RIAA Will Drop Cases If You Point Out That An IP Address Isn't A Person

from the and-so-it-goes dept

For years, the RIAA has claimed that having the IP address of a computer that has shared unauthorized files is the equivalent of having the evidence of who was actually sharing files. That, of course, is false. The IP address simply can help you know who paid for the internet access, but not who was using what computer on a network. In fact, this even had some people suggesting that, if you want to win a lawsuit from the RIAA, you’re best off opening up your WiFi network to neighbors. It seems like this strategy might actually be working. Earlier this month the inability to prove who actually did the file sharing caused the RIAA to drop a case in Oklahoma and now it looks like the same defense has worked in a California case as well. In both cases, though, as soon as the RIAA realized the person was using this defense, they dropped the case, rather than lose it and set a precedent showing they really don’t have the unequivocal evidence they claim they do. The RIAA certainly has the legal right to go after people, even if it simply ends up pissing off their best fans and driving people to spend their money on other forms of entertainment — but, if they want to do so, they should at least have legitimate evidence. It’s good to see that some are finally pointing out how flimsy the evidence really is.


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Comments on “RIAA Will Drop Cases If You Point Out That An IP Address Isn't A Person”

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184 Comments
hi says:

Re: Ah! I see.

Yes… and no.

An ip adress can also be dynamic, meaning that whenever you log on to the internet a server passes your computer or router a new ip. Meaning that you never have the same adress. I’m pretty sure isp’s can find out which computer actually had the ip adress in question, at any given time though.

I guess one could also compare it to a license plate, but you get a new one every time you start your car. And you really can’t be held responsible if someone steals your car and uses it for something illegal.

Sean (user link) says:

Haha

I love the fact that they think an IP address automatically means that the person paying for the Internet is the guilty one. When they first started suing people my dad got right up paranoid (cause he was paying for my internet at the time) and told me never to download again from a P2P network. Then when the Judge from Canada(I love my country

What’s even better is I downloaded 100 songs and sent a list of those files to the RIAA myself and said “So sue me, oh wait. I AM CANADIAN!”

Anyways, back on topic. I’m glad people are doing this, and hopefuly it will just make the RIAA FUCK OFF

That’s my two cents.

Lucas (user link) says:

First Metallica, now the RIAA...

Wow, the RIAA dropping cases. And I thought nothing would shock me more than Metallica deciding they were going to participate in having their music sold online.

Personally, I can’t really stand buying music any more. In any form. If you want listen to something at home, I’ll usually just listen to internet radio. As I mentioned today in something I posted about Metallica’s decision: if you like free, ad-free music that you may have never heard before, check out SomaFM.

Anonymous Lawyer Coward says:

Re: What the RIAA has to prove vs. What the FBI has to

RIAA sues people under civil law, so they only have to prove that you’re the guy downloading songs by a proponderance of the evidence (more than 50% chance).

Law enforcement indcits people under criminal law, so in court they have to prove that you’re the guy with the kiddie pron beyond a reasonable doubt. However, police and the FBI only need “probable cause” to believe that you might have pron in your home in order to get a search warrant. In other words, they only need a hint that you might have pron in order to bust down your door and take all your hard disks, CDs, USB keys, etc. If they discover anything on them that’s bad, they easily can show your possession beyond a reasonable doubt.

Maximus says:

Re: Re: Avoid them finding the IP in the first pla

I am told that with a little knowledge and a 150$ piece of routing gear you can preform a “Border Gateway Attack” and temp. duplicate any IP on the internet. So IP _never_ equals ID. The speculation was that this would soon augment phishing attacks.

I forget the link, sorry. Can anyone else factcheck that?

MeOfCourse77 says:

RE:Still on the hook

I asked if I could hook a router on mine. They said “no problem”. I don’t think I would have a ISP that would not let me link my computers wirelessly.

FYI: If you want to use this as a defence, install a wifi, but make sure you have at least 2 computers in your house that access it. Otherwise it looks like you are using wifi to “get you off the hook”.

MeOfCourse77 says:

RE:Still on the hook

I asked if I could hook a router on mine. They said “no problem”. I don’t think I would have a ISP that would not let me link my computers wirelessly.

FYI: If you want to use this as a defence, install a wifi, but make sure you have at least 2 computers in your house that access it. Otherwise it looks like you are using wifi to “get you off the hook”.

Mikester says:

Re: Re: RE:Still on the hook

I guess I should have been more specific. Obviously most ISP’s won’t have a problem if you have a wireless network.

What I was trying to say that if you leave your wireless router open and unsecure so your neighbours or anyone crusing by can access it, that would most likely be against the terms of service.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sweet

Most of my neighbors would know what to do with an open network, and my router currently bites enough that they’d get higher speeds using their own network. I already use it for my laptop and for when buds come over. Reasonable doubt is a beautiful thing. Especially when all my buds are pirating fools themselves; Hey, they left uTorrent running while at my LAN! I swear! No wonder we were lagging!

Dr Dave says:

Re: Re: Re: Sweet

Ok, so how do they catch the people downloading?

They would have to provide torrents of their copyrighted works with the intent of distributing them to people who wanted them… So how is it illegal to obtain copyrighted material direct form the copyright owner?

Downloading music is not now, nor has it ever been illegal.

FishNChipPapers (user link) says:

Could this risk worse

Whilst it is comforting to know that the lack of evidence is preventing the RIAA from progressing illegitimate cases (as the majority of them are irrespective of whether the IP address is tied to an individual) is there any risk that this could lead to increased demand for IP-based surveillance through ISPs: as we are seeing with VoIP (which, incidentally, the UK police is now pressuring for

http://fishnchippapers.typepad.com/tomorrow_fish_n_chip_pape/2006/07/oh_dear_the_thi.html

Super Freak, Esq. says:

tubes by s

Hello, MP3s are not illegal, copyrighted audio compressed to MP3 isn’t illegal either.

How come no one uses this defence?

Say I compress the hell out of a movie and it comes out as “1kb MPEG10” (shutup, it’s theoretical).

Tthat’s NOT going to look like the original friends!

Trading in original formats should be illegal,

Prosecuting people for trading deformed lower quality bootlegs of the original? why is that illegal for crissakes.

Just Joe says:

Every wireless router I have ever set up comes unsecured right out of the box.

Just think how many routers would get returned as broken if they came wep enabled with a default key and forced the average computer user to learn how to configure and use it.

As a matter of fact, I used to have Verizon DSL and the wireless router/modem combo they sent me came with encryption disabled, so I don’t see how it can be against their TOS…

Even if it were, I would rather get a slap on the wrist from my ISP for violationg the TOS, than a lawsuit from the RIAA without any loopholes to wriggle through…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Just think how many routers would get returned as broken if they came wep enabled with a default key and forced the average computer user to learn how to configure and use it.

I’d say too bad for them then. People don’t just hand some the keys to a car or plane and say go for a drive or fly anytime the want, or hand someone a gun and let them out on the firing range -without making sure they know how to properly use those deivces. You don’t hand someone a pair of fins and toss them in the water without making sure they know how to swim. If people don’t know how to use computer equiptment properly, they don’t need to be using it. Plain and simple

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

People don’t just hand some the keys to a car or plane and say go for a drive or fly anytime the want, or hand someone a gun and let them out on the firing range -without making sure they know how to properly use those deivces. You don’t hand someone a pair of fins and toss them in the water without making sure they know how to swim. If people don’t know how to use computer equiptment properly, they don’t need to be using it. Plain and simple

Your argument’s weak. Nobody’s going to require parents to undergo “Content Filtering for the Home” classes before handing them the remote to their kid’s new Mickey Mouse TV… (Too bad, ’cause pr0n looks so weird between those big round ears…)

There’s no competence test before purchasing a blender or lawnmower, and both things are potentially dangerous. Hell, when I bought my house, nobody told me how to safely repair a gutter, unclog a garbage disposal, ignite a pilot light, or not fall out of upstairs windows. Those bastards! Or maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to live among civilized society?

So let’s go over the list:

Driving a car? Privelege. Test required.

Flying a kite? A Right. No test.

Watching TV? A Right. Again, no training required.

Climbing a mountain? No test required, but possibly foolish.

Owning/Operating a computer? HOLY CRAP SEND IN l33t g33k p0L1c3! (AOL users are obviously exempt from this policy)

claire rand says:

Re: Re:

got mine from good ‘ol BT, by default its visible globally (within range anyway), but a secured connection is the default, the key is on a sticker on the bottom of the machine, you can change it if you want (and can figure out how). a nice ‘reset’ button is provided to get back the defaults when you forget it.

so anyone can see it, but without the key they can’t access it. traffic isn’t encrypted by default, but you can if you want.

my cheap little wifi dongle for the desktop found three other networks in range, all secured. dunno if its a uk thing but i reckon over here people are either

a, clued up

or

b, its a default setting.

I know where my money is since i’ve got a parents wifi to configure ina few days…

Lay Person says:

Re: Responsibility..

Whatever…

If you invite someone over to your house for a party and that person kills another partygoer at your house without you knowledge, who is the guilty party?

I’m not an attorney, but I believe most jurors believe the actual person that commited the murder is the guilty party.

Hmmm says:

Re: Re: Responsibility..

True… but if you leave a knife or gun, etc. easily accessible knowing that a visitor is likely to use them in an illegal way, you become an accessory.

Likewise, your computer, router, cables, etc. that you own or use which are processing the data of a stolen music file (or whatever) places you in possession of stolen property.

Booo! says:

Re: Re: Re: Responsibility..

Not in the UK at least.

How do they prove that you KNOW your visitor will use it?

Any sane ‘normal’ person wouldn’t, and most people would assume their visitors are sane and ‘normal’ before inviting them to a party.

They would have to prove there was prior knowledge of a real danger at which point:

a) you aren’t an accessory, you are irresponsible and

b) it becomes a local health authority issue cos people who like knives shouldn’t be free to attend parties or any other situation where they might be able to get dangers weapons.

On the other hand, if you took Joe from the local nut house specifically for your party knowing that he had tried to kill bob before, then you have a problem.

And besides, in the UK at least, if your car gets a speeding ticket and you ask for the photo evidence to try and identify the driver, if the photo is crap they will drop charges.

If the photo clearly identifies the driver then you get done for not identifying the driver. Seperate issue covered by UK law. They will not ‘normally’ press charges if their photo is crap as their evidence should have been better and it isn’t sensible to make someone log all use of their car, ever.

I am guessing there is no UK statute that covers identifying the users of your ip. As such they have no fallback if they can’t prove you were the computer user (which they can’t). This should even work with non-wifi as you just say you let friends/family use your computer whenever they like.

This might prove false, but I would love to see them contest a case in court where someone with a “straight out of the box” router said I don’t know who was using my ip, I used the hardware as it came and have very little computer knowledge.

Do you think a judge or jury would convict someone of not being a techie? Shouldn’t the hardware vendor and ISP take some responsibility for making sure the user of the products are aware of the risks? Don’t shops that sell alcohol to people underage get into trouble? (And it is actually illegal to sell alcohol to underage customers, big shiny letters in some law book. Not so with IT stuff).

joy (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Responsibility..

Yep. That is why they send you a letter FIRST to warn you that you are having some maybe illegal activity and they want you to CHECK and make sure that no body is using your junk to get some illegal files. They give you a chance to fix things.

I have a friend that downloaded some real old gameboy pokemon emulated game and got a letter from their isp… bla bla

TJ says:

Re: Responsibility..

That may be, but it still has no bearing on the issue at hand. If someone hijacks your wi-fi connection and uses it to illegally download files, you can’t be held legally responsible, any more than you’d be held legally responsible for someone breaking into your home, stealing one of your registered firearms, and shooting a person with it afterwards.

Basically, they can scream that a crime was committed using YOUR connection, but can’t prove YOU had any involvement in the crime yourself.

Steve says:

I have been saying this for the longest time. Just because the RIAA is filing a civill suit, there cases is not a slam dunk. The RIAA still has to have poof that a particular person is doing it. Even under the DMCA you still need proof. The RIAA basically turned the rule of law upside down.

Even with people fighting back and winning the RIAA still won’t give up suing people. The RIAA figures there are enough dumb people out there who will give in rather than fight back.

Johnny says:

WTH??

The tab key submits?? Anyway back to my rant.

You, the person paying for the broadband access, are and should be legally responsible for what happens over that connection. Just as you’re responsible for what you children do. Just as you’re responsible for what your dog does if he gets out of the yard. Just as you’re responsible for the mail carrier if he/she slips on a patch of ice on your sidewalk. Just because the RIAA’s using lowdown tactic’s to sue, does not mean you are no longer responsible.

Bob says:

First of all pay for your damn music and you dont have to worry about lawsuits. Second of all if you’re so stupid you dont know how to secure your network you deserve to get sued. You are responsible for that IP address as per terms of service and letting someone else use it makes you responsible. If you dont know how to use every feature of an item you buy you shouldnt buy it.

Simon says:

Re: Re:

As you RIAA apologists like to try and equate the digital world with the real world (while conveniently forgetting the difference between copyright infringement and theft) let’s compare your Internet connection to your car. If someone steals your car and then runs down some pedestrian, I guess it’s your fault as you didn’t secure the car satisfactorily enough?

William Williams says:

The aren't sueing for the money

The RIAA is most likely losing money on every case they file due to the high cost of lawyers. There sole purpose to try and force consumers to stop downloading and start buying there clients music. And I think they are succeeding, the music industry would be dead right now if it weren’t for the RIAA.
You should bear in mind that the only reason for the RIAA’s existance is to encourage people not to break the law. And I tend to agree with Johnny you are responsible for what goes on on your internet connection.

Yo Mamma says:

What have I Learned?

So here’s what I’ve learned from these little tid-bits of info:

Don’t let anyone leach your connection or you’ll get smacked with a suit when they P2P. Lock down your wireless… okay, check.

When I want to download music… or other goodies, fake my MAC, then leach from some dumb user’s wireless… okay, check and check.

Consider using some international proxy to aid in protecting that dumb user so I can keep on leaching and not have to choose another dumb user later (although there seems to always be at least a handful.)

Sounds good to me… anything I’m missing?

IG_Chris says:

Don't Buy It?

“If you dont know how to use every feature of an item you buy you shouldnt buy it.” WTF? Unless I am taking this terribly out of context, that is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. When I bought my motherboard, did I know how to use every feature of the BIOS already? No, and well I could have figured it out, it would have been a hassle to look up online what BIOS the board had and what features that BIOS had. I did know how to use certain features of it, i.e. overclocking, using gigabit ethernet, etc. and that is why I got it. To not get something just because you don’t know how to use every feature of it? That is ridiculous.

Phillip says:

I am suprised nobody came up with this sooner..

lets look at history, DirectTV sued thousands of people who bought hardware that could be used in Sat signal descrambling. Well they sent out lawsuit paperwork to each person who appeared as a customer for the company they raided. Every single one of the suits (except the people who gave up to easily and settled) was dropped right away. DirectTV couldn’t prove that you actually used the equipment for stealign signals, its like charging someone with murder if they just buy a gun. Yes it can be used for that but prove that I did it. Just because my IP was seen downloading music doesn’t mean that it was me, prove it was.

Clair (user link) says:

I partly agree with the need to be responsible. If you invite friends over and they leech off your internet access, hence your IP add is pointed out as a culprit and all that. You really would like you were encouraging it if you know it was their intention.

In any case, there are legally downloadable material off the Internet. Until you find more legal downloads that suit your taste, just try to keep away from activities that could imply you were doing something that RIAA could sue you for.

RunPCRun (user link) says:

UK not clued up.

@ claire rand, I afraid your data sample is a little small for your conclusion.

Encrypted networks aren’t default with many UK ISP’s and there aren’t any more clued up people in the UK IMHO.

I’ve walked up and down two streets near me a couple of weeks ago in Central London and seen 46 (yes forty six, not a typo) unsecured networks with my PDA scanner. Granted I didn’t test them for MAC filtering or if they have an Internet gateway, but that’s still a big number.

Unfortunately, you can’t expect users to know how to setup their wi-fi router properly, and really ALL routers should come with the default of needing a key.Unfortunately even this simply gives the illusion of security as WEP is an easily breakable encryption standard these days. So unless you are an uber-geek with a penchant for security, implementing filtering, VPN’s and multiple layers of encryption then _no-one’s_ Wi-fi point is secure anyway.

farkersenior says:

What? There is no true way to not show the real IP. There are ways of making it harder to find thats about it.

o really. proxy server that runs specialized software you control remotely, it downloads shit, and then sends the files to you? Or just a proxy server configured to change your ip address in any packet it transmits (except if they’re returning to you).

farkersenior says:

No, just means that every computer that might have been able to download off that ISP gets searched. And even if they find all you did was visit a certain site and then deleted all files from it, you can still get jail time.

haha haha. so they check any laptop that might have been able to wirelessly log on to your connection? they’ll knock on your neighbor’s door a mile away (because its possible there was some signal funneling going on to carry the waves through the invisible tubes in the air)

Don says:

Getting around Proof

You want to make sure the RIAA cant prove you pirated something? Keep your case open and a .45 pistol on your desk. They knock on the door you put a bullet in the drive. If you had open wireless and someone on it pirated something youll be fine because they have NO proof. This is similar to why Sys Admins can’t be held responsible for DOS attacks from cracked machines. Of course it will look bad that you discharged a firearm within city limits but thats potentially a smaller fine (for those with 20 gigs of MP3s Anyways).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Getting around Proof

A bullet in the drive doesn’t destroy the data on any parts but that which the bullet penetrated. It is still possible (albeit very expensive and slow) to use a scanning electron microscope to read off the individual bits from the remaining sections of the drive. And those files you deleted? You can still read them, as only the file names were deleted. The data still exists on your drive until those sectors were overwritten, and even then its possible to read the old data off the platter. How can we be certain that the magnetic head wrote that bit in the exact same place every time? For more secure data erasure, use a program called Eraser – it overwrites the sectors on the drive with enough random crap (and bit-compliment pairs) after deletion that its damn-near (but not quite) impossible to recover.

The most secure means of destroying the data is a complete destruction of the drive, however. The best way to accomplish this is through melting it, as it not only deforms the platters into an unrecognizable, unreadable mass, but the extreme heat also causes the platters to lose all magnetic resonance. Thermite is one fast way to do it, although messy and dangerous. Unless you can encase your drive bay in some thick cerramics, this is probably out of the question, although its still the best “Oh shit, they’re here!” method available, and its fairly cheap to set up. If you have the time, drop your drive into a forge.

Jason says:

Responsability

If someone is at my house at an open invitation party and uses my phone without my express permission to call someone and give a death threat, can I be held responsible? No, because although it is possible for that to happen, it isn’t probable.

If I leave my WiFi open, it is probable that people may use it to check email and surf the web, it is possible that they are going to make terroristic threats or download kiddy p0rn over my connection.

CashCrate (user link) says:

CashCrate

Get a REAL check in the mail every month

http://urlcut.com/.-cxc-

You get money for filling out surveys, usually $1 each, but they add up. There are also free trials for more than $10 each. The surveys are really easy and only take a couple minutes. Each month they send u a real check in the mail for your earnings. This site is 100% legit. You can check the forums for proof of payment. Its just a good way to make some extra cash.

oLD isp jUNKIE says:

Unsecured WIFI and ISP's

I used to work as a level 2 tech with Road Runner (TimeWarner.) well while it is policy to “ensure that your connection is secure” how really could a company check other than going to your house and testing …Well, you getting sued, using the Unsecure WIFI defence, and then the ISP finding out. possibly terminating your service.. Oohh scary I gots my Tubes Tied.

ok .. now isn’t the week or so you’ll spend looking for a new ISP worth it to not get sued?

/ rince repeat, wipe hands on pants.

// Just Legally compressed Spaceballs: the Movie..

///Ohh YEAH! SLASHIES!

Anonymous Coward says:

new idea

hey, lets just share our music by burning cds for each other and using flash drives. you can give each to your friend, and then it continues down the chain… its fun and easy!

if you have a cd collection, all you have to do is lend them all out to your friends! no internet needed, which means no data transferred where the riaa can find it!

…well, unless you give a cd to one of THEM…

Dr Doobious says:

excuse me for not reading every single dam post but i really am lazy, so if someone’s already asked this…..

whats the deal then, if for say, like me, your account does not have a permanent fixed IP, but rather is assigned a free one upon connection?

Does the ISP have a log of what IPs were assigned to which accounts at whatever times and dates??

cuz if not…. well….. aint a problem is there?

SLayne says:

What's this "MY IP" stuff?

What happened to DHCP? Most people don’t keep the same IP address all the time. My ISP charges for that privilege. Even with cable-modem, my IP address changes every time I connect. I don’t see a way to track an IP address to an individual, computer, or even address. Only an ISP.

lambofgod says:

bobhasabush

bob wrote “First of all pay for your damn music and you dont have to worry about lawsuits. Second of all if you’re so stupid you dont know how to secure your network you deserve to get sued. You are responsible for that IP address as per terms of service and letting someone else use it makes you responsible. If you dont know how to use every feature of an item you buy you shouldnt buy it”

Deserve to get sued you should be a cop. SHut your COCK GARAGE BOB! and fuk paying for music its just as bad as paying for gas.. The riaa and oil companys should join forces to create a super douche team.

HermitCrab says:

Hilarious

If people don’t know how to use computer equiptment properly, they don’t need to be using it.

If you can’t spell, you don’t need to be posting comments. But bad spelling is rampant. Go figure.

The RIAA will call you a thief if you listen to their tunes. They’ll sue you if you share them. They’ll install spyware if you buy them.

Listen to something else. Download at will. Share if you want because the RIAA members are the only ones suing people. Problem solved.

Sora says:

WEP

I love the comment where the guy says “Second of all if you’re so stupid you dont know how to secure your network you deserve to get sued.”

This is such a stupid statement. When I purchase hardware I own it. I can do with it what I want. Imagine if you purchased a television and were forced to input an encryption key to operate it. No one would do it. If I choose not to secure my wireless it is my business. I am no more responsible for the person using my wifi than I would be if someone used my telephone to arrange illegal drug shipments. So stupid.

The real problem is that people are sick of the RIAA and their heavy handed tactics. In Canada it is legal to download MP3’s. There is a $25 tax on MP3 players that goes to the artists.

Note in Canada we also have the right to backup or copy protected media (CD’s/DVD’s etc). We can legally crack the copy protection to make backups of media we legally purchased! So.. exactly where is the “Land of the Free”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: WEP

Since when is being treated as a criminal a sign of freedom? The fact that you are taxed $25 to buy an iPod means that the government assumes you are guilty. Someone who owns hundreds of CDs is assumed to be a pirate, and must pay the same $25 tax. In my opinion this is far more restrictive than what the RIAA is doing in this country. Here the RIAA has to prove you broke the law before they get money. Sure they can get people to settle with them, but you still have the right to make them prove it.

sora says:

WEP

One addition to my previous statement…

Just want to point out that my last statement is not meant as a negative slant on the US. It is meant quite strongly as a negative slam on the RIAA and the DMCA! The US, until recently, has always been the most “free” country there is. These last few years your rights have been slowly stripped away. It is very sad. You’ve got a great country which is slowly being poisoned by big business.

Rophuine says:

Too many comments along the lines of “What about when the RIAA turn up to search your computers? Will they search your neighbour’s computer too? Have a gun ready to kill your HDD so they have no proof.”

When was the last time a court issued a search warrant against a P2P downloader? Since when were the RIAA the police?

If you download kiddie porn, chances are the police will raid you to try to find proof. Downloading kiddie porn is a serious crime. If you P2P MP3s, the police don’t care. It’s not a criminal matter, it’s a civil matter between you and the RIAA. No search warrants, no raids.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Hooray

while this sounds wonderful for the P2P liberation front, it sadly creates precedence for child pornographers.

Um. No it doesn’t. You wouldn’t be able to convict a child pornographer on the level of evidence the RIAA uses anyway. So, no, it doesn’t impact those types of cases at all. In those cases, the police are likely to have a lot more proof than just an IP address.

Anonymous User says:

Interesting comments on both sides of the issue.

Question: Do You think that the R.I.A.A. would have started this Cyber-Digital Witch Hunt trying to sniff out practitioners of transidental downloading of coveted Mp3s if Metallica-Sonny had not have stretched his A** hole over top of his head and got everyone stirred up about file-sharing?

The internet is based on file sharing. When Tim Burners-Lee came up with the idea that documents on one computer could contain links that could access documents on another computer, the internet was born! See http://endnear.com/ca472/ca472lecnotes18.html

If file sharing is illegal then by the same token, the internet is also illegal.

John W. Gibson, Esq. (user link) says:

RIAA suits

This morning I looked at a suit that had been filed by RIAA (actually it is the record labels that are named as plaintiffs such as Arista Records and Motown) on PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). The Complaint was well drafted and I think these are going to be difficult cases to defend. A major problem with these cases is that the copyright act provides for a three year statute of limitations. The act does state within three years of the date the claim accrued so there is an argument that the companies have to file suit within three years of the actual distribution of the music files but with the way the federal courts have been interpreting the statute of limitations in DIrectv’s end user cases I’m not sure if that helps.

Ignorance is Bliss says:

hmmm...what about the $500 software I'm downloadin

Okay, so I shouldn’t be allowed to use my computer equip, whatever, though I had a WEP key…anyway, so a question for the experts here: got rid of Earthlink which used my phone company (Qwest’s) DSL lines, and switched to Qwest DSL. They tell me after many calls that my phone lines can’t use DSL. I told them I had DSL for over a year here. They said I couldn’t have. I said I did…they said, maybe, but it wasn’t very good, I said no, not really…anyway so right now I’m using my neighbor’s wireless, there are 2 unsecured available…can they find out who I am? How can they track what I do?

HaroldBalzaccio says:

if you leave a knife or gun, etc. easily accessible knowing that a visitor is likely to use them in an illegal way, you become an accessory.
You really are a special form of stupid, aren’t you? It’s possible that a person could be held liable for failing to secure the weapons, but not as an accessory to murder.

In the case of an unsecured network, that’s not exactly going to equate to being the person who benefitted from the “crime” of downloading a few MP3’s. It’s impossible to assign a monetary value to each song which passed through some schmuck’s router without his knowledge, and the RIAA can’t prove that the network owner actually knew that anything illegal was going on. If they can’t make any money (and the legal fees are pretty damned high in a civil case vs. a criminal case, which the state would pay for), they aren’t going to waste time.

Pir8 (user link) says:

Yay

Another victory for fans. I don’t think i should be required to pay for a song if I download it once and I listen to it once, and delete it. I don’t think I should have to pay for a movie if I watch it only once, especially if it sucked ass.

Why does the WHOLE United Sates have to be run by rich and greedy bastards? It all trickles down to the RIAA/MPAA/BSA wants money. They make alot more suing you for the money than they would if you would have paid for it legally. Piracy isn’t costing them money-it’s making them money from lawsuits. DMCA should be burned. As far as I knew, recording or recopying of a certain document was legal as long as it was for private and/or non-profit use. Then along comes the DMCA. :- Money make-a da world go roun.

I know an IP Address doesn’t link to a certain computer. IP addresses can be spoofed, MAC Addresses can be spoofed, Referrer URLs can be spoofed, basically anything on the internet can be faked. Hard evidence- like DNA or a knife- hold up alot better in court than electronic, substantial evidence-like an IP Address.

http://forums.phoenixlabs.org/t12171-riaa-will-drop-cases-if-you-point-out-that-an-ip-address-isnt-a-person.html

That’s from a person who is involved in real copyright infringement cases. If you point out that you had a WiFi open, and you can prove you didn’t know what you were doing, i.e. it came open, and you could convince them you don’t have the computer know-how to figure out how to encrypt your wireless, which many people probably don’t, then you’ll probably get the case against you dropped. Too bad my roter came Encrypted.

phuqtup1 says:

Re: hey

By all means correct me if i’m wrong.The simplist way to stop illegal downloading of music is for the record company to spend the extra 3 cents per cd to make it harder to rip. Has anyone here ever bought a cd and after listening to it,found one song you like.It’s bullshit.They’re cryin about the 3 cents it cost them to make a cd. Here’s an idea put out better products and don’t charge so damn much for them. Oh one last thing if you use your VCR to tape a program why arent you sued for that?

scott says:

Criminal vs. Civil

It is worth remembering that there is a difference in the burden of proof between civil and criminal cases. While in criminal cases, one has to proof guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ civil cases only require ‘preponderance of the evidence’ (i.e. guilt is more likely than innocence). With this in mind, remember that the RIAA does not necessarily need to conclusively prove who in your family or network downloaded the music, they only need to show that it was more likely than not that you did it.

Also, there is legal precedent in both criminal and legal matters for prosecuting, in this case, every user of the network in question (supposing the number is small) if it is certain that the network is responsible but uncertain who was responsible. In my state (Texas), this precedent is often used to bust everyone in car if drugs are found and no one is willing to rat out his or her companions.

Like it or not, (and I don’t) while their tactics suck, the RIAA has a point. Artists should, under US law, be able to control and profit from the distribution of their own music. In the end, the online community and the RIAA will probably have to compromise on an iTunes-like solution.

Windo says:

You're responsible?

I googled this subject because I think it may have happened to me, no RIAA involvement though.

I have to sit down and read the entire thread but one thing that caught my eye was the person saying YOU are responsible for everything that happens through your IP address; there was discussiong about guns and knives and perhaps I’m reiterating something that was already said but if you own a gun and someone steals it, you are not responsible for it…

I would think that if it is the internet subscriber’s responsibility for everything that happens through his/her IP address then it would not be illegal for people to use the network without the subscriber’s knowledge… Perhaps it isn’t illegal, I’m just starting to research it.

wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll says:

Good idea... but wont work.

This idea of yours that an IP address is not a person is good, but if you argue this i would say there is a good chance they will use your computer as evidence, and believe me it is almost impossible to completely get information completely deleted off your computer. And they will find it if its anywhere on there, so you would be screwed.

HELP ME!!!!!! says:

I got an e-mail from mys isp. They claimed that various companies have complained about me downloading and uploading their crap. It then goes onto list all the complaints. Its not just music its TV shows, movies, video games ,etc. The companys explain that they have the right to purjur…or something. Anyways my isp is threatening to shut me off. Can anyone help me? What can I do? What do you think will happen?

YourMOM says:

Ignorant People

True it is almost impossible to completely wipe information but you can secure wipe it with as many passes as you deem required. To get the data off at this point would require millions of dollars to have it analyzed under an electron microscope so it’s hardly worth it. Secondly they have to have warrants and such to take you hard drive this would be difficult with out real proof not the lame IP address bull. Thirdly it is possible to spoof IP addresses change the MAC address so it doesn’t matter that the real one is encoded on the card because everyone sees the changed MAC and as for every MAC being unique I don’t buy it.

Whoever says:

You spoof your MAC address (easy, freeware, insert a number) and you leech off a wifi (ideally, you get a cheapass laptop, put it in a plastic bag and let it bittorrent overnight, or all day if they’re night people)

What’s so hard about it?

And BTW it’s not a GIVEN that “artists” should have infinite control over whatever they produce. To some extent, when you put something out into public culture, it’s up for grabs. If you REALLY want to support the ARTIST, mail them unmarked cash instead of trusting the music industry to pay them fairly. And GO SEE LIVE MUSIC! Without brainjacking, you still can’t share THAT.

dennis says:

file sharing

We have been sued in district court, we do in fact know that it wasnt us that did the file sharing , back when it firts happened we made we made an offer ti riaa, who now had people calling our jobs, and our house, we werwe having dinner with friends are were hit witha subopena, not a real nice gent. Anyway district court we sent a letter like they said, next thing you know we were guilty, we have been harrassed now for the last year or so, with constant phone calls, and dunning by 3 different colllection agencies across the country. If it was the RIAA that was establishing fact, itt did we have been embarrased , dunned, and now threatened with numerous liens on our property, we tried to make
make right but this is the road that thye have taken,
what do we do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,nothing, we did nothing wrong, all we did was own the ip address,,,,,,,,,Dennis and Maureen Drumm, venting in Philly

KJones (user link) says:

tubes

Yes, good idea, and they should have their subordinates walking around the city parks where radios/cds are being played and if anybody is near the radio/cd, that doesn’t own the digital sounds coming from it, they should immediately have earplugs shoved into their ears so that they do not get any free music that was not purchased by them. :)..

No, really this is getting crazy. I think torrenting is a great way to share a file with a friend, especially if your email box is too small to send it. The only risk with uploading your own personal stuff to the free trackers is that you have to share it with everyone. I don’t know how interesting 50 mb of family photos/video snips would be to complete strangers, but it is a great way of sharing files online. Kinda scary too!

fun website joygoround

Bill says:

It's Ok, Just wait...

Until the RIAA gets wise of this strategy and lobby congress to pass some sort of communist law stating that the owner of any internet account can be held personally and financially liable for any action deemed illegal and the law suits will come flying once again;

oh wait..

Let me infect myself with a remote access trojan first 🙂

my 6 cents says:

One word librarys

Library’s whats with that huh? Anyone ever get sued over using a library? How many people check out DVD’s, Videos, Movies, Music and copy it from librarys? They get most the main stream Movies, Music you can mostly reserve online they send you a nice email saying come pick up XYZ. You get a week or more to do with it what you will.

Way I see it Bit torrent or other methods should be turned into the worlds library system

my 6 cents says:

One word librarys

Library’s whats with that huh? Anyone ever get sued over using a library? How many people check out DVD’s, Videos, Movies, Music and copy it from librarys? They get most the main stream Movies, Music you can mostly reserve online they send you a nice email saying come pick up XYZ. You get a week or more to do with it what you will.

Way I see it Bit torrent or other methods should be turned into the worlds library system

ryan (user link) says:

Support Your local artists!

Yeah p2p is cool and all, and yeah i used napster back in the day, i even grab a few torrents here and there. Seeing as how my favorite artists are only getting about 45 cents per album i buy anyway, i really don’t care. You know, I’m not saying that it’s okay to steal from theives, but you can find good music, and actually help support the bands you like buy going indie. Consider buying music from your favorite artists directly. Check out your local scene, i’ve found great music locally and actually had people honestly thank me for buying their cd from them. It’s important that we never forget that artists do deserve the money they earn. You like the music, help them pay the rent. Musicians have bills too you know. I don’t really give a crap about the RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, SONY, INTERSCOPE, CAPITOL, and the like. The labels are theives out to make their money by screwing around with fans. Musicians don’t like it either, but once the contract is signed, they’re screwed.

In short, pay the artists, screw the labels.

oh and btw, libraries, and braodcast stations both pay ASCAP, BMI, the RIAA, and the MPAA a fee to be able to check out certain types of media. These fees are recouped through advertising (radio) and fundraisers (library). The only exception to that is academic libraries whose use of the materials usually falls under ‘fair use’. If you then go about breaking the law after you’ve checked out the materials, that’s your problem. the libraries are protected from liability on that because you signed a contract with them when you got your library card that says something along the lines of “i agree to hold harmless…the library..if i get sued…for being a dumbass…”

besides, if you’re really afraid of getting caught, quit uploading crap. drop your seeds into the torrent pool, and once there are enough seeders, take it out. there are plenty of people in foreign countries that are happy to help piracy along its merry way. Money-grubbing is so american, and generally looked down upon by the rest of the world. hence the whole ‘terrorism’ thing…

and no, foreign courts will not uphold or make any decisions based on US court’s claims. generally, when one is sued, they are sued in the US State of Incorporation of the plaintiff (if by a person and not a company, it’s where they plaintiff lives, not the defendant). There is *nothing* illegal about piracy in the US. You cannot go to jail, and there are no civil penalties in place. It is only illegal if you are infringing on someone’s copyright (ie, distribution though and electronic medium violates the mechanical copyright statutes, hence DL is fine but UL is actionable). Non americans cannot be sued in american courts, because it is unconstitutional. That’s why thepiratebay can do anything it wants, because sweden has no laws regarding mechanical copyrights. Canadians can be sued by canadian companies in canadian courts, but no court in its right mind would help to uphold the civil laws of a foreign entity against its own citizens (criminal is different, and criminals can be extradited, but the RIAA does’t have enough money to go through a series of extradition hearings).

so yeah, if you think you have a real problem, quit uploading crap. There are plenty of people who don’t have any problem with it, so start being a leech and quit being a martyr, because nobody cares if you’re a martyr for P2P. I mean, seriously. And you can always call your ISP and ask them to change your IP address. It’s an easy thing to do, takes about 3 minutes, and is pretty good protection against IP based attackers.

A civil suit is bullshit, they want money for a perceived wrongdoing on your part. Never admit that wrongdoing, because they have to *prove* that it was *you* personally. do not *ever* respond to a C&D letter, and ***NEVER*** answer to ***ANYONE*** who calls you out by your full name. If they can’t identify you, they can’t serve you papers. Seriously, if you *are* going to break the law, don’t be stupid. And if you didn’t break the law, you should take it to court and prove it. People can’t just bill you without providing some reason as to why, and courts will always rule in the plaintiffs favor if the defendant doesn’t at least show up to defend himself (or herself).

No, if you get subpeonaed over an RIAA suit, get a lawyer, a new IP address, a new handle, and get the hell off the P2P network you were on.

oh, and turn off your uploads. possession is not illegal, distribution is.

DarkKnight says:

Civil Suit Evidence of Guilt Not as Strict

People have made comments re: “reasonable doubt” and think that because the RIAA cannot now prove who downloaded “beyond a reasonable doubt”, that RIAA will stop filing these cases. It will lower the number filed, but not stop them.

One reason RIAA has been pursuing civil suits as opposed to having the FBI indict for criminal prosecution, is that Civil Suits DON’T have a “beyond a reasonable doubt” requirement.

All that’s generally needed in a civil suit is a “preponderance of evidence”. A much looser requirement.

That’s one reason why OJ was found not guilty in the criminal trial, but still found to be and held “responsible for” the deaths in the civil trial.

So, the RIAA will likely continue filing civil suits, hoping that a “preponderance” of the evidence will be enough in selected cases.

Fornicus says:

What the heck?

This subject… why is it this subject everybody just LOVES to sound like they know what they’re talking about? So many of the idiotic arguments I hear just would never hold up in an actual court of law. Say what you want about how unfair the RIAA is, but hire a good lawyer when they come calling you. The things you and your buddies think up when you’re drunk aren’t going to persuade a judge.

Frank says:

What about possession?

Is everyone forgetting about possession?

Sure they could never prove that you actually downloaded something without having hidden cameras installed or something, but the point everyone is missing is that you are in possession of the mp3’s. If all else fails they will charge you with possession.
Same goes for kiddie porn, same goes for drugs. If you are found to be in possession of illegal items, you can be charged.

I like the guy that wrote “if someone steals your car and runs down a pedestrian, how can that be blamed on you?”
Well if you’re found with the pedestrians body in your house, then I’m pretty sure you’re in trouble.

Mike (user link) says:

You are all wrong.

Guess what! There is a recent bill that has been passed (I am not sure of the exact legislation) But it states that YOU are responsible for your wireless network, and YOU are in charge of securing it. If you don’t then it is YOUR fault, and you will be sued.

Can you point to such legislation? Was it federal? State? Since no one else seems to have heard of it, might help if you had some proof.

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