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Napster Legal Battle Reaches from Beyond the Grave 131

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the yes-that-napster dept.
neelm writes "The EFF is reporting that EMI and Universal Music Group may have been caught lying to the Department of Justice in the 2001 antitrust investigation involving MusicNet, and pressplay. The 2001 investigation found no evidence of illegal efforts to monopolize digital music distribution, but new evidence presented by Hummer Winblad and Bertelsman ("original napster" investors) in their on-going defense from the RIAA suggests otherwise. The judge ruled that the documents to be turned over were not protected by attorney-client privilege because '[the court] finds reasonable cause to believe that the attorney's services were utilized in furtherance of the ongoing unlawful scheme.'"
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Napster Legal Battle Reaches from Beyond the Grave

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  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:48PM (#15190757)
    Here's hoping they skip the white-collar gig and go directly to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. Heck, obstruction of justice was enough to get Martha Stewart convicted.
    • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:56PM (#15190825)
      (Federal prosecutor): "Ms. Stewart, you've been granted immunity in these proceedings so that you can inform on your associates without fear of being prosecuted for whatever you've done. Please tell us all your illegal activities."

      Look, I learned real young - don't cop to anything until you know what the other guy has on you. Never.

      In effect, the fed has found a really neat way around that pesky fifth amendment. Just offer you immunity - even if you don't admit all of your crimes (and who would?), you may let slip evidence which will let them come get you, all the while screaming "Your fifth amendment rights were not abridged! You incriminated yourself!"

      • In effect, the fed has found a really neat way around that pesky fifth amendment. Just offer you immunity - even if you don't admit all of your crimes (and who would?), you may let slip evidence which will let them come get you, all the while screaming "Your fifth amendment rights were not abridged! You incriminated yourself!"

        Surely while under immunity you'd want to admit to everything because double-jeopardy laws (or something to that general effect) would prevent them from going after you on any of it.

        • Immunity is almost always a trap. It's just the lawyers way of getting around the fifth amendment on the one hand, and of letting the guilty walk on the other. It's hard to think of a single time it's been used that wasn't a perversion of justice.

          And it's very hard to 'admit everything' when, like Stewart, the 'crime' you're accused of is so ill-defined that teams of lawyers can study it in depth and still have difficulty agreeing on which actions it actually criminalises and which it doesn't.
        • "Surely while under immunity you'd want to admit to everything because double-jeopardy laws (or something to that general effect) would prevent them from going after you on any of it. Of course, being under proper immunity and none of that fake crap that I'm assuming you're talking about."

          On the face of it, that seems logical. BUT, that does not prevent folks from using that information you provide under immunity against you in a civil action.

          Bottom line, you might be able to avoid jail, but you might lose
        • Face it . . . I'm not gonna cop to a crime just because the judiciary has granted me immunity. First off, immunity != anonymity and I don't want my employer/associates/neighbors to know all my crimes. Second, I don't want to be sued in civil court for damages arising out of criminal activities I'm going to get away with. Third, I really don't need to see the look of surprise on the prosecutor's face as he realizes that there's more going on than he knew (but knows now and will happily check out to see if
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I know it is unpopular to have "morals" these days, but please get a grip. Even if these guys conspired to rip off music consumers, they do not deserve to be raped.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:05PM (#15190895)
        I know it is unpopular to have "morals" these days, but please get a grip. Even if these guys conspired to rip off music consumers, they do not deserve to be raped.

        You're correct of course. Tarring, feathering setting on fire and hanging is the appropriate punishment.

        By the way, which label do you work for?

        • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:10PM (#15191378)
          Tarring, feathering setting on fire and hanging...

          That seems unecessarily wasteful.
          How about using the offenders as filler in highway repaving projects?

          I'm driving on sunshine, woahoh, and don't it feel good!

          • Nah, send them to the rendering plant - although Purina may have to recall the dog-food made from them, if the animals get sick off of it....
          • How about using the offenders as filler in highway repaving projects?

            I'm highway filler you insensitive clod

            (or something equally stupid)
          • Re:Excellent (Score:2, Interesting)

            by mgabrys_sf (951552)
            I suggest the same punishment that should be executed for sernior al-queda members - if we don't blow them up with Preditor drones first.

            Slice the body into small chunks and place said-chunks into glass molds for keepsakes and paperweights. It's a great conversation piece and would defray the cost of body disposal. No muss no fuss and my papers stay on the desk where they belong.

            Why should snake heads and scorpions have all the fun?
        • Re:Excellent (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by renehollan (138013)
          About three years ago, I remember anti-drunk driving ads in Ontario that we supposed to serve as a deterrent: Driving drunk in Ontario gets one a year in jail, and the ads insinuated that one would quickly become Bubba's "girlfriend".

          Of course, given that Canada does not have constitutional prohibitions against "cruel and unusual punishment", this isn't surprising. (Then again, given the Notwithstanding Clause in the Canadian constition it doesn't effectlively restrain the government from anything, and do

        • Nah. Just take 'em out back and shoot 'em. And I disagree with the other poster ... after all the damage these guys have done to the artists, our legal system and our wallets I think they do deserve to be raped.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        But isn't the golden rule "Do Unto OTHERS as you would have them do unto you?"
      • Even if these guys conspired to rip off music consumers, they do not deserve to be raped.

        Neither do the guys in the federal prisons getting raped as we speak. What's your point?

      • Re:Excellent (Score:2, Insightful)

        by yoder (178161) *
        Ordinarily I'd agree with you and say it is overreacting to the situation. This case is different. These corporations have been extorting money from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people over the past 20+ years, effectively making the Mafia look like amateurs. They have then used that same money to purchase legislation making it easier for them to continue unchallenged. Now their illegal acts are beginning to bite them on the ass and we are supposed to forgive and forget? Well, to put it bl
  • Does this mean the dead old napster is coming back? Is it still going to be flooded with Brittany spears? Cause I can do without that.
    • Does this mean the dead old napster is coming back?

      I hope not. It was way too insecure. The RIAA may not go after the Nap after this, but uploaders will still be targeted. You need something much more secure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:53PM (#15190804)
    Whoa. The RIAA might be lying. Let me sit down a minute and get my bearings.... This is pretty shocking. Give me a paper bag so I don't hyperventilate.
  • Forfeit copyright? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Verdict (625032) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:55PM (#15190821)
    Hopefully this will turn up some damning evidence on RIAA, but I no longer get my hopes up about anything related to them. Even if this works as a defense the chances that the DOJ is going to reopen the monopoly investigation is probably nil.

    The part that interested me is -

    "that the RIAA companies forfeited their copyright claims thanks to their coordinated and illegal effort to monopolize digital music distribution"

    What exactly do they mean by forfeiting copyright claims? Surely they don't mean that the members of RIAA would lose their copyright over their music? They've got senators that kill those sorts of laws don't they?
    • by erbmjw (903229) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:25PM (#15191007)
      IMNAL but I think that the defendents(Hummer Winblad and Bertelsman) are attempting to argue that criminal conspiracy took place.

      In which case the RIAA member companies who participated in this action should find their properties (copyrighted music) to be forfeited in the similar manner that a drug smuggling operation would loose properties.

      So then the arguement could go that any music that was covered by these RIAA companies copryrights at the time of these attempted criminal efforts becomes null or is handed over to the DoJ for auction. Furthermore I beleive that none of the RIAA companies involved in this action would be allowed to participate nor fund partners/outside interests in this possible auction.

      Copyright on new{newer} music should still be covered/enforcable.
      • by iminplaya (723125)
        So then the arguement could go that any music that was covered by these RIAA companies copryrights at the time of these attempted criminal efforts becomes null or is handed over to the DoJ for auction.

        Absolutely not. The material should into public domain, from which it was stolen. This is the only suitable type of punishment for corporate crimes (besides revocation of their charter). Fines and jail time are stupid, and do little more than raise the price of the product.
      • ... In which case the RIAA member companies who participated in this action should find their properties (copyrighted music) to be forfeited in the similar manner that a drug smuggling operation would loose properties.

        So then the arguement could go that any music that was covered by these RIAA companies copryrights at the time of these attempted criminal efforts becomes null or is handed over to the DoJ for auction.


        As I understand it (IANAL) this predates RICO and is part of antitrust. Basic take is that i
        • this predates RICO and is part of antitrust.

          RICO was enacted in 1970 [wikipedia.org]. Anything enacted before RICO may have been superseded by the Copyright Act of 1976.

          Basic take is that if you use copyright as a tool to violate antitrust, the copyright on the material in question vanishes and it becomes public domain.

          This may have applied prior to 1978, when the Copyright Act of 1976 took effect, but too many provisions of 17 USC chapter 1 [copyright.gov] have the phrase "Notwithstanding any provision of the antitrust laws".

          • This may have applied prior to 1978, when the Copyright Act of 1976 took effect, but too many provisions of 17 USC chapter 1 have the phrase "Notwithstanding any provision of the antitrust laws".

            That smells like the tracks of a legislative hack to repeal the portion of the antitrust laws that penalize misuse of copyright without appearing to repeal them.
      • Just wondering but, if this were indeed the case and the copyrights were forfeited, how would this affect previous lawsuits filed by the RIAA against alleged copyright offenders? Would this be grandparented in and the previous rulings overturned?
        • IANAL -- but if they are convicted, the RIAA and the respective companies, would then have been seen to receiving significant proceedings(judgements and/or settlements) based upon a criminal fraud conspiracy. The RIAA companies could then be subjeted to massive class action suits filed on behalf the people {groups} they originally took to court.

          The results of such class action suits could overturn the previous judgements/settlements and force them to pay back the people{groups} involved. But before any o
        • None of these lawsuits have seen a courtroom yet AFAIK. This means that they were all settled out of court, and a settlement means (legally at least) that both parties agree that one was wrong and then decide to compensate with money for the loss of the other one. So the persons sued agree that they were wrong and willfully ( *sic* ) decide to compensate the label for their rightful benefit ( *sic* )

          Of course, IANAL ;)
    • The EFF post is engaging in a bit of worst-case-scenario hyperbole. If Judge Patel is having a "Maximum Marilyn" kind of day, the RIAA cartel could forfeit the copyrights themselves. More likely, they'll just forfeit the claims made against Hummer Winblad and Bertelsman, since those claims were part of the plan to extend the cartel's control to online services, at the expense of the free market.

    • If they don't, it's about time they buy some!

      If there are any left, that is. Gotta be fast if you wanna have a senator, everyone wants one these days.
  • Perhaps I've been out of touch and just assumed this was over, but this quote I found suprising!

    The record labels, you see, are still pressing their case against Hummer Winblad and Bertelsman for investing in Napster years ago.
  • by ettlz (639203) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:58PM (#15190843) Journal
    Ah, it's the old "tunnelling over a PPP connection on a Ouija board" trick.
    • Ah, it's the old "tunnelling over a PPP connection on a Ouija board" trick.

      It doesn't work very reliably. All those people who advocated death penalty for script kiddies are coming to realise it was a bad idea. Whenever I try to chat with hot babes with my Ouija board, I just get a flood of SYN SYN SYN. No matter where you go, IRC (Internet Rigor-mortis Chat) is always subject to a DDOS. (Dead Denial Of Service Attack)

      Poor Jesus... He died for their SYN floods.

  • by mobiux (118006) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:59PM (#15190849)
    The fact that companies even think this is ok to try is why I have no faith in our legal system.
    These companies should have something severe as a punishment, like serious jailtime for the offenders and big fines for the corporation.

    Although the current justice dept will probably just put them in the proverbial "time-out" then give them a cookie.
    Make an example out of a couple of them.
    The government should have the will to reject a corporation's charter for shit like this.
    • Seriously. Why haven't we outright sued/filed criminal charges against the RIAA and MPAA for the million things they're guilty of, least of which being having a monopoly and violation of the RICO act?
    • Screw slapping them; companies that try to subvert our judicial system should be dismantled. The CEOs and other management that condoned this should never agin be allowed to run a company and faced very stiff penalties.

      Companies today believe they can act with impunity and they need to be shown otherwise.
      • There's a problem with punishing corporations: it almost never amounts to punishing those that are truly guilty. As I understand it in the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandals tons of people were put out of work, people that did nothing wrong and who needed their jobs, but the guys at the top still had plenty of money to sit on when the whole thing was done. The way a corporation deals with punishment handed to it will be determined at the highest levels; they're not likely to make cuts at the highest levels.
    • PLEASE!!

      The politicians are in the pockets of the corporations.
  • You can bet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@HORSEop ... minus herbivore> on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:03PM (#15190879) Journal
    During the DoJ investigation, EMI and UMG apparently misled the investigators about these activities. In the words of Judge Patel: "[T]he documents provided by Hummer provide reasonable cause to believe that the statements in the [labels' report to DoJ] were deliberately misleading, if not completely false."

    The judge has ordered UMG and EMI to hand over previously withheld documents relating to the DoJ investigation, overriding the attorney-client privilege because "the court ... finds reasonable cause to believe that the attorney's services were utilized in furtherance of the ongoing unlawful scheme." The labels have 30 days to comply. Stay tuned.

    I suspect that right now some law firms are watching their reputations take a serious hit. The RIAA is on a rampage and at every turn they do even more damage to their reputation; this is going be another big black mark. If we wait long enough, they will destroy their own cause with all their dirty tactics and outright lies. I'm gonna get some popcorn -- this will be fun to watch.

    • You'll need alot of pop corn because they won't destroy themselves anytime soon. They're getting more and more backing from the government and very few people are standing up to them, and even if they do, they just settle out any way. So they'll get hit with a fine probaly, which will be a drop in the bucket for them.

      Let's be carefuel calling this a victory of any type.
    • I suspect that right now some law firms are watching their reputations take a serious hit.

      Reputations?

      They aren't worried about their reputations, they're worried about their licenses.

      Honestly, those lawyers are probably toast, even if the RIAA gets off lightly. It seems like they've violated so many of their ethical obligations that they're going to get disbarred.

      Then they'll have to worry about civil/criminal proceedings, depending on how successful the Napster guys' lawsuit is.

      • It seems like they've violated so many of their ethical obligations that they're going to get disbarred.

        Good joke!

        Serving the rich and powerful by crushing the weaklings, that's their ethics and they do keep faithful to it. Do not expect any serious punishment. There won't be.
      • It seems like [the lawyers have] violated so many of their ethical obligations...

        Quirk Objection!
    • I suspect that right now some law firms are watching their reputations take a serious hit. The RIAA is on a rampage and at every turn they do even more damage to their reputation; this is going be another big black mark. If we wait long enough, they will destroy their own cause with all their dirty tactics and outright lies. I'm gonna get some popcorn -- this will be fun to watch.

      If only that were how it would turn out.

      At every turn, they make themselves more hostile to consumers, and do more underhanded th

      • I actually think that the tide is turning. Their last great success was with the passage of the DMCA of 1998, which passed with very little resistance. Nowadays everything they do, from the broadcast flag to the CBIPA or whatever the law was called that would have mandated that desktop calculators and cruise missile guidance systems support DRM to prevent copyright infringement runs into stiff resistance. They have pushed things too far.

        Secondly even if what you say was true, then it would only create
  • No Big Deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedHatLinux (453603) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:06PM (#15190905) Homepage
    The investigation will result in a few token gesture penalities and business will continue as usual. Do you really think politicians are going to allow major donors to face serious punishment?
    • Re:No Big Deal (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      The investigation will result in a few token gesture penalities and business will continue as usual.

      It's called a settlement. Something the cartels do all the time. "Without admitting any wrongdoing". And then we, the customers, tell them, "Very well then. Carry on." And continue to buy their crap.

      Do you really think politicians are going to allow major donors to face serious punishment?

      Only if they themselves thought that they might get caught in the scheme. Then they would throw them (the "donors") to the
      • The investigation will result in a few token gesture penalities and business will continue as usual.

        It's called a settlement. Something the cartels do all the time. "Without admitting any wrongdoing". And then we, the customers, tell them, "Very well then. Carry on." And continue to buy their crap.


        The penalty for this type of wrongdoing is to elminate the copyright on the works used in the scheme.

        IMHO (IANAL), should the original parties settle, this might give anyone claiming to be attempting to start a d
    • You don't know much about the business of technology.

      Hummer-Winblad Venture Partners is not two geeks in a basement. It is one of the biggest and oldest software VC companies in the business. What part of "$2 billion under management" would you like me to explain to you? There probably aren't any better-connected tech-related companies in existence, and I'm certain that both the founders and their biggest investors are at least as well connected at the White House and DOJ level than anyone connected with

  • We may have martha as an example but for the most part lying to the court is not prosecuted, and its killing our legal system. In the last few years only 1 case for perjury in the entire nation has been filed. We all know that a lot more poeple are lying under oath. You should also not lie to the authorities, we have a special sentance that you say in lue of lying "I want my lawyer" But these white collar criminals executives companies and even regular people that lie under oath need to get prosecuted.
    • But the argument that their{RIAA companies) behaviour entails a signifigant part of a criminal conspiracy may get the courts to sit up and take notice/action. Alternately this arguement could just be a PR spin by the defendents.
    • Ever been to Small Claims Court? The Judge just assumes both parties are lying equally and splits the difference. That means if you tell the truth, you get screwed! (And by the way, when I was taken to Small Claims, the person suing me said "Your honor, he hasn't given me a dime!" to which I replied "I have the canceled checks right here." Was she penalized for deliberate perjury? Not at all! The judge made up an arbitrary amount that was about half of what she was asking for and demanded I pay her. To this
    • I've read part of the court order and it seems that the defendents are arguing criminal fraud was committed, not only perjury.
    • In the last few years only 1 case for perjury in the entire nation has been filed.

      Before making outlandish claims, maybe you should "think" first. Without even looking anything up, Little Kim & Martha Stewart cases happened in the past few years. Will your next claim be that only celebrities have been charged with perjury over the last years.
  • Been Caught Lyin' (Score:5, Interesting)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:11PM (#15190935)
    The EFF is reporting that EMI and Universal Music Group may have been caught lying to the Department of Justice in the 2001 antitrust investigation involving MusicNet

    Why does this not surprise me? Why do I automatically think nothing will happen under this administration? Why is the industry always complaining when sales are actually improving and boosting their stock value? [yahoo.com]
    • by Whyzzi (319263)
      In a word: Propaganda [wikipedia.org]
    • by rossz (67331) <ogre AT geekbiker DOT net> on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:54PM (#15191231) Homepage Journal
      Under this administration? This kind of shit has been going on for decades. The entertainment industry has a death grip on the penises of so many politicians, both demos and repubs, that they can do pretty much what they want. They recording industry is caught in payola schemes and price fixing every couple of years and gets a light slap on the hand, then they go back to business as usual. It happens when the demos are in power, too.
      • In a broader sense, 'this administration' really refers to the current state of (US) government, the one that's had its politicians bought by industry many times over in (US) history (Rockefeller is a name that comes to mind, along with steel industry...). In what sense has any of this changed appreciably within the last 100 years? New business arenas, same old tactics.

        Now, if there were a way to effect permanent positive change on that model, I'd readily support it...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:17PM (#15190967)
    sounds like a Douglas Adams character
  • No Problem (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:17PM (#15190969) Homepage
    No worries - the RIAA just needs to buy a law stating that, "Any activities by any RIAA affilliate shall not be considered in violation of any law."
  • by argoff (142580) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:26PM (#15191016)
    I think the problem is that we clearly have a system that is unworkable in the information age and instead of dealing with it, people sue, people complain, they cry "wahhh, how will I make money with my book", or "wahhh, how will I make money with my movie", or "think of the starving artists", or they want to "fix" it in some way - without accepting that by now copyrights are an all or nothing game.

    In fact copyeight compromizes are the worst thing we could to. It's like the US conolists compromising with the Brits, it's like the slave states compromising with the free states. People who thought it was workable simply were in denial of the real world and real world forces that were in play.
    • Uhhh.. I believe the US did try to compromise w/ the Brits, and I know the free states did try to compromise with the slave states. It failed miserably...

      Regardless, as much as I loathe and dispise the RIAA, I have to ask this question: Lying on documents, and data presented in general. Is it remotely possible that it was a data entry error? Some lowly grunt making $12/hr, and not paying attn to what their doing?

      Just a thought...
      • Who cares? They sue grannies who don't even own computers on a regular basis. If the court finds sufficient evidence, I don't care if the magic evidence fairy planted it there, I'd like to see them get the full penalty.

        They've been awfully free wielding the legal sledgehammer...Time for them to reap the whirlwind.
      • Regardless, as much as I loathe and dispise the RIAA, I have to ask this question: Lying on documents, and data presented in general. Is it remotely possible that it was a data entry error? Some lowly grunt making $12/hr, and not paying attn to what their doing?

        IANAL....

        I seriously doubt that. If you have these sorts of agreements and representations made to the DoJ, then they are probably scrutinized and/or written by lawyers. I guess if the RIAA wants to pay their lawyers $12/hr that is their business (
    • It's like the US conolists compromising with the Brits, it's like the slave states compromising with the free states. People who thought it was workable simply were in denial of the real world and real world forces that were in play.

      Absolutely, compromise sucks. We should just nuke everybody!!! Koreans, Chinese, Mexico, Iran, liberals, conservatives, Environmentalists, Christians, etc... Compromise is vital. I'm not one to shy away from a fight and I do believe there are times when force is needed to
    • The real problem is that Napster made all of this popular and therefore public. Everything was fine back in the day when all us nerds could get free stuff via IRC, but Napster had to make it easy for everyone. I realize that it is wrong to steal music and movies, i'm no hippie, but if your gunna steal something be quiet about it, don't go shouting to everyone how you did it or this is what happens. Napster opened the front door and let the RIAA in, it's thier own fault.

      btw, just because i think Napster w
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...EMI and Universal Music Group may have been caught lying to the Department of Justice in the 2001 antitrust investigation, involving MusicNet and pressplay... illegal efforts to monopolize digital music distribution

    We all know how MusicNet and Pressplay went on to dominate digital music market...
    • We all know how MusicNet and Pressplay went on to dominate digital music market...

      Making the attempt is enough to violate the law - and damage other parties. Success is not required.

      It's like murder that way. "But, your Honor! When I swung the axe at him I missed! I should go scott-free!"
    • If I try to smuggle crack over the border only to lose it when my car accidentally catches fire, I could still be arrested for smuggling crack. Attempting to break the law or breaking the law for a failed attempt at profit is no less illegal just because of failure.
  • Had this been in europe, EMI and 'fellas' would be within one stone's throw from being hanged now, metaphorically.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I guess I just don't understand... Why is it I can't tell the difference between the two acronyms: "RIAA" and "RICO"?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:14PM (#15191400)
    Universal lawyer: This is not the evidence you're looking for.
    Judge: This is not the evidence I'm looking for.
    Universal lawyer: Universal did not lie to the DOJ.
    Judge: Universal did not lie to the DOJ.
    Universal lawyer: My client may pass.
    Judge: Your client may pass.
    Universal lawyer: Case closed.
    Judge: (slam) Case closed.

    Universal sub-exec: Wow. Is that the Force?
    Universal lawyer: Kinda. Down here, we call it "money".
  • Wait... (Score:3, Funny)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:41PM (#15191644)
    I thought this was a *BSD thread...


    ;)
  • Where there's smoke,
    There's fire.
    Where there's fire,
    There's documents being burned.
    Where those documents are being burned,
    There's music executives and lawyers,
    Joined hand in hand,
    Disposing of any and all evidence.

    My guess is any information that would take down the music industry AND their lawyers, is going to be burned/buried or both and we will never see anything.

    There's no way they will essentially turn themselves in.
  • by shark72 (702619) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:39PM (#15193646)

    The reactions here are pretty surprising. The plaintiffs may have lied?

    This is Napster we're talking about -- a company that was based on a Big Lie; that they weren't aware that their service was used largely for piracy, or that they they weren't trying to make money off of the large demand for piracy. The "smoking gun" internal emails from Shawn Fanning acknowledging that Napster was essentially a piracy service certainly made that clear for anybody who wasn't able understand the blindingly obvious.

    And now we have a case where one set of companies who happen to be members of the RIAA (UMG and EMI) are suing another company that happens to be an RIAA member (BMG) and suddenly lying is a bad thing? And UMG/EMI are the bad guys, and BMG is not, even though they all happen to be members of the RIAA?

    My guess is that it's not that Slashdot's readership has suddenly found religion; rather, it's situational ethics at its most extreme. It's OK to lie if you're Shawn Fanning when you say things like "I didn't intend Napster to be used for piracy and we don't want Napster to be used for illegal purposes," since, after all, you're doing a great service for the world by letting teenagers everywhere get lots of free music. BMG gets a free pass here as well; despite the fact that they're a record company, they invested in Napster (see "lots of free music").

    • I have read the court order and the defendents are not arguing perjury {which would likely be ignored by the news} but rather the defendents are {so far successfully} arguing that criminal fraud has taken place on a large scale.

      Perjury might get you a slap on the wrist, fraud is much more likely to get you in deep trouble. Especially as the lawyers for the plantiffs side seem to have tried to use attorney client privelege to hide their respective clients earlier actions.
    • Well I certainly can' speak for other slashdot members but I believe the cheering is due more to finally seeing some exposure of the corruption that most of us know exists in both the recording industry and the government in order to maintain a stranglehold on the public.

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