TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Mother Decides to Fight Downloading Suit on Her Own

Re: Mother Decides to Fight Downloading Suit on Her Own

William Warren (
Sat, 31 Dec 2005 14:13:25 -0500 wrote:

> Jim Fitzgerald wrote:

>> If the downloading was done on her computer, Santangelo thinks it may
>> have been the work of a young friend of her children. Santangelo, 43,
>> has been described by a federal judge as "an Internet-illiterate
>> parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo, and who can barely
>> retrieve her email." Kazaa is the peer-to-peer software program used
>> to share files.

> Interesting newsgroup attitude here:

> In the problem with the kid who porned himself, people said it was the
> parent's fault for not knowing what the kid was doing. But here
> apparently it's perfectly ok for the parent to be lnternet illiterate
> and not know what the kids were doing.

> We can't have a double standard.

Of course we can! Double standards are one of the lubricants that keep
the machinery of society spinning!

I think double standards are essential to our well-being, since they
allow for simple answers to complicated questions - questions asked by
children not yet emotionally prepared for the "true" responses that
you infer are needed.

> I think this case and the other illustrates the dangers of an
> unbridled Internet. We can argue that the motorist is ultimately
> responsible for how he drives the car, but that doesn't stop us from
> spending billions on external safety devices to protect the motorist
> from his own driving errors. The truth is that motorists do drift
> across the center line and that's why we have medial strips to protect
> against head-on collisions, for example.

Well, technically, if you want to be exactly correct, the government's
responsibility is to protect a motorist from the errors of _other_
drivers. Protecting a citizen from _his own_ folly is impossible,
especially in a representative democracy such as the U.S.

> There are no seat belts, medial strips, speed bumps, or anything else
> on the Internet. We have people committing crimes and not even
> realizing it.

Do I sense a concern that your children might drift over to the other
side? ;-J.

> Regarding this music download case, did the PC come equipped with the
> software needed to download the music?

That's very unlikely.

> If so, why did the PC mfr provide such a tool? Why didn't the
> music's owner protect its site from unauthorized downloads?
> Why didn't the ISP warn the downloads were illegal?

They didn't, cart before horse, and they always do: read your Terms of

> How did the PC user -- presumably the "innocent stupid kid" -- know
> where to go and how to download the illegal music?

His friends told him on the school bus -- which is where children learn
about _REAL_ life :-).

> Maybe the kid isn't so innocent and is indeed a thief. Would we
> let the kid get off free if he stole a carton of records from a
> music store?

Innocence and thievery are not mutually exclusive -- read Oliver Twist
-- and the punishment for stealing a carton of records (how would a
child get access to a whole carton? Why would he want one?) would most
likely be more fitting to the crime than the RIAA's extortionate
demands for thousands of dollars as compensation for _copying_ a
copyrighted work.

I'll cut to the chase -- the P2P battle is just the trampled grass
surrounding the ring in which the industrial elephants from the old
and the new entertainment worlds are doing battle.

The old world entertainment companies, panicking at the thought of
losing their choke hold on the production and distribution of enter-
ainment media, are waging a FUD campaign to dissuade you and me from
using our computers to bypass their monopoly on the management of
popular culture.

The copying issue is a red herring: copying has always been, and
always will be, a marginal cost to the media giants. What they're
_REALLY_ afraid of is that the kid who copies a song by some
overpriced, over-hyped, and overdressed "star" will eventually pick up
a musical instrument, turn on a microphone, and undercut the carefully
timed, tightly coordinated, and incredibly profitable explosion of the
Next Big Thing(TM).

After all, the kid who trades music from other artists might -- dare
we think it? -- decide to create and distribute his own works in the
same way, and _THAT_ is what the RIAA is afraid of: what good is a
record industry if no one uses records? What good is an industry
association if there's no industry to associate with?

The new world elephants, i.e., the Linux/Apple/Intel/MS alliances that
are used to continual change and frequent renegotiations and
constantly reinventing themselves, mindful of the impossibility of
competing with the Asian Govopoly in the production of dedicated-
function devices such as CD or DVD players, are encouraging end users
to employ general-purpose computers as distribution nodes that will
bypass the studio coke heads and their vicious and ultimately doomed
attempts to arrogate a 70% tax on all forms of entertainment purchased
in the industrial world.

Pass the peanuts: it's about to get interesting out here on the grass.

Copyright (C) 2005 William Warren. All Rights Reserved.
Pat can publish this, but anyone else has to pay me royalties. I like
royalties. They're like an annuity that never stops. I think everyone
should copyright everything all the time and never give away anything
for free.
(Filter noise from my address for direct replies)

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