Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Copyright Scholar Challenges RIAA/DOJ Position

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the whom-some-might-call-an-expert dept.

The Courts 168

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Leading copyright law scholar Prof. Pamela Samuelson, of the University of California law school, and research fellow Tara Wheatland, have published a 'working paper' which directly refutes the position taken by the US Department of Justice in RIAA cases on the constitutionality of the RIAA's statutory damages theories. The Department of Justice had argued in its briefs that the Court should follow a 1919 United States Supreme Court case which upheld the constitutionality of a statutory damages award that was 116 times the actual damages sustained, under a statute which gave consumers a right of action against railway companies. The Free Software Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the view that the more modern, State Farm/Gore test applied by the United States Supreme Court to punitive damages awards is applicable. The new paper is consistent with the FSF brief and contradicts the DOJ briefs, arguing that the Gore test should be applied. A full copy of the paper is available for viewing online (PDF)."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

hmm (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27537931)

University of California law school

That narrows it down...

Re:hmm (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27537971)

She's at Boalt Hall.

Re:hmm (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538171)

A quick Google search [google.com] puts her at Berkeley. Which isn't surprising.

Re:hmm (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538709)

I'm sorry. Is there some implication there I don't know about? Why don't you spell it out for us? You know...just so we're all clear on the matter.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538927)

There's quite a few University of California schools (e.g. UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis) many of which have law schools. I grew up in LA and have family ties to UCLA and we always used the city names to identify the schools. Outside of California, many people refer to UC Berkeley as "Cal". UC Berkeley was the first school in the UC system so it's not entirely wrong to call it the "University of California" but it's not common usage.

Re:hmm (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538197)

Re:hmm (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538823)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Prof.+Pamela+Samuelson [lmgtfy.com]

Ah see this is why the original poster didn't bother, since you were nice enough to do it for him. Well there is that and /. tradition of only reading the article summary - tradition is sacred, well that's what they tell me.

[/sarcasm]

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538523)

The Berkeley Campus is referred to as the "University of California", a specific campus is only required if you're referring to another campus. See: "Cal", "California" or the seals of the schools, Berkeley's just says "University of California."

Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (5, Insightful)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27537937)

The DOJ is basing their arguments on an action from 1919 where the small guy was able to be awarded appropriate damages from the BIG guy.

How can the media companies been seen as akin to the small guy and the individual consumer the BIG guy?

By Benjamin goggles of course!

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (5, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27537977)

The DOJ is basing their arguments on an action from 1919 where the small guy was able to be awarded appropriate damages from the BIG guy. How can the media companies be[..] seen as akin to the small guy and the individual consumer the BIG guy?

They can't. The DOJ's brief was nonsense. For that and a number of other reasons.

Maybe their math isn't too good. 116 times their actual damages would be around $40; they're looking for $750 to $150,000 per mp3.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538039)

Isn't that demand based on some theory of "collateral" and cumulative damage caused by someone sharing a media file? In other words, you share the file, which thousands of other people receive for free and thus don't pay to own, so YOU are responsible for the (theoretical/estimated) cumulative loss of profit?

(Yes, I know there are other interpretations how that scenario actually plays out; I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid, merely pointing it out.)

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538099)

If they want those damages they can sue the person making them. Otherwise it's using pyramid-scheme logic to justify things.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538639)

Isn't that demand based on some theory of "collateral" and cumulative damage caused by someone sharing a media file? In other words, you share the file, which thousands of other people receive for free and thus don't pay to own, so YOU are responsible for the (theoretical/estimated) cumulative loss of profit?

Yes, but that's part of why it's bullshit. You can't make one person pay for the transgressions of 100 others. That's the canonical definition of "scapegoating", and it has no place in law.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538051)

116 times their actual damages would be around $40

That's still an imaginary damage. Most of the people I know who download music either 1. would never buy it in store, so that's not money they lost, or 2. buy it precisely because they downloaded it, liked it, and decided to buy it. No lost profit there either, quite the opposite in fact.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538107)

Most of the people I know who download music either 1. would never buy it in store, so that's not money they lost

According to who? The person who pirated the music? I've got news for you. People rationalize their actions. All the time.

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No. They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're willing to take for free, but some.

The damages the RIAA sues for are obscenely inflated, but to claim that piracy does zero damage to them is simply dishonest. Maybe your friends aren't willing to be honest about it, but I'm man enough to admit that I have pirated music which I would have paid for otherwise. And I am 100% certain that I'm not alone.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538211)

who cares, its all gonna go up the nose of the rock stars anyways.

that's how I rationalize my half TB of free data, besides, when you get down to it, those files are just 1's and 0's anyways, they should be free.

also, I heard the musicians don't get a penny from record sales. And the companies are evil, who take the lively hood of innocent children everywhere....WOW FREE STUFF IS FUN TO RATIONALIZE

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538553)

The mods haven't hit yet, so...

*Pre-emptive wooshing noise*

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (5, Interesting)

W. Justice Black (11445) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538271)

I'm man enough to admit that I have pirated music which I would have paid for otherwise.

I guess I'm not. I will NOT buy CDs or anything on iTunes, but as soon as Amazon started selling MP3s that:

  • Will play on pretty much anything.
  • Are unrestricted, and
  • Don't absolutely require the use of a funky downloader to get

I started purchasing every song in my download folder and that was available through them (I tend to keep my collection pretty clean and delete anything I don't like after a play or two). Yes, that meant a few hundred dollars over the last several months. Yes, that also means there are some songs in there that still aren't legit (they're not available through Amazon).

Amazon, in short, has what I want the way I want it, and I'm quite willing to pay for that. I suspect that, once this silly DRM thing goes away, people will be plenty honest enough to keep the music business from dying. The days of obscene margins on an artificially-scarce product are over, but the death of the industry is not at hand.

IF the labels keep a cool head about it and don't do anything (else) stupid.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538367)

I also started buying more music when Amazon launched their service, and encouraged a lot of my friends to use them over iTunes. But the fact is, people DO pirate music they would have paid for. Even now, with Amazon, that's still true. And that IS a damage.

However much we want to pretend that the pirates are blameless and the RIAA is the only one at fault, it's simply untrue.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (2, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539275)

It's pretty much an established fact that piracy in general drops drastically among people in their late twenties compared to people in their teens or early twenties. Basically when people start making money they tend to spend more of it.

Yes piracy probably siphons away some profit from the artists. However there are lots of music I would NEVER have heard or encountered if I didn't get it from a mate, who got it from some other dude. Hell I have found music on YouTube that I have ended up buying because I like it. The only thing limiting my purchase of music, or for that matter books and computer games, is my budget.

I have friends who are serious musicians who actually checked piratebay regularly when they released their last CD, seeing people actually downloading it made them very happy. Because for them, as unestablished musicians, exposure is king.

The only way to reduce piracy further is from services like Amazon to make it easy, practical, affordable and most of all quick to get it. Personally I wouldn't mind having an online database where I could buy and register the music I have purchased so I can download it again whenever, wherever, I need or want to hear it.

One thing is absolutely certain though, whatever else happens; people like music. People will pay for something they like. And people, despite any piracy statistic, still show up to concerts and festivals and spend immense amounts of money each year purchasing Band branded posters, shirts, skirts, pins and whatever else you stick a cool logo onto. So I definitely agree "the death of the industry is not at hand"; however, as you say, the current incarnation of the industrial part of the music industry will have to change or die; probably a bit of both anyway.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (3, Funny)

Starayo (989319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538295)

I refute the claim that what the RIAA labels produce is 'music'. They make noise. Lots and lots of irritating noise.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0, Troll)

pugugly (152978) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538341)

No actually. it's just you - You sick sociopathic bastard.

Pug

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538351)

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No. They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're willing to take for free, but some.

If by "physically impossible" you mean all the talented and independent artists who put their stuff on the net for free would be banned: maybe.

If you mean you can't listen to RIAA protected music without paying: the internet is much more powerful than that. Their stranglehold on content is broken. My favorite example: FankaDeli [salatamagazin.com] .

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538353)

No, fuck you, I would never buy your american pop crap.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

conlaw (983784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538375)

I'm man enough to admit that I have pirated music which I would have paid for otherwise

I applaud your honesty, artor3, and agree that many, if not most, of the downloaders are just rationalizing their copyright infringement. On the other hand, it seems that today's record company setup requires you to buy a whole album at $10-$20 in order to have the 2 or 3 songs you really want.

It might be helpful for both sides of the issue for someone to research whether people are downloading entire albums or only single cuts from the albums. If my suspicions are correct, the RIAA member companies could eliminate a lot of this P2P activity by simply going back to the practice of selling singles. In fact isn't that what places like iTunes are doing -- essentially selling singles? If they're making money by doing so, then the RIAA might want to change their methods of issuing music, thus making life simpler and cheaper for everyone.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (2, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538465)

I download albums off TPB and if I like them, I buy them off iTunes. I will not support any type of physical distribution of music - that era is dead and gone and I don't want any music publishers to think otherwise.

Interestingly, digg did an interview with Trent Reznor of NIN recently and it was really intriguing. He had a lot of really insightful and balanced comments regarding the music industry and the direction of online content distribution.

I wish the music publishers would watch it, they might learn a thing or two.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (4, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538391)

If it's actual damages, let them write them off on their taxes. If they truly are losses, they can claim them. If not, (which I wholeheartedly side with the "imaginary" argument), then they need just shut the hell up. It'd be subject to GAAP rules, of course. But I think they could manage that, considering how much they pay for these moronic experts and other pondscum lawyer-types.

I don't care if "piracy" (infringement is the word, not piracy) causes anything. Copyright doesn't guarantee profit. It never has. That's what the heck's been missing from this argument for quite some time. Simply making something, copyrighting it and offering it for sale doesn't guarantee a dime, but the RIAA seems to think so, and they are doing their damn level best to be sure they pay or coerce as many people as possible to believe that horseshit too. The RIAA (and other asshole AA's) want you to believe that money is it. It's not that. It's about control. You have the control on where and when you can listen to the music you own (or traded), and it bugs the shit out of them. If they had their way, you would pay for a CD, then if you wanted it on your portable device, you'd pay again. And if you wanted to listen to it in your car, you'd need another CD purchase. But that would require licensing, and it would subject them to liability they don't want (hint, the "cake and eat it too" argument fits here). So, they sell it as a commodity, don't get too up in arms about used sales, and try to squeeze the collective nuts of their customer base who shares their music. Bah. I don't see how the hell people don't just tell them to take a flying leap and let them rot. I really don't. I am as guilty of aiding these dipshits as the next guy (surprise, I buy music), but come on... this is getting ri-goddamned-diculous. I try to limit my purchases to non-RIAA member companies, but it's increasingly a lose-lose situation with recruitment (or indoctrination as the case may be) at an all-time high. It's nauseating as much as it is depressing to think about.

I'd rather see Roseanne Barr naked than have to deal with the RIAA ever again.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538421)

The damages the RIAA sues for are obscenely inflated, but to claim that piracy does zero damage to them is simply dishonest.

Of course there is damage, but the courts have rejected the RIAA's theory that each unauthorized download represents a lost sale, in this recent criminal copyright infringement case [blogspot.com] .

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538585)

So let's say that 1 in 100 downloads is a lost sale. Should the RIAA be forbidden from recouping those losses simply because they can't prove any particular download resulted in a lost sale?

If I fire a hundred bullets down a crowded street, not every one is going to harm someone. And I certainly shouldn't face 100 counts of murder, the way the RIAA seems to think I should. But that doesn't mean I should be free and clear either.

I don't understand what the end game is for slashdotters. Do you really believe that people shouldn't have to pay for music, movies, video games, software, etc...?

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538835)

Uhhh they'd go look for the bodies so your analogy just confuses me.

Endgame is this. I pay 10$/mnth for all music this will bring in around the same the whole music industry gets today.
Movies will be offered streaming with ads either embedded or on the side. There should be an option like with music to remove the ads for 5~10$ a month. This again will not effect revenue for movie companies.
Games will have rich downloadable demos like those on xbox. Full versions will cost more.
Software will be mostly as in 90% free to consumers. Which it is as we speak. Schools and industry should move away from setting expensive standards but thats it. OS is free with windows or linux assuming you buy a computer. OpenOffice is free, pretty much all media players are free, there are vast numbers of free web aps. I can't remember needing to pay for software. Photoshop and 3dsmax are the only things I am stealing atm. IF I ever make anything profitable with them I will pay for them. Part of the demo system could work for those programs (3dsmax pro edition is as much as a car so you cant bitch at me for stealing it).

Result? Pretty much no change, the industry will continue as it has without any issues.

according to me (2, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538521)

Most of the people I know who download music either 1. would never buy it in store, so that's not money they lost

According to who? The person who pirated the music? I've got news for you. People rationalize their actions. All the time.

True, but does rationalizing necessarily equate to sinning^H^H^H^H^H^H^H committing the crime?

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No.

Hmm. You know, I quit buying music shortly after I quit listening to "free" music. (Broadcast radio. Various reasons I got turned off the radio stations.)

I've got a few albums I bought because I thought I liked the band. About half of those, I decided I no longer liked the band, even the the songs on the albums that made the charts were the ones I listened less to. I've got a few albums I bought on recommendation, but none of those (except the classical stuff my Mom recommended) ended up being albums I listened to. Most of the albums I've bought, I bought because I wanted the songs on them, because I had heard the songs on them. Taped the songs off the FM.

I suppose, maybe I wanted to support the band. More like I wanted to spend money on something I liked, and I recognized that buying tapes and recording off the FM did not really save me all that much money. Having both the tapes and the albums was much more flexible, if time-consuming. Made a lot of dance mixes, some that my friends liked and some that they didn't like. But my friends ended up buying the music I played at our church dances. (I'm not sure I think that's a great thing, but it demonstrates the principle.)

They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're willing to take for free, but some.

Lemme fixat for yah:

They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're buying now when they can listen for free if they want to, but some. Maybe.

The damages the RIAA sues for are obscenely inflated, but to claim that piracy does zero damage to them is simply dishonest.

Well, if by honest you mean recognizing and telling the whole truth, yeah.

But focusing only on the damage is even less honest.

Maybe your friends aren't willing to be honest about it, but I'm man enough to admit that I have pirated music which I would have paid for otherwise. And I am 100% certain that I'm not alone.

Uh huh.

I don't know about you, but, to be honest, I am just not interested in the "music" the big companies promote any more. The only way I could be persuaded to buy it would be to hook me on it. That means making^H^H^H^H^H^H letting me listen to it. Free.

And I know a lot of people who are like me. Normal people. Functioning members of society people. Not geeks, not particularly fans. The majority of the people I know.

And most of the geeks I know, the ones who do most of the freeloading, are precisely the ones who are introducing me and the majority of the people I know to music. (Like I used to introduce my friends to music.)

Sure, maybe free downloads do some damage.

Shutting off the free downloads does a lot more damage.

(I must admit, if the big "rights" management companies can just be convinced to keep their laws away from the indies, I'd just as soon they destroy themselves by closing off the loopholes and sinking into their legal black holes.)

Re:according to me (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538637)

True, but does rationalizing necessarily equate to committing the crime?

If you say "I committed a crime, but it's ok because..." then yes, that does equate to committing a crime. It takes some amazing mental acrobatics to get around that.

As to the rest of your post, people always pretend like they buy more music because of piracy. I used to use that excuse myself. And that's precisely why I know it's untrue. The ability to get something for free decreases your willingness to pay for it. Simple as that.

If indie artists want you to experience their music for free, they'll let you. Taking it against their will, and then acting like they should thank you for it is just absurd.

If you want to *legally* expose yourself to music outside the mainstream, might I suggest listening to independent radio, on air or online? Try KEXP. [kexp.org]

You're dodging the question I'm asking. (2, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538939)

I'm not saying it's okay to copy when the artists say they don't want that.

Yeah, others are saying that, but I'm not.

I'm pointing at a couple of big gaps in the argument. First, the "rights" organizations no longer really protect the rights of the artists. What they are doing is wrong. It may be legal, but, if it is legal, it is still based on bad, unconstitutional law.

They could have approached the copying issues in a much better way, if they had simply recognized the realities of the market.

Zeroeth: you can't sell music you don't let people listen to. On their own terms. (That's why I quit listening to radio. And it's why I quit listening to music, except what my kids play, except what the school band plays, except at church, that kind of stuff. Even the indies are mostly not putting out music I want to hear any more.)

Artists have the right to be prima-donnas. We don't need to think it's an insult to call them prima-donnas, but we don't have to think we owe them a market they aren't willing to get themselves into.

Getting into the market requires letting people listen. For free. On the individual listener's terms.

You cannot mechanically suppress the free downloads and keep the free market healthy. You can't shut off the bit-torrents and keep the free market healthy.

The solution was/is plain. The RIAA should be cooperating with Pirate Bay and the others, to use the free downloads as ways to expose potential customers to the artists products. That does mean that artists have to work to make a living, producing more, producing more of different kinds of things, maybe even doing things besides their art. That's always been the way it is with art.

Historically, art has been one of the hardest ways to make a decent living. That is why art is art. That is what separates art from craftsmanship, and, really, what separates craftsmanship from assembly-line manufacturing.

It's an unfortunate fact, but artists really have to starve and scrape by and be rejected and all that to produce real art (of a general nature). Or they have to be willing to produce less "perfect" art and live by some other means, which is a road to a different kind of perfection.

The fact that society has been traditionally way too hard on failed artists is a separate question, and that cannot be addressed by anything that the "rights" organizations are presently doing.

There are lots of things wrong with the economy, but shutting down the markets is not how to solve the problems.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (2, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538745)

Online radio. If i lost my collection I'd listen to online radio, regular radio and never buy a cd. I've only bought 1 cd in my life, there is no point.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (4, Interesting)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539101)

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No. They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're willing to take for free, but some.

Guess again. There are now enough internet radio stations and independent artists who are willing to provide music for free that it would be quite feasible to go without buying any music.

But this serves only to demonstrate that your premise of it being impossible to listen to music without paying for it is flawed, since there is no way to regulate the actions of people who want to give their works away. If there were, I doubt that Linux would cease to exist.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539229)

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No. They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're willing to take for free, but some.

  They wouldn't have any choice, would they? That's exactly what the people who are trying to control music distribution want. They don't want anyone to produce and distribute any music that they can't play middleman to.

  When I see people arguing this stuff, I have to think that either you are very young and haven't read your history, or you are a paid schill.

  I'm sitting here tonite with some friends; listening to, and we're singing loudly enough for the neighbors to hear it - good music from the 60s and 70s.

  Should we pay these assholes money for our "performance"?

  Consensus here is those who think we should can fuck off. Oh, and two out of the six people here are artists who produce their own music and sell it under their own labels. And they say you can take your piracy arguments and shove them up your ass.

SB

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (2, Insightful)

dcmoebius (1527443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539413)

The damages the RIAA sues for are obscenely inflated, but to claim that piracy does zero damage to them is simply dishonest. Maybe your friends aren't willing to be honest about it, but I'm man enough to admit that I have pirated music which I would have paid for otherwise. And I am 100% certain that I'm not alone.

Amen to that. I still find it incredible that people try to legitimately claim that piracy actually HELPS these industries.

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel bad for the RIAA, in fact I find them pretty reprehensible. But to claim that downloading content for free doesn't adversely affect these companies under their current business model is just foolish.

The RIAA is technically entitled to SOME sort of remuneration, but the argument being used for these inflated damages is absurd.

The fact of the matter is that the people making this kind of decision are finding it easier/more productive to turn to litigation to protect their bottom line as opposed to developing a more reasonable business model.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539475)

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No. They'd buy some music. Not nearly as much as they're willing to take for free, but some.

If the options for poor folk are "listen to the same tracks over and over" or "listen to no music" I think "listen to no music" wins out. "Listen to the same tracks over and over" is insanity-producing.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539479)

If tomorrow it suddenly became physically impossible to listen to music without paying for it, would these friends of yours all sit in silence for the rest of their lives? No. They'd buy some music.

You foresee an end to radio in the near future?

As for myself, most of the music I am exposed to these days is theme songs.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538285)

116 times their actual damages would be around $40

That's still an imaginary damage. Most of the people I know who download music either 1. would never buy it in store, so that's not money they lost, or 2. buy it precisely because they downloaded it, liked it, and decided to buy it. No lost profit there either, quite the opposite in fact.

That's a very good point.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538449)

Sorry to jump the thread here, but is there a reason they can say you're responsible instead of having to individually go after everyone who downloaded? Does everyone not have free will? Did you make them download? Or is that their whole making available theory?

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538799)

Imaginary damage for imaginary property. Sounds about right.

You must wait a little bit before using this resource; please try again later.

Well give me a MOTHERFUCKING COUNTDOWN, you dick jockeys!

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538481)

Maybe their math isn't too good. 116 times their actual damages would be around $40; they're looking for $750 to $150,000 per mp3.

If I recall correctly, the FSF amicus was filed to try to help out Joel Tenenbaum in his defense against Sony UMG Music Entertainment's infringement suit against him. Does it strike anyone else as odd that statutory damages are being treated as the big issue in his case?

Based on exhibit B to the complaint against Joel Tenenbaum (1:07-cv-11446), he appeared to have been sharing over 1,200 songs through KaZaA under the username sublimeguy14@KaZaA. The Complainants identified seven songs that they claimed he was illegally distributing.

At $750 to $150,000 per work, Joel faced a potential liability of $5,250 to $1,050,000 based on the songs identified. Although if all of the works he appeared to be sharing were under copyright and were being distributed illegally, his potential liability was actually $900,000 to $180,000,000. If he were an innocent infringer, his statutory liability (assuming every copyright owner sued on every work) would have been as low as $240,000.

These potential liabilities at stake make good fodder for lobbying Congress, but they don't seem all that relevant to Joel Tenenbaum's particular case.

Why? Because Joel Tenenbaum had a good opportunity to get out of this whole mess when he was asked to settle for $4,000. That's $571 for each work specifically identified, and about $3.33 for each work that he was actually sharing (of course a settlement would not have excluded other copyright owners from independently filing suit).

Instead of agreeing to the settlement, Joel Tenenbaum countered with an offer of $3,000. When the complainants didn't accept the $3,000, he filed for Rule 11(b) sanctions.

This just doesn't seem like the right case to press the judiciary to strike out statutory damages for copyright infringement. Sure, the potential liabilities are astronomical, but those aren't what Joel Tenenbaum seems to be facing in reality. Moreover, actual damages (plus attorneys' fees) for the seven songs identified seems to be inadequate as a deterrent. At a potential return of $1-3 per song, the complainants couldn't even afford to pay someone to identify that those seven songs appeared to be infringed.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538975)

Does it strike anyone else as odd that statutory damages are being treated as the big issue in his case?

It was actually the judge who moved the issue to the front burner by saying that she saw it as something that needed to be raised early in the case by means of a motion to dismiss complaint.

IMHO she was wrong about that; I think it cannot be determined until after a trial and then only if the RIAA recovers a statutory damages award, because there are a number of factual issues -- necessary to the question's resolution -- which simply cannot be adjudicated at this point.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538703)

What are you using to estimate the damages?

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538937)

How 'bout the MSRP of the work plus about 13 pesos? ...just figuring that it's a bit more stable than the dollar right now.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538883)

The DOJ is basing their arguments on an action from 1919 where the small guy was able to be awarded appropriate damages from the BIG guy.

How can the media companies be[..] seen as akin to the small guy and the individual consumer the BIG guy?

They can't. The DOJ's brief was nonsense. For that and a number

They only have any damages if the person would have paid them for the track otherwise - and since recording off the air etc could be fair use, and since kids have been recording music that way since tapes became possible, surely the argument for any multiplier is moot if they were multiplying by zero for the damages.

Record companies are assuming their sales are down due to downloads - but it could e they're just distributing unpopular product, are trying to charge more than the market will stand or any number of other reasons, any of which would mean the 'damage' to them of someone sharing a track could be zero. It could even me offset as marketing expense being done on their behalf-I know if consumers got hooked on an artist, they're more likely to buy the posters, see the shows, eat the endorsed food stuffs etc. How would they proove their damage/loss to have anything to multiply? They've lost an imaginary opportunity for an imaginary person to give them imaginary money - multiplier by anything and all they have is a guess. Let them proove a real financial loss.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538963)

Lets see... they were tagged and lost to price fixing... so they've marginally lowered their prices...

Even if you count CD's at $20 per CD, that's around $2300 at 116 times in damages... and going by that math, figuring approximately 15 songs per album (seems like a resonable average) that puts each song at ~ $150... not 750 or more...

the original charge of hyper inflated damages still stand...

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539401)

The rationale behind using the MSRP of the whole album does indeed make sense: copyright infringement is on a "per work" basis not on a "per snippet" basis. I assume the "work" here is being defined as the entire album. If you were illegally distributing a single chapter of a book, the value used would likely be for the entire book. An album is traditionally the basic unit of sale, and therefore is reasonable to use the album's MSRP as the base value. The album as base unit of sale is indeed changing with online sales of single songs, but the copyright holder would be the one to define what constitutes a work, and it would take a fair bit of legal savvy to prove otherwise.

Note that I am not arguing that 116 times retail value is reasonable, and I am far from convinced that it is indeed reasonable. My current suspicion is that pushing for such large damages will actually hurt the record companies in the long run, but the settlement value of $4000 (according to this post [slashdot.org] ) offered does seem justifiable to me (I'm not claiming it is RIGHT, simply justifiable.) However, it would require a very strong argument to convince me that using the album retail price as the base rate is unreasonable.

All this aside, I do feel that if the RIAA is claiming damage values based on the entire album, then sharing multiple songs from the same album should indeed be counted as one infringement. Not that I have any reason to suspect that the RIAA is attempting to seek damages based on the full album price for multiple infringements off the same album, just speaking my mind. And I also feel that copyright terms are currently indefensibly long in duration, but that is a whole different topic and I am probably just preaching to the choir with that thought.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538403)

The DOJ is basing their arguments on an action from 1919 where the small guy was able to be awarded appropriate damages from the BIG guy. How can the media companies been seen as akin to the small guy and the individual consumer the BIG guy?

Why should it matter to the law who is the "small guy" and who is the "BIG guy"? The law is supposed to be blind to such things.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539657)

See: Ford Pinto [wikipedia.org]
Small people simply aren't capable of such far-reaching negligence.

Re:Deep pocket lobbyists will get you everything (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538541)

The answer is more simple than you have imagined!

Everyone is JESUS CHRIST. They must ALL die for all of our sins. They know they won't get us all and they know they won't get all of our money, so now they are crucifying the few for the greater good.

I also agree with the State Farm / Gore test (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27537997)

Because after all, Al Gore invented the internet.

Re:I also agree with the State Farm / Gore test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538181)

We had this argument last week. If you want to trace the problem down to its roots, we have to sue Charles goddamn Babbage, as his inventions facilitated ALL filesharing that has ever taken place.

Excellent (3, Interesting)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538069)

This is very much a positive development, though really the whole issue is eventually going to have to go before the Supreme Court. At least they seem to have been generally pretty decent in their handling of Constitutional and "IP Law" issues the past few terms.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538131)

yes, because "working papers" are important agents of legal authority and change (hint: they mean jack shit to the law, which is decided inside courtrooms, not on internet blogs and uploaded PDFs).

Re:Excellent (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538241)

yes, because "working papers" are important agents of legal authority and change (hint: they mean jack shit to the law, which is decided inside courtrooms, not on internet blogs and uploaded PDFs).

The 'working paper' is merely an earlier stage of a law review article. This working paper will almost certainly become a law review article.

If you think law review articles are not read by the courts and considered carefully you are wrong.

In UMG v. Lindor, the only one of these RIAA cases to litigate the constitutionality-of-statutory-damages issue, the Judge referred to 2 law review articles in ruling against the RIAA.

Throughout legal history, many important decisions have been guided and informed by legal scholarship in law reviews.

Yes cases are decided in "courtrooms" but scholarship is an integral part of each practicing lawyer's work, and of each Judge's work.

Re:Excellent (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538531)

In this case, I have to agree with Ray. In many 'cutting edge' areas of law many judges cannot be 'up-to-speed' without input from reasonably respected sources of legal scholarship to draw upon.

Re:Excellent (2, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538567)

In many 'cutting edge' areas of law many judges cannot be 'up-to-speed' without input from reasonably respected sources of legal scholarship to draw upon.

Nor can any lawyer prepare a proper brief without him or her self engaging in scholarship. When I went to law school I was working in a law firm at the same time, and found it impressive how intimately related legal scholarship and legal work were. Any lawyer who is not also a scholar is not a top notch lawyer.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538299)

not on internet blogs

As opposed to all those non-internet blogs I suppose...

Re:Excellent (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538189)

This is very much a positive development, though really the whole issue is eventually going to have to go before the Supreme Court. At least they seem to have been generally pretty decent in their handling of Constitutional and "IP Law" issues the past few terms.

In practical terms, it doesn't have to go to the Supreme Court. A few well reasoned decisions in district courts, or courts of appeals, will have sweeping effect.

The DOJ's position -- if litigated -- doesn't have the chance of a snowball in hell of being upheld. The RIAA's statutory damages theory is flagrantly unconstitutional, under the Williams test or under the Gore test.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538277)

The RIAA's statutory damages theory is flagrantly unconstitutional, under the Williams test or under the Gore test.

Wow, first he invents the Internet, then he blows the lid off of the governments' Global Warming cover-up (winning a Nobel Peace Prize in doing so), and now he has set the gold standard for determining constitutionality with his very own "test." Al Gore, is there anything he can't do?!

Re:Excellent (1)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538557)

You mean besides claim the win to an election he actually won.

Won't the Supremes intervene again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538283)

> The DOJ's position -- if litigated -- doesn't have the chance of a snowball in hell of being upheld. The RIAA's statutory damages theory is flagrantly unconstitutional, under the Williams test or under the Gore test.

Are the current Supremes really like that? So far, they've shown nothing but willingness to let Congress ignore the Constitutional boundaries of copyright law based on a theory that it would make too big a mess if they overturned the bad laws.

I guess you're a bit more optimistic than I am, and I certainly hope you're right. But when everyone was looking at the big victory the other day in stopping the restoration of expired foreign copyrights, I couldn't help but think, "If the Supremes didn't like Eldred, why would they uphold this decision? Can't they just keep ignoring the Constitution with exactly the same reasoning?"

Re:Won't the Supremes intervene again? (2, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538297)

I doubt there's a judge in the land who would rule that statutory damages of 2100 times the actual damages is constitutional.

Re:Won't the Supremes intervene again? (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538801)

I doubt there's a judge in the land who would rule that statutory damages of 2100 times the actual damages is constitutional.

I can name 5: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, and Souter. (yeah, I'm a pessimist)

Re:Won't the Supremes intervene again? (2, Informative)

ktappe (747125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539267)

I doubt there's a judge in the land who would rule that statutory damages of 2100 times the actual damages is constitutional.

I can name 5: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, and Souter. (yeah, I'm a pessimist)

You'd have to be. The first four we (and most) can agree on, but I'd be surprised if Souter would side with the RIAA and DOJ on this one. While appointed by GHWB, he has tended towards the liberal side in most decisions. He's rather "common sense", using the Constitution as a general guideline not a strict rule--he'd likely side with the little guy in this case.

Re:Excellent (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538357)

Looking at the tactics of the *AA crowd, it will have to get to that level. Ordinarily, I'd agree with you on this one, but these people are relentless and have enough of an agenda + litigation budget to try circuit-hopping until they get favorable rulings.

Unless they really screw up and catch massive sanctions and some of their pit bulls face the neutering of disbarrment, that is.

Re:Excellent (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538405)

these people are relentless and have enough of an agenda + litigation budget to try circuit-hopping until they get favorable rulings

You don't know them like I do. There is no way they will let this issue get fully litigated. Whenever they run up against a lawyer like me they will fold up their tent before letting this issue get decided. When they lose on this issue, the game is over for them. Without their ridiculous, draconian statutory damages threat, they are finished.

They might go to the mat in the Tenenbaum case, only because they look upon Prof. Nesson's unconventional legal arguments as easy prey. But I think they would be making a mistake in going to the mat even there, because Judge Gertner is not going to let Prof. Nesson control the legal parameters. She will determine them.

Most likely you will never see these issues fully litigated in the RIAA v. end user cases at all.

Re:Excellent (2, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538675)

Could a couple of concerned US citizens set up a a test case and 'fully litigate' it in order to set a legal precedent?

I'm sure we could find a slashdotter who can write a song (quality unimportant), copyright it, and then have it pirated by another slashdotter and then press for RIAA style damages (which would be given back in the unlikely event of a win).

Re:Excellent (2, Insightful)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538905)

The RIAA's tactic is to intimidate the unknowing into capitulating without a fight. All it costs them is a a few bucks for a secretary to mail out the letter. Once they get into 'real' lawyering with judges and opposing counsel, then it starts to cost real money. That's why they either get a quick settlement or they cut and run.

Re:Excellent (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539451)

FWIW, the lawyer* whose offices I'm going to be painting tomorrow agrees with you. He laments that the same sort of precedent doesn't often apply to the DUI and non violent drug cases he works and hopes you don't have too many Pyrrhic victories.

  Cheers from *MK(said lawyer) and me and whole crazy bloody crowd of good people here at my 42nd birthday party bash where we are violating a whole helluva lot of stupid laws, reading slashdot, streaming music, arguing, and having an absolutely incredible good time debating all this; and I wish they'd quit showing up because I'm running out of food, booze and media blanks :)

  NYCL is a hero of modern times. So Say We All! (so say we all)

SB

Re:Excellent (2, Insightful)

mailman-zero (730254) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538267)

This is very much a positive development, though really the whole issue is eventually going to have to go before the Supreme Court. At least they seem to have been generally pretty decent in their handling of Constitutional and "IP Law" issues the past few terms.

Except for that whole Eldred v. Ashcroft fiasco described in Lessig's Free Culture.

What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538079)

Why is it that the RIAA get's away with dicking around in court with a grevious waste of public funds in persuit of a private interest? I thought the rule of law was equal for all. I know i wouldn't get away with wasting the courts time, why does the RIAA get away with it? Has the power of the people really been usurped by the power of the dollar?

Support Roll Your Own Artists! (4, Interesting)

I_Can't_Fly (1442225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538215)

Come on guys...

Whatever happened to improvisational near real time performances in the public domain.. rotfl.

Well anyway if someone wants a recording of the bad storms that rolled through here about 3 hours ago with some guitar recorded live.. here it is.

Tennessee Storms of April 10, 2009 and guitar [archive.org]

Like the universe..the net has a lot of alternatives, and not just mine. Stop being force-fed what you like.

Re:Support Roll Your Own Artists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538433)

Nice little ditty. Do you do the background music for History Channel specials?

Now I'll whore my free music [myspace.com] . Sounds like shit, but it's free shit!

Re:Support Roll Your Own Artists! (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538505)

Nice!

That actually made my day, Stranger.

Many thanks....

Re:Support Roll Your Own Artists! (3, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538629)

Well Done!
Not my normal type of music, but that was an interesting piece of work, having the storm in the background. Calm and soothing, yet with a dynamic tension that keeps it from going stale halfway through. (it reminded me of something I could have expected from Carlos Santana)

This is a good example of why all of the "Oh No! The music is dying!" crap from the RIAA and their shills runs in one ear and immediately out the other with me.

There are just too many people out there like you, who will make music for the enjoyment of the music...and don't mind sharing.
Thanks for both the attitude and the music. You made my day with that!

Re:Support Roll Your Own Artists! (1)

terminalhype (971547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538885)

Your Tennesee Thunderstorm and Guitar music was a treat! I've just sent it to a friend who's learning to play the guitar, she loves it. (OMG, does that make me a pirate???...nah, probably not ;) Anyway, just wanted to say thank you.

Re:Support Roll Your Own Artists! (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539293)

Well done!

Obama Justice Department (3, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538227)

So the Obama Justice Department has its head up its collective RIA-A$$. And their justification for this is that the Bush Justice Department had their own heads up in the same warm dark spot so it must be right.

So how's all the Hope and Change working out for you?

Re:Obama Justice Department (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538259)

So the Obama Justice Department has its head up its collective RIA-A$$. And their justification for this is that the Bush Justice Department had their own heads up in the same warm dark spot so it must be right. So how's all the Hope and Change working out for you?

I was disappointed in the low grade, obsequious briefs the Justice Department filed in SONY v. Tenenbaum and SONY v. Cloud. I was hoping for "change" but found none in this area. Nevertheless we are early in the game, and the Justice Department RIAA lawyers are all legally recused from dealing with these cases.

Re:Obama Justice Department (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538499)

I was disappointed in the low grade, obsequious briefs the Justice Department filed in SONY v. Tenenbaum and SONY v. Cloud. I was hoping for "change" but found none in this area.

so let me guess, you're a Republican

ughhh, such a tool. Some of your posts are insightful, but this is just typical retarded drivel from a freeper. Stick to the law, Bush-bot.

Re:Obama Justice Department (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538547)

Sir, you are the first person who has ever mistaken me for a Republican. Have you been drinking?

Re:Obama Justice Department (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538665)

Yeah, what kind of fool assumes lawyers have any kind of allegiances... GOP, EFF, or otherwise!

Sorry...cheap lawyer jokes are just too tempting. This applies to doctors and lawyers, but why is it that their work is called a practice? You would think that given the importance of the issue you are going for you would rather be going to their expertise rather than their practice. :)

On a serious note....do you think it is a potentially good thing that some of those big name RIAA attack dogs are now going to be prevented from working these cases due to their new DoJ jobs? Do you think these guys that deep in RIAA pockets and/or ideologically friendly to the RIAA tactics/arguments or were they just doing the job they were being paid to do?

Re:Obama Justice Department (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538899)

do you think it is a potentially good thing that some of those big name RIAA attack dogs are now going to be prevented from working these cases due to their new DoJ jobs? Do you think these guys that deep in RIAA pockets and/or ideologically friendly to the RIAA tactics/arguments or were they just doing the job they were being paid to do?

I don't know any of the lawyers who went to the DOJ personally. I haven't personally litigated with any of them, so I really can't say anything about the way they comport themselves. I.e. I don't know if they are "attack dogs" or not; I only know that they were working in one way or another with some attack dogs. As to whether it is good or bad that they are in the DOJ I can't say. If they are honorable people their presence there shouldn't present a problem.

Re:Obama Justice Department (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538893)

Nevertheless we are early in the game,...

Yes, this is what I am watching. The momentum this has been building will not turn nor stop on a dime. I've noticed Obama getting a lot of flack here becuase he has not chaanged everything overnight.
Some good stuff has came out of the White House since January, and a few not so good.(wiretapping specifically)

I will have a clearer picture after, oh, say a year has elapsed.(Jan. 2010), than now at less than 4 months.
*toast*Here's to hoping!

Back on topic, there seems to be increasing resistance to the RIAA's tactics lately, or it is more visible/heard about. It is a good thing, IMO.

I'm not anti-copyright/pro-piracy per se, but not only copyright law, but the businesses that utilize it need to catch up to the rest of the world.
The media cartels need to wake up to reality in this digital, internet-enabled society. Old distribution channels cannot be restricted and controlled as conveniently as they would like.

What comes to my mind is an incident that occurred in S.America? Brazil? Where researchers were doing a 'native tribes census' or something similar(it was mentioned here on /.), when the airplanes and helicoptors overflew the villages to get a count, all of the village's 'warriors' would assemble and attack the aircraft with bows and arrows!!

"Net/airborne Demons are ATTACKING!!! Call to Arms!...Call to Arms!"

I wonder how much of this relates to the USA going from a physical products industry/economy to an IP[1] related industry/economy?

{1]: I still do not equate 'Imaginary Property' with real world physical products/inventions/devices. I believe this is the root of the problem. Software patents need abolished, copyright needs drastic reform back to it's roots...Ghaghhh! I hope we can learn and move forward to take full advantage of the brave new world we have been introduced to online....and make it work!..For us!!111!!11!!

Re:Obama Justice Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538265)

Meet the new boss....the same as the old boss.

Re:Obama Justice Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538327)

Considering the already substantial improvements in the labor movement, environmental protection, science education and policy, and the handling of the economic crisis, the Hope and Change is working out damn well, thank you. There's a few policies that I really don't like, and this is one, but overall the new administration has been tops.

Re:Obama Justice Department (2, Interesting)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538577)

Well, to be fair, Obama has a few other items on his plate. The economic mess and the war in Iraq, for example, are no doubt far more important right now. I'm hoping that this is just inertia in the DOJ on an issue to which the new administration hasn't had time to attend. That may be wrong, in which case I'll be disappointed, but I'm willing to give them a little while to fix things.

Re:Obama Justice Department (2, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538941)

Well, to be fair, Obama has a few other items on his plate. The economic mess and the war in Iraq, for example, are no doubt far more important right now. I'm hoping that this is just inertia in the DOJ on an issue to which the new administration hasn't had time to attend. That may be wrong, in which case I'll be disappointed, but I'm willing to give them a little while to fix things.

I agree. The briefs the Obama DOJ filed were cut and paste jobs from the one the Bush DOJ filed so "inertia" is a very possible explanation. It wasn't "change" but it wasn't a downward departure either. It was the same low level, not carefully thought through, trash.

Re:Obama Justice Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27539637)

I actually have a longshot theory on this and the various states secrets cases that the Obama administration has been pushing. Admittedly it's out there, but I think it fits the facts.

Not only has the DOJ supported these positions, but in a number of cases they've taken them to the point of being untenable- they've pushed past the Bush doctrine into shakier logic and further reaching. In one recent case they even went so far as to tell the Supreme Court that the US government could ban books.

I think that one explanation for this is basically the opposite of what we had for the last eight years: the Bush administration avoided getting anything in front of a judge, while Congress passed laws to avoid seeming soft on terrorism or crime, with the expectation that judges would strike it down- thus allowing Congress to remain politically safe. The two issues together meant few cases were ever resolved, and instead things just drug out or were dropped.

Congress isn't going to get any braver, so how do you fix this situation? You make sure it ends up in front of judges, you argue your case in a way that makes your position untenable, and you hope like hell that the judge finds against you, establishing judicial precedent and basically undoing all the crap we've been wading through. Appeal it and you can extend the reach while making sure even if it continues past your watch the appeal can only be argued based on your original justifications, effectively handicapping any future administrations. Those cases you think you might win, you drop.

Again, I don't know that this is true and it may well be just searching for some way to make it all smell like roses. But it's consistent with some of the recent activity and filings.

i just got off the toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538289)

i shit out an obama.

oh god... (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538339)

al gore... he invented law.

"Click to Unpause"? WTF? (1, Offtopic)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538625)

Whenever I try to click the header to go back to the homepage, I get some AJAXy crossfadey filth and a big white box with a small black link that says "Click to Unpause."

What is this garbage? I've supported all the upgrades Slashdot has made since Discussion2 was first tested, but this is some horrific love child between 2009's web techniques and 1995's web incompetence.

Anyone else out there with me on this?

Re:"Click to Unpause"? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27538755)

It's supposed to update itself constantly but after a while i guess it assumes you're idle and stops, showing that message to let you resume the automatic refresh.
hope you understand what i'm trying to say

Re:"Click to Unpause"? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27539497)

I am.

Been lurking on slashdot regularly since mid 2004, and I wish nothing more than for the drooling oafs running this site to bring back that "classic" design, under threat of physical harm if needed. It seems some time around 2006 or 2007 CmdrTaco and his corporate overseers decided this bloated shit we have now would be hip, or something. The present font is basically the only thing I believe to be better.

Re:"Click to Unpause"? WTF? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27539531)

Agreed. Totally unusable on iPhone safari.

Sweet (2, Funny)

bikehorn (1371391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538719)

The RIAA sucks, but I still pay for my music, at least some of it...by buying vinyl. Mmm, delicious records and analogue sound.

news headline (1, Troll)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27538833)

Legal experts say the RIAA is full of shit. In other news, scientists say creationist claims are innacurate. In still other news, fire is hot.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?