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back to article RIAA won't sue, but will throttle

The Recording Industry Association of America has signaled a major strategy shift in its war against the downloading of copyrighted music, saying it would largely abandon its practice of suing violators. Instead, the RIAA will work with internet service providers to sever abusers' net connections. Friday's announcement caps a …

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Coat

Sanity?

Well, looks like the RIAA may have partially come to their senses... Of course as long as the neighbor has a nice unsecured 'linksys' network available, and public wifi exists, I fail to see how much severing internet connections for abusers will help.

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Hmm...

So they are changing tack and stopping suing people just before their methods are ruled illegal...

Giving themselves the right to use the same (potentially illegal) methods to go after people in the future for more money??

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Um

What ISP wants to lose money because a non government agency . I mean will some like Comcast listen to the RIAAss. Sure the RIAAss could sue Comcast, but Comcast has the money and lawyers on stand by to beat RIAAss into submission .

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Pirate

The dinosaur...

...decides to stop eating innocent bystanders because they give it indigestion. Instead it makes ludicrous claims about how much money it's losing and seeks to equate what's, at best, a civil issue with a criminal one and demands that ISPs become its Righteous Army and punish, in its own say-so and without judge or jury, anyone it points it hoary old finger at.

It'd be high farce if the RIAA hadn't bought enough politicians to give it political clout.

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Not good enough

After they sued a chronically ill teen who was unable to defend herself in court because she was hospitalized I decided the RIAA was unforgivable forever.

I will never buy music from an RIAA member again.

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Flame

FYI

They also serve you copyright infringment notice for the cracks they didn't write

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Isn't America...

...The lawsuit capital of the world?

What will happen if the ISPs cuts there customers connections on the say so of a commercials organization who has no powers of law to demand such things and then what happens when it comes to light that some if not most are innocent....lawsuit city that's what.....

Maybe the public should be made aware at a national level of the crimes the riaa has committed againsts "suspected" file shares and the artists they suppositly represent and the customers in general they sell to.....standard new release CD £20 or $ or E always could this be called the criminal action price fixing? same price all the time despite the cost dropping? price fixing.

People and companies covered in mud should not sling dirt and complain about how everyone is filthy

-J

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"due process"

This is probably because ISPs don't generally have a concept of "due process", and they don't have the standards of evidence that a court would require. So the RIAA can continue its "we accuse, therefore they are guilty" campaign, and punters won't be able to respond anymore.

As for money, it's a lot less expensive to just disconnect someone than it is to fight an expensive legal battle with the very well funded RIAA. Shareholders come first, not the customer.

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Paris Hilton

Loose contract canons

Third party organisations are a buffer for these crooks. The ISPs have been the jam in the sandwich for years for supplying the tubes to load the dumper trucks and now they are the sandwich for the tubes that make the bread that goes down the tubes into the truck.

Why don't the ISPs just flag the file sharers and tell the crooks where the pirates live so they can get the tubes and the trucks sorted out between themselves?

I suppose it all depends on what contracts which parties have with their custonsumers. Sort it out Paris, you got rich on Fail.

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The best bit is..

Some people think that ISPs can get away with doing this because of the T&Cs in the contract. However, if you do get disconnected then just stop paying them. In order to recover the money they will need take you to court. Hey presto, you have your day in court whereby you can prove the fallibility of their methods and the illegality of their methods. If they don't take you to court then they lose all that income - in the current climate I don't think so. This is doomed to failure. Recessions have a way of weeding out crap like this.

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fail or phail?

So... they tried and tested one unworkable method that got them beaten to death in the courts so now they are going to bypass the legal system altogether and go for the ISP with just as little evidence as the did before? Nothing has changed, they have simply got more underhanded.

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T J

They're running out of money!!

They're running out of money and copping too much counterflack.

They've also probably done more to accelerate the death of their represented record companies than any other single factor.

At LAST, its about time.

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Paris Hilton

Sandwichs, tubes, bread, dumper trucks, jam...

Eh??

I'm sure she would be confused too!

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business as usual

So what happens when the accused denies? What does the ISP say then? I guess they have to hope that the RIAA was right. hmm ... this is going to get complicated. They're just turning a page and starting to mess up another one. Really, there's nothing new here.

Bill Cumming (above) nailed it when he said:

"So they are changing tack and stopping suing people just before their methods are ruled illegal... Giving themselves the right to use the same (potentially illegal) methods to go after people in the future for more money??"

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RIAA

FAIL

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This shows the lawyers recognise the risk now

Any lawyer will take your money for doing what you ask them to do, but only for so long as it doesn't risk them themselves.

I assume the abandoning of the campaign of harassment has more to do with the way the RIAA has acted in court, and how much evidence is now available of the flaws in that approach (amounting to what seems clear, hard core abuse of the legal system to blackmail people).

No lawyer is going to put themselves in a position where it can be demonstrated they willingly abused the system as it can lead to disbarment, so my theory is that the RIAA has ran out of lawyers..

The entertaining thing is that the fat lady hasn't sung yet. There are still a number of cases ongoing, and the result of those cases could possibly yield class action against the RIAA. I just hope it punches through the RIAA as an isolator and takes on the record companies hiding behind it. Because they're worth it :-)

I have no problem with people protecting their property, but I take huge issue with people bending the law and stealing what isn't theirs. They deserve all the trouble they can get.

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This is *really* going to work

What ISP is going to voluntarily get rid of thousands of customers???

And if your ISP was stupid enough to kick you off, just go to a new one. Easy.

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@kain, @paul

@kain -- "What ISP wants to lose money because a non government agency . I mean will some like Comcast listen to the RIAAss. Sure the RIAAss could sue Comcast, but Comcast has the money and lawyers on stand by to beat RIAAss into submission ."

You seem to be under the illusion that said ISPs such as Comcast actually give a shit about their customers. I can assure you, they don't. I have plenty of horror stories from my own personal history with them over the years (all the way back to when they were MediaOne), as do many people I know. Add to that Comcast's continuous lies about throttling, their steadfast refusal to specify what the magical "too much" marker is, and their decision to outsource installation to inept, incompetent third-parties who can't get the job done right and don't even bother to test it before they leave. Face it -- most people use Comcast for Internet for one reason, and one reason only -- they have to. If you can't get DSL, you have no other choice. And such is life for most of us.

@paul -- "After they sued a chronically ill teen who was unable to defend herself in court because she was hospitalized I decided the RIAA was unforgivable forever. I will never buy music from an RIAA member again."

I completely understand your feelings, but I have to ask -- how do you know which artists or labels to avoid? How do you know who is represented by the RIAA? The RIAA has a history of lying about who they represent. They have repeatedly said (and displayed on their website) that they represent labels which they have never, and will never, represent (the one I'm specifically thinking of is Fat Wreck Chords).

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The RIAA problem is their self-interest

The RIAA is not (no more?) perceived as the valid representative of the musicians, composers, etc.. They are viewed as the giant squid sucking the life-blood out of their performers and the money out of the consumers.

How about a change in strategy to once again become the musicians advocate? Of course that would mean a lot less cars / chicks / cocaine, but might breathe new life into RIAA.

Anyway, I think the chances for this to happen are near zero.

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saitan playing at snowball fights on the way to work....

" Shareholders come first, not the customer."

that's where the paradox begins, without customers there is no dividend for the shareholders, no dividend, the shareholders wll dum the shares, the dumping of shares will force the price of those shares to fall, making them worth little or nothing... no further investments means little or no future investments in infrastructure, that means crap service, that means no customers....

there is no way the ISP's will stand for the RIAA or any other non government body telling them to cut someone off.... Would you cut your own throat? no, thought not....

At best, the ISP's will fire out a few warning letters, they may even cut someone off until they call CS for a telling off and a promise they will quit it.... if it goes much further than that, i will be supprised..... and i bet the ISP's will the RIAA "oh yes,,, we told them off and cut them off....."

flame,,,, because its gone cold in hell....

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Paris Hilton

When will the ??AA

Realize that the only way forward is to tap the revenue stream, rather than sue its bollocks off. $10 a month for the rest of their life from every internet subscriber in the world sounds like a pretty sizable chunk of cash. Reliable, subject only to variations in population, and virtually cost free, oodles of cash coming in and little in the way of costs going out. These neanderthals are giving capitalism a bad name (ok not as bad as Madoff) and being incredible shortsighted to boot.

Paris cos she knows how to swallow a good stream.

Efros

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Anonymous Coward

Good news

This is great news for me, a copyright infringing downloader. Previously, the odds of getting caught were small but the potential consequences were large (my employer would be very upset with me going to court even if the fine was relatively small).

Now, the odds of getting caught haven't changed much but the consequences are insignificant. If I get caught I just get a letter if I get caught three times I have to change ISP but I'll probably have moved house by then anyway.

Yarr

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Boffin

Hang on a minute...

"Under the new plan, the RIAA will send notices to ISPs that identify the IP addresses of suspected file sharers. ISPs will then send warnings to their customers and then cut them off if the users fail to curb their illegal downloads."

Um, did you really mean 'downloads'? And if so, how does the RIAA identify downloaders? I find it hard to believe that the RIAA are going to the file sharing sites and saying 'tell me everyone who's downloading anything' and getting any response other than 'go away'.

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Stop

Warning: Fire risk

"To many, internet connections are essential lifelines to school, work, and other important parts of daily life. " And driving is any different? If you drive illegally, you're likely to get banned. Point made?

Good now to counter that point, the RIAA etc are as corrupt as the governments, I lost my driving license with little more evidence than: male, 20yrs old, had a crash (on a notorious bend). i.e. I lost my driving license to make up some pocket change and improve their figures.

Now I'll just add, that I do not agree with the RIAA/MPAA and their tactics. And I don't believe any ISP should act on any information provided by them.

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Anonymous Coward

Burden of Proof

Two things occur to me here

What evidence are RIAA going to supply to the ISP to prove that a particular user has infringed their members IP ?

“They are guilty because we say so” surely won't fly in any court (well maybe it will in the US)

How might the ISP's throttle a dynamically assigned IP address ?

The logistics would seem to be irreconcilable with any business model !

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music industry gits

Well all i can say is that there will always be sharing of music, just as we used to record records on to tapes as kids, modern technology will be used as it is now. If the ISPs stop the file sharers it will just go another route. Just as it did from websites to P2P and share spaces. MP3s will just end up getting masked in another sort of legit file that is not being scanned for. Much as many websites dealing with these changed the suffixes to avoid scans for MP3s.

I understand artists are trying to make a living and own the IP of their work but if the music industry such as the labels and management weren't so greedy the cost would come down and their would be little need for piracy.

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Anonymous Coward

Errr....

What's the difference between the idea reported in this article, and the "three strikes and you're out" idea, the death of which was reported right here in El Reg back in July? OK, "three strikes" was a UK/European thing, and this article refers to a US thing, but other than that? Don't you guys read each others' articles, or do you just have the attention span of a UK/US financial regulator?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/25/three_strikes_dead_hurrah/

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Pirate

Former Interent service rep

As a former ISR of a well known cable company, I can tell you that they (the corporate big wigs) don't really give a shit about their customers. This trickles down to lowly employees also. They have a policy of three strikes and your out based solely off of info provided by the RIAA which simply tied to an IP addy. While the IPs are dynamic, they rarely change.

This approach by the riaa would completely fall apart if everyone who does bit torrent sharing would start using proxies. It would have the effect of completely making all IP evidence completely unreliable. Maybe all BT clients should start wirting something into their code that by default use tor or something similar. Problem solved, Freetards happy and $$$tards thwarted again!

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Misconceptions

I have read the comments posted above. Very emotive but many contain flaws.

RIAA doesn't need to have 'thousands' of ISP accounts closed, in fact a few well publicised account closures will have the required effect.

How do they discover who the file sharers are? Pretty simple really, use Azureus/Vuze, it shows the IP's of all the seeds and peers for a given torrent download (probably others do the same).

Yes, people can mask the IP by using proxies etc., most don't I'm sure, as free proxies are as slow as a wet weekend.

How would ISP's regulate a dynamic IP? Easy, after all it is they who issue the IP's and log who has which and when, it's a simple extension to flag a given user for 'special treatment' no matter which IP being used within the ISP's network.

I would have thought that many ISP's would be only too happy to rid themselves of a 'serial' downloader, I doubt they make any money from those accounts anyway.

As someone said, it's business. There is no money is having a stand up fight with the likes of RIAA if there is no return for the ISP.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking a business entity has a soul, it hasn't , a business entity only has to obey the law, and that, they will push to the extreme limits if there is a 'quid' to be made.

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Pirate

RIAA

And I'm sure we can rely on the RIAA to ensure that their methods of correctly identifying genuine cases of infringement will be oh so much more efficient this time...

How many dead people are going to get their internet connection revoked I wonder?

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jim
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how in God's name can this be happening...

.. that a private company thinks it can simply packet-sniff my internet traffic and compel another company to stop doing business with me? If I told the US Post Office that I'd peeked at my neighbors mail, decided he was doing mail fraud and demanded his mail service be cut off, how much luck would I have? And which one of us would be most likely to be prosecuted?

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@Chris C

"I completely understand your feelings, but I have to ask -- how do you know which artists or labels to avoid? How do you know who is represented by the RIAA?"

The RIAA Radar is the answer to that:

http://www.riaaradar.com/

Or at least that's a good start.

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Stop

So many ways around this...

Just off the top of my head:

1. proxy e.g. torrentprivacy

2. using your neighbour's open wireless network

3. "someone must have cracked my wireless network. You know the encryption used with wireless isn't 100% secure, right?"

4. public internet connections

5. enable bittorrent encryption (doesn't prevent some methods, but it works very well for others), you should always have it enabled anyway.

6. use an ISP with a dynamic ISP

7. challenge the accuracy of their data since it has been proved to be inaccurate before.

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Anonymous Coward

Ahhh...

So the same technique they are lording as the solution in Europe...

The same technique where you find your internet cut off without any right to appeal, without any trial or conviction. The technique that means if you do wish to return online you have start the legal proceedings yourself to clear your now guilty without trial name.

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Boffin

The reason the RIAA is doing this due to the Harvard Law Prof suit

Prof. Charles R. Nesson ’60, the founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, is suing the RIAA. The basis of the suit, which legal scholars pretty much say he'll win on, is that the law that the RIAA exploits (The Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999) are an unconstitutional delegation by Congress of executive prosecutorial powers to private hands.

More at:

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=525151

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Pirate

Bittorrent? HA!

I think its funny how everyone talks about Bittorrent when the methods of distributing files from the major release groups don't utilize Bittorrent at all. Bittorrent is slow and insecure, most major release groups still rely upon older methods like IRC and Newsgroups where massive bandwidth is available and security is easier to control.

If the RIAA/MPAA is serious about taking down file sharing (which is impossible at this point) they need to target release groups instead of the insignificant downloaders.

/mines the one that says "F the RIAA/MPAA"

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Flame

i'll never understand

How the RIAA could sue anyone anyhow. If you've ever tried to bring a frivilous lawsuit against someone "like most of the RIAA ones are" your usually slapped as having no, ah what's that word, no grounds to sue, like you aren't the party being affected by the situation. I can't remeber the actual legal term, im no lawyer but usually if you aren't the one affected by the situation you have no grounds to sue.

The RIAA has operated as a racketeering organization for years now and it's about time they get slapped back, who do they think they are. If artists released real music people won't be grabbin the stuff off the net for free, who wants to buy a cd, especially now. The music industry has been 'price fixing' for years and technology caught up with em.

The RIAA sucks.

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The problem that I see is...

...who counts the three strikes? The RIAA finds the IP address of some downloaders and informs the ISP. The ISP puts an e-mail addressed to the offender on its server (assuming that it provides an e-mail service). The addressee may or may not collect the e-mail (he might be using a different e-mail service). Presumably the the ISP will know if the e-mail has been collected (and perhaps sent to the great bit-bucket in the sky by a SPAM filter).

The RIAA now continues looking for the IP address of downloaders. But supposing it finds the same address again. It now has to inform the ISP that it suspects the same address and has to ask if it is the same customer. The ISP now has to check. If the IP address has been reassigned, the RIAA has to start all over again.

This seems like a stupid, unworkable, scheme to me.

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Dead Vulture

Association?

"You called them the "Recording Industry Association of America". When did they stop being an "Ass"?

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Stop

@Roger Jenkins

"RIAA doesn't need to have 'thousands' of ISP accounts closed, in fact a few well publicised account closures will have the required effect."

There have already been high profile cases of the RIAA suing people. It made them look bad and didn't do anything to discourage filesharing (incidentally, I presume you meant unlawful filesharing, as filesharing per se is not unlawful). Anyway, it may sound good in theory, but in the real world it doesn't discourage anybody.

"it shows the IP's of all the seeds and peers for a given torrent download"

This is precisely why so many torrents are packed with random bogus IP addresses, so that nobody can tell which ones are from the real seeders/leechers. This is why little old ladies get threatened for downloading gay porn.

"How would ISP's regulate a dynamic IP? Easy, after all it is they who issue the IP's and log who has which and when"

Yes and these logs have repeatedly been shown to contain errors.

"I would have thought that many ISP's would be only too happy to rid themselves of a 'serial' downloader, I doubt they make any money from those accounts anyway."

Of course they make money from these accounts. Those subscribers pay, er, a subscription. Why do you doubt it? Do you think they get free connections? In fact, those who use massive amounts of bandwidth pay more than most for their account.

The real issue here is that it should not be lawful for an unregulated non-statutory body to impose its will on an ISP. It certainly should not be lawful for an ISP to disclose my personal information to them, simply because they say so.

If the RIAA or BPI think they can prove that I'm unlawfully infringing copyright, they should pursue me in a civil case for copyright infringement. If not, they should just piss off instead of trying to find me guilty by suspicion.

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Stop

Re: "So many ways around this... "

8. Just buy the fucking CD!!

I doubt anybody who has been posting on here complaining about being stopped from ILLEGALLY downloading music works for free??? So why should musicians??

It is a myth that all musicians are rich, most earn less than £15,000 a year, and even before all this downloading lark started 90% of albums DO NOT MAKE MONEY.

I just love the fact that people here are saying the RIAA's actions are illegal, but you are ILLEGALLY downloading music!

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Well for one...

..I agree with the change. If you get a letter from your ISP and that connection really is your 'lifeline' you can either

a, challenge it without the cost of going through court (maybe end up securing your wireless).

b, stop breaking the law if that's what you were doing.

c, maybe be a bit more discreet about how you download stuff.

Really, if it's a 3 strike system you have a good buffer for any errors. I've never received a notice for downloading anything illegally so I think the chances of someone getting one by mistake 3 times are pretty close to zero. If they got one the first time then chances are they are downloading or they have an insecure network.

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Anonymous Coward

How about...

<rant>...the talentless suits that leech of "talented" musicians fuck off? It means that the mucisians could release their music via the internet at a lower cost and these terrible RIAA industry bastards wouldn't get a penny and the artist could control the licensing... I mean, what do they really do to earn their massive salaries? Get rid of 'em, along with bankers, accountants, economists and estate agents... </rant>

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Anonymous Coward

I thought better of you guys

A number of websites are reporting that there are still RIAA actions against individuals being filed as late as the 18th of this month.

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I have a dream

If only there was a way we could adapt current internet technology to produce some kind of digital super-library that would grant the entire global community access to the sum total of human musical output for a relatively small cost (compared to the money we've just spent saving corrupt bankers, or invading Iraq, or which we plan to spend on new Nuclear power stations).

If the point of the music industry is to make as much money as possible, then illegal P2P is a problem. If the point of the music industry is to get as much music as possible into the hands of as many people as possible in the most efficient way possible, then non unit-priced P2P downloading is part of the solution. We know what the priorities of the music executives are, but what about world-saving super-politicians like Brown and Obama?

It's worth noting that the nationalisation of the global banking and car manufacturing sectors has much more to do with national self-interest (ie protectionism) than high-minded political ideology. Banning P2P isn't about helping music lovers or creating good music - or even helping the artists; it's about protecting tax generating US and UK based companies.

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The **AAs need to eat their own poison...

Until the **AAs clients produce some quality, (like the sixties music we're subjected to every time we go out to a pub for a drink,) they can't stop suing the estates of dead people (Yeah, granny downloaded Metallica because she's got wireless internet near her grave site,) or trying to impose a tax on media to rip off the people who don't care for their product (law suits and agita, [they definitely don't make songs or movies,]) or for their clients' products (I can't tell you the last time a movie actually compelled me into a theater and I prefer my music indie.)

Screw 'em all...

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Bronze badge

Re: Efros

"$10 a month for the rest of their life from every internet subscriber in the world sounds like a pretty sizable chunk of cash"

Except that since I am not downloading music, and do not wish to download music (as I think most of the stuff produced in the last 5+years has been pap), why-oh-why would I pay this tax?

Why would *anyone* allow a private company to extort cash over the entire population?

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Judge, jury and executioner

How dare they set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner!! Does seem to me that they thnk they are above due legal process.........no.........wait, they think they ARE the law! It is certainly not up to them to try and intervene in a process which should rightly be decided by a court, in my opinion. Great tactic - get the ISP's to do all your dirty work. Doesn't cost anywhere as much as taking folk to court!

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Paris Hilton

An easy solution...

Lets just ignore everything we know about the RIAA and pretend for a minute that they do have the best interest of their artists in mind and that piracy actually loses them money...

It seems to me that the running costs for the RIAA must be many times what they recover/protect with their handful of semi-successful lawsuits (does anyone know whether this is correct?).

If so, I don't even need to continue because even she can see where this is going.

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