RIAA Web Site Hacked

By Richard Menta 7/30/02
See latest updates below -- editor

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was down for the weekend as it became the victim of a denial-of-service attack. Down for four days, the attack may very well be a statement against legislation the lobby group is pushing to allow the industry to legally commit similar attacks against individuals who trade files on the Net.

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"Don't they have something better to do during the summer than hack our site?" an anonymous RIAA representative, told CNET. "Perhaps it at least took 10 minutes away from stealing music."

The irony of the above statement is not hard to miss. The movie and record industries, through California Rep. Howard Berman, are sponsoring a bill that would allow Copyright owners to legally hack into peer-to-peer networks.

Such actions are criminal now, but should this bill ever become law, content organizations will have an exemption that would give them the right to drill into your personal PC and zap any digital music files they deem as "stolen". If they should do other damage to your system along the way, tough, you won't be able to claim damages.

RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen called the bill "an innovative approach". I call it hacking.

It is also myopic. The RIAA has proved time and time again that its technical initiatives - whether it is the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) or the designs of its Napster styled services PressPlay and MusicNet - are ill-conceived affairs when placed against the technical skills of the average garage coder.

Now they want to go against the world's script kiddies, individuals who continually develop the latest intrusion techniques that give network managers frequent headaches. Rosen is once again prying open Pandora's Box and the result will be damaging far beyond the scope of copyright should that bill ever pass.

Here is a thought. If a hacker has a rock band and they produce an album, doesn't that make him a copyright holder? And if he hacks music industry web sites for "piracy" because they treat him like other artists and don't pay him for his music, isn't he also exempt under the Berman bill?

Naaah, they will just lock him up and throw away the key.

Latest Updates:
RIAA Site Hacked Again - August 27 2002
A Third Hack on RIAA Site - August 31 2002


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