Get that MP3, and get the boot
February 15, 2003 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Get that MP3, and get the boot In a -IMHO- patetic effort to try to stop what can't be stopped, the RIAA and MPAA are urging companies to monitor their employee's downloading habits or face suing, damages, sanctions and what have you against them. In other words, inciting companies to treat their employees as potential criminals and dispose of them accordingly. While the risks of using P2P at work such as virii and leaking of private files do have a point, this is really about the RIAA/MPAA resorting to more desperate measures each time to try to stay afloat with their jaded business model, which will do nothing but accelerate their long-forecast demise in the "real" new economy.
posted by betobeto (16 comments total)

 
Wow. I'm not allowed to spend work time and company resources in the pursuit of personal entertainment? Boy, that really sucks! Call the ACLU!


Why is this on MeFi? Bad enough it's on /.
posted by Ayn Marx at 7:03 PM on February 15, 2003


The Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America are sending a six-page brochure this week to Fortune 1000 corporations with suggested policies ...

Well this will be fun. I suspect the RIAA may be in for a bit more than it bargains for. Certainly most of the Fortune 1000 already have internal policies prohibiting personal use - which are largely ignored. The ones that are serious about it simply block the ability to download such materials anyway. Some of them probably will distribute the "suggested" language in an internal memo (which will also be forgotten about by employees in all of a day).

Suggestions are received with a neutral attitude in big companies. However, threats are a different story. I have to grin a bit at the thought of the RIAA deciding it is going to sue Exxon. It may find that Lee Raymond's legal division is just a touch more difficult to deal with than Napster's was (in roughly the same way as dealing with a grizzly bear in one's garage is a touch more difficult than dealing with a squirrel).
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:18 PM on February 15, 2003


Hey "Any Marx", you can't really be so ignorant.

I own three internet-technologies based companies, two design firms and a hosting services provider. Each and everyone of my 233 employees are able to use the internet (within certain bounds of decency) in an organized and proper manner, that's why I hire them and not a bunch of meaningless cubicle drones stuck to a 133-page employee policy "handbook". This includes the downloading of music, videos, and other media-which I often find conducive to a growth-oriented creative environment. Our productivity is in the top 10% of firms in the US and company moral and leadership are at an high.

If you're stuck at a 8-6 job with extensive rules and regulations keeping you on a creative leash, learn to think for yourself and make choices in the general advancement of the company. Be ignorant, talk playground smack, it's not my problem-call the ACLU, who gives a fcuk.
posted by omidius at 8:23 PM on February 15, 2003


Previous RIAA/MPAA publications have intentionally blurred the line between what's legal and what's not. They've claimed making a backup has dubious legality, and with large corporations they'll likely say that employees having a common area to share mp3s is illegal (an office of people sharing mp3s may be no different to people playing CDs). They just don't encourage understanding about what's wrong and right - they scare people because it's in their interest. Fuck them.

riaa.com is just died - or is it just me?
posted by holloway at 8:51 PM on February 15, 2003


Under auditing systems for unauthorised copyrighted material,
"music files are typically stored on computers in .mp3, .wma, or .wav format. A typical compressed commercial recording takes up 3-5 megabytes, and is often found in a /my music or /shared directory."

[...]

"Unless a user produces a licence or subscription agreement from a legitmate music or movie service, you should assume that copies of music and movies on your computers are illicit. There are no excuses such as 'fair use' for corporate or Internet copying of these works without the permission of the copyright owner."
Unless of course you own the CD, and you want a digital copy for your own use at work, and you're not trading the files, which is perfectly legal (and moral) in most places...

"assume that copies of music and movies are illicit" or, alternatively, allow people to do what's legal.
posted by holloway at 9:28 PM on February 15, 2003


Hey "Any Marx", you can't really be so ignorant.

That is correct, omidius. You are quite astute. Poor speller, though. It's Ayn

I own three internet-technologies based companies, two design firms and a hosting services provider.

Well, I guess that makes you pretty common, no? Or perhaps you need to widen your world view. Most people do not work where they can freely choose how to use company Internet resources.

Even those places that do not bother regulating net access do not want their employess risking a lawsuit over copyright issues.

On the other hand, some may feel that turning a blind eye to what, like it or not, is an illegal activity, is a clever business strategy.

Be ignorant, talk playground smack, it's not my problem-call the ACLU, who gives a fcuk.

"omidius" must be Latin for 'king of irony"
posted by Ayn Marx at 10:16 PM on February 15, 2003


If anything, I'd think companies would consider blocking access to things like kazaa for bandwidth issues. Let's face it, bandwidth costs money. If they aren't already doing it for that, I don't see that a letter from the RIAA is going to convince them to change matters. I sincerely doubt that the fact that some of this stuff may not be legal never crossed the minds of the people in charge of stopping it on a corporates network before, so they already had the chance to stop it.

Personally, as the guy responsible for the computers in the lab I work in, I tend to yell at people that leave kazaa running serving other people for 2 reasons: A) Bandwidth (leaving it open to uploading interferes with nightly backups), and B) takes up too much space on the hard drives (which also gets into the backup issue).
posted by piper28 at 10:47 PM on February 15, 2003


As an employee of one of the two corporate behemoths that dominate the computer biz I can tell you that we were told months explicitly that keeping mp3s on PC's at work is a capital offence. Hardly surprising, since "trusted client" aka Palladium. represents a huge investment in both hardware and software development to make digital rights management a reality.
posted by marvin at 11:44 PM on February 15, 2003


omidius: So, what you've basically said is... "I allow my employees to commit copyright theft... it's good"

I'm so tired of posts like this. If you don't want to get in trouble, stop breaking the law.

Oh and "holloway" if you find a shrunken head in your mate's fridge it MAY be totally innocent but I'd be willing to commit such a terrible infringement of human rights as calling the police.
posted by ed\26h at 5:41 AM on February 16, 2003


If you don't want to get in trouble, stop breaking the law.
The more people flaunting copyright law, the better, says I. Any law that's unenforcable is not a really a law.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:11 AM on February 16, 2003


That was a nonsense and you know it as well as I do.
posted by ed\26h at 9:37 AM on February 16, 2003


Large companies (and even smaller companies) that either have employee handbooks* specifying no personal use of computer/internet and/or simply block "undesirable" services have nothing to fear from this. Thier attitude is that if the ??AA "catches" someone on thier network doing something "bad" then they fire that person, end of story, $5 to send a registered letter saying "We took care of it, kindly bugger off."

Small companies, like those apparently owned by our esteemed Omidius, have much more to fear from these goons. Frankly, the lawyer's fees -- regardless of whether the lawsuit is legit or frivolous -- can bankrupt a small company. This incidentally puts your "fair use file-sharing" employees out of a job.

Of course it's a scare tactic! But can you afford to play chicken?


*Don't knock employee handbooks! They can protect your company in an IRS audit, various types of harrassment lawsuits, and at least 82 other Bad Things. They can save you time by not having to explain to all X of your employees the same rule, principle, or "way we do it here." Hell, I wouldn't have an employee without one. You can even download templates and adapt/add as necessary. No excuses for not having one.
posted by ilsa at 10:15 AM on February 16, 2003


Oh and "holloway" if you find a shrunken head in your mate's fridge it MAY be totally innocent but I'd be willing to commit such a terrible infringement of human rights as calling the police.
What an analogy.

What's more likely - that someone has a licence or subscription agreement for their downloaded mp3s - or that they made the mp3s themselves. The RIAA know that by far the most popular legal use of mp3s is for personal jukeboxes (ease of use). They're not dumb enough for this to be an accident.
posted by holloway at 11:04 AM on February 16, 2003


They're not dumb enough for this to be an accident.

You sure?
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:47 AM on February 16, 2003


The ommision is in their favour, yes - I'm sure they're crafty bastards.
posted by holloway at 12:02 PM on February 16, 2003


What's more likely - that someone has a licence or subscription agreement for their downloaded mp3s - or that they made the mp3s themselves.

Yeah. I don't actually believe that. I'm not sure you do either but I guess I'll never know for sure.
posted by ed\26h at 2:04 PM on February 16, 2003


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