AfterDawn: Tech news

750 'songlifters' sued by RIAA

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 01 Feb 2006 9:38 User comments (13)

750 'songlifters' sued by RIAA The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has continued its fight against music file sharing by filing another 750 "John Doe" lawsuits against individuals Cary Sherman would describe as "songlifters". There was a drop of CD sales in the United States as well as worldwide in 2005, and once again file sharing has taken a large portion of the blame from major music labels. However, there is still no solid evidence that these lawsuits are working.
Slyck, one of the world's biggest and most respected P2P community websites, has pointed out oddities in both the RIAA press release and comments made by Cary Sherman. As most of you know, these lawsuits target individuals that "distribute" music illegally - meaning uploaders. So why is it that Cary Sherman seems to think that these lawsuits target "downloaders". Of course, you can argue that most uploaders are uploading music they already downloaded, but that's not what they are being sued for.

"While the music companies continue to innovate and develop new digital ways to offer music to fans, we will do our part to hold illegal downloaders accountable. Prosecuting songlifting is integral to helping protect the ability of record companies to invest in the up-and-coming bands of tomorrow and level the playing field for legal online services," said Cary Sherman, President, RIAA. "The illegal downloading of music is just as wrong as shoplifting from a local store. It's against the law, and breaking the law must carry consequences."

The most likely explanation is not that Mr. Sherman just doesn't have a clue how P2P even works, but that he's selectively picking the word "downloaders" instead to scare casual P2P users or deter possible new users. In order to get caught in an RIAA lawsuit, you would probably have to be connected to a network constantly with a lot of files available for upload. Some P2P users however, might only connect for 5 minutes to download 2 or 3 songs at a time, and may never upload.

You also have to take into account that P2P is not the only place on the Internet where you can easily get music for free. Saying "music downloaders" instead of "music uploaders" would probably grab the attention of parents who know their kids get their music for free online. Since 2003 however, when the lawsuits started, even the selective wording doesn't seem to be scaring many people off.


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13 user comments

11.2.2006 10:17

The genie has been out of the bottle since before Napster and needless to say he AINT going back in!

21.2.2006 14:19

"Songlifters"? I guess that's them trying to reinforce their past cries of, "Downloading a song from P2P networks such as KazAA is no different from stealing it from your local music shop" Well, I don't feel like a thief. And I don't feel scared, for the total number of people sued in Britain (for music sharing)is just 1/8th of the total number in this new wave by the RIAA alone..

31.2.2006 18:40

So let me get this straight... Since Napster filesharing became illegal filesharing which was mostly put on p2p by uploaders which somehow became all downloaders in general which now became songlifters. Wow.

42.2.2006 10:26

"So why is it that Cary Sherman seems to think that these lawsuits target "downloaders"." Dela, You are 100% correct to empahsize this point. Thjere reasonw why is because Sherman and the RIAA, are , well, LIARS. More to the point Serman and the RIAA are fraudulently attempting to tell the public that legal activities are illegal as a scare tactic. Once again, it is a statistical CERTAINTY that employees of the RIAA download material with problematic copyright status, and without the permission of coyright holders. Every day RIAA and MPAA personnel, both within and OUTSIDE of conducting investigations, download material that the original and current copyright holder has not given them permission to download. Some may have noted I have made a point of noting the difference between uploading and dowloading on several threads. I do know that for torrent the issue is mixed together, but it is very important to note that downloading is also broadly and widely done by EVERYONE with a computer and a connection by HTTP (web surfing) POP3 (email), NNTP (usenet), FTP, etc. There is no such legal concept in US law as "illegal downloading" because a person has no provable knowledge. Thelegal tests over similar situations, both in common law predating computers, and in cases specifically about internet activities say the distributor has the burden and is resposnible for material they distribute, but going after the receiver is either outright impossible or requires a huge burden aof proof they knew ahead of time. EI in a receiveing stolen goods case the goods can be taken back, but any other penalty, criminal or civil requires a huge burden of proof the person knew the material was not legitimately distributed. Everyday people in America get magazines and printed material with photos or text that has not been properly purchased from copyright holders. The distributors cannot say "I did not know." The persons getting the material cannot be prosecuted. I have seen estimates that 1 in 30, to 1 in 5,0 current pages on the net contain material withou proper pemrissions. the average surfer goes through several times tha number of pages every day. I have downloaded binaries labled as open source that were not. I have gotten thousands of emails, both from people I know, as well as spam , containing material that may well be copyrighted and sent without permission. The laugh is ion the RIAA though. What they and the MPAA are doing is absurd. (the MPAA by saying backing up my kids legall bought toy story disk is the same as the guy in china pressing and selling 5,000 toy story disks). Is it illegal to back up CSS and ARCOOS disks? really? I submit a jury would laught that out of court, and more importantly the MPAA knows it. Is it illegal to donwnload? Is there even such a real or even theoretical concept as "illegal downloading"? NO The stated logic of the RIAA is this: If someone uses an imporperly obtained image on a billboard that person as well as people reading the billboard as they drive by are criminals. Journalists fall for this left and right. I have seen the term used on CNET and Wired! all that says is the writers are morons. afterdawners should whenever they see this term "illegal downlods" used in any forum they visit anywhere on the web, clarify strongly that no such legal concept exists, no suit, settled suit or legal action or legal argument has EVER been made against anyone for downloading. The RIAA is relying on scare tactics based on a lie

53.2.2006 13:20

Actually I am a copyright holder and they DO have my permission.

63.2.2006 16:32

CD sales aren't declining because of file-sharing. They're declining because the MUSIC SUCKS! It's just that simple. The recording industry is really at fault here for sitting on its duff and doing nothing to pioneer online music. Had they been out of the gate six or seven years ago with download services they would have given consumers a legal way to download before filesharing got big. Or they could have gone into partnership with Napster. What do they do? Nothing. Instead they sue 12 yr old girls. But the basic problem is crappy music. Nearly every song is written and produced by the same coterie of schlockmeisters who know nothing about music. Simon Cowell is just the latest example of a long string of manufactured music slugs. Maurice Star showed it could be packaged for mass consumption (to be fair I suppose we should give the Monkees pride of place as the first manufactured band). Lou Perlman copied him (ironically, Perlman owned the charter airplane service that Star used for New Kids on the Block!). He saw what Star was doing and realized that anyone with a double digit IQ and the ability to tap financing could replicate Star's vanilla version of New Edition. Ultimately, the music industry works like Hollywood. The execs that control it--and for all intents and purposes there are really only three recording companies in the entire world now, the indies have all been gobbled up by the conglomerates--only want what's proven to work. That's fine for making cars, doughnuts, hamburgers and widgets. But for art it's guaranteed to produce one thing: GARBAGE. RIAA want CD sales to increase? Make music that doesn't suck! Sign people for their TALENT not their marketability. Even people with talent (e.g. Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken) are forced to perform the same interchangeable trash everyone else is doing. To borrow from one of the greatest songs of all time: the song remains the same, only the voices change. And even they are, for the most part interchangeable. It kills me to watch American Idol and see someone with talent denied a shot because they don't have the "right" look. And it's utterly ironic to have Paula Abdul, of all, people judging singing. Everyone over 30 knows she sang almost none of the songs on "her" albums. The real singing was done by a ghost singer--who successfully sued to be given credit on the albums. Abdul's barely passable voice was layered over the ghost singer to give a Paula "flavor" if you will. In fact, according to some industry people I've known, Paula sang only 10% of the vocals on the CDs. In concert, she never sang a note. It was all lip-synching. The official excuse was that she couldn't dance and sing at the same time. The FACT is that she simply didn't have the vocal chops to sing at all. So it's entirely fitting that she's finding "talent" for schlockmesiters like Simon Fuller and the senile relic Clive Davis.

73.2.2006 16:38

To prove my point even further, my wife attended a recent concert by Clarkson. Clarkson said on stage that she'd been forced to sing garbage songs against her will. Now that she's (and Aiken) have broken their contracts with Sony BMG and are selling millions of records, they can dictate what kind of songs they want. Hence their post-19 record releases actually contain a few songs that aren't total garbage. But new acts have no choice. They're forced to sign straitjacket contracts that allow the label to determine what they wear, their hair color, as well as what material they perform. And, for all we know, who they date--just like Hollywood in its so-called "Golden Years." Ooops, all that bold wasn't intentional. That's what happens when ya forget to put the in the right place.

84.2.2006 18:40

It's starting to become clear that the RIAA is mearly using lawsuits as a source of income. It is my understanding that most of their lawsuits come with an "easyout" option of paying an amount of money and it goes away. My guess is the music industry is simply hoping the number of people who take the easy out will be more than the number that fight it and they can turn a profit with out really doing anything. Will their evil never end?

911.2.2006 11:59

Man, for you proponents of the p2p 'sharing' revolution, I've always thought you look like a bunch of fools. 'Sharing' anything is I have a dollar, you ask me for a dollar- you need one- I give it to you. We both don't have a dollar now, I just 'shared' my dollar with you until you pay me back- I "shared" with you. Justification for stealing, that's all this is about to complainers of the RIAA/MPAA (whatever they are) and the record industry coming for THEIR MONEY. What are you people idiots? Me? I could care less, but nor do I live the lie, I was around in the napster days, downloaded my share of 'music,' and also came to the undenyable conclusion- if I don't BUY it, I'm STEALING it. No matter what you say, no matter what argument you try to put up- there is none no matter how intellectually crafty you may be. 'Backing up' a software program was designed for the customers convenience- to 'back up' an audio cd or video dvd? Not needed, never was- if you can't take care of your disc well enough that it won't play anymore- in REALITY, you have to buy yourself a new one, end of story. You people all know this- but since you can get what your not paying for? You're going to put up a fight to be able to do it for as along as you can. But this *fight* is only in bs, and conversation of how "SHAREING" ie- STEALING *should be* sniff, sniff, legal- on message boards around the globe. Instead- you're in court- you were 'caught' with 5,000 'shared' not 'stolen' mp3's' from commercially available audio-cd's. Now what. Who's going to win? Why are they going to win? What's your defense? Why did they win? Why are you paying a big fine, doing perhaps jail time or community service? Right, right- "The MAN" came and infringed upon my RIGHTS, so now I'm picking up garbage for six months cause I "WON" in court. All this 'talk' about "oooh, the riaa/mpaa/record companies coming for THEIR MONEY makes me so freakin' mad...." yeah- whatever- tell it to the judge. All the arguments about 'sharing' don't hold water and never did- "but, it's a 'big bad evil corporation'," "it's a large company, they'll never miss 1,000 copies," "but, there's only one or two good songs on any audio-cd," "but I'm 'sharing' a cd or tracks I BOUGHT to five million of my closest most intimate friends... online." Come'on people- get a life. More, not only can the crowd not even not trip over your own feet in all this- In example, it's even stated in this article- "...would probably grab the attention of parents who know their kids get their music for free online." For "free?" What music for "free?" I thought music was "SHARED" -but not for "FREE?" Where did this little kid go online to get his FREE music? I want FREE music, I don't want "SHARED" music, that's crap, I want FREE music, it's better. Why should parents be "tripped" up over 'words' or 'definitions' to begin with? Ahhhh, if they knew their kid was "stealing," (even though in a counter-culture p2p world this is referred to as- "sharing") they could be held liable for "receieving stolen property" -this might be a reason why little billy's parents may not like all that "FREE" music little billy downloaded. Look you idiots- if some parents little kid can get his music for 'free,' that would be a problem, but good thing "we're" (wink, wink) "sharing" our music.... A thousand examples of ripping off the "MAN" can be made with one thousand one replies, get a life people. If you're really going to try to defend the activity- at least have a little class and some brains to NOT bother to tell everyone you too are 'doing it' on message boards around the globe bitching about the record companies whom have come for THEIR MONEY. Whether you like this post or not- doesn't matter, you people are just too pathetic to not finally post about it. That YOU bother to post your own idea's on the matter for the world to see- kinda pathetic. I'll also be crying like a little girl because none of you guys will like me now for pointing you people BACK to REALITY where since 'zero-paid' (huh? thought we were "sharing") came along. sniff, sniff... sc

1011.2.2006 15:38

'Backing up' a software program was designed for the customers convenience- to 'back up' an audio cd or video dvd? Not needed, never was- if you can't take care of your disc well enough that it won't play anymore- in REALITY, you have to buy yourself a new one, end of story. Wow, back to school for you. your statemetn is neither neither logical nor held up by any case law. the MPAA asserts that all but an infintessimal fraction of the entire value of the disk is in the RIGHTS, not the physcial media. Let me make it simple and this is what the MPAA says, and it is also a fact. When you buy the disk you are paying the for the work or risk of the prodcution investors, writers, directors, actors, studio workers and artisans, the editors, the promotion and advertising agency fees, the mastering technitions etc. The actual disk coust about $0.07. Yes seven cents. Yet if the $0.07 disk fails you are saying people should pay all that again, ie double. Simply put, you are suggesting that people pay for something twice. Essentially your arguemnt is that if the deed to my house is lost, I have to pay for my house all over agains. It is an idiotic argument and the reason why no one takes the MPAA and RIAA seriously. Ultimately your arguement is one of crybabies who are trying to say that the package consitrues the value. It is aburd and everyone knows it -- including the MPAA and RIAA.

1111.2.2006 16:55

@ Scav_engr If you truly believe what you wrote: "'Backing up' a software program was designed for the customers convenience- to 'back up' an audio cd or video dvd? Not needed, never was- if you can't take care of your disc well enough that it won't play anymore- in REALITY, you have to buy yourself a new one, end of story." Then why in hell are you here visiting this forum? We are backing up our private DVD and CD collections. You don't seem to be. Are you advocating that I need to buy four of the same CDs/DVDs? Absurd! Some people listen to CDs in their 2 autos and the portable in the bathroom, not to mention the main entertainment center. Thats 4 total. Some have DVDs players in thier autos also. We have several copies so we don't have to hunt down what we want.It's close at hand. Take your pathetic ideas elsewhere.

1212.2.2006 2:13

Garmoon, You have got to the heart of the matter. Sav_enger is leaving out a key element. The user has been sold the rights to use the DVD's material in any player for as long as they wish. He is starting out with people who pay nothing and then sequencing into penalizing people who pay full price. That is the MPAA argument. I saw Valenti say it eight years ago and it is still the MPAA position: If the disk get's scratched you have to pony up another $20. Thi is like saying if the Key to your car gets lost you have to go to the car company and buy another car. Even though no court supports it, their claim is you can't back up the material you bought for a lifetime or convert it to play on your IPOD. Over and Over and Over the MPAA and the RIAA have insisted the disk itself is not the product you bought. yet it becomes the sole product when they argue they are allowed to charge you over and over when the disk fails. . if the disk fails

1313.2.2006 9:50

CD sales aren't declining because of file-sharing. They're declining because the MUSIC SUCKS! It's just that simple.
Well I wouldn't say the music sucks in my genre (ebm, synthpop, electro, industrial etc,). But people are also spending their money on other things these days, like satellite radio and iPods. iPods, PSPs & Xbox 360s cost so much, you really don't have much extra cash to buy any music.

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