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RIAA Backtracks After Embarrassing P2P Defendant 255

Posted by Zonk
from the lack-of-forethought-gets-them-every-time dept.
Harmony writes "When the RIAA sued Sgt. Nicholas Paternoster, it included a screenshot of a shared folder with over 4,600 files — some of which were pornographic images unrelated to the case. Last week, the RIAA got permission from a judge to, as a 'professional courtesy,' swap out the original exhibit for one with only the 350+ songs the defendant is accused of sharing on Kazaa. The RIAA's carelessness may come back to haunt it, however: 'After the suit was filed — and the exhibit made public — Sgt. Paternoster decided to fight back, filing a counterclaim accusing the RIAA of violating his privacy and seeking to "shame Counter-Plaintiff... into giving in to their unreasonable demands regarding their copyrighted materials."'"
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RIAA Backtracks After Embarrassing P2P Defendant

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  • Sgt. WHAT? (Score:4, Funny)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:51AM (#20056011) Homepage
    Sgt. Pornstar?
  • Better article (Score:5, Informative)

    by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:52AM (#20056021)
    The linked article is pretty light on content. It does have a link to this article [knoxnews.com] which actually goes into detail about the countersuit.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:58AM (#20056067) Homepage Journal

      "We try to be fair and reasonable in resolving these cases," said RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth. "Our aim is not to be in court, but to seek appropriate retribution for the damage done to the industry."
      Duckworth then resumed dusting and polishing each gold coin in the RIAA's money bin. [scrooge-mcduck.com]
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:06AM (#20056157)

        "We try to be fair and reasonable in resolving these cases," said RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth. "Our aim is not to be in court, but to seek inappropriate retribution for the damage we have done to the industry, from innocent parties."


        Fixed + she muttered a few words under her breath the reporter apparantly didn't notice.
      • Re:Better article (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BoberFett (127537) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:55AM (#20056803)
        Interesting choice of words too. They're not interested in compensation. They want retribution. I have a feeling if they could extract the payment in blood they'd take that route.
      • Re:Better article (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:07AM (#20056921)

        We try to be fair and reasonable in resolving these cases," said RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth. "Our aim is not to be in court, but to seek appropriate retribution for the damage done to the industry

        Another interresting choice of words : not the artist, but "the industry" ... A slip-of-the-tongue perhaps ?

        Funny : the captcha is "embezzle"
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by shark72 (702619)

          "Another interresting choice of words : not the artist, but "the industry" ... A slip-of-the-tongue perhaps ?"

          Nope -- the RIAA represents the recording industry. That's what the "RI" stands for. She's being honest and accurate.

          Artists (composers and lyricists, at least) are represented by ASCAP/BMI. They also flex their legal muscle from time to time. When that happens the general tone around here is "fuck the greedy artists" rather than "fuck the greedy record labels."

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:07AM (#20056927)
        The RIAA doesn't want to be in court. In court, their claims could be debunked, while in a settlement, where you pretty much plead guilty, they don't have to prove nothing. Even innocent people would rather go and settle for 2k bucks if they can't afford a 10k lawsuit battle.
      • Being in court under public scrutiny is the last thing they want...

      • Re:Better article (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shagg (99693) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:53AM (#20057525)

        Our aim is not to be in court
        We don't care about innocence or guilt.

        but to seek appropriate retribution for the damage done to the industry.
        We just want your money.
  • Sue em all (Score:4, Insightful)

    by packetmon (977047) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:53AM (#20056029) Homepage
    He should also go after Mediasentry if they were responsible for obtaining his information and dishing it off to the US Department of RIAA
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Real1tyCzech (997498)
      How is a screenshot of his shared files (available to anyone on kazaa) anything *but* public information not subject to search & seizure laws?

      People can browse the shares of others all day on this service. It's public information on a public network. Nothing here required a warrant.

      The content shared was more than enough cause to allow the copyright holder to request identifying information from the ISP (this may have required a warrant, IANAL).

      Sure, if it was a kid or a dead grandma, we'd all have ev
      • Re:Sue em all (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:00AM (#20056847) Journal
        The list of shared files is public, but the connection between the list of shared files and the real identity of the person sharing can only be obtained with a court order or by the ISP publishing the information (which will almost certainly violate their privacy policy and various data protection laws).

        Publishing the sub-set of this information required for the lawsuit is acceptable disclosure, publishing unrelated information is not. While analogies are often misleading, this one might work:

        Consider a prosecution for producing something like methamphetamine. It would be acceptable for the prosecution to enter as evidence (and thus make public) the information that the defendant had purchased certain precursor chemicals at a pharmacist. It would not be acceptable for them to publish that the defendant had also purchased STD medicines (for example) at the same time, and this publication.

        • Re:Sue em all (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Artifakt (700173) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @12:53PM (#20059403)
          The plaintiff in this case is in a position where he is conceivably likely to be judged with exceptional harshness by his employer when it comes to possessing perfectly legal porn (or at least it's the common perception of his job situation). His position in the society strongly suggests that the RIAA made a deliberate choice to include the irrelevant information because it would bring extra pressure to settle.
                    If the Sargent's position and the choice to include the porn info are really more than a coincidence, then the RIAA lawyers lied in court when they claimed it was merely an oversight.
                    By extension, they likely had intent to damage the Sgt. with his employer, and took the opportunity (Note: If a deliberate lie occurred, then malice is clearly established, and a modus operandi has already been demonstrated and admitted to by the RIAA. Intent, opportunity, method, a grand jury would see at least half the elements of a crime here as solidly proven, others as probable, and likely find plenty of cause to indite.).
                The RIAA were also trying to use the courts to accomplish this. That's a general abuse of the legal system that can warrent disbarment, at the very least. Claiming in court that it was just a coincidental mistake would be perjury if there's any evidence the Sgt's position was discussed in this context, and some of the related remarks would likely be multiple counts of contempt of court. There's certainly enough evidence at this point for a judge to subpoena all RIAA documents relating to this case (although Attny/Client privilege will of course limit that). Worse, some possible evidence comes in the form of the RIAA's legal letters to the Sgt. - the RIAA certainly can't prevent him from using them in the civil suite. Those are available to the court, and the RIAA may be sweating over how they were worded even now.
                    Alternately, RIAA had the full intent to actually threaten the Sgt. with revealing this irrelevant information unless he settled out of court for whatever amount they chose. There's not as much evidence for this, yet, but even that claim already has some supporting evidence established, and something as simple as one sentence in the wording of a letter pressuring the Sgt. to settle could be enough to make a solid case. That action's extortion. Extortion is a major felony. Using the court system to attempt to do it is an aggravating circumstance which normally calls for additional penalties.
                    Proving either of these to a full legal standard would be challenging, given who's involved. It's still reasonable to suspect that at least one of these two scenarios is true. Maybe the RIAA's lawyers didn't make an actual threat, or even consider it. Maybe they are either more aware of the law or more decent minded. It's still reasonable to figure that if they went that far down the path towards a very serious crime, they likely have done enough to deserve at least the lesser charges.
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:56AM (#20056055)
    From the more detailed article:

    "Paternoster was unaware that the Kazaa software was installed on his computer. While on a tour of duty in Germany from 2004 to 2005, the document says, another soldier downloaded the software and set up a Kazaa account under Paternoster's name. Last summer Paternoster discovered the software and 'thousands of files downloaded on his computer by the soldiers he housed,' and he uninstalled the software and deleted the files, according to the document."

    So, is unknowing possession a crime in this case? Let the poor analogies begin...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So, its like his mates obtained copies of cars without permission... ah scrap the car analogy.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yppupcinataS'> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:08AM (#20056179) Journal
      "Unknowing possession" is the argument put forth by every sneak thief and druggie who ever got caught with something illegal on their person. The courts are used to trying cases where that is used as an argument. In this case, if the computer really was commonly left unattended in a place accessible by a large number of people, it will be difficult to fix legal responsibility on the titular owner.

      I think the fact that they intentionally put out images of content that they don't own the rights to, and have no legal standing to sue regarding, does put them in an actionable position, especially given the nature of the content. Their whole information gathering process is pretty shady already, but if they're routinely scanning content that they don't actually have rights to, that's much shadier.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mfh (56)
        RIAA attempts to run with parent's use of terminology at their next hearing, where a 99yr old man is charged with downloading the Dukes of Hazard theme song, among other delightful TV show theme songs.

        "You, sir, are hereby charged with SNEAK THIEVERY and LUDE CONDUCT, and also of being a DOWNLOADING DRUGGIE."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jettawu (1030820)

        Their whole information gathering process is pretty shady already, but if they're routinely scanning content that they don't actually have rights to, that's much shadier.

        Yea, and considering that rights to content is exactly what they're arguing about...

        I don't really understand. It seems fairly obvious to me that they are using their position/power/money to get what they want, but in the process they seem to be making a mockery of the very laws that they think others are breaking.

        How do they think any of this is helping them?

        • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yppupcinataS'> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:51AM (#20056739) Journal
          You have to understand that they're crapping their pants at the potential loss of the bulk of their revenue generation. Digital distribution is the end of the gravy train for them; no more surge of customers buying the same content every time they change the format.

          So what do they do? They try to kill it, whether it's trying to shut down web radio through massive fee increases, trying to stifle online music sales through use of restrictive DRM schemes, trying to prevent CD copying through hugely invasive software installs, or trying to stifle "free" file sharing by intimidation through massive lawsuits.

          Their goal isn't to protect their content, their goal is to protect their revenue stream, which means intimidate the bulk of the sheep to the point where they'll go out and buy the content...preferably more than once so they can listen to it on multiple devices.
          • by Not_Wiggins (686627) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:19AM (#20057931) Journal
            Digital distribution is the end of the gravy train for them; no more surge of customers buying the same content every time they change the format.

            That isn't necessarily true.

            Assuming you would discount the Rhapsody/Napster models of "pay subscription for unlimited access" and continue to sell music centered around media/format, there is still plenty of room for these companies to resell the same content to users over and over.

            For example, you might have purchased the mp3. But, what about purchasing it again as FLAC? Or, after there is the nextgen lossless that is smaller than FLAC? Or perhaps the "extra special edition" with embedded video?

            There are many "value-add" features that can be found to cause a consumer to repurchase; this is wholly independent of the format (digital vs physical).

            All digital does is decrease the costs of distribution. So, profit margins can still be maintained, even if the price of the product drops.
          • It's more than that! (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Them wanting to keep the latest rap song off of P2P and internet radio is total crap. As Roger McGuinn of the early 60s band "the Byrds" said, the old illegal Napster revitalized his career.

            The problem with internet radio and P2P is that the labels can't control it. They want to kill kazaa and bittorrent not because their stuff is on it, but because they can't keep indie stuff off of it like they can the radio.

            Face it, if I want the latest pap from the RIAA labels all I have to do is plug my sound card [kuro5hin.org] into
            • Warning: Rant Ahead (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Proofof. Chaos (1067060) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:22PM (#20063247)
              This reminds me of arguments I used to have with a musician friend of mine (who IMO, was a very good musician, but very computer illiterate at the time). He was a struggling musician type, He'd been in several bar bands through college, cut a few basement-recorded CDs that they would try to sell at shows, always hoping to "get a contract" and "have their shot," without ever making any money except for the few bucks that they would get from the clubs they played at. Well, he used to decry Napster as stealing from musicians, while I would argue that they aren't stealing from musicians so much as stealing from the record companies. He believed that record companies were there to help musicians make money, and that stealing from them, meant they couldn't pay musicians as much.

              His attitude did a complete 360 when one of his band mates, who had done all their computer mixing and CD burning, created a website. It featured schedules, and club's sites linked to it. In addition, you could download their entire album in lo-fi, and two songs in hi-fi, and you could order a CD for about six bucks. They didn't get rich, but it was the first time they made any significant money off of their recordings (better than selling them at shows, anyway).

              He had finally realized what I had been trying to tell him: the recording industry is a middleman, that makes their money connecting artists with consumers. Modern technology has eliminated the need for such middlemen, and that is why they are up in arms. They have carved out a niche as necessary parasites of artists, and seeing that necessity vanishing, are lashing out in any way they can to hold on to the position of power they held when limited technology made them useful.

              This is always what happens when a middle-man sees their position becoming obsolete. Another great example is health care. Why does socialized medicine have no chance. Is it because the people don't want it? Hardly. Is it because doctors don't want it? Not really. Is it because the existing insurance companies don't want it? Bingo! After all, pass true national health care today, and every health insurance company (with their average 18% overhead, as opposed to Medicare's 2%) is out of business tomorrow (Ever wonder why, after Clinton's absolute failure with his plan for socialized medicine, Kerry came along with his plan that you could have any private insurance you wanted, but the government would pay the bill). Another example. Do you think defense lawyers who defend drug dealers want to see any drugs legalized? HELL NO! Illegal drug sales are their bread and butter. Legalize pot and many of them would have to go out and get real jobs.
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:48AM (#20056691) Homepage Journal
        Not really a fair comparison. For a solder with roommates it is right up there with claiming if you found pot in a dorm that everybody in the dorm was in possession.
        Many people have NO idea what is on their computer. A modern PC with a large HD is a very big place in which you can loose data. I would think that the huge number of systems running zombies and open mail relays is proof enough of reasonable doubt in this case.
        The fact that the RIAA published images that they had no rights to seems to me to make them just as guilty as the anybody using a P2P program. They took copyrighted material that they had no rights to and published it for their own proposes. If ignorance of the law is no excuse for P2P users then the RIAA doesn't have a leg to stand on..
        • by russotto (537200)

          Not really a fair comparison. For a solder with roommates it is right up there with claiming if you found pot in a dorm that everybody in the dorm was in possession.

          That's what constructive or presumptive possession is all about. The government has long since learned that in situations where it's difficult to prove any actual crime, it's easy to change the law so the burden is effectively on the defendant.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by langelgjm (860756)

          A modern PC with a large HD is a very big place in which you can loose data.

          Just yesterday, I started a download of a new release of KnoppMyth. Then I went and had some tea. When I came back in about twenty minutes to burn the ISO, I found that Firefox had renamed the file with a "(2)" - sure enough, I had already downloaded the same ISO previously, and just forgot about it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          A modern PC with a large HD is a very big place in which you can loose data.
          This is true, after all, information wants to be free.
        • The fact that the RIAA published images that they had no rights to seems to me to make them just as guilty as the anybody using a P2P program. They took copyrighted material that they had no rights to and published it for their own proposes. If ignorance of the law is no excuse for P2P users then the RIAA doesn't have a leg to stand on..

          While ignorance of the law might not give the RIAA a leg to stand on, knowledge of it will. In general, while the pictures are protected under copyright law, the contents

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        In this case, if the computer really was commonly left unattended in a place accessible by a large number of people, it will be difficult to fix legal responsibility on the titular owner.

        Then why is it no crime when a computer participates in a DDoS as a trojan infected drone? Just because judges can't see that being physically unattended or trojan infected with a user in front of it that does neither know nor care is no difference? A lot of computers currently connected to the net are (logically, not physi
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Billosaur (927319) *

        Besides, pornography is the purview of the PIAA...

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:51AM (#20057493) Homepage

        "Unknowing possession" is the argument put forth by every sneak thief and druggie who ever got caught with something illegal on their person. The courts are used to trying cases where that is used as an argument. In this case, if the computer really was commonly left unattended in a place accessible by a large number of people, it will be difficult to fix legal responsibility on the titular owner.

        Especially if he was provably out of the country.

        It's one thing to claim you have no idea how you got cocaine in your pocket or a stolen radio in your back seat -- that's pretty thin, and arguably you probably know what's in your pocket. It's another thing entirely to say "I wasn't in the same country as this PC when this took place, so how the hell do I know who did it?".

        Their whole information gathering process is pretty shady already, but if they're routinely scanning content that they don't actually have rights to, that's much shadier.

        I completely agree, but they're going to argue that they need to look at all of your data so that they can find the bits which might be infringing. Because, obviously, the data you don't want them to see must be the infringing pieces.

        Cheers
    • by muellerr1 (868578) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:10AM (#20056209) Homepage
      It's like this guy lent his car to his buddies and they used it to pick up a bunch of skin mags and cds which they left in the back seat. Then he threw away the magazines and cds, but traffic cameras show that his car was used to get the ill-gotten merchandise, so now he's on the hook.

      No, wait, it's more like he lent his garage to his buddies and they filled the rafters with hookers and rock stars.

      Man, this is harder than I thought.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        or perhaps it's like this Michael Vick guy who lets his friend use his Virginia estate and lo and behold gets charged with dog fighting. http://www.suntimes.com/sports/490355,CST-SPT-swir e31.article [suntimes.com]

        I'd suspect more /.ers think Vick is likely responsible for the crime he's charged with than the Sergeant in question in the article. My guess on that would be the nearness of his activities to us geeks or our unwillingness to consider copyright violation a proper crime/civil liability. Or perhaps we just ass
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:54AM (#20056789) Homepage Journal
          I'll play.

          On one hand, we have a guy who downloaded some songs on the Internet, which he presumably then listened to.

          On the other hand, we have a guy who ran an illegal operation on his property, called "Bad Newz Kennels" where fighting dogs were bred and then tortured and killed if they lost a fight.

          One of these things is not like the other...

          Now if Vick had been forcing RIAA lawyers to get into a pit and fight to the death, and then hang or drown the loser, we'd really have something to work with.
          • by discogravy (455376) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:08AM (#20057747) Homepage
            No, then you've got a RIAA lawyer who has survived all the rest. An uber-lawyer, if you will. Do you really want that? Imagine the whispers in the courtroom: "Why does the RIAA only have one person in the courtroom?" "Because she's killed all the rest. By hand."
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 1729 (581437)

          or perhaps it's like this Michael Vick guy who lets his friend use his Virginia estate and lo and behold gets charged with dog fighting.

          Vick's not accused of simply owning the property on which dogfights were staged. Rather, the case against him is that Vick bought property for the purpose of running "Bad Newz Kennels", financed a dogfighting operation, personally killed (by brutal means) a number of dogs, and was a principal conspirator in the operation. So it's really not like Sgt. Paternoster's case at

        • Really Bad Analogy (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:54AM (#20058493)

          mmm.... double standard mmm... donut.
          Not a double standard, just a really really bad analogy.

          Personally, I'm more apt to believe that Vick is guilty because witnesses have come forward and said that he not only bought the property in Virginia for dog fighting purposes, he financed the entire operation. Obviously these witnesses have yet to be cross-examined, so who knows what will come out. He can't claim ignorance, because he attended dogfights. Attending dogfights, of course, is not a crime, but it does mean he knew damn well where his money was going.

          For right now, the Sergeant does not have multiple witnesses testifying against him, and Vick does. This is why I am more likely to believe that Vick is guilty.

    • As others have pointed out, ignorance is generally not an excuse. And I don't have an analogy, poor or otherwise. But the picture we're getting from the newspaper shows a soldier away on active duty for his country, returning home, finding this situation, and correcting it. (He deleted the files.) Seems to me the RIAA has stepped into another pile of P.R. poo with this one--not to mention ethical and moral poo. Soldiers on active duty would rank right up there with single working moms, elderly grandmas, sma
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gnasher719 (869701)
        '' As others have pointed out, ignorance is generally not an excuse. ''

        Stop right there. Ignorance of the law is no excuse; if you commit a crime then it doesn't matter whether you knew or not that it was illegal.

        Ignorance _is_ often an excuse because it makes the difference between actually having committed a crime or not. Lets say at a car park you put your coat on the back of my car while you tie your shoelaces. I drive away in my car - with your coat on it. If I knew that your coat was there, it is thef
    • "This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her--but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books."

      With these sorts of lawsuits flying around, people are going to start having to be very careful about who they allow to use their computer.

    • So, is unknowing possession a crime in this case?

      DISCLAIMER: IANAL

      Yes, and no. It depends on what you can prove about your knowledge of the material.

      For example, if you buy a car from someone and it later turns out to be stolen then if you can prove you did not know it was stolen when you bought it or anytime thereafter until the police informed you, then you may be able to not be charged. However, the police will still seize the car from you. If you cannot prove that, then you will be charged as wel

    • So, is unknowing possession a crime in this case? Let the poor analogies begin...

      It's like if you're driving your car, and you don't know if you're on a Bill Gates Windows-only road or not. Nobody asks you to pay the toll, but when you drive your Linux car that was free and gets 200 MPG you get pulled over!

  • New plan (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tabernaque86 (1046808) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:59AM (#20056089)
    1)Download lots of porn
    2)Download handful of songs
    3)Wait for RIAA
    4)File a counter-suit
    5)PROFIT!!!
    • See one of the articles links... [arstechnica.com]

      Vasquez believes that the RIAA could be vulnerable to charges of malicious prosecution, but even that would be difficult. "It would likely take someone on the inside testifying that the RIAA pursued people that it knew were innocent," Vasquez explained. "Then there would be a serious risk of malicious prosecution. But you've got to have them cold."

      The article goes into why a RICO prosecution is really just good PR and probably wouldn't work in court.

    • Lets see, the pr0n part is done, now, where do I get songs?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:01AM (#20056107) Homepage Journal
    I hope Paternoster's lawyers force the judge and the RIAA to go on record as violating evidence rules, and show damages for those porno files that are not evidence of any crime.

    The RIAA, and any other complainant (like you or me, if we file a complaint) has to identify the "stolen" property in specific detail, and the police must seize only that property under a specific court order.

    The police state tyranny of extorting suspects by confiscating all their property they need to live and work was already in violation of our rights protected by the Fourth Amendment [cornell.edu]. Corporations using the police as a mercenary army is fascism: government by, for, but not of, corporations. Using coercion and intimidation as the fear to enforce corporate government "discipline".
  • Expose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku (518261) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:01AM (#20056109) Homepage
    Hopefully he'll get a nice fat settlement. I mean the RIAA was expecting it out of him just for downloading some songs..what if he had exposed some of their embarassing info? They'd be wanting his head on a stick.
    • ...what if he had exposed some of their embarrassing info?

      Like what? That they are suing children?

      • by Renraku (518261)
        I was thinking something along the lines of a memo that said something to the effect of:

        "We need a lot of people to sue. Priority on children, the poor, and the very old. Even if they can't pay up, we can cut 80% off of our original demand and still look good in the end. There will be a bonus for whoever gets the biggest settlement; I need to make a yacht payment this month."
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:01AM (#20056117) Journal
    Looks like RIAA is to goblins, what muggles are to wizards. Their (RIAA's and goblin's) idea of property, ownership etc are remarkably similar.

    In The Deathly Hallows by JKR there is this conversation: (nah, it is not a spoiler. Don't worry.)

    "You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with the goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is its maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."

    "But if it was bought ---"

    "---then they would consider it rented by one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [snip] I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by andphi (899406)
      ******************
      SPOILER ALERT *
      ******************

      Interestingly enough, Rowling seems to settle the ownership question fairly definitively when Neville Longbottom pulls a literal Gryffindor hat-track at the end of the book - one almost identical to the hat-trick Harry uses at the end of the Chamber of Secrets. So the goblin-made object truly belongs to the wizard who bought it.
    • by db32 (862117) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:46AM (#20056667) Journal
      Bravo Bravo. In the most amusing form of irony your post is now considered copyright violation as fair use effectively no longer exists. So your copyright infringement post to explain the mentality of copyright infringement claims by the RIAA is incredible. You get +1 Irony and +1 Slashdot Analogy and yet another +1 Shoulda been Fair Use. I am however sad to inform you that you also get a -1 Harry Potter Reference. But all in all good show.
  • by rueger (210566) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:09AM (#20056187) Homepage
    No seriously, this is troll, right? Not even the RIAA would be dumb enough to sue someone named "Sgt. Paternoster."
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:14AM (#20056245) Homepage

    It boggles the mind. You've heard of the four horsemen of the apocalypse? Here we have the Three Stooges of copyright enforcement. Oh, a wise guy, eh? Wo-wo-wo-wo.

    Except the Three Stooges were funny and, overall, I think they could do a better job of copyright enforcement.

  • Wait...wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kitsunewarlock (971818) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:19AM (#20056295) Journal
    He was in GERMANY when this happened? I know he's a US citizen, downloading RIAA "protected" songs, and probably in US territory (i.e. bases) when this happened but...come on. The fact he was in Germany should mean SOMETHING to the case.
    • by will_die (586523)
      From what I can understand from the article he was in Germany when the software(Kazaa) was installed and then was used to download the 4000+ songs and porn(how big of hard drive is this).
      He then was transfered back to the US where he then plugged his computer back into the internet and started to automaticlly upload the files(I presume Kazaa works this way).
      He is not in trouble for downloading the files it is for uploading the files.
    • by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:41AM (#20057389)

      The fact he was in Germany should mean SOMETHING to the case.
      All it means is that the pr0n listed as being on the computer was probably some pretty whacked out stuff.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:19AM (#20056299) Homepage
    What the fuck?

    "You're honour, here is the gun the defendant used to kill Jane Doe"

    "That looks like a hammer"

    "Oh, shit. I can swap it for a gun?"

    "Sure thing, let's call it a "Professional Courtesy"
    • Yup, it's the same reason sharks won't eat a lawyer...
    • by jma05 (897351) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:10AM (#20056969)
      Huh! Not a good analogy. Your analogy implies that they presented completely wrong evidence. They did not. But they did include along with the valid evidence, other stuff that may damage the defendant. And RIAA may further argue that the folder was presumably willingly made public by the user (who they they at that time did not know was different from the defendant) and therefore could not assume that the constituted private information.
    • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:06AM (#20057719)
      What the fuck?

      Here's a much better analogy. Additionally, I have corrected several mistakes you made.

      Lawyer- Your honour, here is the gun the defendant used to kill Jane Doe along with his magazine subscription to Hustler"

      Jury -*Hushed whispers of deviancy*

      Judge"What does that have to do with anything"

      "*deadpan*"Oh,no". Here's only the gun? We're....sorry..about that...mistake."

      "Sure thing, let's call it a "Professional Courtesy"
  • err (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:19AM (#20056303)

    "We try to be fair and reasonable in resolving these cases," said RIAA
    I also try not to infringe copyrights.
  • by huge (52607) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:52AM (#20056749)
    RIAA just proved how easy it is to manipulate the screenshots. It doesn't matter if they blurred or cropped the image, it should now be crystal clear even to most tech illiterate judge how easy it is to tamper the screenshots they are proposing to use as evidence.
    • If I were defending one of these cases I would enter as evidence a fabricated screenshot showing that the members of the record company in question (get their IPs from DNS records) had infringed my copyright on something. I would clearly mark the screenshots as forgery, but ask the prosecution to prove to the standard required by the court in question that theirs are not.
    • by jma05 (897351)
      > RIAA just proved how easy it is to manipulate the screenshots.

      How? Judges accept lousy quality audio clips and photographs as evidence in routine cases. They can be tampered the same way as well. I am not saying that screenshots are bullet proof evidence. Just that Judges don't look for such evidence in all cases. The defendant can always contest the validity of the evidence.
    • I don't know if you realise this, but they are not showing screenshots from the defendants computer.

      The RIAA is showing screenshots from the computers of that gang of hackers that they hire to spy on their victims. So it is _totally_ under their control what is in these screenshots.

  • by AngryJim (1045256) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:53AM (#20056769)
    I've been pirating like a maniac for the past 8 years or so. I've got around 500 albums on my computer that I've never paid for. I used to feel bad about it in the past, but I'm having mixed feelings at the moment.

    up until about 2 years ago, I always intended to legally purchase these cds someday (No, seriously) once I get out of college and into the real world. At ~$15 each it would come to $7500, which I suppose is a lot but spread over a few years, it wouldn't really kill me. The problem is I can't stand to contribute a single cent to the sleazy companies behind the RIAA. On the other hand, I am getting a bit tired of mp3 quality and I'd like to have actual cds to rip into a lossless format.

    Any suggestions? Anyone else feeling the same way?
    • Buy them used (Score:3, Informative)

      Then you still have legal rights to the music, but you don't support the RIAA. If you want to support the artist, buy their merchandise or attend their concerts.
    • Buy the songs you downloaded from iTunes. They're at 99 cents each. This way you clean your conscience, your legal reputation, and make sure the RIAA gets the least money possible.

      On the other hand, if you really want the RIAA to stop lobbying the congress and pass stupid laws, you should give the money directly to the groups - I'm not sure how to do this, tho - and take the following measures:

      - boycott the RIAA.
      - Donate money to the EFF.
      - Only buy songs from independent record labels.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      the way you feel is EXACTLY how most youths feel.

      they feel ripped off by the 'big companies' and so they take justice into their own hands. when people feel that the cards are unfairly stacked against them, they rebel. big-time.

      its easy to understand.

      unless you are a media company - and those don't seem to UNDERSTAND a damned thing - they only see ways to extort dollars from 'customers'.

      I hope the media companies DO crash and burn. they've had it coming for decades. even mob justice is a FORM of justice
    • You're putting the finger right onto the problem. The only thing the mafiaa accomplished by its unscrupulous carpet bombing style lawsuits is the eradication of guilt. When the only reaction to widespread copyright infringement is that they start acting like a wounded animal, lashing out left and right, not caring who or what they hurt and harm in their frenzy, the usual sentiment is not to help but to put the raging beast to rest.

      Also, their usual attempts at pleas to think of the artists is debunked quick
    • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:50AM (#20057477)
      Used CD stores. RIAA won't get a cut from those sales (although neither will the artist) but you'll be legally purchasing at a significant discount from new material. If you want to help the artists then find their web page and order some merch direct. You can probably use the balance saved from buying used CDs vs new so it still works out to under $20/album and everyone but the RIAA gets a piece.
    • by Rhys (96510)
      Buy non-RIAA music at magnatune.com or similar. Or buy used. Remember, at least right now, the RIAA doesn't get anything from used CD sales. Especially useful if the music you want is older. You could also consider the music swapping sites online, I suspect the RIAA hates them too.
    • Half.com. Buy your music used, and you're much less likely to be putting money into the RIAA's pockets. Then, support your artists directly, either by buying merchandise from their website or going to their concerts.
    • The only morally clean way is to avoid using RIAA products.

      If you had a sleazy farmer would you have a right to take and keep part of his crops for the year (I mean he can grow more- it's not like you took his right to grow corn- only an instance of his corn).

      I'm not morally clean myself-- but the world is so grey these days, it is hard to be without feeling like a sucker.

      Keep in mind that legal and illegal do not equal moral and immoral. The underlying principle is that it is their song and they have the
    • Step 1: Delete the music
      Step 2: Move on with life

      Moral dilema solved
  • Check the anagram (Score:5, Interesting)

    by godfra (839112) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:00AM (#20057617) Journal
    "A Porn Tester"

    Co-incidence?! I THINK NOT

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