More music trading woes


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Music Labels Threaten to Sue Net Users

Jun 25, 1:19 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - The embattled music industry disclosed aggressive plans Wednesday for an unprecedented escalation in its fight against Internet piracy, threatening to sue hundreds of individual computer users who illegally share music files online.

The Recording Industry Association of America, citing substantial sales declines, said it will begin Thursday to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify users who offer "substantial" collections of mp3 music files for downloading. It expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within eight to 10 weeks.

Executives for the RIAA, the Washington-based lobbying group that represents major labels, would not say how many songs on a user's computer will qualify for a lawsuit. The new campaign comes just weeks after U.S. appeals court rulings requiring Internet providers to identify subscribers suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files.

The RIAA's president, Carey Sherman, said tens of millions of Internet users of popular file-sharing software after Thursday will expose themselves to "the real risk of having to face the music."

"It's stealing. It's both wrong and illegal," Sherman said. Alluding to the court decisions, Sherman said Internet users who believe they can hide behind an alias online were mistaken. "You are not anonymous," Sherman said. "We're going to begin taking names."

Critics accused the RIAA of resorting to heavy-handed tactics likely to alienate millions of Internet file-sharers.

"This latest effort really indicates the recording industry has lost touch with reality completely," said Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Does anyone think more lawsuits are going to be the answer? Today they have declared war on the American consumer."

Sherman disputed that consumers, who are gradually turning to legitimate Web sites to buy music legally, will object to the industry's latest efforts against pirates.

"You have to look at exactly who are your customers," he said. "You could say the same thing about shoplifters - are you worried about alienating them? All sorts of industries and retailers have come to the conclusion that they need to be able to protect their rights. We have come to the same conclusion."

Mike Godwin of Public Knowledge, a consumer group that has challenged broad crackdowns on file-sharing networks, said Wednesday's announcement was appropriate because it targeted users illegally sharing copyrighted files.

"I'm sure it's going to freak them out," Godwin said. "The free ride is over." He added: "I wouldn't be surprised if at least some people engaged in file-trading decide to resist and try to find ways to thwart the litigation strategy."

The RIAA said its lawyers will file lawsuits initially against people with the largest collections of music files they can find online. U.S. copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song offered illegally on a person's computer, but Sherman said the RIAA will be open to settlement proposals from defendants.

"We have no hard and fast rule on how many files you have to be distributing ... to come within our radar screen," Sherman said. "We will go after the worst offenders first."

The RIAA said it expected to file "at least several hundred lawsuits" within eight to 10 weeks but will continue to file lawsuits afterward on a regular basis.
Semi related news

Hulk Bootlegger Faces Hard Time

LOS ANGELES ( - In a Manhattan federal court Wednesday (June 25), Kerry Gonzalez of New Jersey admitted to uploading a bootlegged copy of The Hulk to the Internet two weeks in advance of the movie's opening.

The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

An unfinished copy Ang Lee's first superhero flick was sent to a print advertising agency in Manhattan almost three weeks before the film's nationwide opening on Friday, June 20, minus its final special effects and graphics.

Despite a confidentiality agreement between Universal Studios and the unnamed ad agency, Gonzalez was able to acquire a copy of the film through an acquaintance who worked at the agency. Gonzalez bypassed the security tags embedded in the film and made a digital copy that was then uploaded to a Web site chat room.

Through an Internet-monitoring system, dumbfounded Universal officials were alerted to the breach.

Gonzalez, a 24 year-old insurance underwriter, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, Sept. 26 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


OT: iTunes Music Store & AAC Files

I thought Mac had the modern day answer to that by offering music for 99 cents a download, but I did it yesterday for the first time and it was 128 bps. If you're going to CHARGE me, give me the REAL thing!
Apple's iTunes Music Store offers music encoded (by the labels themselves, btw) using Advanced Audio Coding (MPEG-4). (More information regarding AAC may be found here:

it is generally accepted that music encoded at 128 kbps/true stereo (low complexity) using AAC sounds as good or better than a 192 kbps/true stereo mp3.

Of course, there are those who beg to differ but I have found the quality of the 128kbps AAC audio files avaialble via the iTunes Apple Store to be outstanding. Better, in fact, than most 256kbps mp3s I have heard of the same music.

While I have no problems with Apple's sound quality, it's all a rather moot point since a search of "Disney" yields only 12 results, none of which are actually Disney releases. :(


OT: iTunes Music Store & AAC Files (Part 2)

While I have no problems with Apple's sound quality, it's all a rather moot point since a search of "Disney" yields only 12 results, none of which are actually Disney releases. :(
Eisner remains doubtful that *any* of the purchase-and-download schemes (including the iTunes Music Store) will work. So, I wouldn't expect to see material from Disney available via such a method soon.

Steve Jobs had his "people" pitch the iTMS idea to Big Mike in an effort to get the Finding Nemo soundtrack added to Apple's online music offerings... but as we know, Mike and Steve aren't getting along all that well lately -- so, it didn't happen.

One other nice thing about AAC is that it supports 5.0 and 5.1 multi-channel audio. Perhaps we'll eventually see some of the multi-channel SACD, DVD-Audio and/or DTS audio releases come to the iTunes Music Store... if Microsoft hasn't crushed it by then.



That first article seems so optimistic. They really think they can stop this. I love how the government always thinks they can stop stuff from happening and they NEVER DO. Look at the drug war.

If they crack down on this it will just go deeper underground. They cant stop Kazaa like Napster because its file sharing system is different. Everyone shares with each other not through a "central control"

The only way to stop it is by getting the people who leak it in the first place. which, can I say, it takes a lot of balls to take copyrighted matrial out of company's offices and upload it onto the computer.

Its always struck me as one of those situations you see in the movies when the character is trying to download somthing, and theres a guard coming, and you're watching the download bar as it moves (slowly, to create tension) across the screen. And then the guard opens the door and the character is gone, right in the nick of time, HUZZAH!

Balls, man...balls