Friday, December 19, 2008

p2pnet reports that RIAA dropping 'mass lawsuits' to look for 'more effective ways' to combat copyright infringement

According to this report in, the RIAA is dropping its mass lawsuit campaign.

Needless to say, we will be looking into this.

[Ed. note. If it's true... it's about time. Meanwhile, what about the unfortunates who are presently entangled already in these unjust lawsuits? Why won't the RIAA drop those cases too? If it was bad business to start them, why isn't it bad business to keep on throwing good money after bad? I hope consumers will remember this 5 1/2-year reign of terror, and will shun RIAA products, and I hope the legal profession will place a black mark next to the names of those "lawyers" who participated in this foul calumny. -R.B.]

Original source: Wall Street Journal

Commentary & discussion:

Aram Squalls
Ars Technica
C/Net News
Torrent Freak
Heise Online (German)
The Licensing Plate and Electronic Frontier Foundation
Associated Press (via Google)
Computer World
Comments Section, Wall Street Journal Online
Chronicle of Higher Education
LA Times
Information Week
Digital Media Wire
Public Knowledge
Download Squad
Silicon Alley Insider
Yahoo Tech
Marketplace Radio (German)
ynet (Hebrew)
We are the Music Makers
Punto Informatico (Italian)
Intellectual Property Watch
Moses Supposes (12/23/08)
Digital Music News (expanding story)
El Pais (Spanish)

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


Eric said...

Rather than sue they will just bypass the legal system entirely and make random people's life miserable by getting their internet connection cut off.

I don't know if this is a good thing or just asking for trouble in the long term if it becomes common practice for any and every content provider to have control over your internet connection.

Anonymous said...

The RIAA will continue with outstanding lawsuits according to the Wall St. Journal article so you are not out of business, Ray.

Anonymous said...

In the WSJ article on Slashdot, it says that they will still go after the biggest offenders. With the way the lawsuits are going, it's still only a matter of time before some judge somewhere puts the screws to them. Or alternatively, if your ISP blacklists you, just switch providers if you can. Let them know how you feel by "voting" with your dollars. Even if you have only one provider for your area the ISP's will be cutting off their nose to spite their face due to the fact that they will start to lose money. Becasue we all know about the highly (un)scientific and (in)accurate technology that MediaSentry uses.

I also like the part of the WSJ article that states their sales from 2003 to now have plummeted. If we can only keep this trend going, we may not have to deal with these parasites after a while. My apologies to any tapeworms out there reading this. You are definitely several steps up the evolutionary ladder than the RIAA :)

Anonymous said...

Well, this means that MediaSentry and Settlement Center folks are out of a job.

I suppose they will be covered by the bailout?


Anonymous said...

This man is left to wonder if suing additional people is now a Bad Idea, why is continuing the existing suits still a Good Idea?

{The Common Man Speaking}

raybeckerman said...

Dear "Fan of this Blog"....

This was all work I wished I didn't have.

Eric said...

@10:32:00 AM EST Anon.

You presume that there is more than one broadband carrier in your area. In the vast majority of this country people are lucky to have one high speed option and a bad identification by the RIAA might effectively cut you off from decent access.

Anonymous said...

Will the people who paid settlement/extortion money get it back? Will this give them grounds for class action?
God I hope so.
/nope, never paid

Anonymous said...

I ran across this article on CNET that I thought had the tone that most everyone here feels.



Anonymous said...

In several situations, trade groups like the RIAA and MPAA have been caught red-handed engaging in online copyright infringement by posting material they don't own on their websites.

Will the ISPs hosting the RI/MPAA agree to a three strikes policy where the trade groups will lose their net connections, just as the average consumer would deal with under this policy? said...

Hey Ray,
We wrote a follow up article and linked to this post as well as to you as we mentioned you ;) (hope you dont mind)

Would appreciate a link back.


StephenH said...

I have a couple of questions:

1) Will users have any due process rights to appeal or challenge an RIAA citation?

2) If one's internet connection is cut off or slowed, will they ever be able to get it back?

3) What if the person paying the bill was not the one who did the file sharing (i.e. shared computers, NAT routers, connection sharing devices, proxy servers, temporary use connections, open wireless, etc)? Are they going to be punished for the action of another user on their network?

4) What about ISPs that don't choose to participate in RIAA's program at all or decide to be P2P friendly?

I would appreciate some answers to this. It sounds like this program is going to create another headache for the RIAA and probably expose both the RIAA and ISPs to litigation by consumers. At least they should allow one to agree to pay royalties if they want their account reinstated.

StephenH said...

I also think this program came out of statistics that showed P2P was not slowing down, that decentralized P2P systems cannot be stopped by suing the developers (and some may be hobbyist programs), as well as the decisions that severed some of the john doe cases, the counterclaims that were not dismissed (i.e. Andersen, Raleigh, Boyer, etc) and are afraid of the program being stopped by a court in the future and that Jammie Thomas is getting a new trial.

Anonymous said...

"3) What if the person paying the bill was not the one who did the file sharing (i.e. shared computers, NAT routers, connection sharing devices, proxy servers, temporary use connections, open wireless, etc)? Are they going to be punished for the action of another user on their network?"

On a related note, I believe there was some talk of crippling the speed of an accused account holders service. Will the ISP continue to charge full price for this degraded service???

The internet is increasingly as necessary to daily life and commerce as a phone. The idea that corporate giants are colluding to cut off internet access to people based on the mere accusation of infringement by an industry trade group, a group known for suing dead people and people who have never used a computer, is not heartening in the least.

Anonymous said...

This man suspects that when push comes to shove that ISPs will be more reluctant to terminate users simply on the RIAA's say-so (and risk lawsuits from those users) than it might appear at first blush.

For the RIAA this is a huge win because they don't have to go to court any longer to get their threats (these are new threats than before, but threats all the same) delivered.

For the cowardly ISPs who do agree to this, expect a barrage of computer generated notices far in excess of what you received through the court cases before. Said ISPs may find this new scheme much more of a burden than the old system since they still have to do the same amount of work to look up a user, but now also need to notify that user themselves, track the number of notices sent, and face user backlash. These ISPs may rue the day that they made this Devil's Bargain.

{The Common Man Speaking}

Anonymous said...

thanks ray - really prefer your forum to others - didn't see this article posted previously

so my question are like stephenh's

- do they just take media sentry (or whoever's) word for an infringement? seems this should be challenged to get the ISPs to not be so quick to comply

is there any civil liability on an ISP's part for complying and slowing or closing a customer's account, especially if they have a broadband monopoly in an area?

thx ray!

Unknown said...

This sounds like a convoluted scheme to get ISPs to identify potential copyright infringers to the RIAA so that the RIAA legal team can avoid their ridiculous strategy of suing John Does in order to get the contact information of potential infringes via the discovery process. Since their ability to sue people in a fashion where they can't defend themselves is slowly being picked apart by judges that aren't push overs, it looks like the RIAA is looking for methods to identify potential lawsuit victims by avoiding going to court all together and thus trampling all over privacy laws, but without judicial interference. After all, if the RIAA can structure an agreement with the ISPs to identify infringers, they don't have to worry about their John Doe lawsuits being thrown out of court. I wager that if they are able to set up the agreements that they'd like to with ISPs, the RIAA will be able to sue more people with greater efficiency.