Blogger Who Uploaded GNR Album Pleads Guilty, Accepts Deal

from the still-ridiculous dept

The blogger who uploaded the latest Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, and who was then arrested has apparently agreed to a plea bargain in the case. Prosecutors had already dropped the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor, and the plea deal probably means he'll get off without too much punishment -- but the whole thing still seems fairly ridiculous. It's not at all clear why the FBI wasted taxpayer money chasing down a fan who simply helped promote the music. In the end, it seems like GNR basically got tax-payer funded promotion for its latest album, while causing significant stress in the life of the guy who was in the middle of all of this. What a joke.

Filed Under: guilty, guns n' roses, music, uploads


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  1. identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, 12 Nov 2008 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Ok Lonnie, Last Post

    Killer Tofu Statement:

    Early on in your post, you call it theft.
    Later on, you call it copyright infringement.

    Lonnie's Reply:

    Question: How did this person obtain files that were unavailable to the public? If he HACKED into someones computer illegally, and if he TOOK information from that computer that he was unauthorized to TAKE, then he arrived at the computer "empty-handed," so to speak, and left with something that he did not bring with him, thus he took or STOLE something.

    Killer Tofu's Reply:

    You can call it theft all you want, but even the court system disagrees with you on that one.
    Hacking into a computer is quite different from walking into somebody's house. That is why you will get hit with different laws when you walk away from either scenario with something when you arrived empty handed.
    Again, call if theft if that helps you sleep at night, but the courts disagree with you.

    Note that YOU said specifically, "...you will get hit with different laws when you walk away from either scenario with something when you arrived empty handed. Again, call it theft if that helps you sleep at night, but the courts disagree with you." I was NOT specifically talking about music, I was talking about INFORMATION, of which music is one type of INFORMATION, that was stored on a computer inaccessible to the public. You may have assumed music only, but I was specifically speaking of INFORMATION, or the roughly equivalent term, DATA.

    Lonnie's Reply:

    So, what he did was the equivalent of entering private property, hands empty. If his action was to make a copy of something on that was kept in a location out of public view on private property, that copy remains the property of the owner and was not his to take. He gained it illegally. Once he left the property with a copy that was not his in the first place, he STOLE that COPY, and is therefore a THIEF.

    I also provided a number of references where courts called the illegal accessing of information "information theft" or "data theft."

    In the first reference, the court specifically states on the bottom of page 14 and top of page 15:

    "Moreover, given the novelty of the legal questions posed by information exposure and theft..."

    In English, this sentence is called a parallel construction, and could also be read:

    "Moreover, given the novelty of the legal questions posed by information exposure and information theft..."

    The second reference pointed to a "data theft." Now, the particular type of data theft happened to be personal information that was illegally gained by hacking into a computer (sort of like what happened to obtain the Guns 'n Roses music), but the illegal COPYING of information was called by the COURT (recalling that you denied that courts ever called the copying of data or information "theft"), "data theft."

    The third reference in fact supports the contentions I have made all along, though you claim that it argues against my contentions. You said the definition of data theft was theft of any confidential information. Well, the UNRELEASED Guns 'n Roses music was CONFIDENTIAL as the group had not planned to release any of the music (which I believe was actually unfinished versions) at the time it was illegally STOLEN. Let's do sanity check. The data (music) was not publicly available and was therefore confidential, was illegally copied or taken from a business or other individual. Let me double check. Yep, that fits the definition perfectly.

    As for my fourth reference, I included it because it was all about copying of files, and the courts used similar language multiple times. For example:

    "...stealing of Axciom data..."

    "...by the number of files Levine was convicted of stealing...

    "...the data taken from Axciom..."

    Killer Tofu's Reply (reply 48):

    To summarize your comments, I believe you say with respect to "information theft": "...not once does it ever say "information theft." With respect to the definition, you a statement about data theft being related to "...other Confidential stuff." I agree. One type of "Confidential stuff" would be unreleased music tracks.

    You also throw in a non sequitur regarding financial gain. I care little for whether the guy stood to gain financially. The blogger's financial gain is irrelevant. I am more interested in two things. First, the illegal violation of the rights of the band to privacy. Second, the compromise of confidential information of the band.

    Then you attempt to change subjects by claiming (I think) that music stored on a computer is not "data" or "information." If that was your intent, then I guess I am speechless. I would be interested to know what other types of information, er, data, er, non-information, non-data you can store on a computer that could be illegally accessed.

    Lonnie's Reply:

    Your comment appeared to me to be saying that courts did not say that copying of data, regardless of what that data is (music is data, personal information is data, anything stored as 1's and 0's is data), is data theft. I did not differentiate between musical data and any other kind of data.

    Now, if you wish me to make a distinction between two types of data, I will, but why would a court treat one kind of data any different than any other kind of data?

    Killer Tofu's Reply:

    Lol, good point. Lots of people have their phone number in a book. Social Security numbers also happen to be an identifying number. Since both are just electronic, by your logic it is safe to say that their SSN should be public info?

    The courts treat them differently for very good reasons. Some are meant to be kept private, while other types the artist specifically want people to see and / or hear.

    Lonnie's Reply:

    On the contrary. I think if I do not want my telephone number in a book, then I do not want it to be public any more than I want my SSN to be public.

    However, in this case the artist specifically DID NOT WANT people to hear the music because it had yet to be released to the public. Someone STOLE the artists' data.

    Now, with respect to your Last Post:

    I will just point out that I did refute your "supporting" court documents. You are claiming that stealing financial information is the same as copying music. That is not true. The courts have stated a difference.

    No, I stated that courts called the illegal taking of information from computers "theft." I fail to recall you supporting your final statement, "The courts have stated a difference." Back it up. Show me one court case where someone was tried for stealing unreleased music where the court called it something other than "stealing," "taking" or "theft."

    You never linked to another court case to show where they labeled copying music as stealing.

    That is correct. My point was that the illegal copying of confidential data or information from a computer is theft. Does it matter what the data or information is?

    All you did was say "they agree". I know many court cases have been linked to on techdirt in threads you have read and commented on, that pointed out that it was copyright infringement.

    Once the music is in the public domain, illegally downloading the music is copyright infringement. I am glad we both agree on something. However, before the music is in the public domain, it is merely confidential data or information.

    You have also contradicted yourself many times.

    Well, I apologize for any contradictions. I did not see any in perusing this string, but as complex as my answers have had to be in response to your comments, it is possible.

    I see Lonnie's point, copying music is theft.

    Okay, here is a problem. I never said "copying music is theft." Read back over my comments. What I said was, and I will put this seperately so there is little confusion here:

    When you make a copy of confidential information or data and you take possession of that copy, that is theft.

    There is just no proof of it. And his support comes from areas that do not deal with copying music. That is why I believe he is wrong. He has shown no real support pertaining to copying music.

    Except, we are not really talking about copying music, are we? We are talking about someone going into your home, either physically or electronically, and accessing files that are stored on your computer, and making copies of those files. Does it matter at all what is in those files? For all I know, you have racy pictures, music files, detailed financial information, a list of every girl you have ever kissed (or guy), a list of comics in your collection, or whatever. I do not care. But that information is not in the public domain and it would be stealing to take those files from you, regardless of what they are, unless I had your permission.

    You consistently state falsehoods. Trying to say that copyright infringement is theft, when there is a pretty clear difference.

    Sigh...copyright infringement is copyright infringement. If music has been released, and someone makes a copy of a released song, that is copyright infringement. We have already covered theft a bunch of times. You accuse me of not listening, but you do the same thing.

    And when I point out fallacies in your logic with regards to your so called supporting court cases, you don't even respond to it. That sir, is a troll.

    Responded, in detail. Trolling over.

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