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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Next Depression Part 22 - Store Closings

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Holiday Sales Drop to Force Bankruptcies, Closings

By Heather Burke
Bloomberg
December 29, 2008

U.S. retailers face a wave of STORE CLOSINGS, bankruptcies and takeovers starting next month as holiday sales are shaping up to be the worst in 40 years.

Retailers may close 73,000 stores in the first half of 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Talbots Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. are among chains shuttering underperforming locations.

More than a dozen retailers, including CIRCUIT CITY STORES INC, Linens n Things Inc., Sharper Image Corp. and Steve & Barryђs LLC, have sought bankruptcy protection this year as the credit squeeze and recession drained sales. Investors will start seeing a wide variety of chains seeking bankruptcy protection in February when they file financial reports, said Burt Flickinger.

YouӒll see department stores, specialty stores, discount stores, grocery stores, drugstores, major chains either multi- regionally or nationally go out, Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a retail-industry consulting firm in New York, said today in a Bloomberg Radio interview. “There are a number that are real causes for concern.”

Sales at stores open at least a year probably dropped as much as 2 percent in November and December, the ICSC said last week, more than the previously projected 1 percent decline. That would be the largest drop since at least 1969, when the New York-based trade group started tracking data. Gap Inc. and Macy’s Inc. are among retailers that will report December results on Jan. 8.

Womens Clothing, Electronics

Consumers spent at least 20 percent less on womenҒs clothing, electronics and jewelry during November and December, according to data from SpendingPulse.

Retail Metrics Inc.s December comparable-store sales index will drop an estimated 1.2 percent, or 5 percent excluding Wal- Mart Stores Inc. RetailersҒ fourth-quarter earnings may fall 19 percent on average, the seventh consecutive quarterly decline, according to Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, a Swampscott, Massachusetts-based consulting firm.

Probably 50,000 stores could close without any effect on consumer choice, Gregory Segall, a managing partner at buyout firm Versa Capital Management Inc., said this month during a panel discussion held at Bloomberg LPs New York offices. Only retailers with healthy balance sheets will survive the recession, according to Matthew Katz, a managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.

Store Closings

The ICSC predicts, using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, that 148,000 stores will shut down in 2008. That would be the largest number since 151,000 closings in 2001, during the last recession, according to ICSC Chief Economist Michael Niemira. The total number of retail establishments will decline by about 3 percent this year, also taking into account locations that were opened, he said. The U.S. had 1.11 million retail locations in 2002.

Another 73,000 locations may shut their doors in the first part of 2009, Niemira said.

The U.S. economy shrank in the third quarter at a 0.5 percent annual pace, the worst since 2001, according to the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg in the first week of December forecast the worldҒs largest economy will contract through the first half of 2009.

The Standard & Poors 500 Retailing Index has shed 34 percent this year, with only two of its 27 companies rising.

The index doesnҒt include Wal-Mart, the worlds largest retailer, which fell 24 cents to $55.11 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Wal-Mart shares have gained 18 percent this year.

Discount Advantage

“If you’re going to be in retail right now, the discount space is where you want to be,” Patrick McKeever, a senior equity analyst at MKM Partners LLC, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Discounts of 70 percent or more by Macys, AnnTaylor Stores Inc. and other retailers failed to prevent a spending drop of as much as 4 percent during the final two months of the year, according to data from SpendingPulse. Retailers’ pricing models are being challenged by consumers, according to Richard Hastings, consumer strategist at Global Hunter Securities LLC of Newport Beach, California.

“The whole pricing system is becoming an old-fashioned bazaar,” Hastings said today in a telephone interview. “They’re going into the stores and they’re looking at the stuff and they’re saying ‘You know what? I know that that price is way too high,’ and they have figured out that the signage doesn’t mean that much.”

Retail bankruptcies may help the industry in the long run, according to Flickinger.

We’ll be going from a Dickens-esque worst of times this December to the best of times in future Decembers because we’ll rationalize out all the redundant retailers and retail space in shopping centers,” Flickinger said.

Posted by Elvis on 12/30/08 •
Section Dying America
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reboot the FCC

We’ll stifle the Skypes and YouTubes of the future if we don’t demolish the regulators that oversee our digital pipelines. Lawrence Lessig Newsweek Web Exclusive

By Lawrence Lessig
Newsweek
December 23, 2008

Economic growth requires innovation. Trouble is, Washington is practically designed to resist it. Built into the DNA of the most important agencies created to protect innovation, is an almost irresistible urge to protect the most powerful instead.

The FCC is a perfect example. Born in the 1930s, at a time when the utmost importance was put on stability, the agency has become the focal point for almost every important innovation in technology. It is the presumptive protector of the Internet, and the continued regulator of radio, TV and satellite communications. In the next decades, it could well become the default regulator for every new communications technology, including, and especially, fantastic new ways to use wireless technologies, which today carry television, radio, internet, and cellular phone signals through the air, and which may soon provide high-speed internet access on-the-go, something that Google cofounder Larry Page calls “wifi on steroids.”

If history is our guide, these new technologies are at risk, and with them, everything they make possible. With so much in its reach, the FCC has become the target of enormous campaigns for influence. Its commissioners are meant to be “expert” and “independent,” but they’ve never really been expert, and are now openly embracing the political role they play. Commissioners issue press releases touting their own personal policies. And lobbyists spend years getting close to members of this junior varsity Congress. Think about the storm around former FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s decision to relax media ownership rules, giving a green light to the concentration of newspapers and television stations into fewer and fewer hands. This is policy by committee, influenced by money and power, and with no one, not even the President, responsible for its failures.

The solution here is not tinkering. You can’t fix DNA. You have to bury it. President Obama should get Congress to shut down the FCC and similar vestigial regulators, which put stability and special interests above the public good. In their place, Congress should create something we could call the Innovation Environment Protection Agency (iEPA), charged with a simple founding mission: “minimal intervention to maximize innovation.” The iEPA’s core purpose would be to protect innovation from its two historical enemiesexcessive government favors, and excessive private monopoly power.

Since the birth of the Republic, the U.S. government has been in the business of handing out “exclusive rights” (a.k.a., monopolies) in order to “promote progress” or enable new markets of communication. Patents and copyrights accomplish the first goal; giving away slices of the airwaves serves the second. No one doubts that these monopolies are sometimes necessary to stimulate innovation. Hollywood could not survive without a copyright system; privately funded drug development won’t happen without patents. But if history has taught us anything, it is that special interests - the Disneys and PFIZERS of the world have become very good at clambering for more and more monopoly rights. Copyrights last almost a century now, and patents regulate “anything under the sun that is made by man,” as the Supreme Court has put it. This is the story of endless bloat, with each round of new monopolies met with a gluttonous demand for more.

The problem is that the government has never given a thought to when these monopolies help, and when they’re merely handouts to companies with high-powered lobbyists. The iEPA’s first task would thus be to reverse the unrestrained growth of these monopolies. For example, much of the wireless spectrum has been auctioned off to telecom monopolies, on the assumption that only by granting a monopoly could companies be encouraged to undertake the expensive task of building a network of cell towers or broadcasting stations. The iEPA would test this assumption, and essentially ask the question: do these monopolies do more harm than good? With a strong agency head, and a staff absolutely barred from industry ties, the iEPA could avoid the culture of favoritism that’s come to define the FCC. And if it became credible in its monopoly-checking role, the agency could eventually apply this expertise to the area of patents and copyrights, guiding Congress’s policymaking in these special-interest hornet nests.

The iEPA’s second task should be to assure that the nation’s basic communications infrastructure spectrumח the wires, cables and cellular towers that serve as the highways of the information economyremain open to new innovation, no matter who owns them. For example, “network neutrality” rules, when done right, aim simply to keep companies like Comcast and Verizon from skewing the rules in favor of or against certain types of content and services that run over their networks. The investors behind the next Skype or Amazon need to be sure that their hard work won’t be thwarted by an arbitrary decision on the part of one of the gatekeepers of the Net. Such regulation need not, in my view, go as far as some Democrats have demanded. It need not put extreme limits on what the Verizons of the world can do with their networkחthey did, after all, build it in the first placebut no doubt a minimal set of rules is necessary to make sure that the Net continues to be a crucial platform for economic growth.

Beyond these two tasks, what’s most needed from the iEPA is benign neglect. Certainly, it should keep competition information flowing smoothly and limit destructive regulation at the state level, and it might encourage the government to spend more on public communications infrastructure, for example in the rural areas which private companies often ignore. But beyond these limited tasks, whole phone-books worth of regulation could simply be erased. And with it, we would remove many of the levers that lobbyists use to win favors to protect today’s monopolists.

America’s economic future depends upon restarting an engine of innovation and technological growth. A first step is to remove the government from the mix as much as possible. This is the biggest problem with communication innovation around the world, as too many nations who should know better continue to preference legacy communication monopolies. It is a growing problem in our own country as well, as corporate America has come to believe that investments in influencing Washington pay more than investments in building a better mousetrap. That will only change when regulation is crafted as narrowly as possible. Only then can regulators serve the public good, instead of private protection. We need to kill a philosophy of regulation born with the 20th century, if we’re to make possible a world of innovation in the 21st.

Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School and the author of five books, including most recently “Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/27/08 •
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Roger Wiegand 2009 Predictions

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And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
- Matthew 21:12

Our 2009 Predictions

“We think we now have enough data from both the fundamentals and technicals to make some serious FORECASTS AND PREDICTIONS for 2009. While 2008 was a nasty year when lots of things imploded, they are far from being repaired. Treasury Secretary Paulson told us this week there are no more surprises, which tells me we haven’t even discovered but a small portion of this monster derivative mess. His ripping-off of the taxpayers to the tune of $700 billion is only a warm-up. However, the larger question for traders and investors is what could happen next and when.

In the following report we take the key global economic points and suggest the outcome for 2009.”
-Traderrog

By Roger Wiegand
Trader Tracks
December 22, 2008

The most important news for 2008 was the destruction of the big global banks’ net worth and their badly wounded ability to conduct normal business and make market-moving loans. Ben & Hank’s bailout only helped the bad-boy banks reliquify themselves to remain somewhat solvent and stay in business. They are doing nothing to extend credit to any business enhancing western or global economies. The 2009 result will be no significant banker lending, taking more bailout money and sweeping additional bad loans of all stripes under the banker’s rug and hiding the rest in back rooms.

The largest surprise in our view was the massive disaster at insurance giant AIG. Despite numerous injections of bailout billions, AIG remains in very serious trouble hanging on by their proverbial fingernails. The 2009 result will be a surprise crash and failure of AIG frightening the world at large causing ripples of failures throughout western and Asian nations unable to conduct business without mandatory insurance policies. Most folks have no comprehension as to the monster fallout this will create. It is in our view literally immeasurable, and this is why Paulson handed them so much money.

Our new president is determined to hand out $860 Billion to One Trillion dollars in a Herculean effort to literally buy a new economic recovery. While some of his ideas are noble indeed the overall plan will have little effect and Great Depression II shall take hold in 2009 with crashing stock markets in May and September-October 2009. We think the worst of the worst hits in later September 2009.

During the spring of next year we see:

(1) A second LARGER WAVE of residential housing mortgage failures;

(2) The first big wave of auto loan failures and REPOSESSIONS;

(3) Over $40 billion in CREDIT CARD defaults, SMASHING the bank lenders;

(4) The first wave of commercial mortgage failures and foreclosures on SHOPPING MALLS, office buildings and other commercials;

(5) And finally, the grand smashing finale of CDS Credit Default Swaps originated with No margin money or down payments! We heard today the total is 500 trillion! I cannot even fathom that number. These five converging train wrecks could take the Dow from a dead cat bounce of 10400-10800 back to 7250, or even 6600, or 5600.

Shares traders and investors have one more solid quarter, in our view to regain some stock market losses on the forthcoming Obama Trillion Dollar handouts. We think the rising share markets will help most all sectors gain some recovery and provide the illusion the bottoms are in and new bases found. The stark reality hits home after shares peak in April or early May taking an unprecedented selling high dive scaring the wits out of Americans and the watching world.

Even with these events and rising UNEMPLOYMENT and SOCIAL PROBLEMS, economic observers and analysts could continue to plead the worst is over, the bottoms are in and a fine, new, shiny world of trading and investing in our bright economy lies just ahead for the fall of 2009. Then, in later September and early October, the New York, London, Tokyo and Asian markets take a monster crash. How low is low and how bad can it get? We think the Dow could end-up on November 1st, 2009 anywhere from 5,600 to a low of 3,000 or even 1,500. One guideline will be a falling overshoot of PE’s on our largest, so-called international corporations posting lows of 4 to7. Today, many of them are near 18. What does this tell us about the severity of our projections?

Unemployment nationally in the USA is now touching 16%. The officially posted number is somewhere near half of that. By the fall of 2009, American REAL UNEMPLOYMENT WILL BE NEAR THE ALLTIME 1930’S DEPRESSION HIGH OF 25% UNEMPLOYED. SADLY, THAT IS NOT THE WORST AS IT GETS MORE DIRE. WE PREDICT REAL, USA UNEMPLOYMENT REACHES 30-40%. IN THE RUST BELT STATES OF MICHIGAN AND OHIO, WHILE 40% IS NOT UNREALISTIC.

Several European nations have larger, more established social safety nets for the unemployed. In the USA, local, regional and national authorities are not nearly as prepared. The American federal government departments for food stamps and the job of providing welfare provisions will be overwhelmed. This will be a Katrina event for the hungry citizens of the United States. Urban areas will see skyrocketing crime and in parts of some cities, life could become totally uninhabitable.

The last report we’ve seen on those receiving food handouts and related welfare amounted to 11 million USA citizens with 700,000 children going hungry each day. We suspect the true amount of those NEEDING FOOD HELP will rise to 35,000,000 with an untold tragic number of them being little, defenseless children. Governments remain in denial and are not prepared for this national emergency whatsoever. As things worsen, food riots and others with violence aimed at the “haves” are common.

The number of BANK FAILURES over the next three years will be in the thousands. In addition, the US Dollar’s valuation could break recent lows near 70.00 on the index, dropping to 46.00 by 2011 or 2012.

Inflation or potentially hyperinflation is quite real as the Federal Reserve and US Treasury strain to print and circulate cash to prod our stalled economy. It is simply not working even with the dramatically lower interest rates of late. Benny Bernanke is out of rate cut running room.

CONSUMERS and GOING BROKER. Households of interrelated families are doubling and tripling up even with several employed members being under one roof. Basic costs of rent, mortgage payments, health care, food, utilities and taxes are too much to bear on stagnant and in some cases falling wages. In some areas of America, there are entire subdivisions of homes totally abandoned or existing with only a hand full of occupants. The millions thrown at lenders for new mortgages are not getting through to buyers, as there are fewer of them. We are witnessing system breakdown.

Municipalities and states are sinking into a spending, debt-ridden morass. It was reported today that 22 of 50 USA states are in serious budgetary trouble. California is one of those in terrible condition and Michigan is already technically broke as are many of her cities. Detroit will file bankruptcy in 2009 and there will many other surprises as well. There will be a cascade of bond defaults and the outcome will cap the ability of these cities, states and counties to borrow ever more.

The shining light through all of this is the faster we find the bottom the faster we can recover. Sadly, the recovery process will take years. Futures and commodities traders should continue to earn steady profits as the stock markets slide into oblivion for years. We see no recovery until 2015.

Posted by Elvis on 12/27/08 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Iranian President’s Christmas Message

I wouldn’t call it fascism exactly, but a political system nominally controlled by an irresponsible, dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political establishment can hardly be described as democracy either.
- Edward Zehr Columnist, 1936-2001

Alternative Christmas Message

By Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - President of Iran
December 24, 2008

“In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.

UPON THE ANNIVERSARY of the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary, the Word of God, the Messenger of mercy, I would like to congratulate the followers of Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain.

The Almighty created the universe for human beings and human beings for Himself.

He created every human being with the ability to reach the heights of perfection. He called on man to make every effort to live a good life in this world and to work to achieve his everlasting life.

On this difficult and challenging journey of man from dust to the divine, He did not leave humanity to its own devices. He chose from those He created the most excellent as His Prophets to guide humanity.

All Prophets called for the worship of God, for love and brotherhood, for the establishment of justice and for love in human society.  Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice.

All the problems that have bedevilled humanity throughout the ages came about because humanity followed an evil path and disregarded the message of the Prophets.

Now as human society faces a MYRIAD OF PROBLEMS and a succession of complex crises, the root causes can be found in humanity’s rejection of that message, in particular the indifference of some governments and powers towards the teachings of the divine Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ.

The crises in society, the family, morality, politics, security and the economy which have made life hard for humanity and continue to put great pressure on all nations have come about because the Prophets have been forgotten, the Almighty has been forgotten and some leaders are estranged from God.

If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose WARMONGERS, occupiers, TERRORISTS and BULLIES the world over.

If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime. The SOLUTION to today’s problems is a return to the call of the divine Prophets. The solution to these crises is to follow the Prophets - they were sent by the Almighty for the good of humanity.

Today, the general will of nations is calling for fundamental change. This is now taking place. Demands for change, demands for transformation, demands for a return to human values are fast becoming the foremost demands of the nations of the world. The response to these demands must be real and true. The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions. If tyrannical goals are repackaged in an attractive and deceptive package and imposed on nations again, the people, awakened, will stand up against them.

Fortunately, today, as crises and despair multiply, a wave of hope is gathering momentum. Hope for a brighter future and hope for the establishment of justice, hope for real peace, hope for finding virtuous and pious rulers who love the people and want to serve them and this is what the Almighty has promised.

We believe, Jesus Christ will return, together with one of the children of the revered Messenger of Islam and will lead the world to love, brotherhood and justice. The responsibility of all followers of Christ and Abrahamic faiths is to prepare the way for the fulfilment of this divine promise and the arrival of that joyful, shining and wonderful age. I hope that the collective will of nations will unite in the not too distant future and with the grace of the Almighty Lord, that shining age will come to rule the earth.

Once again, I congratulate one and all on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity, peace and brotherhood for humanity. I wish you every success and happiness.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/26/08 •
Section Spiritual Diversions
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New RIAA Police

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RIAA Replaces Mass Lawsuits With Potentially Dumber Ideas
Three strikes policies, filters, piracy taxes ahoy....

By Karl Bode
Broadband Reports
December 19, 2008

The Wall Street Journal this morning REPORTS THAT THE RIAA will be abandoning their strategy of filing mass lawsuits against P2P users, a plan that has targeted some 35,000 people since 2003. The plan’s primary objective was to generate news coverage, scaring other P2P offenders into compliance. Now that it’s been made clear that the plan isn’t working, it appears that the music industry is looking at new options that may not be much better. Most notable those options will include PIRACY FILTERS and “three strikes” policies, hashed out with ISPs in private:

Depending on the agreement, the ISP will either forward the note to customers, or alertcustomers that they appear to be uploading music illegally, and ask them to stop. If the customers continue the file-sharing, they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether. The RIAA said it has agreements in principle with some ISPs, but declined to say which ones.

We know that COX NOW HAS SUCH A SYSTEM IN PLACE, the company FALSELY SUGGESTING to customers that the law makes such a system mandatory, but insisting to us they give offenders every opportunity before termination. An anonymous source at Comcast also told me they had considered it when revamping their throttling practices. ISPs don’t have to take this route; they’re protected under safe harbor provisions within the DMCA.

For ISPs that won’t play along, it appears the music industry got some help. The Journal indicates that NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been helping to broker the deals in private. Cuomo has been a central force in the effort to get ISPs to become content nannies, recently waging a war against child porn that looked good politically, but didn’t really result in ISPs DOING MUCH DIFFERENTLY. Cuomo threatened to sue ISPs who didn’t adhere to his INEFFECTIVE plan, resulting in many ISPs shuttering access to perfectly legitimate newsgroups.

This new direction is undeniably a welcome shift for the RIAA, but, we’re heading into a strange new world that may not be much better. The RIAA says they’ll still file single lawsuits when applicable. In addition to quietly brokering three strikes deals with ISPs and pushing for piracy filters, the RIAA is hoping to enact a piracy tax, that could tack $5 to $10 onto every broadband subscriber’s bill. You can assume that if these “voluntary” (comply and we won’t sue) provisions aren’t adopted, you’ll see them passed (lobbied) into law.

The new approach raises a lot more questions than it answers. Here’s ours:

Can unreliable RIAA DMCA violation data can be trusted?

You know, not that we don’t trust the completely unaccountable shadow companies (like BayTSP) who are paid to track pirates and pollute P2P networks with often malicious files, but the tracking system as it stands isn’t exactly reliable or transparent. Not only do such companies work very hard to stay under the radar, it’s technically possible to frame a printer for a false DMCA violation.

How do users defend themselves?

How will users be able to defend themselves from piracy accusation when this is a closed-door, privately negotiated process? It doesn’t exactly appear as if Cuomo or the RIAA employed the wisdom of legal experts or consumer advocates when drafting these new back-door agreements. Where’s the consumer protection aspect? Where’s the open debate? Where’s the consistent, cross ISP, official complaint system overseen by an objective third party?

Impact on small carriers?

Sure, AT&T and Comcast want to be content juggernauts, and will probably think this is a splendid idea because it protects their content. But they have the deep pockets to implement such systems. What about smaller carriers? If we’re going to make ISPs content nannies, aren’t they now legally liable for everything from failing to act to acting in error? How do smaller carriers deal with the added legal, infrastructure and support costs of having to babysit their users?

Who keeps track?

Who’ll run a master list of “offenders” that prevents users from just bouncing from ISP to ISP? This of course assumes users have competition and a choice of alternative ISPs. Tracking every uTorrent tot who has downloaded a few too many pirated anime DVDs as they skirt from ISP to ISP is going to be an unenforceable logistical nightmare. We don’t even have a national broadband policy or an accurate U.S. broadband penetration map, but we’re going to develop a universal offender piracy tracking list?

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Is the lack of connectivity, in an age where broadband is becoming a necessary utility, a balanced punishment for trading TV show torrents? Broadband is increasingly used for everything from managing finances to accessing important municipal services, and is of course absolutely necessary for telecommuters. Is account termination of a precious lifeline really fair punishment for downloading season two through four of HBO’s The Wire?

Aren’t there more creative solutions?

Are there other creative music industry business models that don’t involve turning network operators into private content police? Many artists have already figured out that piracy has shifted albums from product to promotional tool, used to make money via merchandising and touring. Aren’t there other options to ensure artists will get paid fairly? Making ISPs babysit users is really the cure?

Who Pays?

Won’t the cost of implementing these systems be passed on to all consumers, regardless of whether they use P2P? Deep packet inspection technology, live network monitoring, the master database of offenders, the manpower required to send notices, the additional technical support required to help offenders and to address grievances: who pays for it? Not just pirates.

SOURCE

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Below is a copy of the form letter the RIAA will send to ISPs to inform them one of their customers is accused of file sharing. The notification is similar to those the group has sent to college campuses for years and shows very clearly that the group retains the right to sue people for copyright violations.

Sir or Madam:

I am contacting you on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) and its member music companies. The RIAA is a trade association whose member companies create, manufacture, and distribute approximately ninety (90) percent of all legitimate music sold in the United States.

We believe a user on your network is offering an infringing sound recording for download through a peer to peer application. We have attached below the details of the infringing activity.

We have a good faith belief that this activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this illegal activity. Specifically, we respectfully request that you remove or disable access to the unauthorized music.

We believe it is in everyone’s interest for music consumers to be better educated about the copyright law and ways to legally enjoy music online. The major record companies have actively licensed their music to dozens of innovative services where fans can go to listen to and/or purchase their favorite songs. A list of many of these services is available at WWW DOT MUSICUNITED DOT ORG.

It should be made clear by this letter that downloading and distributing copyrighted songs via peer to peer networks is not an anonymous activity. Not only is distributing copyrighted works on a peer to peer network a public activity visible by other users on that network, an historic 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed the unmistakable unlawfulness of uploading and downloading copyrighted works. The website WWW DOT MUSICUNITED DOT ORG contains valuable information about what is legal and what is not when it comes to copying music. In addition to taking steps to notify the network user at issue about the illegal nature of his/her activity, we strongly encourage you to refer him/her to this helpful site.

Please bear in mind that this letter serves as an official notice to you that this network user may be liable for the illegal activity occurring on your network. This letter does not constitute a waiver of our members’ rights to recover or claim relief for damages incurred by this illegal activity, nor does it waive the right to bring legal action against the user at issue for engaging in music theft. We assert that the information in this notice is accurate, based upon the data available to us. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its member companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.

Thank you in advance for your prompt assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at , via telephone at *Phone Number*, or via mail at RIAA, 1025 F Street, NW, 10th Floor, Washington, D.C., 20004. Please reference *Case ID* in any response or communication regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

RIAA

List of infringing content
------------------------------
*Infringing Content*
-------------------------
INFRINGEMENT DETAIL
-------------------
Infringing Work : XXXXXX
Filename : XXXXXX
First found (UTC): XXXXXX
Last found (UTC): XXXXXX
Filesize : XXXXXX
IP Address: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX
IP Port: XXXXX
Network: XXXXXX
Protocol: XXXXXX

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/26/08 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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