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RIAA Ends Harassment of Grieving Family 256

Posted by Zonk
from the real-klassy-guys dept.
denebian devil writes "According to Cory Doctorow at Boingboing, the RIAA has dropped its case against the family of a dead man. 'Today, an RIAA spokesperson, Jonathan Lamy, contacted me today with this statement: Our hearts go out to the Scantleberry family for their loss. We had decided to temporarily suspend the productive settlement discussions we were having with the family. Mr. Scantleberry had admitted that the infringer was his stepson, and we were in the process settling with him shortly before his passing. Out of an abundance of sensitivity, we have elected to drop this particular case.'"
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RIAA Ends Harassment of Grieving Family

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  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:47PM (#15914260)
    Forget for a moment the RIAA, US copyright law, corporate media owners, and the like:

    In any circumstance or scenario, is it ever acceptable for an owner of a work, or their duly specified agent, to protect that ownership, even when the work may be freely copied in an unlimited fashion, and to use the legal frameworks provided by the society in which it exists, to enforce or demand recompense for such ownership?

    I suspect some people would honestly answer "No" to the above question. Fine; that represents a fundamentally different philosophical outlook on reward for one's work, if desired, and so on. I trust, therefore, that your disdain for such a system also means you're not a part of activity that would leave you on the receiving end of a legal suit from the RIAA.

    As for this particular case: so the RIAA has long-established themselves as a bunch of shameless pricks. So what? Just because someone dies doesn't automatically invalidate a potentially valid legal claim. Sure tugs at the heartstrings, though, doesn't it?

    Further, to those who would argue that all of the RIAA, industry, and/or legal activity on this front represent nothing more than a "failed business model", might I suggest something? If this has so utterly failed, why not develop the new model that replaces it? Hint: this won't be with the same commercial artists, so stop downloading and/or "sharing" their music instead of buying it. Don't consume that product, at all. Be a part of the solution to create and encourage the new artists, the new distribution channels, the new promotional channels, and the new studios and "labels" (yes, anything that gets sufficiently large and successful will have multiple layers of hierarchy, organization, and even bureaucracy), all of which will be required to support this new model to varying degrees.

    But if you so heartily disagree with the current model, don't steal[1] (or otherwise consume) their goods, or enable others to do so.

    Simple, isn't it?

    [1] Oops, I meant "infringe on the copyright of". Still, the point stands. Isn't it fairly straightforward? Either legitimately buy it, or don't, and be ready for the consequences[2]. If you disagree with the "business model" or the legal issues surrounding it, don't be a part of it. And that includes not obtaining the content in question. Then all of a sudden, magically, the legal issues and artificial (or self-inflicted) fears of injury from a draconian legal system go away. Funny how that works!

    [2] No one's arguing that the RIAA's model of figuring losses is valid, but it's equally (and massively) disingenuous, not to mention utterly ridiculous, to claim that nothing has been lost at all.
    • by Tweekster (949766) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:56PM (#15914352)
      Everytime their sales go down because of people saying "FUCK THE RIAA, I dont want any part of them" they claim it is piracy and get more laws in their favor.
      • I fail to see any point you may have, even if true.

        As long as people are still either a.) legally buying the content, or b.) choosing to not obtain it at all via any means, it still shouldn't be a problem, then, right?
        • the trouble is that they can distinguish between A and B, but not B and illegal copying. So in fact you're right - there shouldn't be a problem. But the industry will claim that the explanation is anything BUT option B regardless of whether that is true or not.
        • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:13PM (#15914523)
          I think his point was that telling people to boycott them doesn't work if they in turn shift any blame for loss of sales to piracy. How do you send them a message that the crap they're pulling won't be tolerated by consumers when they in turn are going to spin that message as justification for the very behaviour you boycotted them for?
          • by Anonymous Coward
            How do you send them a message that the crap they're pulling won't be tolerated by consumers

            angry mob accosting them on the way to work and in front of their offices would be a good start.

            Unfortunately the american public does not have the balls to do it. Americans are such PUSSIES, makes the french look downright brave.
            • by Anonymous Coward
              Punk, leave the trolling to the experts.

              Besides, we're not pussies, we're the most successful result of the banks and governments conspiring to make us slaves, and give us enough "gifts" as slaves that we don't realize it, and simply spend hours working or lusting after what we don't have and shouldn't need, dependent on drugs for diseases brought about by dangerous food packaging practices, subsidies, big business, and malnutrition, such as the reason that all our processed foods cost more to produce th
          • by MooUK (905450) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:39PM (#15915254)
            "How do you send them a message that the crap they're pulling won't be tolerated by consumers when they in turn are going to spin that message as justification for the very behaviour you boycotted them for?"

            Email would seem a good first choice.

            No, I'm being serious. Every time you don't buy RIAA-backed music, or every time you buy non-RIAA music, email them telling them why. If they don't get the point fast, something is seriously wrong with them.
        • by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:16PM (#15915114) Journal
          it still shouldn't be a problem, then, right?

          Wow, it's the "if you have nothing to hide" argument all over again!

          I can think of several ways it can become a problem, starting with RIAA whining (read: paying for congresscritters' re-election) to Congress.

          Then, Congress can pass laws requiring applications to not play back files that lack DRM at all. But that won't be a problem, right? You didn't really need those God Ate my Homework or Minibosses mp3s you downloaded from their websites, or the Creedence Clearwater Revival mp3 collection you bought legally from emusic.com, or the Jim's Big Ego music you bought from slabster.

          Or maybe, Congress can pass a law requiring that all audio files capable of transmission over the internet require that they be cleared and signed by an appropriate institution in order to prove that they aren't actually recordings of the Beatles or Metallica. Of course, someone will have to be in charge of this, and naturally the RIAA already has plenty of experience in handling money for artists, their Soundexchange company is perfect for the job. About $5 per minute for a lackey to listen to your podcast to make sure you aren't infringing any copyrights sound about right?

          Should I keep going? Or is it clear now that if the RIAA runs to Congress (or hell, runs for Congress, after all, Sonny Bono did a good enough job) that even if you're not warezing or buying RIAA products, it can be a problem.
      • by kosh55 (304206) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:14PM (#15914543)
        If you want to send the RIAA a message then don't buy the music. Stealing it accomplishes nothing.
        Besides, I don't buy the whole "we're doing it to send a message" bullsh*t anyway. You don't want to pay for
        the music and this is an easy excuse.

        You know, if everybody was truly as intent at getting a point accross as downloaders say they are then there would be a higher turnout for more important issues such as who is running the country.
    • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:58PM (#15914370) Homepage
      The lawsuit was frivolous. The person who died was not even the offender. It was the stepson but the RIAA did not spend the time to figure that out. Instead they just filed suit and held out an outstretched arm asking for money. This is extortion and a misuse of our already packed courts. Your entire argument is a straw man because it assumes that the person on trial is guilty. Even the RIAA admits that this person was not in fact guilty and did not in fact "steal" anything.
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:00PM (#15914393)
      But if you so heartily disagree with the current model, don't steal[1] (or otherwise consume) their goods, or enable others to do so.

      Simple, isn't it?


      I already avoid them with the help of http://www.riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com]

      Now the only direct grievance I have with them is them illegimately trying to claim to represnet all musicians, lying through their teeth when claiming to care about said musicians (as is evidenced by their contracts), and the money they make off first stated claim (like a % of blank CD sales in some countries, etc)
      • by multisync (218450) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:14PM (#15915084) Journal
        like a % of blank CD sales in some countries, etc)


        This really pisses me off. In Canada, we pay a levy on blank media regardless of what we are using it for. There are plenty of "legitimate" uses for blank cds, such as burning ISOs of Linux distros, sending digital photos to friends and family, backing up legally purchases music ... but the assumption is that we *must* be using them to burn mp3s downloaded from p2p networks. What crap.

        It's bad enough that I'm fined for the illegal behaviour my government -- and the cultural gatekeeers at the RIAA -- just know I must be engaged in, but I would *really* resent paying it if I were an independant artist producing my own cds to sell at gigs or on a web site. Imagine the struggling artist who, by choice or circumstance, decides to produce his own cds. He not only has to compete against the huge RIAA steam roller for the mindshare of his fan base, but he also pays them a percentage of every cd he produces, that they can then use to bribe radio stations and finance lawsuits against their customers.

        I agree with the original poster. The only thing that is going to end this nonsense is to *stop* listening to music produced by RIAA member labels. Stop watching movies produced by MPAA member studios. No more commercial radio or television. Use the money you spend on cds and movie tickets to attend live performances of independant artists in local venues, and buy a t-shirt or a cd from them while you are at it.

        They've turned art in to a commodity, like soap or toilet paper. It's time we tuned them out.
    • Dude, you're supposed to say "frist post!", not make a bunch of intelligent arguments! Anyways, here are some small counterpoints I'd like to mention:

      So the RIAA has long-established themselves as a bunch of shameless pricks. So what?

      So what? Well, it inclines me to disrespect their outlandish claims to certain intellectual/cultural "properties", for starters. And note that this malice against the RIAA is quite likely felt by a majority of the demographic concerned, not just a fringe few. Because they

      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:24PM (#15914633)
        So what? Well, it inclines me to disrespect their outlandish claims to certain intellectual/cultural "properties", for starters. And note that this malice against the RIAA is quite likely felt by a majority of the demographic concerned, not just a fringe few. Because they are indeed shameless pricks, as you said.

        Just because someone is a prick doesn't make them incorrect.

        I'll agree that it's not the best way to Win Friends and Influence People, however.

        So I'm guessing you agree with those illegal wiretaps and so on. After all, if you aren't doing anything illegal, the "draconian" system (getting more draconian as time goes on, it seems) will just "go away" and never effect you! And I guess you believe DRM will never come and bite the legit consumer in the ass, right?

        This is actually a very interesting argument.

        However, I'm not making the "if you haven't done anything illegal, then you have nothing to fear" argument. Rather, I'm saying "if you run afoul of the law, don't be surprised if that comes back to bite you".

        I'm sure we can both agree that there should be some level of laws and order in a civilized society. This isn't about Big Brother, fascism, or a totalitarian regime. It's about content owners of property that is intangible in a certain sense being able to ensure that it's paid for. I'm not making any value judgments on how much money should be involved, and so on. The problem is that members of a society based marginally on rule of law and on the intrinsic value of the work and property of others making their own decisions about what they will and won't pay for, and deciding to take what they don't feel is worth the price, and this on what are essentially luxury items at that (no, I don't believe commercial music and movies are a necessity to human survival, and I realize all of the artistic and cultural arguments that may be intertwined there).

        To say that I'm making an "if you're not doing anything illegal..." argument unfairly distills this argument down to a situation where we should apparently have no laws. I can understand thinking a "law" is unfair, and I can even understand people who think (erroneously, in my opinion) that taking copyrighting materials without paying for them is an act of civil disobedience. What I don't understand is why people feel they have this sense of entitlement to copyrighted commercial content, just because it can be easily copied. Like it or not, there is a LOT of money that goes into making a lot of this content. And if it's crap (like Britney Spears or the next worthless "blockbuster"), then don't be a part of it. My only point is how often people seem to talk out of both sides of their mouth, decrying the latest pop princess while simultaneously downloading (and not buying) some other artist on a subsidiary of that same label. If you don't support that business model, or think it's "dying", I simply can't understand why people would want to consume its content. Even if they like the content, why don't they come to the realization that it was that very system that produced the content they enjoy, and they'd better work to improve themselves in whatever stage of life they're at so they can afford to purchase and support the nice things they want.

        As to DRM, I think it's in some forms a necessary evil. I DO NOT like DRM. It is a tool for control, and too often, some want to use it to roll back consumer rights that have been long since won (such as the Broadcast Flag, in the context of time shifting television). As long as it is unobtrusive as physically possible and doesn't roll back rights that we already have, I don't think it's a problem, because it does prevent casual, en masse, copyright infringement. Yes, yes, anyone and their brother can download any number of programs that strip all sorts of DRM, but the simple truth is that this escapes the capabilities of most people, and such tools will ALWAYS be relegated to the fringe because their use will be illegal in some jurisdictions. That pr
        • by Null Nihils (965047) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:04PM (#15915022) Journal
          However, I'm not making the "if you haven't done anything illegal, then you have nothing to fear" argument. Rather, I'm saying "if you run afoul of the law, don't be surprised if that comes back to bite you".

          I wouldn't be surprised per se, if a frivolous lawsuit ended up on my doorstep. I don't think anyone with a healthy amount of cynicism would be. You would go, "gee, the decision to download that music / buy those Cuban cigars* / go 20km over the speed limit on that seemingly deserted road, has had some disproportionately unpleasant but not entirely unexpected consequences!"

          Likewise, the RIAA cannot do what they do and expect everyone to keep playing by the rules. They should not be surprised either! (But they sure sound surprised. And a little confused...)

          Anyhow, I admire the non-participatory response (in fact, I myself don't recall downloading any RIAA music in a good many years, although if I really liked some of their shit I might not hesitate to "steal" it) but I think the desire to disobey is, in this case, an understandable human response, and possibly even an honorable one -- it's certainly more honorable than giving the RIAA more money.

          To demand that people refrain from enjoying the music that the RIAA lords over seems a little unreasonable. It reminds me of an example [onegoodmove.org]: In the video, an atheist mentions to a Christian that he does not appreciate "In God We Trust" being written on the currency. The Christian's response is (to paraphrase): "If it bother's you, don't live in the USA".

          In other words, disobedience is a legitimate form of protest (and please note that I believe violence is not.)

          * Actually, I don't think Cubans are illegal in my country, but its just an example and I don't smoke anyways.
        • by gnarlin (696263) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:57PM (#15915691) Homepage Journal

          What I don't understand is why people feel they have this sense of entitlement to copyrighted commercial content, just because it can be easily copied

          I can enlighten you on that point.

          Copyright was first established in the United States with the Copyright Act of 1790, which allowed for a term of 28 years. The Constitution explicitly described copyright as a statutory right created for public benefit: "The Congress shall have Power [...] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries" (Article 1, Section 8).

          Does copyright today work for the public benefit?
          Fundamentally, copyright is an agreement between the public (by their representives) and the owners of culture, so that those who make culture can feed themselves and their family, buy a house etc. while the public can enjoy the fruits of their labor. Copyright is then supposed to expire into the public domain after the author has made use of his rights that encourage him or her to make more.

          The owners of culture have keept extending copyright again and again, added more restrictions on the public with who they supposedly made this agreement with without consulting them in regard to their extensions and additions.
          Now copyright lasts from 50 to 70 years (different from country to country) after the death of the original author. Tell me this. How can the author be enticed to make more works for the public good if he or she is dead? Could you please anwser me that?

          At some point the non-referred public just took their hat and left because they weren't worth consideration anymore it seemed. As far as the internet using public is concerned, the original agreement between them and the supposed owners of culture has been broken though negligence and being shameless pricks (as you so eloquently put it). Copyright was also originally made to restrict publishers because publishing (i.e. getting your work out to the public) was very expensive. Now, that it has become so very inexpensive one would think that copyright would last a shorter time, not longer.

          You keep saying the the public must stop doing this because they are violating the copyright act. But those laws were NOT written with the public consent (and don't try to say that the public agreed because they got passed, that is like saying that deciding to hurt somone without that person being there to disaprove is the same as having their agreement to do it). For the owners of culture it is nothing short of having your cake and eating it too. They make the laws and the public is supposed to obey them without question. The peoples representatives aren't anymore.

          Regarding digital restrictions management.
          You say that it is a necessary. Your justification for it seems to be that without it it would be too easy for the public to copy whatever part of the culture they liked to give to their friends or edit or make use of in some way. You further explain that this must not be so because they would be violating copyrights. It is nothing short of treating people as criminals before they commit the crime. Inocent until proven guilty indeed!

          Being able to easily copy and mix material is increadably useful to everyone. However the copyright cartel have nibbed it in the bud by passing the DMCA. Now, anyone copying material that is "proctected" with digital restrictions management is now a criminal. Is that in the public good or for the good of a few rich people and corporations?

          Simply but, the copyright agreement simply isn't nearly as useful to the public as it once was. If the supposed owners of culture wish to keep the current system somewhat intact and they want the public to edhere to the original agreement then they must use their representatives in the House to shorten copyright considerably (to say the original 28 years retroactively), eliminat

    • It is called social disabdience.

      Really, nobody has a problem with buying music, just the price.

      The market is speaking, adopt or die. Laws fail when the fly in the face of what the majority want.

      I wonder how much of what is considered 'pirated' is outside a sane copyright law(like 14 years.)?
      • 2 things:

        1) The price of music does in no way give you a right or justification to pirate it.
        2) A "sane copyright law" is subjective, and is currently not "actual copyright law". It doesn't matter.
        • "1) The price of music does in no way give you a right or justification to pirate it."

          Yes, in fact it does give me justification.
          What it doen't give me is an excuse from being prosecuted in a court of law.
          Just like any form of civil disobediance. Like not getting up from a bus seat even though the law says you should*.

          My point was, the industry would have less pirates if they priced at the market demand point, and that the market is changing.

          "2) A "sane copyright law" is subjective, and is currently not "actual copyright law". It doesn't matter."

          I was just wondering how much of the reported 'pirated' is older then a certian period.
          It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the amounts by release date of the products.

          None of this matters, because the market force regarding copyright is building. People in grade school today will expect music to be distributed digitally and cheaply.
          The music corporation is nothing more then a middleman who isn't needed anymore.

          *I am only using it to illestrate the point, I am not putting them on the same pedistal.
          • No, in my opinion, it doesn't give you a justification.

            Look, I can understand taking a lot of things without paying for them. If you're starving, and the local stores are selling food with such a high mark-up, you could never afford to pay for it, then yes, I can understand you stealing.

            And to a certain extent, I can understand copyright infringement when applied to software. I don't do it, I don't agree with it, but I can understand someone being in a situation where they require the tools to do a par

            • I'm not saying my life wouldn't be enriched by it ... Someone's decision to make their music only available to those who are willing to pay for it doesn't hurt me in the slightest.

              These statements don't really jibe.

              I think that we can all agree that our lives would be greatly enriched if all creative works were in the public domain: those works would be available for us to simply use and enjoy as they are; for us to make and distribute copies of; to publicly perform or display, and; to serve as the bases f
          • "Just like any form of civil disobediance. Like not getting up from a bus seat even though the law says you should."

            Although you later disclaimed that you are not equating the two, at some point you should take the time to talk to somebody who was involved in the civil rights clashes of the 1960s, or some other form of real civil disobedience. Explain to them that you believe that teens sitting on their ass in their basement P2Ping Gnarls Barkley is "just like any form of civil disobedience." Then wat

        • by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:05PM (#15915030)
          As a society, do we really want to pass a bunch of unenforceable laws?

          Do we really want to cripple the consumer electronics industry that is huge and employs lots of people to specifically benefit the entertainment industry that is tiny and employs only a very small number of people at (mostly) very low wage jobs?

          The entertainment industry is telling us that we have to choose between the two. If this is really true, I would choose to protect fair use rights and the consumer electronics/computer/software industries. If no more hollywood movies or bubblegum rock records get made, then I guess that really isn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The sun will rise whether we're being force fed hollywood crap or not.
      • It is called social disabdience.

        No, it's called copyright infringement. I participate in it too, on occasion, but at least I'm honest about myself.

        I wonder how much of what is considered 'pirated' is outside a sane copyright law(like 14 years.)?

        Probably very little. When people hit the peer to peer networks, they look for works which are fresh in their minds, which likely means the most recent works to have been released. Nobody's downloading Casablanca; everybody's downloading Pirates of the Caribbean I
        • I don't know about that. When Napster first came out, the thing I liked about it was that I could search for things without really knowing the name of the artist or the name of the song. If I just new the lyrics from the main hook or something I could probably find it. Then armed with the name of the artist, I could probably find the record on Amazon or CD Now.

          I'm almost embarrassed to say it*, but I didn't know exactly who Nick Drake was at that time (circa 1998) and I was able to find the song I was looki
      • >It is called social disabdience.

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. [imdb.com] Civil disobedience is when you publicly violate the law and accept or even invite punishment for it. Using a file sharing network to share copyrighted materials is not civil disobedience; it is breaking the law and hoping not to get caught. Big difference.

        >Really, nobody has a problem with buying music, just the price.

        What does this mean? People don't have problems buying things that are f

      • It is called social disabdience.

        No it's not. It's not even called civil disobedience. An example of civil disobedience would be setting up a CD-burning booth outside the RIAA corporate offices. The whole point of civil disobedience is to get yourself persecuted for disobeying a law you consider unjust. If a lot of other people consider that law unjust, and the authorities are seen to be being heavy-handed, then you'll probably get a whole lot of support, and build up public resentment against the law in
    • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:08PM (#15914482)
      In any circumstance or scenario, is it ever acceptable for an owner of a work, or their duly specified agent, to protect that ownership, even when the work may be freely copied in an unlimited fashion, and to use the legal frameworks provided by the society in which it exists, to enforce or demand recompense for such ownership?
      In any circumstance? I suppose I coulda agree with some circumstances.

      I'd probably be fine with a lawsuit leveled against commercial infingers (ie, people selling material they don't own the copryright for). Likewise, small suits for non-commercial infringement I could support (by small, we're talking at most the commercial value for the material, eg 10-20 dollars per CDs worth of music, or per movie), if they were carefully executed and if the defendant was able to actual stand up for themselves in court.

      What I, and other people, can't stand is the use of legal brute force against people who can't realistically fight back. Following the letter of the law with the intent of ruining someone in a civil suit which they cannot afford to defend themselves against isn't "protecting their copyright", it's mafia style intimidation.

      Software company suing another software company for breach of copyright on their code? I'm fine with it, as long as the suit doesn't abuse the court system (think SCO and their delay tactics as an example of such abuse). Record company launching a small suit against a major uploader (instead of massive suits against everyone)? I would at least be on the fence, and acknowledge their rights.

      Part of the problem of course is that the way the law is set up, the corporations have the upper hand. They can sue for the maximum possible amount per infringement, and they can drag out court cases longer than any individual could afford, forcing an out of court settlement. Plus, they aren't held to a high standard of evidence when it comes to bringing the case before a court.

      For the record, I don't pirate. However, at this stage I've completely stopped buying RIAA label music, since I'll be damned if my money is going to pay their bloodsucking lawyers.
    • is it ever acceptable for an owner of a work, or their duly specified agent, to protect that ownership

      Yes, but only if someone is profiting commercially from it. Nor is it necessary; this isn't trademark, you don't lose copyright like that.

      If they're using your work for monetary gain, then I'd say it was moral. But if they're downloading it they like it and are going to buy it. If they have no plan to buy it, you're not losing anything anyway.

      Nor do you own the work. You own the copyright. "Intellectual pro
    • Thank you. I follow this as well -- Since I do not support the RIAA, I do not buy material from related artists, nor do I pirate it. There is plenty of good music out there that can be gotten without breaking the law! I have 10GB of music on my hard drive, all 100% legal.
    • Why do you think the RIAA et al are up in arms over "lost sales"?

      It's because many have already chosen not to take any part in the system. We're not all pirates.

    • by Thangodin (177516) <elentar AT sympatico DOT ca> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:20PM (#15914598) Homepage
      Unreasonably high prices and artificial scarcities create black markets. Draconian measures to thwart those black markets create criminal organizations who profit on those markets, by a process of natural selection which eliminates all but the most ruthless. International criminal organizations haven't found the business model to turn all this to their advantage yet, but give them time--they're working on it. When they figure it out, the RIAA won't be facing a bereaved family, but a wily group of thugs who do this professionally, with plenty of cash on hand for their own lawyers--if the RIAA can get to them at all. This, of course, assumes that the artists don't find an alternative first and cut the RIAA and the people they represent out of the loop. It's a race between the artists and the gangsters, but either way the RIAA will lose.

      I would like to offer an alternative of what they should be doing--put the following notice in each of their CD's and DVD's:

      This disk has no copy protection whatsoever. You can transfer, copy, rip, and burn it to your heart's content. You can even hand out these copies to other people, with one proviso: insist that if they like it, they should go out and buy their own copy.

      Every dollar you spend is a vote. Paying for this is a way of telling the artists you like it and want more. If you like this music, paying for it means that you will get more; more from this artist, and more from similar artists--and maybe even music from artists you will want to hear who are quite different, but otherwise wouldn't have enough support to get started. You may think that recording artists make a lot of money and don't need your support. In fact, there are a lot of expenses that they incur just to make and promote this album, and it takes a lot of sales just to break even. And hey, if they do get filthy rich, it may take a lot of money to persuade them to get back into the studio. Either way, you get more of what you want.

      If you don't pay for this, and a lot of people who like it copy it for free, the artists will have to get a day job. They will stop making albums, and probably won't play anywhere more than a day's journey from home. Sucks to be you. The music that you like won't be made anymore. And every time you turn on the radio, you will hear music made by people whose fans are just too damned stupid to know how to copy it.

      So, do what you want. But if everything on the radio and at the music store is infantile crap, don't blame us. We warned you.


      That's what they should be doing. Of course, they're not. Wall Street has a saying: "A bear can make money, a bull can make money. A pig always gets slaughtered." The RIAA is a pig. They're going to get slaughtered.
      • There's a band my daughter used to listen to called "Playground Heroes". Their CDs said "please be kind, burn a copy for a friend."

        It's good business. If I get a burned copy of your first CD and like it, I'm very, very likely to buy a copy of your second album.

        If I never hear it at all there's no way in hell I'll be buying it.
        • "There's a band my daughter used to listen to called "Playground Heroes". Their CDs said "please be kind, burn a copy for a friend.""

          Cool. Others do that as well... Magnatune encourages purchasers to give three copies to their friends. I'm sure there are many, many other bands -- and maybe more than a few indie labels -- that encourage similar small-scale copying as a form of publicity.

          "It's good business. If I get a burned copy of your first CD and like it, I'm very, very likely to buy a copy of yo

    • Boy, whenever you have to start your argument with In any circumstance or scenario, is it ever acceptable, you should know you've already lost the argument.

      The problem in this particular scenario (RIIAA lawsuits over file "sharing") is that you have a party with large resources (translation -- a Bully) intimidating people with very few resources and demanding cash, by threatening them with a lawsuit with very little, if any, evidence; and doing it over and over and over again.

      Sure, there are circumstan

    • Just because someone dies doesn't automatically invalidate a potentially valid legal claim.

      Actually yeah, it pretty much does. Being dead rather effectively denies the defendant the opportunity to defend himself. Doesn't necessarily invalidate the claim, but most judges would throw it out.
    • Individual copyright infringement is not a crime that should be punished with draconian measures. For individuals, it should be punished at a somewhat lower level than one gets punished for speeding.

      Though the RIAA is a private body,they are using governmental powers against the average person. I see them as no different than tyrants. Congress has finally gotten lazy enough to begin outsourcing the erosion of our freedoms.
    • "Just because someone dies doesn't automatically invalidate a potentially valid legal claim"

      it pretty much does.
    • If this has so utterly failed, why not develop the new model that replaces it?

      Because the powers that be (aka RIAA) has put very tough entry barriers to market.
    • As for this particular case: so the RIAA has long-established themselves as a bunch of shameless pricks. So what?

      Yes, many people put up with shameless pricks, even admire them. But how does that lead to "so what"? Like most people I don't put up with shameless pricks or admire them, so it is important to identify such people.

      Just because someone dies doesn't automatically invalidate a potentially valid legal claim. Sure tugs at the heartstrings, though, doesn't it?

      Not the RIAA's heartstrings, a

    • When the CREATORS of copyrighted works get compensated by these suits, we can speak logically on the subject of copyright. If you remove copyright, copyright law, and the *AA out of it... you have nothing to talk about. (Anywhere you see "you" it is the COLLECTIVE "you" who endorse or otherwise buy into the fallacious argument that somehow copyright infringement is "theft" and some faceless company has lost one red cent because the work exists outside of the secretive confines of their IP fortresses...) S
  • by DragonPup (302885) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:49PM (#15914284)
    ...then I imagine a lack of sensitivity from the RIAA resembling a prison in Uzbekistan.

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:50PM (#15914299) Journal
    It's OK to steal music if one of your relatives is about to die.

    Did I understand that correctly?

    Muahahah...!

  • by cplusplus (782679) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:50PM (#15914303) Journal
    Hey, the RIAA's cold black heart has a drop of warm kind blood in it afterall :-). Or not. I'm sure they were only considering the bad PR and not the family.
  • RIAA SUX! (Score:3, Funny)

    by DoctorPepper (92269) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:53PM (#15914324)
    While I don't condone copyright infringement, and I AM one of those folks that was crying out for the RIAA to go after the actual perpetrators, I don't agree with their tactics. In fact, I find they have gone way overboard in their overzealous prosecution (persecution?) of anyone they even think has been illegally downloading music from the Internet.

    If you were to look down from space, and see the headquarters of the RIAA, it would be shaped like a giant anus.
  • Fun fact (Score:3, Funny)

    by scenestar (828656) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:56PM (#15914344) Homepage Journal
    At first they gave the relatives of the diseased a 60 day period to grieve before they sued.
    I guess the public outcry made them change their minds.

    Seriously, what the fuck is next with the RIAA.
  • Yeah, right. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lax-goalie (730970) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:57PM (#15914356)

    Mr. Scantleberry had admitted that the infringer was his stepson

    They can say that all they want, now that the only person who could confirm it is dead. If they really had the goods, they'd be all over the stepson with a lawsuit.

    • They can say that all they want, now that the only person who could confirm it is dead. If they really had the goods, they'd be all over the stepson with a lawsuit .
      And you have on good authority that isn't on their to-do list a couple months from now? Perhaps they're just waiting for the whole thing to blow over before pursing the step son? Each time actions RIAA lawyers hit the headline, I lose a bit more faith in the human race.
    • Agreed. They can say anything they want to say about what Mr. Scantlebury said; he's no longer around to contradict them.

      What concerns me is their use of the language "this particular lawsuit". This "particular" lawsuit was a nullity anyway, because it was going to have to be dismissed in any event. Are they planning to turn around and sue the children?

  • by LordPhantom (763327) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:59PM (#15914387)
    Due to the abundance of negative PR this has generated , we have elected to drop this particular case.'

    There I fixed that for you.
  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:59PM (#15914391)
    Such an "abundance of sensitivity" shown in not trying to finacially ruin a grieving family. I do hope the pope has been informed, beautification must begin immediately!

    Well at least all those people who have been asking, "Where will RIAA draw the line?" have had their questions answered. Clearly the answer is, "Somewhere between 12 year old girls and dead people".
  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:00PM (#15914400) Homepage Journal
    Out of an abundance of sensitivity [CC], we have elected to drop this particular case
    Something doesn't seem right...

    [opens his Lawyer Dictionary]

    Selective Casing... Settlements, Large Payouts from... Whoops, went to far... Okay, here we go, "Sensitivity":

    sensitivity Pronunciation Key (sns-tv-t) n., scapegoat
    A term used when dealing with a large public backlash against previous actions, usually involving death, abuse, sexual harrassment, or being caught in the Ritualistic Lawyer Act of eating a kitten
    We are regarding our lawsuit against the 90-year-old grandmother with sensitivity.
  • Same here. (Score:2, Funny)

    by xactuary (746078)
    Out of an abundance of sensitivity, I have elected to stop bying DRM protected music. Thank you for your understanding.
  • too little too late (Score:4, Informative)

    by MoFoQ (584566) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:01PM (#15914410)
    I don't know about the rest but I think it's a bit too late...the cat's out of the bag that the RIAA is even more viscous than the Grim Reaper and a pitbull/lawyer combined.
    Makes ambulance chasers look like Saints.

    And I'm not sure if they should use the word "Productive"....they could have just said "legal settlement" instead of admitting that their settlement tactics are "productive"...which is like the oil companies saying their price increases are profitable. Not something you want to admit to in public.

    They need to learn to spin better or at the very least not shoot themselves in the foot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:01PM (#15914411)
    Too bad they're still at -78431486143872354038164.3.
  • the statement translated to

    Our hearts, if we had any, would go out to the family for their loss and our loss of revenue. We had decided to temporarily suspend, pending our passing and at least one of our staff avoiding burning in hell forever and thus limiting our ability to get a hearing before the ultimate judge, the productive, for us, settlement discussions we were having with the family. Mr. S had admitted that the infringer was his stepson, who now will claim his stepfather was actually a rap and tec
  • It's good to see that the RIAA is, in fact, composed of decent human beings after all.

    Aw, hell... who am I kidding?
  • There are two factors leading to the RIAA's cancellation of this particular circus.

    - They have already accomplished the goal of scaring the living daylights out of a customer, and
    - They appear to have an "abundance of sensitivity" by dropping the case, hopefully negating the negative press that has cropped up around this.

    They care nothing for the family involved. They care nothing for the memory of the dead person, who I'm led to believe is a friend of at least one Slashdotter. They care nothing for their c
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:17PM (#15914574)
    In a statement today the RIAA said that it was dropping its law suit against the Scantleberry family but added "We will, however, expect to be compensated for any music that is played at the funeral."
    • I know you were trying to be cute, but RIAA is compensated for music played at a funeral if the music is supplied by the funeral home. Technically, any performance of a copyrighted work entitles the copyright holder to whatever royalties they see fit to negotiate. This fee is usually hidden from you (be that by advertising, payola, subscription fee or the like), but it still happens.
  • Misleading title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:18PM (#15914580)
    The key word in the statement: "temporarily".

    Read: They're still going to bully the family into paying grossly in excess of any true damages caused, they're just going to wait until they don't get any bad publicity for doing so.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:19PM (#15914591) Homepage Journal
    Or permanently dropped?

    All dislike of the RIAA aside, the fact this was even an issue shows how twisted and out of touch these people are.

    If the public hadn't heard about it, i bet they would on the kids doorstep with a warrant.

    They are sick.
  • Music Consumers Spend a Year Dead for Legal Purposes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotblack_Desiato#Hotb lack_Desiato [wikipedia.org]
  • this reminds me of (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 56ker (566853) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:23PM (#15914625) Homepage Journal
    A while ago my mum got a speeding ticket/fine through the post as her car had been photographed speeding. It wasn't her that actually did the speeding (it was my brother) but she was the one who was assumed to do it because she was the owner of the car. She told them who it was who was speeding and no action was taken against her.

    Now, in the RIAA case against this person if they were acting sanely, rationally and not just trying to extort money from people or launch frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to deter people from infringing copyright they would've dropped it long before the person had died.
    • In this case it was his stepson. So provided he was the legal guardian of his stepson, he is responsible for the civil damages\fines incurred by his stepson.
  • ?

    You can NOT inherit a case.

    Already incurred debts, and existing assets, yes, you can inherit, or refuse.

    But, a LAWSUIT that is in progress is not an item that is bound by laws governing inheritance. ONLY if its incurred penalties - if the case is closed and any monetary punishment has been given - can be applied to inheritor.

    In each of extraordinarily greedy, negativistic and bullying peoples' and organisations' timelines, there comes a point that the greed blurs the vision and judgment, and they commit inexplicaply stupid and pointless stuff, because of power nausea, if they had found that their deeds were going unchallenged. Apparently riaa has reached such a point.
  • by lullabud (679893) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:37PM (#15915238) Homepage
    They may have said "abundance of sensitivity", which we would all take as them having a large quantity of pity to pour forth onto people who are mourning, but what I think they meant was "we have the balls to sue dead men, 12 year old girls, people who don't own computers, but like all balls, ours too are easy to hurt and they make for easy targets since they're so big". Clearly this was forfeit due to the PR nightmares that perpetually haunt them and their big balls before their abundant sensitive parts get kicked.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:58PM (#15915350) Homepage Journal
    I no longer believe that the RIAA and its constituent scum have any standing for consideration of rights. None. Zero. Want to download a song? Go for it. Upload an album? No sweat. Steal a shipment of CDs and sell them on eBay? Knock yourself out.

    These subhuman filth have no right to own anything, least of all a fictitious monopoly on a set of manufactured waveforms. Since they're willing to destroy lives to protect their greed, I think they forfeit the moral expectation to profit from their wares.

    Seriously, enough is enough. An "abundance of sensitivity"? Bah! That one sentence lost me forever. I mean this truly: I will never again buy anything when I think that a member of the RIAA may benefit in any way. Screw you guys, I'm going home.

  • The RIAA's problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simonetta (207550) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:55PM (#15916326)
    The RIAA's problem is that they really think that they own the world's culture.
        If you put a recording into the public sphere, play it millions of times for hundreds of millions of people and do that for years, then the recording becomes a public domain part of culture simply by the process of being absorbed by the public.
        The recording did not magically appear. It came from musicians who studied the recordings of other musicians, who played the works of the musicians before them, back into time. This is public culture: you can't claim to own public culture. It doesn't matter what laws you bribe the politicians to pass.

        The RIAA is like some guy who thinks he owns the ocean just because he makes surfboards.
  • The RIAA. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runefox (905204) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:22PM (#15916447) Homepage
    The RIAA are the only people I know of in the entire world who are legally entitled to slander and sue you for not doing business with them. Imagine if you will, the RIAA taken to another market.

    The WWAA (Wood Workers Association of America) has recently monitored your activities in creating a shelf that is exactly the same as the shelf a friend of yours has purchased. The WMAA has deemed it necessary to take legal action because the shelf you made was an exact reproduction of the shelf your friend bought, and because you didn't buy it, but rather built it yourself, you're stealing from them. You've duplicated their work using your own time and effort, and because of it, you're liable to pay them many times what the shelf retails for.

    Different world? Yes. Parallels? All there. Could it happen? Unless the RIAA is knocked onto its ass and exposed for the loudmouthed monopoly it is, then I say yes. Yes it could.

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