back to article RIAA aims lawyers at usenet newsgroup service

The Recording Industry Ass. of America has now attacked a company that provides access to internet newsgroups. Last Friday, RIAA lawyers chucked a federal lawsuit at, claiming that the Fargo, North Dakota newsgroup service "enables and encourages" people to swap copyrighted music. The organization that represents …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well isn't this just lovely...

    The RIAA is great. Running around yelling "MINE! MINE! MINE!" like a toddler wanting his blankey. My answer is to completely quit supporting anything to do with the RIAA in any way. These companies will eventually go under but it may take 50 years. When is the RIAA going to stop its "war on drugs" with mp3's cause it simply will not work. It never has and never will. Give me a reason to pay $20 for a CD and I will. So far, there has been none.

    The RIAA needs to invest in product development and marketing and quit the SCO v. the world crusade they are trying to pull off with music and listeners.

  2. James Condron


    "Today’s hottest way of sharing MP3 files over the Internet is Usenet"

    the RIAA is pretty behind the times, then? Get the feeling this paperwork got started 20years ago, the guy writing it went off to do something to save his soul (ritual suicide, missionary work in Andes, wrote python compiler etc) and they just found it?

  3. Craig Foster

    This is different...

    Running a NNTP server requires you to *CHOOSE* which groups to receive. There was a concious choice by management or sysadmins at some point to include the alt.binaries.* leaf nodes

    I am surprised they didn't go after usenext seeing it's much more visible and is associated with a lot of the p2p sites.

  4. Aubry Thonon


    "Last Friday, RIAA lawyers chucked a federal lawsuit at, claiming that the Fargo, North Dakota newsgroup service "enables and encourages" people to swap copyrighted music"

    <sigh> Frankly, it's the typical RIAA "we can't go after the people who are actually breaking copyright so we'll go after everyone else" move.

    What next? Sue the phone companies for knowingly providing bandwaidth used to share files. After all, those files *do* move around via the phone/adsl lines so therefore the Telcos are also responsible for the violations, right?

    How about sueing the Postal Service for illegal CDs being mailed around? That's how they used to propagate, and the US Postal Service Had to know about it!

    How about suing all arms manufacturers for producing products KNOWN to be used for illegal acts? Or anyone who manufactires knifes and box-cutters? At least one box-cutter was used to hi-jack a plane, so the companies can't feign ignorance, right?

    <double-sigh> Stupid!

  5. The Aussie Paradox

    Wait a minute...

    <quote> claiming that the Fargo, North Dakota newsgroup service "enables and encourages" people to swap copyrighted music. </quote>

    Hold on...Please tell me I mis-read that sentence.

    Does this mean they will go after every Joe Average man-on-the street because his computer is equipped with a floppy drive, USB or CD-R?

    Just because you have equipment which *enables* you to do something, does that mean your a criminal?

    I might have to report every female on the planet, because they have the equipment that enables her to commit prostitution, or every male because he has the equipment that enables him to commit rape.

    When will these Judges, pollies & ISP's stand up to this schoolyard bully and tell them that they should not be treating their customers like they are pirates.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe that stealing someone's property is wrong, but they are no better. They just take lots of money from the customer, and give a small percentage to the artist. Who is the pirate?

  6. Daniel

    Legal pressure? Try resource pressure...

    "I know just from talking to lawyers from recording industry lawyers that they've had their eye on usenet groups for a quite awhile," von Lohmann told The Reg. "My impression is that most commercial ISPs have given up on binary newsgroups under pressure from the entertainment industry."

    Funny, it was my impression that most commercial ISPs stopped carrying the binary newsgroups because they took up massive amounts of bandwidth and disk for a very small number of users. I know that small and medium ISPs were finding it impractical to maintain full newsfeeds 10 years ago, and the situation has only gotten worse as time has gone on.

    @Craig Foster: Actually, they should still be protected by the DMCA. See, as their business is in carrying USENET groups, they can simply say that they carry everything of which they aware has passed the group creation process. This take the question of choice out of their hands altogether.

    Of course, even if they were cherry picking groups, it still wouldn't reduce their DMCA protection one bit - any more than it would reduce the DMCA protection of a website with chat forums that were created with titles chosen by the site, but otherwise left open for the users to post and read as they liked. So, it looks like your argument is flawed coming and going.

  7. Dillon Pyron


    Many years ago I was working at a company that develops computer and computer peripheral chips. At one point, we turned off all the alt.binary groups. Only to have the group working on an audio chip come screaming to us, since they were both receiving and posting audio clips. Of course, that was back in the "good old days", when the only thing out there was home grown music and faked nudes of actresses. (I still have a nice one of Gates McFadden around some where :-)

    I suspect that the RIAA will have a tough time of it. I hope they do.

    And el Reg, you don't have a middle finger to choose from.

  8. kain preacher

    Hide your midi files

    next thing you know they will be going after BBS. Better erase all those 5.25 floppies and whats the command to format RLL hard drive ??

  9. Anonymous Coward

    No more purchases

    Nearly all of my CD purchases in the last 12 years have been based on music I found on the Internet. The radio stations around here are useless for finding new music because they don't dare play anything more than the industry singles.

    Now I won't be able to find new music on Usenet, P2P, or the radio. That leaves me with nothing but a 20 second sound bite, the cover art, and maybe a garble-fi YouTube video as tools to find new music. I need more convincing than that, especially when every music purchase feels like giving money to a criminal organization.

    I'll rip all my older CD into iTunes for another listen. I need something to listen to until the music industry's suicide is complete.

  10. Andrew Tyler

    Difference between alt.binaries.* and everything else?

    I haven't used newsgroups for quite some time (probably ten years or so), but I don't recall there actually being a difference between the binary groups and the rest of the newsgroups aside from the title. From what I recall, everything was ASCII anyways and had to be decoded (uuencode, or something) from a pile of messages. It wasn't a particularly straightforward process, but I suppose that may well have changed since then. Is there a technical difference?

    At any rate, this seems likely to be protected under the DMCA. It will be interesting to see how they go about attacking this one.

  11. Josh

    i'm in ur usenet


    I've long wondered how the RIAA would try and go after usenet. I suppose it's too much to hope for that the recording industry will collapse before these suits result in widespread abandonment of binaries groups.

  12. Adam Williamson

    not exactly shedding a tear

    can't say I'm exactly shedding a tear, since the whole concept of posting binaries on news servers in the first place was essentially an attempt to dodge bandwidth bills by making ISPs shoulder the burden. let's face it, if NNTP had been intended as a file transfer protocol, it would've handled 8-bit encodings. Given that there's no reason any sane person would *choose* to transfer files over NNTP other than in order to rip *somebody* off (whether it's the RIAA, MPAA, their ISP, or some other random acronym), I don't really see that this is a problem.

  13. yeah, right.
    Thumb Down

    RIAA hurts sales

    I've not purchased anything from a member company of the RIAA for a couple of years now. Know what? Haven't missed it a bit. All the good stuff is mostly by independents and the like anyway. The more they sue people, the harder I look at exactly what I'm buying and who I'm supporting when I do.

    It's about time their member companies realized that the actions of the RIAA are hurting them more than helping them. Unfortunately, I think they've lost track of their real purpose, which is to sell more music. It isn't to alienate as many of their potential customers as possible. They've forgotten that the RIAA member companies are NOT the only choice for music out there.

  14. Anigel

    sane person

    "Given that there's no reason any sane person would *choose* to transfer files over NNTP other than in order to rip *somebody* off"

    Rather blinkered and short sighted there old chap.

    Try the difference between 6KBps and just possibly completing your dl in under a week (assuming the seeds don't all disappear) on p2p or 300KB per sec on a very well seeded post and a full out screaming down at your maximum bandwidth rate from news servers.

    Try the fact that despite what it says in the report above most ISPs still run local news servers or at least the last 3 I have worked at did so the traffic is over their local network rather than over p2p with the large transit bills that implies.

    In fact the only reason to use another method is to deliberately throttle the speed users can get your content and to raise the costs of providing said content.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Whats Next?

    FTP? Telnet? Gopher?

    Maybe the RIAA needs to shut down the Internet completely because they will never stop file swapping.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Will they...

    ...sue Microsoft, Apple or Linux developers (or any other OS manufacturer) since it's these OS's that the MP3s are played on?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andrew Tyler

    Everything is still in ASCII and still need to be uuencoded/decoded.

    alt.binaries.* was somewhere to keep ASCII coded binary files in one place for easy finding.

    I don't think there is anything stopping people from moving to other directories.

  18. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @Adam Williamson / NNTP

    "let's face it, if NNTP had been intended as a file transfer protocol, it would've handled 8-bit encodings"

    Better stop using POP3 and SMTP then. No more e-mail attachments for you.

  19. Andy Worth

    Reading between the lines....

    And if you read between the lines.....RIAA decides to focus on a U.S. based company (Dakota according to the story?) instead of a Swedish one (Thepiratebay), as TPB is making them look bad by not giving a shit what they say.

  20. Smell My Finger

    The free music pirates whine again....

    I'm amazed this has took so long. Any decent news server carrying the binary groups is absolutely bloated with MP3s (along with DVDs, warez, etc). The same principles apply to NNTP as they do to P2P; artificial arguments about having some kind of imaginary "right" to post other peoples' material is utterly fatuous.

    The other argument "Just because you have equipment which *enables* you to do something, does that mean your a criminal?" is the same kind of rubbish. If you are stopped by the Police carrying knives, lock picking equipment, crow-bars, push daggers, certain aerosols and solvents, you can be arrested under suspicion of being equipped to commit an offence, they don't even have to be restricted items like firearms. The law can really only say that it's reasonable you're going to use this for breaking the law in the same way that most of the alt.binaries groups really only have an illegitimate purpose. Of course they can be used lawfully but to be honest I've never seen an MP3-based binary newsgroup that had any legally distributable music in it whatsoever. It's really on how probable it is you're going to commit an offence, most men aren't going to rape anyone in the same most women aren't prostitutes (the fact anyone even cited that as an example is pretty fucking warped anyway).

    The idea that we're going to stop buying music because these illegitimate sources are going to be closed down is entirely dishonest. There are dozens of legal sources where you can preview music before purchase whether it's TV, radio, from listening points in record stores where scanning the bar-code from any CD will let you listen to the whole album, from previews on Amazon, iTunes and record company web sites. I would imagine the numbers of illegal downloads that translate into actual CD sales are tiny; anyone that's ever downloaded music will tell you how few CDs they buy. The "I need downloads so I know what CDs to buy" is a dishonest and untruthful scam - who's going to buy the cow when you already get the milk for free?

    There is no doubt the music industry is rotten from the inside-out and needs huge reform. The problem is belligerently breaking the law will not advance this process at all. Expecting your music to be free, the implicit demand of every downloader, is also utterly ridiculous. People have completely lost their way in thinking this should be free because they accept it as normal.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @Adam Williamson

    I presume you feel the same way about transferring files by email, as SMTP isn't designed for file transfer and doesn't handle 8 bit encodings...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MUTE and Tor hidden services

    ...look like the best way forward. That's all I'm saying. Haven't found a really good MUTE servent for Linux, but I may write one if I find time.

  23. gareth

    @Andrew Tyler

    yes the binary groups are still largly posted as ascii

    each file is normally cut up into ~50mb chuncks which are then again spilt into 50+ ascii posts

    as for the not straight forward method of downloading there are apps like newsleecher that will do all the file merging and downloading for you

  24. Luke Wells

    Faster than a speeding bullet?

    "Today’s hottest way of sharing MP3 files over the Internet is Usenet; forget about all the peer-to-peer software applications, which quickly become outdated,"

    Todays hottest way?


    Aside from the fact that Usenet has been going since the 80's, and the fact that probably the first mp3 ever made will have apeared on Usenet many years before any p2p apps took off, just goes to show how out of touch the RIAA is.

    Usenet is hardly the hottest way, its probably the most inconvenient way to share files. The only times I have ever tried to download anything big, there is always 1 part of a 300 part rar file missing or corrupted. Maybe the RIAA have been faking files on there for years?

  25. Colin Jackson


    Beyond the rights and wrongs of file-sharing, however, are we really prepared to have private companies and their lobby groups shut down our channels of communication? Binaries are a big part of Usenet, but more than most other systems that CAN be used for file-sharing, Usenet is used for the LEGITIMATE transfer of information (including binaries). It starts to look like authoritarian censorship after a while - for commercial gain.

    However, unlike P2P, Usenet as a system has some money behind it, and can probably put up a decent legal fight. It's also highly distributed, so hard to shut down if source-servers are simply moved abroad. So I think the RIAA has bitten off more than it can chew this time. We'd better hope so anyway. If they can shut down any system that CAN carry infringing material (and they show every sign of intending to do so) , then say goodbye to the information society.

  26. IanKRolfe

    Much as I hate to...

    ...side with the bottom feeding scum, I feel in this case they have some point. From

    "Shh... Quiet! We believe it’s no one’s business but your own what you do on the Internet or in Usenet. We don't track user activity."

    "Don't forget that with, you get:

    [...snip...] Free movies, pictures, software, music, games, and much more"

    And that's today. From what I remembered, when someone showed me the sight a while back it was covered with references to "gigabytes of free MP3's" and "thousands of movies". It would appear that they've toned down their site (I can't check the Wayback machine, because it doensn't archive

    If you're building a business on letting people make illegal downloads then you should at least have the balls to admit it. How many people would PAY for a usenet service if they weren't downloading MP3's or questionable porn from the binaries groups? If there are any people that pay for's service that DONT use it for illegal downloads, then they are definitely a minority and not the people that are aiming their marketing at.

    On the other hand, how RIAA can claim "damages" from someone distributing for free a product that RIAA willingly give away free (on the radio and through libraries) just seems bizzarre. Sharing MP3's may be ethically wrong, but I believe the RIAA (and similar organisations in other nations) vastly overstate the damage done by fans of music exchanging music. Remember:

    "Home taping is killing music" - no it didn't

    "CD Burners will kill music" - No they didn't

    "MP3's killed the radio star" - No they won't.

    I for one have bought CD's and gone to concerts to see bands that I wouldn't have found out about if someone handn't given me a tape, CD or MP3 of for free. It's called marketting.

    So I guess my point is that are merely profiting from a market that RIAA have created by their asinine insistance on sueing their customers. Ironic?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Right, they've lost my money

    Ok, this has been going on too long, and I'm sick of that immature industry trying to stay in the loop and playing gung-ho to get there.

    I'm going to stick to my torrents and everything, and will only purchase music if it's offered directly from the artist (aka Radiohead).

    This will likely mean I will stop downloading/buying new music for a while as I would not want to cheat artists out of money.

    I gave up on CDs in 1999 at the age of 16 when I fell in love with the flexibility of mp3s. It was my equivalent of your tape-deck mixing/first CDs/first LPs - a real watershed moment.

    I've now been waiting 8 years for someone/anyone to take advantage of this medium to get me music. It's been technically possible since that time but the only providers have been illegal.

    As no-one's taking any initiative, I will penalise them back. No money spent on music until further notice.

  28. spiny norman

    Here we go again

    I'm surprise the Chief Vulture enabled comments on this one as its blatantly going to go round the same "RIAA scumbags" vs "Thieving freeloaders" loop as all the others.

    In this case, couldn't, EasyNews, Usenext and others just pay a levy to the RIAA, which they could pass on as a small increase in their currently quite low subscription rates?

    @Craig Foster: Isn't Usenext based in Germany? Which would make them a harder target.

  29. Cameron Colley

    It's about time these criminals were brought to justice.

    Unfortunately, it's unlikely that the Us "Justice" system will convict the members of the Recording Arse the same way they would another crime syndicate.

    Ah, well, looks like I'll only be buying albums by Radiohead, Marillion and those available through the likes of Bleep in future.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    weren't they asking for it?

    Obviously if promote their service as a file download service, and also promote a news leecher on their front page they are going to attract attention. Most providers I know just sell newsgroup access - not "2 million new files every day!".

    @ Andrew Tyler: Downloading from newsgroups has become much easier indeed. NZB files are one first thing that helps, and there are countless leecher apps. You no longer need to browse newsgroups basically. Browsing newsgroups is actually probably more difficult now.

  31. Giles Jones Gold badge

    8-Bit encodings

    Most news servers do handle 8-bit encodings. Yenc allows for smaller downloads as it uses 8-bit.

    As for the RIAA action, they'd be happy if the Internet simply didn't exist. Media caveman who act like the mafia.

    People will always copy things, it's better someone downloads an mp3 than steals the CD from the shop.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIAA... Quit Winging - you are boring me now!

    RIAA - winging yet again. When are they going to wake up and smell the coffee? The more they target individuals and organisations, the more people will bite back! If they were to get with the program and offer an online facility, with a comprehensive library of tracks, that allowed people to download media directly at a fair price and with a fair percentage of the royalties going to the artist, I for one would be inclined to use it - and I suspect most other people would too.

    It's not Rocket Science!

  33. Michael Fletcher

    MP3 =/= Copyright

    As a sound engineer, I routinely send and receive MP3 files over the internet, using all manner of protocols. They're mostly my recordings or recordings made by friends or colleagues of mine. A lot of them are songs, some are sound effects, some are individual elements of either.

    None of them have had their rights assigned to the RIAA.

    MP3 can be used for purposes other than ripping off the music industry. Someone needs to point that out to them.

  34. Ash

    Another nail in the coffin

    It's just another reason to boycott these major companies.

    I'm not saying I won't pay for my music; i'd LOVE to be able to mail a £10 cheque to Maynard James Keenan or Trent Reznor (Actually, I can with these two. Puscifer's V is for Vagina" is sans label, and I believe "Year Zero" is self published. Awesome.)

    I've always thought that this would be acceptible as a means of licensing music. I'd even send the RIAA a couple of pounds to cover the costs they incur. We all know it doesn't cost £12 per CD to make them even INCLUDING advertising, so stop ripping off musicians and artists like it does.

    Corporate f*ckpigs.

  35. bambi


    Where do these people get thier facts from?

    Oh yeah the rabbit told them after they pulled it from a hat..

    It just shows how on the ball these RIAA fools are, I mean how long has NNTP been around, a wee bit longer than torrents and other p2p me thinks, maybe a decade or 2 longer.....

  36. Erick P
    Thumb Down


    If you guys want to get yourselves a bit familiar with the whole binary posting process.

    I am a regular user of the usenet, and I can tell you, piracy is rampant there. But I doubt the RIAA will get anything out of this.

  37. Graham Jordan


    I'm surprised its taken this long for them to go after newsgroups. At one point when it were a hassle to browse countless newsfeeds for anything half decent it was easy to get yourself on a private torrent tracker or even dear i say it kazaa. These days nzb files make newsgroups so incredibly easy, coupled with ssl encryption your a dam fool to do the dodge in any other form.

    Its a bloody shame, like others i base all my CD purchases on trying before i buy. After falling victim countless tgimes to one decent track played on the radio and 14 other pieces of utter shit theres no way i'll purchase an album for the scanty clad lady on the front of the CD again, its just not worth it.

    Movie piracy? well thats a different ball game all together. 300 in blu-ray format at 36gb... Awesome!!

  38. Anonymous Coward

    binary newsgroups


    You're right, technically there's no difference between binary newsgroups & any others. The distinction is in what the users of the group choose to allow (particularly if the group is 'chartered', which usenet sysadmins will generally enforce to some extent upon request) and in the way the host decides to handle spooling and turnover.

    Text qua text takes up very little storage space, and so a discussion group might reasonably expect that their provider can store the entire history of the group, or at least a very extensive chunk of the ongoing discussion. Binary groups, on the other hand, take up an enormous amount of storage space; no host can manage to store all of that content for long, and so each provider will determine what binary 'retention' they can manage to provide -- anything from a day or two up to a couple of months.

    This sort of purpose-driven retention policy is much easier to implement if the binary groups follow a well-defined nomenclature -- hence the alt.binaries.* standard.

    As for the mechanics of posting or receiving binary files: yeah, it's mostly the same as it's ever been (with a few technical innovationshhhhhhhhhhh such as yEnc) but advances in both server-side and client-side implementation have made the process much more transparent to the end user.

    Joshua Englehart

    Saratoga, CA

  39. Parax
    Paris Hilton

    nntp & smtp

    Isn't NNTP a spin off from SMTP arn't they very similar to each other? both client & Server host based etc??

    How long before hotmail/yahoo/[Mail provider of choice] is fingered for facilitating copying of digital files? 'you mean the files were stored on thier servers?'

    I'm of to mail my audio files to myself, via a mail provider I dont like...

    PS where the Ass of America Icon?

  40. Anonymous Coward

    sad sad sad

    "next thing you know they will be going after BBS. Better erase all those 5.25 floppies and whats the command to format RLL hard drive ??"


    I'll get my coat...

  41. Peter Mc Aulay

    Going after Usenet was only a matter of time

    Maybe someone should whisper into the RIAA's ear that all IP communications are inherently P2P, maybe then when they try to have the whole internet taken down they'll get shot down like they so richly deserve.

    That said, are idiots for having advertised the way they did, it was a incredible faux-pas which deserves to be punished.

  42. Craig Foster
    Thumb Down


    Daniel : "Of course, even if they were cherry picking groups, it still wouldn't reduce their DMCA protection one bit - any more than it would reduce the DMCA protection of a website with chat forums that were created with titles chosen by the site, but otherwise left open for the users to post and read as they liked. So, it looks like your argument is flawed coming and going."

    I don't think a judge will accept that simplified argument. If I choose to mirror (unadulterated) a specific thread or section of a forum whose sole purpose is distribution of illegal music, then I have overstepped the protection of the DMCA. If I blanket mirrored the whole original forum site (without applying any filtering or manual alteration on my part) then the DMCA stands. DMCA requires you to not interfere with the traffic - once you do you're "able to filter" and then become responsible for it's remaining content.

  43. Craig Foster


    Beware what you wish for... someone out there could still have a goatse icon handy o_O

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Utterly unenforcable

    This is pointless, only host a copy of what thousands upon thousands of other NNTP hosts do.

    Plus the groups do contain LEGAL stuff you know, the best they can do is force to filter their feeds. Which will cost a fortune, and the second its attempted every single customer will move to another provider. And so the dance continues, the only ones loving all this is the lawyers.

    If the RIAA think they can shut the Usenet network down like they did Kazaa they are in for a fucking shock.

    It'd be like shutting down the internet one ISP at a time.

  45. Mike Landers

    @Michael Fletcher


    They're mostly my recordings or recordings made by friends or colleagues of mine. A lot of them are songs, some are sound effects, some are individual elements of either.

    None of them have had their rights assigned to the RIAA.


    True. But isn't it true that if you play a piece of music that you wrote in a public place, then the PRS will want money from you in order to "recompense the artist"? And if you are the artist in question, and not a member of the PRS, that is just tough, pal, hand over the money?

    These people simply want to own music, in whatever way, shape or form it takes.

  46. TeeCee Gold badge

    Missed a trick.

    Heads up to the RIAA.

    If someone drives past with their windows open or someone leaves their house windows open I can hear the music that they are playing. This is 'cos sound waves propogate in AIR. The RIAA needs to sue the atmosphere now to prevent it illegally disseminating copyrighted content. They must obtain a cease and desist order and get all air removed from the planet. Now, it's true people need to breath air, but since it is obviously a mechanism for enabling music piracy and this far outweighs any other use we may be getting out of it we're all just going to have to learn to get along without it.

    I'd put a "joke alert" icon here, but you never know............

  47. Anonymous Coward

    This just in...

    ...RIAA executives found on beach waving legal papers at tide; tide refuses to comply. RIAA declared "bunch of Cnuts".

  48. Parax

    @ Craig Foster

    LOL... like the new olymic logo, eh beeb?

  49. Law


    I've been using giganews for years, and recently they upped their retention to 100 days and offer 256bit SSL encryption... best newshost ever!!

    How are they going to go after http based portals then like easynews? Should be fun to see how the RIAA gets wrapped up in this one... how many lies are thrown out in court, how many customers they intend to prosecute, and how many laws they are willing to break in their quest, for example making companies hosting this stuff have to go against their stated privacy policies.

    Fun times indeed! :)

  50. Norman Wanzer

    Usenet Embeded

    NNTP and Usenet have been around since the beginning of the internet (almost). It is unlikely that RIAA will ever be able to shut it down. P2P could have done it before the RIAA got involved just because it was so much easier. Historically Usenet is the most complicated way to share binary files which makes most of the people who use it among the best educated and computer savvy of all internet users.

    So, I suspect that there will be a form of subject coding developed in the near future to hide the content of the binaries posted. Probably something similar as when we used to hide files on the college FTP servers... And just as it use to, the codes will have to change frequently to stay ahead of the admins (RIAA).

    Does Gopher still work?? I thought it had died a few years ago from lack of use.

    Note: Usenet !=

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would of thought...

    that the main reason of going after a company like on a 50/50 chance of winning it would be to get customer records. They'll probably have a good go at getting the records of anyone who has used it to download files that are copyrighted. Then they'll pursue the worst of these individuals to try and put people off using the services for illegal use.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    I keep a loaded 9mm Beretta in my car, can I be arrested for posessing murder technology?

    Ok, so I (legally here in Arizona in the USofA) keep a 9mm Beretta with a laser sight in the center console of my car. It has a magazine in it with 15 rounds. I keep a second magazine in the center console with another 15 rounds.

    So based on having the enabling technology of murder, can I be arrested because I had the ability to murder 30 people? Sounds like that's what Smell My Finger above would argue.

  53. Morely Dotes
    Black Helicopters

    @ Smell My Finger

    "most of the alt.binaries groups really only have an illegitimate purpose."

    OReally? So I suppose the various governments of the world should lock up everyone employed in manufacturing or transporting explosives, firearms, armored fighting vehicles, military aircraft, kitchen knives, flammable liquids (like kerosene, petrol, and aviation fuel), volatile solvents, rat poison, nitrogen fertilizer, plastics, cell phones, radio transmitters and receivers, copper wire, wet- and dry-cell batteries, and every other trapping of civilisation.

    This may come as a shock to you, StinkyFinger, but legitimate purposes for various and sundry things are *not* limited to what your subcretinous alleged intelligence can imagine.

    In other words, the fact that you're too stupid to think of a legitimate purpose does not prevent that purpose from springing into existence - as they all have, most of them before you were old enough to soil your nappies.

    Now go back and report to your owners at the RIAA that you have failed, once again, to make thinking people stop thinking.

  54. John



    Giganews went to 100days early this year, its steadily increased to 200days now.


    There really needs to be a concerted coordination to boycott the RIAA, with some half decent coverage and promotion. Hit the RIAA's little members right where it hurts in the wallet and image to the point where the RIAA lashback costs them far more than any *perceived* loss from sharing.

    History has shown that the music industry wasn't 'killed' by previous technology and won't be 'killed' by this one and its time to say enough is enough.


  55. Joe K

    "Note: Usenet !="

    Actually, thats a point.

    I bet the techno morons at the RIAA heard about "some Usenet thing", typed in, and went "there it is, lets get them!!"

    Fucking morons, when they speak to a techie instead of a lawyer and find out that it'll involve shutting down hundreds of well-paid service providers, instead of a nice central server, they'll quietly shelve this one.

  56. Bryce Prewitt

    Where's the point counter-point from Andrew Orlowski?

    No doubt it's sitting on his desktop waiting to be published. It'll come with all the usual features:

    -Comment disabled

    -Snide, arrogant attitude

    -Closed-minded and business-friendly tone

    -"Biting his thumb" at those who "bite their thumb" at the record industry

    -Labeling any music thief that stands up for their rights an idiot

    -etc. etc. etc.

    God bless you, Andrew. You're better at trolling El Reg than the iPhone posts, except Lester doesn't post Flame of the Week nearly enough anymore and your posts are always comment disabled. What fun is that?

  57. Tim Butterworth

    RIAA to sue Dictionaries

    The RIAA has just announced that it is to smack huge lawsuits on many of the world's largest dictionaries as 'word of mouth' encourages music sharing. One of the most common ways in which copyrighted music is distributed occurs through one person 'telling' another person about the music using 'words'. This 'communication' will then directly lead to one person giving a copy of a song, or 'track' as the kids call them, to another.

    "Without words, there would be almost no illegal music sharing." Said an RIAA spokesperson. "We therefore feel that the world's dictionaries should be forced to change their behaviour so as to limit the use of words, or to redefine words to make their use less ambiguous. For example, the entry for 'share' will be altered to say 'to illegally copy music', the word 'pirate' will change to 'someone who wants terrorists and drugs dealers to kill your children'.

    And if this doesn't stop the illegal file sharing, then an even more extreme series of law cases could begin. An RIAA insider has leaked a memo suggestions that the next target could be the Universe itself. "If the Universe didn't have the fundamental physical properties it does" says this memo "then file sharing would be physically impossible. If the Universe were to change its laws of physics, then the music industry would be protected from all forms of copyright infringement."

    An RIAA spokesperson denies this claim, but tells us that. "The RIAA is looking at targeting Evolutionary Theory as the human ear provides a direct route for the sharing of music files, however, we have so far been unable to find an Amercian jury which will accept that God did not create humans 6000 years ago. And whose going to win a court case against God?"

  58. Kwac

    I cannot tell a lie

    I (sob) downloaded a copyrighted file from usenet.

    I wish to appear in court to allow myself to be judged. (Oh, the shame).

    I ask no more than my fellow conspirators stand alongside me in the dock - chief amongst them being Sony.

    They not only allowed me to burn this file on a DVD with their name on it, but I am also able to watch it on a TV produced by them.

    How I wish they had not placed such temptation in my path.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    RIAA Faggots

    Soon the Indie scene will overtake the Corporate-controlled cookie-cutter Pop garbage flooding the market today and the RIAA will die with it (and hopefully MTV & VH1). The RIAA are not musicians or Record Producers, but they are the leeches in between that steal monies and rights from the artists as well as the public.. Kind of like Sports Agents..

  60. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Uunet pre-dates the Internet

    Usenet and it's predecessor uunet (not the ex-ISP) existed before the Internet as we know it (and even ARPANET).

    Back in the days of modems, there was a network (topoligical net, not physical connections) of UNIX systems which regularly dialed each other up via telephone lines with UUCP (UNIX-to-UNIX Copy Protocol). This was used to exchange mail and newsgroups. This is where sendmail and nntpd came from. It was used extensively by educational users of UNIX to post mods to the UNIX source code (which was available at media distribution costs to University and Collages for non-commercial and non-teaching purposes). My word. How history repeats itself! Bit like Linux then, but a smaller community.

    For those who remember it, mail addressing used to look something like (and I mean something, because my memory is shot) user!host1!host2@host3, where you would specify the complete set of hops to get to the destination system. This was fortunatly simplified by smart hosts like ihlpa (an AT&T run system in Indian Hill, Chicago) and others that used to act as mail routers. It is only recently (last 8 years?) that source-routing of mails was blocked by the default sendmail setup. Email and newsgroup posts often took hours or days to get to their destinations, depending on the polling interval of the systems in the path.

    Ancient history now, but interesting.

    I'll get my coat for being a sad geek.

  61. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I must preview my comments

    UUCP - UNIX to UNIX Copy Program. Damn, damn.

This topic is closed for new posts.