September 29, 2009

Send In The Clowns (RIAA's Embarrassing Pursuits)

Have you ever sat yourself down and wondered: Hey, just how lame is RIAA's ability to do technical detection of 'copyright infringement' or whatever it is they're calling it these days?

Well, it turns out there is good evidence that the lameness goes even deeper than the already low expectations we have become accustomed to from this group.

It's not like RIAA's lameness is any news, really... Some of the most sober and respected leaders of the information security community have called RIAA out for their wayward ways. No less than Dr. Eugene Schultz, not known for being overly hyperbolic in his word choice, spoke of the RIAA:

"Clearly, clowns rule the circus when it comes to at least some of the RIAA’s witch hunts."

How can I top that kind of piledriver-by-blog? I'm nowhere near as smart nor eloquent as Dr. Schultz.

So why do I add to this criticism of RIAA, after all these years of silence?

Because, dear readers, the technical evidence is really starting to get to me (I know it's almost 2010... ok, ok...)

Previously, I posted about ridiculous RIAA letters coming to University of Washington researchers (

The last straw came recently, when I sat through a lecture at a Dartmouth infosec conference and had to keep picking my jaw up off the floor, time after time, as a computer science professor and law professor described in detail how they toiled to save a poor soul from the cold, unrelenting wrath of RIAA's legal attack dogs.

The poor soul in question had no computer in her home at the time of the alleged infringement...

Here it is, the evidence (as if we needed more of it), just so you too can say "Now I know" the answer to the question above (the one about the depths of RIAA's lameness):

Summary of victory against RIAA by Professor Embree from Franklin Pierce Law School:

The letter from Ms. Mavis Roy, the would-be-victim of RIAA's ridiculous behavior, thanking the staff of the law clinic run by Professor Embree:

The expert report by Professor Bratus (techies, get a snack and a comfy chair, this is good stuff):

Bio of the heroic Professor Embree

And so, in the tradition of legislating from the blog bench (yes I can do that)...

Previously, I brought you Shpantzer's Law of Endpoint Security (

Today, I bring you Shpantzer's Law of RIAA Law(suits):

I propose that from now on, anytime you post anything about RIAA going after obviously innocent people, then you must type/sing/hum a legally correct snippet of Send In The Clowns. Maybe just a bar or two, check with your favorite entertainment lawyer.

It'll be like our little inside joke. Only you and the eight people who read this blog will know! It's like being a part of an elite secret society, just without the hazing!

My personal favorite is Grace Jones' disco version, cuz hey, go cheesy or go home! Streisand, Judy Dench, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra, or any such personality will do in a pinch. It's all there on the intertubes to enjoy.

For now.

Send In The Clowns...

Or SEND IN ZEE CLOWNS! (Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers style)

PS MediaSentry, whose technical failures are described in the technical report, is not doing RIAA's dirty work any longer, last time I checked.

PPS For a list of many people who performed and recorded this song:

(Krusty The Klown, shoulda known)

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