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Now they're gunning for the bay too!


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Start using the usenet (newsservers)?

The RIAA is suing North Dakota based Usenet.com, Inc., claiming the company "enables and encourages its customers to reproduce and distribute millions of infringing copies of Plaintiff's valuable copyrighted sound recordings."

 

The key to the RIAA argument seems to be the encouraging aspect more than anything else. In order to show liability on the part of the operator of the Usenet message board network, lawyers must establish not just that copyrighted content can and has been shared on Usenet, but also that Usenet.com encouraged this behavior.

 

Usenet.com's website clearly states that they don't monitor any identifying information about who uploads, downloads, or posts anything on the network of message boards, which the RIAA apparently plans to argue is an invitation to do illegal things.

 

"They started by going after Napster, Aimster, Grokster, and after that they said, 'We're gonna go after individuals to see if we (can) get into the psyche of people that peer-to-peer file sharing is wrong,'" says Washington, D.C.-based copyright attorney Ross Dannenberg. "Now it has come full circle. Throughout this cycle, (Usenet) newsgroups have been ignored."

 

He suggests that they may use DMCA's Safe Harbor provision as a defense. It shields service providers from liability for their customers' infringement as long as they comply with Takedown Requests from content owners. YouTube is already testing this defense, but is in a slightly different position since YouTube's product is their website, whereas Usenet.com's product is actually a connection to a network of message boards.

 

Since Usenet.com's policy against monitoring makes it if not impossible, at least impractical to locate individuals uploading infringing content, a victory in this case would be a loud statement to Usenet posters, many of whom feel they're out of the RIAA's reach because of the network's anonymity.

 

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RIAA Sues Usenet, Decries it as 'Brazen Outlaw'

By David Kravets 10.16.07 | 4:00 PM

The Recording Industry Association of America's litigation strategy is taking a detour into the internet's Precambrian layer, suing a company that distributes the ancient decentralized message board known as Usenet.

 

Fargo, North Dakota-based Usenet.com is the target of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in which 14 recording companies allege the service "enables and encourages its customers to reproduce and distribute millions of infringing copies of Plaintiff's valuable copyrighted sound recordings."

The suit, filed Friday, is something of a throwback in the RIAA's recent litigation strategy. It targets an alleged facilitator of copyright theft instead of an individual pirate.

 

"They started by going after Napster, Aimster, Grokster, and after that they said, 'We're gonna go after individuals to see if we (can) get into the psyche of people that peer-to-peer file sharing is wrong,'" says Washington, D.C.-based copyright attorney Ross Dannenberg. "Now it has come full circle. Throughout this cycle, (Usenet) newsgroups have been ignored."

 

In the past four years, the RIAA has sued more than 20,000 people on allegations of copyright infringement. Two weeks ago, the association won a $222,000 judgment in the first such case to go to trial.

 

But Usenet's decentralized architecture means RIAA gumshoes can't easily trace uploaders, as they can on peer-to-peer services like Kazaa. That may have prompted the RIAA to focus on feed provider Usenet.com, which boasts about the anonymity it provides users.

 

"Shh ... quiet! We believe it’s no one’s business but your own what you do on the internet or in Usenet! We don’t log your activity. We don’t track your downloads," the company says on its website. It also offers an encrypted tunneling service, for an additional fee, to frustrate any efforts by ISPs or corporate network administrators to police downloads.

 

The Usenet network is a global, distributed message-board network that was created in the pre-internet days, when it relied on dialup modems for distribution. Now it's carried over the internet. Usenet.com redistributes the full Usenet feed for a subscription fee.

 

Usenet.com did not immediately return messages for comment.

Dannenberg suggests that the service could mount a defense by arguing that it is a service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which would protect it from lawsuits if it responded to individual copyright complaints.

 

"The defense is that you fall within the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA," says Dannenberg. "This is material residing on a network at the direction of the users." Dannenberg says Usenet.com could argue it doesn't "have actual knowledge that the material is infringing, (and) if they are notified, they remove infringing works."

 

RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth say that Usenet.com is no different from the peer-to-peer sites the RIAA has litigated against in the past.

 

"Usenet.com has promoted and advanced an illegal business model on the backs of the music community," Duckworth said in a statement. "It may be theft in a slightly different online form, but the illicit business model of usenet.com is little different than the Groksters of the world…. This business should not be allowed to remain a brazen outlaw that actively shirks its legal obligations."

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They're probably not going to get too far with the usenet thing. You change the "common carrier" status (as explained in the article, it's when the service provider complies with takedown requests for copyrighted content but won't get in trouble for actually having that content) on a newsgroup provider and it sets a bad precedent. From there it's easy to charge every web host and ISP in the world with facilitating copyright infringement since they also fall under "common carrier" status.

 

I doubt anything good will come of this for the RIAA but if it does it could seriously {censored} things up on the internet for a while. But the ISPs like comcast are already doing a great job of {censored} themselves over on common carrier status by doing packet shaping and using {censored} like Sandvine

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Yes, I know the world won't end! But it just seems that the RIAA is on a mission to stop all file sharing.

 

I really don't like Rapidshare, but that's because it hardly ever works here in SA. Without membership it's a pain in the A$$. Megaupload is the same. Isn't there a better site?

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So, we keep using Rapidshare...I see no big deal here - I don't really like torrents.

sites like rapidshare are even more culpable than TPB since they directly host the content and aren't just linking to it off-site. also read this part of my post again:

 

From there it's easy to charge every web host and ISP in the world with facilitating copyright infringement since they also fall under "common carrier" status.
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But it just seems that the RIAA is on a mission to stop all file sharing.

 

...

 

Really? Wow, I would've never thought that businesses don't like losing money...that's a huge surprise to me...

 

:P

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won't get in trouble for actually having that content
Yes, that is particulairly true. I am located in the Netherlands and here the law does not have anything against having or downloading content. You are only illegal when you use or share content that you do not have the right to or for. Thereby the usenet servers cannot be taken down, whilst nothing illegal is being done. The poster (the one that puts it onto the server) is (morally) wrong and thereby punisable by law.
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