Once Again, The RIAA Shows How Easy It Is To Infringe On Copyrights

from the oops dept

One of the regular claims from the major labels and their representative groups, like the RIAA and BPI, is that copyright infringement is serious business, and everyone "knows" when copyright is being infringed. They always seem to brush off any claims of accidental infringement as if that's impossible. And then, of course, they get caught doing it themselves. Over the weekend, TorrentFreak had the story of how both the RIAA and BPI violated the terms of licenses for open source software they used on their website, which makes it infringing. To their credit, both organizations fixed the violations pretty quickly upon being contacted, but it again raises a larger point. With the state of copyright law today, it's incredibly easy to infringe. Law professor John Tehranian did some research a few years ago, into how much of his normal daily activity could be considered copyright infringement, and realized that under today's insane statutory damages rules, he had a daily liability of $12.45 million -- and that wasn't because he was downloading music. It was just everyday activities that people do all the time.

So, there shouldn't be anything wrong with the RIAA and BPI screwing up like this and infringing on some copyrights. It happens. But one would hope this leads those organizations to realize that their extreme claims about copyright infringement and their ridiculous support for statutory damages are way out of line with reality. But, since they remain such big supporters of statutory damages, and always seem to push for the maximum, would each organization be willing to donate $150,000 (the statutory maximum) to the open source projects which each of them used without a proper license? It seems only fair.


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    any moose cow word, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    For the industry groups like the RIAA, the only meaning of the word "fair" is for everyone to pay them for the privilege of their existence.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Perhaps it would be helpful to first learn some facts about how this came about before once again demonizing these organizations. For example, who actually did the work during the course of which these notices were removed? If done in-house, time for serious CLE with the tech folks. If done by an outside contractor, does anyone here believe for even a moment that these organizations do not know how to prepare and execute proper contracts for the performance of services?

     

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      MrWilson, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:09pm

      Re:

      That's why I contract with someone who downloads all my pirated content for me and I never ask how it was acquired!

      /sarcasm

      The RIAA had already asserted that site owners are responsible for the content of their sites, regardless of who put it there. It would be hypocritical to claim that they're not liable just because they didn't know about it or didn't put it there themselves.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:19pm

      Re:

      Perhaps it would be helpful to first learn some facts about how this came about before once again demonizing these organizations.

      Curious. Do you think the RIAA did that with the thousands of people it sued for copyright infringement?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:54pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, they did do fact finding, which does not appear to be the case here. Again, who removed the notices and under what circumstances? This important information is nowhere to be found in the cited article.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, they did do fact finding, which does not appear to be the case here.

          Hahahahahahahahhaha.

          http://betanews.com/2005/02/04/riaa-sues-deceased-grandmother/
          http://arstec hnica.com/uncategorized/2006/04/6662-2/
          http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2003/09/24/recording_ industry_withdraws_suit/
          http://slashdot.org/story/03/09/24/1442246/riaa-sues-the-wrong-person
          http:// gizmodo.com/247077/riaa-sues-10+year+old-girl-with-a-disabled-mom-puppy-next

          Care to admit you're full of shit? Why do we seem to have this argument every week? You make some pedantic insulting comment suggesting that we don't know what we're talking about, and only you, great god of the law could possibly comprehend the details. Then we prove you wrong. And you refuse to EVER admit that you were full of shit.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Of course the RIAA did fact-finding - they purposefully looked for the people least likely to fight back. Easy money. You can't contest claims of copyright infringement if you're dead.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 6:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I see...thousands of "hits", but you choose to focus on just a very few because they fit your narrative. I guess when it comes to rights holders and their reps you will accept nothing less than absolute perfection.

            Now, perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me where the answer to the question I posited can be found. You being such a critic of secondary liability, surely you want to make sure that it truly is the organizations that removed the notices. If it was not them, then railing on this matter and blaming them anyway would seem a bit hypocritical. IsoHunt? It did not upload/download. Why are you picking on it? RIAA/BPI? And if it turns out that the removal was not by them but by a third party...what then?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 6:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I guess Prenda Law got thousands of hits too, right? That they're in big legal trouble now for fucking people over is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, a huge coinkydink!

              It's not a "hit" if all you've done is throw a bunch of numbers in someone's face and threaten to ruin their life if they don't pay you a sum of money. If you'd actually read the articles linked you'd see the RIAA has never been big on accuracy or evidence. Why bother if a little sabre rattling can get saps to pay up?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 6:25pm

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

                The articles have nothing to do with the original observation that before casting aspersions of wrongdoing at groups it helps consider whether or not the groups actually did anything wrong. I do not believe that is too much to ask.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 6:30pm

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

                  But that was the whole point Masnick was bringing up. The RIAA have sued ISPs, website owners, homeowners on the basis that to "consider whether or not the groups actually did anything wrong" is irrelevant according to them. Letting something happen is as good as "aiding and abetting infringement" regardless of whether you're aware of it.

                  The RIAA got hoisted on their own petard, and the effort you're putting into pulling them off said petard is telling.

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 12:34am

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

                  What are you a moron?

                  Thousands of LLC's away that group is the same no matter under what umbrella they are hiding themselves against the scorching sun of public opinion.

                   

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                  Niall (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 2:48am

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

                  The RIAA and MPAA and other assorted companies are also the ones who insist on a ridiculous standard of 'obviousness' that leads to companies suing over videos they didn't know they had made available themselves. They also tend to push for the larger end of already ridiculous 'damages'. When a single hard drive can contain more 'damages' than the a good chunk of the entire US natioal debt...

                  So no, it's not unfair to hold them to at least as high a standard as they expect of others, if not more. After all, we expect lawmakers to be better than the average joe at following the law.

                   

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                    PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 3:09am

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

                    "The RIAA and MPAA and other assorted companies are also the ones who insist on a ridiculous standard of 'obviousness' that leads to companies suing over videos they didn't know they had made available themselves."

                    Including suing over videos the **AAs had actually uploaded to those services in the first place, let's not forget! Viacom doesn't even know what it's giving to YouTube itself, yet Google are meant to magically know every second of infringing content...

                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 5:27am

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

                  interesting argument

                  exactly how many infringing torrents did isohunt owners personally upload to their site.

                  should the same principle apply to all the pirate sites accused by the riaa

                   

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 6:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              ... and what did I say? You won't admit you're full of shit, and you didn't.

              You're so predictable.

              I guess when it comes to rights holders and their reps you will accept nothing less than absolute perfection.

              No sir. I expect them to fuck up. That's the whole point. Everyone infringes all the time. That's the point that you don't appear to have the qualifications to understand.

              You being such a critic of secondary liability, surely you want to make sure that it truly is the organizations that removed the notices. If it was not them, then railing on this matter and blaming them anyway would seem a bit hypocritical.

              That's meaningless here. This isn't a secondary liability situation. This was content that they released.

              Anyway: care to admit you were full of shit yet in insisting that the RIAA carefully checked all the lawsuits it filed?

              I'll wait. I've got plenty of time. And I feel I'm going to need it.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 9:01pm

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

                I am flabbergasted that at your age you seem not to have learned that trash talk, as in a junior high school locker room, is not calculated to create a positive impression of all you have to offer.

                 

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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 9:10pm

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

                  I am flabbergasted that at your age you seem not to have learned that trash talk, as in a junior high school locker room, is not calculated to create a positive impression of all you have to offer.

                  I am not flabbergasted that you still can't admit that you're full of shit.

                  This isn't trash talk. This is me calling you out on your bullshit, again. And we'll wait for you to admit you were full of shit, but it'll never come.

                  Seriously: why are you always so wrong and so unwilling to ever admit it? Why don't you scurry back to those other websites where you're not afraid to post your name, while here you claim that you're so brilliant and knowledgeable, but unable to type your name into the box?

                  This isn't trash talk. I'm honestly curious about how someone like you could have such a resume and be so incredibly wrong about so much?

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 9:23pm

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

                  "Waaaah! I tried to be mean to mean ol' Mike Masnick but he was mean to me! Waaaaaah!"

                  Copyright law's best and brightest.

                   

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                  techflaws (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 10:46pm

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

                  Thanks for proving Mike's point.

                   

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                  Sheogorath (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:26pm

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

                  I am flabbergasted that at your age you seem not to have learned that trash talk, as in a junior high school locker room, is not calculated to create a positive impression of all you have to offer.
                  Whereas I am flabbergasted that at your age you seem not to have learned that trash talk, as in a junior high school locker room, is based on subjective opinion, not objective fact. I repeat; you are full of shit and unwilling that you are wrong on anything.

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 7:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I guess when it comes to rights holders and their reps you will accept nothing less than absolute perfection."

              If they expect it from us, we expect it from them.

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:29pm

      Re:

      Since you want to be helpful and all, I suggest you go forth and gather said facts. I'm sure there is much interest in the results.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

      Re:

      Doesn't matter here, whether it was in-house or a contractor.

      Why?

      Because of their response. Their response was to fix the problem and then call it a day. This stands in stark contrast to all their vilifying of normal internet usage. When it's Joe Schmoe, if he's caught sharing so much as one song, they'll hammer him with a $150k lawsuit. When it's them doing the infringing...well, they don't get hammered for some reason.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:57pm

        Re: Re:

        It does matter...but then again understanding why requires some modicum of familiarity with substantive copyright law.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's funny how you never seem to actually make an argument despite picking them.

           

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          Rikuo (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Does one need a JD in law to understand about hypocrisy? No? Then why is it you seem to need one?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 12:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So why the MAFIAA under whatever umbrella they chose to use never appears to care about any of that?

          When is your pals you get all "lets find out what happen", when its others is all "bloody pirates the scum of the earth deserve everything they got", well the bloody pirates are your masters now how about that?

           

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:51pm

      Re:

      Fact - The **AA's and their global subsidiaries time and time against violate copyright when it benefits them.
      Fact - They have no problem seeking huge sums of cash from people they alleged infringed copyright.
      Fact - When their own membership was caught engaged in commercial copyright theft, they remained silent.
      Fact - When people suggest the membership face the same damages they demand from others, it is always a 'misunderstanding'.
      Fact - Despite laws, they lobbied into place, they always demand that 3rd parties go above and beyond or face pointless high value lawsuits.
      Fact - They mislead everyone about the actual "damages" and decry anyone who questions the math and the faulty application of it.
      Fact - 6 Strikes holds account holders responsible for alleged infringement (recorded by a company that CREATED infringement to profit from in a court case) even if they had no knowledge of it.
      Fact - Like those in power, they feel the rules do not apply to them setting a bad example for how they demand everyone else behave.
      Fact - These groups exist to keep a business model from having to meet the demands of its customers. Any other business is forced to adapt to changes or fail.
      Fact - Because they can imagine a nightmare scenario, legal and valid uses of technology have been outlawed or blocked from being useful to consumers.
      Fact - They support a business model that steals more from artists than ever could be claims as actual losses to piracy.
      Fact - Piracy is a very good indicator that the market demands are not being met.

      Your an apologist shill trying to shift the blame away from the industry, ignoring the industry often pushes the blame onto innocent parties.

      Fact - You just got owned by a guy with a trendy avatar.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 2:11am

      Re:

      "For example, who actually did the work during the course of which these notices were removed?"

      Why does that matter? The RIAA has been very happy to take account holders to court for infringement that was proven to have been done by someone else, just because their account was used. They have shut down companies for infringement done by their customers, even if protected by safe harbours laws and located outside of the US.

      Why should the RIAA not be liable for something happening on their own commercial platform? If they won't accept "I can prove I didn't do it" as a defence by others, why should it be accepted from them?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      "Perhaps it would be helpful to first learn some facts about how this came about before once again demonizing these organizations"

      Like those organizations do?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    Mike you cant apply sensible logic to these people but I enjoy watching you try!

     

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    Anonymouse Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 3:50pm

    And once again Mike is blatantly advocating for stealing the food right from the very mouths of artists. Have you no shame!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

    "would each organization be willing to donate $150,000 (the statutory maximum) to the open source projects which each of them used without a proper license? It seems only fair."

    Sadly this actually would probably help them collect more in future court cases... Plus win a lot of positive publicity with the lawmakers/courts/sympathizers.

    Reminds me of the part of "Thank You for Smoking" where the guy shows up on the TV show and donates millions to spin everything in a positive light to shake off the bad publicity....

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:09pm

      Re:

      Course their version of a "donation" would be to take $150k from the artists because it covers "costs"....

       

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        That One Guy (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, pretty much, if they did make a donation like that, they'd just turn around and list it as 'PR expenses' to screw over the poor saps they've got under contract.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:32pm

    Just another case of the self righteous claiming entitlements while telling others "Do as I say, not as I do".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:39pm

    Copyright enforcers breaking laws again. News at 11.

    horse with no name just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    Didn't attribute NOT same as "infringe". This is baloney.

    "There’s only one condition users have to agree to; that the original copyright notice stays intact."

    That's NOTHING like the TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars that Megaupload / Dotcom got by ACTUALLY infringed content. NOTHING LIKE IT. -- Given Mike's long history of carping at copyright enforcement and claimed knowledge, he has ZERO excuse for stretching to such baloney, so this is outright lying.

    Where Mike's "new business model" (file hosts like Megaupload) is to grift on income streams that should go to content creators -- and then call the creators greedy!

    12:42:55[n-765-1]

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 4:49pm

      Re: Didn't attribute NOT same as "infringe". This is baloney.

      zzzzzzz....hu wha...did someone say something [of worth]?...no?...I'll just go back to sleep then.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

      Re: Didn't attribute NOT same as "infringe". This is baloney.

      Except that time and time again, plagiarism (failure to attribute) has been frequently conflated with infringement by copyright fanboys like you.

      Have a DMCA vote.

       

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      Karl (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 6:45pm

      Re: Didn't attribute NOT same as "infringe". This is baloney.

      That's NOTHING like the TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars that Megaupload / Dotcom got by ACTUALLY infringed [sic] content.

      First of all, the RIAA isn't just suing people like Dotcom.

      Second of all, Megaupload and Dotcom did not make "tens of millions" from actually infringing on copyrights. They are not even accused of doing so. Instead, they are accused of secondary liability for their users infringing on copyrights (none of which made anywhere close to "tens of million," of dollars, and probably never made close to "tens of tens" of dollars).

      The RIAA, in contrast, directly infringed on the copyrights of the jQuery Foundation. Legally, what the RIAA and BPI did was worse than what Megaupload did.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 2:06am

      Re: Didn't attribute NOT same as "infringe". This is baloney.

      "That's NOTHING like the TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars that Megaupload / Dotcom got by ACTUALLY infringed content. "

      Well, two things. First of all, what's "actually infringed" in your eyes? This software was distributed in violation of its licence. That's literally all that the piracy you're whining about consists of.

      Then, ignoring the fictional figure you're whining about, these are both websites that cover billion dollar industries. They're making money, and in part doing so with pirated software. But, that's OK in your eyes because you're an ignorant hypocrite - as long as it's the corporations you personally worship making the money, you don't care whose rights are trampled and how many laws are broken. You prove this again and again, which is why you're a laughing stock. Yet you still whine...

      "then call the creators greedy"

      The RIAA create nothing, and have long been proven to literally steal money from their own artists. Yet you constantly defend them! You love thieves, it's a documented fact.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 2:07am

      Re: Didn't attribute NOT same as "infringe". This is baloney.

      Yeah, anomalies! Whatever it means! Also, COPYRIGHT! RAAWRRRR!

      Karl owned you btw. I'm feeling sorry for you.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 5:50pm

    When you're as creatively and morally bankrupt as the RIAA, you'd do anything to avoid being financially bankrupt as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 7:03pm

    Talk about hypocrisy.

     

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    horse with no name, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 12:43am

    perhaps now you get the point

    "With the state of copyright law today, it's incredibly easy to infringe."

    It's easy to infringe because many people in society act like copyright is unimportant. The RIAA website was likely created by a third party company, who sourced much of the code probably by using a framework, and some of what is in that framework may not have all of the correct attributions on it. There are people out there who will distribute plug ins and code samples without attributions on them, and those who in turn use them are held to task for it.

    Basically, piracy is teaching people NOT to expect a copyright notice, and not to expect something is copyight - and then they make the error.

    Further, the nature of their infringement is technical at best, one of removing or not having present attributions. Those attributions may have been missing when they got the code, those attribution may have been removed by a programmer who didn't understand the implications, or may have been removed by any number of website optimization tools that remove things like comments and "unseen" text from a site to shrink it's data size.

    Trying to make this appear on par with widely pirating movies or music isn't even a stretch - it's a snapped piece of logic, and smacks of desperation to try to make the other side look bad. Gotchya politics at it's Washington best, Mr Lobbyist.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

      Re: perhaps now you get the point

      "WAAAAAAAAAAH my RIAA buddies are being held to the standards of perfection we hold everyone else to!"

      Yep, we get the point alright.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

      Re: perhaps now you get the point

      Whined the Prenda cocksucking fanboy.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:09pm

      Re: perhaps now you get the point

      By the way:

      horse with no name just hates it when due process is enforced.

       

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    PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 1:51am

    "To their credit, both organizations fixed the violations pretty quickly upon being contacted, but it again raises a larger point."

    The real point is the hypocrisy. They won't extend the same courtesy to services they don't like and they won't even accept "I didn't even do it" as a defence if they can finger someone as an account holder for someone else's activities. Single mothers caught doing the equivalent of sharing a couple of mixtapes are sued for millions yet a corporation directly profiting from others' work expects a pass.

    That's one of the most galling things about this whole sorry saga. They have no remorse in committing perjury or outright lying to get people if they think it protects some profits, but expect everyone else to accept "oops, sorry" as a defence when they get caught "stealing" (to use their word). Not good enough. Either the RIAA gets the same punishment as anyone infringing on their copyrights would get, or the benefit of doubt they expect extends to everyone else. Neither outcome is realistic, but nothing else is acceptable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

    The comments were filled with the anguished cries and crocodile tears of copyright maximalists. And there was much rejoicing.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 9:57pm

    The RIAA and the MPAA lost the war for my attention and respect at least a decade ago. Once they started outing grannies and preteens who lived in NY housing projects as mega-copyright infringers, I lost all respect for them, if I had any to begin with. I don't download pirated stuff, but I have made it a personal mission in my life to never buy a single brand-new music CD or DVD. I buy everything used, which unfortunately means the artists aren't compensated for those sales, but I refuse to feed the beast, the self-righteous vigilantes at the MPAA and the RIAA who are speaking on behalf of the record and entertainment companies. Dear MPAA and RIAA, you may kiss my white butt. Thank you.

     

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


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