RIAA Sues Usenet.com

from the no-joke dept

TorrentFreak points us to the news that the RIAA's latest lawsuit target is Usenet.com, a company that provides private access to Usenet (as you might expect). The RIAA's argument here is that Usenet.com falls on the wrong side of the Supreme Court's Grokster rules, which basically said that "inducing" infringement is copyright infringement itself. Whether or not Usenet.com actually induces infringement is an open question -- which is what we assume the courts will be deciding. However, if it does get anywhere, it certainly could make for an interesting test case. Part of what clouded the original Grokster ruling was that, while there clearly were non-infringing uses of Grokster, they were harder to show. When it comes to Usenet, it's quite easy to show that there is a ton of non-infringing uses for Usenet (and have been since its inception decades ago). To completely shut down a Usenet service provider for offering access to all of that may be a tougher sell.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 6:42pm


    When it comes to Usenet, it's quite easy to show that there is a ton of non-infringing uses for Usenet (and have been since its inception decades ago).


    But will it be as easy to show the same for the alt.binaries.* hierarchy? I have a feeling this will come down to some aspect of the partitioning of usenet groups.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 7:10pm

    Tough Sell

    I believe phrases like this one

    "Shh... Quiet! We believe it’s no one’s business but your own what you do on the Internet or in Usenet. We don't track user activity."

    that appear on the usenet.com website will make it harder to prove that they're 100% innocent.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    False ID, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 7:16pm

    Sue Everybody!

    Why not sue computer manufacturers and resellers for " 'inducing' infringement ". After all, people use computers to copy, store, and distribute pirated content.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    inc, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 7:30pm

    I think we should sue RIAA for creating content that is inducing infringement. Let's face it if people didn't create music then there would be nothing to infringe upon, problem solved.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 8:15pm

    I for one welcome this because a few of the newsgroups I pull from were starting to quiet down.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Mark, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 8:20pm

    Wouldn't it be nice to be in the position where you can write a few songs, do a few years touring and walk away with enough to live on happily for the rest of your life...
    Due to greed of some of these musicians is why we have the RIAA.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Wesley E. Staton, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 9:22pm

    "Infringing Newsgroups"

    According to the article, part of the complaint in the suit is that Usenet.com carries "infringing newsgroups". I'm trying to figure out how a newsgroup can infringe a copyright. But if the labels really believe that a Usenet newsgroup can do that then should they sue the newsgroup itself? It would make about as much sense.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    George W. Bush, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Tough Sell

    I believe phrases like this one

    "Shh... Quiet! We believe it’s no one’s business but your own what you do on the Internet or in Usenet. We don't track user activity."

    that appear on the usenet.com website will make it harder to prove that they're 100% innocent.
    Just because someone wants privacy doesn't mean they're doing something wrong. Even you posted your own message anonymously.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    RIAA Goon, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Sue Everybody!

    Patience! We'll get to them eventually. There are only so many lawyers out there willing to do our bidding.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    TSO, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 9:44pm

    > Usenet.com carries "infringing newsgroups".

    In other news: MAFIAA gets ready to sue Internet.com because everybody knows it carries "infringing bytes".

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 9:47pm

    Re:

    I for one welcome this because a few of the newsgroups I pull from were starting to quiet down.
    Yeah, the labels are probably shooting themselves in the foot (again) with this one. The publicity is going to give Usenet quite a boost.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    wnyght, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 9:52pm

    payback

    It's too bad that the public in general cannot joing together and file a class action lawsuite against the RIAA for harassment charges. Just a wild thought....

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    mike allen, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 12:29am

    Re: payback

    well theres 2 of us any one else

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    wolfger, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 2:25am

    Re:

    Have you seen the utter crap the RIAA puts out lately. No judge in the land would consider that inducement.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 4:12am

    Re: Binaries

    > But will it be as easy to show the same
    > for the alt.binaries.* hierarchy?

    Sure. There are dozens of binary newsgroup with non-infringing graphic and video files-- people uploading everything from their own porn to their own photography and art.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Levi, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Binaries

    But what will blocking the alt.binaries.* do? It's not like the group can't move and post them to some other group not in that alt.binaries.* realm. It shouldn't be up to usenet to police it's content. Maybe we should sue Al Gore for inducement since he invented the internet.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    nipseyrussell, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 8:54am

    "...will make it harder to prove that they're 100% innocent."
    the whole point of "inducing infringement" / "non-infringing uses" is that you dont have to prove that you are 100% innocent, just that you arent 100% guilty!!!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 9:15am

    Other precedents

    I'm sure Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against AOL for carrying alt.binaries.e-book will enter the conversation at some point, so here it is.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Donnie, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Sorry, I have to disagree...it's due to the greed of the *major record labels* that we have the RIAA, not of the musicians.

    For every dollar an artist makes from a major label release, the label makes many, many more.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    marco, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 1:08pm

    RIAA going to far

    This is interesting facts of the RIAA from Wiki. USENET can just move it's server, or many servers off shore, RIAA won't be able to touch them.
    On December 21, 2006, the RIAA filed a lawsuit for Russian owned and operated website AllOfMP3.com in the amount of $1.65 trillion. This number was derived from multiplying 11 million songs with statutory damages of $150,000 per song. The RIAA could not obtain jurisdiction over this Russian website.

    A critical case, which may determine the fate of the RIAA's litigation campaign, is Elektra v. Barker.[46] In that case, Tenise Barker, a 29-year-old nursing student in the Bronx, moved to dismiss the RIAA's complaint for lack of specificity, and on the ground that merely "making available" does not constitute a copyright infringement.[47] In opposing Ms. Barker's motion, the RIAA argued that "making available" is indeed a copyright infringement. Upon learning of the RIAA's argument, which sought to expand copyright law, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the U.S. Internet Industry Association, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) submitted amicus curiae briefs supporting Ms. Barker's motion and rebutting the RIAA's argument. The Motion Picture Association of America, in turn, submitted a brief supporting the RIAA. The U.S. Department of Justice submitted a "Statement of Interest" refuting one argument made by the EFF, but taking no position on the "making available" issue; the DOJ stated that it has never prosecuted anyone for "making available". [48] The case was argued before Judge Kenneth M. Karas in Manhattan federal court on January 26, 2007, who indicated that he will decide the "making available" issue. As of September 2, 2007, the parties are awaiting the Court's decision. Meanwhile, the same issue has been briefed in a more recent case, Warner v. Cassin[49], also in the Southern District of New York, but in the Westchester Division.

    In November, 2006, a Judge in a Brooklyn Federal court upheld the legal theory behind a defense claiming that the RIAA's damages theory — which calls for aggregating statutory damages of $750 per song in its lawsuits — is unconstitutional, since the record companies' actual damages are less than $0.70 per song.[50][51]

    In press reports, the RIAA assumes that every unauthorized copy of a song represents a lost sale. [52][53][54] The logic behind this is highly criticized considering there is no guarantee an individual downloading the song would have purchased it were it not readily available via copyright infringing means. In fact a large number of studies conducted since the RIAA began its campaign against peer-to-peer file-sharing have concluded that losses incurred per download range from negligible to very small.[55][56][57]

    In Texas, July 2007, Rhonda Crain (Sony v. Crain[58]) sought leave to add a counterclaim against the RIAA[59] for knowingly engaging in "one or more overt acts of unlawful private investigation" in the RIAA case against Crain.[60]

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Bob, Apr 5th, 2008 @ 5:07pm

    Re:

    who is buying the music in the first place that makes these musicians famous? if people supported local music there would be a lot less demand for the big stars music, but instead most people are like sheep and only listen to their local pop radio stations and only buy the "top 40" albums. The majority of the musicians out there are being used by the record companies. No doubt it would be nice to play a few songs, do a couple tours and retire with a lot of money, but if it's really that easy, why aren't you doing it?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Sargento Lotsappoppa, Jun 19th, 2008 @ 6:21am

    It was a good run...

    Well, 300 gigabytes, 40,000 songs later. It was a good run, bye bye Usenet. Of course what the RIAA doesn't realize is that I've purchased approximately 250 cds as a direct result of my downloading including jazz, metal, classical, electronic, indie and other rock, and various European prog bands from the 70s. Some of what I downloaded was obscure and/or out of print or bootlegs of live shows and almost none of what I downloaded was ever played on the radio except for perhaps some college stations. Newsgroups are one of my primary sources for finding out about new music. Btw every time I see a band I buy directly from them. In any case if the hammer falls I'll just subscribe to an offshore newsgroup provider such as Newsdome.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Sir Dartan, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 4:48am

    usenet.com is dead

    It appears the lawsuit has crippled usenet.com. I tried to open an account but there was no response from any body at usenet.com.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 7:09am

    Re:

    Replace ...
    "Due to greed of some of these musicians"

    with....

    "the Greed of the record companies"

    It was the recording industry that created the RIAA not the artists. The artists basically sign away the rights to their music.....


    215 note/entry) Musicians/bands retain the rights to their own music (check if this is actually on the list)

     

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


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