"Napster raids" or "How I got my front door kicked in by Jack-Booted thugs"

I’ve heard rumors about foriegn governments raiding homes that are using Napster. Also, I’ve heard it’s started in California.

I know I sound like an idiot asking, but is this happening? I’m pretty good with computers, and if I recall when signing up with napster it didn’t even offer a places to put your address. Plus, even if they did offer an address spot, who’s gonna put there real address?

So, if said raids are in fact occuring, how could they find the address of the users? at least in the US, they would have a lot of legal trouble getting people’s info from their ISP.

Anyhow, I just want to have some sort of proof to hand over to my friend that G.W. Bush isn’t gonna bust into her house and arrest her for using the big “N”.



Ever heard of an IP address? You’re assigned one everytime you log onto the internet. It can be traced to your ISP which has your real info. And no, the government would have absolutely zero legal trouble getting your address from your ISP.

Do you know which countries, exactly? It depends whether they’ve legally ruled against Napster, surely (which isn’t the case here in the UK, certainly).

Pardon my bluntness, but this sounds like a load of crap. Does the OP have a link to an article or firsthand account of this happening? Sounds like nonsense anti-Big-Brother rhetoric.

Ok, I am 99.999% sure that there is no way you can get in trouble for using Napster. The only way that they would be able to prove it, is to bust into your house, and look at the MP3s stored on your computer. Then they need to go through your CD, tape, and record collection to see what songs you don’t already own (because buying said CD, tape, or record you also buy a certificate to duplicate that media any way you want without distributing for profit. This is the “fair use” law.)

So, unless you’re maintaining a server of thousands of MP3’s and are connected to all the Napster servers all the time…you’re safe. :smiley:

Actually, I read somewhere this weekend (CNN.com? CNET.com?) that this happened in Belgium, and that it was not exclusively for Napster violations, but for that and other software piracy acts.

Still, it’s a scary precedence.

Absolutely 100% dead wrong. Buying a CD does NOT give you the right to duplicate it at all. Read the law. Alternatively, show me where that certificate is. (The actual legal language, I mean, not “Gee, I heard that on the Internet” Hint: You can’t. It doesn’t exist.)

Also go look up “fair use” under the law. There is no cut and dried definition, but it’s pretty clear that copying an entire song cannot be considered fair use, since it is the entire work.

Finally whether you copy for profit or not it totally irrelevant and has no standing in copyright law.

Legally, all the copyright holder has to do is show the pirated material was on your hard drive without their permission. Since they never gave permission to anyone to make MP3s, you’re in a lot of financial trouble.

As far as a scary precedence, well, if you’re going to break the law, you’re going to have to expect someone might call you on it. Simple as that.

Um…look…I’m a knee-jerk liberal and certainly no fan of Dubya and his administration but exactly why do you think the government would give a toss about your (or anybody’s)downloaded MP3 collection?

It’s the record companies who have asked that Napster’s activities be scrutinized with an eye toward infringement of copyright laws. The courts have done so (that is their purpose for existing, after all), determined that “yes, due to economies of scale and the potential for abuse, the copyright holders should be compensated”. So, what was a free service will now require a nominal fee. Big deal.

Of course, until this actually occurs people are going to try to download as much as they can for free.

Frankly, I’d be more worried about David Geffen bustin’ down my door. God help you if that happens, that man’s a weasel!

Actually, it does. Patronize me all you want…but go to <insert search engine here> and type in “Fair Use Law”, and you’ll find plenty of Law School websites expaining the rule. To paraphrase one of them:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright…[/qoute]

So, like you said, sure, it’s a vague law, which means there are legal loopholes from keeping John Q. Napsterite out of jail for copyright infringement.

“Well, I own these CDs and wanted to write critiques on the music, but prefer to do it all right from my computer…”

Looking at another site I found, Stanford’s law school specifically:

So, again, the Fair Use Law, as unclear as it is, does specifically allow personal “temporary” copying of the media, as long as it’s not distributed for profit, etc.

Yup, you’re right. Only the copyright holders can start the investigation and press the charges. Look at Lars Ulrich. Sure they can go and attack their own fans. What a smart promotional campaign! Hold a concert specifically for your Napster/MP3 fans…when they show up, haul the bastards away!!! Great idea!

I know I’m being a smart-ass…but I’m only proving a point that the Fair Use law not only protects the artists, but also, indirectly protects the consumers, too. What artist is gonna sue their own fans for enjoying their music?!

Based on personal opinion, I think Lars Ulrich needs to have his rectum surgically removed from around his head. What kind of idiot tries to piss off the people who have supported his entire career?

I mean, I am not a Metallica fan…therefore I don’t download Metallica songs. So, is it pretty safe to say that most people who do download Metallica songs are Metallica fans? And these same Metallica fans are the ones paying $20 for a CD, $35 for a Tshirt, $50 for a concert ticket…and what do they get for being such loyal high-paying fans? A subpoena. Talk about the pinnacle of “Selling Out”. Now it’s not “How much can we get the fans to pay”…it’s “How much can we make 'em pay”!

It’s sickening…

Looking around on the Internet, I found an article from September that says, in part:

Unfortunately, that’s all the article says about the OU student, and what’s there is quite vague. Still, the reference to the “Napster-like program”, as well as the fact that the RIAA tipped off police about him indicates to me that he (allegedly) was doing more than just downloading some files off Napster.

On the other hand, here’s another article on the topic, that doesn’t mention any self-made program and implies that the student was arrested just for downloading files. However, it’s even vaguer than the first article regarding the specifics of the case.

I tried finding some better articles but didn’t have much luck. Maybe someone else can find some facts about this case.

Before Napster (and during and after it), running FTP servers loaded with MP3s was (is and will be) a popular pastime at universities and other places with high-speed network connections, like large corporations.

Perhaps this was the case in Oklahoma. I can see a journalist describing an FTP client as a “Napster-like” program.

Finding out the physical address of a Napster user would be no problem whatsoever for the police.


As the OP (You down with OPP :D) I’ll say that I have no articles, hence I said rumor. Also, I am fairly skiddish about the ever reaching authority of the Feds. I was going for a Bullwinkle-esk subject, and I thought the Jack Booted Thug bit had a nice ring to it.

However, I don’t feel that there are black helicopters flying over my house.

Finally, my friend had mentioned Germany as the foreign country that was raiding homes when she told me this (I should have mentioned that in the OP).

My Lily has been Gilded

Ahh, I knew I read about this on CNN.com over the weekend:

So, I was right (look at my first post in the thread). It did happen. It did happen in Belgium. It wasn’t necessarily related to Napster exclusively, however.

As Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be the king!”

Well, I for one, am the first to admit that I don’t know what the copyright law says, for sure. However, it seems clear to me that if you’re going to shut down Napster, then you also have to ban the sale of blank audio and video cassettes, as well as CDR media, and that TiVo technology clearly enables users to infringe on copyrights, as well… Also, if any “Jack-Booted thugs” go kicking down the doors of Napster users, then, to avoid any hint of a double standard, they need to kick down a few doors of VCR users, as well.

As far as I can tell from reading the copyright laws, and granted and already acknowledged, I’m no expert, there’s no legal distinction between someone who downloads “Master of Puppets” from Napster and someone who tapes “Die Hard” from HBO.

I believe there is. Someone (HBO in this case) paid for the rights to broadcast the film, and it is legal to time shift the film for your own use. Also, every video tape you buy pays a small fee to the powers that be.

No one paid for the rights to broadcast anything on Napster, and no small fee is being paid when you purchase a hard drive.

The courts have ruled that it (Napster) facilitates breaking copywright laws. So yes its illegal. Whether I agree with it or not, the average joe-schmoe user that uses napster for himself and his own enjoyment is -not- going to get his door busted down. The cops, FBI, CIA, Dept of Interior, IRS, Neo-Nazis, the President and Don King all have better things to do than look at your Hard Drive.

I would be slightly paranoid though if I was running a website myself offering downloads do all comers. The industry may pay a bit more attention to you. They have bigger fish to fry than you.


Agreed, but that has nothing to do with your right to make an unauthorized copy of the movie.

I’m not sure that is entirely correct. The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 is the piece of legislation that I think you are referencing and it only applies to digital media. Analog media, such as VHS video tapes are not covered.

And Napster doesn’t broadcast anything. Napster simply negotiates a semi-anonymous connection between two computers. The point of copyright infringement occurs when the downloading user elects to make unauthorized copies of the copyrighted material.

Actually, hard drives and CDR media are subject to the Audio Home Recording surcharge.
BTW, I’m guessing that the AHRA may be the legislation that idiotboy was referring to and it does seem to grant the right of the user to make copies of copyrighted audio material for “non-pirating purposes”, i.e. personal use.

Actually, I’m not sure that accurately captures the essence of the ruling. According to legal analyst Eric Scheirer:

Not being a legal analyst myself, I’m not sure how accurately that captures the intent of the rling, but I’ve not seen anything that has declared that Napster is illegal. This seems to be supported by the fact that it’s still in operation…

Er . . . what do you suppose “time shifting” refers to? It means “taping it to watch later.” In an ideal world, we would all erase those tapes afterwards, of course, but we don’t.

Actually, they are both specifically exempted. They neither pay royalties nor receive copy protection under the AHRA. Only digital music recording devices that are specifically manufactured for that purpose are subject to the AHRA. See http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/ch10.text.html .
BTW, I’m guessing that the AHRA may be the legislation that idiotboy was referring to and it does seem to grant the right of the user to make copies of copyrighted audio material for “non-pirating purposes”, i.e. personal use.


In the copyright law, it refers to rights that broadcasters have (effemeral license). I don’t believe that right is expressly extended to the subscriber.

I stand corrected. I was (apparently) misinformed. Note to self: Don’t believe everything you hear… On the other hand, CDRs specifically labeled as “audio” are supposed to be subject to the surcharge and this is one reason why these discs are more expensive than their “data” counterparts.