RIAA to sue hundreds of Internet users sharing songs online - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-27-2003, 06:45 AM
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RIAA to sue hundreds of Internet users sharing songs online





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By Ted Bridis







June 25, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- The embattled music industry disclosed aggressive plans Wednesday for an unprecedented escalation in its fight against Internet piracy, threatening to sue hundreds of individual computer users who illegally share music files online.



The Recording Industry Association of America, citing substantial sales declines, said it will begin Thursday to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify users who offer "substantial" collections of mp3 music files for downloading. It expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within eight to 10 weeks.



Executives for the RIAA, the Washington-based lobbying group that represents major labels, would not say how many songs on a user's computer will qualify for a lawsuit. The new campaign comes just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files.



The RIAA's president, Carey Sherman, said tens of millions of Internet users of popular file-sharing software after Thursday will expose themselves to "the real risk of having to face the music."



"It's stealing. It's both wrong and illegal," Sherman said. Alluding to the court decisions, Sherman said Internet users who believe they can hide behind an alias online were mistaken. "You are not anonymous," Sherman said. "We're going to begin taking names."



Critics accused the RIAA of resorting to heavy-handed tactics likely to alienate millions of Internet file-sharers.



"This latest effort really indicates the recording industry has lost touch with reality completely," said Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Does anyone think more lawsuits are going to be the answer? Today they have declared war on the American consumer."



Sherman disputed that consumers, who are gradually turning to legitimate Web sites to buy music legally, will object to the industry's latest efforts against pirates.



"You have to look at exactly who are your customers," he said. "You could say the same thing about shoplifters -- are you worried about alienating them? All sorts of industries and retailers have come to the conclusion that they need to be able to protect their rights. We have come to the same conclusion."



Mike Godwin of Public Knowledge, a consumer group that has challenged broad crackdowns on file-sharing networks, said Wednesday's announcement was appropriate because it targeted users illegally sharing copyrighted files.



"I'm sure it's going to freak them out," Godwin said. "The free ride is over." He added: "I wouldn't be surprised if at least some people engaged in file-trading decide to resist and try to find ways to thwart the litigation strategy."



The RIAA said its lawyers will file lawsuits initially against people with the largest collections of music files they can find online. U.S. copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but Sherman said the RIAA will be open to settlement proposals from defendants.



"We have no hard and fast rule on how many files you have to be distributing ... to come within our radar screen," Sherman said. "We will go after the worst offenders first."



The RIAA said it expected to file "at least several hundred lawsuits" within eight to 10 weeks but will continue to file lawsuits afterward on a regular basis.

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#2 Old 06-27-2003, 06:52 AM
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YEA RIAA !!!!!!!!!
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#3 Old 06-27-2003, 07:22 AM
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I think this is awesome. Think about it.



They shut down Napster, a very centralized database of only mp3s hosted out of the US, which is replaced by Kazaa.



Kazaa is not as centralized, and is based in countries out of the RIAA's grip. Now if the userbase is decimated as a result of these lawsuits, file-sharing is inevitably going to shift towards a more secure protocol. Maybe it will be something like Freenet. Maybe something like Waste. But it will improve with each iteration, lovingly prodded along by the RIAA's legal department.



Personally, I can't wait until the music 'industry' collapses.
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#4 Old 06-27-2003, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fenguin

Personally, I can't wait until the music 'industry' collapses.



Obviously you are not a musician, nor do you work for the industry. What would the world be like without music in our lives.



I think what you stated was quite crazy.. but that is just my humble opinion.



If the music industry goes down.. what next.. movies? Books?



What would we have for entertainment in the end?
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#5 Old 06-27-2003, 07:34 AM
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There are plenty of excellent musicians that don't have record deals. If the RIAA collapsed it doesn't mean there wouldn't be any music.



I think the problem is when most people steal music they think it's ok because they've watched MTV Cribs one too many times. It's hard to have any sympathy for people who live like that. Especially when they have no talent.



And... I don't know if it's true but I've heard that unless you're a big star with a sweet contract most of your money comes from touring.

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#6 Old 06-27-2003, 07:34 AM
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I can see the RIAA action being seen by a lot of people, especially today's younger music fans, as a strong-arm tactic. Generally these types of actions result in negative publicity and a stubbornness factor by consumers to not purchase anything that ultimately profits the big bad recording industry.



Yes, it is indeed theft. But, the publicity surrounding it is that of multiple lawsuits filed for downloading music. The RIAA was already seen as a "bad" thing by many music lovers... and this latest announcement is being very much portrayed as a negative thing in the eyes of those music lovers.



I think Fenguin is right in saying that there'll be more emphasis placed on a secure protocol or even an underground network. I see this action as ultimately hurting the music industry in terms of net profits, and higher prices for CD's to compensate for the increase in lost sales.
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#7 Old 06-27-2003, 07:36 AM
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I tend to disagree (with it hurting sales). So the RIAA wants to eliminate piracy. What are people going to do? Stop buying music? I don't see that happening, they'd only be punishing themselves. They may be more selective in what they buy. I know I am. I buy a lot less. But if I like the artist I will buy their cd no matter what.



And none of this changes the fact that it is in fact stealing.

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#8 Old 06-27-2003, 07:39 AM
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Michael... no, I am not saying that people will stop buying music... I am saying that the ones who do not buy it will look for alternatives and some of the ones who were frequent music buyers will start to wonder if they really want to pay so much money for a CD which ultimately profits the RIAA.



I am betting CD's increase in price as a result of all these lawsuits.
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#9 Old 06-27-2003, 07:52 AM
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Ohhh how uninformed many are... when they are not in the biz. Not all musician live with all the "bling bling".



CD sales have declined, yes causing most musicians to live off of concert sales. Gee, that is why most concerts are overpriced these days.



Many of you are too young to remember this, but I remember being able to see a major act for under 20 bucks. You would be lucky these days to even pay for parking under 20 bucks.



No Music.... No Life
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#10 Old 06-27-2003, 07:57 AM
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Hehehe, I saw my first concert for $7.50



MuzicFan... let me be clear... I do believe filesharing is theft.. because it is. One of my best friends is a record promoter in new York (now Miami) and I understand some of the red tape and BS involved with retail outlets (promotions) and radio stations.



Downloading has certainly contributed to reduced sales.. of that I have no doubt whatsoever. But I still see the younger music listeners looking for an alternative because the "perception" is that the RIAA are the ones who stand to lose the most from filesharing. This is the perception of many based on how the media is portraying the RIAA with respect to lawsuits.
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#11 Old 06-27-2003, 07:59 AM
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but the RIAA is not the only ones losing out....



I know I am probably ruffling a few feather here, but I feel strongly about this topic. Like most of you feel for animal rights.
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#12 Old 06-27-2003, 08:04 AM
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MuzicFan: yes... I know the RIAA are not the only ones losing out. There's retail sales outlets, jobs, and certainly the artists themselves. BUT.. all you ever really see in the media is the RIAA this, and the RIAA that .... the RIAA claims lost revenues, the RIAA is suing Verizon to get a person's identity so they can sue them, the RIAA is suing filesharers, etc.



See what I mean? The media does not go the angle of lost jobs, or lost revenues from the local record store, or the artists... so consumers see all these stories about the mean old RIAA who are spending millions of dollars to sue "everyone" who downloads music.



I really don't think the majority of consumers are sympathetic to the issue because all they see is a big organization with a lot of money suing people.
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#13 Old 06-27-2003, 08:08 AM
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Hard to say... but I am smart enough to realize early on.. that if you steal a music file off of the Internet, you are taking away from the artist, retail, radio, and all involved.



Guess that is just me.
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#14 Old 06-27-2003, 08:15 AM
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But to blame a decline in sales on mp3 sharing might not be 100% true... what with the industry's conveyor belt spitting out disposable music that has a very short shelf-life, it's starting to wear a bit thin. Instant gratification is also necessary nowadays, sell few of an album and the band is dropped.



Personally I have downloaded songs and have bought a couple of CDs of artists that I discovered in this way, and have spent money on going to their concerts, so if you add me to the equation their sales and profits went up because of file sharing.



The RIAA needs to find a way to adapt, like they had to do when cassettes were invented.
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#15 Old 06-27-2003, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Personally I have downloaded songs and have bought a couple of CDs of artists that I discovered in this way, and have spent money on going to their concerts, so if you add me to the equation their sales and profits went up because of file sharing.



How many cd's have you chosen not to buy after 'previewing' a couple of songs? It's been a lot for me. Overall I'm sure more cd sales have been lost than gained.

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#16 Old 06-27-2003, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael

. Overall I'm sure more cd sales have been lost than gained.



By far.. most dont even realize by how much.
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#17 Old 06-27-2003, 08:36 AM
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Many, and a good thing IMO because I can decide whether it's worth buying before I buy it.
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#18 Old 06-27-2003, 08:50 AM
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And that's why they've lost my money. I no longer give up $15 to buy a cd because I like one or two songs.



However, I have never downloaded an entire cd. And I never will. I don't think that's right. And like most people I will always buy cd's put out by artists I like.

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#19 Old 06-27-2003, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael

And that's why they've lost my money. I no longer give up $15 to buy a cd because I like one or two songs.



However, I have never downloaded an entire cd. And I never will. I don't think that's right. And like most people I will always buy cd's put out by artists I like.



Luv Ya Michael... hehe
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#20 Old 06-27-2003, 09:57 AM
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I listened to a report on this on NPR yesterday ... the RIAA spokesman mentioned that "virtually all music is now available on the internet for legitimate purchase" (paraphrase). My question is: Where? Have any of you used any subscription services or other downloads-for-sale sites? Were they any good; could you find what you wanted? I haven't done any searches lately; I was disappointed when I tried before.



Ever since Napster's days I've been wondering why the recording industry doesn't absolutely embrace the possibility of selling music directly to consumers online. I admit there are probably a lot of factors at work that I don't know about, but even so:



1) Are there (insurmountable) logistical reasons why record companies cannot open up their entire catalogues for perusal and purchase online? If that were possible, I would think there would be a lot of money to be made on older and/or obscure music that no longer rates a place on the record store shelves. (I have downloaded music -- largely forgotten one-hit-wonders or childhood favorites that I wouldn't have had a clue how to find in a physical store.)



2) Selling online would allow for a very flexible way of pricing. Every song could be available as a single, if they wanted. They could offer a discount for purchasing an entire album as opposed to just a few songs -- giving the consumer the option. They could sell full-album-only during its peak of popularity, then go to singles after a few weeks or months. They could offer a volume discount for purchasing a quantity of songs from different albums and artists. The latest Britney crap hit could cost $2.50, but if what you're really looking for is something that only you and a couple hundred other people like then you could pick it up for a quarter. So many options!



3) They might even make more money off of selling the latest red-hot songs as pricey singles than they do when they force the consumer to choose between plunking down $15 or not buying the CD at all. Personally, I usually opt to not buy it at all -- I can't afford all the ones I want, plus -- like everyone -- I hate the lousy experience of getting the CD home and discovering that I only like 1 or 2 songs besides the hit on the radio.



4) I really don't understand the suscription service idea. Why give away an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee? Wouldn't they make more money pricing it my way? Maybe they're scared that people would just file-share instead (since they're used to getting an unlimited quantity for free); but I think most people would be happy to use a legitimate service if they could just get what they want on it. Most people don't want to steal; when I downloaded music it was to get things that weren't available through other channels.



5) Start-up costs might seem prohibitive, but wouldn't that investment be recouped in savings from greater efficiency? E.g. less physical shipping, wasted shelf space on albums that didn't sell, leftover stock....not to mention having the consumer "in the record store" any time he's on his computer.



6) A huge selling point is that people love their computer jukeboxes. All one's music organized just so, simple to find, rate, select, favorite songs only so you never have to hit the "skip" button ... and my teeny-tiny comp speakers sound better than my old stereo. Actually I've taken the CD's that I own and put all my favorite songs on the computer -- it's just more convenient to play them that way.



So far I'm the only person I know who's looked at it this way -- there must be issues that I'm overlooking??? All discussion of why my grand plan can't work are welcome. I just want my music available on my comp!
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#21 Old 06-27-2003, 11:01 AM
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#22 Old 06-27-2003, 11:52 AM
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aaaah finally.
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#23 Old 06-27-2003, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by sunnyk

I listened to a report on this on NPR yesterday ... the RIAA spokesman mentioned that "virtually all music is now available on the internet for legitimate purchase" (paraphrase). My question is: Where?

apple.com's iTunes service, which will be available to Windows users in the near future. Dotmusic.com. MusicMatch Radio and Artist on-demand. Audiogalaxy.com. Real One (free and premium). Not to mention label-based promotional tracks (killrockstars.com, for example)and free services like Epitomic, undergroundhiphop.com, archive.org, and others that many of our resident music junkies can turn you on to.



I just listened to that NPR story, twice. I don't believe there was any mention by the reporter or the RIAA representative regarded the quantity of music available for legitimate acquisition. There's a lot, and there will be a lot more. I expect the iTunes for Windows release will be a big step forward, and I say that as a music fan yet an Apple enemy.

Quote:
Originally posted by sunnyk

Ever since Napster's days I've been wondering why the recording industry doesn't absolutely embrace the possibility of selling music directly to consumers online. [/B]

The industry DOES embrace it. Once the rampant frictionless p2p trading is mitigated, legitimate means of digital music distribution will begin to grow at a respectable rate. The music business is, naturally, a business before anything else.

Quote:
Originally posted by sunnyk

1) Are there (insurmountable) logistical reasons why record companies cannot open up their entire catalogues for perusal and purchase online? If that were possible, I would think there would be a lot of money to be made on older and/or obscure music that no longer rates a place on the record store shelves.



No doubt. First of all, the "logistical" reasons are economic. I just addressed that. The day will come, I assume, where all music IS preserved and made available via the Internet (incidentally, I believe the same to be true of all print media, but that's a much bigger fish to fry). However, this has nothing to do with your concern about the fight against p2p trading. P2p trading has nothing to do with music preservation and distribution. For the former, no reason need be given. As for distribution, this word as it applies to music requires letigimacy in source! That means it has to come from a legitimate vendor, online or otherwise. P2p is bad for the music fan.



Quote:
Originally posted by sunnyk

4) I really don't understand the suscription service idea. Why give away an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee?



[...]



6) A huge selling point is that people love their computer jukeboxes.



[...]



So far I'm the only person I know who's looked at it this way -- there must be issues that I'm overlooking??? All discussion of why my grand plan can't work are welcome. I just want my music available on my comp!

I have 2 music subscriptions. One for Real One because I can listen to music, news, TV stuff, and so on. I have Musicmatch.com also because I like their music selection. Subscription services work on a few levels, I think. Most notably, it would seem to me, is that there's a lot of people looking to the Internet for exposure to new music. Subscription services offer a lot of music without the high cost-potential of a per-track model. Consider it "music in bulk" ...



You're not the first person, by far, to have these ideas and questions. You need to look into some services like those available at Musicmatch.com. This ain't news, sista! Once P2p music fades away, we'll all benefit from a good digital music distribution model such as Apple's.



I'm not an RIAA-advocate by any means. But with all that the music indusctry is doing wrong, the P2p battle is an exception! There are more important issues to deal with for the music business, and hopefully they'll start getting to them once legitimate online music delivery empowers middle-indie labels who are willing to be progressive with their talent and in their boardrooms.
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#24 Old 06-27-2003, 11:53 AM
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#25 Old 06-27-2003, 05:23 PM
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Yeah, the music is out there. One less excuse for the pirates.

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#26 Old 06-27-2003, 05:45 PM
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Well, the RIAA have always been internet nazis. Seig Heil to the music industry!



Music these days is overpriced and availability is difficult to obtain in some cases. The internet means that music is available to the masses. personally, I think the RIAA needs a good cup of STFU and needs to stop its whining. The music industry needs a reform anyway, and the internet is a revolution. I'm hoping that the RIAA will collapse, and music will no longer be done for commercial aspects. Hence, the MTV generation will be over, and music that is distributed will be done so for the right reasons. Crap pop acts will no longer exist, as these only exist to make money.



I think that if the RIAA collapsed, music would improve vastly.



EDIT: I heard about this one guy who downloads music off of the internet, and then sends money direct to the artist. The RIAA don't get a penny. His way of protesting against the music industry and not the music! i would encourage this for everyone. Musicians get screwed by record labels anyway, so cut out the middle man! That's what I say!
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#27 Old 06-27-2003, 06:22 PM
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Maybe I'm an exception, but I find that I buy much much more music today than I did before mp3s became available.



I don't have all that extensive a collection, and when I come across people who have upwards of 30,000 on hundreds of CDs that litter every room in their house (no exaggeration, btw. I know people like this), it makes me think about how much money it'd all be worth if they'd bought every actual album. It boggles the mind...
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#28 Old 06-27-2003, 07:35 PM
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I can honestly say that illegal downloading does actually increase legal CD purchasing as i see it. pretty much all of my friends download w/ kazaa or some other weird program, and as a result, i have known them to purchase weird CD's because they like what they've heard online.



Anyhow, here's a wonderful satire on the idea of the RIAA being internet nazis:

http://web.morons.org/article.jsp?sectionid=4&id=1054
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#29 Old 06-27-2003, 07:56 PM
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I like the idea of music going straight from artist to fan. Screw all the middle-people; I'd prefer as much money as possible go to the artist and not "music industry plankton" (to quote an artist).



And maybe without all the big music companies we wouldn't be bombarded with so much utterly worthless talentless sh*t. If you actually care about the music you like to listen to you'll go out and find it; most people are happy to sit around and be force-fed total crap from image-whores.
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#30 Old 06-27-2003, 11:18 PM
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Another example of them going to ridiculous lengths to stop something that won't go away. If people want to share mp3's they're always going to find a way to continue. If people downloading mp3's is hurting sales so bad, how do they explain the fact that Radiohead just had the #1 album in America, and probably half the people that bought it already had it downloaded a month earlier. Maybe the fact that major labels are releasing so much sh*t is the reason for poor sales. Did they ever think of that? It's stupid to think that everyone who downloads mp3's is going to avoid buying albums. I know for me, part of buying music is getting the artwork along with it, so if I like something I've downloaded I'll surely buy the album eventually. Downloading mp3's has only increased my purchasing of music, and for the albums I haven't bought, it's because I only have so much money to spend on CD's, or the fact that I only like one or two songs and refuse to spend over $10 for only a couple songs.
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