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How To Frame a Printer For Copyright Infringement

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the point-the-finger-point-it-well dept.

The Internet 325

An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever wondered what it takes to get 'caught' for copyright infringement on the Internet? Surprisingly, actual infringement is not required. The New York Times reports that researchers from the computer science department at the University of Washington have just released a study that examines how enforcement agencies monitor P2P networks and what it takes to receive a complaint today. Without downloading or sharing a single file, their study attracted more than 400 copyright infringement complaints. Even more disturbing is their discovery that illegal P2P participation can be easily spoofed; the researchers managed to frame innocent desktop machines and even several university printers, all of which received bogus complaints."

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Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671811)

While entirely laughable, I'm glad this story is in the New York Times. Getting the Spanish Inquisition-esque ways of the these enforcement agencies out into the media is going to be one of the few ways to make it stop. Hopefully people (meaning the general public, and not just us here on /.) will soon realize just how ludicrous these methods are.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Funny)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672037)

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Funny)

Mephistro (1248898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672125)

I'm a spanish Inquisitor, you insensitive clod!

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (3, Funny)

city (1189205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672473)

Then think of the Inquisitees, you insensitive clod! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (3, Funny)

illeism (953119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672475)

and you are quite unexpected

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672593)

You must be new here. Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms - Oh damn! I can't say it - you'll have to say it.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672587)

I'm a spanish Inquisitor, you insensitive clod!
Insensitive? He made that joke expecting you to not show up!

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672137)

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency. And bogus copyright claims. Our four, ... no. Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and bogus copyright claims. ... I'll come in again.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672361)

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Ha HAH! The Spanish Inquisition never expected a Hewlett Packard !

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (1)

Shinmizu (725298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672403)

I expected the Spanish Inquisition, but I got mustard instead. Stupid Burger King.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Interesting)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672081)

Yes, but will this sort of study ever make it to trial in any shape or form that is likely to put the kibosh on the MAFIAAs strongarm tactics?

Unless the little guys can pony up the cash to get these guys as expert witnesses, the MAFIAA will simply commission their own, contradictory study in order to discredit this one.

I hope at some point (and some point SOON) we get a critical mass of people and evidence against the big industry players so that they'll stop this crap. I don't think it'll happen though--there's just too many dollars at stake for them to give up.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Informative)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672209)

Somewhat offtopic, but related to your post. The EFF maintains a mailing list for technologists who would be willing to assist as witnesses or in other ways for cases such as this. When an attorney needs an expert witness for, say, a defense case against the RIAA, the EFF happily forwards it to this list. http://www.eff.org/about/opportunities/volunteer [eff.org]

Is this safe? (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672719)

What's to prevent the RIAA from having fake "experts" volunteer to do this, only to offer easily-refuted arguments in court?

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (5, Insightful)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672225)

I think there is another reason to be glad that is more important than being in the media, IMHO. An NSF grant-backed publication from a large research institution will carry some weight in court.

IP address spoofing has been invoked by the defense in previous lawsuits to attack the prosecution's investigation methods, however, this assertion has always had to be provided by an expert witness. A scholarly publication backed by the U of W and the NSF will bolster this point. It might even stick with a jury (who knows). Anyway, this will come in handy in the courtroom, I think.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (4, Interesting)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672239)

The other favored method these days seems to be sending out non-sensical Cease and Desist [demystify.info] Letters claiming all sorts of things, including copyright infringement, and CRIMINAL charges because someone has a domain that you want.

Caton Commercial [willcounty...tcourt.com] engages in this, and seems to find this practice acceptable.

Re:Glad it's in a reputable media source (-1, Flamebait)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672391)

What reputable media source? The summary references the New York Times.

PC LOAD MUSIC (4, Funny)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671847)

Maybe now my employer will have to take down that LaserJet IIIp and upgrade to a newer model.

Re:PC LOAD MUSIC (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672065)

PC Load Music?

WTF does that mean?

Re:PC LOAD MUSIC (2, Informative)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672149)

it's an old printer error message

PC (Paper Cartridge) Load LETTER

(out of letter sized paper)

Re:PC LOAD MUSIC (5, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672195)

whoosh!

Re:PC LOAD MUSIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672691)

This is the second time in a week I've seen that joke made and then some dumb shit comes along and tries to explain it...WTF does that mean? Is the grandparent posters sense of humor that broken or has he really not seen the CLASIC film the great grandparent poster was referencing?

Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23671853)

FIRST POST BIOTCHES...arrest the printer! RIAA sucks!

Re:Anonymous Coward (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23671995)

Oh shut the fuck up Anonymous Coward.

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672231)

No! YOU shut the fuck up you Anonymous Coward!

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672147)

Sorry for the -1 Flamebait ... I was going for +1 Insightful

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672419)

You are such a pathetic failure. Claiming first post on the second post is MAYBE a forgivable mistake. But on the third post? That just shows what a sad, pathetic being you are. You truly suck. Your suckiness knows no bounds.

Simply send this message to the printer: (0, Redundant)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671877)

PC LOAD LETTER

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (3, Funny)

Jor-Al (1298017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671907)

What the hell does that mean?

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (-1, Redundant)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672043)

Paper Cartridge empty, Load Letter Sized Paper.

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (0, Offtopic)

Hairy Heron (1296923) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672089)

And in walks Buzz Killington.

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (0, Offtopic)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672275)

Paper Cartridge empty, Load Letter Sized Paper.
I believe it is: "Paper Cartridge, Load Letter Sized Paper". It does not necessarily mean that the paper cartridge is empty, since one gets this message if the paper cartridge is loaded with A4 sized paper and one sends a command to print on US-Letter sized paper.

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (0, Redundant)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672283)

Whooooosh!

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672503)

But I'm trying to print on legal!

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672281)

Sadly, said printer didn't just go to Federal PMITA Prison. Oh no! It got the Death Penalty [youtube.com] ,...

Re:Simply send this message to the printer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672615)

man, don't you know anything?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_Load_Letter

Sweet! (4, Funny)

Hankapobe (1290722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671903)

An inanimate object could also get the blame. The researchers rigged the software agents to implicate three laserjet printers, which were then accused in takedown letters by the M.P.A.A. of downloading copies of âoeIron Manâ and the latest Indiana Jones film.

  1. Download movies and sell them
  2. pin it on cop's printer
  3. in the meantime while they're arresting the printer
  4. Profit!

Re:Sweet! (5, Interesting)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672353)

1. Download movies 2. Pin it on RIAA's website IP address (76.74.24.143) 3. Let the cops arrest RIAA 4. Peace and Quiet 5. Profit! But seriously... if you can spoof using any IP address (Printer, Website, etc), then everyone can claim it was not them downloading anything and there is not sure way to prove it. Just food for Thought.

Re:Sweet! (3, Informative)

despe666 (802244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672493)

Ding ding ding! You figured it out. I'm guessing these guys will be very busy being expert witnesses in upcoming trials.

Re:Sweet! (0, Redundant)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672409)

1. Download movies
2. Pin it on RIAA's website IP address (76.74.24.143)
3. Let the cops arrest RIAA
4. Peace and Quiet
5. Profit!



But seriously... if you can spoof using any IP address (Printer, Website, etc), then everyone can claim it was not them downloading anything and there is not sure way to prove it.

Just food for Thought.

Wow .... (5, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671959)

So, will we have a variant on the Chewbacca defense?

"Why would a printer, an inanimate object with no reproductive organs, be downloading pornography? It doesn't fit ... if the toner cartridge won't fit, you must acquit."

Seriously though, it's good to see some credible research demonstrating that the methods that are used to identify file-sharers are completely arbitrary and can't be demonstrated to be valid.

It would be nice to finally have enough evidence that Judges could basically say "Well, this methodology has been dis-credited, you need actual evidence."

Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to try to devise a way to make it look like our printer has been downloading Will Farrel movies and films with Natalie Portman. :-P

Cheers

Re:Wow .... (5, Funny)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672537)

Why would a printer, an inanimate object with no reproductive organs...
In other news, printers now have reproductive organs [slashdot.org]

Re:Wow .... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672639)

In other news, printers now have reproductive organs [slashdot.org]

Time for some hot printer on printer porn. "American Printer Bukkake" should be a best seller I figure. :-P

Cheers

Sweet! (5, Funny)

Layer 3 Ninja (862455) | more than 6 years ago | (#23671993)

Time to exact my revenge on that stupid Lexmark E240 of the 5th floor.

Re:Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672173)

Although you might think that's the easiest way, is not the more enjoyable.

Peter Gibbons.

Re:Sweet! (2, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672455)

pc-load-letter.mycompany.com - now I finally have you! bwahahaha.

And? (2, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672019)

Were the printers imprisoned?

 

Re:And? (4, Funny)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672191)

More important, do they have to be defended by lawyers, or can the fax machine do the job?

Re:And? (5, Funny)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672273)

I'm not sure, but I hear the PBX is looking to consolidate things into a Class Action.

Re:And? (4, Funny)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672337)

Just the fax, ma'am. Just the fax.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672479)

As they are basically slave labor (work 24/7 with no pay), I'm sure they can get a public defender

As I said (2, Funny)

davburns (49244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672023)

It's so nice when one's uniformed speculation [slashdot.org] is proved correct.

Yay.

Re:As I said (5, Funny)

KevinKnSC (744603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672079)

I don't see how what you wear while speculating is relevant.

Re:As I said (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672211)

What if it's a cop uniform?

Re:As I said (2, Interesting)

davburns (49244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672405)

Good catch. One missing 'n' makes a lot of difference. I *did* preview. And spell-checked. A grammar checker would not have helped.

Oh, well. Have fun.

Re:As I said (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672497)

It all depends on the uniform. Someone dressed like a cop or Secret Service agent will get more credibility than, say, the attendant at the local Hot Dog On A Stick.

If the right people get framed... (4, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672059)

....it might change things. Legislators in the US and EU, for example.

Re:If the right people get framed... (1)

Jor-Al (1298017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672119)

Nah, they'll weasel themselves out of it through some sort of retroactive immunity.

Re:If the right people get framed... (1)

anotherdjohnson (1239132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672553)

Either that or they'll blame some poor lowly intern.

Clippy helps me steal (5, Funny)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672113)

Clippy: Looks like you're making a letter. Would you like help?
Clippy: Looks like your letter is finished. Would you like me to print it?
Clippy: Looks like you're infringing on a copyright. Would you like me to call you a lawyer?
* Throws computer out window *

Re:Clippy helps me steal (2, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672623)

See, this is exactly why nobody likes Clippy. If Microsoft wants people to like Clippy, get him (it) to say stuff like

Clippy: Looks like you're infringing on a copyright. Would you like DVD5 or DVD9? ...much more useful. (Uh oh. I'm off-topic... apologies)

iron man url and tracker (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672133)

I appreciate them giving me a tracker and url for iron man. Haven't seen it yet.

(just kidding, I'll wait for it to be released on dvd first)

Re:iron man url and tracker (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672295)

(just kidding, I'll wait for it to be released on dvd first)
How quaint!

Ridiculous! (5, Funny)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672145)

This is completely ridiculous and I'm sure any judge would see a printer downloading copyrighted songs as completely silly.

So, anyone wanna help me get NetBSD on my Epson?

Re:Ridiculous! (1)

yayotters (833158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672227)

Perhaps you have too much hope in our judicial system.

Too flimsy (5, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672169)

While I'm all for anything and everything that helps bring down the MAFIAA, sadly the case in this article is very weak. It only points out two things, both of which are already commonly known by almost everyone in IT.

1. IP addresses can be spoofed.
2. IP addresses assigned by DHCP will not always be assigned to the same MAC address.

Then there's a lot of hand-waving and implications that there's also all kind of other likely flaws in the methods used to find out who's participating in file-sharing.

The worst part of it though is how they throw in the whole thing of "we weren't actually downloading or sharing anything". No, they were just connecting to the tracker. And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing.

This bothers because if anyone were to point out how weak this case is in main-stream media, it could end up doing more harm than good.

We need some heavy ammo to shut them down, and I'm afraid this is not it.

Re:Too flimsy (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672285)

The worst part of it though is how they throw in the whole thing of "we weren't actually downloading or sharing anything". No, they were just connecting to the tracker. And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing.

Well, it does two things.

First, it shows that you can get a subpoena for not actually doing anything illegal. Presumably, connecting to a tracker isn't illegal.

Second, it begins to dispel the myths that the content holders have perpetuated about how they actually gather their evidence and if the collection methodology is valid.

I think actual University research which is covered by the NYT might be an awful good start. It's by no means everything that needs to happen, but starting to establish that their data collection is faulty is better than nothing.

Cheers

Re:Too flimsy (5, Insightful)

link-error (143838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672301)

The worst part of it though is how they throw in the whole thing of "we weren't actually downloading or sharing anything". No, they were just connecting to the tracker. And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing.
Actually, that is the worst part.. they are sending out take-down notices/suing people that didn't download anything..
    Remember, innocent until proven guilty. They aren't even trying to actually determine this.

Re:Too flimsy (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672575)

The point is, if you're caught connected to a tracker for a copyrighted torrent, it's valid to assume you're not there just to monitor it (unless of course you're one of *them*). I do totally agree with the whole innocent until proven guilty point, but that hasn't seemed to stop them much so far. It's just, I'd be surprised if they don't have one of their own guys tear apart this article and cause it to backfire somehow. And who knows to what ends they might go to get a law passed, enforcing all DHCP connected to the internet to be documented every minute. After all, people are "stealing" their stuff, and it's just not fair if they can't rob them for 1,000x more than the "stolen item" was worth.

Re:Too flimsy (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672601)

Actually, that is the worst part.. they are sending out take-down notices/suing people that didn't download anything..
        Remember, innocent until proven guilty. They aren't even trying to actually determine this.

Nope, these are civil matters.

Not innocent until proven guilty. Innocent until we can make it look probable, mostly with the use of faulty techniques for gathering data and identifying individuals.

This is not a case when innocent until proven guilty comes into play.

Cheers

Re:Too flimsy (5, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672311)

Maybe you missed the part where they framed the printer? The point is they just connected to a tracker but in real life what is more likely is that the guy in the dorm next to me is actually downloading the film that he didn't pay for but he pins it on me who wasn't involved in doing any copyright infringing at all. THAT IS THE POINT. Too many cases get brought up that are accusing the WRONG PERSON of doing the infringing.

Re:Too flimsy (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672773)

[sarcasm]Yes, of course I missed the part about the printer.[/sarcasm]

What I did miss was their explanation in the article on exactly what they did to get the printer implicated.

Re:Too flimsy (5, Insightful)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672329)

It only points out two things, both of which are already commonly known by almost everyone in IT.
And that's why this is relevant. Because it is not common knowledge outside the IT field, and it makes an appearance in the New York Times. The article could be more in-depth, or provide more conclusive evidence I agree, but getting the facts out there to the average (NYT reading) Joe is a good first step.

The worst part of it though is how they throw in the whole thing of "we weren't actually downloading or sharing anything". No, they were just connecting to the tracker. And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing.
True, pirates don't connect to a tracker to observe, but the point being made is that an entity that was only observing (not doing anything illegal or warranting a takedown notice) is being pinned as a pirate.

Re:Too flimsy...not really (5, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672397)

Yes, anyone in IT understands these issues. But the fact remains that no one in IT is being listened to when they are calling this same information proof of infringement. This study is to show that their "proof" which is being used in these same cases is as worthless as all the IT people have said it was from the beginning, and that the checks the **AA investigators are using to confirm that they are not accusing the wrong people are as worthless as well in terms of verifying/screening false positives. This study shows for a FACT that false positives are occurring and occurring ALL THE TIME.

Re:Too flimsy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672399)

It's good to read such things critically- too many times we fall into the trap of hearing something somewhat similar to what we hope to hear and then just jumping all over it.

You are correct that this doesn't really show anything new, in terms of the inaccuracy of tracing IP addresses, however hopefully it continues to bring to light what so many of us are already aware of. The point isn't to prove that every case the RIAA pursues is completely fraudulent, but simply to show that their "proof" isn't nearly as conclusive as they make it out to be.

And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing
Unfortunately you have it backwards. The question isn't what "pirates" do, but whether everyone who connects to a torrent tracker is automatically a "pirate." Are there reasons why someone would legitimately connect to a tracker without downloading? Maybe not very strong reasons, but they are there, and the burden of proof needs to rest with the RIAA to demonstrate that you are a "pirate" by your actions, not simply guilt by association.

Re:Too flimsy (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672707)

and the burden of proof needs to rest with the RIAA to demonstrate that you are a "pirate" by your actions, not simply guilt by association
I could not agree more. The problem is, currently IP addresses are the only means of "proof" they can reasonably get. There really is nothing else. Sure, they can take that extra step and make sure every IP address they're accusing is actually transferring portions of the torrent files, but really what's the point? If you're connected to the tracker, odds are about 99,999,999,999 to 1 that you're uploading or downloading -- or at least trying to. And whether or not you are is kind of a moot point - their results are still only as valid as the only data they can collect: IP addresses.

In short, all this information can ultimately do is put more burden on everyone else to keep better records of IP addresses so their "proof" is valid.

Re:Too flimsy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672439)

Did you miss the part where any malicious client can send an alternate client IP address to a tracker which supports the appropriate protocol extensions; the tracker will then report that IP address as participating in the swarm?

Also, consider this: As commonly compressed, each reported peer takes up essentially 6 bytes; 4 for the IPv4 address, 2 for the port, because the less data the trackers have to push out during a scrape, the better.

That gives a two-third chance that any corruption (undetected by the embarrassingly small IP checksum) of any single byte in that packet would falsely implicate an IP address.

Look at how often your client gets bad data owing to something corrupting it on the way or faulty network gear; corruption that BT itself detects through piecewise SHA-1 hashing.

But the scrape is not protected against this, and given the number of automated requests issued, it's highly likely that many innocent IP addresses have been targeted (and indeed, ask around; all the anecdotal evidence strongly supports that hypothesis).

Further, this is solid evidence that the same enforcement companies providing data used for RIAA and MPAA lawsuits have a methodology which is not only flawed, but falls far short of what might be considered due diligence; they are believing the responses of servers which could very well detect that these are so-called "Judas nodes", and deliberately provide responses seeded with bogus requests... ...or servers set up by other monitoring organisations as malicious trackers, which are, amongst other things, deliberately reporting non-existent clients to attempt to frustrate their malicious torrents.

Even worse if they're believing peer exchange or DHT inserts. This is actually pretty damning evidence against their reliability.

It also contains easily enough information for just about anyone with enough resources (for example, The Pirate Bay) to identify with a high probability all of the IP addresses currently used by reporting agencies. And block them, and maybe even tell us what they are, because the agencies are rapidly running out of blocks (especially if they're going to launch synfloods from them and risk getting their transit cut off).

Thanks, guys. Nice work there. I hope one of you springs for the printer's bail bonds. :-)

Re:Too flimsy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672457)

Connecting to the tracker does not violate any laws, period. Actually downloading or uploading might.

What this exposes is that the *IAA are basing their take down letters on you simply connecting to a tracker. They are not doing any investigation to see if you ARE file sharing, just assuming you are and sending letters, lawsuits, etc.

Re:Too flimsy (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672485)

[This] article is very weak . . . [it] only points out two things, both of which are already commonly known by almost everyone in IT.
Granted, but the study is being reported in the New York Times, not a trade magazine. Now we don't have to stroke our neck beards and demand the ignorant just understand, we can just point with "hey, look, it's in the New York Times," and continue to stroke our neck beards because, frankly, it's quite soothing.

The worst part of it though is how they throw in the whole thing of "we weren't actually downloading or sharing anything". No, they were just connecting to the tracker. And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing.
Here's the detail, though, should connecting to another computer, something as simple as a handshake, immediately trigger a Cease & Desist? If it goes for BitTorrent connections to trackers, why not just web pages that serve .torrents that have instructions for the BT client to connect to a tracker? Why not the search engine that crawls the page? Is it ok that someone gets on some scary BOLO list for the FBI just by pinging Google to see if their connection is up because Google could be used to assist in finding torrents to use in infringing copyright?

MAFIAA tactics like this one only demonstrate that they are systematically exploiting the fact that it is extremely difficult for the courts to make a distinction between connecting to a tracker with intent to violate copyright and, you know, actually swapping packets with someone with the goal of collectively violating copyright.

No matter where you stand on Intellectual Property clearly any method of discovery that could implicate a PRINTER of all things is the wrong way to go.

Re:Too flimsy (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672791)

And of course, everyone knows "pirates" commonly connect to torrent trackers to do nothing.

And Linux users commonly connect to torrent trackers to download new distros. Mucic lovers commonly connect to trackers to download indie music the copyright holder wants shared.

So what, exactly, is your point there?

Rigged to involve printers... (1)

An anonymous Frank (559486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672241)

How many printers does it take to pretend to download a file?

or...

How many peers on an "infringing" torrent might actually be, ..., "just looking"?

Won't these (scientists) fall under a reasonable false-positives margin, considering it's not in a peer's nature to sit back and enjoy the smell of fresh pulp?

Big surprise! (0)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672299)

So they're trying to make it look like they are committing copyright infringement and they are investigated. Is this a surprise?

If I go outside every night wearing overalls covered in blood stains, dig holes in my front yard, and bury body sized bundles wrapped in garbage bags every night for a couple of weeks, I'll probably be investigated for murder. If I build a large enclosure in my backyard, and fill it with heating lamps which use a prodigious amount of electricity and generate a lot of heat, and I sit on my front porch smoking a leafy substance wrapped in paper, I'll probably be investigated for running a grow-op. If I show up at school carrying a fake, but real-looking machine gun, it will probably draw the attention of the authorities.

In fact, isn't it a crime to try to fool the police into thinking you're committing a crime? Usually it gets a disorderly conduct charge or something like that.

I'm not saying there are no problems with copyright enforcement, or the tactics of the RIAA, but being able to frame your printer is not a good example of that.

Re:Big surprise! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672487)

Please don't confuse an RIAA investigation with a police investigation. The RIAA are not the police (yet....)

Re:Big surprise! (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672541)

"In fact, isn't it a crime to try to fool the police into thinking you're committing a crime?"

But they're not fooling the police. They're fooling MAFIAA. They're not the police.

Yet.

Re:Big surprise! (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672557)

Your analogy is flawed. For starters, murder is a criminal act. Said copyright infringement (for now) is by and large civil.

The police's job is to maintain public safety and order. They are bound by certain rules of engagement, like warrants and probable cause. The MPAA is a trade association, and a representative of media corporations. They are not bound by anything except the size of their wallets.

Re:Big surprise! (2, Interesting)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672637)

If I go outside every night wearing overalls covered in blood stains, dig holes in my front yard, and bury body sized bundles wrapped in garbage bags every night for a couple of weeks, I'll probably be investigated for murder.
Investigated, sure. They'll cordon off your yard, bring in body-sniffing dogs, dig everything up, search your garbage bags, find nothing, and conclude that you were just fucking with them. They would do this, rather than immediately strapping you to the electric chair, because "first degree hacking up of people into little bits" is a criminal matter, not a civil one, and circumstantial evidence is not sufficient for a criminal conviction. It's not "beyond a reasonable doubt". In the civil arena, though, the standards are much looser. The evidence that the **AA collected, and used to send threatening notices, are the beginning and the end of the investigation. They are the full extent of the evidence presented in court, and up until now that's often been good enough for the court to find in their favor. IOW, if you can get a takedown notice sent to your printer, you can get a thousands-of-real-money-dollars legal judgment levied against some random guy you don't like. That's what's a surprise. (Or not.)

Hm. (1)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672735)

You know, the new comment system would be a lot more awesome if it wasn't so effective at concealing the fact that five other guys already said the same thing I did.

Re:Big surprise! (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672685)

The point is that they... #1, only connected to the tracker, and didn't download anything, and #2, were trying to prove a point. They successfully proved that point.

Also, they weren't trying to make the police think they were doing something illegal, they were trying to get C&Ds from the RIAA.

Re:Big surprise! (4, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672689)

If I go outside every night wearing overalls covered in blood stains, dig holes in my front yard, and bury body sized bundles wrapped in garbage bags every night for a couple of weeks, I'll probably be investigated for murder.

You would be investigated, but if the only evidence presented at the case was the odd behavior you would be found not-guilty. The MPAA/RIAA use the odd behavior as not only the probable cause to investigate but also as the evidence to prosecute.

Re:Big surprise! (1)

xortin (1302703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672717)

Terrible analogies How about mediadefender sharing fake files that compares to your "fake gun" that looks real otherwise besides connecting there is no action your saying someone who shares files (faked) and downloads files (fake) would still be breaking the law which is maybe true. This compares to your fake body in front yard. This is in fact not what they did.

Re:Big surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23672723)

This makes no sense. Its is NOT the police that are after you, its the recording industry and motion picture industry or the people they hire. Second, connecting to any server for any reason is not indicative of a crime. Simply information gathering. As an IT security professional, I regularly scan boxes (syn scan, aka, connect) that my employee's are connecting to. If one of them connects to a tracker, then I connect to make sure its legit, these arse clowns would come after me as well.

Frame everybody (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672425)

With this approach, it seems like it would be possible to frame every Internet user, or at least a significant number of them. What a monkey-wrench that would throw into the works! The modern version of 'I, Spartacus'.

Any other bright ideas? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672429)

How about we start framing security cameras and other IP-enabled devices. This brings new meaning to automated homes. "I swear officer, it was my toaster oven that was downloading those mp3s."

Frame Mitch Bainwol... (1)

AmishElvis (1101979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672631)

...Chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America.

The time has come (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672509)

We need an UN declaration on Machine Rights. There are no punishment for smash, throw out windows, sued for file sharing without a fair judgement or even (is hard for me to write this, human cruelty have no limits) install windows in them.

How you think a singularity will decide to show up in such environment?

Trial by Jury (1)

FnordX (115944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672547)

I hope that the printer gets a good lawyer and demands a trial by jury.

Hell, I hope that it even takes the stand in its own defense!

has the mafiaa ever fought an IT guy? (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672563)

I have not read about this - has anyone heard any anecdotes on this subject?

I'm curious if the 'industry monitoring groups' have ever sent a C/D letter to a clueful sysadmin? we know that most laymen will simply cave in when they receive the 'fact' that their IP address was somehow connected to 'bad traffic'; but I wonder if anyone who knows networking ever called their bluff and really had a court case where he asked for MORE info than simply IP addrs. it would seem that if you can defend yourself in IP networking theory that they really have no firm case on you, especially if you run an 'open wireless AP' and that, itself, could create enough doubt as to who the real 'infringer' really is. they might be able to say its your network but they can't prove its YOU. it could be spyware that somehow got installed on your system. spyware does do 'strange things' as well all know and its not outside the realm of possibility that some virus is connecting to trackers while sitting inside your network. is that really your fault? should you be called 'an infringer' for that?

so I'm really curious if there are any examples of a tech-strong defendant really calling their bluff and demaning fine-grained specific evidence while at court or at some plea bargaining procedure.

Re:has the mafiaa ever fought an IT guy?YES (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672697)

I have not read about this - has anyone heard any anecdotes on this subject?

Yes. There are many stories now by the people who have had to process them of the RIAA sending DMCA takedowns and subpoenas with IP addresses and timestamps where the logs show no DHCP or static IP addresses allocated for the times in question. Some IP addresses were in ranges never allocated.

The New Way To Evade Detection (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672617)

1: Find a network printer assigned an IP address.
2: Set your NATting wireless router to mimic that printer's MAC address.
3: Insert your NATting router between the printer and the LAN and steal its IP address.
4: Connect to router and fileshare to your heart's content.
5: Watch printer be arrested for your piracy.
6: PROFIT!

My printer... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672779)


Is a linux box with an ftp server, (Brother MFC), so of course it could be guilty of copyright infringement. Or rather, it could be the source of copyright materials that I assume I or my wife would be responsible for the infringement related there-to. Or something like that.

We'll see how funny this is... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#23672795)

...when these printers are found guilty in court! Time to swap in the legal tray, before Bubba starts abusing the collator...
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