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Journal Journal: U. of Maine legal clinic fights RIAA; first in country

"A student law clinic is about to cause a revolution" says p2pnet. For the first time in the history of the RIAA's ex parte litigation campaign against college students, a university law school's legal aid clinic has taken up the fight against the RIAA in defense of the university's college students. Student attorneys at the University of Maine School of Law's Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, under the supervision of law school prof Deirdre M. Smith, have moved to dismiss the RIAA's complaint in a Portland, Maine, case, Arista v. Does 1-27, on behalf of 2 University of Maine undergrads. Their recently filed reply brief (pdf) points to the US Supreme Court decision in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, and the subsequent California decision following Twombly, Interscope v. Rodriguez, which dismissed the RIAA's "making available" complaint as mere "conclusory", "boilerplate" "speculation". The 2 students represented by Cumberland join the 8 students represented by a prominent Portland law firm, bringing to 10 the number of University of Maine students fighting back in this case.
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Journal Journal: RIAA objects to Oregon AG's request for information 2

The RIAA is apparently having an allergic reaction to the request by the State Attorney General of Oregon for information about the RIAA's investigative tactics, in Arista v. Does 1-17, the Portland, Oregon, case targeting students at the University of Oregon. See The Oregonian, December 1, 2007 ("UO suspects music industry of spying") and p2pnet, November 29, 2007 ("RIAA may be spying on students: Oregon AG"). Not only are the record companies opposing the request (pdf), they're asking the Judge not to even read it. (pdf) Commentary: "RIAA scorns Oregon University request".
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Journal Journal: DRM-Free Upconverting DVD player

When I got my 720p LCD TV, I went looking for a new DVD player to go with it. I wanted: 720p over component video, and if possible as little DRM as possible. I found that no players sold in the US were allowed to do anything over 480p over component video if the disc had macrovision. However, Helios Labs, with their North American office in Canada, was selling the h2000 and the h4000. They both are region-free, up-converting (720p/1080i for the h2000 and 1080p for the h4000) over Component, VGA, and of course HDMI. The good news is that the HDMI port doesn't have any HDCP, so there aren't any compatibility issues with TVs.

The best feature, which I have quite come to love: Both players ignore the User operation prohibition flag, so I can skip through almost any "FBI Warning" or other logo screens, and get to the movie faster. Imagine that, something that actually does what you want, and doesn't cater to the MAFIAA.

I like my H2000 so much that I am not going to get a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player until Helios Labs makes one.

User Journal

Journal Journal: RIAA targets 7 out of 8 Ivies; steers clear of Harvard 7

The RIAA's latest anti-college round of "early settlement" letters targets 7 out of 8 Ivy League schools, but continues to give Harvard University a wide berth. This is perhaps the most astonishing display of cowardice exhibited to date by the multinational cartel of SONY BMG, Warner Bros. Records, EMI, and Vivendi/Universal (the "Big Four" record companies, which are rapidly become less "big"). The lesson which other colleges and universities should draw from this latest of many acts of cowardice: "All bullies are cowards. Appeasement of bullies doesn't work. Standing up to bullies and fighting back has a much higher success rate."
User Journal

Journal Journal: Dumb

This is stupid. Email is supposed to be quick, not take days to get routed from the domain entry to my desktop.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Ohio U. Gets RIAA off its back by paying $60k + $16k a year 6

Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, has found the key to getting the RIAA to stop inundating it and its students with "settlement" letters. According to the university's student online publication, the university paid $60,000, plus $16,000 per year "maintenance", to Audible Magic, the business partner of the RIAA's all-purpose expert witness Dr. Doug Jacobson, for its "CopySense" filtering software. Once it made the payments, the letters stopped. This of course raises a lot of questions as to the 'disinterestedness' of Dr. Jacobson, whose deposition in the UMG v. Lindor case was the subject of interesting Slashdot commentary.
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Journal Journal: Rochester Judge Holds RIAA Evidence Insufficient 7

Judge David G. Larimer, presiding in Rochester, New York, has denied an RIAA application for default judgment on the ground that the RIAA's evidence was insufficient, in that it contained no details of actual downloads or distributions, and no sufficient evidence that defendant was in fact Kazaa user "heavyjeffmc@KaZaA". The decision (pdf) concluded that "there are significant issues of fact regarding the identification of the defendant from his alleged "online media distribution system" username". (In case you're unfamiliar with the term "online media distribution system", that's because it is a term the RIAA coined 4 years ago to describe p2p file sharing accounts in its lawsuits; the term is not known to have been used by anyone else anywhere else.) In August a similar RIAA default judgment motion was denied on the ground that the pleadings failed to allege sufficient factual details supporting a claim of copyright infringement, in a San Diego, California, case, Interscope v. Rodriguez.
User Journal

Journal Journal: What Data &/or documents to request from MediaSentry? 5

The Slashdot and Groklaw communities were so helpful in preparing for the deposition of the RIAA's "expert" witness, Dr. Doug Jacobson, we thought we'd come back and ask for your thoughts on what documents and/or data to request from the RIAA's 'investigator', MediaSentry, Inc. The documents we have so far are just printouts, which were used at Dr. Jacobson's deposition, specifically exhibits 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Of course we have some ideas of our own about what to demand, but we want to leave no stone unturned. For the technical minded among you, this is your chance to be a part of bringing the RIAA's litigation campaign down.
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Journal Journal: Defendants Move to Dismiss RIAA Complaints 2

The Interscope v. Rodriguez decision dismissing the RIAA's boilerplate complaint, and the $9250-per-song-file verdict in Capitol v. Thomas, have inspired some new dismissal motions in RIAA cases. In Charleston, South Carolina, Catherine Njuguna has moved to dismiss on the basis of the legal insufficiency of the RIAA's complaint and on constitutional grounds due to the excessive damages sought by the RIAA, while in Brooklyn, New York, MS victim Rae J Schwartz has moved to dismiss based solely on the complaint's failure to state a claim under Rodriguez and the Supreme Court decision, Bell Atlantic v. Twombly.
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Journal Journal: Motion filed to set aside RIAA's $222k verdict 13

Jammie Thomas has filed a motion to set aside the $222,000 verdict obtained against her by the RIAA, based on allegations she infringed $23.76 worth of song files. Her motion papers (pdf) argue that the verdict is excessive and in violation of the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution, and should be reduced to $150 or less, or a new trial ordered. (See, e.g. UMG v. Lindor). It has been reported that the RIAA issued a statement that "Thomas [is] not taking responsibility for her actions, and .... they want to resolve the case in a "fair and reasonable" fashion. It is unfortunate that the defendant continues to avoid responsibility for her actions....". In my experience that is RIAA-speak for "after the verdict we have tried to make a settlement with her, but she wouldn't meet our terms".
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Journal Journal: Time-Lapse Photography Project

I set up a couple of webcams, one in my office, and one on a pole near my house. My initial idea was to take the picture from noon every day for a year and make that in to a very long-term time-lapse movie. To do that, I save the picture from both webcams every 5 min, and then upload it to my websites every half-hour, using a little cron script written in ruby.

As it turns out, 8:00 in the morning is much more interesting, at least in the meadow. I don't know yet for Fourmile, since it hasn't been up for very long. Too bad I will not really know for a few months, but that is the way this project is. For now I have a couple video up on those sites, with 1 being 8:00 in the morning for August and September, in the meadow.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Counterclaims Upheld in UMG v. Del Cid 2

A federal judge in Tampa, Florida, has ruled that an RIAA defendant's counterclaim against the record companies for conspiracy to use unlicensed investigators, access private computer records without permission, and commit extortion, may move forward. The Court also sustained claims for violations of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as a claim under Florida law for deceptive and unfair trade practices. The decision (pdf) by Judge Richard A. Lazzara in UMG v. DelCid rejected, in its entirety, the RIAA's assertion of "Noerr Pennington" immunity, since that defense does not apply to "sham litigations", and Ms. Del Cid alleges that the RIAA's cases are "sham".
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Journal Journal: First Post-InterscopeDismissal Motion Against RIAA Complaint 2

Several weeks ago it was discovered that a California federal judge, in rejecting an RIAA application for default judgment, had dismissed the RIAA's standard complaint for failure to state a claim, calling it "conclusory" "boilerplate" "speculation" in Interscope v. Rodriguez. In the wake of that decision, a Queens, New York, woman being sued in Brooklyn federal court, Rae J Schwartz, has told the Court that she is making a motion to dismiss the complaint in her case, Elektra v. Schwartz. This is the first post-Interscope challenge to the RIAA's boilerplate, of which we are aware. This is the same case in which the RIAA had sent a letter to the Judge falsely indicating that AOL had "confirmed that defendant owned an internet access account through which copyrighted sound recordings were downloaded and distributed". Ms. Schwartz suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and has never engaged in file sharing, but the RIAA has pressed the case against her.
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Journal Journal: I don't get it

I really don't get where we're going. By "we" I mean "America", or maybe even "Western culture". Part of me sees the nearly-infinite promise of technology, and the possible end-states of humanity, a la the fictional worlds of Isaac Asimov or Iain M. Banks. The other part sees the various groups that care more about their own short-term prospects than the long-term health of humanity.

Extreme short-term thinking seems like a particularly nasty form of selfishness. Not only do people interested only in the short-term sell out other people, but they sell out themselves twenty, ten, or two years down the line.

Eh, I'm just ranting again. Nevermind me.

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