AfterDawn: Tech news

RIAA sues major backbone ISPs

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 17 Aug 2002 5:51 User comments (10)

The Recording Industry Association of America has finally gone crazy. At leant it sounds so. RIAA has sued several major backbone ISPs, including telecom giant AT&T, Cable&Wireless, Sprint, UUNet and Advanced Internet Services.
The suit seeks a court to rule that backbone providers (backbone providers are the networks who transfer virtually all the data between Internet locations, continents, etc -- despite what ISP you happen to use, your ISP rents the bandwidth from backbone providers anyway) have to block access from American users to website called which has servers located in People's Republic of China. The site offers illegal copies of latest chart hits in MP3 format.

Because RIAA's too long arm can't reach legally sites that are located in the PRC (the lawsuit says that the site operators are located in China as well), it now tries to block all the access to this site. But then this lawsuit raises scary questions -- if RIAA succeeds of blocking the site, other copyright owners are going to do the same. And there are helluva lots of things in the Net that are illegal in the U.S., but perfectly legal in other countries. So, if RIAA wins -- welcome censorship. We can only hope that ISPs are willing to fight the fight and not to bow to RIAA's request -- they have the financial power to fight back if they want to (unlike most of the other RIAA targets).

Source: Reuters

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10 user comments

118.8.2002 1:53

Okay, so if I understand it right, then the US government could sue AT&T for drug dealers using their telephone lines? This is ridiculous..... This reminds me of a joke about Americans : A man goes into a McDonalds and orders a Big Mac and Fries. After a few seconds his order is paid for and delivered and the server carelessly offers him the chance to 'Have a Nice Day!' A few hours later he is hit by a bus and injured. Later on that day, his boss orders him into the offices and sacks him. He then decides to ask counsels' opinion as to whether he could sue McDonalds as his day obviously did not turn out 'nice'. The crazy thing is I am not sure if this is a joke or a story? Paul.

218.8.2002 1:54

Oh boo-hoo-hoo. [[dabbing eyes]]. What a sin. Breaks my heart, it does. [[sniff]]. Gosh, you can't even *imagine* how broken-hearted I am over poor ol' Time-Warner's plight. Reminds me of when the Beatles were breaking up and they were suing the pants off each other. The RIAA has got it's work cut out for it this time - attacking THE BIGGIES like that is going to cost *plenty*. (Oh dear me, I'm just *so-o-o-o* depressed over this. [ahem]. You know, all they ever had to do was get off their collective asses and make *affordable*, non-proprietary files available for general download. People have been asking for them for years, and frankly, they (the monster labels) deserve everything they get for the piss-poor efforts they have shown so far. What few offers I've seen use DRM, licenses, and shitty, proprietary self-invented file formats and software players that nobody in their right minds would have anything to do with. One site, if I recall correctly, offered downloaders a maximum if *ten* (a lousy *TEN* mind you) tracks per month for burning onto an industry-standard CDR. (Big fuc---g deal). This latest paranoia on the part of the RIAA is going to cost the labels dearly, not just financially, but in the minds of all internet users. And to think -- they could have made an absolute FORTUNE by offering the public something even remotely reasonable and worthwhile to the end user/downloader. The entrenched major-label gravy train is over. In light of the billions they have made in the past, and their behoovement at losing it, maybe it will still take some time before they smarten up. (or when their sales flag so fiercely they have no choice). How I just LOVE reading updates like this! And you can bet yer bippy I'll be checking out this place, just for the sheer hell of it. You gotta love the Chinese. Aren't they the same fine folks who gave us the VideoCD? [[oh......*so-o-o* sad I is...]] Sob !! (Hand me a hanky, will ya?) -- Klingy --

318.8.2002 2:07

Don't forget it is AOL Time Warner now! These companies will be suing themselves soon enough!

418.8.2002 12:06

Here's an interesting thing: If the RIAA wins, they get case precedence to do this in the future. And not only do they get it, but so do other corporations. Eventually, it could be adapted to cover illegal material in general, and the Government will be blocking illegal overseas websites like crazy. In the end, if that happens, we'll end up with a level of isolation from the outside world that Communist China was experiencing not too long ago. I admit that it's a bit of a stretch, but if the RIAA wins, case precedence will open the floodgates. And then, think of all the filtering and blocking technologies that will need to be developed and implemented and maintained by the backbone operators. Then all overseas internet traffic will have to be monitored for in case it is related to one of a huge list of blocked websites. Imagine the overseas internet performance hit that will occur!

519.8.2002 2:30

One interesting point is that big share of world's traffic goes through the U.S. even that it doesn't originate from the U.S. and doesn't reach a server located in the U.S. Easiest example is obviously Canada -- accessing from Canada to a site that is located in Mexico and the traffic will most likely be routed through the U.S. What happens with that traffic? Will backbone ISPs be required to block this request as well, if the Mexican site is listed as blocked site? And the People's Republic of China is still blocking the access, just a while ago they blocked access to BBC for couple of days, after BBC ran a story of one religious cult that is banned in mainland China. But to me, it sounds that U.S. is very soon going to be more tightly controlled country than China has ever been.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

619.8.2002 3:00

Many think it already is, the US government just has better PR! Paul.

720.8.2002 0:07

Ugh...what a load of crap. Let's all letter our congressmen and the executives of a lot of businesses. And lets stop buying CDs from the labels that support this madness for a good measure, shall we?

Traumatize they neighbor

820.8.2002 12:41's excellent opinion on this:

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

921.8.2002 0:21

......hmmmm..... would have liked to see the cartoon in question, but I kept getting a "Page Cannot Be Displayed" error. (IE 5) -- Mike --

1021.8.2002 0:46

Oops! Update to the above....... the cartoon did indeed (finally) come through. The cartoon's hilarious! (And true too). - This whole fiasco has the potential to backfire right in the RIAA's face. What happens when the RIAA *needs* the major international service providers to carry the record labels' ("legitimate" "sanctioned") downloading sites? If the RIAA causes too much of a stink for the ISPs, maybe they'll just block *those* sites for a while in retaliation! (swat! swat!) - K.A. -

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