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RIAA PR Efforts Examined 552

The Importance of writes "Yale's LawMeme has an interesting article pointing out that the RIAA is having some PR success with their anti-file sharing lawsuits. People being sued are not just angry with the RIAA, they are angry with Kazaa. The LawMeme article thinks this is bad news for innovation since Congress might be likely to pass a law making innovative software providers more liable for the copyright infringements of their customers in order to stop the public outcry over the RIAA lawsuits." And in other news, a P2P group is planning to pay off the RIAA for that 12-year-old's settlement, and the BBC has an article about another victim.
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RIAA PR Efforts Examined

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  • Hmmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by panxerox ( 575545 ) * on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:47AM (#6931425)
    ...using this logic means that congress should outlaw linux / pre drm microsoft os's as they are os's that allow people to play copyrighted mp3s ?! ...and is this the end of general purpose computers if the RIAA / microsoft can spin it right?
  • PR What?!?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Serapth ( 643581 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:48AM (#6931449)
    RIAA and PR in the same scentance?

    WIthout the word negative in there?

    Someone tell me hell froze over!
  • I wasn't aware I could infringe on copy-right laws with this technology! IT'S A COPY TOOL! Down with Floppy drives!!!
  • by Prince_Ali ( 614163 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:50AM (#6931470) Journal
    Shouldn't PR campaigns and efforts typically make your RELATIONSHIP with the PUBLIC better?
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:50AM (#6931475) Homepage Journal

    Not a real quote from any person but the whole "I paid $29.95.." line is a crock. "I spent $29.95 on Kazaa and thought I could download thousands of dollars of CDs, movies, software and pr0n." Riiiight.. (Feigning) ignorance is not a defense. From http://www.kazaa.com/us/terms.htm [kazaa.com]

    2 What You Can't Do Under This Licence

    2.6 Transmit, access or communicate any data that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party;

    When a person buys Kazaa they are entering into a legally binding agreement, if they choose not to read the fine print that's their problem, not Kazaa's or Sharman Networks.

    • No dude, here is America you can break the law and still be a victim.
    • by lunenburg ( 37393 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:04PM (#6931733) Homepage
      When a person buys Kazaa they are entering into a legally binding agreement

      I don't think you can say with certainty that a EULA is a "legally binding agreement."
    • Well, it's not talking about whether or not the people should have known it wasn't legal; it's just saying that those people who didn't read (or understand) the licence are becoming angry at kazaa. (After all, it's still bad PR even if Kazaa's in the right.)

      Just making an observation, of course; I fully believe that if somebody agrees to anything without reading it, they deserve the consequences.
    • 2 What You Can't Do Under This Licence
      # 2.6 Transmit, access or communicate any data that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party;

      Isn't that just about everything on Kazaa?
    • The problem is all these companies know their software is being used to pirate others works. Yes you can use it to DL legal software, but the wide vast majority of stuff transfered is all copyrighted, and everyone knows this. They are basically selling piracy software, since they know ppl are going to use it to pirate.

      FTP is different, it is used a lot for completely legit reasons, it just happens to be usable to pirate too. While the concepts are similar the end effectual uses are much different. If K
    • (Feigning) ignorance is not a defense.

      I would submit that this is true in a strictly legal sense, and that
      the whole P2P contraversy is an excellent counter-argument.

      The DMCA, in its final form, runs to about 20,000 pages and is only
      understood by copyright lawyers, it is therefore useful only to those
      who are able to afford on-staff copyright lawyers (eg the *AA and
      other media cartels) It reads pretty much like a multiparty business
      negotiation contract, which is basically what it is, and it (as well
      as a
    • "I spent $29.95 on Kazaa and thought I could download thousands of dollars of CDs, movies, software and pr0n."

      Just like "I paid emusic.com $10/month and thought I could download thousands of dollars of CD's"
      Guess what...you can.

      2 What You Can't Do Under This Licence
      2.6 Transmit, access or communicate any data that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party;

      8.2 Except as expressly provided herein, you are not gr
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone who cares what goes on their machines is already angry with Kazaa. If these suits end up hurting that spyware delivery vector as much as I believe it will hurt the RIAA, I won't be shedding any tears.
    • It would be nice if spyware went away somehow, whether it was through "trusted computing", the RIAA's file sharing suits, or some other evil.
      The people who know about spyware are using Kazaa Lite anyway (I won't post a link as to not violate the DMCA).
      Perhaps there will be a day when we don't have to fear unsigned applets and ActiveX....ha ha ha....
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpn o - c o .org> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:50AM (#6931486) Homepage
    You steal, you get fined or put in jail.

    Just because it's intangible doesn't make that any less true.

    Note for trolls and other knuckle draggers: I hate, with a passion I normally reserve for SCO, the RIAA. I think p2p is a great technology, and I feel that song sharing is the future of the music industry. However, at this time, they do not want their product taken without compensation. Given that it is THEIR product, that is their choice, not ours. A choice I feel will put them and their bussiness partners in the grave faster, but it's their choice none the less.
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:51AM (#6931499) Homepage
    Up to a point a software maker should be liable.

    If someone sells you something and makes overgrand claims ("Stable" - Microsoft, "Access free music" - Kazaa) they should be elligible for at least actual damages, not only very limited liability.

    If companies could make claims with impunity to sell you something and not fear the consequences we would see cars sold as "safe at 200 mph even if you have never driven before". The same thing should apply to software companies.

    Obiously in cases of user stupidity this should be ajusted accordingly (so users cannot complain that their machine went wrong when they gave out root passwords and their IP address on IRC), but otherwise if you want to make a claim about your product you should be legally obliged to stand by it.
    • My first reaction to this was to scream & point out the obvious; that
      MS should be held liable for Windows security bugs, but who will have
      the $ and clout to win a lawsuit against MS if the DoJ couldn't sue

      But then thinking further, I had a vision of a new virus that,
      instead of trashing your hard drive, established your machine as a
      Gnutella server, and made your whole HD visible.

      I'd really love to see the defendents plead they didn't know their
      files were visible then! Heck, I'd love to see what the
    • I don't see why not - you live in America after all.

      If a daft woman who stuck a full cup of coffee between her legs, and drive off, spilling it all over the place, and they *successfully* sue mcDonalds because 'it was too hot', then anyone caught by the RIAAs can sue Kazaa because 'they made it too easy to steal'.

      I'd be surprised if the RIAA didn't try this tactic themselves - "right Dave, we sue you, you sue Kazaa, win all their money closing them down, then we settle out of court for $5, ok?" :)
      • by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithane@n e r d f a r m . o rg> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:36PM (#6932205) Homepage Journal
        If a daft woman who stuck a full cup of coffee between her legs, and drive off, spilling it all over the place, and they *successfully* sue mcDonalds because 'it was too hot', then anyone caught by the RIAAs can sue Kazaa because 'they made it too easy to steal'.

        First, the lawsuit was appealed and McDonalds won and then she appealed that decision and it was a big ordeal. I think the final payout to her was several hundred thousand.

        Second, you cannot serve beverages over a certain temperature due to this. Unless the customer explicitely asks for it. McDonalds served her a beverage over that temperature, as was evident by the burns sustained from the coffee spilling.

        She was asking for way too much money, but it was a valid lawsuit.
        • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:29PM (#6933076)
          stretching the point a bit though - yes, I know how the case ended up, with coffee over a certain temperature being banned. It was still her fault she spilt it over herself though.

          A Friend of mine, many years ago, was freewheeling down a hill on his pushbike, in the dark, when he hit a pothole, flew over the handlebars and hurt himself a little. His first reaction wasn't 'what a plonker I am, I should take more care where im going', but 'Im going to sue the council for not maintaining the roads properly'.

          I guess you can always find a reason why it is someone else's fault (or liability...), never your own.

          I just hate that self-serving attitude. Sorry for this OT post.
  • Even if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:52AM (#6931521)
    Congress might be likely to pass a law making innovative software providers more liable for the copyright infringements of their customers in order to stop the public outcry over the RIAA lawsuits...

    How in the hell does that affect any intelligent innovative software provider (who makes software that can infringe on copyright), who after the napster case, realized that basing their company in america is a Bad Idea TM?

    Or is it just another death knell for american software developers?

  • Bollocks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:53AM (#6931530)
    The 12 year old in question's family is stating this? Don't you think they have an understandably vested interest in appearing very contrite and sorry about this, whilst shifting the responsibility to someone else?

    Last time I looked, Kazaa's got notices all over the place that tells you not to pirate stuff with it.

    p2p tools are just that: tools. Remember,

    p2p programs don't infringe copyright.
    people infringe copyright.

    • Last time I looked, Kazaa's got notices all over the place that tells
      you not to pirate stuff with it.

      Correct. IIRC the girl's mother didn't go directly to Kazaa's
      website, she got it from a 3rd-party website who 'sold' her Kazaa for
      $30. So technically, Kazaa is not at fault here, its the 3rd-party
      website that the family should sue. (Is it still even up?)
  • by soren42 ( 700305 ) * <.moc.yak-nos. .ta. .j.> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:54AM (#6931546) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people used Napster, before it was shut down. There was sentiment against file swapping for a short while, but then Kazaa, Morpheus, and others stepped in, and file swapping increased.

    After the RIAA sues a few thousand people, and the tide turns against swapping, it will slow again.

    But the fact of the matter is that the RIAA members need to come up with a new business model. File sharing will always be around in some fashion, and the technology will just get more and more complex - making it easier to do truely anonymous swapping.

    It's been said a million times on here already - the RIAA is just like SCO - they need to adopt a new business model if they're going to survive. Litigation alone won't support them forever.
    • The RIAA doesn't need to come up with a new business model just because Slashdot says so you know.

      The RIAA has been selling albums for years. Just because people want to download (FOR FREE) music now doesn't mean that if they change to an online distribution method (ala iTunes) that they are going to make the same amounts of money.

      Personally I am impressed w/iTunes' success, but I don't think that there is any possible way that it will reach the numbers that Kazaa had (FOR FREE). I know the RIAA knows t
  • by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:55AM (#6931568) Homepage
    ...then RIAA has already lost, and lost horribly. Prior to a few days ago most people I know didn't realize there was a small war going on between RIAA and P2P apps (hell, they probably never even heard of RIAA). Before you know it the fact they are suing a 12-year old girl living in the projects is all over the papers. Since then I've heard commented "why would the music industry do such an awful thing" from people who before couldn't have cared less about the issue.

    Good luck to RIAA in overcoming that massive PR blunder.
  • Angry with Kazaa? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Channard ( 693317 )
    I suspect this is the same mindset at the person who was angry at McDonalds when she burnt her legs driving off with hot coffee between her knees. Bottom line, file sharing *is* illegal. I'd imagine even the most ardent defender of filesharing knows this, and given that Kazaa itself is just a mechanism for sharing files, anyone actually being angry at them is a joke. Unless of course they mean angry for all the spyware and crap Kazaa (non-lite variety) installs, but that's got nothing to do with the RIAA an
    • File sharing is *not* illegal, Copyright infringement is.
    • by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:25PM (#6932044) Homepage
      I wouldn't bother responding to your naive statement, but when I see a comment such as your labelled "interesting" I can't help but respond.

      Let's start with the McDonald's coffee case, shall we. Rather than propagate popular myth about the case, why don't you first check here [google.ca].

      Next, the "filesharing is illegal" mantra. File sharing isn't illegal, sharing copyrighted works for which you don't have the copyright-holder's permission is illegal (except in places like Canada where certain types of sharing are legal thanks to the CD levies).

      So, let's assume you actually meant to say "sharing copyrighted material is illegal" -- so what? There seems to be a certain percetage of people who cannot see a difference between "killing people is illegal" and "jaywalking is illegal". Yes, both actions are probably illegal, but they can hardly be lumped into the same category.

      Most "filesharers" know what they do is illegal. However most also would say that what they are doing is more like jaywalking as opposed to murder.
  • by linuxkrn ( 635044 ) <gwatson@@@linuxlogin...com> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:56AM (#6931578)
    There is some more information here [theage.com.au] and here [out-law.com].

    At least the P2P United group stepped in, offering to pay the fine.
    Saying "We don't condone copyright infringement, but it's time for the RIAA's winged monkeys to fly back to the castle and leave the Munchkins alone."

    Seems to me they are using shock and awe. The girls mother, when confronted with the charge, instantly agreed to settle the action.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) * on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:57AM (#6931604) Journal
    I've noticed that they've gotten a lot of traction over the past few days by linking file sharing with porn.

    A lot of talk radio hosts have been railing against the porn threat, and p2p for making it worse. I heard Diane Feinstein on the radio yesterday talking about the threat to our kids.

    Meanwhile, these are some lyrics from a current hit song by lil kim and 50 cent. It's a nice song about a rapper's penis, called "magic stick":


    I'm a freak to the core
    Get a dose once, you gon' want some more
    My tongue touch ya girl, ya toes bound to curl
    This exclusive shit I don't share with the world
    I have you up early in the mornin, moanin


    Lil' Kim not a whore
    But I sex a nigga so good, he gotta tell his boys
    When it, come to sex don't test my skills
    Cause my head game have you HEAD over heels
    Give a nigga the chills, have him pay my bills
    Buy matchin Lambo's with the same color wheels .. and I ain't out shoppin spendin dudes C-notes
    I'm in the crib givin niggaz deep throat
  • uhg (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Meeble ( 633260 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @11:58AM (#6931625) Journal

    I think it's great the p2p community can stand with each other and donate to help those who are targeted but that's not what it's going to take in the end.

    Given that most of our political leaders will not stand up to any of the privacy issues or heavy handed tactice given that most are bankrolled by entertainment and media companies it comes down to the end user being the empowered one to stop this nonsense. Is copyright infringement illegal? Yes. Does the resolutions need to be carried out this way in a 'I have more money than you so I will squash you over time in a legal system so you may as well just give me your life savings now' method ?? NO.

    Unfortunately until consumers cease buying CD's completely to send a message - the RIAA will use file sharing as the cop out everytime for CD sales declining. The reality is if they updated their 10yr old business model they know full and well their usefullness would be at an end in the digital age. they are nothing more than a middle man and a bankroll sometimes and direct distribution would make them cease to exist

  • by sremack ( 701659 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:00PM (#6931643)
    I could steal and get into the newspaper, too. Now I'm old and people probably want me to get fined out the poop-chute.
  • by aliens ( 90441 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:00PM (#6931646) Homepage Journal
    Raffle nets $2000 [hypothermia.us]

    The sister site of HardOCP [hardocp.com]

    Very cool of them to do this. The 12yo might come out the better for being sued.
    • Good for her, however the RIAA comes out better for this as well. I'm not trying to make people in to martyrs, I dont think we should support people getting money for extortion, that just hurts the cause. Every dollar you donate to a victim who paid RIAA goes straight to RIAA, every dollar you donate to fight, is a dollar that is taken out of RIAA's pockets in prosecution.

      Even for those who belive that downloading copyrighted songs is wrong an illegal you can't possibly agree with the tactics of the RIAA.
    • Raffling off one's computer parts to pay off the RIAA is almost a confession. True poetic justice would have been for them to raffle/auction off their used CD collection to pay the settlement.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06NO@SPAMemail.com> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:00PM (#6931651)
    when all P2P software is outlawed, when CDs are unrippable, when people aren't allowed to play the music they "bought" without agreeing to spot audits of their homes/computers/person for any copyright infringing materials, and sales figure decreases actually accelerate, who will they blame next? Will they sue musicians for not making sufficiently compelling material? Will they sue DVD/video game/ISP companies for diverting disposable incomes? Will they sue their potential customer base for harming their business by not purchasing at requisite levels?

    I recognize that it is unthinkable to them that they might have anything to do with the sales declines. Unthinkable!

  • Priorities? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:01PM (#6931678) Journal
    So they might push for a law making software developers liable for copyright infringements but they won't lift a finger about making them liable for losses due to bugs and security holes? So much for having your priorities straight.
  • Idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fetus ( 322414 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:01PM (#6931682)
    "Congress might be likely to pass a law making innovative software providers more liable for the copyright infringements"

    And gun makers liable for murders? And car makers liable for car accidents? And Slashdot liable for trolls?
  • Would that make AOL liable for all Gnutella downloads?
  • techtv Music Wars (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wakkow ( 52585 ) * on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:02PM (#6931700) Homepage
    Watch the Music Wars [techtv.com] special on TechTV Friday. It's supposed to be an open talk between major players in this whole ordeal. Unfortunately, as of yesterday, no one from the RIAA has yet to give them a yes or no.
  • Until they (the RIAA) come up with a business model for distributing content over P2P networks that actually makes them money, they're going to keep fighting file sharing.

    What I don't understand is why they simply don't offer a file-sharing license as an option with an ISP signup. You pay a nominal fee (say $10-$20), billed with your recurring monthly charge for internet access, and in return you get to legally access and use these files. I would assume that this would squash any arguements concerning "s
  • Some thoughts... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BanjoBob ( 686644 )
    I'm 100% in favor of the Artists, Songwriters, and such getting paid just I expect to get paid for what I do. I am NOT in favor of the lawyers and trade groups being paid for what the Artists and Songwriters produce unless they pay them themselves. Something interesting thing to consider... The RIAA is NOT the copyright holder -- the labels are. The RIAA is a trade organization. So, under what authority does the RIAA have to subpoena the information in the first place. DMCA explicitly gives this right
  • I had a little fun with a Yahoo press release the other day, and made a version on my own site that's database-driven, so you can stuff somebody's name in an innocuous link. In this one [brentozar.com], it's Julian Morales, but here [brentozar.com] you can put in anybody's name and email them the link to scare the pants off 'em.
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:05PM (#6931741)
    He added: "But uploading copyrighted music is illegal, and for a good reason, and legal action against uploaders cannot be ruled out in the future."

    What if I own the copyright to the "uploaded copyrighted music"? Is it still illegal, Mr. Anonymous Spokesman For The Industry?

    Hidden in his verbal sewage is the sinister and arrogant assumption that the general public is not capable of producing and copyrighting works themselves--that they are capable of only passive consumption.

    This is the "industry" attitude, and it is basically accepted as truth to the reporters.
  • by poptones ( 653660 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:05PM (#6931744) Journal
    P2P users need to be made more aware that file sharing is distribution. These lawsuits are double plus good in that they drive that point home and they make the music industry look bad. Most people, even if they acknowledge the RIAA has a point - don't condone suing 12 year olds living in public housing.

    I'm exhausted by the duality: the people who (allegedly) most believe in file sharing seem to deny its power. And those who least understand it also don't see the power of file sharing. So long as this mindset is prevalent, the RIAA and its ilk will continue to own the media.

    I have tens of thousands of MP3s and APEs. Many I downloaded from usenet, many I made myself. But nearly all the MP3s I have of RIAA controlled music are recordings I already bought. And while I absolutely love to share music, and freqently do, you're not going to find any Hollywood (or Nashville) label stuff on anything I distribute. Not because I value the RIAA, but because I so despise the RIAA there is simply no way I am going to take part in advertising for them.

    File sharers desperately need to understand this. Every time you share Pink, or Madonna, or Linkin Park, you are advertising for them. Why would you risk being sued just to give even more hype to Millionaires? Would you rob a gas station to buy CDs?

    • Good points. It's unfortunate that the subtle distinction between RIAA-owned and other music is not visible at all to most of the users; take this quote from the cnet article:

      In a survey of 803 consumers ages 10 and older, 52 percent of respondents said they were "supportive and understanding of the industry's actions," the RIAA said. About 21 percent said they were "unsupportive and negative." The survey was conducted by polling firm Peter D. Hart Associates.

      The poll was taken several days before new

  • When I read about the first round of suits, I was waiting for something like this to happen, and it didn't. When I read about the second round, and it did, I wasn't suprised. Either way, I felt I had to rant, and this came out:


    For the famously sarcasm impared here, this is meant as a joke, I hope you find some humor in it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:10PM (#6931838)
    Ok, if congress ever passes a bill making Sharman, etc. responsible for their tool being used in an illegal way then I also want them to pass a bill making gun manufactures responsible for producing guns, car manufactures for making cars, knife manufactures for making knives. There are a lot of things I could use for a crime, will we legislate them all. Of course we will, it only depends on who has the most money and influence. In the case of the RIAA vs. P2P the RIAA has the money and power and will most likely have laws past in their favor. In the case of guns vs. society the NRA has the money and power and will most likely have laws past in their favor. Remember, there is no right or wrong, there is only power.
  • by joel8x ( 324102 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:18PM (#6931947) Homepage
    I'm sure there are lawyers out there that would have taken the case free of charge just for the publicity of it. I'm also sure they could have beaten this and blown the whole thing up in the RIAA's faces, which would in turn cause the rest of those being sued by the RIAA to win their cases as well.

    OTOH, it nice to see people and companies rallying behind this girl to cover the settlement - it shows who the real good guys are in this.
  • ex post facto? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lone_marauder ( 642787 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:21PM (#6931984)

    Has anyone noticed that these people are whining about Kazaa after a thorough working over by the RIAA?

    "We are willing to wipe the slate clean... give you a fresh start, in exchange for certain... cooperation in bringing a known copyright terrorist to justice."

  • I love it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cytlid ( 95255 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:22PM (#6932006)
    Make software creators liable for copyright infringement but not other creators of software liable for damage done by their buggy software? Gotta love it ...
  • by LilMikey ( 615759 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:31PM (#6932143) Homepage
    Of course they're all going to say they didn't know they were doing anything wrong! What did you expect? That is the simplest and most straight forward excuse in the books -- blame someone else. While some are truely confused I find it hard to believe that 4 million people honestly believe a one time $30 payment gets them thousands of dollars of retail music for free.
  • One thing RIAA and others seem to have a hard time understanding is that there will always be another way of sharing content. P2P is just a method out of hundred other. To stop filesharing you have to stop ALL traffic on the net and screen every mail delivered in the world. Since i can burn my files onto a DVD and swap it whit a friend instead stopping P2P isnt going to accomplish anything. Maybe they will succeed in stopping a promising communications protocol from being able to mature and start being used in other ways like in a distributed OS or other ways not yet used.

    The only way to stop filesharing is to gain the trust and liking of the buyers so that they pay out of free will. RIAA has taken the opposite route wich already have proven itself futile. One can only watch sadly when they destroy great technology for no good.
  • Swamp out the RIAA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:08PM (#6932738)
    Regardless of its ethics or legality, I think it is a bad idea to fileshare RIAA-connected music. I think that (contrary to what the RIAA would have you believe) by increasing exposure to it, you actually help the RIAA by effectively marketing their music, just like radio does.

    Anyway, whether my theory is right or not, I propose that we offer massive amounts of non-RIAA, legal-to-download music on PHP. I mean massive amounts - thousands and thousands of song, gigabytes and gigabytes worth - saturate P2P with it. Not just stuff you like personally but all kinds of stuff that potentially someone might like. And of course it would all be perfectly legal.

    If everyone were to donate spare disk and bandwidth they're not using anyway, it might make a difference. Start a movement to swamp out RIAA songs. The independent artists will only benefit from it and thank us in the end.

    If you agree with this theory, what are some good sources of freely-downloadable music you would recommend?

  • by panda ( 10044 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:18PM (#6932891) Homepage Journal
    It's very simple, really. Trading songs, movies, or other materials online without permission from the copyright holder of the work is a crime, both in the legal and moral sense. Folks on here love to spout that it is technically "copyright infringement," but it really amounts to stealing, not in the "theft by unlawful taking" sense, but in the sense of using another's property without their permissions.

    Now, I'm going to be the first one to tell you that copyright terms are too long under current law. Life plus 75 years in no way meets any reasonable definition of limited. But, I'll also be the first to say that copyright is a good thing and a lot better than the way things were before copyright. In the days before copyright, you used to have to get permission from the gov't (usually a minister of the autocratic ruler in your country) to print your own works, and even if you secured this permission there was no guarantee that some cut-rate printer in Holland wouldn't just pirate your work anyway. In fact, many letters from authors in the Renaissance up to the 18th and 19th centuries bemoan the appearance of unauthorized editions of their works, not so much for the loss of revenue, but for the omissions, errors, and changes that often appeared in them.

    Copyright can benefit the little guy against the big guy. As authors of free software, it is the only legal leg that we have to stand on against people or corporations who abuse our code.

    If you think your file trading is an innocent act of civil disobedience or that you're sticking it to the man and large corporations, think again. You're helping to undermine respect for copyright, and your rationalizations make it easier for people to "steal" other copyrighted works, such as free software.

    Trading music without permission is akin to some company sticking GPL'd code in their proprietary product and selling it without source code. I'm sure most of you would call that act "theft."

    I'm not saying that all P2P is illegal. I see how it can have many legal uses beyond sharing the latest drivel from the RIAA, and this is the real reason that I think P2P has them running scared. They realize that if they don't paint P2P in a dirty light, if they don't clamp down on people sharing unauthorized stuff (the bulk of the use right now), people will use it to distribute their own original material. Artists will bypass the RIAA gatekeeper and go directly to their fans. The RIAA will not be able to milk that cow for any money, and they will not be the arbiter of what is fashionable in music. In essence, P2P can destroy the mass market for music and turn the music industry into a boutique industry with a market more like a bazaar. (To me, that's a good thing. To the folks at the RIAA, that's economic murder.)

    Besides, it's ASCAP and BMI that usually look out for artists' royalties. Shouldn't they be the ones pursuing these "criminals" and not the RIAA?

    Just some thoughts that were interrupted by the phone.--Don't you just hate it when someone calls you on your lunch break?
  • by KRck ( 690389 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:48PM (#6933421)
    I have read many of the posts on this discussion, and I feel a large majority of us are missing a call to action here. What I see is a classic case of disinformation that needs to be taken care of. Not to mention a legal precedence that could prove very dangerous for software developers(which I have seen mention in a couple of posts) over time.

    The RIAA has some definite legal grounds and concerns that I can sympathize with, and as much as many teenagers and college students feel or wished we lived in a social commune where one can share anything, we don't and music and art does need to be paid for. Also remember the old argument that sharing music is promoting the band, to go see them in concert or buy t-shirts etc... The labels don't get any of that action, which is probably one more reason why they're in a bigger uproar. I am not a big fan of huge corporations but this slices fairly equally between big and small, It may even hurt the smaller labels more.

    And when it comes down to it the law says its illegal, so if you want to gripe then go change that particular law.

    Yet the RIAA feels it needs to go on a witch-hunt, and as much as I feel bad for the recent 12 year old that got nailed for 2k (many thanks to the P2P United for paying their bill), last I checked the law is supposed to be blind and impartial, and not take any special cases so whether it's a 12 year old girl or a 24 year old college student the law is the law. Though the PR from this latest case has raised some interesting issues.

    Much of this is still the fault for the RIAA in its lack of foresight and greed in not jumping on the bandwagon and working with organizations like Napster and KaZaa to create licensing deals, its not like radio has been doing it for years.

    The fact that the blame is turning to KaZaa, is in my mind silly, and very dangerous, it sets legal precedence that could be very damaging. Which has been stated in many different ways within these posts so I am not going to go further into it.

    What I see here is the real issue; common non-computer savvy people need to be educated on some basic principles. Here at slashdot we can argue about who is right and who is wrong, most of understand the implications of the technology. The people that need the education are the public at large, and not necessarily by big groups like P2P United, or the opposite group the RIAA. What needs to be taught to the public is how the system works, why it is ludicrous to blame KaZaa, because blaming KaZaa is akin to blaming the architect of a house for copyright violations because some person can go into a house and copy cd's without being seen by the public. Hence since the house can hide the identity and be a facilitator for the transaction to take place, the architect that build the house should then bare legal responsibility. Data will always be data and if we can't exchange that of which we own the right to for free in any means we feel appropriate we then have some serious constitutional issues to deal with.

    I truly believe if you can tell someone how the system works and make the appropriate analogies so they understand the basic principals they will come to the same conclusion. That if you going to outlaw or put the responsibility of the law on the software developer then you are then going to have to do that across the board for all software. If someone makes a counterfeit bill in Photoshop than adobe is help partially responsible, if some one makes lewd and illegal comments on an instant message then it's the people who wrote the instant messenger responsibility that the action took place.

    If we leave it to the newspapers to educate the populace it will simply be yet another political race that is poorly understood by the majority yet the majority will be called to vote on the subject.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @02:01PM (#6933671) Homepage
    Check the the Kazaa Gold website. [kazaa-gold.com] Here are Kazaa Gold's advertising claims:
    • FREE Unlimited MP3 Music Downloads.
    • FREE Unlimited DVD Movie Downloads.
    • FREE Unlimited Software Program Downloads.
    • FREE Unlimited E books, Pictures, and Documents.
    • FREE Unlimited Video Game Downloads.
    • Save Thousands Of $$$ Compared To Buying In Stores!
    • 100% More Search Results. (All your favorite artists)
    • 100% Faster Downloads (Compared to other file sharing)
    • No Monthly Fees.
    • Create Music CD's To Play In Your Car Or Home Stereo.
    • Create Your Own DVD Movie Collection.
    • Total Identity Protection.
    • Live Support 12 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week.
    • All Of Your Favorite Artists Available.
    • FREE Unlimited Music Video Downloads.

    There's absolutely no indication that the company is offering a service which, if purchased, could lead to civil and criminal prosecution. The California attorney general should go after them for this.

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