View Full Version : RIAA's Subpoena Onslaught Aimed at Illegal File Sharing
07-20-2003, 09:11 AM
Found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14148-2003Jul18.html
RIAA's Subpoena Onslaught Aimed at Illegal File Sharing
By Ted Bridis
Saturday, July 19, 2003; Page E01
The music industry has won at least 871 federal subpoenas against computer users suspected of sharing copyrighted music files on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved every day, U.S. court officials said yesterday.
The subpoenas show the industry compelling some of the largest Internet providers, such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Cable Communications Inc., and some universities to provide the names and mailing addresses of users on their networks known online by nicknames.
The Recording Industry Association of America has said it expects to file several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages in the next eight weeks. U.S. copyright laws allow for the awarding of damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but the RIAA has said it will be open to settlement proposals from defendants.
The campaign comes just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings that required Internet service providers to readily identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act permits music companies to force Internet providers to turn over the names of suspected music pirates upon subpoena from any U.S. District Court clerk's office, without a judge's signature required.
In some cases, subpoenas cite as few as five songs as "representative recordings" of music files available for downloading from these users. The trade group for the largest music labels, the Washington-based RIAA, previously indicated that its lawyers would target Internet users who offer substantial collections of song files but declined to say how many songs might trigger the filing of a lawsuit.
Verizon, which has fought the RIAA over the subpoenas with continued legal appeals, said it received at least 150 subpoenas during the last two weeks. There were no subpoenas on file sent to AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider and also parent company of Warner Music Group. Earthlink Inc., another of the largest Internet providers, said it has received three new subpoenas.
DePaul University in Chicago was among the few colleges that received such subpoenas; the RIAA asked DePaul on July 2 to track down a user who was allegedly offering at least eight songs.
There was some evidence the threat of an expensive lawsuit was discouraging online music sharing. Nielsen NetRatings, which monitors Internet usage, earlier this week reported a decline for traffic on the Kazaa network of 1 million users, with similarly large drops across other services.
07-20-2003, 09:21 AM
Found on: http://www.riaa.com/news/newsletter/062503.asp
Recording Industry To Begin Collecting Evidence And Preparing Lawsuits Against File "Sharers" Who Illegally Offer Music Online
Launching Data-Gathering Effort To Identify Peer-to-Peer Infringers Who Continue To Offer Music To Millions
WASHINGTON (June 25, 2003) -- Starting tomorrow, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will begin gathering evidence and preparing lawsuits against individual computer users who are illegally offering to "share" substantial amounts of copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks. In making the announcement, the music industry cited its multi-year effort to educate the public about the illegality of unauthorized downloading, and underscored the fact that major music companies have made vast catalogues of music available to dozens of services to help create legitimate, high quality and inexpensive alternatives to online piracy.
"The law is clear and the message to those who are distributing substantial quantities of music online should be equally clear --- this activity is illegal, you are not anonymous when you do it, and engaging in it can have real consequences," said RIAA president Cary Sherman. "We'd much rather spend time making music then dealing with legal issues in courtrooms. But we cannot stand by while piracy takes a devastating toll on artists, musicians, songwriters, retailers and everyone in the music industry."
The RIAA expects to use the data it collects as the basis for filing what could ultimately be thousands of lawsuits charging individual peer-to-peer music distributors with copyright infringement. The first round of suits could take place as early as mid-August.
Over the past year, the industry has responded to consumer demand by making its music available to a wide range of authorized online subscription, streaming and download services that make it easier than ever for fans to get music legally and inexpensively on the Internet. Moreover, these services offer music reliably, in the highest sound quality, and without the risks of exposure to viruses or other undesirable material.
Federal law and the federal courts have been quite clear on what is not legal. It is illegal to make available for download copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owner. Court decisions have affirmed this as well. In the recent Grokster decision, for example, the court confirmed that the users of that system were guilty of copyright infringement. And in last year's Aimster decision, the judge wrote that the idea that "ongoing, massive, and unauthorized distribution and copying of copyrighted works somehow constitutes 'personal use' is specious and unsupported."
"Once we begin our evidence-gathering process, any individual computer user who continues to offer music illegally to millions of others will run the very real risk of facing legal action in the form of civil lawsuits that will cost violators thousands of dollars and potentially subject them to criminal prosecution," said Sherman.
To gather evidence against P2P users who make illegal downloading possible, the RIAA will be using software that scans the public directories available to any user of a peer-to-peer network. These directories, which allow users to find the material they are looking for, list all the files that other users of the network are currently offering to distribute. When the software finds a user who is offering to distribute copyrighted music files, it downloads some of the infringing files, along with the date and time it accessed the files.
Additional information that is publicly available from these systems allows the RIAA to then identify their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The RIAA can then serve a subpoena on the ISP requesting the name and address of the individual whose account was being used to distribute copyrighted music. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ISPs must provide copyright holders with such information when there is reason to believe copyrights are being infringed. Almost all ISPs disclose this obligation in the User's Terms of Service.
Music industry leaders, along with an unprecedented coalition of other groups like the National Music Publishers? Association (NMPA), the Country Music Association, the Gospel Music Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), American Federation of Musicians, songwriters, recording artists, retailers, and record companies have been educating music fans that the epidemic of illegal file sharing not only robs songwriters and recording artists of their livelihoods, it also undermines the future of music itself by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent. In addition, it threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry, from engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks.
This message has been conveyed to the public in a series of print and broadcast ads featuring top recording artists. And, in the past two months, millions of Instant Messages were sent directly to infringers on the Kazaa and Grokster peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
If you click on the link, there are various artists who support the RIAA.
Wow...this is escalating into one big huges class war.
I agree about the class war comment. it's insane.
A for-profit business is using the government's power of armed police and judges to force people into being profitable customers, and that's just flat-out WRONG! How can you respect them when you know damn well 800+ people are about to have police with guns strapped on show up at their homes and totally f*** up the rest of their lives with criminal records over some songs? These artists want our respect, but it's pretty obvious how much they're willing to give us in return. When the guys in Metallica send a cop with a gun to your house because you bought "Master of Puppets" on record, tape and CD, but got some more digital songs off of it from the net, "class war" is exactly what they've declared against their customers. I think in the long run, music history will look back on this era in which musicians showed their true faces, in that they have zero respect for people. They don't care for fans at all, and only care for customers.
Rap artists too often have their "love me because I'm rich and important" theme to their videos; what the RIAA shows us is that just about all signed musicians are the exact same way.
07-21-2003, 08:33 AM
Don't worry too much. What's gonna happen is people are gonna have counter-lawsuits and they'll utilize the 'invasion of privacy' because no matter what the person happens to have on their computer, that's still their property. And it's gonna become such a big issue that people are going to stop buying albums from alot of the groups, particularly those that support this method. And to top it off, file-sharing, burning, copying, etc. is NEVER going to stop. The record fat asses are just greedy for more money, and it's gonna bite them in the ass.
07-28-2003, 04:07 AM
RIAA Hit List
The subpoenas are flying, and we're naming names. Are you on the list?
By Tech Live staff
The recording industry has launched a sweeping effort to identify and shut down individual song swappers, making good on recent threats to expand its legal battle against copyright theft.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has now issued more than 911 subpoenas to Internet service providers across the United States, trying to get the names of people still offering music on file-sharing networks such as KaZaA and Grokster.
Today, "Tech Live" brings you the RIAA Hit List, the user names of file traders targeted in the recording industry subpoenas.
Last month, we brought you the story of Jesse Jordan, a 19-year-old college student who became one of the first to be hit with a lawsuit by the RIAA. Jordan settled his case by paying $12,000 to the RIAA.
The following user names were culled from subpoenas filed with the US District Court in Washington, DC. All subpoenas, incidentally, are being served by the Los Angeles law firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. A total of 253 RIAA subpoenas were listed as of July 22 through the federal court system's paid online database, PACER. The actual subpoenas are available to view online in about half the cases.
The court documents don't show individual users' real names. They do show file-sharing network user names, the user's ISP, the user's IP address, and a sampling of copyright songs the user allegedly made available for download. To date, many ISPs have been contacted, including Pac Bell Internet, SBC, Charter Communications, Comcast, Adelphia, RCN, and Time Warner.
Following is a list of the first user names from our review of the subpoenas.
Glad I don't use Kazaa.
07-28-2003, 08:48 AM
if you want to be completely safe against these type of lawsuits, then there are 2 options
1. do no use *any* filesharing programs, kazaa is currently their means, but they could easily go to other programs (and might be doing so as we speak)
2. turn of the file sharing setting in kazaa, etc
They are only going after the sharers, and not the leechers. Downloading the new Radiohead song online is not necessarily illegal, if you own the cd itself (falls under fair-use). However giving that file out (sharing) to someone who you haven't confirmed owns the cd is where its quite easy to prove illegal in court.
07-28-2003, 01:17 PM
They tried something similar here in spain, but it turns out that over here sharing without intent to gain finacial benefit from it, is not illegal.
All all the subpoenas they wanted to issue here in spain went bye-bye. Not sure how it works in the US, but Im sure these subpoenas have no solidity, its jsut a scaretactic by the RIAA to get people to use p2p programs less. Theres also p2p clients now (Blubster comes to mind) that are 100% anonymous, peope will son start using those instead.
As for the illegality of spying, it doesnt quite work that way, apparently the way they tracked those KAzaa users was using Kazaa V1, which allowed them to check in the registries what users transferred how many files and in which period of time. When you use KAza, your record is left online that way in a log, which is accessible to you using Kazaav1. So basically, since these logs are acessible to the public, its not illegal for assmunches like the RIAA to use them to ferret out heavy Kazaa users.
Still, I dont see how many of these cases will hold water in court, like one guy got sued because his ROOMATE downloaded craploads of stuff without his knowledge.
So, tis jsut scare tactics. Goddamn RIAA nazis. :crazy:
07-30-2003, 06:26 PM
Doesn't effect me in the UK and afterall I only download thinks that aren't copyrighted in this country.
08-12-2003, 10:56 AM
Just an update on how our friends at the RIAA are doing:
Two universities win battle against RIAA subpoenas
Mon Aug 11, 8:48 AM ET
By Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service MacCentral
The U.S. recording industry received a setback in its nationwide campaign to quash music piracy on the Internet Friday when a federal judge ruled that two universities did not have to comply with subpoenas requesting that they hand over the identities of students who could be illegally sharing music online.
Both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) (MIT) and Boston College won their requests to reject subpoenas issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) Inc. (RIAA) over jurisdictional issues, according the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The universities argued that the subpoenas, which were filed in Washington D.C., did not apply to them in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro's ruling in the universities' favor could prove an obstacle for the RIAA's piracy offensive, given that the group has reportedly filed some 2,000 subpoenas through the Washington D.C. court, according to the EFF.
The ruling could mean that the group will have to file subpoenas in courts across the country where it believes infringement is occurring, a much longer and more complicated process, the EFF said.
EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer cheered the decision Friday, saying in a release that the ruling "confirms that due process applies to Internet user privacy nationwide." The EFF has been battling the RIAA campaign, saying that the group's efforts compromise the privacy of individual users.
The San Francisco-based privacy group isn't alone in its rejection of the RIAA's latest campaign. Pacific Bell Internet Services, a subsidiary of SBC Communications Inc., has filed a suit in California alleging that the RIAA's subpoenas are a threat to subscribers' privacy and a burden on ISPs (Internet service providers).
What's more, Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, has also publicly spoken out against the group, calling the subpoenas a "shotgun" approach to piracy.
The RIAA's spraying of administrative subpoenas is just the latest strategy in a battle against Internet piracy that stems from the early days of Napster (news - web sites) Inc. And while the group's efforts to go after individual users has sparked some controversy and backlash, its campaign against piracy on the legal front has been mostly successful.
The group managed to knock Napster offline last year and has since won rulings in cases against Madster -- formerly called Aimster -- and other peer-to-peer (p-to-p) file trading networks.
Having had success in cases against p-to-p networks, the industry has now focused on going after individual users with the aid of ISPs. Although Friday's ruling could slow down the subpoena process, that does not mean that ISPs won't eventually be ordered to comply.
Verizon Internet Services Inc., for instance, lost its bid in June to protect the names of customers accused of illegal file trading.
The recording industry is using as its defense part of the 1998 U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (news - web sites) (DMCA), which allows copyright holders to subpoena ISPs for the names of people they believe are using their copyrighted material without permission.
The EFF is campaigning for ISPs to notify users when their information is being sought. The group has also created an online database where users can check to see if their identifies have been subpoenaed by the RIAA.
The RIAA was not immediately available Monday morning to comment on the ruling.
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