Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

It's Subpoena Day At The RIAA - Plus, New Laws To Criminalize File Sharing

from the here-come-the-lawsuits dept

Apparently, today was "subpoena day" at the RIAA. Complete with legal threats in hand, and a judge's ruling saying that ISPs need to simply cough up the private info of their subscribers, the RIAA contacted ISPs with subpoenas for more info on people they think are the worst of the worst file sharers. The Reuters article quotes an Earthlink representative saying that they'll comply with the subpoena, but that they "urge" the RIAA to "find a less intrusive method for protecting their intellectual property." It appears that they really are going to shoot themselves in the foot. This is no surprise, of course, but there was still hope for last minute enlightenment that maybe there are other reasons why they're having so much trouble and maybe (just maybe) there were opportunities in embracing file sharing, rather than criminalizing it. Update: Also, to make things even more fun, Representative Berman, one of our many representatives from Disney, has introduced a new bill that would make it even easier to send file sharers to prison. You may remember Rep. Berman for wanting to let Disney and other copyright holders hack into your machine and destroy anything they found objectionable. Specifically, this bill would raise the "assumed" damages from anyone sharing a file to the level that it becomes a felony, rather than a misdemeanor.

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  • identicon
    Beck, 16 Jul 2003 @ 9:12pm


    "The Conyers-Berman bill would operate under the assumption that each copyrighted work made available through a computer network was copied at least 10 times for a total retail value of $2,500. That would bump the activity from a misdemeanor to a felony, carrying a sentence of up to five years in jail."

    Must be some good music, if it's worth $250 per copy.
    A copyright violation is a copyright violation. Why should this particular violation be punished more harshly? If I buy a CD, copy it, and give the copy to a friend it's a misdemeanor, but if my friend downloads the same songs from my computer it's a felony??
    And according to this story you can go to jail if you just make the song available, even if no one downloads it from you. Where is the copyright violation there?

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

  • identicon
    Brian J., 17 Jul 2003 @ 7:10am

    Let's not forget the real consequences of music sw

    The congressmen invoke children and pornography, viruses, and homeland security to demonize file swappers, too.

    They missed a few contemporary evils, but I helpfully list some of the other consequences of file swapping on my blog.

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

    • Re: Let's not forget the real consequences of musi

      Personally, I think that the penalty should be lowered for file sharing because the current copyright laws were not designed for this. The current copyright laws and penalties were designed for companies or organizations doing the pirating. Not end users. We need the punishment to fit the crime. This new set of laws that people are proposing remind me of the arab custom where a shop lifer's hand is cut of on simply the accusation of shop lifting. We're not living in Iran people. Have a little sense.

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

  • identicon
    SkyHawkP2P, 25 Jul 2003 @ 4:03pm

    Boycott the RIAA

    Starting on July 1st and up through the month of August we should all boycott anything from the RIAA to let them know what we think of them. If there's a song you want, download it and give the RIAA the finger.

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

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