RIAA Abandoning Mass Lawsuits In Favor Of Backroom 3 Strikes Policy

from the it's-a-step,-but-a-very-small-one dept

It really was just three days ago that we suggested that if the record labels actually wanted anyone to take them seriously concerning their desire to come up with more constructive solutions to the business model challenges they face, they should at least stop suing folks as a gesture of trying something new. The usual recording industry defenders in the comments claimed this was a ridiculous suggestion, but it appears that the RIAA is at least taking a small step in that direction. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the recording industry (the WSJ mis-labels it "the music industry") is abandoning its strategy of mass lawsuits.

First off, this is a step in the right direction -- and we think it's great that the record labels have agreed to do this, even if it's many, many years too late. And, it's hardly a huge concession. The lawsuits have been an unmitigated disaster. They have done nothing to slow file sharing (in fact, the publicity generated from the lawsuits has often been credited with alerting many people to the possibility). The strategy has also splintered the file sharing space into many, many different players, many of them way underground, unlike in the early days when there were a manageable number of players who could be worked with proactively. It's also done tremendous damage to the brands of the major record labels (Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony) and the RIAA itself -- leading many to swear off buying any of their products. Finally -- and most importantly -- the strategy did absolutely nothing to help musicians adapt to a changing market that was opening up tremendous new opportunities both to spread their music and to profit. So, kudos to the folks at the RIAA for finally realizing how backwards this strategy has been.

The fine print

But, of course, this is the RIAA, so you can rest assured that the details aren't anything to be happy about. In exchange for not filing mass lawsuits, the RIAA has worked out backroom deals with numerous ISPs (brokered by Andrew Cuomo -- who has a history of using baseless threats to get ISPs to censor content they have no legal responsibility to censor). The exact details are a bit sketchy, but it sounds like a variation on the ridiculous three strikes policy that has been (mostly) rejected in Europe as a violation of basic civil rights. Basically, these ISPs will agree to be the RIAA enforcers. Based solely on the RIAA's flimsy evidence, the ISPs will either pass on, or directly email subscribers with, warning letters. Depending on the specifics of the agreement, the users will get one or two more warning letters before the ISP will start limiting their internet access or potentially cutting them off entirely. If you think this sounds suspiciously like what Europe just rejected, you're right.

And, of course, the RIAA still says it may sue those who don't stop file sharing after all of this. They're just backing away from the mass lawsuit filings that they've been doing.

Why this is still a bad deal

Okay, so over the past few weeks, recording industry defenders have said that we were jumping the gun in criticizing a potential plan because it wasn't final. Our point was that since the record labels claim they want a "conversation," these deals shouldn't be negotiated in backrooms not involving substantial stakeholders. So what happened here? Yup, a backroom deal was negotiated without any involvement from users. And it was done under the direction of Andrew Cuomo, who just spent many months browbeating ISPs into agreeing to censor content.

So, hopefully, we won't be told that we're being premature in criticizing this plan -- but somehow I find it unlikely.

This plan is hardly a major concession by the record labels and the RIAA. The lawsuit strategy was a massive failure in almost every facet. Giving them up is hardly a big deal. It's admitting what pretty much everyone else knew from the beginning: that suing your fans and customers is a monumentally dumb move. Ending a brain-dead, self-defeating policy is worthy of kudos, but only for finally recognizing the obvious -- not as some magnanimous gesture.

And in exchange for the RIAA stopping its policy of shooting itself in the foot, we get ISPs making a huge concession themselves, agreeing to become RIAA enforcers, despite the clear safe harbors they have via the DMCA. These ISPs will now be heavily involved in the process of policing their users, increasing their expense, which of course will be passed on to users.

But the biggest problem is the fact that this allows private organizations to judge users without any significant defense on their part. The stories of falsely accused file sharers are widespread at this point. IP address-based evidence is notoriously unreliable. Yet, the RIAA will be basing its notifications on such evidence. Sure, plenty of the IP addresses dug up by the RIAA are probably accurate, but we live in an innocent-until-proven-guilty world, and this does away with that completely.

Also, as the EU noted in rejecting this proposal, the "punishment" hardly fits the crime. These days, an internet connection is a necessity -- and taking it away from people because someone is sharing the gift of music with others not for any sort of commercial gain is totally unbalanced. It takes away an individual's civil and privacy rights, all because the big record labels refuse to recognize that there are other business models out there that already work. And that final point may be the most important. As we noted in explaining why the music tax is a bad idea, none of these moves by the RIAA are actually necessary.

Musicians are figuring out plenty of fantastic business models that work wonders, and many of them actually involve embracing file sharing and using that to help grow their markets. What's wrong with letting those business models establish themselves, without brokering a totally unnecessary backroom deal that will almost certainly harm innocent people thanks to flimsy evidence?

So, yes, we're thrilled that the record labels have finally progressed to the point of realizing that mass lawsuits were a bad idea, but working out a backroom deal for a type of three strikes policy is not a particularly good solution. It's more of the same: trying to prop up an obsolete business model by a private industry unwilling or too stubborn to change with the market. That NY's Attorney General felt this private business model issue should involve his efforts in the midst of a huge financial crisis, including the largest Ponzi scheme ever, makes little sense.

If these are the "new leaf" and "open conversations" the record labels are insisting they're about these days, they've got an awful lot of work to do still.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Twinrova, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 3:55am

    Step in the right direction?

    I'm assuming this comment was directed at the dropped mass lawsuits?

    Because anything the RIAA does is never in the "right" direction when it benefits their pockets, all the while the consumer gets screwed.

    I dare my ISP to jump on board with this. They'll find themselves in a lawsuit so fast, they'll wish they never heard of RIAA.

    At any rate, consumers will continue allowing the RIAA to thrive as they'll not stop buying music.

    Most are totally unaware of RIAA and what they do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 4:02am

    I'm one of those people who don't buy products from companies I don't like. There's always an alternative.

    I'm tired of the RIAA's tactics, but this will backfire on them too. Slowly, they'll disconnect the biggest fans of their product from communicating about the product. By limiting their access to music, those people will lose interest in the actual product. Sales will continue to go down.

    Not to mention all the people they'll harm with invalid disconnects.

    It's another horrible idea from a group still selling water pumps in a world with indoor plumbing.

     

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    Pangolin, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 4:07am

    Why ISP's might buy into this

    I'm not endorsing or agreeing with the RIAA plan, but I can see why an ISP might buy into this. For whatever reason, ISPs think that there is a bandwidth shortage and that some uses are bandwidth hogs. This gives them an excuse to eliminate those users without implementing usage caps that are negatively perceived and perhaps difficult to enforce.

     

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    Stingwolf, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 5:32am

    Financial Suicide

    I don't understand how ISPs can possibly agree to this. How can there possibly be any benefit to cutting off your own customer base? There has to be some money changing hands as part of this deal. Why else would an ISP agree to 1) Spend the time and money distributing these warnings in the first place and 2) Lose hundreds of dollars per customer per year for every one this happens to?

     

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    Craig Foster, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 5:36am

    Re: Why ISP's might buy into this

    Caps are easy to enforce at an ISP level as long as you have some decent techs on board. That said, I can see warnings sent to those with high usage, even if the RIAA don't prompt a letter - cos 1) it's easy, 2) blame the RIAA, 3) it's cheap.

     

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    gene, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 5:54am

    Even though they will stop suing, there are thousands of illegal settlements which are binding on these people which have to be reversed because they take away constitutional rights..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:15am

    Re: Step in the right direction?

    Why would there be any doubt that he means the dropping of mass lawsuits is a good thing and the backroom ISP deal is a bad thing? It's exactly what he said, in plain English.

    Man the US education system needs some work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    Explain how that works, gene.

     

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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:30am

    Unfitting Punishment?

    "...the "punishment" hardly fits the crime. These days, an internet connection is a necessity -- and taking it away from people because someone is sharing the gift of music with others not for any sort of commercial gain is totally unbalanced. It takes away an individual's civil and privacy rights..."

    I'd say this is a poorly supported argument.

    First, an internet connection is by no means a necessity. Ask my grandma. She is perfectly happy driving to the bank to talk to a real human instead of using a computer to check her balance. The internet is a useful tool, and an extremely valuable one, but not a requirement for life.

    Second, this gift of music is not theirs to give. I don't like the copyright system, and I'd like it to go away, but its a fact of life at the moment, and until that changes, this 'gift-giving' is still illegal. Someone who breaks the law goes to jail. They lose almost all of their rights freedoms.

    This seems like a fitting parallel. If you break the law via the internet, you lose your right to use that technology. You have shown yourself unfit to judge how to use it properly and legally.

    That said, prison sentences come with terms for release and parole. The punishment of losing internet access can be appropriate, but it will likely be abused, misused, and used as a bludgeon to force people to do as the RIAA wants. Without the courts involved, and an impartial judge to make the call, its unlikely that this will end with any sort of fairness.

     

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    brahnn, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:33am

    Next gen legal strategy

    Rather than a magnanimous gesture, perhaps they are dropping mass lawsuits because judges are finally receiving technically accurate information and requiring existing (but abused by the RIAA) legal procedures to be followed correctly. In other words, the RIAA is beginning to see judiciary push-back on their current strategy so they are going into a new (to the US) poorly defined legal arena. Typical legal strategy: never seek resolution when it appears not going you way ... start another initiative (obfuscate) where there are no legal precedents to be bothered with. Judges live for legal precedents ... using them, not setting them.

     

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    Twinrova, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Step in the right direction?

    "Man the US education system needs some work."
    You can't have both statements in one blog be accurate. The entire message, from RIAA, states "We'll drop the lawsuits if the ISPs are on board". How can both be a "step in the right direction"?

    Reread the section titled "The fine print", then assess your "education" statement.

     

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    Matt, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:43am

    not quite here

    You missed one thing:

    This doesn't mean they won't toss settlement letters and threaten lawsuits.

    This is about as good as covenant not to sue.

     

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    Nick, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:56am

    Why nor use the CFAA against users?

    Now that we know that violating a terms of service contract is a criminally punishable offense (see Lori Drew), why don't they just start charging file-sharers with computer hacking? Though I have no idea what my Internet agreement with my provider says, I'm sure it could be interpreted to say that downloading copyrighted material is a violation of that agreement.

     

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    RobE, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 7:01am

    This agreement also doesn't end the RIAA effectively acting as a private extra-constitutional police force that snoops into people's hard drives without court orders. If they were the FBI or another law enforcement agency, they would have to obtain court approval to conduct such surveillance.

    And now you ISP is going to be complicit in this Big Brother operation. Boy, that sure makes me view the record industry in a more positive light. Or not.

    There is also possible legal exposure for the ISPs and this may lead to higher rates for you and me because the false accusation that someone is file sharing can result in a defamation action that will be financially and publicly embarrassing for the ISP industry, which is already the object of scorn from customers who feel as if they are a captive audience thanks to consolidation in that industry and horrid customer service (Time Warner, AOL and Comcast, I am looking at you).

    While the RIAA backing off file sharing suits is long overdue and has actually been a money loser for them (shareholders should be delighted at that fact), this is still a bad deal for consumers.

    Cuomo himself is an idiot. His stint at HUD was an unmitigated disaster and he contributed to the problems that we have seen from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So that we end up with this Faustian bargain at his urging isn't a surprise.

     

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    RobE, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 7:03am

    This Settlement is Still a Loser for Consumers

    This agreement also doesn't end the RIAA effectively acting as a private extra-constitutional police force that snoops into people's hard drives without court orders. If they were the FBI or another law enforcement agency, they would have to obtain court approval to conduct such surveillance.

    And now you ISP is going to be complicit in this Big Brother operation. Boy, that sure makes me view the record industry in a more positive light. Or not.

    There is also possible legal exposure for the ISPs and this may lead to higher rates for you and me because the false accusation that someone is file sharing can result in a defamation action that will be financially and publicly embarrassing for the ISP industry, which is already the object of scorn from customers who feel as if they are a captive audience thanks to consolidation in that industry and horrid customer service (Time Warner, AOL and Comcast, I am looking at you).

    While the RIAA backing off file sharing suits is long overdue and has actually been a money loser for them (shareholders should be delighted at that fact), this is still a bad deal for consumers.

    Cuomo himself is an idiot. His stint at HUD was an unmitigated disaster and he contributed to the problems that we have seen from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So that we end up with this Faustian bargain at his urging isn't a surprise.

     

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    crucible, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    Well good for your grandma. Does she churn her own butter too? In our world some of us do more in a day than our grandparents did in 5. See where I'm going with this? And what if I bought the song I shared? Isn't it mine then... But that aside. You essentially say they're(the RIAA)in the right but you don't like them and you're sure they'll abuse the privilege and can't be trusted. Confusing argument dude.

     

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    Rob, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 8:32am

    Stupidity on a silver platter

    Wow.

    Just. Wow.

    Oh yes, you ISPs that get with this plan are simply brilliant! Cut someone off and you do nothing other than lose a customer forever. You probably also lost around 25% of their friends, and you send them all packing to your competitors with cash in hand (cause they likely won't pay you). The person will have internet within a day or two and you lose all that revenue - and the PR mess is stupidly large.

    Add that your compatriots from other companies that are tittering at your imbecility will offer and advertise "RIAA-free" connections, or "Unmonitored" or somesuch and lure away customers that don't even download. Some of us obey laws, but we get rather annoyed at companies that violate our privacy. If my ISP does this, I'll bail in a heartbeat - and I don't download music at all.

    Fools.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    I wonder how much money the RIAA has spent on this problem. It has to be Hundreds-of-Millions if not Billions.

    Imagine all the artists that could have been discovered with that.

     

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    robin, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 8:57am

    this is no good

    it's alot! easier to lie to politicians than it is to judges, and alot! easier to keep getting away with it. and the r.i.a.a. has shown no hesitancy to lie.

    so the illegal gathering of shaky evidence will, i predict, now accelerate, with the willing connivance of mensa leaders such as the younger mr. cuomo.

    the only problem for the r.i.a.a. is that politicians aren't really your friends, no matter how much you pay them, should public opinion overwhelmingly turn against this practice.

    sadly between now and that point, there's going to be quite a bit of collateral damage.

     

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    bad BB analogies, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    foul ball = strike ?

    Three stikes has too many problems to even be considered as a solution. I would like to see the list of people for which the three stikes policy would not apply. At the top of this list would be the riaa themselves, because it is guarantied that they would be accused of file sharing multiple times rather quickly after such a draconian measure were put inplace.

    I wonder if that pirating HP laser printer will be disconnected from the internet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Effects of a litigation society

    As these schenanigans continue, the profession of lawyerism will be devalued.

    Perhaps it's time that the US emerges out of the dark ages. K-12 is used by many countries to teach advanced scientific and technological concepts, whereas in the US, the stigma is that knowledge and concepts can only be taught once you become 18 or of legal age. It seems that once you turn 18, a magical wand hits your head, and your suddenly able to learn. In other cultures and society, the opposite is true. Thusly, the USA has this concept grossly misunderstood.

    Consider the number of businesses were started by people without background or knowledge of business. Bill Gates is one person that comes to mind. As the profession of law continues to become more complex, skills of litigation can, and will be more useful and should perhaps be taught at a younger age. Yes, maybe we should start with teaching litigation in High School, instead of in college, as that seems to be the desire with the RIAA and MPAA by picking on others the way they do. I theorize that if we quit dumbing down people, provide incentive, and start teaching advanced concepts of litigation at an earlier age, people could learn to settle their differences outside of the gamut of legalism.

     

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    Rich, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:48am

    Can you say tortious interference?

    If the RIAA uses their current methods for "investigating" to get people cut off, they will have a flood of tortious interference lawsuits - that will go to trial. They have some measure of protection by using the courts because malicious prosecution cases are so difficult to win - but they'll have none of those protections if they go mucking around in people's ISP relationships.

     

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    Mark Regan, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:50am

    Money

    Be assured that money is changing hands. The RIAA folks will be giving the ISPs lists of MILLIONS of IP addresses, which the ISPs will need to contact via email, meaning a lookup to generate an email address. Many of their customers do NOT use email addresses known to the IP, so many hundreds of thousands will not be receiving the emails. For their trouble, however, be assured that the RIAA will be paying them MONEY since they will be SAVING that money in attorneys fees, and it will supposedly generate the same result, so it will be worth it to the RIAA to pay that money.

     

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  24.  
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    .:., Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    Re: Why nor use the CFAA against users?

    Because as we have already seen it might not have been the person whose name is on the contract. Yes it really is that simple. Open Wifi / hacked Wifi? And there are many more examples to cite.

    We have just had a 70 year old couple in the UK accused of torrenting a Gay porn DVD in the UK called "Army F**kers". Now imagine the amount of _Stress_ that will have caused this old couple. It's a real shame this didnt happen in the USA, land of law suits !!!

    Now you know why the change of stance from RIAA & Co. ;)

     

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    Mike, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    uh yeah, accept they are not talking about people being found guilty of anything, they are talking about the RIAA claiming someone is infringing, and then their ISP pulling their plug. If you have been paying ANY attention you would realize the RIAA is WRONG most of the time. So what is going to happen is people that have done nothing wrong will lose their connections. My telephone runs through my internet connection, and I work from home using that same connection. So if the RIAA decided that my encrypted connection to my job must be something illegal (thats been a common thread with them) then I could lose my ability to work, without recourse to defend myself. Also what is the actual purpose of the RIAA these days? How do they help musicians exactly? They rarely ever give any of the money they get to the musicians, and they are not needed to distribute the media, they don't do much of anything of any use at all. Seems to me their business IS lawsuits, and I can't see how any musician would sign on for this crap to begin with.

     

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    Martin, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:13am

    In some European countries the damages you have to pay when found guilty of copyright infringement depends on whether the infringement was deliberate or not. Copyright holders can use the warning letters to make the case that any subsequent infringement is reasonably deliberate, thereby increasing the damages the infringer has to pay. Maybe it's the same in the US. Hence, a warning letter may not only be informational or serve as a deterrent - it may also have other legal and economical consequences.

     

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    Stephen, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Crazy to Forego Common Carrier for Somebody

    It is crazy for an ISP to threaten their Common Carrier protection. Let's say a civil Lori Drew situation comes up and this time the ISP is included by the Plaintiff. Then the plaintiff brings up this seemingly unrelated 3 strikes policy and wins against the ISP.

     

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    consider people not older than grandma, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    "First, an internet connection is by no means a necessity. Ask my grandma."

    I bet your Grandma isn't a office worker that tele-commutes 3 days a week to stay at home with the kids while ordering food from fresh direct and checking amazon for the latest released books on the subject of the internet as a utility.

    But then again we all can't be so totally AWESOME as your grandma right?

    forgive the partial troll

    The fact remains that for people in the modern world (of which your grandma is NOT included as she is assumed to be retired)

    the internet is very much an essential part of life.

    as for the rest of what you said.......ok

    music "sharing" is still illegal- very true

    With this step the ISPs are now saying they will tap all communications on their lines for the benefit of a private organization .

    And yes it is a form of wiretapping (how else can they determine what traffic is suspect with out actually looking at said traffic) This I think is actually much worse and does nothing but prop up the sinking ship that is RIAA's bussiness model.

     

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    Borg, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Re: Step in the Right Direction/ Unffinting Punishment

    This is a step in the right direction for the RIAA, one step closer to the edge of the cliff is one step closer to their downfall.


    The "It is still illegal" argument is obsolete. In my town it is illegal to eat ice-cream on Sundays. It is also illegal to ride on a river in a clown suit in my state. you find these laws all over the place. just because a law is on the books doesn't mean that it is still valid for the current society.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 19th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    "music "sharing" is still illegal- very true "

    Um, not necessarily. All the music I listen to comes from people/bands willing to distribute for free, over the net. Sometimes I'm motivated to do videos for that music, which gets them some eyes and ears over at youtube. They have all been very supportive of my little hobby (the one informal takedown request was from a group that was happy I was doing it, but felt their performance was sub-par that night.)

    I'm concerned that my trading of files is going to cause me a lot of explaining, if not limit my connectivity options.

     

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  31.  
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    Manhattan Project, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Step in the right direction?

    You cant get these (C)rap buying idiots to turn that junk off long enough to pay attention.. (C)rap music CANT be making that much money..can it? Is it the only thing that's selling these days.. or is it just pushed onto everything and everyone..? And they wonder why the industry is going down.. everyone doesn't want to hear a (C)rapper cussing, or some idiot "death and blood" metal moron screaming or growling like a retard, or a hillbilly singing about his tractor... but the "Industry" keeps grinding the same crap out they've pushed since the late 80's.. so they are at least 20 years behind the times.. no wonder they can't grasp the digital age.. it's too far above their "learning curve".. and too FAR FETCHED for them to comprehend..

     

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    consider people not older than grandma, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    Sorry I should have been more clear.

    Sharing music owned by the RIAA(by which I mean the labels who are backing the cartel) is still illegal- very true

    I support what you are doing and hope that more people like you continue to oppose-by-example the tactics of the RIAA.

    If more artists are able to get support from guys like you I think that the RIAA will see the difference where it counts.

    Their wallets.

     

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    Lars UltraRich, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    First, is this even happening? Just because the RIAA says something is happening doesn't make it true. No ISP names have been released, possibly because there aren't any. What ISP would want to piss off large amounts of their customers just to make the RIAA happy? And if it is true, how long until someone sues their ISP for throttling their bandwidth? Just as its been near impossible for the RIAA to prove people have been "stealing" their songs, it'll be just as impossible for the ISP to do so. Are the ISP's willing to take on the cost of lawsuits that the RIAA wasn't? I don't think so. Especially once someone who gets cut off threatens the ISP's local monopolies. Legally, I can share "Stairway to Heaven" with anyone who's ever purchased Led Zeppelin's 4th album (who hasn't resold it), because we've both paid for the rights to use the song. Can my ISP prove that anyone I've shared it with doesn't own the rights to it? If the RIAA were to download it, it wouldn't be illegal, because THEY also own the rights to it, via the artists they represent. Bandwidth isn't an issue, most connections are limited on the outgoing end anyway, and someone LEGALLY viewing the most recent episode of LOST at abc.com is using more bandwidth than someone sharing a song. And at the end of the day, who pays the ISP's? Their customers, not the RIAA. I think the RIAA has already shown that pissing off your customers is NOT a good business model...

     

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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    No, she doesn't. But she could if she wanted to. You say 'In our world'. She's a part of this world too. And I really don't see where you are going with your statement of increased productivity. Just because you are more productive with the internet does not mean you can't be productive without it. The internet is a very valuable tool, but it is not a necessity of life.

    The Internet is a privilege. Its not a constitutional, god-given right.

    And if you show yourself to be unfit to use it wisely, then taking away that privilege seems fair. Forgive me for falling back on the old car analogy, but if you drink and drive, then they take away your license to drive. A car is a very useful tool, but it is not a necessity of life. I apply that same logic in this situation.

    So again, if you screw up while using the internet for illegal purposes, then it seems logical to me that you should not be allowed to use the internet. At least until you can prove that you are capable of using it in a responsible manner.

    Now, what if you bought the song you shared? Did you buy the rights to copy and distribute that song? If you bought a CD with the song on it, then you did not. If you bought it from iTunes, then you did not. So you are doing something illegal. If you are the owner of the copyright, and you choose to distribute your song freely, then thats awesome, and you are probably going to be more successful at winning the hearts and mind of your fans than the RIAA will ever be. Unfortunately, just because its stupid of the RIAA to be miserly with the music they own doesn't mean they don't have that choice to be stupid. They just have to deal with the consequences of it in the form of bad PR, disgruntled fans, and loss of market share.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    @Mike - I agree. The RIAA and the ISPs should not be the ones who are handing out this punishment. Instead, it should be taken to the police and the courts so they can sort it out. The innocent will be allowed to go about their lives, and the guilty will be punished -fairly-.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    Consider the troll forgiven. I'm not here to make enemies. :)

    No, actually, my grandma works in a factory. She retires next year, and is trying to dodge the layoff bullet until then. She drives back and forth every day, and watches David Letterman every night. Well, she usually falls asleep after the monologue.

    Anyways, she's still a productive member of society. She buys her groceries from Wegmens every other weekend, and buys dirty romance novels from walmart. The brick and mortar store, not their website.

    I grant you, she is in the minority. And some day, her kind may even cease to exist. But travel to a few third-world countries, and see how many people you can find that don't use the internet, but still manage to live a full life.

    My point stands. The Internet Is NOT a Necessity of life.

    Sharing Music without permission is Illegal. And if you do it over the internet, then I see no problem with cutting you off from the internet. If you do it with bootleg copies of cassette tapes, then confiscate your cassette players. If you do it by recording live performances at concerts onto a camera phone, then take away your camera phone. When you show that you can handle the responsibility of these new technologies, they will be returned to you. That seems very reasonable to me.

    But I could be wrong. I'm just another moron in a hurry. :)

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Just Another Moron in a Hurry, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Re: foul ball = strike ?

    "it is guarantied that they would be accused of file sharing"

    That would be awesome. If this goes through, I would love to see the RIAA banned from the internet by their own stupidity.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    John Addams, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment

    Let's be clear here. You state that sharing music online is illegal. If this were the case, why is it that the MAFIAA has to take people to court and sue them in CIVIL court? The reason is because sharing files online is construed as copyright infringement which is a civil charge.

    Now one lawyer from Harvard is currently trying to argue the case to make sharing music an actual criminal charge. Shills and appologists like yourself should be afraid of such a change because the burden of proof will be on the MAFIAA and the defendants will have the right to a lawyer for free. Hey I'm all for making it illegal too since the MAFIAA won't be able to just make discoveries as easily as they did before. Bring it on Mr. Shill!

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    robin, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 2:34pm

    wide and far

    this news is now starting to appear across the blogosphere. specifically:

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081219-no-more-lawsuits-isps-to-work-with-ri aa-cut-off-p2p-users.html

    where it seems the author, mr. nate anderson, has become something of an apologist for the recording industry and it's illegal legal tactics.

    question: how long will isp's agree to continue with this when they're hit with lawsuits challenging their dmca/common carrier protections?

    question2: why do mr. anderson, and many others, continue to push the now debunked bandwidth crunch theory?

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    This seems like a fitting parallel. If you break the law via the internet, you lose your right to use that technology. You have shown yourself unfit to judge how to use it properly and legally.


    Really? What happens if you break the law via telephone? Or, if something illegal is sent through the mail, should one be forbidden from using the post office? I mean, if you break the law by writing someone should your right to use a pen be taken away?

    It's not necessarily a good fit because it ignores all the other completely unrelated uses. How is using the Internet to email your boss or your co-workers the sort of thing you should be forbidden from doing because you downloaded some Metallica songs illegally?

    This reminds me of Cory Doctorow's piece... it's not as if internet access is something important, right?

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    Forgive me for falling back on the old car analogy, but if you drink and drive, then they take away your license to drive. A car is a very useful tool, but it is not a necessity of life. I apply that same logic in this situation.


    But there's a relation there. If you drink and drive, you're demonstrating that you are a danger to other human beings when you get behind the wheel. If you infringe copyright on the web, whose life are you endangering? More importantly, what does that have to do with all the other things you do online?

    Coming up with counter examples is so trivial. If you infringe someone's intellectual property rights with a camera, should you lose your "right" to take photographs? C'mon, you don't really believe what you're saying, do you?

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    coala, Dec 20th, 2008 @ 3:56am

    This is an outrage. I am actually surprised that that there has never been any wider and organized boycot of RIAA's supporters.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Responsibility

    So if the ISP is doing the policing, will they be liable for everything they miss?

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    1984, Dec 21st, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    The Bigger Picture

    Most of you commenting on this page don't see the bigger picture. It is not about the music industry or the RIAA. Its all about the ISP's, content and bandwitdh. Look at cable/satellite TV. They need content but they can control bandwidth usage. The ISP's are now starting to get into acquiring content. They have always wanted to charge based on bandwidth just like you are charged for other utilities like water, gas and electric. By monitoring bandwidth (which they already do) and not having to single out usage or type of use, go complain or sue. Good luck with that. The movie, game and software industries are so scared that what has happened to the music industry is happening to them that they are combining forces and pressuring the ISP's in the backroom or via politics i.e. Andrew Cuomo. Strength in "content numbers" will achieve over time what Congress politically cannot or will not do. And because it will happen privately as opposed to by law, it will take passing national or state legislation to counteract it but that won't be until all ISP's do it. Just watch. BTW, go to France in June 2009, and wait for your disconnect letter.

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 8:42am

    So when

    So when is that ISP from Austrailia going to open up here in the US?
    I want to sign up with them since they are far more intelligent than all these others.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    I disagree. People who commit mail fraud don't get their right to send letters taken away, people who commit phone fraud don't get their right to make phone calls taken away. So you need to compare the internet to other forms of communication. I haven't heard of any cases where a person was denied the use of pen and paper to send something US postal. The internet should be the same thing. It is vital to modern communication. So yes it is essential.

    Further, what is being argued is that this punishment is more along the levels of pirates who profit from sharing. The people who are on BT are not profiting from sharing their music. To punish them as if they were seems excessive don't you think? If I am selling those shared files and making money off it, fine kick me off, but if I am sharing culture and you kick me off of the internet...well I have problems with that.

    Yes the punishment is overkill considering the "crime" (which I could argue as well)

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Ben, Dec 26th, 2008 @ 8:26am

    Re: Financial Suicide

    ISPs want to do this because file sharers (torrents especially) use up a good portion of their bandwidth. They would naturally want to get rid of this traffic and the record companies are offering a method to cut down on it.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Ray, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    ILLEGAL File Sharing, Stealing, Etc.

    I read that the Record Labels are losing Billions because of Illegal Downloading. And then I read here of every excuse in the book to not do anything about it. I've got an Idea. When someone hears a song they want, Go Down To The Record Store and Buy it! How hard is that! If you can pay a thousand bucks for a computer, 50 dollars a month for Broadband Internet service you can pay for a CD from a Retail Outlet!!!

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:56pm

    Re: ILLEGAL File Sharing, Stealing, Etc.

    An iPod can hold, what, 40,000 songs? Sure, that's easy, spent a thousand bucks on a computer, $50/month on broadband, $200 for an iPod and $40,000 to fill the iPod. Wait...

    Or, let's be conserative: song are available as low as $0.69 on iTunes, let's cut that in half -- $20,000 (which is like $5 per CD assuming 10 songs per CD).

    Then and again, maybe there is reason for the RIAA to rethink its approach after all...

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    underground_of_course, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    ILLEGAL File Sharing, Stealing, Etc.

    Amazing, I can’t believe we are still dealing with this ridiculousness. Remember VHS same shit. Every time a new technology come about these companies go ape shit because they ignore the fact that "new fucking technology is coming about" Half these folks are old as dirt so what do you expect. The record industry is fraught with thievery to begin with. How many countless stories have you heard of artist being taken advantage of etc,. Lets change gears, so I buy a song and download it. I can play it and my friend can listen to it, or stream it through the phone but I cant make a copy, humm. So the radio is playing and if I accidentally hit a button on my fucking iPhone and it records to sound Im a criminal, you get the picture. Ever wonder why you've not heard about a jury trial that’s because the RIAA is scared shitless of a jury trial. I am a network engineer, I would LOVE for my ISP and the RIAA to try and come after me. This would be such a fucking joy, it would actually make me a very rich man, not from any monetary awards from suits but from the publicity I would receive after I buried both of them. I wont go into all of the techy stuff but I don’t think you've ever seen the RIAA pick on someone like me have you, no you have not.

    P.S. the movie downloads are way better ;-) oh and Im at work on a canadian ISP on U.S. soil so fuck you :-)

    P.S. the movie downloads are way better ;-) oh and Im at work on a canadian ISP on US soil so fuck you :-)

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 4th, 2011 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    Cause and consequence..

    Just because YOU THINK, that "no one" will be hurt does not give you the right to break the law, or to do something illegal.

    Drinking and driving is illegal and you lose your license if you are caught **NOT** because you might kill someone, or that you are 'endangering' someone.

    It is because, if you drink and drive you are NOT SURE of what damage you are possibly doing.

    'J" walking (when you cross the street) is also illegal and it is hard to see how that is 'endangering' anyone.

    But it is not up to YOU to determine that, it is clear that 'normal people' do **NOT** know what is 'best' for them or for their community.

    There is no such thing as a "victumless crime" you have no ideal what are the affects or consequences of your actions.

    Be it J walking, drink driving, or stealing music or breaking copyright law.

    It is possible that if you download a song you want as opposed to purchase it legally, (or you purchase one copy and make 1000 copies available to your 'friends').

    As a result of you downloading it, you take away 1 (just one) sale from the company that has the legal right to sell it, that one (or 10,000) lost sales means that the 22 year old young mother with a little baby might lose her job !!!.

    But you would never know that, and you do not care, you think somehow a musician creates a song (somehow all by himself) and he does everything, without any support structure. and that no one else will be hurt because you feel you have a right to take something that you are not allowed to take. (not the music, but the copyright for that music).

    So if you cannot think past your own greed, you would see that you are not the only person on earth and that a vast number of people require the vast majority of people to be honest and at least considerate to the needs and requirements of their fellow human beings.

    If you infringe someone's intellectual property rights with a camera, .

    what an amazing and odd statement !!!!

    Perhaps you would like to explain it for us ?
    And show us some photo's of someone's intellectual property rights !!!!

    Clearly, you do not understand what IP is !!! really do you think IP is something you can keep under your bed ? or locked up in a safe ? or posted on the internet ?

    No it cannot, IP is what you know and what you can achieve (or what you can do), how would you be able to infringe on what I know and can do with a camera ?

    Yes, you might be able to take a photo of the PRODUCT of my intellect, but that is not a photo of my intellect(ual property).

    As an engineer, I am asked to apply my intellectual property to develop a new 'thing'. (we'll call it the "gruntmaster 2000").

    I apply my IP to that problem, and I create a device, when the company pays me for that design they are paying me for a real and physical item. (even if it simply a 'paper design'), it is something that can be made real.

    A real product, or design for a real product is no longer Intellectual property, it is now physical property, and the owner of that physical property is the company that paid for it's creation. (and NOT ME).

    I own the IP, I still own the IP, and I cannot 'give away' or sell IP, and companies do not come to me and say "how much for your IP?"

    Therefore a song, or a movie, or a design, or a patent is NOT IP, but is a real and physical item, just as real and physical as you are or your car is (if you have not been drinking and driving)..

    So this argument about who has or can have or what you can do with IP is non sequitur.

    is an argument in which its conclusion does not follow from its premises. In a non sequitur, the conclusion can be either true or false, but the argument is fallacious because there is a disconnection between the premise and the conclusion.

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    darryl, Jul 4th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unfitting Punishment?

    Cause and consequence..

    Just because YOU THINK, that "no one" will be hurt does not give you the right to break the law, or to do something illegal.

    Drinking and driving is illegal and you lose your license if you are caught **NOT** because you might kill someone, or that you are 'endangering' someone.

    It is because, if you drink and drive you are NOT SURE of what damage you are possibly doing.

    'J" walking (when you cross the street) is also illegal and it is hard to see how that is 'endangering' anyone.

    But it is not up to YOU to determine that, it is clear that 'normal people' do **NOT** know what is 'best' for them or for their community.

    There is no such thing as a "victumless crime" you have no ideal what are the affects or consequences of your actions.

    Be it J walking, drink driving, or stealing music or breaking copyright law.

    It is possible that if you download a song you want as opposed to purchase it legally, (or you purchase one copy and make 1000 copies available to your 'friends').

    As a result of you downloading it, you take away 1 (just one) sale from the company that has the legal right to sell it, that one (or 10,000) lost sales means that the 22 year old young mother with a little baby might lose her job !!!.

    But you would never know that, and you do not care, you think somehow a musician creates a song (somehow all by himself) and he does everything, without any support structure. and that no one else will be hurt because you feel you have a right to take something that you are not allowed to take. (not the music, but the copyright for that music).

    So if you cannot think past your own greed, you would see that you are not the only person on earth and that a vast number of people require the vast majority of people to be honest and at least considerate to the needs and requirements of their fellow human beings.

    If you infringe someone's intellectual property rights with a camera, .

    what an amazing and odd statement !!!!

    Perhaps you would like to explain it for us ?
    And show us some photo's of someone's intellectual property rights !!!!

    Clearly, you do not understand what IP is !!! really do you think IP is something you can keep under your bed ? or locked up in a safe ? or posted on the internet ?

    No it cannot, IP is what you know and what you can achieve (or what you can do), how would you be able to infringe on what I know and can do with a camera ?

    Yes, you might be able to take a photo of the PRODUCT of my intellect, but that is not a photo of my intellect(ual property).

    As an engineer, I am asked to apply my intellectual property to develop a new 'thing'. (we'll call it the "gruntmaster 2000").

    I apply my IP to that problem, and I create a device, when the company pays me for that design they are paying me for a real and physical item. (even if it simply a 'paper design'), it is something that can be made real.

    A real product, or design for a real product is no longer Intellectual property, it is now physical property, and the owner of that physical property is the company that paid for it's creation. (and NOT ME).

    I own the IP, I still own the IP, and I cannot 'give away' or sell IP, and companies do not come to me and say "how much for your IP?"

    Therefore a song, or a movie, or a design, or a patent is NOT IP, but is a real and physical item, just as real and physical as you are or your car is (if you have not been drinking and driving)..

    So this argument about who has or can have or what you can do with IP is non sequitur.

    is an argument in which its conclusion does not follow from its premises. In a non sequitur, the conclusion can be either true or false, but the argument is fallacious because there is a disconnection between the premise and the conclusion.

     

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


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