As we reported the other day, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) seems to have been caught being hypocritical in demanding others stop participating in online piracy, yet at least 6 IP addresses assigned to the RIAA have engaged in illegal downloads of copyrighted property.
An RIAA spokesman disputes the claim.
But RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy disputed the report. “This is inaccurate,” he said in a statement provided to CNET via e-mail. “We checked the block of IP addresses allocated to RIAA staff to access the Internet and no RIAA employee was responsible for this alleged use of bittorrent.”
Lamy had an explanation for that that implies that a third-party vendor was responsible for the downloads. “Those partial IP addresses are similar to block addresses assigned to RIAA. However, those addresses are used by a third party vendor to serve up our public Web site,” he said. “As I said earlier, they are not used by RIAA staff to access the Internet.”
This is all a bit confusing. First of all, the addresses are not similar, they are simply assigned to the RIAA. Everyone can look that up here, or here.
Secondly, while we are prepared to believe that RIAA staff didn’t download these files, we are left wondering what mysterious third party did. Also, is it even allowed by the official registry to register a range of IP-addresses to your private organization, and then allow others to use these IPs?
Also, just as a bit of friendly advice, it’s generally not a good idea to let others use your organization’s addresses to browse the internet. This time it’s “just” copyrighted material up for debate, but who knows what else they may be sharing online.
Dead spot on. The RIAA has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar and are trying to pass it off with some nebulous “dog ate my homework” (or “it was the dog that downloaded that”) excuse.
Considering the RIAA’s past of suing tens of thousands of file-sharers for copyright infringement, the excuse is perhaps even more embarrassing than taking full responsibility. When some of the 20,000 plus people who were sued by the RIAA over the years used the “someone else did it” excuse this was shrugged off by the music group’s lawyers. Can these people have their money back now? We doubt it.
For those who don’t think the discussion and concern on the RIAA and the SOPA bill, is important, we need only to look at a case in Germany where a woman was convicted of downloading and sharing a violent movie on hooligans.
The problem is that at the time of the alleged sharing, the woman did not have a computer, an internet account, or the ability to connect to the internet through a wireless device. The woman, who is retired, says she at the time of the alleged infraction, she asleep in her bed.
The rules of law are different in Germany than the US. In Germany the defendant is considered guilty until they can prove their innocence. One would think a retired woman downloading a movie on young hooligans would raise some doubt. The fact she had no way to access the internet to download the file should prove her innocence.
Yet it did not.
A Munich Court found the woman guilty and fined her 650 Euros, or about $850.00 in US dollars.
This is the type of enforcement we will see with the SOPA bill if allowed to pass. There might not be fines without a trial, but the RIAA and the MPAA have managed to get provisions into the bill that do not allow a hearing or presumption of innocence.
Furthermore, we know that many courts are looking to guidance on issues from European countries. It would be a huge mistake for the US to continue to look toward the type of bills and laws in the EU when looking to curtail and outlaw the theft of intellectual property.