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Old 09-24-2003, 12:37 PM   #1
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Kazaa sues

Kazaa turns tables on record labels

Makers of song-swap service sue for copyright infringement


LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 — Turning the tables on record labels, makers of the most popular Internet song-swapping network are suing entertainment companies for copyright infringement.
SHARMAN NETWORKS LTD., the company behind the Kazaa file-sharing software, filed a federal lawsuit Monday accusing the entertainment companies of using unauthorized versions of its software in their efforts to root out users. Entertainment companies have offered bogus versions of copyright works and sent online messages to users.
Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network. The lawsuit also claims efforts to combat piracy on Kazaa violated terms for using the network.
Sharman’s lawsuit also revives its previous allegation that the entertainment companies violated antitrust laws by stopping Sharman and its partner from distributing authorized copies of music and movies through Kazaa.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected those claims in July but last week allowed Sharman to try again. Sharman is incorporated in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu with main offices in Sydney, Australia.

The Recording Industry Association of America called Sharman’s “newfound admiration for the importance of copyright law” ironic and “self-serving.”
Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group declined to comment on Sharman’s latest lawsuit.
Recording companies sued 261 music fans this month, claiming they were illegally distributing hundreds of digital song files apiece over the Internet. The industry trolled file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and downloaded song files from users’ computers.
Once the industry determined a downloaded song file was a copyright work, they issued subpoenas to Internet access providers to find out who was behind the account used to log onto the file-sharing network.

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Old 09-24-2003, 01:13 PM   #2
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Wow, it would amazing if they were successful. The music industry is a very frightened animal at the moment, check the following out.

`In recent months, a state of near panic has gripped the boardrooms of record companies the world over. Problem is, somebody is buying up all their music. Well, five multinationals to be precise. Giants such as Sony and Warner Bros are swallowing every label in sight. The result is that we now have only about 10 major independent record companies left in this country . With the rise of vast corporations run by marketing committees, the popular music scene has never been so controlled - and so cautious - as it is today.

Those in the music business who knows that the best kind of music stats from the bottom and not from the top have been bought up, downsized or simply killed off. The labels that made a difference to music are all but gone.

Earlier this year, The Levellers lost their independent status to Bugs Bunny. Warner Bros bought China Records, the independent company to whom we'd been signed for eight years. Like it or not, we come with the package.

Those familiar with The Levellers will know that this goes right against the grain. For more than 10 years we've done things our way. so what do we do? Sit at the bottom of the corporate pile and wait for some faceless accountant to decide whether this year The Levellers get a cash injection or whether we get downsized? No, that would be the passive option.
Instead, we could look to the future - the same future the music business is so afraid of. That's what we want to do.

With the technology today, it is possible to record, market and distribute a record without a third party - that is, a record company or retailer. Artists can now sell their music directly to their fans at a far more realistic price than the present outrageous cost charged by retailers. And even where promotion and distribution though the Internet leads to people downloading your music without paying for it, it also automatically leads to concert ticket sales.

For the first time, smaller bands and artists have the opportunity to make some money. It may sound too good to be true, but it's already happening. In some cases, adventurous unknowns have been able to sell thousands of CDs recorded and copied at home. They advertised and marketed these CDs worldwide through the Internet, without the help of an accountant.

This new technology could bring an end to the record industry as we now know it. The familiar, market-driven side of the existing business - selling and re-selling global artists in an increasingly controlled situation - is in no one's interest. The emerging underground music business may not be as visible or lucrative as the flash big-name labels, but it is far more creative, adventurous and honest.

The multinationals are moving quickly to try to stop technologies such as MP3. While they claim that these devices will destroy the viability of music, they are increasing their stranglehold over a smaller and smaller pool of funds for artists.

Whatever the future, change is inevitable. The Internet will ensure that all types of record deals will have to be international. The Internet knows no country boundaries.

Any change that new technology can bring to the music business can only be a good thing. The multinationals must learn that no one has the right to control or dictate music. After all, how can you own what is essentially an idea?

by Mark Chadwick (The Levellers)

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Old 09-24-2003, 04:35 PM   #3
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in the boston globe this morning there was an article about a suit being dropped against a woman who actually had no ability to download (using kazaa as she was accused of doing), a case of mistaken identity.

lemme see if i can find the article online.
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Old 09-24-2003, 04:38 PM   #4
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here we go...

Recording industry withdraws suit
Mistaken identity raises questions on legal strategy

By Chris Gaither, Globe Staff, 9/24/2003

The recording industry has withdrawn a lawsuit against a Newbury woman because it falsely accused her of illegally sharing music -- possibly the first case of mistaken identity in the battle against Internet file-traders.

Privacy advocates said the suit against Sarah Seabury Ward, a sculptor who said she has never downloaded or digitally shared a song, revealed flaws in the Recording Industry Association of America's legal strategy. Ward was caught up in a flood of 261 lawsuits filed two weeks ago that targeted people who, through software programs like Kazaa, make copyrighted songs available for others to download over the Internet.

"When the RIAA announced they were going on this litigation crusade, we knew there was going to be someone like Sarah Ward," said Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet privacy group in San Francisco that has advised Ward and others sued by the music industry. "And we think were will be more."

The lawsuit claimed that Ward had illegally shared more than 2,000 songs through Kazaa and threatened to hold her liable for up to $150,000 for each song. The plaintiffs were Sony Music, BMG, Virgin, Interscope, Atlantic, Warner Brothers, and Arista.

Among the songs she was accused of sharing: "I'm a Thug," by the rapper Trick Daddy.

But Ward, 66, is a "computer neophyte" who never installed file-sharing software, let alone downloaded hard-core rap about baggy jeans and gold teeth, according to letters sent to the recording industry's agents by her lawyer, Jeffrey Beeler.

Other defendants have blamed their children for using file-sharing software, but Ward has no children living with her, Beeler said.

Moreover, Ward uses a Macintosh computer at home. Kazaa runs only on Windows-based personal computers.

Beeler complained to the RIAA, demanding an apology and "dismissal with prejudice" of the lawsuit, which would prohibit future lawsuits against her. Foley Hoag, the Boston firm representing the record labels, on Friday dropped the case, but without prejudice.

"Please note, however, that we will continue our review of the issues you raised and we reserve the right to refile the complaint against Mrs. Ward if and when circumstances warrant," Colin J. Zick, the Foley Hoag lawyer, wrote to Beeler.

The trade group released Zick's letter late yesterday and said it would have no other comment.

It is unclear where the apparent mistake originated.

According to the lawsuit, recording industry investigators tracked the file-sharing activities of a Kazaa user with the moniker Heath7 and found the unique numeric identifier, known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address, that was assigned to the user by the Internet service provider at the time.

The recording industry then issued a subpoena to Comcast, the user's Internet service provider, demanding the name, address, and e-mail address of the person behind the IP address.

Evan Cox, a partner with Covington & Burling in San Francisco who is not involved with the case, said the error most likely happened in one of two ways: Either Comcast matched the wrong customer with the IP address, or the recording industry requested information about the wrong IP address, which is usually more than nine digits.

"If any of those [IP address] numbers are wrong or transposed, you're going to get the wrong person," Cohn said.

Whatever the source of the apparent error, it illustrates how difficult it can be to definitively match a person to an online screen name.

A Comcast spokeswoman, Sarah Eder, would not comment, citing customer privacy concerns. Comcast always notifies its customers after a subpoena compels the company to release information about them, she said.

Mistakes are likely, given the number of cases the recording industry has filed, Cox said. The industry's reputation could hang on how many mistakes surface.

"If there turns out to be a lot of them, it will cast some doubt on [the industry's] evidence-gathering," he said. "They'll have to either strengthen their efforts or back off."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has counseled about 30 of the 261 people sued, Cohn said, adding that some have settled for fear of spending too much money fighting powerful corporations.

Jonathan Zittrain, an associate professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School, said the dismissal shows that the record companies may find it tough to prevail if their lawsuits go to court. Their legal strategy assumes that most defendants will settle rather than fight, and the lawsuits are so damaging to their public image that they cannot afford protracted legal battles with alleged file-swappers, he added.

"This is a very high-stakes strategy for the record companies," he said. "It's either going to work in the short term, or they're going to have to pull the plug on it."

Chris Gaither can be reached at gaither@globe.com. Hiawatha Bray of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
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