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NET act

2002-08-21 22:43:15+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Various people seem to be up in arms over the DOJ going after file swappers using the No Electronic Theft (NET) act. Frankly this seems like exactly what they should be doing, exactly the tack the RIAA should be taking.

[ related topics: Business Music Law Current Events ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 03:38:05+00 by: Bryant

I would be more phlegmatic about the DOJ going after file swappers if there was a history of the DOJ going after people who make and exchange mix tapes.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 11:21:39+00 by: Larry Burton

From the way I understand it, swapping mix tapes isn't illegal while sharing the same content over a wire or through fiber is. The inconsistencies are what aggrevates me about this whole mess.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 15:44:59+00 by: Dan Lyke

My reading of the law has always been that mix tapes are illegal too. My reading of the DOJ press release is that they're targetting the big distributors, which is why unequal enforcement doesn't seem to me to be the problem here.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 16:35:10+00 by: Bryant

Possibly, possibly. The comment about parents who let their kids download hundreds of songs is a bit worrisome, but maybe those kids count as big distributors.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 20:20:05+00 by: Starrfire

But one question I must ask is, if there is so much concern of swapping files, why was a recording device (Tape, CD or otherwise) ever included in the ideas of designs? If I were to say burn a copy of my cd because A) I don't want to take the original with me on a trip, thus lessen the chances of the only copy I have being stolen, warped or scrached beyond repair B) As a means to ensure the cd's I have bought Last (they are not without faults, and don't run cheap to just go out and buy a new one when the ones I have are all scratched up or worn. I think the same then applies to tapes, etc. If I am going to spend 25 dollars on the Lord of the Rings DVD, I'll be damned if I'm going to allow some criminal who decides to pirate (use the Burner or whatever) to make a profit off of their making copies is going to stop me from protecting and thus enjoying what is MINE. I feel that there is no sure way of ensuring that one side does not get hurt. The same thing happened when Napster got sued. I think not only did those using it get angry and thus persued other means to continue what they were doing, but the smaller less fortunate artists who can't afford to get a record label or even have their song played on the radio got royally screwed by RIAA. Being a singer and having the desire to make my own recordings was really hopeful when seeing local band's music being exchanged on the net. It proved that despite the lack of $ a musician's work could still be enjoyed, and possibly catch that one person's attention that could mean their getting a record deal. The music industry is a very hard one to go into, and I understand the desire to make sure the artists aren't losing, but what happens when the record company (those distributing) becomes more vengful as to not even consider the possibility that not everyone thinks that spending 15 or more dollars per cd is really a deal. That's why I go to the Record exchange and get my cd's used. It's no use trying to fight the RIAA...they don't care about the fans. All they care about is getting their money. Their case, and Metallica's is what turned me away from ever pursuing my dream of performing. It used to be about the music...and the right, no the freedom to express yourself artistically. What it's become is a penny fight, and one that will get everyone burned.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 21:13:47+00 by: Pete

For the NET Act to kick in, you need a bi-directional exchange. Giving away copies does not meet the NET Act description of criminality. So it's not a legal slam dunk that any given unauthorized movement of a copyrighted work across a P2P network is a crime by NET Act standards.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 21:44:42+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, Pete, I was just speaking from what I know of copyright law. Although in standard copyright law it's harder to nail someone if the actions are non-commercial.

Starrfire, the points you raise are largely why I support these particular efforts. The RIAA[Wiki] has tried to stop recording devices before, and is trying to do it again now, and we need to slap them every time they try something like that, and encourage them when they go after actual infringers.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 22:37:22+00 by: Shawn

Dan; I'm not finding this DOJ press release you mention. And I see no reference to the size of the "distributors" being targetted in the story.

I'm a bit concerned by this. I didn't do the Napster thing and have stayed out of file-sharing/p2p systems until about a month ago. Not out of any morality or legality issues, but more because buying a CD was more my style and what I was used to. I just never "caught on" to file sharing.

But recently I've been partaking of the WinMX network. I did so because I was seeking videos of obscure (or not-so-obscure in the right circles) TV shows that I can't find anywhere else. These are shows that are cancelled and not available on TV, VHS or DVD. Yes, somebody owns the copyright on these shows and it is technically illegal to give them to others. But how else can I enjoy some of my favorite shows if those who own their rights are just going to sit on them?

I'm not advocating that there shouldn't be laws against sharing copyrighted material. But I think there should be some reasonable consideration made for extenuating circumstances. I'm not repackaging these videos for sale. I'm just making sure they don't get lost in the rusty cobwebbed Trunk Of Past Media - never to be seen and enjoyed again.

#Comment made: 2002-08-22 22:43:16+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Forgot to mention...

I was a little taken aback though to find that the Dept. of Justice apparently has Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. I'm actually willing to accept that things like a generic "moment of silence" meet the Separation of Church and State ideal, but this seems a bit blatant.