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Entertainment Software Association Following RIAA?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the iceberg-ho dept.

Games 204

cavis writes "My organization just received an e-mail from the Intellectual Property enforcement division of the Entertainment Software Association. It accuses one particular IP address with 'infringing the copyright rights of one or more ESA members by copying and distributing unauthorized copies of game products (through peer-to-peer or similar software/services).' It goes on to name the filename and the application: Limewire. Has anyone had any contact with this group? Are they following the RIAA's lead and pursuing litigation for peer-to-peer piracy? I'm just trying to evaluate what I am in for as I try to battle P2P within my network." Read on for more details.The letter reads in part (with my redactions):

The Entertainment Software Association ("ESA") is a US trade association that represents the intellectual property interests of numerous companies that publish interactive games for video game consoles, personal computers, handheld devices and the Internet(hereinafter collectively referred to as "ESA members"). ESA is authorized to act on behalf of ESA members whose copyright and other intellectual property rights it believes to be infringed as described herein.

Based on the information at its disposal on 24 Nov 2008 01:09:08 GMT, ESA has a good faith belief that the subscriber using the IP address [IP address] infringing the copyright rights of one or more ESA members by copying and distributing unauthorized copies of game products (through peer-to-peer or similar software/services), in violation of applicable copyright laws, through internet access that [agency name] provides directly to the [IP address] or through a downstream provider that purchases this access for [IP address].

cancel ×

204 comments

What link? (-1, Redundant)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891669)

I see no link... ...nothing to see here... move along...

Re:What link? (2, Informative)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891743)

"Read More"?

Re:What link? (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891765)

Nope, just missing. Perhaps you should click read more yourself.

Re:What link? (4, Informative)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891805)

No, I mean that that is the link. From the initial summary:

Click the link below to read part of their letter.

Sure enough, clicking on the link gives you part of the letter.

Re:What link? (2, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891841)

It's effectively an Ask Slashdot. No link required.

Poo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25891687)

Frothy piss

Yesterday... all my troubles seemed so far away! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25891709)

24 Nov 2008 01:09:08 GMT

Well, at least they're speedy!

Re:Yesterday... all my troubles seemed so far away (0, Offtopic)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892003)

...the subscriber using the IP address [IP address] infringing the copyright rights of one or more ESA members...

Either an ESA member is claiming copyright on the IP address itself... or there's an "is" missing. Is it the ESA's omission or dropped in the edit? Submitter?

Legal advice. (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891719)

Get a lawyer and ask them for legal advice.

Slashdot is fine too; asking can't hurt, but don't neglect your lawyer.

Re:Legal advice. (4, Insightful)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891953)

"I'm just trying to evaluate what I am in for as I try to battle P2P within my network." I don't think a lawyer can help him battle P2P in his network.

Re:Legal advice. (3, Informative)

KevMar (471257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892559)

No, but this letter can.

Send out a company wide email with this message and the letter:

Do to legal action imposed on us, we need all users of P2P software to meet with our attorny on Monday. P2P has no valid use for our line of business so our attorny will not represent you in court if you receive one of these letters with your IP address on it. As a reminder the use of P2P software is not allowed on our network.

Re:Legal advice. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892755)

You could always write "Due to legal action...".

Fucking Americans.

Re:Legal advice. (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892807)

Downloading software is no longer a valid business use? Why, because P2P is only used for illegal purposes? You must be in management if that's your line of thinking.

Re:Legal advice. (3, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25893157)

Um...naive a bit?

1) P2P has lots of legitimate uses (linux much?). I use it more for legal than illegal these days actually.
2) Just because you're not breaking hte law doesn't mean they won't target you. Remember their business model: rather than producing anything of value they send letter, receive money, profit. Reference: all the people without computers getting sued. Reference: that study where they got a cease and desist sent to a network printer

What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't say the attorney won't represent them if they get such a letter, you should say that the attorney won't represent them if they break the law, or even scare the shit out of them by saying the company will cooperate fully. Since it's a company machine, you can search it at will. Every job I've worked at has warned me they were keylogging, and while they never actually were, I certainly feel they have that right as long as they warn me.

So don't be a buzzword-based PHB. P2P is not some evil Nigerian pirate tactic for hijacking video game tankers. It's a way of transferring a large file, like Blizzard's WoW updates, Ubuntu CD images, or imaginary property.

Re:Legal advice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25893203)

Due to legal action.

I know you can't spell or use grammar for shit, but you should also know that it encourages people to not take you seriously if you don't put some energy into communicating clearly.

I'm not sure he wants legal advice... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25893133)

I think this guy just wants to know about the ESA and its modus operandi; not what they have to do legally. Obviously, you need a lawyer for that.

That said, I haven't heard of them suing people en masse, though the ESA has been sending takedown notices for a long time now. I seem to recall that you can see a bit of their work on the Pirate Bay's legal complaints page, for example.

Another poster mentions something about removing the files and then hitting the user with a cluestick and having them go away. That pretty much sums up the rumors I've heard on the Internet, but I haven't dealt with them personally. Because it's Limewire, you just have to figure out who has that installed and make them stop (you might be able to block ports, but I have to believe that people would get around that). But you don't necessarily have to offer them up to the ESA as a sacrifice unless they start making legal demands. Obviously, you should be looking for a lawyer whenever they mention any demands.

It might be even safer not to contact them at all, but merely to cut off Limewire access at the source (i.e. the user). They do send a lot of DMCA notices and whatnot. Even if it's not a proper DMCA notice (or intended to be one), sending a letter documenting the infringement is standard practice for copyright disputes. But they send a lot, so you may never hear back so long as you cut off the user.

Just be careful. If you start getting phone calls, follow-ups, or something more personal than a form letter you need to contact the company lawyer (and you might want to, anyhow). None of this should be considered legal advice. The best I have are second-hand rumors about other people's experiences with the ESA which I got from news sites like TorrentFreak.

Good luck.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

great... (0)

tochirohatesspam (1376915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891729)

another monolythic lawsuit engine, equipping lawyers to infringement suits... wait... there could be a game idea in this concept PLEASE DON'T SUUUE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Re:great... (5, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892061)

Ridiculous isn't it. The RIAA are one of the most despised groups in North America now (I want to say the world, but don't know how true that would be), and it's like the software industry looked and thought "WOW! We MUST get a slice of that juicy animosity pie!"

Idiocy.

Re:great... (2, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892137)

Ridiculous isn't it. The RIAA or local variant (in the case of Australia this would be the government) are one of the most despised groups in the world now, and it's like the software industry looked and thought "WOW! We MUST get a slice of that juicy animosity pie!"

Idiocy.

There you go, that should cover it.

Re:great... (0, Troll)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892889)

> The RIAA are one of the most despised groups in North America now (I want to say the world, but don't know how true that would be),

Indeed the RIAA _is_ one of the most despised organisations in the world.

Another is the government of the USA, and another is the MPAA.

Why is it that the top three most-despised organisations are all USian organisations?

Re:great... (4, Funny)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892225)

You are in a pitch-black room. A warm glow is coming from a nearby window.
You turn right and are confronted by a man in a suite.
He hands you a slip of paper.
You have been sued by a grue.

Re:great... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892523)

Change that last line to "You have been served by a grue." and it's more accurate, AND you have an awesome double-entendre!

Re:great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25893121)

I think being confronted by a man wearing a suite is probably worse than being sued by a grue.

Inherently bad? (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892247)

Are these kinds of investigations really inherently bad in and of themselves or is it just the way the RIAA has handled the court procedings after the fact?

Personally, I think that if you can sanely, rationaly, and beyond a reasonable doubt prove that someone has violated the copyright, you have the right to make them stop and seek some amount of damages. The problem with the RIAA is that they almost never prove beyond any kind of doubt, they violate laws in their investigations, and they seek damages many times what the actual damages are.

Seriously, thousands of people make their living producing the games that I love to play. I see no problem in them charging me to play them and no problem in them punishing people who try get out of paying. You can argue that they are too expensive, or that there are no good demos available, and even that priracy doesn't really affect sales. But that doesn't really change the facts. Yes, people will take what they can without paying but companies should have the right to deter them from doing so.

Re:Inherently bad? (3, Interesting)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892543)

I think that if you can sanely, rationaly, and beyond a reasonable doubt prove that someone has violated the copyright, you have the right to make them stop and seek some amount of damages.

(emphasis mine)

Damages for what? A lost sale? Hardly.

Seriously, thousands of people make their living producing the games that I love to play.

And through all the time they have been doing this, piracy has been rampant in the computer game industry. Funny how they keep whining, they should all be dead and gone by now, since there's obviously no money to be made when everyone are copying their valuable intellectual property.

Re:Inherently bad? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892857)

Are these kinds of investigations really inherently bad in and of themselves or is it just the way the RIAA has handled the court procedings after the fact?

Depends on if you see anything "bad" with unlicensed investigative agencies using unproven/untested/unverified software written by god-knows-who to track down alleged copyright infringement based on the "making available" argument with no knowledge of whether or not the alleged copyright infringer actually uploaded any copies of the file(s) in question.

they violate laws in their investigations

Wait, so you just asked if these kinds of investigations are really inherently bad and then later spoke of the fact that they violate the law in the process of those investigations? Didn't you just answer your own question?

Take it to the press (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891761)

Make sure this gets mainstream press coverage. Be sure to sensationalize it and compare it to the RIAA. Watch them back down quickly.

Re:Take it to the press (5, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892429)

Make sure this gets mainstream press coverage. Be sure to sensationalize it and compare it to the RIAA. Watch them back down quickly.

So far it looks like they're being very diplomatic about it. It's somewhat disturbing that they're actually monitoring Limewire for copyright infringement, but as far as possible responses go, sending a letter that essentially says "We tracked someone to your network, we'd appreciate if you'd do something about it." is one of the better ones. It would have been nice if they actually asked for something to be done, instead of leaving it open with the implication of possible legal action, but it's a lot better than saying pay up or we'll see you in court (which is no doubt what the RIAA would do). This approach is similar to the one that the MPAA has adopted in which they send a letter that essentially says "We know you're violating our copyright, we have records of you transferring such and such movie on such and such time from such and such IP. This is a warning, please stop now or we'll pursue legal avenues." (friend of mine received such a letter). Notice that the ESA isn't asking for money, and no where in the letter (at least the portion we're provided) does it say anything about a lawsuit.

Personally, I'd start by tracking down the moron running Limewire on a company system and have a chat with them. Then I'd block Limewire (no reason to be running that period, bittorrent is defensible, but Limewire is just an excuse to get a trojan on your system), and circulate a memo explaining that it's unacceptable to be running unapproved P2P software (to allow for possible valid uses of bittorrent). In the memo I'd make sure to stress the security implications and strong risk of virus infection possible from downloading off a P2P network. In particular make sure to point out that anti-virus software really only defends against well known threats and that it's trivially easy to create a trojan or virus that can go undetected and then distribute it through a P2P network for weeks or longer before AV software becomes aware of it. This nicely sidesteps the whole copyright infringement argument while still pointing our the very real security concern these apps pose for a commercial (or government as the case may be) intranet.

Re:Take it to the press (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892677)

How does one go about getting mainstream press coverage for something the press doesn't actually care about?

Re:Take it to the press (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25893143)

Make sure this gets mainstream press coverage. Be sure to sensationalize it and compare it to the RIAA. Watch them back down quickly.

Wow, an alleged victim of piracy has informed an organization that one of their members is causing them harm. Quite an outrage! What would you have them do?

As far as I can see they informed the org of the problem and provided enough information so that the problem could be rectified. Seems quite reasonable. Are they suing or demanding settlements? The summary does not indicate so. If they've received notice and continue to do nothing about it and the infringement continues then it probably becomes a case of negligent or willful infringement (IANAL).

At some point people uploading copyright works may have to face the consequences of doing so. It appears that the only consequence facing these guys so far is that they might have to investigate why their network is being used for P2P, and that's hardly the fault of the ESA (whoever they are). If someone is inside your network transferring all kinds of things to anyone and you don't know about it or ignore the situation you could have big problems on your hands.

Leisure Suit Larry (3, Funny)

wikki (13091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891771)

Maybe they are finally getting around to busting you for making copies of Leisure Suit Larry and giving them to your friends.

Re:Leisure Suit Larry (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892341)

Leisure Suit Larry's anti-piracy [allowe.com] measures are still the best, though!

Re:Leisure Suit Larry (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892717)

Yeah, that question would be good at stopping piracy:

Is this software pirated?
a. Yes.
b. I'm not talking.
c. No. (How could you even ask!)
d. No, just borrowed.
Correct answer: c.

Re:Leisure Suit Larry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892761)

How exactly do these questions prevent piracy?

bad timing on their part (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891807)

the riaa's extortion model is under legal attack

Re:bad timing on their part (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25893083)

circletimessquare: the riaa's extortion model is under legal attack

Not so; it's not like the RIAA has sued them over it or anything...

...

...

Someone really should go to the RIAA and tell them that the use of spurious lawsuits by other companies could set disadvantageous precedents and weaken their legal claims in the future.

I mean, just to warn them of course.

My reply (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891821)

"Great. And what do you expect me to do about it?"

You are not liable for anything your users do on the network. If you are operating a service like youtube, you'd have a DMCA takedown request. Taking down the allegedly infringing content puts you in the clear. End of story. If you aren't, then you really don't have to comply with anything they say. The RIAA doesn't sue ISPs for damages. They sue the person doing the infringing.

A court proceeding would be limited to requiring you to divulge who owned the equipment associated with that IP address. That's about it. Neither you nor your organization have anything to worry about.

Re:My reply (4, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891861)

WRONG

If you are a company, you certainly are responsible for what your employees do with your network resources. Just about the only way the company can weasel out of it is to show good faith attempts at reprimanding the offenders and attempts at preventing their future misbehavior.

Re:My reply (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892129)

Link?

You may very well be right, but I've always thought that the worst a copyright holder can do in cases of infringement is require the network operator to divulge the information required to file suit against the alleged infringer.

Re:My reply (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892265)

You're assuming the "network operator" is simply a provider, like an ISP. The original poster, by calling it "my organization" wasn't clear if he meant a company, a service provider, a charity, or any other number of organization types.

A company is certainly liable for the activities their employees engage in using company resources. This is exactly why companies tend to have strict rules about what can and can't be done with their assets and resources (IT or otherwise). Same reason why anti-moonlighting policies exist, because if the employee used any company resources, the company may be held liable for the employee's moonlighting work.

Re:My reply (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892157)

I go to a canadian university. I've had several of these, forwarded from my school administrator.... when i asked them what to do, they said 'don't do it again ... and if you do, we'll ask you nicely to stop, again... and again... '

Re:My reply (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892231)

If you are a company, you certainly are responsible for what your employees do with your network resources.

From my reading of the summary, it looks like the alleged infringer is a customer, not an employee.

Re:My reply (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892321)

I didn't get that. And since the poster obfuscated what kind of organization is under discussion, potential liability and courses of action are meaningless since different kinds of entities have different sets of legal restrictions and expectations.

Re:My reply (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892499)

You know, you're right. It's totally ambiguous.

Re:My reply (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891949)

You are not liable for anything your users do on the network. If you are operating a service like youtube, you'd have a DMCA takedown request.

Yeah, but if you saw subby's email address, you'd see his "organization" is the West Virginia government [wv.gov] , so I'd wager things might be a little more complicated for him.

Re:My reply (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892237)

Point taken.

Re:My reply (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892255)

Well, in that case, he should remember to ask his lawyer about an 11th Amendment defense as well.

West Virginia has a Government???? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892731)

Next you'll tell me that they have libraries and schools or something crazy like that ;)

Re:My reply (2, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892765)

Executive Privilege [wikipedia.org] and a reminder that you can't sue a soveregn entity unless it allows you?

Re:My reply (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892117)

Not exactly, there is the 'safe-harbor' [wikipedia.org] provision of the DMCA that may matter in this case.

So what do they want? (5, Informative)

marcop (205587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891879)

Are they merely asking for the infringement to stop, are they threatening to take you court and asking for an out-of-court settlement, are they asking for the identity of the person with the IP address?

If it's the first option then it's easy, find the person who might be infringing and deal with it. Perhaps even block the Limewire service on your network. Setup guidelines for accepted computer usage within your organization. Then ignore the letter unless it demands some form of communication back to them, or threatens legal action if something isn't done about it. If it does ask for a response or you get a second letter, then refer to legal advice on how to deal with it.

The other two scenarios may require legal opinions and official responses.

Re:So what do they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892069)

it looks like a Cease and Desist, from what we can see here.

so do exactly that; desist.

Legal opinion. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892257)

IAAL, and here is my legal opinion:

stop stealing and don't worry about it.

Re:Legal opinion. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892661)

IAAL, and here is my legal opinion:

stop stealing and don't worry about it.

Your clearly not a lawyer.

A) The person in question isn't even being accused of stealing anything. Someone on his network is being accused of copyright infringement. A lawyer would know the difference.

B) A lawyer would claim that you're not doing anything wrong and that he'll defend you for a price.

C) Lawyers don't give free advice.

Nice try, troll.

Re:Legal opinion. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25893229)

IAAL, and here is my legal opinion:

stop stealing and don't worry about it.

Your clearly not a lawyer.

My clearly am a lawyer. Or did you mean "You're"?

A) The person in question isn't even being accused of stealing anything. Someone on his network is being accused of copyright infringement. A lawyer would know the difference.

Copyright infringement = stealing profits. Get with the program, asshole and stop sugarcoating it.

B) A lawyer would claim that you're not doing anything wrong and that he'll defend you for a price.

This is Slashdot, not a court of law. And it shouldn't matter to you anyway, because you don't sound bright enough to hold a job that pays enough for you to be able to afford me anyway.

C) Lawyers don't give free advice.

I'm only telling you what you should be smart enough to figure out on your own

Re:So what do they want? (2, Informative)

jonbwhite (1402901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892287)

I received a similar letter in 2006 from ESA while in the dorms at UC Berkeley. All I was asked to do was to take down the infringing material and notified that if I did it again I would have my internets revoked. No word from then in 2+ years.

Re:So what do they want? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892777)

Disclaimer: IANAL. If any blocking or filtering is done then that could be construed as evidence that the service provider is aware that infringement is taking place, and also that 512(a) of the DMCA, which provides safe harbor for "transient network communications" would no longer apply because the ISP is controlling or modifying content on (or through) their system. YMMV in other jurisdictions. This of course doesn't address the tertiary issue that such blocking violates net neutrality principles and may also be a tort (contract) violation, especially if it's not part of the usage agreement.

theesa.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25891891)

http://www.theesa.com/

big bold link on the bottom right that says
Anti-Piracy Information

with a link to:
http://www.theesa.com/policy/antipiracy.asp

next time google it!

Re:theesa.com (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892047)

http://www.theesa.com/

For awhile there, I thought, "Oh, great. Another person whose parents couldn't spell Theresa."

Re:theesa.com (2, Funny)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892227)

I thought it was Jar-Jar's website.

Important questions... (1)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891961)

Well, it's an interesting letter, but there are some questions I'd want the answers to before moving forward in any capacity:

1. What copyrights exactly are they claiming have been infringed?

2. Who are they saying has infringed them?

3. What exactly do they want you to do about it?

I'd also repeat what has been mentioned here by more than one person - consult a lawyer about this, and find out what your liability is, and the best way to proceed. One thing you have to consider is that they could have come across something that is indeed a copyright infringement, and in a case like that, it is better to work with them than against them.

It is also quite possible that they got caught by a rotating IP address, and while there may have been something questionable going on at that IP address, that IP address now belongs to somebody completely different. In that case, you want your lawyer to write them a polite but firm letter explaining all of this, and that should, in theory, make them go away.

The only way you're going to figure out what to do, though, is get answers to those questions.

Re:Important questions... (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892423)

1. What copyrights have been infringed?
I recall reading about people getting letters for merely the filename of a file being shared, even (in at least on case that I can recall), when the file was just a few bytes and could not have been the movie alleged to have been shared.

2. Who dun it?
The person at the other end of the IP address of course!

Anyway, I would suggest, based on the limited amount of material provided, that you find out (if possible), who/what was using the IP address and have a stern talking to the individual concerned.

And then block all ports that aren't HTTP/S, FTP and SSH. That should clear up most of your file sharing "problems".

Re:Important questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892795)

Why don't we just remove the network cable, blow up all the satellites and digital land lines and go back to cave man times, though it would appear some of us never made it far past that.

Re:Important questions... (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892723)

It is also quite possible that they got caught by a rotating IP address, and while there may have been something questionable going on at that IP address, that IP address now belongs to somebody completely different.

Unfortunately not; it still belongs to the organization, and what user is behind it is possibly not very interesting, legally. The reason they want to find the actual person might be that it's easier and much cheaper to get some money from a poor citizen than to sue the organization for damages.

Government network user rules? (1)

TheBishop613 (454798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891963)

Assuming the poster works for the government of the state of West Virginia (chris.l.avis@wv.gov is what his username link translates to) I'd suggest the first thing to do is to talk to whoever was using that IP address and suggest they stop using file sharing on the government network.

That e-mail sounds pretty friendly all things considered. No threat of a lawsuit or anything similar, just letting you know that one of your users may have violated the copyright of a work under their protection.

Need more info here (1)

jtroutman (121577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891965)

What do you mean, your "organization"? Is this letter directed at an ISP or are you the network admin for a company? Have you checked the machine with the corresponding IP to see if Limewire is installed?

Get A Lawyer. (5, Insightful)

Caraig (186934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25891967)

Get a lawyer.

There may be many people in the /. crowd who, rightly or wrongly think any system where lawyers are needed is bad. That's besides the point. You need legal advice. Lawyers provide legal advice.

Get a lawyer.

It's all well and good to ask for input from /. and Groklaw etc., but get competent, professional, legal advice and trust it over what anyone says here. Nobody here is a lawyer. (And if they are, then they're not being contracted by you to get legal advice, and so are not liable; moreover, they don't have the full details of the letter you got.

An example: Someone said 'take it to the press.' Ask a lawyer before you do that. There are all sorts of procedural reasons why doing that could make a court rule against you. What sort of reasons? IANAL.

So before anything else, get a lawyer to sit down with you and go over the letter, have them research and follow up on the letter, and see what your legal obligations are. Is the ESA asking for a name to go with that IP address? Is this a C&D letter of some kind? Are they threatening your company with legal action? Heck, for that matter, does this organization actually exist? (Someone could be pulling an elaborate joe job. Unlikely, but possible.)

In short, get a lawyer.

Re:Get A Lawyer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892347)

I'm a few months away from being a lawyer, and I can say with some authority that Caraig is right.

DO get a lawyer.

Don't go to the press.
Don't ignore the letter and hope you're not liable.

Re:Get A Lawyer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892357)

So I don't understand, what are you saying? Should he get a lawyer or something?

Re:Get A Lawyer. (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892409)

No, just look for posts here with the letters "IANAL" and follow advice from those.

Re:Get A Lawyer. (2, Funny)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892497)

What sort of reasons? IANAL.

While your love of it in the pooper is entirely your own decision, and I respect you for being able to admit it so bravely, I fail to see why the submitter shouldn't take something to the press as a result.

Re:Get A Lawyer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892619)

Really? I thought the computer science, engineering, and hard science backgrounds of most Slashdot posters would allow them to brainstorm an optimal solution to this problem. You're saying a lawyer, a professional trained in these sorts of matters, could handle this more competently? Blasphemy! I'm a patent attorney, and I come here to learn how to draft claims and prosecute frivolous applications ... there is no better resource! Surely the grey matter here can put together a cohesive response to a copyright matter -- I have faith! /sarcasm

Bullshit takedown notice (1, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892075)

They haven't made a request for takedown, haven't cited the applicable laws for the aforementioned, and do not mention the specific instance of the infraction. What you've got here is a bullshit takedown notice. It's a scare tactic. Send back to your ISP that it is not a valid DMCA notification and no action is necessary. Also, it takes more than an IP address to prove infringement -- they also have to prove it was you, on a computer that was using that IP address, at that time. Short of a forensic search of the computer in question, they have nothing.

Re:Bullshit takedown notice (1)

Kinjin (1340519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892547)

Actually, that isn't a bullshit takedown notice. It's a DMCA Notification and it looks legitimate. The ESA has been sending notices for ages, and unlike others they get it right. Meaning they include everything in the notice required by the DMCA. If you are running a network and don't have a policy, it's about time to make one. You have certain responsibilities under the DMCA as well to not be held responsible. You should seek legal advice, and have your organization form a policy to deal with these issues. You will want to stop the person using limewire until your organization decides how to handle this.

Re:Bullshit takedown notice (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892689)

First, they need actual knowledge that infringement has occurred. It should be noted that a takedown notice does not apply to transitory network communications, which is what this appears to be (P2P). With that in hand, a takedown notice requires the following --

        (i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
        (ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
        (iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
        (iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
        (v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
        (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Sample notice [binaryfreedom.info]

Re:Bullshit takedown notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892979)

Wow, what law school did you go to? Princeton?

It depends on the state they're based in. (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892151)

If their mailing address is in Nigeria, I'd settle immediately. There could be big $$$ in it for you.

Whoops! (1)

shivamib (1034310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892159)

Better stop seeding those warez, mate!

Yes and no (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892171)

Yes, we've been contacted by them (I work for a large university). We got a DMCA takedown notice. However no they aren't acting like the RIAA, they seem to be working like the MPAA. That is to say they send a notice saying "Please remover this shit and yell at the user." We say "Ok we did," and that's the last we ever hear from them. They don't seem to be suing people, they just seem to be trying to get the ISPs to take down the content.

Re:Yes and no (1)

StuffMaster (412029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892665)

Hopefully you have the same customer service standards as Cox.

If Cox gets one of these letters with your IP address, they bypass all that corporate bureaucracy and help you by directly disconnecting your internet! No need to worry about innocence or guilt, a mere accusation will do!

Re:Yes and no (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892715)

What? COX had always sent us e-mails giving us X number of days to remove the material and to respond back saying you did so; I'm guessing you didn't check your official COX e-mail?

Re:Yes and no (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892919)

I have no idea what you are talking about. I am a systems and network administrator at the university. I get the e-mails because we are responsible for that sort of thing. Cox has nothing to do with it, WE are the ISP in this case (the university has it's own ASN). We contact the user and tell them to knock it off and respond to the DMCA complaint.

Just reply that the ip belongs to a printer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892209)

Some university managed to have such letter sent to a printer, so it wouldn't be the first time. Also the pirate bay, is actively introducing forged IPs in torrent swarms to pollute the logger's listings. Of course ask for a copy of the concerned files. and, the must, for the source code use to incriminate the IP.

Nothing to see here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892245)

This is a (probably automated) DMCA notification message asking you to make the user downloading copywritten content stop. These messages usually come with an attached XML snippet (per http://mpto.unistudios.com/xml/Infringement_schema.xsd [unistudios.com] ) so that you can make all this automatic if you like. If you actually make the user stop, it's very unlikely anything more will happen.

I work for a moderately sized mom-and-pop ISP, and we see several of these messages (from various sources, but usually the ESA and individual movie studios) every week (most frequently, it seems, referring to torrents on The Pirate Bay.) We deal with the customers appropriately and everyone goes about his business.

Could be a good thing. (2, Informative)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892299)

I got one of those passed on to me via my ISP once. Turns out I'd picked up a virus and someone had installed filesharing onto one of my PCs. Thanked the ISP, cleaned up the machine, never heard another thing about it.

So clean up your network, thank them for letting you know, and I'd assume as long as it doesn't happen again, you're okay.

Sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892311)

As an ISP, we get a ton of these.

To keep our safe harbor protection, we do what we have to to stop the infringement, just like with the RIAA/MPAA requests. Not doing so would expose us to liability.

They don't ask for identities, and we wouldn't give them anyway without a court order, just like with the RIAA/MPAA. Doing so would expose us to liability.

Unlike the RIAA/MPAA however, we have never had any contact with the ESA escalate to the level of court orders.

Re:Sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25893103)

As an ISP, we blackhole these. Bring a court order, we'll cooperate. We are not in the business of policing our users: that job belongs to the police. (Referring to purely transient traffic only; a hosted website would be taken down upon notification. But this is about P2P.)

Admit nothing (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892337)

Reply with a letter stating "That IP address is a Dynamic DHCP address handed out by an open Wireless Access Point, so I have no idea who was using it at the time. However, we are now putting in place measures to limit access." Then, if you can actually track down the IP to a specific user, beat them about the head and shoulders with a stout cluestick while repeating the mantra "Inappropriate or unauthorized use of the network will be result in severe consequences up to and including termination." Sounds like they're being reasonable here, which means if you can convince them that you are policing yourself, they won't feel the need to come barging in with lawyers to do your policing for you.

I'd actually check the usage if i were you.. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892479)

As i got one of these takedown notices sent to my home isp last weekend.. for apparently downloading and sharing a torrent of a game that i actually own in hardcopy.

While my ISP did what they needed to do to indemnify themselves, and then gave me my access back (the process felt automated and took about 5 minutes), i was pretty pissed off that someone could just assert that my ip was associated with a torrent and have my access removed like that.. Don't get me wrong, i'd still be annoyed if i was actually doing it and they removed my access, but the fact that i hadn't actually shared the torrent in question made consider switching isp on the spot, even though i know it's not really their fault.

Re:I'd actually check the usage if i were you.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892607)

you may own the hard copy of the game, but how about everyone who was downloading the torrent from your client?
In legal terms, you are distributing someone else's IP, and you are fucked.

Re:I'd actually check the usage if i were you.. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892789)

Obviously, i wasn't downloading it, because i didn't need to because i own it.

Somebody please mark this post as redundant.

Re:I'd actually check the usage if i were you.. (1)

lenester (625236) | more than 5 years ago | (#25893147)

Um... I'm not sure you understood what GP said. Rather, I'm sure you didn't. He asked if anyone was downloading it from you.

Twitter? (1)

Flopy (926705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892593)

I read the title and thought: "@esa is now following @riaa?" ... I need to get out more.

Seriously, though, the letter does not mention any action to be taken, it's just a notification basically saying "we think you're doing this..." and nothing more.
Is this scare tactics or is it kudos for doing it? Doesn't say.

Scam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892655)

Are you sure this is even real and not a scam? I don't know how these businesses operate in the US but here in Germany you wouldn't receive a copyright infringement notice by e-mail.

Nope. (0, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892729)

Are they following the RIAA's lead and pursuing litigation for peer-to-peer piracy?

No: the ESA was doing this twenty years ago, whereas the RIAA has only been at it for a few years. The ESA also only goes after people when they have good, solid proof, and they win most of their cases. The ESA aren't thugs, they're just protecting their members from pirates.

Yo ho ho, and a barrel of you got caught red handed.

Lost buisness to the game companies. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892811)

I was going to buy Fallout 3, but I wanted to see if it would run on my computer. But damn, no PC demo! What ever should I do? Buy the game and risk wasting $50 on a game that won't run? Or download it, verify it runs, delete it, and go buy it?

Usually, I use option #2, but if the ESA are going to be that much of a bitch about this, I just won't bother buying any PC games that don't have demos. Who looses the money there?

Or, since I am considered a criminal and liable to legal action for simply downloading the game, playing it for 10 minutes to make sure it will run, deleting it, then LEGALLY buying the game at a store, why don't I just download all my games and NOT legally buy them? Then the game companies STILL loose money.

They think these shitty scare tactics will work, but I, for one, am not an idiot.

Block the ESA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892933)

I wonder if a program like PerrGuardian would work for an overall network to block the attempts of the ESA and RIAA to sniff these people out in the first place.

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