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Court Grants RIAA Summary Judgment Motions vs. Limewire

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the pay-the-man dept.

Piracy 170

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "District Court Judge Kimba Wood has granted some of the RIAA's key summary judgment motions in Arista Records v. Lime Group. In her 59-page decision (PDF), she found Lime Group itself, as well as its CEO and a separate company, liable for intentionally inducing Limewire users to infringe plaintiffs' copyrights. The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable. Additionally, it denied summary judgment on certain issues, and did not address any possible damages."

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Mod this up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189476)

if you think the RIAA are niggers. Not niggers as in black but niggers as in really fucking stupid and a real paragon of what an organization should never become. It is only fitting to use one of the ugliest words for one of the ugliest entities.

These guys are in for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190480)

This really teh suck.

In Summary (2, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189486)

In summary, it is illegal to download copyrighted material (without permission), or to encourage others to do so. Go ahead and do it, but realize you are doing so at your own peril.

hey phantomfive (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189494)

I desperately want to cum in your ass. May I have your permission?

Just kidding, I'll do it whether you like it or not, you little fucking bitch. Just as I do with filesharing.

Jewish nigger faggots like you can't stop me.

Re:In Summary (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189520)

Isn't this a major change from "it is illegal to upload copyrighted material"?

so google can be sued? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189522)

so google can be sued?

Re:so google can be sued? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189560)

Yes, actually, and it happens [wikipedia.org] a lot [linksandlaw.com] .

Re:In Summary (4, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189526)

Since I really don't want to bother reading 59 pages just to get the answer to this question, does it address how Limewire "encouraged" people to download copyrighted material? Is it simply because it allows people to make whatever they have available, and that just happened to be what some people make available?

Does it explain how this is different from, say, an automobile? After all, cars can be used to transport just about anything. Illegal things like unlicensed guns, drugs, teenagers across state lines, stolen merchandise, illegal aliens, bodies of people you've just murdered, cases of laundered cash for organized crime bosses, etc. They can also be used to transport legal stuff, like my ass back and forth to work every day.

I guess what I'm really not getting is, if Joe Schmo gets caught using his 1979 Impala to haul illegal copies of Free Willy DVDs, will the RIAA/MPAA sue Chevrolet?

Re:In Summary (2, Insightful)

McBeer (714119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189572)

I guess what I'm really not getting is, if Joe Schmo gets caught using his 1979 Impala to haul illegal copies of Free Willy DVDs, will the RIAA/MPAA sue Chevrolet?

If Chevy was actively advertising how many illegal DVDs you can fit in the car and DVD bootlegging in Impalas ran rampant maybe. Otherwise, they are probably safe. It seems to come down to if a product is used mainly for illegal activity and the manufacturer encourages that illegal activity. Google's and Chevy's products serve mostly legal purposes. Limewire and co have some legal uses, but mostly are used for illegal file sharing. It's a somewhat nebulous issue since it's hard to say what "mainly used for" and "encouraging" actually mean. The courts seem to be busily establishing case law for that though.

Re:In Summary (1)

Toam (1134401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189606)

What if Chevy were advertising how many legally owned DVDs you could fit in there, but people still went on transporting pirated copies of Free Willy? A similar argument would be could the RIAA et al sue, say, companies who produce blank dvds? What about apple? Apple advertise how many songs you can fit on an iPod... and I can fit the same number of songs* whether they are pirated or not. *Ignoring all the inherent flaws in using "X amount of songs" as a measure of hard disk capacity

The RIAA needs an excuse to sue somebody?? (0, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190224)

News to me.

Re:In Summary (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189646)

It's like how if "The Pirate Bay" were called "The Linux ISO Bay" it might have fared better in court.

Re:In Summary (1)

arogier (1250960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190046)

Given the technical savvy of the judiciary in general, I think such a name for a torrent tracker if it hosted the same content as the pirate bay would more likely endanger Linux ISO's than protect the torrent tracker.

Re:In Summary (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189660)

If Chevy was actively advertising how many illegal DVDs you can fit in the car...

Well, that's just it. I've looked pretty thoroughly at Limewire's web site [limewire.com] , and I'm just not seeing any reference at all to illegal downloads. In fact, the site looks on the surface to be pretty vanilla corporate-type design. Maybe the judge has some kind of smoking gun I'm just not seeing, but as far as I know, Limewire has never advertised itself as a product you should use to download files illegally. (But granted, being a commercial implementation of something I can get for free without adware infestation, I've never looked too closely into it.)

...and DVD bootlegging in Impalas ran rampant maybe.

Well, another analogy I can think of is the sale and use of so-called "Saturday night special" [wikipedia.org] handguns. In spite of their prevalent use in criminal activities, a lawsuit against them was dismissed in 2003, and they remain largely unregulated today.

Not saying that they should or shouldn't, I'm just saying that it seems to me that it's awful inconsistent to pass summary judgment--as in, they didn't even get a trial--when other companies that specialize in providing stuff that is foreseeably used quite often, if not mostly, in illegal activities gets a free pass. Hell, if I wanted to, I could even buy a set of lockpicks [amazon.com] and go to town. (Or more to the point, go to your house.)

Re:In Summary (2, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189692)

Hell, if I wanted to, I could even buy a set of lockpicks and go to town. (Or more to the point, go to your house.)

I would not advise that, at least not where I live. Some time back, a mechanic who was driving me home (after dropping my car at a transmission shop) told me that, later that day, he had to meet with the local DA because they were threatening to prosecute his son (also a mechanic) for walking the streets with a screwdriver in his pocket.

Re:In Summary (1)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190750)

Honestly that doesn't surprise me, and I'm not sure it's actually a bad thing. Not that they should prosecute or anything (should be given a warning and nothing more IMHO) but just as it is perfectly reasonable and understandable for a mechanic to a screwdriver it is still capable of serious damage to a person. Obviously I don't know the circumstances (was he really "walking the streets" or just on a pavement [sidewalk] working on a car at the time for example) but carrying a tool that can be used to do serious harm when there is no reason to do so should be illegal (at the very least it could do accidental damage). Carrying lockpicks is slightly different, as doing so cannot do accidental harm beyond what keys or something similar could do. Carrying them may strengthen a case against you in a breaking and entering/burglary case but simply having a set on your person has no really legitimate reason to be illegal. Now carrying either with the intent to use them to harm or break in or whatever SHOULD be illegal, but only if intent can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Why a screwdriver differs is that there needs not be any intent in order to do harm.

Re:In Summary (1)

int69h (60728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190792)

So I'm guessing that the large Buck knife that I carry in my pocket every day is just straight out by your logic then?

Re:In Summary (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190230)

Umm, maybe the web site changed ...

So all ISPs are guilty too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190098)

So all ISPs are guilty too? They state their bandwidth or download caps in terms of MP3's and MPEG4 compressed movies.

PS Please tell me where Limewire says "you can download X DVDs with limewire".

Re:In Summary (0, Redundant)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189598)

I guess what I'm really not getting is, if Joe Schmo gets caught using his 1979 Impala to haul illegal copies of Free Willy DVDs, will the RIAA/MPAA sue Chevrolet?

The only reason that doesn't happen is because way too many people, even the dimmest of us, would realize how hilariously absurd and irrational that would be. Everyone can relate to it.

But the RIAA/MPAA can be just as hilariously absurd and irrational (if not moreso) when it comes to copyright and filesharing because the populace don't understand the subject(s)/technology. And what they do hear is exclusively RIAA/MPAA propaganda which puts them further away from understanding.

Re:In Summary (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189814)

Since I really don't want to bother reading 59 pages just to get the answer to this question, does it address how Limewire "encouraged" people to download copyrighted material

From the LA Times:

Relying on the Supreme Court's ruling in MGM v Grokster, Wood held that the defendants deliberately induced LimeWire users to violate copyrights, and that it profited from the infringements. Here's a snippet from the ruling (Wood refers to the company LimeWire by the initials LW):

[T]he following factors, taken together, establish that LW intended to encourage infringement by distributing LimeWire: (1) LW's awareness of substantial infringement by users; (2) LW's efforts to attract infringing users; (3) LW's efforts to enable and assist users to commit infringement; (4) LW's dependence on infringing use for the success of its business; and (5) LW's failure to mitigate infringing activities.

Most of those factors are non-controversial applications of the Grokster principle that folks who encourage piracy in order to profit from it are liable for infringement. Wood cited internal documents to show that LimeWire executives knew most of its users were downloading songs illegally, and that they sought out such users through, among other things, "press campaigns on college campuses relating to 'file-sharing and getting free MP3's.' " The company aids would-be infringers, Wood wrote, by enabling them to search by categories (such as Classic Rock and Top 40) that "inevitably guide users to copyrighted recordings." She also noted that the more users it attracts, the more revenue it collects from advertisers and consumers who buy the ad-free version of the software.

Wood's fifth factor, however, suggests that liability might ensue merely from the way a technology is designed and used. According to Wood, LimeWire built a filter into the software that could block copyrighted works from being downloaded, but left it inoperative unless users turned it on. A separate filter, however, barred users from sharing the songs they bought from the LimeWire store.

This selective filtering further demonstrates LW's knowledge of infringement-mitigating technologies and the company's intentional decision not to employ any such technologies in a way that meaningfully deters LimeWire users' infringing activities....

Failure to utilize existing technology to create meaningful barriers against infringement is a strong indicator of intent to foster infringement.

As for former CEO Gorton, Wood cited precedents that held company executives liable for infringements when they had the ability to supervise them and they benefited from them. She went on to note:

Gorton directed and approved many aspects of LimeWire's design and development. Gorton admits that he conceived of LimeWire and decided that the program should be decentralized and should use P2P technology.... Gorton oversaw the development of LimeWire's filtering system, and decided that the filter should be turned "off" by default.... This evidence, taken together, also establishes that Gorton knew about the infringement being committed through LimeWire.


Another win for the RIAA [latimes.com]

Re:In Summary (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189816)

I've asked that question tons of times but no one answers it. If Chevy had no money for lawyers I'm sure they would get sued too.

Re:In Summary (1)

Slotty (562298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189886)

In answer to your question this is probably the best excerpt:

First, Dr. Horowitz has not opined on the parties’ state of mind, but rather has provided information on the design and functionality of the LimeWire program. See, e.g., Horowitz Report 56 (“Although Lime Wire LLC professes to be agnostic about what files are transferred using LimeWire, LimeWire’s feature set is optimized for downloading popular audio files.”); id. 57 (noting that the design of LW’s “user interface” supports the download of music files); id. 66 (opining that the use of a “Classic Rock” genre category has the effect of generating search results containing unauthorized works); id. 70 (discussing that some of LimeWire’s features are “potentially confusing” to users).

I guess what I'm really not getting is, if Joe Schmo gets caught using his 1979 Impala to haul illegal copies of Free Willy DVDs, will the RIAA/MPAA sue Chevrolet?

GRANTS Plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment on the claims against Gorton and Lime Group for inducement of copyright infringement, common law infringement, and unfair competition

It's about the intention of the company. If GM was marketing cars on the sole basis of "This car has so much boot space you can haul illegal DVD's to sell" then the money grubbing associations might be entitled to get annoyed

So Grateful Dead cannot be downloaded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190736)

So Grateful Dead cannot be downloaded? They are under "Classic Rock" (or some of their stuff is). So just because you can list and download Grateful Dead tracks under Limewire, which is not a copyright violation, Limewire are encouraging piracy???

Re:In Summary (2, Insightful)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189566)

Actually - it IS NOT illegal to download anything. Stop trying to distort the truth. It does not say that anywhere in this judgement and it does not say that anywhere in the law. The issue is distribution - not downloading. The only illegal issue is the 'unauthorized distribution' as in uploading or sharing copyrighted files with others without authorization from the copyright owners. There is nothing wrong with downloading a file to check it out. It is no different than opening a magazine to see if you want to buy it at the store. You are not stealing the magazine, you're just looking at it. Photocopying the magazine AND giving it to someone else would be illegal though - get it?

Re:In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189666)

Why is it my business to be responsible for someone else's conduct. I have a huge problem with that basic assumption when it comes to the copyright cases related to P2P networks.

Re:In Summary (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189742)

IANAL, but that position is pretty thin.

For one, illegal or not the RIAA sues people using tracked downloads as evidence of filesharing. It will either cost you 10k to settle, or at least 10k in legal fees. In practical terms then, there definitely is something wrong in downloading a file to check it out, and it will be viable evidence against you in a court of law.

For another, you're not opening a magazine to see if you want to buy it or not. You're inducing copyright infringement to get an illegal copy. Even if it is to "decide if you want to buy," the fact remains that someone violated copyright at your request, and that you most definitely knew it was going to happen. At minimum, that makes you guilty of being an accessory to copyright infringement, inducing copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, which have been ruled illegal in various locals at various times. Further, an overpaid lawyer could easily argue that the copy being made at your request makes you a joint principle in the act. Pressing "download" on bittorrent is like pressing the copy button on a xerox, irrespective of who owns the xerox and who loaded the book into the copier. A skilled lawyer would argue that the uploader isn't making any copies at all, they're just holding up a book saying "come make copies of this." The downloaders are the ones who bring their little xerox machines, and suddenly have identical bits on their computers.

Maybe a real lawyer could chime in on this subject (please?). But things definitely aren't as black-and-white as "uploading is illegal, downloading is legal."

Re:In Summary (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189966)

You're right - it is not black and white. But the fact remains, there still is no law making it illegal to download a file. The RIAA does not nail you for downloading a file from them or anyone else. They nail you when they download a piece of the file FROM your torrent on your PC. They catch you 'distributing' a copy. That's the difference, otherwise it would be illegal for the RIAA to download that piece of the file from your torrent. It's not illegal to hit 'copy' on a Xerox - in fact you can copy anything you want on the Xerox at the library. They won't stop you and you won't get arrested for it. The illegal act is distribution - that is the only law being broken - making a copy and giving it away or distributing it to others.

Re:In Summary (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190632)

The illegal act is distribution - that is the only law being broken - making a copy and giving it away or distributing it to others.

Not entirely true. Under copyright law, there are *two* offenses - the creation of an unauthorized copy, and the unauthorized distribution of copies.

The reason the RIAA has been mainly working on the latter is quite simple - it's damn near impossible to prove someone created an unauthorized copy (by downloading it) unless you are the source for the download, which creates a legal mess (if the rights holder is providing the download, is it really unauthorized?).

There *have* been cases where the RIAA went after someone for distribution, failed to find enough evidence, but then proceeded to nail them for the unauthorized copies based on evidence obtained when they were trying to prove distribution.

So they won't actually go after someone for downloading, but if they find evidence of downloading while investigating distribution, they can and will pursue that.

Re:In Summary (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189972)

In practical terms then, there definitely is something wrong in downloading a file to check it out, and it will be viable evidence against you in a court of law.

For another, you're not opening a magazine to see if you want to buy it or not. You're inducing copyright infringement to get an illegal copy. Even if it is to "decide if you want to buy," the fact remains that someone violated copyright at your request, and that you most definitely knew it was going to happen. At minimum, that makes you guilty of being an accessory to copyright infringement, inducing copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, which have been ruled illegal in various locals at various times.

Your entire argument is retarded. First, you're using language (accessory) to a criminal offense, not a civil one -- which AFAIK, copyright infringement is.

Second, going by your argument, if you were responsible for downloads, every time you open a webpage, you would open yourself up to liability. Who owns that font? Who owns that clipart? Or those jpegs? Haven't you ever heard of websites using other website author's templates, either knowingly or unknowingly. Should you the browser be liable then? Browsing is downloading, although we have been conditioned to associated so-called "illegal downloading" with music/movies -- in fact copyright would protect everything down to the lowly font, jpeg, and animated gif.

A downloader is not responsible to know whether the place he is downloading from owns/licensed proper copyright. Moralely perhaps, but legally he should not, if for nothing else because it would be impossible to ascertain all the elements are owned by said parties and in many cases impossible to know beforehand.

Re:In Summary (0, Troll)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190056)

First, you're using language (accessory) to a criminal offense, not a civil one -- which AFAIK, copyright infringement is.

Yes, but remember, downloading movies and music is *STEALING*, which of course is a criminal offense. At least that's what they want it to be.

Re:In Summary (1)

Windows Breaker G4 (939734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190142)

The RIAA and MPAA have made it very clear that when you buy a CD or DVD you aren't actually buying anything more then a license. So if I own a license for a movie or album is it still illegal for me to download it? If you already own it, is it still stealing? A DVD you own getting scratched is a good example of this.

Re:In Summary (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190968)

Nobody is arguing what should happen. Only what has been.

Accessory, inducing, and conspiracy have all come up in copyright cases in recent years. I don't recall if they were civil or criminal offhand, which is one reason I'd love a lawyer to chime in here.

Second, the digital age has added so many messed up conditions around copyright law that it seems greatly outmoded. Making a "copy" in RAM for normal playback had to be given an exception in copyright law. Some judges have swallowed the argument that this copy is why click-through agreements are binding: otherwise the user wouldn't have the right to make that RAM copy, or install to hard disk. In other cases, such as kiddie porn, browsing to a site that caches an image on your hard drive, even if it never displays it, is enough to make you legally liable. MPEG-LA has made clear that they believe the end-viewer of a YouTube video that hasn't properly licensed their codec patents is technically also in violation of their codec patents.

As another poster pointed out, you make copies all the time of websites. Your computer puts it in RAM, caches it to hard disk, sends it off to be displayed, the display might have its own RAM, Firefox will cache it somewhere else for offline use and might make a thumbnail, etc. Or you can "save-as," and read it later. This is all technically copying. Sure, we give it all fair-use exemptions because that's how the internet works. But these exemptions exist because the internet breaks the old copyright rules in ways that the system cannot handle. When you take a photograph of someone wearing a t-shirt and put it up on Flickr are you violating the t-shirt creator's copyright? Stupidly, yes, you are. What if your router caches a copy of the photograph as it goes by? There is an exemption for that. But it is an exemption because it otherwise goes against the outdated structure of copyright law.

The system is an outdated mess the needs a major overhaul to bring it in-line with the realities of the digital age. One of those would be what you suggest: the downloader shouldn't be responsible for knowing if something is properly licensed so long as they reasonably believe that it was. But as far as I know, any behaviors like that are currently based around convention and exeptions rather than proper, well-thought-out lawmaking.

Re:In Summary (4, Informative)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190982)

Both distribution and creating copies fall under infringement. That would be Title 17 section 106 of US law, and that's the same across the globe. Downloading is creating a copy. Uploading and downloading are essentially equivalent under copyright law.

if you were responsible for downloads, every time you open a webpage, you would open yourself up to liability

Correct.
Unbelievable, but essentially correct.

If someone were actually to sue you in court in such a situation, you would pretty much two avenues of defense under U.S. law. Either a Fair Use defense or an Innocent Infringer defense. Note that in either case the law starts from an assumption of guilt and then places the burden upon you to prove your defense.

A Fair Use defense could probably work under these circumstances, and if it does your liability is zero. However the concept of Fair use is a somewhat peculiar fit for these circumstances. Fair Use is not really intended to fix this kind of problem. Innocent Infringer status is actually the "correct" defense to fit this situation. The circumstances you described would give you an instant slam-dunk win on claiming Innocent Infringer status.

And guess how fucked up copyright law is? Under the law an an Innocent Infringer is someone who, through no fault of his own, has technically committed copyright infringement. No fault, no guilt, just an ordinary innocent person who was lied to or given infringing material by some other guilty party. And under US law that means you technically did infringe on someone's copyright. You admitted to this when you laid out the situation. And under those circumstances, IF you prove yourself to be an Innocent Infringer, US law states that the judge is permitted to lower the statutory liability from the standard $750 minimum to a $200 minimum.

US LAW, TITLE 17, CHAPTER 5, SECTION 504, SUBSECTION C, PARAGRAPH 2 [cornell.edu]

And if you think it's insane for you to be liable for $200 damages in your example after proving your Innocent Infringer status, just be glad your example wasn't P2P. If you engage in multiple infringements on P2P you are going to fall under the NET Act. And the NET Act was literally written by copyright industry lawyers, and they slipped in a trick-clause to redefine P2P as "financial gain". And that shoves you under the statutory category originally intended to deal with commercial copyright infringement enterprises. And this commercial infringement statute is a criminal infringement statute. It is a felony infringement statute. If you engage in multiple P2P infringements you technically fall under criminal copyright infringement imposing up to 1, 3, or 5 years in prison depending largely on the number of files involved. Ah, and the sentence is generally doubled on a second offense, up to 10 years in prison.

Here's a link to the Net Act [ucla.edu] . Pay particular attention to the clause that redefines "financial gain". Note how virtually anyone who has ever touched P2P gets magically swept into the commercial-infringement category.

-

Re:In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190040)

For another, you're not opening a magazine to see if you want to buy it or not. You're inducing copyright infringement to get an illegal copy.

Have you ever watched a Youtube video that used copyrighted music? Congratulations, you're a pirate.

Thats basically what you're trying to justify in the digital age.

Re:In Summary (1)

benarius (1545703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190374)

Now IANAL but there is something about all of this that I do not get. In Australia, all created works automatically receive copyright, this includes websites, books, everything. What is the difference between a website being saved locally and a book or song being downloaded and then being saved. Presumably the authorities dont have a problem with someone saving a local copy of a website but this is a copyright infringement as a complete copy of the work has been made without authorisation. What about the link save target as... which pops up everytime someone right clicks in windows. By the same logic, this is the creation of a new copy and is a copyright violation, at least in Australia. Is not Microsoft willfully aiding copyright violations by letting people save copyrighted works on their own computer. In Australia, if saving a copy of a book or movie is illegal, then saving a local copy of a webpage is just as illegal and I do not think it matters who owns the website. By publishing the website, they still have not given permission for you to make copies in the same way a book and movie publisher has not given you permission to make copies.

Re:In Summary (2, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189844)

Actually - it IS NOT illegal to download anything

Sure, keep telling yourself that. Meanwhile, back in reality, we are under US copyright law [copyright.gov] (in the US, obviously).

We also have case law showing [wikipedia.org] that your argument does not stand up in court. From the judgement by the appellate court, we have this lovely quote:

As [the defendant] tells the tale, downloading on a try-before-you-buy basis is good advertising for copyright proprietors, expanding the value of their inventory. The Supreme Court thought otherwise in Grokster, with considerable empirical support.

I'm not talking about morality here, I'm talking about the legality of the matter. You can feel free to try that defense if you ever end up in court over this, but you will lose. Get it?

Re:In Summary (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189968)

I never said that was a defense. I said that's not the legal issue. Downloading a file is not illegal - sharing it is the illegal part because it is distribution.

Re:In Summary (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189982)

OK, this is going to sound like a flame, but unfortunately it's 100% true: you are either extremely dumb or extremely lazy, I can't figure out which. If you weren't, you would have read one of the links in the GP, which showed that downloading a file is in fact illegal, inasmuch as it has been found to be against the law. That makes it a legal issue. you sir are wrong, sorry.

Re:In Summary (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190000)

Show me one quote anywhere in the law where it says 'downloading' is illegal. It does not exist - every single law is related to distribution.

Re:In Summary (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190022)

Doesn't have to, all that matters is how the courts will interpret it. And courts have interpreted the law to mean that downloading = copying, and copying is explicitly declared illegal.

Re:In Summary (1)

Kpau (621891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190306)

So far, the rulings I've seen have relied on the fact that torrents, by definition, are uploading material as they download. I've not seen any rulings against Direct Downloads - only against filesharing using torrent protocols. Granted, that may be because they're basically screwed in trying to detect a DDL without committing various criminal offenses... but so it goes.

Re:In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32191024)

The word COPY in copyright should clue you off that making any copy of a copyrighted work is illegal, if the work is subject to copyright, you are not the owner of the copyright, and you haven't got permission to use it.

Re:In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190028)

Nope - he can be right...

It only depends in what country you live in. Here in the Netherlands downloading is absolutely NOT illegal. Uploading IS illegal however.

Anyway - here in this country there is a initiative going on from some people from the entertainment industry (yes - big labels are involved) to give unrestricted and legal download for an small monthly fee (about € 10,-). I think this is a more sensible initiative that suing everything and everyone to death...

We have to wait and see how this turns out...

Re:In Summary (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190048)

Downloading a file you do not have a legal right to access is illegal.
Just as it is illegal to sneak into a theater even if it had unlimited open seats.
It is theft.
No, it does not matter that no physical object was taken.

sexconker cannot download this message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190196)

sexconker cannot download this message. Now you're a pirate. All things are copyrighted and you just downloaded my copyrighted message without legal right to it (I refused you that right).

Re:In Summary (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189986)

Based on your link:

Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Notice nowhere in the law does it say that RECEIVING a copy is illegal - only making the copy. The person hosting the torrent is the one making the copy you download - not you.
Now with the mere fact that once you download it and SHARE it, you become a distributor - that's where you are breaking the law.
Remove the P2P aspect where you download it from a link or an FTP server - you are legally safe. The person hosting the file though is still breaking the law.

Re:In Summary (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190018)

Ooh so now we can rule out lazy, at least a little bit. I think you are probably not stupid, just willfully ignorant, since you seem to have purposely missed the other link [wikipedia.org] , where downloading over P2P software is in fact interpreted as making the copy. Sorry man, you're wrong.

Re:In Summary (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190302)

Ok, apparently you just don't get it. Just because she lost the case based on her fair use defense does not mean she did so because she 'downloaded' the files. Also, basing your opinion on a link to a Wikipedia article that only discusses the Appellate court decision, but not the lower court case is far fetched. It seems odd that the wiki article does not link to the lower court decision actually. Wikipedia can also be manipulated - I'm fairly sure the RIAA actively does so too.
In fact if you read the actual full appellate decision, it is filled with inaccuracies and an obvious RIAA slant. Since there really has not been many cases where the RIAA has actually won beyond an out of court sealed settlements, considering the trillions of cases of downloading - you can hardly consider this proof that downloading is illegal. It's merely an opinion that is partially valid in the 7th circuit when based on a fair use defense.
It states things like Music sales are down 30%. They're not - it's RIAA propaganda, albeit it could be true that the sales of RIAA music may be down or CD sales are down, considering the crap coming out of the RIAA based music industry these days - overall music sales have been increasing steadily every year.
It states: "Licensed Internet sellers, such as the iTunes Music Store, offer samples—but again they pay authors a fee for the right to do so, and the teasers are just a portion of the original." This is also untrue - iTunes does not pay me one dime for letting people listen to 30 second samples of my music and they don't pay the record labels for this either. (Yes, I have music on iTunes, Amazon, Napster, emusic and many other stores - I understand what they pay for very well). STREAMS are paid though (a pitiful 1 cent or less per stream), but iTunes does not offer streaming.
There still is no LAW making downloading illegal. Distributing copies is the only illegal issue that is stated in the law. If it was illegal, would the RIAA not also be breaking the law merely catching these supposed infringers? They are, after all, downloading a piece of a an unauthorized copy of a file right in order to obtain 'evidence'?
Copying is also still legal btw - as I can still copy my CDs to my MP3 player with zero fear of breaking a law.
Music fans have an ever increasing appetite for more music. It’s just that they consume it differently than in years past. Rather than buying a CD at the local music store, fans now look for a different consumption experience. They go to MySpace to directly connect with artists they love, watch videos on YouTube, purchase a few tracks on Amazon, build streaming radio stations to find similar tunes at Pandora, and more.
According to IFPI and Neilsen more music is being sold.

Here's some Neilsen stats...

NIELSEN INFO
2006
US Music Purchases exceed 1 billion, growth in overall music purchases exceeds 19%
Digital sales increase 65% from 2005
2007
US Music Purchases exceed 1.4 billion, growth in overall music purchases exceeds 14%
Digital music sales account for 23% of music purchases
2008
US Music purchases exceed 1.5 bilion, growth in overall music purchases exceeds 10%
Digital music sales account for 32% of music purchases
2009
US Music Purchases up 2.1% over 2008. Music sales exceeded 1.5 billion for the second consecutive year.
Digital music sales account for 40% of total US purchases.
Consider also the simultaneous increasing revenues from live music, now considered an artist's primary revenue source - but that's just getting farther off topic.

Re:In Summary (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189940)

Actually - it IS NOT illegal to download anything.

Can you produce a signed NDA with the studios for the pre-release screeners in your possesion?

I didn't think so.

Focusing on the uploader is efficient and economical. But P2P downloads can be hazardous for the greedy and the careless.

 

Re:In Summary (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190664)

I agree with you that it is irrational and broken to place legal liability on the downloader. A downloader is in no position to know whether the uploader is authorized to make that upload. Hell, as far as the downloader knows the uploader could be the copyright holder. The downloader cannot even be certain of the contents of the transfer until afterwards. The downloader often has no way to know the copyright status of the file. The uploader is the only one in a position to be certain of the contents, the only one in a position to know whether he has the legal right to send that file. The uploader is the only rational and functional place to put the responsibility and liability. Trying to place responsibility on the downloader causes all sorts of logical and legal messes.

HOWEVER

You're assumptions and assertions about the law are completely wrong. In the U.S. and in every nation in the world under the Berne convention, distribution and the act of creating a copy are both infringement of copyright. If you need a citation, US Title 17 section 106 specifically restricts the act of reproduction - i.e. copying. Under the law, downloading creates a new copy on your computer. In effectively every country on earth, downloading is copyright infringement. (Presuming of course it's a copyrighted and unauthorized file, yada yada yada.)

Not only is it civil copyright infringement, but the U.S. NET Act made virtually all P2P related infringement into criminal copyright infringement. And not merely criminal infringement, but felony infringement subject to several years in prison. Originally the criminal copyright provisions were only designed to target commercial copyright infringement enterprises. Unfortunately all copyright legislation for the last few decades has literally been drafted by lawyers employed by the copyright industry, and our idiot legislators have been pretty well taking those "expert" drafts and passing them. And industry lawyers of course have a nasty habit of slipping legal tricks or gotchyas into legislation when they get to draft it themselves. In this particular case the NET Act had a small easily overlooked provision:

17 U.S.C. S 101
S 101. Definitions
Add the following between "display" and "fixed":

The term "financial gain" includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works.

The NET Act slipped that redefinition into the law. And if you're a legislator going over a bill to figure out and consider the actual being proposed, it's natural to focus on the text that will be the actual laws. And in getting to the text of actual criminal law and penalties and whatnot, it's extremely easy to skim over that provision. And in skimming over it, it doesn't seem particularly notable or unreasonable. But you and I are specifically thinking about the internet, and if I draw your attention to that provision, well now it's pretty blatant that that redefinition directly targets P2P. Anyone who uses P2P has the "expectation" that they will be receiving copyrighted works. This clause redefines P2P under the heading "financial gain". The main body of the bill was revising the criminal law for commercial enterprises infringing copyright. It uses a redefinition to shove P2P into the category intended to target gross commercial infringement operations.

The legal details get a bit messy. To make a long story short, practically everyone who has ever touched any form of P2P is technically a felon subject to up to 1, 5, or even 5 years in prison depending mostly upon how much P2P you've used. On a second offense the penalties generally double, up to 10 years in prison. Hell, anyone who ever swapped old audio cassette mix tapes with their friends falls within that "criminal infringement for financial gain" definition.

That law is virtually never actually enforced, but that does not alter the fact that a very substantial percentage of the population are technically unindicted felons guilty of criminal copyright infringement.

And before anyone gets any ideas about ridiculing crazy American copyright law, the fact is that much of Europe and many other countries have equivalent laws. Outside the U.S. it's usually done using the phase "commercial scale infringement" to slip almost any internet-related infringement into the criminal laws original written to address commercial enterprises.

There is nothing wrong with downloading a file to check it out.

Silly rabbit! The subject of your post was the law! :D

If you want to discuss right and wrong you really should start a separate thread. Hell, I'll probably agree with you on on a lot of it. Just don't try to make logical conclusions about what the law must say or how the law must work based on reasonable rational logical or moral reasoning. Especially not when it comes to copyright law.

-

Re:In Summary (0, Troll)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189610)

I urge you all to infringe RIAA copyrights in any way possible.

Re:In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189628)

And an EULA means nothing.

Re:In Summary (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189818)

Yet it is completely legal to encourage others to access material that informs people on how to commit seditious acts and mass murder so long as you don't tell them to actually commit it.

Re:In Summary (1, Offtopic)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189874)

That isn't exactly true. It may be considered illegal to distribute copyrighted material withouth the copyright owner's explicit authorization if and only if you don't do it for personal use alone and you enjoy a financial profit from it. In some jurisdictions (i.e., practically the entire world) it's very legal to download copyrighted works if you do it in a non-commercial, completely personal way and those responsible for the distribution don't make a dime out of it. That's the french copyright tradition for you, which the entire world emulated for a good reason. After all, if you impose a totalitarian gatekeeper on educational and cultural goods then your education and culture will be controlled by a totalitarian elite, which will lead to granting only access to culture and education to a small elite who can afford it.

The french revolution happen for a reason.

Re:In Summary (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189916)

It may be considered illegal to distribute copyrighted material withouth the copyright owner's explicit authorization if and only if you don't do it for personal use alone and you enjoy a financial profit from it.

This is a common misconception among pirates, and it is completely wrong. At least four different things are taken into consideration when it comes to fair use [wikipedia.org] , among those are how much of the work is being used. A complete copy of an item is not likely to fall under fair use. A 30 second clip on iTunes probably (but not necessarily) would.

If you want to see how the court handles an argument similar to yours, check out this case [wikipedia.org] . They decided strongly against the defendant, and even addressed your claim of 'personal use:'

[The defendant] was not engaged in a nonprofit use; she downloaded (and kept) whole copyrighted songs (for which, as with poetry, copying of more than a couplet or two is deemed excessive); and she did this despite the fact that these works often are sold per song as well as per album.

So once again, if you want to download songs, it is up to you, but don't do it under the illusion that it's in any way legal.

Re:In Summary (4, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189980)

Misconception? Maybe in the US.
GP post states this is common in most countries. I can confirm some. The four fair use clauses are US-specific. Other countries have very different rules, and often "personal use" is perfectly legal. So, the misconception may be only common with US file sharers. With the others, it's not a misconception.

Go turn yourself in (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190030)

Hey phantomfive, that last web page you loaded? That image on the left? It's mine! The webmaster there stole it from me! You downloaded illegal material under copyright!

Why don't you go turn yourself in?

Seriously, how on earth could you believe that an ordinary person could not occasionally infringe copyright? There is no magic way to know the copyright status of anything, anymore, now that Berne has made registration a thing of the past. See Infringement Nation [ssrn.com] , by John Tehranian.

Visa versa, sometimes when people try to pirate illegally, they are actually downloading material which the copyright owner himself is providing: see the Viacom debacle vs. Google, where it turns out that Viacom itself was uploading "lets make this look pirated" videos to YouTube.

If I seed a torrent which says "The first 1/2 of New Blockbuster Movie, provided free of charge as a teaser", is it unreasonable for Ordinary Joe not to believe it is legal? What if it were an old movie, claiming to be a low quality teaser?

And even in the case where it's obvious that some of the material is under copyright, Ordinary Joe cannot be sure if, perhaps, fair use is appropriate here. Only the courts can decide that. (Would you blast a relative for posting a short video of his infant dancing to copyrighted music?)

Re:Go turn yourself in (2, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190582)

Seriously, how on earth could you believe that an ordinary person could not occasionally infringe copyright?

It's convenient to have laws that make everyone a criminal, now isn't it?

If that's the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190092)

If that's the summary, then what does Limewire have to do with this? Because they aren't the ones downloading or encouraging others to download copyrighted material.

Sneakernet (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190156)

This is why you pool your media on NAS devices like these [newegg.com] . And rip your media to it. And arrange with friends for offsite backups in case of disaster.

Sharing parties are where it's at, don'tcha know. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes. The first rule of Ufenet is "don't talk about Ufenet". If it's not online then as far as the RIAA, MPAA and BSA are concerned, it didn't happen.

Until fairly recently I was personally opposed (though tolerant) of media piracy - unwilling to do it myself. Some time ago though I came around. Perhaps it was when they called transcoding DVDs I had bought into a useful media for me to watch it (3gp) stealing that did it. More likely it was the copyright extensions and DMCA. With the DMCA they can self-regulate the expiration of copyright with their DRM and so make us buy the same content over and over. Due to the efforts of the RIAA and the MPAA and their ilk in extending copyright, I now figure they have stolen from me and my heirs far more content than I could take back from them in a hundred lifetimes. I could not possibly even read the titles of the books they've stolen from me while I yet live, let alone the books too. The photos? If I browsed a slideshow from now until the end of my days with every waking hour I could not touch one hundredth of one percent of the photos they've stolen from me. Screw 'em.

Until today I was equally opposed to software piracy, but just now I realized they're working the same tools to the same ends. Their work on software patents is preventing me from getting good progress. Screw them too. If your profits get in the way of Progress, then to hell with you.

If you needed my encouragement, have at it. I am hereby encouraging all of you to pirate any media you desire: audio, video, software, books and other, software and hardware patents too, no matter how current by any means expedient. Until the bastards give back our "limited times" and "fair use" all of their stuff is fair game. Just don't get caught.

So tell me again... what peril am I in?

Re:In Summary (is the converse also true? (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190520)

This makes me wonder if the converse would also be true. Could the music industry through the lyrics of modern music be held accountable for encouraging violent crime? I see no obvious efforts my music publishers to control criminal activity although lyrics continue to become more and more violent over time.

In other news .... yawn (4, Informative)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189544)

And so the good ole Gnutella network will find another platform so the masses can file share, just like it has been doing since it was released in 2000.

All the legal arguments and judgements in the world won't make a spit of difference. If people want to trade files online, the chances of anything happening to them are remote, so they will continue.

Remember how shutting down KaZaa was supposed to deal a huge blow to filesharing, as were the lawsuits against a host of others?

Wasn't the lawsuit that saw the Pirate Bay founders jailed supposed to send a message the law enforcement was tough on piracy?

Forgive my scepticism, but I look at this news and wonder, does it really matter to anyone save those directly employed by Lime.

Re:In other news .... yawn (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189686)

It's about the money. The recording industry won a $100million dollar judgement fro the KaZaa case. The RIAA is an equal opportunity money grabber: if they can get it from selling music, they will; if they can get it from suing companies with money, they will; if they can do it from both, even better.

It's kind of lousy of the RIAA, but really most people are equal opportunity money grabbers in one form or another, they just don't have the same opportunities the RIAA has.

Re:In other news .... yawn (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189792)

Napster went dark. Grockster went down. KaZaa went down. Pirate Bay was dinged repeatedly. MetaMachine went out of business. Limewire is going down.

The message is that commercial entities should not setup businesses around piracy. If you value the fruits of your work (and freedom), do something else.

Sure that drives the illegal activity onto hobbyist networks. But if your goal is to make it progressively harder and less effective to infringe copyright, that is a step in the right direction.

Re:In other news .... yawn (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190066)

Is it harder to infringe copyright? There's nothing I can't find online illegally that I can get in, say, Best Buy. Multiple protocols, many multiples of locations. It doesn't matter what they do to whom, that will never change. It's like the War on Drugs. Rights get lost, people committing victimless crimes get in trouble, and the government claims more and more power.

I disagree (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190072)

Sure that drives the illegal activity onto hobbyist networks. But if your goal is to make it progressively harder and less effective to infringe copyright, that is a step in the right direction.

I actually disagree, here. Because I think that the more the infringement becomes "grassroots", the deeper it will become embedded in the culture of society that such casual infringement is OK. And that really, really scares the **IAs.

In addition, it also makes for a much stronger (as in, no easy weak link) alternative distribution platform, another thing which frightens Big Media.

Re:In other news .... yawn (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190390)

Forgive my scepticism, but I look at this news and wonder, does it really matter to anyone save those directly employed by Lime.

In this sense I liken this "war on piracy" to the "War on Drugs". Yeah they're making busts, yeah they're tough on drugs, yeah people get arrested/fined/killed. But people still use drugs. LOTS of people use drugs. But nobody wants to say how fruitless their struggle is, how the DEA, just like the RIAA/MPAA is just like Sisyphus, endlessly battling something they stand against.

Summary Judgment isn't the end of the story... (5, Informative)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189568)

> The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable.

Not immediately appealable, anyway.

For the nonlawyers in the room, summary judgment means basically that somebody wins their argument, or parts of their argument, because even if everything the other guy said was true, the other guy still loses. Like if you ask a kid "Did you throw a rock at Timmy?" And the kid says "I did, but I like throwing rocks!" or "It was a horseshoe, not a rock."

In this case, even if everything Limewire said was true, they still lose. (At least, they still lose everything they lost here.)

The decision can usually be appealed, but only after the trial ends or in rare cases with special permission. Since it influences the outcome of settlement proceedings, and most things settle, they are rarely but not never appealed.

Re:Summary Judgment isn't the end of the story... (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190032)

Indeed, if you look at Supreme Court decisions, and even important Circuit Court decisions, you'll see a decent number of them include a phrase like, "on appeal from summary judgment", so there are certainly appeals from them.

(Mainly that's because questions that are interesting for the higher courts are mainly pure questions of law, and those are usually reached at the summary-judgment stage.)

google is next (2, Interesting)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189588)

inducing infringement is such a vague term, it means google is inducing infridgement by people searching for torrents on google... all you have to do is search for: torrent, and you pretty much turn google into the biggest torrent site. Are they liable for the actions of their users? The MPAA and RIAA think they are... Under that theory, gun manufacturers would be liable for murder caused by their guns. Next they'll be arresting the owners of Stanley Tools for selling tools that are used to break open windows and rob homes... Louisanna Slugger baseball bats because they can are used for hitting people instead of baseballs. Programmers for writing code that is used unlawfully. Where does it end?

Re:google is next (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189688)

Under that theory, gun manufacturers would be liable for murder caused by their guns.

Not really. This case is more like Smith and Wesson's "deal with the devil" [findarticles.com] when they implicitly acknowledged that their products were enabling illegal activity, so they put more strict controls on their dealers. That led to a boycott and a lot of pissed-off gun-nuts. In that case, S&W were the only manufacturer to cave, but even one acknowledgement looks bad for the whole industry.

Re:google is next (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189828)

That led to a boycott and a lot of pissed-off gun-nuts.

Those are the people that most of us would prefer didn't buy S&W products. So it seems like a win-win for everyone.

Re:google is next (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189876)

It sure was win-win for Napster! Wait, who are they again?

Re:google is next (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189932)

Someone mod me offtopic, I meant S&W.

Napster was forced to change their approach so dramatically that their audience was no longer able to make use of their services.

The original Napster was a MASSIVE boon to anyone that loved collecting gigs of decent quality mp3s. Nothing that followed even comes close to the indexing and file sharing service that was Napster.

If the RIAA could put something like Napster online in a legitimate capacity, illegal file sharing would cease overnight.

Re:google is next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189946)

Louisville slugger. I think you are thinking of Louisiana (Oil) Sludger.

Re:google is next (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190034)

Under most legal systems, there are codified common sense notions. A physicist could argue that when applying muscular force to a finger, they couldn't be sure that this would move a metal bar, which would release a spring, which would cause a spark, which would ignite a sulfurous potassium nitrate solution, which would increase the air pressure behind a metallic tube, which would accelerate the tube along the x-axis at a rapid rate, which would strike a subsequent object, which would cause soft tissue damage. But a court would say that they knew they were going to kill someone when they fired a gun. The apparent motivation doesn't need to be scientifically proven, it just needs to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Similarly, if someone released a search engine that simply queried google with torrent, and advertised as the best place to find hollywood releases, they'd be guilty of inducing infringement. Beyond a reasonable doubt, that modified search engine is there to search for illegal content.

Just because they're offering a subset of a larger feature set doesn't mean that they're OK, or that the larger feature set would be illegal. To torture an analogy: If you offer a gun for sale, it can be used for a wide variety of illegal and legal actions. The courts have ruled in the US that there are enough legal uses for guns in general that selling them is not inducement to crime. However, if you offered a gun that could only shoot homeowners during robberies, your featureset and viable uses would be narrowed such that a reasonable person would think that gun was being sold in order to commit a crime. If you offered a gun that could only shoot Jewish homeowners during robberies, you might similarly be guilty of inducement to commit a hate crime.

Limewire had a product that they advertised to college students as where you go to get MP3's. They extensively supported MP3 tagging and naming in their interface. They had a system for filtering out illegal music, which was off by default, and a second system for filtering out music purchased from Limewire's partners, which was not disableable. In short, they knew of the infringement on their system, promoted themselves as a platform for that infringement, and took steps to prevent just the infringement on their own copyrights while allowing the rest. That's enough for a reasonable person to think that Limewire is specifically encouraging breaking the law on their platform.

judgment (5, Interesting)

countach (534280) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189592)

The court's reasoning seems to be:

a) Limewire allows you to search by genre and album which supposedly is there to encourage infringement. But the court doesn't seem to care that there is a lot of material that the owners permit to be freely exchanged that is legitimately able to be searched and downloaded by album or genre.

b) The large percentage of real-world downloading that seems to be infringing. This seems to be a dangerous precedent. What if someone showed that 95% of betamax users had at some time infringed copyright (seems quite possible to me). Does that mean the govt. can now ban video recorders? If 98% of computer users are infringing copyright, and Intel knows it, is Intel out of business? Should exciting new technologies and techniques be outlawed because many users are abusing it? If most drivers speed, should cars be banned? Should good technology be killed because some or even most users decide to abuse it? Where does this line of thinking end?

c) Limewire did not put filtering in to try and mitigate infringment. This seems akin to banning Firefox because the browser doesn't implement filtering. Why doesn't firefox stop you downloading infringing files? Why doesn't it look for "Madonna" in the name of files and stop you downloading them? It sounds ridiculous, but this is exactly what the court is suggesting.

And nobody seems to notice that Gnutella and Limewire and the entire system are open source and truely distributed. If they shut down limewire nothing whatsoever would happen. Not a single file would be prevented from being downloaded. People would eventually switch to other clients like Frostwire, but the RIAA gains nothing. This is different to Napster and the RIAA's other targets which could be shut down.

Re:judgment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189696)

True. Although the problem here is that it puts a dent in the development of the open source p2p development application. It doesn't exactly stop its development though in any way. It just slows it down. What that means for the purpose of the RIAA is that people will continue pirating and there is nothing at all that can be done about it.

Re:judgment (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189750)

Parent post omits a key component of the Judge's reasoning: There was evidence galore that the Limewire principals had the purpose of facilitating the illegal transfer of copyrighted materials. That's a big no-no.

Re:judgment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189852)

I haven't read the judgement but can you cite some of that evidence?

Re:judgment (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189860)

That is correct.

If you're running a file sharing/indexing site, then you shouldn't even admit to yourself what your true motives are.

Even a small hole in your argument will inevitably lead to a much bigger hole in your wallet.

Re:judgment (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190094)

Bram Cohen (the creator of Bittorrent) studiously avoids anything that could be considered positive statements about copyright infringement, or personally doing so himself, for this very reason. Of course, he's geek enough that he probably genuinely developed Bittorrent for its non-infringing uses. But he's bright enough to avoid anything that could be construed in a particular way by the unhappy content industries.

A lot of file sharing sites, however, aren't as savvy. Sure, The Pirate Bay doesn't specifically tell you to go download stuff. But it is a tool designed for downloading illegal stuff, used for downloading illegal stuff, and it's called The Pirate Bay. Sure KaZaa could have been used to share the music that your band created. But its design was better suited to sharing illegal music than your own band's creations, its primary use in the wild was sharing music illegally, and the owners both knew about this and promoted it. Would anyone reasonably believe that a site called IsoHunt wasn't being used to transfer CD's and DVD's?

Re:judgment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190174)

And all CDs and DVDs are copyrighted, right? owait...

Re:judgment (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190718)

In the US, all expressive works are automatically covered under copyright. You can waive those rights, or retain some rights while waiving others. But yes, unless they're straight compendiums of data they're all covered under copyright.

Also, with the exception of a few distros, basically everything you could get an iso for would be a redistribution from said disk-based medium. It's not a far jump to say that if someone wants to distribute a movie online, they put it in MPG. If they want to distribute music, it goes to Monkey, AAC, or MP3. Games distributed online go into exe or equivalent format. Really, the only things that use iso's are a few things you boot up to fix your computer, and a large portion of the world's commercially copyrighted creative output.

Remember, you're not talking about "is there a legal exception to the rule." Sure there is. But if nearly everything that is offered through your site is copyright infringement, and your name implies copyright infringement, you're just asking for legal trouble.

Re:judgment (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190026)

What if someone showed that 95% of betamax users had at some time infringed copyright (seems quite possible to me).

VHS, quite possibly, but not betamax. The reason VHS won out, even though betamax was higher quality is that a betamax player couldn't act as a recorder; you needed a separate machine for that.

Re:judgment (1)

lhunath (1280798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32191022)

So how exactly do you get the judge to answer these questions? Because I'd sure like to see it.

Huh? What? Who? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189616)

New York Lawyer, my good man, thanks 10,000 times for your work and effort, but as a non-lawyer I have NO IDEA what your post means. It must be bad, but really I don't know what it means. Can you tell me, a non-lawyer, what it means other than "You're screwed" or some such thing? I just don't know...

Re:Huh? What? Who? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189724)

It must be bad, but really I don't know what it means. Can you tell me, a non-lawyer, what it means other than "You're screwed" or some such thing?

"You're screwed" sums it up pretty well.

Your case is falling apart. The law is against you. The facts are against you.

Even when the judge gives you the benefit of every doubt, there is nothing left in dispute worth taking to trial.

Re:Huh? What? Who? (3, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189842)

New York Lawyer, my good man, thanks 10,000 times for your work and effort, but as a non-lawyer I have NO IDEA what your post means. It must be bad, but really I don't know what it means. Can you tell me, a non-lawyer, what it means other than "You're screwed" or some such thing? I just don't know...

Sure.

It means Lime Wire might be screwed.

Unfair competition? (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189624)

One of the judgments was on unfair competition.

Really?

REALLY? /me holds up a mirror to the Board of Directors of the RIAA

I need a new irony meter. Mine just exploded.

--
BMO

P.S. I will honor the RIAA as a legal entity when The Romantics see a dime for "What I Like About You"

Re:Unfair competition? (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189850)

One of the judgments was on unfair competition.
Really?
REALLY? /me holds up a mirror to the Board of Directors of the RIAA
I need a new irony meter. Mine just exploded.

I had the exact same reaction when I came to that part of the decision.

Trillions of dollars (2, Interesting)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189712)

In a comment the other day someone pointed out that the RIAA etc. hardly ever go after any major distributors of their work, preferring to target individual end users, because judgements against people responsible for thousands of instances of copyright infringement would make it obvious how absurd the damages awarded per instance were. However: "The RIAA has said it is entitled to the maximum statutory damages, which is $150,000 for each registered work that was infringed. The number of infringing works they could try to claim is likely in the millions." from http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20004811-261.html [cnet.com] So basically the RIAA believes they're entitled to a multi trillion dollar damages award?

shaanafreels (-1, Offtopic)

shaanafreels (1810434) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189738)

It is really illegal to download copywrited pages Beaded Jewellery [beadedqueen.com]

Contact Info (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189784)

I can't seem to find any contact information for Senior District Court Judge Kimba Wood. I want to send an E-mail explaining many things. If no E-mail is available I am willing to send her a snail mail letter even. Probably won't do any good, but hey always worth a try.

Re:Contact Info (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32190138)

Well, it took almost 30 seconds, but you can find your mailing address at www.nysd.uscourts.gov/

Spend a few minutes reviewing your thoughts, and definately go with snail mail if you want anyone to read it.

Nut Up or Shut UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189808)

It's one thing to complain about the RIAA and continue to download whatever you feel you want, but it's folks like Limewire, Pirate Bay, etc... who have their asses swinging in the breeze, their necks on the chopping block. I was raised to never ask someone to do something you weren't willing to do yourself. All I'm saying is stand up for them as they stood up for you. The truth of the legal system, as far as criminal charges are concerned, is that it's not whether you are guilty or innocent - it's whether or not they can convict you. I've stood in front of a judge because of property crimes and I've seen people get less time for murder and other crimes against people. Pretty soon, they'll be handing out stiffer sentences to make an "example" which really means they'll have greater justification to build more prisons to boost the economy.

Re:Nut Up or Shut UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32190132)

There is a reason for longer and longer prison sentences, and it has nothing to do with setting examples. The US has a HUGE prison lobby of private companies who outsource jails.

They want as many people locked up as possible, and this is how they get paid. In return for laws such as mandatory minimum sentences and felonizing what was once misdemeanors, politicians get large campaign donations.

Of course, you see political interests converging here. Private prisons get stuffed with people, the *AA gets tougher antipiracy measures. Politicians get large donations. Everyone wins but the population.

Shareholder found liable? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189848)

From TFA:

granted summary judgment to the RIAA on several of the key issues in the case:
[snip]
holding not only Lime Wire, but also its 87% shareholder (Lime Group) and its CEO and sole director, to be liable as well.

Huh? "Acute attack of common-sense" in regarding corporation laws or... WTF? (IANAL, thus I gave up reading the PDF)

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