We Need More Holiday Songs

O Christmas Tree, Santa Baby, Here Comes Santa Claus, White Christmas, the list goes on.  How many songs have we heard a million times?  How many versions of the same songs must we choke down?

A horrendous onslaught of holiday music is upon us every time we get into the months of November and December, as Christmas, the month-long holiday is the time we love to be tortured by it.

Not only do we have to buy buy buy, but we have to listen to millionaire corporate slaves sing yet another version of that “Do You Know What I Know” song that takes forever to listen to.  We’re already tossing hordes of cash out the windows into the pockets of companies in the RIAA — couldn’t they possibly hire some fuckers to write some new songs?  Isn’t 300 versions of each Christmas song from each new generation of singers enough?

Oh goody, DJ Whatshisface made a remix of Joy to the World and DJ Megaloser made O Christmas Tree v. Santa Baby.  Or let’s have Britney Spears sing the 12 Days of Christmas — that’s new and exciting!

What is even more annoying is that each time the song is remade, the singer adds their own little “flair” to it, so you would remember that in BigBoobedMovieStarNowASinger said “Yeayyeeyeahheeyaa!” at the end of each sentence in the song.  It’s crap!

Sometimes bands make new Christmas songs, I’m sure, so why can’t we just stop dragging on those same fucking songs we have to listen to over and over?  They’re so fucking old!  Fuck them all!  And where are the Thanksgiving songs?!  I want to hear songs about how we screwed the Native Americans and killed turkeys!


#11025: Izumo Etsuko -> davepoobond

Izumo Etsuko: “If a kid ever asks you how Santa Claus can live forever, I think a good answer is that he drinks blood.”

Izumo Etsuko: I remember we were all horrified to see Grandpa up on the roof with his Superman cape on. “Get down!” yelled Uncle Lou. “Don’t move!” screamed Grandma. But Grandpa wouldn’t listen. He walked to the edge of the roof and stuck out his arms, like he was going to fly. I forget what happened after that.

davepoobond: heh

Izumo Etsuko: Jack Handey rocks

Izumo Etsuko: If I was the head of a country that lost a war, and I had to sign a peace treaty, just as I was signing I’d glance over the treaty and then suddenly act surprised. “Wait a minute! I thought we won!”

Izumo Etsuko: http://www.tremorseven.com/aim/deepaim.php?job=view

davepoobond: https://www.squackle.com/screwedup/world/riaa.shtml

Izumo Etsuko: I wish scientists would come up with a way to make dogs a lot bigger, but with a smaller head. That way, they’d still be good as watchdogs, but they wouldn’t eat so much.

davepoobond: did you read my article

Izumo Etsuko: reading it now

Izumo Etsuko: yay

Izumo Etsuko: a fellow anti-RIAA dude

Izumo Etsuko: the MPAA sucks ass too…

Izumo Etsuko: they sued 2600

Izumo Etsuko: -.-

davepoobond: they’re the same companies

davepoobond: basically

Izumo Etsuko: yeah…

Izumo Etsuko: but the MPAA sued 2600

Izumo Etsuko: >>

davepoobond: movies are a different deal than music

Izumo Etsuko: …they sued 2600 for linking people to DL a program that would let them rip and back up their DVDs

davepoobond: what do you want me to do about it, call them up and ask them to stop?

Izumo Etsuko: …

Izumo Etsuko: x.x

Izumo Etsuko: Sundays blow monkey ass


Suing America: The Notes

These notes were used to write dave’s essay, called Suing America: A Synopsis of Events in File Sharing to the Present Day. There were 8 pages of notes, and not all had been used in the actual essay. If you want to get yourself educated about the RIAA suing people and file sharing in general, visit all the sites and sources listed in the notes here, as well as reading these articles, written by davepoobond (as they will at least give you a better idea than knowing nothing about the topic):

For File Sharing:

File Sharing and the RIAA Theory

Suing America: A Synopsis of Events in File Sharing to the Present Day

Against File Sharing:

The File Sharing Debate: Against File Sharing


“Recording Industry Begins Suing P2P File Sharers Who Illegally Offer Copyrighted Music Online.” 5 October 2003 <www.riaa.com>

  • The RIAA will agree to not sue P2P users who voluntarily pledge to stop distributing music illegally, by wiping their hard drives clean of all illegal music, and promise to never share or download any illegal music again.
  • RIAA is going to focus on suing offenders who have been illegally distributing substantial amounts of music, averaging more than 1,000 copyrighted music files.
  • Public awareness that it is illegal to make copyrighted music available online for others to download has risen sharply in recent months.
  • 61% of those polled in August admitted they knew sharing copyrighted music was illegal, up from 54 in July, and 37 in early June.
  • RIAA promotes switching from downloading free music illegally, to a paid service, downloading legally.
  • The RIAA has worked closely with the university community to combat piracy.
  • RIAA sent more than four million Instant Messages since May directly to infringers on Kazaa and Grokster.
  • Users are not anonymous when they illegally offer copyrighted music.
  • RIAA member companies filed copyright infringement claims against 261 individual file shares on October 5, 2003.
  • Illegal filesharing robs songwriters and recording artists of their livelihoods, and also undermines the future of music itself by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent.
  • Illegal filesharing threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry, from engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks.
  • The music industry has made music available to a wide range of authorized online subscription, streaming, and download services legally and inexpensively on the Internet.
  • It is illegal to make available for download copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owner.
  • RIAA is suing only after a multi-year effort to educate the public about the legality of unauthorized downloading and noted they have made music available in high-quality, low cost, legitimate services.
  • All the industries are failing because of file sharing, from CD packers to guitar players


“Why Are the RIAA Suing Individuals for P2P File Sharing?” 5 October 2003 <www.filesharingwatch.com>

  • The sharing of MP3 files started long before Napster got popular in 1999.
  • During the second half of the 1990’s people shared MP3 files with friends using CDs and local area networks.
  • Modem Internet connections aren’t built for serious file sharing.
  • When broadband got popular in offices in 1998/1999, the infrastructure of P2P programs was in place.
  • The success of Napster was due to selection and ease-of-use.
  • Napster kick started P2P file sharing.
  • The music industry hasn’t been able to shut down the developers of file sharing programs.
  • The RIAA and MPAA’s first strategy were to go after the companies operating the file sharing networks, this caused the destruction of Napster.
  • After Napster, a bunch of other companies that offered new file sharing programs such as Morpheus, Gnutella, Kazaa, WinMX, and Audiogalaxy, had a central design that made it so that the companies didn’t host central lists of files on the P2P network.
  • The RIAA sued companies developing the new generation of file sharing software, and lost several cases.
  • The reason the RIAA lost several cases was that file sharing programs have non-infringing uses and as the developers of the post-Napster programs didn’t control the P2P networks, they weren’t to be held accountable for what the users shared on the networks.
  • The RIAA can’t stop illegal file sharing by suing the software companies making the software, and the only option was to go after individuals sharing copyrighted files directly.
  • By suing individual users, the RIAA hopes that it will scare consumers away from the P2P networks, and make them worse.
  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is used by the RIAA to get information about individuals with illegal music relatively cheap, without going through the courts first, and makes it possible to talk about thousands of lawsuits against file sharers.
  • The RIAA isn’t suing large numbers of file sharers to get millions of dollars form the file sharers in damages, its to scare all users to the extent that they stop sharing files on public P2P networks.
  • By scaring people off the P2P networks, worse file sharing networks make legal online music services more appealing.
  • The RIAA is hoping to kill public P2P networks by suing individual users.
  • The RIAA hopes that some people will abandon downloading songs and buy more CDs or subscribe to an online music service instead.
  • Napster lost in court because it kept a central list of files shared.


“Who is the RIAA Suing?” 5 October 2003 <www.nwfusion.com>

  • Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, asked the RIAA to explain just how it was targeting recipients for the more than 1,000 subpoenas the group has sent out in its quest to quash file trading.
  • The RIAA explained that the RIAA is in now way targeting “de minimis” users, but only gathering evidence and preparing lawsuits only against individual computer users who are illegally distributing a substantial amount of copyrighted music.
  • Plain folks, kids, grandparents, low-level file traders across the country are getting subpoenas.
  • By targeting small time file traders, the RIAA is probably hoping that panicked parents will scrub the hard drives of MP3s.
  • The RIAA has refused to define what it considers a substantial amount of music.
  • Coleman said he was pleased with the RIAA response.
  • Coleman has admitted to downloading music off the original Napster service and should be asking whether he himself deserves to be dragged into court and fined thousands of dollars.
  • The subpoenas will simply continue to make music fans angry, further reducing the chance that they will be willing to purchase overpriced music from officially sanctioned sites blessed by the music industry.


“Charter Sues to Block RIAA from Getting Names.” 7 October 2003 <www.reuters.com>

  • Charter Communications Inc. said it has sued the recording industry to block it from getting names of its customers for alleged song-swapping on the Internet.
  • Charter sued the RIAA, after the RIAA issued subpoenas for identities of about 150 of its customers.
  • Charter considers their relationship with their customer to be their most important responsibility, and they’ve exercised their legal right to protect the legitimate interests of their customers and their own interests.
  • The RIAA filed suits against 261 individuals in September.
  • The RIAA says the subpoenas complied with the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Verizon and SBC Communications have also gone to court to challenge the industry’s interpretation of the law, which they say violates due-process and free-speech rights and threatens privacy.


“RIAA Wants to Hack Your PC.” 7 October 2003 <www.wired.com>

  • The RIAA wants the right to hack into your computer and delete your stolen MP3s.
  • The RIAA tried to glue this hacking-authorization amendment onto a mammoth anti-terrorism bill that Congress approved last week.
  • The RIAA drafted amendment would immunize all copyright holders, including the movie and e-book industry, for any data losses caused by their hacking efforts or other computer intrusions that are reasonably intended to prevent electronic piracy.
  • The RIAA has abandoned plans to insert it into the anti-terrorism bills, instead is supporting a revised amendment that takes a more modest approach.
  • The RIAA believes that in the USA Act, it would be outlawed from breaking into FTP sites, websites, or P2P networks, because the damages would be over the $5,000 threshold.
  • The RIAA would be able to hack into individual users, and delete all the copyrighted music, and because it is less than $5,000, it would not be a crime of cyber terrorism.
  • The RIAA is worried about the USA Act to outlaw that same practice, and neither the Senate nor the House versions of that bill include the RIAA’s suggested changes.
  • The RIAA’s version of the bill raises privacy and security concerns.
  • There could be a program that is intended to delete MP3s, but accidently erases everything on a hard disk. This is like a repo man smashing windows and knocking down doors to pull out the 27 inch color TV when you’ve missed a couple of payments.
  • The RIAA would try to limit their liability for consequential damages.
  • The RIAA is still trying to get a copy of its revised amendment included in the anti-terrorism bill called the USA Act.


“File Sharing: Stealing or Sharing amongst friends?” 8 October 2003 <www.misbridge.mccombs.utexas.edu>

  • People trade millions and millions of MP3s every day without giving it another thought.
  • The term MP3 is short for Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) 1 Audio Layer 3. It represents an algorithm, an encoding technology, which compresses a digital music file by a ratio of approximately 12:1.
  • The MP3 world was changed when Shawn Fanning, a 19 yr. old dropout from Northwestern, conceived of an idea he called Napster, a program that allowed users to share MP3 files over the Net with other Napster users.
  • Music used to be confined to physical mediums: audio cassette tapes and compact discs. Napster brought music to the online world.


“How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing (And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)” 14 October 2003 <www.eff.org>

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced on June 25, 2003, that it will begin suing users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing systems within the next few weeks.

According to the announcement, the RIAA will be targeting users who upload/share “substantial” amounts of copyrighted music. The RIAA has stated that it will choose who to sue by using software that scans users’ publicly available P2P directories and then identifies the ISP of each user.

Then, using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the RIAA will subpoena the ISP for each user’s name, address, and other personal information in order to sue that user.

While there is no way to know exactly what the RIAA is going to do, who it is going to sue, or even how much music qualifies as a “substantial” amount, users of P2P networks can take steps to reduce their chances of being sued

You can make sure there are no potentially infringing files in your shared folder. This would ordinarily mean that your shared folder contains only files 1) that are in the public domain, 2) for which you have permission to share, or 3) that are made available under pro-sharing licenses, such as the Creative Commons license or other open media licenses

You can remove all potentially misleading file names that might be confused with the name of an RIAA artist or song (e.g., “Usher” or “Madonna”) from your shared folder.

Disable the “sharing” or “uploading” features on your P2P application that allow other users on the network to get copies of files from your computer or scan any of your music directories. We hate this option, but it does appear that it will reduce your chances of becoming an RIAA target right now. This undermines the whole purpose of P2P file sharing though.

The RIAA appears to be targeting subpoenas at users who allow their computers to be “Supernodes” on the FastTrack P2P System (used, for instance, by KaZaA and Morpheus).

In order to further reduce the risk of having your ISP subpoenaed or of being sued yourself, they recommend that you make sure your computer is not being used as a Supernode.

If you receive notice that your ISP has been subpoenaed for your name and address, consider contacting www.subpoenadefense.org, where you can find information about how to defend your privacy and a list of attorneys willing to help. Contact your ISP and ask the people there to notify you immediately if they receive a subpoena seeking your identity.

You can join EFF’s campaign to make file sharing legal by contacting your congressional representitive and demand that Congress hold immediate hearings on ways to save P2P technology and file-sharing while ensuring that artists get paid.

You can also tell a friend, family member, colleague or even stranger on the street about the damage that the RIAA is doing to the Internet, innovation, and consumer choice. There are over 57 million Americans who use P2P file-sharing — more than voted for President Bush — and millions more worldwide — so chances are good that the person sitting next to you on the bus, walking beside you on the sidewalk or driving in the car in front of you is using file-sharing, too. Start the conversation.


“Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, The. U.S. Copyright Office Summary.” 14 October 2003. <www.loc.gov>

Page 1

  • The DMCA was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998
  • The DMCA is divided into five titles
  • Title I is the “WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998” which implements the WIPO treaties.
  • Title II is the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act” which creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities.
  • Title III is the “Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act” which creates exemption for making a copy of a computer program by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair.
  • Title IV contains 6 miscellaneous provisions, relating to the functions of the Copyright Office, distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries and for making ephemeral recordings, “webcasting” of sound recordings on the Internet, and the applicability of collective bargaining agreement obligations in the case of transfers of rights in motion pictures.
  • Title V is the “Vessel Hull Design Protection Act” which creates a new form of protection for the design of vessel hulls
  • A complete understanding of any provision of the DMCA requires reference to the text of the legislation itself.

Page 2

  • The WIPO treaties makes certain technical amendments to U.S. law, in order to provide
  • The WIPO treaties also creates two new prohibitions in Title 17 of the U.S. Code – one on circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works and one on tampering with copyright management information – and adds civil remedies and criminal penalties for violating the prohibitions.
  • Title I requires the US Copyright Office to perform two joint studies with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce (NTIA).
  • The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WPPT each require member countries to provide protection to certain works from other member countries or created by nationals of other member countries. That protection must be no less favorable than the accorded to domestic works.
  • Both treaties require parties to protect preexisting works from other member countries that have not fallen into the public domain in the country of origin through the expiry of the term of protection.

Page 3

  • The Copyright Act requires claims to copyright to be registered with the Copyright Office before a lawsuit can be initiated by the copyright owner, but exempts many foreign works in order to comply with existing treaty obligations under the Berne Convention.
  • The WIPO treaties are virtually identical in language obligating member states to prevent circumvention of technological measures used to protect copyrighted works, and to prevent tampering with the integrity of copyright management information.
  • The WIPO treaties provide legal protection that the international copyright community deemed critical to the safe and efficient exploitation of works on digital networks
  • The DMCA implements the obligation to provide adequate and effective protection against circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works
  • The DMCA divides technological measures into two categories: measures that prevent unauthorized access to a copyrighted work and measures that prevent unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work

Page 4

  • Copying is used in this context as a short-hand for the exercise of any of the exclusive rights of an author. Consequently, a technological measure that prevents unauthorized distribution or public performance of a work would fall in the second category.

Page 5

  • An exception to the operation of the entire section is for reasons of law enforcement, intelligence and other governmental activities.
  • Another exception is for nonprofit library, archive and educational institution use. The prohibition on the act of circumvention of access control measures is subject to an exception that permits nonprofit libraries, archives and educational institutions to circumvent solely for the purpose of making a good faith determination as to whether they wish to obtain authorized access to the work
  • Another exception is reverse engineering, in which a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a copy of a computer program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing elements of the program necessary to achieve interoperability with other programs, to the extent that such acts are permitted under copyright law.
  • Another exception is encryption research, it permits circumvention of access control measures and the development of the technological means to do so, in order to identify flaws and vulnerabilities of encryption technologies
  • Another exception is protection of minors – this exception allows a court applying the prohibition to a component or a part to consider the necessity for its incorporation in technology that prevents access of minors to material on the Internet
  • Another exception is personal privacy – this exception permits circumvention when the technological measure, or the work it protects, is capable of collecting or disseminating personally identifying information about the online activities of a natural person

Page 7

  • Any person injured by a violation of section 1201 or 1202 may bring a civil action in Federal court
  • Section 1203 gives courts the power to grant a range of equitable and monetary remedies similar to those available under the Copyright Act, including statutory damages. The court has discretion to reduce or remit damages in cases of innocent violations, where the violator proves that it was not aware and had no reason to believe its acts constituted a violation.
  • In addition it is a criminal offense to violate section 1201 or 1202 wilfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain. Under section 1204 penalties range up to a $500,000 fine or up to five years imprisonment for a first offense, and up to a $1,000,000 fine or up to 10 years imprisonment for subsequent offenses. Nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions are entirely exempted from criminal liability.

Page 8

  • The DMCA creates four new limitations on liability for copyright infringement by online service providers.
  • The limitations are based on the following four categories of conduct by a service provider: transitory communications, system caching, storage of information on systems or networks at direction of users and information location tools

Suing America: A Synopsis of Events in File Sharing…

Written in 2003 as a full-fledged report for 12th grade English, this essay’s goal was not to express opinion, but to give a broad spectrum of what has actually happened in the events of file sharing. There may be a little bias against the RIAA, however, as dave’s personal opinions against the RIAA can be clearly described in this article: File Sharing and the RIAA Theory. The preceding article was written to actually be used as quotes for THIS essay, but dave decided against using it in the end (teehee). The end report (including Works Cited) was eleven pages long.


Peer-to-Peer (or P2P) programs allow consumers to locate whatever music they would like, with great ease and provides a tremendous variety of music to choose from. The P2P companies and their users have come under siege by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is determined to abolish all file sharing. P2P programs allow users to download files from other users, through the network that the P2P program is using. The RIAA is trying to end the sharing of copyrighted music in this fashion, as well as any and all files by any means possible. They see file sharing programs as the means for transferring, and the users receiving the files as the main copyright infringers.

To gain a full understanding of how the RIAA has begun suing individual users, it is necessary to learn about the history of file sharing. The first file sharing program, Napster was the beginning of the file sharing saga. Before Napster, it was hard to get any MP3s. MP3s were usually found on unreliable web sites that did not have the MP3 files at all, but “the MP3 world was changed when Shawn Fanning, a 19 [year] old dropout from Northwestern, conceived of an idea he called Napster, a program that allowed users to share MP3 files over the Net with other Napster users” (“Stealing or Sharing” 1). Napster offered the ease of use of a search engine, and a variety of music which was unparalleled by any music store. As more and more people began using Napster, more files were shared, and it became easier to find the songs people wanted. However, this new innovation came with consequences, especially for the RIAA. It used to be that “music [was] confined to physical mediums: audio cassette tapes and compact discs” (“Stealing or Sharing” 1), but no longer with the creation of Napster. The RIAA didn’t like that at all, because their product was now out of their controlled distribution. While Napster was enjoying a period of prosperity, heated debate over the topic of free distribution of music was underway. The bottom line was that it had indefinitely changed the way music was sold and what was bought, as the common consumer was now smart enough not to buy five dollar CD singles or an overpriced album with at most one or two good songs on it, out of twenty or even less. Instead, the consumer could just download the one song they liked from Napster. Napster was definitely the way to share music.

The fall of Napster would not only bring down itself, but all others who invested in it, such as Bertelsmann. Bertelsmann is a very large corporation in Europe, which owns companies such as BMG (a music distributor). Bertelsmann helped Napster on numerous occasions when it needed money, and eventually filed bankruptcy because of their investment. In December of 1999, the RIAA began its lawsuit against Napster. The RIAA, trying to hamper Napster from sharing music online, only helped advertise it to the public at large. When the media started covering the RIAA’s lawsuit, the popularity of Napster exploded and Shawn Fanning “was plastered all over magazines, in newspapers, and on TV” (“Stealing or Sharing” 2) for the next year. Even though the RIAA had sued Napster in 1999, an actual ruling did not come until “July 26th, 2000, [when] U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel ruled in favor of the record industry and ordered Napster to stop allowing copyrighted material to be swapped over its network by midnight two days later” (“Stealing or Sharing” 2). Napster had to place filters on what their users could download, but users found ways around the filters by renaming the files. The RIAA was not satisfied with the filtering that Napster was doing. When time almost ran out “on July 28, 2000, nine hours before Napster would have had to shut down, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company should be allowed to continue operating” (“Stealing or Sharing” 2). Through the RIAA’s eyes, this court ruling would later do even more damage to the RIAA’s business. The RIAA was suffering from the “five percent fall in worldwide music sales during 2001, [that had been] the worst drop-off since the introduction of the CD in 1983” (Menn 310). The RIAA was also concerned over the “sales of blank CDs [which] topped those of recorded CDs” (Menn 310). The drop in profit and the sales of blank CDs suggested to the RIAA that they were losing a lot of money to the piracy explosion, and laid the blame on Napster.

After all the court battles with the RIAA, Napster was eventually shut down for good. On July 11, 2001, “Napster lawyer Steve Cohen told [Judge] Patel that Napster could relaunch the system and weed out 99 percent of the improper songs” (Menn 276), however, Patel would not accept anything less than one hundred percent of all copyrighted material prevented from being downloaded. Steve Cohen was “unable to promise a faultless system” (Menn 276) and Napster remained closed down. This was a huge win for the RIAA, and helped stop the flow of distribution of copyrighted music, as well as file sharing in general. The free version of Napster was gone forever, and Napster had gone into a transition stage to a paid music service. Only recently, in November 2003, Napster finally reopened as a pay service.

Many lessons were learned after Napster had been shutdown. Out of Napster’s demise, a whole new generation of P2P programs was created, including Morpheus, Gnutella, Kazaa, WinMX, and Audiogalaxy. These new P2P programs “had a central design that made it so that the companies didn’t host central lists of files on the P2P network” (“Suing Individuals” 1), which was the major fault in Napster’s case against being shutdown. The reason that Napster failed in the courts was because it had had “supervisory” power over what their users were downloading because they had kept the list of files on a central server. Since the new P2P programs didn’t have a central server with a list of files being shared, they didn’t have the same liability as Napster had. The new P2P programs had succeeded, and “by 2002 those services were almost as easy to use as Napster was, had as many users as Napster did at its peak, and were far harder to shut down” (Menn 309), and the RIAA now had a bigger problem on their hands. Instead of one major P2P program to deal with, they had multiple P2P programs which they almost couldn’t close down at all. The RIAA would not go down without a fight though.

The RIAA decided to take a different approach. Instead of only fighting the new generation of P2P programs in court, they decided to educate the consumer about how it was wrong (and illegal) to download copyrighted material. One tactic they used to educate the public was to try to get sympathy from the public for the RIAA and all the people in the music business. The RIAA constantly said that “illegal file sharing robs songwriters and recording artists of their livelihoods, and also undermines the future of music itself by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent” (“Begins Suing” 1). The RIAA also claimed that “illegal file sharing threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry, from engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks” (“Begins Suing” 1). The RIAA has many powerful names under its power, and often have their most famous artists talk about how file sharing is bad. They even went as far as to say that “all the industries are failing because of file sharing, from CD packers to guitar players” (“Begins Suing” 3). The RIAA also promoted the “switching from downloading free music illegally, to a paid service, downloading legally” (“Begins Suing” 1), which was not going over well with the public at large. Some people did make the change over to a paid service, but most stayed with a free service, because they were smart enough to not pay for what they could get for free. Obviously after a few months of preaching for sympathy, the RIAA concluded that getting people to be sorry for rich artists and multi-billion dollar corporations would not work.

The RIAA had to change their tactics, and in May of 2003, the RIAA stopped reaching out for sympathy from the public as a number one priority. Instead, the RIAA took a completely opposite approach, and started to scare everyone with threats of lawsuits. One such example of the RIAA trying to scare people, was when they sent out “more than four million Instant Messages since May [2003] directly to infringers on Kazaa and Grokster” (“Begins Suing” 2) saying that their identities were not anonymous when they illegally offered music. As well as trying to scare people on a personal level, the RIAA has been pushing for “the right to hack into your computer and delete your stolen MP3s” (“Hack Your PC” 1), which raises many privacy issues. The RIAA had also been hinting about suing individuals who shared copyrighted music online. These new tactics seem to work, as “61% of those polled in August admitted they knew sharing copyrighted music was illegal, up from 54 in July, and 37 in early June” (“Begins Suing” 2), looking like the RIAA was accomplishing what it set out to do. The RIAA is also offering “amnesty” to those who “voluntarily pledge to stop distributing music illegally, by wiping their hard drives clean of all illegal music, and promise to never share or download any illegal music again” (“Begins Suing” 1), in exchange for a promise of not being sued. The RIAA has been trying anything it could in recent months to get people to stop what they were doing.

The RIAA has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, or the DMCA, in their pursuit to subpoena individuals. The DMCA was originally “signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998” (“Act of 1998” 1), and contains five different sections, called titles. The title that the RIAA uses to subpoena anyone they want, is Title II, the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act” (“Act of 1998” 1), which creates limitations on the liability of people committing copyright infringement. The DMCA enables the RIAA to go past the courts, and directly subpoena the Internet Service Providers (or ISPs) for the identities of whom they want to sue, which saves the RIAA a lot of time and money. The RIAA does not sue the ISPs themselves for copyright infringement, because the DMCA states that online service providers have limited liability for what their users do while using the service provided by the ISP. If the ISPs do not know that their users are committing copyright infringement, and they are not gaining any money from the copyright infringements, then they are not liable for any damages.

Even though the RIAA has sent subpoenas to certain ISPs to gain the identities of those in question, some ISPs have fought back against the RIAA, to keep their users’ identities secret. One such ISP, Charter Communications Inc., “said it has sued the recording industry to block it from getting names of its customers for alleged song-swapping on the Internet” (“Charter Sues” 1), considering the relationship with their customers their most important responsibility. Not only Charter Communications, but Verizon Communications and SBC Communications have also “gone to court to challenge the industry’s interpretation of the law, which they say violates due-process and free-speech rights and threatens privacy” (“Charter Sues” 1). The ISPs have become an obstacle, even a last line of defense, in the RIAA’s path to gain the identities of file sharers.

The file sharing community was reluctant to believe that the RIAA would sue every single file sharer there was. However, the RIAA followed through on its threats in September 2003, and “filed copyright infringement claims against 261 infringers on Kazaa and Grokster” (“Begins Suing” 2). There have been settlements outside of court, but an actual case is yet to go to trial. In recent weeks there has been a swell in the number of subpoenas the RIAA is issuing, since the “RIAA announced on June 25 that it would… [gather] …evidence in order to bring lawsuits in September against computer users who illegally distribute copyrighted music” (“Begins Suing” 2). There have been so many subpoenas, that the offices filing these subpoenas had to take people from other, more important, cases and dedicate their time to the RIAA’s subpoenas. The RIAA said that they were suing people who distributed “substantial amounts (averaging more than 1,000 copyrighted music files each) of copyrighted music on peer-to-peer networks” (“Begins Suing” 1), hoping to make the P2P experience a more unpleasant one, forcing the people that had the most files off of the networks. Unsuspecting people, like grandparents, were slapped with a subpoena, and were liable to pay $50,000 to $150,000 for each song that infringed copyrights. These unsuspecting people didn’t even know that they had any songs on their computers that infringed copyrights, because relatives used their computers to download them. By the process of elimination, the RIAA can almost force people to switch over to a pay service, because they are not able to find the files they want or they do not want to run the risk of being sued.

There are always two sides to an argument, and the RIAA’s attempts to kill P2P networks have support from some, but not from others. Politically, the government is behind the RIAA, because there is copyright infringement going on. The Copyright Office has not changed the DMCA, despite the petitions and emails from the public. Public opinion is against the most recent course of action the RIAA has taken. Many new websites advocating the boycott of the RIAA have risen up against the RIAA. One such web site is boycottriaa.com, which posts news articles about file sharing, in addition to boycotting the RIAA. Some web sites even have “campaign[s] to make file sharing legal” (“How to Not Get Sued” 1). These web sites also help out the file sharer, by suggesting several ways to avoid being sued by the RIAA, such as disabling “the ‘sharing’ or ‘uploading’ features on [the] P2P application” (“How to Not Get Sued” 1), which will keep a user from being targeted by the RIAA. This method, however, undermines the whole idea of P2P file sharing. The RIAA would get what they wanted if everyone disables their sharing.

The RIAA’s recent actions against the world of file sharing will have a definite effect on the way file sharing will continue in the future. From day one of the file sharing era, the RIAA has been out to stop it. File sharing has many more legal uses than just sharing songs, such as music from unsigned bands, sharing pictures, and other files people want. The RIAA fails to realize this, and they want to shut down all the file sharing networks of the world. The longer the RIAA fights against file sharing, the more people will be inclined to boycott the RIAA, and the RIAA will see more of their profits slide downward than when unrestricted file sharing first began.


Works Cited

“Charter Sues to Block RIAA from Getting Names.” 7 October 2003 <www.reuters.com>

“Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, The. U.S. Copyright Office Summary.” 14 October 2003. <www.loc.gov>

“File Sharing: Stealing or Sharing amongst friends?” 8 October 2003 <www.misbridge.mccombs.utexas.edu>

“How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing (And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)” 14 October 2003 <www.eff.org>

Menn, Joseph. All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning’s Napster. New York: Crown Business, 2003.

“Recording Industry Begins Suing P2P File Sharers Who Illegally Offer Copyrighted Music Online.” 5 October 2003 <www.riaa.com>

“RIAA Wants to Hack Your PC.” 7 October 2003 <www.wired.com>

“Why Are the RIAA Suing Individuals for P2P File Sharing?” 5 October 2003 <www.filesharingwatch.com>


The File Sharing Debate: Against File Sharing

Written in 2002, this was what dave used for his assignment. The assignment was to write on a certain debate, and debate with other people in your group who took the other side of the issue. Dave was put onto the “Against File Sharing” side for the debate, however, the things said in this article do not necessarily align with what dave believes. The points made in this speech would be from someone’s point of view (like the RIAA) that they would use against file sharing.


File sharing services are nothing more than the carts that a shoplifter uses at a grocery store that has no security and employees that don’t care to look at what you’re doing. That’s how millions of people steal from the music, and other, industries, giving a negative effect to the sales of their products. File sharing directly affects the economy, as record sales for the music industry are at an extreme low. If these “shopping carts” are taken away for good, it will be a serious deterrent to the illegal sharing of files.

As the file sharing programs become more and more popular, less will actually want to spend money for what they can get, for a fraction of the cost, by downloading the items they want and burning them onto blank CDs, with no money at all given to the original producers. Its like the people that make the items are working for no money, which is basically slavery.

File sharing programs state they are not responsible for what their users download, even when they know that the law is virtually being broken with every download, and they take no serious steps, that go past words, to stop the illegal distribution.

In the past, file sharing programs connected users to users through a central server, and once these companies were closed because of that fact, they became sneakier, and made the “central server” its users, which is nearly impossible to close down millions of people’s computers, so then they won’t be liable to what illegal activities are happening indirectly because of them.

When file sharing programs use users as a server, they are mostly people using a connection at their college, because they have a lot of bandwidth to support the traffic of people downloading. These colleges are ending up having to pay larger and larger amounts for their internet connections because of this.

Having even one piece of something illegally downloaded, it is still, may I remind you, illegal. You can be sued for petty theft or even grand theft if you have enough illegal items on your computer. If you get convicted, then you’ll most likely end up having to pay a lot more than what you were downloading is worth. When it comes to downloading illegally, it’s a gamble.

File sharing does not only conflict with the law, but will impact society itself. Children are growing up thinking that music should be free, when it should not be free. Creativity will suffer, because fewer will be willing to take the risk of pursuing a music career. Moral issues also come into play, because you may not care that you’re stealing, but you still admit that what you are doing is wrong.

If file sharing is allowed to continue, many parties will miss out, such as: Struggling artists that have not made it in the big time and are just starting out, record industry workers which will most likely be fired because they can’t be supported by the record industry to keep them on the payroll, and record stores, which will lose almost all its business, putting many more out of work.


Works Cited

Dalnas, Eric, Matthew Roloff, and Keith Jenci. File Sharing: A debate With a focus on trading MP3s. 4 December 2002. <http://www.mredkj.com/other/sharing.html>.

University of Alabama. 4 December 2002. <http://resnet.ua.edu/about/acceptuse.html>


File Sharing and the RIAA Theory

November 2, 2003

Now, this goes pretty deep into the past (a whole 4 years or so), but it all started with Napster. Napster was a revolutionizing program, and one of the most useful ones you could get your phone line transferring to your computer by far, in 1998. I was actually apart of this “revolution,” and its sort of a bragging right, to say that “I was there, and I had done that,” because I had downloaded Napster while it was still free. The original Napster was and will still be the best file sharing program (music-wise) in my mind. All the other file sharing programs pale in comparison to Napster, but some have come pretty close to it.

Pretty much as soon as Napster had came, the RIAA threw a hissy fit. You wanna know why? Because the consumer got smart enough to not buy a CD Single for $4 or buy an overpriced $20 album for only one song, when they could get the one song for free. The RIAA lost a total of about, oh I’d say, $50 and some change when people stopped buying their stupid singles. Because their lovely little single was shot and killed, the RIAA was out for blood.

About a year after its release, Napster came under a heavy lawsuit by the RIAA. This was a really bad move by the RIAA. When the media started covering it, the popularity of Napster exploded. Instead of having a 100,000 or so people downloading increasing at 1,000 users or whatever a week, it was 2 million people, and increasing at about 10,000 users a week. I’m not sure if these are the right numbers, but I’m just giving a comparison to what it was before and after. The RIAA just made the problem worse, and millions of files were being transferred a day. Instead of possibly working out a deal with Napster to use it to their advantage, they sued them. In retrospect, this would have been a good thing for Napster, but at the time, it probably would have had the disadvantage for us. And yes, I know that Shawn Fanning’s uncle was pretty much the one in charge of Napster, and the guy was a complete idiot as a business man. But if things had worked out in a fashion that it would have been favorable for all parties involved, this wouldn’t be such a big problem.

Many lessons were learned by the eventual downfall of Napster. The reason why Napster was shut down was because they had a central server which kept the listings of all files being shared. This was something that could not be included in the next generation of file sharing programs. Well anyway, that’s what happened, and the RIAA hasn’t been able to shut most of them down completely. The RIAA has impacted some of the file sharing programs to place some sort of restriction on what can be downloaded in their policy, but not any actual filters or things that will actually stop the downloading of that certain file.

The RIAA claims that they, and the artists and songwriters and seemingly everyone in the mix is getting screwed by the whole file sharing deal. Artists are payed millions and millions of dollars to make albums with at most 1 or 2 good songs on it, out of 20 or even less. Rarely ever do you actually find a CD that actually has good songs all the way through and doesn’t all sound the same. The artists are just going to be incovenienced a little bit because they won’t be having their 300 million dollar check coming in the mail from good ol’ uncle RIAA, instead just getting a 240 million dollar one. File sharing is not going to kill the fan base for a certain artist. Nothing is as intense as seeing an actual band or artist in concert, so they just have to have more performances and work harder for their millions of dollars. Sure, I know all about how artists and bands get drained from touring so much, but if they don’t want to make up the money they lost with more tour dates and junk, then they can just live in semi-luxury, which is still about 3 million times better than how I live and most other people in the world. All of them (except the really stupid ones) don’t even use all their money, they just hide it in a bank somewhere until they decide to buy an island somewhere, or even build one. I don’t care if you disagree with me or not, this is just the plain truth.

So, now to more recent events. Have you heard now, that the RIAA is suing America now? I saw a picture (below), that says if you file share, you support communism, and a devil that looks like Stalin will become your dad who approves of what you’re doing because he’s looking over your shoulder all the time. This is exactly what the RIAA would have you believe if this kind of propaganda still worked (we’re in the “terrorism” phase).

Kid: Look at me daddy, I downloaded Madonna – Like a Virgin today!

Devil Stalin: Good job, kiddo. Tomorrow we’ll get the next Creed album before its made.

This campaign for educating the public is not a well-intentioned one, mind you. Buried in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (or the DMCA), is a statement that basically says that if a copyright violator does not know that he is committing copyright infringement, they will not be responsible for the full penalty of their wrong doing. But guess who comes around and starts teaching everyone that sharing music is a bad thing? The good ol’ RIAA, helping out the American public everday. So when they start suing everyone, they can go for the maximum penalty, and scare everyone into thinking that file sharing is a horrible thing to do, even if it is legal. It’ll be just like going to a strip bar. And mp3s will be demonized, and the RIAA will probably want to make it so that the mp3 is never used again, even though it is a very good file format to use for sound.

(Ok, the thing I said about the people committing copyright infringement not being responsible isn’t actually real. I thought I saw it in there when I was looking at the thing, but it was only meant towards ISPs. I could’ve sworn I saw it in there for regular people too)

So, basically what I’m saying is, don’t fall into the RIAA’s traps, and boycott the RIAA. The RIAA is too conservative, and their endless stream of subpoenas being handed out to the American public will have a tremendous backlash one of these days. Universal is the only company in the RIAA that I will somewhat support, because they have lowered the prices of their CDs to 10 bucks. That’s what CDs should cost, not 20. You could get 2 really crappy movies for that price, and still have enough to buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, and STILL have change. Probably enough to buy another couple crappy movies.

Fuck the RIAA.