p2pnet news | RIAA News:- Dr Doug Jacobson (right), the inexpert RIAA expert, today gave evidence in the landmark trial in which 30-year-old Jammie Thomas is accused of being an illegal online distributor of copyrighted music files by members of the Big 4 organised music cartel.
And interesting it was, as Yoda would say.
Jacobson’s testimony has already been shredded once by Ray Beckerman, representing self-confessed computer ignoramus Marie Lindor in a separate RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) case.
Ars Technica‘s Eric Bagman puts it together nicely, saying RIAA counsel Richard Gabriel, “hopes to paint a picture of the defendant as a habitual music thief who not only shares music, but also steals plenty of it herself”.
To that end, the RIAA is arguing that the music found on her computer during a forensic inspection was obtained illegally, by copying the music directly from another hard drive. In other words, she’s guilty coming and going.
But, “How can anyone be certain she was sharing the files?” – Toder, quoted by Bangman, asks.
The story goes on:
Professor Doug Jacobson conducted the forensic inspection of Thomas’ hard drive, a drive which had been replaced under extended warranty by Best Buy about two weeks after the alleged infringement was noted by Media Sentry (but before the RIAA came calling). During its opening statements, the plaintiffs alluded to the possibility that the drive had been replaced in an attempt to wipe out any evidence of copyright infringement, but testimony from Ryan Maki, a Geek Squad “deputy of counterintelligence” (read: supervisor) resplendent in a Geek Squad sweater and sporting a law-enforcement-looking badge on his belt, confirmed Thomas’ tale of hardware woes necessitating a replacement. It would appear that she had her drive swapped for a legitimate reason.
How fast can you rip?
This still leaves the question of the music found on Thomas’ new hard drive. During Gabriel’s direct examination of Jacobson, the investigator noted how close together the timestamps of the songs in Thomas’ My Music folder were. “It is my opinion that the music files on the defendant’s hard drive were placed there from another hard drive,” affirmed Jacobson, attempting to account for the nature of the time stamps.
Once cross-examination began, Toder started asking Jacobson about things such as MAC address spoofing, cracking, P2P pollution, and multipeer contamination, intimating that one of those things could have been in play when Media Sentry detected the shared folder at the IP address in question. He then questioned Jacobson about his assertion that the music currently on Thomas’ computer had to have come from a hard drive and announced that he wanted to demonstrate to the jury that it was possible to rip CDs as quickly as the timestamps from the forensic examination showed (the timestamps were approximately 15-20 seconds apart with a longer 30- to 45-second gap between CDs).
The RIAA’s Gabriel objected, and the jury was led out as the attorneys discussed whether the demonstration should go forth. Judge Michael Davis gave his assent to the demonstration, and, after the jury filed back into the courtroom, Thomas ripped two CDs, timing it on her cell phone. When the first CD was done, she announced the time as 2:36.18. Gabriel immediately objected saying that they timed it at over four minutes. The apparently-amused judge said that the jurors could figure out the time for themselves. The second CD ripped in 2:17.71 according to the defendant’s timing (I timed the second demonstration in 2:18.97). Gabriel again objected, saying that he had it at three-and-a-half minutes.
With the results in hand, Toder got Jacobson to admit that, despite whatever differences in hardware and software (e.g., WMP 11 versus WMP 10), the results of the test indicated that it was possible that the music was legitimately ripped from CD. “Is it still your testimony that the music on the defendant’s computer was copied from a hard drive?” asked Toder.
“Given new versions of software, you could rip this fast,” conceded Jacobson.
Is the pain over for him?
Probably not, and it’s slated to get far worse when his ‘evidence’ in Lindor’s case is even more meticulously dissected by Dutch P2P expert Dr Johan Pouwelse, based at the Delft University in Holland and a visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He’s been hired by Beckerman to demonstrate, conclusively, why ‘evidence’ derived by Jacobson during his investigation of Lindor’s hard-drive is worthless.
Don’t go away …..
already been shredded – Lindor vs the RIAA: round I0, May 17, 2007
Ars Technica – Defendant’s counsel hammers away at piracy picture painted by RIAA, October 3, 2007
meticulously dissected – Pouwelse: witness in RIAA case, May 14, 2007
Net access blocked by government restrictions? Use Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Go here for details. Download here.