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Another Question Of Search Engine Legality and Infringement

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the what-if-the-judge-is-a-tech-moron dept.

The Courts 95

Another question of search engine "legality" is being addressed with a recent court case in the UK over a video search engine. Techdirt's coverage questions the long-standing tradition of how to evaluate contributory infringement claims for sites like search engines based on the highly subjective "I know it when I see it" test. "Take for example, the situation going on in the UK, where Anton Benjamin Vickerman and his wife Kelly-Anne Vickerman decided to do something that makes a lot of sense: create a search engine for videos online, indexing a variety of different sites. This was as a part of their company Scopelight, and the search engine itself was called Surfthechannel. This is certainly a useful product. But, of course, the search engine's algorithm has no way of knowing if that video has been put up by the copyright holder on purpose or if it's unauthorized. Even more tricky, how does it determine fair use? So, it did the reasonable thing: it includes everything. Lots of the videos are legal. Plenty are potentially unauthorized. Apparently that wasn't good enough for a UK-based anti-piracy group UK-FACT, who had Scopelight's premises raided, claiming the site is illegal, since people can find unauthorized content via it. Of course, you can find unauthorized content on Google as well. But you know who's liable for that? Whoever actually put it online. Not the search engine that pointed you to it."

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95 comments

Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28485935)

At least for America, this blogger simply holds a different viewpoint of how things should be from the content lawyer lobbyists and the court system they control.

But you know who's liable for that? Whoever actually put it online. Not the search engine that pointed you to it.

That's really funny you should say that because recently precedent was set at $80,000 per song [slashdot.org] for uploading and distributing it. Was the defendant the original uploader? Not even close.

And you know what? Through both those trials, I am unaware of any action taken to track down the initial uploader of those files. Maybe because doing so is futile. But it might also be that the legal system here (and also in Sweden apparently) views association of diseminating information about pirating as a more problematic and evil crime than the actual act of you pirating it for yourself!

This is a complex process of getting copyrighted material to you. Someone has to buy it, encode it, upload it, it gets seeded or whatever, you search for it, you download it, you execute it, you re-upload it, ad nauseum. And at any point in that chain, these people are not afraid to prosecute you. And, like some sort of pyramid scheme, you collect all the sins of those in the chain before you. And you pay, oh yes, my brethren, you pay dearly.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486007)

That's really funny you should say that because recently precedent was set at $80,000 per song [slashdot.org] for uploading and distributing it.

UK != USA.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486043)

That's really funny you should say that because recently precedent was set at $80,000 per song [slashdot.org] for uploading and distributing it.

UK != USA.

That's why the post started with "At least for America" and do you really think the IFPI is going to react any differently than the MPAA or RIAA?

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486247)

Why exactly should a UK judge consider USA precedent? Where did the IFPI come in to question? Or better yet, how is your statement relevant to the discussion at all?

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487285)

Why exactly should a UK judge consider USA precedent?

And where did OP say they should? He made a post about related issues in America, he didn't mention the UK.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28488599)

The problem is that bringing up the fine is both irrelevant and misleading.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (4, Informative)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486107)

That's really funny you should say that because recently precedent was set at $80,000 per song for uploading and distributing it. Was the defendant the original uploader? Not even close.

Actually Jammie Thomas was the original uploader. She ripped her CDs and then made them available on P2P. Secondly, that wasn't the creation of any precedent, that was just the jury applying current statues when it comes to copyright infringement (and it's not even the statutory maximum). Thirdly, Jammie Thomas is nothing but a guilty liar and her and anyone who supports her are just making it harder for those of us who try to make a legitimate case against the DMCA and current copyright laws. Finally, exactly what does a US trial and US statutes have to do with the UK?

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (4, Insightful)

!coward (168942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486645)

I couldn't agree more, and many have said as much before, that Jammie is the worst kind of poster-face for the fight against the RIAA, the DMCA, current copyright laws and the insanity of the business practices of an industry who constantly shows no respect whatsoever to the artists they're supposed to foster and protect and the consumers who still make it possible for them to be a multi-billion dollar player.

But the fact is, however guilty Jammie may be, that judgement was nothing short of a legal railroading of her financial future (even if she eventually files for bankrupcy, it's not a pretty sight), and a completely disproportionate response/penalty to the offenses commited. I mean, I can certainly see the case for high damages when we're talking about people who not only wilfully infringe (the only way for her to get slapped with more than $30k per song), but more importantly profit from it. When profit is the motivation, then heck, by all means, go for the throat.

But a civil suit for copyright infringement that stems from a simple "I'm not paying for this", with no other financial motivations behind it, should never be able to reach such high figures. I always hate it whenever a judicial system takes someone and tries to "make an example" out of them, to discourage others from following. It's just too arbitrary, has led to many unsavoury situations in the past and is the opposite of how any judicial system should work -- all equal before the law.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486743)

Oh I totally agree that the statutory limits are excessive, and have said so in a previous post in the linked thread from the GGP, but supporting someone as ridiculous as Jammie Thomas is going to make people completely shut out anyone attempting to make a legitimate point. Her case is doing nothing but feeding directly into the hands of the RIAA/MPAA and they are probably more then grateful that they got not just one judgment against her but two.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

!coward (168942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487007)

I hear ya, and, again, I agree.

I don't see the EFF or other like organizations falling over themselves to come to her aid, do you? ;) I think pretty much everyone realized early on that this one was a losing battle. That she should probably have settled, shouldn't have lied/contradicted herself or otherwise engage in very suspicious behavior (the missing/swapped hard drive comes to mind). Even NYCL's coverage of the thing seemed far more distant than his take on other cases.

But everyone is entitled to put up a defense, and there were several things that could have gone in her favor (namely, the fact that MediaSentry should have been considered an unreliable source for evidence, which would probably have resulted in a default judgement for her) so I can't really blame her for trying.

Then there's this latest legal team, doing it pro bono. I suspect they were mostly trying to slay a giant, and the specifics of who it was they were doing it for take second fiddle to the chance at being renowned as the guys who whooped mighty RIAA's legal team's ass.

But don't fret. I mean, it took some doing but eventually the RIAA would find someone like Jammie and, given the scope of things, I think we're still pretty lucky that they haven't dug up a few more like her. She's one bad apple for this particular issue, but I doubt it'll spoil things.

If it turns out we can't change the way things are, then it'll be because the legislators simply don't care, have their pockets full or are incapable of grasping how serious this matter is for our collective future, especially in the cultural sense.

DRM, due to the constant breakdowns, is starting to get a beating even amongst people who don't have a clue, and eventually people will refuse to be treated has perpetual cash-cows.. From there to getting our fair use rights back and sane copyright limits is just a few steps.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487335)

No, not the EFF but there are still slashdotters who even in the linked thread are still parroting her idiotic defenses and acting as if she is innocent. It's people like that who continue to hurt any legitimate causes.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28488937)

When profit is the motivation, then heck, by all means, go for the throat.

That isn't how the system works.

Civil law isn't about motive. It is about responsibility.

The recovery of damages for your wrongful or negligent actions.

When the damages total up to to $65,000, the jury awards $65,000. The jury never sees your bank account. Your credit rating. Evidence of hardship is simply not admissible. It is not a defense. The jury cannot provide equitable relief. Collection is not their responsibility either.

But a civil suit for copyright infringement that stems from a simple "I'm not paying for this", with no other financial motivations behind it, should never be able to reach such high figures.


"I'm not paying for this"
is the argument of a thief.

The jury hangs Robin Hood.

This is the one lesson - well, to be truthful, one of the many lessons - about the law the geek never quite takes in.

Trials are public.

They are always intended to set an example.

The role of the jury "testifies" to the openness and legitimacy of what would otherwise be a closed-door proceeding.

The jury of your peers has accepted a minimum per diem in exchange for long hours and hard work.

That should tell you something.

$30K a track is a plausible estimate of the retail value of your unlicensed wholesale distribution or redistribution.

The problem for the geek who believes in jury nullification is that he also has to believe that the jury doesn't know how P2P really works.

That they don't understand upload and download ratios. The "cred" to be one by being the first to post a quality rip of The Transformers.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487461)

Odd. You make the point that copyright law is fubar'd. You quite reasonably point out that Jammie Thomas is probably guilty of something. We can agree that much. But, you seem to see little problem with Jammie, and people like her, being prosecuted under law that is fucked up beyond all recognition. Odd.

My attitude is, if the law is wrong, then no one can be guilty of violating that law.

If I may draw a parallel between the legal system, and the military?

A leader never issues an order that he knows will be disobeyed. The recent (two year old?) story about a transport captain who ordered a convoy, knowing full well that the convoy wouldn't follow orders, is more guilty than those individuals who refused the orders. He is an incompetent, and ineffective leader.

Here, we have an entire body of law that the entire world scoffs at.

Who is guilty? Jammie? I hardly think so. I say, fix the law, then chase the real criminals.

Oh. Wait. Many of the real criminals wear suits, and prop their feet up on desks in penthouse offices. That wouldn't work, would it?

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

Cross-Threaded (893172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28491513)

My attitude is, if the law is wrong, then no one can be guilty of violating that law.

My attitude is similar, however, we do not have the luxury to apply our attitudes. At least not without risking serious repercussions. Jail, fines, etc. So you want to make sure you pick your battles well.

The way our country is set up, we don't have a heck of a lot of say, as individuals, of what should be the law, and what should not be the law.

We, as citizens, are allowed to make suggestions (by lobbying, writing letters, protesting, etc.), but, really that is it. Just suggestions.

We have to depend on our representatives in the senate, house of representatives, and the president, to make laws that we deem fair.
(Same for state, and local laws, too.)

If a law is passed that the general public feels is unfair, we can scream our lungs out, but, we are not guaranteed action to abolish/repeal that law.

If a person breaks one of those laws we find unfair, we have to depend on the judicial branch to interpret the law in a manner that we find just. This doesn't happen oftentimes.

Unfortunately, we, either as individuals, or as a mob, have exactly zero influence on this judicial process.

The judges must interpret the law as written, and signed into law, and in the spirit to the best of their judgment that the law was written. We don't get a say at all.

The typical reaction to this argument is to vote whomever is the most ardent idiot(s) out of office, typically a party, the president, or individual legislators.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to do this, and requires pretty much grass-roots effort to get anyone voted out of office.

And, if the government official that would need to be voted out represents 75% of your views in other areas, well, should you try to get them kicked out of office?

I'm not sure if I would trade 75% agreement for a single issue that bugged me. The replacement could be worse.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486109)

The defendant was uploading. You don't have to be the original uploader(distributor) just a distributor. And if you aren't leeching your torrent, then you are distributing content.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (2, Interesting)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486889)

The problem with that argument is two-fold. First, once the media has already been made publicly available the status of legal protection for said media could be considered inactive. Copyrighted materials that are not actively protected are not subject to litigation. On the other hand, the original infringer may have removed any copyright notice or distribution limitations that would have flagged the work.

It is the responsibility of the copyright holding company to inform viewers of the limitations.
Arguing that a redistributor is infringing seems to shirk the responsibility of the copyright holder.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486387)

The legal situation should all become clearer in another 10 years or so. It always takes a long time for a legal system to adjust to new technology. The US had many years of legal uncertainties (and musician labor unrest) when the first sound recordings became available. So you can expect grossly inconsistent decisions from courts in different jurisdictions especially across national boundaries. This of course is not much comfort if you are on the losing end of one these court cases

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486577)

This of course is not much comfort if you are on the losing end of one these court cases

Then maybe Jammie should have just have been an adult and admitted her guilt and taken the plea bargain rather than trying to use outrageous defenses (how can someone hack you through a wireless device when you don't even use a wireless device?) and racking up an even higher penalty against yourself.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487201)

I saw Jammie on Fox News saying that she owned the CDs for the 1700 songs and she didn't know how Kazaa got on her computer or something to that effect. In that regard, she would have no idea that Kazaa would probably be sharing everything in her My Music folder by default. I don't know the details of the case or the contradictory statements made by each side but this could have become a software liability case instead of piracy if played right.

As an average user, you can't be expected to know how all the software you use works. Heck, some marketing gimmicks claim you don't need to and "it just works" so why would you care. In the case of file sharing programs, many want to just download but may not realize they are letting others download from them since they cruised through the install without reading the EULA, setting options, or even opting out of adware, toolbars, and other crapware bundled with them.

Would operating systems could risk simular liability if your computer was infected with malware that could do various nasty things such as joining a botnet or downloading other illicit content (such as child porn and copyrighted material) then alerting authorities or concerned parties so they can raid your home and take you to jail and your PC for a closer look?

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486741)

The cops need to raid UK-FACT offices. I am sure that they have some shady stuff. Groups like UK-FACT always do.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28489879)

Groups like UK-FACT are fucking bullies, they deliberately pick on the little fish in the hope they can set some kind of precedent they can use as a weapon against bigger fish.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487047)

The way I see it, ignoring the DMCA, only someone downloading should be held responsible. The uploader has no idea if you own a legal copy of something. That should be the downloader's responsibility. If you upload, you are helping others make legitimate backups. If someone abuses that and doesn't own a legitimate copy, they are the only one's that should be prosecuted. On the same line of reasoning, even if you are guilty as a downloader, you don't know if anyone you are uploading to owns a license and should only be liable for your infraction; not the infraction of others.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487085)

In my opinion the whole association between search engines and "contributory infringement" is smoke and mirrors. If the yellow pages gives the address of a pawn shop, do they share the guilt if the shop sells stolen property? No. If Flickr shows a photo of a fruit stand with racks of fruit out in front of the store, do they share the guilt when somebody runs by and snatches fruit off the rack? No. Does Google Maps share the guilt if they show a Ferrari parked out on the street and somebody steals the Ferrari? Hell the Fuck No. Information that can be used to commit crimes is all over the place and always has been. The information has never been the crime and never has been. Contributory infringement isn't a legal principle, it's an extortion tactic.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | more than 5 years ago | (#28488209)

But you know who's liable for that? Whoever actually put it online. Not the search engine that pointed you to it.

That's really funny you should say that because recently precedent was set at $80,000 per song [slashdot.org] for uploading and distributing it. Was the defendant the original uploader? Not even close.

That's really funny you should say that, because your example has nothing to do with TFS.

The point is that in the case you cited, the defendant actually was (allegedly) an uploader. Whether the original or not doesn't matter, she was making those files available for download, and they were being downloaded from her computer. And she could just as well have been sharing/uploading her own CDs, so whether she was the original uploader or not doesn't matter.

My understanding of this situation is that the video search engine doesn't actually serve the material, but links you to where you can download/watch it. This case is a lot more like Pirate Bay, where they provide "links" to the copyrighted material.

Re:Simply an Opposite Veiwpoint (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28489421)

There is no single "first uploader". There are probably around 1000 people who pirated it straight from legitimate media sources and put it up. Then, the stuff spread all over the pirate networks and a few people were still uploading it from wherever they bought it.

So, to draw a parallel (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 5 years ago | (#28485963)

If I show the cops were the bank robbers are stashing the money, I'm guilty of robbing the bank?

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0, Troll)

JustinKSU (517405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486073)

If I show the cops were the bank robbers are stashing the money, I'm guilty of robbing the bank?

You are guilty of not being smart enough to blackmail them for a cut.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486163)

Since this is a false analogy, no.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (5, Informative)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486233)

Yes.
In HS I showed out net admin that I could access anyone's private doc folder - across multiple campuses. I wasn't caught, I explicitly showed it to the proper authorities. I got suspended and my computer privileges revoked.

Apparently you are better off doing wrong than good.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (3, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486327)

The proper phrase is, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

2names (531755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486739)

Exactly, like posting a question to slashdot. [slashdot.org]

I know, I know, it's cheap, but c'mon, I really need some advice here...

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28490343)

Indeed, check the second posting here: http://surfthechannel.wordpress.com/

titled WE WANT IT BACK; Couple fight for return of computer equipment

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486471)

Boy that sounds like a bad thing. Of course they might have wondered what you were doing when you found it.

My best (was in high school, working as "free labor" on computer stuff class) - Windows SMB file share, across internet to school web site, generic student username/password, could add files from home(and delete the one I created). Pointed this out the next day to our contact person (about the highest school person in the tech chain, he could get it in the right direction) and after explaining 2 times he understood what I was saying. Got it fixed (or at least I didn't see any more SMB access )

Other fun thing with that school district. State sponsored the internet link and had a MRTG graph of in and out bandwidth. I would look at it every once in a while. Mid March (maybe it was May) my senior year saw a huge constant outbound traffic. Brought to their attention, heard nothing more. Found out in June they (school) took down their web site because some foreign company was hosting stuff on it. I wondered if it was in June they noticed, or June they decided to act (because school was out).

Or the student file server(for which every one had a username/password), the papers showing how to log in was for a live account.(s12345) (Don't know if it was for a actual student, or if they just did a generic s[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9] creation).

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486803)

Wow. Way to teach kids how to be honest.

I wonder what the heck their reasoning was? I suspect they were just personally pissed at you for pointing out their mistake and decided to exact revenge rather than accept that a teenager might be better than them at this.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487213)

Everybody raise your hand who HASN"T done this

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28488853)

In HS I showed out net admin that I could access anyone's private doc folder - across multiple campuses. I wasn't caught, I explicitly showed it to the proper authorities. I got suspended and my computer privileges revoked.

Did you "show" it by doing it, or "show" it by laying out how a hypothetical someone might do it, strictly in theory mind you, if they chose to do so.

If it was against your school's policy to access another users folder and you did so, then you deserved to be punished. It doesn't matter what your intentions were or who you demonstrated the infraction for. Rules are rules and breaking them to prove how easily they can be broken is still breaking them.

There is a big difference between telling someone that they left their garage door wide open to thieves it and committing burglary to prove the point (even if you were, like, totally going to return the stuff after they got your informative and well-meaning message). In the former case, they thank you or tell you to buzz off and you both go about your business. In the later case the police get involved.

A lot of you

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28489187)

"If it was against your school's policy to access another users folder and you did so, then you deserved to be punished."

That second statement fails to follow logically from the first; it assumes that the policy isn't unjust or retarded, or capable of being applied unustly or retardedly (as it likely was in the GP).

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28489829)

Just listing the contents of a folder (without opening the files themselves) is hardly comparable to stealing stuff, and being suspended for that is moronic.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

don.g (6394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28489229)

Good old high schools. I showed the teacher who set up our intranet how the password-protection (done via client side JavaScript) could be bypassed. I didn't get in trouble, and they didn't bother improving it; I think the claim was that those pages weren't especially secret and that students who could "break in" were somewhat rare.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28503597)

You should have done the following:
Install a trojan backdoor on as much systems as possible. Then frag the admins's systems trough some of those backdoors (which should be encrypted), and at least twice trough an external anonymizing proxy.

But frag them slowly, taking all the backups with you.
That will teach 'em to learn their security, for sure. ^^

Then wait for the new security update to be announced. ^^

Re:So, to draw a parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486311)

An analogy that better fits this case would be if you gave bank robbers directions to the bank. It's really not that hard ...

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

ramsejc (671676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486565)

Or to get more detailed, if you search out and find the weak spot in the bank vault's walls, and then advertise a way to get free money and when someone calls on you, you drive them up to that spot and drop them off. You are not guilty of robbing the bank, but you are an accomplice to be certain. I'm not sure if that would be accessory to burglary, or some other charge, as IANAL. My guess is all they need to prove is that someone viewed copyrighted material through your search engine and you are 'the right way for a smack bottom.' (Yes, I quoted Shrek, so what?)

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486413)

If they aren't reporting all the illegal filesharing going on on their site (Such as in your analogy of reporting where the money is), then they are aiding them. You aren't allowed to aid bank robbers in their acts.

Re:So, to draw a parallel (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486507)

So if I put up a web site that allows all of the local barterers and pawn brokers to add themselves to the site (or for others to add them), and some of those pawn brokers perform illegal trades with out my knowledge, should I be held accountable for disseminating the information as to their location?

-Rick

this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (5, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28485983)

In many countries it is now illegal to link to infringing content, it will take the likes of google to be sued before we'll get a real precedent because only they have enough money to take it all the way to the highest courts.

Linking should be ok, no matter what the content, after all, if you link to one of my sites I can replace the contents of that site after the fact by something that is copyrighted, in no way should an action by me make you liable. This will decide the future of the web.

Re:this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (5, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486115)

If they cannot stop infringement as long as the internet as we know it exists, then enforcing laws that break the internet sounds like a great way to solve the problem. Maybe they do know what they're doing.

Re:this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (1)

melted keyboard (798559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487453)

Where is the +1 disturbing moderation when you need it?

Re:this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486289)

it will take the likes of google to be sued before we'll get a real precedent because only they have enough money to take it all the way to the highest courts.

That is the reason why google will NEVER be sued for operating their search engine.

The RIAA/MPAA/IFPI may make threats and insinuations but they'll never actually go through with it.

Someone should googlebomb "music" to point to PirateBay to test it. Is it possible to do it with a search as generic as "music"?

Re:this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486391)

I'm sure Google is more than happy with the current situation too. It does a good job of killing the competition.

Re:this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28490655)

It is in google's interest for the internet to thrive, and they dont have a record for squashing competition. I dont think they would be aplauding this.

Re:this is a fundamental flaw in some current law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487377)

The first hit for "music pirate" is thepiratebay.org

Is that good enough?

Law enforcement (2, Interesting)

doas777 (1138627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486095)

It seems to me that the powers that be have it backward. instead of using technology to enforce the law, they should use it to make the law irrelevant. The internet could have saved us from many laws, but no, they just went and wrote more of them.

Re:Law enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486429)

Law enforcement would have to have a clue about technology first.

Honestly, the juror interviews for the Jammie trials probably included this question:
"Do you read slashdot?"

If so, you're out!

Re:Law enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28490469)

Investigations by FACT suggested the claimant company and its owners, Anton Benjamin Vickerman and Kelly-Anne Vickerman,a married couple from Gateshead, were hosting internet sites from which copyrighted material was being downloaded. Northumbria Police applied for a section 8 warrant under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) to search the claimantsâ(TM) premises, resulting in 31 items of property being seized, including the computer towers and servers. The force handed some items to FACT.
By 12 December 2008, the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute. The force notified the claimants of this, indicating that the property could be returned.All property subsequently came into FACTâ(TM)s possession. Following the CPS decision, FACT decided to bring a private criminal prosecution.
On 22 January 2009, the claimants began proceedings for return of the property and damages for conversion. A day later, FACT alerted the force of its decision to bring a private prosecution. On 28 January, the claimant applied for an interim order for delivery of the property, which Mrs Justice Sharp granted. On 12 February, FACT began the private prosecution.

THE DECISION

The defendants argued that once the property was lawfully seized for the purposes of a criminal investigation, it was immaterial whether any subsequent prosecution was undertaken by the CPS or FACT, as long as the material was retained for use as evidence in connection with the alleged offence. The claimants argued that the private actions of people and bodies form no part of the police serviceâ(TM)s functions. So once the CPS decided not to prosecute, retaining the property to assist FACT in its private prosecution fell outside the scope of PACE.
On 7th May, at the High Court, Mrs Justice Sharp agreed with the claimants. While acknowledging that the force had a duty to prevent crime, those powers were not unlimited. The judge observed that there was âan obvious distinction between what may be desirable in a particular case, and what is permissible as a matter of lawâ(TM)

COMMENT

While a disappointment for FACT, this decision draws a clear line between interference with private property for public purposes under PACE and the prosecution of private interests.

source: http://surfthechannel.wordpress.com/

Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (5, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486101)

A search engine isn't some magic machine that developers plug wishes and rainbows in and tell it not to be naughty (especially in the age of ever-changing legally defined naughtyness).

A search engine simply leads to data, for that to work it has to store some part of it. The reality is that a search engine is completely ignorant of morals, laws and copyright.

Data is collected. Data is stored. Data is Data.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486167)

Agreed. I wonder if anyone has the details on why seeqpod was knocked off the air.

Seems to be the same issue?

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486799)

seeqpod was one of my favorite sites. very unhappy about it being killed. it was nice to punch in a band, hear a few tracks and see if you liked it or not.

depending on the user, it could be pre-sale research which would be a good thing for record companies.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486189)

How dare you profit from somone else's privaterring!

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486249)

"How dare you profit from somone else's privaterring!"

I like that analogy quite a bit actually, if you take the search engine and make it the sea. How do you find out if your content is stolen? Search for it! Then chase the pirates down by searching for them.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486275)

its more like: do you blame the road if a replica of the car is built.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486393)

/me puts on grammar Nazi hat. Data are Data. /me takes off grammar Nazi hat.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

ElKry (1544795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486553)

From http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutgrammar/data [askoxford.com] :

"However, there has been a growing tendency to use it as an equivalent to the uncountable noun information, followed by a singular verb. This is now regarded as generally acceptable in American use, and in the context of information technology."

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487013)

In other words, data ain't what they used to be.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (2, Funny)

2short (466733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487331)

That should be: "Data ain't what it used to are"

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28488775)

Data are data so why should it be,
That you and I should get along so awfully?

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487443)

Data is collected. Data is stored. Data is Data.

Quite off topic, but is anybody else glad it's now okay to use data as a singular noun? "Data are collected. Data are stored. Data are Data." just seems awkward.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487861)

To the best of my knowledge, it has always been a singular noun in British English.

Re:Do you blame the road if the car is stolen? (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28490349)

Datum is the singular noun in formal British English. The problem is people who don't realise that data != information, and that data are always countable, since it is made up of many individual measurements.

Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal goodies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486277)

For a fee for them of course (in the form of ads I'm sure)

Getting paid to tell people where to go to easily break the law. What a racket.

If some creepy guy was lurking on a street corner, trying to sell information on where to go to rape some kidnap victims, would that be ok?

Since he didn't kidnap them, and he can't actually _make_ you rape them, he is a blameless angel, no?

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486345)

So, we should arrest people who own DNS servers because they point to IP addresses that could host a webserver with illegal content?

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486591)

Also, should I be arrested if I told someone where you live and you happen to be involved in criminal activities? I can't be responsible for everyone's actions. This site was linking to ALL types of videos, not only illegal ones. So your "rape analogy" ain't right.

A better analogy would be: You get arrested because you told a friend where to rent movies and this video store happens to also sell pirated movies...

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486395)

They don't discriminate in favor of illegal content, you ask them where to find such-and-such and they give you a list of websites that list it as part of their content. This could be used as a tool by those who legitimately hold the copyright to find those who post their content online without their permission, but they would rather just shut it down.

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486715)

No, your argument isn't sound.

Because this isn't some creepy dude telling where to rape some kidnap victims. This is more like a machine that tells you when and where the next public illegal viewing of a movie is gonna be, most likely in your home, and then a company sues the creator of the machine for showing everyone where these events are being held. It seems kind of petty to me.

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28488101)

Machines don't create themselves, and Search Engines don't write themselves. There was a creator, and then an operator who gives some kind of basic instructions and then flips the switch to "ON".

So ultimately, who has the bulk of the responsibility to make sure that their Frankenstein creations operate within the boundaries of the law?

Lets say I buy robot that I can teach tasks to and that can even 'learn' new tasks on its own. I teach it to kill unwanted vermin like rats and snakes. I unleash it onto the world, and my neighbors pay me $1 per dead rat or snake that my robot kills.

I leave the robot alone for a year, then return to find that my machine has 'learned' to murder humans. Do I hold any blame?

What if the robot's inventor (author of the software) even warned me that this could happen? What if the peoples family (evil copyright holders) even contacted me and told me their loved ones were being killed? What if I went and looked for myself (entered common piracy search terms), and saw it happening, and still I did nothing?

After all, it was still killing its quota of rats and snakes too. (x amount of _legal_ video files). True, some humans died too, but there is no way I can sort all that out. Therefore, I am blameless. /bow

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (1)

2short (466733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487383)

No, it's like if you ask me if I've seen a guy in a red hat and I tell you. I haven't any idea who the guy in the red hat is. You brother? Your shrink? Should I be arrested because he might be your drug dealer?

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28488527)

The AC who made this post is an obvious RIAA / MPAA shill. But he really showed us a glimpse of the truth, of how these despicable organizations actually think. They really actually think that copying their movies is as bad as raping kidnap victims. Man, these people are twisted.

Re:Just tellin folks WHERE to get the illegal good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28497425)

I think in most countries your hypothetical creepy guy would be an accomplice to both kidnapping and rape if he knew where and when those things were happening but didn't inform the police. Your analogy doesn't make any sense.

Welcome to Web 0.5 (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486301)

Now you can't index the web because somewhere, somehow in all the world wide web someone posted something that in some country could be challenged as illegal. You can't have any kind of input from your users, because some "malicious" (or not with a ring of 3+ international laws degree deep knowledge) could put a link to a place that have content that could be objectionable in some country.
Or you must watch and approve at hand with a bunch of lawyers on your side anything that you will show in your site, coming from you, coming from other sites, or coming from visitors.

Why we couldnt just jail all the persons (and their families, of course, peer pressure works) that want that internet in that internet, and keep this actual one for us?

Re:Welcome to Web 0.5 (1)

CyberDragon777 (1573387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28489299)

What if the linked site replaces the link target with something "objectionable"?

You need to constantly check and recheck everything that is not created/uploaded by you!

one of my fave tools is hounded similarly (2, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486353)

There's a site that uses Google search systems to find music on blogs called chewbone. [blogspot.com] It's been a great tool for me. I have a few thousand vinyl records I've collected since the early 70s, and a lot of it is really obscure weird shit that never made CD, and I'll be damned if I'm going to piss several thousand hours away digitising it. A few here and there, sure. But not the bulk. So, it's much easier to search and find other people who have done a few and uploaded them. Saves tons of time and effort.

The problem is, chewbone is regularly slammed by Google for his efforts. Bunch of assholes, IMHO. (chewbone - if you're reading this - hat's off, dude. Thanks!)

RS

Re:one of my fave tools is hounded similarly (1)

rickdog (1590343) | about 5 years ago | (#28568255)

Yep, the RIAA and Google has hounded me about http://chewbone.blogspot.com./ [chewbone.blogspot.com] I don't have any links to music, all I give is a Google Custom Search engine tuned for mp3 blogs. This is a widget provided by Google itself! One can get any link that my custom search engine directly in Google Blog search, although mine is much more targeted so one doesn't have to wade through pages of so-so links. Why I am violating copywrite laws by using Google technology is beyond me. Almost all of the mp3 blogs that have infringing content are hosted by Google with their blogspot blogging service. The RIAA should go after Google, not the bloggers.

If it wasn't for [REDACTED]-[REDACTED] (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486357)

If it wasn't for [REDACTED]-[REDACTED]'s actions I'd have never heard of this [REDACTED] search. So really, [REDACTED]-[REDACTED] just indexed an illegal service for me and should now have their own premises raided.

Search Engines Should Be Legit (2, Interesting)

brit74 (831798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486405)

I don't see the problem with what they (Scopelight) were doing. As long as they are connecting to infringing websites, then authorities can go after the websites themselves (rather than the search engine).

I'll also add that this is not the same thing as PirateBay, since PirateBay is a torrent tracker - the people uploading/downloading information aren't websites, but they are located at an ever-shifting number of changing IP addresses. Heck, they could be at a coffeeshop's free wifi while filesharing - and who can possibly track them down? Further, the PirateBay goes out of their way to hide filesharers identities.

Re:Search Engines Should Be Legit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486643)

I don't see the problem with what they (Scopelight) were doing.

They are getting sued and you are not. Think about it, you insensitive clod!

Re:Search Engines Should Be Legit (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28489915)

Further, the PirateBay goes out of their way to hide filesharers identities.

It's sad how people are more and more assuming that privacy is only important to criminals.

How to shoot yourself in the foot (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486633)

You'd think that publishers and other copyright holders would want to encourage search sites. After all, they let you find your own work quickly, so you can easily go after the actual infringers.

Trying to shut down search sites for copyright infringement is a good example of why the phrase "shooting yourself in the foot" was invented. Why would you want to shut down the sites that are fingering infringers in such a convenient manner? Do you really want to build your own search engine, then buy a flock of machines and pay a support staff who would just be duplicating what the googlebots and other such search tools are already doing for you at no charge?

This has gotta be one of the dumbest ideas in the whole stupid copyright battle. And that's saying a lot, considering all the other dumb ideas that are being put online.

Re:How to shoot yourself in the foot (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486839)

I think there reasoning goes something like this... If we shut down the one place where the majority of people go to find our stuff (search engine) then we don't have to go through the legal hassle of tracking down the 50 sites sharing our content. To draw a car analogy, you could shut down a dealership to stop them from producing cars that may or may not be used illegally, or you could spend millions patrolling borders and checking every vehicle from that dealership that crosses the border....oh wait...

Re:How to shoot yourself in the foot (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486887)

Great analogy! ;-)

Sad Development (0, Offtopic)

sherriw (794536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28486821)

I liked Surf the Channel back when it was small and relatively unknown. If I missed a show it was usually the only way I could find it- because sites like Hulu and the official Network sites are blocked to Canadians. So, I could watch the episode and get back to watching the series each week on TV.

Surf The Channel always made it abundantly clear all over their site that 1) they do not host any videos and 2) you are leaving their site and going to another site and STC was not liable for any 3rd party site's content.

Sadly, the 'big wigs' apparently learned about STC because slowly but surely all the content that STC linked to was being pulled down from those 3rd party sites. So obviously STC was being used by the industry to find copies of illegal videos then contacting the 3rd party site to make them take it down. For example off sites like MegaVideo.

Here's the thing. I don't have pay-tv. So, I used to be a fan of Dexter. But now that STC is gone, I will have no way of continuing to watch it. And will I buy the DVD set? Hell no.

I realize the /. crowd totally gets this and I'm preachng to the choir... but arg! This stupidity can't last forever. I already find my self reluctant to pick up any new series b/c I know that if I miss an episode or two, I'm screwed. I want to watch shows on my own schedule. W/o paying an arm and a leg for cable or satellite and DVR.

Re:Sad Development (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28486957)

Here's the thing. I don't have pay-tv. So, I used to be a fan of Dexter. But now that STC is gone, I will have no way of continuing to watch it. And will I buy the DVD set? Hell no.

uhm torrents?

DMCA (2, Insightful)

burris (122191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487321)

10 years ago the US Congress had the foresight to pass the DMCA [cornell.edu] which protects search engines, ISP caches, and similar technologies from this kind of nonsense. Too bad other nations haven't followed the USA's lead in this respect.

Re:DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28487591)

You think the DMCA is a good idea? Oh boy, are we screwed!

Re:DMCA (3, Insightful)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 5 years ago | (#28487601)

10 years ago the US Congress had the foresight to pass the DMCA [cornell.edu] which protects search engines, ISP caches, and similar technologies from this kind of nonsense. Too bad other nations haven't followed the USA's lead in this respect.

Indeed, while lots of people on Slashdot hate the DMCA for its lack of penalties for abusive takedown notices, the protection for search engines and the like is definitely necessary for the internet to continue in the form we know it today.

Media as we knew it is dead (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28488635)

The internet is a interesting and powerful tool. It has changed the way we look at the distribution of information. Laws are being applied to concepts that are to young. There are growing pains. Unfortunately, the government is listening to companies instead of individuals. There are abusive laws that prop these companies up. I think that copyrights are dead since the cost of transference has been reduced to near zero. Artists must say its frustrating to hear this. I don't understand why though.

How much do they make an album?

Most of the money from sales goes to the company for distributing the material. I ask you then, why does a song cost 1.99(or whatever it is now). The cost of producing is held by the author who makes like 10 cents(I might be wrong) from the sale. The other 1.79 goes into distributing the song and a tidy 1.50 profit for the company distributing the song(I don't know the actual numbers). This is absurd. Without copyright this industry would not exist. The DMCA is the only thing keeping this industry viable. If the authors went solo they could easily make money off of advertisements and donations.

What about videos and such?

That would be the only part of the industry that would survive as it doesn't rely on copyright management. There would be restructuring. Concerts would still happen. There would still be merchandise to be made. These services rely on the limitations that can be imposed without managing copyright(material or space). The extra leg work could easily be accomplished by a manager or the author themselves.

Remark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28489583)

This lawsuit is as idiotic as beating up a rescue and search dog for finding a corpse from the rubble.

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