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April 12, 2003

Why not sue Google, ya pansies!

The RIAA lawsuit against 4 college students barely registered on my radar. Ho hum, a bunch of college kids caught sharing an egregious number of MP3’s, I thought.

On closer examination, the “crime” of which these fellows stand accused is … the creation of a search engine. What each of them did was create software which indexed the files available as Windows (SMB) FileShares on their campus networks, and thereby provide a searchable web interface for tracking down that Linux ISO image or a term paper on the French Revolution.

In other words, they were doing what Google does, but for SMB FileShares on a LAN, rather than for for the whole WWW. Even without their search engines, a Windows XP user could still search the University LAN for SMB shared files, just a lot less efficiently.

Since the DMCA has a specific exemption for search engines, you gotta wonder what the RIAA hopes to achieve. (Reading this critique of the complaint against one of the students, Daniel Peng of Princeton, leaves little doubt in this layman’s minds as to how the case should be decided.)

The obvious answer is that they are engaged in pure intimidation. Go after some poor, scared-s***less students and win, lose or (most likely) settle, you strike fear in the hearts of their filesharing classmates. After all, if this is what happens to the author of a search engine, imagine what might happen to someone engaged in actual copyright-infringement.

Oh, and if you want to track down some Britney Spears MP3’s, why don’t you try here.

Posted by distler at April 12, 2003 12:22 AM

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3 Comments & 3 Trackbacks

Read the post Will the RIAA Sue Google?
Weblog: Freedom to Tinker
Excerpt: Recently, the RIAA sued four college students for alleged copyright violations, including contributory infringement. The contributory infringement claims are based on assertions that the students ran search engines that can be used to find infringing f...
Tracked: April 14, 2003 9:52 AM

Better search

Instead of

britney mp3

which includes a lot of results without actual downloadable mp3s, try this search:

britney mp3 “index of” “last modified”

Posted by: Jesse Ruderman on April 14, 2003 10:32 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Better search

Excellent improvement!

And, lest we forget, the RIAA should sue Microsoft too, for building the same search capability into Windows XP.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on April 14, 2003 10:55 AM | Permalink | Reply to this
Read the post Copyright Disclaimer Sufficient?
Weblog: WombatNation
Excerpt: Freedom to Tinker: Will the RIAA Sue Google? Ed Felten comments on Jacques Distler's post about the similarity of a search engine such as Google to the tools developed by the four college students who are being pursued by the RIAA's Uruk Hai legal team...
Tracked: April 16, 2003 4:47 PM
Read the post riaa vs. google?
Excerpt: i'm so glad i found this article: Recently, the RIAA sued four college students for alleged copyright violations, including contributory...
Tracked: April 21, 2003 12:24 PM

Why not sue use Scratcharound instead of Google

The way to hurt them is not do play their game.

Posted by: Richard on September 15, 2005 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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