Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

RIAA Wants to Include Song Files it Can't Produce 234

Posted by Zonk
from the hidden-files dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In UMG v. Lindor the RIAA is trying to include song files it doesn't have copies of as part of its 'distribution' argument. The defendant Marie Lindor is asking the Court to preclude them from doing that. She points to the RIAA's own interrogatory response in which the record companies swore that their case was based upon their investigator seeing a screenshot and then downloading 'perfect digital copies'. They produced eleven (11) copies of song files, but want to be able to prove twenty seven (27) other songs for which they can't produce the files."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RIAA Wants to Include Song Files it Can't Produce

Comments Filter:
  • Sounds like.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bchabot (838095) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @04:00AM (#16173135) Homepage
    Sounds like they're going down the same road as Chief Justice William Stoughton's acceptance of spectral evidence [wikipedia.org]...
  • by quentin_quayle (868719) <quentin_quayle&yahoo,com> on Sunday September 24, 2006 @05:10AM (#16173337)
    This could be important.

    If the copyright cartel enforcers are required to have downloaded copies from the alleged infringer in order to maintain a suit, then something like Peer Guardian becomes more effective: p2p'ers can be seen online, yet they're safe as long as they can succeed in blocking connections to or from all the enforcers' addresses.

    If on the other hand, the enforcers can maintain a suit without showing that they downloaded copies from the alleged infringer, then they really have no logical way of proving that what the p2p'er was sharing was infringing, rather than something with the same name and maybe filesize.
  • by wfberg (24378) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @06:36AM (#16173613)
    If the copyright cartel enforcers are required to have downloaded copies from the alleged infringer in order to maintain a suit, then something like Peer Guardian becomes more effective: p2p'ers can be seen online, yet they're safe as long as they can succeed in blocking connections to or from all the enforcers' addresses.

    Hardly. Peerguardian can only ever block IP addresses that are known to belong to *AA agents. Nothing prevents them from using cable, dialup, wifi, etc. to get online.

    In fact, to the *AA it would be interesting to see that a certain peer can be contacted from an untainted IP address, but not from a tainted one. That way they know you're using PeerGuardian. If I were them, I'd go after those people just to scare PeerGuardian users. They can even use the fact that you used PeerGuardian to argue that you knew you were doing wrong.
  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @07:27AM (#16173753)
    Anyway, guys, quit the RIAA bashing. Complain they're doing sloppy investigating and it's not really an acceptable standard we should encourage, but don't act like they're a pack of liars when they're almost undeniably correct in their accusations and their only flaw is not doing as air-tight a job as they should have.


    Spare me. When you're trying to prove someone is guilty of a CRIME, you need to go the extra mile and make sure it's air-tight. If you can't be bothered to do that, then you've got no business taking your case to court. We're not talking about some farmer assuing his neighbor of stealing horses here. This is a big fat well-funded group that has the resources and teams of lawyers/investigators to gather the evidence correctly.

    Who's to say that the file called "Enter Sandman" wasn't really an audio clip from Aunt Milly's piano recital?

  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @07:43AM (#16173823) Homepage
    Well, it may be indicative of something. It's not very good evidence, but it is evidence. The degree to which it is belivable is up to the jury. Clearly, if you were on the jury, you wouldn't believe it. But so long as a reasonable juror might believe it, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with taking it to them. It's their job to decide this sort of thing.

    Besides, even if they downloaded a file and had it, it's difficult to prove that that file came from the defendant's computer. It still largely comes down to how trustworthy a jury would find the RIAA witnesses and evidence to be.
  • by technopinion (469686) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @08:12AM (#16173949)
    What's really funny is that the RIAA themselves seeded all sorts of fake files mislabelled as songs on the p2p networks. So how is the court supposed to know that what they think are real copyrighted songs are actually songs at all, when the RIAA didn't download them to find out?
  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @08:59AM (#16174147)

    Yes they do flood the internet with junk files which look like song files but aren't. The only way to tell if it's a real song file is to listen to it from beginning to end. See Reply Memorandum of Law at pages 2-4. As you can see from the deposition testimony excerpted there, the company that 'investigates' for the lawsuits and the company that floods the internet with junk pseudo-song files is the same company.


    More curiosity than anything else since I believe our copyright laws are totally fubar'd anyway but since everything is copyrighted by default wouldn't even sharing junk pseudo-song files be an infringement?
  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StrongAxe (713301) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @09:08AM (#16174173)
    Shoudn't the RIAA start to sue themselves ? They downloaded copies of songs to there computer, and now they are shareing them with a judge...

    First of all, copyright protects the right to make copies. So, technically, if I download a file from you, I am asking for you to make me a copy, and you do so. You are the one violating copyright, not I. So if the RIAA gets a file from your computer, they aren't getting you for downloading it, they are getting you for sending it.

    Second of all, the copyright holder has the right to make whatever copies they want, and to provide permission to anyone they choose to do the same. So if they or their agents download, or upload, or do anything else they want to do with their own data, they have the right to do so.

  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Only Druid (587299) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @09:27AM (#16174263)
    Frankly, you're being intentionally obstinate and daft. The OP makes an extremely important distinction: a criminal case carries possible penalties including imprisonment, fines and a permanent criminal record (and all that entails), while a civil case carries only the possibility of fines. In one case, you're a misanthrope, in the other case you're just someone who is a jerk and intentionally violated someone else's rights.

    If you think it's so permissible for people to violate others' rights, please post your address, passwords and user names, etc. so all of us can interfere with your rights. That'd be fair, right?

    However you feel about the RIAA (e.g. its crappy tactics, its awful music, etc.) they have legal rights. Just because you don't believe in those rights doesn't mean you can ignore them. If you don't think those rights are legitimate, you're welcome to participate in the same legislative process as the rest of us.
  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @09:37AM (#16174307)
    Anyway, guys, quit the RIAA bashing. Complain they're doing sloppy investigating and it's not really an acceptable standard we should encourage, but don't act like they're a pack of liars when they're almost undeniably correct in their accusations and their only flaw is not doing as air-tight a job as they should have.

    Undeniably correct? Which accusation are you referring to, because I know it wasn't the part about their business being significantly damaged by file sharing. In fact, that claim is undeniably FALSE, as this study points out: http://www.unc.edu/~cigar/papers/FileSharing_March 2004.pdf#search=%22file%20sharing%20record%20sales %22 [unc.edu]. Notice, in the abstract: Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates. This would seem to make sense, as most of us should be familiar with the sales reports from Kazaa's high point, which showed the CD sales had more than recovered since Napster's debut -- and Kazaa had far more traffic than Napster, further weakening the claim that the RIAA would be bankrupted by file sharing.

    Perhaps this theory would help: most people who use file sharing networks would not have purchased the album in question anyway, so no actual sales were lost. Think about that statement, and think about who is using file sharing networks. Before Napster came out, were college students out buying hundreds of CDs (the equivalent of the thousands of MP3s that some had downloaded and shared)? Certainly not, most cannot afford to spend upwards of $5000 on album collections. So downloading those tracks should not be counted as a lost sale, any more than sharing CDs in a dorm building should (but I wouldn't put it past the RIAA to count it that way). This is why I am always skeptical of economists who say that millions of dollars per year are lost to piracy, because I am forced to ask whether or not the people using pirated music, movies, books, or software were actually going to buy these things to begin with (especially with software, especially when it costs more than $100). The problem is that basic economics does not apply here; the fact that music is available for free does not mean that people will automatically flock to the free stuff, as we learned that they should in economics 101, and the reasons behind this are still being studied.

  • by penix1 (722987) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @10:09AM (#16174441) Homepage
    Feel free to argue that you must have all the evidence you need to win a trial before filing a lawsuit, and to argue that you must have actual copies or physical specimens of each an every infringing work or device. When a corporation is a defendant, it will be more than happy to use those ludicrous arguments to its advantage to make it even more difficult for individuals to prove and obtain relief for copyright infringement, patent infringement, theft of trade secrets, and the like. It won't actually happen, and the defendants are going to lose these types of arguments, but the intellectual breadth of the typical Slashdot legal analysis continues to astound me.


    It goes to damages. The damages are determined on a per-violation basis. The RIAA is arguing that they don't need the actual files to be obtainable to prove damages. I have evidence that says that they do:

    From:

    http://blogcritics.org/archives/2002/10/04/081226. php [blogcritics.org]

    In one case, Warner Bros. demanded a particular subscriber be disconnected for illegally sharing the movie "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." But the computer file identified by Warner Bros. in its letter indicated that it wasn't the "Harry Potter" movie but a child's written book report.


    and...

    Another letter, to Internet provider UUNet, wanted a subscriber cut off because they were sharing songs by former Beatle George Harrison. But some files were not songs at all. One was an interview with Harrison, and another was a 1947 photograph of a "Mrs. Harrison."


    So yes, they need the actual files given this track record especially when they are seeking $150,000+ per file.

    B.
  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @10:12AM (#16174461)
    I agree with your 150 / 200 numbers with this one caveat.

    I read here on /. a while back taht RIAA made $54 million off of suits last year.

    That is a LOT of financial incentive to fake data.
  • Re:Sounds like.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Monday September 25, 2006 @12:25AM (#16181079) Homepage
    So facts before a court of law become probabilies. Just like the original probability, that a computer in someones house only carries out the desired commands of the person in that house who has the internet account in their name (viruses and trojans and microsoft unwarranties do not exist). Copyright infringement is against the individual, not the individual's computer or their internet account. The RIAA must prove the individual they are suing carried out the infringement, not that they were likley to based upon the circumstantial evidence produced by currently unwarrantable technological solutions, benefit of the doubt under the law, is always with the defendent.

    At no point is a person hosting anything. An IP address is the only thing that is giving an indication of anything at all. A claim of IP address validity is clearly questionable as it can not be proven to be reliable, and has already shown to be legally invalid on many occasions (all those dismissed cases the RIAA walked away from). At the moment these cases are being launched based purely upon the opinions of the paid agents of the RIAA and the only evidence is the evidence that those agents digitally created upon computer hardware that they have control over.

    Could the evidence be faked, absolutely, where the evidence has pointed to an IP adress which was clearly false, then the probability that the agents faked the evidence is the only solution according to their own logic because the IP adress produced by the internet is 100% reliable according to them, so where it is false, then the only solution is that they fabricated false evidence.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan

Working...