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Kazaa to Sue Movie, Record Companies 269

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the tables-turned dept.
darwin writes "According to a (brief) story at yahoo, Sherman Networks (A.K.A Kazaa) just got the go ahead to sue the studios and record companies for copyright infringement. 'Studios and record companies had asked the court to throw out Sharman's countersuit, but U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles declined to do so.'"
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Kazaa to Sue Movie, Record Companies

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  • They'll never win... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rockenreno (573442) <(rockenreno) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:21PM (#8075790)
    but bravo to Sharman Networks for making they effort!
    • by igrp (732252) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:47PM (#8075958)
      Well, actually, at this point the issue is not whether Sherman Networks has a case at all.

      The defendants merely asked the judge to throw the case out on the basis of the allegations set forth in the counterclaim being "too vague".

      Think of it of a text book pre-trail motion; it doesn't really have anything to do with the material case at hand. Plus, the lawsuit is going to get (at least partly) suspended until all the appeals of the Grokster case [com.com] are sorted out. At least, Judge Wilson doesn't seem to a man who bows down to pressure.

    • by Mod Me God Too (687245) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:06PM (#8076075)
      Sharman Network are no P2P heros. They took over the disbanded Kazaa (after the Dutch court case), implanted huge amounts of Spyware^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Adware and have ruthlessly ruled over the Fasttrack network, shutting down Kazaa Lite, barring other P2P clients etc. They are in this to keep their quick buck rolling, not for the good of P2P (bittorent, WinMX etc), not to tackle the establishment's copyright encorcement, but purely to extract a few more dollars from Kazaa users.
  • hehe (Score:5, Funny)

    by fjordboy (169716) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:21PM (#8075791) Homepage
    RIAA/MPAA: "You're infringing on copyrights!"

    Kazaa: "No, you are!"

    Sounds like playground banter to me.
    • I'm hoping the evil RIAA and dodgy Sharman Networks do some serious damage to each other.

      Is that wrong?

    • Re:hehe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by socialpariah (739757) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:52PM (#8076332) Homepage
      I appreciate the humorous take on the article, but, seriously, consider the situation.

      RIAA: Searches inside people's computers, against their will, for sole purposes of litigation. Sues KaZaA (and consumers, ISPs, ...)

      KaZaA: Provides medium for exchange of computer files. Consumers use this to exchange illegal files. Sues RIAA for using illegal, modified copies of their software for purposes against their EULA.

      My only point is that I don't consider KaZaA's suit any less legitimate than the RIAA's suits.
    • No, this is the file sharing community growing up and establishing their legal rights to what goes on in their network. Unfortunately when you establish legal rights, then you also assume legal responsibilities. Did I spell that right?
  • What is infringing? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:22PM (#8075794)
    They are suing for copyright infringement. The article is sparse on details.

    Does anyone have any idea what part of Sherman's IP was redistributed?
    • by Snork Asaurus (595692) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:24PM (#8075824) Journal
      Does anyone have any idea what part of Sherman's IP was redistributed?

      I think it was the 192.168. part.

    • by Smitedogg (527493) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:25PM (#8075830) Homepage
      The RIAA used an altered version of their Kazaa client to find all those people that they then subpeonaed, which Sherman Networks feels violates their rights.

      What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
      • by Tokerat (150341) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:02PM (#8076058) Journal

        Then it's a violation of Serman Networks TOS, not copyright infringement, unless they copied source straight from Kazaas codebase.
        • Yes, copyright doesn't say anything about modifying it. But you see, the TOS is what gives you the right to have the copy of it in the first place. Without the licence agreement with them, you aren't allowed to have it. So copyright violations. Just like if you break the GPL, you get sued for copyright violations, since without the licence, you have no permission to copy and distribute the code.

          Some judges have ruled that since a computer loads a program into memory, running a program is a copyright

          • by spitzak (4019) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @04:20PM (#8076517) Homepage
            If their client was GPL, the RIAA could modify the source code all they want to make whatever evil program they wanted, and they would not be violating the GPL or copyright. It has been shown many times that the GPL allows you to modify code for your own use. This is because the GPL only grants some additional rights that copyright does not allow, and copyright already allows you to do this. Thus the GPL cannot stop it.

            Only if they "distributed" the resulting program would they be violating the GPL. And certainly they would not be distributing it, since that would allow the enemies of the RIAA to get it and try to figure out how to outwit it's purpose.

            So IMHO this is in no way a copyright violation, and KAZAA is completely wrong to even attempt this.
            • If their client was GPL,... So IMHO this is in no way a copyright violation, and KAZAA is completely wrong to even attempt this.

              If your assumption were correct, your argument would make sense, but who said Kazaa was GPL'd? ... I don't think it is even open-source. A quick google for 'kazaa license' turned up this [kazaa.com] which might be the license.
        • Maybe they did...that would be a great way to identify users in an automatic 'database'.
        • Sharman->Sherman
          Sherman->Serman ...

          In other news, /. readers cheer on Semen Network's lawsuit against the RIAA for having used Kazaa Lite, despite the fact that many of them have used that same software. "It's not hypocracy," one reader explained. "Kazaa Lite is like 3 P2P clients ago. No one uses that any more."

          -a
      • What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

        Hell yeah! It's clear the RIAA and other large copyright holders feal, for some reason, that they're above the law. It's like a guy who gets his wallet stolen going out and stealing the criminal's girlfriend's car. It may feal good and all, but it's still theft and you'll still be held acountable when your case hits the courts. TW
      • No winners here. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by s20451 (410424)
        The RIAA used an altered version of their Kazaa client to find all those people that they then subpeonaed, which Sherman Networks feels violates their rights.

        So wait just a minute. On the one hand, we have the record companies trying to shut down P2P. On the other hand, we have Kazaa trying to enforce an EULA. Which do you want to win?

        Somewhere in an underground lair deep beneath the Hollywood hills, a deranged genius is stroking a cat and laughing maniacally.

        Seriously now. This sounds like a lose-
        • On the other hand, we have Kazaa trying to enforce an EULA. Which do you want to win?

          Be careful there. The GPL is based on the same principle as EULAs are: You have no right to copy this unless you meet <conditions>. With the GPL, the conditions just give more options to the user than a typical EULA does.

          If you declare EULAs unenforceable, you declare the GPL unenforceable.

          I think I'd root for the EULAs in that case.
  • by Dr Reducto (665121) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:22PM (#8075804) Journal
    I RTFA, but I don't see how what the RIAA did is copyright infringement. Putting fake files on a network is not copyright infringement, it just decreases the S/N ratio.
    • by corebreech (469871) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:25PM (#8075831) Journal
      I thought it was because the recording studios violated the license Kazaa is distributed under [slashdot.org], which I guess counts as a copyright violation.

      I wish them the best of luck.
    • by Tim C (15259) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:27PM (#8075849)
      The article is extremely light on details, but I can think of one way in which they may be able to sue for copyright infringement.

      *If* the Kazaa licence explicitly forbids using it for such purposes, then the RIAA's agents are in violation of the licence agreement. That means that, as I understand copyright law, they have no right to have even installed the software, and so are infringing on Sharman Network's copyright.
      • by stubear (130454) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:43PM (#8075941)
        From another article on this topic:
        "Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network, and that they violated its own software's license agreement by sending warning messages to people on its network."

        The only copyright violation would be by the developers of KazaaLite, not the RIAA and at best there is only a license violation here. Interestingly enough, if the RIAA loses this would strengthen the use of EULAs to protect software. But no, license violations are not necessarily copyright violations and in this case specifically.
        • The only copyright violation would be by the developers of KazaaLite

          Not true. Remember that any validity in EULAs comes from the ruling that installing and running software both involve making copies, so permission from the copyright holder is required. If that precedent had not been set, groups like the BSA would have no legal support.

      • This could establish good case law for or against EULAs.
      • That means that, as I understand copyright law, they have no right to have even installed the software, and so are infringing on Sharman Network's copyright.

        No. Copyright law deals with such things as copying, distribution, public performance, etc. Violating an EULA does not necessarily involve copyright infringement. For instance, if you download a sofware package from the publisher's web site and later violate the license, you are not in violation of copyright unless the license violation involves one o
    • Kazaa's network may be proprietary, and the connection algorithms and things may be owned by Kazaa. Distributing a client to record companies (or even making one) for the purpose of uploading files to the network that aren't legit is violation of their EULA.

      Also:

      2.11 Monitor traffic or make search requests in order to accumulate information about individual users;

      2.1 Transmit or communicate any data that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

      2.13 Modify, delete or damage any information contained on the personal computer of any Kazaa Media Desktop user; or

      2.14 Collect or store personal data about other users.

      3.2 Except as expressly permitted in this Licence, you agree not to reverse engineer, de-compile, disassemble, alter, duplicate, modify, rent, lease, loan, sublicense, make copies, create derivative works from, distribute or provide others with the Software in whole or part, transmit or communicate the application over a network.

      3.3 You may not sell, transfer or communicate the Software to any third party without our prior express written consent.

      • by stubear (130454) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:40PM (#8075924)
        From another article"
        "Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network, and that they violated its own software's license agreement by sending warning messages to people on its network."/blockquote

        The only copyright violation would be by the developers of KazaaLite, not the RIAA and at best there is only a license violation here. Interestingly enough, if the RIAA loses this would strengthen the use of EULAs to protect software. But no, license violations are not necessarily copyright violations and in this case specifically.
        • by xigxag (167441) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @04:39PM (#8076690)
          You don't say who wrote that article, but it's totally incorrect.

          Think about it. My company buys a hacked copy of MS Office 2003 from a company called MyCrowsOffed for 5 bucks, and we install it on 200 computers. Meanwhile MyCrowsOffed goes out of business.

          Microsoft finds out and wants to sue us. Under what grounds? Can't be license violation, because we didn't agree to any license, we bought de-licensed hackware from a defunct company.

          So does that mean I get to install and use illegal software without penalties? I didn't write it, so I can't be blamed? Cool.

          Well, no. So obviously the quoted article is wrong.
      • by kauai_geek (100971) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:52PM (#8075991)
        This is so great. all of the studio execs and movie moguls/ riaa payroll members were so stoked when they got the DMCA passed, little did they know it was going to be the beginning of their downfall.

        The irony of the situation amuses me to no end.
    • I don't think it was the network poisoning that was the issue (anyone posting rap music or Metallica would come under that heading so far as I'm concerned) but rather it was the way that the RIAA used a custom client program to access the network to garner data on infringers. It depends ... everything is sold under a license, nowadays, and if Kazaa's license (and I've not read it so I'm just spewing here) specifically forbade specific types of network access and the RIAA did it anyway they could be open to
  • by Steamhead (714353) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:23PM (#8075806) Homepage
    Oh wait...
  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:23PM (#8075810)
    ...McDonalds sues fat customers for eating their food.

    "They're, like, totally eating too much!" one frustrated McDonalds manager said. "If they don't stop eating our Big Macs... they'll, you know, explode!"

    The Fat Customers Association of America (FCAA) could not be reached for comment.

  • Other suit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrLZRDMN (728996) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:23PM (#8075815)
    I think that all of the people who were sued by RIAA/MPAA should make a counter suit for invading their computers.
    • Invade? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slobarnuts (666254)
      How did the RIAA/MPAA invade their computer?

      They accessed information SERVED by the computer, in no way did they 'invade' it. They choose to share the files anyway, so they were inviting whatever traffic came in.

      As for downloading,
      the fake files may fill up your harddrive, but its your own fault, not the MPAA/RIAA.
      unless you are refering to the viruses, but no one has proved that the RIAA is at fault.
      • They invaded it by actively going after an IP address through the ISP. There should be a reasonable expectation of privacy through these services; yet they lost in recent court battles. Either way...I think it would be ironic to 'snoop' the RIAA's web surfing habits and see what it turns up. They're probably the sickest of the sick and the worst of the worst when it comes to the web.
  • by JohnTheFisherman (225485) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:24PM (#8075820)
    Is very unVanuatusian! Or something.
  • by rjelks (635588) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:24PM (#8075823) Homepage
    Pot says to Kettle: You're Black.

    -
    • Man, (Score:3, Funny)

      by KalvinB (205500)
      can't go 5 minutes without someone saying some racist remark.

      *notes that probably five people caught that on "The Apprentice"*

      Ben
  • Kazaa sues the Media Conglomerates. No, wait....
  • Grandstanding... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JayBlalock (635935) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:27PM (#8075843)
    It's certainly amusing, but they have no serious legal leg to stand on which I can see. And why sue for copyright infringement of all things, besides the irony factor? You might be able to get something on them for breaking the TOS, or by claiming the harassment of their users is an intentional ploy to try to destroy their business. (which would be a nice argument, since that's exactly what the RIAA is doing - isn't there something in RICO which covers that?)

    On the whole, though, I'm not sure this is a good idea. If the courts find that Kazaa can assume legal responsibility in matters done TO their users, that puts them a step closer to being responsible for things done BY their users.

    • Actually, I disagree. Reading the posts elsewhere, it seems like as though the Kazaa folks do indeed have a case for infringement of the terms of the license.

      I haven't read the terms of the license (who does?) but doesn't it also prevent users from using the software illegally. In that case, can anyone *force* them to sue home users who use the software illegally?

      I'm not a fervent supporter of either party in this but if Sharman Networks win this case, my sympathy for the entertainment corporations wo

      • by JayBlalock (635935) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:58PM (#8076030)
        Well, it's AN argument, but not the best argument. They seem to have chosen this case based on ironic value rather than legal value. ie, "Oh look! Kazaa is suing the RIAA for the exact same thing the RIAA sued them for! That's t3h funny!"

        One problem I see is that they're attempting to sue them for using KazaaLite, in violation of Kazaa's license agreement. Which means they are attempting to enforce an agreement that the RIAA may have never signed. And it would be a whole lot easier to hit KazaaLite with an IP infringement case than users thereof. The argument CAN be made, but it's not a very strong one. (it would be, as I see it, basically equivilent to suing a kid for wearing an unlicensed Simpsons T-shirt - in strict legal terms it might be illegal, but it's very problematic to argue. To begin with, you'd have to establish malicious intent and some sort of knowledge that the product in question was illegitimate)

        Also, TOS\EULA violation cases don't have too much legal precedent behind them, and certainly aren't upheld universally. What might be grounds to terminate a user for TOS violations aren't necessarily grounds to sue. Again, it's another hurdle that could be overcome, but not assured. Now, if Kazaa had sent the RIAA a C&D citing TOS violations ordering them to stop using the service, which the RIAA then ignored - then there would be a case. But I don't think this happened.

        In the meantime, there are any number of anti-trust \ RICO-style laws under which a far stronger argument could be made. It is almost inarguable that the RIAA is throwing huge amounts of money and resources trying to litigate Kazaa to death. If Kazaa presented itself as legitimate competition, which the RIAA is illegally attempting to destroy rather than facing them on the open market, they'd have a pretty good case. It would come down to a pure verdict on whether the RIAA's actions were anti-competitive.

      • Increased sympathy for the RIAA? Now THAT'S a new one in this forum....
    • And why sue for copyright infringement of all things, besides the irony factor?

      Perhaps they want to give these organisations reason to limit the powers of these laws that they have bought?

    • Re:Grandstanding... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vDave420 (649776)

      It's certainly amusing, but they have no serious legal leg to stand on which I can see. And why sue for copyright infringement of all things, besides the irony factor? You might be able to get something on them for breaking the TOS, [...]

      Get the facts first... but then, this is Slashdot.

      NOTE: IANAL but IAAP2pD(eveloper). Our EULA specifically forbids using our software for the purposes of identifying users for legal action. Also, specific companies and known agents of RIAA/MPAA are explicitly barred

  • by JessLeah (625838) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:27PM (#8075848)
    Like, twenty seconds?
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:27PM (#8075850) Journal
    ... p2p companies shutdown copyright holders!
  • by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:28PM (#8075855) Homepage
    "Sharman Networks, the company behind the Kazaa file-sharing software, filed a federal lawsuit in September accusing the entertainment companies of using unauthorized versions of its software in their efforts to snoop out users who were downloading copyright music files from others on the network.

    Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network, and that they violated its own software's license agreement by sending warning messages to people on its network."

    There's the answer; the RIAA/MPAA used an _illegally modified_ version of Kazaa Media Desktop in order to connect to the network. When you install Kazaa Lite (not saying that I have, despite what's copy/pasted next), it states:

    "Please note that installing this software is ILLEGAL and is in violation of the Kazaa Media Desktop Terms of Use. If you do, however, install the software contained in this package, you agree to take ALL responsibility for your actions."

    In this case, it's a big-ass lawsuit against you. The RIAA/MPAA violated the Sharman Networks EULA for Kazaa, and as such, opened themselves to legal action.

    Ironic, isn't it?

    (And to think that they could have used dummy machines to get around the Cydoor, P2P networking, and Gator that was in Kazaa...)
    • "Please note that installing this software is ILLEGAL and is in violation of the Kazaa Media Desktop Terms of Use. If you do, however, install the software contained in this package, you agree to take ALL responsibility for your actions."

      If this came up in a box with an "I agree" button, than it is a typical click-through EULA agreement, and almost everybody agrees that these are unenforcable. Nobody reads them, everybody just clicks "I agree" immediately.

  • to that man.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mr_tommy (619972) <tgraham@RABBITgmail.com minus herbivore> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:29PM (#8075861) Journal
    to the man who said they will never win; what a foolish thing to say. If you have learnt one thing over the past few years it should be to never ever attempt to pre-judge the american (or for that matter any) legal system. The fact is that these trials have a strange habbit of coming out in favour of the group you least expect.

    I wish kazaa the best of luck. I hope it gives the studios a wake up call to the real world.
  • OH I get it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sirReal.83. (671912) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:29PM (#8075862) Homepage
    Sharman, targeted by studios and record companies because its software is used to trade music and video files, has sought to turn the tables on the industry, accusing it of misusing Kazaa software to invade users' privacy and send corrupt files and threatening messages.

    stop me if i'm wrong, but isn't "invading users' privacy" half the reason (the profitable half) that Sharman made Kazaa? Oh wait, now i see where the "infringement" lies...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:30PM (#8075867)
    Today the pot and kettle met at a local kitchen. Both attempted to play the race card.
  • by storl (740323) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:31PM (#8075869)
    I remember reading an article recently (Wired maybe?) about a company that sells download statistics to record companies and radio broadcasters all over the world. They have software that monitors p2p networks, tracks what people are downloading, determines what general area of the country a person is in (by IP, guess) and puts all this in a nice fat database.

    Who cares, right? Well, the music companies are paying these guys for the statistics. The very people that are suing kazaa and their ilk for a piece of software that supposedly only has the major function of piracy are using the same software for a very legitimate and profitable purpose. They love to know that some new song that is the number one download in Omaha isn't even being touched by the radio stations and should thus be put into heavy rotation. When asked about using such data, the radio stations and record companies of course vehemently deny any such affiliation.

    I'm really curious as to whether or not kazaa's suit includes any information on this usage to help them along...
  • by calmdude (605711) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:39PM (#8075916)
    Sharman Networks is headquartered in the island nation of Vanuatu, which has several advantages [offshore-manual.com].

  • It's a EULA case... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:47PM (#8075960)
    If Kazaa loses, wouldn't it be funny if this case establishes that the terms of EULAs are worthless and unenforceable?
    • If Kazaa loses, wouldn't it be funny if this case establishes that the terms of EULAs are worthless and unenforceable?

      There are two types of EULAs:

      • You pay money, buy a box, and then inside is an eula. There is a good chance that such EULAs are unenforcable: It's a restriction that is placed on the buyer after the actual sale. The courts that accepted them did it only on special conditions, usually money back guarantee.
      • You download something from the internet, and then an EULA appears. No prior sal
  • by LittleVito (625033) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:48PM (#8075966) Homepage
    This article [mercurynews.com] has way more details than the parent post. Sharman is suing because the RIAA used Kazaa Lite, an illegal replica of Kazaa without the ads, and for violating the license agreement by sending warnings to Kazaa users. Unlike the Recording and Movie industries, which allege that Kazaa is illegal because it could be used as a tool in copyright infringement, Sharman is alleging that the RIAA is using software which directly violates copyrights. Kazaa Lite explicitly states in the license agreement that it is illegal.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:53PM (#8075992) Homepage Journal
    I still don't understand anyone needing court approval to sue someone. If I believe you've wronged me, I should be able to sue you. If I lose, I should have to pay for your defense costs as well as court costs. Enough said there.

    We're in a crises in this country. Laws are so convoluted, so full of holes and stops, that no one can understand them. Tort law has been thrown out and instead has been replaced with protections for those well connected. In the past, if you wronged someone, you had to pay for the consequences. Today, private property is all but gone, and the person or group with the most money controls what used to be your property, through the courts.

    Sherman Networks should be able to sue a user for abusing its license. When you use software, you agree to the license of the owner of that software. Why is it that slashdotters gripe about Microsoft's crazy license (and yet go on and use the software), but its now fine for SN to use the same protection? Kazaa is their software. You use it under a license, and they can revoke it if you break their rules. It is their property.

    This country needs to get out of its American System of Mercantilism as invented by Henry Clay and move towards a system of capitalism where private property protects you from the greed and wealth of others.
    • +1, Insightful
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:16PM (#8076120)
      However, once you file a suit, it can be thrown out if it is frivilous. Like, say I sue for something really stupid, like I think you are ugly so you owe me money for that. SHould you be required to spend the money to defend yourself form that? No, it should be thrown out because the lawsuit has no merit. Well what happened here is that the judge said that Kaazaa's case DID have merit, and it will therefore proceed.

      We actually need to strengthen this, as there are way too many frivilous suits these days.
      • I agree. Judges already have the necessary authority to accept/reject any case based upon its' merit (or lack of it) so the problem really is the judge's judgment. I don't really have a clue how to "strengthen" that.
    • Its not that the court said it was OK for Shaman networks to sue, its that the judge dismissed the RIAA's request to have the charges thrown out of court. In effect, the judge said "this lawsuit isnt just frivilous bullshit, let it go forward"
    • Although you have a point with the EULA issue, the case may be that the RIAA didn't use the official client and thus never agreed to the license in the first place; the main fault would be with the creator of the hacked client, which may not be the RIAA. Your general point reminds me of Brodingnag in Gulliver's Travels, in which laws may be no longer in words than the number of letters in their alphabet; this prevents the legal system of England which the king is so shocked to hear about, in which writing a
    • There are A LOT of ways to get a case thrown out before the case gets heard. Arguing that the case is frivolous, that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue (typically because someone who isn't really a party to the issue involved in the case), that the court doesn't have jurisdiction to hear the case (federal vs. state courts, for instance), that the venue is inappropriate (should be heard by a court somewhere else), and many more (IANAL).

      If you could sue anyone for anything you wanted you could do damage b

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2004 @02:55PM (#8076007)
    This is actually good news, because If the RIAA wins, it effectively destroys the credibility of click through or shrinkwrapped contracts. That means that suddenly everything you've ever clicked yes too becomes null and void.

    I actually hope the RIAA wins this one, it'll mean the end of all the stupid crap that I have to deal with when i have to reinstall a friends windows box.
  • by Mal Reynolds (676267) <Michael_stev80@hotma i l .com> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:01PM (#8076049)
    I suspect they're accusing the recording and movie industry of doing (effectively) what the Kazaa light group did. Making custom version of the Kazaa client to suit their own needs. It's a clear violation of the DMCA and of Kazaa's copyrights.
    The RIAA and MPAA have employed very secretive companies like Bay TSP to develop systems designed to disrupt the P2P networks. Bay TSP has apparently authored specialized version of the Kazaa client to do just this. Which of course, because of the DMCA, is an act of illegal reverse engineering. In addition, this work had the clear intention of disrupting a network, a probable criminal violation.
    There are probably a number of cyber crime laws that Bay TSP regularly violates as well. Because what Bay TSP is doing for the RIAA and MPAA is nothing more than serving as a paid vigilante.
    While it is the duty of the RIAA and MPAA to report instances of copyright violation to law enforcement, they have gone far beyond that. They're now actively subverting the computer systems of those they assume to be guilty. There is no trial, there isn't even any official accusation. They are their own judge, jury and executioner. This is why vigilantism is illegal in most forms, just as it is in this one.
    And if this means Bay TSP and their ilk are knocked down a notch and forced to act within the law, I applaud Kazaa for this action.
  • by frohike (32045) <bard.allusion@net> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:03PM (#8076061) Homepage

    You should always be careful when you squeeze the Sharman!

    Ba-dum-psshh.. thanks, I'll be here all evening. Tip your waitresses and try the buffet.

  • Does this complex of countersuits resolve more clearly a consumer's right to duplicate the CDs they bought? If I make a few copies of a CD I bought, can't I play one at home, one in the car, one in the office, and another in the closet as backup, for reduplication when those other copies are too scratched to play any more? If I give a copy to someone else, that seems like a violation, but if I keep all my copies for my own use, is that OK?
  • by Grym (725290) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:47PM (#8076301)

    This was, in fact, going to a question to Slashdot. But here goes anyway:

    The FastTrack network (KaZaa), supports multisourced downloading. This cannot be changed in the settings. So, here's the problem: When the RIAA goes to court, how are they proving that the downloads haven't been multisourced from different people? Because if they are, at worst they're only proving that the client had SOME of A FILE which happened to come together into the song in the end. For instance, let's say I had a song that began as a sample from an RIAA-copyrighted song but then broke into a song that I created. If they're using multiple sources, how can they prove that the song they have isn't the beginning of their song with a middle and end that belong to me?

    But what if, to avoid the above legal problem, the RIAA made their own client that did not support multisourced downloads, which is what I believe they have done. Wouldn't this require them to reverse-engineer the KaZaa client, and wouldn't THAT put them in violation of the DMCA AND general software copyright law since they are using it to make a profit [thestreet.com]?

    What's more, I'm interested in how they are proving how many songs somebody is hosting. Are they, for instance, downloading one MD5-hashed song and then using the shared list to infer that the rest are legitimate RIAA-copyrighted songs? Or are they downloading every song and then comparing the MD5-hashes? And if the latter is the case, can it be implemented in the peer-to-peer protocols to keep individual users from uploading to the same people? That way, any lawsuit could be limited to say 5 songs or so?

    What do you guys think?

    -Grym
  • by ScooterBill (599835) * on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:47PM (#8076303)
    I've always thought it was funny that the government can tax illegal gambling winnings. It just means that two wrongs don't make a right. In this case, despite the fact that there was illegal traffic in copyrighted materials, doesnt' waive the right to all other protections under the law. Otherwise, why didnt' the RIAA storm into Sharman's office and take baseball bats to them.

    M
    • Taxing illegal activities is a sneaky way for governments to make criminal punishments more severe without explicitly passing a law increasing punishments. Once they bust you on illegal gambling, they go after you for tax evasion.

      A few years ago there was a state that passed a marijuana sales tax so they could hit dealers with tax evasion on top of drug-dealing charges. Funnily enough, a dealer actually paid the tax, which nobody really expected. A court ruled the state couldn't use that as evidence ag

  • by TSage (702439) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:50PM (#8076317)
    OK, the article has basically no details on the (possibly) pending suit, so I'm going to have to go with what other slashdotters are saying: that the clients used by the entertainment industries are violating the EULA and/or the TOS for Kazza's networks and IP. Someone please correct me if this is wrong.

    Seemingly, this would seem to go along great with what most on Slashdot want. (Well, besides the ones that wish to see the RIAA HQ violently explode on national TV. ;) But, this is really not something I want to support.

    If Sherman Networks wins, what exactly will be so great? We get a better S/N ratio on Kazaa? We get to stick it to the industries with a taste of their own medicine and say "neener neener neeeener!"? OK, I suppose that sounds good, at least to some. But, doesn't this also just strengthen the EULA and other such frivolous legal mumbo-jumbo? Wouldn't that just prove that the EULA is a real and binding contract?

    Assuming I've understood the suit (which as I pointed out up top, I'm not sure I have), it seems many people are being hasty and blinded by their wish to see the entertainment industry falter. I mean this would amount to nothing more than thinking that it's OK to use Gestapo tactics, but only if they're used on criminals. Slashdot is quick to fall in love with this battle only to lose the war.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

    TSage
  • Huh?!? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#8076427) Homepage Journal
    When did I get to Bizzaro-World?

    Jaysyn
  • It's SHARMAN Networks not Sherman Networks....
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @04:53PM (#8076790)
    I know this is being run as a 'classical' US copyright thing, but it emphasises my point in that U.S DMCA joke - as a prime example of legislative high-end bullshit - being a perfect tool for severe - as we germans call it - creative nonsense.
    Basically you can sue everybody and everything for using anything that you're involved in. Think of the copyrighted Haiku for spam filtering or now this. Which, mind you, actually by law IS a case, imho.
    Build a network for OSS projects, with a own protocol, copyright the stuff and add a modified GPL that forbids anyone who ever even thought of issueing a software patent to come nearer to it's code than 500 yards. As soon as Mickeysoft / RIAA or the likewise even twitches, sue them to chunky kibbles.
    Really, if you think about it, this DMCA bullshit - which as I understand, even has gotten US Judges and law experts thinking if that was such a good idea - it's a wonderfull hinge & crowbar for seriously harrasing any organisation (RIAA, etc.) that is a major pain in the butt for any honorable US citizen.
    I'd say it's time for you folks across the pond to use it to fight back. Maybe we europeans then won't have to go through the same hassle wilst our politicians are trying to pull the same braindead stunt. Mindlessly copying all US bullshit without even thinking twice. Instead of copying, for instance, US speedlimits or something else that would actually make sense.
  • Wait... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Geldon (444090)
    The RIAA was using KaZaA Lite to access the KaZaA network? Do you think they installed the IP blocker software? They wouldn't want to end up sueing themselves on accident ;-)

    IPs to sue:

    145.34.75.2
    216.45.35.43
    192.168.1.45...
  • When they cracked down on the K-Lite client and website, many people thought they were shooting themselves in the foot, since many of the bigger 'hubs' were probably running K-Lite and wouldn't switch to a spyware-riddled client.

    Now it makes sense as a first (necessary) step in their intention to sue the **AA.

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