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RIAA Victims Bring Class Action Against Kazaa 288

Posted by Zonk
from the playing-right-into-their-hands dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In Chicago, Illinois, a Kazaa customer has filed a class action against Kazaa, Lewan v. Sharman, U.S.Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill 06-cv-6736. The lead plaintiff, Catherine Lewan, was a Kazaa customer who was sued by the RIAA for her use of Kazaa, and paid a settlement to the RIAA, and she sues on behalf of others in her position. In her complaint(pdf) she alleges, among other things, that Kazaa deceptively marketed its product as allowing 'free downloads' (Complaint, par. 30); it designed the software in such a manner as to create a shared files folder and make that folder available to anyone using Kazaa, while at the same time failing to make the user aware that it had done so (Complaint, par. 36-37); and it surreptitiously installed 'spyware' on users' computers which made the shared files folder accessible to the Kazaa network even after the user had removed the Kazaa software from his or her computer (Complaint, par. 42-45)."
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RIAA Victims Bring Class Action Against Kazaa

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:23PM (#17150162) Homepage Journal
    ...I also don't support using the courts to try to decide who is a victim and who isn't. For me, I'd rather buy optional insurance to protect my transactions than worry about suing someone.

    This is another case that reminds me of so many court cases and other reasons to ask the State for help:

    "It wasn't my anger, your honor, it was the gun!"
    "It wasn't my inability to stop eating, your honor, it was the pill!"
    "It wasn't my irresponsibility to save for the future, your honor, it was commercial society!"
    "It isn't that I refuse to learn a trade and stick to it, it is just fair to pay a living wage!"

    Sheesh. Yet another waste of time that will only make the lawyers wealthier and the State more powerful.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:30PM (#17150334) Journal
      Welcome to the land of no accountability. We don't hold anyone accountable for what they do here, not our politicians, not corporate CEOs, and definitely not morons who hurt themselves or break the law.

      It's always someone else's fault.
      • by wawannem (591061) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:41PM (#17150544) Homepage
        Although you may be right, I think there may be some merit to her case. Do we punish the owners of the masses of infected/infested PCs who spew out tons of email? We assume that everyone understands technology and legal issues the way we do, but in fact, I would say that it is very possible (even likely) that most people don't understand the ramifications of using Kazaa. Imagine a teenager showing a grandparent the library of music available online through Kazaa. Having never used the software, I can't say whether or not there are warnings about the dangers of trading copyrighted content, but if the warnings are obscure and not prevalent (like the warning labels of cigarettes) then maybe they should be held accountable.
        • by dada21 (163177) *
          And how do you, as an individual, hold masses accountable? Most say through laws, but the laws just don't work. If a law is created, does it really change what the masses want to do? Not a chance, ever. Most people don't murder because they know it is wrong -- not because the law says "don't murder." Even with the law, murders occur more or less as often as before (and I would say moreso because of other laws that have caused people to lose their minds). Do laws against theft make you not steal? I do
          • by hsmith (818216)
            Also note that laws protect the state NOT that individual. Much as in a murder case. The case isn't brought on on behalf of the family, it is brought on by the state. In many states, individuals cannot privately prosecute a murderer, only the state can. Criminals are locked up on behalf of the state, they aren't for the victim.

            Laws are created to protect the massive state, not individuals. SOmething that most others seem to forget.
          • by wawannem (591061) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:39PM (#17151558) Homepage
            I never yelled "There should be a law!"

            I think you are completely missing my point. I agree that people know that stealing is wrong, but what I suggest is that many people may not realize that listening to music they haven't paid for is stealing. Before the massive ad campaigns, I think most people didn't realize that they could be sued for downloading music. I had to explain to a sister-in-law that napster/kazaa was a bad idea because they were stealing and their response went something like: "Well... I listen to it on the radio without paying for it, is that stealing? If not, how is it stealing when I listen on my computer?" This is an educated (master's degree) adult who was confused on the matter.

            I don't doubt that people don't steal because it is wrong, but if such a mass of people are stealing could it be possible that they don't realize they are stealing?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by StrongAxe (713301)
              but what I suggest is that many people may not realize that listening to music they haven't paid for is stealing.

              Actually, that isn't exactly what the law says (see below). In fact, there is a great deal of confusion between the verbs is and has been legislated to be (or is, according to the laws of {insert jurisdiction here}).

              is implies an absolute state of equality, while copyright laws vary widely between jurisdictions. While p2p music sharing may be illegal in the United States, it isn't in Canada
            • by MacWiz (665750)
              I agree that people know that stealing is wrong, but what I suggest is that many people may not realize that listening to music they haven't paid for is stealing.

              That's ridiculous.

              I live in Tempe, Arizona, about a mile from Sun Devils Stadium. The last time the Rolling Stones played there, I could hear the bass and drums in my living room. U2 had speakers high up enough that we got clear vocals, too. The city also has frequent concerts and special events, which are held outdoors near the lake. In the past c
        • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:03PM (#17150922) Journal
          It is not Kazza's duty to inform it's customer base of the various laws that cold be broken. Ford or toyota do not place warnings on the stering wheel or fuel tank's cap warning about driving too fast for conditions or speeding or having a valid drivers license or even insurance before operating. In most states/areas. you don't even need a valid drivers license to buy a car. Try getting out of a ticket by claiming the manufacturer never warned or instructed you about the laws. Try going back after them when you gte busted for breaking a law they never informed you about.

          It is the consumers obligation to know what they are using and how it to be used. As with almost everything else, Kazza, cars, kitchen knives, ropes, chains,/whatever can be used in a way that isn't legal. Furthermore, It could be not legal in one area but legal in another. Or under certain circumstances were maybe downloading an audio file of the garage band next door is and downloading three doors down might not be. This is just like driving a car down the street isn't illegal but driving a car down the street without a license might be.

          The only merit I can see from this suit is were it says the shared folders still shares files after you try to remove the software and the software makes it appear that you did. The difference in this and small label on the tobacco packs is that the tobacco companies were force to place the warnings there and actively campaigned to deny the health risks. Kazza has always claimed downloading and sharing someone else's copywriten material without there permission was not legal. They kust claimed that there are legal uses like open source software or situations were the copyright hold places the files online to the shared.

          In contrast, that would be like the tobacco companies claiming that cigs make good cleaning agants when used in a certain manor instead of claiming the surgeon general warning were bunk and smoking is healthful.
          • by db32 (862117)
            Well I am going to go ahead and use your slashdot favorite of the car. Kazaa knows full well that sharing those files is illegal. Now it certainly isn't their responsibility to stop you from downloading them, however, they certainly have some responsibility in the fact that their stuff is deceptive as hell and defaults to sharing all files, and IIRC searches your computer for things to share beyond what you download. So...now to my point of your silly car analogy. Its like if Ford and Toyota connected a
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by undii (965381)
            Hmm in my owners manual for my motorbike and car they both state to not break the speed limit and use the vehicle in a dangerous manner. My bike also has warning stickers on the fuel tank with regards to not putting the helmet on the handlebars or fuel tank as it may fall off (and break protective lining or shell) It looks like they do have (some) accountability with things like this?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Ford or toyota do not place warnings on the stering wheel or fuel tank's cap warning about driving too fast for conditions or speeding or having a valid drivers license or even insurance before operating.

            Uh, they put warnings in the manual about driving too fast for conditions, speeding, et cetera.

            Try getting out of a ticket by claiming the manufacturer never warned or instructed you about the laws.

            You need a license to [legally] drive a car. The licensing procedure is intended to ensure that all

        • by mangu (126918) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:19PM (#17151200)
          Do we punish the owners of the masses of infected/infested PCs who spew out tons of email?

          We should.

          We assume that everyone understands technology and legal issues the way we do, but in fact, I would say that it is very possible (even likely) that most people don't understand the ramifications of using Kazaa.

          They should. Robert Heinlein wrote in 1949 in his short story "Gulf":

          "If the average man thinks at all, he does silly things like generalizing from a single datum. He uses one-valued logics. If he is exceptionally bright, he may use two-valued, 'either-or' logic to arrive at his wrong answers. If he is hungry, hurt, or personally interested in the answer, he can't use any sort of logic and will discard an observed fact as blithely as he will stake his life on a piece of wishful thinking. He uses the technical miracles created by superior men without wonder nor surprise, as a kitten accepts a bowl of milk. Far from aspiring to higher reasoning, he is not even aware that higher reasoning exists. He classes his own mental proccess as being of the same sort as the genius of an Einstein. Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.
          For explanations of a universe that confuses him he seizes onto numerology, astrology, histerical religions, and other fancy ways to go crazy. Having accepted such glorified nonsense, facts make no impression on him, even at the cost of his own life. Joe, one of the hardest things to believe is the abismal depth of human stuipidity.
          That is why there is always room at the top, why a man with just a little more on the ball can so easily become governor, millionaire, or college president - and why homo sap is sure to be displaced by New Man, because there is so much room for improvement and evolution never stops.
          Here and there among ordinary men there is a rare individual who really thinks, can and does use logic in at least one field - he's often as stupid as the rest outside his study or laboratory - but he can think, if he's not disturbed or sick or frightened. This rare individual is responsible for all the progress made by the race; the others reluctantly adopt his results. Much as the ordinary man distrusts and persecutes the process of thinking he is forced to accept the results occasionally, because thinking is efficient compared with his own mauderings. He may still plant his corn in the dark of the Moon but he will plant better corn developed by better men than he.
          Still rarer is the man who thinks habitually, who applies reason, rather than habit pattern, to all his activity. Unless he masques himself, his is a dangerous life; he is regarded as queer, untrustworthy, subversive of public morals; he is a pink monkey among brown monkeys - a fatal mistake. Unless the pink monkey can brown himself before he is caught.
          The brown monkey's instinct to kill is correct; such men are dangerous to all monkey customs.
          Rarest of all is the man who can and does reason at all times, quickly, accurately, inclusively, despite hope or fear or bodily distress, without egocentric bias or thalamic disturbance, with correct memory, with clear distinction between fact, assumption, and non-fact. Such men exist, Joe; they are 'New Man' - human in all respects, indistinguishable in appearance or under the scalpel from homo sap, yet as unlike him in action as the Sun is unlike a single candle."

          ...


          "I confess to that same affection for democracy, Joe. But it's like yearning for the Santa Claus you believed as a child. For a hundred and fifty years or so democracy, or something like it, could flourish safely. The issues were such as to be settled without disaster by the votes of common men, befogged and ignorant as they were. But now, if the race is simply to stay alive, political decisions depend on real knowledge of such things as nuclear physics, planetary ecology, genetic theory, and even system mechanics. They aren't up to it, Joe. With goodness and more will than they

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by wawannem (591061)
            Wait, let me get this straight... You are quoting a work of fiction [wikipedia.org] as your basis to argue that this woman's case is wrong? That's about as shakey as the people who point to the bible as their argument against masturbation [gnpcb.org]

            Well, we'll let the courts decide then, but I would assume that her attorneys will bring more than works of fiction to the table.

            What I base my opinion on is what I've observed. In my observation, a lot of the people I know who have used Kazaa are not computer professionals or copyri
            • by mangu (126918) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:02PM (#17153192)
              They assume that they pay for tangible items, and that digital copies aren't stealing because there is no physical DVD or CD.


              I fully agree with this. Copyright violation is not stealing.


              But my point wasn't about this very important difference. My point, on which I extensively quoted Heinlein's opinion, is that being considered "intelligent, educated citizens" isn't enough if your education is limited to non-technical issues. This was already true when Heinlein published his story more than five decades ago, and it's much more relevant today.
               

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)
          Although you may be right, I think there may be some merit to her case. Do we punish the owners of the masses of infected/infested PCs who spew out tons of email?

          Because we're rather sure they had nothing to gain by making their PC and Internet slow and annoying. In this case, she quite clearly got "free" music which sounds like a rather good motive if you ask me. Just downloading is against the law tiself (see the Napster case), even if they manage to argue being clueless about sharing it. The most patheti
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gt_mattex (1016103)

      Suing someone is now a way of recouping losses rather than a way of seeking justice.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gt_mattex (1016103)
        Or outright profit for that matter.
      • by Thansal (999464) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:42PM (#17150572)
        ummm, IANAL, but isn't the POINT of suing to recoup losses?

        Justice is for criminal law, civil law is for reperation of damages/lost income/etc, etc. Not for "justice". The only place "justice" comes into is paying some one for their "psycological truama" or "pain and suffering", and those I tihnk are just rediculous anyway. If some one HARMED you then what they did is almost always illegal, and thus is covered by criminal law.

        I guess that is just my oppinion on law, probably I am wrong.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The only place "justice" comes into is paying some one for their "psycological truama" or "pain and suffering", and those I tihnk are just rediculous anyway.

          So if my car blows up due to a manufacturer's fuckup and blows off my wing-wang, you don't think I should be entitled to any damages?

          If some one HARMED you then what they did is almost always illegal, and thus is covered by criminal law.

          That's nice. I don't get any money if someone gets busted for a crime - although it will assist my civil cas

    • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:36PM (#17150438) Homepage Journal

      The spyware claim (keeping the shared folder shared even after uninstalling Kazaa), if valid, is the only one that might have any merit.

      Everything else, though, smacks of "Look what you made me do!" blame-deflection.

      I sued Home Depot [sing365.com]
      'Cause they sold me a hammer
      Which they knew I might drop on my toes
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:36PM (#17150450)
      I somehow suspect the RIAA itself may be behind this lawsuit.

      -Eric

    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:45PM (#17150608)
      I also don't support using the courts to try to decide who is a victim and who isn't.

      What, then, do you think the courts are supposed to be used FOR...?

      And did you really need to construct FOUR strawman arguments that may never have actually been argued in a courtroom? Wouldn't one have been enough to support your fallacy?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cnelzie (451984)

      "It isn't that I refuse to learn a trade and stick to it, it is just fair to pay a living wage!"

      This last strawman argument you have made is highly disingenuous of you.

      Yes, it is fair to pay a living wage and not every single person has the opportunities to put themselves into a position for which they can begin to learn, let alone stick to a trade of some sort. Sometimes, this is simply because someone was born with less intelligence than someone else. Sometimes this is because the environment they were raised within handicapped them, with either parent's who cannot read or are simply "busy" with

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Viper Daimao (911947)

        Sometimes, this is simply because someone was born with less intelligence than someone else.

        So you want to subsidize stupidity?
        • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:36PM (#17151494)

          So you want to subsidize stupidity?


          It kind of amazes me that this has become an argument. Just put the word subsidize in front of any form of funding and put people on the defensive.

          So you want to subsidize transportation?
          So you want to subsidize schools?
          So you want to subsidize the Army?
          So you want to subsidize the elderly?
          So you want to subsidize Africa?

          The basic premise seems to be "Why can't these lazy bastards stand on their own two feet and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!!"

          Which ignores the basic fact that no one stands on their own two feet. We're all dependant on one another. I'm a bit tired of the "self made man" fallacy.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Viper Daimao (911947)

            We're all dependant(sic) on one another.
            Of course we are, and it takes the form of the free market. Subsidizing however makes us all dependent on govt, not each other. Do you really want to be dependent on a body that is at any given moment is 45%-55% composed of people from the *insert political party you disagree with here* party?
  • Won't be long before kids are suing their parents for neglecting them while pursuing a lawsuit against Kazaa for being self-made victims.
    • by GIL_Dude (850471)
      Or car thieves suing the people making the slim-jims. (I know copyright violation isn't theft; no need to point it out). It's just that this person is suing a tool maker that made a tool she used to do something illegal. Sue Smith & Wesson when you shoot somebody with their handgun?
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:24PM (#17150206)
    ... they will be serving Free Lunch at the trial.
  • by Fedorpheux (912926) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:26PM (#17150238) Homepage
    ...sue the voices in her head that told her to download copyrighted material.
  • Use Your Eyes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by nbannerman (974715) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:26PM (#17150252)
    If I buy a house, and then don't pay the morgage, they'll repossess the house. I can't use the argument of 'I didn't read the Terms and Conditions' to get myself out of the mess I'm in.

    Last time I installed a piece of software like Kazaa, it stated what it was going to do at each step, and clearly explained what would happen, and that I shouldn't share files to which I didn't own the copyright.

    Sueing for being stupid is... well, stupid.
  • It's all there.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by emor8t (1033068) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:26PM (#17150254)
    Read the fine print lady, all the stuff your sueing for is painfully obvious. Had you bothered to do any research on Kazaa, you would know it's issues! You got caught, sucks to be you. But it's not Kazaa's problem, they are simply providing a service.
    • I think that's a bit much. I would grant that if it's too good to be true, then it must be, especially with regard to free media like that.

      A person can't spend their time researching everything. Do you read every EULA and every copyright notice? Most people have better things to do with their time. If a company has malicious software in their package, I think they must be held accountable for it. Kazaa had spyware in it and they went to great lengths to hide that fact.
  • "I had no idea what the software I installed would do."

    "I didn't know that I was downloading copyrighted files. Their software should have prevented it."

  • Ridiculous. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:28PM (#17150280) Journal
    This is like smokers suing convenience stores because that's where they bought the smokes that gave 'em lung cancer.

    I bet these same people all felt like devious little rule breakers when they were doing all that copyright violation, secure in the knowledge that no one could ever catch them.

    I can kinda see how the record companies can win a suit against the p2p providers, saying that their software enabled all these people to violate copyright law, but how the hell can all these people expect to win a suit against a company whose software enabled them to break the law? Kazaa's EULA spelled out that the software should only be used for legal purposes, but even if it didn't this will die because there is a huge amount of precident in prohibiting companies from being sued when their products were used in the commission of crimes (hello, gun manufacturers).

    If only common sense were more common.
    • Re:Ridiculous. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:29PM (#17150320) Homepage
      This is like smokers suing convenience stores because that's where they bought the smokes that gave 'em lung cancer.

      It's more like suing your drug dealer after you go to prison for getting caught with a rock.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ngarrang (1023425)
        Your Honor, I would like to blame Ford Motor Company for selling me a truck that will go 150 MPH. If they hadn't sold me that truck, I wouldn't have gotten this speeding ticket.
        • by soft_guy (534437)

          Your Honor, I would like to blame Ford Motor Company for selling me a truck that will go 150 MPH. If they hadn't sold me that truck, I wouldn't have gotten this speeding ticket.

          Since Ford clearly could have put a governor on the vehicle, you might have a point. However, Ford will probably counter that:
          1. The vehicle has no way to tell what the speed limit is at any given time and therefore such a governor would either still allow you to break, or else limit you to the lowest possible speed limit (i.e. 5MPH).
          2. There may be times when driving 150MPH is OK. Such as during an emergency with a police escort.

      • by GeckoX (259575)
        Some would say it's more like trying to rat on your drug dealer after you go to prison for getting caught with a rock.

      • by Kelson (129150) *
        It's more like suing your drug dealer after you go to prison for getting caught with a rock.

        Or maybe suing the guy who told you where you could find the drug dealer and/or drove you there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vellmont (569020)

        It's more like suing your drug dealer after you go to prison for getting caught with a rock.

        A surprisingly good analogy. The only claim that really has any merit IMO is the spyware claim. Using the same analogy, can you sue your drug dealer for putting rat-poison in your drugs that wound up destroying your kidneys? I'd say yes. Sure you took the risk of being addicted to the drug and the effects of it, but the drug dealer put the rat-poison in and didn't tell you about it, therefore you didn't assume th
    • by vux984 (928602)
      this will die because there is a huge amount of precident in prohibiting companies from being sued when their products were used in the commission of crimes

      You seem to have forgotten that all the "precedent prohibiting companies from being sued when their products were used in the commission of crimes" wasn't enough to stop the RIAA from *successfully* suing p2p companies.

      Or what about the lawsuits against the likes of youtube and myspace?

      • The **AA won against the p2p companies because they successfully argued in court that those companies were enticing people to break the law with their advertising (same as this chick). They didn't win because the p2p software allowed file transfers, because that's not illegal.

        YouTube hosts video that has copyright problems, that makes it their issue, same with MySpace. If I put up a webpage, and put copyrighted material on it, I'm breaking the law.
        • They didn't win against the p2p companies. The only win of which I am aware at this point is Streamcast.
          • RIAA v Streamcast/Grokster was a pretty big win, and it's the precident this case is built on. And Kazaa settled for 110 million or so, so who knows how that one would have come out?

            • We don't yet know how big a win it is. It was only on liability, not damages.

              I was just correcting the GP's reference to wins against the p2p "companies" in the plural. A settlement is not a win. A pending case is not a win. A win is a win.
    • by thebdj (768618)
      I can kinda see how the record companies can win a suit against the p2p providers, saying that their software enabled all these people to violate copyright law

      You are kidding, right? There are plenty of legal uses for p2p software, including the sharing of non-copyrighted materials. Some places started using bittorrent to spread software and take the load off of their servers. A lot of linux distributions did this. There are actually materials that are in the public domain that people can download thro
  • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:28PM (#17150298)
    It's almost as if the RIAA let her off easier if she promised she'd bring a class action suit to various P2P companies. This sort of thing has got to make the RIAA spooge on themselves and I can not imagine someone actually taking their frustration out on Kazaa without some coaching. Nice move RIAA, but I see right through it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:28PM (#17150300)
    I hate RIAA as much as anyone, but this is just ridiculous. The person downloaded software and installed it, for the express purpose of stealing music. They knew there was no free lunch. Kind of like somebody approaching you and offering to give you a bunch of car stereo equipment out of their truck for $10. What's that saying? If it seems to good to be true, it is? In the latter case, you'd be guilty of receiving stolen property. In this case, you are guilty of copyright violation. End of case. Just another example of trial attorneys lining their pockets with reprehensible class action lawsuits.
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:29PM (#17150314) Journal

    I am going to buy a gun, completely ignorant of how to use it, and start playing around with it. If someone gets shot (including myself) I will sue the company that made it. Horray for logic!

    • by Lane.exe (672783) *
      Except that there are lots of legal doctrines that provide a defense to the gun manufacturer for you doing so. You're obviously cognizant of a risk of using a gun negligently, and have proceeded to use it despite an awareness of your own limitations. Sounds to me like you've assumed the risk of injury.

      Really, before people start to criticize the law, litigation, and those bastard "trial attorneys," they should at least educate themselves on the law.

    • by swb (14022)
      Except that the lawyers for the gun company will simply illustrate that the gun worked as designed; pull trigger, fire bullet.

      The gun was never advertised as having a proper target selection feature.

      In fact, I've ever heard some suggest that firearms should only have safeties that prevent accidental discharges (ie, dropping the gun or other mechanical firing system failures) and not traditional safeties, since the traditional safety teaches the misleading idea that the gun is "safe", which promotes unsafe h
  • Customer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StarvingSE (875139) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:34PM (#17150412)
    How can you be a customer of a company that provides Free as in Beer software?

    I call bullshit on the fact that the person claims she didn't know how kazaa worked. Its explained right here [kazaa.com] for cryin' out loud.

    All this person is doing is trying to get their money back that was extorted by the RIAA. Her lawyer probably weighed the difficulty of a counter-suit against the RIAA and suing Kazaa. Guess who won.

    I call shenanigans on this one. Tagged: Traitor
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:38PM (#17150482) Journal
    I'm tired of spending hours removing hidden spyware and addware from machines where someone unknowingly that crap while trying to install something else. For example, my uncle has to use a computer for work. His daughters would constantly download the app-of-the-week and every Christmas, I would spend 3-4 hours removing all that crap from his hard drive.

    Yeah-yeah, I know it may be mentioned in the license agreement, but do you guys read every license agreement that comes across your screen? Besides, if Ford put a note in the glove box of every car that said, "Vehicle will send adds to your TV set at random intervals, even after vehicle is sold." would that save them from lawsuits? Would it make you guys feel better if the government put a label on all phones saying that they might be listening?
    • by Daemonstar (84116)
      I agree.

      However . . . spyware/adware/virus removal is big business these days (reference the big fiasco from Mcafee/Symantec on Windows Vista). Several years ago when I worked at a local ISP (and when we actually had good technicians working there), we made enough money removing viruses/adware/spyware to pay for the payroll alone. :P

      Doesn't modern anti-spyware software give warnings when it finds Kazaa, anyway? I know some used to.
    • by Zerbey (15536) *
      Actually, yes it would save Ford from lawsuits. Ignorance is not a defence. Spyware is annoying and should be regulated (or, better still, banned entirely) but it is not currently illegal UNLESS it's done without the user's knowledge (in which case it's a virus, not spyware). In the case of Kazaa, it's written into the terms and conditions.

  • Only in America. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbssm (961115) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:41PM (#17150552)
    Tss, tss, only such a stupid legal system as the American could lead people to do this kind of stuff.

    If you had a legal system of some righteousness, you would force someone that files a case against another person (unless for crimes that involve violence) to pay the defendant legal costs in case the defendant was found innocent... that way, all those stupid legal cases we see in America would never have been brought to justice in the first place ... much less find a jury stupid enough to actually agree you are right (yeah that's right you also have that idiot system in which you call a bunch off illiterate people from the streets, that know nothing about justice, and get them decide if someone is innocent or guilty).
     
    • If you had a legal system of some righteousness, you would force someone that files a case against another person (unless for crimes that involve violence) to pay the defendant legal costs in case the defendant was found innocent...


      Which would encourage even more the power of money and tip the justice system more than it already is in favor of the rich; no thanks.
    • And this would do more damage than good.

      If you put this in place then the poor have no legal system what so ever, as they cannot aford to pay both sides fees and not be on the street. This means they won't even risk the chance of it.

      If you're rich it makes no difference, if you're poor.. well you now have no law system to support you when someone screws you over.

      Funny how the great idea to fix things will only break things further. After all is it worse for some idiots to sue big companies or the little guy
    • Re:Only in America. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:04PM (#17150930)
      The problem with the "plaintiff pays" model is that even with entirely legitimate complaints, hardly anyone would be able to risk suing a company with deep pockets. Been wronged by Behemoth Industries? Are you sure you can win the case? If you're not 100% sure, you could get stuck with several million dollars in attorneys' fees. Even if the courts were 99% accurate in their judgments, do you want to risk the 1% chance that you'll end up as a pauper for life?

      Just as an aside, you might also want to consider that your complaints about "illiterate people from the streets" would carry more weight if you used complete sentences, correct punctuation, and proper capitalization.
    • (yeah that's right you also have that idiot system in which you call a bunch off illiterate people from the streets, that know nothing about justice, and get them decide if someone is innocent or guilty).

      Trial by a jury of peers is a core tenet of Common Law and has a history dating back to the Magna Carta. It's practiced, to one degree or another, in many of the most prosperous, most free, and most democratic nations in the world.

      Tell me: what judicial system do you prefer, and how are the citizens in it
    • (yeah that's right you also have that idiot system in which you call a bunch off illiterate people from the streets, that know nothing about justice, and get them decide if someone is innocent or guilty).

      For the most part, I think that's an ignorant statement. Most states sign you up for possible jury duty if you either have a driver's licence or if you register to vote. It's not as if homeless bums are serving on juries.

      On knowing nothing about justice, I have been in the smaller jury selection pools for
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:47PM (#17150656) Homepage Journal
    I know that many here on /. have already dismissed the person filing it as stupid. But I really think this case may help test the question of whether someone's ignorance of how computers and networks work can be held up as an excuse for copyright violations, etc.. At least in the case of automobile driving, all drivers are supposed to have valid licenses which were presumably obtained after training and passing the appropriate tests. But I don't recall any such requirements to operate a computer networked to the internet. I've encountered plenty of smart people in technical and scientific fields who don't really know what they're doing on a computer. So the average Jane, might be excused for not having too much of a clue about what is really happening on the machine. Of course the judge might still throw it all out because she should have read the licenses, but generally our legal system tries not to punish people unless they are competent enough to know what they are doing is wrong. Needless to say, it isn't always successful in this.
  • Guys, a lot of society's choices involve balancing protection of the less-sophisticated, less-knowledgable members' interests with general laissez-faire values. I am a bit surprised to see a place as liberal as Slashdot brimming with such fervent dispassion for what, in essence, is a claim for protection of someone who just might be a little less sophisticated than general members of society.
    • Where do you get the idea that /. is liberal?

      /. is an eletist society of geekdom where the geek-challenged are considered the unwashed masses.

  • by Programmer_In_Traini (566499) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:52PM (#17150730)
    This is precisely why the U.S. justice system is broken.

    Seriously, does she really expects us to believe that she did not know it was illegal, that she could get sued over it ? Seriously ? Nah, she knew full well but much like everyone doing this, we just assume RIAA is not gonna come for regular people like us because its not worth it.

    So now she does get sued and she says, was that illegal ? oh im sorry, Kazaa never said that! *pointing finger* damn you Kazaa, you got me in trouble. Now, not only will I sue you but I'll sue you on behalf of all people who didn't know (whisper:this way i can get more money)

    But just because the system allows it, tons of folks are suing each other for stupid reasons and to make a quick buck.

    My wife is a lawyer and I once asked her why we seldom see these things happening in canada. That's because the justice is different in that here, to win a cause you need a damage, a fault and the correlation between the two. Most of the time, people cannot make a strong argument in the "correlation between the two" part and the case ends there.
    • Actually the reason it's not happening in Canada is that the Canadian courts recognized that the MediaSentry investigation was not sufficiently reliable to provide a basis for allowing the ISP's to divulge confidential customer information. BMG v. Doe [riaalawsuits.us]. Since the RIAA's Canadian counterpart hasn't been able to find out the names and addresses, they haven't been able to bring lawsuits. The Netherlands courts, likewise, refused to go along with the RIAA's litigation torrent. Foundation v. UPC Nederland [riaalawsuits.us].
  • Is this another one of those money-making schemes for the lawyers? Surely the plaintiff must realize that he/she will end up with marginal gains after all is said and done. I could be wrong but didn't Kazaa go bankrupt or something. If so, would the new company (and shareholders) actually be liable for anything? Probably not but chances are we won't know until a few hundread thousand in legal fees are earned by the lawyers... Sivaram Velauthapillai
    • Class action lawyers are the ones taking the financial risk. They don't get paid unless they win or settle. There is absolutely no money in it for the plaintiff's firm unless there is a victory or a settlement.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:58PM (#17150828) Journal
    it designed the software in such a manner as to create a shared files folder and make that folder available to anyone using Kazaa, while at the same time failing to make the user aware that it had done so

    If my memory doesn't fail me, Kazaa indeed guided the user through a wizard at the first run, where among other things you configured network settings, and which folders to share. And with a "shared files" folder activated by default, while showing that fact to the user as well.
  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @04:06PM (#17150978)
    While I am sure the person that is suing would be happy as a clam to get some financial gain from this, I think alot of you are missing the point.

    What this case is trying to do, in a round about fashion, is to set the stage for other actions.

    If this person wins this case it opens the doors for alot more. Once it can be shown in court that Kazaa either misled or outright lied to its users, it can then be shown that Kazaa was AIDING AND ABETTING the the criminal violation of copyright laws. Once that takes place, then Kazaa itself can be held liable for CRIMINAL actions.

    It would not surprise me in THE SLIGHTEST that the RIAA is behind this themselves. Its all about "precedence". Once you win a small case, its only makes it that much easier to use that small case as a foothold in larger, farther reaching and far more serious cases.

    While I believe that the person filing the suit, and everyone else that steals copyrighted material should be prosecuted, I also believe that anyone that made it possible for them to do so should be held accountable as well.
  • End Users (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pkcs11 (529230)
    With the ubiquity of internet access comes a deeper spectrum of users, some of whom legitmately do (did) not know that using Kazaa (shareazaa et al.)to trade/download/share music is illegal. Without proper messaging from Kazaa (et al) the burden should also rest on their shoulders.
  • One of these days (years?) the RIAA is going to realize they've awakened the sleeping giant. The only reason they have the limited - note the use of the word limited - monopoly of copyright is because the people, through their government, gave it to them. (Actually they gave it to the artists who created the works in the first place, but that's another argument for another day.) And what the people give, the people can take back if they're too abused by it. I wouldn't mind seeing that day arrive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop (214511)
      You're presuming that the people have any say in such a condition, which they do not. Even if the US were not a republic, with representatives listening to the handlers which keep them in office, you are under the incorrect impression that a true democracy would be fouled by the advertising clout that can be brought to bear when billions of dollars is at stake. I do like your optimism though.
  • Oh yeah (Score:2, Funny)

    Step 1: Do something (knowingly) stupid.
    Step 2: sue
    Step 3: um...
    Step 4: Profit !
  • Oh wow is me, I am too stupid to realize that I am stealing, and poor me, someone else should pay for me when I make a mistake. It's my right to avoid my problems by suing other people, it's my parents fault,and my teacher's fault, and the governments fault, and my neighbours fault, and...well just everybody but me. Once again, I am too stupid to know that getting free music is stealing. / Come on, you do the crime you do the time. Suck it up, and suffer.
  • Totally joking here, I'm not saying the RIAA put her up to this... but, if they were smart: 1. Sue person 2. Get person to bring class action suit against Kazaa 3. Win suit against Kazaa 4. Kazaa users come clamboring to get their Piece of the Pie (TM) 5. Get list of those wanting in on the lawsuit pay-out 6. Sue them!
  • The RIAA, with their army of lawyers, has been trying to shut down Kaaza and it's owner, Sherman Networks, for years. However, that company is spread out all over the world with everyone passing the buck on who is actually responsible for that program. The company has operated this shell game in a way that they escape various local and national laws and don't fall into any one's jurisdiction. So if the RIAA has been unable to get Sherman Networks to appear in court, how will a smaller groups of lawyers b
  • This kind of crap really disturbs me because I make my living writing software. Kazaa's legality is not the issue, it's the sueing of a software maker because someone misused the program that has me steamed.

    I read of people who use software to do exactly what it was written for, then they sue the software makers because they did something illegal with the program and got caught, or because "it (the program) should have known I was doing bad stuff and stopped me."

    If I write a program to admin an SQL serve

  • by atomic_toaster (840941) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @05:10PM (#17152132)
    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. [wikipedia.org] Since when is not knowing you're doing something illegal enough to get you out of punishment for committing a crime? Whatever happened to presumed knowledge of the law? [wikipedia.org] If you kill, rape, steal, embezzle, falsify evidence, obstruct a police investigation, etc. and you don't know it's illegal, you still go to jail.

    KaZaA provides a tool. How you choose to use that tool is up to you. If you live in wilful ignorance by choosing not to read the instructions/disclaimer/EULA and it gets you into trouble later, that's your own problem. It's much akin to trying to sue McDonald's for you burning yourself with their coffee after they've changed all the cups to read "Caution! Contents are hot!"

    29. The Sharman Defendants deceptively marketed the KaZaA Product as a P2P service as allowing "free" downloads.

    That's not deceptive marketing, that's the truth. You don't pay a fee, either subscription or per download, to download files through their service.

    31. The Sharman Defendants deceptively marketed the use of the KaZaA Product as legal.

    KaZaA is legal; what people choose to do with it may not be legal in certain jurisdictions. There is a major difference. It's like saying that the postal service is illegal because sometimes people use it to ship illegally obtained merchandise.

    32. The Sharman Defendants knew that most users of the KaZaA Product would use the KaZaA product to catalogue and store digital copies of copyrighted sound recordings and films. 33. The Sharman Defendants encouraged, invited, and solicited such conduct from its public, its customers, and users of the KaZaA Product.

    You'll note that the claim fails to mention that items 32 and 33 aren't necessarily illegal. It may be implied, but the reality is that every piece of media created since the invention of copyright is inherently copyrighted. This does not mean that copying this material is automatically illegal; that's up to the creator to decide. There is a lot of media out there that is provided free for the sharing, so long as you follow certain terms and conditions (like not claiming the work is your own).

    [KaZaA] designed the software in such a manner as to create a shared files folder and make that folder available to anyone using KaZaA, while at the same time failing to make the user aware that it had done so (Complaint, par. 36-37)...

    Correct me if I'm wrong, since it's been a while since I used KaZaA, but when you set install and set up the program, doesn't it let you pick your shared folders? Even if it doesn't, you can change it very easily through the program's settings. Even if you don't know this when you originally install the program, KaZaA lets you see who has been downloading what files from your computer. If you don't want people to download from you, wouldn't you change your settings as soon as you see the list of people trying to copy your stuff?

    [KaZaA] surreptitiously installed 'spyware' on users' computers which made the shared files folder accessible to the KaZaA network even after the user had removed the KaZaA software from his or her computer (Complaint, par. 42-45)...

    This is the only complaint that I can see possibly holding water, if it is true. To lend verity to their case, they'd have to test every version of the software to see which ones had this "spyware," and make sure that every person who was joining the class action suit on the spyware basis used or has used the spyware-affected versions.
  • from the front page (Score:2, Informative)

    by randallman (605329)
    From the front page of the Kazaa website:

    Copyright: Sharman Networks Ltd does not condone activities and actions that breach the rights of copyright owners. As a Kazaa user
    you have agreed to abide by the End User License Agreement and it is your responsibility to obey all laws governing copyright in each country.

    Enough said.

    Randall

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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