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RIAA driving students toward suicide?

by James Denison / March 1, 2009 12:31 PM PST
http://blogs.zdnet.com/igeneration/?p=1018
After checking Twitter a few moments ago, I was shocked, horrified and appalled at the news that a student from Chicago threatened suicide over the forceful, bullying tactics of major media corporations.

I didn?t think my 200th post on ZDNet would result in me saying this.

I have a fairly controversial opinion when it comes to software piracy, and sharing music and other multimedia online. But considering hundreds of millions of people share and download music every day, the chances of being struck by one of these lawsuits is en par with winning the lottery or being killed in a nasty milk float accident....(more)
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Suicide threats over music piracy??
by Steven Haninger / March 1, 2009 7:23 PM PST

Geeesh. This guy must, otherwise, be living a full and happy life if that's his main worry.

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Yeah, I have received two e-mails from my ISP regarding this
by Ziks511 / March 1, 2009 8:02 PM PST

The trouble is, I don't do any of these things, not even music downloading any more, and I did not download the software items noted in the e-mails. I know who did though, so I informed him to be more careful.

The RIAA got their tails in a knot over the existence of the cassette tape market, because people were making compilation tapes and sharing new releases. To me this is an extension of the British and Continental system of having listening rooms in record stores. None of the records produced in those countries were shrink wrapped or sealed and you could "try before you buy". Now home taping *was* a gigantic step past that, but even the RIAA's own surveys said that people owned the originals of the tapes they were making for their own use, and that actual "piracy" was a 1%-3% problem. Given that the RIAA couldn't fudge its own figures better than that, it was negligible, but that didn't stop them from making a fuss. They probably earned more in subsequent sales of albums and CD's from people who wanted the original.

Now CD copying is a different question, but not one they can attack because they don't know who's doing it. Things go from hand to hand. So, because they were able to hire somebody to write the software to troll the internet for instances of file sharing, they are able to harass people who do share or download files.

Are they being put up to this by their lawyers as a way to generate bigger fees? The RIAA is the umbrella organization for all record companies, and movie companies etc etc. and are primarily a legal arm of the Recording Industry. I may be in error here, but I believe they were half of the responsible parties to the recording ban of the 1940's, (?'43 to '45) because record companies didn't want to pay royalties to the artists on radio broadcasts of their recordings, they wanted to keep the air fees for themselves. In this particular case it was the artists who eventually won.

It's a thorny issue that extends all the way to publishing. What right does a publishing company have to prevent you from reading something that is out of print, outside of a lending library? But they do, although the photo copier has rendered this question moot and second hand book stores make it easier to find the original.

Most people I know haunt used CD shops, and every Blockbuster sells off it's excess stock with the RIAA's blessing. You can E-bay for used or even new software. When the RIAA starts prosecuting E-bay, maybe I'll start giving it some credence, 'til then, it's just a shill and a shyster for greedy execs in the Recording Industry.

Rob

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I didn't do any of these things, I know who did
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 1, 2009 8:15 PM PST

If they did that on your computer, or if you pay for the ISP connection, then are you not responsible?

"I wasn't driving judge, but I gave the drunk man my car keys and let him drive my car and he killed those innocent pedestrians".

I think that ZDNET article is quite amazing. The 'student' who was threatening suicide if prosecuted by the RIAA was holding everyone involved to ransom.

Just think. I am shoplifting, the shop threatens to prosecute me, so I threaten to kill myself if they do so. Should I be surprised if anyone says, "Go ahead"?

Mark

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in principle I agree
by James Denison / March 1, 2009 10:38 PM PST

but from what I've seen on past cases the RIAA tries for excessive punitive fines against some individual downloaders who aren't really into heavy sharing of files.

There's also the problem of compromised systems. Just today I'm trying to find and clear some Trojan that AVG can't see that flooded my network with SMTP sends from my daughter's wireless laptop to numerous IP addresses, as revealed on my router logs. For now I have my wireless disabled and my own computer hardwired till I can clear her laptop.

Now what if instead of some Trojan she accidentally installed trying to use her computer as a spam slave instead had managed to make it a music file sharing site unbeknownst to her?

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Good point. Also, I'm told that RIAA and MS
by drpruner / March 1, 2009 11:30 PM PST
In reply to: in principle I agree

(for software) are somewhat heavy-handed when tracking down perps. A warrant equals a badge, in their thinking.

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In reply to your point.
by Ziks511 / March 2, 2009 12:06 AM PST

It wasn't via my computer or at my address. We have the same ISP at each location, but not the same address. He's a good mile or so away. It's just the ISP keeps thinking we're the same when we aren't, his bill is part of somebody else's, I pay my own.

I haven't heard of anybody in Canada being chased down by the Thought Police, but if it flies in the US, then we're likely next.

Rob

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You have the same IP address?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 2, 2009 1:38 AM PST

So the computers are a mile away but the ISP thinks this is you. Surely they would only do that if you were both assigned the same IP address. Something to look into I feel.

Mark

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Sounds like the RIAA....
by Josh K / March 2, 2009 4:54 AM PST

....needs to learn to distinguish between sharing a few songs with some friends (who among us has not made a "mix tape" for a friend or prospective boy/girlfriend?) and acts of piracy. I strongly believe that artists have a legal right to be compensated for the distribution of their work. I also believe you have to apply that law with some common sense.

Suicide may seem a bit over the top but when you're an adolescent, everything seems to be life-or-death. I've been there; you've been there.

(BTW, a big collector of Beatles bootleg LPs was --- --- John Lennon, and the Grateful Dead used to encourage fans to record their concerts, so in many cases the artists also understand the notion of flexibility.)

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