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RIAA Sues the Wrong Person 686

Posted by timothy
from the just-looking-for-clowns dept.
Cildar writes "In the 'oops' category, the RIAA was forced to withdraw its suit against a 66 year old computer neophyte (read Apple User for god's sake) when they discovered she thought 'Kazaa' was a magician playing at local kids' birthday parties. The story is as reported in the Boston Globe." Update: 09/24 15:19 GMT by T : Note, the magician crack is a joke ;)
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RIAA Sues the Wrong Person

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  • BWAHAHAHAH! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SoTuA (683507) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:55AM (#7043915)
    Serves them right, those RIAA bastards. They weren't counting on our secret weapon - the clueless user!
    • by Lawbeefaroni (246892) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:01AM (#7044004) Homepage
      "Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant," Colin J. Zick, the Foley Hoag lawyer, wrote to Beeler.

      Don't underestimate their secret weapon, complete ignorance and total fucking arrogance. And of course their not-so-secret weapon, fat wads of cash.

    • by Petronius (515525) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:02AM (#7044039)
      Always picking on the Mac users...
    • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:03AM (#7044049)
      The shitheads could have the decency to apologise gracefully, rather than coming out with this claptrap:

      Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant," Colin J. Zick, the Foley Hoag lawyer, wrote

      What an asswipe.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Malicious Prosecution.

        They will apologize only when the court orders them to apologize. Anyone in these same circumstances should countersue, or in this case file a new complaint. Causes of action would be chiefly malicious prosecution, but also illegal business practices, wiretap violations, infringement of privacy, etc.

        After all, they have no reason to have her personal information on file. If they choose not to do the right thing then they should themselves be compelled in the courts to do the right th
    • Legal fees? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bwhaley (410361) <spam4ben AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:29PM (#7045061)
      So now this woman has to pay her lawyers to defend herself, right? She was wrongly accused, in fact did absolutely nothing wrong, yet she is still forced to pay fees? And countersuing for legal costs is such a pain that it's not even worth it. If she did win against the deep-pocketed RIAA lawyers, it would still be a headache and tons of time.

      That sucks.
  • I think that's the excuse I will use, too.
  • by instanto (513362) <tabarth.online@no> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:56AM (#7043926) Homepage Journal
    I bet the RIAA will be back with a vengeance once they "discover" that granny had a haxx0red version of Kazaa able to run on the Macintosh. After all, you can use a mac emulator.. are you free to go then?

    Hm.. maybe that would be a good use for VMware or similar... "I dont even have Kazaa installed on my computer".. And your VMWare installation is ofcourse - gone...

    • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:16AM (#7044226)
      "I dont even have Kazaa installed on my computer"..

      A more probable cause is someone used a net sniffing program and changed their IP address hi-jacking her assigned address to protect their identity. On a cable system, it's not too hard to do. It's also possible she has a laptop and has a wide open Wi-Fi. One of her neighbors could have borrowed her connection protected by NAT. I'm sure there will be investigations into this. If I was the wireless neighbor and saw this in the news, I would be ditching all my wireless gear about now and changing out my hard drive.
      • >A more probable cause is someone used a net sniffing program and changed their IP address hi-jacking her assigned address to protect their identity. On a cable system, it's not too hard to do

        Uh, head hurts. How do the packets get routed back to the spoofer's machine? You can spoof IPs for sending datagrams, but it's pointless for connection oriented protocols.

        • Ummm you set your IP and MAC to one in use, but don't connect it until they drop off (shut down for the night, then go live taking the assigned connection. You need to be on the same cable segment to do it. I've not done it, but I've heard about it by someone needing to hide identity. ..FYI. I'm not connected to cable. No wire is in place to the house.
      • If she really is a computer neophyte, do you truly believe she has a Wi-Fi setup? I'm not very Mac aware; do they come with Wi-Fi out of the box or something, waiting to be sniffed? I doubt it.

        • by Bobartig (61456) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:02PM (#7045638) Homepage
          Apple's WiFi solution (airport) is "falling-off-a-log" easy. If you've already got a cable modem/broadband setup, you pretty much just plug it in. The software included walks you through configuring the network. Its much easier than installing a home based router, for instance. Since every mac since the original iBook (in 1999) has had built-in wi-fi options, its not unusual for her to be running a wireless network.
    • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:36AM (#7044424)
      I bet the RIAA will be back with a vengeance once they "discover" that granny had a haxx0red version of Kazaa able to run on the Macintosh

      While funny, this is completely true. Here are the relevant three paragraphs from the article indicating the RIAA is ready and waiting to do exactly that:

      Moreover, Ward uses a Macintosh computer at home. Kazaa runs only on Windows-based personal computers.

      Beeler complained to the RIAA, demanding an apology and "dismissal with prejudice" of the lawsuit, which would prohibit future lawsuits against her. Foley Hoag, the Boston firm representing the record labels, on Friday dropped the case, but without prejudice.

      "Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant," Colin J. Zick, the Foley Hoag lawyer, wrote to Beeler.

      See, they're ready to refile at any moment against this grandmother for using Kazaa with her Mac.

  • by deadmongrel (621467) <karthik@poobal.net> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:56AM (#7043930) Homepage
    check out cnn article on this http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/biztech/09/24/kazaa.s ues.ap/index.html
  • by whjwhj (243426) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:57AM (#7043942)
    > (read Apple User for god's sake)

    Although a great many Apple users are not neophytes, the fact that a neophyte can run an Apple is a testament to their ease of use.

    So there.
    • by Lawbeefaroni (246892) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:07AM (#7044114) Homepage
      Um, I think they were trying to make the point that she has an Apple as Kazaa doesn't run on Apple, per TFA.

      She has an Apple and thus couldn't run Kazaa on her platform.

      not

      She has an Apple and thus is a neophyte and anyway she would gladly pay for overpriced shit like CDs although she would probably have iTunes anyway being the brainless anti-conformist conformists that Apple users are.

      So calm down.

      • She has an Apple and thus is a neophyte and anyway she would gladly pay for overpriced shit like CDs although she would probably have iTunes anyway being the brainless anti-conformist conformists that Apple users are.

        yeah...but you know that's what we were all thinking :-)
      • by mttlg (174815) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:29PM (#7045062) Homepage Journal

        Um, I think they were trying to make the point that she has an Apple as Kazaa doesn't run on Apple, per TFA.

        Let's read the comment again:

        In the 'oops' category, the RIAA was forced to withdraw its suit against a 66 year old computer neophyte (read Apple User for god's sake) when they discovered she thought 'Kazaa' was a magician playing at local kids' birthday parties.

        It is quite clear that neophyte is being equated to Apple user and the comment is meant to be read as "She's obviously clueless about computers, after all, she's an Apple User. And she thinks Kazaa is a magician. What a moron!" In other words, the person who submitted the article was just being a jackass and doesn't deserve to be defended. Her computer's ability to run the software was never brought up; instead, she was portrayed as too clueless to use it. And since there are Kazaa clients available for Macs, the point about her not being able to run it is moot.

  • Magician (Score:5, Funny)

    by Robmonster (158873) <slashdot.journal2.store@neverbox.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:57AM (#7043952) Journal
    Anyone know how much this magician charges for childrens parties...?

    And does anyone know where I can download David Blaine, the popular P2P filesharing program?
  • Collateral Damage? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brahmastra (685988) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:58AM (#7043958)
    This whole thing is turning out to be like a war. The RIAA war machine goes and attacks indiscriminately. It gets bad guys and the good guys. Wonder if they'll also spin it as - It's ok if we get some good guys. Since they're good, God will take them to a better place.
  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:59AM (#7043986) Homepage
    In the 'oops' category, the RIAA was forced to withdraw its suit against a 66 year old computer neophyte (read Apple User for god's sake) when they discovered she thought 'Kazaa' was a magician playing at local kids' birthday parties.

    That's super funny; only one problem. It doesn't seem to mention the magician thing anywhere in the linked article.

  • by stewart.hector (87816) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:00AM (#7043992) Homepage
    If the US wasn't $$$ orientated towards its policies, the US government would have cracked down on the RIAA itself.

    The RIAA is a lose cannon at the moment, it thinks it can do what it pleases, without any consequences for itself.

    What takes the piss more, now that RIAA is cracking down on all these things, and with copy protected CDs - the RIAA still expects levies on CDRs etc to compensate for lost revenue. RIAA must be laughing - free money.
  • by sixteenraisins (67316) <william@purplean ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:00AM (#7044002) Homepage
    The judge did dismiss the suit against the Mac user, but would not dismiss it with prejudice (which would have prevented further litigation against her).

    The attorneys for the RIAA still plan to investigate her: "Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant"

    A user with a Mac, who can't even use Kazaa, and who has never shared music. Now that's obstinance for you.

    William
    • Read the article again. It was the plaintiff's lawyers that dropped the suit, not a judge.

      </pedant>
    • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:18AM (#7044241)
      Please note that the judge did not dismiss this case, the RIAA withdrew it.

      Unlike criminal cases where a judge is involved from the very first, civil cases, i.e. mere private squabbles over money, aren't State issues. It is often months after a filing before the parties have so much as a priliminary hearing and are strongly encouraged by the system to settle things amongst themselves long before that date.

      If someone breaks your window and you sue them to recover damages, then they come to you and say "Hey, what gives? Why don't I just fix your damned window?," and you say ok, then there is no longer any issue of law to be settled.

      You go down to the courthouse and say, "Ummmmmm, nevermind," and it's over.

      No judge.

      The RIAA withdrew its complaint (while reserving the right to refile. Nice guys).

      KFG
  • by Kushy (225928) <kush @ m arakush.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:01AM (#7044018) Homepage
    This is gonna become more and more frequent as the lawsuits pile up. Without having to get real warrents and go thru a real legal process, these harrassment tactacts will continue costing normal people lots of time, money and agravation.

    At this point it should be made very easy for this woman to sue the RIAA, but without the resources of a large corp. it is just going to seem like an impossiable task for her. Thus the lawsuits from the RIAA will just continue with the harassment and scare tactics.

    • by WCMI92 (592436) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:33AM (#7044398) Homepage
      "This is gonna become more and more frequent as the lawsuits pile up. Without having to get real warrents and go thru a real legal process, these harrassment tactacts will continue costing normal people lots of time, money and agravation."

      This is why, ultimately, I think the subpoena process the DMCA grants will be found unconstitutional.

      It basically allows PRIVATE "search and seizure", under the guise of the courts, without ANY due process, judicial review/oversight, etc...

      And, no one ELSE except someone invoking the DMCA has, or has ever had, such carte blanche unsupervised subpoena power. It's unprecedented. And quite untested in the courts.

      Basically, it violates half the Constitution.

      Not that the Constitution matters very much to judges these days.

      In order to subpoena, you have to FILE a lawsuit, and get it approved by the presiding judge. Subpoenas are part of the discovery process IN an actual lawsuit.

      The DMCA allows witchunts and fishing expeditions, UNSUPERVISED by a court, yet invoking it's power.

      Methinks if some lawyer makes that point strongly enough to one of our fine, meglomaniac, unelected king for life Federal judges, it will get struck down.

      Not just because it flies in the face of the 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments, but because it is a REAL threat to judicial powers!
      • by WCMI92 (592436)
        Forgot to add:

        Getting rid of the carte blanche subpoena power of the DMCA will remove most of the law's teeth, with respect to being able to go after USERS of applications that allow infringement.

        They will have to use other means to collect " cause" to file a suit, THEN get discovery to subpoena ISP records. This would be nearly impossible to do on a large enough scale, and would be horribly expensive to do. And it's a process that is in the open, and subject to review and challenge.

        In any conventional
        • by pi_rules (123171) *

          What standing does the RIAA have to bring copyright claims? Does it own any? Did it's members ASSIGN all copyrights they own to them? If so, how are they a legal nonprofit?

          This is interesting. I hadn't really thought about it either. Could I create a piece of software called "MILF Hunter" that would interpret a JPEG to let you know if it contains a MILF? Can I copyright this and put it out for sale at $200 a pop and then start subponeaing people that have files matching "MILF Hunter" in their Kazaa sea

  • by spineboy (22918) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:01AM (#7044026) Journal
    Could they intentionally be making "mistakes" and give out the wrong information to the RIAA thus embarrassing them.

    "Oops sorry, the DHCP must have reassigned that address,we THOUGHT it was the one you wanted...Sorry."

    This would let their customers still enjoy what they initially signed up for (filesharing, you've seen the adds, etc.)

    • Knowingly responding to a subpeona with false information would get them so deep in shit their great grandchildren would be shovelling, so no, I doubt it.

      Regardless of whether you or I approve of the way the subpeona's are, it's still a legal order.

      Most likely the RIAAs timestamps were off. Comcast uses DHCP, the lease times aren't all that long, a few months or so. My IP has changed three times in the year I've been with them.

      This isn't as big a deal as slashbots make it out to be, and won't change th
      • >Knowingly responding to a subpeona with false information would get them so deep in shit their great grandchildren would be shovelling

        Says who? The subpoenad information is addressed to the plaintiff, not the court, so it's not perjury. Remember, the RIAA don't swear to the truth of their claims, they just argue their validityy in court. I doubt that a third party can be held to a higher standard.

        Any actual lawyers want to chime in on this one?

  • IANAL, But... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by -Grover (105474) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:02AM (#7044035)
    Doesn't this put a big fat hole in their main source of information? How many of these need to happen before practices are questioned, and lawsuits start getting dropped? Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel for these people...

    I honestly feel bad for people who have already given in, but I can't say I really blame them with the "go for the jugular" tactics the RIAA is using.

  • wow ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:02AM (#7044041) Homepage
    I'm so glad to be Canadian now, more than ever. I can't imagine a company anywhere else in the world with so much power that they can force an ISP to divulge personal information about their users just because they said so. I mean. Now they've got the address and name of a user that didn't do anything wrong. Can Mrs. Ward sue someone?! Invasion of privacy?! No? I'm probably the furthest possible thing from a lawyer so I wouldn't know, but if that happened to me, I'd be a little more then ticked.
  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@sta n g o . org> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:04AM (#7044065) Homepage Journal
    So there's your defense, p2p users! Get a used G3 or G4 on eBay, run VPC with Win98, and use p2p all you want.

    ~Philly
  • Strike 2 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Safrax (697056) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:04AM (#7044074) Journal
    First the 12 year old and now this. I wonder what the third strike will be? Perhaps someone inside the RIAA? That'll be a PR disater.
  • Foolproof (Score:3, Funny)

    by BillLeeLee (629420) <bashpenguin AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:06AM (#7044101)
    I think everyone who gets subpoenaed should say "Kazaa? You mean that Shaq movie? Man, that one stunk worse than Steel."

    The RIAA will think anyone who saw the Shaq movies is too crazy to sue.
  • by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:07AM (#7044113)
    This is the reasoning behind checks and balances, due process and other protections provided under the Constitution.

    Pre-US European governments used to be notorious for going after people without a leg to stand on. But it didn't matter. All that mattered was the witch-hunt-like frenzy. That was enough to get them hung or at least imprisoned.

    That's when my good pals Hancock, Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson, along with a few other buds, got together and came up with this whole fair trial system. And that was pretty cool up until a few years ago when people really started using the internet.

    Thats when, well everybody in congress, who's names are too many to mention, (and not worth mentioning considering what they did) overturned two centuries worth of a tried and true system.

    And where does it get you? Sueing grandmas.

    I guess those old guys really had some stuff figured out. Their system isn't really silly or outdated like some people might think.

    • by tsg (262138) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:18AM (#7044250)
      That's when my good pals Hancock, Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson, along with a few other buds, got together and came up with this whole fair trial system.

      ObSpicoli: "So, what this Jefferson dude was saying was, we left this England place because it was bogus, but if we don't get some cool rules, pronto, we'll just be bogus too. Yea?"

    • by ratamacue (593855) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:46AM (#7044542)
      other protections provided under the Constitution

      The most important of which is (was) limits on the scope of government. Only by overturning these limits have we arrived at the system we have today: an overly complex, ambiguous, highly exploitable web of nonsense laws.

  • by stevenprentice (202455) <stevep.gocougs@wsu@edu> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:08AM (#7044133)
    Use a Mac and run Kazaa in VirtualPC. When you get served. Remove VirtualPC and say: "It can't be me...Kazaa doesn't run on my Mac!"
  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:09AM (#7044148)
    From the article:
    A Comcast spokeswoman, Sarah Eder, would not comment, citing customer privacy concerns.
    Where in hell was that "concern" when the RIAA issued their subpoena to Comcast?
  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 11223 (201561) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:11AM (#7044170)
    Note that Orrin Hatch wanted to give these people rights to blow up people's computers. And how do you think the RIAA got her name from an IP in the first place? My guess is through a DMCA subpoena. This is Not Nice(TM).
  • Most annoying part (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin (116525) * <<jhummel> <at> <johnhummel.net>> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:14AM (#7044211) Homepage
    I know, I know - lawyers are never allowed to say "We screwed up, sorry", but I thought the bit from the RIAA about how:

    "Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant," Colin J. Zick, the Foley Hoag lawyer, wrote to Beeler.


    So yeah, we screwed the pooch - but we might be back anyway!

    On the one hand, I think that the RIAA has a legitimate issue with P2P services sharing their music.

    Does that mean that I support the lawsuits? No - I think it's a civil end run around legitimate search and seizure. If I was the RIAA would I be using the lawsuits? No.

    Personally, I'd take all the millions in lawyer fees and do something useful, like promote the iTunes Music Store, or pressure Sony and Buymusic.com to not suck more ass than a freshman prison inmate. I'd set up legitimate music downloading services based on Janis Ian's model, where all songs warehoused could be purchased for $1, or an album for $10. I'd set up 128 bit MP3's for $1, have 192 bit for maybe $1.25 - $1.50. Of that, 50% of the profit would go to the artist, 50% to the publisher. Note the word "profit" - it is assumed that the publishers would be taking a fair (bwahahaha - oh, sorry, I almost said that with a straight face) cut based on how much it costs a song to be stored in a central server and bandwidth costs (and that price should not go above $0.50 per song).

    It should also be set up like Peanutpress.com, where once you buy a song, you can go back and download it again whenever you want, or can have it streamed wherever you are. (Since songs are much larger than eBooks usually, though, I can see some sort of minor "storage fee", like $0.01 per song per month - it should be your responsibility to back up your own stuff.)

    And a quick note for the "$1 per song is too much", I'm sorry if you take this personally, but fuck you. $1 is perfectly legit for a song, $10 for a music album. If you're too damn cheap to pay any price at all for music, at least have the decency not to claim that the cost is too much. Just come out and say "I can't afford $1 after buying my $300 iPod!"

    Then, and only then, if people were "sharing songs", then you could sue them, and I would feel you had done your due diligence in serving your customers and could have a solid leg to stand on for the lawsuits.
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:15AM (#7044219) Homepage
    If 12 year olds and people who don't even have file sharing software installed are being targeted, then the "wosrt offenders" list must be pretty big. :)
  • by Teahouse (267087) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:16AM (#7044225)
    Images of grannie putting on her bling bling and listening to gangsta rap are dancing in my head. Thanks for the laugh RIAA! Could we nominate them for the Darwin awards for shooting themselves in the foot...repeatedly?

  • What about airport? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ender-iii (161623) <adam@nospam.nullriver.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:23AM (#7044303) Homepage
    Maybe this little old lady had an open wireless network.

    She pays her h4x0r neighbor kid to install her new Airport Extreme network, the kid opens it up and with the money she gives him he buys a cheap wireless card.

    Bingo Bango! All the free music he wants.
  • by 3Suns (250606) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:25AM (#7044318) Homepage
    I've been thinking about these RIAA suits, and have realized that not only are morally reprehensible misplacements of blame, but they are legally unjustifiable when looked the suits are looked at as a whole.

    The suits claim damages of $150,000 per song. If one music company stole a song from another company, and published it separately, this may be a reasonable claim. The RIAA could claim maybe $150,000 TOTAL lost sales, plus whatever was made by the infringing company.

    The problem is, they are holding EVERY FILESHARER liable for the entire amount of lost sales. This isn't just double-dipping on their damages, this is n-dipping. I can imagine that the company might lose $150,000 in total sales of a single song, but if only 1000 people shared the song (an extremely conservative number, probably only relevant for unpopular songs), their claims in total are $150 million in lost sales per song, which is just ludicrous.

    This absolutely reeks of the record companies trying to capitalize on filesharing and count each share as a purchase. If the judges awarded the RIAA what they are asking for across the board, they stand to make orders of magnitude more money than they could ever dream of by their own devices. This puts huge questions on their claims of mitigating their damages - they allowed filesharing to go on for many years before starting lawsuits... to build up their claims of lost sales??

    • Statutory Damages (Score:3, Informative)

      by Detritus (11846)
      The sum of $150,000 per song is based on the statutory damages [gigalaw.com] allowed for willful infringement in copyright law.
    • The suits claim damages of $150,000 per song. ... The problem is, they are holding EVERY FILESHARER liable for the entire amount of lost sales.

      That's not the case at all. They're suing for statutory damages not lost profits. The difference is that while lost profits are actual damages, statutory damages are punative damages. Please see 18 USC Sec. 504(c)(2) [cornell.edu].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:27AM (#7044343)
    "If any of those [IP address] numbers are wrong or transposed, you're going to get the wrong person,"

    In that case, I hope they mess up the next IP address and get 127.0.0.1. That would make for an interesting day.
  • Nice write-up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dswensen (252552) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:41AM (#7044485) Homepage
    Nice write-up, I like how you managed to make up the bit about the children's magician, slip a nice anti-Mac troll in the middle there, and still make the front page. That takes skill. Now if only you could have shoe-horned the phrase "M$" in there somewhere.

    As for this being yet another PR disaster; the RIAA knows almost everything they do these days is going to be a PR disaster. They simply do not care: [com.com]

    Clearly, record companies and the RIAA had some concerns about backlash before going into this. Certainly the story about the 12-year-old in public housing who was sued hit the headlines fast and hard. Are you at all concerned about public relations backlash?

    We knew that this was not going to be a good PR experience from the get-go. But the (record) companies were of the view that this was something we had to do without regard to the PR implications. If PR were the dominant consideration, we would not have taken these actions, and the problem would be continuing unabated, and people would not be thinking twice about the legality of what they're doing. If bad PR is the price, it's a relatively small one compared to the size of the problem.
  • by xSterbenx (549640) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:44AM (#7044514)
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has counseled about 30 of the 261 people sued, Cohn said, adding that some have settled for fear of spending too much money fighting powerful corporations.

    Isn't that the crutch of the matter? It really doesn't matter if what they are doing is right or wrong, as long as they have the money to take it to court and the people they are sueing do not, this will always be the case. What would really be nice would be for some noble rich person to start a trust fund for RIAA 'victems' to help pay for their legal battle if they so wish to fight this in the courts.

    Otherwise this will just continue. Let's face it, as fair or unfair as the RIAA may be, most people aren't going to stop buying cds because of this; IMO, most people will just say 'oh that's too bad' like they did with the 12-year old girl and then go out and do what they normally do, if that includes buying a cd than so be it.

    The only way to stop such practices is to
    a) Educate the masses
    or
    b) Fight this in court


    Both take money unfortunately...
  • by RunningDude (468045) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:46AM (#7044544)
    I think the RIAA should be forced to prove that someone *does not have a license* to digital music. I no longer have my "Frampton Comes Alive" album that I bought in the 7th grade, but I paid for it at one time. After all, I bought a license to the music, not an "album" or "cd"..that was only the delivery medium, right? So, if I scratch my new CD, I should be able to mail it to the record company and get a new one at the cost of manufacturing that replacement CD? Obviously, none of this is true in the real world and isn't likely to happen anyway. In fact, I don't want the RIAA (or anyone else) keeping track of my music purchases anyway. So why don't we get off of the concept of "licensing" a single work and just have someone (RIAA or whomever) charge us $20 a year that includes a license to all music produced. $20 a year from everyone is a nice revenue stream and would keep artists compensated fairly..the artists would make their extra millions on tours/t-shirts/endorsements anyway.
  • by AFBoaterman (710479) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:47AM (#7044554)
    It seems to me that if someone could demonstrate how to use a common P2P client like Bearshare or and make it look like someone else was using it, it would throw out RIAA's entire case. If I could share my files through my computer, but make it look like it was you doing it, your defense would be "I was hijacked", but I don't know by who. If you could claim that you were hijacked, suddenly everyone else could claim that too. Presto! No case against anyone! They could no longer prove that an IP address is really associated with a particular Verizon (Comcast, Road Runner, etc.) customer. Reasonable doubt could prevail.
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:56AM (#7044661) Homepage
    As the article makes plainly visible, your primary defense in a lawsuit with the RIAA/MPAA should be "prove that was me". The RIAA may have an IP address and know that address is reserved by an ISP, but connecting the time stamps, accesses, and logs may well be impossible. The human error component is very large - numbers maybe transposed, time stamps may be incorrect, etc. just make the process filled with potential for error. Considering the amount of money the RIAA is requesting ($150,000 per song), any amount of potential error is intolerable.

  • by Roofus (15591) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:59AM (#7044687) Homepage
    ...Let the next mistaken target be a Senator's son/daughter.
    • Even so ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vedanti (689689)

      The lawsuite will be quitely withdrawn and none of us will ever hear about it .... that way both the senator and the RIAA will avoid some negative PR ...
  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mschoolbus (627182) <travisriley&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:59AM (#7044691)
    magician crack?

    Where do I get that? Never heard of it... =P
  • by GreenCrackBaby (203293) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:02PM (#7044717) Homepage
    Since RIAA reserved the right to file suit against her again, what happens if they do (or if others use the "I own a Mac, I couldn't possibly be using Kazaa" defense)? If she truly owns a Mac, then she couldn't possibly have installed Kazaa. If I don't own a Mac but claim I do, is the burden of proof on me to prove I own a Mac, or on RIAA to prove I don't?

    If the burden of proof is on the RIAA, then what can they do without a true warrant to search my home? That would go well beyond the powers granted to them by the DMCA and would require law enforcement intervention. There's no way to say "we know you don't own a Mac" without coming into my home to prove it.

    If the burden of proof is on me, couldn't I just borrow a Mac or a receipt of a friend's Mac (assuming I was lying) to prove I do, in fact, own a Mac? Since RIAA can't come storming into your house (yet...), this seems like it would be more than satisfactory to meet a civil suit requirement for dismissal doesn't it...?

    I hope this is a viable idea, and everyone uses it to stick it to the RIAA.
  • sheesh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edge_gid (682113) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:02PM (#7044726)
    "Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant," Colin J. Zick, the Foley Hoag lawyer, wrote to Beeler.

    Huh? This is equivalent to saying "Sorry I pushed you down the stairs, but I reserve the right to do it again!"

    This is complete and utter lack of respect to Beeler, but tells you alot of what it thinks of its own customers!
  • by ysaric (665140) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:06PM (#7044776)
    If she's got no kids living with her I'll bet she's got some form of broadband and an unsecure wireless router. Someone has been accessing it to share files, knowing they couldn't be tracked. If I had broadband and I lived in an apartment building and I was dumb enough not to secure my wireless router, that'd be my defense.
  • by widderslainte (121941) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:11PM (#7044839)
    ... the recording industry requested information about the wrong IP address, which is usually more than nine digits.
  • by hydrino (131216) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:20PM (#7044940)
    a kid with a laptop was sighted nearby and appeared to be eating pringles.
    his IP address was 192.168.1.101 so it couldn't have been him right?
    Maybe the RIAA will go after THAT IP next....

  • by pballsim (119438) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @02:49PM (#7047082) Homepage
    What is more disturbing is that the RIAA stated that IPs are unique identifies. Apparently they never heard of dial-up. In fact even Comcast states that your IP address is not unique (so does Qwest and MSN DSL server). So their argument that somebody screwed up on Comcast part is wrong. It's that their whole way of doing this is completly flawed to begin with.

    If they are going on that fact why not have everybody spoof the RIAA IPs and have them suing themselves. Note: I am not recommending doing this just making a point.
  • She still loses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by El (94934) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @04:31PM (#7048213)
    So, who's reimbursing this victim of Sony Music, BMG, Virgin, Interscope, Atlantic, Warner Brothers, and Arista's (let's call them by name, not allow them to hide behind the "RIAA" shield) misguided attack the $1000 or so it took to hire a lawyer to file a response?
  • by greymond (539980) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @05:15PM (#7048745) Homepage Journal
    First question:
    What if you are walking down to the local coffee shop and you hop on their "legally free and open" hotspot. You then proceed to share and dload tons of copy righted music. When the IP is traced it will go to that coffee shop, not to you. How do they find you? I assume they can't, unless your there and they are lookign for you at that time and see Kazaa open on your screen for some reason.

    Question 2
    What if you have a AP at your house that you leave open for your neighbors and friends to use and one of them is sharing files? The IP gets traced to you right, so are you responsible for their actions if you had no knowledge that they would or were doing that?

    Inquireing minds want to know

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