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RIAA Goes after LimeWire 304

Posted by Zonk
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
PCM2 writes "A coalition of major recording companies sued the operators of the file-sharing program LimeWire for copyright infringement Friday, claiming the firm encourages users to trade music without permission." From thge article: " The case is the first piracy lawsuit brought against a distributor of file-sharing software since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that technology companies could be sued for copyright infringement on the grounds that they encouraged customers to steal music and movies over the Internet. In the complaint, the record companies contend LimeWire's operators are "actively facilitating, encouraging and enticing" computer users to steal music by failing to block access to copyright works and building a business model that allows them to profit directly from piracy. "
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RIAA Goes after LimeWire

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  • in related news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irving47 (73147) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:02PM (#15849734) Homepage
    The RIAA and MPAA are teaming up to sue the highway patrol of all states with interstates that border on other states for failing to stop them and prevent them from allowing friends to copy their DVD's and CD's.
  • BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimktrains (838227) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:02PM (#15849735) Homepage
    This is like sueing Remington because guns make it easier to kill people.
  • Which is why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barakn (641218) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:03PM (#15849745)
    Xerox should be sued for first marketing the photocopier.
  • by joshetc (955226) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:06PM (#15849760)
    Or computer manufactuers, maybe just CD burner or hard disk makers. They all equally "allow" people to pirate via their resources. Just as much as limewire does at least..
  • Re:BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TFGeditor (737839) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:10PM (#15849771) Homepage
    "This is like sueing Remington because guns make it easier to kill people."

    You do realize this has been done (unsuccessfully) by dozens of city governments against a variety of gun manufacturers and importers?

  • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:19PM (#15849809)
    Recording Industrialists Against Artists will try anything to make sure no one hears so much as a note of music without paying them. Music has existed since the dawn of time, not just since the invention of the phonograph. RIAA, you are obsolete and your products are too. No one needs you any more. Don't Buy CDs. [dontbuycds.org]
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:22PM (#15849824) Homepage Journal
    the record companies contend LimeWire's operators are "actively facilitating, encouraging and enticing" computer users to steal music by failing to block access to copyright works (emphasis added)

    Based on that complaint, it sounds more like they're passively encouraging people, at best.

    Either that or the fact that I've never held up a stop sign in the middle of the street means that I'm actively encouraging people to run red lights.

  • SVK mirror (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:25PM (#15849836)
    It might be a good idea right now to use SVK to mirror the whole limewire SVN repository, before it gets pulled from the net.

    CAPTCHA: thefts
  • Quite the Contrary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kennego (963972) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:42PM (#15849903)
    Although it is a file-sharing program, of all the ones I've used, Limewire is the one that actively DISCOURAGES copyright infringement the MOST.

    I guess the RIAA couldn't go very long without finding another way to annoy the crap out of everyone...
  • by shawb (16347) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:46PM (#15849925)
    Whether LimeWire encourages people to break copyright laws will be left up to the courts, and you can bet that this will reach all the way to the supreme court. LimeWire's main defense here is the little "I might use LimeWire BASIC for copyright infringement." and "I will not use LimeWire BASIC for copyright infringement" radio buttons on the download page. Whether this counts as a binding agreement between LimeWire and the users in such a way that it relieves LimeWire of the responsibility to monitor for and stop copyright infringement is still quite up in the air. I think what's going to kill LimeWire is the offer of LimeWire pro... charging for and profitting from this is going to put a lot more responsibility in their hands.

    And to everyone saying "The RIAA/MPAA is just trying to stop people from watching their stuff without paying" in this case is a strawman argument... this case is about stopping a corporation from directly profiting on the copyright infringement of their legally held intellectual property. Whether or not you believe that Copyright is morally repugnant, it is still protected by law. And it is really hard to claim civil disobedience when you are making a profit.
  • by panZ (67763) <matt68000@hotmail.com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:50PM (#15849933)
    Next they'll sue people who make simple ftp servers on the same grounds, then the IETF for coming up with file transfer protocols, then anyone having anything to do with routable networks like DARPA and while we're at at it, why not just sue the people who melt sand to make fiber optics and mine the copper that makes our cables for not explicitly "failing to block access to copyright works". Shoot, we should just sue people for existing.
  • by WCD_Thor (966193) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:56PM (#15849957) Homepage
    They should never have ruled that it was ok to go after software makers like this. Its the users fault, unless you want to rule them sub-human and not capable of controlling them selves.
  • by joshetc (955226) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:00PM (#15849966)
    Uh, so isn't limewire then a common carrier as well? They don't segregate for or against any type of traffic..
  • Re:BS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:03PM (#15849975)
    You do realize this has been done (unsuccessfully) by dozens of city governments against a variety of gun manufacturers and importers?

    You do realize that the gun lobby is much better funded than the P2P lobby, right?
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:10PM (#15850006) Homepage
    Give me a nice list of all the legitimate (read: legal) uses for LimeWire, and I'll believe you. I bet you can think of some, but I'm sure most people use LimeWire for illegal purposes.

    So what? Grokster did not destroy the Sony rule. So it doesn't matter whether most people use LimeWire illegally.

    Now they make be going after the wrong people, targeting the makers of LimeWire instead of the file-sharers,

    Not at all. First, it's entirely possible to go after them and win. See e.g. the Napster and Grokster cases. The law allows indirect infringers to be sued just as easily as direct infringers. Second, plaintiffs would prefer to go after LimeWire. They have a policy of going after the deep pocket (i.e. a defendant that can actually pay the damages awarded). But more importantly, they have a policy of going after the head of the snake. If LimeWire shuts down, then all of their users will have to find new networks or stop sharing. Some will likely stop sharing. Others will go to new networks, but those will be shut down too, in turn. The idea is to stop P2P filesharing by shutting down the networks and software developers. Then it doesn't matter whether the users want to infringe in this fashion; they lack the ready ability to do so. Going after direct infringers is less useful to plaintiffs since it achieves less. Why go after one infringer, or a handful, when you can essentially go after them all by targeting the network?

    Get the picture?

    but a nice crackdown on illegal file-sharing sure beats some new, twisted form of DRM.

    That is absolutely not how that works. They'll do both. What you're suggesting is appeasement, but I guarantee you that it won't work.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:20PM (#15850033) Homepage
    According to their last ruling, for a software like this to be considered OK there must be overwhelming legal use of the software.

    That is completely wrong. The Grokster case did not remove the Sony rule. It added a new, independent theory of infringement that bypasses Sony. This rule has nothing to do with how the technology is used. Rather, it has to do with how the defendant acted and what the defendant said. If the defendant expected and provoked infringements, he's liable, even if there were only a few of them and the technology was overwhelmingly used lawfully.
  • by nolife (233813) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:22PM (#15850042) Homepage Journal
    STFU!
    Usenet? Nothing to see here RIAA/MPAA, please move along.

    I almost hate to talk about this subject, not because I feel seasoned or elite but only because I do fear a potential radar sighting. At a very slow but steady pace, the brontosaurus that is Usenet, is getting more flexibility on the front end. The days of manually saving and piecing together messages in the right order and piping them to the right converter went away well over a decade ago. It can now be just a few clicks if you choose. The fact that in order to have a reasonable quality of Usenet service requires a monthly fee is the only thing I believe that is keeping it under that radar but that same more centralized consolidated pay service is easier to attack and shut down.

    When the comet comes, the brontosaurus will have to adapt or die.
     
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:31PM (#15850079) Homepage
    Based on that complaint, it sounds more like they're passively encouraging people, at best.

    It's a factor. Take it seriously.

    From the Grokster case:

    Second, this evidence of unlawful objective is given added significance by MGM's showing that neither company attempted to develop filtering tools or other mechanisms to diminish the infringing activity using their software. While the Ninth Circuit treated the defendants' failure to develop such tools as irrelevant because they lacked an independent duty to monitor their users' activity, we think this evidence underscores Grokster's and StreamCast's intentional facilitation of their users' infringement. ...

    Of course, in the absence of other evidence of intent, a court would be unable to find contributory infringement liability merely based on a failure to take affirmative steps to prevent infringement, if the device otherwise was capable of substantial noninfringing uses. Such a holding would tread too close to the Sony safe harbor.
  • by niktemadur (793971) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:41PM (#15850118)
    I make it a point to buy CDs only from small, independent labels. All the rest of the stuff I listen to I download in industrial quantities, savoring the fact that I'm not putting a single additional cent into the RIAA's coffers. I refuse to subsidize Britney's or Mariah's multimillion dollar contracts. I refuse to subsidize corporate suits recruiting an army of shysters to terrorize the population, instead of creatively working towards win-win scenarios.

    Furthermore, I do not listen to Clear Channel stations, for too many reasons to discuss here, but one of them is the payola monopoly they've built. I get my radio fixes through the internet, mainly public radio stations (KCRW, KFJC, WFMU) as well as Radio Nova from Paris.

    Ever heard of a band called The Necks? They're an experimental ambient jazz outfit from Australia. I wrote them an email, asking them where I could buy one of their CDs, Sex. I got a great reply from the drummer of the band, telling me that they were in the process of getting a US distributor, Private Records, so it would only be a matter of a couple of months. How cool is that? I found the album (one track, sixty minutes long) on a certain P2P protocol, but opted not to download, as for guys like these, I'll happily wait and spend my money, which is exactly what I did.

    Two questions:
    1. What percentage of the music-loving public has taken the kind of boycott/support steps that I have?
    2. What percentage is needed to bring the corporate bastards to their knees?
    This may be a principled but losing battle. Case in point: I refuse to go to Wal-Mart, but still the damn place is jam-packed.
  • by Traiklin (901982) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:11PM (#15850232) Homepage
    That's a completely unfair comparison. Roads are essential in today's world. Give me a nice list of all the legitimate (read: legal) uses for LimeWire, and I'll believe you. I bet you can think of some, but I'm sure most people use LimeWire for illegal purposes.
    Limewire can be used to offset the bandwidth loads of legit music and movies (just as torrents are)
    Roads can be used to help legit people get from one point to another

    Limewire can be used to distribute illegal movies and music.
    Roads can be used to transport illegal drugs, illegal movies & music, illegal aliens, illegal weapons, illegal fireworks, illegal bombs.

    Limewire can be used to distribute information on how to make bombs and other devices.
    Roads can be used to distribute information on how to make bombs and other devices.
    Roads can be used to transport kidnappers to a location and kidnap someone who knows how to make a bomb or other device.
    Roads can be used to transport the materials to create a bomb or other device.
    Roads can be used to transport the device made to it's location and kill hundreds of people.

    Roads are used for the Telcos & Cablecos to maintaint their wires so we can have fast internet connections.
    Roads are used for people to get to work and earn money to pay for their connection to the internet.
    Roads are used to transport people to locations to make the music or film the movie.
    Roads are used to transport the finished product to the distributer.
    Roads are used to distribute the product.

    Roads are used to steal the product in route to it's location.
    Roads are used to help people speed away from a crime.

    So...can you tell me how Limewire kills people? or transports illegal drugs, aliens, weapons, fireworks, bombs or drugs?

    So I guess I will turn your question around on you,

    That's a completely unfair comparison. Give me a nice list of all the legitimate (read: legal) uses for Roads, and I'll believe you. I bet you can think of some, but I'm sure most people use Roads for illegal purposes.

    See how stupid it looks? just cause a few (same ammount that use Limewire) use roads for illegal reasons, does it mean that EVERYONE uses them for illegal reasons?
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:55PM (#15850382) Journal
    As we all know, we really put a stop to those illegal drug sales by going after the "heads of the snakes" there. Wanna-be drug users just can't find someone willing to supply them anymore, most of the time!

    Oh, wait....

    I get the logic, but there's a fundamental flaw. You can't effectively stop the masses from breaking an arbitrary restriction placed on an activity if the masses feel what they're doing is justified.

    If LimeWire shuts down tomorrow, a programmer will be out there coding the next replacement for it - only with additional protections to make it harder than before to track the source of the traffic.
    Shut that down, and another will pop up, and another, and.....

    If it finally proves not too effective to do p2p sharing at all, due to the "law" constantly putting a stop to it - people will resort to more "guerrila" tactics (as they've already done many times before). Things can be uploaded with non-obvious filenames and folder names, to random servers (or even web or ftp sites that passwords were hacked on in advance) - and private message forums can provide the short-lived and always rotating links to them.

    VPN tunnels can be set up from point to point between trusted parties and files interchanged on their makeshift WANs.

    Individuals can offer files through their IM clients.

    Of course, Usenet is utilized too, and it doesn't seem practical to successfully put a stop to it.

    People might even wish to set up email list servers that distribute attached files to those who know the secret commands to email to get signed up and request them.

    Don't forget all the other alternatives, such as running telnet-based BBS software. (Kind of a "retro" solution, but like opting to run Windows 3.1 to use the Internet on your PC and thereby dodging almost all the trojan horse spyware, might be effective through obscurity, at least for a while.)
  • Re:BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McGiraf (196030) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:02PM (#15850415) Homepage
    "This is like sueing Remington because guns make it easier to kill people."

    Nah, people are not copywrited, you can do whatever you what with them, anything is fair use.

  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:08PM (#15850431)
    Stealing is not justified by the fact that you do not like the owner.

    You refuse to go to Wal-Mart? I could understand if it was because Wal-Mart isn't very nice, but I suspect you have some sort of ridiculous pseudo-moral reason.

    If only self-righteousness could be converted to electricity. We'd never need fossil fuels again.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:16PM (#15850471) Homepage Journal
    Listen up, pigopolists. LimeWire isn't responsible. YOU are responsible. Your rampant, unchecked greed is the reason we download music using P2P instead of obtaining it directly from you for a nominal fee. LimeWire may be the current conduit, but you are not going to stop P2P by stopping LimeWire. In fact, you are making your own lives more difficult by encouraging the P2P community to devise and deploy a new music sharing system that has no central controlling entity that you can sue. The more heavy-handed you get with us, the harder we are going to fight back. We are NOT going to succumb to your greed. You made your bed, now you can f$%*ing sleep in it.
  • by dmbtech (790450) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:49AM (#15850811) Homepage
    Limewire is allready open source, you can download it right here: http://www.limewire.org/limewire.zip [limewire.org] . The community site for it is http://limewire.org/ [limewire.org] . So therefor, if limewire gets sued, there is still frostwire http://frostwire.org/ [frostwire.org] which is a fork of limewire, and provides same functionality. Frostwire isn't run by an organization so it would be pretty hard to sue.
  • by niktemadur (793971) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @01:28AM (#15850913)
    If only 99% of all current legislation wasn't grotesquely tilted in favor of these corporate behemots, I would side with your viewpoint.

    However, the cost to manufacture a CD is less than a dollar, yet their product goes for around twenty. Corporate robber barons, the de facto government today, bring to mind the attitude, espoused by Thomas Jefferson, that rebellion, every now and then, is a healthy thing.

    I will neither endorse nor support these robber barons by voting for them with my dollars, and do not mind chipping a bit at their cornerstone as well, along with millions of other people, from the looks of it.
  • by linuxhansl (764171) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @02:41AM (#15851110)
    Unfortunately what might be happening is this:
    1. All digital devices are required to be DRM enabled.
    2. The sound/video cards will be required by law to not display/play anything that isn't DRM'd.
    3. Using uncompliant hardware (and software) will lead to a minimum of 10 years in prison.
    4. Compliance of hardware/software is checked automatically via the required network conection in every household. The police and/or copyright holders can legally check every household for compliance.
    5. There will be a compliance police/taskforce just for this.
    6. There will be a compliance enforcement tax.
    Maybe this sounds far-fetched now. But this is where it seems to go. Maybe it'll take a few years and each step on the way will be just below the threshold to stir resistence. I said it many times before: What the western world is moving towards is a kind of information-feudalism with powerful information-landlords who control the legislative process and information-peasants.
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @04:34AM (#15851376)
    the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that technology companies could be sued for copyright infringement on the grounds that they encouraged customers to steal music and movies over the Internet.
    Someone must have been asleep at law school when they discussed the elements of theft/stealing/larceny and the meaning of notions such as "personal property" (AKA "things movable"), "taking and carrying away" and "to deprive the owner of the property".

    Actually, the word "encouraged" suggests that may have been a rather extended nap which stretched into the class on aiding and abetting as well...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05, 2006 @04:59AM (#15851413)
    For quite a while now, I have been trying to get my own music (ie that I create) onto the limewire network. I *want* people to steal my music. I want to get it on other people's boxes in their shared folder.

    Its not as easy as you think.

    You would think, all you have to do, is to fire up a client, put your music in your shared folder, and leave it up for people to download and wait for the fireworks to commence.

    There's one problem. Nobody downloads your music. Because nobody searches for it. And worse, nobody downloads music anymore.

    -

    Nobody gives a crap about your music unless you push it in front of them, put it in front of their face. That is the reality. The music business is a push business. Any artist that stays popular is popular because they have an active campaign to push it to people.

    Okay, fair enough...

    Now I give my music away for free on Myspace, and push it heavily. Over 60,000 people have downloaded my music, and 6,000 my music videos.

    But there's a problem. Nobody wants to download music anymore. Because there's an ocean of music out there. They all want to just stream it.

    People just don't buy music anymore. Period. Its a challenge to get it out there when YOUR GIVING IT AWAY. Forget selling it. That's laughable.

    So when you hear these cases of RIAA suing on behalf of these artists, consider this. Nobody wants that media, those artists are washed up because the business is washed up. There is no music business anymore. The only possible way to make money is to sue people because nobody buys their stuff anymore.

    The media business has tanked. Because its oversaturated with people competing extremely hard for money that just is not there. Its bizarre actually.

    Try to publish something, anything, as a small operation, and you will see how incredibly hard it is to get it into wide distribution, and that's without any cost barrier standing in the way. Once you impose a cost/ where people have to buy it, you can be assured you are dooming yourself to grinding to a halt.

    The truth of the matter is there is no music business. Someone just put the words music + business together, like they did easter + bunny, but in both cases, neighter really exists. Its a big farce and lie.

    Good luck making a dime at it or even selling 5 cd's, you'll see quite quick and erase any illusions you may have. The sad thing is, millions of neophyte bands live on that dream of the MTV cribs illusion, when its just that, people frontin. There is nothing ahead for them. If they do succeed, its nothing but grueling hard work for five cents on the dollar, what you would be making with your time working at a fast food restaurant.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @07:55AM (#15851714) Homepage
    do you really think file sharing can be stopped?

    I don't think it can be, or should be. I'm simply explaining what the law is currently. I never said I liked it. Would you prefer to be misinformed or uninformed, living in a fantasy world?
  • by cheesybagel (670288) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @08:02AM (#15851733)
    If the CD was not manufactured by a monopoly and could be freely copied by free enterprise, the price would drop near the price of manufacturing, which is almost zero.
  • So they DO know! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by styryx (952942) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @09:27AM (#15851925)
    From TFA "...building a business model that allows them to profit directly from piracy."

    So if there's a business model that DIRECTLY profits from piracy AND the RIAA acknowledge this, more than that it's their entire argument, then why isn't the music industry adopting this well-defined business model that gives them money DIRECTLY from piracy?

    Hypocritical, one might say, but they are anyway.
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @10:47AM (#15852157)
    As other have pointed out, the music costs money to produce, but regardless, they can charge whatever they want. You don't need to buy from them. That is why they are not "de facto government". When they start holding guns to people's heads and saying "buy a CD, now", I'll side with your viewpoint.

    If you want to show your disapproval of these companies don't buy from them. Stealing is incentive for them to create DRM and raise prices.
  • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:43PM (#15852532)
    When I read things like this, it makes me hang my head in shame.

    Yeah, I agree - with your statement, about your statement.

    What, do you think you're entitled to music?

    What, do you think that companies are entitled to profit? It sure would be nice to get special laws to protect any old business model you can think of, even if you can't prove it's providing a net benefit to society.

    Big hint: IP doesn't count as "free market". It's more of a socialist experiment than anything related to capitalism; it's a method of distorting normal market economics to try and encourage "innovation". (I've got major doubts about using a mechanism which prevents the free flow of ideas to encourage innovation, but I suppose it sounded reasonable when they were writing the legislation.)

    Thomas Jefferson would have explained to you that in a free market...

    You shouldn't use the quotes of people without making sure that you know what their true feelings are. Jefferson argued strongly against any intellectual property protection at all, since he felt that ideas of any kind should be free.

    Even after he eventually went along with the Constitutional phrase about IP, he argued for a strong interpretation of the "limited time" part of the IP clause. Here's [cmu.edu] an interesting link to some quotes from Jefferson & Madison concerning this subject (found with a quick Google).

  • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:47PM (#15852543)
    What's the recording labels' justification for trying to control the distribution of music?
    "We deserve to make money?"

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