RIAA Tries To Make Deals With ISPs To Hound Customers Into Settling Earlier

from the how-nice-of-them dept

When the RIAA first kicked off its backwards-thinking plan to sue music fans who were engaged in unauthorized file sharing, it did so by just getting court clerks to send subpoenas to ISPs demanding info on who controlled specific IP addresses. There were concerns about whether or not it was fair for the RIAA to do so without filing a real lawsuit and having a judge approve the subpoenas. Eventually, Verizon went to court to fight the RIAA on this and won. If the RIAA still wanted info on users, it needed to file "John Doe" lawsuits and then subpoena the info. This is exactly what the RIAA has been doing -- but it's been expensive, and the number of mistake lawsuits is beginning to get costly. So it appears that the RIAA is now moving on to plan B. Ray Beckerman, a lawyer fighting against the RIAA on some of these lawsuits has received a leaked letter that some RIAA-associated lawyers have been sending to ISPs to try to get them to cooperate and get users to pay settlement fines before the RIAA files lawsuits.

The letter says that the RIAA will be starting a new program that will let ISP subscribers settle early (at reduced rates!) if the ISP agrees to hold onto its log files for at least 180 days. Many ISPs don't keep the data that long as there's no good business reason to do so (though, the US government may force them to before too long). Basically, this is just an attempt by the RIAA to get ISPs to hang onto more info for the RIAA's sake -- and to try to have ISPs put pressure on subscribers to just pay up, rather than go to court where it can be pointed out just how flimsy the evidence is. Oddly, it also seems to be blaming the ISPs for all of the embarrassing mistakes the RIAA has made in its lawsuits lately -- and asking that they please stop identifying the wrong customers. Of course, what many people don't remember is that this isn't the first time the RIAA has tried this. Back in 2004, soon after the RIAA lost to Verizon, it tried a similar tactic of getting ISPs to agree to hand over info on their subscribers without a subpoena -- but most ISPs realized that there was no good reason to do so. Hopefully, the past few years haven't changed the minds of ISP execs. If not, it seems like some ISPs are likely to get some bad publicity once it comes out that they've rolled over for the RIAA.
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  1. identicon
    Dosquatch, 13 Feb 2007 @ 6:19pm

    Re: #4 is wrong.

    It is common practice to make networks STATIC. (At least in the corporate world...)

    Yeah... wha? No. Really, just... no. What do they smoke on your planet? I've been working in IT for a long time. Corporate networks are dynamic. No sysadmin in his right mind is going to try to maintain static addressing on more than a couple dozen machines, much less an organization with hundreds or thousands of devices. And any devices that do need a static address, like a network printer, are typically assigned with a MAC reservation.

    Why? Why resort to manually looking up what address is free several hundred machines in when a server can do that for you? The reality is that you automate as much as you can. Virus updates, software deployments, addressing, filtering, backups, network inventory, not because we are "overpaid idiots", but because there simply aren't enough hours in the day otherwise.

    And that's even after we show up before you do, are still there after you're gone, are in on major holidays to do the BIG upgrades while you're choking down turkey with the kinfolk, are on emergency call at 2AM because my server detected an alarm condition and is smart enough to call me automatically so as not to inconvenience you when you stroll in at 8:30, and so on and so forth.

    And, in amongst the 60 and 70 hour workweeks, we still manage to read trade rags and take extended education or recert courses to stay abreast of what's new and interesting on the horizon, or vile and threatening to the present.

    Not that anybody appreciates such things that go on to make their job run smooth.

    So when you stroll up to his desk and it looks like he hasn't had more than two hours sleep, it's because he hasn't. And if it looks like he's holding on to his coffee mug like it's life itself, it's because it is. And if it looks like he's wearing the same thing as he was yesterday, there's a good possibility that he never went home because he was rebuilding the enterprise database that somebody helpfully cold rebooted because their report wasn't running fast enough. And when, after all of this, he seems just a little too persnickety when you tell him you've forgotten your password for the 3rd time this month, tell him that you think he's an overpaid idiot.

    Just know he thinks pretty much the same of you.

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