RIAA Drops Suits Because of WiFi

Reports have come in that two law suits involving the RIAA have been dropped recently with one defendent receiving payment for legal fees! This involved two brave persons actually committing to the law suit instead of settling but this news may convince others that it is worth it to fight for your rights in court.

The cases involved persons who used WiFi to share their access to the Internet. This situation destroyed the RIAAs assertion that evidence based on IP addresses absolutely identifies the alleged infringer. Anyone could have been behind that connection including neighbors, visiting friends, etc. It is important to note that the RIAA DROPPED the cases to preclude setting precedent so it’s unclear whether every circuit court will rule the same way. I don’t believe judges are allowed to use cases like this when deciding in the future.

The creepy fine print

taken from Yahoo! Mail. Emphasis mine:

* Yahoo! collects personal information when you register with Yahoo!, when you use Yahoo! products or services, when you visit Yahoo! pages or the pages of certain Yahoo! partners, and when you enter promotions or sweepstakes. Yahoo! may combine information about you that we have with information we obtain from business partners or other companies.
* When you register we ask for information such as your name, email address, birth date, gender, zip code, occupation, industry, and personal interests. For some financial products and services we may also ask for your address, Social Security number, and information about your assets. Once you register with Yahoo! and sign in to our services, you are not anonymous to us.
* Yahoo! collects information about your transactions with us and with some of our business partners, including information about your use of financial products and services that we offer.
* Yahoo! automatically receives and records information on our server logs from your browser, including your IP address, Yahoo! cookie information, and the page you request.
* Yahoo! uses information for the following general purposes: to customize the advertising and content you see, fulfill your requests for products and services, improve our services, contact you, conduct research, and provide anonymous reporting for internal and external clients.

Must See TV

Kalt (Sonia Hamza) isn’t your average Tunisian woman. After all, as the leader of a small ring of high-tech thieves, she spends most of her time hijacking the frequencies of foreign television channels so that an animated camel named Bedwin Hacker can say his piece in Arabic. Nadia El Fani directs this fresh and critically acclaimed look at a slice of North African life, co-starring Nadia Saiji and Muriel Solvay.

RIAA aids terrorism?

In the July 23rd USA Today article on “California cigarette tax could skyrocket” a report from the General Accounting Office is quoted which states “the incentives for criminal organizations, including terrorist organizations, to smuggle cigarettes into and throughout the United States” increase as cigarette taxes increase. The idea being that market will always get products to consumers at a price they want. The article speculates that the smuggling of cigarettes (which was a mob activity) will now be used by “the terrorists” to raise funds for their operations. Cigarettes and pirate CDs are a staple of the smuggling business and so it is simple to infer that CD prices remaining artificially high will also increase terrorist interests. The artifical bloat of the price of cigarettes are a result of socio-political engineering to curb the ability of smokers to obtain their fix. In the case of CDs the RIAA simply wishes to keep their bloated infrastructure in place and so they maintain an artificially high price. Are terrorists using this weakness in our business infrastructure to fund their operations?

What is the Patriot Act Database?

A web service that is advertising through Google offers the ability to search for people through the “Patriot Act database”. I’ve never heard of this and neither has google .

From the website:

  • Also includes: age, possible current address, up to 20 year address history, phone numbers, bankruptcies, tax liens & judgments, property ownership, possible relatives, possible roommates, aliases / maiden names, neighbors, marriages and divorces, dea registrants, and website ownership. (view sample)
  • Add NATIONWIDE CRIMINAL records to your Background Report for an additional $20.00.
    Nationwide criminal includes: National Department of Corrections, CA Criminal Filings, National Sex Offenders, National Wants and Warrants, Patriot Act Database.

    UPDATE 20060714: also from privateeye.com (so close yet not accurate…)

    “What is a secure server?

    A secure server is a system that uses methods of encrypting the data passed between your computer and ours. It keeps your credit card and personal user information from being intercepted by unauthorized entities on the internet.”

  • Global Voices

    Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?

    Licensing Guilt

    I bought a digital SLR the other day and after taking some 300 test shots I wanted to upload a few of them to my Flickr account. It’s been months since I’ve actually logged into my account and so when I did I was greeted by a random message from another Flickr user. She apparently really liked a photo I took a few years ago of chess players in Harvard Square’s ABP. She requested permission to use the photo but had a deadline which lapsed weeks ago. I noticed then that Flickr is *way* ahead of the game and allowed me to batch change ALL the licensing of my photos to Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial. I still can’t find a way to make this the default setting but at least the options are there to change them in a batch like fashion. This is the power of the CC license. Students should not have to ask for permission like this to put a photograph in their paper. The current copyright laws of the US make this situation a burden on ME. That’s correct, me. As a photographer (amatuer/hobbyist) I love that anyone looks at my photos and derives even the smallest amount of joy from them. This is obviously in stark contrast to what the RIAA promotes. According to their philosophy artists will not produce content if they are not paid. Well here I am producing content for free and now regretting that someone wasn’t able to copy my work into theirs.

    music recognition technology

    Another round of legal battles emerges in the world of YouTube. A blog [->reasoner.org] reports that the RIAA is basing lawsuits on a music recognition technology. I imagine this would be fairly easy to do using “psycho acoustic” vectors or something like that.
    First the law tells us we may not make duplicates of an item in our rightful possession. Then the law tells us that we may but only if the work in question is from the previous century. Now we are told that we may not even create our own media if copyrighted works are being played anywhere within range of the recording.