DOJ Sides With RIAA In Tenebaum Case

from the shocker dept

Considering that the Justice Department has hired a bunch of the RIAA's favorite lawyers, it was widely expected that the Justice Department would weigh in on the Joel Tenenbaum case -- despite the fact that folks in the Obama administration aren't supposed to be involved in situations that relate to work they did recently (oops). So, of course, the Justice Deparment has filed an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the statutory fines for copyright infringement. As Ray Beckerman notes, the Justice Department seems to have conveniently ignored numerous other precedents -- and doesn't bother to explain why earlier cases that upheld damages of 116 and 44 times damages means it's okay to have damages pushing hundreds of thousands of times over potential damages (and an argument can be made that there were actually no damages at all solely due to Tenenbaum). So while this is hardly surprising, it is a bit disappointing that the DOJ filed this brief, given the obvious conflicts of interest concerning its recent hires.


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    Anon, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 5:44am

    Great sadness

    Just more proof that lawyers should not be involved in politics. Too bad all of our politicians nowadays are lawyers.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Sort of one sided reporting when your sources is an aggressively anti-RIAA blog, isn't it? Doubly so because the guy writing it is a lawyer that makes his name fighting copyright cases. I can't imagine him having any other opinion.

    Maybe you want to quote a slight more balanced view, like:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10201831-38.html

     

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      Sneeje, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:38am

      Re:

      Ummmm... that article is less than helpful. All it does is summarize the brief--there is no thoughtful analysis as to why the brief might be taking a reasonable position. It simply states that the law allows the position.

      What I'm really interested in is whether or not the damages are *reasonable*, not whether they are *allowable*. Judges are supposed to be arbiters of what is reasonable given the circumstances.

       

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        Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, and perhaps we should wait for the judge's opinion before we go off. I like to be informed before I hear opinion, not the other way around. An anti-copyright blog pointing to another anti-copyright blog written by an anti-copyright lawyer isn't exactly the way to get the facts, just a way to get a very biased opinion.

        Once you read the CNet story, the opinion pieces make more sense, and then you are free to have your own opinion, not the one being spoon fed to you :)

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You would prefer a blog that is known to side against the RIAA not wright a one sided article about a trial. Now, imagine how we feel to know that people who have been known to side with the RIAA (threw thick and thin) are contributing to the trial.

           

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          Easily Amused, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          okay, I lol'd @ "we should wait for the judge's opinion before we go off." coming from one of the knee-jerk reactionary trolls....

           

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          Sneeje, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          >>[..]and then you are free to have your own opinion,
          >>not the one being spoon fed to you :)

          Huh? Why are you assuming that I'm not free to have my own opinion without reading the sources/materials that *you* think I should read? Or that I'm not "informed" if I haven't read the things you think I should?

          I also don't get the part about being "spoon fed." Blogs, almost by definition are written from a particular viewpoint. I read this blog and about ten others that often cross-analyze each other's materials. But all blogs "spoon feed"--that's the point. However, the expectation is that you follow the line of thinking and use a particular blog to begin your own analysis.

          I suspect you believe that nearly all those you disagree with don't do their own analysis--but that would be a very uninformed view IMO.

           

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      Thom, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:08am

      Re:

      That's not a more balanced view. That's what you call a blind view, the kind of view that's gotten our country into the trouble it's into today. It's the kind of view that lets someone literally steal and destroy the pensions of tens of thousands yet serve only a few months in a luxury prison. It's the kind of view that lets someone get caught with a joint and have their home taken from them or gets them put in prison to serve more time than a murderer.

      This law is bad precisely because it's so easy to abuse to rediculous levels. It's so bad precisely because it's not being used to right a wrong but to deliberately destroy individual lives in an attempt to intimidate and scare "potential" violators.

       

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    AJ, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:39am

    "Until recently, a top Justice Department official represented the RIAA in the Massachusetts case. In January, Obama picked Tom Perrelli for associate attorney general; he was listed as a "lead attorney" for the RIAA in the case and filed a formal notice of withdrawal less than two weeks earlier." quoted from cnet

    Am I understanding the guy withdraws from the case, then files a amicus brief from the Justice Department in support of the RIAA? I don't care what the situation is, thats messed up.

    2,100 to 425,000 times the actual damages. Good grief, greed is a terible thing.

    Am I to understand someone could download some songs and be charged up to 425,000 per song? How is that justice? He could be forced to pay over a million dollars for downloading 7 songs? Thats totally twisted, how can anyone think thats a good thing?

     

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      Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      Umm, did that particular guy file the brief?

      You don't understand - it isn't about just what he downloads, but what he spread. By perpetuating the spread of this music (P2P up / down ratios), he has created the potential for infinite copies of the music. So how damage is done?

       

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        SteveD, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re: infinite copies

        Not too keen to get dragged into the rather pointless blog wars you've been fighting round here lately, but how do you justify multiples of hundreds of thousands of times damages by saying it has the 'potential' for the infinite?

        That's like punishing an individual for the nature of a medium.

        Clearly damage claims in civil cases should relate directly to actual, measured damages. Otherwise you're victimising a handful of individuals for the actions of society.

         

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          chris (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re: infinite copies

          how do you justify multiples of hundreds of thousands of times damages by saying it has the 'potential' for the infinite?

          if you sue some one for a reasonable amount then you can't scare people into buying CD's. reasonable amounts just aren't intimidating.

          Clearly damage claims in civil cases should relate directly to actual, measured damages. Otherwise you're victimising a handful of individuals for the actions of society.

          riiiiight. people are sued for millions every day for no good reason. in this case, the purpose of the damages is intimidation. they can't figure out how to deliver a product worth buying, so they are going to break metaphorical kneecaps instead. now that they own the dept. of justice it's like a crime spree.

           

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        mechwarrior, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re:

        But music is just data. You can create infinite copies of it without fault. Its not like music can only be heard on vinyl ,and can only be copied by tracing ridge lines on a platter. Hell, you can probably recreate every piece of music to 99% accuracy with a properly configured synthesizer.

        This isnt about spreading p2p, as it will continue as long as their is a demand for it. This is about basically bankrupting a person for having the sheer audacity to share music. Im not sure this is a good or even logical method of tamping down the spread of p2p. Maybe if the music distributors/publishers came up with a better method, this wouldnt be a problem.

        You cant fight demand with non-participation.

         

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        Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:04am

        Re: Re:

        Do they ever have any proof that these people actually "spread" the files? No just that they were made available. So how do you pin damages without proof of damages? All they do is speculate, which in the case of the legal system should never be allowed. No evidence = not guilty!

         

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        BREWTON, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:04am

        You set yourself up for this one: So why not endlessly sue Xerox for the copyright violations their technology perpetually enables?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re:

        I know a person with a knife, that knife can be used multiple times. That person with the knife has the potential to kill an infinite number of people. Should that person be thrown in jail for a very long time b/c of the potential that they may murder an infinite number of people with their knife?

        Obviously not. Potential is not the same as actual. This is why you need to prove actual damages and not potential ones for the same reason prosecution is based on actual crimes and not potential ones.

         

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          Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Funny enough, if he lends that knife to people who kill people, and knowingly does it, then yes, he goes to jail. Amazing, isn't it?

          The issue of damages goes back to one of distibution. By agreeing to use kazaa and signing onto their network, this guy entered into a world who's only intent is to spread files without permission (because if it was with permission, there would be no reason to use the complicated and slow methods that P2P uses to hide file sources). In essence, he entered into a global conspiracy to trade files without permission (infringing). Now, he may have only shared the file once, but if he was the original source for another 10,000 downloads, then he is very much in on the game.

          It's where that infinite thing bites back. All that needs to be shown is (a) these are the files that he made available by being part of the kazaa network, and here are the number of pirate copies that can be found on the net today. We don't know if he did all of it, but we know his intent, therefore he could be stuck with the result.

          The damage is done. How much is this guy? Who knows? But 1% of inifinite is still, well, the max.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Let's put it another way so that you can't get distracted. Person X has an unlimited potential to perpetrate many crimes. What you keep proposing is that because Person X has the possibility of committing untold number of crimes its as if they already committed the crime.

            Now replace Person X with Weird Harold. Weird Harold has the potential to commit a crime. Should you be locked up b/c of your potential for future deeds? Obviously not. Now apply this reasoning to the damages discussion...

             

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            Mike C, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "entered into a world who's only intent is to spread files without permission"

            - So Blizzard is spreading World of Warcraft files without permission? (patches distributed via P2P)
            - So Nine Inch Nails is distributing music without permission? (Ghosts anyone?)
            - So anyone who downloads various incarnations of Linux is doing so without permission?
            - So anyone choosing to download OpenOffice via P2P is doing so without permission?

            Or perhaps, P2P is also a way to multi-source files to get around the limitation of upload bandwidth versus download bandwidth. Personally, I have a 1Mbps upload and a 6Mpbs download. I'd like to be able to take advantage of that fatter download pipe when I'm getting the latest copy of OpenOffice. Are you saying I'm essentially a "pirate" for doing so?

             

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              Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Nope, all of those are nice legal uses - but it's like running a hot dog stand in the middle of a crack house. The guy was on Kazaa downloading music files, not getting linux. Please grow up, points like this are so childish.

              Honestly, what percentage of P2P traffic would be entirely legal files? The answer is "a pretty darn small number". You only have to hit the top torrent sites to see what is popular. (The pirate bay is the biggest, and their top 100 is entirely pirated, not shocking, is it?).

              "P2P is also a way to multi-source files to get around the limitation of upload bandwidth versus download bandwidth"

              Heh? What are you talking about? Your upload speed has nothing to do with your download speed when getting a file in a normal way (such as FTP). My connection is about the same speed as yours, and I can go download open office at about 725k/s - or in about 2 minutes. Fastest I would get it on P2P might be 20 minutes or an hour, I don't know - and I can't know, because I am entirely dependant on other people to get it (and in fact, because Bell traffic shapes P2P during the day, it might take 24 hours to get it).

               

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                PaulT (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 12:38pm

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

                There are MANY legal uses for P2P, whether you like it or not. Blizzard alone has around 12 million people using P2P legally every time they release a patch. People downloading the movie Blank mentioned on another thread today are doing so with full permission, as are those who use P2P to get Sita Sings The Blue or Night Of The Living Dead. People downloading many of the free albums you tend to mock are doing so perfectly legally. Many thousands of people do download Linux distros and other free software through P2P every day.

                Whether this represents a sizeable majority of the people using P2P is irrelevant. You claimed that P2P was a world where the "only intent is to spread files without permission". People come back at you with example after example of how that's simply not true, and your response is to claim (backed, as usual, with no evidence) that those people are irrelevant, rather than actually address the issue at hand.

                "The guy was on Kazaa downloading music files, not getting linux."

                So? You seem to be claiming that *nobody* using P2P can possibly be using it for legal means. Just because this particular guy was not using it for legal means, that has no bearing on the millions of downloads that occur legally.

                "Your upload speed has nothing to do with your download speed when getting a file in a normal way (such as FTP)."

                Depending on the state of the servers you're downloading from, it can actually be much quicker to download via a torrent than direct via FTP (especially if there's a dodgy connection that keeps interrupting the download for a 500Mb+ file - remember BitTorrent is geared toward large file downloads). Even if not, it can be more convenient to simply load up a client with torrent files and let them download overnight (I often do this with new Linux betas).

                Not only that, but we're also talking about overall costs. By encouraging people to use P2P to download their software, many companies (including Blizzard and the various Linux distros) keep their costs down by sharing their bandwidth requirements among customers. Those customer willingly help out because without those bandwidth savings, the costs would be much higher for using the product in question.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:20pm

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

                Nope, all of those are nice legal uses...

                Looks like he caught you in another lie then.

                Please grow up, points like this are so childish.

                I guess when you get caught lying there's not much left to do but to start hurling insults, eh?

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 5:47am

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

                You only have to hit the top torrent sites to see what is popular. (The pirate bay is the biggest, and their top 100 is entirely pirated, not shocking, is it?).

                If I have 100 files, and one of them is downloaded by 5% of people and every other one is downloaded by 1% of people, then the 5% file is "the most popular" but 95% of my content is not that. Just because you hit plurality doesn't mean you hit majority.

                 

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            reaperman0, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh Harold - I've been reading your dumb-ass comments long enough. P2P is used for more than just downloading media. Every single person playing World of Warcraft uses P2P to help Blizzard distribute the various patches and updates. I use P2P software to download Linux distros. P2P is the MOST efficient way to distribute files, especially large ones. Period. It distributes to load to everyone so that one location doesn't need tons of massive servers to handle the load of everyone downloading a file.

            Welcome to the future dumb-ass.

            I'd ask you to please research what you write in the future, but since others have asked and you still won't, I don't really see the point.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And yet, proof must STILL be shown. You cannot charge someone with INTENT in this country without hard evidence. Except when it comes to maybe possibly sharing music. Sort of. Come on, at least be a troll who can show proof.

             

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    spaceman spiff, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:02am

    Tigers don't easilly change their stripes

    What can we expect? These DOJ shills aren't going to change their allegiance so quickly. After all, where are they going to work after their stint in the DOJ if they bite the hand that has been feeding them all this time? Their activities are fundamentally dishonest, and IMO should be punished by disbarment, but it cannot be unexpected behavior.

     

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    carl, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:09am

    Keep in mind the most important question. What damage did Tenenbaum himself actually do? How many copies did he create? The law does not allow Tenenbaum to be punished for what other people do. Don't think it's OK to make him an example by throwing million dollar damages at him -- the law doesn't excuse that, nor does basic morality.

    On the other hand, if it can be shown that he was willfully flouting the law, then large damages might be reasonable. How large is reasonable? 100x actual damages? 1000x actual damages? 10000x actual damages? Until now, the largest value used is around 100x actual damages, but the RIAA and the feds are asking for far more.

     

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    AJ, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:12am

    WTH

    I don't care who filed the brief, the fact two top guys in the Justice Department worked for the RIAA should exclude them from chiming in. The brief was filed after they were appointed; it "looks" like abuse of power regardless of the situation.

    How much damage is done works both ways. I don't know what songs are in question, but you can bet he's not the only one that has them available. So how can anyone determine what "damage" his copy did? I just cannot bring myself to believe his copy of seven songs did a million dollars worth of damage, thats just stupid.

    I'm not saying downloading is right, just that the punishment should fit the crime. I for one don't want to be driving down the road one day and someone hear my radio, claim its a performance, and send me a $425,000 bill.

    I'm at the point now I wont even buy music, I've got a radio (of the non-performance type, hidden under my desk, and I'm using headphones with the volume turned way down", thats enough until these people pull their head out of their ass and realize there not just scaring the file sharing people, their scaring the rest of their customer base as well.

     

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    TPB'er, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:14am

    Wierd Harold is RIAA's Limbaugh

    Hey Harry you have a new title, "Digital Tardo". Now go on off and tell you AA buddies you are going to lead them to salvation.

    Time for your Oxycontin :)

     

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    uhmno, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:35am

    "it is a bit disappointing that the DOJ filed this brief, given the obvious conflicts of interest concerning its recent hires."

    It's actually EXTREMELY disappointing.

     

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    Too bad, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:44am

    are you really surprised

    considering some of the major backers of the Obama hype can you really be surprised. Just another lie from the man...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:12am

    infinite?

    "You don't understand - it isn't about just what he downloads, but what he spread. By perpetuating the spread of this music (P2P up / down ratios), he has created the potential for infinite copies of the music. So how damage is done?"

    If there was infinite easily obtainable clean water, how much could you charge for clean water? If there was infinite easily obtainable usable energy, how much could you charge for energy?

    Now here,s the question. If there's and infinite supply of easily obtainable music/movies, how much can you charge for them?

    you seems to not understand how infinite works.

     

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    Ray Beckerman (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:25am

    The facts

    Carl said:

    "Keep in mind the most important question. What damage did Tenenbaum himself actually do? How many copies did he create? The law does not allow Tenenbaum to be punished for what other people do. Don't think it's OK to make him an example by throwing million dollar damages at him -- the law doesn't excuse that, nor does basic morality. On the other hand, if it can be shown that he was willfully flouting the law, then large damages might be reasonable. How large is reasonable? 100x actual damages? 1000x actual damages? 10000x actual damages? Until now, the largest value used is around 100x actual damages, but the RIAA and the feds are asking for far more."

    You make an important point. The DOJ was right, I think, in asking the Court to defer ruling on a question the Court may never have to reach. It would be very difficult to make this kind of determination without a full evidentiary record:
    -what were the plaintiffs' lost profits;
    -what was the degree of reprehensibility?
    -were there mitigating or aggravating factors?

    Can't answer those without the facts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:28am

    So it's...

    Government by the corporations, for the corporations...

    Perhaps it's time to change the government?

     

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    Ray Beckerman (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Thoughtful analysis

    Sneeje said:

    "that article is less than helpful. All it does is summarize the brief--there is no thoughtful analysis as to why the brief might be taking a reasonable position. It simply states that the law allows the position."

    Does every single blog post have to be full of "thoughtful analysis"? Can't it be a valid and useful blog post to give information about a significant legal event? (I hope so, because if not my blog is dead in the water; I hardly ever provide "thoughtful analysis" like Mike usually does.)

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:33am

      Re: Thoughtful analysis

      Mr. Beckerman,

      It is the pejorative nature of this article, and particularly its clear suggestion that pro-label bias underlies why the DOJ request for intervention and brief have been filed, that is clearly troubling as it fosters negative perceptions about the DOJ and its role as an arm of our government.

      As we both know, it is SOP for the DOJ to intervene in matters where the constitutionality of a federal statute is being questioned in a civil matter such as this one. It is also SOP for the DOJ to present arguments solely directed to issues of constitutionality, and not to the underlying merits of the civil matter as proffered by plaintiffs and defendants.

      Mr. Masnick certainly does not need to provide thoughtful analysis of the merits of the DOJ brief. However, if he truly wants his arguments to carry persuasive force, it would help considerably if he expressed his opinion in a form other than a highly misleading rant.

       

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      Sneeje, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:16pm

      Re: Thoughtful analysis

      @ Ray Beckerman

      No, of course not. And if you are focusing on that, you're missing my point. I was reacting to Weird Harold making a big deal out of having to include sources that represented an opposing view and pointing out that the link he gave did really nothing of the sort. It simply parroted the amicus brief itself.

      Unlike he, I am comfortable reading blogs that take a very narrow view so long as they present their thoughts in a meaningful and well-founded way.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:29am

    woah

    "[...] It's where that infinite thing bites back. All that needs to be shown is (a) these are the files that he made available by being part of the kazaa network, and here are the number of pirate copies that can be found on the net today. We don't know if he did all of it, but we know his intent, therefore he could be stuck with the result.

    The damage is done. How much is this guy? Who knows? But 1% of inifinite is still, well, the max."

    I bet you'd argue that by listening to music, your brain is making an unprotected analog copy and should result in the listener being thrown in prison.

    ohh, and did you know that by changing the channel during commercials that you're "breaking the law" because you are OBLIGATED to watch commercials if you watch the TV shows since the value of the commercial that pays for the TV show is directly linked to the people watching the commercials.

     

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    RD, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Gotcha!

    "In essence, he entered into a global conspiracy to trade files without permission (infringing). "

    "But 1% of inifinite is still, well, the max."

    By your own mouth, you are hypocritized. This is INFRINGEMENT, not THEFT as you CONSTANTLY spew. Its also an infinite good, in the sense of how it can be distributed (minimal cost of BW and storage, infinitely replicatable)

    Now you can no longer take the other side in these arguments, since you completely expose your hypocrisy here.

     

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      Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:19am

      Re: Gotcha!

      Infringement is the terms used in this civil case, nothing more. It doesn't mean that he didn't steal, but for the purpose of the litigation, infringement is the correct legal term.

      Plus it is wasteful to sit here and play legal tiddly winks with kids in mom's basement who have no idea what it means to create something and have it stolen out from under you.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:25pm

      Re: Gotcha!

      ...you completely expose your hypocrisy here.

      That happened to WH long ago. But being the paid pathological liar that he is, it has absolutely no effect on WH.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:02am

    Mr. Masnick,

    In the interest of accuracy, the DOJ has not "sided" with anyone. To suggest/state otherwise is simply incorrect.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Obama's Admin

    The Obama team better be really freaking careful with this stuff. A decent amount of my generation does not look upon this highly, and if he lets them keep it up, he will see one of his largest supportive bases dwindle very quickly.
    Its like shooting yourself in the foot, just not a wise thing to do (although that doesn't stop most corporations).

    Dear Obama, stop letting your group run wild with copyright and start promoting the public like you said you would. Start increasing the public domain and reducing copyright.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Obama's Admin

      "The Obama team better be really freaking careful with this stuff. A decent amount of my generation does not look upon this highly, and if he lets them keep it up, he will see one of his largest supportive bases dwindle very quickly."

      It's called "use 'em and loose 'em." You've served your purpose, he's in the Whitehouse. Now go take a hike.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 5:55am

        Re: Re: Obama's Admin

        Yeah, what're you going to do, vote for the other guy in four years? He's probably hinging on the fact that you'll forget all this by then, and he'll be sure to point out why you don't want the other guy, either.

         

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    Bob, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:17am

    As in the past

    The outlandish enforcement of laws against the nature of man will in the long run crush the system and build now heroes and villeins.
    This happened with prohibition, Hero Ferrarella LaGuardia
    Villein The Chicago Mob along with other mob groups.

    The war on drugs that we are winning (lol) Hero The brave voters of the states. Villein the DEA

    This current losing affair by the Riaa Hero anyone standing against the RIAA Villein those in stand with the RIAA.

     

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    flyfish, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:17am

    "riiiiight. people are sued for millions every day for no good reason. in this case, the purpose of the damages is intimidation. they can't figure out how to deliver a product worth buying...."

    If it's worth stealing, it's worth buying...

    For now, and regardless of whatever "business model" the industry should be using in your ideal flat earth populated by unicorns and rainbows, downloading copyrighted content without paying is theft. Spare me your infinite justifications....

     

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      The infamous Joe, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      If it's worth stealing, it's worth buying...

      Now, I won't even bother going off on a rant about how it's not stealing because clearly it's too complicated a concept. What I will do is point out that if you replace the word "steal" with the word "accept" then it's easy to see how something can be worth accepting but not worth buying.

      For instance, and this is a long shot, I'm sure:

      Unknown Artist: "Hey buddy, you want to buy my CD for $5?"
      You: "No thanks, I've never even heard of you."
      UA: "Okay, want it for free?"
      You: "Sure, I'll take a listen."

      or, another long shot:

      Not You: "I heard GNR's new album was crap."
      You: "Yeah, me too, it got bad reviews."
      NY: "You didn't buy it?"
      You: "No, I didn't want to waste my money."
      NY: "I bought it anyway, but I don't want it. Do you?"
      You: "Sure, the reviews might be wrong, I'll have a listen."

      Get it? Buying music (at current prices) is an investment, and when the investment looks poor, people will go without. When there's no potential for loss (buying a CD and hating it) then the music will be accepted.

      This is core with showing that every copyright infingement is not, in fact, a lost sale. For many people, the investment would be turned down unless the financial loss was mitigated.

      I hope this helps.

      PS- It's not stealing!!! (It *is* illegal.) Just like Double Parking is not Reckless Driving. Both are illegal, both involve cars and roads, but they are *not* the same. (and when you insist they are the same, you look foolish.)

      Sorry, I guess I did end up ranting.

       

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      chris (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      If it's worth stealing, it's worth buying...

      uhh, a good deal of it isn't even worth stealing.

      the tripe that they expect us to buy, i wouldn't listen to with someone else's ears. most of what is "stolen" is back catalog stuff that they have sold and has been paid for and profited on at least twice.

      and i haven't justified anything. i don't argue that piracy is right, i argue that it's impossible to stop and that fighting it is a waste of resources that could have been pocketed as profits.

      i argue that content creators need to cut costs drastically to mitigate the impact of piracy. not fighting a losing battle with piracy is a good place to start.

      in an age where trading cd's and DVD's is effortless, spending millions to produce and promote an album, and hundreds of millions to produce a film is ridiculous. cut your expenses to the bare minimum and focus your efforts on the people who buy your stuff.

       

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    Ray Beckerman (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:20am

    SOP

    I don't know if you guys are lawyers or not, so I'll cut you some slack. Let me try to make it clear:

    It would have been SOP in the traditional sense to say the statute is unexceptionable on its face, and that any question of the constitutionality as applied to this defendant should await the trial. It is not SOP for the Government to go out on a limb and, without any authority to support it, argue that it would be constitutional to assess $150,000 statutory damages where the plaintiffs' actual damage is 35 cents.

    Yes making a dumbass statement like that was SOP for the Bush DOJ. I was hoping for something more professional and lawyerlike from the Obama DOJ.

    As to whether this constitutes "siding" with the RIAA it certainly does; it goes way beyond defending the statute itself.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 2:26pm

      Re: SOP

      Mr. Beckerman,

      I address you precisely as such because we are both attorneys well steeped in the many facets of copyright law. It is true, however, that the majority who post comments to techdirt articles are not attorneys.

      As for "siding", this is a matter over which we will have to agree to disagree.

      M. Slonecker

       

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        Ray Beckerman (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: SOP

        M. Slonecker, without regard to whether we characterize it as "siding with the RIAA" or not, would you agree with me that the Government argument goes further than it need have gone in order to defend the facial constitutionality of the statute?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:29am

    "If it's worth stealing, it's worth buying...

    For now, and regardless of whatever "business model" the industry should be using in your ideal flat earth populated by unicorns and rainbows, downloading copyrighted content without paying is theft. Spare me your infinite justifications...."

    too bad it is IMPOSSIBLE to steal that which is infinite. Your idea's do not apply to that which is digital

     

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    Jesse, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Weird harold, your article doesn't even mention the apparent conflict of interest. Balanced perhaps, but lacking important information.

     

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      Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      It's because there is no true proof of conflict of interest. I haven't seen the entire brief, I don't know how specifically wrote it or submitted it, we don't know when it was written, in which office, etc.

      So the "conflict of interest" may be tenuous at best, something potentially created as a smoke screen to explain about the expensive shafting that tenennbaum is about to get.

       

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        Nathan, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re:

        You're right there is no proof of conflict of interest. However, there is the appearance of impropriety and public officials are required (or should be) to remove themselves from those situations.

         

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    Jesse, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:06am

    But that's just it: Weird Harold

    What you describe is a matter for criminal courts not civil courts, which have a higher burden of proof. The damages are punitive, that is why this is not a civil matter.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Sweet Irony

    I wonder how Weird Harold, being so pro-IP, justifies pastering a name (Weird Harold) that is probably still trademarked all over his little web site. (Cosby and the Gang)

    Someone should let the TM holders know so they can defend it. :P

     

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      Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:26am

      Re: Sweet Irony

      Good, checked already - the name is in relation only to a cartoon character, and image, and a likeness, none of which I use. Sort of like why I can go to the store and buy Macintosh apples. it's amazing how that works out.

      You guys need to worry more about debating ideas and stop worrying about me.

       

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        The infamous Joe, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re: Sweet Irony

        I'll go off and make a "Mickey Mouse's blog" site without ever showing an image of Mr. Mouse and see how far I get.

        My real comments were in a different post entirely. :)

         

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    Dan, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Whose yer daddy? The only solution to this problem is a mass boycott of big media companies and their artists until they are dead and buried. Buy from the indies and support concerts and the market will adjust to reality.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    [i]"P2P is also a way to multi-source files to get around the limitation of upload bandwidth versus download bandwidth"

    Heh? What are you talking about? Your upload speed has nothing to do with your download speed when getting a file in a normal way (such as FTP). My connection is about the same speed as yours, and I can go download open office at about 725k/s - or in about 2 minutes. Fastest I would get it on P2P might be 20 minutes or an hour, I don't know - and I can't know, because I am entirely dependant on other people to get it (and in fact, because Bell traffic shapes P2P during the day, it might take 24 hours to get it).[/i]

    You seem to have a very poor understanding of how P2P works. And your ISP shaping P2P means your ISP sucks. Some of us don't have ISPs that suck.

    Just the other day I downloaded several Linux distros to compare some stuff. I was getting around 300 - 400 kbps with "normal" FTP downloads, even after trying several mirrors. When I realized I should be downloading them P2P I was getting right around 800 (maxed out).

    And yes, P2P enables companies to distribute large files without having to have massive banks of servers. It's an amazing way to do things.

     

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