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RIAA: Shot Through the Heart?

"While it is a blow to the recording industry, Friday's decision is unlikely to derail the RIAA's ongoing lawsuits against hundreds of individual file swappers. The ruling focuses on the unconventional subpoena power that the organization had claimed in order to seek ISP subscribers' identities and does not address the legality of the lawsuits that have already been filed," CNET's News.com reported. "File swappers are generally anonymous on peer-to-peer networks, identified only by an Internet Protocol (IP) address assigned by their ISP. But names and addresses of subscribers can be determined by reviewing ISP records, which can connect IP addresses to individual accounts. Even if the court's decision is ultimately upheld against appeals, the RIAA still will have the power to identify and sue file swappers. The big difference, though, is this: The RIAA would have to file a 'John Doe' lawsuit against each anonymous swapper, a process that would be considerably more labor-intensive and time-consuming. That in turn could limit the number of people the association has the resources to pursue," the news service reported.
CNET's News.com: Court: RIAA Lawsuit Strategy Illegal

Another Brick in the Wall

_____Filter Archive_____
Opening the Living Room Windows (washingtonpost.com, Oct 12, 2004)
Downloading Justice (washingtonpost.com, Oct 11, 2004)
Google Books It to the Finish Line (washingtonpost.com, Oct 8, 2004)
Star-Power Surge for Satellite Radio (washingtonpost.com, Oct 7, 2004)
School House Shock (washingtonpost.com, Oct 6, 2004)
More Past Issues

The company behind Kazaa, one of the most popular file-sharing platforms on the Internet, can't be "held liable for copyright infringement of music or movies swapped on its free software, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled Friday," The Associated Press explained. "The news came on the same day a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that the recording industry can't compel U.S. Internet providers to reveal the identities of users believed to be illegally swapping music online."
The Associated Press via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Court: Kazaa Not Responsible For Swapping

River Deep, Mountain High

In an article today, The Los Angeles Times writes that the rift between the recording industry and file-swapping sites like Kazaa and Gnutella is widening. "The gulf between the labels and the companies behind Kazaa, Blubster and other file-sharing networks seems as wide -- and impossible to bridge -- as ever. Not only are significant business and legal hurdles in the way, but there's also an ocean of bad blood between the two sides," the paper said. "Label executives continue to hold hush-hush meetings with leading distributors of file-sharing software, trying to find common ground. But they also seethe at the companies' refusal to change their software in ways that might deter piracy, using words like 'extortion' and 'rape' to describe their situation. Said Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Assn. of America: 'It reminds me of negotiating with the mob. 'If you just pay us some insurance, your storm window won't break anymore.' There's an emotional reaction to that.'"
The Los Angeles Times: Participants' Distrust Exposed In Privacy Battle (Registration required)

Gaming Wars ...

Mythic Entertainment, a small online videogame manufacturer, slapped Microsoft with a trademark infringement lawsuit tied to the giant software maker's "Mythica" game. The suit "shows the growing stakes for makers of so-called massively multiplayer games, in which thousands of hard-core gamers compete with each other over the Internet," The Wall Street Journal reported today.

"We cannot allow Microsoft to usurp our rights, confuse the public, and use the Mythic brand to gain an unfair competitive advantage, Mythic said in a release today. "The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria, alleges that Microsoft's forthcoming online game, 'Mythica,' and pre-release publicity for such game, infringes Mythic's name and federally-registered trademark MYTHIC ENTERTAINMENT(R), and amounts to unfair competition in violation of federal and state law."
The Wall Street Journal: Mythic Sues Microsoft, Alleging Illegal Use of Its Corporate Name (Subscription required)

... And Gaming Grows

The New York Times Magazine yesterday wrote of the growing trend of online gaming. An excerpt: "Has there ever been a cultural sea change as stealthy as the one represented by the rise of interactive entertainment? To anyone who came of age after, say, the introduction of the first Sony Playstation in 1995, video gaming is every bit as central to the pop-entertainment universe as movies or music, while to anyone older than that, it seems like one of those strange customs indigenous to the country of the young, in which the revenge fantasies of lonely teenage geeks are harmlessly siphoned off in some vaguely Dungeons-and-Dragons-like fantasy setting. No one would think of denying that video games are big, but few grown-ups outside the business have an understanding of just how big they've become," the article said. "Globally, the industry earned $28 billion in 2002, and in the United States, it's growing at around 20 percent a year. According to Fortune magazine, Americans will spend more time playing video games this year -- about 75 hours on average -- than watching rented videos and DVD's. A nationwide survey found that the percentage of last year's college students who had ever played video games was 100."
The New York Times Magazine: Playing Mogul

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