Wow. Instead of finding a legitimate way to make money, these execs want to use governmental force in order to ensure their oligopoly--not to mention having the audacity to suggest that ceasing to rob musicians of their revenue will somehow hurt the music-listening public. People will make and distribute their own records, and guess what: the record labels will continue to blame piracy (pronounced peer-issy) for their own failure. Meanwhile, the same people who could be buying music in a form they're willing to pay for will instead be paying inflated taxes to fund this doomed war on piracy, which I'd imagine most of them don't even really support.
Even if I had electronic evidence of clear misconduct by a government official, I would be charged with a "wiretap violation", and the evidence I had collected in my criminal investigation would be considered inadmissible in court.
If that same bureaucrat felt that it was pertinent to an investigation (subject to that individual person's discretion, of course), they could track and record me without my knowledge, and use that knowledge against me with impunity.
Evidence should be evidence. I consider this fear of scrutiny a preemptive admission of guilt. We have to assume that everyone who works for the government is doing something wrong at every opportunity. I don't want to think of my government in this way, especially when I'm helping to finance its existence, but if this were untrue, then they wouldn't hate cameras-- in fact, they would love them, because they would present a perfect opportunity to show everyone what a great job they're doing.
Skeptics: Next time you see a police officer, pull out your Blackberry and start filming him. Try videotaping inside a courthouse. They're like cockroaches-- they scatter when you turn on the lights.
This is very typical. We're under no obligation to comply with a peace officer's diktats; if he wants something done, he'll make it happen through force or the threat thereof. If he wants us arrested for doing nothing, then he will manufacture a crime. If this incident becomes subject to investigation, it will doubtless be found that this officer was acting well within the law, regardless of what said law actually states. This is not a nation of laws, but of enforcers.
Hmmm. I can't wait until people have to register as sex offenders for being -accused- of downloading child porn-- then we'll all be nice and safe. Essentially the same thing, isn't it? Such a broken, desperate world we live in...
Let the AP, the MPAA and the RIAA pull every byte of their content from the net. Please. I'll readily admit to being entertained, informed and inspired by many of the products (some wonderful, some insulting and contrived) they have to offer. However, they seem to be missing the point entirely: If you are unable to -use- the internet, then you don't -belong- on the internet. Piracy/infringement doesn't seem to have really, truly cost any of these entities much of anything, with the exception of the AP, which needs to stop killing trees and unleash the ol' thinktank on an effective ad-supported model (you can't 'steal' the news, and aside from the physically printed words on paper, it has always been free). I understand that people need to get paid. What I don't understand is why people feel entitled to payment. I personally don't download anything illegally; I don't wish to be threatened with legal action (violence) over something I never intended to buy. Call me a child of the '80s, but I actually enjoy having tangible artifacts to represent the content that -I- (not its creators or their hired thugs) own. I don't think everything on the internet should be free, but I don't think it should be a crime for people to share content that they've enjoyed with people who otherwise might not have heard of it at all. I really think we're at a crossroads here: will people finally wise up and realize they don't need Hollywood, the recording industry or the mainstream media at all and begin creating their own venues for expression and communication-- perhaps abandon the unholy trinity altogether? Or will the war on piracy mirror the one against drugs (i.e. a war on freedom) and become some sort of farcical witchhunt with no realistic end in sight? My own prediction sickens me.
One thing I'm looking forward to is reading about all the lawsuits the RIAA will file against stations that choose not to play songs by the artists they represent. I'm not claiming to know the facts here, but they (the RIAA) will actually be getting paid to broadcast/advertise their songs on the radio (makes zero sense and should actually be the opposite-- it costs exponentially more to broadcast an FM signal than it does to burn a CD or encode an mp3, and in most cases, record the song itself). I see there being a big shift toward local, indie and underground artists for all but the largest radio stations. Mainstream music will be mostly streamed over the net, probably swarming with great big tacky paywalls and heart-wrenching propaganda glorifying the starving RIAA. It's really disturbing that an organization like this has such a great deal of clout in our society. This is a tax, as far as I'm concerned. A tax, by my definition, is an artificial debt for a service (or disservice)that has not necessarily been requested, and can only be obtained through force or the threat thereof. If it were a fee, the RIAA would be offering something in exchange for the radio stations' money. As it stands, though, the record companies get their songs played for free while collecting a sum of money in exchange for not using the government's power to get their way.
I believe it truly is, but governments and ISPs alike are doing everything in their power to limit this-- take the outrage expressed via Twitter over Iran's recent elections, for example. Now, much of the word got out due to these new powers of communications granted the people, but what would have happened if the government had decided to cripple internet and phone services? The president wants the power to do just that-- oh, he was quick to backtrack and say that this power would only involve certain key government sites, but what happens when you pull out the wrong couple of bricks? The whole tower crumbles. We as citizens need to solidify this power-- make it ubiquitous and impossible to revoke. A nationwide, and eventually worldwide mesh network-- an emergency internet, dependent only on power, needs to be established. Separate and independent from the world wide web, such a construct is largely necessary to protect our collective freedom to communicate and share (non-infringing, legal) information (which should both be inalienable rights). We've all seen how the phone companies and ISPs bow to the federal government. We definitely do not want to rely on the government for such a service. The FCC will obviously crush any efforts at this, but some way (perhaps printable solar-powered wifi stickers or something) needs to be found to make it impossible to prevent without confiscating the actual equipment. I'm not a conspiracy theorist (after all, these crimes are being perpetuated out in the open) but this country is looking at a dark future where freedom of speech and other rights are concerned. These things need to be considered. Yes, the internet grants us a great deal of freedom, but the internet itself is extremely temporary and can easily be defeated.
I'm not sure how deactivating the account was expected to help things. Either the email was read by the recipient, or it was not. Meanwhile, what if someone cracked the WPA key to the recipient's Wifi? Bluejacked his smartphone? What if he simply wrote down his password somewhere in his office, and now a malicious coworker has access to his account? It doesn't matter-- the damage has been done; the people whose information has been leaked should be informed, their account information changed. The information sent to that gmail should -no longer be useful-.
It goes without saying that they can never get this information "back". I'm very concerned about their methods, and hope this is not SOP throughout the US banking system, because they cannot possibly rectify the situation by contacting this individual; in fact, he next "logical" step along the path they appear to be pursuing is to lock the recipient of the message in a cage, which, I would dearly hope is legally impossible. This bank should have never even attempted to contact Google, much less have them ordered to disclose private information-- a fact that should be recognized by any sane judge. They should have simply fessed up (even made up some kind of story), contacted their customers and changed their ABA#s, Acct#s and whatever info they could-- SSNs are fairly easy to compromise anyway, from what I understand, so it's safe to assume one could find that info elsewhere. As it stands, the recipient of that mail has been compromised every bit as much as the customers whose account information has been fumbled. He will be open to unwanted and undeserved scrutiny by government agencies when he should not even have to bother with this situation. Any information he might have should have been rendered useless by now.
Wait, doesn't it cost exactly zero (0) dollars, pounds, euros, etc. to cut a record which surpasses Sgt. Pepper (which I love dearly and eagerly await generation y's answer to) in one's very own garage [provided that one has placed oneself in a material position to do so through hard work and dedication to one's craft, much like the Beatles themselves]? Is it not true that musicians are more empowered than ever? I say down with the record industry. It both catered to and exploited an inherent human need which, like so many others, had become industrialized only out of transient necessity; having outlived its usefulness, it should've had its feeding tube yanked at the earliest opportunity. For a number of obvious, pathetic reasons, that failed to happen, and now we're stuck with a seething, bloated beast which appears to regard its clients and their customers with baseless enmity. We must stand back and watch this tyrant choke on its mouthful-- this intolerable situation must end. My advice to up-and-coming musicians is as follows: Get a "real" job (or play a buttload of shows) and make things happen for yourself. I know it's painful, but please realize that the record industry is not here to help anybody, and the only way they can make up for the shortcomings of their business model is through the threat of force-- Great, if you want your fans to hate you. Set up a Twitter or something. Now is the time to do something new. Let "thieves" "steal" your music-- they'll tell all their deep-pocketed friends if it's any good, and they probably weren't planning on buying it anyway, so there's really no reason to cry to nanny RIAA. I pay for all of the media I consume, but I encourage anyone who's willing to take the risk to PIRATE PIRATE PIRATE!!! If the industry's really being hurt by this, at least you'll be doing some good.
It seems, what with all this boundless greed, miserably failed business models attached to corporate giants and misguided moneygrabs flying around, there's no chance you guys will ever run out of material for this site. I applaud all that you do. You've very rarely made any point with which I disagree, and every time I research the topics you bring up I find myself agreeing with you even more. I thank all of you at Techdirt for educating me in just how wrong things are with business, law, you name it. Thanks.
I think Mike speaks for a lot of us here in the real world. And guess what: there's no room here for those who are
-afraid- (as in afraid that they'll no longer be swimming in cold, hard cash) of changing. No matter how many pointless, unrealistic anti-consumer laws are lobbied into existence in the name of "deserved compensation", no matter how many essentially innocent folks these "content creators" (largely the ones who make the money, not the ones who create the content) unwisely opt to file suit against, the market-- not the courts-- will speak its true mind in the end. People certainly deserve to be compensated for their work, but the consumer of the goods they produce has the right to spend their money in any such manner as they choose. Fair use is not a right, it is a law of physics.
I can kinda understand spam and junk e-mail, but why are unsolicited circular ads and retarded credit offers at all legal? The amount of paper/energy wasted in this manner must be astronomical. Not thinking very green, if you ask me. And the fact that my address is being bought and sold between companies with which I've had no contact? A shady business model to say the least. There should be an all-inclusive "do-not-mail list," similar to what they've enacted for telemarketers. I have signed up for one of those mail preference services, but I still feel you should be able to opt out completely. It's a waste of paper and space. I'm glad that guy's getting his, though-- spam is the absolute bane of modern civilization.
The whole approach to this so far has been the absolute pinnacle of stupidity. These are teenagers (for the love of God), whose lives are being deliberately and wrongfully destroyed by these laws which very loosely apply to them. The fact of their having to register as sex offenders is insulting to me in so many respects. It insults our collective intelligence, the very fabric of justice and the concept of logic itself. The only reason I'm forced to take this seriously is because it's not Comedy Central; it's not Ren and Stimpy-- it's real, and it makes me sick. I don't know all the facts, but I'm sure this sort of abuse of authority costs unwarranted mounds of cash, which people apparently still think is easy to come by. It effectively ends these young peoples' lives by enforcing useless and damaging loopholes in laws which were originally written for a perfectly valid purpose. I don't want to see any pictures of underage kids, and I don't think they should be floating around at all, but I don't think "sexting" is a particularly horrendous offense. I agree with making it a misdemeanor and I hope they can pass this law in every state before yet more people have their lives bulldozed by our deflated justice system.