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The Almighty Buck

Renewed Crackdown On File Sharing 336

||Plazm|| writes: "Here is an article on CNet's News.com that talks about some ISPs, such as Adelphia and @Home, teaming up with record companies to crack down on not only copyrighted music trading but also other media such as movies. It goes on to talk about the rise of bounty hunter hiring by record labels to track down media pirates. It's good to see ISPs like Verizon reject such pressure from big label companies. But can they hold out forever?"
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Renewed Crackdown On File Sharing

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ISPs will simply be forced to monitor and ban the use of Freenet.
  • You must not be in the scene. A LOT Of the pirated movies (well the ones I see anyway) are the kinds that have been out of production for years, or were never released in the US (lots of anime). Granted, there's quite a bit of first run stuff as well in some groups, but who cares about that?

    The quality is actually quite good these days thanks to DivX ;-). If your video card has TV-out, you can pump the movie directly to your home entertainment unit and get the full effect. It's really quite astounding how nice a lot of these 50MB TV episodes look these days.
  • Put a machine in the record store. This machine would have a high-speed secure net connection to a large library of music and a built-in CD burner. It would allow me to log into the music library, pick 10-20 of my favorites, and burn a CD while I wait. It would charge maybe $1 per song for the disc, on the spot (make it take cash or credit cards). This would eliminate the album system, and with it the practice of charging $17 for two good songs and eight bad ones, and would be a far better distribution system than the existing record stores.

  • Good, maybe we can get back the quality of USENET from before the Endless September.

    USENET is not a binary file forum. It is for text/plain messages, and works best as such.

  • Then you should be arguing for shorter copyright terms as opposed to freely sharing everything under the sun. The fact that copyright allows corporations to hold on to works for 95 years *and* at the same time allow them to completely stop distribution of said work through retail markets is a major problem.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:47AM (#2189554)
    The current law is that if you are an ISP, you are not liable for content that is offered by your users unless you are told about infringing content and do nothing about it. IMO, this is a perfectly reasonable way for ISPs to behave, as they don't have to have to continue to battle legal defenses for stuff they don't control.

  • Moreover, why should the people of Taiwan be punished for doing something that locally, is perfectly legal? It's the people sitting in foreign lands FTPing into their servers and downloading that are committing (where the foreigner resides) a crime. And it's not the job of Taiwanese locals to see that other people in other lands obey the other land's local laws.

    A reversed example: Porn is illegal in most Islamic nations. What if OPEC said "Stop making your porn web sites accessible from our nations or we cut off your supply of oil?".

    We expect everyone to obey our laws, but don't give a crap about local legal stuff in the USA violating laws is some foreign nation (see also Ebay selling nazi artifacts; illegal in France, Austria, Germany).




  • Great response. I was laughing pretty loud at the part where the Canadian agency is quoting US court rulings.

    However, perhaps this: is a _general purpose_ P2P search engine, which lets users search for any type of file (including documents, programs, source code, images), not just recorded music. should be rewritten

    is a _general purpose_ P2P search engine, which lets users search for any type of file (including term papers, warez, source code, porn), not just pirated mp3's.

  • "...they're no longer offering any of the newsgroups with sounds, mp3, cd.image, movies, multimedia, warez, or vcd in the title."
    So alt.rec.pirated.music.files would be legit but alt.rec.reviews.movies would not?!? ;-)
  • Wonder how soon the bounty hunters will be vivisecting MP3 d00dz they catch into living trophies for the artists and corporations they rip off.
  • My opinion is that they really thought that they'd just get the ISP or you to cave- whether or not they actually have a case or not.

    Lawyers can tend to work that way, especially those working with big business.
  • If we're not trading OR buying, that would send a message, wouldn't you think.
  • If he liked it, he'd be buying it. If he didn't, he wouldn't. Without the ability to try it out for little to no expense on his part, even if it was a "poor quality" copy, he'd probably not ever buy it. He's said as much. While I don't entirely agree with his modus operandi, I do agree with the sentiment. I don't trade, but I also don't buy a lot of records or books these days nor do I go to the movies often- because I can't really sample the stuff all that often and there's so much dross out there that it's almost not worth my bothering with it all.

    With him, you'd never have a sale to begin with without the "copying" in the first place. He was never a "lost" sale no matter what. If you can't sell the stuff without some sort of samples being handed out for free one way or another (like radio, singles, mp3/DivX:-) trading, etc.) to convince people to purchase the whole book/album/movie/etc. you're going to have a hell of a time selling anything anyway.

    I might suggest another line of work in that case.

    Oh, and if you're going to call someone dumb, you might want to do it with a real account and not mis-spell words like "which".
  • Ok, let's try this again- since you either didn't read my reply to you (And I did reply to you- your post uses the same argument, same calling people stupid.) or you're too focused on yourself to "get" it.

    If the person would have never bought it- you made nothing to begin with. Doesn't matter if they copy it or not, if they like your stuff, they'll do something to put money in your pocket- usually by buying the CD, but also by attending concerts, etc. If they don't like it or don't know about your work (if they don't hear it on the radio or from someone playing it for them or near them) then they're not going to buy it from you no matter what you say about it being your music. If it's worth paying for, generally speaking, people will pay for it- because the product from the record companies is a higher quality and easier to use product than an MP3, except in highly portable contexts.

    When you do a recording for a label and "bust your butt for it", unless you're someone like Ian Anderson, Michael Jackson, etc. you're doing work for that record company- and it is they that own it, not you. In many cases, the contract makes your work a work for hire, not yours- ever. If someone's stealing from someone when someone copies that work, it's not the person that made the music that the copier is "stealing" from, it's the record company.

    Furthermore, unless a rather sizeable segment of the population buys the record, the artist sees nothing from the sales of the record because their cut is so small- something on the order of somewhere around $.25-.50US per CD that sells for $16-20US. Unless you're platinum, all you get from the radio spots and CD sales is exposure. An artist generally makes money selling paraphenalia that's licensed to a given concert, concert performances, and in the case of indies without any label per se, direct CD sales for $4-10US.
  • What production costs?

    It costs something like $.75-1.50 a pop to make a CD with silk-screened artwork and jewel boxes packaged. That's in lots of 10k- it gets much cheaper in the hundreds of thousands that a major act ends up doing in a single pressing.

    So let's run the numbers...

    1.50 (Assume the most expensive)
    1.00 (Assume marketing and production costs)
    .25 (Assume the average royalty payout to

    Average cost of CD: $16 (Rounded...)


    That's a little over 13 dollars US that get divvied up amongst the likes of Best Buy (Who gets about 20 or so % of the total price on the disk- maybe a little more, maybe a little less...), the distributor (Ditto...), and the record company that collects some 40-60% of the shelf price of the record- for an outlay approximately $2-3 dollars per disc.

    If it were production costs, they wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry. They're collecting most of that as profit.

    The Radio Stations pay money to play the song, yes, but it doesn't amount to the money the band usually has to pay in the form of Independent Promotion. Only with the big ticket acts do you see the money flowing to the artists from radio play.

    If you believe that the costs are huge, you're mistaken. Compared to what they rake in (and I don't mean the musicians) it's paltry. We are all being "strip-mined" for money by the entertainment industry. Ever once wondered why the apparent quality of the music has been going downhill and there always seems to be yet another new band? Ever wonder why they keep pumping out crap to the theatres instead of the rare quality work? Because it's cheaper to pump out stuff that the masses consider acceptable, if only just barely- even if the quality stuff produces awesome returns. It's not as high as they want them to be.
  • I don't necessarily like this approach that they are taking, but at some point, they have to be able to get some legal recourse for stopping people from sharing copyrighted materials. Either that, or forget the whole copyright system and replace it with something else, but realistically, that's never going to happen.

    Well, the bussiness model of attacking and jailing your customers seems self-limiting.

    How about making the entire catalogs of their recordings older than one year available online for $5/month. How about selling CDs with much better quality recording than Mp3 files and how about charging reasonable prices?

    If you let your customers create CDs from the MP3 files you can scale down CD production and distribution and drastically reduce the costs.

    How about letting you customers decide what they like to hear, rather than having overpaid marketing executives pick the 100 songs that get played on the radio.

    Rather than trying to sell 5 million copies of one CD, why not sell one copy of 5 million CDs? There are many CDs that I would buy, if they were only available somewhere - but they will never be reissued, because only 10 would sell.

    But the internet and MP3 files make it profitable to sell just 10.


  • But they only do that if the 10 copies are actually paid for. This is problem that everyone seems to miss.

    To get people to buy CDs you need to provide some additional value over free MP3 files. You can also tape songs of the radio for free, yet most people buy CDs anyways.

    So, if CDs contain much better quality of recording, perhaps a nice booklet with pictures and text of the artist and cost $5, then people would be likely to buy them.

    Downloading songs and burning CDs is not quite as easy, a buying a ready made product.

    Think of distribution of MP3 as radio with infinitely many channels. By having more people exposed to the music you are increasing the chances that someone will buy the CD, or go to a concert and pay.

    And the p2p exchange DOES NOT COST THE RECORD COMPANIES A CENT (sorry for shouting). It's a free distribution network for marketing their stuff.

    I bet you the TV/Radio advertising budget of your average record company would cover the costs of running bunch of servers with all their recordings in MP3 format on them.


  • I've said before that file sharing programs need to move to https as soon as possible. That's one port ISPs couldn't block, if they want their customers to be able to buy stuff online, and because it's secure nobody can inspect the traffic to find out whether it's file sharing or just web browsing (except with unreliable heuristics on amount of data transferred, etc).
  • by Psarchasm ( 6377 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:33AM (#2189580) Homepage Journal
    For speaking kindly toward Verizon may thou be struck repeatedly and often with one million strands of unlaid fiber. When Verizon can actually get around to doing it that is.

  • The service provider is not breaking the law any more than the manufacturer of MP3 compression software.

    And trust me on this one: if the copyright owners manage to pull this stunt, i.e. make ISPs self-censoring, they won't stop there. And the makers of audio cpompression software might just as well be next.
    echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln80~Psnlbx]16isb15CB32EF3AF9C0E5D7272 C3AF4F2snlbxq'|dc

  • Umm.. Isn't that ever so slightly illegal?
    When an ISP charges you your monthly fee, they are contractually obliged to maintain your connection with the internet.
    While it's quite feasible for them to suspend the agreement with you because they believe you've done something they're not happy with, I don't believe they actually have the power to charge you for that time, as you're not actually receiving a service from them. And the service is just about all the ISP offers..
    Check the conditions very carefully. If it's stipulated in the agreement that they can charge you for services not rendered, then advertise that they could charge you for installations of nuclear submarines in your house, despite the fact they never do so.
    If they're allowed to charge you for suspension of your account, get out now. And get other people out too.
    Eventually, they could easily make the terms and conditions so strict that they could indefinately suspend everyone, and charge for doing nothing

    Just seems like a BIG scam to me..

  • I've said before that file sharing programs need to move to https as soon as possible
    But wouldn't each machine in the peer-to-peer network then need it's own Server Certificate, so the client can do the crypto-handshake?
    Or am I just confused?!
    Had an overdose of Confusius?? :) :)

    You can use any TCP/IP port for whatever you want. The fact that such port is used for HTTP and such port for FTP and such port is used for HTTPS is mere convention. Nothing prevents you from running APACHE on port 25, for example...

    But, yes, that would be a clever way to hide "illicit" transfer, doing it in plain sight... After all, since (most) HTTPS traffic is encrypted, how could Valenti's Nazis could pick-out file "illicit" transfers???


  • How do they expect to respond to things such as Freenet? Sitting on a DSL or cable modem line w/ my Freenet server and several dozen gigs of space given to it I hafta wonder how they expect to police such things. Are they going to shut off everyone they think might be using Freenet?

    How would they prove I had intent to break copyright laws? As a routine matter I like to download random files off filesharing servers and Usenet and then repost them on Freenet under a naming scheme where you have the files mime type followed by it's md5sum. Something along the lines of image.jpeg.0f8432 and so forth. That means that my database only needs to keep track of relationships between file details and the files mime and md5sum's to make a match but it'd be rather hard to prove I knew any of the files were there since an automated script gets them from public sites and works with them without a human ever being involved. Hook an IM into Freenet and someone could effectively transfer any of these files just by telling the person on the other end the md5sum of the file they want. Jabber would even make this pretty easy to add I think and since it is one of the runners for IM standardized format they'd be hard pressed to cut off all Jabber service for their ISP without a lot of eventual whiplash.
  • No, it isn't irrelevant. File sharing happened on the Internet for a very long time before Napster came along. It wasn't until people started "sharing" content that wasn't theirs that the powers that be started trying to crack down.

    If people only shared what they were legally allowed to share then the MPAA/RIAA wouldn't get involved and there would be no arguments about what rights are being stepped on.

    It is precisely because of the actions of pirates that our liberties may be curtailed. Yet rather than complain about the pirates, people complain about the groups pursuing completely legal courses of action. It's like complaining about rape victims rather than the rapists when the police start stopping individuals at night.
  • $15 or so isn't that darn much for a CD

    The cost of producing the CD, printing the inserts, the jewel case (which many are trying to eliminate), packaging, bulk boxing, and shipping to the music stores is probably not more than about $3 per unit on the large scale the top 1000 are done with. The artist gets no more than about $1. The store adds a markup which if a normal markup amounts to about $1.

    I do see some CDs produced and sold for $5 or less, and these are not overstocks or clearances. So where does the other $10 for a $15 CD go? Obviously some of that is marketing as the top 1000 CDs from the top labels by the top artists are heavily marketed all the time. But how much can that really be? $10 per unit? I don't think so.

    $8 per CD would be a reasonable price. Of course free market economics is supposed to allow the supplier to set the price where they believe people will still buy it. And they do at $15 per unit. So in that economic sense, $15 is a reasonable price if enough people are willing to pay that price for it.

  • These things are not cheap to produce, at least the good ones. If they can be legally copied and traded all over the net, it will happen, and there will be no payback of all the costs involved in producing it. A song is one thing, but a major production is something else entirely. If copyright is dumped, you might as well dump the entire film industry and all the movie theatres that play them. Then there wouldn't be anything to trade and the need for bandwidth would vanish, and ISPs would fold. Oh wait, they're folding anyway. Nevermind.

  • There's a major difference - if I take your painting, you don't have it anymore - if I copy a file, we both have it.
  • If only we'd see @Home put this much effort into cracking down on people who leave "File and printer sharing" turned on, or who are stupid enough to use their service without a firewall, or who run open mail relays, or who........
  • by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @05:26AM (#2189608)
    This is an ironic arena of businesses fighting with each other. On one hand, we have . . . well the MPAA and RIAA whom I trust to care about my well-being as much as I'd trust Pauly Shore with nuclear weapons.

    On the other, companies who make money selling access. I doubt they care much about my rights either.

    However, what we do have is two different corporate intersts colliding, and as noted, if people don't like one service, they can go elsewhere. I can easily see companies using this as a sales pitch eventually - we support your rights and won't back down (please pay promptly).

    Maybe we can use greed against greed.
  • As long as access to the copyrighted files is password protected so others can't snarf them, I don't see why not. I don't see how the RIAA's goons could find out that is happening anyways, especially if you use encryption.
  • <SARCASM>That's all due to everyone's favorite piece of legislation - the DMCA.</SARCASM> It specifically states that ISPs must maintain a contact person that copyright holders can report violations to, and when informed of a violation, they must take action or be held liable for contributory infringement. That action can start with warnings, then go on to suspensions and account terminations. They don't have any choice in the matter. :(

  • by Xenu ( 21845 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @06:34AM (#2189612)
    You are missing the point. The issue isn't whether file sharing is good, bad, illegal or a basic human right. The issue is whether an ISP has the power and/or legal obligation to enforce the intellectual property claims of third parties for material that is not stored on the ISP's systems, but merely transits their network.

    If ISPs were common carriers, like the telephone company, they would not be able to cancel your account except for a limited number of reasons, such as not paying your bill. They would also be obligated to provide service to everyone on a non-discriminatory basis.

    ISPs are not common carriers, they can cancel your service for any or no reason. They can refuse to provide service for any or no reason.

    This means that an ISP can cancel your account if someone complains that you are violating their intellectual property rights. It does not mean that they have a legal obligation to do so.

  • As of July 23, SWBell Internet Services & Prodigy are dumping a bunch of newsgroups "after evaluating possible copyright infringement issues". They posted an FAQ [swbell.net] about it, and the bottom line is they're no longer offering any of the newsgroups with sounds, mp3, cd.image, movies, multimedia, warez, or vcd in the title.
  • by Unknown Poltroon ( 31628 ) <unknown_poltroon1sp@myahoo.com> on Friday July 27, 2001 @06:00AM (#2189622)
    SSSShhhhh!!!! You fool, don't tell them!!!
  • But if they eliminate access to multimedia pr0n, the high-speed-Internet industry will collapse.
  • by csbruce ( 39509 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @06:12AM (#2189627)
    First of all I have to congratulate Verizon for something, OUCH!

    They're not standing up for a cause; they're just negotiating for a higher payoff.
  • *Groan*. Right. That's like saying "it's good to see convenience store robbers get away all the time."

    'Twould be better for a hundred convenience store robbers to get away than for even one of our freedoms to be infringed.

  • can I share it with myself, on another machine that is on another location legally? yes. file-sharing in itself is NOT illegal.

  • "So when they suspend (or terminate) your service, how do they get the cable modem back? If it was me, I'd keep it, out of spite."

    When they suspend your service for 30 days you keep your cable modem and they bill you for
    the 30 days as well. My friend tried to return
    his modem so he would not get billed during the 30 day suspendion. Adelphia said if he returned the modem he would have to pay a conection charge
    to reconnect him.

    We do not have any other broadband options in our area so he is stuck.
  • by romco ( 61131 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:17AM (#2189637) Homepage
    I just had a friend lose his internet service. He
    downloaded "Bear Share" and got one song.

    Neil Young's "Cinnimion Girl"

    I am having trouble with the fact that he was
    "punished" (suspended for 30 days) without a
    trial, hearing or anything.

    No one ever downloaded any mp3's from him. Seems
    a little unconstutional to me...he has the
    Neil Young CD.

  • Everything you point out here (the CD-R piracy tax, copy-protected CDs, etc.) is quite intrusive and nasty. It probably should be banned as it really does interfere with fair use.

    However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the crackdown on actual illegal activity, which is what this whole article and thread is about. The way to go about protecting your assets is to prosecute those who are doing illegal things with them.

  • For a moment there, just a moment, I thought ISPs had done something useful -- cracked down on filesharing built into OSes.

    How many systems are compromised because of a shared "C:" drive in Windows? How many windows VBS worms which spread over NetBIOS? How many SunRPC attacks? And even LPD..

    @Home did something useful when it started scanning for open NNTP servers, as well as SOCKS server. They also nicely block the "default" ports on BO an NetBus. Why can't they do something even better by blocking 111, 136-139, and 515 (incoming and outgoing)?

    No, this article is just about targetting people who use the unlimited like it is unlimited, which pisses off the ISPs ("Of course we don't actually mean what we say.").
  • I'm not so sure why ISPs should be pressured to monitor what we're doing at all. I think they have not right to suspend my account for trading files. If i'm breaking the law, the record companies can call the police and have me arrested. Its time ISPs gain common carrier status.
  • Illegal or not, those companies do immoral things too, such as using the DMCA to limit users rights.

    I can only hope that those evil forces are 100% robbed of their source of income via massive piracy. They must die, so that companies with better morals can take their place (if such exist).

    Yes, it is robbing, but IMO it is more like the robbing of Robin Hood. Technically illegal, but not to be compared to convenience store robbers.

  • The authorities have tried port blocking before in the history of the Internet to prevent sharing of objectionable data, and it utterly failed [clock.org] then, as it will fail now.

    Though it will be interesting to see if the ISPs try to claim common carrier status as a protection, after avoiding it (and the regulations that come with that status) for so many years. I bet the TelCo associated ISPs will go for it (it's what they know), and the small-fry independent ISPs will fold under pressure from the MPAA and RIAA.

    I wonder which way Starbuck's [starbucks.com] will go when their IEEE 802.11b Internet access networks [internetnews.com] are deployed. Will they live up to their Corporate Social Responsibility Policy [starbucks.com] and support free speech, fair use of copyright, and open Internet access?

  • I've been on about this. With a large, invitation-only encrypted "cloud" (It's not elitisim -- anyone who wants to can set one up.) you can extend the web of trust concept to make sure that no lawyer/spammer/advertiser/record company exec can ever get into your network. The unencrypted internet proper will become a commercialized slum with billboards every 10 feet. Any file sharing (legal or otherwise) will be encrypted out the ass and any in-between nodes (Like your ISP) will be relegated to the carrier-only status they deserve. I'm just rambling here, really. I like the idea though.
  • Well once you have the VPN set up, you can route into it. You might know the guys one hop over, but do you know the guys 3 hops over? You trust the guys in the middle to know and trust the people getting hooked in. If you think the guy one hop over is letting suspecious characters in, just delink him.

    I don't know about FreeS/WAN, but setting up an encrypted PPP pipe is dead easy.

    Of course, it's easy enough for law enforcement to get on the network the old fashioned way (Offer immunity/reduced sentence to someone you have a criminal violation on.) End-to-end encryption as well as point-to-point is necessary.

  • Now I have to install Kazaa to see if Adelphia will suspend my account. If they do, I will promptly cancel my service and they can say 'goodbye' to the $113/mo. I have paid them for the last year and a half (cable + cable modem). It really is too bad since my connection speed is great, but Earthlink DSL is now available for my home line so I can only lose so much.
  • by Steeltoe ( 98226 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:49AM (#2189662) Homepage
    That's what we have police for. Or maybe you wouldn't mind if I followed you all day, took videos of you jaywalking and doing other minor stuff, then send you a blackmail letter demanding USD $2,000? After all, you are a criminal..

    - Steeltoe
  • "I am having trouble with the fact that he was "punished" (suspended for 30 days) without a trial, hearing or anything."

    It's a company, not the government.. Don't like it, get another provider.


  • by KlausBreuer ( 105581 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @03:59AM (#2189666) Homepage

    Would it be foolish to suggest you link to the printable version of this story?

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1004-202-6674297.htm l

    This way we could avoid this MASSIVELY IRRITATING DAMN ADVERT in the MIDDLE OF THE &&%%/ SCREEN.

    "What, I need a *reason* for everything?" -- Calvin
  • Basically the whole file sharing issue breaks down to this: Music Companies do not want us to trade because they think that they'll make more money if we don't.

    There's a simple solution, if things don't go the way we want, we stop buying cd's. I'd like to think that we could get enough people together that a six month moratorium on cd buying could seriously affect sales (assumming that most people, like me, still buy cd's). I'd also like to think that we care enough about this issue to go without buying any cd's for a period of time.

    Copyright is a bargain with the public, if we don't like the way things are handled, WE have the power to decide how they should be. Granted, nowadays in the US the government seems more out to protect businesses rather that the people, but we still have the ultimate say.

  • If ethics were the only concern, file sharing would be fine, you aren't depriving anyone of anything. TYou are not stealing at all. The question is one of legality, current copyright law makes it (sometimes) illegal to file share. There are those of us who believe that this is the way things should be and those of us who don't. It's up to the pyublic to decide what should be legal, not businesses.

    Ethics is a a system of moral action. I feel that it's immoral not to share what I have with others, especially when it doesn't hurt me in any way. Don't confuse legality with morality.

  • I should know better than to respond to an AC but,...

    Number one I'm not being egocentric, if I pay for a cd and share it with whomever I want, I'm not being selfish at all, which is definitley a necessary quality for being egocentric.

    Secondly, yes I call it morally acceptable, it's called sharing. Once I have bought that cd I can do with it what I wish. It is morally un-acceptable to try and stop me. Yes it is illegal for me to do so, but that is an entirely different realm than morality. You're making the assumption that this "artist" has some sort of right to make money making music. No such right exists, or should exist. Furthermore, you apparently feel that the "artist" somehow owns the music. Again this is bogus. You no more own music than you own the Co2 you exhale. You can't even point to the music and shown me what it is the "artist" owns. To believe that he owns the music is egocentrical of the artist, not the other way around. The whole ownership concept is invalid when it comes to the ridiculous term "intellectual property".

  • Actually I was talking about after some extreme measure that would shut down the majority of sharing tools. Besides that, they would get very far with that claim if a boycott was well publicized.

    By your logic, no boycott would ever work.

  • Shivetya writes:
    Is it censorship? Probably, but its not anything a court will do anything about. Freedom of expression is in the Constitution is to protect you from the government, not some business. You are protected from such businesses by your wallet and freedom to go elsewhere.

    What if there are no alternatives. In many places, there's only one choice for high-speed access. If you're in a town that has Adelphia as its sole cable provider and DSL is not available, then you have exactly two choices for broadband access: buy from the Adelphia monopoly or forget about it. Sure you can go back to dialup, but one really can't compare the two types of connections. And in many places, smaller dialup ISP's are folding or being bought up by national giants like Earthlink and AOL, so your dialup choice may be limited to one or two providers as well. Sure the free-market solution is all well and good in a densely populated area that provides at least one cable modem option and several DSL options for high-speed access, but this situation is not universally true.

    At least Ma Bell was ordered by the federal government to serve everybody, since they monopolized the U.S. telephone network for decades. In the broadband market, these requirements don't exist yet, even though local and federal regulations often lead to a broadband monopoly. Now some ISP's are shutting off users' accounts for possible (but not always proven) copyright infringment. What if next year Adelphia says: "Multiplayer Quake games are sucking up too much bandwidth. But preventing users from playing multiplayer games, we'll save tremendously on bandwith costs, resulting in higher profits." In a competitive situation, this scenario would be prevented, as the affected users quickly change to another high-speed provider. But in a monopoly, consumers don't have much recourse when their account is terminated because of some nebulous "violation" of a TOS agreement.

    In order for the market to work, the government needs to have universal access requirements for monopoly broadband providers and needs to work to eliminate regulatory and technical roadblocks that prevent broadband competition in many U.S. markets. Otherwise, broadband consumers will be increasingly asked to bend over and take it under the broadband provider's rule "My way or the highway."
  • To all the folks whining about hypocrisy of the slashdot folk, I must say that you have all lost your nuts.

    First of all, not everyone on Slasdot is a hypocrite.

    Second of all, are you going to take these people word for granted that the people using Napster or Bearshare or whatever is actually a violator? What if the song "shared" is only similarly titled to some other RIAA song? You trust Random "Boba Fett" Bounty Hunter now huh?

    You can't even begin to list the various transgressions being done by the RIAA. Creating a whole inductry of bounty hunters - is that endorsed by right thinking Americans now? Using the threat of legal action against ISP when they have no case.

    If you want to complain about the hypocrisy of the slashdot crowd, then I should like to complain that "two wrongs don't make a right".;

  • The DMCA took away that status from the ISPs. They are now considered co-infringers if the "copyrighted" material is not removed immediately.

    Curious. The first users and abusers of this provision was the Church of Scientology, who uses it like a sledgehammer to shut down sites critical of its activities. For all the bluster, the USENET group alt.religion.scientology was years ahead of the rest of the geek nation when it came to the implications of the DMCA.

  • Using Gnutella servents is not a declaration of copyright-infringing activity, nor is hosting an mp3 named Beatles-Yesterday.mp3 declaring that you are trading it either. I don't know how Judge Patel could just flip her gavel and declare that it must be so. I thought that U.S. law required proof, or some such silly thing. Giving the benefit of the assumption to record companies just because they are rich and huge is obscene. And the copyright bounty hunters can go blow the goats they so richly deserve.

    Eventually files moving over the net will be filtered based on content companies' demands. I can't think of any way to avoid the coming corporate censorship other than laser networks on rooftops with 802.11x connections to local networks. Even then, government, ISP and media company sniffer trucks will be trawling the streets, looking for trouble.

    I foresee the day, analogous with today's forfeiture and mandatory prison sentence laws, when copyright infringement bounty hunting will be a major industry on a par with drug testing. Imagine all the money if you get a percentage of 500,000 dollar fines per each infraction? People will be dedicating part of their lifetime earnings to paying off enormous fines to media companies and the government. People, there's just too much money floating around this issue; they'r are going to go dog-wild on us if we don't keep an eye on the IP maniacs.

  • For the most part, the authors don't see a damned penny of the royalties gleaned from copyrights. Musicians owe the companies, mostly; don't even THINK that movie screenwriters get a percentage of the net of a movie. The money collected goes to media companies.

    How much of the Napster money collected by RIAA went to musicians? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

  • What's next? Are they going to break down your door in the middle of the night because you set up a share at home to listen to your CDs at work?

    Actually, yes, they will do exactly that. Picture it this way: they supoena you; you refuse to go to court. They convict you in absentia. You refuse to pay. They issue a warrant eventually. You refuse to open the door when the cops or the court officers arrive. Your door gets kicked in, and you, my friend, are going to prison.

  • Incorrect. What the US courts said is basically "if you can't prove it's legal, we can't let you transfer it. And we hold you responsible for illegal things which are transfered." So lets apply that fairly, shall we? That means, first of all, the US Postal Service. Starting tomorrow, the USPS must, MUST ensure that all data and materials which traverse it's network are in no way shape or form illegal. That means they'll be examing everything you send through the mail, and rejecting (and reporting) things they don't like. Send postcards so you don't get nasty reminders of this policy, like opened and resealed envelopes. Next, telephone. All telephone calls will be monitored, and the circuit will be closed at the first mention of anything illegal. Next, courier services. UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc etc, will be required to search all parcels, and to inform the FBI if you attempt to send or recieve anything illegal in the US. That means if you try to send something to, say, Russia, and it isn't illegal in Russia, but is illegal in the States, you'll hear a knock knock knocking at the door. Need I go on? Fine. Cars will have monitoring devices installed. Go over the speed limit, turn without signalling, take a hand off the steering wheel, boom, car shuts down where it is, and a unit is dispatched to impound it and you. Passing into, or out of, any private building will require your person and articles to be searched, because the owners of said building would, under these laws, be responsible for anything you were found carrying or doing that is illegal. I'll leave further examples up to the reader.
  • Actually, under US law, in theory, I should be able to say "I warrent that the contents of these packages are legal" and short of obvious danger signs, that's all you should need. I might or might not agree with it, but it's that whole 'innocent until proven guilty' thing. And yes, Napster's been given a list of songs, and they've been told that if they can't guarentee 100 percent that those songs, or no portion thereof, will pass through the nap network, they can't go forth. In other words, I've given you a list of explosive compounds that you must not let through a checkpoint. But if somebody later smuggles some through in a huge shipment of spices, you're screwed.
  • It's their own damn problems if they don't care to crack open a networking textbook and look for "Quality of Service." Where X is defined as the number of users at a given point of time, A is defined as any given member of X, B is defined as the amount of bandwith any given member of X is allocated, and Y is defined as the total available bandwith out of the private network into the public, then the relationship between X, Y, A and B can be expressed as: B(A) = Y/X
  • Yeah we get it, tables turned, haha, everyone on slashdot is a hypocrite right? The MPAA and RIAA have done so many donwright evil things, I don't give a shit what happens to them and many others don't eighther. This is the start of a witch hunt and everyone here knows it but you obviously. Don't like what someone is doing? A witch! They are violating our copyrights, and must be completly stripped of their constituional rights! No one cuts off your phone service if they think you are making prank phone calls, it is not dealt with in that way. The same way as file sharing should not be dealt with with a mentality that they can do whatever they want to someone because they are suspected of doing something wrong. I had my ISP kick me and my family off because I used the telnet account which was set up for me by them. (They weren't too bright, and did everything by the defaults). I downloaded the passwd file to see who else was using this ISP and they thought I was trying to 'hack' the system. The passwd file was shadowed of course. Many people rely on their internet connections for more than play. Some people care about their freedoms enough to realize when they are being taken away one step at a time.
  • Exactly, Freenet needs to take a break from the experimental 'games over freenet stuff' and make it easy enough for Joe Buttfuck pinstrip to use, and then it can fly. It doesn't take much for file sharing to be succesful, it just has to work, unlike cuteMX, and countless other crap things that couldn't even downlowd files effectivly. There also needs to be a way to share files that aren't encrypted on the hard drive. I want to share all my music, but I don't want to have to use twice my normal space to have one store that I use and one encrypted store that I use to share with other people. I also want the option to see what other it is caching on my hard drive. That would just be fun.
  • how did the Code-Red worm end up on a few hundred thousand machines, if the ISPs are monitoring traffic?

    There is a difference between monitoring traffic and doing something about what you monitor: i see drug dealers on the streets every day on my bike ride to work, but i don't do a damn thing about it. I saw some Code Red attempts on my boxes at work, and i called the WinNT guys to make sure they were doing something.

    What would you have had the ISP's do to stop code red? prevent specific types of data from passing over a known port to the end user's machine? Isn't that what we want them NOT to do?


  • there was a lot of discussion about how the Code Red worm should be a wake up call. A couple excerpts from the CAIDA [caida.org] analysis:

    The Code-Red worm is a wake-up call. This exploit demonstrates clearly the need to keep machines up-to-date with security developments

    We should assess our response to the attack -- How quickly and reliably can we disseminate news about the threat? How quickly can infected hosts be located, isolated, and repaired? In the case of the Code-Red worm, even windowsupdate.microsoft.com was infected, and many hosts were re-infected during attempts to patch them.

    (the last line included in regards to a separate post in this thread).

    and now back to mp3s -

    talking about Code Red in the file sharing column made me think that it would be interesting to distribute files via http requests in a fashion similar to Code Red's exploit attempts via GET requests.
    This hides sharing a file in some other protocol, steganographically transferring a file.

    I couldn't find anything out there like that, so i did some quick coding and came up with:
    stegweb [blackant.net], a method to use HTTP GET requests and your web logs to distribute files.

    the code is sloppy, the idea is impractical, but oh well it was fun to code.


  • by friscolr ( 124774 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @05:18AM (#2189689) Homepage
    but with DHCP those are pretty useless. It also raises the familiar point of placing IP addresses to real names (1 is easy, but imagine 100,000).

    Useless? If you have the Service Providers on your side...

    Those of us using phone modems: the ISP knows what number you're dialing in at, what username you're logining in with (for the initial modem connection). This info is kept in a db of some sort (flat file or actual db) or at least should be if the ISP wants to be able to troubleshoot any problems.

    Those of us using cable modems(at least Comcast, my provider): the ISP knows what MAC address you're using and has a db with that MAC address and your name in it.

    Those of us using the school's connection:
    Is it in your dorm? They know what port jack you're plugged in to so that DHCP IP can line up nicely to 1-4 people, depeding on how many share the room.
    Are you using the computers in a computer lab? chances are you had to log in to the computer at some point. that will be kept somewhere: Fri Jul 27 08:59:39 EDT 2001 frisco logged in from or so.
    Are you using computers in an open lab? Where i work, we can match up a couple db's to tell you what DHCP address lines up with what Mac address, then what computer that NIC card is in, then what room that computer is in. but the best: some of those labs have cameras in them, Security keeps tapes of what goes on. give us a time and a DHCP IP address, we can get you a print out what the person using the comptuer looks like. Not that that's ever happened, and every time something close to that happens (police wanting email, etc) i raise a big stink about it and always always make sure the college lawyer has gone over the paperwork for it a few times, and i'd do the same if it was just to stop someone trading mp3's - i didnt get that 160gig raid for nothing!

    Sure, you need to select data from a variety of different db's in order to track down the exact user, but that's really just a matter of a few case's, select's, and join's. It may take 1 second to track down 1 user, so 100,000 will be 100,000 seconds, or almost 28 hours. I don't think the big players will mind waiting a day and a half.

    There are some sources for internet access that will be more difficult to track, like that access in the library, or at a webcafe. but even a lot of those places have cameras set up. The best is taking your computer somewhere with a large network, like a university or a corporation, and either finding a live drop or a live wireless network - then it will be more difficult to track you. Don't forget to change your MAC address while you're doing it and have some TIGHT firewall rules to make it harder fro Them. But how many people are willing to go through the effort just to trade mp3's and avi's?

    But that only goes for tracking someone you know is trading stuff. first you have to find out they are trading, and that's where some good steganographic and cryptographic techniques will come in handy for the actual transmission of files. Distributing lists of who has what is another matter - how to separate who we want to be able to see that we are trading illegal stuff from the feds?


  • "'Twould be better for a hundred convenience store robbers to get away than for even one of our freedoms to be infringed. "

    The freedom to own a convenience store, for example?
  • OK folks, this is GOOD NEWS.

    Believe it or not, we WANT this to onerous, we WANT this to be draconian.

    We WANT this to be SO OBNOXIOUS that Joe Sixpak's representatives and senators get the message and do something about the DMCA.

    The whole mess caused by the DMCA is only going to get better if it first gets worse - enough worse to rise to the consciousness of the general population - and their elected congressmen.
  • > After all, the net was created hippies with no strong profit mentality.

    And it's now being taken over by advertisers and media moguls, and the pioneers are being driven underground into things like FreeNet, and trying to figure out how to keep it hidden and unblocked.
  • No, the mess that is the balance between the rights of copyright holders and information consumers.

    Read the Constitution. Read Thomas Jefferson. If the DMCA were only about protection from illegal copying, it wouldn't be so bad.

    The problem is the meter that the DMCA allows between the media you "bought" and your eyeballs and ears. The MESS is the access control, not any sort of copy control.
  • I guess I didn't really address your point - sorry about that. The RIAA stuff really isn't about the DMCA - yet, and that's what I was griping about.

    You're right, the law is being mightily broken. But let's take a look at some fundamentals behind it. Let's take a medium that is SOOOOOO cheap that it's the chosen mailing tool of AOL. No longer do we get our 3.5" disks in the mail from AOL, reformat them, and make real use. Now they send us CDs. I'm under the impression that a stamped mass-produced CD costs on the order of 5 or 10 cents. This product is placed into a jewel box of similar cost, and sold for $16. This markup might even exceed Microsoft! Don't forget that that price really isn't covering royalties, for the most part, either. Read "Courtney Love Does the Math" for information about how much (or little) most artists get from the sales of CDs. That $15.80 is almost entirely profit, marketing, advertising, retail, etc.

    In most situations, we have competition that brings prices down. In the recorded music industry we have the RIAA. I presume it has and still does fulfilled good functions. (The RIAA curve compensation curve in old phono preamps, to name one.) But in an open and competitive market, I have no idea how a price-to-cost ratio like exists on CDs can exist without some sort of price-fixing. I know about 'perceived value' being used to justify higher prices than cassettes when the costs are much lower. But normally market prices 'adjust' these things, and here they just aren't.

    IMHO, the piracy exists largely because people perceive that they are being ripped off. Maybe they shouldn't trade anyway, and be law abiding citizens. I would cite the videotape piracy when tapes were $80, compared to after it dropped down to $20. Whenever there is WIDESPREAD crime, it's worth a look at the law behind it. Right now we have music sharing and the War On Drugs. Back in the 1920s it was Prohibition.

    You're right, the record companies are being wronged. But I suspect they're just as much in the wrong by maintaining artificially high prices by
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:59AM (#2189697) Homepage Journal
    The publishing industry, be it text, music, or whatever, used to be in the business of making information available to the market.

    That has changed, because the Internet is far more efficient at that.

    The publishing industry is now in the business of manufacturing scarcity, controlling access to that information. This is a fundamental paradigm change. Their present business model depends on their controlling access to 'their' information, and no business likes to change business models.
  • I am America, In america(and elsewhere I presume) we have rights. We should not have any servoce turned off simply beause a company feels we might be violating a copywrite. Why is it wrong for me to listen to a piece of music I bought while sitting on a computer miles from the source playing the music? On my computer I have a mp3 file called laughter.mp3. Its a a recording of my children laughing. If some music group came out with a song called laughter, and I play My mp3 on the internet, should they be able to shut down my connection on a whim?
    *Groan*. Right. That's like saying "it's good to see convenience store robbers get away all the time."
    No, its like saying "you can arrest a man because he was in a convience store, therefore he might rob it"
  • Its all done bt title. So if I happened to have a legitiment file that turns out to be the same name as a copywritten work they shut me down.
    They make no effort to prove that that distrabution is within the bounds of copywrite law. Perhaps I just have a snip of work I'm going to use that falls under fair use.
    not to mention my IP could be spoofed. or an unauthorized person is using my system.
    we must fight to make the accusor at least have real evidence that there is a crime going on before disrupting our lives.
    what happens when power lines start getting used as part of the internet? If some company just says I'm violating copywrite with no evidence, can they have my power turned off?
  • by Agthorr ( 135998 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:22AM (#2189700) Homepage
    "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company."
  • by plone ( 140417 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:55AM (#2189701) Homepage
    One of the quickest and best ways to access mp3's, movies, warez and pr0n is through the @home news-servers. So, isnt it a bit hypocritical that @home is cracking down on their customers mp3 sharing, while back on their servers you can download over 100 albums, 3 iso's and 5 movies a day. and that is without access to the alt.bin.warez and alt.bin.cd-image newsgroups
  • by TheEye ( 142492 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:03AM (#2189703)
    Bounty Hunters? Seems to me yet another typical American (read USofA-n) solution. But than again, I can just imagine how this would work. Me and my laptop are happily enjoying a nice vacation in France, and suddenly I find myself tied in the back of a van waiting for the next cargo flight to the USA --- just because I had forgotten to wipe my MP3's.... There must be a better way. There goes my karma...
  • This is THE fight. There are only two paths ahead: an internet where you can run a Gnutella or FreeNet-type node and an internet where you can't:

    • If you can, then encryption and compartmentalization can defeat enforcement. Digital copyright is effectively dead, copyright holders shrivel up, and the world is a better, happier place.
    • If you can't, then the internet is dead: yeah, you can still read corporate-produced content and put up your own (benign, inoffensive, non-Cease-and-Desist provoking) HTML, but that's it. The internet as a medium for public to share ideas without routing them through economic-elite moderators (as with radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc.) will be over.

    And the decision about whether you can run a FreeNet node is going to be made substantially by ISPs. Congress appears to be immobilized for now. So this is the crux of the fight for the soul of the internet.

    I'm not opttimistic.

  • Because this is not an option at all.

    If servers are allowed, enforcement can be totally defeated. Suppose all my file transfers are public-key encrypted, and my only *direct* communications are with people that I know and trust in the real world. (I still can communicate with anyone via multiple hops.) Then there's never a way to show that I've done anything wrong short of confiscating my computer. But that could only be legally justified if I had already done something wrong. It's hopelessly circular. So enforcement becomes totally impossible.

    It is analogous to Turing completeness. If you allow a certain amount of computational power on the internet (FreeNet-type nodes), then that's it: you've got everything. If you don't allow that much power, the internet is permanently crippled. Technical people too often think of essentially social issues in digital yes/no terms. But in this case the issue really is remarkably binary.

  • I hear a lot of people bashing the RIAA/MPAA (myself included), but I don't hear very much constructive criticism.

    Fair enough. How about we pass some common sense legislation that fairly balances the needs of citizens against the needs copyright holder in order to ensure a continuing flowering of the arts while maintaining basic democratic princip... NNNNYAYAYAYAAAHHGGGHHH!!!! NO!! LET'S PUT ANTHRAX IN HILLARY ROSEN'S LUCKY CHARMS!!!

    (Sorry, man, I really tried.)

  • by mgoyer ( 164191 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:17AM (#2189722) Homepage
    I think it's absurd that the movie industries believes they'll be losing revenue by allowing the sharing orgy to continue.

    Because really, would you prefer to watch your movie in 640x480 after spending all evening first finding then downloading or would you prefer to shell out a couple bucks to see it on the big screen?

    Even if you do watch it first on your computer, if the movie is good you're still going to either go see it or buy the DVD because you can't yet replace that experience.

    Of course it's only a matter of time..

  • by mgoyer ( 164191 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:14AM (#2189723) Homepage
    FYI to all the Canadians out there...

    Recently the Canadian Recording Industry Association [www.cria.ca] sent our ISP this ceases & desist letter [offshoremp3s.com]. Fortunately our ISP called us up and told us that they wouldn't be shutting us down unless they received a court order. We then fired back this response [offshoremp3s.com] to CRIA pointing out the absurdities of their letter to our ISP.

    A good source of info on copyright in Canada is Michael Geist's website [uottawa.ca]. He actually wrote an article entitled Napster north of the 49th parallel [globetechnology.com] outlining the current copyright situation faced by file shares up here.

    Matt [mattgoyer.com].

  • by Slashdolt ( 166321 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:31AM (#2189726)
    I don't necessarily like this approach that they are taking, but at some point, they have to be able to get some legal recourse for stopping people from sharing copyrighted materials. Either that, or forget the whole copyright system and replace it with something else, but realistically, that's never going to happen. Just like Income Tax will never be replaced with a more fair Sales Tax and we'll never get rid of guns in the hands of criminals.

    I hear a lot of people bashing the RIAA/MPAA (myself included), but I don't hear very much constructive criticism. At some point, they have to be able to protect their interests.

    Should they go after individual users? Personally, I think they should, but the outcry of that would probably be far greater than than anything they are doing now.

    It was easy to hide behind Napster, when tens of millions of people were using the service, but at this point, if you've got 100 DVD movies on your system (assuming you've got the space!), I'd be pretty frightened of prosecution. And there wouldn't be much you could do legally, if they wanted to throw the book at you.

    I'm wearing my Copyleft DeCSS T-Shirt as I type this, and if we're ever going to be able to denounce the DVD CCA and MPAA for going after 2600.com, then we're going to have to bend somewhere. It's like people say "DeCSS was not made to copy DVDs, it was made to watch your DVDs on Linux... Hey, did you copy that DVD for me yet?" That type of attitude should stop, and people should be willing to admit that what they are doing (copying and distributing DVDs, CDs, etc.) is wrong, if not in a moral sense, then at least in a legal sense.

    Break the law, pay the price. So far we've been relatively lucky because they've been going after the wrong people (Dmitry Sklyarov, Napster, 2600, etc.)
  • by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <haplo@epi t h n a .com> on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:09AM (#2189739) Homepage
    First of all I have to congratulate Verizon for something, OUCH! (OK ~Grude~ nice going Versizon, on resisting pressure)
    Ok, on to the rant.... Why aren't all ISP's doing this. Why is it that they don't understand their legal role here is to do nothing and should remain that way. They are granted enhanced service provider status under the law in the US. They are just like the Phone company, they provide a line, but can legally take no responsibility for whats on that line. The second they take any responsibility for whats on the line they loose that status. Perhaps because Verizon is in the phone business, they understand this and resisting pressure because they know thier legal standing in this, but more companies should be following the example. It seems to me that perhaps AOL is also understanding of this, lests consider they own Winamp which for alot of the world is the only way they know how to play that MP3 they just downloaded.
    So far my provider for my Cable modem has not caved as far as I know and shows no signs of doing so, of course I never check my mail their, or hardly ever read their web site so who knows, it might have just changed.
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:40AM (#2189747)
    Illegal MP3 and DV file sharing, just like warez distribution, is a huge bandwidth hog for ISPs everywhere. Certainly it's a "murkier" issue when Napster-like software lets users keep the violating files on their own hard drives instead of on the ISP's servers, but the ISP's interests are still clear.

    Remember, cable modems (the most popular form of consumer broadband) are shared bandwidth. If one user is hogging the pipe, other users experience degraded performance, and the ISP racks up complaints and loses customers. If a handful of their customers are taking up 75% of the available bandwidth by distributing MP3s all day long, it doesn't matter to the ISP if they themselves are liable or not. It's in their economic best interests to keep the pipe free for everyone's convenience.

  • by gmm ( 218993 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:13AM (#2189753)

    Crackdown on file sharing? That's an understatement - look what's happened to Napster [bbspot.com] !!!

  • by acceleriter ( 231439 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @08:03AM (#2189761)
    They know exactly what they're doing here. They can get rid of the users that are, in their view, bandwidth hogs, and claim they're doing it in the name of protecting "intellectual property."

    While @home, et al don't give two shakes about IP, they do care about the bandwidth they're selling. They can't oversubscribe their networks if everyone is using 128kbps or 384kbps upstream and 1Mbps or more downstream with Gnutella, Freenet, or other connections.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the broadband ISP's start taking a proactive approach, sniffing users looking for file sharing programs, claiming that these violate their TOS, and start issuing warnings/terminations.

    Think about it--if you're a cable/DSL provider, what kind of customers do you want? Those who read email and go ga-ga at how much faster web pages with blinking pop-ups load than on dialup, or those who are sucking down a half-gigabyte a day from your NNTP server, and another from each of a couple of "premimum" (i.e. warez, pr0n, mp3, moviez) news servers and have seven Gnutella connections up?

    There's a symbiotic relationship between "rights holders" and broadband providers here. Expect things to get worse.

  • Yeah, so other companies are doing this too. For instance the other day, I was out of town and called my young daughter and read to her from her favorite book. After the first paragraph, on operator came on the line and asked me to please cease and desist with my balatant copyright violation. I told her to fuck off and that information wants to be free, but they cancelled my phone service and put my daughter in juvinile detention. Now I have two copies of the book, one here, and one at home, and I purchased a reading license. It feels so good to be legal, and not an evil pirate!

    Then there was the time I was calling a friend from work, and my CD player was on, and the same thing happened. I got a letter from the RIAA, and they cancelled my employers phone service. Of course, I was fired and they took my CD. But I should've known better! Distributing copyrighted content is WRONG!

    And the other day, I connected my stereo to my computer and played my favorite Metallica MP3s that I downloaded and didn't pay anybody for. After 4 seconds, the power went out. The next day I received a fedex telling me that "your electricity service is only licensed for legal purposes. failure to abide by these terms will result in the immediate termination of your account.".

    So don't worry folks, this is nothing new. Now I just have to read the license terms on this new flashlight I bought: "Your new Mag-Lite(r) flashlight is licensed soley for the illlumination of material that you have the right view. In order to enforce these terms, we reserve the right to audit your flashlight use at any time and without prior notice."

  • "Excite@Home says most cases have stopped short of pulling the plug, and that only one person has been terminated. "

    I assume they mean that only one person's account has been terminated, or are we reaching new levels of justice?
  • by hyrdra ( 260687 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:14AM (#2189776) Homepage Journal
    This is just another MPAA RIAA big brother tactic to try to make themselves look useful and possibly make some more money. Blocking client services like Gnutella and iMesh is difficult on any level within an ISP, primarily because it's just data flowing on a port. You can start by blocking specific ports, but this will be a game of catch the rabbit while users switch services, protocols become more intelligent, etc. Any ISP who is at all concerned with efficiency will quickly abandon these efforts.

    The only way I could see ISPs finding out who is actually distributing copyrighted data would be to spy on users and look through data manually to find copyright violations. Of course, this would be a violation of several telecommunications laws. Using a file sharing system isn't illegal, and unlike Napster, many of these networks do not have a central source to go after.

    It's also interesting to note Napster's community was its breaking point, because it gave unique usernames which could be tracked. In Gnutella's case, there is no clear way to track people. Specific networks could be tracked and IP addresses are available, but with DHCP those are pretty useless. It also raises the familiar point of placing IP addresses to real names (1 is easy, but imagine 100,000).

    Hopefully the futility of all this will be realized. Napster was easy to get rid of, but now do these companies think every ISP will bend to their wills and censor communications and spy on the very people who provide the money to run their network?

    Perhaps one day we will need confirmation that what we send is not copyrighted nor offends or violates any law or rule by any company with enough money to buy the pressure rights.
  • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @05:45AM (#2189781) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry, but read the article: these so-called "Bounty Hunters" are merely trolling publically available resources looking for people who are basically stating outright that they are trading illegally reproduced copies of copyright protected information. This is illegal, it should be illegal, and if you can't be more circumspect and discreet about doing it then you DESERVE to have your service yanked.

    If any of you had a website that earned revenue based on traffic, and someone hacked it so that those hits didn't register with the advertisers, you'd howl bloody murder. There is no f-in difference here.

    Everybody has a right to practice civil disobedience. The price is the potential of punishment. Getting your service yanked is a paltry punishment indeed. Get over it.

    • [...]the subscribers' accounts may be terminated for violating the ISPs' terms-of-service agreements, which generally bar using the networks for copyright violations.

    I always find this clause strange. ISPs' status as common carriers is now fairly well established, but they still choose to be responsible for policing what their customers are doing, beyond the endpoint of their cable.

    I can see why ISP's take down content hosted on hardware that they own (http/ftp servers), but by cutting the cable to individual customers, they are acknowleding that they are not common carriers. I can see a clear distinction between serving copyrighted content from their own hardware, and maintaining a bit of dumb cable connecting my home network (which I am responsible for) with the internet. I doubt that the RIAA sends threats to the outfits maintaining the cable coming out of China.

    I'm at a loss to understand why ISP's don't have contracts which say "We are a common carrier, you are responsible for your own actions" (which you are), then when they receive a complaint, either completely stonewall (i.e. spend nothing on responding to) the complainer until a court order arrives or just pass on the customer info (responsible for your actions, remember?), then step out of the way and let the (forewarned) customer and the copyright owner slug it out.

    By giving themselves power to cut cables over copyright violation, and by protecting their customers from prosecution by passing on warnings, aren't ISPs actually making themselves more liable? Very strange.

    So, does anyone know of any (home, retail) ISP that does have a "we're a common carrier, do what you want" clause?

  • by mikolajl ( 309623 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:46AM (#2189784)
    Michael Healy, the company's senior Internet abuse investigator stands in the back control area of his ship's bridge with a motley group of men and creatures. Harris Schwartz, director of network policy and standards for Excite@Home and two controllers stand at the front of the bridge and watch the group with scorn.

    SCHWARTZ: Bounty hunters. We don't need that scum.


    SCHWARTZ: Those file traders won't escape us.

    A second controller interrupts.

    SECOND CONTROLLER: Sir, we have a priority signal from the Star Destroyer MPAA.

    The group standing before Healy is a bizarre array of galactic fortune hunters: There is Bossk, a slimy, tentacled monster with two huge, bloodshot eyes in a soft baggy face; Zuckuss and Dengar, two battle-scarred, mangy human types; IG-88, a battered, tarnished chrome war droid; and Boba Fett, a man in a weapon-covered armored space suit.

    HEALY: ...there will be a substantial reward for the one who finds the file-swapping networks and their subscribers. You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. No disintegrations.

    BOBA FETT: As you wish.
  • by kalleanka2 ( 318385 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:17AM (#2189805)
    If I'm not remembering it wrong the anger on /. over the Napster shutdown was that people couldn't trade music that the author wanted to be free. Atleast that was that people said.

    Those companies and bounty hunters only tracks down people who DO break the law, whats wrong with that?

    Sue the shit out of them so that we who do have some morality on our body don't have to buy music/software with added pricetags to compensate for piracy.

    It's kind of funny that the people stealing music is often the same people who praises open source software for ethical reasons. Makes one wonders if it really has anything to do with ethics and not the fact that it doesn't cost anything.
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:12AM (#2189829) Homepage
    "It's good to see ISPs like Verizon reject such pressure from big label companies."

    *Groan*. Right. That's like saying "it's good to see convenience store robbers get away all the time."

    What are we fighting for here, exactly? I want to be able to place copies of music and videos I own on my own devices. That's what's called "legal". Everybody else, or so it seems, wants to share the music and videos with a million other people on the internet that don't pay. That's what's called "illegal".

    The hacker/techie/music pirates always seem to walk this fine line between legal and illegal, slipping over on each side from time to time. Yes, the argument that we should be allowed to keep copies of the same music in various parts of our house is a sound one (legal side). But no, we shouldn't be allowed to share it with a million people on the internet (illegal side).

  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:04AM (#2189831) Homepage Journal
    the only way to block their actions is to turn off their connections.

    Or better yet, block the port at which the user is sharing at by using firewalls. This will keep the customer's connection to the internet alive, but it will block a GNUtella client from working. At least until the user changes the active port.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger