we did it guys. in your face USA (1 Viewer)

Jan 7, 2004
Music industry loses in downloading case

CTV.ca News Staff

Canada's music industry can't force Internet service providers to identify online music sharers, a Federal Court judge has ruled.

The music companies represented by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, had identified 29 people who had traded music online using services like Kazaa, but they knew them only by their online nicknames.

They wanted the Internet service companies such as Sympatico, Rogers and Shaw to give them the identities of the individuals, so they could sue them for copyright infringement.

But they didn't get it, so the music companies can't yet proceed with their lawsuits.

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled the music companies had not provided enough evidence that any copyright infringement had occurred and compared downloading and uploading music to using a photocopy machine in a library.

"I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service,'' von Finckenstein wrote.

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings.

"They merely placed personal copies onto shared directories on their computers which were accessible by other computer users via an online download service."

As a result, using an online download service for personal use does not amount to copyright infringement in Canada, at least for now, CTV's David Akin said.

That is quite different from similar rulings in the United States, where the music industry has sued 1,977 people since last fall. It has reached out-of-court settlements in around 400 cases.

Some lawyers were saying the music industry might have hurt its case through legal sloppiness, Akin said.

"They really didn't have their t's crossed and their i's dotted. They would likely go back and assemble the evidence the judge said was missing. The judge said clearly there are some tests that have to be met, and the record industry failed to meet those tests."

Once they do that, the industry can resubmit its case. Until then, Canadian online music traders are free to keep swapping songs, Akin said.

The CRIA is vowing to carry on the fight. Association lawyer Richard Pfohl says the group will likely appeal the decision.

Peter Bissonnette, president of Shaw Communications, was delighted with the ruling. His company Shaw had argued privacy legislation should protect the identities of its clients.

"We are very, very pleased and I'm sure our customers are as well,'' he said. "We have obligations to protect the privacy of our customers. We've always taken that approach."

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Senior Member
Feb 21, 2004
Great news!

I don't think that suing individual users will get anywhere. Legal expenses are too high. How many people exchange music online in the US? Tens? Hundreds of thousands?

I once read the analysis of the legal rights situation, and an analogy was drawn with old music tapes.

Back then (don't remember when), when tapes were introduced, the music industry was also consearned that illegal copying will hurt their profits. But it didn't. Federal Court ruled that copying music on tapes at home does not brake the law.


Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
It won't last, Don. In fact I read that a couple of ISP's won't succumb to this blackmail from the recording industry but one of them, think it was Sympatico, is partially owned by parties within the industry so they are only happy to reveal details about their customers. This may have been a minor victory now but they will perservere in the long run I think. Sad but true.

OT: A recent study from a couple of leading universities (don't remember the exact ones at the moment), showed that file sharing does not hurt profits of the record companies.
Lawnchair Bes
Jan 7, 2004
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter #7
    so glad that i dont have Sympatico.

    well u know once i go to about 22 years old i dont think my preferences in music will change much so i m not really lookin at the big picture


    Senior Member
    Nov 16, 2001
    Nah, some artists like Metallica and George Michael might not really need the money anymore. But there are so many small bands who might just do one good single. And I won't buy a 20$ album just for a single so I'll download it instead. In that way they will not make any money so they will move on to some other business. If that is the future we won't see many bands who does alternative music.
    Lawnchair Bes
    Jan 7, 2004
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter #11
    ++ [ originally posted by Zambrotta ] ++
    Nah, some artists like Metallica and George Michael might not really need the money anymore. But there are so many small bands who might just do one good single. And I won't buy a 20$ album just for a single so I'll download it instead. In that way they will not make any money so they will move on to some other business. If that is the future we won't see many bands who does alternative music.
    its metallica who i m talkin about. but instead metallica is the frist to sue people who d/l music


    Senior Member
    Jul 17, 2002
    ++ [ originally posted by Zambrotta ] ++
    Nah, some artists like Metallica and George Michael might not really need the money anymore. But there are so many small bands who might just do one good single. And I won't buy a 20$ album just for a single so I'll download it instead. In that way they will not make any money so they will move on to some other business. If that is the future we won't see many bands who does alternative music.
    but look at it in another way... by having it online, this new band could get world exposure and it might help them in the future if their track is good enough.

    i'll use your same example... If they have a good track in an album that sells for $20, not many would buy it so they may not become famous, but if that track is available via P2P networks, it'll spread and people who really like it would go buy the track since the other ones aren't available.

    It's a funney loop, but i believe in the study that Martin just talked about. i dont think it affects record sales.


    Senior Member
    Dec 31, 2000
    More on the issue from ExtremeTech:



    RIAA Hit From Two Sides
    April 8, 2004
    By: Dave Salvator

    As you've read in numerous opinion columns here at ET, we're no great fans of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and its thuggish legal tactics in suing individuals for sharing music files on the Internet. Yes, the recording industry has a right to make a buck, but the intimidation it has used -- and haphazard way it throws lawyers at every nook and cranny of this supposed problem -- has made the organization very few friends. Things on the peer-to-peer (P2P) vs. RIAA battlefront have been pretty quiet of late, but two recent developments will likely have RIAA executives reaching for the nearest bottle of Maalox.

    A draft version of a study by economists at Harvard and the University of North Carolina finds that online file sharing is not causing a decrease in record sales, as the RIAA has long asserted. Meanwhile, a Canadian judge has denied a request by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) to identify alleged file sharers, and further found that downloading music and making it available in a shared folder online does not constitute an illegal act.

    Who says there's no such thing as karma?

    Successful Failure

    The RIAA has bungled the online sharing music problem at almost every opportunity.

    The MP3 revolution caught the music industry off-guard in the late 1990's, and it's been trying to recover ever since. Online services like Napster, RealRhapsody and Apple's have finally given consumers a legal alternative to P2P networks. But the only high-profile response the RIAA has had to file sharers has been lawyers -- and lots of 'em. For an industry that's had an unprecedented amount of control over its entire distribution channel for decades, the RIAA views the Internet as both a potential threat and an even bigger opportunity. Unfortunately, the organization has been fixated on the former -- the result being that alleged file sharers have had lawsuits brought against them and have been granted "amnesty" for a mere $2,500.

    Bear in mind that many of these cases never go to trial and the RIAA doesn't really have to prove that the alleged file sharer is indeed guilty of copyright infringement. It just knows that $2,500 looks cheaper to a cash-strapped middle-class parent than potential legal bills of actually taking the case to court and possibly losing.

    Most companies' actions towards their customers say one of two things: either 'Thank you' or '(Procreate) You.' The RIAA seems capable of only conveying the latter. Actually, the RIAA's "message" has been more along the lines of the Goodfellas business model: "(Procreate) you. Pay me."

    The Eye of the Beholder

    A forthcoming study reported on by the New York Times [registration required] concludes that online file sharing has not actually hurt record sales. "While downloads occur on a vast scale," the study's authors conclude, "most users are likely individuals who would not have bought the album even in the absence of file- sharing." The study goes on to say "...it would take 5,000 downloads to reduce the sales of an album by one copy....After annualizing, this would imply a yearly sales loss of two million albums, which is virtually a rounding error." One could also reasonably infer that since most file sharers would not have bought the album they're downloading if file sharing didn't exist, it's quite plausible that those very users liked the album they downloaded well enough to actually buy a CD they would not have otherwise bought. The RIAA, of course, immediately attempted to discredit the research -- attempting to find errors in with the authors' methodology. However, the RIAA itself has used some questionable research methods, surveys most notably, to gather its statistical evidence about lost revenue due to file sharing.

    At about the same time, a Canadian judge handed down a potentially far-reaching decision whose ripple effect might be felt on American shores. The case involved the CRIA wanting authorization to obtain the names of alleged file sharers. A federal judge however denied the request, and went on to cite a Canadian Supreme Court decision that found making music available online appears to be legal. The CRIA will likely appeal the lower court's ruling, and if the CRIA is denied again in lower courts, the case could wind up in front of the Canadian Supreme Court.

    And most recently, CNN reports that global music sales were down 7.6% in 2003, and industry officials blamed "...rampant piracy, poor economic conditions, and competition from video games and DVDs." At least they're not blaming it all on piracy, though it does top the list. CNN's report goes on to state that record companies have been cutting costs, jettisoning B-list artists, and, in the case of Sony and Bertelsmann, entering into a merger.

    As I've stated previously, I think the main problem here is a pretty simple one: CDs still cost too much. If A-list artists' new releases were more reasonably priced, consumers would be less inclined to fire up Kazaa, LimeWire, or eDonkey and go on an MP3 safari. That isn't to say that $10 new-release CDs will cure the industry's ills, but that has less to do with downloaders and more to do with other factors contributing to industry's current predicament. In particular, there have been fewer new releases, and store shelves have been populated with fewer CDs. Either one of these influences by itself would affect overall sales, but the two taken together certainly have contributed to the downturn in music buying.

    In the publishing world, "draw" is the number of magazines a publisher puts on newsstands, while "sell-through" represents what percentage of those magazines sell in a given month. Most publishers will tell you that intelligently increasing your draw will lead to more overall sales, even if your sell-through rate remains unchanged. Lowering the draw however almost invariably leads to reduced sales volume. There's a similar dynamic at work with the recording industry. Both fewer CDs in the channel and fewer new releases have no doubt contributed to the drop in sales. How much is something the RIAA has been strangely quiet about discussing.

    What Next?

    Recent events have not gone the RIAA's way, and as far as I'm concerned, it's earned a pretty good dose of this. The recording industry's greed is legendary, and now that the Internet and P2P networks seem to threaten the money trough, the RIAA and its acolytes have been using every brass-knuckle tactic short of extorting kids' lunch money. (Who knows, that could be next.) The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has announced that it will employ the same legal tactics in Europe and Canada that the RIAA has so heavy-handedly used here in the U.S. The Canadian court decision could loom large in the IFPI's attempts to go after alleged file sharers in Canada however, and European governments have a better track record when facing down bully transnational corporations.

    Artists and record labels make a product and, in an open market, deserve to charge what the market will bear. Does downloading adversely affect their ability to do so? To some degree, probably -- although the forthcoming study seems to indicate otherwise. The RIAA still seems to be pining for a bygone era when it maintained a firm stranglehold over its distribution channel, instead of acknowledging that those days are gone for good. If the RIAA was serious about restoring any semblance of credibility with its customers, it would publicly improve the terms of recording contracts with up-and-coming artists and publicize the fact the way sports teams do when they sign promising young athletes. In addition, it should seriously rethink its pricing models and consider how lower margins would lead to higher volumes. But that probably won't happen, at least not until there's a generational changing of the guard and the RIAA's new stewards are of the Internet Generation.

    My own disgust with the RIAA's bullying has discouraged me from buying just about any new CDs. No, I don't go online and download them to pad my collection. I just listen to the radio or enjoy the 600 or so albums I already own. Until the RIAA can find a solution to its "problem" that doesn't involve suing teenager's parents, I won't be buying much new music. Since this all comes down to an industry group singularly driven by money-lust, the only way to sway such a group is to vote with your wallet. For now, I'm voting no.


    Senior Member
    Apr 5, 2004
    Thats good news yes.

    People should just download, thats what the recording accosiations (or whatever its named) encourage to when those bastards make some Cd's you cant play on your computer and in your car!

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