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RIAA says that any pending litigation will continue

The RIAA has been suing people willy-nilly for years with slim proof that the defendants actually shared music illegally. The lawsuits often seemed to be nothing more than a marketing attempt by the RIAA to get people to realize they could and would sue if you illegally shared music or they suspected you did.

Despite all of the suits that the RIAA filed, against people living and dead, the tide of music piracy never turned in its favor. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cites numbers from the NPD Group that show illegal music sharing stayed about the same throughout the RIAA's inquisition.

This week, The WSJ reported that the RIAA has announced it will stop its slash and burn suit policy and focus on other methods of preventing piracy that is thinks will be more effective. Since the RIAA started is massive campaign of litigation, it has brought legal proceedings against 35,000 people.

The RIAA says that it will now focus on working with individual ISPs to help stop piracy. When a person on an ISP is suspected of pirating music the RIAA will send an email to the ISP, who can then get with the individual customer to try to stop piracy. As is par for the RIAA's course, it makes no mention of how exactly it will gather evidence of piracy against ISP customers. Many wonder if the RIAA will simply resort to massive spamming of hundreds of thousands of suspected file sharers to ISPs.

If an ISP determines that a user is sharing music illegally, it will send an email warning the customer to begin with. That warning, if unheeded, could be followed by more warning letters from the ISP. If the user fails to stop file sharing, their internet connection could be slowed or terminated altogether.

The bad news for alleged file shares that already have RIAA litigation pending against them is that The WSJ says the RIAA will proceed with pending suits. That means that the retrial date set for the tossed verdict in the Jammie Thomas case will continue.

New York State Attorney General Andre Cuomo is also working to broker a deal between the RIAA and ISPs to help address both parties' privacy concerns. One key point in the RIAAs new tact on piracy is that it will not ask for the names of alleged music traders.

Cuomo's chief of staff Steven Cohen told The WSJ, "We wanted to end the litigation. It's not helpful." For its part, the RIAA thinks that the new policy will reach more people to make them aware that the man has an eye on them. RIAA group chairman Mitch Bainwol said, "Part of the issue with infringement is for people to be aware that their actions are not anonymous."

Brian Toder, the attorney representing a woman from Minnesota in a file sharing case said, "I'd give them credit for stopping what they've already been doing because it's been so destructive." Unfortunately, for his client, her litigation will continue despite the new policy.



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This makes more sense
By Spivonious on 12/19/2008 11:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
Since I imagine it's pretty easy to get the IP of a user illegally sharing files, this plan should be much more effective than the civil suit route. Assuming the ISPs go along with it, that is.




RE: This makes more sense
By Screwballl on 12/19/2008 11:50:39 AM , Rating: 1
but the real problem comes in since most residential connections have a dynamic IP which can change every 24 hours to once a month. Mine changes about 2-3 times a week (thanks to dd-wrt).

quote:
and focus on other methods of preventing piracy that is thinks will be more effective.


This is why I use Peer Guardian to be on the safe side even though 99% of my downloading is for legal torrents.


RE: This makes more sense
By UNHchabo on 12/19/2008 12:07:31 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
but the real problem comes in since most residential connections have a dynamic IP which can change every 24 hours to once a month.


If they send a letter to the ISP, then the ISP has records of which customer had an IP at any given time, so far as I know.


RE: This makes more sense
By therealnickdanger on 12/19/2008 12:10:48 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that information doesn't just disappear as soon your dynamic is switched. They log everything and keep it for a long time.


RE: This makes more sense
By othercents on 12/19/2008 2:29:59 PM , Rating: 1
However that makes the paperwork much harder especially if you are switching IP addresses more often. At home I can change to 5 unique IP addresses every hour by changing the external MAC address. While the modem doesn't change it still makes the paperwork much harder to track.

Other


RE: This makes more sense
By Chaser on 12/19/2008 3:42:02 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think you understand how IP addressing works. Just because your ISP provides dynamic addressing doesn't mean you're invisible or something from them tracking everything you do. Sorry bud you can change your IP address every 3 seconds and it makes zero difference. They track everything you do and can identify you and your activities.


RE: This makes more sense
By erikejw on 12/19/2008 6:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
"If an ISP determines that a user is sharing music illegally, it will send an email warning the customer to begin with. That warning, if unheeded, could be followed by more warning letters from the ISP. If the user fails to stop file sharing, their internet connection could be slowed or terminated altogether."

Did I miss something or does it sound like RIAA owns all ISPs and will decide how they will treat their customers. It would be like I try to run someone elses business.

Where I live I can easily switch between 8 100Mbit provders, if one of them will cooperate with RIAA the word will be out in hours and everyone will leave that operator immediately.


RE: This makes more sense
By StevoLincolnite on 12/20/2008 5:36:30 AM , Rating: 2
This is what the Music Industry is trying to push at the moment, an Australian ISP that goes by the name of "iiNet" has just entered a battle with these companies, the Music and Movie industry believes it can send the I.P addresses to the ISP which is mere "Allegations" and force the ISP to disconnect users, however iiNet has been passing the notices onto the police and not to the users, believing they are "not" the police and they merely provide the pipes for the data to travel much like a Post Office.

However because iiNet refused to send the notices onto users and disconnect there internet connections they are now being sued by several Music/Movie/Television companies.

However I personally think it's wrong they are "merely" allegations, what happens if they got a single digit in the I.P wrong? - that would then make a customer who never did anything illegal to loose there internet connection, plus the ISP looses customers and thus profits.

Quite interesting how the industry choose iiNet, I guess they didn't like the idea of taking on Optus or Telstra which have much bigger and deeper pockets then they and iiNet do.

However if iiNet gets sued then I gather the Music and Movie industry will initiate mass legal action against all ISP's on the planet, which will be bad for everyone...


RE: This makes more sense
By croc on 12/20/2008 3:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Here in AUS, in ISP needs a warrant issued from a police agency to track an IP for suspected illegal activity. Then they can track all activity from that IP via their legal interception gateway. This gateway is a condition of their carrier license. Personally, I think that Iinet is within their legal rights, indeed their legal responsibilities, for turning the information over to the police. I have never heard of an ISP tracking an IP on their own, and would imagine that the ACA would be a bit upset if an ISP did that without a warrant


RE: This makes more sense
By 9nails on 12/19/2008 10:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that's pretty clever. He's changing the MAC Address, not just the IP Address. So this would appear that a different modem connected to the ISP. Hopefully, the hostname changes as well. I don't know how detailed the ISP's reports are or if they track connections to any given port. It might look odd that 722 different modems connected from their address each month. But if this isn't tracked by the ISP, then it's a good way to blame some other guy.


RE: This makes more sense
By Lifted on 12/20/2008 3:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
So then if he doesn't pay his bill, do you think the ISP can't terminate his connection because he has changed his MAC address? The ISP knows all. The kiddies can keep thinking they are fooling someone, but it will just get them caught quicker.

Surfing using a SIM card purchased at 7-11 here in Thailand is truly anonymous. ;)


RE: This makes more sense
By mindless1 on 12/20/2008 4:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
It won't make a difference. If the ISP isn't tying access to the MAC/IP, it's tying it to the account. Either way it's logged, either way it's just as easy to look up who had what IP address at any point in time until beyond the period of the log retention.


RE: This makes more sense
By Schrag4 on 12/22/2008 9:21:09 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, his ISP shouldn't let him do this, unless they have all the MAC addresses that he's using on file. If I get a new modem (or change my MAC address) then my ISP simply won't give me service. I would have to call them up and tell them the new MAC address.

If they allowed me to change my MAC address at will then I would consider them a poorly managed ISP.


RE: This makes more sense
By snikt on 12/20/2008 11:08:52 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you're using an unsecured wireless router with DHCP. Then you could argue you have know idea what they're talking about.


RE: This makes more sense
By omnicronx on 12/20/2008 5:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They track everything you do and can identify you and your activities.
As far as I know, in the US ISPS are only required to keep these kinds of records for 90 days. Of the few 'warning letters' I have received over the years, they were for infractions that happened up to a year beforehand, and never within that 90 day period. So ISPS are not required to keep this info, so unless they do voluntarily, there is a good possibility that changing IP's will reduce the chance of getting one of these takedown letters.

An IP address is in no way or form 100% proof either. Its not that hard to spoof an IP address, and this fact has been used in court time and time again.


RE: This makes more sense
By MrPoletski on 12/22/2008 7:15:20 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that renewing your IP address every 3 seconds consistantly might raise the eyebrow of suspiscion anyway;)


RE: This makes more sense
By Grast on 12/19/2008 3:48:29 PM , Rating: 1
What paper work !!!!!!!! you are dreaming. ISP have much better things to do than log and track useless information. That is the reason they use DHCP versus handing out static IP addresses. Less administration. Plus they are NOT legally bound to keep that information.

This is a win for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Later...


RE: This makes more sense
By WalksTheWalk on 12/19/2008 4:35:53 PM , Rating: 3
Watch, they'll be going for more forceful litigation against fewer parties. What they'll do is try to strong arm ISPs into policing their users. They think if they make it painful enough on ISPs via litigation, ISPs will eventually cave and start banning P2P and other sharing mechanisms.

In their mind: Why should we sue end users when we can try to stop it at the source?


RE: This makes more sense
By Lifted on 12/20/2008 3:15:43 AM , Rating: 1
Please name 1 ISP in the US that doesn't keep track of DHCP leases.

Can't? Exactly.


RE: This makes more sense
By mindless1 on 12/20/2008 4:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
Actually no, they started out using DHCP because they had fewer IP addresses than users and kept it up to discourage people from maintaining internet servers since most dont' bother with dynamic DNS.

Logging is automated and trivial provided the storage space for it.


RE: This makes more sense
By mars777 on 12/21/2008 10:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
You can use any IP adress on the world but as soon as your router logs in with your accaunt name and password you are known to the ISP.


RE: This makes more sense
By KashGarinn on 12/21/2008 7:12:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah, that information doesn't just disappear as soon your dynamic is switched. They log everything and keep it for a long time.


You're assuming this, probably depends on your ISP and what equipment and what log settings they got as there's no reason why they should keep this data, and most likely if they keep it, they get in trouble.

If you're worried or want to know how it is with your connection, call you ISP.


RE: This makes more sense
By Belard on 12/19/2008 5:38:40 PM , Rating: 3
Okay... but what about people "stealing" someone else's internet access with an unsecure wireless internet? Both home and business.

Or if someone breaks into a wireless network... since the password/user name for wired is same for wireless. I seem to remember OLDER routers required wired access to actually access its settings. But not what I've worked with on the market today.


RE: This makes more sense
By mindless1 on 12/20/2008 4:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
What about it? They'd already established they go after the account holder.


RE: This makes more sense
By omnicronx on 12/19/2008 12:23:28 PM , Rating: 3
The RIAA does not run the ISPS, Why would they give themselves bad press for no reason other than to help the RIAA. Unless the RIAA starts paying the ISPS some money, I see absolutely no incentive for ISPS to do this.

Here is an example of a warning letter I received a few months back (not even sure why I received this)
quote:
"This unauthorized copying and distribution constitutes copyright infringement under applicable national laws and international treaties. We urge you to take immediate action to stop this infringing activity and inform us of the results of your actions,"
ISPS are not going to go through the trouble to prove that people are illegally downloading files, its just not worth it to them. Instead they merely forward the messages from the RIAA / movie industry or whomever is asking. I don't know about you but, 'please stop, or else we will do nothing, and oh ya tell us when you stop' is not exactly a threat.


RE: This makes more sense
By Suntan on 12/19/2008 1:07:15 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The RIAA does not run the ISPS, Why would they give themselves bad press for no reason other than to help the RIAA. Unless the RIAA starts paying the ISPS some money, I see absolutely no incentive for ISPS to do this.


I'd be willing to bet that the terms your service provider gave you state in them somewhere that you would not use the network connection for illegal purposes. Why would they add that clause if they thought they could make money off of your illegal activity? (I'll give you a hint, your ISP is probably not concerned with your personal fight to stick it to the man -aka- RIAA.)

If that alone isn't enough explanation, think of these two letters sent to your ISP:

1) Excuse me Pro Media ISP, but it has come to our attention that you have been notified 637 times in the last 3 months of suspected illegal activity at these IP addresses. To date our investigation has found that these addresses are still conducting suspected illegal activity and we can only assume that you have done nothing to curtail this activity on your network. At this point, we have no option but to add you to our publicly available list of ISPs that have a record of doing nothing about illegal filesharing. –RIAA

2) Excuse me Pro Media ISP, but it has come to our attention that IP address XXX has a history of consuming over 120 gig of your costly bandwidth each month in activities that we believe to be illegal. If you would like to eliminate this bandwidth hog, here is all the evidence you need to do so and blame it on us. You get rid of the hog, we get rid of a person that may be illegally sharing our intellectual property. It’s a win-win. –RIAA

-Suntan


RE: This makes more sense
By Yawgm0th on 12/19/2008 1:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it has come to our attention that IP address XXX has a history of consuming over 120 gig of your costly bandwidth each month... If you would like to eliminate this bandwidth hog, here is all the evidence you need to do so and blame it on us.


No ISP would need this as an excuse. Many ISPs, notably Comcast, have bandwidth caps that if exceeded are grounds for termination of service. Some (Comcast until a few months ago) have unwritten caps at which they will terminate your service.

In short, an ISP will not permit you to go over whatever amount of bandwidth is too high. Anything lower provides return on investment, and as such they still want you as a customer.

The only incentive for ISPs to cooperate is avoidance of lawsuits. Regardless of the victor, being in constant litigation is not conducive to good business (unless litigation is your business).

ISPs already send out warning letters and threaten cancellation for user who pirate certain content. I have been warned by Comcast on two separate occasions: Once, for downloading an episode of a current NBC TV show, and once for downloading a major motion picture. I did not receive any notice from NBC or the MPAA, but obviously Comcast did.


RE: This makes more sense
By jonmcc33 on 12/19/2008 2:51:53 PM , Rating: 4
Sort of stupid to offer 5/10/15Mbps or higher throughput and not expect people to use that. Sure doesn't make web browsing faster. It makes downloading faster. You pay for the throughput as a home/business user of an ISP. You do not pay for bandwidth used. That would be a web host or similar.


RE: This makes more sense
By Yawgm0th on 12/19/2008 3:38:30 PM , Rating: 3
You're right, but some ISPs do have bandwidth caps. I think it's a stupid policy, but it is what it is. Luckily, despite how frequently I max my 10Mb connection, I would have to make a concentrated effort to break Comcast's cap.

As such, it's an issue in principle, but not in practice.


RE: This makes more sense
By CloudFire on 12/19/2008 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 3
that's only for now though. in the future, the data we want to download would be frequently in the GB's, when HD movies or streaming of them gets more popular. our internet is pretty slow compared to the rest of the world.

i have a 16mb line but compared to 50mb lines of other countries around the world, that is pretty much nothing.


RE: This makes more sense
By jonmcc33 on 12/19/2008 7:58:19 PM , Rating: 4
Again, the problem is that you pay for throughput and not overall bandwidth. Anyone that falls for that garbage should raise a big middle finger towards their ISP and give their business to someone else.


RE: This makes more sense
By AntiM on 12/19/2008 12:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like a good compromise for now. I just wonder what recourse there will be for people that are falsely accused. I suppose it could then go to litigation. If a person that has never shared a file gets their connection terminated because of some mistake made by the RIAA or the ISP, what can that person do? What if a neighbor piggybacks some idiot's wireless connection?
I still think it's a step in the right direction.


RE: This makes more sense
By Spivonious on 12/19/2008 2:42:51 PM , Rating: 3
Hmm...piggybacking is an interesting case.

If someone steals your car and uses it to commit a crime, you're not held responsible for the crime. Of course, in this case it's very easy to prove that your car was stolen.


RE: This makes more sense
By callmeroy on 12/19/2008 12:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Assuming the ISPs go along with it, that is.


Bingo!

I've been doing IT work since the mid 90's, in that time frame I've had to work with and/or have built professional relationships with some small - regional ISPs. I have to tell you more than half of them really don't care to be an RIAA watchdog, they just don't advertise it. The ISP I've probably had the best relationship with and for the longest time tell me they are too busy with business to micro manage their customer's useage unless its required by law (which it is NOT for what the RIAA wants btw). Other than that, as long as you pay your bill and stay within useage limits they couldn't possibly care less what you are doing -- again as long as their is no specific law ordering the ISP to do "this or that".


RE: This makes more sense
By DM0407 on 12/19/2008 1:46:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If the user fails to stop file sharing, their internet connection could be slowed or terminated altogether .


So I guess RIAA will be paying my ISP $45 a month for the money they will be losing when they terminate me? What does the ISP stand to gain by terminating they're customers?

They would probably slow your connection, but then I might cut ties and go to DSL for half the price.


RE: This makes more sense
By bodar on 12/19/2008 5:57:40 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly right. No business in their right mind is going to take the time to go after it's own customers for infractions that don't really affect them in any way. That's like saying "I don't want your money anymore".

The RIAA is either dreaming or planning to get favorable legislation passed that would provide consequences to ISPs who don't kowtow to their whims.


RE: This makes more sense
By eye smite on 12/19/2008 2:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah it seems like they're finally waking up. How many years did they try this lawsuit thing that didn't slow piracy at all and cost them how much money? I'm just glad to see it stop and I'm actually in shock that they're showing common sense.........watch me eat those words. lol


RE: This makes more sense
By Chadder007 on 12/19/2008 2:37:55 PM , Rating: 2
No, this will cause ISP's more hassle and hence they will probably have to charge more for service when they have to add more staff to run around in circles for the RIAA's bidding.


RE: This makes more sense
By Ammohunt on 12/19/2008 2:54:59 PM , Rating: 5
This makes about as much sense as prosecuting the power company for customers that use electricty to power grow lights for pot plants. Has the world gone completely insane?


RE: This makes more sense
By Lifted on 12/20/2008 3:27:08 AM , Rating: 3
Power companies DO report unusually high power usage for just this reason. They are not prosecuted, they are just told to assist, though I'm not sure if it's a federal/state or not.


RE: This makes more sense
By Lifted on 12/20/2008 3:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
... I'm not sure if it's a federal/state law or not.


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