View Full Version : Pirated Music - The music industry vs the internet

Freedom Tower
July 18th, 2003, 05:15 PM
Well, if any of you on this site download Mp3s or any other form of music from the internet, be careful. Look at this:

WASHINGTON — The music industry has won at least 871 federal subpoenas against computer users suspected of illegally sharing music files (search) on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved each day, U.S. court officials said Friday.

The effort represents early steps in the music industry's contentious plan to file civil lawsuits aimed at crippling online piracy.

Subpoenas reviewed by The Associated Press show the industry compelling some of the largest Internet providers, such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Cable Communications Inc., and some universities to identify names and mailing addresses for users on their networks known online by nicknames such as "fox3j," "soccerdog33," "clover77" or "indepunk74."

The Recording Industry Association of America (search) has said it expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within the next eight weeks. U.S. copyright laws (search) allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but the RIAA has said it would be open to settlement proposals from defendants.

The campaign comes just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to readily identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act permits music companies to force Internet providers to turn over the names of suspected music pirates upon subpoena from any U.S. District Court clerk's office, without a judge's signature required.

In some cases, subpoenas cite as few as five songs as "representative recordings" of music files available for downloading from these users. The trade group for the largest music labels, the Washington-based RIAA, previously indicated its lawyers would target Internet users who offer substantial collections of MP3 song files but declined to say how many songs might qualify for a lawsuit.

"We would have to look at historic trends, but that is a very high number," said Alan Davidson of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a civil liberties group that has argued against the subpoenas. "It doesn't sound like they're just going after a few big fish."

Music fans are fighting back with technology, using new software designed specifically to stymie monitoring of their online activities by the major record labels.

A new version of "Kazaa Lite," free software that provides access to the service operated by Sharman Networks Ltd., can prevent anyone from listing all music files on an individual's machine and purports to block scans from Internet addresses believed to be associated with the RIAA.

Many of the subpoenas reviewed by the AP identified songs from the same few artists, including Avril Lavigne, Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson. It was impossible to determine whether industry lawyers were searching the Internet specifically for songs by these artists or whether they were commonly popular among the roughly 60 million users of file-sharing services.

The RIAA's subpoenas are so prolific that the U.S. District Court in Washington, already suffering staff shortages, has been forced to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk's office to help process paperwork, said Angela Caesar-Mobley, the clerk's operations manager.

The RIAA declined to comment on the numbers of subpoenas it issued.

"We are identifying substantial infringers and we're going to whatever entity is providing (Internet) service for that potential infringer," said Matt Oppenheim, the group's senior vice president of business and legal affairs. "From there we'll be in a position to begin bringing lawsuits."

A spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said the clerk's office here was "functioning more like a clearing house, issuing subpoenas for all over the country." Any civil lawsuits would likely be transferred to a different jurisdiction, spokeswoman Karen Redmond said.

Verizon, which has fought the RIAA over the subpoenas with continued legal appeals, said it received at least 150 subpoenas during the last two weeks. There were no subpoenas on file sent to AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider and also parent company of Warner Music Group. Earthlink Inc., another of the largest Internet providers, said it has received only three new subpoenas.

Depaul University in Chicago was among the few colleges that received such subpoenas; the RIAA asked Depaul on July 2 to track down a user known as "anon39023" who was allegedly offering at least eight songs.

There was some evidence the threat of an expensive lawsuit was discouraging online music sharing. Nielsen NetRatings, which monitors Internet usage, earlier this week reported a decline for traffic on the Kazaa network of one million users, with similarly large drops across other services.

Freedom Tower
July 18th, 2003, 05:19 PM
"the RIAA asked Depaul on July 2 to track down a user known as 'anon39023' who was allegedly offering at least eight songs."

For only eight songs people are getting tracked down. I know people with over a hundred mp3s on their computer. I wonder if they'll start suing people soon. This seems to be the only sucess the music industry has had so far against online piracy.

July 18th, 2003, 09:37 PM
This is soooo screwed up!

For the record, I will say that I have not downloaded any songs. But I am still wondering where the music industry comes with this. I also wonder what is the legal justification for this.

If I purchase a cd, I own that do I not? I was thought that as long as I do not sell copies of that copy, I am good. But now, I cannot even give copies away?

What if I wanted to make copies of the cd, just in case I loose the original, or to make "mixed-cd's" (burning varios tracks onto another)?

It upsets me just the same way Microsoft requires that you contact them for an authorization code everytime you load some of their software onto your computer... even the same one.

With the high prices of cd's and software, one wonders why piracy is so prevalent.

Freedom Tower
July 19th, 2003, 05:39 PM
Yes, I agree. Although I also haven't downloaded any mp3s, I believe this to be unfair. If someone legally purchases a CD and then decides to share it with his or her friends, this is no longer legal? Isn't it only illegal when you sell it? Can't they only sue people who download and then also burn and sell it? Ahh, who knows? It seems like there are going to be many trials now, lets see how they turn out. I wonder if anyone will actually have to pay the music industry. This will be interesting...

(Edited by Freedom Tower at 5:40 pm on July 19, 2003)

July 20th, 2003, 12:33 AM
I guarantee that people will be turning openly against the music industry as a whole if this keeps up indefinitely. They're proving every bit as unaccountable to public tastes as Enron, WorldCom, and the LMDC.

Freedom Tower
July 30th, 2003, 04:30 PM
Yeah, if too many people get sued I'm sure people will just stop buying music in protest. Hey, I've got a great idea for a boycott ;)

July 30th, 2003, 05:16 PM
I guarantee that people will be turning openly against the music industry as a whole if this keeps up indefinitely. They're proving every bit as unaccountable to public tastes as Enron, WorldCom, and the LMDC.

Sounds like a ploy by the LMDC to me. But even as I type this Im using p2p sharing. I should be more apprehensive typing this but my music collection totals over 600 titles. In addition I have downloaded and copied movies and software, the total could be in the thousands.

But on the otherhand I dont feel at all guilty, my purposes are non-profit. And file-sharing is beneficial in that it forces artists to create better music, I find satisfaction in purchasing quality cd's.

Whoever here has ever purchased a cd with mostly filler music will agree with me.

Freedom Tower
July 30th, 2003, 07:33 PM
I agree with you Stern, but no comment on how many mp3s i own ;). Lets just say that if I were a music downloader, which im not of course, Id have well over 500 songs. And if I really liked to download, well then I'd bet there may be a few movies there too. But I'm just not that kinda person ;). Yeah but CDs with filler really piss me off. I own way too many of those.

Forgot to mention.... if I did download music, Id never sell it. But for the record I dont even have any music. Hahaa, is anyone buying this? I really dont sell it, but i definately have it. Who doesn't have it?

(Edited by Freedom Tower at 7:35 pm on July 30, 2003)

July 30th, 2003, 07:55 PM
I *buy strictly vinyl, cd's rarely, I don't have a single mp3. *The sound quality sucks, and what if there is some electrical storm and they all get erased? *If they're good for anything it's to find out what record to order from an online distributor, but even then I've been fooled because the levels on the record suck or its muffled because of bad production, the mp3's don't express this because they lack the fidelity.

I don't see what the big deal is giving them away for free, they're WORTHLESS.

July 30th, 2003, 07:55 PM
lol... I hear you Freedom Tower.

July 30th, 2003, 08:35 PM
Like I posted, my biggest issue with the record industry is that they are trying to re-write one of the cornerstone of copyright law, which is that when I purchase an item, I do own a limited right to that copy. As long as I do not sell it, or do an unauthorized public broadcast, then I should be able to make as many copies as I want and give those copies to whomever I want. Software makers are also increasingly moving to that camp.

Now the technology is getting to the point where objects that you buy can, in and of themselves, limit their ability to be copied.

I hate cd's with filler music, especially much of the pop stuff thats being vomited out these days. Short of camping out of the Megastore and wasting away a lunch hour to listen to the newest album tracks, file sharing is becoming the only way to get "just what you want".

But as a photographer occasinally sell and give away my pictures, I would hate the idea that someone out there is making copies of my stuff and selliing it to there profit. But I would feel allright if people where just making copies and giving them to people.

In the end, I feel that the reason why many "artists" do not feel as I do is because of royalties.

By the way, did anyone hear Senator Orin Hatches suggestions for piracy?

July 30th, 2003, 09:52 PM
I am not familiar w/ Mr. Hatch's suggestions, but you bring up an interesting question. *
What is the artist selling? *
Recently I read an article about a copy-shop that was fined for making textbook copied packets for students and selling them, (technically they were charging for their copying sevices not the content of the page, but I digress.) *If the same thing were done in the faculty center by a teacher using school facilities then freely distributing them is this illegal as well? *If not mistaken, it is. *
I think the artist when selling copies of a work has a tradition of being protected 'per unit' sold. *In the case of a text, the unit consists of the ideas contained within, regardless of form, copies, etc. *
Essentially the arguement for free file sharing relegates the music industry to the status of a copy shop.

The music companies sell only the convenience of having the song on a cd.

As it stands now they are authorized to make copies and pay royalties to sell these copies.The artwork has a value that is tabulated per usage just as in radio play.
The medium of mp3 is also a convenient form, as such each time a duplicate is created and traded/shared, following this logic, a royalty should be paid. *

Although I could make such a case for the opposing side, imagine this scenario-
The first day a cd is released I buy it, take it home and make multiple copies. *I go back to the store and stand outside asking those that enter what they are going to buy. *If their answer is the cd I have copies of, I give them one and they never shell out a dime. *Such a practice would be detrimental to the artist, so I can't see how copyright law supports it. *

Maybe the strategy is to throw so much garbage at us we'll pay someone to pick the gems for us.

"Hey Mr. DJ...."

July 30th, 2003, 10:42 PM
The case about the copy shop is clear under the Copyright Act of the U.S.:

"§ 107 · Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use³⁸

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching(including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. ..."

I can remember seeing such limitations in all text books and copyrights was never meant to infringe on the formation/critique, etc of ideas. Just making copies as" study packets" is a whole other story.

Also see here from the Copyright Office:

"One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright act (title 17, U.S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

the nature of the copyrighted work;

amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney."

This basically sets the bar for the music industry in that it is the marketability of the copyrighted material that file sharing causes a problem for.

Hatch suggested that manufacturers set code into the material that, if illegally copied, causes destrution/damage, etc to the, in his specific example, a computer.

Sorry about the length and the formatting.

July 31st, 2003, 12:04 AM
Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
the nature of the copyrighted work;
amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Lawyers will figure out what this means.

An argument for file sharing would be that the free dissemination of 'advertising' editions will raise public awareness and therefore increase the value of the work in hard copy. *Some artists have had sales to prove this, most notably Radiohead. *They released a 'bootleg' copy weeks before the actual album release date, and their sales were still very strong.

Hatch should stick one of those self destruct chips up his. . . * -nose.

July 31st, 2003, 01:41 AM
The simple fact is that the Music Industry is fighting for its life here. *They are still a powerful industry and will use their powerful lawyers to try to find ways to keep this damn from bursting. *In the end, I can't see how they could win this particular battle, but you can't expect them not to fight. *These are businessmen and bureaucrtas we're talking about. *They need the status quo.

People will figure out novel ways to make money in the music business; the generation that grew up with this technology will put these people out to pasture. *

I hope this redefinition of the music industry will refocus things on the immediacy of live performance -- large and small venue, instead of on packaged studio recordings. *That will be good for everyone.

July 31st, 2003, 11:57 AM
There will always be a market for packaged recordings, or copies thereof.

As you might already know , there are also copyright laws prohibiting the recording of live performances and they are even more strict than that of pre-recorded materials.

I think that the music industry will win the war, but lose the battle. Somehow an accomodation will be reached, possibly a social rather than a legal one. Maybe the "singles" market will grow and become permanent, and maybe more people will just download the track that they want. ( for .79 cents).

If not, the only thing I can imagine is a society that keeps breaking the copyright laws and an industry that keeps suing those in it who do.

August 11th, 2003, 11:28 PM
RIAA Suffers a Setback in Piracy Battle
Mon Aug 11, 9:00 AM ET *

Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service

The U.S. recording industry received a setback in its nationwide campaign to quash music piracy on the Internet Friday when a federal judge ruled that two universities did not have to comply with subpoenas requesting that they hand over the identities of students who could be illegally sharing music online.

Both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) and Boston College won their requests to reject subpoenas issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) over jurisdictional issues, according the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The universities argued that the subpoenas, which were filed in Washington D.C., did not apply to them in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro's ruling in the universities' favor could prove an obstacle for the RIAA's piracy offensive, given that the group has reportedly filed some 2,000 subpoenas through the Washington D.C. court, according to the EFF.

More Complicated

The ruling could mean that the group will have to file subpoenas in courts across the country where it believes infringement is occurring, a much longer and more complicated process, the EFF said.

EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer cheered the decision Friday, saying in a release that the ruling "confirms that due process applies to Internet user privacy nationwide." The EFF has been battling the RIAA campaign, saying that the group's efforts compromise the privacy of individual users.

The San Francisco-based privacy group isn't alone in its rejection of the RIAA's latest campaign. Pacific Bell Internet Services, a subsidiary of SBC Communications, has filed a suit in California alleging that the RIAA's subpoenas are a threat to subscribers' privacy and a burden on ISPs.

What's more, Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) has also publicly spoken out against the group, calling the subpoenas a "shotgun" approach to piracy.

Ongoing Battle

The RIAA's spraying of administrative subpoenas is just the latest strategy in a battle against Internet piracy that stems from the early days of Napster (news - web sites). And while the group's efforts to go after individual users have sparked some controversy and backlash, its campaign against piracy on the legal front has been mostly successful.

The group managed to knock Napster offline last year and has since won rulings in cases against Madster--formerly called Aimster--and other peer-to-peer file trading networks.

Having had success in cases against p-to-p networks, the industry has now focused on going after individual users with the aid of ISPs. Although Friday's ruling could slow down the subpoena process, that does not mean that ISPs won't eventually be ordered to comply.

Verizon Internet Services, for instance, lost its bid in June to protect the names of customers accused of illegal file trading.

The recording industry is using as its defense part of the 1998 U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (news - web sites), which allows copyright holders to subpoena ISPs for the names of people they believe are using their copyrighted material without permission.

The EFF is campaigning for ISPs to notify users when their information is being sought. The group has also created an online database where users can check to see if their identifies have been subpoenaed by the RIAA. The database is at EFF.org.

The RIAA was not immediately available Monday morning to comment on the ruling.

August 13th, 2003, 12:54 PM
I own one single mp3. It was a rare song, out of print, that I was able to track down on the web. I have almost 1000 pieces of vinyl. Those are mostly from my youthful collecting. I rarely buy vinyl anymore. Mostly I buy CDs, though I still have almost twice as many albums as CDs. I don't like the idea of P2P. For the first couple of months I had DSL, I had no firewall (my own fault), and my computer got hacked. Someone set my machine up as a slave P2P server running in the background. It f*ck
ed up my hard-drive. It was a huge pain in the ass. It took me days to get the machine cleared up.

This is common practice by many people "running" P2P networks (not so by the average person "using" the P2P network that is likely oblivious to the practice). The truth is, in spite of the hype about P2P being non-centralized, once any P2P network reaches a critical mass of more than a core few thousand users, they requires a hub server to route the traffic. Some people can voluntarily be a hub server (usually the makers of the software themselves set up a few server hubs, parading on the network as if they are common users), and when that cannot support the capacity of the given P2P community, they send out bots, pinging for unprotected static IP addresses (IE: Users of DSL, or cable modems that don't have a firewall... and MOST broadband users still don't have a firewall). Thousands of people out there on the web are bitching to their ISPs about their terrible service, "I'm paying $50 a month for broadband and my connection is slow as crap...", when all the while they don't realize their machine has been hacked and is being used as a hub on some P2P network.

Everyone is to blame.

The P2P community are disingenuous freeloaders. "I didn't steal this music", but somebody did, and some musician isn't getting paid for their work. "I don't hack people's computers", but some-else did for you to be able to get music on your P2P network.

The ISPs who should be more up front with their customers about the dangers associated with a broadband connection and the necessity for a firewall (the ISPs don't want the responsibility or the cost).

The music industry for being so god damn greedy. The largest overhead for a CD is distribution. Next, depending on the amount of promotional, is either advertising or manufacturing. From the numbers I've read, the cost of the intellectual property is usually the least expensive component factored into the price of the product.

Even Apple is doing this wrong. They've basically put music online at the same price as a CD, but with the convenience of being able to purchase individual songs. So what. They just want a fatter margin with lower overhead.

The right way to do this is to lower the cost to a profit margin comparable to a CD, MINUS the manufacturing and distribution costs. You would snag a huge piece of the online pie if you sold a song each for 15 or 20 cents. That would still probably beat the margins on a CD. One can say, 'Oh, that still cannot compete with FREE!' So you package in added value, say a simple TXT file that includes the lyrics as part of the download. For most people that is incentive enough for 20 cents.

The music industry won't do it. They won't do it because they are in panic and they don't want to cannibalize their own CD sales. Therefor they artificially inflate their downloaded music price so it won't "compete" with their CD price. All the while their CD price is already BEING cannibalized by FREE music downloads.

Idiots, idiots every one of them...

There is my 2 cents.

August 13th, 2003, 01:29 PM
That was worth at least 20 cents. *;)

Freedom Tower
August 14th, 2003, 10:27 AM
Well I had no idea that people were being hacked to be used as servers for P2P, that's interesting information chris. Sorry Im not very technically talented, but what exactly did they make your computer do? Did they use it to scan the internet for songs? Also, I think that my friend may have the same problem you did. He is running a DSL and his computer is always going slow. Ill mention this to him. Also, I agree with some of what you said. If music on the internet was sold for about 20 cents, people wouldn't take the risk of downloading without paying. If I wasn't sure of the legality, which Im not, and I could get the same song for just 20 cents I think I'd do it. This way I wouldn't have to worry about getting sued but I'd still have the song cheaply, and the music industry would still make a profit. It benefits almost everyone.

August 27th, 2003, 11:45 PM
Music Industry Unveils Tracking Methods
Wed Aug 27, 5:09 PM ET *Add Technology - AP to My Yahoo!

By TED BRIDIS, AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON - The recording industry provided its most detailed glimpse to date Wednesday into some of the detective-style techniques it has employed as part of its secretive campaign to cripple music piracy over the Internet.

The disclosures were included in court papers filed against a Brooklyn woman fighting efforts to identify her for allegedly sharing nearly 1,000 songs over the Internet. The recording industry disputed her defense that songs on her family's computer were from compact discs she had legally purchased.

Using a surprisingly astute technical procedure, the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) examined song files on the woman's computer and traced their digital fingerprints back to the former Napster (news - web sites) file-sharing service, which shut down in 2001 after a court ruled it violated copyright laws.

The RIAA, the trade group for the largest record labels, said it also found other hidden evidence inside the woman's music files suggesting the songs were recorded by other people and distributed across the Internet.

Comparing the Brooklyn woman to a shoplifter, the RIAA told U.S. Magistrate John M. Facciola that she was "not an innocent or accidental infringer" and described her lawyer's claims otherwise as "shockingly misleading." The RIAA papers were filed in Washington overnight Tuesday and made available by the court Wednesday.

The woman's lawyer, Daniel N. Ballard of Sacramento, Calif., said the music industry's latest argument was "merely a smokescreen to divert attention" from the related issue of whether her Internet provider, Verizon Internet Services Inc., must turn over her identity under a copyright subpoena.

"You cannot bypass people's constitutional rights to privacy, due process and anonymous association to identify an alleged infringer," Ballard said.

Ballard has asked the court to delay any ruling for two weeks while he prepares detailed arguments, and he noted that his client — identified only as "nycfashiongirl" — has already removed the file-sharing software from her family's computer.

The RIAA accused "nycfashiongirl" of offering more than 900 songs by the Rolling Stones, U2, Michael Jackson and others for illegal download, along with 200 other computer files that included at least one full-length movie, "Pretty Woman."

The RIAA's latest court papers describe in unprecedented detail some sophisticated forensic techniques used by its investigators. These disclosures were even more detailed than answers the RIAA provided weeks ago at the request of Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who has promised hearings into the industry's use of copyright subpoenas to track downloaders.

For example, the industry disclosed its use of a library of digital fingerprints, called "hashes," that it said can uniquely identify MP3 music files that had been traded on the Napster service as far back as May 2000. Examining hashes is commonly used by the FBI (news - web sites) and other computer investigators in hacker cases.

By comparing the fingerprints of music files on a person's computer against its library, the RIAA believes it can determine in some cases whether someone recorded a song from a legally purchased CD or downloaded it from someone else over the Internet.

Copyright lawyers said it remains unresolved whether consumers can legally download copies of songs on a CD they purchased rather than making digital copies themselves. But finding MP3 music files that precisely match copies that have been traded online could be evidence a person participated in file-sharing services.

"The source for nycfashiongirl's sound recordings was not her own personal CDs," the RIAA's lawyers wrote.

The recording industry also disclosed that it is examining so-called "metadata" tags, hidden snippets of information embedded within many MP3 music files. In this case, lawyers wrote, they found evidence that others — including one user who called himself "Atomic Playboy" — had recorded the music files and that some songs had been downloaded from known pirate Web sites.

An RIAA vice president, Jonathan Whitehead, said evidence proved the Brooklyn woman was "hardly an unwitting or passive participant in the events that involve her computer."

The recording industry has won approval for more than 1,300 subpoenas compelling Internet providers to identify computer users suspected of illegally sharing music files on the Internet.

The RIAA has said it expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages as early as next month. U.S. copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but the RIAA has said it would be open to settlement proposals from defendants.

The campaign comes just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to readily identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files.

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (news - web sites) permits music companies to force Internet providers to turn over the names of suspected music pirates upon subpoena from any U.S. District Court clerk's office, without a judge's signature required.

Freedom Tower
August 28th, 2003, 12:19 AM
I think that it is one thing to offer 1,000 songs to anyone online and another to download 1,000 yourself. Are you really breaking a law if you download what is out there on the internet but then do not offer it back? In other words, if you download a song, and then delete the person to person program, then people can't get the song from you any longer. Hopefully they wont target anyone with mp3s on their computer, only the people that share them. I know I myself have a few mp3s but I do not share them.

Freedom Tower
September 3rd, 2003, 04:00 PM
Lawyers for file sharer take on the music industry
They say RIAA might have acted illegally in hunts
Wednesday, September 3, 2003 Posted: 12:32 PM EDT (1632 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawyers for a New York woman accused of unlawfully sharing music over the Internet suggested Tuesday the recording industry acted illegally when it investigated her online activities and that a search of music files on her computer may have been unconstitutional.

The lawyers -- Richard S. Ugelow, Glenn W. Peterson and Daniel N. Ballard -- are asking a federal magistrate to delay at least until September 10 ordering the woman's Internet provider to turn over her name and address to the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group for the largest labels.

In court papers, the lawyers said they may argue that the RIAA violated state and federal laws by intercepting the woman's Internet address as its investigators scoured file-sharing networks looking for songs to download.

First to fight back
The woman, identified in court papers only as "nycfashiongirl," is contesting a copyright subpoena served by the music industry on her Internet provider, Verizon Internet Services Inc., to turn over her name and address in preparation for filing a lawsuit.

She is the first to resist such a subpoena.

The RIAA, which has served more than 1,300 such subpoenas, accuses "nycfashiongirl" of offering more than 900 songs by the Rolling Stones, U2, Michael Jackson and others for illegal download, along with 200 other computer files that included at least one full-length movie, "Pretty Woman."

The defense team said it also may argue that the music industry was improperly affiliated with law enforcement and thus its perusal of music files allegedly available on the woman's computer violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

RIAA: Restrictions don't apply
RIAA vice president Matt Oppenheim called the defense arguments "surprisingly shallow," adding that the claim raising questions about the woman's Internet address "reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Internet works."

Oppenheim also said the RIAA was not affiliated with law enforcement, so restrictions against unreasonable searches do not apply.

"The Fourth Amendment clearly doesn't apply to private parties. You learn that in first-year law school," Oppenheim said.

An outside lawyer agreed.

"Those are two more straws to grasp at," said Evan Cox of Covington & Burling, who has worked with the Business Software Alliance on piracy. "They're not going to get anywhere with that."

Freedom Tower
September 3rd, 2003, 04:02 PM
People are always complaining that their civil liberties are being violated. Well the music industry is also violating peoples privacy by watching their internet activities. I'm surprised no one has brought that up.

September 3rd, 2003, 04:50 PM
Colleges plan music services
Would charge students fee to download tunes over schools' networks

By Chris Gaither, Globe Staff, 9/3/2003

SAN FRANCISCO -- The tuition bill for some universities may soon include an unusual fee: for digital music.

In the latest effort to combat digital piracy, as many as two dozen universities nationwide this spring will start testing technology for delivering songs to their students over the Internet, recording industry officials and a prominent educator said yesterday.

Pennsylvania State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are among the schools considering such a service.

University administrators have been working closely with the recording and movie industries for the last year, trying to lighten the burden on their networks and reduce the risk of their students being sued for illegally sharing copyrighted files.

Schools have imposed limits on the amount of data traffic students can use, removed offenders from networks, and, for the first time this year, freshman orientation at universities like Boston College and Northeastern University included discussions about the legal hazards and moral implications of swapping songs and films over the Internet.

But Graham B. Spanier, president of Penn State and cochairman of a national committee of university and entertainment leaders, said yesterday that some students have simply ignored the warnings.

So Spanier wants to license songs from digital music providers, make them available to students through streaming or download, and tack a few dollars onto each student's bill in the same way that some universities now charge for cable television.

"If music is that important to our students, one of the things we might do is simply provide the music to them," he said. "We can make what is now illegal legal by giving students legitimate access to these services."

Spanier said he expects "a dozen or couple dozen" universities to launch test versions of their own music distribution programs during the spring semester. Aside from his own, he would not name those universities, citing their ongoing negotiations with digital music companies.

"This is really a ramp-up year to see how in a future year this might all work," he said.

The idea does not appear to have taken hold in the Boston area. Representatives from Boston University, Northeastern University, and Harvard University said they had no knowledge of their schools planning such online music services.

Northeastern, where the seminal music-sharing program, Napster, was created by then-student Shawn Fanning, considered a proposal to start its own music distribution service earlier this year but dismissed the idea.

"The compelling arguments that would make us venture into that space weren't there at the time, and they still aren't," said Glenn Hill, manager of information-technology security for Northeastern.

But MIT is still considering such a proposal, according to James Bruce, the university's vice president for information systems. He said MIT is several weeks away from making a decision and would not disclose details.

After dismissing online distribution of music and movies for years, the entertainment industry is increasingly throwing its support behind fee-based services like Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store and Movielink, which sells movie downloads.

Music sales have plunged 26 percent in the last three years, said Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America. Some analysts say the sluggish economy and shrinking number of music stores are at least partly at fault, but Sherman places the blame squarely on file-sharing programs like Morpheus and Kazaa.

Although iTunes and other services have started to gain more paying users, getting college students to pay for music when they can download it for free over fast university networks has proven difficult.

"Universities are among the more challenging audiences for pay services because students have more time than money," Sherman said in the conference call with Spanier. "That's why they do so much more downloading than paying."

But at least one industry-backed service is trying to crack the student market. Movielink, which sells 24-hour access to downloads of more than 450 movies from six of the seven major Hollywood studios, today will kick off a marketing campaign that includes ads in college newspapers and banners in university bookstores.

The campaign coincides with upgrades to the Movielink service that allow faster downloads, access to Disney movies like "The Recruit," and the ability to save your place in the movie after your PC reboots. "We haven't marketed to students, so we don't know if they're a lost cause," said Movielink chief executive Jim Ramo. "We don't believe they are."

Chris Gaither can be reached at gaither@globe.com.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Freedom Tower
September 5th, 2003, 05:21 PM
Study: CDs may soon go the way of vinyl
Video rental stores also on the way out, report says
By Jeordan Legon
Thursday, September 4, 2003 Posted: 10:03 AM EDT (1403 GMT)

(CNN) -- In the 1950s, the revolution was all about rock 'n' roll. The 70s brought punk and disco. And sometime this decade, the rebellion shifted from the music genre to the digital domain.

Signaling a new era of media distribution, Forrester Research on Tuesday released a study predicting an even bigger drop in compact disc sales as Internet music file-sharing keeps gaining ground on the flagging CD.

Twenty years after its introduction, the CD is no longer hip. From 2001 to 2002, Nielsen SoundScan estimates that 62.5 million fewer were sold -- a 9 percent drop to 649.5 million. Plummeting CD sales have forced record shops to close. And the music industry is scrambling to lift sales -- fueling the growth of new digital music services and suing hard-core file sharers.

Downloadable future
Forrester's survey of 4,782 adults and 1,170 young people finds about 20 percent of all Americans download music from the Internet. Half of the downloaders say they're buying fewer CDs. The study forecasts that in five years, about a third of music sales will come from downloads, and CD sales will drop 30 percent from their 1999 peak.

"On-demand services are the future of entertainment delivery," said Josh Bernoff, principal analyst at Forrester. "CDs, DVDs, and any other forms of physical media will become obsolete."

The survey did find some bright spots for music executives. It shows that the industry might ultimately be helped by pursuing lawsuits against heavy file sharers. More than two out of three young downloaders told Forrester they'd stop if they risked jail or a fine.

At least 10 Windows-based music services are expected to emerge in the next nine months, the report said, and by the end of 2004, downloads and on-demand subscriptions may bring in $270 million. If the trend continues, three years from now digital music sales could account for $1.4 billion of the music industry's $12.8 billion in expected revenues.

Music companies are also trying new tactics to keep CDs alive. Last year, for example, Interscope gave a DVD to the first million shoppers who took home 'The Eminem Show' CD. They're also trying out new, more expensive technologies such as the super audio CDs and DVD audio, both of which profess to offer superior sound than the plain old CD.

"The CD is turning out to be a transitory sort of item," said Roy Trakin, senior editor of Hits magazine, a California-based tipsheet covering the music business. "The future of the CD may be in its enhanced content -- in a hybrid CD DVD and the more upscale formats like DVD audio and super audio CDs."

Movies, TV take note
The report urges movie and television companies to take notice of what's happening with music. One in five young file sharers has downloaded a movie, Forrester says, and among downloaders with more than 400 files, 70 percent had at least one video file.

In the coming years, growing access to digital video on-demand in U.S. homes and the hassle of late fees and trips to the store will push many customers away from video rental shops, Forrester says. By 2007, the research group estimates that video rental revenues at Blockbuster and Wal-Mart will drop 37 percent. And by 2008, overall revenues from DVDs and tapes will drop 8 percent.

"Consumers have spoken -- they are tired of paying the high cost of CDs and DVDs and prefer more flexible forms of on-demand media delivery," Bernoff said.

"Piracy and its cure -- streaming and paid downloads -- will drive people to connect to entertainment, not own it," the report concludes.

Freedom Tower
September 8th, 2003, 04:09 PM
RIAA Files Lawsuits Against File Sharers

Monday , September 08, 2003

LOS ANGELES — A number of music downloaders to the tune of 261 were slapped with lawsuits Monday from a recording industry that's sick and tired of having songs illegally downloaded and shared over the World Wide Web.

The lawsuits, which did not come as a surprise, highlight the industry's increasing aggressiveness in cracking down on the trading of pirated music files over file-sharing networks such as Kazaa (search). The overarching goal of the recording industry is to protect copyrighted material — a goal proving more difficult with the proliferation of the Internet.

Kazaa facilitates what is called peer-to-peer (P2P) networking (search), which allows the widespread distribution of content via the computer. Until now, the RIAA had focused its legal threats on actual P2P sites.

Monday's lawsuits were filed in federal courts around the country by the Recording Industry Association of America (search) on behalf of its members, which include Universal Music Group, BMG, EMI, Sony Music and Warner Music. More waves of lawsuits were expected, and the total could eventually reach the thousands.

"Nobody likes playing the heavy and having to resort to litigation," RIAA president Cary Sherman said in a statement. "But when your product is being regularly stolen, there comes a time when you have to take appropriate action."

The music industry says file sharing is a violation of copyright laws and blames the practice for a 31 percent decline in compact disc music sales in the last three years. The individuals sued Monday were sharing, on average, more than 1,000 songs each, the group said.

Recording industry critics and consumers, however, have argued that it's because of the high CD prices that sales have dropped.

An estimated 60 million Americans participate in file-sharing networks. Most Net users know trading music is illegal, but the practice has flourished in recent years since copyright statutes have been hard to keep up with the pace of technology.

When sharing songs, Web surfers basically allow other Internet users remote access to their hard drives. It's the actual sharers the RIAA went after, not users who simply copied songs from the Internet but didn't share their collection of tunes with others.

The site that brought the issue into the spotlight several years ago was Napster, the P2P site created by a college dropout that allowed users to share and download hundreds of thousands of songs.

That site, which had a central server, is now defunct. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision ruled against the company in 2001, saying the site allowed "vicarious [and] contributory copyright infringement."

The recording industry also announced an amnesty program for people who admit they illegally share music online and promise to delete any illegally downloaded music and not participate in illegal file trading again.

Individuals targeted by Monday's lawsuits would be ineligible.

"Nobody gets a free pass here," Sherman said, calling the amnesty offer "our version of an olive branch."

Some defense lawyers have objected to the amnesty provisions, warning that non-member song publishers and other organizations won't be constrained by the RIAA's promise not to sue. People who agree not to share files could be surrendering future rights if that use is declared legal.

The RIAA didn't say which Internet users it was suing or where they live. Federal courthouses in Boston and elsewhere reported receiving some lawsuits; court officials were assigning them to judges.

The group named as the defendant in each lawsuit the person who paid for the household Internet account. Lawyers said that in some states, such as California, parents are not explicitly liable for copyright infringement by minor children.

"We think it's a very good thing for parents to be aware of what their 14-year-old kids are doing," Sherman said.

The announcement came just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to readily identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files.

Earlier, the RIAA sued four college students it accused of making thousands of songs available for illegal downloading on campus networks. The group settled those cases for $12,500 to $17,000 each.

Monday's lawsuits resulted from subpoenas sent to Internet service providers (ISPs) and others seeking to identify roughly 1,600 people the group believes engaged in illegal music sharing.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs' Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has promised hearings on the industry's use of copyright subpoenas to track downloaders.

Coleman has been concerned that the campaign could ensnare innocent people, such as parents and grandparents whose children and grandchildren are using their computers to download music. Plus, some downloaders might not know they are breaking the law, he said.

U.S. copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but the RIAA said it would be open to settlement proposals.

The president of P2P service Grokster (search), which is fighting a legal battle of its own with the recording industry, told Reuters that the tactic would only waste money and alienate music fans.

"I feel sort of like the Russians fighting Napoleon," Grokster President Wayne Rosso told Reuters.

In addition to Grokster and Kazaa, defendants used the Gnutella, Blubster and iMesh networks, Sherman said.

In June, the industry announced that it would target hundreds of individual computer users who illegally share music files, hoping to cripple online piracy by suing fans.

It recently served subpoenas on at least 10 universities to get them to identify individual file-swappers. In response, many universities - hotbeds for music download activity — are now educating students on illegal file sharing and have made it more difficult for students to share music files over campus computer systems.

Some universities flat-out refused to give up the names of their student song-swappers.

A federal court in Massachusetts, for example, last month rejected several music industry subpoenas demanding that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College reveal the identities of students who allegedly shared copyrighted music online.

ISPs argue that handing over the identities of downloaders is burdensome and invades their subscribers' privacy.

The RIAA also said it already has negotiated $3,000 settlements with fewer than 10 Internet users who learned they might be sued after the RIAA sent copyright subpoenas to their ISPs. Sherman predicted more settlements after Monday, but the price to settle for anyone already named in a lawsuit will be higher.

"Now that lawsuits are actually being filed and people realize this is for real, we would expect many more to come forward and we would welcome that," Sherman said.

The RIAA has sent more than 1,500 subpoenas to Internet providers nationwide; Internet users overseas haven't been targeted. The lawsuits were timed to the return to college of students.

Sherman predicted "subsequent waves of litigation" determined by "how many lawsuits we can manage at any one time." He said money earned from civil penalties or settlements would pay for the RIAA's anti-piracy campaign.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Freedom Tower
September 8th, 2003, 04:37 PM
I suspect now that they are suing individuals for sharing music, people will be too afraid to contine sharing. However, how much can they sue them for? The cost of the CDs? If it's only that then it'd be worth the risk to download. But I think people are going to be too afraid of the consequences to continue sharing. And without millions of users P2P networks are useless. If the RIAA doesn't win the lawsuits, then I suspect P2P will continue.

September 8th, 2003, 10:49 PM
I suspect now that they are suing individuals for sharing music, people will be too afraid to contine sharing. However, how much can they sue them for? The cost of the CDs? If it's only that then it'd be worth the risk to download. But I think people are going to be too afraid of the consequences to continue sharing. And without millions of users P2P networks are useless. If the RIAA doesn't win the lawsuits, then I suspect P2P will continue.

They cant get anything from me because I have very little. Besides, the lawsuits state that they will sue onlu uploaders. I offer nothing for upload because it slows down the internet connection.
It is getting harder to get new music on Kazaa lite, which is what I use. Of most new songs that have been on there, the files are corrupt and full of loud, squeeling digital noise. They either have been put up there by the RIAA or more likely are tracks "ripped" on specially encoded CD's that have copy protection on them.
The Digital Copyright act gives the record industry way too much power, its another sign of how our rights and freedoms are vanishing, at the whim of the wealthy special interests.
I aint afraid of any subpeonas because its just another way of totalatarianism that I just will resist. Just like the unfriendly reception photographers get.

September 9th, 2003, 09:20 AM
September 9, 2003


Fighting the Idea That All the Internet Is Free


With the club of lawsuits and the olive branch of an amnesty program, the music industry is waging a campaign against online piracy that relies on both public relations and economics to attack the idea that everything in cyberspace can be free.

That will not be easy. The Internet sprang from a research culture where information of all kinds was freely shared. That mentality still resonates with the millions of Internet users who routinely download music onto their computers. But the emphatic message of the music industry's two-step program announced yesterday is that the days of plucking copyrighted songs off the Internet without paying for them are numbered.

The Recording Industry Association of America said yesterday that it had filed 261 suits against online music pirates, and it promised thousands more. Under its amnesty program, contrite file sharers who have not yet been sued will be spared if they erase their illicit music files and promise never to do it again.

"These lawsuits certainly tell consumers that `free' ultimately has a price," said Michael J. Wolf, managing partner in charge of the media practice at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm. "Originally, there was this perception that consumers would not pay for content — entertainment or information — over the Internet. But that perception is changing."

Mr. Wolf observed that in their own way all media companies will have to confront the overarching issue that the music industry is grappling with: how to respond to the challenge of digital distribution and find a profitable business model. "Nobody is immune," he said.

For the struggling music industry, there are at least some encouraging signs. Raising the price of illegal file sharing, according to a recent research report, could have an impact on the behavior of today's carefree music downloaders.

In the United States, about half of all young people ages 12 to 22 with access to the Internet have downloaded music from file-sharing networks like KaZaA and Morpheus, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Research in July. Of those, 68 percent said they would stop downloading music if there was a "serious risk" of being fined or sued.

"If the issue is, can you scare people? The answer definitely seems to be yes," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst for Forrester Research.

Yet scaring the customers is a tricky strategy for the music industry. Other industries, to be sure, have sued customers who misuse a product or service. The software industry, for example, has long waged a campaign against people who illegally copy or use software, and the credit card industry has aggressively pursued people who commit fraud with their cards.

But the problem group in other industries typically represents a small portion of potential customers. In the music industry, by contrast, young people are the most active users of music file-sharing systems and they purchase more CD's per person than older music listeners.

In beginning the crackdown campaign yesterday, Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association, took pains to portray the step as one reluctantly taken to protect the livelihoods of gospel singers, pit musicians and record store clerks — not just record executives and millionaire divas.

The music industry's actions yesterday dealt with one side of the economic ledger: raising the cost of illegal file sharing.

But the industry, according to analysts, must pay at least as much attention to its own economics if it is really to address the challenge presented by Internet file sharing.

The industry, they said, must provide convenient, reasonably priced and legal ways to download music digitally, and reduce the price of CD's. As positive steps, they point to Apple Computer's iTunes service, which allows users to download songs for 99 cents each; Real Networks' Rhapsody online music service; and the decision last week by Universal Music Group, the largest record company, to cut wholesale prices on CD's by up to 30 percent.

"The industry has to increase the price of illegal file sharing and make it more attractive to download music legally or purchase CD's," said Hal R. Varian, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. "That is the economic gap the industry is trying to close."

The music industry's travails, analysts agree, are in part self-inflicted — a result of reacting slowly and ineptly to the challenge of Internet file sharing. Still, other media industries face similar issues. Movies and television programs, though nothing like music yet, are beginning to be distributed over file-sharing networks.

"The movie industry and broadcasting is obviously watching this playbook with great interest, wondering if someday they may have to do the same thing," said Harold Vogel, president of Vogel Capital Management, an investment firm specializing in media companies.

Hollywood has far more time than the music industry to adopt business alternatives, like Movielink, which allows users to download movies legally. Movie files are much larger than music files, so downloading a film over the Internet is still inconvenient and time consuming. But the barrier to widespread movie file sharing will drop as Internet connections to homes continue to get faster.

Part of the challenge facing not just the recording industry but all media companies is how to deal with the lingering perception that the Internet is somehow a free resource. It never was, of course. In the early days, the government and universities subsidized it. E-mail continues to be free to users, though one unintended byproduct is the spread of spam, an irritation to consumers and a costly burden to corporations and network operators handling Internet traffic.

Most commercial Web sites still do not charge for viewing, though some do, and others charge for "premium" offerings.

"It was never really free," said Thomas R. Eisenmann, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. "The hope was that advertising would pay for everything. That's not necessarily a flawed model. It has just been a lot harder than most people thought."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

May 3rd, 2009, 10:10 AM
"the RIAA asked Depaul on July 2 to track down a user known as 'anon39023' who was allegedly offering at least eight songs."

For only eight songs people are getting tracked down. I know people with over a hundred mp3s on their computer. I wonder if they'll start suing people soon. This seems to be the only sucess the music industry has had so far against online piracy.

...Would you look at that! The music industry is STILL making money:

(From all the people that it's suing)

Why is it that the music industry continues to complain about music theft when they're making so much money in lawsuits?
Don't get me wrong; I don't like theft, but if you think about it, "the ends (sort of) justify the means." Music artists gain popularity, they sell more songs, sue people who pirate them, and make more money. Why do they care? If their song(s) are so popular that people are pirating them, doesn't that mean that there are so many people who want those songs that the pirating "industry" has put them online? If no one wants something, they wouldn't bother to put it online. I just wish that iTunes downloaded in mp3
format instead of mp4; I can't play them in anything else.

March 3rd, 2011, 04:35 AM
Not music, but still piracy.

OMG :eek:. I think this is crazy and illogical. ISPs are (I)ServiceProviders, not policemen. I'd hate to think where this could lead if implemented.

Net pirate ruling may force ISPs to cut off cheats

Ben Grubb

Australian households now face the very real possibility of having their ISP disconnect or suspend them from the internet if they pirate films or music online. And with the film industry claiming (http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/digital-pirates-given-free-ride-20110221-1b1vi.html) that one in every three Australians has committed movie theft, and that it lost $1.37 billion in a 12-month period to piracy as a whole, many will probably be targeted.

Although the Federal Court last week dismissed an appeal case brought against ISP iiNet by major film studios (http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/iinet-again-slays-hollywood-in-landmark-piracy-case-20110224-1b6a1.html), lawyers say the judgment paves the way for copyright holders to improve the copyright infringement notices they send to ISPs and therefore compel them to do something about unauthorised downloads.

The film studios, represented publicly in the case by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), claimed that the ISP had "authorised" its users' copyright infringement by doing nothing to stop it from occurring.

In a 2:1 judgment, the full bench of the Federal Court held iiNet not liable for acts of copyright infringement committed by users of its internet service. But the court left open in its judgment the possibility that, in different circumstances, an ISP may be held liable for authorisation of their users' infringements, according to law firm Freehills, and therefore have to do something about it.

Senior associate at law firm Middletons, Troy Gurnett, who specilises in intellectual property, said that Justice Arthur Emmett, who was lead judge in the case, had "in effect spelt out for the copyright owners [in his judgment] what they will need to do next time". "Some people are describing [the judgment] almost like a scheme, other people are describing it as a cheat sheet," he said.

Litigation lawyer and specialist in intellectual property and technology law at Clayton Utz, John Fairbairn, said that although last Thursday's judgment ruled in favour of iiNet, the film industry was given a very clear way going forward to stop Australians from downloading movies and music illegally via their ISP.

"As it stands, [the judgment] opens the way for copyright owners ... to improve the quality of the notices they provide to ISPs and also potentially put in place a regime where they'll agree to meet [the ISP's] costs [to act on the notices]," Mr Fairbairn said.

"And if they meet those requirements, an ISP may then come under an obligation to either send warning notices to those users [who download illegally] or to terminate the accounts of users that are repeat infringers."

Litigation lawyer and also a specialist in intellectual property and technology law at Freehills, Campbell Thompson, said that there was "a lot" in the judgment which was "positive for copyright owners".

"The judgments provide guidance on the circumstances in which ISPs will be liable for authorising copyright infringement," Mr Thompson said.

In a nutshell, this means an ISP such as Telstra, Optus or iiNet, among others, could easily be compelled by copyright owners to warn their customers about copyright infringements alleged to have occurred using a customers' connection - and if the ISP continues to receive notices, terminate the customer's service.

"As of [the day before the judgment] the law was that the ISP really had no obligation to take any steps to interfere in the activities of its users if it was acting merely as an ISP and if it had no other relationship with that consumer other than it was a user of those ISP services," said Clayton Utz's John Fairburn.

"So what this decision does is it unwinds that to some extent and says 'Well no, you've got to look at the individual facts and in this case ISPs do have the power to prevent the infringements by terminating accounts or by sending warning notices'. It all depends on the degree of knowledge that [the ISPs] have and even though we have three judgments there is consensus on that point," he said.

Where the judges differed was on what was required to give iiNet the level of knowledge to actually take steps against users who infringed on film and music studio's copyright, Mr Fairburn said.

He said one judge believed that the existing notices were sufficient, whereas "[the other two] judges thought that they weren't".

Fairburn said in his judgment, the lead judge, Justice Arthur Emmett, set out "what [AFACT] would need to do for [Justice Arthur Emmett] to consider there was an obligation to take steps and that includes unequivocal and cogent evidence of the infringement and some form of undertaking to reimburse the ISP for the costs of taking those steps and to indemnify it in the event termination of that users' account was unlawful".

Before the litigation began against iiNet, AFACT had been sending iiNet a list of customer IP addresses it had collated using a firm called DtecNet (http://dtecnet.com/) that would monitor (using the internet) iiNet users who were allegedly sharing or downloading unauthorised films using the BitTorrent (http://www.bittorrent.com/) protocol.

BitTorrent, according to the company that maintains it (http://www.bittorrent.com/btusers/what-is-bittorrent), is a protocol that allows internet users to download files quickly by allowing people downloading the file to upload (distribute) parts of it at the same time.

An IP address is assigned by an ISP to its customers and can be used to identify them if cross matched with records. AFACT had been sending copyright infringement notices to iiNet with those IP addresses, alleging certain customers had infringed on their members' copyright using BitTorrent.

However, Justice Arthur Emmett said in his judgment that "mere assertion by an entity such as AFACT, with whatever particulars of the assertion that may be provided, would not, of itself, constitute unequivocal and cogent evidence of the doing of acts of infringement".

What would was spelt out in his judgment. "Information as to the way in which the material supporting the allegations was derived, that was adequate to enable iiNet to verify the accuracy of the allegations, may suffice," he said. "Verification on oath as to the precise steps that were adopted in order to obtain or discern the relevant information may suffice but may not be necessary."

In a letter to iiNet before the litigation, AFACT said that it could contact each of its customers, could warn them against infringement and could impose sanctions if they continued to infringe copyright using iiNet's network, despite the warnings.

In terms of what sanctions AFACT were after is unknown. Middletons' Troy Gurnett said that he believed what AFACT were after was "a series of warnings but ultimately they are looking for the ISPs to either suspend or terminate their users' services".

He said that this would give more meaning to "the copyright owner’s war against internet piracy".

"I think that’s what they are looking for; they’re looking for either suspension or termination ultimately for repeat infringers," Mr Gurnett said.

But iiNet formed the view that it would not accept “the responsibility of judge and jury in order to impose arbitrary and disproportionate penalties purely on the allegations of AFACT”. Shortly after forming this view it was taken to court by AFACT.

"Losing the case wasn’t all doom and gloom for the copyright owners," Middletons' Troy Gurnett said. "They have been given some very strong clues about what they need to do in order to progress their fight against internet piracy."

Given this, Freehils' Campbell Thompson predicted "a fresh round of [infringement] notices" would be sent from AFACT [to ISPs]". The notices would now likely carry the information listed in the judgment "cheat sheet" Middletons' Troy Gurnett referred to.

In a recent opinion piece on this website, David Brennan, an associate professor at Melbourne University, said the film companies may consider their lost appeal a win on its own (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/iinets-hollow-victory-over-hollywood-20110225-1b7qa.html) "and if so there will not be a further appeal to the High Court", which they have 28 days from when the judgment was handed down to do so.

In a statement, iiNet said that "if AFACT or anyone else puts forward a workable proposal we are of course prepared to examine it".

AFACT executive director, Neil Gane, said he agreed "the judgment certainly paved the way for ISPs to be held accountable for online infringement".

On the matter of termination or suspension of internet users, Gane said AFACT had "never stated that termination is reasonable or unreasonable", despite asking ISP iiNet to impose sanctions, without naming what they might be.


March 3rd, 2011, 08:06 AM
It is like suing the phone company for people that commit sexual harassment over the lines.

The ISP's should not be responsible for monitoring or punishing this. If someone finds out, reports the transgression, they have a right to investigate. Once provenm, they should have the right to fine or shut them down (they being the movie/music industry).

And I HATE the way they keep quoting these absurd numbers for their losses.

1. Don't use MSRP. Almost NOBODY pays "full price" for a movie.

2. A free movie is more likely to be gotten than a $20 one. If 1M movies are downloaded, 1M sales are not lost. It is more realistic to say 250K or even 100K are lost to the industry.

I think that this is a real concern, but until theindustry STOPS inflating its own numbers when it comes to loss, and stops trying to garner sympathy from people when they themselves are so anxious to tout how many millions their pieces produce in their first weekend of release, until this happens I have very little reason to pity their loss.

Indeed they are being stolen from, but when your rep is not the greatest, few have sympathy for you when you are wronged.

March 3rd, 2011, 11:04 AM
Different countries, different rules. In point of fact, if you want to enforce anything on the internet, the ISPs are almost the only point at which it can be done.

March 3rd, 2011, 01:09 PM
Enforcing is one thing, forcing the ISP's to BECOME the enforcers (as well as investigators and such) is another.

Again, sexual harassment on the phone is not the responsibility of the Phone Company to police.

Having the ISP's monitor what is being transferred is akin to spying. It is only a matter of time before other mandates are made "for the safety of the country".

Terrorist threats?

What would our society be if a PM that is sent during a heated discussion lands you in Gitmo with no lawyer, trial, or means to communicate until they deem it "safe"?

Right now we are only dealing with private industries desire to protect their investment, but that alone makes it easy to bridge the way for other "protections".

2084 here we come....