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Thread: If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

  1. #1
    AO Security for Non-Geeks tonybradley's Avatar
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    If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

    The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have inundated the United States Congress with lobbying efforts aimed at getting exemptions from existing laws and having new laws created to allow them to squash P2P networking and punish those who swap and trade illegal copies of songs and movies.

    Dating back from the attempt to add a blurb to the USA PATRIOT Act that quickly followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks which would allow them to hack into the system of any computer believed to be housing illegal files the RIAA and MPAA have lobbied congress both federal and in individual states.

    Through their lobbying efforts and with the passing of the DMCA (Digital Milennium Copyright Act) they have managed to get preferential treatment that allows them to essentially subpoena the personal information of users from ISP's without having to actually get full court approval- a simple signature from a court clerk will do.

    They have also managed to push laws in many states commonly referred to as state Super-DMCA laws which are intended to allow them to catch law-breakers, but the way they are worded also seem to make legal security measures such as firewalls, encryption and VPN's illegal.

    Most recently Senator Hatch made statements to the effect that he would support a plan to allow the RIAA and MPAA to hack into the computers of alleged copyright violators and erase their hard drive or otherwise "destroy" their system.

    Rather than sit back and take the onslaught of attacks from these lobbying organizations, the president of one of the more well known P2P networks, Grokster, has decided to start his own lobbying organization to forward the interests of the P2P networks and defend themselves against the accusations of the RIAA and MPAA.

    It is sad that the lobbying efforts of the RIAA and MPAA have won them so many legislative victories. It would be nice if the elected officials would realize that the RIAA and MPAA battles are not a matter of national or even state importance and let them fight their own battles following existing laws like every other company. But, since elected officials listen more to lobbyists than to their own constituents hopefully this new P2P lobbying organization will be able to undo some of the damage.

    Read This ZDNet Article: File Swappers Rush To Form Lobby Groups

  2. #2
    Senior Member roswell1329's Avatar
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    "It seems odd that corporations who purposely facilitate illegal activity for a living are opening a Washington office to advocate their right to do so," an RIAA representative said.
    I have to agree with this statement. What platform could a lobby such as the one proposed run with, when their entire enterprise is currently illegal? I fear that such a lobby would be given the same credibility as someone trying to legalize crack.
    /* You are not expected to understand this. */

  3. #3
    AO Security for Non-Geeks tonybradley's Avatar
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    Well, I hate lobbying altogether and feel that it unfairly taints politics in favor of corporations and at the expense of the actual voters congress is sent to represent. I particularly despise the RIAA and MPAA for their incessant whining and lack of vision.

    I do agree with you somewhat that they have an uphill battle to fight to try and gain legitimacy on Capitol Hill. However, I don't think it has as much to do with the legality or illegality of their business model as it does with finances. The bottom line is that the RIAA and MPAA have a LOT more money than Grokster and Kazaa. When it comes to buying support on Capitol Hill they don't stand a chance.

  4. #4
    0_o Mastermind keezel's Avatar
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    I've been wondering what will happen if American P2P companies are squashed....won't everyone just flock to a P2P network hosted outside of the US? What happens then? Who can touch a company in, say, South America somewhere? If everyone takes the files they've been sharing on Kazaa or whatever and flocks to a company like that, I think it would be very difficult to shut down. This is just a thought I've been putting together for the past few days....and I might be way off but I still wonder....

  5. #5
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    There can be legitiment and legal reasoning to share files and to protect ones own assets behind a firewall and VPN to reasonably try and create some sort of privacy. That may be the only leg P2P companies can stand on. Their pitch - so to speak. Sure I know that grossly simplifies the matter. Does it not scare anyone that a clerk has the capability and power to judge you as guilty or potentially guilty of a crime? This senator has sold out. I can't blame him solely, he may have won his way to his current postion based on support for the RIAA. Where I do judge him is in contemp of his office and the blatant abuse of his government authoriy and trust.


    I am stopping there because I am getting very angry. Need some coffee while I figure out a way to voice my disapproval publically and hope that most americans will wake up and not just think the RIAA is right because they communicate in a loud voice that the entire industry is suffering and this horrible "stealing" must be stopped by any means possible. I hope that Mr. Smith who is setting on his couch munching chips during the nightly RIAA lambaste on cable understands the real issue at stake.
    West of House
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  6. #6
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    This is a very scary issue indeed.

    I remember reading an article on securityfocus about 'Super-DMCA', and I have managed to dig it up for anyone interested...

    'Super-DMCA' fears suppress security research

    This proposed law stated (which is even more scary) that...

    ..residents of the Great Lakes State can no longer knowingly "assemble, develop, manufacture, possess, deliver, offer to deliver, or advertise" any device or software that conceals "the existence or place of origin or destination of any telecommunications service." It's also a crime to provide written instructions on creating such a device or program. Violators face up to four years in prison.
    I read this as anyone who NATs, uses a proxy etc, or even has caller ID turned off on their phone!!!...
    SoggyBottom.

    [glowpurple]There were so many fewer questions when the stars where still just the holes to heaven - JJ[/glowpurple] [gloworange]I sure could use a vacation from this bull$hit, three ringed circus side show of freaks. - Tool. [/gloworange]

  7. #7
    0_o Mastermind keezel's Avatar
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    Holy crap! If it's interpreted as you've interpreted it, SoggyBottom, then it *is* really scary. Sometimes people pass a law with one thing in mind and don't think about all the implications. For instance, there was some law banning all guns without a specific type of technology.....but the technology that the law was referring to doesn't even exist yet! I think legislators should take more time on considering the affects of a law before they pass it.

    **edit**
    I should mention that the law I was talking about no longer exists and it is just for one state somewhere in the Western part of the US. Also, the people that passed the law were obviously unaware that the technology diddn't exist yet...it was some kind of advanced hand recognizing grip that would only allow certain people to fire it....

  8. #8
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    I suppose that this is a perfect example of people writing laws who obviously do not have even the simplest understanding of the technology they are writing about.....
    SoggyBottom.

    [glowpurple]There were so many fewer questions when the stars where still just the holes to heaven - JJ[/glowpurple] [gloworange]I sure could use a vacation from this bull$hit, three ringed circus side show of freaks. - Tool. [/gloworange]

  9. #9
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    ..., but the way they are worded also seem to make legal security measures such as firewalls, encryption and VPN's illegal.
    This is absolutly insane. Imagine the world WITHOUT firewalls, encryption, and VPN's. Now forget the world and imagine the government without firewalls, encryption, and VPN's. They are basically stabbing themselves in the back... Soggy's right, this is a perfect example of idiots in office passing laws that make no sense what so ever. I dont approve of political jokes, i have seen way to many of them get elected...
    Support your right to arm bears.


    ^^This was the first video game which i played on an old win3.1 box

  10. #10
    0_o Mastermind keezel's Avatar
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    Stuff like this makes me wonder if the US is going to survive through to the *next* century.

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