Why RIAA tactics are unconstitutional

Charlie Nesson explains in this article just how far the RIAA has perverted the American legal system.
It should be noted the $750 statutory minimum is just that. A minimum. It can go as high as $30,000 per infringement.
The defendant in this trial has had to endure 7 years of legal troubles over allegedly downloading 7 songs. This is something to think about. The RIAA is asking for over $1M because of downloaded songs which have a market value of roughly $7. I have to agree with Paula Samuelson that at most damages of 3x should apply to crimes of this nature. Not only is this proportional to the actual crime but would force RIAA to go after higher stakes players who are actually reproducing physical copies of CDs.

A summarized version exists here.

Hpricot Workaround for ASPX viewstate

I’ve switched over to Hpricot for HTML parsing in my various ruby projects. This was a long time coming and the performance is impressive. I happened to catch a page with ASPX viewstate on it and was faced with the following error:

ran out of buffer space on element

There are various pages out there which detail the work around and the rumor is that the memory cap is to ensure that the script doesn’t end up consuming everything on the machine. The work around is as follows:

Hpricot.buffer_size = 262144

Federal Judge holds that people can not be identified by IP address

Judge Nancy Gertner held that a person can not be readily identified merely by an IP address with any “reasonable degree of technical certainty”. This is something that most of the technical community has claimed for years as the RIAA made countless fishing expeditions using universities as unwitting accomplices. It is refreshing to see a judge at the Federal level understand this concept.

“[T]he Court finds that compliance with the subpoena as to the IP addresses represented by these Defendants would expose innocent parties to intrusive discovery,”

Crime does occur on the Internet. However for the last few years many of us have watched with horror as the RIAA violated due process and reasonable expectations of privacy while trying to prosecute these crimes. It is hoped by this author that in the near future the RIAA will conform to the laws of this country by using actual law enforcement instead of unlicensed private investigators and petitioning the court with actual evidence instead of the equivalent of a “lead”.

Clearly the weight of the judicial system is starting to tilt back in favor of the people but it is too soon to celebrate. No judge has yet stepped up to declare 17 U.S.C. ยง 504(c)(2) to be unconstitutional. With maximum statutory damages set at $30,000 per infringement the defendants absolutely must have representation in the courts. Yet the RIAA end run around this crucial aspect perverts that which is “fundamental to the American scheme of justice.”

Soulja Boy gets called out

Fellow Free Culturist Kevin Driscoll calls out Soulja Boy in this Youtube recording after he received a takedown notice for a video entitled “Crank dat ROFLCon” (I think this is another copy). The irony here is that Kevin is also a grad student at MIT studying hip hop and music video. The video in question literally shows part of his ROFLCon presentation where Kevin explains the phenomenon of Soulja Boy and his rise in popularity due to spreadable media. Has Soulja Boy truly forgotten his roots? Kevin makes the claim that Soulja Boy would never have risen to fame without the thousands of remixes created showing people dancing to “Crank dat” and posted virally all over the Internet. For evidence see [1,2,3,4,5] as a very short list of the thousands out there. Does Kevin have a point? I have to agree that the takedown of his particular video seems strange and could in fact be the result of his label taking actions on his behalf. If Soulja Boy reads this he should email Kevin and let him know that he doesn’t intend to be played by his label and will tell them to back down from aggressive takedowns.