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Old 10-03-2007, 09:56 AM   #31
Azayzel
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I think you've hit the nail on the head, Martin; the basic problem is a fundamental lack of respect for intellectual property rights among many people today. When I was a teenager (in the mid 70s), me and virtually all my friends used to buy "45" records every week with our pocket money. These days, teenagers generally steal music by illegally downloading it. Is it any wonder that the record companies are trying to do something about these criminals?
I agree, but also disagree simply because we also recorded what we wanted to off of the radio when we wanted the song. You can still do this today with any FM recording device, that's not stealing in my book or the millions of others who did so either.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:59 AM   #32
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Without due process, it's unconstitutional. If the RIAA says I've been stealing music, then they need to show evidence of this other then just tell everyone I have been.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:02 AM   #33
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I agree, but also disagree simply because we also recorded what we wanted to off of the radio when we wanted the song. You can still do this today with any FM recording device, that's not stealing in my book or the millions of others who did so either.
Perhaps you see nothing wrong in it, but it sure ain't legal, at least not here in the UK. Might be different in the US, but I rather doubt it. That's the reason that, in the UK, a tax levy was imposed on blank cassette tapes back in the 1970s or 80s which was subsequently distributed to the music industry specifically because they successfully argued that virtually all cassette tapes were being used to illegally record copyrighted material. We still have such a levy imposed on "CDR-Audio" CDs, which are used in HiFi CD recorders.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:50 AM   #34
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This is the state of U.S. laws on digital file protection today. Unlike other copyright protection laws, digital laws allow the accuser to take unilateral steps against the accused before due process, and that's what needs to be fixed.
This is probably going to sound like I disagree with you, but I don't. The DMCA is bad law. Period. It violates fails every test for clarity and objective standards and it's seriously misguided at its core.

In fairness, though, it's not entirely the law that is the problem. The law doesn't compel an ISP to pull a user's account on the basis of an unsupported accusation. ISPs who are unwilling to risk testing the cases in civil court are just rolling over. In part, I believe, this is because they're caught in a no-man's land between common carrier and content producer. No one has absolved them of responsibility for what travels through their servers, but the culture is resistant to ISPs that pry too closely.

Also, and this is more a technicality, but when it comes to civil court anyone can drag anyone into court at any time with little or no evidence. The only risk to the one who brings suit is that bringing frivolous lawsuits can often end in successful counter-suits when they're tossed out.
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Old 10-03-2007, 12:34 PM   #35
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Also, and this is more a technicality, but when it comes to civil court anyone can drag anyone into court at any time with little or no evidence. The only risk to the one who brings suit is that bringing frivolous lawsuits can often end in successful counter-suits when they're tossed out.
The main discouragement to frivolous lawsuits here in the UK is that, in almost all circumstances, the loser has to pay both sides' legal costs. Is that not the case in the US?
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Old 10-03-2007, 01:19 PM   #36
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The main discouragement to frivolous lawsuits here in the UK is that, in almost all circumstances, the loser has to pay both sides' legal costs. Is that not the case in the US?
HarryT,

I will grant you that this woman *clearly* had every intent of stealing the music. I will grant that she had clear intent of sharing her ill-gotten goods with others - denying the music publishers' of their rightful profits. I will grant that even under the most liberal theft and intellectual property rights laws, this was criminal behavior.

HOWEVER! There's one fact you're wilfully ignoring about this. The lawyer made a statement - for the court record - that *ANY* attempt by a person to rip a CD from downloaded music - and she clearly chose to *NOT* narrow that down to illegally downloaded music - was a criminal act. There are websites which will legally sell a customer music to download. By her words, even though the customer bought the music legally, if they choose to rip a CD, for whatever purpose - even such as making a backup storage disc - they are committing a 'crime'.

Now here's the problem with that statement. As her words are part of the trial, if the judge decides the plaintiff is right *AND* does not clarify, as part of his ruling, that the act of ripping a CD for personal use/music backup is not covered by the ruling, under such a scenario other cases can be brought against those who *are* trying to legally back up their legally-purchased music. In essence, we could, by crass manipulation on the part of the plaintiff's lawyer and oversight by the judge, find ourselves 'made criminal' after the fact -ex post facto is, I think, the term. And that's wrong, morally wrong!

Derek
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Old 10-03-2007, 01:53 PM   #37
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Without due process, it's unconstitutional. If the RIAA says I've been stealing music, then they need to show evidence of this other then just tell everyone I have been.
Sure it is. But that doesn't stop them from manipulating your ISP and taking you to court.

You may not be convicted, but once it's over, it can do damage to your rep that you might never overturn, while the RIAA will not be liable for such damage.
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:07 PM   #38
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The question isn't whether or not file "stealers" should be prosecuted. The issue here is whether the companies and authorities are stacking the deck unfairly by writing laws that essentially make us all criminals, and therefore liable for prosecution if we just happen to be the one somebody else names.
That's not particularly unusual here. Technically I can be cited any time I drive over the speed limit by 1 MPH or walk across an empty street without a light. Am I? No. Selective enforcement. It gives the justice system leeway to prosecute and can work pretty well a lot of the time as long as they're being reasonable. Technically those mix tapes I made in the 80s were illegal, but no one was interested in busting me. They're interested in busting the people who are really costing them money, like the lady who had over a thousand songs available for download to whoever wanted them. Is this an ideal situation? No. Can it be abused? Yes. Do I have a better suggestion? No. I wish I did.

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Right now, that is the situation (in the U.S.). If Apple, for instance, decides I have been stealing from iTunes by disseminating their files for free, whether they have proof or not, they can take me to court. They do not have to present their proof first, in order to drag me into court. They can unilaterally tell my ISP to cut me off, without informing me first, and without proof that I've done anything wrong, my ISP will (in most cases) comply without question. I am considered guilty until proven innocent, at least initially.

This is the state of U.S. laws on digital file protection today. Unlike other copyright protection laws, digital laws allow the accuser to take unilateral steps against the accused before due process, and that's what needs to be fixed.
This to me is one of the most heinous things in the whole mess and something that could be easily fixed if ISPs were given protection against being held liable for their customers' behavior. They should still need to respond to court orders but another corporation shouldn't be able to lean on them privately.
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:55 PM   #39
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sounds like all those people coping their cds onto their ipods are illegal too. in fact, it sounds like itunes is illegal for facilitating cd copying.
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:55 PM   #40
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The main discouragement to frivolous lawsuits here in the UK is that, in almost all circumstances, the loser has to pay both sides' legal costs. Is that not the case in the US?
It hasn't been, but there is some push to make it so. Historically, the argument against making a failed plaintiff pay the defendant's legal fees is that it would restrict access to civil redress based on wealth. The point put forward is that the poor would fear going to court even with valid cases because losing would ruin them, whereas the wealthy could afford to sue on even the most trivial grounds.
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Old 10-03-2007, 03:04 PM   #41
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The tactic that fills that niche here is to counter-sue for legal costs, which would effectively have the plaintiff pay in the event that he loses, and if the judge (or jury, as applicable) agrees that the plaintiff should pay them. It's effective, and a bit more discretionary.
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Old 10-03-2007, 03:24 PM   #42
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What I really find objectionable is protected CDs. I see nothing wrong with downloading music from a CD that you are unable to rip due to it being protected.
Ironically, I had a BMG protected CD a few years ago that refused to play cleanly in my portable CD player (not an MP3 CD player, not a car player, just a 2AA battery Panasonic CD player), it woudl skip, double play and hangup peridoically. The only way I could listen to that album on that player was to rip a copy on my PC (well that anti-rip protection worked well - didn't it!) and burn a copy to a CD-R, and listen to that version.

I even wrote to BMG telling them this, and they offered to replace my original CD provided I could produce the original receipt - which I didn't have, so I still have that CD-R tucked in the box with the original gathering dust.
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Old 10-03-2007, 03:51 PM   #43
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Years ago I followed John Lennon's advice and made cassettes of my albums and kept the albums to make another cassette when the first one wore out. It worked great. Today I have a music server with boxes and boxes of CDs in the basement. Offered to others? Never.

A recent US court ruling said it was legal to rip DVDs to a media server and play them back without the original DVD being in the system. They refused to issue an injunction against the company making the hardware and software to do this.

It seems that some members of the court are more far sighted than the US Congress that passed the DMCA under pressure from well funded special interest groups.
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:20 PM   #44
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Different countries have different laws regarding the legality of ripping CDs for personal use; however for the purposes of this case the only laws that matter are those of the United States. It's not legal in the UK, but in the US it has historically been considered legal under the doctrine of Fair Use, which is recognized in the US.

No one is denying that content owners and their agents have a legitimate right (and in the agents one could say duty) to act against copyright violations. However, they also have an obligation to obey the law and follow established legal procedures when seeking redress.

Thus there are two main issues in play in this and most other such cases. One issue is the guilt of the person charged, while the other has to do with the legality of the methods used to gather information and bring the charges. There are strong concerns in the US that the methods used by the RIAA to investigate and prosecute copyright violators are dangerously close to extortion. It's also seen as part of a trend of adjusting copyright law in favor of content providers at the expense of consumers. In a very real way, both sides are on trial here. Regardless of the rightness of their cause, if the RIAA is (as is widely believed) using investigative methods that violate US law and the rights of the accused then they need to stop if only to avoid tainting their evidence and further tarnishing their reputation. This is the first case to go to a jury trial in the four years that the RIAA has been filing such cases. Everyone is watching very carefully.
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:53 PM   #45
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Perhaps you see nothing wrong in it, but it sure ain't legal, at least not here in the UK. Might be different in the US, but I rather doubt it. That's the reason that, in the UK, a tax levy was imposed on blank cassette tapes back in the 1970s or 80s which was subsequently distributed to the music industry specifically because they successfully argued that virtually all cassette tapes were being used to illegally record copyrighted material. We still have such a levy imposed on "CDR-Audio" CDs, which are used in HiFi CD recorders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Co...l_City_Studios

The BetaMax case. It is completely legal in the USA to record broadcasts, tv or radio.
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