A Look At The RIAA

Stop or I’ll sue [via US: why the record industry is now more powerful than police]

I used to think music was about freedom. Especially Rock ‘n roll.

Not anymore.

Now you can be fined up to $150,000 for sharing a single song with a friend or a stranger. Record companies and politicians have seen to it.

[…] Under the fourth amendment to Constitution, police must show probable cause that a crime has been committed before they can get a judge’s permission to search your home for evidence, or subpoena you to appear in court.

But under the federal Digital Millenium Copyright Act, all the RIAA has to do is file paperwork with a court clerk to get a subpoena if it suspects you of downloading a song from the Internet or sharing music in a peer-to-peer network such as Kazaa, WinMX or Grokster.

FTC P2P Workshop – 2004 Dec 15-16

FTC to Host Two-day Peer-to-peer File-sharing Workshop (the agenda)

The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop, “Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Technology: Consumer Protection and Competition Issues,” to explore consumer protection and competition issues associated with the distribution and use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. The workshop will be held December 15 and 16, 2004. It is free and open to the public.

A Federal Register Notice to be published shortly says the workshop is intended to provide an opportunity to learn how P2P file-sharing works and to discuss current and future applications of the technology. The workshop will focus on:

  • The uses of P2P file-sharing technology;

  • The role of P2P file-sharing technology in the economy;
  • Identification and disclosure of P2P file-sharing software program risks;
  • Technological solutions to protect consumers from risks associated with P2P file-sharing software programs;
  • P2P file-sharing and music distribution; and
  • P2P file-sharing and its impact on copyright holders.

Interested parties can submit written comments to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room 159-H (Annex B), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC, 20580. The Commission is particularly interested in studies, surveys, research, and other empirical data related to P2P file-sharing.

OT: The Clerks Speak

In Court Clerks’ Breach, a Provocative Precedent

But in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine, former Supreme Court law clerks from the court’s 2000-01 term speak out — under cover of anonymity — about what they saw behind the scenes during the fateful case of Bush v. Gore.

That case, decided by a 5-4 vote, ended the contentious recount in Florida, thereby giving the presidency to George W. Bush.

Writers David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz and Michael Shnayerson recount the views of former clerks to liberal justices who opposed the ruling. Those clerks contend that the decision was a rank exercise in partisanship by conservative Republican justices.

Lawyers are buzzing — but the buzz centers less on the article’s content than the fact that some of the brilliant, ambitious young men and women who work for the justices broke their vow of silence.

OT: Hoorah for the 11th Circuit

In Roy L. Bourgeois, Jeff Winder, Becky Johnson, Eric LeCompte, School of Americas Watch v. Bobby Peters, Willie L. Dozier, Consolidated Government of Columbus Georgia we find the following (via CNN):

It is quite possible that both protestors and passersby would be safer if the City were permitted to engage in mass, warrantless, suspicionless searches. Indeed, it is quite possible that our nation would be safer if police were permitted to stop and search anyone they wanted, at any time, for no reason at all. […] [T]he Fourth Amendment embodies a value judgment by the Framers that prevents us from gradually trading ever-increasing amounts of freedom and privacy for additional security. It establishes searches based on evidence–rather than potentially effective, broad, prophylactic dragnets–as the constitutional norm.

[…] Given that we have been on “yellow alert” for over two and a half years now, we cannot consider this a particularly exceptional condition that warrants curtailment of constitutional rights. We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War on Terror is over, because the War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over. September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country. Furthermore, a system that gave the federal government the power to determine the range of constitutionally permissible searches simply by raising or lowering the nation’s threat advisory system would allow the restrictions of the Fourth Amendment to be circumvented too easily. [emphasis added]

And that’s before they get to the First Amendment issues!