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View Full Version : p2p legal defense fund

2003-08-29, 10:49
I'm looking for a p2p defense fund or legal fund to help people who are sued by the RIAA. I found one site here:
The United File Sharing Defense Corporation was created on July 1, 2003 with the goal of protecting and advancing the right to share files over the Internet. On July 19, 2003, The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) obtained 871 federal subpoenas to seek the identity of users who they accuse of trading files over the Internet. Once the identity of these individuals is obtained, the RIAA has promised to sue each user for up to $150,000 for each song shared. The United File Sharing Defense Corporation is coordinating the legal defense for those that are singled out and is raising money to assist with the legal costs. We are currently negotiating with several law firms nation wide to provide expert legal defense for these “witch hunt” like trials.

Currently the United File Sharing Defense Corporation does not have non-profit status, all donations are highly appreciated and will go towards the company’s goals of defending the right to share files and providing legal defense to those that face civil lawsuits by the RIAA.
I wouldn't give to this particular organization until I saw them account for their money received and what they're actually doing for it. Anybody could start a site soliciting donations, and then pocket the money. Any site which is collecting funds on behalf of p2p but mismanaging those collected funds, is a danger to the p2p community.

It would be better to donate towards a trusted organization like the EFF (http://www.eff.org/). But the EFF is an organization and not a defense fund.

ChewPlastic.com (http://www.chewplastic.com/) had a defense fund set up for Daniel Peng, one of the original batch of people sued by the RIAA. They collected $12,000 on his behalf. A site which is set up just to pay for settlement fees is a waste to me, because settling with the RIAA is the wrong approach, and makes them victorious.

It appears that there is no large scale and trusted p2p legal defense fund for now. Instead we have to sit and watch the DSL ISPs such as SBC/Pacific Bell or Verizon fight the RIAA in the courts, and hope they succeed.

While the lack of any centralized defense fund seems unfortunate, it is also more efficient, because the aid can be given when it is needed in full force rather than a mass diluted effort. The RIAA will be going into an unfamiliar and uncharted territory in which the outcome is unpredictable for them, because they won't be dealing with any centralized or class action suits. 1000 lawsuits could have 1000 different results. They are selectively profiling who they are suing, so that they don't sue some charismatic p2p guru, or some poor cancer kid who uses p2p to enjoy life.

I'm predicting that eventually they will sue the wrong person, and then THE WHOLE THING WILL BLOW UP IN THEIR FACE.

2003-09-29, 18:16
Their domain name was registered on 2003-08-21.

The only thing that bothers me about this is that when I give money, I have no way to know whether the person plans to settle or to fight the RIAA. I would like to give the money only for the purpose of fighting the RIAA. I donated $20 by way of PayPal, and in the message section to the person I requested that the person fight rather than settle.

The site is pretty new or unknown or the donations are scarce, and the total donations are about $50, which includes my $20. They currently need $50,000.

2003-10-01, 00:21
From: eclectica
To: Downhill Battle
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 12:11 GMT
Subject: fight or settle?

One thing that makes me reluctant to give money to the defense fund is that many people are settling rather than fighting. I am only motivated to give money to help a person fight the RIAA. With your decentralized distribution, you do not have any say over how the money is spent.

It would be better if it is centralized and you were only to write checks to lawyers defending p2p clients.

From: Downhill Battle
To: eclectica
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 13:45 GMT
Subject: Re: fight or settle?

Hi. If you view the full recipient list from the donation box you can give money to someone who is fighting the suit. We've decided to list people that are settling as well because these suits have been such a burden for families and the scare campaign goes way beyond just the people who will go to court. But we definitely understand wanting to support the fighters.

This screenshot shows a portion of the recipient list (http://www.downhillbattle.org/defense/recipientList.shtml), and as you can see the person on the bottom is fighting the suit while the person on top is not.