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IsoHunt Petitions Canadian Court For Copyright Blessing

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the petition-to-the-courts-not-petition-online dept.

The Internet 217

A Cow writes "As an act of self-defense, the popular BitTorrent site isoHunt has decided to file a petition to ask the Court of British Columbia to confirm that isoHunt — and sister sites Torrentbox and Podtropolis — do not infringe copyright. isoHunt owner Gary explains to TorrentFreak: 'Our petition summarizes BitTorrent technology, its open nature and a whole ecosystem of websites and operators that has developed around it, that CRIA does not own copyright to all files distributed over BitTorrent or on isoHunt websites, and we seek legal validation that we can continue to innovate within this emerging BitTorrent ecosystem on the Internet.'"

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paraphrased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914547)

While this is just a paraphrase of the legalese used, the only glaring difference between the summary and the petition is the lack of *winks* and *nudges* used within the document.

Re:paraphrased (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914661)

Yes, but you can't help but think that its interesting that the general public thinks that the commercial system for
media distribution sucks ass, and has developed not just one but several ways to illegally distribute content.

Re:paraphrased (4, Informative)

BPPG (1181851) | about 6 years ago | (#24914721)

"...and has developed not just one but several ways to illegally distribute content."

what?

It's not the method that's illegal in the case of P2P, it's the content, for certain values of content. There's nothing illegal about Bittorrent itself.

Re:paraphrased (2, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 6 years ago | (#24914797)

I think what he meant by "illegally distribute content" wasn't referring to the means of distribution. What the poster meant might have been illegal in the sense of distributing that specific content without a legal right to do so. There's nothing illegal about a blank CD, but buying that same disc with copied music on it is almost certainly illegal.

Re:paraphrased (0, Offtopic)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | about 6 years ago | (#24914821)

a cd with copied music isn't illegal if its your 1 backup copy of the album which is fair use if you bought the album legally

Re:paraphrased (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24914845)

a cd with copied music isn't illegal if its your 1 backup copy of the album which is fair use if you bought the album legally

because we all know you only need one backup copy right?

Re:paraphrased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914913)

Fair use Canada? Or fair use USA? And just for the hell of it. Please define the boundaries of this "fair use" so that others may not cross it.

Re:paraphrased (4, Informative)

gobbo (567674) | about 6 years ago | (#24915301)

Fair use Canada? Or fair use USA? And just for the hell of it. Please define the boundaries of this "fair use" so that others may not cross it.

We don't have a clear legal definition of fair use in Canada. In this situation of recorded audio we have "personal use" which is defined in the Copyright Act. It includes things like making a mix CD for the car or loaning a friend a CD so they can copy it (really!). For these privileges we pay a levy on blank media.

Re:paraphrased (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 6 years ago | (#24916043)

>>Please define the boundaries of this "fair use" so that others may not cross it.

Fine: I own the bits on the DVD or CD I bought and I may make as many copies as I like of my property.

Re:paraphrased (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 6 years ago | (#24914943)

(Although I hate reading any post preceded by this acronym...) IANAL, but I was speaking from my understanding of Australian copyright law (since that's where I live). I forgot that "fair use" is much more liberal in most other countries. In Australia, fair use almost predates the record player (I know, I exaggerate a little...). Our copyright law is so antiquated as to probably be completely inapplicable today.

Re:paraphrased (2, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24914965)

(Although I hate reading any post preceded by this acronym...) IANAL, but I was speaking from my understanding of Australian copyright law (since that's where I live). I forgot that "fair use" is much more liberal in most other countries. In Australia, fair use almost predates the record player (I know, I exaggerate a little...). Our copyright law is so antiquated as to probably be completely inapplicable today.

no, it's quite "modern", go read the fine print in AUSFTA

Re:paraphrased (4, Informative)

BPPG (1181851) | about 6 years ago | (#24915035)

Yes, in Canada there is an extra levy on blank optical media. This levy is basically a "you-might-be-a-pirate" tax. So you can't be caught for copyright infringement if it's for personal use on discs you paid for.

It's more of a gray area than anything, right now in Canada. Bill C61 was going to explicitly legalize backing up(if you back up in a certain way), while also explicitly outlawing many other things (including many forms of backing up that might bypass so-called "digital locks").

Re:paraphrased (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915815)

Oversimplification of copyright law, which is based on a fairly complex statutory framework, is a dangerous thing.

In Canada, Part VIII of the Copyright Act provides a limited exemption to copying music only and only to an "audio recording medium" (i.e. media which, if blank, would be subject to the levy). The reason there's no levy on an iPod is that they're not considered "audio recording media" and, therefore, copying your music to such a medium constitutes copyright infringement, unless you're licensed (i.e. you downloaded from iTunes).

There is absolutely no private copying exception for downloading videos, and don't even think about calling it "fair use" -- in Canada, that concept doesn't exist. What we do have is "fair dealing", with a number of limited, listed exemptions much narrower than our southern neighbours enjoy.

Re:paraphrased (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#24915923)

Yeah but nobody's ever been sued for these sort of things in Canada.

CRIA even went on record saying they like things the way they are, that they just collect on CDs. (I believe they do collect on DVDs as well that pretty much means I'm going to download movies too because I've pretty much paid for them)

~1$ a CD (else I can't see why a CD and two DVDs both sell for 1$.) is worth it to me for a bunch of songs, don't you think?

Re:paraphrased (1)

BPPG (1181851) | about 6 years ago | (#24915043)

yeah, after re-reading that, I think you're right. It was just phrased in a funny way. I thought he meant to imply that any method other than the commercial one was illegal, but that would be a pretty silly thing to say ;-)

Re:paraphrased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915249)

How is it that some morons who have a stick up their butts think that cars should be illegal because some of them are used when holding up a bank? That is the same as saying that any torrent system should be banned, etc, just because one of it's uses is a bad one.. If we used the same reference for everything, pretty much absolutely every single thing on earth would be illegal.

Re:paraphrased (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915653)

Maybe it would be a different story if, whenever you saw a car, there was a 99.99% chance it was being used for a bank robbery.

Re:paraphrased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915707)

The problem is not that BitTorrent can be used for illegal purposes, it's that it almost always is. I'm sure nuclear bombs can be used for legal purposes, but does that mean that everyone should get to have one, even if the chances of it being used safely are next to zero?

Re:paraphrased (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 6 years ago | (#24915299)

No-one was suggesting that. It was just a tool that could be (and often is) used to illegally distribute content. That, as you pointed out, doesn't make it illegal.

Paralyzed (1, Troll)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 6 years ago | (#24915611)

"It's not the method that's illegal in the case of P2P, it's the content, for certain values of content. There's nothing illegal about Bittorrent itself."

Does the same apply to the variants that hide the payload as well as who's on either end?

Re:Paralyzed (2, Informative)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 6 years ago | (#24916093)

Does the same apply to the variants that hide the payload as well as who's on either end?

Yes. YMMV depending on your country of residence of course, but in general the fact that a protocol obscures either the participants or the payload is in no way illegal. Or at least it wasn't at the time of this posting. Similarly it isn't illegal to use an anonymous remailer if you so chose or to encrypt your email. The content of the email on the other hand might be illegal if you were threatening someone, for instance.

Canadian DMCA? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#24914553)

We have since tried to come to an understanding, but just as with the MPAA in the US, they ignored our offers of cooperation by the take down of .torrent links to their content files, so long as they provide sufficient identification," Gary Fung [of isoHunt] told TorrentFreak.

Does Canada even have a notice-and-takdown law in effect?

Re:Canadian DMCA? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#24914651)

I hope so. Better than finding a lawsuit in the mail one day.

Re:Canadian DMCA? (1)

d_jedi (773213) | about 6 years ago | (#24915613)

No, we do not. The lawsuit is frivolous, and isoHunt's "copyright policy" has no basis (ie. provides no immunity) under Canadian law.

I was recently looking for Hermion Granger porn... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915687)

and this underage broad "Emma Watson" just comes out of nowhere, and tries to ACT as though she were the true Hermione Granger. Absolute bullshit. I hope ISOhunt validates whether or not that imposter and Emma Watson's library collection of nude photographs of Hermione Granger are authentic or should be removed for copyright validation.

And wouldn't you know it, this counterfeit works for the FBI, with full endorsement to host that crap on ISOhunt. Someone hang these traitors. FBI realy needs to correct their agent Watson, because I think over a third of FBI needs an audit and firing because I'ld have to be naive to think they didn't willfully and voluntarily publish these on ISOhunt. Bastards. Wish I can stay to talk about it, but my window on this wireless AP needs to be closed...Ziggy said I'm ready.

Sickening (5, Interesting)

Vertana (1094987) | about 6 years ago | (#24914695)

The idea that an intermediary trafficker can be held accountable for the files and data passing through it is disgusting. By this logic why aren't ISP's held accountable by law for child pornography passing through their servers? I hope IsoHunt succeeds in their endeavor and shows that government the flaw in their logic.

Re:Sickening (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24914769)

There's a flaw in your logic. It's called "common carrier."

Re:Sickening (4, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24914791)

There's a flaw in your logic. It's called "common carrier."

and as has been pointed out before, ISP's, at least in the US, were removed from "common carrier" and placed under the category "information service".

Re:Sickening (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 6 years ago | (#24915089)

not if your on Comcast

Re:Sickening (1)

Swizec (978239) | about 6 years ago | (#24915063)

By your logic why are drug traffickers held accountable?

Re:Sickening (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915127)

Wrong. The equivalent analogy would be the Postal Service being held accountable for dealers sending drugs through the mail.

Re:Sickening (4, Interesting)

matchlight (609707) | about 6 years ago | (#24916039)

I think it's closer to a phone book with "escort services" listed.

Re:Sickening (2, Informative)

lord_sarpedon (917201) | about 6 years ago | (#24915191)

Because drug traffickers are people, and it is easy for said people to determine that what they are selling is illegal.

There's not a a special kind of bit with "COPYRIGHTED" written on it that is easy to distinguish from the trillions of others.

I'll also point out that IsoHunt doesn't even _see_ the possibly copyrighted data.
Keeping with your silly argument for a bit...
The drug traffickers are listing themselves in the phone book, and some bright people such as yourself want to sue the publisher.

Re:Sickening (1)

click2005 (921437) | about 6 years ago | (#24915197)

Drug traffickers are generally fully aware of what they're carrying and its legality. The illegal stuff being transported is also usually the only/primary material. The idea of a common carrier is that they are transporting so much stuff that it would be reasonably impossible to inspect every package.

Re:Sickening (5, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | about 6 years ago | (#24915293)

By your logic why are drug traffickers held accountable?

A drug trafficker actually owns and then distributes the drug.

In your analogy, a torrent site would be like you walking up to a guy on the street, asking him "you know where I can buy some weed?" and he tells you "oh.. there's a guy over there I think.. he might not be there anymore... but there's a bunch of these guys around.. umm.. maybe that guy over there possibly." while pointing. He's not moving or selling the drugs, he is referring you to them.

Furthermore, it is the not the explicit intent of these sites to aid in 'finding drugs', but rather to aid in helping people find what they ask for and relaying the information as to where it is.

Get it?

Re:Sickening (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | about 6 years ago | (#24915695)

OMG, the first post I have seen so far that has some sanity in it. Its it just me? or are more and more people so becoming stupid that can see outside of their own ideologies.. I think the issues is that there are too many people that are looking to blame others instead of take part in the responsibility of where we are today in regards to copyrighted file sharing.

Re:Sickening (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915789)

So if I walk up to a guy on a street, and I ask him "where does John Smith live, I'm going to shoot him in the head with this gun", it's perfectly ok for him to tell me, and he shouldn't be held accountable for anything. Is that right?

Re:Sickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915951)

As a resident of BC, if this petition is successful, I think i'm going to be pioneering a new way to sell drugs....

I know I'm dreaming (3, Interesting)

perlchild (582235) | about 6 years ago | (#24914697)

But I'm hoping that in trying this case, the court takes into account the media levy and clarifies the whole thing, pretty far on the side of the consumer.

Re:I know I'm dreaming (3, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | about 6 years ago | (#24915033)

But I'm hoping that in trying this case, the court takes into account the media levy and clarifies the whole thing, pretty far on the side of the consumer.

Unlikely given their current strategy. They aren't trying to justify Canadians accessing copyrighted content without fee, but rather are essentially saying to CRIA, "Hey, guys, we're on your side. Just point out any torrents pointing to copyrighted material, and we'll take them right down".

But CRIA doesn't want to do that. Perhaps they feel it would be easier to just shut down isoHunt completely, rather than having to monitor it and report every single infraction they find.

isoHunt would win this one in a rational world. They host torrents, not copyrighted material. Not all torrents point to copyrighted material, and they not only stated, but demonstrated, a willingness to remove torrents which do point to copyrighted material.

The only argument CRIA could make is that isoHunt should be responsible for policing the torrents themselves, and have been negligent in this duty.

Re:I know I'm dreaming (4, Insightful)

AigariusDebian (721386) | about 6 years ago | (#24915433)

IsoHunt has no way of knowing if:
1) the torrent contains what it says on the box
2) if the files in question are protected by copyright
3) if the holders of the copyright object to such distribution.

Only if all 3 of the above is true, the distribution of the files in the torrent might be considered illegal (and only by a court).

IsoHunt has no legal basis to determine any of the above. The copyright holders must monitor the files and notify IsoHunt of any discovered torrents with potentially infringing material.

They need to provide:
1) proof of content (actual content of the files in the torrent)
2) proof of copyright (papers that show that they are the copyright holders or their representatives in this case)
3) takedown notice (in writing)

After that is delivered (on paper, with proper signatures, via snail main), IsoHunt can take down the torrent as soon as possible. Due to limited staff time that might take up to two weeks. :)

Re:I know I'm dreaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915903)

You make a good point. We should all just go around posting people's private information, copyrighted content and kiddie porn, then waiting for the courts to get US, rather than using law-abiding citizenry common sense and not posting it in the first place. After all, it's not like when you post stuff on the internet, the damage has already been done.

Re:I know I'm dreaming (1)

srothroc (733160) | about 6 years ago | (#24915265)

It seems like (in my pessimistic worldview) that it's more likely that the whole plan will backfire and that the courts will rule that torrent distribution sites such as isohunt (I mean, their name implies the a search for ISOs, and I'll be that the large number of ISOs available on that site are illegal) exist solely to facilitate the illegal sharing of copyrighted files through legal methods.

It seems like, to me, a newspaper is allowing drug dealers to take out classified ads (legal) and those dealers drive cars safely (legal) to legal parking spaces where they are legally allowed to congregate to pursue an illegal transaction.

I know the analogy isn't spot-on, but the fact of the matter is, a large number of those torrent sites specialize in providing copyrighted content.

What victory are they after? (1)

narcberry (1328009) | about 6 years ago | (#24914701)

What are they trying to win? They afraid the courts are going to take away all their monopoly money one day?

I hope this doesn't cause more damage (4, Interesting)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#24914713)

I noticed they kind of act as though they represent the entire BitTorrent user base. I hope this doesn't cause more harm than good. On installing BitTorrent on a friend's computer, he asked "Is this legal"? My college's anti-getting-their-ass-sued-by-the-RIAA propaganda has already melted the minds of a lot of people around here to thinking that any kind of file sharing, regardless of content, is illegal. I hope this turns out well and doesn't backfire.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914781)

My college's anti-getting-their-ass-sued-by-the-RIAA propaganda has already melted the minds of a lot of people around here to thinking that any kind of file sharing, regardless of content, is illegal.

Agreed. As a new college freshman, I've met plenty of people who had BitTorrent on their computer and deleted it as to avoid any lawsuits. I figure keeping a copy of Transmission on-hand is fine so long as I don't go downloading illegal stuff.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24914799)

My college's anti-getting-their-ass-sued-by-the-RIAA propaganda has already melted the minds of a lot of people around here to thinking that any kind of file sharing, regardless of content, is illegal.

Agreed. As a new college freshman, I've met plenty of people who had BitTorrent on their computer and deleted it as to avoid any lawsuits. I figure keeping a copy of Transmission on-hand is fine so long as I don't go downloading illegal stuff.

wow, you didn't educate them?

This is how ignorance leads to government license to criminalize things (as in cold hard time)

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915099)

I never said that. I did, in fact, educate them.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24915209)

I never said that. I did, in fact, educate them.

ah, I stand corrected then.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24916049)

For every person who falsely believes P2P itself is illegal, there are at least 3 others who falsely believe that "if it's on the internet to download, it must be legal" without even giving a thought about why other people would choose to pay for it (they must be stoopid!). I hope you're educating these people, too. I wouldn't want to think you're advocating piracy or anything like that.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (2, Interesting)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#24915325)

As someone in a similar situation, there's only so much I can do. I'm one geek, and because of this, some people assume I'm just swapping files all day.

The school, on the other hand, has really ramped up it's anti file sharing campaign this semester. In the science library, one of the rotating messages on the screen is "ILLEGAL ACTIVITY IN THE LIBRARY - Sharing files illegally is not allowed in the library or anywhere on campus!!". This is only so-so bad by itself. It gets worse though. They now scan all of our traffic in any publicly accessible campus location. They had been doing this in the dorms for a little while now, but scanning ALL traffic only started this semester. But wait, it gets even worse. There are these metal signs in common outside WiFi spots that show "MONITORED" and symbols for a laptop, a phone, and some other wifi device (can't remember which one).

It may sound like I am making this up. I absolutely am not. My school is on the farther end of the "We love you RIAA!!!" spectrum. Needless to say, I have an SSH tunnel ready the second I leave my off-campus apartment. I wish more people would do the same.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (1)

Z34107 (925136) | about 6 years ago | (#24916033)

wow, you didn't educate them?

I work for tech support at the college I attend, and they hate bittorrent and most P2P stuff. Through some special "deal", they only have a 20Mb/s symmetrical line for the entire campus.

So, they have extensive bandwidth rationing and quotas. Every MAC address must be registered to its owner - unknown MAC addresses are assigned an IP in a special subnet, and get redirected to a registration form. Machines registered to students are capped at 113KB/s (they probably decided everyone would get an even 1000Kb/s.)

So, amongst other things, my college has banned P2P. They figure: A) 99% of the time it's copyright infringement, but more importantly B) it eats the bandwidth that's barely adequate for web surfing to begin with. Even with every student capped at comcastic speeds, a few of them running a torrent client (and using their cap) 24/7 means less bandwidth for lab machines (and faculty.)

If the IT people go over the bandwidth logs and find some bandwidth sink, and that bandwidth sink is making hundreds of simultaneous connections to random IPs on different ports, they're cut off. The student in question has to ask nicely and fill out an apology form to get their room's ethernet jack turned back on. I guess it makes sense, but it's a pain in the but from my point of view. (I want to watch cartoons!)

So, the relevant part of my post: At my college, bittorrent is deleted (or gets deleted by the guys staffing the help desk if the students who are too dumb to fill out a web form have us do it for them) as a preventive measure. They bought too little bandwidth, and the powers that be can't be moved to change it, so no file sharing regardless of content. It's not really an "education" thing at my campus, at least - although that couldn't hurt. (One chick couldn't fathom that A) downloading copyright music is, for better or for worse, illegal and B) that there were other ways to listen to music. Like CDs, or online stores, or internet radio, or something.)

I guess ignorance works both ways: "OMG I have to delete it 'cuz its illegal for anything!" versus "The powers that be gave you dial-up, so be thankful" versus "Huh? Nobody got paid for that terabyte of music I got from limewire?"

Now, a school my friends go to (a public university, even!) have wired all of the dorms and most of the buildings with gigabit ethernet. Their idea of bandwidth saving is "share all the files you want locally; just don't tell anyone." But, most of the buildings on my campus are lucky to even be cat5 - it's a pain to work in the buildings that still have cat3. Some are rumored to have (long-darkened) coax. But, for your computer, not for the TV. Some old guy mumbling about BNCs and whatnot...

I guess the point of my rambling is that where I attend school, there's the same stuff happening - no P2P, remove your clients! - but from a "scarce commodity" standpoint rather than a "legal ignorance" thing. (Although there's plenty of that, too.)

Wish us luck!

I hope this doesn't cause more seeds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915009)

Well this forums certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of the "dual use" argument. Fortunately courts are unable to do several things to clarify this issue. 1) They're unable to access these BT sites. 2) They're unable to count total unique seeds. 3) They're unable to determine which seeds fall under copyright and which don't. Faced with these facts BT is obviously as clean as the driven snow, and so clean it squeaks.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more seeds. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24915037)

Sure, but the RIAA seems to have no problem with performing DoS attacks on the sites. Yet they cry foul whenever anyone hacks the RIAA's site.

Legality has never stopped the record companies before.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more seeds. (1, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 6 years ago | (#24915399)

Ummm, you do realize the story is about Isohunt trying to convince a Canadian COURT, not the RIAA, right? The RIAA is totally irrelevant in this story. The basic question is, is IsoHunt facilitating a crime by hosting torrents? The way to answer that question is simple. Go look. The rest is common sense.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more seeds. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#24915949)

The RIAA is totally irrelevant in this story.

It's not even in the same country.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914933)

My college's anti-getting-their-ass-sued-by-the-RIAA propaganda has already melted the minds of a lot of people around here to thinking that any kind of file sharing, regardless of content, is illegal

And you have discovered the real reason behind the ??AA propaganda efforts.

You get people thinking that P2P (and mp3 file rmats) is illegal, and you create a belief that only physical media is legal. This means that your media is "legal", and new artists still need you to promote themselves.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915279)

Why were you installing BitTorrent on a client who didn't even know what it was?

I don't imagine he asked you to "show me how to download music", then questioned the legalities after you mentioned BitTorrent which seems more ironic than anything else.

Re:I hope this doesn't cause more damage (2)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#24915367)

He wanted to try Ubuntu, I didn't want to suck up a donor server's bandwidth.

You're probably trolling but I forgot to clear that up in my original post anyway, so thanks for letting me clarify =)

The law has it all wrong. (5, Insightful)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | about 6 years ago | (#24914773)

The laws on all this cyber stuff are totally wrong. It should be stated quite simply in the law that:

If you provide a service, such as a communication service, a file transfer service, a web-based service, or any kind of Internet-based service, and someone else who is using that service is doing something illegal or something they shouldn't be doing, then that someone else should be liable and you should NOT.

Think of it this way. You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone speeding along those roads gets in an accident and kills someone. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!

Another example: You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone is transporting illegal drugs around in a vehicle, using your roads and freeways to do so. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!

So why should a service that is based on the Internet be any different? Why should those providing the infrastructure be liable for bad things people do with that infrastructure? If infrastructure-providers were supposed to be liable because they somehow facilitate something bad, then why don't we go back to being cave-men, because anything and everything that we have in the world can be used for some bad purpose.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (4, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 6 years ago | (#24914839)

Another example: You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone is transporting illegal drugs around in a vehicle, using your roads and freeways to do so. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!

How about this? You build a road. You brag about how convenient your road is for transporting illegal drugs. You take steps to make it so the police will have trouble catching drug transporters on your road. Shouldn't you bear some of the responsibility for drug transport on your road?

Re:The law has it all wrong. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914873)

Then it seems that the drugs bought from the bootlegger come without the extra ingredients that prevent you from enjoying them at your leisure and you thank the owner of the road for bringing you high quality produce without the downsides.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (4, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24914877)

Another example: You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone is transporting illegal drugs around in a vehicle, using your roads and freeways to do so. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!

How about this? You build a road. You brag about how convenient your road is for transporting illegal drugs. You take steps to make it so the police will have trouble catching drug transporters on your road. Shouldn't you bear some of the responsibility for drug transport on your road?

how about a counterexample to your heavily loaded example:

you build a road, you place a checkpoint every 5 paces at which a dea agent takes the car apart piece by piece searching for drugs, strip searches all occupants regardless of age in full public view, and reserve the right to take your car to the crusher on the mere accusations of anyone on the road (good luck getting away with that obama bumper sticker if it's in georgia).

oh yeah.. that's how the law is today.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (2, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 6 years ago | (#24915371)

Thanks for the analogy. Now it's a simple matter of seeing who's is more appropriate for the current situation.

And the winner is... the GP! He correctly identified that the target was not the ISPs, but in fact bittorrent and other P2P sharing software, and the things he mentioned were analogous to real life actions performed by companies behind certain P2P sharing software (e.g. bragging = advertising). All in all, it was a splendid analogy, and was only loaded because, well, some companies decided to load themselves that way.

As for your analogy, besides being wildly mis-aimed at the legal system in general, is also wildly inaccurate. In fact, so general was your attack, it's even a little hard to tell if this is analogy, or just a plain prophecy. Try again next week!

Re:The law has it all wrong. (4, Informative)

kesuki (321456) | about 6 years ago | (#24914947)

since when does isohunt brag about providing illegal, copyrighted works on it?

try "linux" http://isohunt.com/torrents/?ihq=linux [isohunt.com] wow i didn't know a version of linux had had over 10,000 seeders (parsix, linux by name)

okay not a fan of formatting and installing, how about a vmware appliance http://isohunt.com/torrents/?ihq=vmware+appliance [isohunt.com]

yeah, isohunt suggests that you get full iso images, but what full iso images? of copyrighted contet? or of gnu linux isos?

Re:The law has it all wrong. (3, Insightful)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 6 years ago | (#24915243)

Go the web site. Look at the list on the right labeled "top searches". At the moment, it reads:

      1. axxo
      2. fxg
      3. spore
      4. the dark knight
      5. iron man
      6. prison break
      7. bangkok dangerous
      8. psp
      9. tropic thunder
    10. stargate atlantis
    11. pineapple express
    12. pc games
    13. mamma mia
    14. 2008
    15. metallica
    16. disaster movie
    17. death race
    18. wanted
    19. french
    20. mummy tomb dragon emperor

The first two items, Axxo and FXG, are DVD rippers who distribute copyrighted content. The next 14 out of 18 are direct searches for copyrighted content. Linux ISOs don't even make the top 20. By the way, each one of those links goes to torrents that are obviously holding copyrighted content (unless "cam rip" has some new meaning I'm not aware of).

According to the site itself, its main purpose is helping people violate copyrights. The only way its owners can be unaware of this is if they've never visited their own homepage. Now really, I don't care if you engage in filesharing, but don't you think claiming ignorance is a little ridiculous here? Clicking on their most searched-for item gives you a list of *nothing but copyrighted content*!

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

johndmartiniii (1213700) | about 6 years ago | (#24915517)

Sorry, I couldn't hear you. Mama Mia was on really loud.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | about 6 years ago | (#24915619)

Golly, I guess that wouldn't be happening if the content industry hadn't stuck their head in the sand and said "This is not happening, digital distribution is an illusion". IF the content industry got off their asses when this started happening and created a digital content distribution system that made it inexpensive and easy for people to purchase content copyrighted file sharing would have never gotten as big as it is now. The content industry needs to take responsibility for their own inaction and the fact that their unwillingness to act IS part of the problem, instead of blaming everyone else for their own stupidity.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | about 6 years ago | (#24915669)

Look, we all know that bittorrent is commonly used for copyright infringement. But that does not mean that it should be illegal. Bittorrent / bittorrent sites are just the delivery method.
To use an analogy:
If someone speeds down the street in a corvette, what should you (the law enforcement) go after? The driver? Take away their license? The car? Make fast cars illegal? The street? Make streets illegal because people speed on them?

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

freakdiablo (1358693) | about 6 years ago | (#24915897)

You forgot the shout box, people are openly asking for links to copyrighted files, if copyrighted torrents are legit, etc.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

rea1l1 (903073) | about 6 years ago | (#24915941)

There are plenty of legal reasons one would search for the names of copyrighted material. For movies there are previews, for software there are demos.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 6 years ago | (#24915997)

Look at the search results. That's not what the overwhelming majority of that site's users are doing.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24914989)

So, you think the CIA should be held responsible for their numerous activities in this area? Citation needed? Just Google, should get a 100k or more results. Must say I would agree on this one example.

No tool should take the blame for its user's misuse of it though. Even people with good sense misapply reasoning, take for example Sir David King [bbc.co.uk] , hopefully his fellow Brit's will give him a proper roasting over him suggesting that everything should be dropped and all the nations great minds and research funds be turned to solving global warming.

Sorry, you came close (2, Funny)

BiggerBadderBen (947100) | about 6 years ago | (#24915069)

But for us to really understand, you need to use a car analogy.

Re:Sorry, you came close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915125)

But for us to really understand, you need to use a car analogy.

ok ok, I'll clarify for him.

The internet.. is a series of tubes, and you can think of isohunt as the road going through those tubes from place to place.

Now, if the police catch someone with drugs on that road, do they dynamite the road because it's being used to smuggle drugs?

NO! Because there are big trucks on that road, trucks carrying enormous amounts of material! Enormous amounts of material!

If you dynamite that road, they all have to find a new road to get the isohunt to me, and that takes several days!

We can't have that, so we, the plaintiffs, ask for protection for our torrent indexing service.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915113)

"You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone is transporting illegal drugs around in a vehicle, using your roads and freeways to do so. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!"

Congratulations, you just described and infrastructure provider. Or more relevantly, in this case, an ISP.

Now consider this. You are a company who sells a map of all of the best places to get illegal drugs, and who to ask for them. This is more accurately isoHunt, since they are simply a directory. They don't transfer any files, they offer very little to no infrastructure to enable the transfer. The freeways aren't theirs, but the map sure is.

Note: To pre-emptively clarify why I said "sells" the map, consider Advertising Revenue.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | about 6 years ago | (#24915219)

Poor example. The State has a responsibility and a duty to maintain the safety of roads and freeways. If they do not do so (i.e., people rampantly exceeding speeding laws and the State not enforcing said laws), then the State is endangering the lives of its citizens. Anyone who gets hurt as a result of such speeding may, depending on the legal system, sue the State for damages. It is the speeders fault for speeding, but the State also has a duty to monitor and enforce speeding laws. If we were to apply that to your argument, it would have the opposite effect that you were intending. The tracker would be responsible for filtering and monitoring the content, or anyone who gets harmed (e.g., copyright holders who do not give consent to distribution) may hold the tracker liable.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | about 6 years ago | (#24915583)

Your talking about corporations, not people. A company or a corporation is not a person. Making a copy of something and sharing freely hurts nobody accept possible's someones pocket book. If I had to choose between someone sharing a file and someone not sharing a file, as a person, im going to choose the former. Copyright infringement is not more fundamental that freedom of choice to do with what you have in your possession as you will. If you put something out expect that its not going to be used as intended. If you want someone not to use what you have made, dont share it with the world, lock yourself in a room and create all the works you want and keep it to yourself. See how much good that does you.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | about 6 years ago | (#24915351)

The thing is the government doesn't limit the people who can use the roads or freeways. They treat a motorcycle carrying 1 person the same as a transport truck carrying 50+ tons of goods. This is 'Common Carrier' status. However, if the government suddenly decided to start filtering who can go on the roads, say only motorcycles between 3 pm and 6pm. They'll have already made the commitment to check traffic going through their roads and freeways and thus responsible for anything that goes through their roads/freeways.

Re:The law has it all wrong. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24915363)

They treat a motorcycle carrying 1 person the same as a transport truck carrying 50+ tons of goods.

someone's never seen the diamond lanes

Re:The law has it all wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915411)

Think of it this way. You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone speeding along those roads gets in an accident and kills someone. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!

Another example: You are a state. You build roads and freeways. Someone is transporting illegal drugs around in a vehicle, using your roads and freeways to do so. Is it your fault or theirs? Theirs!

Dude, that's a wrong analogy...

You forgot... internet is a series of tubes!!! Not roads or freeways!!!

Re:The law has it all wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915453)

"www.thepiratebay.org" has some pretty strong connotations if you ask me. "Interstate-95", not so much.

deeper pockets (1)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | about 6 years ago | (#24914815)

too bad that the movie industry/music industry have much deeper pockets and will keep spreading their propaganda - uneducating everybody on what filesharing is and isn't.

Good move isohunt. (5, Insightful)

MrKneebone (911473) | about 6 years ago | (#24914879)

This is an interesting move - good on them! You could easily argue that CDR and DVDR are predominantly used for piracy, but they openly sell them at all the major gorcey and department stores. Obviously becuase they have other legitimate uses too - just like bittorrent.

Subscription (4, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | about 6 years ago | (#24914969)

I think media companies are shooting themselves in the foot, in the long run, by cracking down on Piracy.

Here's what's happened with me-- as I grew up, got to the real world, and started making more money, the cost of buying has been fewer and fewer %points of the amount I make. I feel less and less urge to download. All they'd have to do is offer a direct download service, or pay-for-and-be-reimbursed-some-for-using-bittorrent on their login-requiring tracker, and I'd probably just do that.

Therefor, the real thing they should be fighting for is a larger, more stable middle class of America, so that more people have disposable income, whatever actions on their part that entails. The easy solution would be to give everybody welfare checks, but then we'd become the Romans, and everybody knows how that worked out for them...

Second, for their benefit AND America's, they should focus less on fighting piracy in certain markets-- or risk being left behind when these markets take off (China, India, Russia [if their market ever takes off] and any other lower-income-no-middle-class-countries).

Why? An Italian man I met while in Florence had the absolute best English of almost any foreigners-speaking-English I've met in my [short] life. I asked him how he learned to speak so well, so fluently, and coherently-- he said he eventually stopped watching the English movies with Italian dubbing (terrible voice acting, the English voice acting is so much better he was saying), and went ahead and learned enough of it by watching American Hollywood movies, that he began switching the subtitles off, and simply listened to the dialog and eventually figured it out. What better way for them to increase their market share than let the production quality of their movies (and lets be honest, Hollywood films ARE the best, simply no one else has the capital or skill to pull off mass production of multi-hundred-million dollar movies like Matrix, Transformers, Batman, etc. on the scale that we do) speak for themselves, and once you've got the fish hooked and grown, you can start charging. Until that time though, the spread of American ideals and values (although contrary to the way our government currently operates-- privacy, freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom to run business and oust a competitor through sheer technical superiority and efficiency of business-- (for instance, doesn't happen in China, you've got to know who to pay off and how much, when, etc. if you want to have a chance at starting a company)) would be far more valuable to them as a multi-national media corporation. (Because people will begin to see that free-market economics, freedom of speech, freedom to vote, are superior to the alternate methods of doing business and running a country; that we would be perpetuating the "great America" idealogy, "I can make my fortune and future there and then bring my family, and all will be well with me and my family", "democracy", as in a country lead by people elected (usually) by the majority of the people, and similar values, which the furthering of in the world would be good for America, would be spread to the nations and we'd have many more allies, and many fewer enemies.)

Potentially more valuable to our government as well. I would argue that the government should pay Hollywood a stipend for
a). them turning a blind eye to piracy external to English speaking countries and
b). a set number of propogandic films proclaiming the wonders of a free society, free economy, free competition, freedom to love who you choose, not who your parents say, and the benefits that brings to the every day citizens (a middle class, the American dream, a house, etc.), on the grounds that it's good for the government and security of western countries to bring them to our side-- from the bottom up. Want a great way to fight militant Islam? Torture isn't quite it, and force like in Iraq (though it definitely will work in the long run) is expensive, difficult to do, and leaves the surrounding countries envious, bitter, and angry, albiet passive about their anger (because ideally you scared them into submission). The benefits of a place of stability, a democratic ally in the hotbed of the middle-east, elected by the people for the people in the country of Iraq will be reaped for a hundred years to come-- but a much better way to have done it would have been to infiltrate their culture and give them something so much better in the here and now, that the desire to murder oneself and others around them for a hypothetical 72-or-however-many-virgins they get in the afterlife, subsides and they become complacent with what can be had in the here and now. Kinda hard to get them to believe they should give their life if their life is important to them, and they feel empowered to make a future with it. Shoot, just give them the film reals and cinema buildings and let a couple of them go to town charging as little as they want ($1/showing or something) making money for the movie experience. Meanwhile the populace gets educated in capitalism, freedom, democracy, and change begins to happen from within. It's why I think we've been having, and will likely continue to have, so many problems in Iraq-- we're trying to change a country that was borked to begin with, a group of 3 opposing peoples, into a unified peaceful state. Force is the difficult, bloody, and expensive way. From the inside out, through their culture; is the cheap, peaceful, easy solution.

Now you may wonder about the ethics of all this. I guess I'm a chaotic good-- use what you have to your advantage, if it will be to the advantage of them in the end*, and if the means by which you accomplish it do not remove the physiological and safety needs on Maslow's Hierarchy that we all have. Crazy stuff becomes more likely when you have people lacking those two-- it's easier to convince them to do silly things like blow up buildings for a potential, unseen, better life in the afterlife.

*We can argue about this (whether it's really better for them in the end), but I think it would be, just like it was to us (until just recently) in the history of our country-- good people seeking good jobs, a family, a life; and benefits reaped from free economic competition, free voting, free society in general. You have generally good people, and your democracy is set. This is what gets me about the people who think we shouldn't push our "ideals" on people of other countries-- my question to them is "who are you to get in the way of the civilized countries ushering in a government that would be run by that people and for the majority of that people, which the people could overthrow peacefully and easily with the strike of a ballot, instead of a strike to the head?!" The change to freedom always has to happen from within, and our job would be spent less on forcing them to change at gunpoint, and more on encouraging and baiting them into that change. Then, if still necessary, we go in anyways like Iraq and meet with much less resistance, because people would think "well a democracy probably _would_ be better than what we have now, I just don't want to bother getting to that point, too much work, etc...", and it all goes much better.

This is by no means the complete solution to the problem, but it's a key element I believe we're missing.

Re:Subscription (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | about 6 years ago | (#24914997)

Heh, I titled it subscription, but forgot to add that a subscription model would be great-- just by your license or whatever and you could download however much you like. It'd have to be something reasonable, but, unlike music, most people watch a movie and aren't interested in seeing it again. You could still purchase the blockbusters on DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever; but I and I think most people would be happy to have a pay-a-flat-fee-and-see-once-or-twice-service.

Re:Subscription (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24915059)

The problem with that is, eventually record companies would charge for "premium" content and over 10-15 years all the new things become "premium" content while they rack up money by subscription fees. Not to mention that paying an extra fee for downloads is going to make the west head backwards in internet usage as 50-60 year olds aren't going to care about music but still have to pay for it.

Re:Subscription (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | about 6 years ago | (#24915573)

won't be a problem if you tax bandwidth usage: 10 cents/GB/month transfer or whatever.

Re:Subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915011)

You underestimate the power of greed. The media (press, movies, RIAA memebers, et all) are the worst of the dirty capitalists. Anything they can do to control more and extend their monopoly is a good thing. Telling the truth has no relevance to them. CNN is no different then Fox News; they're both selling advertising space, and the truth be damned.

Re:Subscription (3, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24915061)

CNN is no different then Fox News

in all fairness this isn't quite true.

CNN is merely amoral.

Fox news was founded on and operates with the express purpose of misinforming the american public and keeping the shrill, corrupt, and incompetent ultra-right in power.

Re:Subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915319)

Actually, if you look at the ratings, Fox is considered more fair and balanced than CNN.

Re:Subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915393)

A brief encounter with any cross-section of Fox News watchers will reveal why.

Re:Subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24915355)

Well, as long as they aren't ultra-wrong, I'm fine with it!

Re:Subscription (3, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24915025)

The easy solution would be to give everybody welfare checks, but then we'd become the Romans, and everybody knows how that worked out for them...

the romans didn't have welfare, and it didn't fall because of welfare.

It fell because they didn't have their own citizens serving in their military, because they expanded beyond the capacities of their social structure and economy to govern their territory, and because of internal corruption resulting from too much consolidated power at the top.

as for the "spread of american ideals and values", I don't know what starry-eyed landscape you're looking at, but i'm here on planet earth where the spread of "american ideals and values", especially in terms of copyright, has plunged the entire western world into an economic tail-spin.

Re:Subscription (2, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#24915553)

"the spread of "american ideals and values", especially in terms of copyright, has plunged the entire western world into an economic tail-spin."

A quibble: American policy on copyright has largely followed European policy - see Berne Convention.

No, I don't blame the Europeans for how the bankrupt American legal system is using copyright laws, but concepts like "life plus XX years" is European in origin.

Re:Subscription (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 6 years ago | (#24915777)

No, they didn't have welfare...they just gave free bread to all of their poor citizens. Totally different...

Re:Subscription (4, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | about 6 years ago | (#24915925)

>the romans didn't have welfare, and it didn't fall because of welfare.

Sorry, but you're way off.

"When Julius Caesar came to power in 48 B.C., he found 320,000 persons on government grain relief. Temporarily slowing the welfare state bandwagon, he ordered the welfare rolls cut to 200,000. Within a half-century, the rolls were back up to well over 300,000.

Government Bread

A real landmark in the course of events came in the year 274 A.D. Emperor Aurelian, wishing to provide cradle-to-grave care for the citizenry, declared the right to relief to be hereditary. Those whose parents received government benefits were entitled as a matter of right to benefits as well. Aurelian gave welfare recipients government-baked bread (instead of the old practice of giving them wheat and letting them bake their own bread) and added free salt, pork, and olive oil. Not surprisingly, the ranks of the unproductive grew fatter, and the ranks of the productive grew thinner.

Surely, many Romans opposed the welfare state and held fast to the old virtues of work, thrift and self-reliance. Just as surely, some of these sturdy people gave in and began to feed at the public trough in the belief that if they didn't get it, somebody else would. That attitude only hastened the slide into bankruptcy..."

From http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=3 [mackinac.org]

Re:Subscription (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | about 6 years ago | (#24915533)

*We can argue about this (whether it's really better for them in the end), but I think it would be, just like it was to us (until just recently) in the history of our country-- good people seeking good jobs, a family, a life; and benefits reaped from free economic competition, free voting, free society in general. You have generally good people, and your democracy is set. This is what gets me about the people who think we shouldn't push our "ideals" on people of other countries-- my question to them is "who are you to get in the way of the civilized countries ushering in a government that would be run by that people and for the majority of that people, which the people could overthrow peacefully and easily with the strike of a ballot, instead of a strike to the head?!" The change to freedom always has to happen from within, and our job would be spent less on forcing them to change at gunpoint, and more on encouraging and baiting them into that change. Then, if still necessary, we go in anyways like Iraq and meet with much less resistance, because people would think "well a democracy probably _would_ be better than what we have now, I just don't want to bother getting to that point, too much work, etc...", and it all goes much better.

I liked the first part of your comment. And then we reach a point where you talk about capitalism and free markets. To be honest I think what proponents of free market economies miss is the fact that the United States it is very good at creating an illusion that we are free. Once you get down to the core of what this country is about (Money) you start to realize that its not really free. Money creates an illusion that you are free. Money doesnt make you free, peace of mind makes you free, money is a by product of that peace and what you do to help other people maintain peace of mind. As soon as you forget that you have made yourself a slave of a process that befits the people on the top, especially when 5% of the population are the ones with the power and wealth. The 5% of the people of the United states are the ones that make all of the decisions. The have multinational corporations that hire Lobbyists to push for more consolidation of wealth and power, so that they can retain what they have at the expense of the majority. You see this with the passing of retroactive immunity to telephone companies that are spying on Americans. And the people in power use these laws and wiretapping to make people not free by secretly waging war against people with differences of opinion. When you see it for what it is you realize that its not freedom, you are buying into an illusion that hurts alot of people. Nothing is worth that. Not all the riches in the world can give you what you want if its a cause that undermines other peoples freedom. Thats what this country does, it undermines peoples freedom so that certain individuals can become wealthy.

If thats your idea of a solid system for everyone in the world to live by, Id say that you are seriously missing the depth of the problem, and you better wake up fast before you find yourself wishing you would have paid more attention to whats going on around you.

Sad Sad Sad (3, Interesting)

renegadesx (977007) | about 6 years ago | (#24915731)

I think its sad we live in a time where someone has to petition a court to say "we are legit".
Copyright laws have allowed greedy business execs go on witch hunts not seen since the Inquisition.

RIAA, MPAA and ESA go around bullying anyone they can trying to extort money, patent trolls filing lawsuits left right and center. It is truly a depressing age :(

Sincerly,
IsoHunt user
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