Recording Madness

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Citizen Bob, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. Citizen Bob

    Citizen Bob Guest

    Scarey Tech - Just In Time for Halloween

    Things that go beep in the night
    By Peter Lewis, Fortune senior editor

    Recording Madness

    Remember "Reefer Madness," the 1950s scare flick intended to warn
    teenagers about the danger of marijuana? One puff, and suddenly you're
    a motorcycle hoodlum. And now, half a century later, comes the
    Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) with its own
    horror film for teens, called "Campus Downloading." In the video,
    college students are warned that they could get kicked out of school
    and charged as criminals for - gasp - downloading music without
    permission or without paying a "fee." Copying? Communist! Burn a mix
    disc for your girlfriend, and you'll burn in copyright hell.

    The scary thing is, the R.I.A.A. seems to have no concept of fair use.
    And what's this banshee wail that consumers don't really buy and own
    digital music, but rather only license the use of it for a fee? Silly
    me, I thought I was buying music online and that I could do anything I
    want with it. I must be a dope-head. And hey, you'd think the RIAA
    would be able to find some decent music for the video, but nooooo.


    "First and last, it's a question of money. Those men who own the earth
    make the laws to protect what they have. They fix up a sort of fence or
    pen around what they have, and they fix the law so the fellow on the
    outside cannot get in. The laws are really organized for the protection of
    the men who rule the world. They were never organized or enforced to do
    justice. We have no system for doing justice, not the slightest in the
    --Clarence Darrow
    Citizen Bob, Oct 31, 2006
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  2. "Citizen Bob" wrote ...
    It appears to be"Citizen Bob" and Peter Lewis who
    have no concept of "fair use". Get a clue.
    Richard Crowley, Nov 2, 2006
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  3. Citizen Bob

    Citizen Bob Guest

    You get a clue. See the thread entitled "Judge: File-swapping tools
    are legal"

    Copyright ©2006 CNET Networks, Inc.

    Judge: File-swapping tools are legal
    By John Borland
    Staff Writer, CNET
    Published: April 25, 2003, 12:46 PM PDT

    A federal judge in Los Angeles has handed a stunning court victory to
    file-swapping services Streamcast Networks and Grokster, dismissing
    much of the record industry and movie studios' lawsuit against the two

    In an almost complete reversal of previous victories for the record
    labels and movie studios, federal court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled
    that Streamcast--parent of the Morpheus software--and Grokster were
    not liable for copyright infringements that took place using their
    software. The ruling does not directly affect Kazaa, software
    distributed by Sharman Networks, which has also been targeted by the
    entertainment industry.

    "Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can
    and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson
    wrote in his opinion, released Friday. "Grokster and StreamCast are
    not significantly different from companies that sell home video
    recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to
    infringe copyrights."

    The ruling is the second major setback to date to the entertainment
    industry's efforts to keep a tight rein on online file-swapping,
    following a similiar decision in the Netherlands last year that found
    that Kazaa was not liable for its users' copyright infringements. If
    upheld, the decision could lead artists, record labels and movie
    studios to cast new legal strategies that they have until now been
    reluctant to try, including bringing lawsuits against individuals who
    copy unauthorized works over Napster-like networks.

    According to the major record labels, file-swapping is a major
    contributor to declines in music sales over the past few years, a
    trend that has thrown the industry into disarray. Debt-ridden media
    conglomerates are now considering sales of their music divisions even
    as they begin to test paid online music services intended to compete
    with free file-swapping networks and turn the tide.

    Attorneys called the ruling a blow for entertainment and record
    companies trying to stop the networks used to swap unauthorized copies
    of their works.

    "This is a very serious setback for the record industry and other
    content industries, because they've uniformly won these cases in the
    U.S.," Mark Radcliffe, an intellectual property attorney at Gray Cary
    Ware & Freidenrich said.

    While the ruling in no way validates the legality of downloading
    copyrighted music online, it would shield companies providing
    decentralized file-swapping software such as Gnutella from liability
    for the actions of people using their products.

    As such, it could provide new leverage for file-swapping companies
    such as Grokster, Streamcast and Sharman in negotiations with record
    companies and other copyright holders to license works legitimately.
    Since Napster's $1 billion settlement offer with the record industry
    in 2001, file-swapping companies have repeatedly sought an amicable
    settlement with copyright holders but have been almost universally

    The court's ruling applies only to existing versions of the Morpheus
    and Grokster software. Earlier versions of the software, which
    functioned slightly differently, could potentially leave the companies
    open to liability.

    A spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
    said the copyright holders were deeply disappointed in the decision
    and would certainly appeal.

    "We feel strongly that those who encourage, facilitate and profit from
    piracy should be held accountable for actions," MPAA spokeswoman Marta
    Grutka said. "We're hoping that people aren't taking this as an
    invitation to continue along the path of what is clearly illegal

    Recording industry officials said they saw some good in the ruling,
    but that they too would immediately appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of

    "We are pleased with the Court's affirmation that individual users are
    accountable for illegally uploading and downloading copyrighted works
    off of publicly accessible peer-to-peer networks," said Recording
    Industry Association of America (RIAA) chief executive officer Hilary
    Rosen in a statement. "(But) businesses that intentionally facilitate
    massive piracy should not be able to evade responsibility for their

    Wilson's decision comes in the most closely watched Net copyright case
    since Napster's demise.

    The two pieces of file-swapping software affected by Friday's ruling
    remain among the most popular downloads on the Net, although they
    operate deep in the shadow of market leader Kazaa. Morpheus--once the
    undisputed leader--has fallen to about 120,000 downloads per week,
    according to, a software aggregation site operated by publisher CNET Networks. Kazaa, by contrast, was downloaded
    more than 2.7 million times during the past week.

    The RIAA and the MPAA sued Streamcast, Grokster, and the original
    parent company of Kazaa's software in October 2001, and the case has
    been making its way slowly through court since that time.

    In late 2002, both sides asked the judge for summary judgment, or a
    quick ruling in their favor before going to a full trial. Wilson's
    decision in favor of the file-swapping companies Friday was tied to
    that months-old series of requests.

    The decision does not directly affect Kazaa, at least not immediately.
    At the time that Grokster and Streamcast were arguing for summary
    judgment, Wilson had not yet ruled that the Australia-based Sharman
    Networks could be sued in the United States.

    Sharman is scheduled to meet with RIAA and MPAA attorneys in court on
    Monday, to argue over whether its counterclaim against the record
    labels and movie studios should be dismissed. Friday's ruling,
    however, could change the direction of that hearing.

    The judge's surprise ruling marked the first validation of an argument
    that file-swapping supporters have been making since Napster's first
    controversial arrival. Peer-to-peer file-trading is a technology that
    can be used for activities well beyond copyright infringement, and the
    technology should not be blocked altogether to stop solely its illegal
    uses, these backers have said.

    In making that argument, the judge looked back to the landmark 1984
    Supreme Court ruling that upheld the legality of Sony's Betamax
    videocassette recorder (VCR). That decision helped establish the
    doctrine of "substantial noninfringing use," which protects technology
    providers that distribute products--like the VCR or photocopier--that
    can be used for both legal and illegal purposes.

    "We are absolutely very proud of this judge for having the unusual
    capacity to be able to grasp the technology and its future benefit to
    taxpayers and shareholders around the world," said Wayne Rosso,
    president of Grokster. "Technology is usually way ahead of courts and
    legislature. The fact that judge was able to acutely comprehend (this
    technology) is a credit to the legal system."

    Not like Napster
    Much of Wilson's ruling hung on the technological differences between
    Napster and the newer, decentralized file-swapping services.

    Napster's service opened itself to liability for its users' actions by
    actively playing a role in connecting people who were downloading and
    uploading songs--a little like a physical swap meet provides the
    facilities for people exchanging illegal material, the judge said. By
    contrast, Grokster and Streamcast distributed software to people and
    had no control over what their users did afterwards, Wilson said.

    When users search for and initiate transfers of files using the
    Grokster client, they do so without any information being transmitted
    to or through any computers owned or controlled by Grokster," Wilson
    wrote. "Neither Grokster nor StreamCast provides the site and
    facilities" for direct infringement. "If either defendant closed their
    doors and deactivated all computers within their control, users of
    their products could continue sharing files with little or no

    It didn't matter that the companies were aware generally of copyright
    infringement happening using their software, Wilson added--they would
    have to know of specific instances of infringement and be able to do
    something about it, to be liable for those users' actions.

    That stands in stark contrast to an earlier ruling against
    file-swapping company Aimster, in which the judge explicitly said the
    file-trading company did not need to know about individual acts of
    copyright infringement as they were happening to be held liable for
    the illegal activity.

    Friday's decision is likely to send shock waves throughout the
    copyright and technology communities, which have adjusted slowly over
    the last year to the notion that file-trading services such as these
    were mostly likely illegal. Technology companies have complained that
    the repeated lawsuits have stifled innovation, but many also have
    begun to move forward in alliances with authorized music--and
    film-distribution services.

    The case will certainly be appealed. Because different courts have
    come to very different conclusions about the law, the issue could go
    as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, a process that would likely take

    "This is far from over," said Fred von Lohmann, an Electronic Frontier
    Foundation attorney who has represented Streamcast in the case. "This
    is not the end, but it sends a very strong message to the technology
    community that the court understands the risk to innovation."

    In the interim, the ruling is likely to produce another round of
    interest in legislation affecting copyright issue on the Net--an
    outcome that Wilson himself foresaw.

    Policy, "as well as history, supports our consistent deference to
    Congress when major technological innovations alter the market for
    copyrighted materials," Wilson wrote. "Congress has the constitutional
    authority and the institutional ability to accommodate fully the
    raised permutations of competing interests that are inevitably
    implicated by such new technology...Additional legislative guidance
    may be well-counseled."
    Citizen Bob, Nov 2, 2006
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