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Reformatting freetard fubars RIAA fight

Kazaa user destroyed evidence

Application security programs and practises

Good grief, people. As things are, we'll never have to pay for recorded music ever again. Getting free music online is as easy as picking up five pound notes in the street (when no one's watching) - and the chances of facing a fine range from minimal to non-existent.

(The British version of the RIAA, the BPI, no longer pursues individuals - and now no longer threatens internet disconnections, either.)

But apparently even the momentary instance of physical discomfort involved in bending over to pick up the fivers is enough to prompt the ungrateful recipient to call their lawyer, and try and plead victim status.

The latest RIAA file sharing lawsuit fell apart on Monday - and the defendant Jeffrey Howell, of Scottsdale, Arizona, now faces stiff penalties for destroying evidence.

Howell, who was defending himself in court, had been using the Kazaa P2P network. His defence was going swimmingly until the RIAA noticed that Howell had made more than one attempt to purge the evidence. He'd dragged the songs to the recycle bin, uninstalled Kazaa and zapped the logs, then reformatted his hard drive. Then he bought and ran a commercial disk wipe program.

That's really putting the "tard" into freetard.

What on earth possesses people to be so stupid? Jammie Thomas, the first American to be taken to court for P2P file sharing, used the same login name for Kazaa that she used for her email, MySpace account and all her online shopping. She tried to persuade the jury that a WiFi snooper outside her window might have wot dunnit. Only... she wasn't using WiFi.

Thomas holds on to the title of the World's Dumbest File Sharer - just - but the competition is getting tougher each week.

One thing puzzles me, however. The prosecution of individual file sharers is dumb indeed - it does nothing to compensate the artists being ripped off, and accelerates the destruction of value of sound recordings. Almost all of the music business (with the exception of Universal Music) now recognises this.

The P2P cases are so infrequent (20,000 or so in five years), and the settlements are so low (around $5,000), why don't the tens of millions of file sharers club together to pay the fines of people who are caught? Spreading the pain in this way would only cost P2P-ers a few cents a year.

So where, I wonder, is the Freetard Defence Fund? ®

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