The RIAA, Extortion & Comcast



from ArsTechnica -

According to this Reuters story, Comcast turned over the names and addresses of some of its customers to the RIAA, without being required to do so by a court order and without notifying the customers. The RIAA then took the information for at least one woman and submitted it to a debt collection agency, which then contacted the woman and demanded US$4,500 in compensation for her alleged illegal downloads of music and threatened the woman with a lawsuit if she didn’t comply.

gotta love it :Z:Z:Z


They dont deserve customers…


Isn’t that illegal? What about respecting your privacy?


apparently Comcast has some language in their T&Cs for use of their service, but obviously it’s general “blanket” legalese which will be a point of contention if any legal appeal is made.


What exactly does it say?


i don’t know, i’m not a comcast customer. i just read through the discussion thread over at the Ars Technica forums…

a post halfway down the first page:


This has got to stop!!! I think this lady better sue comcast, I hope somebody picks up her case!!! This could be a chance to hose the RIAA at their own game. They don’t want to play by the rules, they can suffer the consequences like everybody else. I hope this drops CD sales even more, and more people use P2P. I dunno, that’s just out of hand, not even putting up a fght for it’s customers! What else do people do with a cable connection, if they’re going to rat out their customers at the drop of a hat, they’re going to scare them off! I hope it does exactly that, and comcast needs to be prosecuted for giving up the information without due process! I do beleive their actions to be criminal, they can’t do that! I haven’t bought a CD since they shut down napster, and a lot of other people feel the same way! If this is going to get anywhere, people need to get together, and make their point! Right now people are just bending over and smiling, it makes me SICK :Z :Z :Z . WTF, do people have no spine to stand up for what they beleive in anymore??? This country is going to hell, and NOBODY is stopping it! Pretty soon we won’t have the right to do anything, then what??? I’m half tempted to just move to Canada, the US government pisses me off!


People are standing up to them. There are TONS of people downloading illegaly each second of the day. To me, that’s putting up a fight.


"[I]File-swappers who distribute a single copy of a prerelease movie on the Internet can be imprisoned for up to three years, under a bill that’s slated to become the most dramatic expansion of online piracy penalties in years.

The bill, approved by Congress on Tuesday, is written so broadly it could make a federal felon of anyone who has even one copy of a film, software program or music file in a shared folder and should have known the copyrighted work had not been commercially released. Stiff fines of up to $250,000 can also be levied. Penalties would apply regardless of whether any downloading took place.

If signed into law, as expected, the bill would significantly lower the bar for online copyright prosecutions. Current law sanctions criminal penalties of up to three years in prison for “the reproduction or distribution of 10 or more copies or phonorecords of one or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of $2,500 or more.”

The bill could be used to target casual peer-to-peer users, although the Justice Department to date has typically reserved criminal charges for the most egregious cases.

Invoking a procedure used for noncontroversial legislation, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the measure, called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. Because the bill already has cleared the Senate, it now goes to President Bush for his signature[/I]."

And people wonder why we are where we are today. Your elected representatives have put the corporate interests ahead of the people’s interests yet again. Making file sharing punishable by 3 years in jail and letting corporate crooks walk after stealing hundreds of millions of dollars is another nail in the coffin of individual liberties. I don’t condone illegal file sharing but these types of penalties are way out of proportion to the seriousness of the offense. The MPAA and RIAA have bought and paid for the co-operation of the US Congress and Senate. Get used to these types of headlines and actions by ISP’s and law enforcement because it will only get worse.

Attention U.S. Citizens
We have begun the process of outsourcing your freedom! The stormtroopers will be by shortly to collect any remaining freedoms, so we can send them to a foreign country where it will be cheaper to maintain them. In the meantime, sit tight, don’t go anywhere, and please refrain from speaking with other citizens or posting to the Interweb with those blog thingies. Don’t like it? Maybe you should have spoken up before the process began, like they did in India. Have a nice day.
The Government


1984, A Brave New World, Brazil…good shit for books and movies…not for real life.


George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Terry Gilliam prophets? Who woulda thunk it?

No political party has a monopoly on wisdom or ignorance /.


You have to love the Monkeys friends. :Z


Since, we’re on the subject of corporate influence in politics I’d suggest that you guy’s check out this movie. You might find it interesting.


i found this review quite interesting actually:

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

A misleading attack on capitalism for the ignorant, April 23, 2005
<table cellpadding=“0” cellspacing=“0”> <tbody><tr> <td>
</td> <td> <table border=“0” cellpadding=“0” cellspacing=“0”> <tbody class=“small”> <tr> <td valign=“top”> Reviewer: </td> <td>
</td> <td> Ronald M. Cronovich “Ron” (Henderson, NV) - See all my reviews </td></tr> <tr> <td>
</td> <td>
</td> <td> </td></tr></tbody></table> </td></tr></tbody> </table> I like seeing documentaries that present a different viewpoint than mine; they make me reevaluate my views, and often broaden my perspective. For example, seeing “Voices of Iraq” made me question my staunch opposition to the Iraq war.

So as a proponent of capitalism, I went into “The Corporation” open to any new perspectives the film might offer. What I found instead was a confused and misinforming attack on capitalism, specifically the profit motive.

We all benefit from capitalism. We all buy books from, who, as a corporation, can offer us a much bigger selection at lower prices than The Shop Around the Corner. We each can afford a car, which would not be affordable without the efficiencies of the large corporations that produce them. We invest our nest egg in a 401k, basically a basket of stocks - so we are all part-owners of corporations - and our nest egg will grow over time and allow us a decent standard of living when we retire (unlike the government program Social Security, which will be insolvent before most of us retire).

We, the greedy consumers, are the ones that buy the cheap goods from corporations that were produced with cheap labor in developing countries. Corporations thrive only because of us.

But I digress. So, I’m watching this documentary, and they are trying to explain that corporations cause negative externalities, the economist’s term for byproducts of transactions, such as pollution, that harm innocent bystanders. They take out of context a quote on this topic from Milton Friedman, a Nobel-prize winning defender of capitalism, and then say that corporations are designed to be very efficient “externalizing machines” much like sharks are designed by nature to be very efficient killing machines. They talk about corporations and externalities while showing footage of a shark pursuing a teenager swimming. This may be good “theater,” it may be entertaining and “scary” for people that don’t know any better, but it’s inaccurate and misleading. But the filmmakers’ goal is not to be accurate and honest. It’s simply to attack capitalism, and the best way to do that is to misrepresent it, to make it scary, like a shark preying on swimming children.

They show left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, whose work is far superior to their own film. Moore concedes that “some corporations are allright, they produce things of value for the community.” Duh! ALL corporations produce “things of value,” otherwise they’d be out of business. Michael Moore or anyone else might argue that a $200 Nike tennis shoe made in China is not a thing of value for our community, but that’s a subjective statement. Who should decide what things are worthwhile, and good for the community, and what other things are frivolous, designed only to make profits for greedy corporations, and have no benefit for the community? I might think it’s stupid for people to pay $200 for a pair of Nikes. But people probably think I’m stupid for paying $4 for a Starbucks coffee. But that’s my choice. I, for one, do not want Michael Moore or anyone else telling me what is okay for me to buy.

If you really take the time to learn about capitalism, you will see that it’s a thing of beauty. It has raised the average standard of living in many countries, which is why we are seeing non-capitalist countries gradually convert toward a more market-based economy (e.g., eastern europe, china, the former USSR). Don’t blame capitalism for the existence of homelessness, poverty, pollution, exploitation of workers in low-wage countries. These problems and many more would be way worse without it. Just ask old folks in Poland what things were like 20 years ago. Not pretty, they’ll tell you.

But the film “The Corporation” doesn’t want you to learn how capitalism works. It wants to blame the world’s problems on corporations. And corporations are an easy target. Most people don’t really understand them. Corporations are faceless, and focused solely on making money. Corporate scandals and fraud make for good news ratings.

But we all want to make money, we all want to have a wide variety of goods to buy at the lowest possible prices. Without our desires, the corporation would be powerless and profitless. So if anyone is the bad guy, it’s not the corporation, it’s the consumer.

But is wanting more, and better, and cheaper, really so bad? It gives us a reason to work hard, and our hard work yields “things of value for the community.” I work hard as a teacher so I can earn a high income, live in a nice house, provide a comfortable living for my family. The family that owns Great Harvest bakery may not care that their chocolate cherry bread makes me happy; they work hard to make the bread so they can make money so their kids can go to college, etc etc etc. This is capitalism. This is the corporation.

I’m digressing again. Back to “The Corporation.” So I’ve made clear that I disagree with its point of view. But that’s not why it’s a weak film. There are lots of GREAT documentaries that take the opposite view as me. The Corporation simply is not one of them. If you want to see a well-done liberal documentary, see anything by Michael Moore, or “Bush’s Brain.” Or see “Supersize Me,” which is superior to “The Corporation” as a documentary, and is also a better attack on corporations (even though that wasn’t its main purpose).

Was this review helpful to you? <script language=“Javascript1.1” type=“text/javascript”> <!-- var uId = ‘2115|RGL65XQZYF79Ghelpfulreviews’; var vUrl = ‘|RGL65XQZYF79G&uri=/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0007DBJM8&c.1.label.1.uid=2115|RGL65XQZYF79Ghelpfulreviews&type=if&ifRes=showYesNoCommunityResponse&qk=v|s|n&qv=glance|dvd|507846&c.1.a.1=AEGQWVR6KWBV&c.1.a.1.type=AmazonCustomer&c.1.a.2=2328707&c.1.a.2.type=ProductSet’; showYesButton(vUrl,uId); showNoButton(vUrl,uId); showYesNoDefaultMessage(uId); //–> </script> <noscript> </noscript> <script language=“Javascript1.1” type=“text/javascript”> <!-- document.write( “(Report this)” ); //–> </script>(Report this)


Some of you guys may like this. :bigsmile:


I think that with music at least, it will eventually come around to bite them in the ass. I have bent the law once or twice (or 20 times) when it came to music but in the past I have had no problem shelling out the bucks to buy the music (never paid for music online, just bought cd’s). With all the crap they have pulled, I rarelly if ever give them my money (if I’m going to pay for music, its going to be from smaller labels/independant stuff). Out of the 50 or so employees I work with, maybe one or two have ever had anything to do with down loading music, but around a dozen have had discussions (started by me) about all the crap the riaa pulls. I mean, come on, suing dead people and people that don’t have computers and everything else they have done? It won’t happen overnight or even in a year, but in a decade? People will remember what they have done and it will cost them. They are also doing everything they can to help the competition (small labels and independants). Just keep pissing off the public (your customers, who without, you would not exsist). I tell five of my friends, and each of them tells five of their friends and so on and so on…
They may have te money to buy polititions now, but it will eventually come around to bite them on the ass, and as thier sales keep dropping, maybe they wont have the money for all the lawsuits. this is just my guess, but I think it will come around to bite them in the ass more severlly than they could know. Thier have been arguments that declining cd sales are because dvd offers a lot more for the money and lots of other therories and ideas, but maybe some of those declining sales are because it has already came around to bite them in the ass, and no mater what they do, it is only going to get worse!!! Reputation of what they do gets around to everybody, not just those that download or eve just those that use home computers.
Just a few ideas their. take it as that and tell me what you think…


If you do decide to buy CDs you and a few buddies should just go in together and buy them and then make backups . . . I’ve got two small kids and if you don’t think they’ve ruined a few CDs or DVDs then you must not have kids. That right there is reason enough to make backups and/or download music.


boycott the big5 music labels and the RIAA…stop giving them your money!!!


Great …

In Germany, commercially organized software and music pirates can be imprisoned for a maximum of 5 years … additionally, there will be a civil court trial in which copyright pirates will be sentenced to re-pay some serious cash.

Non-commercial fileswappers that share copyrighted content will ‘only’ face a civil court … but the sentenced payment will surely ruin their lives.

We have some criminals over here that committed child abuse in combination with murder and were locked away for some ridiculous 2 years … and we have thousands of rapists that won’t be bothered with a court trial at all.

Do I need to say more … oh yes, we have ISP’s here that give away customer information to GEMA (the german equivalent to the RIAA) as well …


My opinion on dropping CD sales is simple … nearly every modern mainstream Pop/R&B/Hip-Hop/Rock album that is produced by the big players in the game lacks quality … I mean, who on earth needs some 20+ Hip-Hop acts that all dress the same, have the same lyrics, share the same beats (this counts for other music styles as well) … and the record labels still do believe that there is a market (and enough customers with enough money to spend) for all these ‘artists’.

The ridiculous thing is that, in the world of mass movie, mass music and software, nobody blames product quality for an eventual lack of success … it’s always the copyright pirate that is responsible for low sales (as if there were no crappy products around) …

It’s all about product quality in the end. And personally, I have yet to hear a complaint from e.g. artists that produce real quality music.