RIAA Legal Ruling Could Shut Down The Internet

A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web – and their argument is supported by the U.S. government.

Ray Beckerman, a lawyer representing clients in cases against the RIAA, recently took part in a conference call organized by DefectiveByDesign.org, an organization which opposes DRM Technology, content restricting programs embedded into software that blocks users access to music, movies, software and other forms of digital data.

Accusing the RIAA of “conducting a reign of terror” by bringing lawsuits against defenseless people, Beckerman warned that one case in particular, Electro vs. Barker, has the potential to shut down the Internet completely.

RIAA’s argument is that Miss Baker, a poor nursing student who lives in housing projects, should be prosecuted on the basis that “merely making files available on the internet is in and of itself a copyright infringement.”

Beckerman calls the complaint “a shocking argument because if it were accepted it would probably shut down the entire internet.”

The U.S. government has also filed legal briefs supporting the RIAA’s argument.



  1. puzzeled says:

    Isn’t that a bit over the top? I haven’t heard of a legal case that caused a whole industry to shut down. Can anyone please explain if this is just a joke or what?

  2. Calin says:

    Well, since technically everything you view on the web is a file in one manner or another……sure. If it is criminal to make available any file online, you can’t post pictures on a website….no flash programs, no html files…..nothing. No websites, so no web…..well other than maybe IM programs, not sure how they transmit….I don’t know much about them.

  3. Roc Rizzo says:

    What a load of carp!
    What about copyleft programs, and files. Surely plain text documents in the public domain aren’t subject to this. And who’s to say that *I* can’t personally put up pictures or documents that *I* have created out there in the public domain.
    Just more FUD from the industry. If they think it’s gonna work for me, I have a bridge for sale for them.

  4. Ascii King says:

    If they do ban the internet in the United States, I’ll miss you guys.

  5. Mark says:

    Maybe something more insidious at work here, does the govt support this because they are afraid of the free exchange of ideas that the internet has allowed? I dont believe it cares a whit about music sharing. After all, it seems to be shutting down our other rights and freedoms and if it wasnt for the internet, well lets face it, it aint gonna be on Fox or CNN, we learn about these things here, on blogs like this as well as independent news oriented web sites. It must be taking a heavy financial toll on the mainstream news outlets, and they are not happy.

    It just seems we are heading to increasing censorship and control of what we see and hear and if we dont speak out now, it will be too late because the information wil not be readily accessed and we will all be dumb and happy. Or just dumb.

    Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

    Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

  6. V says:

    It leaves out the part where a lot of big companies are supporting Beckerman. Here’s our problem: the judge probably doesn’t know what either of them are talking about. You can’t have technology-blind people arbitrating legal disputes with huge technical ramifications.

  7. GregA says:

    Or could it be a prison planet article is hyperbolic? Naw. Carry on.

  8. Mark says:

    7. Isnt Alex Jones the guy that actually predicted the World Trade Center attack like a month before it happened? Maybe that was hyperbole also.

  9. Mr. Fusion says:

    I’m calling bull on most of this.

    There are no links to verify any of the statements or any actual text from the briefs, only summaries. Sure it sounds scary, but then so does my mother-in-law look scary.

    It becomes very difficult to accept at face value those that have been screaming “the sky is falling”.

  10. V says:

    It’s not bull. Beckerman DID give this interview to DefectiveByDesign. Here’s a link

    http://www.defectivebydesign.org/de/blog/404

  11. Mark says:

    9. The link is the underlined “conference call” in the prison planet article.

  12. Gig says:

    This is what is wrong with blogs as a news source. Blogs quoting blogs and treating it as news. Do you really think that someone that finishes the article with…

    Deep sixing the entire Internet seems a highly unlikely move in that it would probably derail the world economy and put thousands of huge transnational corporations out of business. An outcome more likely to happen if this ruling is accepted is that it would further pave the way for government regulation and tracking of the Internet, namely “Internet 2,” a completely controlled, surveilled and autocratic cyber police state similar to the Chinese model, whereby website owners have to obtain government permission to run a blog, be approved by a biometric thumb scan just to turn their computer on, and immediately get their Internet access shut off if they misbehave.

    This case is another attack arm of forces in government and the corporate structure that seek to suffocate the last outpost of true freedom of speech and dissent and it must be countered at all costs.

    Is in any way a good place to get your information. I couldn’t find a cite to the actual filing.

  13. J says:

    Fire up the BBS’s boys!

  14. JoJo Dancer says:

    Nothing is going to happen to our Internet. It’s tooooo big a business for lots of biiiiig corporations. Just look at the pron industry. You think all our senators would want it shutdown, they would lose their fix!

  15. Vince says:

    Let them get away with it. That way when everyone gets screwed over and the internet collapses we can kill the RIAA with lawsuits.

  16. Chris says:

    And, in Unix/Linux, everything’s a file!

  17. Hal Jordan says:

    I do not think the U.S. is powerful enough to shut down the entire human race outside its borders. Meaning, an alternative to the internet (maybe a faster one) could be setup in months by Europeans and Asians.


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