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Bring on the hate mail

Just so we're clear on this...

This ruling against the RIAA everyone's so excited about will not slow down the lawsuits on their behalf. It will not make the p2p networks "safe for piracy." It may get the current batch of pending suits dropped to avoid losing those on a technicality. But it will not prevent new ones.

On the contrary, what this eliminates is any semblance of mercy. The RIAA can no longer send fair warning that you've been targetted. They can no longer negotiate a settlement for far less than the minimum fine, as they've done so many times now. They can only launch their lawsuits against "John Doe" defendants. If they win those suits, the court will request those identities from the ISP and damages will be awarded accordingly. So, nothing's changed. The steps are just in a different order now. And the phase where they can actually back down is eliminated.

Remember, the least they can ask for is $750 per song that you're sharing. And, they're only targetting people with 1,000 or more verified songs of theirs. So, that thing where they charged a 12 year old girl $2,000 a few months ago was actually a pretty good discount off the $750,000+ a court would be forced to give them if the same situation comes up now. And, of course, it was quickly paid off by donations from angry p2p users - that's not going to happen so often with the dollar amount this much higher.

And, seriously - that's the minimum - these fines go up to $150,000 per song if you catch the judge in a bad mood.

In summary:
The great evil has been inconvenienced. Celebrate if you must, but don't do anything stupid.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2003 03:23 pm (UTC)
Not necessarily that apocalyptic...
True, they can't get someone's info beforehand to send a settlement letter. What it does mean, though, is that they'll now have to go to court a lot more than they thought they would. With a few settlements and lawsuit wins, they figured they could at least discourage P2Ping enough to where it wouldn't be relevant anymore. They weren't figuring they'd actually have to spend the money to take all these cases to court.

Ultimately, they might be willing to do so. But in the mean time, a much more simple compromise is to send word to the ISPs that, "we're suing user A on ip x.x.x.x, you may wish to inform him of this and that we are open to discussing a settlement if s/he wishes to contact us." And this too, could probably be proceded by a warning-style ceast-and-desist letter. Back before this decsision, they were getting users identities released because they were allowed to subpoena them before actually filing suit, but they still had to be intending to file one. If they weren't, no names. Now they'd actually have to go through the suit in order to get the names, which means it'd be easier for all parties concerned to give IPs and such to ISPs and request that they send a warning message.

These, of course, would be in writing and addressed to whomever actually holds the account, which could be a lot more difficult for the younger folks out there to intercept before it gets to their parents. Those parents, not wanting to be sued, would probably want to make sure their kid(s) don't use P2P anymore, thus eliminating a big chunk of the user base.

Ultimately, maybe that'll make the RIAA happy.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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