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Senate Majority Leader Takes On File Sharing 591

Posted by kdawson
from the in-the-bag dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Colleges are up in arms — and the entertainment industry is ecstatic — over Sen. Harry Reid's plan to crack down on file sharing by students. Floor votes could be imminent." A commenter on the post said, "Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."
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Senate Majority Leader Takes On File Sharing

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  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:28AM (#19966943)
    Let's be honest here, P2P will continue. Legally or illegally. The only difference is that if it becomes "illegal", only illegal content will be distributed via P2P and distributors of Linux and other legal distribution of software and content suffers. Currently, a lot of distributions benefit from being able to use their users' connection for distribution, taking pressure from their own lines. If P2P is "outlawed" (or not outright outlawed, but disallowed by universities and ISPs), people wanting to share illegal content will find a way around this filtering (because, well, whatever the ISP could do against you is peanuts against being sued by the mafiaa), while people who now spread Linux distributions will not risk breaking the law just to keep spreading their legally spreadable software.

    What do you want to do to avoid it? Log the IP addresses of people using it? People will start onion routing their packets, using also existing onion routers so you can't tell that an IP you got is actually a culprit. Also people will start using "private" trackers and networks more than they already do. To avoid packet identification through mandatory logging at ISPs, packets will get wrapped in other headers (HTTP offers itself due to being the perfect "noise" to duck into).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Justin205 (662116)
      And of course, encryption. Encrypt a packet and all you're getting is where it's from, and where it's going to. Make this look like SSL-crypted HTTP (i.e. using the standard ports, etc.), for example, and it's going to be pretty indistinguishable...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Then they'll turn off connections for "excessive" bandwidth usage, or for using a high number of SSL connections to IPs listed as residential in a DNSbl [njabl.org]. Encryption is not a panacea.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        ...then route said packet through an onion router network and even the whereabouts are lost. Yes, you'll know that you forward a packet to another host, whether that host is the destination or just another router is something you won't know.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) *
          I'm not sure that Onion routing scales to produce the performance that is necessary in order to have a usable P2P system for large files.

          People abusing the existing Tor system for Bittorrent is a bad enough problem, and I think it's indicative of where efforts like that are going to end up: the people who create Onion routing nodes aren't doing it so that script kiddies can download Warez or pirate movies, and the script kiddies who want to download Warez or movies aren't going to set up onion-routing nodes
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Not to mention that many are now getting their "illegal" content fix from YouTube and its various clones which have their own private channels.
    • by kamapuaa (555446) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @06:00AM (#19967107) Homepage
      Let's be honest here, P2P will continue. Legally or illegally. The only difference is that if it becomes "illegal", only illegal content will be distributed via P2P and distributors

      The report talks about colleges enforcing illegal downloading, not P2P technology. It's funny that even a defender would confuse the two.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @06:35AM (#19967281)

      Let's be honest here, P2P will continue. Legally or illegally. The only difference is that if it becomes "illegal", only illegal content will be distributed via P2P and distributors of Linux and other legal distribution of software and content suffers. Currently, a lot of distributions benefit from being able to use their users' connection for distribution, taking pressure from their own lines. If P2P is "outlawed" (or not outright outlawed, but disallowed by universities and ISPs), people wanting to share illegal content will find a way around this filtering (because, well, whatever the ISP could do against you is peanuts against being sued by the mafiaa), while people who now spread Linux distributions will not risk breaking the law just to keep spreading their legally spreadable software.

      What do you want to do to avoid it? Log the IP addresses of people using it? People will start onion routing their packets, using also existing onion routers so you can't tell that an IP you got is actually a culprit. Also people will start using "private" trackers and networks more than they already do. To avoid packet identification through mandatory logging at ISPs, packets will get wrapped in other headers (HTTP offers itself due to being the perfect "noise" to duck into).
      Hmm... According to TFA this plan proposes that colleges be required to:
      • Report annually to the U.S. Education Department on policies related to illegal downloading.
      • Review their procedures to be sure that they are effective.
      • "Provide evidence" to the Education Department that they have "developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."

      The article does not say that P2P networks will become illegal which would be strange since there is nothing so fundamentally wrong with P2P computer networks that they have to be banned any more than there is a reason to ban hammers because they are occasionally used to murder people. Using P2P networks to distribute pirated multimedia content and pirated software is however illegal. Unfortunately, at the moment, the only really effective way to stop illegal sharing of pirated software and multimedia content over P2P networks is for educational institutions, government institutions, businesses and even ISPs to disable P2P completely. From my point of view this is unfortunate since I don't pirate software or media content, I cover most of my software needs with FOSS and purchase any additional software and what little multimedia content I use. The fact that people use things like Bittorent to distribute pirated material is unfortunate since it has made it impossible for me to download Linux distributions and other FOSS software that is distributed via Bittorrent when I am at work which has impacted my productivity as a worker. Until recently Linux distributions like Centos, for example, relied heavily on Bittorent for distributing their DVD ISO images and it's only recently that these became fairly widely available via FTP/HTTP. Distributing pirated material off P2P networks isn't a fundamental human right, it's not legal, it's something people are able to do because they can get away with and now draconian measures are being taken to kill off the distribution of pirated material over P2P networks to the huge inconvenience of those of us who use P2P for legitimate purposes. Another reason why this amendment is crap, apart from it's detrimental impact on the legitimate use of P2P, is because it singles out colleges when there are communities and institutions who are much worse than college students when it comes to distributing pirated content and software via P2P so to that extent I agree with you.

      Just my €0.02.
      • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @07:02AM (#19967421)
        Ok, let me rephrase that. I will not become illegal to use P2P, but the only way for colleges to stop the illegal transfer of data through P2P is to disallow them, essentially resulting in the same.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        The "safe harbor" with the Department of Education, should this actually make it through and become part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, will be to install an IPS that blocks all P2P. IT administrators are lazy and protective of their sinecures--they don't care if there are legal files to be had via P2P when it's easier to block it all, or to at least be able to say they've made the effort.
      • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @08:07AM (#19967803)
        And here is the question we really should be debating:

        it's not legal, it's something people are able to do because they can get away with and now draconian measures are being taken to kill off the distribution of pirated material over P2P
        What is an acceptable method for the RIAA to enforce their copyrights? Back in the days of Napster the battle cry was sue the users (if you can find them) but don't go after a mere facilitator. Well now they're doing just that, they're not necessarily doing it right, what are the other, better options? Then if you do get caught with your hand in the cookie jar what is an acceptable punishment?

        It seems to me these are the practical questions that get lost in all the rhetoric.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Yfrwlf (998822)
          How about nothing? Quit trying to make information sharing illegal, and stop being babies and admit that the current business models of Hollywood, the gaming, and the music industries are obsolete now, like newspapers, and either die out, or find a business model that's compatible with the internet? :)
  • by pallmall1 (882819) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:28AM (#19966945)
    ... that this is somehow going to end up being blamed on George Bush.

    You want some copyrighted lyrics? How about this, from The Who [thewho.net]:

    "meet the new boss
    same as the old boss"
    • by Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:51AM (#19967049)
      Here is a story.

      It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

      They even had a Congress. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

      Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

      All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

      Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said:"The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.

      And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

      You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.
      With apologies to Clare Gillis [saskndp.com].

      When the Democrats swept into power in Congress I listened to all the liberal commentators talking about how it was Good News and how Things Would Be Different Now and how the Bad Guys were out and the Good Guys were in. And I shook my head and thought of Mouseland.
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        Well, it is different. This would be one of the few laws attempting to deal with this that has actually made it to a vote and will likely be one of the few laws that were actually passed since they took office. Less is good right?
  • by The One and Only (691315) * <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:31AM (#19966953) Homepage
    So now it's come to this--the Hollywood Perpetual Copyright Party vs. the Petroleum Industry Party. Except the Petroleum Industry Party also wants perpetual copyrights for Hollywood, both parties want to prop up the farm industry, and for all we know, the Hollywood Perpetual Copyright Party will end up helping out the oil industry as an added bonus (or a bone-us to the common people).
    • "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos"
  • by OKCfunky (1016860) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:33AM (#19966963)
    Not shocked in the least. This is merely another showing of the American political arrangement favors not the citizen, but the biggest donor.

    Raise your hand if you thought your congressman would listen to you.

    Who would you listen to: a very small donor at best, or the group who bankrolled your campaign(especially the "care about the people" PR)?

    Why is this shocking news? Hell as a former die hard repub, I've lost pretty much all faith in the nation and it's future
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:41AM (#19967001)
      Or, to quote Michael Moore, of all people ...

      "In the last presidential election (2004), the richest 2% of Americans had TWO political parties representing their interests, while the other 98% had NO political parties representing their interests. And that 98% included all of the folks running around waving flags and saying 'I'm free, I'm free, I live in a democracy'"

      You know we're in serious trouble wheh Michael Moore sounds (at least on this one occasion) like a beacon of reason ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dhalka226 (559740)

      Raise your hand if you thought your congressman would listen to you.

      I didn't, but largely because they're not supposed to. At least not if "listen to you" means "vote the way of the majority opinion of his constituents." We are not a democracy. We do not vote on issues. We elect people who vote on issues for us. If we want those votes to be bound to the majority will, let's just scrap the system and do a straight vote of all Americans. Or hell, I suppose a telephone survey of 1,200 random respondent

  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:35AM (#19966973)
    His relationship with powerful lobbyists [sourcewatch.org] makes him (or any other Democrat congressman) no better than the ones in the other side. They are all puppets, hold in the hands of the same puppeteer. Naive are the ones that thing that party allegiance is guarantee of anything at all.

    The politic system is rotten, third party can't win (even if they had more support, there are so many hurdles for an independent candidate to overcome), majors parties are in fact one, people are cattle and vote based on frivolous fads and superstitions instead of on important issues and past actions.

    The "manifest destiny" ended up being a self defeating prophecy, U.S. people got so used to the idea that U.S. fate is to lead the world that forgot to care about their own house and get a decent leadership for themselves.
  • by Shifty Jim (862102) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:36AM (#19966983) Homepage
    I think a lot of us have seen something like this coming for a while. In fact the point in Reid's proposal that requires colleges to report their policies for policing and dealing with illegal file-sharing were already in the reauthorization bill before this. Congress is simply going after the easiest target in the conflict. There is plenty of illegal file sharing that goes on outside of colleges and universities, but if you target colleges and universities you get to blanket a number of people through a state-supported middleman without having to go after big telcom companies.

    But I think the biggest points in the bill are the following. From the Article:

    "Provide evidence" to the Education Department that they have "developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."

    How can any viable and self-respecting college network do anything like this without crippling their network and expending an obscene amount of money and man-hours. Congress constantly proves themselves to be less that tech-savvy, and this extremely tall order is just more proof. And, more importantly, the last thing I need is another tuition increase to pay for it. :P

    And secondly:

    The measure would also require the education secretary to annually identify the 25 colleges and universities that have in the previous year received the most notices of copyright violations using institutional technology networks.

    I think the /. has had enough articles knocking and attacking and explaining the DMCA and how easy it is to use them without any basis whatsoever. The threat of a public scolding is only going to make already jumpy school administrators more likely to cave to pressure and/or institute stiffer punishments.

    But, I don't really think it matters all that much, something like this is going to go into law eventually, I'm afraid.
  • Yes I RTFA, It is (from what I can tell) a possible amendment the Senator is "expected to try to attach" and "While those provisions are in the amendment Senator Reid unveiled last week, they could easily change today or tomorrow, and lobbyists following the situation described it as fluid."

    Sorry, not biting. Given the number of bills and amendments that do not pass, I think this narrowly escapes being described as FUD.

    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:51AM (#19967047)
      By continually bemoaning that the Dems are "just as bad" as the Republicans, we can muddy the waters enough that some people may, just may, forget what party gutted habeus corpus, thinks torture is OK, continues to block votes on Iraq, ran up the biggest defecit in national history, and so on. Psshaw! Going after filesharing is just as bad as Abu Ghraib!

      If you can't bring your party up to where people could vote for them with a clean conscience, you can at least bring the other party down and pretend that they're at the same level. Responses, if any, will be along the lines of "yeah, because Democrats are such angels, perfect in every way, and they always do what the people want" which is not what I said. I have long said that Dems and Repubs are about the same when it comes to pork spending, subservience to lobbyists, and general corruption (including legal but unethical stuff), but Repubs are essentially The Torture Party as far as I'm concerned. You don't have to impress me much to beat out The Torture Party.

      If the Dems just run as the "We Think Habeus Corpus is Important" party, that's good enough for me, even with the usual complement of pork spending and knee-jerk overreaction that we always expect from congress. I wish Dems were better, but this equivocation where going after filesharers proves that the Dems are just as bad as the Republicans is a bit ridiculous. If torture, habeus corpus, and warrantless surveillance aren't part of the discussion about which party is better, at least right now, then we aren't really having a discussion.

      • forget what party gutted habeus corpus, thinks torture is OK,

        Didn't the Democrats put 200,000 Japanese citizens in concentration camps during World War II?

        Run MK-ULTRA, and numerous CIA / FBI abuses during the Cold War?

        Allow J Edgar Hoover's FBI to amass data on US Citizens for almost 40 years?

        Run illegal wiretaps throughout every Presidency since Truman?

        The whole notion of Democrats having of moral superiority when it comes to civil rights has no historical basis in fact.

        Our best hope would have been to
        • The distinction between the past and the present is that the present is happening now. I didn't say the Democrats had the moral high ground--they're a political party, not a convention of saints. But one political party is comprised of members today who support torture and voted to gut habeus corpus--which party was it? Wait, wait... I can look this up. This is part of fact-base reality. Do you know the answer?

          I can't vote against the people who interned the Japanese Americans, or pushed for MK-Ult

          • Google WhoDB
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            And which party is pushing the free speech-sodomizing "fairness doctrine", allowing the government to dictate what private broadcasters can say about politics? Just come off it. Democrats voted for the Iraq war. If you don't like the war, don't fucking pretend that your pet congresscritters had nothing to do with it. There is no lesser of the two evils.
        • Wait a minute (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sheldon (2322)

          Didn't the Democrats put 200,000 Japanese citizens in concentration camps during World War II?

          Didn't Michelle Malkin write a book about how the concentration camps were a good thing? By golly, yes she did. [regnery.com] Title is "In Defense of Internment".

          So one of the annointed few who is allowed to speak on behalf of the Republican party is running around the airwaves defending the japanese internment... Whereas the Democrats apologize for it whenever it's brought up.

          It's examples like this which lead people to the

      • by pallmall1 (882819)
        Reid's methods are warrantless surveillance, but the surveillance is conducted by Universities and the entertainment industry that sends out copyright violation notices. The violations are defined by the same RIAA et al that sues dead people and threatens children in grade school. Reid's methods force legal requirements on Universities based on these often baseless accusations. So what good is habeus corpus if you can be legally burdened or punished solely on the basis of an accusation? And I don't know
        • And I don't know what your definition of torture is, but I do know that terrorizing parents with threats to subpeona young children and calling up their schools to find out when they can nab them without the parents being there, or de-facto telling parents of college kids, "pay us $3000 or we'll have your kid expelled from college," fits my definition of mental torture.

          Well, I think the Taguba report related items a bit more draconian. People have been beaten, burned, raped, sodomized with lightsticks

      • What about the entirety of the Clinton tenure?

        Look, I'm all liberal in my personal politics (socialism should temper capitalism, civil rights, etc), but I've been just as disappointed by Democrats as Republicans, if not more so. And as the adage goes, if you're not a Democrat when you're younger, you don't have a heart, and if you're not a Republican when you're older, you don't have a brain. I don't find it unrealistic that I might gravitate more to Republicans over the years.

        In truth, really I hate parti
  • by Arceliar (895609) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:41AM (#19967003)

    "Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."


    Call me cynical, but if a politician shows sense, they won't get enough of the conservative vote to ever get elected. And if they show principle, well, they're probably so lacking in even common sense to ever get liberal vote. So why should we expect either in any measurable form?

    That trolling asside, from TFA:

    Bainwol noted that many campus networks are created with taxpayer funds and are intended for "academic and research purposes," but end up, he said, giving students "a means to steal."


    Roads also facilitate theft. Roads also have police to patrol and set up roadblocks if necessary, that sort of thing. But funds are appropriated for such services. If one is to mandate that measures be taken to prevent intellectual property theft, one should provide a plan for funding of such an endeavor. It's not a universities fault that students steal any more than it is a construction worker's fault of someone later uses a road to facilitate a crime because the road happens to go past a bank.

    At least, that's the way I see it.
    • The road analogy is a nice one actually.

      If students are found to be illegally downloading/sharing content then they need to be tackled individually. The blanket approach that they are proposing is horribly intrusive. Effectively saying "A load of you are probably guilty of something so you're going to give us the money required to carry out random searches without actually trying separate the guilty from the innocent."

      In other news, the parents of a child executed by the RIAA reacted with dismay on receivin
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      Just an idea (which I know won't become true); what if you'd privatize student housing? Set up a number of non-profits which work closely with but are independant of the university? This would eliminate the big, easy targets that universities are right now and substitute them with numerous smaller, more obviously unresponsible organisations. Or how about just outsourcing the network to an ISP, suddenly it becomes corporate vs. corporate instead of the RIAA fighting public insistutions. Just to demonstrate t
    • It is my opinion, as trollish as it may seem, that persons possessing both common sense and strong principles don't even want to be in a position with that much power. Common sense, after all, dictates that the demands of such a position would frequently put one in a position where one's principles are difficult, painful, or illegal to uphold.
  • Unsure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stevecrox (962208) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:47AM (#19967023) Journal
    I'm from the UK the place with a far less insane record industry but I'm not certain how Universitys think this is unfair. I've just finished a 3 year course at University of Plymouth in order to connect to the network you had to go through a VPN which only allowed HTTP and FTP access. We had a extremely fast network I remember downloading Ubunutu at 1MB/s as well as Myst Online at 1.3MB/s. I could check my email, manage a domain I own and could view every website on the internet without issue including sites like http://www.stage6.com/ [stage6.com] , http://www.youtube.com/ [youtube.com] and at various times I saw other students looking at xxx sites. I did get HL2: Deathmatch and Myst Online working (intially the later required a blocked port) but bittyrant or limewire didn't work.

    I can understand that bittyrant does help spread the load of linux distributions but I don't understand why other university's and colleges can't implement this as well. How does it hurt people? I don't know why people are fighting so hard. The university's policy did not stop me from learning nor did it stop me from playing (if I had lived in halls) it just stopped activities which either used high amounts of bandwidth or could land the univeristy in legal trouble.

    Then again with iPods, portable usb drives and the messenger share folders most students could share music/video if they wanted to and I did see people moving to these methods in my final year.
    • by cliffski (65094)
      wow. A student who actually realises that university exist so he can become better educated. Sir, I applaud you. Unfortunately, standard slashdot opinion is that universities exist to supply high speed downloads of hollywood movies for free to students. I can't pretend to be vaguely surprised that the industry creating such movies, and employing thousands of people, is going to lobby to protect itself from people taking their product for free. You might as well complain about stores having security measures
      • Please don't bother trying to point out the difference between a physical product and a copy, it just means you don't understand economics.

        Okay, you are a moron. If it can be copied at zero cost, then the marginal production cost of that copy is $0. Especially since any movie that does not recoup its costs in the first weekend in theaters is called a commercial failure - thus the thousands of people have BEEN ALREADY PAID for the work they've done. So, zero-cost copies hurt their sales? Fuck them. They're getting paid. I pay for movie tickets, I download what I want to keep.
        (And sometimes I buy a DVD on impulse, but it's pretty much guarantee

    • by sumdumass (711423)
      The issue isn't common sense and practicality. It is of an organization being forced to do something to combat an issue that isn't their job to do. In essence, How would you feel I i told you that you had to device ways to stop people from speeding past your house and you would have to provide technical measure and submit a report detailing them to me. It is a little similar in this effect.

      Now, the reasons people fight it so much is less along those ideas and more along the idea of they are entitled to the
    • The difference (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grahamsz (150076)
      As a graduate of Edinburgh, the clear difference from the US is that transatlantic bandwidth is expensive. The university doesn't want you pulling terabytes from the state because it's damn expensive. I am under the impression that most US universities are so ingrained in the internet backbone that they have excess bandwidth and don't have to protect it.

      I found edinburgh didn't care too much about what you did so long as you stayed on JaNET, where they had 20Gb/s of bandwidth. You'd frequently find that you
  • "Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."
    /Insert your favorite comment about American political system in general here/
  • So the senator from Nevada actually wants universities, in essence, to report to Hollywood? Wouldn't their money be better spent on, say, sports programmes, or perhaps even education (if they still do that these days)?
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      Their money? You mean your money. They aren't going to take a hit on the costs of this when it is specifically intended to limit your breaking of laws if you did.
  • by rilister (316428) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @05:58AM (#19967095)
    A commenter on the post said, "Unfortunately we are likely to see neither sense nor principle from the Democrats on this issue, as Hollywood is their biggest cash machine."

    ...you think that's bad? you should see some of the crap I've posted as comments here...
  • The article is replete with terms of "stealing" and "theft".

    They are trying really hard to associate these terms with filesharing in a subversive way, just to make filesharing sound worse than it is. I think filesharing is a better term --> it's not called file-theft for a reason.

    B.
    • by cliffski (65094)
      If something is for sale, and you get your copy without paying. That's theft. Dance around the issue all you want, anyone who had a decent upbringing understands theft when they see it.
      How exactly do you expect people to produce new content if the target market all steals it. People whine that all music is sanitized commercial crap, yet that is the music that *sells*. people who pirate stuff have no rights to whine about any content, because you are not part of the market, and therefore the market will not
      • by toQDuj (806112)
        I'm sorry, but I did have a decent upbringing, and still can't see this as theft. As indicated many times in the past, theft implies that you bereft someone of their property. Copying is a sort of half-theft in that manner, you will not pay for your copy, but the provider can still sell theirs, and is thus not directly financially impeded. Mind you, copying does not imply that I'd have bought the album were it unavailable for copying.

        So, to make a long-ish story short: Copying is not stealing. Copying is no
        • by cliffski (65094)
          wow, you still couldn't resist could you.

          If you are interested in the product enough to download a pirate copy, you are by definition within the target market.
          If you are in the target market and satisfy your need for it without payment, you have distorted the market.
          products are made on the basis that a reasonable proportion of the target market will pay for the product, assuming a quality product.
          The product has 100% up front fixed costs and zero marginal costs. You do not save the producer anything by cop
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by toQDuj (806112)
            I disagree. I think there's a whole grey area between interested enough to copy it, and interested enough to pay money for it. The grey area spans the economic value range of 0 to the price of the article. There are many reasons not to be interested enough to pay money for it (e.g. when it means having no money left for food) and interested enough to try. The target market is the people that have the money and are willing to spend that money on the product. Here, the pirates (arr) are not willing to spend t
        • More importantly, it doesn't matter what the GP thinks is "theft", doesn't matter what you or I think is "theft", it matters what the law considers to be "theft".
          • by toQDuj (806112)
            I beg to differ. I think it matters what the dictionary considers to be theft, and there (the Oxford Am. Eng. dict) it is clearly stated that it is the taking of another persons property without intending to return it. Therefore calling copying thieving might skew the definition of theft, and therefore the dictionary has to change, or the law has to change to address copying instead of thieving.

            Besides semantics, thieving has a much more negative association to it in the mind of the public than copying. I u
  • by Get Behind the Mule (61986) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @06:00AM (#19967109)
    "Hollywood is the main source of cash for Democrats" is just another legend in the rich and bizarre mythology of conservatism, and as such it is typically puerile and easily refuted.

    Opensecrets [opensecrets.org] reports that the top industries donating to the DNC [opensecrets.org], based on contributions from PACs, Levin money donors, and individuals who self-identify their employer, are:

    1. Retired ($7,389,597)

    2. Lawyers/Law Firms ($3,250,708)

    3. Securities & Investment ($2,301,530)

    4. Real Estate ($1,570,877)

    5. Education ($1,429,546)

    6. Misc Finance ($1,176,402)

    7. Business Services ($1,108,889)

    8. Health Professionals ($1,044,045)

    9. TV/Movies/Music ($1,042,810)

    Thus the "industry" making the largest contributions to the DNC are retired individuals, contributing over $7 million to a total of about $37 million. The entertainment industry, which is presumably what the myth-entranced poster meant by "Hollywood", comes in 9th place with just about one measly million.

    For the DCCC, which is responsible for elections in the House, it breaks down like this [opensecrets.org]:

    1. Candidate Committees ($28,987,184)

    2. Retired ($6,473,164)

    3. Securities & Investment ($5,237,572)

    4. Lawyers/Law Firms ($4,730,490)

    5. Real Estate ($2,846,870)

    6. TV/Movies/Music ($2,299,387)

    So the top contributors to the general DCCC funds are, by far, the individual campaign committees (who of course must get their own contributors). "Hollywood" comes in sixth place with about $2 million out of a total of over $80 million.

    For the DSCC, responsible for Senate campaigns, the picture is about exactly the same [opensecrets.org] as for the DCCC:

    1. Candidate Committees ($10,312,550)

    2. Lawyers/Law Firms ($9,989,631)

    3. Securities & Investment ($7,938,319)

    4. Retired ($6,967,505)

    5. Real Estate ($4,864,610)

    6. Misc Finance ($2,585,026)

    7. TV/Movies/Music ($2,286,687)

    This time, "Hollywood" comes in 7th place, again with about $2 million out of over $80 million.

    However we much we may dislike what Harry Reid is doing, the claim about "Hollywood" and the Democrats is load of peanut butter. We need to get these reality-challenged conservative canards out of our public discussion; they certainly have no business of the front page of Slashdot.
    • While that's strictly true (i.e. it's not the main source), it's certainly one of their main contributors, and far more so than the Republicans. You should do some comparisons between Republican vs. Democrat to understand the Hollywood/Democratic link. (All figures from the websites you linked to).

      For example, the contribution of the TV/Movies/Music industry to the Democratic Party is considerably higher than the Republican Party ($6,045,582 vs. $2,434,205), and while the RNC and the DNC are very similar

      • While that's strictly true (i.e. it's not the main source), ...

        You were getting close, but then you said:

        ... it's certainly one of their main contributors ...

        Sorry, but the "Hollywood" cash contribution to Democrats is just too small to warrant the phrase "one of the main". It consistently comes in at something like 2.5%.

        Main contributor, no, but certainly one of them, and certainly more pro-Democrat than Republican.

        All right, this is indeed a true statement, and point well taken. While a couple of million

    • Retired people are not an industry. Going by your numbers, it's the trial lawyers who are the #1 contributing industry. I'm not sure that's any better than it being Hollywood.
  • The ISPs should switch off the internet for a day. That'll learn 'em.
  • they have to be corrupt.

    What a stupid, childish attitude. If you think that those who disagree with you politically are by-and-large stupid, evil, greedy and/or corrupt, it is a sure sign that you are simply too stupid to understand them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @06:39AM (#19967293)
    prepare all our DOS and civil disobedience techniques.

    Colleges require information to flow as freely as possible, so they depend on a fair amount of corner-cutting. No one really waits to get approval or check the copyright position before downloading something from the Wiki, for instance. If they were forced to, a college could not function.

    So we need to spam the most righteous Bible Colleges with spurious DMCA takedown notices, and claim obscure copyright privileges over any communication we have with them.

    Perhaps we could find encrypted streams passing between government buildings, and 'fake whistle-blow' to the RIAA that films are being passed on these links. Send copyrighted data to prominent supporters of the bill without the copyright message, and then get their systems turned over....

    The possibilities are endless!!
  • It seems the normal way of business here any more is to have some politically-charged headline, then all the commenters take their partisan sides and go at it.

    As a libertarian, I've found both parties very willing to sell individual freedoms away. Aside from the war, which is so charged to prevent rational discourse, the Republicans were eager to sell out bankruptcy protections. The DMCA was passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate and signed by Clinton.

    So for all you fanboys and fangirls, it's not related
  • by nukem996 (624036) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @07:40AM (#19967599)
    Last year when I was at college I had a room mate that downloaded 24/7. He got kicked off the Ethernet connection and just continued to use the wireless to download(he had a laptop). I know many people who would steal there room mates connection when something like that happened while there not home. Its impossible to guard against this and the university's policy said that it is your responsibility on what happened to that port. Many people would do it behind there room mates back or just ignore them when they told them to stop. My neighbor even requested a room mate change because of this but the university said it wasn't a significant reason and denied him. But still what happens if the RIAA/MPAA sues some poor kid who has never downloaded and who's room mate was just using the port? They have two options, get flooded with legal fees and maybe if there lucky successfully sue the RIAA/MPAA for legal fees or pay the fine for something they didn't do. If there going to crack down on this there going to have 2 have locks with Ethernet ports. They have no way of knowing whois computer was on that port. And if your going to ask just look up the MAC you can spoof a MAC if you are downloading to someone elses and poof it wasn't you stealing the port, who was it?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @08:01AM (#19967743) Homepage Journal
    Reid is getting plenty of money from "Hollywood", as is the rest of the Democratic Party. And this policy is clearly bought and paid for by the content industry.

    But is Hollywood "Democrats' biggest cash machine"? No. It's not the biggest source of money to the Democratic Party. I'd like to see some evidence to back up that Republican talking point, before it's promoted on the Slashdot front page.

    And are Democrats really the "Hollywood Party"? Schwarzenegger, governor of California, is a Republican - and all Hollywood. Fred Thompson, a favorite of Republicans to run for president next year, is a Republican, a popular TV actor, and all Hollywood. Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the Republican Party, was nothing but Hollywood, after his career as B actor, culminating in roles as California governor, then US president. And of course Hollywood, the ultimate corporate media cash machine, prefers the Republican Party, which represents precisely Hollywood's values: corporate media, rich people, marketing appearance over substance, popularity contests determining power, the lot.

    Hollywood is America. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are America. Pretending only Democrats are Hollywood, while Republicans are their real blockbusters, is not really "the American Way". It's the Republican Way. But it's just a made up story, projected on screens across America and the world.
  • by Doug_Tygar (1132347) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @10:38AM (#19969443)
    Slashdot is simply out of date. From the Chronicle of Higher Education's Today's News (for subscribers) [chronicle.com]: Facing widespread outrage from college officials, a prominent senator withdrew legislative language on Monday that would have required some institutions to buy technological tools to curtail illegal file sharing on their campuses....
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @10:45AM (#19969543) Homepage Journal
    Isn't the whole point of a library to provide access to media for students interested in various topics who wouldn't be able to afford purchasing their own copies?

    Some school needs to get innovative and start up their own online media library which takes advantage of the super fast connections most campuses have and stream the media. They've tried partnering with commercial vendors but that doesn't seem to work as well as they'd hoped.

    The music industry and movie industry and whomever else should be giving students access to as much music as they want.... they're only there for 4-5 years on average and after they graduate they are going to want to have the same type of access... but will have jobs and bank accounts to pay for it. Right now all they are doing is training them on how to use P2P and avoid getting caught.

    Maybe they should limit internet access bandwidth to web and email ports but provide campusNet access to media servers with very fast connections. Make it really easy for students to access the legal stuff... then they'll only have to deal with the small minority who want to download *alternative* content. Even better, you could let students manage the content and create Channels. Let them create proposals for various formats and apply for budgets to buy the media for distribution to the rest of the campus. This would make the students appreciate the economics and would give them ownership which they will then defend against *pirates*.

    Add to this and license Facebook servers and let students hook up their profiles with various channels, etc and build their cultural profile and talk about the latest whatever.

  • Free Media Downloads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vegeta99 (219501) <.rjlynn. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @12:07PM (#19970885)
    In the article they mention schools giving away free or cheap media downloads.

    I go to Penn State. Well, this is good and all - our school used to give away free Napster downloads and now have moved to Ruckus. Well guess what? Every May, after finals, Napster disables your access to your downloads. You can't even stream anymore after the school year ends. And now that they've terminated their contract with Napster, the downloads do nothing at all. Not only that, but good luck getting those downloads to work in anything but Windows Media Player! My MP3s work on anything, including the reason most of it is digitized - to run on my XBox set-top box running XBMC.

    So, at least Penn State isn't giving away free or discounted music downloads, they're giving free music rentals. Sorry, but getting a cable modem and using BitTorrent is, and probably always will be more convenient. Sorry, RIAA, you're still fucked.
  • by photomonkey (987563) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @02:09PM (#19972877)

    So let me get this straight. The savior party that promised to end the war in Iraq, fix the clusterfuck that is healthcare, stop the overreaching civil-rights grab at the hands of the Republicans are now so *busy* doing all those things that they have time to worry about protecting the mafIAA?

    All I've seen come out of the Hill recently has been meaningless resolutions, pointless infighting and a lot of hot air.

    I'm all in favor of recalling every fucking one of them and putting a big dent in the problem by passing a term-limit bill on ALL elected and appointed government officials. I mean, fuck it. If they weren't so worried about having a career in politics, they would focus more on doing the right thing for the good of the people. And the bad ones would probably get out of the game forever.

    The goddamned democrats these days are every bit as worthless as the republicans.

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