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Dr Kenneth Noisewater

I won’t surrender to download bullies

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I won’t surrender to download bullies, says mother fighting the music giants

 

A single mother has made legal history by forcing America’s biggest record companies into a costly and potentially embarrassing trial after she refused to pay an out-of-court settlement for alleged music piracy.

 

Jammie Thomas, a Native American from Minnesota, is one of 26,000 people the Recording Industry Association of America has sued over the past four years for alleged use of music “file-sharing” software. But she is the first to refuse to settle and has forced the music industry into a trial that could set a legal precedent. “I refuse to be bullied,” she said yesterday. “I know that I did not do this, and the jury will hear that I did not do this.”

 

Ms Thomas, 30, who has two children aged 11 and 13, lives in the small northern town of Brainerd, Minnesota, and works for the Department of Natural Resources of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, a Native American tribe. According to the tribe’s website, its members “struggled with poverty and despair” until the opening of two casinos in the 1990s.

 

The case threatens to become another PR disaster for record companies. After they were initially accused of refusing to offer a legitimate alternative to file-sharing, the companies are now being attacked for the way they price such music. Their practices have prompted an investigation by the European Commission and alienated many big-selling bands. Next week Radiohead will release its new album independently and allow fans to decide how to much to pay for it online, through an “honesty box” system.

 

In its lawsuit against Ms Thomas, the RIAA claims that on February 21, 2005, the mother-of-two used the file-sharing service Kazaa to offer more than 1,702 songs for illegal sharing. These included songs by the Swedish “death metal” band Opeth, although tracks by Janet Jackson, Green Day, Guns ’N’ Roses, Journey, Destiny’s Child and others are believed to be at issue in the case.

 

The username Ms Thomas allegedly used, “tereastarr”, is the same as the username on her MySpace page, which features the quote: “What’s the definition of insanity? Doing to the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results.”

 

Last year Kazaa settled its own music piracy lawsuit with record companies for $100 million. In the UK the music industry has taken legal action against more than 100 individuals, although none of those cases has yet been contested in court.

 

Brian Toder, the lawyer representing Ms Thomas, insisted that the RIAA could not prove she shared the songs in question. “She came into my office and was willing to pay a retainer of pretty much what they wanted to settle for,” he said yesterday. “And if someone’s willing to pay a lawyer rather than pay to make it go away, that says a lot.”

 

Working against the music industry is a ruling that barred 784 pages of documents proving corporate ownership of the songs – the judge said that the documents had been filed too late - and the fact that Ms Thomas replaced her hard drive after receiving her first “infringement notice”. She is also thought to be an enthusiastic CD buyer, which could make the jury more sympathetic to her.

 

Critics say that defendants such as Ms Thomas, who could be asked to pay damages of anywhere between $19,500 and $3.9 million, are bad publicity for the association. The association says that it is in a no-win situation, and believes that a zero tolerance approach to file-sharing is the only way to enforce copyright laws.

 

“We repeatedly offer out-of-court settlements far less than what the law allows,” said Jonathan Lamy, its spokesman.

 

Legal analysts said that the trial risked exposing the flaws in the association’s piracy-investigation techniques, which are handled by an outside company called SafeNet. If the association loses, the verdict could embolden other defendants to go to court, while making record companies even more unpopular than they already are.

 

“The case will be the first test of the RIAA’s ability to sell a jury on its investigative methods, which have a degree of imprecision,” wrote the music industry blogger Jon Healey in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.

 

“Internet protocol addresses are not painted on the side of a computer like a street address, and even if the association were able to trace a shared file back to a specific PC or Mac, it is not easy to prove who was sitting at the keyboard.”

 

According to the association, the number of households that have downloaded music with file-sharing software has risen from 6.9 million in April 2003 to 7.8 million in March 2007. Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, said that the RIAA’s legal campaign was having little effect. “I think by most any metric you choose, it’s been a failure,” he said.

 

10%: proportion of music sales worldwide that come from internet downloads

 

10,000: people in 18 countries threatened with legal action

 

20bn: tracks are illegally downloaded each year

 

14%: of broadband users regularly engage in illegal file-sharing

 

795m: estimated number of legal downloads bought last year

 

4m: songs can currently be purchased online

 

£1bn: what legal music download market is worth

 

25: illegal downloads for every legitimate music purchase

 

Sources: IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry); Times archives

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Guest Patrokles

Anyone listening to that music deserves to get buttfucked by the companies, tbh.

 

Also, the Radiohead gesture is all well and good, considering they're all already millionaires with a stupidly obsessive fanbase who're going to pay a shedload anyway.

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Anyone listening to that music deserves to get buttfucked by the companies, tbh.

 

Also, the Radiohead gesture is all well and good, considering they're all already millionaires with a stupidly obsessive fanbase who're going to pay a shedload anyway.

 

well yeah but I dont see your problem with that. Its like criticising anyone for giving to charity if they're rich themselves.

 

I paid for the radiohead download but I wouldn't have bought it so everyones a winner?

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I'd have more sympathy for the big record companies, if they hadn't price fixed obscenely for a good 60 years prior to downloads being an issue.

 

 

The biggest irony is still that when they offer reasonably priced downloads not only do they still make huge profits, but the piracy issue itself drops off.

 

Also given the methods they've used to try and stop piracy (Sony should have been sued to bankruptcy for the stealth installing of a root-kit on peoples PC's - it was no different to allowing car thieves an easy way to bypass all your car security if you played one of their CDs in your car) they haven't got any moral high ground to take.

 

It's just greed.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7029229.stm

 

A court in the US has ordered a woman to pay $222,000 (£109,000) in damages for illegally file-sharing music.

 

The jury ordered Jammie Thomas, 32, from Minnesota, to pay for offering to share 24 specific songs online - a cost of $9,250 per song.

 

But the fine could have been millions, as record companies said she illegally shared a total of 1,702 songs.

 

Ms Thomas was the first person accused of illegal file-sharing who decided to fight the case in court.

 

Each year millions of households illegally share music files, and the music industry takes it as a serious threat to its revenue.

 

About 26,000 lawsuits have been filed against alleged file-sharers, but most defendants settle privately by paying a fine amounting to a few thousand dollars.

 

Industry defiant

 

However, contesting the charge and losing will cost Jammie Thomas almost a quarter of a million dollars.

 

Kazaa screen

Thomas denied using Kazaa to share copyrighted material

Her lawyer, Brian Toder, told the Associated Press Ms Thomas was reduced to tears by the verdict.

 

"This is a girl that lives from paycheque to paycheque, and now all of a sudden she could get a quarter of her paycheque garnished for the rest of her life," he said.

 

The US record industry said people would understand the verdict.

 

Richard Gabriel, a lawyer for the music companies, said the verdict was important.

 

"This does send a message, I hope, that downloading and distributing our recordings is not OK," he told AP.

 

He said no decision had yet been made about what the record companies would do, if anything, to pursue collecting the money from Ms Thomas.

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:lol: That was an expensive point of principle.

 

We'll see.

 

If they basically enforce someone into absolute poverty for the rest of her life just to fill their already overflowing coffers they'll have another massive PR disaster.

 

If they don't then their court action is toothless.

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What a shower of kernts. So the jury have decided that her sharing each of these songs cost the music industry $9,250 :lol:. I'd be very interested to see how that was calculated. I'm guessing it was a complex procedure involving a big hat and some numbers.

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Guest James_coDurham
Anyone listening to that music deserves to get buttfucked by the companies, tbh.

 

Also, the Radiohead gesture is all well and good, considering they're all already millionaires with a stupidly obsessive fanbase who're going to pay a shedload anyway.

 

I fucking hate you, you cock. Fucking constantly patronizing people's tastes in music. I've listened to your songs. They're fucking hump. You are quite possibly the least talented person I've ever heard try and perform. So fuck off.

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Anyone listening to that music deserves to get buttfucked by the companies, tbh.

 

Also, the Radiohead gesture is all well and good, considering they're all already millionaires with a stupidly obsessive fanbase who're going to pay a shedload anyway.

 

I fucking hate you, you cock. Fucking constantly patronizing people's tastes in music. I've listened to your songs. They're fucking hump. You are quite possibly the least talented person I've ever heard try and perform. So fuck off.

 

:lol:

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Anyone listening to that music deserves to get buttfucked by the companies, tbh.

 

Also, the Radiohead gesture is all well and good, considering they're all already millionaires with a stupidly obsessive fanbase who're going to pay a shedload anyway.

 

I fucking hate you, you cock. Fucking constantly patronizing people's tastes in music. I've listened to your songs. They're fucking hump. You are quite possibly the least talented person I've ever heard try and perform. So fuck off.

 

 

What do you get if you cross Simon Cowell witn an Emo.. ah shit you beat me to it!

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Anyone listening to that music deserves to get buttfucked by the companies, tbh.

 

Also, the Radiohead gesture is all well and good, considering they're all already millionaires with a stupidly obsessive fanbase who're going to pay a shedload anyway.

 

I fucking hate you, you cock. Fucking constantly patronizing people's tastes in music. I've listened to your songs. They're fucking hump. You are quite possibly the least talented person I've ever heard try and perform. So fuck off.

 

:mellow:

 

The lad has a point.

 

:lol:

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Virgin Media has sent about 800 letters to customers warning them that they should not be downloading illegal music files via file-sharing sites.

 

It is part of a 10-week campaign it is running in conjunction with the BPI to "educate" users about downloads.

 

The BPI, the body which represents the UK record industry, told the BBC that "thousands more letters" would be sent.

 

Its stricter stance on illegal downloaders might result in some ISPs being taken to court, it told BBC News.

 

Refuseniks

 

The BPI wants all UK ISPs to sign up to a so-called three strikes policy - where users of file sharing networks get two warnings and are then disconnected.

 

So far only Virgin Media has officially signed up and it is keen to stress that currently it is running an education-only campaign and that no-one has been thrown off the network.

 

Virgin said the wording on the envelope which contains the warning letter sent to 800 customers - which threatens consumers with disconnection - was a "mistake".

 

This would be reviewed in mid-August, said a Virgin Media spokesman.

 

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor told BBC News that the body was prepared to back up the education campaign with legal action, including taking ISPs to court.

 

"If we have to go to court, we will go to court and we will win," he said.

 

One customer who received a letter told BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat programme that he was unhappy with Virgin Media.

 

Will McGree received a letter in June, warning him that legal action could be taken against him.

 

He said: "It's doomed to fail. Virgin Media will lose a lot of customers over this because people don't like to be accused of stealing music over their morning coffee.

 

"It made me feel betrayed. I was under the impression that I paid Virgin Media money to keep my internet connection protected and safe."

 

He said no-one in his flat had been file-sharing and that it was possible someone had accessed his wireless network from outside the building.

 

Some ISPs such as Carphone Warehouse, have refused to participate and the BPI did not rule out the possibility of taking such refuseniks to court.

 

Others, such as BT, have sent letters to subscribers threatening them with disconnection although it said this is not a new policy.

 

"We have not joined any "crusades", the telco said in a statement.

 

"We do work with various bodies to help them protect their copyright material and will sometimes pass on warning notices to customers on their behalf where we feel this is appropriate.

 

If a customer continues to be in breach of our terms and conditions then BT has the right to suspend or terminate that customer's account, though we work closely with customers to avoid this where possible," the statement read.

 

The industry has been given until spring of next year to find a solution to illegal downloaders or face legislation.

 

Youth-skewed

 

The current system involves the BPI policing file sharing networks. It looks for illegal traffic and identifies the IP address from which it has come and informs the ISP.

 

There is no distinction made between someone who has downloaded one illegal track and someone who has downloaded thousands.

 

A joint letter from Virgin and the BPI is then sent to the individual.

 

"This is about education. We make no assumptions about who is at fault. It may be someone in the family or someone illegally using their wi-fi connection," said a Virgin Media spokesman.

 

With conservative estimates suggesting a fifth of Europeans are involved in file sharing, some experts question how much impact such a system can have.

 

"File sharing is very youth-skewed. The BPI isn't going to close the door on the problem but it can get at the families whose kids are file sharing without their knowledge," said Mark Mulligan, an analsyt with Jupiter Research.

 

Virgin is keen to stress that the 800 or so letters it has so far sent are a drop in the ocean compared to its 3.8m user base.

 

"In the scheme of things that is a relatively small number," said Ian Fogg, analyst with Jupiter Research.

 

He said that ISPs faced a difficult balancing act between conforming to the BPI's new rules and pleasing their own customers.

 

"It is a sensitive issue for providers. File sharers are using up network capacity and therefore pushing up their costs and illegal downloads compete with their own music services," he said.

 

"They need to be seen to be doing enough so they don't get sued and to control their costs but also need to be careful not to upset their customers."

 

Three strikes and you're in

 

 

The record industry has long grappled with how to wrest back control of digital music.

 

According to Jupiter Research, a fifth of Europeans use file sharing networks. Paid-for digital music services such as iTunes are used by just 10% and make up just 8% of overall music revenue.

 

The BPI admitted that the current mechanisms for selling music were "broken".

 

The new strategy will see it negotiating licensed content deals with ISPs who have pursued file sharers.

 

"We want people to see this not as three strikes and you're out but three strikes and you're in to legitimate music services," said Frederico Bolza, head of strategy at SonyBMG.

 

Some DRM-free material may be made available and the new subscription models will allow users to keep some of the tunes they download, he said.

 

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, said the details of the services were yet to be decided but that there are likely to a variety of models on offer that would be "easy and cheap".

 

The form they take will be crucial, thinks Mr Mulligan.

 

"Charging a tenner a month hasn't worked. Ideally it needs to be incredibly cheap or free, with a massive catalogue that can be tranferrable," he said.

 

Mr Taylor admitted that the BPI's current campaign was unlikely to stop file sharing completely but he did think the idea that the web was home to free stuff needs to be challenged.

 

"There is a phenomenal amount of piracy out there and we believe that the idea that 95% of content on the net is free is not sustainable. We don't believe that society can allow the free consumption of content to persist," he said.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7486743.stm

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I heard a rumour that the internet was for porn like...

 

You do realise how much of the internet = porn don't you?

 

Look it up, you'll probably be surprised (and sexed up :rolleyes:).

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I paid £2.50

 

price of an expensive pint.

 

 

I wish :rolleyes:

 

I paid over £4 for the first time the other day. £4.10. About 40p a fucking gulp. :wub:

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