2003 September 3 PM [2:50 pm]
(entry last updated: 2003-09-03 19:23:16)
The RIAA responds to Jane Doe: RIAA turns up heat on subpoena fighter
In papers filed Tuesday with a federal court in Washington, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said it did not oppose the anonymous Kazaa user’s request to fight the subpoena seeking her identity but that any such motion should be filed immediately. Previously, “Jane Doe’s” attorneys had asked for more time to prepare their case arguing that the RIAA subpoena, filed with Internet service provider Verizon Communications, violated her privacy and other constitutional rights.
[...] But the filings appear to be aimed as much at the court of opinion as at the real court bench, and both sides seem to be fighting a case that hasn’t yet been filed. Last week, Nycfashiongirl’s attorney told the court that his client had purchased a computer with music on it, had legally ripped her own CDs to her hard drive, and had used the Kazaa application to listen to that music. She had tried several times to prevent sharing that music with the outside world, her attorneys wrote.
Even while conceding that the information had little to do with the subpoena process itself, the RIAA spent considerable time in its legal filings trying to establish that the anonymous computer user was not an innocent victim. Nycfashiongirl, in fact, shared more than 900 songs online, many of them downloaded from Kazaa or even Napster, the briefs said.
I just posted an eBay auction for a song I bought from the iTunes music store. It should be interesting to see how this works out. I only spent $0.99 on it but I bought the song just as legally as I would a CD, so I should be able to sell it used just as legally right?
[Update 09-03-2003 10:08 AM] Right now I’ve come up with a couple ways that the transfer of ownership could take place. One is to call up Apple and ask them to do it for me, which would be an interesting call. The other way would be to give my account to the winning bidder, which doesn’t seem like a bid deal considering that I’ve only purchased one song. Still, I’d have to make sure that my credit card info was completely disassociated with the account. Or I could just create a new account and repurchase the song on that account.
See Ernest Miller’s analysis of some legal gymnastics to protect the DMCA when it comes to movies, but not much more (in re: Chamberlain v. Skylink): Judge Asserts Pseudo Distinction to Preserve DMCA (Derek’s additional thoughts and links: Ernest On Access Controls)
Since this is outrage against the RIAA day in the groves of academe, see Larry Lessig’s math on these RIAA suits: Kluger Krugman
Nine days after MP3.com launched its service, the five major labels, headed by the RIAA, brought a lawsuit against MP3.com. MP3.com settled with four of the five. Nine months later, a federal judge found MP3.com to have been guilty of willful infringement with respect to the fifth. The judge imposed a fine against MP3.com of $118,000,000. MP3.com then settled with the remaining plaintiff, Vivendi Universal, paying over $54 million.
So defraud Californians of $9 billion, pay $1 million. (Ed. note: in re: this Paul Krugman column on Enron). But develop a new technology to make it easier for people to get access to music that they have presumptively purchased: pay more than $54 million.
Such are the values of our time.
The French courts see things differently: Crippled CD Deemed Defective In France
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.
[...] [Penn State president Graham] 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.”
Sorry - I’ve had a couple of months to stew over this idea since it was first floated, and I just don’t see how this is anything more than an ugly solution that only makes things worse. (See also Spanier’s view of filesharing in this NYTimes article: Recording Industry Goes After Students Over Music Sharing) Rather than trying to confront the real issues in the area, universities are just throwing money at the RIAA to make them go away - it just seems like a form of digital blackmail - and worse, it’s burying the issue by making everyone pay via student fees.
In fact, it’s also suspiciously like the blind eye that Microsoft and other firms turn toward univerisity student piracy of software. By getting the student trained (hooked) on MS software, firms are confronted with a fait accompli when it comes to outfitting employees.
I look forward to seeing how these universities are going to explain adding an RIAA tax to tuition next semester - heck, I look forward to seeing how it’s going to be explained internally!
Maybe this is how the universities defend it: RIAA Prepares Legal Blitz Against Filesharers