AfterDawn: Tech news

RIAA warns students about illegal downloading

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 01 Mar 2007 6:06 User comments (15)

RIAA warns students about illegal downloading The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sent out a stark warning to U.S. college students about downloading and sharing music files illegally on the Internet. The trade group, which represents the recording industry in the United States, including the big four major record companies, also offered students a way to settle disputes out of court.
The RIAA said it has sent out 400 letters to 13 Universities warning about copyright infringement lawsuits against students who use the University networks for piracy. It has asked the Universities to notify students that they will be sued, but can settle the cases before any lawsuit will be filed.

The trade group will continue to send out hundreds of letters each month in an effort to stamp out file sharing amongst students. Thousands of P2P users across the United States have been sued by the RIAA for using software like Limewire and Kazaa to download and share music files without paying for them.

According to BigChampagne, more than 1 billion songs are traded for free monthly, setting file sharing way ahead of the legal market. The RIAA and global record industry has blamed this statistic for a rapid decline in physical CD sales since 2000.

Source:
Reuters

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15 user comments

11.3.2007 7:09

"Thousands of P2P users across the United States have been sued by the RIAA for using software like Limewire and Kazaa to download and share music files without paying for them. "

This sentence may be confusing to some people. Some might think it means download OR share, and I know some articles iv read flat out say “sued for downloading” so let me clear this up for people who don’t know:

AT NO TIME IN THE HISTORY OF P2P HAS ANYONE BEEN SUED FOR JUST DOWNLOADING! PEOPLE GET SUED FOR SHARING! THE ACT OF SIMPLY DOWNLOADING A SONG WITHOUT THEN RE-SHARING IT IS LEGAL! THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD GET IN TROUBLE IS IF THE PROSECUTION (criminal, not civil) CAN PROVE BEHOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT YOU HAD 100% CERTANTY THAT THE SONG WAS BEING ILLEGALY SHARED (THEN ITS POSESION OF STOLEN PROPERTY, STILL A VERY MINOR FINE AND OFFENCE). THIS OF COURSE IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE VAST AMOUNT OF INFORMATION ON THE WEB, AND IT CAN NOT POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED THAT A WEB USER PERFORM LEGALITY RESEARCH ON EVERY LAST THING HE CLICKS ON, ITS ESPECILY HARD TO PROVE SINCE SOME RECORD COMPANIES ACTUALY DO SHARE THEIR SONGS ONLINE LEGALY, JUST LIKE THEY POST THEIR OWN VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE. AND WHAT WOULD THE PENALTY BE? A DOLLAR? THE REASON THEY GO AFTER SHAREERS IS BECUASE THE SIMPLE ACT OF SHARING IS UNAUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTION, AND IF YOU HAVE SHRED THOUSADNS FO SONGS (HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO USE LIMEWIRE BUT ARENT SMART ENOUGH TO TURN OFF SHARING, AND THEN THEY SHARE THOUSANDS OF SONGS WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT) THEN A JUDGEMENT OF SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS IS ACTUALY REASONABLE, SINCE THE CRIMINAL PENALTY CAN BE AS HIGH AS 250,000 DOLLARS.

Think of it this way. Some dude is on the street giving out apples. You take an apple. You take your apple home and put it in your kitchen. Cops ring the door bell, they say that dude giving out the apples actually stole them and had no right to hand them out. YOU STILL HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG, BECAUSE THE LAW CODE SAYS “SOMEONE KNOWINGLY POSSESES STOLEN PROPERTY”! the dude didn’t have a big sign that says “stolen apples” did he? no judge on earth is going to waste court time trying to determine if you know you were downloading an illegal copy of a song or not, especially when the fine will be like 100 bucks (plus youll have to give the song back). Because so much on the web IS legal this defense for downloading is pretty much air tight. I mean, do you actually know for 100% fact that the song you’re downloading is legal or not? You don’t, so your fine.

i ask that when afterdawn (or anyone) passes along an AP or Rueters article about p2p just go over it and make revisions so its clear that DOWNLAODING IS NOT ILLEGAL AND YOU WILL NOT GET IN TROUBLE FOR IT, ONLY SHARING!

Sorry for all the caps, its just 7 years of frustration over misinformation in news articles about p2p coming out.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Mar 2007 @ 7:12

21.3.2007 7:43

If you read my articles i always try to get across the point that infreingement lawsuits happen to uploaders, the reason I also say downloading is because, you can bet any money that the people who get sued first got the pirated files FROM P2P and then "RE-SHARED" the files, so my sentence makes perfect sense "download and share music files without paying for them".

31.3.2007 9:35
webe123
Inactive

Originally posted by georgeluv:
"Thousands of P2P users across the United States have been sued by the RIAA for using software like Limewire and Kazaa to download and share music files without paying for them. "

This sentence may be confusing to some people. Some might think it means download OR share, and I know some articles iv read flat out say “sued for downloading” so let me clear this up for people who don’t know:

AT NO TIME IN THE HISTORY OF P2P HAS ANYONE BEEN SUED FOR JUST DOWNLOADING! PEOPLE GET SUED FOR SHARING! THE ACT OF SIMPLY DOWNLOADING A SONG WITHOUT THEN RE-SHARING IT IS LEGAL! THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD GET IN TROUBLE IS IF THE PROSECUTION (criminal, not civil) CAN PROVE BEHOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT YOU HAD 100% CERTANTY THAT THE SONG WAS BEING ILLEGALY SHARED (THEN ITS POSESION OF STOLEN PROPERTY, STILL A VERY MINOR FINE AND OFFENCE). THIS OF COURSE IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE VAST AMOUNT OF INFORMATION ON THE WEB, AND IT CAN NOT POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED THAT A WEB USER PERFORM LEGALITY RESEARCH ON EVERY LAST THING HE CLICKS ON, ITS ESPECILY HARD TO PROVE SINCE SOME RECORD COMPANIES ACTUALY DO SHARE THEIR SONGS ONLINE LEGALY, JUST LIKE THEY POST THEIR OWN VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE. AND WHAT WOULD THE PENALTY BE? A DOLLAR? THE REASON THEY GO AFTER SHAREERS IS BECUASE THE SIMPLE ACT OF SHARING IS UNAUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTION, AND IF YOU HAVE SHRED THOUSADNS FO SONGS (HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO USE LIMEWIRE BUT ARENT SMART ENOUGH TO TURN OFF SHARING, AND THEN THEY SHARE THOUSANDS OF SONGS WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT) THEN A JUDGEMENT OF SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS IS ACTUALY REASONABLE, SINCE THE CRIMINAL PENALTY CAN BE AS HIGH AS 250,000 DOLLARS.

Think of it this way. Some dude is on the street giving out apples. You take an apple. You take your apple home and put it in your kitchen. Cops ring the door bell, they say that dude giving out the apples actually stole them and had no right to hand them out. YOU STILL HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG, BECAUSE THE LAW CODE SAYS “SOMEONE KNOWINGLY POSSESES STOLEN PROPERTY”! the dude didn’t have a big sign that says “stolen apples” did he? no judge on earth is going to waste court time trying to determine if you know you were downloading an illegal copy of a song or not, especially when the fine will be like 100 bucks (plus youll have to give the song back). Because so much on the web IS legal this defense for downloading is pretty much air tight. I mean, do you actually know for 100% fact that the song you’re downloading is legal or not? You don’t, so your fine.

i ask that when afterdawn (or anyone) passes along an AP or Rueters article about p2p just go over it and make revisions so its clear that DOWNLAODING IS NOT ILLEGAL AND YOU WILL NOT GET IN TROUBLE FOR IT, ONLY SHARING!

Sorry for all the caps, its just 7 years of frustration over misinformation in news articles about p2p coming out.

Your argument is VERY FLAWED when it comes to the most popular way to get files...BIT TORRENT! You HAVE to share or upload files when using Bit Torrent....it is simply the way the protocol is set up. There ARE cheats for BT clients that show you are uploading when you are not, but most private trackers will ban anyone caught using such cheats and they have ways of detecting such clients.

Bit Torrent is set up so that a person HAS to upload while he is downloading....he has no choice. So if the authorities catch you using BT and uploading back even a small section of copyrighted material....they have you COLD! This is how people get busted by using Bit Torrent all the time. Some are not even the original uploader of the file, but IT DOES NOT MATTER! If they catch you distributing even a small portion of a copyrighted file....that is all they need to prove that you were illegally distributing copyrighted material.

It IS true that some clients like the limewire client in particular allow you to turn off sharing, but these protocols are not as popular as Bit Torrent. So to say that you cannot be sued for just downloading is correct....but the PROBLEM with using Bit Torrent is that the option of "turning off sharing" is NOT POSSIBLE, because when Brahm Cohen invented the protocol,he wanted to make it so that LEGAL files could be shared and made it to where EVERYONE using the BT client had to contribute something to the files.

If people only want to download and get their files at blazing speeds ....then Newsgroups are the answer, as most newsgroups DO NOT WANT you to upload ANYTHING unless they know you.

41.3.2007 11:33

RIAA is just a big clown here... warning students...

lol, only in America :D

51.3.2007 12:02

i got busted 3 times from my isp for downloading stuff on bittorent they originally said i had 3 strikes then they turn it off. I got the 3rd strike now im on the 4th final one so i dont dl anymore haha

61.3.2007 13:35

Being a university student, I find it interesting to see how the matter is being handled. On one hand, the RIAA is able to hand out punishments, while the university itself is also able to punish the students. As one user alluded to, my university has a three strike policy against file sharing. Punishment can range from loss of internet priveleges, to expulsion from the university. Personally, I would fear the wrath from the universities than the RIAA. I think the problem at universities is that they have blazingly fast connections, and it must seem so easy to the students to access the files.

71.3.2007 19:37
duckNrun
Inactive

I am not a lwayer so take this for what it's worth lol

I would think that INTENT would come into play when prosecuting someone for whatever reason, be it downloading or be it buying an apple that turns out to be stolen.

When someone downloads the file: SWE3_Revenge_of_Sith_movie_Complete the question that the prosecutor would have to ask is what was the downloaders intent? Regadless of whether the file was complete, or whether it was Dan Glickman of the MPAA giving you the bird, one could very easily argue that the INTENT was to download copyrighted material in the form of the movie Star Wars-Revenge of the Sith.

If someone wallking down the street came to a newstand that had plastered all over the stand: "APPLE SHORTAGE HITS AMERICA! APPLES now selling for $2 each!" and this stand was outside a Safeway with a sign that said "Sorry out of apples due to apple thief" then the person turned the corner and in the alley was some guy selling apples out of a Safeway crate for 10 cents each, looking around furtively. The question would be did the buyer INTEND to buy stolen property or just think he was getting a 'good deal' from a nice guy standing in the alley?

I agree that the cost of going after downloaders is part of the reason no one does. And I agree that it might be hard to prove someone was most certainly trying to steal media (Perhaps they thought the above movie file was really just a trailer, or perhaps they heard about Glickman giving the bird and wanted to see it?).

But let's not try to pretend that when people are downloading content that they are not INTENDING to and EXPECTING to get the content that is described by the file they are downloading. And it is their INTENT that makes them guilty while it is the law that lets them get away with it.

81.3.2007 22:12

If there is good music out there i would buy it. But at the moment only single tracks come out that are good not albums. The last two albums i bought were Alica Keys Songs in A minor and John Legend. Where is the good stuff gone.

91.3.2007 22:47

Hey here is a thought:

The Mafiaa doesn't INTEND to stop your "fair use rights" with DRM, but they are EXPECTING to stop them with the DMCA. It is their INTENT to make anyone into a "criminal" just for trying to exercise their "fair use rights", under the DMCA of course!

I got an idea but don't know if it's new?!
Everyone always starts the don't buy gas for a day thing on the net, right.

How about don't buy any cd's or dvd's for a day....say like a big release day like Tuesday... and instead send emails to their congressional rep. and the mafiaa folks as to why this is happening. Think that would get their attention. Unfortunately I don't think the numbers are there to jolting effect that's needed!!!!

102.3.2007 8:28

to the people who say "this argument does not apply to bit torrent"

you are 100% correct. i too have been warned twice by my isp who was given a warning from a company whos only purpose is to catch people using bt illegally to upload copywrited material. one was a new movie scr and one was the first ep of a brand new premium channel tv show season. my isp sent me copies of the letter. the only gripe they had was the uploading, not the downloading.
i was pretty hart broken when i learned i couldnt use bt anymore but then i just learned how to dl from IRC like back in the day, they go slower but have no sharing requirement. you could also just use one jump in another country to mask it too. i decided not to do that because i dont realy need bt that bad.
i then stopped using irc and switched to gnutella 2. i have seen new large file downloads go as fast as 400 KB a second, remember thats no sharing. thats a 640 by 350 movie in under an hour. the only thing i miss about bt is being able to get shit day zero, and the vast majority of old movies on torrentbox. you can still get most of the old movies on gnutella 2 but finding them is harder than just clicking a link.

113.3.2007 3:03

I have used BT, and my DL rates sucked! I could only get a max of 20K and I have a 3Meg cable comnnection. Now my question! Are they looking at people who are sharing ROMS! I have several different emulators(atari, nintendo, arcade), of which I have some games for. I download the roms, but generally don't share. I don't like leaving that kind of access to my PC. I quit downloading because of all the lawsuits. If I am reading this thread correctly, I don't have to fear the DL'ing just the UPLOADING? I don't let my kids DL anymore. So all the horror stories are basically from people caught UPLOADING!! Thanks for this forum. Younz guyz are great!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Mar 2007 @ 3:05

126.3.2007 14:12

Originally posted by Netman66:
I have used BT, and my DL rates sucked! I could only get a max of 20K and I have a 3Meg cable comnnection. Now my question! Are they looking at people who are sharing ROMS! I have several different emulators(atari, nintendo, arcade), of which I have some games for. I download the roms, but generally don't share. I don't like leaving that kind of access to my PC. I quit downloading because of all the lawsuits. If I am reading this thread correctly, I don't have to fear the DL'ing just the UPLOADING? I don't let my kids DL anymore. So all the horror stories are basically from people caught UPLOADING!! Thanks for this forum. Younz guyz are great!
one of my freinds got warned over a dozen times for usuing bit torrent to share ps2 games. his colleges isp had no warning limit, so they just kept emailing them to him and he just kept ignoring them. i think he still has them all printed out somewhere. game companies take a veyr lighter aproach to piracy than movie companies or music companies. i think they eventualy gave up on warnning him, or the people from that school anyway. game companies will only warn you for uploading, unless you are a "source" and you are a major distributer, then they will go after you.

my guess as to why the game industry is laxer about piracy is because the game industry is growing every year, it has surpassed the movie and record industries combined in terms of money they make. they do not need to scare people into not pirating, because most people arent smart enough to pirate games, where as any housewife can fire up limwire and download songs, and super fast too, games are usualy gigs and gigs and most people dont download them cause they take forever.

to adress your concerns over downloading (anything, be it movie screeners, songs, or ROMS), i have put out the call on several of the big name p2p message boards to name me one instance where someone was sued or criminaly charged for the act of JUST DOWNLOADING and to give acompanying case name and referance number with the state it was filed in and no one has given me one yet. you would think that it would be very easy to find one with all the blogs and websites so closly watching every last one of these lawsuits.

i myself read just about every article i can find about these lawsuits and internet laws and such and in all my years of downloading, from napster to gnutella, i have never once found evidence that a lawsuit has been filed against someone for JUST DOWNLOADING.

for this reason i beleive that not one person ever has been sued for the simple act of just downloading. the lawsuit would cost more than the recovery, unless some crazy ass judge decided to level a $3,000 punative damages punishment for downloading one song, i dont ever see it happening when the criminal fine for stealing physical things of much greater value is far less. and downloading isnt even realy stealing, the person they got it from still has it dont they? its just copying.

138.3.2007 8:26

Regarding Bit Torrent, from everything have heard thus far, the RIAA/MPAA isn't really going after individual BT users. Instead, they have been targeting the indexing sites and tracker ops, since BT needs a distro point for torrent files and a tracker for everyone to leech through. So rather than spend a boatload of money going after the millions of individual BT users one-at-a-time, they have been threatening and suing the BT sites.

148.3.2007 8:30

Originally posted by Netman66:
I have used BT, and my DL rates sucked!

It all depends on how "active" the torrent is. If the torrent is popular (ie: you have a boatload of seeders and peers connected) then your speeds will be killer. I have gotten in excess of 700kbps many times. Sometimes over 1 meg per second.

On the other hand, if there are on one or two seeders and a handful of peers, then your speed will not be good as a general rule.

159.6.2007 0:26

Transmission is a mac osx client that can COMPLETELY disable outgoing traffic. It's a global setting within the client, where you can set the upload cap to zero K. Tested & true - not a byte everytime (of course u need a seeder that punts out to leechers). now what if I were to download a KNOWN RIAA flagged file, like an HBO series episode?

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