RIAA Claims Jammie Thomas Jury Is A Representative Sample Of Views On File Sharing

from the wow,-that's-chutzpah dept

After the Jammie Thomas verdict came down, I predicted that the RIAA would "gloat about and misrepresent to its own advantages." Within hours, I was attacked by a former entertainment industry lawyer with a long screed claiming that no one from the RIAA misinterpreted or gloated about it at the trial. Except, of course, I wasn't talking about what they said as they walked out of the courtroom. I was talking about what would happen afterwards... like a few days later on the RIAA blog. That's when the RIAA tried to claim that the Jammie Thomas jury provides a representative sample of "music industry outsiders" whose verdict disproves the theories of certain "pundits" who believe the digital economy should be a "new wild west" where "the rule of law" is not obeyed.

Talk about misrepresenting.

First of all, I don't know of many "pundits" who think that the digital economy should be a new wild west at all. I think that many of them are actually just focused on preserving individual rights against a constant landgrab by an industry whose history has shown it to not be above removing right after right after right from people. The RIAA and its supporters have taken content out of the public domain, making a government go back on a bargain it struck with content creators, much to the detriment of society, but very much to the benefit of a few record label execs and their lobbyists and lawyers. That's stealing from the public. It's taking a bargain and changing the terms. People don't want a wild west. They want the culture we were promised, and they want their individual freedoms.

Furthermore, calling the very specific nature of the Jammie Thomas trial a referendum on file sharing is ridiculous. Her case had a very specific set of circumstances unlike many others -- and even we (a "reliable critic" according to the RIAA) felt that she never should have gone to trial, as the evidence against her seemed strong. On top of that, this "sample" involved RIAA lawyers who had years to prepare the case against some rookie lawyers who were brought on the case just weeks earlier with little preparation at all, and who, frankly, did a terrible job, seemingly more focused on other issues than the key points in the case.

The Jammie Thomas trial was not a referendum on "the rule of law" or on "file sharing" or on the future of music business models. It was a referendum on Jammie Thomas, who presented herself as an incredibly questionable witness with a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that she broke the law and then tried to avoid taking responsibility for her actions. If the RIAA wants to believe that the people are behind its self-destructive campaign of suing people, more power to it, but putting its head in the sand hasn't worked for the last decade, and I doubt it'll start working now.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    RIAA Claims Jammie Thomas Jury Is A Representative Sample Of Views On File Sharing

    Te jury is a representative sample of how well the RIAA can brainwash them.

     

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    C.T., Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Huh?

    "The RIAA and its supporters have taken content out of the public domain, making a government go back on a bargain it struck with content creators, much to the detriment of society, but very much to the benefit of a few record label execs and their lobbyists and lawyers. That's stealing from the public. It's taking a bargain and changing the terms. People don't want a wild west. They want the culture we were promised, and they want their individual freedoms."


    Could you expound on this?

     

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      BullJustin (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:30am

      Re: Huh?

      The constitution is an agreement by the people of this nation how to be governed. Article 1 section 8 of the US Constitution states "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The Copyright Act of 1790 instituted a copyright of 14 years with an extension of another 14 years.

      The 1831 Revision of the Copyright Act made it 28 years with a 14 year extension.

      The 1834 case Wheaton v. Peters upheld the constitutional view that copyright was for a limited time only instead of a "perpetual natural right" and that copyrights were granted by the federal government "in order to serve the public interest in promoting the creation and dissemination of new works."

      The 1909 Revision of the U.S. Copyright Act extended copyright to 28 years with a possible 28 year extension. It was an attempt to balance protection and compensation for the owner of the work with protection of the public. It was also intended to prevent oppressive monopolies from forming.

      The 1976 Revision of the U.S. Copyright Act was enacted to keep the US in accordance with international standards under the upcoming Berne Convention. It extended copyright protection to life of the author plus 50 years. Works for hire would be protected for 75 years from creation. This also formalized fair use and first sale rights. Fair use would be judged on the use's purpose and character, the copyrighted work's nature, how much and how important the portion used is compared to the whole, and the use's effect on the potential market. It also stated "the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

      When the US signed the Berne Convention in 1988 it created copyright relationships with 24 countries and eliminated copyright notification requirements.

      In 1992 the US Congress amended Section 304 of Title 17 made renewal automatic. This protected a lot of works copyrighted before 1978 - i.e. Mickey Mouse.

      In 1998 the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extended copyright from life of the author + 50 years to life + 70 years. A court case later on would claim this extension was given to help corporations like Disney hold on to copyright for another 20 years. Since Walt Disney died on 12/15/1966 his copyrights would be over in 2016. This act extended Disney's control over Walt's works until 2036. The DMCA was also instituted this year which for some reason protected boat hull designs.

      All art is based on something else - first nature and then a combination of nature of the artists who came before. The right of authors to create new works based on older works has been taken away, and thus there has a steady decline of the public's right and ability to create new works. The stories we heard as kids we cannot now use to create new stories. New stories don't come from nowhere, they come from our experiences. Curtailing our ability to synthesize our experiences into a new stories steals from us our ability to create new work. While protecting creators from unauthorized commercial use, it also rewards the laziness of past creators and punishes the work of new creators.

      For a fuller view of copyright history and the important court cases surrounding it (instead of asking someone else to do the work for you) do a Google search or check out the page I used to create this timeline.

       

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        C.T., Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re: Huh?

        I appreciate the effort, but I am thoroughly familiar with the history and evolution of copyright in this country.

        Your history lesson doesn't bear on Mike's rather outlandish claim that I quoted above.

        I'd really appreciate an explanation about how the RIAA has "taken content out of the public domain, making a government go back on a bargain it struck with content creators, much to the detriment of society, but very much to the benefit of a few record label execs and their lobbyists and lawyers."

         

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          BullJustin (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Huh?

          Ah, very well, then.

          The original agreement with the people was to allow content creators exclusive use to their creation for a limited time. Over the years congress has extended the limited time from 14 + 14 years to life + 70 years. In the US the extension from 28 + 28 years to life + 50 was to come into line with a treaty that wasn't signed until 12 years after the law went into effect. The major proponents of this change were the RIAA (formed in 1952) the MPAA (formed in 1922) and the players in the industries they represent. Movie studios back the RIAA because it helps them, and likewise record labels back the MPAA.

          Since the copyright and patent clause of the US constitution was so hard to get around, the RIAA & MPAA through their international affiliates moved their efforts to Europe. Then, through the Berne Convention, those international laws were forced upon the US in violation of the US constitution through a treaty.

          The 1976 revision of the copyright act took some works out of the public domian, such as the happy birthday song which copyrighted was registered in 1935, though it first appeared in print in 1912. That song was actually based on the tune of another song written in 1893. Based on original publication date the copyright should have expired in 1940 or 1968 with the extension, however based on copyright registration date that should have expired 1963 or 1991 with extension. According to the current owner, the 1976 revision made the copyright good through 2030.

          Since the happy birthday song was taken up to the supreme court of this land and found to be still under copyright, what is considered the most recognized song in the English language cannot be sung in public, on TV, in a movie, on the radio, or in a park where someone could hear it without paying the guy who bought the rights in 1990.

          I would say this exemplifies Mike's comment about how "[t]he RIAA and its supporters have taken content out of the public domain, making a government go back on a bargain it struck with content creators, much to the detriment of society, but very much to the benefit of a few record label execs and their lobbyists and lawyers."

          This one guy, who had nothing to do with the original creation of the song has stolen a bit of our cultural heritage. What we used to hear on a regular basis in restaurants has been replaced with waiters clapping and singing a almost frighteningly upbeat version of some song their lawyers allow them to sing rather than a song that binds our culture together.

           

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            LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

            Then, through the Berne Convention, those international laws were forced upon the US in violation of the US constitution through a treaty.

            Actually, Article VI of the Constitution says that treaties are essentially the equivalent to the Constitution, so the terms of a treaty, properly ratified, is constitutional (unless you can convince the Supreme Court that one of the treaty terms violates another part of the Constitution).

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:59am

        Re: Re: Huh?

        Each one of those extentions were made by the people, through their representatives in the capital. Nobody snuck in with a magic market and cross out 14 and replaced it with 28.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Huh?

          Way to miss the point...the point was that as corporations gained more and more power rights of ownership were transferred from the public to the private domain. Initially this was created to stimulate creativity. The reason that movies and books and television all seem so homogeneous lately has been a direct result of this. If you take away the ability to take ideas further than their original creators you stifle creativity. I agree that some copyright is well and good and advocate for 40 years from time of creation and doing away with work for hire copyrights and instead giving those to the artists.

           

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:26am

      Re: Huh?


      Could you expound on this?


      You quote a rather large section, but the basic fact is that copyright is a bargain between the public and the content creator, enforced by the gov't. Copyright extension breaks that bargain. If you and I make a deal, and we decide that you get an exclusive right for 50 years, after which I will gain that right... and then around year 45, the gov't steps in and suddenly says you get the right for another 50 years and I don't... the bargain has been broken. The deal terms I agreed to have been broken, and my rights have been trampled.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re: Huh?

        Except that the government is you. You elected them. They are the government of the people, but all the people, not just you.

         

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        C.T., Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re: Huh?

        Fair enough. However, I differ with you in the respect that I hold our government responsible for this state of affairs. To me your language ("making a government go back on a bargain it struck with") makes Congress seem like a passive participant in the expansion of copyright. I suppose I find it unsurprising that a trade group who is paid to represent an industry is going to manipulate the truth in order to benefit their clients. For that reason, I find some of your rhetoric to be a bit much at times even though I ultimately agree with you regarding the need for reform in many areas of the Copyright Act.

         

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      LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:46am

      Re: Huh?

      Yes, Mike, please do expound on this (and perhaps lose some of the seething anger).

      How, exactly, has the "RIAA and its supporters" taken content out of the public domain?

      Can a "bargain" once struck never be modified? And if so, then how can copyright be modified in favor of conusmers?

      How is this "stealing" when you vociferously maintain that file sharing isn't?

      What culture were "people" promised? Who promised it?

      And what "individual freedoms" are you talking about? If people can't freely copy music regardless of copyright, is that the same as slavery?

      As for misrepresentation, I take it that it's your position that the Thomas-Rasset case represents only a very narrow victory against a specific person in very specific circumstances and shouldn't be see as having any wider impact. If the record labels were to lose one of these cases, would it also be a very narrow victory in very specific circumstances, or would it be a sweeping repudiation of the RIAA's litigation campaign and the music industry in general?

      Just curious.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:18am

        Re: Re: Huh?

        How, exactly, has the "RIAA and its supporters" taken content out of the public domain?

        Regulatory capture + copyright extension...

        Can a "bargain" once struck never be modified? And if so, then how can copyright be modified in favor of conusmers?

        Sure, a bargain can be modified, but not without the approval of both sides. That's not what's happened here.

        How is this "stealing" when you vociferously maintain that file sharing isn't?

        File sharing is copying something, such that the original holder still has everything they had before. Taking content that was promised to the public domain out of the public domain is stealing. The public had a right to certain works on a certain date and then it was gone.

        What culture were "people" promised? Who promised it?

        At the time the content was created, a bargain was struck. Copyright law made that bargain explicit. That's the promise: this content will be available to anyone on such and such a date.

        And what "individual freedoms" are you talking about? If people can't freely copy music regardless of copyright, is that the same as slavery?

        I'm not talking about file sharing here. I'm talking about works taken out of the public domain.

        As for misrepresentation, I take it that it's your position that the Thomas-Rasset case represents only a very narrow victory against a specific person in very specific circumstances and shouldn't be see as having any wider impact. If the record labels were to lose one of these cases, would it also be a very narrow victory in very specific circumstances, or would it be a sweeping repudiation of the RIAA's litigation campaign and the music industry in general?

        Certainly depends on the specifics of the case. This particular case didn't establish any significant precedent. If an RIAA loss didn't either, then it would also just be due to the specifics of that case. However, if the RIAA lost a case where a judge ruled, say, that it's theory that non-commercial copying is infringement is not true, then that could be a repudiation.


        Just curious.


        Indeed.

         

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          LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Huh?

          Thanks. I appreciate the response. But, as I'm sure will not surprise you, I have some objections.

          Regulatory capture + copyright extension...

          Regulatory capture is a slight stretch, since it's been congress that's in charge of setting copyright law. More on that and copyright extension below.

          Sure, a bargain can be modified, but not without the approval of both sides. That's not what's happened here.

          Actually, that's exactly what's happened here. Copyright term has been extended by Congress, who are the people's representatives under our republican form of government. While it's true that Congress has been influenced by corporate interest groups, that's really not regulatory capture, but plain old politics. And the answer is for others to influence Congress to revise (or repeal, though that's never going to happen in any foreseeable future) copyright more in favor of the public domain. I would certainly support such reform, as I've said before, by expanding and more concretely defining a right of fair use as well as shrinking the term of copyright, though I know we disagree on this or on what a proper term should be.

          File sharing is copying something, such that the original holder still has everything they had before. Taking content that was promised to the public domain out of the public domain is stealing. The public had a right to certain works on a certain date and then it was gone.

          [What culture were "people" promised? Who promised it?]

          At the time the content was created, a bargain was struck. Copyright law made that bargain explicit. That's the promise: this content will be available to anyone on such and such a date.


          If you want to use stealing in this broad sense, then file sharing in the broad sense (rather than the narrow, rather technical sense in which you use it) is stealing: obtaining something to which you have no right, and for which payment would be due absent acquisition by illegal means. I know we'll never agree on that.

          But that aside, the culture still has access to copyrighted works, so copyright doesn't take that away. It does, however place some narrow limits on how you can use that content/culture.

          If copyright extension "stole" content from the public by changing the "bargain" between content creator and the public about the date when content would become "free", that wouldn't apply to a lot of currently protected content. For example, works created after 1976 still wouldn't be in the public domain, even if the author died that year. None of those works would be public domain until 2026 at the earliest. That was the bargain. Of course, the Sonny Bono act will have "stolen" 20 years from the pubic stating at least as early as 2026 for content created between 1976 and 1998. Call me in 17 years, and I'll storm the barricades with you.

          If an RIAA loss didn't either, then it would also just be due to the specifics of that case. However, if the RIAA lost a case where a judge ruled, say, that it's theory that non-commercial copying is infringement is not true, then that could be a repudiation.

          I'm glad to see you write that. We'll see if either situation ever comes to pass. (Though I doubt the latter will happen; commercial or non-commercial use is only one factor in fair use and all the other parts of the fair use test have to be considered.)

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

            Politicians don't represent the people. Haven't you ever noticed that? They sneak around and slip things through into law that people are going to object to. Why? Because someone (lobbyists) is paying them to do so.

             

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              LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

              According to our constitution and republican form of government, members of congress represent the people of their state or district. That politicians can be corrupt isn't really modern news, but it doesn't change those basic facts.

              If you can't get Congress to change copyright there are really only two options: get everyone else to ignore copyright or overthrow the government so you can get free tunes.

              Good luck.

               

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            The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

            There's a lot wrong (misleading?) about what you've written, but two things jump out at me:

            stealing: obtaining something to which you have no right, and for which payment would be due absent acquisition by illegal means.

            This isn't the definition of stealing. Stealing is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. Since at the end of the day, you still have your *original* copy, I didn't take anything from you. Also, you can't *own* a limited monopoly. There is no property, despite the oft coined "intellectual property" So, you still have your copy, which you do own. I never took your property. Hence, no stealing. This is not up for debate. At all. So stop, already.

            But that aside, the culture still has access to copyrighted works, so copyright doesn't take that away. It does, however place some narrow limits on how you can use that content/culture.

            It's not about having access (not to mention the many books/movies/tv shows/songs that are no longer being produced that I *don't* have access to because of copyrights) it's about having *complete* access. Most notably, the ability to take a work and build upon it. That's like saying you'll give me 1 million dollars, and then saying I can only buy from you-- but hey, you still have a million dollars. Not if I can't do whatever I want with it, I don't.

            Also, "some narrow limits" is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard. Tell me how I'm *not* limited.

            In all, your twisting of words and doublespeak is very disturbing. The rules were clear: Creaters get a **LIMITED** monopoly over who can and can't use their works. The limit keeps getting extended by lobbying from the people who *directly* benefit from it, with complete disreguard to the effect it has on future creators.

             

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              LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 2:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

              This isn't the definition of stealing.... There is no property, despite the oft coined "intellectual property" So, you still have your copy, which you do own. I never took your property. Hence, no stealing. This is not up for debate. At all. So stop, already.

              Joe, I've argued these points elsewhere, and don't feel the need to go into them again. You miss the point. If Mike can broadly use the term "stealing" where works are "taken" from the public domain, then it's fair to broadly use the term when applied to such things as file sharing. I understand the technical, narrow definitions that are popular here: no one sharing music want to be thought of as stealing. Fine.

              But if there is no such thing as intellectual property, then it really can't be stealing when copyright is extended, as it has numerous times over the years. If there is not property, then how can the public have a "right" to created content?

              Would it be stealing from content creators if Congress decided tomorrow to shorten copyright to 5 years? And made it retroactive?

              It's not about having access...it's about having *complete* access. Most notably, the ability to take a work and build upon it. ... Also, "some narrow limits" is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard. Tell me how I'm *not* limited.

              There are lots of limits in life, Joe. That you don't have "complete" access to what other people create isn't a crime.

              And how are you not limited? Well, you're perfectly free to use the ideas in protected content (though not the specific copyrighted expression of those ideas); you can also appropriate more of the specific expression to satirize, parody, or comment. Or maybe you can come up with your own ideas and create something with them.

              (not to mention the many books/movies/tv shows/songs that are no longer being produced that I *don't* have access to because of copyrights)

              Here, I agree completely. It's a definite problem, and orphaned works is one area where it may be most possible to get Congress to act as there is a large constituency including libraries, publishers, authors, etc. that would like to see this material freed. There are differing opinions on how this might be done, but this is an area that is a very solvable problem.

              In all, your twisting of words and doublespeak is very disturbing. The rules were clear: Creaters get a **LIMITED** monopoly over who can and can't use their works. The limit keeps getting extended by lobbying from the people who *directly* benefit from it, with complete disreguard to the effect it has on future creators.

              I don't think I've twisted words, so don't be disturbed, Joe. This isn't life-or-death. It's a discussion. That I might disagree when some words are misused or ill-defined shouldn't be cause for alarm. Challenging orthodoxy (whether the orthodoxy of those for copyright or the orthodoxy of those opposed to copyright) is healthy.

               

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        Jim, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: Huh?

        In the 1930s authors created content because they thought copyright was a fair enough deal. If they didn't think so no content would have been created. They knew the deal and created content anyway - which is to say they thought it was fair enough. To later claim that copyright isn't long enough is disingenuous.

        Also, if copyright is too short and is a bad deal at 28 or 50 years, no content would have been created before the life + 50 mod.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Huh?

          Jim, consider this: When Mickey Mouse first made his appearance, in 1928, the entire moving picture business had been around for, what, about 30 years? So a 30 year term would have been "as long as movies have been around".

          Well, these days, Disney produces brand new Mickey Mouse content all the time (my godson is loving the newer Mickey Mouse Playhouse stuff), so not only is Mickey Mouse something of history, but something current and innovative. At this point, because MM is still an active product, there should not be a reason for it NOT to be copyright. Continued new uses of the images should be enough to maintain a copyright.

          So again, like other subjects - the discussion here needs to be clarified with the scale of the day versus the current circumstance. Consider the mythical long tail on stuff - should the original creator or rights holder not be allowed to profit for as long as people are buying it?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

            So what you're saying is that all the stories of alladin, the jungle book and all the movies that Disney has made from public domain works should never have happened? Give me a break and stop saying that just because it is an active product it should be kept forever. The Original creator is dead, it is no longer his idea. Disney is a corporation that will never die, so nothing created and used by any company would EVER become public domain. Books being reprinted would be "updated" so would be new items, pictures would be color fixed and so be updated. You might as well do away with public domain in your world. But hey screw the public for wanting to build on anything and lets just take what is shoved down our throat and let the country fall into obscurity.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

            You keep popping in and whining that it's not enough. It has to be longer than the life of the creator. It's for the people! Bullshit. The creator is dead. What does he care? As to your argument re: Mickey Mouse, the new stuff would be copyrighted, and Mickey is also a trademark, so again, is the copyright extension really needed? No. I don't think so.

             

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    Jay Greathouse (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    stop trying to reform psychopaths

    At what point are well-intentioned people going to give up on unredeemable psychopaths and stop giving them attention? The RIAA is not going to fix itself, the WSJ is not going to fix itself, AP is not going to fix itself and they will all go down fighting to preserve their fiefdoms.

    I make every effort to network with thoughtful considerate people and walk away from @$$holes. It just does away with a lot of bull$hit. Anyone who gets sucked into their games better learn how to disconnect before they are completely drained of blood. Otherwise they are just dead people walking.

    So I address my words to those worth saving, those who can clearly see how screwed up the entrenched power structures, or even have a clue about it, and say let's just build the systems we want.

     

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      max (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:08am

      Re: stop trying to reform psychopaths

      I agree, these entities are already set in their ways. They will probably implode one day, (from the inside).
      In the mean time we need to think ahead with our solutions for the good of the people concerned. As you say here, build on new systems that will make sense 20-50 years from now, (which is about how long the old system was valid).

       

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        max (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: stop trying to reform psychopaths

        Clarifying: any new systems should be based upon copyright laws......we need a copyright system, so any new systems would actually be sub-systems within the U.S. copyright system which of course can be amended "by the people" if they decide to act, (just talking about it or bad mouthing copyright laws is not productive enough).

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:53am

          Re: Re: Re: stop trying to reform psychopaths

          One problem is that the press won't cover it because they don't think it's "newsworthy". But that's actually colored by the very nature of the industry.

           

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Yay for false logic

    "That's when the RIAA tried to claim that the Jammie Thomas jury provides a representative sample of "music industry outsiders" whose verdict disproves the theories of certain "pundits" who believe the digital economy should be a "new wild west" where "the rule of law" is not obeyed"

    I think it's hysterical that Barracuda Networks' web filter allows me to visit Techdirt.com at work, but it lists the RIAA blog site as blocked category "Recreational/Entertainment/Hobby". I can only extrapolate this using RIAA logic to assume that Barracuda Networks represents how every single technology company in existence views the RIAA as a hobby group that should not be looked into during normal business hours.

     

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      Rebel Freek (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:18am

      Re: Yay for false logic

      Websense blocks out their website as well... Still trudgeing away here at work though...

       

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

      Re: Yay for false logic

      Not to highjack the thread, but work here used to block a lot.
      Then thanks to cutting costs they no longer use a web filter =P

      Although, as is prudent at any work place, I do not spend much time online that is not work related in any given day. At least I try not to =)

       

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    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    "...individual rights..."

    What individual "rights"? Copyright provides the rights holder with a bundle or rights having metes and bounds. If something is not contained within those metes and bounds the rights holder is out of luck. Even fair use is not a "right" granted to the public at large. It is a limitation telling the rights holder that fair use lies outside the foregoing metes and bounds of what the rights holder holds.

    Re copyright term extensions, it was not the US that pushed these when the 1976 Act went into force. It was to conform US requirements to be consistent with treaty obligations placed there primarily by european contries. Also consistent with those obligations, even copyright formalities were removed except for the requirement to secure a registration prior to instituting a lawsuit in the US.

    As for RIAA gloating and spin, this is a gross exaggeration and overstatement. Even the RIAA was shocked by the size of the verdict and has made it only too clear it wants to settle the matter as it always has and for a nominal sum.

    And finally, all this blather about "it was only 24 songs" misses the point. Doubtless the plaintiffs (record labels and NOT the RIAA) could have identified many, many more music files, but obviously chose not to do so since this lawsuit and others like it were for the purpose of making a point and not bankrupting defendants. The fact the jury in Mpls chose to make a large award (which it darn good and well knows will never be paid and will be settled for a nominal sum) was not of the plaintiffs' choosing. Both the judge and the plaintiffs made it clear that it was up to the jury to decide what it believed should be awarded.

     

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      this lawsuit and others like it were for the purpose of making a point

      ..I'm not trying to troll, I promise, but what, exactly, *is* their point? That it's ilegal? Yeah, we all know that already.

      I have a great idea! If they don't want or need these huge fines, perhaps they should aim their lobbyists in the direction of copyright laws that allow for such huge fines? Surely, they can get a no-fines-for-non-profit clause thrown in there, and then they can sue all day every day to make this point (that I still don't get) and no one gets to get financially ruined.

      Or.. maybe it *is* about the money, and fear, and control, and power.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      What individual "rights"? Copyright provides the rights holder with a bundle or rights having metes and bounds. If something is not contained within those metes and bounds the rights holder is out of luck. Even fair use is not a "right" granted to the public at large. It is a limitation telling the rights holder that fair use lies outside the foregoing metes and bounds of what the rights holder holds.

      Now *there's* an amazing bit of revisionist history. As you well know, the founding fathers looked on the implementation of copyright (and patent) law as a balanced bargain between the public and the creators. The *rights* of the public were to get things in the public domain after a limited (short) time.

      Separately, the silly claim pushed by the entertainment industry that fair use is "only a defense" and not a "right" is a gross distortion of copyright law. It's pretty much a sure sign that someone is being intellectually dishonest.

      If you are granted clear ability to make use of content through "fair use" then it is a right. Period. Pretending it is not is lying.

      Re copyright term extensions, it was not the US that pushed these when the 1976 Act went into force. It was to conform US requirements to be consistent with treaty obligations placed there primarily by european contries. Also consistent with those obligations, even copyright formalities were removed except for the requirement to secure a registration prior to instituting a lawsuit in the US.

      Well, again that's a rather extreme rewriting of history. But even if we grant your premise and ignore the lobbying that went on to get the 1976 Act passed, please explain the Sonny Bono Act.

      As for RIAA gloating and spin, this is a gross exaggeration and overstatement. Even the RIAA was shocked by the size of the verdict and has made it only too clear it wants to settle the matter as it always has and for a nominal sum.

      Size of the verdict, yes. But not the verdict itself.

      And finally, all this blather about "it was only 24 songs" misses the point.

      No, it does not.

      Doubtless the plaintiffs (record labels and NOT the RIAA) could have identified many, many more music files, but obviously chose not to do so since this lawsuit and others like it were for the purpose of making a point and not bankrupting defendants

      You don't find that sickening? That they are trying to make a point out of one person chosen mostly at random? That's not what our civil litigation system is intended to do.

      As for the 24 songs, that's all she was charged with. Claiming that they could have charged her with more so we should consider the large number is again quite sickening. I can't believe you would support such a gross distortion of the law. If she wasn't charged with those other songs, she could not and did not defend against them. To claim that she's guilty despite not actually having been tried for those songs is really disgusting.

      You, sir, should be ashamed to support such a thing. Especially given your past stance on this site that this is all about "morality." How is it possibly moral to take someone who simply put files into a certain folder on their computer, not present any proof that any actual sharing with unauthorized people went on, then use things she wasn't even on trial for to justify the final result?

      Sickening.

       

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        C.T., Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re:

        "Separately, the silly claim pushed by the entertainment industry that fair use is "only a defense" and not a "right" is a gross distortion of copyright law. It's pretty much a sure sign that someone is being intellectually dishonest.

        If you are granted clear ability to make use of content through "fair use" then it is a right. Period. Pretending it is not is lying."

        Mike - I feel that you are engaging in a bit of revisionism yourself. Fair use has never been a right per se, but instead, has always been an affirmative defense to copyright infringement. This is why you cannot seek a declaratory judgment that a particular use is a fair use.

        Personally I feel that fair use should be expanded and perhaps turned into a positive right. But to claim that it currently is, is a gross misinterpretation of the law.

         

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        Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re:

        Sickening

        I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. A couple Tylenol and some bed rest should have you back on your feet in no time.

         

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    scott parsons, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Ask the jurors

    Is it possible over there to actually interview the jurors and ask them the reasoning behind their decision? Legally I mean, logistically might also be difficult but I thought it might be fascinating to see their reasoning.

    It is easy to get disconnected from what the average Joe on the street thinks about copyright from here inside the echo chamber

     

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    Charles, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    I have 2 theories.... 1. That this whole thing is rigged so that they have a baseline on how much they can "charge" people for pirating their "music" and 2nd.... The jury is a group of her peers which know S*** about anything.. usually... and if it was a group of our peers this would of been shot down in a short time....

     

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      Exactly.

      One juror was dismissed after admitting that he had friends who used Kazaa. *Of course* they are going to rule in the prosecution's favor if no one on the computer has any background in computers, p2p, or knowledge of file sharing.

      Even worse, this is nothing new with jury selection.

      To be a true jury of my peers, they would have to be chosen at random and not questioned at all.

       

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    RD, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    "[What culture were "people" promised? Who promised it?]"

    The UNITED STATES FUCKING CONSTITUTION you asshole.

     

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    RD, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    FU

    "[What culture were "people" promised? Who promised it?]"

    The UNITED STATES FUCKING CONSTITUTION you asshole.

    GOD DAMN I am sick of industry apologists who are willing to sell our rights, culture, and the constitution right down the river to the greedy corporations without so much as a LITTLE consideration for the contract with society.

     

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      LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

      Re: FU

      The UNITED STATES FUCKING CONSTITUTION you asshole.

      Yes, well, that clause in the constitution gave Congress the power to set the limits on copyright, which it has. Constitutionally. If you think the limits are wrong, ask Congress to change it.

      GOD DAMN I am sick of industry apologists who are willing to sell our rights, culture, and the constitution right down the river

      No one has sold the constitution or your rights down the river (see above).

      And copyright doesn't sell your culture down the river. Does it become "your culture" only when works enter the public domain? The works of John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, Leonard Bernstein are solidly part of our culture. Catcher in the Rye is iconic in our culture. The Godfather and Star Wars are part of our culture. Even the famed Mickey Mouse is our culture. All under copyright. All part of our culture.

       

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    Nick, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Jury selection process

    I didn't see this mentioned in any of the early comments, but what about the not-so-minor point that any of the candidate jurors in the jury pool that engaged in (or even knew anything about) file sharing were excluded by the RIAA lawyers?

    The other point I would make is that for baby boomers and older (i.e. people that were already at least in their 30s when the web rolled around), the jury's view probably *is* fairly representative - they wouldn't necessarily grasp that copying content is one of the main things that computers *do* in their normal course of operation, so they'd be more inclined to accept the RIAA's "file-sharing-is-theft" misrepresentation.

    Sure, plenty of older folks that actually work in technical fields (or actually listen to their own kids) do get the distrinction between copying and steal as well as the younger ones that started using the web when they were teenagers (or younger) and have never known anything else.

    But I think there is a definite age-based demographic split here, and I'm sure the RIAA did everything they could to make sure that the jury make-up was skewed towards an older non-computer-literate crowd.

     

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      LostSailor (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 3:11pm

      Re: Jury selection process

      It may not have mattered if jurors were previously aware of file sharing or that copying is what computers "do" or the difference between file sharing and stealing.

      Thomas-Rasset wasn't on trial for stealing. She was on trial for copyright infringement. While the defense tried to introduce as many other issues (were the copyrights valid, etc.), did downloading of copyrighted songs occur and did Thomas-Rasset do it? The jury thought there was sufficient evidence that copying happened and Thomas-Rasset did it. It's not really a matter of dispute that it's illegal. Or at least that wasn't disputed at trial.

       

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    Overcast (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    I can claim the sky is hot pink too - doesn't make it true.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

    Um..people? Missing an important point here..copying is only one of several exclusive rights retained by a copyright holder. Distribution is another, and whether or not one considers file sharing "copying," I don't think anyone could argue that it isn't distribution.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 6:39pm

    I do not see any evidence to support the claim that the jury is representative of anything other than a jury.

    In the RIAA link they even admit that their method of sampling is not representative of the entire population.

     

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