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ABC News: Music Labels Threaten to Sue Net Users

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2003
News Categories: Digital Media

The Recording Industry Association of America, citing substantial sales declines, said it will begin Thursday to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify users who offer “substantial” collections of MP3 music files for downloading. It expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within eight to 10 weeks.

“The RIAA’s president, Carey Sherman, said tens of millions of Internet users of popular file-sharing software after Thursday will expose themselves to “the real risk of having to face the music.”

“It’s stealing. It’s both wrong and illegal,” Sherman said. Alluding to the court decisions, Sherman said Internet users who believe they can hide behind an alias online were mistaken. “You are not anonymous,” Sherman said. “We’re going to begin taking names.”“

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Comments

1

Oooohhhh…I am really scared now Senator Hatch…

Posted by Rob on June 26, 2003 at 6:16 AM (PDT)

2

I live in the UK so know nothing about US law but I’m not sure how this would work.

Surely if you are ‘offering’ your collection for download you aren’t stealing anything (as long as you have the original cds), it would only be people downloading from you are stealing (or am I missing something here)?

Posted by Dan Murphy on June 26, 2003 at 6:41 AM (PDT)

3

You would still be liable under copyright law in the fact that you place them online enables other individuals to copy (download) your music.

In fact if you look at the small print around your CD label a portion of it say’s the following ” Unathorized copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this recording prohibited”. And by recording it means it covers each individual recording on the CD, so you can’t get away with it by just placing one or two tracks off the CD online! You can your pick as to what you are doing placing music online for download.

They could actually pursue people in the UK, via the BPI ( UK’s version of the RIAA).

Posted by mac_gladdy on June 26, 2003 at 7:46 AM (PDT)

4

Strange, it seems that they are going after the very people most of their income is coming in from. Just jail these cash-cows and see the profit plummet even further.

Posted by pbox on June 26, 2003 at 8:43 AM (PDT)

5

I hope the RIAA gets majorly screwed, I hate them.  They overcharge for cds, and further more the publish plain ol’ crap music, music sucks nowadays.  If they wanna come after me for “stealing” music, the are more than welcome.  THe only thing us downloaders have stolen is the RIAA’s pride.  THat is where they get the term, we are not stealing music, we are sharing it, plain and simple. 

Posted by Rob on June 26, 2003 at 9:42 AM (PDT)

6

They pretty much HAVE to go after the people who share their MP3s, for a few reasons.

First, they most likely have to prove intent, and if people are sharing songs, that’s intent. Downloaders, on the other hand, might well actually own the album they download—I know lots of people who are too lazy or technologically inept to rip a CD—so they’re legally entitled to have an MP3 copy of a CD they already own (I wonder if this applies to people who own an old LP or cassette of a song and download an MP3, since it’s a different sound source and audio quality).

More importantly for the RIAA though, is the fact that if they scare off people with big collections of MP3s, then there’s less music available to download—I’m sure they hope to choke off the supply.

Posted by Clive on June 26, 2003 at 9:55 AM (PDT)

7

I think thay are after the people with 40+ GB’s of Mp3 sat on thier harddrive for everyone to feast on. I doubt very much if those people actually have a CD collection of any note as most of their music is on Mp3. I’ve heard of jokers with 200GB of Mp3’s, i doubt if they have all the CD’s to go with them. Anyway, have you used kazzaa recently it’s full of porn and viruses.

My personal opinion on these mp3 monkeys is that they really are not music fans in the true sense of the word. ” I am big fan of the beatles but all my beatles albums are on mp3”. Music fans, appreciate the band and their music. if you are a music fan you would buy the CD, as not all artists are mega stars some are just a few sales away from going back to working in walmart, it’s those guys/girls/bands who produce great music and so I will buy the CD.

Admittedly the mainstream is so full of bloated overhyped rubbish there isn’t much I’d buy from the top 100. Lets not scream about overpriced CD’s when you can get very good buys online. hey I am based in the UK and you guys in the US don’t know the meaning of overpriced CD’s!

Posted by mac_gladdy on June 26, 2003 at 12:31 PM (PDT)

8

I agree Dan, but Mac Gladdy is right. Besides, we are anonymous, despite what a stupid lady who knows nothing about the internet thinks. Remember everyone, multiple firewalls, routers, hubs, and switches are our friends smile I agree Rob. I hate the RIAA. I’m a visual artist (digital and traditional) and I offer my stuff online for people to see. Anyone is welcome to take a picture of my work or an image on their computer as long as they view it privately or show people, but if they try to push it as their own and get money for it that is stealing. The people who are about the art itself don’t care. I don’t think incubus cares and guess what, they have great music. The only people who are afraid are the people who produce crap music whose records wouldn’t be bought if they could be downloaded. There are people that if I downloaded their music I’d have to buy the CD. I’ve done so with incubus and RHCP. They don’t even seem to care if they’ve been downloaded in fact it probably makes them happy. Oh and the RIAA negelcts the fact that their profits go down probably as much as they raise CD prices each year. I agree Clive, thats entirely the reason why they’re going after people with large collections. Music sharing will probably get more underground than it already is, but I don’t think we’ll see it die.

Posted by zync on June 26, 2003 at 12:38 PM (PDT)

9

And remember, I read somewhere that the RIAA only has jurisdiction over large file shareres IN the US. Us overseas folk are untouchable what with international law and stuff. Who says only Americans have 200 GB worth of mp3’s open to th epublic?

Th RIAA is just getting it all wrong what with their rhino tactics against music sharers. The answer is within them, they have to come up with a more viable business model from which to work. Like, lower the price of cd’s or present a cheap, hassle free but legal way of downloading music (like i Tunes,but more universal).

All they’ve been doing, what with suing College students, threatening to sue anonymous file sharers, and my favorite pet peeve COMING OUT WITH FRIGGIN COPY CONTROLLED CD’S (which have been proven to be of lesser audio quality than normal cd’s), is alienate the very people they cater to, and crate even more hatred and resistance to their cause. File sharing WILL NOT go away, It is the future. They better start acceoting that fact and start workin around it.

Dont get me wrong, I am against music piracy, but they are just going about it the wrong way. To paraphrase the Chemical Brothers, they’re just digging their own hole.
And boy are they in deep this time.

Posted by Reorx on June 26, 2003 at 4:30 PM (PDT)

10

Reorx I wouldn’t crow so loudly as time might be running out haven’t yuou heard of the EU, who are at the behest of the major labels are looking at drawing up anti-piracy legislation across the whole of the EU. There are some websites in Holland where you can download the album and the covers to go with it, now that is stealing. pity the poor fools who do as it downloads a backdoor trojan onto your machine ( windows).

As for the copy controlled CD’s one will never touch my Mac or PC. Also let’s not forget that movies are being shared using p2p, so if we manage to kill two major US industries, perhaps in years from now our kids will ask us ‘why did we allow it to happen?’

Finally, I read early this morning on netscape that the malaysian government is considering bringing a law in which will force the price of CD, VCD and DVD down to a level which ordinary malays could afford and so counter piracy in that country.  Now that would be very interesting if it went ahead.

Posted by mac_gladdy on June 26, 2003 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

11

Hey Mac Gladdy, I too was wondering why no one ever mentions that movies are also shared. It’s probably because there’s no MIAA…..

Posted by zync on June 26, 2003 at 5:16 PM (PDT)

12

No, Zync—they’re called the MPAA, and they do all the movie ratings, among other things. If you read the whole story, their head, Jack Valenti, applauded the RIAA’s move but noted that the studios aren’t going to do the same thing (yet).
As for Malaysia, I was there in 1996, and their version of piracy isn’t even close to ours—it’s miles ahead. There were stores in high-price malls that openly advertised in their windows that they had bootleg live CDs. Another mall had stores which solely existed to sell pirated Windows software. If they put a law like that in place, it’s probably in order to force manufacturers to put list prices at levels that will make following the law a reasonable option for stores in order to encourage the sale of legal CDs and software, etc.

Posted by Clive on June 26, 2003 at 6:29 PM (PDT)

13

im wondering how anti-piracy egislature will affect minors in the US. im 14, and if i get busted for pircacy, will my dad (the technical owner of my computer, DSL, iPod, etc.) have to face charges? because even if he didnt do the actual piracy, the copyrighted songs are still located on things that are his property.

Posted by anarcation on June 26, 2003 at 7:00 PM (PDT)

14

anarcation, I doubt if minors such are you are the targets of the RIAA’s gestapo-like searh and destroy, unless you happen to be sharing 200 gig worth of mp3’s. But in the unlikely event that you are indeed singled out, under the rule of vicarious liability, your dad (or legal guardian) will be indeed the one to be charged since you are still a minor.

So kiddies, let this be a lesson: if you want daddy to stay free and healthy, DONT pirate music. but if you really must and are addicted to it (like the millions and millions of other people out there), just keep your shared files to a bare minimum to keep under the RIAA’s radar.

The answer has got to be cheaper cd’s. I mean, id gladly pay that extra for original cd’s plus packaging, booklets, and other extras, but not if that “extra” is 10 times more than a bootleg price. If Malaysia can pull THAT off, lets see if other countries follow suit, which i hope will be the case.

Posted by Reorx on June 26, 2003 at 10:04 PM (PDT)

15

is it still ok to download friends and will & grace episodes

Posted by ti on June 27, 2003 at 7:30 AM (PDT)

16

ti - lawfully, no it is not ok to download tv episodes (all of them have the commercials cut out anyway). You are still distributing copyrighted material. However, since the tv networks make their money off of advertising and not directly off the consumer (not yet…), it hurts them less, or at least not as directly. As they start releasing dvd’s of tv seasons, they might see more impact of what downloading has done to those profits, but it still won’t be as largescale as what the RIAA and MPAA experience.

So you should be somewhat safe for now. Not that it’s legal though.

Posted by DimJim on June 27, 2003 at 12:07 PM (PDT)

17

Well they’ve have it coming for a long time. I’m not a supporter of totally ripping off artists. I agree with many others that if I download something I really like, enjoy, and respect, I will go out and buy the cd. But the music industry can’t cry wolf when they have brought this down on themselves. I mean come on, 18.99-25.00 for a newly released cd?? I know they’re trying to turn a profit, but common sense says if there’s 1, maybe 2, hits on an album, people are going to want to hear those songs and not the other 18 filler songs they love to slap on there. For the cost it takes them to make those albums, the upsale is ridiculous. I was pleased with Linkin Park’s new album, however, as I found it at bestbuy on opening weekend for 11.99. That in my opinion was quite reasonable, but of course I had downloaded the album beforehand to sample it. Listening to a 30 second clip isn’t going to cut it, especially when certain songs out there are averaging 10 minutes in length lol. I hope Lars (of Metallica) is boiling as he realized St. Anger is the #1 pirated album out there right now.

Basically they’ve waited too long to do anything. THeir snatch n grab gestapo tactics will stop a few, but when they knocked down Napster the public responded with an overwhelming increase. Music trading won’t ever stop, and there’s no way they can completely control it. I agree that a universal Itunes should be the way to go. I’d accept $10-$20 a month for unlimited downloads or somesuch. Imagine the profit turn on THAT. More than albums sell for these days. Everyone be safe and don’t share too many files raspberry

-Pete

Posted by Pete on June 30, 2003 at 7:05 AM (PDT)

18

You know what? Now that I think of it I’ve heard of the MPAA, but I was still correct in saying there’s no MIAA…lol….anyways I agree with you guys, and yes I was pleased to get the new Linkin Park Album cheap, especially when the DVD-less one still came with production footage on the art (I’m an artist what can I say).....I still find it funny that the truly great artists are the ones that don’t care at all. None of my favorite bands seem to care: RHCP, incubus, System of a Down, etc. It’s only the people who put out albums with two good songs (e.g. most pop stars) that complain, oh and of course Lars. Anyone ever notice that Metallica only seems to care because Lars cares? Lars isn’t even that great of a drummer. Look at Dave Grohl….do you think he cares? Hell no, he wants you to listen to whatever band he’s playing in and there’s no doubting that Grohl kicks ### at whatever he’s playing/singing, so there you have it….

Posted by zync on July 2, 2003 at 5:38 PM (PDT)

19

Also, Foo Fighters are awesome and so are Queens of the Stone Age, as well as Nirvana….and guess what? I have CDs from all of these people and the few that I don’t, I will….which goes to show you that if the bands are good people will buy them anyway.

Posted by zync on July 2, 2003 at 5:40 PM (PDT)

20

That’s because Grohl was in one of the most influential bands of all time. Definitely the top of the 90s. I mean recently he had the never released single “You Know You’re Right” from his Nirvana days, then his 3 new Foo Fighters songs hit it big, (he had 10 top hits off his FF album last year, he’s played with Velvet Revolver, AND he had a hit with Queens of the Stone Age. Granted he doesn’t need the money because Nirvana would have him sitting pretty, but he continues to be an artist who produces good music and is growing with age, and growing better. I actually had a little inside info that two main reasons Jason Newstead left Metallica was 1) the whole Napster conflict, and 2) he never felt or was treated like part of the band. Lars kind of used the “band’s name” to go on his crusade when actually James Hetfield and Kirk really didn’t give a hoot about music piracy. I mean bootleg tapes are how Metallica got STARTED, but Lars doesn’t seem to care lol. Music piracy is something that has been done for YEARS. I don’t think it’s necessarily right because you should get profits being the artist especially if it’s good work. However the music industry brought this upon itself with those outrageous prices. Do you know any other retail industry that charges a 300% markup on their merchandise? 300%... That’s plain ridiculous.

Posted by Pete on July 3, 2003 at 3:29 AM (PDT)

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