain. I do, however, do not agree that the law has been expanded recklessly for the past hundred years.

    Re patent law, it has not changed in any large repect other than through various judicial decisions comporting with Supreme Court decisions. The language of the statutes are not significantly different since patent law was codified in 1952. What has changed is judicial interpretation, and in its last two terms the Supreme Court has made some structual changes to "tweak" the system.

    Re copyright law, it has changed significantly, starting with the Copyright Act of 1976 and continuing to date. Interestingly, only copyright law incorporates criminal provisions (patent law does not), but it is useful to note that criminal sanctions have been a part of copyright law since its inception in 1790. Personally, I believe the copyright regime was much more true to its historical antecedents until the 1976 Act, at which time it flew off into the wild blue yonder and has only become even more draconian with the passage of time.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 11:13am

    They (Music Monopoly) calling ALL music we can get without paying them mafiaaaafeee illegal I haven't seen "illegal" label attached to any FM radio song which I can freely record, to any url link including artist's home page, or any you-Tube video clip. Limiting my ability to access everything what is not clearly states "infringement of somebody's rights" is limiting my "freedom of speech", and therefore is Unconstitutional. If I like song I hear from any sources, then I will consider attending "expensive" concert-show, buy CD/DVD, T-Shirt etc. Right now there are no music stores where "hear before buy" service is provided, and my consumer protection rights I have ignored.

     

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  46.  
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    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re:

    do not agree that the law has been expanded recklessly for the past hundred years.

    Copyright has been extended:

    • in 1831 from 28 to 42 years
    • in 1909 from 42 to 56 years
    • in 62-74 from 56 years to 75 years
    • And then, the granddaddy of 'em all, the Mickey Mouse act

    More properly known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act - copyright now covers a work as "the life of the author plus 70 years", and corporate works for 120 years. And then the DMCA just takes all of this and makes it even worse should there be a computer involved.

    Continuous and pervasive expansion of copyright for 100+ years, to the point my grandchildren might not benefit from public domain use of works written in my childhood... you don't consider this reckless? Good God, man, what do you call it?

    Patent expansion over the years - granted mostly accomplished by court fiat and not by change in legislation, but still has seen the obviousness test stripped, the requirement for specific language describing specific functionality all but abandoned to the point umbrella patents are the rule, "method" patents magically allowed - which still act as the doorway for software patents, which are a rant of their own - administrative changes in the USPTO that encourage rubber-stamp approval rather than honest, qualitative review, neutered courts, rubber-stamp injunctions, and policies that encourage and reward trolls.

    This you consider as... hold on, let me get this quote right... "has not changed in any large repect other than through various judicial decisions [...] to "tweak" the system." Well, good for you.

    I'm sticking to "recklessly expanding".

     

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  47.  
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    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    starting with the Copyright Act of 1976

    And just an aside, it would behoove you to take into account all of the facts before forming your opinions or questioning the opinions of others.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The linchpin of patent law for 150 years or so has been utility, novelty, and non-obviousness.

    Utility generally circumscribes "usefull inventions that fall within the scope of patentable subject matter under what is currently 35 USC 101. The broad scope of patentable subject matter in large measure traces its roots back to Supreme Court decisions. What we have now is a situation where courts are trying to figure out what the Supreme Court meant, and the Supreme Court periodically steps back into the fray whenever it believes its guidance has been misunderstood.

    Novelty (35 USC 102) means that no single piece of prior art describes the invention as claimed in an application. In other words, a claimed invention is new from what has come before. Of course, merely because something is new does not equate to it being patentable.

    The catch-all is ultimately non-obviousness as stated in 35 USC 103. This is not an easily applied standard simply because obviousness is determined at the time an invention is made, and not at some later date using later arising prior art. What makes this test so difficult is that one must always be wary of making this determination with the benefit of hindsight. The bar for what is and what is not obvious has changed over the years, but not to the extent many would have others believe. For example, a year ago the Supreme Court issued the KSR decision and pundits said "Great...a much higher bar." This was hardly the case in my view. It was no more and no less than a recognition that the scope of what constitutes prior art is a bit more expansive than some may have happened to believe.

    Collectively, none of the judicial decisions have changed patent law in any significant respect other than, perhaps, the ongoing debate concerning business methods and some aspects of what some term "software" methods. How these latter two are eventually resolved is not clear at this time.

    I would be remiss not to mention the pejorative term "trolls". In my view it is much too widely applied by persons quick to criticize patent law. In my case I tend to associate the term with those few who hold patents and treat them almost as if they are negotiable financial instruments (much like how home loans have been treated as has been made only too clear by the current financial situation in the US). These people did not invent anything. The inventor is not even in the picture. Instead, what we have in many cases are financial institutions treating them like any other financial asset and proceeding accordingly to "forclose" on them. For example, I am aware of at least one hedge fund underwriting a specific case, and have hired a NY mega-firm to handle the "foreclosure". To borrow a line from The Gladiator, under this type of circumstance "I am sorely vexed".

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    So everyone's justification for downloading music is that it is a monopoly and the laws are bad. Wow, that is lame.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, the 1976 act truly was a major change in the entire body of copyright law. Before its enactment copyright attached to published works. It expanded the law to encompass all works from the moment they were created, and publication ceased to be a factor. At the same time the act took states completely out of the picture by declaring that only the US Govenment could promulagate laws pertaining to the grant of copyright. Before this change states were able to legislate in areas that preceeded publication, the point at which the pre-1976 law kicked in.

    Another cardinal change in 1976 is that many of the formalities previously associated with claims of copyright were tossed by the wayside. The situation became even more problematic when about 1991 the requirement for copyright notice was relegated to the trash bin (interestingly, this was not only because of a longstanding treaty that up until that point the US has not adopted).

    From there it was only a matter of time before Sonny Bono was adopted, the DMCA was adopted, and other controversial legislation started to make the rounds in Congress.

    Think what you will about patent law, but from my experience it is copyright law that has gone through the roof and in many respects bears little resemblance to what was envisioned when the first copyright law was enacted in 1790. Patent law has changed since 1790, but compared to what has happened with copyright law such changes are almost in the "noise".

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is not an easily applied standard

    It's not meant to be. Considering that, with that piece of paper, you are handing a monopoly power to a person, it damned well SHOULD be a difficult decision, and one that the PTO should be required to make the case FOR rather than AGAINST by default.

    The standard is something that would not be obvious to a practitioner of the art. I understand that a patent reviewer can't be an expert in every field. FINE. Convene expert panels to review applications, especially on subject matter that has proven to be contentious when the PTO is left to its own.

    Collectively, none of the judicial decisions have changed patent law in any significant respect other than, perhaps, the ongoing debate concerning business methods and some aspects of what some term "software" methods.

    I again bring up umbrella patents. The letter of the law requires that the patent particularly describe the specific nature and functionality of the invention. The courts and the USPTO, it seems, don't hold this same requirement.

    Any patent that does not describe in sufficient detail the invention that one skilled in the art could build it, or in some cases even identify what it is being described, ANY SUCH PATENT SHOULD BE STRUCK DOWN, immediately, as it does not meet the requirements o LAW. And any reviewer or court that had any part in allowing or enforcing such should be held accountable.

    I feel that this has been a "significant change," and one better undone.

    I would be remiss not to mention the pejorative term "trolls"

    I wouldn't call 'em that if they'd stop living under bridges and whacking people in the shins with clubs.

    In my view it is much too widely applied by persons quick to criticize patent law. In my case I tend to associate the term with those few who hold patents and treat them almost as if they are negotiable financial instruments

    OK, I'll be nice. You speak of "patent holding firms," though some companies that are not necessarily "holding firms" in an exclusive sense still do exhibit or have exhibited behaviors that one might describe... "pejoratively."

    "I am sorely vexed".

    As am I, but apparently a bit more than you.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Think what you will about patent law, but from my experience it is copyright law that has gone through the roof and in many respects bears little resemblance to what was envisioned when the first copyright law was enacted in 1790.

    No doubt, patent law has drifted, and in ways that can (and should) be criticized, but copyright has gone right off the rails.

    the 1976 act truly was a major change in the entire body of copyright law.

    Absolutely, I concede this. Bono screwed us, and it hasn't stopped, but that doesn't erase the prior 70 years, during which the length of protection was tripled. It's all anti-consumer. It all harms the public domain. And it's been going on for a hundred years. Arguing about which part is worse doesn't change this.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please correct me if I am mistaken since I do not have access to my copy of the Nimmer treatise, but prior to the Copyright Act of 1976 the term of a copyright was 28 years, which term could be renewed for another 28 years upon compliance with renewal requirements. The first act in 1790 provided a 14 year term and a renewal for an additional years.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    14 should preceed the last word in the last sentence.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 4:47pm

    Berne Convention

    Please correct me if I am mistaken

    You are mistaken. Prior to the Bono act, the US was a member of the Pan-American Copyright Convention, which was in turn signed on to Universal Copyright Convention - we have been party to this since Geneva/1955. It sets the term of protection in Article IV, section 2, paragraph a:

    The term of protection for works protected under this Convention shall not be less than the life of the author and twenty-five years after his death.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    beebopwilly, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 5:55pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Ah, shaddup, ya moron shill! Everyone knows yer a paid RIAA shill, so shut yer pie-hole before someone crams a foot in it, ya loser.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Berne Convention

    The Copyright Act of 1976 was a wholesale rewrite of US copyright law as expressed in the Copyright Act of 1909. Until the 1976 act entered into force, the duration of a copyright in the United States under the 1909 Act was 28 years, with the option to renew for an additional 28 years.

    The change from a fixed term of years (28 plus 28) to a term based generally upon the life of an author plus a specified number of years thereafter did not take place in the United States until enactment of the 1976 act.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Answer me this..., Oct 5th, 2008 @ 6:39pm

    Has RIAA sued over sharing a partial file?

    So I'm downloading some tunes the other day from a torrent site, and see that I'm uploading (sharing) at 10Kb/sec - minimal I know) and I wonder, I'm giving people access to a partial file that isn't complete, can I get sued for sharing something that isn't a complete song? I probably shouldn't have asked that question in case some RIAA bitch is reading Techdirt...dont wanna give them any more ideas.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Berne Convention

    Hmm. I'm not sure which one of us is correct. I know the US was part of the UCC. I know the duration it specified (I linked to it and everything). But CopyrightData.com doesn't seem to reflect that - in fact, it seems to say you're correct.

    But then Wikipedia's pretty little graph seems to be based on ... something that's neither of these?

    I go looking for references, and I find 3 different sources that seem to say 3 different things. *sigh*

    It's late. I surrender.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Berne Convention

    Wait, wait, here it is!

    The duration as written in the Act continued to state 28 years plus 28 years, but "Beginning in 1962, and looking toward the enactment of comprehensive legislation revising the 1909 Copyright Act, Congress extended the terms of existing copyrights for successive brief periods of a year or more. The intent and effect of these enactments was to preserve copyrights nearing the end of their statutory protection from falling into the public domain before proposed legislation containing a longer term was passed and became effective." (source)

    Basically, trying to meet the terms of the UCC, and with an eye towards the Berne Convention, Congress began passing yearly band-aids to keep work out of the public domain.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Berne Convention

    Good job hunting! See for more detail:

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15t.html

    Even under what you accurately call "band-aid" fixes, our copyright laws were still markedly different from the rest of the world in that they only pertained to published works and required notices. That all changed starting in 1976 (actually 1/1/78 when the law went into effect), and the change was exacerbated when around 1990 even the requirement for a copyright notice was eliminated.

    In reconstituting US copyright law to track that of other developed nations (most notably many in Europe), our copyright system, which at the time was restrictive, turned into a virtual free for all as even more liberal, expansive provisions were added.

    Pre-1976 copyright law generally tracked what I would term the original intent of our Founding Fathers. I daresay that since then it bears very little resemblance to what was originally envisioned.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Marcusg, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 7:58pm

    RIAA Greed

    For over 100 years the consumer has been dictated as to what music they can buy. What we buy, when we can buy it, how we buy it has been controlled by faceless record companies.

    Originally the technology did not exist to create your own albums. But it has been available for the last 10 years. But still the old way of selling music remains.

    When was the last time you purchased (or downloaded legally or illegally) an album that contained every song you loved? Why do we still have to put up with 'filler' songs? Why can't a person (without a home internet connection) go into a music store, purchase a blank CD, sit in a cubicle and for a few cents each listen and download songs to their CD (or iPod, or other device)? This was the promise of the new digital age! This has what has happened to photography - no more paying to process dud prints, print only those that you want at a much lower cost!

    Why is there very little difference in cost between buying a CD at the store and downloading one? There are no production costs (CD cover, printing), no transport costs, no-one stacking the shelves, no one taking the money!

    Why do movie soundtracks cost as much or more than the DVD movie?

    Why should you have to purchase a 'version' of a 3 minute song for each device?

    The simple reason music is downloaded illegally is because legal versions are far too expensive. And you get a choice! I'm not saying you should illegally download anything, but the market has spoken, but no one at the RIAA is listening.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Patrick, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 1:45pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    "Socialist slave-state is because people like you fail to respect the property rights of others"

    Like Wall Street respects my property rights right? Like my bank respects my rights when it tries to take my home or when it drops outrageous fees on me?

    I own plenty of music... and download plenty more. I support the music industry by going to concerts et. al.


    Respect is earned...

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Sure. Society teaches us that if we steal, we will be rewarded by Congress. Wonderful. I wonder if the RIAA or the MPAA is getting a bunch of that $700 B

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    SweetDaddy, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 6:12pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    Don't even start on the "socialist slave state" stuff, First hand fact is that the RIAA and Paid window peepers have already exploited millions of citizens of this country. Only 30000 lawsits, but millions of times, personal computers have been compromised by the criminal actions of the cartel. Get a clue.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Oct 8th, 2008 @ 5:08am

    Re: But...

    I heard on NPR last night some news about how the RIAA's lawsuit campaign is a total failure and it basically made them look like greedy little losers.

    The word is getting out about the crap they are pulling over the judicial system. It just takes time and eventually they will fall.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Mark Regan, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 9:18am

    I own the copyright on the bible

    And any of you who admit to reading it without paying my royalty fees are subject to a lawsuit. PAY UP.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    Re: The Strategy Is Working

    hahahahaha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: It's simple: Pay for it, or you're a thief.

    you are a fucking tool and probably don't know what its like to be broke

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Copyright Philosopher, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    To AnonymousCoward/Dosquatch

    I would like to start by mentioning the rarity of this occasion, as I seldom find it worth my time to post comments. Secondly, I would like to express my appreciation to AnonymousCoward and DosquatchTime.

    Time and time again I have perused the comments section of websites discussing copyrights and patents, usually within the context of piracy, and I am extremely pleased with the level of intelligent discourse between you two.

    Rather than digressing to insults and slander, these two continued to present their opinions and evidence to support these views. Initially I could sense some underlying tension due to their opposing views, as is normal in any argument, but they continued to debate and chose to rely on facts rather than insults which is a rarity in online discourse in general. Toward the end of their debate it seemed each of them developed mutual respect for each others opinions.

    Both posters presented arguments that were very literate and I dare say pleasing to read in comparison to the majority of this(and most others on this topic) article's commentators.

    Which of the two commentators I agreed with more strongly I feel is irrelevant, as I haven't the knowledge to present a worthwhile argument due to the fact that most of the information I have gleaned on this topic has come from writers far less informed on the topic akin to most of the rest of the discussion in these comments.

    This issue is obviously a heated one for many and although this debate has long since come to an end, meaning the posters very likely will never read this comment, I felt an overwhelming urge to show my esteem for the quality of dialogue shown here which is so rare in the real world and rarer still on the internet. Thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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