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Anti-Piracy Firm Offering ISPs Money For Outing File-Sharers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed,-open-the-checkbook dept.

Privacy 132

mytrip points out news that an anti-piracy firm called Nexicon has been offering financial incentives to ISPs in exchange for having the ISPs police their own networks for copyright infringement. Nexicon would offer their services (for a fee) to help the ISPs pinpoint users who are illegally sharing files, and then give the users an option to "settle" through their "Get Amnesty" website. The revenue generated by such settlements would then be shared with the ISPs. Jerry Scroggin, owner of a smaller ISP in Louisiana, is still skeptical, saying, "I would still wind up losing customers. I would also have to pay Nexicon for this ... I have to survive in this economy but I don't have the big marketing dollars that bigger ISPs have. I have to fund 401(K)s and find ways not to lay off people. Giving free rein to the RIAA is not part of my business model."

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132 comments

Huh, madness (4, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497007)

A small ISP could fake the logs and sell out some of their customers.

Re:Huh, madness (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497211)

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Re:Huh, madness (3, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497365)

I've got a few customers I wish I could do that to.

Unfortunately, that is probably a crime. Especially since I'm not an ISP, so I'd have to crack their wireless router.

Re:Huh, madness (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497739)

Hmm... let's see... At worst you'd be in for unjustified accusation (or whatever the correct English term is for it when you accuse someone of a crime knowing he didn't do it)... or no, that would be that company you sold the logs to.

If you wanna make money as an ISP, send them some bogus logs. Some of your customers will pay because they think they got caught, some will countersue that company, some will just drop it. It's akin to extortion by proxy, only that you didn't tell your proxy to act on your behalf, they do it on their own. I can't see anything where you'd be breaking a law so far, anyone with a better legal background here?

Re:Huh, madness (2, Informative)

eat here_get gas (907110) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497983)

"I can't see anything where you'd be breaking a law so far, anyone with a better legal background here?"

right here:

"If you wanna make money as an ISP, send them some bogus logs."

as a law school drop-out (middle of a messy divorce) i see claims of libel, slander, falsification of records, and deception....

Re:Huh, madness (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498269)

An ISP log isn't going to be the final answer. Someone, somewhere is going to be looking at computer hard drives, CDs, DVDd, etc. If they do not find any infringing materials there is no evidence and the matter drops.

Now I would imagine if the ISP faked up some logs to provide material for the examination of cmoputers and a lot of it turned out to be bogus you would have the ISP getting sued by both ends of this. Because examining the computers (by a qualified forensic examiner) isn't cheap and because losing your computer for a couple of weeks isn't much fun either. So I would say there are substantial risks to faking logs and the end result is that it doesn't go anywhere. No settlements. Because there is no legal action and no possibility of legal action.

Now if someone wants to go from logs to making a settlement offer to the potential offender, that is just stupid. Because you just tipped your hand and the potential offender then can delete everything from their computer, without penalty, because there is no requirement to preserve evidence. So bypassing the "seize the computer" step nets you nothing in the long run.

Re:Huh, madness (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#26500119)

Now if someone wants to go from logs to making a settlement offer to the potential offender, that is just stupid.

That is pretty much how ever RIAA case has ever gone.

Re:Huh, madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497799)

For a non-monopoly, selling out your customers is a VERY bad idea, long-term.

Re:Huh, madness (1)

MobiusPoint (1394977) | more than 4 years ago | (#26500741)

1 Create an ISP, one with no customers.
2 Fake logs of customers you don't have.
3 Sell out non existent customers.
4 ?????
5 Net loss!

Wait, wasn't this supposed to give money to ISPs?

Two words: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497015)

Fuck them. This needs to stop, quit fucking with the internet.

they pitch an interesting plan (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497033)

"I would still wind up losing customers. I would also have to pay Nexicon for this ...

They do address this on their web page

THE VALUE: GetAmnesty provides content owners with a new revenue stream by collecting settlement fees on their behalf from those who illegally download their copyrighted content. Further, violators are tagged with a complete history of their downloading activities, which is easily translated to create customer profiles for online marketing purposes.

Looks like they intend for the loss of customers to be more than offset by the extortion payments you receive from some of them.

I'm betting NOT. Suing (or extorting, threatening to sue and selling "protection") your customers has never been an effective business model. You'd think they'd have learned that by now.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (4, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497115)

I'm betting NOT. Suing (or extorting, threatening to sue and selling "protection") your customers has never been an effective business model. You'd think they'd have learned that by now.

True, but the average customer might never know or figure out that it was the ISP that sold them out.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (3, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497811)

True, but the average customer might never know or figure out that it was the ISP that sold them out.

The ISP does have a duty to protect the privacy of a customer, I think most people know that it's hard to identify anyone without the ISP coughing up data -- legally or otherwise. Anyway, I don't think that matters. My guess is that the first act of anyone who is accused of file sharing, is to change their ISP, regardless of who found out about them, or sold them out. It only makes sense to do so. Either way, the ISP loses. And rightly so, they should not be giving up data without a solid court warrant to anyone, for any reason.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498193)

The ISP also has a duty under the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions to assist in copyright enforcement. Their responsibility to their customers not to reveal their illegal activities is not so clearly documented.

This pretty much means that a case can be made that if the ISP doesn't assist in enforcement, perhaps even to this level, that they can lose their Safe Harbor provision and suddenly become a party to every enforcement action against their customers.

So I think you have it a little backwards. Now maybe the ISP can argue that their requirements for Safe Harbor do not include this plan. Sure, but this is going to be argued at a federal court level and cost millions of dollars to do so. Are their any ISPs that want to get into this that deep?

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (3, Informative)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499567)

As I remember it those safe harbor provisions don't great a general duty to assist in copyright enforcement, but the a very specific one if the form of honoring take down notices.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (2, Interesting)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498327)

The RIAA loses little to people who use Limewire to download a 128kbps mp3 of a single coyrighted song weeks after its release date. It is possible to utilize private bittorrent trackers to download music in a format that sounds as good the real CD. It would make little sense for the RIAA to target hundreds or thousands of people who downloads a few random, low-quality audio files rather than seeking the few people who download hundreds of perfect-quality albums.
Those who pose a real threat to the RIAA already keep their tinfoil hats within arm's reach; many bittorrent users use SSL for browsing private trackers and use protocol encryption for bittorrent transfers.
It would ruin the RIAA's attack model if the average customer was sold out and made aware of the copyright pyramid scheme onto which the music industry clings.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (2, Interesting)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499697)

All the encryption in the world won't stop you from getting a DMCA notice. In America, you can sue anyone for any reason. All they need to sue you is an IP address. So if they join a tracker and see your IP address, they'll send your ISP a note.

Most people find it easier to just pay their extortion fee than go to court.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497135)

"Further, violators are tagged with a complete history of their downloading activities, which is easily translated to create customer profiles for online marketing purposes."

So after they sue you for copyright infringement they'll try to sell you an erection.

GetAmnesty provides content owners with a new revenue stream by collecting settlement fees on their behalf from those who illegally download their copyrighted content.

They sound like the RIAA/MPAA.. the last thing anyone needs is more middlemen taking a cut of the money.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (4, Insightful)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497141)

And as they are at that, what differentiates a legal from an illegal download?

Specially as they don't know if I've or not a license to the download or not!

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498153)

I think if they see a BitTorrent connection and the content is music or a movie it is pretty much a given that you don't have a license. Maybe you do, so you have a defense. But I'd say it is very much like being caught by the police with a crowbar and a TV after a store was broken into. Sure, you might be completely innocent and you will have plenty of opportunity to prove it. After they arrest you.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (1)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499621)

"content is music or a movie it is pretty much a given that you don't have a license" - that's sounds exactly like what the RIAA wants folks to think. Copyright isn't criminal law its civil. There is no question of guilt or innocence, just of whether a party damaged another or not.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (4, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497217)

"(or extorting, threatening to sue and selling "protection") your customers has never been an effective business model. "

Tell that to the real Mafia.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (2, Insightful)

Schickeneder (1454639) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497275)

That would only work if all the ISPs gave in. In most cities it's easy enough to switch internet service providers, if one gives in to the dark side, simply abandon ship and move on to the next. With Gustav hitting Louisiana recently many customers switched phone and internet providers simply because the others were taking too long to restore services after the outage (even though in most cases it wasn't entirely their fault). I even saw a telecom representative going door to door conducting polls and offering incentives to try and retain some of the customer base. This business model would only work IF the lawsuits consistently paid out, which they don't seem to do. Many of them drag on for years, meanwhile the ISP is left to wait, hoping on some sort of returns, all the while knowing they "betrayed" their customers.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499883)

In Utah, all you can get is Qwest or Comcast (or wireless ISPs, which I hear are too laggy for games).

Having a monopoly is great.

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497375)

So the ISP can wait for a small piece of the eventual "settlement fees" and go without money in the interim, or instead continue making regular money right now from a continuing customer...

Did the RIAA really think this through?

/P

Re:they pitch an interesting plan (1)

phoomp (1098855) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498071)

Well, at least they're honest about seeing settlement fee as a revenue stream, unlike the **AA. Except, they fail to explain that, after all your customers realize you've been selling them out, you'll be left with no customers to either sell your service to *or* extort settlement fees from.

great business model there jim (4, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497039)

pay us money, and we MIGHT give you a cut of any profits we make. fuck that, sounds like a pyramid scheme to me.

Re:great business model there jim (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498209)

Welcome to the world of 'Intellectual Property'. The owners of huge amounts of IP demand they be given lots of money on the premise that this will ultimately (through some only vaguely specified mechanism) result in artists being rewarded for the quality of their work.

Re:great business model there jim (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499849)

Change the first part to "give us something you value" and you have 99% of the world's record labels' standard operating procedure.

This is the only thing they know how to do.

Interestingly... (1, Interesting)

genw3st (1373507) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497043)

I wonder how many companies will actually make this intelligent deduction; that it might end up costing them more in the end than actual financial gain. Reminds me of modern-day unions...

Re:Interestingly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497325)

I would imagine that if they are properly run businesses, they will weigh the different options in terms of their bottom line, and choose the path that best supports it. If they can make more money by screwing custys then that is the way they will go. If they look at the model over 5 to 10 years I bet they won't do it.

ISPs can find them on there own (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497059)

Why would an ISP what there service for? they can find out who is file sharing on there own

Re:ISPs can find them on there own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497173)

Holy shit you fail at english.

Re:ISPs can find them on there own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497345)

English is supposed to be capitalized.

More than losing customers (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497111)

Besides losing customers, if ISPs start policing their networks like that, don't they then give up some of their "safe haven" protections and all that?

Re:More than losing customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497405)

Yes, these people are idiots. If I were the ISP, I would also be the "dumb wire."

Re:More than losing customers (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498101)

It's call Safe Harbor and it is part of the DMCA. Actually, if they do not cooperate in copyright enforcement they lose Safe Harbor status. The question is do they have to cooperate this much? I don't know and I suspect it will take a federal judge to make that level of a decision. This isn't going to be decided simply or cheaply. Because of that it might take a really long time before it got reviewed in court.

Because who in their right mind is going to want to defend law-breaking customers? And spend millions of dollars doing so.

Monopoly broadband providers (2, Interesting)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497127)

Why wouldn't a Time Warner or Comcast take them up on such an offer, especially in areas where they are the only broadband provider? Ad a clause to the agreement barring disclosure, and they'll get free money. Anyone think cable companies would avoid this for ethical reasons??

Re:Monopoly broadband providers (1)

jombeewoof (1107009) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497963)

...Anyone think cable companies would avoid this for ethical reasons??

what are these "ethics" you speak of.

Re:Monopoly broadband providers (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498027)

That's my thinking. Sure, this scheme is probably poison to the small, independent ISP but I can't imagine Comcast and Time Warner don't already have somebody firing up his spreadsheet to do some income stream projections. Seems like a natural win-win-win for all businesses involved. I mean, if somebody can't figure out how to connect Ubuntu to their broadband how are they going to think to research the availability of alternative, small ISPs even if they do exist for any given location?

Re:Monopoly broadband providers (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#26500901)

Ad a clause to the agreement barring disclosure, and they'll get free money.

No. ISPs have to hire them to spy on their customers, and then they'll allegedly share a fraction of the profits with them. Except that this is coming from the very namesake of "Hollywood Accounting", so the most likely scenario is that they'll get a percentage of zero, which is still zero.

And then this "anti-piracy" firm sells the data gathered from the ISP's customers to online marketing firms (it's in their About page), making yet another profit and letting the ISP take the blame for the privacy breach.

So no need to appeal to their ethical values, it simply makes no sense from a financial standpoint to accept this firm's offer, too much of a cost and risk for too little (or no) reward.

making money from illegal activity? (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497145)

So they wait until they find someone doing something illegal[1]. They offer to allow them to atone (financially, of course) for their "crimes". They then share the proceeds with the very ISP which allowed them to perform these acts in the first place.

Apart from the highly dubious moral position, this sounds like either a protection racket or entrapment, or both.

[1] although it won't ever get to court - they'll hope people will just roll over and pay up. So the legality of this "sting" won't ever be tested.

Re:making money from illegal activity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497437)

And since none of this would stand up very long in court (extortion, racketeering, ISP as an accessory to the "crime", etc.), anyone who calls their bluff can laugh it off. But in the mean time, this might generate revenue -- for a few weeks.

Re:making money from illegal activity? (1)

penguinbrat (711309) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498067)

FTA...

Nexicon confirms that the files downloaded violate a copyright through its technology...

It also notes that it is policing the newsgroups, my question is on the "downloading" and copyright violation - With P2P when you download, your uploading also although this is not the case for the newsgroups, when you download that is all your doing - this would be more in lines of "stealing" than the copyright violation isn't it? I was under the impression that to violate a given copyright, you need to re-distribute the said material, IE: why the mafiaa goes after P2P and the insane "settlements"... If this is correct, how could they go could after you for a copyright violation if you didn't violate it? This isn't for uploading the material mind you, just leeching it...

Re:making money from illegal activity? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498267)

To violate copyright, in the strictest possible sense, you merely need to copy the said material without permission. Notwithstanding, unless you distribute such copies in some way, there can be squat-all that anybody can do to even tell that you had made such a copy, so generally making copies that you don't redistribute is exempt from infringement as long as you don't publicly benefit from the making of such copies (ie, if you have a business wherein you utilize a commercial piece of software that you didn't buy).

Re:making money from illegal activity? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498115)

First of all, the ISP isn't doing anything illegal merely because a person using that service is. All they are doing is offering the ISP some financial incentive to produce the necessary information to convict the person who was committing copyright infringement.

So, how is this really any different than the already-existing Crimestoppers program, which offers (often substantial) rewards for information leading to conviction of a person for a particular crime?

Sure, copyright infringement isn't on the same scale of crime as murder or theft that are usually the sort of crimes that Crimestoppers offers rewards for, but that doesn't mean it isn't a crime.

The only real dicey issue here is whether the person that they _think_ was breaking the law was _actually_ breaking the law. Of course, if they weren't, an attempt at prosecution should not likely lead to a conviction, and without a conviction there wouldn't be any reward offered, so really it's not in the ISP's interests to just blindly hand over any information about their subscribers that's asked for unless they can substantiate the accusations for themselves.

Re:making money from illegal activity? (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498273)

The ISPs might not be doing anything illegal here, but I am having issues seeing how what Nexicon is doing would be legal. With the RIAA, their stated goal isn't to extort money. That is what they do a lot of the time, but it isn't the stated goal. Nexicon, on the other hand, is being bold enough to state that their goal is extortion. I can see this one ending in hilarity.

Re:making money from illegal activity? (1)

Dysproxia (584031) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499129)

Replace internet with road network, ISP with government that manages the roads, Nexicon with traffic police, copyright infringement with traffic violations, amnesty fees with speeding tickets, and what do you get? My first car analogy!

But if the extortion fails (1)

smallfeet (609452) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497197)

Don't they have to go to court if the extortion attempt fails and wouldn't the ISP then have to testify? If my ISP started to sell out its customers like that, I would have to shop around. Even if I am not a file sharer, that is still a company I could not trust (we need some revenue, so fake some logs so we can extort some customers).

Good News (1, Troll)

mfh (56) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497231)

This is good news for everyone. Now we can get all kinds of money from these MAFIAA groups to pay to the ISPs for their evidence in all the court cases that will be thrown out on constitutional grounds.

Just listen to Indy bands that have songs with names that include all the words of other, possibly Britney Spears titles. Then sue the MAFIAA for lost wages and aggravation!

Nexicon = liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497263)

Their Get Amnesty webpage spreads the usual lies about "illegal downloads". There is no such thing as an "illegal download"!

Send them E-MAIL (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497269)

I really hope they do get rid of Piracy. When pirates are seizing oil tankers, killing crew, and demanding millions from companies things are out of hand. I really feel for the crew of ships off of Somalia. Oh, wait, we are talking about "copyright violations" -- has anyone been hurt or demanded millions by holding a copy of Metalica hostage?

Please send e-mails to this site and request that they do help get rid of true piracy but when talking about their business model, not refer to it as piracy: info@nexiconinc.com and press@nexiconinc.com

That pill is poison. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497297)

Once the ISP's start accepting this money, good bye safe harbor provision. You can't claim to be a common carrier once you've accepted responsibility for policing your content.

Now it's easy--someone with one of your ISP's IP addresses downloaded my copyrighted content? I don't even need to know who they are--I sue the ISP and win.

The potential legal liability an ISP would be signing up for to participate in this is MASSIVE. You're now potential liable for every copyrighted piece of data on your network.

Re:That pill is poison. (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498047)

I don't think you understand how ISPs have DMCA Safe Harbor. They have it because they are required to cooperate with enforcement. If they fail to cooperate, they lose. So assisting in enforcement doesn't hurt them.

Now it is indeed a good question how much cooperation is actually required under the provisions of the DMCA. Clearly, turning over customer information is required, which all ISPs do when properly served. But do they have to go the extra mile as this program does? If I was marketing this program I would certainly spin it that they can cooperate or they can face losing their Safe Harbor status and suddenly become a party to infringement actions brought on their customers.

The idea that the ISP can shield cusomters from legal action has never existed. Any suggetion that the ISP can afford not to cooperate is going to go out the window pretty soon, should this actually work out.

Re:That pill is poison. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26499071)

And you mistaken the meaning of "enforcement."

ISP's are required to comply with subpoenas, court orders, and DCMA takedown notices.

Absent such an order, there is no obligation on the carriers to assist a third party in monitoring their subscribers for POSSIBLE civil violations against that third party's rights.

There's a huge difference between being required to comply with the "John Doe" orders the RIAA somehow keeps getting courts to rubber stamp, and doing the RIAA's work for them and telling them who to threaten with legal action.

Re:That pill is poison. (2, Insightful)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499681)

And you clearly don't understand it. What your talking about here is not enforcement, it is investigation. The only enforcement they are required to cooperate with by the DMCA are take down notices. "Any suggetion that the ISP can afford not to cooperate is going to go out the window pretty soon, should this actually work out." this sounds like something the RIAA wants folks to believe.

Re:That pill is poison. (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499989)

"So assisting in enforcement doesn't hurt them."

Actually it may very well hurt them depending on what the ISP does. The ISP can not legally give out any customer info without a court order. A DMCA Takedown notice is not a court order. Providing any customer without a court order is a CPNI violation and hence illegal. All copyright holders provide a link in their Takedown notices implying that the ISP is required to use the form found at that link to provide the copyright holder with the customer's information. They're hoping that there are at least a few SPs out there who are dumb enough to do that. It is of course illegal for the SP to do so.

Back to the topic of the original article, providing any customer info to Nexicon is a CPNI violation. CPNI isn't just for telcos, folks.

Re:That pill is poison. (2, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498207)

Once the ISP's start accepting this money, good bye safe harbor provision. You can't claim to be a common carrier once you've accepted responsibility for policing your content.

Actually, you just need to say good bye to the pervasive Slashdot myth that ISPs have ever been common carriers.

Re:That pill is poison. (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#26500963)

Exactly the kind of kick the US ISPs need to decide that the world is a evil place and that only websites within the US will be allowed.

Short Term Gains! Sell Out Your Customers! (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497299)

They may not be your customers for long, but we will pay your Tuesday for a customer sell-out today!

Ahh, I see (5, Insightful)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497397)

So the RIAA/MPAA's strategy in stopping the lawsuits was simply to outsource that operation to a 3rd party in an attempt to distance themselves from the negative publicity they've been getting. Should anything go wrong, this company will just be cut loose and left to deal with whatever mess they've gotten themselves into, and the cycle will start again with a new company.

Re:Ahh, I see (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499019)

So the RIAA/MPAA's strategy in stopping the lawsuits was simply to outsource that operation to a 3rd party in an attempt to distance themselves from the negative publicity they've been getting. Should anything go wrong, this company will just be cut loose and left to deal with whatever mess they've gotten themselves into, and the cycle will start again with a new company.

Much like the major recording labels' relationship to the RIAA cabal itself.

A little information about Nexicon (5, Informative)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497479)

I found this through a quick google search. It seems Nexicon is the company behind YouTube's video identification software, and that it used to be known as Cyco.net, an online seller of cigarettes. After acquiring two small IT companies it had a change of heart, and decided to change its business model from selling tobacco online to providing the content industry with copyright infringement solutions. It makes perfect sense.

Article about the renaming to Nexicon [bizjournals.com]
Article about their work with Youtube [zdnet.com]

This violates common carrier (3, Informative)

eyeota (686153) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497509)

This has a huge potential to backfire on the ISPs.

IANAL, but I have worked at an ISP before. ISP have some limited immunity from civil suits because they are a common carrier.
i.e. They're providing transport to another network (the internet) and the information the flows between it is the responsibility of the sender / receiver because they're merely providing the transport. The minute they start to police the network at a content level (like Nexicon suggests) they can potentially be liable for the information passing through their networks because they are now 'aware' of the illegal content and have a responsibility to act.

The cons outweigh the pros for this time of agreement. I dont' expect many ISPs to by into this B.S.

Re:This violates common carrier (2, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498001)

I'm sure it isaid elsewhere, but ISPs are information services and by that designation have no common carrier status whatsoever. What they do have is Safe Harbor, as defined by the DMCA.

Part of their Safe Harbon immunity requires them to actively respond to takedown request and to cooperate with copyright enforcement. You might be able to read that as requiring them to participate in this sort of program. I know if I was marketing such a program that that is indeed the spin I would put on it.

Then for the ISP they can decide if they want to defend law-breaking customers and their own actions or if they want to keep their Safe Harbor status. My guess is that there isn't an ISP around that really wants to go down that road unless they have a huge budget for on-staff counsel. Maybe Cox and Comcast and just about nobody else.

Re:This violates common carrier (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 4 years ago | (#26500045)

"Part of their Safe Harbon immunity requires them to actively respond to takedown request and to cooperate with copyright enforcement. You might be able to read that as requiring them to participate in this sort of program. I know if I was marketing such a program that that is indeed the spin I would put on it."

Actually no it does not require an SP to "cooperate with copyright enforcement." SPs are required to follow very specific steps to meet the requirements of the Safe Harbor provision. It does not in any way require the SP to cooperate with copyright holders. It requires the SP to receive DMCA Takedown notices, take action against the customer based on those notices (notification, disabling in some cases) but does not require anything beyond that. Like I said in a previous post, all copyright holders include links in their Takedown notices and imply that the SP is required to use that link to provide the copyright holder with customer info. They're relying on at least a few SPs being dumb enough to provide them with said information. They can legally ask for the info in the Takedown notice but it is illegal for the SP to provide it thanks to CPNI. SPs can not provide any customer info without a court order. A DMCA Takedown notice is not a court order. The fine per CPNI violation is extremely stiff. We can all thank former HP CEO Patricia Dunn for that.

For the record I can speak with authority on the topic because I do work for an SP and contract to others. I receive several Takedown notices each week.

Morals or Pocketbook (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497637)

Sounds to me like that ISP in the story has no moral grounding and would screw its customers if the economy didnt suck.

The war is just beginning people. Are you ready?

Wartime! (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497921)

... As I tied the red scarf around my forehead, and picked up the AK-47*, I looked around and saw my brothers doing the same ...

The war on corporate greed has just begun. Corporate Wars Episode One: The Lawsuit Menace

* AK-47 = xxAA-Knockout Version 47.0

Also, don't forget to read another person's Web Server Wars [slashdot.org] dialogue, rated "5, Funny".

Re:Wartime! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498059)

Personally i think the current backdoor attacks on my freedoms is a serious matter.

We let this stuff slide, we wont even be able to have a private thought without potentially going to detention for reprogramming.

This is like traffic light cameras (1)

rev_deaconballs (1071074) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497709)

Before there were constraints put on traffic light tickets from cameras, the companies falsely ticketed drivers to get extra money. They started to widen the gap of when a ticket was issued to the point that people were getting tickets when they crossed the line before the light turned red. This solution sounds like it will lead to the same problem. There will be no protection over the gray area and the general public (who cannot afford a lawyer) will get screwed. In the end the two companies involved will be pursuing money and not illegal activity.

obvious troll is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497721)

this
1. cannot be held up in court as it is obviously blackmail/racket of the internet subscriber.
2. ISPs and whoever media is going to trust them with this scheme are gonna lose, trust, customers & ultimately a sh*tload of money.
3. said money will of course end up mostly in the end of Nexicon

obvious troll company is obvious

NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26497731)

One point that the RIAA, MPAA, and their buddies seem not to want anyone to realize...file shareing is NOT illegal unless you are sharing someone else's copyrighted content!. You can choose to share your own copyrighted content, and there are a lot of other things you can share.

RIAA, MPAA and their buddies want everone to believe that ALL file sharing and use of bittorent, and P2P networks is wrong, illrgal, piracy etc. While I admit that lots of copyrighted material is shared, and that IS illegal, some content is shared that is not illegal to share.

Besides if these folks would get past the 1980s business model that they are mistakenly trying to protect and continue using, they wouldn't have nearly the problems with piracy that they do. Give people quality, non-DRMed content that they can download at a reasonable price, and most people would be happy to pay. What has spured piracy to the level that it is at today is that people are sick of overpaying for low quality DRMed content.

Of course there will always be an element who wouldn't.buy , and wouldn't care. the if I can't get it for free, I won't bother crowd. But then, they can't be considered potential customers anyway.

dns info for nexicon (2, Interesting)

awpoopy (1054584) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497827)

Processing nexiconinc.com (74.220.215.80)

nexiconinc.com. is in Abuse.net Contacts as 0.0.0.1

    * "postmaster@nexiconinc.com"

74.220.215.80 is host280.hostmonster.com.

host280.hostmonster.com. is in Abuse.net Contacts as 0.0.0.2

    * "postmaster@hostmonster.com"
    * "abuse@hostmonster.com"

74.220.215.80 is in Blars Block List as 208.43.232.224

    * Hosts spamers web sites
    * Hosts spammers email dropboxes
    * breakin attempts
    * Knowingly supports spammers
    * attepted mail relay
    * attepted formmail exploit
    * carreer spammer support
    * provides connection to rogue isp

74.220.215.80 is in lagengymnastik as 127.0.0.2

    * "Please refer to http://groups.google.com/group/news.admin.net-abuse.blocklisting/msg/9fc547194276c164"

74.220.215.80 is in they.com spambait as 209.198.142.156

74.220.215.80 in ASN11798 74.220.192.0/19

IPQuery: 74.220.215.80 Server: whois.arin.net

OrgName:    Bluehost Inc.
OrgID:      BLUEH-2
Address:    1215 N. Research Way Q-3500
City:       Orem
StateProv:  UT
PostalCode: 84097
Country:    US

NetRange:   74.220.192.0 - 74.220.223.255
CIDR:       74.220.192.0/19
OriginAS:   AS11798
NetName:    BLUEHOST-NETWORK-2
NetHandle:  NET-74-220-192-0-1
Parent:     NET-74-0-0-0-0
NetType:    Direct Allocation
NameServer: NS1.BLUEHOST.COM
NameServer: NS2.BLUEHOST.COM
Comment:
RegDate:    2007-01-09
Updated:    2007-11-05

I'm sure they have more ip addresses "laying around", however as a starting point:
deny from 74.220.192.0/19
in at least everyone's .htaccess file could be nice.

my isp gets around the middle man (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497979)

Cox has been charging customers fees for file sharing now. Hasn't happened to me yet, but local news sources have reported it. If you use wifi and protect your network, they'll still hold you responsible if an intruder manages to get onto the network and download.

Re:my isp gets around the middle man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26498421)

... I'm scared to know how they figure out who's doing the file sharing. I've seen everything from actually trying to figure out what protocol the person is using to basing it on some amount of bandwidth, for things somewhat like this. It is somewhat different, but Verizon, for example, put some certain bandwidth limit that, if you were to exceed it, they'd consider it suspicious for streaming music or video, and therefore they could shut off your connection. Or so was their terms last time I looked it up.

Both of those ways are complete failures, if you ask me, because what if I just happen to be downloading a shit-ton of free software (FOSS) packages over BitTorrent? I use that just as a specific example of something that has already been attacked by those means. But that would make me put on a suspicion list for doing activities supposedly illegal, even though I'm far from doing anything illegal at all.

On top of that, the protocols can easily just change in response to the filtering of the protocols or ports. And putting a cap on "unlimited" is just bullshit. At least, don't call it "unlimited" and say that it's got a real limit before you're going to be paying more or some other bullshit. But even then, you're not necessarily targeting file sharing any more.

The only way I can see them targeting file sharing only is on a per-protocol or per-port basis. But like I said, the protocols can be changed to break your recognition of it, and the ports can be changed.

People need to shut up and either figure out something that works without fucking everyone else over or just get over themselves. I'm more for it, if they could do it without restricting my rights. But I have yet to see anyone do that by any means.

Re:my isp gets around the middle man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26498589)

Of course, this is all assuming that "right" to use the internet is actually a right in the first place. Which could easily be argued...

The most interesting thing on the Get Amnesty site (1)

counterplex (765033) | more than 4 years ago | (#26497987)

"Further, violators are tagged with a complete history of their downloading activities, which is easily translated to create customer profiles for online marketing purposes" This looks like they'll be using file sharing statistics to provide the content owners a benefit too. Seems only fair that the file sharers who, by their very actions, actually give them the information about what is popular and what is not should get compensated for that. Instead they will be fined. Way to go Nexicon/RIAA!

the internet always wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26498023)

so who wants to help me make a website with a list of customer-loyal ISPs so that everyone can drop these ne'er-do-well's

A Calculation Shows No Value in Rattig for ISPs (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498099)

Suppose that an ISP wants to cooperate with Nexicon to get their hands on some of the settlement loot. Suppose further that it costs the ISP nothing to implement detection and collect bounties (in actuallity it would cost them something, but assume for this example that it doesn't). The question(s) become (a) how much will Nexicon split with us AND (b) how many monthly ISP subscriber payments is that worth?

The formula for the number of payments to reach an investment goal [oakroadsystems.com] is relevant here OR

N = log(1+iF/P) / log(1+i)

Where N is the number of payments, i is the interest rate (per period), F is the final amount (the amount of the cut that the ISP will get from Nexicon), and P is the payment amount (the amount of the monthly subscriber fee for the ISP).

Now assume that Nexicon will split 1/2 of the average $3000 settlement with the ISP (the rest being split between Nexicon and the RIAA music labels) or $1500 AND that the average ISP customer pays about $35 per month for Interent service. Assume also that once the ISP rats out the customer to Nexicon that person or business will cancel their service and never be a customer again. Finally assume that i, the interest rate, is equivalent to a yearly rate of about 2 percent. So how many payments is it worth to the ISP to rat out the customer? The answer is about:

41 payments OR about 3.5 years or service.

Are there any ISP owners out there who would sell out their customers to Nexicon for at best the equivalent of a paltry 3.5 years of subscriber payments in exchange for all of the bad publicity, ill will, and loss of sold out customers permanently (and probably others too, once word gets around that the ISP is ratting people out to the MAFIAA)? I am going to say that the answer is probably, "NO".

A third revelation about Nexicon (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498165)

Had to post this as well, want to know how you go from an online tobacco dealer to getting in bed with government and the telecom industry?

Nexicon, Inc., formerly Cyco.Net, Inc. (OTCBB:CYKE), a leading provider of secure and efficient networking and communication solutions, today announced the launch of two recently formed strategic partnerships, with Butch Maki & Associates and John Badal of Badal & Associates, to develop further private and institutional business relationships in the homeland security, network security, and telecommunications industries.

Butch Maki & Associates is an experienced team of lobbyists, consultants, media professionals, grassroots specialists, and bipartisan political professionals with long-time contacts at all levels of federal, state, and local government. Founded in 1992 by Walter "Butch" Maki, the group has close contacts with political and grassroots leaders and will be instrumental to Nexicon in penetrating government institutions that may benefit from the Company's offerings in network security.

John Badal, who in October 2004 retired from the office of President for Qwest New Mexico Corporation, is one of the pre-eminent consultants in the telecommunications industry, with strong industry ties and contacts with key decision makers in both small and large corporate entities in the telecommunications field throughout the U.S.

Source [findarticles.com]

Give Dem Da Boot (-1, Troll)

rawg (23000) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498203)

I'm booting customers off all the time for p2p filesharing. I might as well get paid for it. My ISP clearly states that it's not allowed, and clearly states that the network is a shared resource. So I'm not tricking anyone. I even tell them when I set them up that p2p is not allowed and it causes bandwidth issues for everyone else.

Just yesterday some lady downloaded 23GB of stuff. Not sure what it was, but it pretty much knocked out internet for about 30 other people. 1500+ connections open to that one computer. I gave her the boot. Told her good luck finding internet access out here in the middle of nowhere. Dial-up doesn't even work.

I reserve the right to deny access to my network to anyone for any reason. Especially illegal activity. No, downloading music for free is not legal. No downloading movies for free is not legal. Gesh, just get Netflix or something.

Re:Give Dem Da Boot (1)

ProfanityHead (198878) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498541)

I'm booting customers off all the time for p2p filesharing. I might as well get paid for it. My ISP clearly states that it's not allowed, and clearly states that the network is a shared resource. So I'm not tricking anyone. I even tell them when I set them up that p2p is not allowed and it causes bandwidth issues for everyone else.

Just yesterday some lady downloaded 23GB of stuff. Not sure what it was, but it pretty much knocked out internet for about 30 other people. 1500+ connections open to that one computer. I gave her the boot. Told her good luck finding internet access out here in the middle of nowhere. Dial-up doesn't even work.

I reserve the right to deny access to my network to anyone for any reason. Especially illegal activity. No, downloading music for free is not legal. No downloading movies for free is not legal. Gesh, just get Netflix or something.

This has to be the sorriest ISP in existence. Surely you are trolling?

Solution (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498241)

1. Move To Canada and buy some blank cdr's to pay your share of the recordable media levy
2. Rename your download folder to "Paying recordable media levies lets me download music for free"
3. Rename your publicly viewable storage folder to "Private Property. Do not download. Downloading is trespassing"
4. ??????????????
5. Profit!

Blame Canada!!

Re:Solution (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498371)

Sure... as long as you are also willing to press charges against anyone who copies the contents of that folder on the grounds of computer trespassing (that is, assuming that a person who copied the contents of your folder from you could be identified, then you would be obligated to press charges against that person). Otherwise, if you knowingly chose to not protect your property, then it can reasonably be construed that any person who encroaches on it does so with your permission, regardless of what you pretend to label it as.

Giganews and stunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26498359)

Ahhhhh, Giganews and stunnel, you'll never do me wrong. Go ahead and try to get me bastards..... I need some proxy servers. That would make it even more secure.

Waste of effort (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#26498651)

I have seen at least ten people get broadband specifically for downloading. Six of those paid extra for more bandwidth to facilitate downloading HD movies and FLACs, two of them justified their extra bandwidth for work, but both of them wouldn't need the extra bandwidth for work if they hadn't already maxed out their bandwidth on downloading music, games, and movies.

With users like this who will keep paying no matter how much the ISP's ramp up the costs, what possible incentive would the ISP's have for losing someone who makes them at least 800 dollars a year and will probably never cancel as long as they have the freedom to do what they want?

The ISP's might get a few extra bucks on selling out some users, but the vast majority of their interests is in helping downloaders. It's just kind of sort of their business, after all.

What's it got to do with anti paracy (1)

billlion (101976) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499161)

I think its great that there are companies formed to take on piracy, but I'd say in general it is a job for national navies rather than private enterprise.

Anyway why are they getting distracted by issues about copyright infringement when there are murdering pirate to be caught?

wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26499381)

"Giving free rein to the RIAA is not part of my business model." because it's not profitable! He seems to have no moral issue with the idea.

Only one good way to deal with this... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499525)

...The MOMENT any /.er finds evidence of this happening, post it here on /.

Next, scream it at the top of your online lungs. Direct the screams at the CUSTOMERS of the ISP that is using this service. Convince them do to drop that ISP like a hot potato.

When said ISP sees subscriptions dropping faster then the cashcut of lawsuits comes in, the money will talk for all of us.

Make it hurt the ISPs, as it SHOULD.

Re:Only one good way to deal with this... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499573)

And another thing.

I wonder if Nexicon is telling their prospective customers that the ONLY way they are going to make money from this is if the person accused submits and pays the "settlement".

If they contest it, plead innocence, who is paying for the lawyers? Nexicon? The ISP?

If NOBODY submits, or pays the extortion, then this idea is dead out of the gates.

I Smell Money (1)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 4 years ago | (#26499915)

Hm... I sense a new business model coming on.

1) First, we give everyone guns.
2) Then, we fine them every time they shoot someone.
3) PROFIT!!

It's brilliant, mate.

This is an inquisition. (1)

dweller_below (136040) | more than 4 years ago | (#26500493)

This campaign is looking more and more like an inquisition. It is the effort of a group to enforce their belief system. Any tactic is justified if it will maintain their orthodox beliefs.

These beliefs don't have to make sense. They just have to be valued. Copyright infringement equals piracy. Copying music is the same as theft of tangible property. Unapproved distribution of an idea requires infinite punishment. These are not rational thoughts. They are elements of a repressive belief system.

We should just expect that the enforcement of this belief system would behave like an inquisition. It always has in the past.

Inquisitions tend to accumulate incredible power. This needs to be stopped fast.

Miles

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