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RIAA Wants to Depose Dead Defendant's Children 560

Exchange writes "In Michigan, in Warner Bros. v. Scantlebury, after learning that the defendant had passed away, the RIAA made a motion to stay the case for 60 days in order to allow the family time to "grieve", after which time they want to start taking depositions of the late Mr. Scantlebury's children. Recording Industry vs The People have more details"
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RIAA Wants to Depose Dead Defendant's Children

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  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vinividivici ( 919782 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:47AM (#15901046) Homepage
    The RIAA needs to lay off of the dead guy's kids. Seriously. He's DEAD, RIAA. What else could you want? A cookie?
  • what do they want? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idlake ( 850372 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:57AM (#15901076)
    Part of the inheritance, of course. The fact that they guy was rude enough to die before they could get to him doesn't change that he did grave damage to the coffers of the RIAA. Well, at least that's likely their thinking.
  • by drakyri ( 727902 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:59AM (#15901080)
    Army Attorney General Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy, 6/9/54:

    "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:03AM (#15901093) Homepage Journal
    The dead person's family should get Ken Lay's lawyers to argue on their behalf that the case ought to be dismissed because there was no punishment awarded or conviction.

    Surely, if Ken Lay could get himself acquitted on technical grounds, then this poor guy should also be.

  • by foreverdisillusioned ( 763799 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:06AM (#15901100) Journal
    Seriously. Why aren't the major news outlets making a big deal out of shit like this?
  • Yuck... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:09AM (#15901109) Journal
    Do they want a part of your ashes after cremation too? :-p

    RIAA's actions consistently shows the world some corporations show absolutely no emotions. RIAA is ready to walk over corpses, quite literally, to cash in what's to them a ridiculous sum of money. I wonder what's more scary -- this action alone, or the fact that actual people make these decisions.
  • by Don_dumb ( 927108 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:11AM (#15901114)
    Go ahead and sue dead kids, that'll get the public on your side.
    They are not suing dead kids, they are suing the alive kids of the deceased, but it really isn't that different I guess.
    Although the second part of the comment is exactly what I was thinking, at the moment the anti-piracy brigade has a fair amount of public ambivilence which is fine for the RIAA, as long as people dont care they can throw their weight around. The RIAA dont even need support to practice in this manner, just a lack of real awareness and comdemnation.
    If they continue like this, large sections of the public (many of whom dont buy CD's) will become aware of the RIAA and form a very negative view.
    Could this be the beginning of more desperate acts from an apparently up to now irresistable force?
    How many more parents will just settle out of court as soon as the writ (I think it's called) from the RIAA turns up in the post. "Dont even try to fight us, we can still get your kids after you die".

    And I dont reckon that was a troll, but perhaps I just bit.
  • Re:Grieving Time? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:14AM (#15901123) Journal
    Just proves the joke about lawyers and hookers is actually true.

    Also I love how the word "grieve" is in inverted commas, as if the OP questions on whether or not the children will actually grieve.
  • by edward.virtually@pob ( 6854 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:17AM (#15901127)
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." -- Henry VI (Part 2), Act IV, Scene II.

    Expecting morality from an amoral organization or its lawyers leads to disappointment. The RIAA exists to maximize profit without concern for anything else be it fair play, Fair Rights or human decency. One has to wonder just what kind of person would work as a lawyer for the RIAA, since they must know as does anyone who's been following along on Slashdot that their lawsuits are unfair and an abuse of the legal system by a very powerful organization funded by multinational corporations against comparatively powerless individuals. They must be either atheists or fools to not fear the cost of abusing the bereaved for profit upon their souls. The person is dead. Find an unrelated living person to extort money from and leave the poor grieving family in peace.

  • Re:Grieving Time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hyfe ( 641811 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:17AM (#15901128)
    Also I love how the word "grieve" is in inverted commas, as if the OP questions on whether or not the children will actually grieve.
    Grieve him? Of course not, he's a pirate!


  • by Battleloser ( 995141 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:21AM (#15901135)
    The truly sad part about this? It's not surprising at all.
  • by EvilMonkeySlayer ( 826044 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:22AM (#15901141) Journal
    Because in the USA the big media companies own all the news organisations.

    Over here in the UK the only channel i've seen question the recording industries actions has been the BBC, but that's because they're required to be neutral in such things and the fact they aren't owned by any big media companies helps.
  • Re:Grieving Time? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:24AM (#15901145)
    As someone who's lost a parent, I can tell you that 60 days (only to face the RIAA landsharks immediately afterwards) is not only not long enough to grieve, it is an absolute insult to the dead chap and his family.

    The idea that there is anyone out there - anyone at all - who considers this "reasonable" (presumably at least one lawyer does) convinces me that the person in question must have had their soul surgically removed shortly after birth.
  • Re:Grieving Time? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:27AM (#15901149) Journal
    Generally speaking, it is respectful to give the family some time. And realistically court cases before do need to be brought before a judge before someone has finished grieving properly.

    However that isn't taking into account that this should have been dropped the second the guy did. The fact that the RIAA is continuing negates any "gestures" they might make.
  • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:35AM (#15901173) Homepage Journal
    This kind of behaviour is much akin to that of creditors and collection bureaus. They seem to view their targets more as debtors than as someone they accuse in a civil lawsuit. At least sometimes the debt can be nullified due to death with a real credit agency. Not an all time moral low for the RIAA, but a different low among the same levels it's been reaching for.
  • by jopet ( 538074 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:44AM (#15901186) Journal
    Everyone is bitching about the industry, but enough keep buying. Are these people addicted to the crap they sell? And if their practices are really so despisable, why aren't there other companies with better practices getting more and more successful?

    My impression is that people just love to bitch but 99% will end up in a record store and buy the latest copy protected crap anyways. And that is exactly why DRM solutions are more and more becoming an everyday reality too.
  • First reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:46AM (#15901196) Homepage
    My first reaction was, I guess if you've lost the trust of your customers you have nothing to lose.

    But thinking about it, we aren't RIAA:s customers. Nothing any of us do or say will affect RIAA directly. Their customers as it were are the copyright holders, and their business is to maximize return to these people. The copyright holders (usually the recording companies) don't have us as customers either; their customers are radio and television stations and other broadcasters, and retail outlets from Amazon and Wal-Mart to record stores to gasoline stations.

    They provide content produced by artists - and it's the artists we are customers for. We don't go to Amazon to buy the latest Sony Music album, we go to buy AC/DC (or Jessica Simpson, or Luis Armstrong, whatever your taste is).

    It's this disconnect that keeps RIAA in business. We don't connect their actions with our favourite artists. The artists, in turn, have little incentive, and a huge downside, to raising their voice (most are, after all, not big enough to actually influence their company). The recording companies have no incentive to change RIAA's actions from their customers (Amazon et al) since those customers don't feel any backlash from us either.

    The solution? I don't see one. In my case it has gradually soured me on music altogether. I haven't bought a CD in years - but neither have I downloaded anything either. Most people will never make any emotional connection between music and this legal harassment, however, and so RIAA will never have a reason to change.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:49AM (#15901203)
    Actually, no. Fewer and fewer people buy. The RIAA, though, THINKS that we're addicts and that we can't live without our fix, so fewer sales must mean that we copy.

    But we don't. We just don't touch that junk. It's like your parents told you, kids, it's bad for you. And not even the first one's free.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @03:52AM (#15901210)
    Where's now the faction that usually screams "Oh, would someone PLEASE think of the children?" when it comes to ripping away some liberty? How about thinking 'bout them NOW?

    It's been said before, the RIAA doesn't give a rat's rear 'bout public image. Their business partners aren't normal people, their business partners are companies. And companies have no morals. The people in a company may have morals, but morals are easily brushed aside when you have someone else to blame. "I have to do it, or else I get sacked and someone else does it" is the usual comfortable excuse.

    To invoke Godwin, that excuse has worked before. All too perfectly.
  • by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:00AM (#15901229)
    (Time to burn some karma)

    Call me cynical or whatever you wish, but I just had a rather disturbing thought. Would it surprise ANYONE if, somewhere down the line, it was learned that the RIAA was actually responsible for Mr. Scantlebury's death just so they could inflict as much pain and anguish as possible? They're already suing dead people, so this doesn't seem to be much of a stretch. After all, the dead don't fight back...
  • You realize of course, the context of the "kill the lawyers" quote is that the act of killing all the lawyers would aid in the establishment of a tyrannical reign. In other words, Shakespeare was saying that in some way, there are lawyers who protect freedom.

    True, some lawyers work for the RIAA. By the same token, some programmers make spam software. Most lawyers don't work for the RIAA and many work for people's freedoms. Most programmers don't help spammers, and many actively work against spam. I think you should get the point -- it isn't the profession, it's the individual that goes bad. Fact is, by and large it is "people" who are cruel and vindictive.
  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan.stine@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:17AM (#15901248) Homepage
    Its funny how freedom of the press was designed to allow for independent criticism of public policy, yet a government-run news service is about the most even-handed news you can get.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:19AM (#15901252) Homepage
    These guys have been out of control and beyond "immoral" for quite some time and yet they are allowed to exist and operate. Could there be a strategy to disband these thugs? They do nothing to help artists and everything to harm the public interest.
  • by XStylus ( 841577 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:22AM (#15901259)
    One must truly understand what the RIAA is trying to do here. Their goal isn't recoup lost revenues. Their goal is "shock and awe" through scare tactics. Basically, their lawyers are instructed to take no prisoners, go for the jugular, and show no mercy. It's to send a message meant to scare people into thinking that if you file share, the RIAA mafia will be after you like a rabid bulldog with lockjaw. Any respectful prosecutor would lay off and drop the case out of respect. After all, the accused party is dead, so there's really no point. But no, the RIAA is going to find some way to press onward and make it the whole family's problem now, and they know it'll bring negative publicity. They want it. They want to be feared, and for young little "sharing is caring" tykes to be looking under the bed for the RIAA boogyman at night if they so much as dare think about doing such an evil thing as sharing. This ruthless and heartless behavior is soooooo going to bite the RIAA on the ass someday, hopefully violently.
  • RICO (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:50AM (#15901306)

    RICO...the same laws passed to deal with the Mafia. Extortion is extortion, no matter whether you're using the legal system or bands of thugs. It'll never happen though as the US government is in the pockets of the entertainment companies.

    In most other countries, accepting lobby money is called Corruption, in the US it's accepted, nay, encouraged.

  • Re:Yuck... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:40AM (#15901424)
    That's what amazes me all the time I hear of terrible acts, particularly corporate ones and you think to yourself "someone must have actually decided to do this", even worse a group of 'respected' people must have agreed on this.

    Actually, it's often the opposite-- in a corporate environment there is no person who can step in and say "enough already" or "let this one drop." Everyone involved is just following orders, and they'd like to help but their bosses won't let them, and those bosses have bosses and so on. And the CEO will defer blame to the shareholders. The RIAA is in an even better position to deflect blame because they're working for the record labels (and the record labels can say they'd like to help, but it's the RIAA who are filing the suits.)

    The beauty of large corporations is that no one person ever has to feel like the bad guy. It's kind of like a firing squad, where most of the guns hold blanks so that the executioners can say "it probably wasn't mine that killed him."
  • by curtvdh ( 738461 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:54AM (#15901454)

    There is a lot of outrage expressed over RIAA tactics (as there should be), but I still think a lot of people are missing the essential point. There are many comments along the lines of 'How can the RIAA screw their customers like this?', and 'Don't they care about their PR?' etc.

    The point is - no, they don't care about their PR, and they certainly don't care about their customers or their clients (the 'artists' who will in all likelihood never see a penny of the loot from the RIAA). The RIAA, like us, have seen the future, and like us, they know that it doesn't include them. They're not stupid - they know that electronic distributions systems will only get better, faster and easier. They know that an artist will soon be able to bypass the RIAA completely and reach the public directly. They know that the teenagers of today (who will become the consumers of tomorrow) find the notion of paying for music odd and outdated.

    What we are seeing here, from DRM to pointless lawsuits to egregious congressional lobbying are just stopgap solutions, all of which will eventually fail, sooner or later. So what's an organization to do when they see their cash cow headed for the slaughterhouse, and know that there is nothing at all that they can do about it? Simple - they make as much money as they can before the inevitable happens. They know there will be no RIAA in the future - so in the meantime, they are abusing the system way past the breaking point in order to garner as much cash for the Executives to retire on when the time comes.

    When seen from this prespective, the actions of the RIAA make sense. They don't care about their image - they care only about squeezing the last drop of blood from the stone before technology renders them obsolete. That doesn't mean we should give up the fight - we should continue to do all that we can to hasten the 'Day of Reckoning' - (shameless plug for Lizzie West's album 'Holy Road').

    Goodbye RIAA - we hardly knew you. Not that we cared.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:17AM (#15901498) Journal
    That's just the thing: they never started as "regular" people.

    About 1% of the population are psychopaths. They have no empathy to start with (or rather, they _do_ read your body language very well... but then at most use it to shaft you).

    They're essentially living in a single-player game, surrounded by NPCs which are expendable and don't matter. Think of the last time you've played a game. Did you care about the NPCs? Did you care if the hooker you've brained in GTA maybe has children, or maybe is only doing that to pay for her father's surgery, or whatever? Did you care about her feelings, goals in life, etc? Or were you in a frame of mind that NPCs by definition don't matter, and any lies, deceit, even murder, are ok as long as they keep you entertained? It's just a game, and the smart player does whatever works to get ahead, right?

    Well, think of people whose approach to RL is just that. Everyone else doesn't matter. Causing any harm is just fair game, if it keeps them entertained. (And indeed a lot of them aren't even motivated by monetary gains, and do outright counter-productive stuff just because they find it entertaining to shaft someone hard.) Most of them are also nigh impossible to threaten, presumably as an effect. At any rate, for them you don't matter. They can tell you to jump off a building with a straight face, if they think you might buy that, and be perfectly able to look themselves in the mirror the next day.

    The dumb ones become robbers, gangsters and serial killers, and society eventually puts them behind bars. The smart ones become CEOs and politicians, and get worshipped by Wall Street.

    Most of them had no life-shattering trauma to blame it on. Most of the white collar psychopaths come from rich or middle class families, led good lives, had the best education, etc. The only trauma in their life was the one they've inflicted on others.

    Some of them will _invent_ some rags-to-riches story, to gain sympathy. It makes people easier to manipulate. But almost invariably those stories aren't actually true.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:32AM (#15901525) Homepage
    >As if the only reason not to be asshole is fear for your mortal soul. Quite a commentary on your own morality.

    That sums up most religious sheep. They only behave themselves because they're scared of what
    their little book tells them will happen to them after they die if they don't. They don't
    actually have any built in morality , just built in fear of the consequences. Which explains why
    they're quite happy to kill in the name of their if it says they can.
  • by bankman ( 136859 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:42AM (#15901547) Homepage
    Their goal is "shock and awe" through scare tactics.

    Unfortunately, consumers' response is most likely "duck and cover" rather than public outcry (except maybe for the couple of nerds on /.).

  • I keep waiting for one of the major labels to break ranks and start acting intelligent, giving customers fewer restrictions and defecting from the RIAA. It seems though, that none of them has the guts to do it, so they'll all keep pushing on consumers as hard as they can. The end result of the crackdown will eventually lead to a new business model in which the labels play a small or nonexistent role. Ironic, isn't it?

    It's the Prisoner's Dilemma. Actually, it's a case of the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma to be more specific. As long as the big labels all stick together they maximize the results for the group. Sure, one of the labels could break ranks and would probably maximize revenues in the short term. But on the next "iteration" they would suffer the retribution of the rest of the group. It would be akin to corporate suicide.

    Unfortunately, I don't see this madness ending unless the government steps in and declares the RIAA's actions illegal. There are probably other solutions, but I'm late for work and don't have the time to consider the problem further.

    Suffice it to say, the chances of one of the big labels breaking ranks are slim to none. And yes, I realize that another poster mentioned Nettwerk in another reply, but they are not one of the "Big Four" and so their influence on the industry is much less than that of EMI, Sony-BMG, Universal, and Warner. Those are the "prisoners" in this case. It is their decisions that move the industry, such as it is.
  • by Gothic_Walrus ( 692125 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @07:00AM (#15901583) Journal
    In all seriousness, if you're going to go and do it right. Go big.

    Ann Arbor's a college town with 30,000+ students. Between the sheer size of the campus and the fact that the College of Engineering is a target perfectly suited for this, I bet you could whip up a very nice protest. You could definitely organize something big enough to get the Detroit media's attention, and if done right, it could go farther than that.

    And if you do, I'll be there. After all, when you go to the college in question, it's easy to get there. :)
  • by Captain_Chaos ( 103843 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @07:03AM (#15901590)

    They must be either atheists or fools to not fear the cost of abusing the bereaved for profit upon their souls.

    In other words, smart theists only act morally because they're afraid that if they don't they will be punished? Thanks for pointing that out. I, being an atheist, try to do right because that's the right thing to do, I don't need the threat of eternal damnation hanging over me. I was about to feel offendend by your remark, but now I see it's actually religious people who should feel offended...

    Now go ahead and mod me off-topic.

  • by sorak ( 246725 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @07:21AM (#15901625)

            the fact that actual people make these decisions

    That's what amazes me all the time I hear of terrible acts, particularly corporate ones and you think to yourself "someone must have actually decided to do this", even worse a group of 'respected' people must have agreed on this. Perhaps it is just my middle-class upbringing but I always struggle to believe that actually at some point a director just says "I know, lets extract millions from the pension fund" or like today "The guy died but his death shouldn't stop us, he should have life insurance".
    And yet somehow the outrage only seems to be restricted to certain areas like /. I know there is a war going on but I have just looked at the BBC website and cant see the story yet. Just like the Sony Rookit scandal, I cant help thinking that the opposition to the RIAA/MPAA has to start using more effective propaganda campaigns to get public awareness.

    I have this theory about huge business. It's like a new animal, evolved from more complex "cells", but demonstrating an intelligence of it's own. It is motivated by the instinct to "survive", which means bringing as much money to the shareholders as possible, and each of its members is constantly faced with a dilimma:

              Increase the bottom line, by whatever means possible. The stockholders don't care how you do. They don't want to know, and if you fail to do so, they won't care why. They'll just replace you with someone who can improve the bottom line.

    So, each organization is made up of people who follow company policy, even when they, personally would never make such a decision on their own, and who do what they must to get by, because either A). it's their job or B). "It's business".

  • by louzerr ( 97449 ) <Mr.Pete.Nelson@gmail . c om> on Monday August 14, 2006 @07:27AM (#15901647) Homepage
    So if you run a company and steal from people (Ken Lay), if you die your heirs (with their stolen money) are exempt.

    If, on the other hand, you're just a person, and you do something wrong in the eyes of the music industry, the punishment is due your children.

    Does anyone else see a HUGE problem with the justice system in this county?

    We the people have no control. God Money has spoken.
  • by murderlegendre ( 776042 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @08:28AM (#15901799)

    I am not a constitutionalist

    That's interesting, because that's just the sort of question a constitutionalist would tend to ask.

    Not all constitutionalists are great scholars of the US Constitution.. but sometimes, knowing which questions to ask and when to ask them are all that is required.

  • by Mille Mots ( 865955 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @08:43AM (#15901857)

    It's how you know who you know.

    Ken Lay rapes the Enron shareholders and creditors, goes to trial, manages to get himself convicted and when he dies before sentencing, the court drops the whole shebang; as if it never happened.

    In this case, the RIAA wants to go after the heirs for the alleged crimes of the deceased.

    Yeah, everything's right with the world.

    No .sig allowed

  • by NevarMore ( 248971 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @08:52AM (#15901888) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA had a [completely bullshit] claim in progress against the decesased.

    Just as if the deceased had outstanding debt, there is now a claim against his estate. Ignoring the absurd basis of the original lawsuit, this is a perfectly normal and legitimate legal claim. An outstanding lawsuit is no different from having a hospital bill, burial fees, outstanding credit card debt, a mortgage and so on.

    Again, I agree that the original RIAA claim is bupkis, however, they are not 'suing the children', they are filing a claim against the estate just like any other debtor.
  • Re:Grieving Time? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:08AM (#15901970)
    I find that comment very disrespectful of prostitutes.

    What's next, degrading vultures by comparing them to RIAA lawyers?

    Do keep in mind that we are talking about RIAA lawyers, though. There are MANY lawyers who wouldn't do this kind of work and actually repect the intent of law.

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:10AM (#15901988) Homepage Journal

    Oh crap. C'mon, did you all think for more than enough time to jerk your knees before posting the usual "The RIAA is just greedy and wants your money" BS?

    The music industry is scared shitless of piracy. If people can get the music they've invested in without paying them a penny, then they're not going to make their money back. The biggest movement threat right now comprises of massive networks where people put music up for download so that millions of anonymous strangers can download it. It differs from traditional systems in that the network effects are greater. Someone can make a copy of a CD they bought for their friends, but there's a limit to how far that'll travel - the number of people who gain a copy in relation to the number of CDs sold is small. Someone can mass manufacture copies of a popular CD and try selling it on the black market, but they risk being caught and a lot of people are unhappy about paying a pirate for music anyway. Not so unauthorized peer-to-peer copying.

    If Sony, Universal, et al, directly sue the people who are making the works they invested in to the public for free on this massive scale, they have to be enormously careful not to sully their image in doing so. Yet the entire point of suing is to create a deterence. Looking like nice guys does not gel with getting people afraid of you. If the RIAA does it on their behalf, the RIAA takes the "bad rap" and can "descend" to pretty much any (legal) level without it hurting Sony, Universal, et al.

    The purpose of the RIAA lawsuits is not to make money from settlements. It's to scare people away from engaging in copyright infringment. As such, it's not in the interests of the RIAA to appear to have a heart.

    Moreover, every single one of you who's going to go home tonight and tell your friends about the big, bad, RIAA, is doing exactly what they hope you'll do. The Slashdot editor who posted this submission is doing exactly what the RIAA hoped he'd do. The Slashbot who submitted the article is doing exactly what the RIAA hoped he'd do. You... quite honestly, the RIAA doesn't give a crap whether you think they're greedy or not, but they are glad you're commenting on the case, and they are very glad you're suggesting they're ruthless.

    That's what they want you to think. That's what they want you to say. And at the end of the day, they want you to believe they'll stoop to any level. To the point, I suspect, that if resources were tight, and they had a choice between suing one legged orphans who shared the orphanarium's computer to download a single Brittney Spears song, or suing Paris Hilton for buying her entire local music store's stock, ripping it, and putting it online on a 1Tb/sec connection, they'd sue the orphanarium, even though Hilton did more damage.

    It's a matter of getting the right publicity. When you're trying to stop ordinary people from doing something that hurts you, and you've reached a point that you have no options left but to create penalties for doing it, the wrong publicity is the right publicity.

  • by KwKSilver ( 857599 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:17AM (#15902024)
    If you make me fear you, I will soon hate you. You have become a problem & my first reactions are to avoid you or to destroy you. That's my experience. If more people start to avoid their products (since destroying them is not, unfortunately, a realistict option) then the RIAA & MPAA need only to go to the nearest mirror to find out who is responsible.
  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:31AM (#15902108)
    Your post is full of bullshit.

    Artists who allow free downloading of their music find that is *INCREASES* sales. Independant studies [] show that show P2P increases sales.

    The only reason the music industry is afraid of P2P is because it threatens their business model. Once people get used to trying music for free, RIAA members lose their marketing chokehold. This chokehold is the the last remaining reason that artists agree to contract terms that can only charitably be described as "indentured servitude."

    RIAA members aren't terrified of piracy, they're terrified of competition.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sh4na ( 107124 ) <shana,ufie&gmail,com> on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:37AM (#15902146) Homepage
    First of all, my condolences. Nobody is accusing your friend of piracy, hope you realize that. We all know who the victims are in this, and all the comments flying around like the one you quoted are meant to show how the RIAA thinks (or at least what they project onto the world stage, not sure about the actual *thinking* part, don't know if the slimeballs have evolved that far yet). If they want to go after your friend's *children*, then they surely must be trying to get your friend's (inexistant) stock of pirated CDs.

    Hey, if he was a friend of yours, you can leak the story to the press if and when RIAA really decides to push things too far and go after the family, and nail them for it. It should be a crime what they're trying to do, and if he passed away with an aneurysm, I'm sure the stress of having the RIAA on his back didn't help one bit. It's a shame.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:45AM (#15902202)

    P2P is "competition"? That's what they're afraid of?

    Funny how the RIAA is suing people who infringe on the copyrights of their member's then, isn't it? And I'm sure the music industry is deathly afraid of competition, I mean, we've all seen the massive amount of increadibly popular independent music on P2P networks, right?

    You mean we haven't? You mean there's some independent music there, but people by and large are pirating the stuff the music industry puts out? Oh. Well that fucks up your argument then, doesn't it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:46AM (#15902208)
    But this doesn't work. The chance of getting caught and punished is too low, no matter how high the stakes they don't affect people's behavior. Most people just don't believe that it will ever happen to them, so it doesn't matter how ruthless the RIAA is with the people they do go after.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:53AM (#15902251) Homepage Journal

    Leave me out.

    The purpose of the RIAA lawsuits is not to make money from settlements. It's to scare people away from engaging in copyright infringment. As such, it's not in the interests of the RIAA to appear to have a heart. Moreover, every single one of you who's going to go home tonight and tell your friends about the big, bad, RIAA, is doing exactly what they hope you'll do.

    No, it's not working they way they want. People see the entire RIAA represented music industry as a greedy dinosaur that's enacted a bunch of really bad laws which they are abusing beyond the intent of any legislative intent. It's backfired on them big time and they are going to lose the basis of their suits and might even face long overdue copyright reform that will eliminate their obsolete business model.

    The IRS tried the intimidation approach once and what they got was Ronald Reagan and a twenty five year bitch slap. It's been a long long time since the IRS has confiscated property from anyone but blatant scoff laws and real criminals. The purpose of the IRS is revenue, not ruin. Anyone who thinks the RIAA is more powerful than the IRS is deluding themselves.

    When you act like they are acting, retribution is swift. Me telling my friends all about the RIAA's behavior is going to do two things the RIAA really does not want. People are going to be that much less likely to buy music and people are going to rethink copyright law. These cases make the copyright lawyers look really stupid and none of this talk is fun. People don't want anything to do with party poopers like the RIAA. Music is supposed to be fun, unifying and shared.

  • by GreyPoopon ( 411036 ) <gpoopon@ g m a> on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:43AM (#15902599)
    It's time for a revolution. Seriously, the RIAA is a cold, heartless institution that embodies all that is sleazy in the corporate world.
    If you truly believe this, then put your money where your mouth is (not you specifically, AC -- all the readers). Also, don't give your children money to buy from the RIAA-associated labels. Instead, sit down with your teen to figure out what music they like, and help them find an independent (and legal) source that satisfies their tastes. Help them understand that if they don't act now, they'll be spending a huge amount of their future income dealing with the entrenched RIAA. Also, turn it around on the RIAA. Start referring to the RIAA as the pirates, trying to steal from their own customers to add to their booty. Help your teen get their friends interested in independent music. At least give it a try. Make 2007 the worst year EVER for the recording industry.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:49AM (#15902649)
    The RIAA is going to have a problem with this. Not just an image problem - a legal problem.

    The survivors just have to say "I don't know for sure. You'll have to ask him. Anything else is just speculation, and I'm not under oath to speculate."

    The RIAA is probably thinking they'll settle for sure. Putting up a defense is expensive.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:51AM (#15902673) Homepage Journal
    1. The RIAA is a convicted monopoly guilty of price fixing.
    2. The Recording industry as a whole has ripped of artists as well as customers.
    3. The RIAA wants to make it illegal for me to rip CDs that I have purchased legally for me to play on my portable music player or to make backups of the music I have purchased legally.
    4. A member of the RIAA has put an illegal Root kit on CDs that it manufactured in the name of copy protection.
    5. The members of the RIAA are still making billions of dollars of profits. I have not heard of any lay offs or losses so their need for special protection seems to be in question.

    One and four are indisputable facts. Two and three are may be argued but most will agree with them. Five is a fact with an opinion.

    Now let's talk about how STUPID it is to sue a 15 year old girl, a grand mother, and or a dead man. These actions look to me as heartless. I would also say if the members of the RIAA want to claim the moral high ground then I am all for it. How about starting off with an investigation into the their accounting practices and their employees and or contractors supplying drugs, alcohol, and sex partners to their artists?
    Okay the record companies are such a juicy target for the extreme right. Come on guys this is for the children and the grandmothers.

  • by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:53AM (#15902690) Homepage
    "Artists who allow free downloading of their music find that is *INCREASES* sales. Independant studies [] show that show P2P increases sales."

    Irrelevant. If a copyright holder does not want his work being stolen by others, he has a right to press the matter. The RIAA (by proxy) is a copyright holder. Therefore, RIAA has the right to hunt down theives. The fact that some copyright holders accept free downloading of music does not mean that all do or should. Your assertion that some do so all should is a logical fallacy.

    For those who don't like what RIAA is doing, I have a suggestion: stop listening to that music. I have a second suggestion: stop stealing music. Since there are artists who encourage free downloads, patronize them instead. If we all stop buying music from RIAA-represented artists, while at the same time not stealing the music, then 1) the business model you complain about will fail and 2) they can't legitimately blame theft.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:54AM (#15902703)
    YOUR post is full of bullshit. In fact, it's full of very tired arguments. You're a stooge, dude.

    You offer an uncited anecdote that artists who release their music for free find increased sales. Not to mention that it doesn't matter, because if an artist DOESN'T want to release their music for free, that doesn't still give you the right to pirate it (bands like Type O Negative, Tool, etc.).

    You also cite just one study, when there have been others that found the opposite conclusion.

    The only reason the music industry is afraid of P2P is because it threatens their business model.

    And then you trot out the extremely tired Slashdot cliche of the "obsolete business model." People aren't "trying music for free," they're pirating the whole album so that they never have to pay for it. You see, piracy is nothing more than freeloading so that you don't have to pay the human beings who wrote the music, slaved away in a studio, mixed it, and distributed it. I know it sounds like I'm trolling, but come on, that's why people pirate music. They just don't want to have to pay for something they know they can get for free. It's simple human nature.

    This chokehold is the the last remaining reason that artists agree to contract terms that can only charitably be described as "indentured servitude."

    Then you trot out the "artist contracts are bad" routine, ignoring that artists willingly sign their contracts and continue to do so to this day. Must not be so bad.

    RIAA members aren't terrified of piracy, they're terrified of competition.

    ROFL. Competition? What about the artists? Do you give a shit about them not ever getting compensated for their work? Should John Carmack never get paid for his years of work on Doom 3?

    Articles like this (and posts like yours) serve an agenda in order to do one thing--paint the RIAA as an evil bad guy in order to justify piracy. That way, people don't feel guilty when they pirate an artist's music. "The RIAA is so evil, I'm sticking it to them!" Notice the artist isn't in that equation anywhere.

    It's much easier to scapegoat some faceless group and proclaim "The RIAA made me do it!" rather than simply admit the truth that you are pirating another human being's music and ensuring System of a Down doesn't get paid today. Freeloaders always get bitter when the free ride is taken away, and many ideologies have been invented to stroke that guilty ego (your post is full of those cliches), but it will never change the simple truth. There's a big difference between free as in beer and free as in loading.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:57AM (#15902719)
    Except if you're Israel.
  • by Pollardito ( 781263 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:59AM (#15902731)
    actually, they make no revenue off of people listening to their songs on the radio. even setting aside payola and contests that they run on stations, they're losing money on radio just in the cost of sending out a trillion free copies so that every station has one. if the money that they invest in radio publicity doesn't get them sales (e.g. if someone is boycotting sales and only listening to radio) then their investment didn't pay off.
  • by Suzumushi ( 907838 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @11:35AM (#15903061)
    I have to call bullshit on your argument. The RIAA determines the method of distribution and price that the music is available at. If it were a matter of paying the artist directly for an album, then your argument would hold water. However, as the outdated business model shows us, the current distribution methods and price fixing are not acceptable to most music listeners, hence the prevalence of piracy.

    "Where piracy tends to thrive is where the consumer perceives that goods and services are not convenient and price is out of whack," --Peter Chernin, chairman and CEO of the Fox Group.

    It's simple really, and the RIAA and the studio's know it. They made the choice to sue people, even dead people, rather than make adjustments to their business model to make it more profitable. That is a failure in the free market system, and that is what drives the hatred for these organizations (MPAA, RIAA). In fact, one could argue further that much piracy is conducted in response to the RIAA/MPAA's behavior and not deterred because of it.

  • by Suzumushi ( 907838 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @11:45AM (#15903135)
    Well, when the US Copyright Act was first passed, a copyright was valid for 14 years and renewable once to a maximum of 28 years. I think you'd be hardpressed to find a person who could not receive compensation for work in 28 years of exclusive rights.

    Today however, US copyright law extends to 70 years after the death of the artist and some copyrights can extend as long as 120 years from the date of the creation of the work. Furthermore, some of these copyrights are renewable!!

    Clearly, the interest of the artist is tertiary in the examination of these laws, and rather the work itself is deemed some sort of commodity or capital to be profitted from as an investment; an investment that is controlled by the corporation that owns it in practical perpetuity.

    Perhaps copyright law needs to be changed, but that won't happen as long as the RIAA/MPAA maintains tight control over congress with their lobbyists. So yes, the RIAA/MPAA is the bad guy and piracy is not the "broken" part of the current state of IP.

  • by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @11:56AM (#15903245) Homepage
    And the problem here, is the copyright holder is the record company who is a member of the the RIAA. Not the artist. Most artists sell away all of their rights. The model is simple. Artists must sign up with a major label to get exposure, to be bigtime, to sell lots of albums, and be famous. Why would anyone give up all the rights a record contract asks for? Because the Reocord Company traditionally controls all of the doors, holds all of the keys. If you do not get "handled" by them, there is no way to distribute your music. If you notice, the record companies are not losing money right now. P2P has not hurt their current business model. However, if artists see that they can distribute music via p2p, build a fanbase, sell music as CD's or downloads, setup concerts, etc. All without the a record company, they are screwed in the long run. Do you know why record contracts work like they do? Giving everthing foreever over to the Record Company? Because they are always waiting for the next Pink Floyd or Beatles. Where the backcatalog is the money maker. There are no promotional costs, the albums just sell, day in day out, for decades. They are scared to death, of the thought that the next Beatles may not have a record deal, and that day in, day out sales of their albums will happen for decades and no one in the industry will get a dime of it, let alone the lions share they are used to.
  • by enjahova ( 812395 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @12:12PM (#15903364) Homepage
    You are under the misconception that the RIAA is in the business of MAKING music. The parent post made the important distinction that the RIAA is in the business of MARKETING music. P2P is competition because it is free marketing. It completely destroys the RIAA and the major record label's business models, and it violates copyright law, but it does NOT stop music from being made.

    Why do you think artists sign with labels? To get their music distributed. They want their music distributed because they want to make money. So if p2p comes along and makes it hard to make money with the old distribution method, artists will have to make money in a new way. The times they are a changin, and you are one of the many people who still believe music can only be made if huge amounts of money are thrown around by middlemen.

    It is also fallacious to say that the music industry shouldn't be afraid of independant artists because they aren't popular now. It's not the artists the industry is ever afraid of, because that isn't important to them. They control distribution, thats where the power and money comes from. We take that away with p2p and we get the artists back.

    Fuck the RIAA, fuck the major labels. I "steal" music and I'm proud of it. You'll thank me in 10 years when people have realized that you don't need a cartel of 3 multibillion dollar corporations to tell you what to listen to.
  • Re:Yuck... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:32PM (#15904546)
    Many other economic systems such as authoritarian socialism ("communism") have been found not to work very well, but the more-regulated capitalism as practiced in Europe seems to be doing quite well for the most part. People there may not get as rich as the top 1% in America do, but people overall are happier and lead better lives, as indicated by the standard-of-living indices, which consistently rate Switzerland and Sweden as the best countries in the world to live in, with all the other Western European countries just below them.
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:43PM (#15904655)
    You don't get it. The people bitching aren't the same people who are buying, in the vast majority of cases. The RIAA record industry is supported, by and large, by pop groups who sell to teenagers. These teenagers don't know what the RIAA is, or don't care, as their parents are paying for everything. Do you really think the average 12-year-old girl who listens to Britney Spears cares about RIAA's tactics?

    All the people you see here on Slashdot bitching about this stuff probably aren't buying very much RIAA stuff at all, especially since most of them are outside the age range that the RIAA's member labels cater to the most (teenagers).
  • by BalanceOfJudgement ( 962905 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:57PM (#15905808) Homepage
    This has nothing to do with people freeloading music, and the RIAA/MPAA being the "bad guy" in that situation is still not ample justification for not paying Tool today.
    It has everything to do with it. Even more than that, the RIAA/MPAA really are not the 'bad guys' in this situation - they are acting as the law allows them to. The problem is with the law, and with those who sponsored it, wrote it, and voted for it.

    I would discuss this myself, but I think another poster has elucidated the issue very well: =15904347 []

    The problem is, the RIAA/MPAA and those who supported such copyright legislation are the ones who have broken their part of the social contract - the public is still attempting to exercise THEIR part of that contract by pirating. I am not attempting to make an argument for piracy - I am attempting to point out that the issue is far more complicated than "Stealing isn't right even if the owner is evil."
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:06AM (#15909552)
    While I generally agree with your post, I'll point out that growing up in rich or middle class families is no guarantee not to be heavily traumatized. Thanks to dating someone who was privy (and sort of part) of the group of super-wealthy elites who have no needs, but only wants, I can tell you that their kids are among the most emotionally abused (and, occasionally, physically) on the planet. This does not exonerate them from their adult behavior, but does give context to it.

Trap full -- please empty.