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More Music File-Sharing Lawsuits in Europe 227

rfunches writes "The New York Times is reporting that 20,000 cases in 10 countries were brought against file-sharers in Europe, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). '...Users targeted for legal action included a Finnish lumberjack, a British postman, a Czech IT manager and a German judge,' according to the article. More than 70 computers were seized in Italy by authorities investigating illegal file-sharing. IFPI targeted both those who 'illicitly downloaded music' as well as uploaders serving copyrighted material on file-sharing networks. Total music sales were down 3% in 2005 according to the IFPI, with the decline in physical media (e.g. CDs) countered by 'soaring' digital music sales."
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More Music File-Sharing Lawsuits in Europe

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  • Music industry, you know the solution, why not use it. Find need new chicks to show more skin! None of those "don't call me a chick", chicks, it does not work.

  • by AudioEfex ( 637163 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:48AM (#15056364)
    No one is ever going to win. Governments and private corporations are going to spend billions. The only people who are going to get hurt are those who missed last week's episode of "Vernoica Mars" and downloads it instead so they don't get behind.

    If the assholes would just realize the problem is them charging $20 for a CD that 20 years ago they promised would eventually be cheaper than cassettes and vinyl ever were. If CD's cost something more commesurate with their value and production cost downloading wouldn't be an issue beyond the fringe.

    AE

    • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:56AM (#15056523) Homepage Journal
      No one is ever going to win.

      You assume "they" are interested in winning.

      I propose that they aren't. Many more involved parties profit more from the ongoing conflict than from its resolution. That includes especially the lawyers, but also law enforcement, a large number of institutes, think-tanks, industry associations, etc. and of course the media which gets a fairly reliable source of news every now and then.

      That's true for both, the war on drugs and the copyright war.
    • If the assholes would just realize the problem is them charging $20 for a CD

      Solution: Go to a used CD/DVD store, most CDs are fairly unscathed and you can get really good deals there. (CDs and DVDs for $5-$10) And, if there are duplicates, some are usually cheaper than others.
      • the used route only works if you live in a city big enough, that enough people have similar music tastes, though dissimilar enough that they sold their cd's.
      • Regular stores are pretty good too. Usually new CDs are around the $10-15 range. I'm sure the three-CD Best Of Pink Floyd album costs a little over $20, but it's the exception.

        DVDs aren't that expensive either. As long as you don't buy them the day they come out, you can usually get recent releases in that range, and almost everything else for less than $10. That said, DVDs should cost less given the money to pay for the production of the movies is made at the box office in 99% of cases, whereas CDs not o

    • "If the assholes would just realize the problem is them charging $20 for a CD that 20 years ago they promised would eventually be cheaper than cassettes and vinyl ever were."

      Do you have a citation for this promise? The only place I've ever heard it is on Slashdot.

      Anyway:

      Typical price for a CD in 1985: $18.99. That's $33.70 in 2005 dollars.

      Average price of a new CD today in the USA: around $13 [com.com].

      Typical price of an LP in 1985: about $8.00. That's about $14.20 in 2005 dollars. I was often paying

  • Seriously... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Onymous Hero ( 910664 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:51AM (#15056370)
    When will this end?

    Does file sharing stop? No.
  • feh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kv9 ( 697238 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:51AM (#15056373) Homepage

    FTBlurb

    IFPI targeted both those who 'illicitly downloaded music' as well as uploaders serving copyrighted material on file-sharing networks.

    FTA

    The IFPI's legal proceedings were aimed not at people who illicitly downloaded music but ``uploaders'' who put copyrighted music onto file-sharing networks.

    so which is it?

    • Re:feh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:59AM (#15056390) Homepage Journal
      Since this is FUD campaign, they of course try to scare downloaders - so they use "downloaders" since it's much broader term.

      As copyright law concerned, it's uploaders who are infriging. Uploading is distribution. If you want to distribute something - you have to acquire a permission from copyright holder.

      Case for downloader is much simpler: downloader has acquired something for personal use. As long as file in question isn't used for anything what's prohibited by copyright law - downloader is clear. "Listening to mp3" is not there. "Distributing" and "profiting" is there.

      I probably oversimplify the situation, but that the view I have formed after reading Lessig's blog - http://lessig.org/blog/ [lessig.org] And c'mon - it's slashdot ;-)
      • Re:feh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pieroxy ( 222434 )
        The real question is that most P2P programs force you to share whatever you download, so technically spaeking any downloader is also an uploader...

        How does that work?
      • Re:feh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:00AM (#15056533)
        AFAIK, the only way the record company could know what you're downloading is if you're downloading it from them. OTOH, they can know what you're uploading by asking your P2P server 'so, got a copy of LatestBritneyShite.mp3?'

        And if the record company set up a P2P app full of their music and sue whoever attempts to download it, they're on shaky ground. The music is, after all, theirs to distribute. They put it on P2P themselves. Surely there's no infringement of copyright when the copyright holder themselves is putting the stuff online?

        Things might be different with BitTorrent, though. With that, if you're downloading something you're also making it, or parts of it, available to upload as you do so. In that case you're visible to the record company or their grasses.

      • Re:feh (Score:2, Informative)

        by m94mni ( 541438 )
        As copyright law concerned, it's uploaders who are infriging.

        Generally, yes, in Sweden, no. According to a recent law (last July), downloading without a license is also illegal. Thus Piratpartiet [piratpartiet.se].

        This law is supposed to be an implementation of a EU directive, so it will be "interesting" to see what the other countries make of it...

        • Generally, yes, in Sweden, no. According to a recent law (last July), downloading without a license is also illegal. This law is supposed to be an implementation of a EU directive, so it will be "interesting" to see what the other countries make of it..

          Same thing in Finland, since 1st January 2006. The new law also includes the DMCA-style ban on breaking an "efficient copy protection" even for fair use purposes... is that included in Sweden as well?

      • Re:feh (Score:3, Informative)

        As copyright law concerned, it's uploaders who are infriging. Uploading is distribution.

        It is correct that uploaders infringe on the distribution right.

        Case for downloader is much simpler: downloader has acquired something for personal use. As long as file in question isn't used for anything what's prohibited by copyright law - downloader is clear. "Listening to mp3" is not there. "Distributing" and "profiting" is there.

        Not quite. The main exclusive rights are listed at 17 USC 106. Downloaders infringe on
        • Not quite. The main exclusive rights are listed at 17 USC 106. Downloaders infringe on the reproduction right, because when they download, they create a new copy.

          This was beaten to death many times by Lessig/friends.

          First of all, how would I know that the file I download is protected under copyright law? When one obtains something - free or for money - s/he has no way knowing about attached restrictions. The law says it's duty of copyright holder to notify people about their rights.

          When you buy book in shop
          • First of all, how would I know that the file I download is protected under copyright law?

            Who cares? Copyright infringement is a strict liability statute. It doesn't matter what you know, or whether you acted in good faith, or anything other than that you perform the act.

            The law says it's duty of copyright holder to notify people about their rights.

            No it doesn't. The most relevant section would be 405. It's not terribly relevant anymore, and of course the copies authorized usually do bear notice; the copies
    • Re:feh (Score:3, Informative)

      by b0bby ( 201198 )
      Also FTBlurb:
      The New York Times is reporting that 20,000 cases in 10 countries were brought against file-sharers in Europe

      FTA:
      About 2,000 cases were launched in 10 countries

      WTF? This summary is particularly out to lunch.
  • Full Text (no login) (Score:5, Informative)

    by Onymous Hero ( 910664 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:53AM (#15056376)
    Music Industry Unleashes More Lawsuits in Europe

    By REUTERS
    Published: April 4, 2006


    LONDON (Reuters) - The music industry launched a new wave of lawsuits and criminal proceedings against file-sharers across Europe on Tuesday, part of its drive to curb online piracy and encourage the use of legal music services.

    About 2,000 cases were launched in 10 countries, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said, bringing the total to 5,500 people in 18 countries.

    That figure does not include the United States, covered by its sister group the Recording Industry Association of America, which has filed about 18,000 lawsuits.

    Among the countries targeted was Portugal, where sales of physical formats like CDs have slumped by 40 percent in the past four years amid heavy file-sharing usage, especially by college students.

    Other users targeted for legal action included a Finnish carpenter, a British postman, a Czech IT manager and a German judge, the IFPI said.

    ``A large number of cases involve men aged between 20 and 35 and parents who have not heeded successive education and warning campaigns,'' it stated.

    In Italy authorities have seized more than 70 computers in the search for evidence of illegal file-sharing.

    The IFPI's legal proceedings were aimed not at people who illicitly downloaded music but ``uploaders'' who put copyrighted music onto file-sharing networks.

    The IFPI said last week that digital music sales soared in 2005, but not enough to make up for a continuing decline in physical formats like CDs, sending total sales down 3 percent.
  • That would be (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:56AM (#15056384) Homepage
    2,000, not 20,000.

    The summary is remarkably incorrect, even for a Slashdot story.
  • But I'm a fire-sharer, I didn't care.

    Now they're coming after us people doing fire-sharing.

    Oh no no no no, can you cold people come and help us, PLEASE for the love of humanity, don't take away the fire !!!!
  • by Baki ( 72515 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:59AM (#15056389)
    As long as only a small minority is concerned, people in power won't care much. However as soon as they are themselves concerned, directly or indirectly through family, children, friends etc. they might start to think. And that might hopefully lead to a revolution in the thinking about copying, copyrights and the like.

    So I am especially pleased when I read that judges and politicians are sued.
    • Wasn't it a lawyer? The infamous Buddy of an equally infamous lawyer in Munich who is renowned for hunting down "pirates", who was finally and quite "surprisingly" caught with his hands in a pretty large FTP Server hosting "a few" files that it should not host according to some copyright law?

      What happened to Bernie and Günni? Anyone know?
  • This is silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:09AM (#15056419)
    Copyright was not designed to handle file sharing networks. Most of it was based on the idea of criminals ripping off records and making large numbers of copies and selling them. Not ordinary people sharing for free. The sheer number of people doing this indicates that people simply don't see anything wrong with it. Laws that the vast majority disagree with are not usually a good thing.
    • Re:This is silly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ilex ( 261136 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:59AM (#15056531)
      Laws that the vast majority disagree with are not usually a good thing.


      And the act of passing such laws which criminalize a large section of the population is usually called "Oppression"
      • You cannot seriously be likening laws against leeching music off P2P against the wishes of the artists to oppression. Even for Slashdot, that's a low.
        • I think the GP was serious. I certainly am. Any government that forces laws (any laws) onto its population against the general consensus is, by definition, oppressive. Perhaps it's not quite at the same level as some of the more extreme dictatorships out there, but it's oppression none the less.
          • I certainly wouldn't consider it oppression. Do you consider speed limits oppression? I mean, practically everyone would give their front teeth to go down highways at 100mph to work.

            Oppression I would class as something that restricts fundamental human rights such as free speech (and don't claim that sending other peoples' work around is free speech), rights to privacy and, well, for want of a better term the right to not have your door kicked in by the government for a minor indiscretion. Downloading music
            • If the average person was not in support of speed limits, then I would consider it oppression of the government to force such limits on its citizens. However, most citizens do support speed limits, as much as they might personally prefer to be exempt from them. On the other hand, most people (as far as I can tell) are not in support of strong copyright laws, whether for themselves or for society in general.

              I'm not trying to claim that "sending other people's work around is free speach". To begin with, you c
              • Who said anything about people "produc[ing] their product (which is new media, not copies) without any prior promise of payment" and then demanding money for it? Most artists, upon signing with a record label, do so with the general assumption that they will be earning money from people who buy their CDs through the deal. Spreading music so people can leech it off BitTorrent (and most people I've met who download music do just that, leech large collections of MP3s for their own enjoyment and not on a try-be

        • You cannot seriously be likening laws against leeching music off P2P against the wishes of the artists to oppression.


          Sure he can, as do a lot of other people. I think one reason the industry is fighting so hard in the US is because they know that Congress could do away with copyrights all together if it so chose.
        • Re:This is silly (Score:3, Insightful)

          by richie2000 ( 159732 )
          You cannot seriously be likening laws against leeching music off P2P against the wishes of the artists to oppression.

          When the lobbying groups ask for up to four year prison terms for copyright infringement and the use of covert surveillance and wiretaps to catch infringers, you bet your ass we're calling it oppression.

          • That I would call oppression. Suing large-scale users of P2P networks isn't.

            (How could they get jail terms anyway, I thought copyright infringement was a civil offense rather than a criminal one?)
    • Re:This is silly (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gameforge ( 965493 )
      Certainly, at least partly why people justify this to themselves is simply the quality of the content.

      Ever since I can remember (I'm 23) almost every CD that's come out has at BEST five tracks I actually want to listen to; usually it's two or three. I'm not going to spend much for 10 or 12 minutes of music. Of course if it's an artist I really love, I might be willing to spend $7 or $8; I'd try to find the CD used.

      But really, copying anything digital is easily justified if you think about it hard en
      • Ultimately, it's still wrong, simply because if you are benefiting from somebody else's work without their permission and without compensating them fairly, you're using them in a morally negative way.

        So it's wrong to watch TV but not the commercials?
        So it's wrong to lend a DVD or a book to a friend?
        So it's wrong to read a book at the library?
        So it's wrong to play a CD on my stereo when an 'unlicensed' person is in the house?
        So it's wrong to describe a TV episode to someone else?
        In every day life we

  • by Djatha ( 848102 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:10AM (#15056421)

    You would think, the wishes of the customer had some weight for a company. If people want to download music for a reasonable price, why not offer it?

    Somehow I think all those measures against file sharing will not work. At first, those lawsuits will make many people afraid sharing files, but when, after some time paying too much for music not worth it, or are restricted too much (DRM), they will seek other, safer ways to share. At the moment, these ways (freenet and the likes) are unknown to most users, but they will come to it, eventually.

    So, I ask again, why not offer the customer what they want? I will never understand the ways of big money, I guess.

    • Well, let's do some divination here (could someone lend me a copyright lawyer, I need some entrails to read)...

      My guess is that people will first of all get afraid, then careless again, then share and leech again. What else do you want to do? Buy it? We're talking about 20 for a CD and about 35 for a DVD. Who can afford that? If you want to see one movie a week, it means you'd have to spend about 150 bucks a month on movies alone. Who can set aside 150 a month just for movies? Add in 2-3 CDs a month and you
      • from grnadparent they will seek other, safer ways to share

        from parent Sure, they will download them when they're available, hey, if it's free, why not?

        Even if the Internet is shut down, people have social circles. My kids are on dial-up (so am I). That only slows them down just a little. Sneaker net is very big in the schools. They bring home lots of stuff that has a parental advisory that I would never let them buy. The social net bypasses all web filters and parental controls. If parents can't contr
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:19AM (#15056447) Journal
    Just listen to / get free music legally from The Kahvi Collective, Magnatune, music.download.com, Electromancer, ... or why not online "radio" services like last.fm or Pandora? You have to be pretty strange these days to like overcommercialized music but not anything from any of those.
    • Some good stuff on these. My taste is probably a bit different to most readers, but the fact that Magnatune includes material from the Dufay Collective is impressive.
      • My taste is probably a bit different to most readers, but the fact that Magnatune includes material from the Dufay Collective is impressive.

        Ah, nice! I probably prefer "before 1600"; but that's interesting nevertheless, they really have some nice medieval/renaissance stuff.
  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:34AM (#15056477) Homepage
    Didn't know it was illegal to share fire.
    Must be some new anti-smoking law.
    • Didn't know it was illegal to share fire. Must be some new anti-smoking law.

      Yes, haha, very funny. Did you know that when you "share" fire you are stealing? That's right! Every time you let someone kindle their fire from yours, you are taking food from the mouths of hard-working match manufacturers. Not to mention the butane industry -- why, it is quite probable that the higher prices we see at the gas pumps are due to offsetting drop in hydrocarbons demand that occurs from "sharing" fire. You see, we all

  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kawahee ( 901497 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:59AM (#15056530) Homepage Journal
    They missed me... :)
  • Not a hint of this story in Germany. However, the German Parliment is getting ready to enact new laws very similar to the US laws (if they haven't already). Actually, that might be an European Union thing. I don't really pay attention though.

    I'm sure it will get worse once the new laws begin to be enforced.

    I guess it's time to move to Canada! /sarcasm/
  • I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay I sleep all night and download all day IFPI: He's a lumberjack and he's not okay were going to sue him like the RIAA I pirate songs, I eat my lunch I go to the Lavatory. On Wednessday I got summonsed for my acts of pi-rac-ie IFPI:He pirate songs, He eats his lunch He goes to the Lavatory. On Wednessday he got summonsed for his acts of pi-rac-ie Chorus: He's a lumberjack and he's not okay were going to sue him like the RIAA ..............
  • Careful now! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PinkyDead ( 862370 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:19AM (#15056571) Journal
    The law is a dangerous tool to play with.

    At the moment there is a lot of grey area with copyright and the internet (IANAL) - which is why 'legal' music sites like allofmp3.com have disclaimers regarding local laws rather than concrete advice. In my own local jurisdiction the law appears to be clear about importing copyrighted material (and it's quite similiar in most other places) - i.e it's ok for personal/domestic use.

    When the rights organisations test these laws the outcome might not be the one they want - and it will send a message to the mainstream users, who up to this point have been terrorised into not downloading music, that it is actually safe to do so.

    They are playing with fire - and their time would be far better served coming up with a better business model than trying to defend an outdated one.
    • At the moment there is a lot of grey area with copyright and the internet (IANAL) - which is why 'legal' music sites like allofmp3.com have disclaimers regarding local laws rather than concrete advice. In my own local jurisdiction the law appears to be clear about importing copyrighted material (and it's quite similiar in most other places) - i.e it's ok for personal/domestic use.

      Not knowing where you are, I can't speak as to your local laws. In the US however, it's illegal to use allofmp3. This is because
  • by burbilog ( 92795 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:28AM (#15056598) Homepage
    Things like I2P and freenet are going to get a boost. Currently only a few whackos toy with freenet & co, but if you force enough people to consider their safety something is going to evolve. And then they will have a very tough task to ban cryptography...
  • by january ( 906774 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:32AM (#15056606)
    Some weeks ago in the German magazine c't there was a feature on the legal situation of copying / downloading / sharing music and movies in Germany.

    Apparently, the law firms have worked out a nice scheme to get the money out of people using p2p for downloading music / movies. It works as follows. Please forgive me my lack of law-related terminology in English.

    First, one company tracks down the p2p users and files mass criminal suits against them. The charges get dropped by the court very quickly (unless it concerns someone dealing music / videos big time) -- but now, they have names and addresses, as they are not allowed to inquiry them directly at the provider.

    Now what happens is this: some weeks after, a law company representing the big corps sues the user for some $BIGNUM of euros. The given user has a short time in which she or he has to react, contact a lawyer, file a protest etc. -- otherwise, the charges get lawful. Some angry letters later they propose to settle for a moderate amount -- 1-3 kEUR. Most of the people pay it just for the sake of getting out of the situation, and out of fear of having to pay $BIGNUM.

    The whole process seems to be almost automatic and pays well off.

    j.

  • by KeensMustard ( 655606 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:32AM (#15056607)
    Users targeted for legal action included a Finnish lumberjack, a British postman, a Czech IT manager and a German judge,

    I can understand arresting the postman, the manager and the judge. But the finnish chap, he's a lumberjack, and he's ok. For sure that was a mistake.

  • I-F-P-I... (Score:4, Funny)

    by shigelojoe ( 590080 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:42AM (#15056642)
    ...Users targeted for legal action included a Finnish lumberjack, a British postman, a Czech IT manager and a German judge,'

    All we need is a Spanish construction worker and we'll have the Euro-Village People!
  • I still read this as 'International Federation of the Pornographic Industry' every time I see it.
  • by cheekyboy ( 598084 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:16AM (#15057041) Homepage Journal
    Downloading?

    Its quicker to swap a stack of 25 4.5 GIG dvds of MP3s!!!

    It takes one day to swap, then 12mins/dvd = 300mins, easy going.

    Face it, all 250 years of music is in within easy reach of everyone for zero cost + $12.95 for some blanks.

    Sure musicians are artists, but they dont deserve more money than the creator of a cpu or a car. Its only music, its not
    a cancer cure.
    • Sure musicians are artists, but they dont deserve more money than the creator of a cpu or a car. Its only music, its not a cancer cure.

      So let's not give them anything. Because it's not a cure for cancer, or food for hungry people. it's just peoples' work. Let's just give away lots and lots of music for free based on our own value judgement...hey, fuck everyone who put work into that music, it's not a cure for cancer.
  • Attention IFPI!

    The reason why your CD sales are slumping is because what you are putting on them is not very good.

    Thanks for your time.

    Yours Lovingly

    Joe Public

  • IFPI = International Federation of the Pornographic Industry na cant be, those people behave...

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