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DOJ to prosecute file swappers
ZDNet News ^ | August 20, 2002 | Declan McCullagh

Posted on 08/21/2002 10:34:16 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort

ASPEN, Colo.--The U.S. Department of Justice is prepared to begin prosecuting peer-to-peer pirates, a top government official said on Tuesday.

John Malcolm, a deputy assistant attorney general, said Americans should realize that swapping illicit copies of music and movies is a criminal offense that can result in lengthy prison terms.

"A lot of people think these activities are legal, and they think they ought to be legal," Malcolm told an audience at the Progress and Freedom Foundation’s annual technology and politics summit.

Malcolm said the Internet has become "the world's largest copy machine" and that criminal prosecutions of copyright offenders are now necessary to preserve the viability of America's content industries. "There does have to be some kind of a public message that stealing is stealing is stealing," said Malcolm, who oversees the arm of the Justice Department that prosecutes copyright and computer crime cases.

In an interview, Malcolm would not say when prosecutions would begin. The response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks temporarily diverted the department's resources and prevented its attorneys from focusing on this earlier, he said.

A few weeks ago, some of the most senior members of Congress pressured the Justice Department to invoke a little-known law, the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act, against peer-to-peer users who swap files without permission.

Under the NET Act, signed by President Clinton in 1997, it is a federal crime to share copies of copyrighted products such as software, movies or music with anyone, even friends or family members, if the value of the work exceeds $1,000. Violations are punishable by one year in prison, or if the value tops $2,500, "not more than five years" in prison.

Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), said his industry would "welcome" prosecutions that send a message to song-swappers.

"Some prosecutions that make that clear could be very helpful...I think they would think twice if they thought there was a risk of criminal prosecution," said Sherman, who was on the same conference panel.

Christopher Cookson, executive vice president of Warner Bros. and another panelist, said there was "a need for governments to step in and maintain order in society."

Swapping files in violation of the law has always been a civil offense, and the RIAA and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have the option of suing individual infringers and seeking damages.

But, Malcolm said, criminal prosecutions can be much more effective in intimidating file-swappers who have little assets at risk in a civil suit. "Civil remedies are not adequate...Law enforcement in that regard does have several advantages," Malcolm said. "We have the advantage, when appropriate, of opening up and conducting multi-jurisdictional and international investigations.

"Most parents would be horrified if they walked into a child's room and found 100 stolen CDs...However, these same parents think nothing of having their children spend time online downloading hundreds of songs without paying a dime."

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, said he was skeptical about the view that peer-to-peer piracy should be a criminal offense. "If we have 70 million people in the United States who are breaking the law, we have a big issue."

The DOJ already has used the NET Act to imprison noncommercial software pirates, which software lobbyists hailed as "an important component of the overall effort to prevent software theft."

During his confirmation hearing in June 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft told Congress that "given the fact that much of America's strength in the world economy is a result of our being the developer and promoter of most of the valuable software, we cannot allow the assets that are held electronically to be pirated or infringed. And so we will make a priority of cybercrime issues."

The letter from Congress complains of "a staggering increase in the amount of intellectual property pirated over the Internet through peer-to-peer systems." Signed by 19 members of Congress, including Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., the letter urged Ashcroft "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Technical
KEYWORDS: justiceriaamp3
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"Lengthy prison terms" eh? I got a feeling we may need a whole lot more jails real soon.
1 posted on 08/21/2002 10:34:16 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: Leroy S. Mort
check out Freenet, the secure, anonymous, strongly-encrypted internet. It's free, it's peer-to-peer, and it works
2 posted on 08/21/2002 10:38:13 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Biden and Feinstein are FOR this? That gives me just one more reason to be against it.
3 posted on 08/21/2002 10:38:51 AM PDT by Dead Corpse
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Boycott Hollyweird until it quits trying to intimidate Real America!
4 posted on 08/21/2002 10:41:03 AM PDT by glc1173@aol.com
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I'll believe it when I see it...

I have a feeling this is just some propaganda shoveled out by the Justice Department to appease the recording industry.

Oh they may shut down a couple people running servers with 20,000 songs on them as an example. There is no way they would risk the political fallout of mass arrests of teenagers and college age kids. Remember we live in the society were the "children" can do no wrong.

5 posted on 08/21/2002 10:45:11 AM PDT by apillar
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I agree. Next, we must lobby the gubmint to crack down on public libraries which lend out books without paying royalties to the publishers; after that we can start raiding the illegal singing of Happy Birthday at birthday parties, and we can proceed to the kindergarten poem recitations.
6 posted on 08/21/2002 10:45:36 AM PDT by Revolting cat!
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Hey, our DOJ can't jail the traitors at Loral, nor the Lynx enviro-criminals, nor look into the IRS audits against Republicans, nor the collectiing of FBI files by the previous administration, nor look into the current Saudi funding of terrorists, yet they can snap to attention for Hollywood, and crucify a reporter for being GIVEN, by a government insider, a small swath of frabric from a downed plane in order to test it.

Hey Aschcroft! Better get back to important things like covering up the boobs on the rest of those statues around D.C.

7 posted on 08/21/2002 10:45:48 AM PDT by Wm Bach
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To: Leroy S. Mort
ASPEN, Colo.--The U.S. Department of Justice is prepared to begin prosecuting peer-to-peer pirates, a top government official said on Tuesday.

They'd better be prepared for a gunfight on several occasions. It will come to that.

8 posted on 08/21/2002 10:47:02 AM PDT by Centurion2000
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To: Leroy S. Mort
My kids won't be happy to hear this.
9 posted on 08/21/2002 10:48:25 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Leroy S. Mort
The DOJ will probably pattern the new War on Music like the grossly incompetent War of Drugs.

God help us.

10 posted on 08/21/2002 10:49:31 AM PDT by wcbtinman
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: WindMinstrel
check out FREENET

The problem isn't interception while you are exchanging files; it is the no-knock search to check your computer for too many games and MP3s.

12 posted on 08/21/2002 10:51:52 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Leroy S. Mort
More proof that our government has degenerated into nothing more than the enforcement arm of the media (Hollywood, RIAA, MPAA, etc.).
13 posted on 08/21/2002 10:53:23 AM PDT by Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy
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To: WindMinstrel
check out Freenet, the secure, anonymous, strongly-encrypted internet. It's free, it's peer-to-peer, and it works
Damn traitors. No Real American should have any problem with Our Government keeping an eye on everything we do. It's only to protect us, after all. [/Sarcasm]

-Eric

14 posted on 08/21/2002 10:55:13 AM PDT by E Rocc
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To: Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy
Tell the man, and his boss, what you think: http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/contacts.html

I did.

15 posted on 08/21/2002 11:11:48 AM PDT by eno_
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To: WindMinstrel
Two things:

1) My tax money is spent to help the RIAA fight file swapping. Ergo, I am paying these record companies for rendering no service to me, indirectly, through taxes. I have no problem downloading songs now, because I paid them for something

2) In the 19th century, there was a burgeoning industry involved with shipping ice from the arctic to tropical regions, to preserve food. Refridgeration killed that whole industry. The ice shippers were not interested in marketing refridgeration, or evolving with it. They tried to quash it.

The same thing is happening here. The world has moved on. The record companies want to PASS LAWS so that they don't have to move on with the world.

All they need to do is cut the prices of CDs and allow file sharing. People would flock to have 'hard copy' or 'official copies' of songs they downloaded from the internet. But at $16-$20 a pop, who would bother?

But they don't want to change. They want to hold the world in statis to match their already successful business plan.

/rant
16 posted on 08/21/2002 11:13:13 AM PDT by Goodlife
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I have no problem with this. As long as that is the primary focus of the DOJ. I mean, why pursue Ken Lay, hell, he only stole billions. Let's go after the kids, they can't afford mega lawyers.
17 posted on 08/21/2002 11:56:51 AM PDT by Nuke'm Glowing
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I have no problem with this. As long as that is the primary focus of the DOJ. I mean, why pursue Ken Lay, hell, he only stole billions. Let's go after the kids, they can't afford mega lawyers.
18 posted on 08/21/2002 11:57:15 AM PDT by Nuke'm Glowing
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To: Goodlife
their Actual biggest Fear is that more established artists, will imtitate Jimmy Buffet, and eschew the record companies altogether. BY upping THEIR share of the profits less copies need to be sold....forcing a rapid decentralization of who controls production.IT also opens the door for more acts to be heard on a wider basis...
19 posted on 08/21/2002 12:12:21 PM PDT by hobbes1
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To: E Rocc
I thought it was to protect the Children....LOL
20 posted on 08/21/2002 12:13:19 PM PDT by hobbes1
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To: wcbtinman
The DOJ will probably pattern the new War on Music like the grossly incompetent War of Drugs.

I wonder if that'll include 4 AM incursions by ninjas clad in black sporting MP5 submachineguns?

21 posted on 08/21/2002 12:23:47 PM PDT by FormerLurker
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To: Leroy S. Mort
It is very very clear from this article that both the Government and the RIAA believe that it is OK to selectively prosecute and imprison people to "send a message" to the sheeple. The law that will be invoked in this case, however, has nothing to say about sending messages and everything to say about going to jail if you trade mp3s over the Internet.

My question for the Members of Congress is this:

ARE YOU WILLING TO IMPRISON ALL VIOLATORS OF THE LAWS YOU PASS?

If the answer is yes, then start building prisons for millions of people and then answer this question:

ARE YOU WILLING TO SEND YOUR TEENAGE SON OR DAUGHTER TO JAIL FOR TRADING MP3S?

If the answer to this is yes, then I want to have a few words with your kids.

If the answer is no to either question then get rid of the law, since you have no intention of enforcing it.

22 posted on 08/21/2002 12:33:40 PM PDT by InterceptPoint
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To: InterceptPoint
But cant you see the nifty Legislation By Bumpersticker slogan Now?

Swap an MP3, Face down an MP5


Complete with the Donato photo, replacing Elian with a Jewel Case.
23 posted on 08/21/2002 12:40:03 PM PDT by hobbes1
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To: Leroy S. Mort
It's just about music, everybody does it. ;-)
24 posted on 08/21/2002 1:25:07 PM PDT by an amused spectator
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Bump
25 posted on 08/21/2002 2:52:10 PM PDT by facedown
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Nuclear terrorists? Too tough to catch. Plus they speak Farsi.

Cocaine kingpins? Why, then they would stop donating to Congress!

Shifty CEOs? Screw those little-guy investors. They should have known better.

Serial rapists? The women had it coming. Besides, we had one of those as a President already.

14 year old kids sharing a pop song? KILL THEM! TAKE THEIR COMPUTER AND THEIR PARENTS HOUSE! GUN THEM DOWN IN A MIDNIGHT NO-KNOCK RAID!!!

Amerika: The Soviet Union, minus the snappy uniforms.

26 posted on 08/21/2002 3:56:57 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Why don't they do something good for America like going after the crooked politicians.
27 posted on 08/21/2002 4:00:27 PM PDT by Militiaman7
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Yawn...

They can try.

28 posted on 08/21/2002 4:08:10 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: Revolting cat!
I hope you realize that every letter in the post you made is registered and copyrighted.

The Feds have been notified and are on the way.tm

29 posted on 08/21/2002 4:42:14 PM PDT by Tennessee_Bob
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Amazing. Twenty nine posts so far and everyone seems to think that stealing is now perfectly justified because either (a) it's just so easy, or (b) the record companies charge too much, or (c) the feds can't tell me what to do.

Give me a break. Stealing is stealing. If mobs of teenagers in the inner city were smashing store windows and grabbing CDs, we'd be all over the cops to bust them. But apparently, for some reason I just can't see, it's OK to download all the music you can through the internet.

Please, I understand your anti-government principles, and I share them on most things. But there's a difference between limited government and anarchy. The government does have some legitimate roles, and enforcing the law against large scale (or any scale) theft is one of them.

30 posted on 08/21/2002 5:22:41 PM PDT by tdadams
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To: glc1173@aol.com
I think you are right. Most of this BS is coming out of screwedupville, Hollywood.

But, it sure makes the Bush administration look heavy handed! YIKES! We don't need more of that! Every time you turn around, the guys and gals that work for Bush/ US are handing down some new heavy handed law. Its got me on edge because I don't see enough people being concerned about it.

I for one will not buy another thing the freaks in Hollywood are pushing. Nope. No more. Thats it. Im very sice have this. Hollywood cant create that many good products, so theyve joined with lawyers to make up for lost revenue.

And, can you imagine how this will kill off the net finally and for good?? All under our presidents watch, I might add.

GW simply needs to call of the dogs before he gets labeled a n authoritarian, or something like that.

31 posted on 08/21/2002 5:31:00 PM PDT by AndrewSmith
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To: Wm Bach
its a great point to make that very unfortunately, the Justice Dept has decided that clinton and clinton didn't do anything worth looking into.......just ignore them and they will go away.
32 posted on 08/21/2002 5:33:31 PM PDT by AndrewSmith
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To: tdadams
OK answer me this. The record companies and artist lobbied our Congress to allow them (collectivly) to charge all people who purchase CD's the cost of the copy they were immediatly going to create on cassette. So every CD you have purchased so far has already included the cost of another if you copied it or not. If you are old enough to remember LP's they were about $7 a copy at the begginning of the CD changover. Why did a CD which cost as much or less to produce suddenly cost $15. I remember listening to Frank Zappa, Barf Brooks, and a host of other talk about it on CSPAN. Right then I knew that the game was rigged and they were STEALING money from everyone who purchased a CD. So with the congress aiding and abbetting the recording industry they have stolen much more from us then we are stealing from them. Doesn't make it right, but is justice if you believe that "whats fair is fair."
33 posted on 08/21/2002 5:39:31 PM PDT by Winston Smith
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I'm a bit surprised no one is speaking up for property rights. Are people opposed to the concept of copyrights? Just because millions of people are violating copyright law doesn't make it right. What does it teach kids when people turn a blind eye to it, or even laugh at how they are screwing the record companies (ie big business)? Let the record companies charge whatever they want and let free market forces take over. The internet offers artists a potential alternate means of distribution. If the record companies don't add value, I believe the market can adapt over time (in a legal manner).
34 posted on 08/21/2002 6:06:28 PM PDT by Soren
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To: Goodlife
All they need to do is cut the prices of CDs and allow file sharing.

Or allow paid up file downloads from their own sites. I've often wished I could just log onto the recording companies sites and download just the pieces I want for a reasonable price each. Maybe fifty cents a song? I don't know what the economics of it are. What would it cost on a per song basis for them to just download to us and make as much profit as they are now? I think most people would rather pay than pirate if the cost was what they considered reasonable. It seems to work for some software companies anyway.

35 posted on 08/21/2002 6:10:14 PM PDT by templar
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To: WindMinstrel
Not one more additional person should be hired by the feds to help provide 'homeland security" until every last agent working this "problem" is pulled away and put to work on more pressing matters like thwarting Al Qaeda attacks.
36 posted on 08/21/2002 6:21:09 PM PDT by FreedomCalls
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To: Leroy S. Mort
"There does have to be some kind of a public message that stealing is stealing is stealing,"

Doesn't it depend on what the definiton of the word "is" is?

37 posted on 08/21/2002 6:26:41 PM PDT by Terriergal
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I got a feeling we may need a whole lot more jails real soon.

Yeah so we can house all those software pirates next to the Joe Camel smokers...

38 posted on 08/21/2002 6:27:38 PM PDT by Terriergal
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To: WindMinstrel
I find it humorous that they think they can catch people trading copyrighted material when they can't even catch Child Pornographers... Freenet is going to be really scary considering the Child Porn industry.
39 posted on 08/21/2002 6:29:34 PM PDT by Terriergal
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To: an amused spectator
That's a perfect line! *chuckle*
40 posted on 08/21/2002 6:30:21 PM PDT by Terriergal
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To: tdadams
Easy. Easy, because it is oh so easy to condemn your Fellow FReepers and millions of others to hell. How easy, isn't it?! But, guess what? There is already a crowd occupying that vast moral high ground.

I don't have the answers either, but what do you think of this? Someone just gave me a CD by a long dead bluesman. From what I can tell they paid close to the $18.00 list (the fools!) price. Who gets the money? What was the cost of producing, releasing and shipping the CD to a record store? (Costs of marketing a 1940s bluesman? You've got to be kidding!) And finally, is stealing from thieves morally, ethically OK? We know what the religious authorities would say. What would the philosophers say? Who's stealing?

Somehow, for better or worse, because no physical tangible property is involved, these pirate millions don't believe they are stealing. And many think that buying a reproduction of this "art" shouldn't be any different or priced any differently than buying a postcard reproduction of Mona Lisa. Instead it's more like buying a framed poster size reproduction of the painting. Are they wrong? I dunno. Just some things to consider.

41 posted on 08/21/2002 6:43:28 PM PDT by Revolting cat!
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To: Revolting cat!
If they don't want us to hear it, don't put it on the radio. If they give it to me in my home or car, it's mine to copy. I may want to hear it again on my terms, at the time I decide.
42 posted on 08/21/2002 6:50:54 PM PDT by Lower55
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To: Winston Smith
I knew that the game was rigged and [record companies and artists] were STEALING money from everyone who purchased a CD.

How can you steal from someone who makes a willing purchase? If you feel like the price is a ripoff, then don't buy a CD, but don't justify stealing the music and say it's OK because the price of a CD has risen more than you like.

43 posted on 08/21/2002 6:53:25 PM PDT by tdadams
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To: Revolting cat!
Just think of all the "One Hit Wonders". These people have around nine other songs on an album that were forced onto buyers and they turned out to be garbage. Seems like 90% of the money was stolen by these "One Hit Wonders".
44 posted on 08/21/2002 6:55:25 PM PDT by Lower55
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To: tdadams
If you feel like the price is a ripoff, then don't buy a CD,

You're making the case for PTP.

45 posted on 08/21/2002 6:57:49 PM PDT by Lower55
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To: Revolting cat!
it is oh so easy to condemn your Fellow FReepers and millions of others to hell.

I didn't realize I'd done this, nor did I realize I even had the power to condemn millions to hell. Who knew?

is stealing from thieves morally, ethically OK?

Who are you calling thieves, the record companies? Last I checked the free market system we embrace in this country allows a business to charge what a willing buyer will pay. You think they charge too much, fine, don't buy their product, but don't try to justify stealing it. That's thug thinking. Or maybe we should just regulate the price of CDs. I know how much Freepers just love more government regulation.

46 posted on 08/21/2002 7:01:04 PM PDT by tdadams
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To: tdadams
Educate yourself my friend on the practices of the entertainment industry in the past 100 years. They stole and stole and robbed and robbed and are robbing and stealing from artists to this very day. That's why I (and many others) call them thieves.
47 posted on 08/21/2002 7:04:07 PM PDT by Revolting cat!
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To: Lazamataz
Sen. Joseph Biden signs the NET Act to prevent copying. Now THATS funny . . .
48 posted on 08/21/2002 7:08:34 PM PDT by BraveMan
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To: tdadams
Name one artist that:
1. hasn't been screwed by a record company
2. isn't being screwed by a record company
3. isn't going to be screwed by a record company
and I'll name one that hasn't tried to, or signed a recording contract.
49 posted on 08/21/2002 7:12:47 PM PDT by Lower55
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To: Leroy S. Mort
I wonder just where RIAA would lock up 70 million people.
50 posted on 08/21/2002 7:15:07 PM PDT by goldstategop
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