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RIAA Lobbyist, Drafter of DMCA, Now Judge in Patent Troll Cases

POSTED ON August 26th  - POSTED IN Intellectual Property, Law, Law, New Media Order, news, Opinion
Mike Masnick, CEO and founder of Techdirt

Mike Masnick, CEO and founder of Techdirt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, you read the headline right.  While I am not surprised to hear about such a tactic, I am still appalled.  According to Mike Masnick at TechDirt:

We’ve written about judge Beryl Howell a few times before. She’s the recently-appointed judge whose immediate job prior to that was as a lobbyist for the RIAA. Before that, she worked for the Judiciary Committee and was apparently a key player in drafting the DMCA. It seems pretty damn clear that she holds a strong viewpoint on the nature of copyright law and copyright infringement — but that hasn’t stopped her from taking those cases, even when her rulings appear to be exactly the opposite of nearly every other court. For example, while most courts have been throwing out copyright trolling lawsuits for improper joinder, Judge Howell had no problem with the practice and ordered various ISPs to cough up names based solely on IP addresses.

I wonder if the Pussy Riot trails inspired any of this sham version of justice?  Honestly, judges, lawyers, and politicians, this is why the public is becoming more and more sympathetic to organizations like Anonymous.  If the “legitimate” government and court systems become a scam only to serve lobbyist, corporations, and the élite, should you not expect a revolution?  How could this judge, having any semblance of mental stability, NOT remove himself from the case due to a conflict of interest? Are we supposed to believe that this is some type of justice and not simply a guise for corporate coersion and collection?

Tech and Net – News and Opinion – Episode 001

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Google Music Launches

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Although pretty much everywhere, I caught the news of this via my EnGadget RSS feed.  Google Music has launched and offered over 8 million tracks the first day.  The selection of music will soon increase to over 13 million.

While the music program has been known and in beta, there was speculation as to which and how many labels would be on board, EnGadget reports that 3 major labels and 23 independents have signed on.

In conversation, we discussed how the MPAA likely cost Hollywood more than Torrents, MP3 vs Physical Media, why do people pirate and how these items relate.

Motorola Approve Google Purchase

Motorola Xoom + Atrix + Lapdock [49]

Image by bigdigo via Flickr

Following up on recent old news, more specifically the recent “Google bought Motorola” stories.  First off, to clarify what I have too often heard, Google did not buy Motorola in entirety,  specifically only Motorola Mobility.  In Lumpy’s opinion, likely for patents to defend the Droid phone.

They announced sticking to a “hands off” approach regarding operations.  The purchase, however likely, needed final approval from the “actual” owners of Motorola.

According to a post at Physorg.com, Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility was given final approval by the Motorola stock holders.  The deal was valued at 12.5 billion dollars.  Of note however, though no problem is expected, the regulators has still not officially approved this purchase.

RIAA Does Not Like The Used Digital Music Sale Business

Recording Industry Association of America

Image via Wikipedia

This is one we may wish to file under “no surprise”… After all other than there outdated-make-no-sense-lobby-and-sue-to-make-it-our-way business model what part of the music business does the music industry actually love?  This is the same organization that tried to stop 8-tracks, cassettes and used record stores for they were all certainly going to destroy the music business.

Thanks to the ingenious strategy of “sue em all” and total alienation of their customers, the Racketeering Idiots Association of Absurdity has kept this dying business alive for decades.  Unfortunately, when they are done paying the organization’s officers, legal fees and lawyers, there is nothing left for the artists.

Slashdot points to a few good articles relevant to ReDigi, a company which is claiming to re-sell digital music.  The RIAA has sent ReDigi a letter, more or less telling them to stop. This one should be an interesting one to follow.  Will it reverse the decision of Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc. or will the industries stance of “first sale” win?

Unfortunately, with both the US legal system and the RIAA involved, one has no clue what a court may decide.  While I am not too sure, “re-selling” digital media is actually legal. The case referenced was more specifically involving software not music… software purchased and physically resold. As for music, sooner or later a line must be drawn in the litigious sand that fills the litter box of the current war over content, distribution and ownership.

 SOPA Not Well Liked By Many

 

NYC signing September 1,2009 Nintendo Store - NYC

Image via Wikipedia

Mike Masnick of TechDirt posted that many have been expressing a dislike for SOPA.  The “Stop On-line Piracy Act” or H.R. 3261 is currently in committee hearings. One of the more popular news stories which came out of the public reaction to this potential law was “Free Justin Beiber”.  The bill would make on-line streaming copyright offenses a felony, with up to 5 years prison time.  Ironically, Beiber sent a cease and dessist order to Free Beiber which was started by Fight for the Future.

The TechDirt article lists the following as opposing this bill:

The EFF lists even more who oppose this bill, “including Facebook, Google, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo, AOL and Mozilla”.

EFF_logo_notype_black

Image by ElectronicFrontierFoundation via Flickr

The process of approving this bill has also come under scrutiny, TechDirt discusses that the committee is perceived as biased and, add to that, those opposed to the bill have not been permitted to attend the hearings.  The EFF has more on those who are not permitted to attend and states that many of those who are permitted to attend actually helped draft the bill.

An additional link was also brought up during the live discussion:

If you would like to participate in this show’s live discussion, contact us at 818-81-INDIE or news@indienation.fm.

RIAA and MPAA Back Legislation to Support Warrentless Searches of DVD Duplication Labs

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DVD-R bottom side

Image via Wikipedia

 

A post over at Boing! Boing! points to a disturbing article.  Wired is reporting that a California Senate Bill has already passed two committees.  This bill would make it legal for warrentless searches of CD and DVD plants legal.  The MPAA and the RIAA, in true form, are backing this bill.  The RIAA claims that 90 % of counterfeiting is done is such plants and that the sunshine state has 70 such facilities.  This author must note that the RIAA does not have a, shall we say, an undisputed track record regarding mathematics.

Follow Up – RIAA Will Give “Some” of the Royalties to The Artists

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LimeWire

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It was previously reported that the recording industry (RIAA or Racketeering Idiots Association of Absurdity) was not going to give any of the money awarded in the recent LimeWire settlement to the artists.  The story at The Huffington Post referenced a post at Torrent Freak and reading it today it reminds me of the news re-writes in 1984.  Strangely the Huffinton Post now claims that the Torrent Freak article was incorrect.  The original Torrent Freak article reads:

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy previously told TorrentFreak that the ‘damages’ accrued from piracy-related lawsuits will not go to any of the artists, but towards funding more anti-piracy campaigns. “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” he said.

Hmmm…. seems like a pretty clear to me.  Based on the track record of the RIAA have any artist actually received anything from these lawsuits?  Remember they announced the end of the “sue em all” campaign?  Now if they announced the end of it, why do they need to “re-invest” any of the settlement money?  It seems that what he previously said was taken out of context… Or is it just being re-written?

NEWS Grooveshark pulled from Android market

POSTED ON April 23rd  - POSTED IN news, RIAA
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Grooveshark and Google cite copyright suit.

Image representing Creative Commons as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

 

Wow just when you through enough was enough was enough for the RIAA and the music executives for large music labels. Well Google cited by concerns of copyright violations has now pulled the Grooveshark app from the Android market,  this also means users like me that had the application installed will have it removed from any device running Android OS (droid).  Grooveshark allows you to stream music from a library of roughly 6 million tracks, build playlists or a station to listen to and share with others out on the internet.  This applications isn’t the only one that does this!,  there is Pandora, Last.fm and a slew of other media applications for both your desktop (or laptop) as well as your phone.  Why was Grooveshark singled out?  Why the Android market when you can still do the same functions even more so using a computer.

Well you know that Indienation.fm doesn’t have much of a concerns here as all of our music is opensource, creative commons and Indie artists without a large entity  that want your money. Feel free to comment and thanks for supporting indienation!
Edit:  Recent news sites claim this app is back however I can’t find it on the Android market.

President to Appoint RIAA Lawyer as Solicitor General

POSTED ON January 27th  - POSTED IN music, New Media Order, news, Opinion, RIAA

It has been a disturbing trend in recent times for the line between the United States government and US corporations to vanish.  Through lobbying, appointment and campaign contributions many argue and feel that we have not been a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  This author thinks the only part of that phrase they kept was “buy” for now corporation buy the officials to buy the people and force the people to buy whatever they spin.

In my opinion, it is not specific to any party or administration but simply an era of apathy and lies.  Why else do we have a phrase “business as usual in Washington”?

According to Wired:

President Barack Obama nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. on Monday to serve as the nation’s solicitor general.

If confirmed by the Senate, Verilli, now the White House deputy counsel, would assume the powerful position left vacant by Elena Kagan, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Obama said he was “confident” Verrilli, one of five former RIAA attorneys appointed to the administration, would “serve ably.”

I wonder how many former EFF attorneys are serving on the administration?

RIAA and Others Upset Over Potential Domain Names

POSTED ON January 25th  - POSTED IN New Media Order, news, Opinion, RIAA
A stereotypical caricature of a pirate.

Image via Wikipedia

I always say that the RIAA should stop surprising me, one of these days I am actually going to learn to stop saying that.  I don’t think it is going to happen in this lifetime.  They surpass even the government at being ridiculous.

This time, it is a letter to ICANN.  The RIAA and others, believe that the draft application guidebook (DAG) regarding generic top-level domains (gTLD) needs a few changes.  So the RIAA wants to be involved with law enforcement, government and now domains?  They must have the best KoolAid in their board rooms.

I caught this at SlashDot and followed it back to ArsTechnica.  I read the complaint letter from a “coalition of 15 national and international trade association that represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, record labels, and performing rights societies around the world.”  In fact, so many of these rhetoric spewing organizations signed this letter, it is referenced as “Appendix A”.

This is not uncommon for an RIAA letter.  It think the goal is to have so many letters in the acronyms that you can rearrange them into the an alphanumeric keyboard.  Then they are going to sue typist for stealing all their trade marks.  I know it sounds crazy but, remember, no more surprises, that, and you heard it here first.

What are they so upset about?  In a nutshell, they are afraid that music themed domains could be used for piracy.

“…we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works.”

According to the RIAA, what doesn’t contribute to piracy in this day and age?  I am surprised they haven’t gone after headphone and earbud companies…

Sticking true to form, they want to be involved in keeping gTLD safe from the pirates

“We would like to work with ICANN and others to ensure that best practices are developed and used to ensure this type of malicious behaviour does not occur.”

Wow, Internet police and now domain cops as well.  Maybe they should all stop dealing with artists and get jobs in law enforcement?  No wait, that is a really bad idea… everybody would be guilty and, all too likely, they would shoot first and question later.

However, they sure seem to like to police everyone… unless it involves actually paying royalties to the artists… they missed that somehow.

And, like many RIAA letters, it ends with a threat:

“We strongly urge you to take these concerns seriously, and expeditiously implement appropriate changes to the DAG to address these critical concerns.  We prefer a practical solution to these issues, and hope to avoid the need to escalate the issue further.”

Wow.  I have a simple solution.  Take the money you guys spend on litigation and just start buying up all the domains you are so afraid of… Podsafe music anyone?

MasterCard Now Teams with RIAA and MPAA

POSTED ON December 27th  - POSTED IN news, Opinion
Mastercard

Image via Wikipedia

This is one of those stories that really, really makes me want to get up on my soapbox.  This type of thing has been going on too often and too long.  The United States Government is simply letting it and, more often than not, condoning it.

According to this article at MYCE, MasterCard is in favor of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).  That is not surprising.  While I understand that MasterCard has the right to deny service to anyone for any reason, I wonder if they know that consumers can choose which credit card companies to use?
I am sorry but a court of law and only a court of law should be used to rule on copyright infringement.  Given the state of intellectual property law in our country, it unfortunately seems that even the courts do not grasp the new media order.
The reason the the MPAA and the RIAA need to form “partnerships” is because they have been less than successful with the “sue em all” method.  They spent 16 million in 2008 to be awarded 391,000 dollars.  Another source adds up several years worth of legal fees and recovery to conclude that they are getting about 2 dollars for every 98 spent.
The logic of these two organizations defies logic.  Here are just a few of their brilliant ideas;
To let private entities act as law enforcement is just wrong.  The recent rash of take downs at Thanksgiving is an example of Homeland Security rashly acting without any due process.  What do you think is going to happen when corporations start to form “partnerships” and decide who get service or not?  What are you going to do when these racketeering organizations “partner” with your ISP?
There are many legal download sites.  There is a whole movement of fan supported films that are legal and “pay what you wish”.  Trust me, the RIAA and the MPAA are not going to check and see whether your activity is legal or not.  They would just ask you to be disconnected and it would be up to you to vindicate yourself.
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Re-Post “Why I have a Problem with the RIAA”

POSTED ON August 12th  - POSTED IN music, Opinion, RIAA

This post goes back a few years, it was first published by me back in 2003. I didn’t realize I had been on this crusade that long, but I have. Unfortunately, little has changed… Personally, my biggest change is that I now only seek indie music and don’t really miss the same dozen or so songs on the radio.

The RIAA’s “About Us” page reads as follows;

“The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S.recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members’ creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conduct consumer industry and technical research; and monitor and review – – state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond® sales awards, and recently launched Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, a new award celebrating Latin music sales.”1

The statement just doesn’t sit right with me. My intent here is to analyze it line by line. I believe that actions and logic speak louder than words. I intend to take a look the words, their actions and logically analyze them. This is my opinion. I do not intend to litter this work with numerous citations and facts. This is a human being expressing his right to free speech. His ability to remember things accurately and his ability to free think.

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