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RIAA sues college students
April 3, 2003 9:20 PM   Subscribe

The RIAA has filed lawsuits against four college students who ran file search services on campus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Michigan Technological University, and Princeton University. These "local area Napster networks," as the RIAA calls them, contained about 2.5 million files.
posted by oaf (60 comments total)

 
That's fucked up.
posted by shadow45 at 9:21 PM on April 3, 2003


It's odd, because in all the "fair use" arguments that people make against the RIAA, they point out how it is legal to share a CD with your friend that comes over, but when there are complete strangers all over the world, the argument breaks down.

And yet, we're talking about small local area networks here, stuff that is more akin to popping into a friend's dorm room to borrow his CD. It's also strange that they're busting people for using tools that just crawl the open fileshares on a network, sort of like how search engines crawl public sites.

I'm kind of amazed the local networks were big enough to total 2.5 million files. That's an arseload of music.
posted by mathowie at 9:31 PM on April 3, 2003


I believe that figure (2.5 million) is for all the networks combined. The largest had over 1 million, I think.

Also, the other three file-search servers at Princeton have shut down. And this will be the lead story in tomorrow's Daily Princetonian.
posted by oaf at 9:40 PM on April 3, 2003


I would imagine that each mp3 file is counted as a "song" no matter that 2,000 of the files are of the same crappy Britney Spears hit. But still, 2.5 million for a few college networks sounds insane. Maybe they were set up in a way that outside folks were logging onto them in droves or something. Or the RIAA pulled the number out of thin air, just counted mp3 files rather than actually seeing if they were really copyrighted music, whatever.
posted by bargle at 9:50 PM on April 3, 2003


But were they knowingly sharing copyrighted mp3 files, or did those files just end up in the mix? It is hard to imagine that there were 2.5 million mp3 files of any description on the network, or even 1 million. I got the impression that it was more a case of the search services indexing all files on the servers, which is what a network is for, isn't it? Or are we supposed to go back to the sneakernet?
posted by dg at 10:05 PM on April 3, 2003


Wait, do you hear that?

It's the recording industries' death knell.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:10 PM on April 3, 2003


2.5 million?

That's not too suprising. 2500 kids on 4 campuses with 1000 files each plus a couple of super users? I know a couple of people with over 30K files.

A lot of people who when searching for something will just pop in the band name and download everything that shows up. That can easily pull in a hundred or so files a night on a University quality pipe.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:10 PM on April 3, 2003


I think I'm a little tired of hearing the name of Napster taken in vain. Can't the RIAA stop beating the poor dead kittyhead?

The technologies cited in this latest RIAA suit are not similar to the peer-to-peer code we used at Napster.

It's really all about the money. I think we can agree on that. And Napster was more than willing to pay it. And pay it to both the labels AND the artists. You've all heard the story by now...Napster tried to pay the recording labels and the artist royalties directly. The RIAA would not allow it. Napster was also thinking something subversive like in the future paying something like $0.05 or more per file directly to the artist.

Currently, most popular recording artists make about $0.015 per CD. Their initial contracts usually force them to surrender all their copyrights to the label. That's leaves about $17.985 on the table for everyone at the labels...BUT none of that is for the artist. Less popular artists can end up owing the recording label money (for the cost of their "promotion.") Not such a great system for the artists.

The RIAA (and friends) didn't like the Napster plan. As a matter of fact, it struck fiduciary terror into their bean-counting hearts. So they sued. And sued. And so far, their holding action against technological progress has been working.

To be precise, and as the article says, the on-campus file sharing systems cited in this suit are not exactly Napsteresque in code or architecture configuration. Why they called these file-sharing systems "Napster-like" quite confounds me.

However I find myself oddly satisfied to hear that the "ghost of the kittyhead" is still haunting the Scrooges of the RIAA.

(I still wonder which of my ex-Napster compatriots drew that terrible drawing in Paint as they turned out the lights in Redwood City for the last time.)
posted by Dunvegan at 10:12 PM on April 3, 2003


In its lawsuits, the RIAA compares the use of the campus search software--variously called "Phynd," "Flatlan" or "Direct Connect"--to the defunct Napster service, dubbing the services "local area Napster networks." In fact, the technology used by the three pieces of software varies widely, sometimes looking very different than the old Napster model.

Direct Connect resembles Napster most closely, allowing users to connect to a central server, search one another's hard drives and download files from one another.

Flatlan, by contrast, lets a student set up a search engine --often on an ordinary dorm room PC--that scours all computers connected to a campus network that have Windows file-sharing turned on. Unlike Napster or Kazaa, which helped create a network of computers that would not have existed otherwise, Flatlan searches a network that already exists.

posted by bitdamaged at 10:20 PM on April 3, 2003


Talking off the top of my head, but the total numer of songs on the network doesn't necessarily mean those being shared.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:25 PM on April 3, 2003


Having graduated from RPI (aka Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in 2001, I can personally attest that a vertitable buttload of stuff was available for sharing. Many, many games of "Name That MP3" took place.

If they're going to bring suit against those few people, they should sue all of us that had a computer on the network and ever searched for a file, mp3 or not.
posted by stefnet at 10:27 PM on April 3, 2003


Is it possible to get the 2.5 million figure among three schools? Sure. Searching the network here at RPI right now turns up 447706 hits for ".mp3". Is this a meaningful figure? Of course not. It would be impossible for them to listen to the files and check each one's legality; it's much easier to simply assume that they're all stolen.

There are undoubtedly copyright violations going on, but the heart of this matter is that the RIAA has simply decided that it's tired of choosing targets that can contend with it. Realizing that companies like Kazaa or the universities themselves could contend with the RIAA in court, instead they're going after folks with a little technical know-how and no capacity for legal defense. It really seems like they're trying to establish an unpleasant precedent here. These services simply gave folks on the network a better interface for browsing and transferring shared files on other machines on campus, something that any Windows user on a LAN can do through Network Neighborhood. If the RIAA can get away with this, successfully showing that the students were in the wrong for simply allowing queries of the files that existed on the network, who knows what forms of information they'll be able to block in the future?
posted by Fourmyle at 10:36 PM on April 3, 2003


The fact that these "napster-like" networks were on private networks whose discovery by the RIAA would constitute trespassing doesn't seem to be a factor. Is there no such thing as a private network anymore?
posted by ejunek at 11:29 PM on April 3, 2003


If the RIIA succeeds, it seems likely that the legality of MS and Apple's much-vaunted friend-to-friend software will be invalidated. Where is the line between acquaintance and stranger drawn?

Meh. "File sharing" is theft, anyway (self link).
posted by Tlogmer at 11:54 PM on April 3, 2003


Frankly, I'm surprised it took them this long. If your goal is to stop people from sharing/stealing your product, I can't think of a more effective way than filing a multimillion dollar lawsuit against them, assuming you actually win it. Offering a high-quality viable alternative to Kazaa and its ilk would also probably help, but not nearly as much as very publicly ruining these kids lives.

Evil perhaps, but probably effective.
posted by boltman at 12:16 AM on April 4, 2003


Evil perhaps, but probably effective

I really do doubt it. Anyone here using a fileshare service, is it going to stop you?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:00 AM on April 4, 2003


"Dan the Student": "It's Microsoft that's allowing people to share these files; we're just accessing public information."

Yeah!..

If only Charles Manson had thought of: "It's Kitchen Devil that make the steak knives! I just press them into people!" he might be free today.

A bunch of students with a LAN and their MP3s shared. Hmmm, wonder what's been happening there then.

Evil perhaps

Ha!... Give me a fucking break.
posted by ed\26h at 1:09 AM on April 4, 2003


The evil part, I think, pertains more to the way they're going after individual students, instead of the people (i.e., university) that are actually enabled the file-sharing.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:29 AM on April 4, 2003


RIAA president:
"The people who run these (campus) networks know full well what they are doing--operating a sophisticated network designed to enable widespread music thievery"

So he is suing them for the creation of the network, not the actual act of stealing files. There's no way in hell he can possibly win, I don't even really see this as a story. One of the programs simply accesses computers on the university network that have file sharing turned on.

Oh no! A computer with file sharing enabled is... !gasp!... sharing files!?!

I see this as simply an other scare tactic by the RIAA...
posted by cohappy at 1:45 AM on April 4, 2003


And no, filesharing cannot be stopped.
posted by cohappy at 1:46 AM on April 4, 2003


I don't consider prosecuting individuals for commiting crime as "evil". From what I've seen the university have done nothing wrong. The ability to share files is a standard feature of a LAN/OS but can be used to steal if you choose to.

These students aren't slaves to their own temptations. They made their choice.
posted by ed\26h at 1:49 AM on April 4, 2003


And no, filesharing cannot be stopped.

Neither can murder.
posted by ed\26h at 1:50 AM on April 4, 2003


So he is suing them for the creation of the network, not the actual act of stealing files. There's no way in hell he can possibly win, I don't even really see this as a story. One of the programs simply accesses computers on the university network that have file sharing turned on.

I agree with you here. But if so much as one copyrighted file has been copied...

Of course it may be the case that they were sharing their MP3s for literally no reason at all.
posted by ed\26h at 1:54 AM on April 4, 2003


The ability to share files is a standard feature of a LAN/OS but can be used to steal if you choose to.

ed\26h, you have a point, but you obscure it when you misuse words for the purpose of invective. You know full well the difference between theft and copyright infringement, and don't need me to point it out to you. It's disengenius, and the use of such escalatory language is one of the reasons people are coming to hate the music industry which you seem to have protective feelings towards.
posted by walrus at 2:35 AM on April 4, 2003


To be honest, I believe "copyright infringement" is theft.

To take (the property of another) without right or permission

Seems to fit the bill.

But I'm will to compromise. Copyright infringement it is. If they're guilty I hope they get prosecuted.
posted by ed\26h at 3:01 AM on April 4, 2003


copyright infringement is a lot more complex and fluid than theft.
posted by mook at 3:58 AM on April 4, 2003


Yeah. I didn't really think much of that article. I didn't find it overly difficult to pigeon-hole his "shades of grey" fair-use examples into obviously right and wrong, morally at least. Not really the point admittedly. Fair enough.
posted by ed\26h at 4:45 AM on April 4, 2003


The Princeton students have half of chance of coming froma fmaily with enough financial resources to hire the legal defense it will take to fight off the Hillary monster in court.

The guys at RPI are just financially ruined, before they ever picked up a paycheck.

Lets all pause for a moment, to envision the evil dickhead-sellout computer wiz who sold his soul for a buck to go to work for the RIAA and enable them to launch such prosecutions. How does he sleep?
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:06 AM on April 4, 2003


Here is today's article from the Princetonian.
posted by oaf at 5:17 AM on April 4, 2003


Is the file count based on the same fuzzy math that cited "the equivalent of 421 [CD] burners" in a well publicized bust late last year?
posted by infowar at 5:20 AM on April 4, 2003


So he is suing them for the creation of the network, not the actual act of stealing files. There's no way in hell he can possibly win, I don't even really see this as a story.

I don't see how this is so obvious. Napster wasn't actually stealing files, yet they had no trouble getting a court to shut it down. Same principle applies here. Why wouldn't they be able to get a court to slap a multi-million dollar civil judgment on these kids?

And yes it is evil, for a whole host of reasons. Note that with Napster they just got an injunction to shut it down. Here they have set out to ruin these kids' lives to make an example out of them.

Also, it might not stop be from downloading music, but it would definitely stop me from sharing files. I suspect the same would be true for a lot of people.
posted by boltman at 5:21 AM on April 4, 2003


Napster wasn't actually stealing files, yet they had no trouble getting a court to shut it down. Same principle applies here.

The difference is that Napster created the network. The guy at Princeton (and presumably the ones at RPI, where I believe Phind was created) didn't create the network. He just allowed it to be searched.
posted by oaf at 5:48 AM on April 4, 2003


I believe "copyright infringement" is theft

Theft is where I take it from you and you don't have it any more. Copying your work is still morally wrong, but different. You only lose money if I was intending to purchase your work, but downloaded a free copy instead.

Your statement is logically akin to saying that file sharing is murder or fraud. My point is simply that if we don't use emotionally laden terms, we can discuss the actual issues involved.
posted by walrus at 6:27 AM on April 4, 2003


And yes, that applies to the "evil" too. There is a big fucking culture shock here. Neither "side" understands the other, and so everyone projects their own insecurities, making the situation so much worse for all involved ...
posted by walrus at 6:52 AM on April 4, 2003


Theft is where I take it from you and you don't have it any more

No, that's specifically larceny. Theft is not defined by a specific physical loss by the victim.

Theft (Stealing): To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Your statement is logically akin to saying that file sharing is murder or fraud

And surley I don't have to point out the irony of that.
posted by ed\26h at 7:10 AM on April 4, 2003


I don't know that it's true that neither side quite understands the other. I think they may actually understand each other quite well. RIAA sees the impending collapse of the recording industry, whereby executives are no longer compensated for the immensely popular work of recording "artists." Filesharers see the impending collapse of the recording industry, whereby executives are no longer compensated for the immensely popular work of recording "artists."

Does anyone wonder what would happen if the country launched into civil disobedience en masse, and everyone with the capacity to do so started sharing and downloading music like crazy, and stopped buying the physical albums, and the recording industry started naming average Joe Schmoe 60-File-Sharing Kazaa User in lawsuits, but people just kept doing it, and RIAA went belly up, and Britney Spears et al. were stiffed for their contributions, and the music industry just stopped. Just like that. I mean, people obviously wouldn't stop making music. I imagine quite a few groups wouldn't be affected at all, and quite a few would be affected rather positively. What do you think the next music industry would look like?
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:18 AM on April 4, 2003


Ed\26h: I think the semantic distinction here comes in the verb "to take." In this context, does that verb imply unique ownership?

Take, v. tr.

1. To get into one's possession by force, skill, or artifice, especially.
Here, it seems to strictly imply unique ownership. "One's possession."
2. To grasp with the hands.
Implies physicality, so we necessarily can't apply this definition to the law.
10. To accept and place under one's care or keeping. (see 1.)
11. To appropriate for one's own or another's use or benefit.
(Again, see 1. This one even seems to reinforce the unique ownership interpretation ...
Anyway, wash, rinse, repeat. I could keep going. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that walrus' separation of terms "theft" and "copyright infringement" is accurate and useful. Both terms describe illegal activity; you're not losing any moral high ground if you adopt the latter. I mean, we could sit here and argue whether copyright infringement is a form of theft, but what's the point? At best, calling it "theft" is imprecise, so why not use the just-as-if-not-more-applicable and certainly-more-defined term?
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:33 AM on April 4, 2003


OK, for my third and final act, I'm going to step away from the dictionary.

Ed\26h: But I'm will[ing] to compromise. Copyright infringement it is.

I don't know why I'm still babbling on about this. Continue, y'all. Have a good discussion. I said my piece[s].
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:37 AM on April 4, 2003


in answer to grrarrgh00's inquiry, the music industry of the future should look like the cable television industry. what i mean by this is that the major labels should open up their catalogs and put them up online for a yearly subscription rate. this way those of us who were using napster for archival reasons and can't afford collector prices can get the music, the artists can get money, and at little cost to the label.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:41 AM on April 4, 2003


grrarrgh00: Your music industry hypothesis is so extreme it'd be quite difficult to predict much about it. The only things I can say for sure it that it wouldn't be an industry at all, that musicians wouldn't be able to make a living from their talents and these things would be arrived at through immorality en masse.

I have literally no idea what all that "take" definition stuff was all about.
posted by ed\26h at 8:01 AM on April 4, 2003


If all artists stopped producing right this minute we'd still have a music industry simply because of the back catalog. If not new material was ever released I wouldn't mind so much because there's no way in the world I could ever listen to every single piece of recorded music.

I'd like to be able to legitimately get ahold of recordings that are no longer in print or wherein the recording artist (not the right's holder) is dead for next to nothing. I'm not downloading stuff illegally, but if the studios don't keep it in production due to the lack of profit, then they shouldn't be able to keep it from the public.

AFAIAC if the rights holders had to pay to renew their copyright (say every 5 years or so) or else it'd end in the public domain we'd all be richer culturally and financially.
posted by infowar at 8:16 AM on April 4, 2003


Is it really that big a deal for a student living in a dorm at college to declare bankruptcy in the face of a civil suit? This seems like a really fruitless approach for the RIAA. Talk about blood from a stone...
posted by NortonDC at 9:22 AM on April 4, 2003


ed\26h, copyright infringement is a contract violation, theft is not.

I am well versed in US copyright law and it's development in the last decade, especially the distinctions between and overlap among civil copyright law and criminal law. Your legal arguments are untenable.

Theft in relation to copyright would be the theft of the copyright itself (meaning depriving the copyright owner of the ability to grant licenses, which is pretty hard to imagine happening, and which is not at all what is under discussion here).
posted by NortonDC at 9:42 AM on April 4, 2003


ed\26h, copyright infringement is a contract violation, theft is not.

Really? I don't quite follow this. Are you saying that the students had some sort of implied contract with the record companies that was violated when they created the network? Isn't it possible to infringe copyright in the absence of a contract? Napster certainly never signed a contract with the record companies, and they were forced out of business by copyright infringement suits.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:40 AM on April 4, 2003


To hear the labels tell it, buying a CD = acquiescing to a license, a form of contract.
posted by NortonDC at 11:05 AM on April 4, 2003


so they "sharing files" means that they are breaking the law?

What about the situation where you have legal MP3's on your computer (bought and then ripped). And through a mistake in setting up windows or a bug, are publically shared. Can you then be sued?
posted by Iax at 11:25 AM on April 4, 2003


But even civil suits alleging copyright infringement rely on independent copyright statues (in this case, probably the DMCA) rather than contract law, right? Criminal penalties associated with copyright infringement are certainly statutory (the DMCA and the NET act--it doesn't even make sense to associate criminal penalties with contract law, unless, maybe, we're talking about fraud). Plus, there's no license whatsoever associated with CDs: I've never bought a CD that included licensing terms, though every piece of software I've ever purchased or downloaded--even (especially?) the GNU stuff--has come with a detailed, tortured license text. What benefit does claiming contract violation give the record companies when a) there's no contract text to cite, and therefore no penalties to associate with the violation and b) copyright law establishes clear penalties for infringement, even in the absence of a contract?

I don't think copyright infringement has any fundamental connection with contract law. I think your confusion, NortonDC, might result from the entanglement of copyright and contract law that comes about as a result of software (and public performance?) licensing. Then again, IANAL.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:25 AM on April 4, 2003


"All rights reserved"

Yes, to the labels those are terms of a binding license. Read the fine print on a major label CD and accompanying materials.

The DMCA is new. The NET act is slightly less new and strictly about criminal for-profit "piracy." Copyright infringement vastly predates either of these. Looking to these for a definition of copyright infringement is a mistake.
posted by NortonDC at 11:49 AM on April 4, 2003


The only things I can say for sure it that it wouldn't be an industry at all, that musicians wouldn't be able to make a living from their talents

Music had existed for thousands of years before the music industry. Do you really think that no musicians made a living from their talents prior to the 20th-century invention of recorded music?
posted by Dirjy at 12:23 PM on April 4, 2003


The DMCA is new. The NET act is slightly less new and strictly about criminal for-profit "piracy." Copyright infringement vastly predates either of these. Looking to these for a definition of copyright infringement is a mistake.

Well; they do define new forms of copyright infringement and new penalties associated with said infringement. You'd be lax in attempting to define copyright infringement without looking at the DMCA and NET act, it seems. The case at hand (at the universities) will almost certainly be based on the DMCA, which is why I focused my comments on that law.

You're right, however, in noting that US law defined copyright infringement as an actionable civil matter long before we had the DMCA. You should also note that this definition allows for copyright infringement in the absence of a contract between the infringer and the infringed party (which you seem to misunderstand in your original post, above).

"All rights reserved" isn't a license. It's a notice of copyright associated with the Buenos Aires convention of 1911 (really!). It serves no useful purpose today, as the convention has been eclipsed by more recent international treaties on intellectual property. Lawyers and publishers love tradition, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:29 PM on April 4, 2003


What do you think the next music industry would look like?

Dave Matthews Band makes millions each year touring, so do the Rolling Stones, and those are just two that immediately came to mind.

Also, The reason I don't think the case will win is because the students are not being sued for the illegal act of copyright infringement, they're being sued for the legal use of Windows file-sharing features.

Sharing files is not illegal, sharing specific, copyrighted files is. This is a distinction the RIAA is ignoring.
posted by cohappy at 12:56 PM on April 4, 2003


mr_roboto, I could be wrong (it has happened before), but I'm confident that music CDs carry a license. Buying the disk doesn't give you free reign on all the possible uses of that disk, only those allowed under the established license (things like radio broadcast are not covered in that license). I'm also thinking of other IP like DVD's and video cassettes that carry notifications of the license they are under ("Licensed only for private home viewing...").
posted by NortonDC at 1:15 PM on April 4, 2003


Blood from a stone...

Heh. It might actually be helpful to the kids, if they pay off all of their college debts on credit cards before they declare the bankruptcy.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:15 PM on April 4, 2003


As this news spread, several other colleges, including mine, have shut down their local area networks that serve the same purposes. It's just not worth it to the guy running the server to have his ass slapped with a lawsuit for others' convienence.

One optimistic (idealist?) student suggested boycotting all RIAA products as a response, but the general response was, "Thanks for all your hard work; we'll download our MP3s from somewhere else now . . ."

All in all, I'd say its a really shitty move from the RIAA (though not totally unexpected), but it also sounds like they feel threatened by the inter-collegiate networks, which I find highly amusing.
posted by somethingotherthan at 9:28 PM on April 4, 2003


On the issue of whether copyright infringement is theft, I just wanted to add these further thoughts.

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

- Thomas Jefferson, speaking about copyright.

The whole idea of copyright is to protect the right to make copies, as much as to protect the right to make money out of the distribution of copies. We restrict the right to distribute copies to encourage people to come up with original work. That's why we require permission to make a copy, but we also automatically protect the right to make copies under certain circumstances.

To equate this issue with theft is to miss the point entirely. We survive as a race on the exchange, and thereby evolution, of ideas. In crafts, in science, in philosophy, in art, and in music.

It's therefore important that people have an incentive to exchange and share ideas, which is why I support the idea that people be allowed to monetise them. However, this does not imply a right to restrict the spread of those ideas to something arranged purely by monetary contract.

The music labels are attempting to restrict the spread of their artists musical "ideas", by arguing that no-one has a right to copy them at all, and that to make any copy is automatically theft. That's why I think this case is a mistake. It attempts to block the sharing of ideas per se, and to re-label it as theft.

In short, I support the right to make money off distribution, but not any attempt to strip away the right to make copies, or to share copies in a way which constitutes fair use.

Since the two acts are indistinguishable on the individual level, with the technologies we have and the scale of their penetration, I suggest some kind of flat levy on the bandwidth, to cover any perceived loss through file sharing.

We should also be honest here, and admit that it's unlikely that any of those students could have afforded to buy all the material they were (probably) sharing. The "loss" by the industry doesn't scale to 100% of the shared material, and since no production or distribution costs were incurred by the recording industry, it's unfair, not to mention illogical, to argue that this equates to theft in the same way as driving away with a van full of stolen CDs would be. Some potential revenue was doubtless lost however, and this is regrettable.

I believe a flat levy on bandwdth (and any other medium by which exchange can take place, eg blank CDs) would be a good source not only of revenue, but of PR for the artists, not least because the legalisation of filesharing would allow the kinds of wide deployment of new material and instant measurement of success or failure that most record executives would find quite useful, if they appreciated what it could make possible for them.

Inherent in this idea is the idea of measurement: if artist X is creating 20% of all files shared, artist X should take 20% of the pot. File-sharing software which didn't measure usage by artist could then be legally gone after. But there's no incentive not to include this measurement, as long as there's no financial advantage to going under the radar.

I believe this situation would be much better than the situation the RIAA is heading for right now. You can't stop something that everyone likes to do, so it's much better to tax it and make it honest.
posted by walrus at 4:06 AM on April 6, 2003


[this is bad]
posted by adampsyche at 5:14 AM on April 6, 2003


[this is bad]

The levy idea I just outlined, or the whole court case thing?

I think it's inevitable that we eventually accept some kind of levy on file sharing, like it or not. It would be nice to do it in a fair way, that reflects the "market" share and also allows measurement for the record companies.

By the way, I buy all my CDs legitimately and rip them for personal use. I only ever share them on a local windows network, so that I can listen to them in any room in my house without fumbling for CDs. Sound familiar?

You can try to argue that I'm committing theft, as this court case does, but only if you have lettuce for brains. The intellectual dishonesty which surrounds the issue of file-sharing on both sides is flabbergastingly mind-numbing.
posted by walrus at 5:49 AM on April 6, 2003


Did you know that, in America, there already is a levy on blank audio CDs? In return, Americans get exactly nothing--no new rights are bought with that money, no new freedoms, no new exception from prosecution, no new immunity from lawsuits.

Quite a deal, eh?
posted by NortonDC at 7:33 AM on April 6, 2003


Also, it might not stop be from downloading music, but it would definitely stop me from sharing files. I suspect the same would be true for a lot of people.
This is where I am confused - if I leave a CD sitting on my desk, I am committing no crime, but if someone else takes that CD and copies it, they are breaching copyright. In the same way, if I have files shared on my computer (that I have acquired legitimately), I am committing no crime, but if someone else takes a copy of that file, they are the ones who are breaching copyright, surely?

In this particular case, of course, they are going after the middleman who is supposedly providing a service to assist people breaching copyright, but how can they prove that the service was not set up for legitimate file-sharing and has been used by others for illegal purposes? That is like suing a gun manufacturer for making something that they could reasonably expect to be used in committing a crime.
posted by dg at 5:07 PM on April 6, 2003


The President of MTU responds to the RIAA [via a.whole].
posted by walrus at 10:11 AM on April 10, 2003


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