RIAA Misses No Opportunity To Act Like A Bully

from the really-slanted-playing-field dept

It’s pretty obvious that the RIAA’s lawsuits against alleged file traders are a form of legal bullying. The individuals must choose between expensive judgments and expensive lawyers, while the RIAA instantly succeeds in scaring people. However, most people probably don’t realize that this asymmetry is just the tip of the iceberg. Ray Beckerman has a nice piece outlining the various tactics used by the industry to slant the playing field even further. First, the suit is filed in the city where the user’s ISP is based, rarely the same place that the defendant actually lives. Once the suit is filed, they don’t make much of an attempt to even contact the defendant, instead letting the ISPs send them a vague letter. This makes it hard for them to get adequate legal help, as they don’t have enough information to tell a lawyer their situation. Throughout the rest of the process, the situation is no more fair to the defendant. The legal system should be about making accurate findings of fact and law, and if someone is found in violation, properly compensating the victim. Clearly, the RIAA doesn’t see it this way.

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Comments on “RIAA Misses No Opportunity To Act Like A Bully”

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z0iid says:

legal haven

Have a wireless router/access point – do not enable security (even of wep is enabled though, it could be hacked).

Your argument is that someone hijacked your internet and used it illegally, to obtain copyrighted material.

They can say you are lying, but they cannot prove it.

I don’t know where the article is on this, but you do have legal protection with this argument.

icepick314 says:

Re: legal haven

and hopefully you put all the illegal files somewhere safe….not your main hard drive but probably a portable one where you can hide it under 6ft of ground….

don’t forget to clean and wipe over your ipod/portable player at least 10 times so bits can’t be recreated….

gotta think ahead if you’re gonna go with ignorance defense which may or may not work….

RIAA will say you’re still responsible for the traffic from your router even without knowledge anyway…..

Anonymous Coward says:

No defense works.

You will either spend your money on a lawyer defending yourself, spend your money on paying the RIAA to make it go away (settlement) or spend all of your time working on and worrying about the case.

Most likely a combination of all of the above.

You can open your WIFI up and say it wasn’t you, but that isn’t going to make them go away. They will keep pressing until you cave. You may not have ever downloaded any songs – doesn’t matter. Eventually you have to make a decision as to whats the best financial outcome for you and your family – pay a lawyer 15-20k to go to court and stand up for your self and principles – or pay them 3500 to settle and make it go away.

It changes when you have a family – you have to take in to consideration the toll these legal processes take not only on yourself but those around you and your relationship with them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What about counter-suing

What about counter-suing and going after their deep pockets. Use the billion of articles from around the world on RIAA’s bullying, extorting, and prosecuting 90 year old grandma’s for downloading snoop-dog gansta rap.

What if you called 10, 000 witnesses to testify how the RIAA extorted them? What if you insist on a jury trial? Juries tend not to like big, powerful corporations more than the average joe.

All it takes is one major class action lawsuit to get a multi-billion dollar settlement from the RIAA and they will stop to save their skins. The problem is that the victims are not as organized as the RIAAs. Victims need to contact each other by getting a subpeno for the contact information of people sued by the RIAA to start the class action lawsuit.

I say this, not because I think music should be free (I’ve actually worked on legitimate DRM technology), but because I think extortion should not be legal.

Jerry says:

Re: Fukk the RIAA

Instead of downloading the songs illegally you could also choose not to listen to music at all if you’re too cheap or too broke to afford it. Just the attitude I expect of these teenage punks that grew up with everything handed to them instead of having to earn everything they have. Thats the problem with kids today!!!

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Fukk the RIAA

“Just the attitude I expect of these teenage punks that grew up with everything handed to them instead of having to earn everything they have. Thats the problem with kids today!!!”

That’s the same attitude the RIAA and many of the artists have also, or did you not notice? They think they’re ENTITLED to money for every single copy of their song even though they say that you are purchasing a license to listen to the song instead of the media itself. I buy a CD and someone steals it, the industry thinks that I should be forced to buy it again even though they claim that I bought a license to listen to the music; I don’t see them offering to be good citizens and send me a replacement mp3 in my email. They think that if I download a song from iTunes that I shouldn’t be allowed to play it on more than 3 computers(or whatever the number is), as if they’re entitled to money because the media they provided me is limited in use. That makes it worth less, not more.

The problem with the “kids of yesterday”, like yourself, is they have the same shitty attitude toward young people and always think they had it much harder, and while they might have in ways, it’s not even true much of the time much less ALL of it. Get over yourself…there were no “good old days” where men were men and women were treated like ladies; they sucked just like they do today only more low tech.


Rob THem blind

Everyone start your downloads, get everything you can, if it is even remotely associated with RIAA burn discs and sell them for a dollar. I havent bought a cd since they shut down napster.

TO CLARIFY: I used to buy cd’s after giving a few songs a listen w/ napster, but i have bought too many cd’s that had only one good track to waste anymore money on millionaires.

***THEY want an ass hole contest, lets give them one, this country’s citizens haven’t lost one in 230 years***


raggi says:


IMHO many of you who now bash the RIAA for their actions, whilst you may still be justified in your dislike for the RIAA’s actions, have completely the wrong reasons for disliking them.

1. I am a developer, I write software, I need to be paid. If you steal my software, you are stealing my income. READ: You are stealing from me.

2. I do not earn millions of dollars. My earnings are directly related to product SALES.

3. My software has been found on p2p and bittorrent sites.

4. No matter what the earnings of the developers (actors etc are developers of films, in this case) by stealing content ILLEGALLY you are stealing from THEM.

5. If you disagree with the income of some groups (which comes as a product of sale volume and PRICE) then you should be considering laws which cap the PRICE of the items, or the number of items sold, NOT THE FACT THAT THEY ARE SOLD.

6. If all of a development was given away for free, there would be NO INCOME. The only exception is donations, as in the open source community, however the SUCCESSFUL open source projects survive by providing business support (AT COST) and business versions (WHICH ARE NDA-OPEN SOURCE) of their developments.

7. The open source alternatives ARE NOT VIABLE for many mediums of development, e.g. music, movies etc.

8. The open source alternatives ARE NOT VIABLE for many forms of software development either, as there will be no investment prior to a product except in some rare cases (e.g. Eclipse). It would be hard to form a large enough group AND attain investment for such a project. e.g. would you donate to have an ‘open source’ project started, i.e. you get nothing now, and there’s no garuntee what you’ll get?

9. The only viable method of stopping p2p is to start targeting the people who are breaking the law. This include those of you downloading illegal content. As is known by experience, targetting the upper levels of the distribution heirachy does not have a significant impact on the creation and distribution of illegal content, as the techniques are well known and demand very high. This coupled with sociological factors makes the choice also popular.

10. If stopping the upper level heirachy does not work, it is necessary to impart a real understanding that YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW _AND_ YOU WILL BE CAUGHT. The only way to achieve this is to actually do it.

In much shorter terms, stop trying to fight the RIAA (who don’t break the law, and are just doing their jobs!) and start trying to get new laws introduced OR laws changed.

Kendro says:

Re: Misunderstanding

A large majority of those who “steal” intellectual works wouldn’t buy the work anyway.

So, what is the real cost?

We have enough real problems in this country that overshadow the financial losses of RIAA, MPAA members or software developers.

Too bad the poor, aged and abused don’t have the same lobbying power as these “associations”!

NOCcer says:

Re: Re: Misunderstanding

A large majority of those who “steal” intellectual works wouldn’t buy the work anyway.

Or the reverse, find that they like a product intently enough to pay for it. Napster quintupled my album purchases, but none of it was Metallicrap and Lars couldn’t get his coke on. So now I boycott.

I’ve never trusted downloading an .exe anyway, but if I did, and it was worth a damn (not just a dummy button for a native OS command and high school freshman can make), you’re damn right I’d pay for it.

m0rd3r says:

Re: Misunderstanding

“1. I am a developer, I write software, I need to be paid. If you steal my software, you are stealing my income. READ: You are stealing from me.”

Dont be a crybaby. You’re not losing anything.

The problem here is that the punishment is far more severe than the “crime.” Hell, if they weren’t so evil about it, they might even get better results. Right now they’re pretty much just pissing everyone off. Its not getting them any more sales thats for dam sure.

Wolfger (profile) says:

Re: Misunderstanding

I am a developer, I write software, I need to be paid. If you steal my software, you are stealing my income.

That is only true if I would have otherwise purchased your software. In most cases, people pirate the things which they are not willing to spend money on. So is it illegal? Yes. Is it theft? No. For you to be a victim of theft, you must actually have something taken away from you.

Mentat Man says:

Re: Misunderstanding

Outpourings of pity to all us developers who actually have to suffer the pain of having our product pilfered notwithstanding – your position holds NO RELEVANCE in the case of the RIAA ~THEY PRODUCE NOTHING~, they are a distribution monopoly. Think MS is a monopoly? Name ONE competitor to the RIAA.

The best response is to support bands dying to break free from the monopoly (i.e. Carbon Leaf, who on their web site openly encourages fans to rip, burn & share). These new & upcoming bands will jump off the RIAA ship as soon a viable alternative shows up.

charlie vogel says:

Re: Misunderstanding

I work in film Post Production and also was a DJ for 7 years. I have personally spent over $40,000 conservative est. on music purchases. I think the RIAA is eventually going to lose their court cases because there are many people like myself, who have paid thousands of dollars for music that I had previosly purchased on a different format or to replace a damaged or lost recording. If I find “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones on the internet and download it to my computer, I do so with a very clear conscience as I have purchased that song 4 times already. Each time Mick and Keith got their publishing fees and the record label got their master recording fees, so I don’t think they will mind if I don’t pay them again for no added service or value.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Misunderstanding

Your points are somewhat one-sided except SOFTWARE DOES NOT EQUAL MUSIC/MOVIES:

You don’t instantaneously make a million dollars when you release your software due to how the distribution model works for most software. Music typically is produced, then, say, a million copies are sold to the distributors and even if not a single person on the planet buys your CD’s, you have your money, piracy or not. Like you said, your income is related directly with the actual sales which makes a huge difference in how YOU PERSONALLY look at the money issue so you should check your biases.

Movies are much the same way. Most actors make the majority of their money when they’re filming. Producers, directors, etc. make their money when the film hits the theatres and the only things that affect whether they get rich or go broke are whether the movie is a hit and maaaaaybe whether someone videotaped it in the theatre but that’s only going to affect ticket sales if the movie is a flop anyway, otherwise they’ll make incredible profit despite and maybe BECAUSE of it. I’m sure that people were videotaping George Lucas’ flicks but that didn’t stop the theatres from being packed for days on end.

I’ll tell you what, you tell us what software you produce and I’ll start getting some legislation passed to cap the price you can sell it for. Sound fair? Still gonna sell it? Probably not because legislation has been proven time and time again to be as effective as pissing in the ocean. It has to be your choice to sell it cheaper or else you won’t continue to produce it.

And the **AA’s have done lots of things illegally or have you not been paying attention to anything other than FoxNews and CNN?? Many of the tactics they are pulling are likely violating RICO. The RIAA sues these people “to protect the artists” but they don’t give any of the money to the artists. A parallel would be me going after all the people who are pirating your software, suing them for $10K and then pocketing the money. Can you say FRAUD?!?!? The MPAA has been accused of making copies of a movie that they were explicitly told not to make any copies of(re-read that to make sure you get the full impact of that statement).

If the music industry thinks that each song is worth $1 then why the $3500 lawsuit? Even if I have 3500 songs on my hard drive it has already been ruled(as opposed to RIAA’s “interpretation” of the law)that simply having a song on my hard drive available for sharing doesn’t constitute piracy of that song, there has to be a download. So did the RIAA download the same song from someone 3500 times to come up with that number? That’s an angle I haven’t seen anyone approach yet.

BTW, a lot of open source software companies make their money not from the software but the SUPPORT of the software. You can see this in action in other forms of business like how printer companies sell their printers for less than the ink refills(the toner for my color laser printer costs 4 times as much as the printer did), Micro$loth apparently sold their Xborg360 for less than it cost to manufacture because the more popular it is the more companies will buy into their developer program(I remember it costing over $20,000 for Sony’s PS2 so I can only imagine what M$ charges), and do I need to go on? So maybe you need to consider another business model just like the movie and music industries need to do.

J says:

We should fine somebody brave enough to walk into the RIAA’s main offices with head phones on and a fancy laptop computer at their side. This person should then find a router or other interest connectivity device in the office, plug in, and start downloading music right there. This of course, would have to be caught on camera. I would laugh my ass off.

Modren Man says:

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto

The problem’s plain to see: Too much technology.

Machines to save our lives.

Machines de-humanize.

The time has come at last – secret, secret – I’ve got a secret.

To throw away this mask – secret, secret – I’ve got a secret.

Now everyone can see – secret, secret – I’ve got a secret.

My true identity –

I’m Kilroy.

Patrick says:


Yes stealing music is bad. I have never downloaded a song that I did not pay for, quickly delete, or go by the album for. My issue now is the damn security on media that has been lawfully purchase. I have 2000+ CDS, I love music but I am offended when I go by a CD and it has an FBI warning on it or security the makes it hard for me to play it on a computer. All this effort and the people that steal are still stealing.

Note to the industry. I am sorry that you are so gready that you rush artists in the creative process so much that they create albumns with oen or two decent songs. You then force them to fill the rest of the album with grabage and promote the stuff. You make it so hard for me to hear the entire album that I either have to borrow a copy from a friend, download the files to check it our, or gamble with my hard earned money when I purchase the thing.

While I am not personally responsible for stealing music, I find it funny that an industry that has be procescuted for price fixing (aka stealing) is now sewing people for stealing. Oh and also humorious is the coked out rock star with mutliple DUIs getting on TV talking about how piracy it illegal. Note to rock star – Beating your wife, taking drugs, and driving drunk are also illegal and much much much more dangerous to our society than little johnny downloading an illegal copy of your stupid album.

That in and of itself is laughable.

Texas says:

Suing customers looses them.

When the lawsuits started I stoped using p2p. I can’t afford the risk. I also stopped buying CDs entirely. I used to buy aproximately 1-2 every 3 months. Not a lot, but I am not going to support this industry. Nobody needs music. We can all stop and let the current industry wither and die. Something will replace it.

Anonymous Coward says:

RIAA burn in hell

What the hell is this, most of the time the one’s that download illegal music are kids, parents pay the bill. Guess who gets slamed with the lawsuits. Many times the parents don’t know anthing about it since they don’t how to use computer. There should be a warning system before fileing a lawsuit. ISP will email a warning to the user that dowloading illegal music, what if you don’t use that account or have different account. ISP doesn’t send any warrning in writing by mail just in email. Next thing you know a lawsuit is filed against owner of the connection.

RIAA should never exist, they spend too much money on security rather than satify costumer. Recently I bought 2 CDs in the best buy, none of them will play in my computer becasue of some weird protection on them. Thus I end up spending $30 on something that I can’t even use.

I don’t even know what the big deal is with downloading music, it makes music more popular. Prior to RIAA running all over internet I downloaded few songs myself but during that time I bought doezens of CDs. AFter RIAA was well esablished, well I didn’t download a single song and I didn’t by any CD’s till recently to find out they are Computer play protected after buying it.

droolin says:

real artists start their own download area

Think about it, the artists that are getting ripped off. Got ripped off first from all the middle people. CD sells for 20 dollars, artist got 5. So, if they are smart. And they think they are good, which we as buyers don’t get to hear a half of the good artists.

1). They buy the recording software, its cheap enough. This is for the software developer, so am i. I support open source, but also understand your point.

2). The band puts up a web site, with pay pal. And lets you listen to the song. Again, the software is there to stop that song from being ripped off when its listened too online.

3). Like the song, download it for a buck. Copy it all you want. The artist got all the profits. The music industry got none. And the people got the music they wanted in the first place, at a price they could afford.

Screw the music industry. They can be beat easily, cheaply, and honestly. What the hell, they have stiffled so many different bands and ripped off so many different bands. Who are they to talk. It’s just comeing back to haunt them, that someone learned from them and is doing it back.

Again, screw the music industry. Bands, start your own sales. When they come to you and offer you a big contract. Tell them: Quote, unquote. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Im already making that much money.


poopy says:

Re: real artists start their own download area

i’m no legal expert but i think that when you sign up with a label you agree to give them the rights to your music so if you do come out with new music for a period of time your contactually bound to sell it through them.

you do have a good point though. the technology is there and easy enough to set up. they should start cutting the “middle man” out.

AJ says:


My music tasts have’nt changed much over the years. But i remember buying Bark at the moon on record, then tape, then cd… Now the RIAA can kiss my fat ass if they think i wont just download the damn songs I want If I can find them. Almost every album or song, or tape, or fuck even 8 track i’ve ever owned, I’ve purshased more than once b/c there old shitty formats would scratch, break, crack, warp or whatever. So I’ve been screwed over the years by paying money over and over for the same thing.. Fuck the software developers, and musicians, there just pissed b/c were screwing them now, instead of being screwed. So I’m gonna download, upload, copy, burn, trade, steal, hide, hack, jack, untill I’m blue in the face, and if you sue me, I’ll re-double my efforts and no amount of drm’s and lawsuits will stop it. Now if you decided to perhaps give me what I want… then we’ll talk… like maybe i buy it and its mine, for ever, not untill it wears out, or a new format comes out, or you sell your company to someone else…..

Time for Change says:

I think the underlying problem here is the fact that the movie/music industry has had a free ride since WWII. The big studios just sat back and screwed both musicians and movie producers out of money that was rightfully theirs through the use of very clever contracts. They sat back on easy street and collected millions upon millions of dollars. Most other businesses do not have that luxury. They have to fight to stay competitive, creative, and outwit their competition as well as the current industry.

What I see happening is a classic case of changing times. The whole media revolution has changed the classic model that these huge studious were so used to. So, instead of embracing the new business climate and trying to come up with different ways to make money…they cried to their mommy (RIAA, etc.) to get them big lawyers and make everyone, who was no longer playing along, pay for it. They simply cant handle the fact that times have changed, and in order to stay successful, they must change too. If a person starts up a book store, and then a free public library gets built next door, that person had better get creative and figure out what he needs to do in order to sustain his business.

To people like the software developer above: Im not saying its right to steal anything. Everyone knows its wrong to steal. But if it is happening, you need to figure out what to do to react. In this society you have the right to TRY and make money…not the right to make money. Not every store opened will succeed, not every business will make it, and not every product will sell. Just because you take the risk and put forth the effort to create something, DOES NOT mean that you have a basic right to be compensated for it. You simply have the opportunity to try and make a profit. Its up to you to figure out what it is going to take to make that money. It usually means carefully analyzing the current state of the industry and market. If it looks like lots of people are sharing and downloading software, you have better come up with a solution, or you wont make as much money. Its simple business…and the movie/music industry, as well as certain people, are simply not good businessmen. They got lucky for the last 50 years, because they didnt have to react to changing times.

Now look at them scrambling trying to sue everyone to make their money…playing dirty…and complaining to everyone that their business is going downhill. Sorry RIAA…not every business succeeds…especially not those who arent willing to embrace change.

Teh 1 says:


Fuck you and your mother raggi…

You are probably the “Software Developer” that creates scumware and root kits….. I would never download content, But I would never buy software either… If it isnt provided for free (open office or linux) then it isn’t really worth having… With the exception of games… I would develop games for free If I had the skills…. So dont fucking complain you wuss…

Ted Smith (user link) says:

The Web: An iPod for your car

CHICAGO, April 5 (UPI) — Would you like some digital music downloaded directly to your dashboard — not just your desktop? That may be the next phase of mobile music, as automotive aftermarket suppliers and computer and consumer electronics companies eye autos as the latest, emerging market for Internet music distribution, experts are telling United Press International’s The Web column.

Last year some 700 million mobile phones were sold globally, making the cellular devices the hub for downloading digital content from the Internet. By Gene Koprowski

Jamie says:

The RIAA are all idiots

It seems to me that the RIAA don’t have the slightest bit of knowledge about a little thing called economics.

Anyone who’s done basic economics knows about the demand curve. As price goes up, demand falls. As price goes down, demand rises.

The RIAA are so focussed on keeping the prices high, they don’t realise that by reducing the price of movies/cds/etc, they might be about to double or even triple their sales. What’s better: $3 margin per item for 10,000 items, or $2 margin per item for 20,000 items?

Come on RIAA. Go back to school and learn a thing or two.

Daniel says:

Well …

Come on punk !

Try to find my media library …

It’s only acessible by WiFi and protected by RADIUS …

Even if you find it ( not that hard, just pin-point the source), come too close and watch it selfdestruct!

( I’m not kidding … the bastard will fry if someone comes too close to it without disabling all the security measures =D )

Do YOU feel lucky ? … WELL DO YA PUNK ??

( Here you have to have ACTUAL PHYSICAL evidences, because ip packets, MAC adresse’s and whatever can be easily copied/modified, they dont guaranty anything ).

John Riverson says:

R there enough banners on this site?

who is the spin doctor here?

R there enough banners on this site?

the owner of this site is playing into the stories of unjust to attract visitors here and then flod them wiht banners and giving them access to the stories of unjust or of topic. and still making a buck on hte adversiting here…

people get a clue, what is unjust and non profit…

the person who is fined for sharing or this site & banners?

Joe says:

How Many Copies...

For those of us that have been around for a few years… what about all the copies of the SAME things we’ve bought over the years. Lets see… I have tons of CDs now that started out as albums… then I bought the 8-tracks to replace the albums, then the cassettes (often replacing either the 8-track or cassette over time because the sound degraded so easily with use or time, then the CDs. The majority of stuff I listen to, I’ve listened to for years. I don’t think I was ever given a free replacement 8-track or cassette when they wore out… even though, according to the RIAA, I owned the rights to the content on that media. Now that CDs have been around forever and there isn’t some new format that either wears out or replaces existing technology, they’re all upset that they’re losing all those dupe sales. Just wait for the next format to come out. It’s going to be so full of DRM I’d be surprised if it will let more than one person listen at a time. Speakers will be removed… everyone must have individual listening devices.

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