Selling Beats


Selling Beats

by Sue Basko

 Imagine: You create a beat that sounds like a leaf blower with something stuck in it.   The beat is used to make a bouncy K-Pop song, along with a silly video.  The video and song go viral. Someone is making a lot of money.  Is it you, the beatmaker?  That depends on the underlying contract when you sold the beat.   When you license or sell any beat, the deal should include that you make a small amount more for each copy that is sold or each time it is streamed.  Without such a deal, you might have sold your beat for $10 while someone else gets rich selling the song made from it.

A beat is a short bit of music or sound that is meant to be the hook of a song.  Or it can be the underlying bed over which a rapper or singer or producer creates a song.  Beats differ from loops in that beats are meant to provide a unique focus for a song, while loops are meant to be staples that might be put into many songs.  Loops are noodles; a beat is that fabulous mushroom perched on top of the pile of noodles.  It makes a song what it is.

Many beatmakers like to sell their beats.  Some sell downloads off their own websites, and some sell on websites designed for beat sellers.  On your own site, you will take a higher percentage, but your beat may get more exposure on a group site.   Then again, on group sites, your beats may be buried.

Before you sign up for any beat selling website, have a lawyer read the contract.  Many of these sites have contracts that are contradictory, even senseless.  I just saw one site that says it gives the full beat sales price to the beatmaker, with the buyer paying a small transaction fee. Then it goes on to say that some categories of sellers will be docked with a 40% commission fee paid to the site and others will be docked with an 80% commission fee.  These categories are made to sound special, as if it would be a privilege to be included.  The same site has very confusing and contradictory rules of what the buyer is allowed to do with the beat once purchased.  

My usual thought is that if a website cannot convey in clear simple language what the deal is, then the website owners are probably unclear what the deal is.  And surely, if there were ever a dispute and the contract ended out in a court of law being interpreted by a judge, if the judge cannot figure out the intentions of the website from what is written in the contract, then anything can happen.  Therefore, have a lawyer read over the contract before you join. If the contract is not crystal clear, don't  join.  Go to a website that knows what it is doing and that considers its agreements important enough to hire a lawyer who can write well to craft its contracts.

If you want to create your own beat selling site, there are site layouts you can buy, all set to be placed onto your own website.  You will need site hosting, a domain, and to purchase the layout.  One such pre-made layout is MusicMakerTheme.   http://musicmakertheme.com  This is sold for $37 or $57 via paypal, depending on the features.  

There are 2 basic ways to sell beats: Licensing and Sales.  A license means that you retain the copyright, but you license the buyer to have certain rights.  A sale means the buyer is being assigned the copyright on the beat, and can use it for whatever purposes.  If you sell a beat, you lose all control over it.  If you are selling a beat, you need to be sure you are getting a price for it that will satisfy you, even if the songs created from it go on to earn a good deal of money.  That's why licensing with a good well-written contract is usually best for the beatmaker.  If however, someone famous is offering you a nice chunk of change for a beat, it might be a good bargain. But that is a rarity.

Most beats are licensed. If you are opening up your own beat shop, you should have a music lawyer write up your licenses.  Do not try to do this yourself.  And do not copy licenses off another site, unless you have them checked out first by a lawyer.  Lots of bad licenses get copied and passed around this way.  This can lead to genuine disaster.

The main categories in licensing are nonexclusive and exclusive.  Many beat selling websites have this all mixed up. They will sell a beat as nonexclusive and also exclusive. This truly makes no sense. Either the beat is nonexclusive, and multiple people can license it , or it is exclusive, and only one person can license it.  Some use the term "semi-exclusive," by which they mean they will sell the license for the low nonexclusive price to as many takers as come along, and if someone wants to buy it as a "semi-exclusive" license,  the beatseller will stop licensing it to others from then on.  However, the licenser paying the higher semi-exclusive price may find that those who earlier bought the less expensive nonexclusive beat license have the same rights as they do.  It is hard to create and sell an original hit song if there are already 35 other people making songs with the same beat.

On the other hand, it is hard to refrain from licensing a beat for $10 or $20 many times, hoping someone will come along with more money.

The dream of beatmakers is to be commissioned by someone famous to create exclusive beats for nice high prices.  Such a dream is as much about connections and friendships as it is about beatmaking creativity.  If such an opportunity ever presents itself, make sure you bring in a music lawyer to write or read the contract.  The important thing is you want to make some small royalty on each copy sold or streamed, as well as a small piece of performance royalties.  You don't want to be the beatmaker whose beat is in a song being played on the radio hundreds of times per day, and you're not making a penny from it.  And that is what will happen if you don't have a music lawyer in on the deal.

One of the most important legalities of beats is that they must not contain any loops or samples, unless you have a signed clearance agreement to use the loop or sample.  On this, too, you must have a music lawyer.  The beats you sell must be 100% your own work, or with legal clearance. This means you cannot take any part of any other loop, other beat, and cannot sample any song, any movie, any TV show, etc., even if you remix it, remove parts, change it around, etc.  If you are using any such bit of sound created by anyone else, you must have a contract with them that spells out very clearly what they are giving you the rights to use, how you may you it, and how they will be paid for it. 

If you use a bit of sound belonging to someone else in your beat, without clearance, your beat is poison and so is every song made from it.  The people who licensed your beat with the good faith belief that it was your original work can be sued for copyright infringement by the owner of the sample or sound that you used without permission.  The financial responsibility will come back to you.

Buying a copy of an old record or movie does not give you rights to take samples of the sound and use them in  your beats.  Owning a physical copy is different from owning the underlying intellectual property rights.  If you want to use a snippet of sound from a movie or TV show or old record, you must get clearance.  Sometimes getting clearance is expensive and sometimes the owners refuse to give clearance.  That is their right.  If you have been denied clearance, and you go ahead and use the sample anyway, expect to be sued.

 If you want a type of sound, usually such samples are easy to create on a program like GarageBand or ProTools.  For example, say you want the sound of a 1940s radio commercial.  Rather than get clearance on such a commercial, you can create your own fictional product and write your own commercial or part of one, record it simply, and add filters to give it that 1940s sound.  A can filter, a limiter, a bit of a crackle or scratch sound, and a small amount of bounce and you'll have a 1940s sound.  With the variety of filters and effects on GarageBand, you can make almost any kind of sound.

How long should your beat be?  Most beats are made in a set of lengths.  If a beat is supposed to be a hook, it will probably be about 3 seconds to 5 seconds long.   A hook beat can be sold in a longer version and cut down, or it can be sold as a set of various lengths.  

A kit of complementary beats that could work together in a song can be sold.  This might also be considered a remix kit.  Such a kit might contain original loops or might contain stem tracks from an existing song being licensed out for remixing.  A remix kit might contain as many as 20 beats and loops ready to be remixed into new creations.  Most contracts that go with a remix kit will state that the elements themselves cannot be changed, other than being shortened.  Other contracts allow for more manipulation of the beats or loops, and this can make for some highly original, exciting sounds.    Most such contracts will also include a provision that a new element must be added, such as unique original vocals.  This provision assures that the end product will not sound too much like the original.  

To sum up, the two main rules in selling beats is to own what you are selling and to have well-written,  contracts that clearly spell out the deal. 



BitVote Intro


BitVote Intro
by Susan Basko, Esq. 

BitVote is a new voting method and program invented by Aaron Bale and in development by some of the finest minds today.  BitVote is an online voting system that promotes Distributed Democracy.   Distributed Democracy harkens back to the days of direct democracy, which is decision making done by the people without representatives.  In smaller organizations, this works.  As a political unit becomes bigger, direct democracy has often been replaced by having elected representatives who then make it their daily work to know about the issues, attend meetings, and vote on the issues and laws.  In the U.S., many people have found that representative democracy results in government that pleases no one and that spends too much money and confers little or no societal benefit on the average person.  The widespread availability of the internet may make direct democracy possible once again. The townhall meetings of yore can take place on the internet, with those interested in a particular topic in attendance, though separated by thousands of miles.

BitVote works by giving a voter one voting unit per each minute of life the person lives after registering as a voter.  That means each voter gets 1,440 votes per day.  The votes are like currency, to be spent on whatever amounts on whichever topics are of interest to that voter.  A voter may save up votes to make a big impact on an issue of great interest to that voter. BitVote is a way of giving value to a person's time and enthusiasm, rather than to one's money.   BitVote makes issues less dichotomal by allowing voters, for example, to allocate 100 votes to one solution and 200 votes to another solution.

The BitVote system is envisaged to be fluid in function.  If the people vote for the system to work in a certain way, and allocate money for this, then the system can be designed to reflect that functionality.  The votes have the meaning assigned by the voters.  For example, voters decide the process on how a certain solution or initiative will be funded or staffed.

BitVote is built on Ethereum, an open platform that works in units called contracts.  The contracts can speak to each other.  Vitalik Buterin  is the founder, owner and lead developer of Ethereum. He is a winner of Theil Award that encourages computer program development.  Ethereum recently issued its own currency or esoteric collateral, called Ether.  Ether and BitVote are but two applications suited to the Ethereum platform.  Over time, Ethereum and its uses will develop.

Aaron Bale came up with the idea for BitVote based on his own life experiences.  Leah Pearl, who is a nursing school graduate, is the BitVote Communications Director.

I personally have been a sounding board for Aaron's ideas and a legal assist. I went from thinking that a voting system where each person gets 525,600 votes per year as a preposterous mess, to thinking of these votes as neat currency in a voting wallet, to be spent to create a better world.  I like the idea that life is valued, and that each person's contribution is valued.

BitVote.GitHub.com - Vote with your Life.

What is BitVote?

BitVote is a universal voting ecosystem for the Internet era. For every minute of your lifetime, you'll automatically earn a "voting minute" that can be cast on any cause of your choice. Voting results are globally available in a transparent and decentralized legend, robustly resistant to manipulation or censorship and fully compatible with any preexisting social network or political system.

Why BitVote?

Remember how you felt when you first discovered the Internet? Remember how empowering and hope inspiring it used to be when we were growing up? How sharply does that contrast with the concerns people have now? Where's the Internet is going to be in five or ten years? Neutrality. Surveillance. Censorship. What if future generations don't have that same type of feeling we have? What if instead of inspiring and empowering them, the internet terrifies and debilitates them? I created BitVote on the hopes hope that we will be able to tip the scales back in our favor and give us a chance to systematically fix whatever it is that is causing this change.

Who is BitVote?

Aaron Bale (@arkbg1) founded BitVote in 2012 during the SOPA Blackout, with support and inspiration from Aaron Swartz (@aaronsw),  Sven Swootleg (@joepie91) and Leah Chase (@leahxpearl). In 2014, BitVote began collaborating with Jasper den Ouden (@o-jasper), Stephan Tual (@stephantual), Joris (@mids106), Ethan Buchman (@ebuchman) and Vlad Zamfir (@vladzamfir) of Ethereum. The project has been developing for over two years through the teamwork of a network of programers, activists, lawyers, advocates, politicians, artists and normal citizens around the world. All the developers have one thing in common: a desire to have the voice of the people heard and heeded.

Real Life Stories

Lettuce entertain you. 
Real Life Stories 
by Susan Basko, Esq.

Real life stories are popular for movies and books.  This article is about real life stories based on living people.  For such a story to be marketable, the person usually has to have some newsworthy thing happening in their life and some name presence in the media.  The catch to this is that if a person is appearing in the news for a certain topic, then anyone can write a book or screenplay based on what is in the news.  Many real life movies are based on long magazine style news articles.  One cannot base a book or movie on someone else's magazine article without their permission, because that violates their copyright.  The same goes with a book: to make a movie of it, you need permission from the author.

When a book or movie is made based on one person's life story, that person's permission may not be needed if the person is in the news. However, such a story cannot delve into topics that are not in the news, as that is a violation of privacy rights.  Therefore, many movie and book stories are written with the participation of the subject.  And they are often based on a lengthy, well-researched article.  Such articles are copyright protected and if someone other than the authors were to create a screenplay based on a magazine style article, they would be sued for copyright infringement for creating a derivative work.

How does the subject of the book or movie make money?  There are several ways.  On a book the subject can be a co-author or advisor.  On a movie based on an article, the subject can act as a consultant on the movie. However, to get such a contract, the subject has to really exert effort.  Since no movie wants bad publicity, and since making a move for millions of dollars while the subject is not being paid, is bad publicity.   If the subject of the movie has special knowledge that will make the movie more realistic, it is easier to get a consulting position.  However, a film director usually does not want the subject present on the film set and does not want to give the subject any creative control.

A big consideration in real life stories are the other people in the story.  Most times, those people are fictionalized, with their names and details changed.  Often several real life characters will be combined into one.  However, if there is a real life person who is identifiable as a character in the movie or book, it is usually best to get their permission and approval of the way they are portrayed.  Failure to do so on a private person (not a public figure) will almost surely result in a lawsuit.

Companies often want to acquire optional rights to create any form of media, in case the story has legs. That might include the optional right to create a book, a movie, a TV show, and to license merchandise of any form.

Other times, only movie rights will be acquired.  This often happens by taking an option on a well-researched, lengthy news magazine article.  An option is the right to purchase the story for a set amount of time for set amount of money.  For example, an option might cost $5000 and give the right to buy the story for $100,000 any time in the next six months. That is just an example.

Film companies option far more stories than they will ever make into movies. Some companies might buy an option to keep that story away from the competition, with no intention of making a movie. This is why it is a good idea to bargain for a high option price for a short period of time. This separates those who are seriously interested in making a movie versus those who are looking to stockpile options.

When getting an initial option, the writer(s) and subject should be represented by their own lawyers There are so many considerations, including price on option, price on story, obligations, creative control, ability to approve or disapprove of a character portrayal, consulting, credits, perks.  And so much more.   If the subject is involved in creating the story or getting the option, they should look to protect not only their own image, but those of their family and friends. Respecting the dignity and privacy rights of other real life people named in the story is of utmost importance. Generally, a waiver and permission should be signed by each such person, if they will give it.  This usually must be purchased from each person.  Either that, or the characters must be deeply fictionalized so they are not recognizable, and their names changed.  That does not work with characters who are family members of the main real life character.  For those, portrayals must be done carefully and with great respect and a waiver must be gotten.  Otherwise, the story must be adjusted.

 People love real life stories.  The object is to tell a good story without harming anyone.  All sorts of considerations belong in the option. Those considerations will transfer over to the purchase contract.  If you are the writer or the subject, you cannot option and then wait till the contract or till the movie is in production to start making demands for creative control.  What you need must be spelled out from the get go.  Do  not try to do this without a knowledgeable lawyer.

Some people ask if a writer or subject will be given a percentage of "piece of the picture."  A writer who is sought after may have leverage to bargain for this. Most other writers do not.  The subject of a movie is rarely in a position to ask for a percentage.  In most cases, if the story has been in the news, anyone can make a movie about it.  The subject will be bargaining hard to be paid to consult and for other protections and perks.

Predatory Websites

The Infamatorious Nachash of Doxbin
 Predatory Websites
by Susan Basko, Esq.

see also: Encyclopedia Dramatica and Doxbin: what are they?
see also: Racketeering and Websites

Most predatory websites take advantage of  47 U.S. Code § 230, which immunizes an ISP from tort liability for statements of its users.  What the makers of this law obviously did not foresee was that predatory entrepreneurs would set up websites that invited and encouraged users to post horrific defamation of others, and also would shield the identities of those users.  This glitch in the law does not apply to federal criminal law or to intellectual property laws, such as copyright or trademark.  Therefore, the owners or admins of a  predatory website might still be held criminally liable for running a site that contains child pornography, obscenity, cyberstalking, cyber harassment, doxing, and other illegal cyber stuff.   Note: The people posting such materials can always be held responsible for tort or criminal liability, if (and it's a big if) they can be located.

47 U.S. Code § 230 was written in the early days of the internet, with the idea of ISPs and website owners being basically good people who might be set upon by wrongdoers posting inappropriate things on their sites.  In fact, this loophole in the law was noted by the most malicious of the entrepreneurial  predators, who created websites that earn a steady living in advertising revenue and "reverse extortion" payments by encouraging deranged members of the public to post horrifying defamation, invasions or privacy, pornography and obscenity, and other such attacks on innocent third parties. 47 U.S. Code § 230 was dubbed the Good Samaritan clause.  Now it can rightly be called the Predators Loophole.  There are many predatory websites. Below are a few examples.

EXAMPLES OF PREDATORY WEBSITES AND HOW THEY WORK:

 Encyclopedia Dramatica: This is a predatory website run by people in their 40s and 50s who imagine themselves to be above the law. They lack in human decency and common respect. They are known to be racist and misogynistic. The owners of the site have it set up to draw in the most mentally deranged, deeply socially sick internet users that crop up with each new generation.  Those sick people are encouraged to use the site to post pages about innocent victims, with the aim being to harm the victims' reputations, their businesses or job, and their families or relationships.  See: Encyclopedia Dramatica: 5 Victims

The Encyclopedia Dramatica owners, admins, and users victimize these innocent people with outlandish lies and defamation which is made to look real.  The site does not contact the victims or fact check, and is simply a collection of the most injurious lies imaginable.  Photos of the innocent people are photoshopped to create obscenity.  See: Encyclopedia Dramatica: 5 Victims

These defamation tactics are used against the victims to harm them in many ways, including coercing some into internet crime, punishing others for refusing to participate in internet crime, forcing the victims into doing things they would not otherwise do, silencing the victims about crimes they have witnessed, shaming, humiliating, destroying their reputations and businesses, and harming their families and relationships. 

Encyclopedia Dramatica is the henchman, the enforcer used by many internet predators to coerce, force, harm, and damage those who might stand in their way.  The site is like the gang members on the street corner, there to stomp on the rights of the law-abiding and those who just want to be left alone.

Encyclopedia Dramatica is a crime website of major proportions that masquerades as "parody," except that parody does not include obscenity, cyberstalking, defamation, invasions of privacy, and other crimes and torts.  People known to be involved with Encyclopedia Dramatica include Brian Zaiger of Boston, Chris Jones, Jaime Cochran of Chicago, @Gwennyrah, and Tawnie Knight aka @Anoccam, of Arizona.  I have been told by an ED admin that the site admins run a meth ring that they use to support their activities.  The whole victimizing operation of Encyclopedia Dramatica seems criminal, and you can read about that HERE and read about 5 of its victims HERE

Cheaterville: This website is owned by Via View, a Nevada LLC owned by James McGibney. Via View is also registered as a Delaware corporation.  Cheaterville is what is known as a "revenge porn" site.  The site encourages people in the public to get revenge, mostly against young women, by posting compromising photos of them and posting horrific sexual statements about them.  The purpose, obviously, is to destroy the lives of these girls and women.  Cheaterville works hand in hand with a company called Truth in Posting, or TIP, of Henderson, Nevada.  The website's victims are supposed to pay hundreds of dollars to TIP to get the revenge porn removed.  I have coined a term for this: "reverse extortion."  Feel free to use that term: reverse extortion.  At this time, McGibney and Cheaterville are engaged in filing lawsuits, restraining orders, and subpoenas against a hodgepodge of individuals who have objected online to the Via View revenge porn business.   The Via View twitter handle is @Bullyville, which is apt, since bullying is what it  does.   You can read a legal analysis HERE.

RipOffReports: This site works just like Cheaterville, but instead of posting revenge porn, this site allows anyone to post any lies about any business or professional. It works on the same economic model as the revenge porn sites.  After a posting is made, the victim is sent numerous reverse extortion letters, offering to lessen the harm for hundreds of dollars.  A legal analysis is HERE.

Doxbin:  Doxbin is the king of predatory websites. It is above ground and also on tor.  Doxbin is used by the same psychos that post on Encyclopedia Dramatica, as well as by others. The site works by allowing anyone to post invasive information or materials on others, such as name, address, social security number, bank info, accounts, and on and on.  The object is to make the victims vulnerable to crime, as well as to "aid and abet" the commission of such crimes as identity theft, robbery, rape, home invasion, and assassination.  And - the whole thing is criminal, top to bottom.  You can read about that in a legal analysis HERE , in a closer look HERE.



  

 

 

How Cointelpro Works



How Cointelpro Works
by Susan Basko, Esq.

The other day, a true troll lawyer who is suing "half the people on the internet" posted a link to a cointelpro-created blog article that is supposed to cause people to think ill of me. The article, which is several years old, is a classic example of cointelpro.  In this age of the internet, cointelpro smear pieces have lasting power.  

 The cointelpro smear piece against me emanates from early Occupy Los Angeles and keeps being revived by the cointelpro agents and their dupes. Before the OccupyLA camp started, there were planning meet-ups. Some of my family and friends were involved, and I gave some legal advice, such as to get porta-potties and that it is legal to sleep at night on the sidewalks in Los Angeles. After the OccupyLA camp got situated in the park by City Hall, it soon was infiltrated by paid agents.  Some of those agents formed a group that was supposedly more radical. This is a common technique to draw in the fringe elements and often, to entrap them. That supposed radical group was engaging in hardcore smear campaigns against many of the people who were doing the most positive work in running the camp, the media, and the finances.  I was quietly advising many of the people who were being smeared by this supposed radical group.  The supposed radical group had (and still has) a tumblr that is used to attack others, in typical cointelpro fashion.

Now watch how cointelpro works: One day, I was doing some trademark work and I noticed that 2 different people had applied for trademarks on the OccupyLA name.   One was an application by a person who was trying to "own" the OccupyLA name for himself as an organization and the other was trying to own the name for commercial products.   I thought it was important for the OccupyLA group to retain its own name and trademarks and not allow ownership of the name to be usurped by individuals looking to make a profit.

I emailed my findings about the trademark applications  to the editor of the OccupyLA website, for which I wrote many articles.  The editor asked me to put it in writing what could be done about the trademark applications and to list how much it would cost to deal with it.  I wrote him a simple explanation of the range of possibilities:  I could keep an eye on the situation and wait and see if the two trademark applications that were pending made any progress and report back to him as any changes took place, and this would cost nothing.  I could mount challenges to the two trademark applications by writing and filing letters and this would cost whatever the fee was for that, with my time donated.  The most aggressive tact would be to challenge the pending applications as well as to file trademark applications for the main real OccupyLA group, in the same categories that were in the pending applications.  The government filing fee on each category is $300.  So while I was willing to donate a good chunk of my time, this aggressive proposal would still cost a few thousand dollars.  Depending on the available budget, the group could choose the wait-and-see approach, the aggressive approach, or somewhere in between.

The editor of the OccupyLA site forwarded my emailed report to a few people, among them at least one of the cointelpro agents in the supposed radical group.  Soon, this person was creating a fantasy that I was greedy, that I was hoping to be paid "big money" that increased with each time he wrote the smear story.  First it was $1000, then $3000, then $10,000.  And the smears became outlandish.

When one is dealing with cointelpro agents, there is no dealing.  If you tell cointelpro agents that the thing they are saying is untrue, they simply create more lies.  I had been watching for  months as these same cointelpro agents worked hard to chase off the most productive people at OccupyLA. The victims of the cointelpro smear campaigns were concerned for their reputations, and rightly so.  I too, was concerned for my reputation. I knew the cointelpro agents who were working OccupyLA were fierce, highly trained at disinfo campaigns, at stopping productivity, and at causing rifts and divisions.  

The same cointelpro tumblr and twitter account are still up and running and still maintained by obvious cointelpro agents. They still post links to their smear articles to try to harm the reputations of the people who helped productively with OccupyLA.

The reality is that I gave many hours to the people of OccupyLA and continue to give free legal advice and assistance to those who ask.  This happens behind the scenes.  The other reality is that while the camp was going, I was the one steering in many of the donations. Donations were money, food, water, tents, blankets, clothing.   I never asked anything of OccupyLA, but rather, offered to assist with the trademark situation and told what the costs would be.  

The important thing to understand is that cointelpro agents weave their fantasies to scare off productive people, to create divisions, create confusion or fear, all to stop societal change from taking place.

Here is an interesting catch: Whenever I see this ludicrous cointelpro article claiming I somehow tried to make money by helping OccupyLA, I know that the person posting it is in touch with or working with the cointelpro agents.  Or the cointelpro agents see an ill-informed dupe and send them a link to their defamatory smear piece.   That's because any of the real people who actually helped with OccupyLA also had this same bunch write a smear piece on them.  Or many smear pieces.  

Last I checked, new smear pieces were still being created by these same cointelpro operatives.   One of the agents often uses twitter to post a short, outlandish smear. I saw one where he posted saying a man I know was a rapist.  Just that.  A 140 character tweet with no further info, just labeling a very good, kind man a rapist.  

There is little to nothing that can be done about cointelpro agents, other than to make people aware of what is going on, make them aware of the presence and work of the agents, and to gather the good, productive people into a safety net for each other.  Understanding the mechanisms of cointelpro and disinfo campaigns is important when trying to build a community or movement.  The powers that be very much want to control the people, the events, and the outcome.  Challenges to the status quo, challenges to have a better, happier, more fair society are frightening to those whose livelihood or luxury depend on quashing new ways of thinking and being.

So, when a person copies, quotes, or links to any of the cointelpro-created smear articles, this is a sure way to tell the person is either a cointelpro agent, a dupe, a fool, or just very naive and new to protest. 

Barrett Brown Plea Deal Charges

Is that tie an Accessory after the Fact?

Barrett Brown Plea Deal Charges  
by Susan Basko 
The same people who charged Barrett Brown with 11 counts for the imaginary crime of posting a link have now charged him with being an "accessory after the fact" and "giving comfort" to someone named "o." Oh.  Lest you think an "accessory after the fact" is a scarf you add to your ensemble as you dash out the door,  it is a crime.   The superseding indictment alleges that "o" hacked Stratfor and that Barrett not only gave this hacker "comfort," but also "caused confusion" in his dealings with Stratfor.  Imagine a hacker named "o" and Barrett Brown causing confusion. Unthinkable.

The Unsinkable Mister Brown has had two new charges lodged against him.  These 2 charges are said to be part of a pending plea agreement.  Therefore, we can assume these two new charges are the ones that are the dream charges for the prosecutor and FBI agent involved in this case. These two charges are the ones that will make the prosecutor and FBI Agent feel fulfilled, happy, thrilled, if Barrett will plead guilty to these two and (presumably), the rest of the other seven still-pending charges are dropped.

Count One is for dallying with "o" and causing irreversible confusion and befuddling.

Count Two hails back to the March 6, 2012 FBI raid on his place when Barrett allegedly hid his laptop computer in his mother's dish cabinet.   See the Superseding Information below.

These are the 2 criminal charges concocted as a potion for a plea deal:

COUNT ONE 
18 USC §§ 1030(a)(5)(B) and
1030(c)(4)(A)(i)(I)
ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT TO AN UNAUTHORIZED
 ACCESS TO A PROTECTED COMPUTER 

And the law on this is:
 18 USC §§ 1030 (a) Whoever— 5 (B) intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causes damage; shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

And... What does that section say the punishment is? 

18 USC §§ 1030 (c) The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) or (b) of this section is—
(4)
(A) except as provided in subparagraphs (E) and (F), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both, in the case of—
(i) an offense under subsection (a)(5)(B), which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, if the offense caused (or, in the case of an attempted offense, would, if completed, have caused)—
(I) loss to 1 or more persons during any 1-year period (and, for purposes of an investigation, prosecution, or other proceeding brought by the United States only, loss resulting from a related course of conduct affecting 1 or more other protected computers) aggregating at least $5,000 in value.

COUNT TWO

18 USC §§ 1501 and
OBSTRUCTING the EXECUTION OF A SEARCH WARRANT

And the laws on this are below: Note, we don't know what "extradition agent" this refers to, but the indictment states this is with regard to the Dish Cabinet Caper.  Perhaps one of the agents involved was actually an extradition agent poking around in Barrett's mom's cabinets to make some extra spending money?  

18 U.S. Code § 1501 - Assault on process server   Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs, resists, or opposes any officer of the United States, or other person duly authorized, in serving, or attempting to serve or execute, any legal or judicial writ or process of any court of the United States, or United States magistrate judge; or

Whoever assaults, beats, or wounds any officer or other person duly authorized, knowing him to be such officer, or other person so duly authorized, in serving or executing any such writ, rule, order, process, warrant, or other legal or judicial writ or process—

18 U.S. Code § 1502 - Resistance to extradition agent
Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs, resists, or opposes an extradition agent of the United States in the execution of his duties, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.  

THE TALLY
These three likely plea deal charges add up to a total of no more than 7 years in prison. Rumor is a deal has been struck for no more than 30 months.  Under U.S. law, federal prisoners get 54 days off their sentence for every year they serve.  Barrett has been in jail over a year and a half, which gives him 80 extra days off the sentence, or close to three months.  Under this formula, Barrett has already served about 21 months.  If the deal is for a 30 month sentence, that would put his release date at about Christmas 2014. That would be a nice Christmas present for Barrett and his family.  

Racketeering and Websites


Racketeering and Websites
Doxing, Doxbin, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and Revenge Sites 
by Susan Basko, Esq.

 I have mentioned a number of times that it can be illegal to be involved in certain ways as a user or admin or owner of a website such as Doxbin, that collects and distributes personal identifying information, or of an abusive website such as Encyclopedia Dramatica, which contains obscene or lewd pictures and writing and also posts peoples' names and personal information, or of some of the revenge sites, such as Cheaterville, that contain obscene or lewd writing, pictures, as well as some personal information.  In this blog post, I will try to explain this as simply and clearly as possible.  I will also explain how, under Federal Racketeering laws, rather than being liable for just one crime, a user, owner, or admin of such a site might be liable for ALL the crimes committed on the site.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If some other lawyer disagrees with my legal analysis, that is fine, they are free to write their own legal analysis.  PLEASE note, the possible commission of crimes on the named sites is a legal analysis, and the criminal nature of the websites' activities is alleged for purposes of this analysis.  This is for the benefit of people who may wish to avoid being involved in any way in possible criminal activity.  The criminal nature of the sites has not yet been charged in any indictments or shown in a court of law.  However, for those who wish to avoid committing any crimes, a cautious analysis of what is happening on these websites while knowing the laws, may help some people make decisions that may benefit them.  Also keep in mind, if such crimes as are listed in this analysis were ever charged, the defendant(s) would be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

DOXING AND POSTING OBSCENITY ARE ILLEGAL:  It is illegal to possess or transfer personal identifying information to commit or aid or abet a federal or state crime, as will be explained below.  It is also illegal to place any sort of obscene or lewd writing or picture onto the internet, as will be explained below.  The Federal Racketeering laws add a new dimension, where any one individual user, admin, or owner of such a site might be held liable for ALL the crimes committed on the site.

RICO LAWS: First, let's look at a recent case in which the federal racketeering laws were first used in regards to a website.  In this case, a man named David Ray Camez bought a fake drivers license on a website.  Because of the way the racketeering or RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act) law works, the man was made liable for all the crimes of all the users on the site.  Mr. Camez paid $300 for a fake drivers license and was held liable for $5.5 million in crimes. Note, he was not the owner or admin of the site, just one of its minor users.  You can read about that case HERE on Wired, reported by Kevin Poulsen.  I think many more users, admins or owners of such abusive websites will soon be brought down using the Federal criminal statutes as well as the Federal Racketeering laws, which can magnify the liability of each user, admin, or owner.

The federal racketeering laws, 18 U.S. Code, Part I, Chapter 96, § 1961 and on,  apply to a certain list of types of crimes, which can be read at the link.  This blog post will only cover two such crimes - doxing, or placing or using personal identifying information of another person for illegal purposes, and posting or viewing obscene or lewd writing or pictures.

DOXING/ DOXBIN: When speaking of a site such as Doxbin or other sites that collect and allow distribution of personal identifying information, this is covered under 18 U.S. Code § 1028 - Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information, which makes it illegal to possess or transfer a "means of identification" for illegal purposes, as such:

(7) knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law; or
(8) knowingly traffics in false or actual authentication features for use in false identification documents, document-making implements, or means of identification;

A "means of identification" is defined as:

7) the term “means of identification” means any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual, including any—
(A) name, social security number, date of birth, official State or government issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number;
(B) unique biometric data, such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation;
(C) unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code; or
(D) telecommunication identifying information or access device (as defined in section 1029 (e));

Sites such as Doxbin collect and post peoples' names, social security number, date of birth, and on and on, so that these can be used for illegal purposes.  This is a crime under Federal law, as listed above. Under the Federal RICO law, a small time user of the site, or a person placing such info onto the site, or an owner or admin of such a site, might be held liable for all such crimes on the site if there is a "pattern of racketeering activity," which is defined as two or more such acts:

(5) “pattern of racketeering activity” requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity;

 and if, as described in 18 U.S. Code § 1962 - Prohibited activities, the person spends or invests any money made as a result of such illegal activity in any business that is involved in interstate commerce.

So - Anyone who "transfers, possesses, or uses" someone else's "name, social security number, date of birth, official State or government issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number" or other information to aid or abet any unlawful act is committing a federal crime.   Sites like Doxbin are all about such activity.  One might be charged with a federal crime for using such a  site, or, under the RICO laws, one might be charged with ALL the crimes ever committed on the site, if the requirements of the law are met.  This is basically what happened to the man in the David Ray Camez case mentioned above.

ENCYCLOPEDIA DRAMATICA AND other REVENGE ABUSE WEBSITES/ obscene materials and posting personal information: Some morally indecent websites are used for purposes of hateful revenge against victims. The admins and users of the sites post defamation (damaging lies), nude or lewd photos, obscene or lewd memes, and other such materials against people they want to harass as their victims. I use the example of Encyclopedia Dramatica, which posts shocking obscene pictures and lewd words.  Encyclopedia Dramatica posts the names and personal information, as well as photos, of the victims on the site along with the shocking obscene photos the site owners and users seem to delight in.  Revenge sites, such as Cheaterville, post lewd or lascivious writing and possibly pictures, also.  The Cheaterville site has postings calling women lewd, lascivious, or obscene words, denigrating them, impugning them as being sexual indecent, and other such lewd writings.  Some of the postings include lewd photos.   The site is shocking and must be devastatingly harmful to the women who are victimized.  Some revenge sites post nude photos of the victims.  It is illegal to post or receive, that is, view or download, any obscene, lewd, or lascivious writings or pictures on the internet.  The malicious nature of such sites as have been described, and the fact they victimize real people, would likely contribute to the materials being found obscene, filthy, lewd, or lascivious by a court.  This is not merely the fantasy sadism of a lewd photo, but real life sadism of harming the victim's life, soul, livelihood, relationships, and very existence.

Under 18 U.S. Code § 1462 - Importation or transportation of obscene matters it is illegal to place onto an "interactive computer service," such as the internet, "(a) any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, motion-picture film, paper, letter, writing, print, or other matter of indecent character" or to "receive" the same, meaning view or download.  It is also illegal to produce or make such materials to be placed onto the internet,  under 18 U.S. Code § 1465 - Production and transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution.  Such materials are described as "any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, film, paper, letter, writing, print, silhouette, drawing, figure, image, cast, phonograph recording, electrical transcription or other article capable of producing sound or any other matter of indecent or immoral character."

So -- it is a federal crime to make or place any obscene or lewd writing or pictures onto the internet, as well as to receive, view, download any such items.

The Federal Racketeering law  could be used to hold those using such a site liable for all the crimes committed on the site, if the requirements of the law are met, such as in the story of David Ray Camez above.

Websites such as Encyclopedia Dramatica and Cheaterville may have an  extra level of culpability because they may violate some state laws that make it illegal to post any person's name or photo on a site that contains pornographic or obscene materials, unless the person gives permission.  This might also enter the area of RICO law since the victims' names and information are posted in the commission of a state crime, and if the requirements of the RICO law are met.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:  The doxing and obscenity crimes listed above each have penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment.  If the acts are charged under the RICO law, the penalty is greatly magnified.    The RICO laws have harsh penalties under 18 U.S. Code § 1963 - Criminal penalties, including up to 20 years in prison and forfeiture of property.

CIVIL REMEDIES:  The RICO law under 18 U.S. Code § 1964 - Civil remedies allows any person who has been damaged by racketeering activity to sue and to get an injunction to stop the offending conduct and also be awarded three times their damages, the cost of the lawsuit, and attorney fees.  The possibility of collecting attorney fees make such lawsuits possible, even for poor plaintiffs.