Kevin Cogill, the blogger who posted nine songs from some dumb album that’s coming out soon, has had the charges against him reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. His maximum prison time, if convicted, is down to one year from five. He still faces monetary damages if Axl opts to sue him.
The felony Cogill was charged under requires the authorities to prove the distribution of pre-released, commercial material over the internet for financial gain or commercial advantage.
Under the misdemeanor statute, (pdf) the authorities must prove copyright infringement of the right of performance, distribution or reproduction accomplished for commercial gain or financial advantage. Using the internet is not required and the material does not need to be pre-release.
Cogill’s lawyer seems to think a “deal may be in the offing.” I thought the Man was going to make an example of this case, but it looks like prosecutors are either not very confident in the merits of their case, or else maybe the U.S. attorney’s office has more important things to do…like trying to track down a single prosecutable case of actual voter fraud.
Jeez, did we really only make it ten days without a Chinese Democracy-related post? Irving Azoff certainly knows how to keep his bands in the news, doesn’t he?
On September 8, 2003, the recording industry sued 261 American music fans for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, kicking off an unprecedented legal campaign against the people that should be the recording industry’s best customers: music fans. Five years later, the recording industry has filed, settled, or threatened legal actions against at least 30,000 individuals. These individuals have included children, grandparents, unemployed single mothers, college professors—a random selection from the millions of Americans who have used P2P networks. And there’s no end in sight; new lawsuits are filed monthly, and now they are supplemented by a flood of “pre-litigation” settlement letters designed to extract settlements without any need to enter a courtroom.
But suing music fans has proven to be an ineffective response to unauthorized P2P file-sharing. Downloading from P2P networks is more popular than ever, despite the widespread public awareness of lawsuits.4 And the lawsuit campaign has not resulted in any royalties to artists. One thing has become clear: suing music fans is no answer to the P2P dilemma.
We first alerted you to this ongoing legal campaign back in June of 2003, when the RIAA first began “gathering evidence and preparing lawsuits.” Five years later, every single thing the RIAA has done in this process has backfired. The EFF advocates “a voluntary collective licensing regime as a mechanism that would fairly compensate artists and rightsholders for P2P file sharing.” Fans could opt in for something like $5/month and the RIAA would agree not to sue them.
What do you think? How much would you be willing to pay?
Well, the RIAA didn’t technically lose the trial, but a federal judge declared a mistrial and threw out the verdict against a Kazaa user who had been ordered to pay the recording industry $222,000 for allegedly sharing music online:
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis of Duluth, Minn., declared a mistrial in the case against Thomas, who was charged in October with violating copyright law by making 24 songs available for others to download on the Kazaa network.
Davis set aside the verdict on the grounds that he misguided the jury, telling jurors that simply the act of making a copyrighted song available for sharing amounts to infringement.
Looks like that “Making Available” case that the RIAA lost back in April is setting a precedent. Just because someone made files available doesn’t prove that anybody actually downloaded them.
I am trying to take full responsibility for my predicament. I consider the burden of legal fees ultimately mine to bear; I have independently raised the funds required to retain my attorney. However, it has definitely been by far the biggest expense I have ever faced in my entire life, and my resources are very limited while formidable costs shall continue to pile up. It’s beyond daunting, being a single independent citizen facing a full-force prosecution by the most powerful government in the world.
Citing Bittorrent, Inc.’s corporate ties and some technical limitations, brokep announced that The Pirate Bay was working on a new protocol to succeed Bram Cohen’s Bittorrent…. It’s true that the protocol’s been asked to do things that its creator didn’t envision. Clients now use encryption to get around ISP traffic shaping and sometimes pad files to improve interoperability with other networks. DHT functionality, which removes the need for a central tracker, was implemented in a chaotic, piecemeal fashion…. Traversing firewalls remains an issue.
Tom Lee wonders whether or not a technically superior standard would be adopted even if it is eventually produced, using Ogg Vorbis format as an example in its superiority over the much more popular and ubiquitous MP3 codec…
Trent: I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted. If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don’t feel cool when I go there. I’m tired of seeing John Mayer’s face pop up. I feel like I’m being hustled when I visit there, and I don’t think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc. Amazon has potential, but none of them get around the issue of pre-release leaks. And that’s what’s such a difficult puzzle at the moment. If your favorite band in the world has a leaked record out, do you listen to it or do you not listen to it? People on those boards, they’re grateful for the person that uploaded it — they’re the hero. They’re not stealing it because they’re going to make money off of it; they’re stealing it because they love the band. I’m not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.
Oink was anal, Oink was comprehensive. The site administrators were fierce about quality — only high-quality files from original CD/vinyl rips could be posted. Many releases were even posted as FLAC (lossless) files. Oink allowed only entire releases, with complete tracklist information (uploading an incomplete album or a poorly labeled MP3 could get you kicked off). No bootlegs or concert recordings or unfinished pre-release mixes were permitted.
In many cases, I believe that downloading an album from Oink would be both faster (more on this in a bit) and give you more information about the CD than sites like iTunes.
Think about that… a free website, which gives fast downloads of music at equivalent or higher quality than the paid music sites. And this free site has an incredibly deep collection of both new and old releases, usually in a variety of file formats and bit-rates.
The whole article is great. If the music industry (or Apple, or anybody!) could create a legal site that was half as comprehensive and usable as Oink, a lot of people would be willing to pay for it.
The popular file sharing network, OiNK was shut down by British police and a 24-year-old man from Middlesbrough, England was arrested. The BBC reports that servers have been confiscated in a series of raids in Amsterdam. The raids followed a two-year investigation by British music industry bodies. Better back your shit up to discs and clear your machines…
OiNK’s newly replaced homepage states, “A criminal investigation continues into the identities and activities of the site’s users.”
“I think what will happen is a lot of people will download the album for free,” says Spoon singer-guitarist Britt Daniel, “but when it goes on sale, I bet it’ll still be No. 1 [on the album chart]. The bands who get hurt by free file-sharing are [bad] bands. The good bands are going to do fine. Ten years ago, a label could say, ‘Hey, kids, buy this,’ and there was no way to judge if it was any good or not. You’d hear a song on radio or MTV, and that was it. You’d spend $15 for a CD with one good song on it. Now the Internet has made it easier for people to be discerning and decide what they want to pay for.”
Anyone got a guess as to what word Daniel actually used that Kot had to replace with “[bad]” for suitable publication in a family newspaper?