Bits & P.C.s: Wanted: stupid people

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has reportedly served 1,000 subpoenas at the rate of 75 per day against people that have downloaded songs over the Internet through file sharing programs such as Kazaa.

A couple of months ago, a judge ordered Verizon to turn over the names of people that were using their Internet service to trade music files. The ruling does not require any real proof that you may have committed a crime, it only requires that they suspect that you may have violated a copyright law.

The cute thing the RIAA has done is to set up a Web site where you can pay to see if you are going to be served with a subpoena. Anyone stupid enough to go to this site and enter in his or her personal information probably should be in some sort of institution.

If the RIAA goes after all the people that may have violated the copyright laws, a chain-link razor wire fence will be built around our country. Any sound or video recording is probably still under some sort of copyright; even the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which was in the public domain for many years is now back under copyright, which is the reason that it no longer has unlimited airings at Christmas.

There is supposed to be a thing known as “fair use”, which more or less states that you may make a copy if it is for your own use. You aren’t supposed to sell the copy, make copies of the copy or do anything else that would deprive the copyright owner from his royalty. Companies such as Kinko’s or Office Depot will not make copies of copyrighted works and it is even a violation of copyright laws to use the Kodak Picture Maker to copy photos unless you took the picture.

With the courts already crowded, it will be interesting to see how they can handle the tens of millions of cases that the RIAA’s actions may cause. They are even involved in writing the copyright legislation for the new Iraq. On Aug. 1 and 2 the Boycott-RIAA organization will be holding anti-RIAA rallies throughout the country.

In other news, America Online lost another 846,000 customers in the second quarter, or 1.2 million customers over the past year. They are still the nation’s largest Internet provider with 25.3 million subscribers in the U.S. Included in that total are 2.2 million high-speed users.

If you are a subscriber to SBC DSL service, you should call them about your service if your download speed is 768K. For the same $30 per month that you are currently paying, they will double your speed to 1.5M. They will not do this automatically; you have to call them. It takes about a week for them to make the change. all you do is turn your modem off for two minutes, and when you turn it back on, you have the faster speed.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times, e-mail, or call 243-1162.

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