RIAA's Latest Trick: When Backed Into A Corner, Try To Associate File Sharing With Child Porn

from the any-way-possible dept

When other efforts to make life difficult for file sharing systems didn't work, the entertainment industry started going after them by trying to associate file sharing systems with pornography. Of course, a GAO study on the matter found that porn on file sharing networks wasn't a very big deal, so the entertainment industry has been a bit quieter on that front. That doesn't mean they won't try to bring up the connection when they can, however. In one of their lawsuits, where the defendant is trying to make the case that simply making available copyrighted material is not the same as distribution, it appears that the entertainment industry lawyers are trying to cite a child pornography case as a precedent to suggest that making available is the same as distribution. Of course, as the lawyer on the other side points out, the two cases are about two entirely different laws -- and on the copyright case, they're working with the definition of "distribution" as put forth in the law, rather than a random definition used in a case about something entirely different. It's no surprise, given some of the other tactics taken by the entertainment industry in these lawsuits, but it does seem pretty sleazy to try to connect a case to child pornography, even when they're not really related.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Mr Schotz, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:00am

    Sleaze and the RIAA are two of a kind in my opinion, they play dirty. These tactics taint the whole media industry.

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

  2. identicon
    Ninja, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:12am


    Where is the taint located?

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

  3. identicon
    Vincent Clement, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:15am

    I Want To Scream

    When will the RIAA and MPAA understand that if they stopped treating former, current and future customers as thieves, and made their content more valuable, they just might be able to stem their steady decline?

    I bought Walk The Line on DVD last week for $9.98 CDN at Costco. The first thing that came up when I played the DVD was a lame-ass PSA comparing auto theft with copyright infringement and so on. No "thank you for buying this DVD and supporting thousands of people in the entertainment sector". You spend money on a DVD or CD and they treat you like a thief. Morons. Thank god I have software that lets me rip the movie only and burn it to a blank DVD.

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

  4. identicon
    LOL, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:16am

    Pathetic losers....again, instead of paying these high priced morons why not just pay your other starving artists whom you guys duped into signing their life and works to your respective label? Why fight something "free"? Really, it's not like your RIAA is gonna win. Time to think about better business models guys! Why not setup your own "ALLOFMP3" clone offshore? At least, you can get some of your money back from these RIAA expenses you have.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    Re: Taint?

    That was dumb.

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

  6. identicon
    Alex, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:34am


    Associating file sharing with child pornography is just like associating the internet with porn in general. The adult industry is heavily used via internet, but does that mean all internet websites are "bad"? Should we stop internet use to prevent people from accessing any pornography? No, of course not. The internet is at fault, its the porn production companies that make it so easy to get. Likewise, file sharing isn't at fault. Its the sick bastards who make the kiddie porn in the first place.

    Thanks again for blaming the WRONG people.

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

  7. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:38am


    Why single out the MAFIAA for this? Half of Americans still think there was link between 9/11 and Iraq. Forging tenuous links between unrealted concepts is political persuasion in a nutshell.

    Regarding dissemination vs "making available", I think they are on shakey ground, though possibly not if property boundaries are correctly observed.

    The only case where this would stand up is if I have a file on my home computer, properly secured on my own property, and I enable filesharing. In this case a request for information through an open port to an available service must be made, hence the instigator of the request is the person who performs the act of dissemination by transferring a copy of the file off my physical property.

    However, if I publish a file to a remote webserver, even where that is my "electronic property" I have disseminated the information, if only once. This has a direct analogy to printing a poster and placing it in a public space.

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

  8. identicon
    SPR, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:43am

    Re: Taint?

    "Where is the taint located?"

    In Hollyweird!!

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

  9. identicon
    security, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 10:45am

    The music industry should just stop wasting money on attorneys and spend that money developing a new business model.

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

  10. identicon
    Sea Man, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:00am

    Re: Taint?

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:04am

    I agree with Vincent. If all they do is treat their actual customers like thieves, then what's the point of paying any money? If I can get something for free and get treated the same, then by all means...

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    So it seems like you are the ones who making the link between Child Porn and Music Sharing.

    Most statutes have definitions that leave a lot to be desired. As such, where there is a question on a law or definition of a law applies, case law fills in the gaps. This why we are a common law country and not a civil code country like France.

    If the definitions of distribution between the two sets of laws are similar, regardless of the facts asserted in precedent, if the law is instructive on an issue and supports their position, of course they should cite it. They should not be attacked for doing so.

    Learn the law before castigating a group of people for doing their jobs. Just because you do not like the RIAA does not mean everything they do is evil. I do not like a lot of their tactics either but one should never listen to zealots like yourself.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    Read the Case First - THEN Comment

    If any of you had bothered to read the case (as I did when it was first released), you'd know why this happened. The Judge in that case flat out stated "making files available in a shared folder is distribution". The minute I read that (I'm a former criminal defense attorney btw) I thought "man, the RIAA is gonna jump all over that statement - I wonder if it will hold up in the context of copyright?"

    Looks like we might learn the answer, eh? Frankly, I think the result in the child porn case is BECAUSE it is child porn and not the latest ditty by the pop-tart flavor of the moment. In addition, there was scads of evidence against the child porn defendant, not the least of which was that the law enforcement agent actually downloaded some of the files to determine they were in fact child porn. That lead to a search warrant, which lead to an arrest, which lead to a conviction, which always leads to an appeal, which lead to the opinion with a single sentence the RIAA wants to use.

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

  14. identicon
    2legit2quit!, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:12am

    If only there were more published incidents of music and movie executives using the casting couch as their own personal fuckbench. In my opinion the riaa and mpaa are just as sleezy and worthless as the child porn they try to connect their hairbrained lawsuits to.

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

  15. identicon
    James, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:22am

    Easy to Fix

    This really is an easy problem to fix.......STOP BUYING THIER BROKEN CONTENT!! Period.

    Copy-protection and MAFIAA (I like that acro btw), bulls**t will matter little if they can't sell their crap to us.

    We should all make a concerted effort not to purchase any of their content until they stop treating their customers like criminals.

    Idealistic? Very. But it really is a simple, and legal, way to give them the finger for this kind of crap.

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

  16. identicon
    anonymous coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:23am

    thats sounds nice and all but...

    the RIAA is evil, they just happen to be doing the right thing in this case by going against child porn... suffice to say they are only doing it for their own selfish gain.

    the RIAA is intrinsically evil, their mission statement (before all their PR guys set things straight) probably read something like "To accumulate as much money as humanly possible, whether it be from the Recording Industry, Hollywood, 15-year old file-sharers, or the U.S government itself, under the guise of being concerned about copyright infringement while secretly encouraging file-sharing so that we never run out of people to sue. Oh... and to be a dick... to EVERYONE."


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

  17. identicon
    Paul, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 11:37am


    Well, I don't know about you, but I have seen a lot of porn spread via file sharing, since a lot of young guys are too cheap to pay for it, and have ready access to file sharing programs. I have also seen where people in my part of the world have been arrested for having child porn and distributing it by file sharing. I have also been to LAN parties where (non child) porn has flowed as thickly as the booze.
    The real problem with file sharing isn't going to change with legislation, sneaker net will remain, always has, always will, but I have definitely seen a great deal of porn being access via file sharing.

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 12:24pm


    STFU ou NUB shill

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2007 @ 1:35pm

    There should be no anti-copy warning screens in commercial DVDs, period. The copyright notices on the back of the case and on the disk are plenty of warning not to copy it. In fact, common sense (which there is an utter lack of these days) dictates that you shouldn't copy it.

    These notices only serve to annoy and anger decent, law-abiding, paying customers, and people who ignore the warnings and rip the DVDs are going to remove those notices anyway. The last time I went to the theater (which isn't often), I was thoroughly disgusted to see a flashy 2-minute advertisement warning people not to pirate movies, after having paid good money to legitimately see a movie. That's like driving down the interstate at the posted speed limit and have a cop drive drive by waving a sign to slow down. It's very insulting to paying customers.

    Any business that treats all of its customers like thieves is doomed to failure. I believe the fact that pirating activities have yet to decrease and in fact are increasing proves that.

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

  20. icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Jan 11th, 2007 @ 9:00pm


    You will actually be treated better, because more likely than not, the material available via p2p will have the Don't Steal PSA, the copyright warning, the ridiculous FBI warning removed and all previews removed. Nothing better than having your kids watch through 10 or so minutes of Disney previews each and every time you play the DVD.

    Between DVD Decrypter, DVDfab Decrypter, DVD Shrink, RipIt4me, VOBBlanker, and FixVTS, I am able to decrypt DVDs, copy the decrypted DVD to my hardrive, remove the material I don't need, reauthor, encrypt and burn a movie-only backup of the original DVD that will play in all my DVD players. I can put the original away, safe from little hands. What's the point of copy protection again?

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

  21. icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Jan 11th, 2007 @ 9:13pm


    In fact, common sense (which there is an utter lack of these days) dictates that you shouldn't copy it.

    You must not have kids. Ever seen what a kid or two can do to a CD or DVD? Nope, I need to have the ability to make a backup of any CD or DVD that will be used by kids. I'm not spending another 20 bucks on buying a replacement CD or DVD.

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

  22. identicon
    Rupert, Jul 8th, 2007 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Taint?


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

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