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MPAA Shuts Down Town's Municipal WiFi Over 1 Download

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the so-you're-sure-you-want-gov't-run-wifi? dept.

The Internet 323

nam37 writes with this BoingBoing snippet "The MPAA has successfully shut down an entire town's municipal WiFi because a single user was found to be downloading a copyrighted movie. Rather than being embarrassed by this gross example of collective punishment (a practice outlawed in the Geneva conventions) against Coshocton, OH, the MPAA's spokeslizard took the opportunity to cry poor (even though the studios are bringing in record box-office and aftermarket receipts)."

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There must be something more (5, Interesting)

transparen (1668962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078534)

I find it hard to believe that they would have shut down the Wifi simply because of a *possible* lawsuit.... Maybe they didn't really want the WiFi after all?

Re:There must be something more (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078600)

"Likelihood of being fired because the town lost its shirt in 'MPAA vs. All Humanity' on your watch" > "Likelihood of being fired because you shut down the wi-fi hotspot".

Re:There must be something more (3, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078964)

ianal - I think you're right, since ISPs are protected by safe harbour provisions, and the MPAA has to file lawsuits against individuals, even if it's a jane/john doe discovery thing. Of course, if they can't identify who did it, which the article seems to indicate, they can't sue anybody, but that never seems to stop them from baseless threats and bluster.

(Or for that matter, lack of accuracy doesn't slow those rabid vultures down either...)

Re:There must be something more (4, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079334)


Actually, it's more a case of something less. This is another Cory Doctorow nonsense-piece. What appears to have happened is that the town had a set up a single shared wifi network running from a single connection which they allowed anyone to use. The MPAA sent a letter saying that this connection was being used for downloading copyrighted material without permission and the Sheriff's office panicked and shut it down.

FOX News doesn't distort the facts for their agenda as much as this guy has. (Well, not all the time, anyway).

DON'T FUCK WITH THE MAN, MAN !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078564)

He will just make you wish you were a ludite !!

Re:DON'T FUCK WITH THE MAN, MAN !! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079160)

DON'T FUCK WITH THE MAN, MAN, BECAUSE FUCKING WITH OTHER MEN MAKES YOU GAY!

P.S.: Darn. Tried to preview this, like, 5 times. Stupid filter won't let me yell over the Internet at all. Why won't it let me yell over the Internet with perfect spelling, but it will let me write in all lowercase letters while endlessly confusing your/you're, its/it's, and their/there/they're? If I can type a coherent English sentence, the ratio of capital letters to lowercase letters shouldn't be such a big deal. Stupid site is stupidly broken.

Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (4, Informative)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078566)

Wow, talk about misrepresenting the facts. I hate the way the MPAA is using copyright law as much as the next digital rights activist. But, for the record, the MPAA didn't take down the network. They just sent their usual infringement notice to the ISP, who then forwarded it on to Coshocton County. The county then made the decision to shut down the wifi service, they weren't ordered to by any judge or MPAA executive/lawyer/asshat.

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=117273 [mediapost.com]

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (-1, Offtopic)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078660)

That's still an "example of collective punishment (a practice outlawed in the Geneva conventions)."

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078706)

Denying people a public service such as Wifi hardly seems like "Collective Punishment".

They were trying to take themselves off the liability list. Something illegal going down? Don't aid it.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (0)

Applekid (993327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078828)

Sure pulling the plug is easier, but, really, how hard would it have been to just stop routing packets to that MAC address?

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079150)

Sure pulling the plug is easier, but, really, how hard would it have been to just stop routing packets to that MAC address?

Brilliant. That downloader will never be able to get a new Mac address. Unless he types one in.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079346)

If they were dumb enough to use a public, city-owned router for illegal activity, you really think they'd be smart enough to set a new address? Smart enough for that sidestep but not smart enough to encrypt the torrent traffic or use an anonymous proxy or any of the other dozens of common sense moves to avoid broadcasting what's being downloaded?

I'm sure all the other citizens they shared a network with appreciated the use of discretion to avoid minimal disruption of service.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079278)

Sure pulling the plug is easier, but, really, how hard would it have been to just stop routing packets to that MAC address?

Technical issues aside (it's easy enough to fake a MAC but we'll assume that this isn't the issue here) it doesn't take an enormous amount of foresight to see that in so doing you're essentially going to spend the rest of your life playing whack-a-mole at the behest of the MPAA.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (2, Insightful)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079248)

Denying people a public service such as Wifi hardly seems like "Collective Punishment".

Someone who was deemed to be doing something that is disapproved of had some favorable condition, and it was taken away in order to discourage the behavior that is disapproved of. That is the definition of negative punishment.

And this punishment was imposed on a collective of people because of the actions of a single person, so that seems to imply that it was a collective punishment in the same way that p -> p in logic.

So yes, it was collective punishment by definition.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078708)

Punishment in what way? You're acting like publicly provided wireless internet access is a right. Let's not get out of hand about this.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078738)

But it's the county, not the MPAA, doing the punishing.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078774)

No, it's an example of elected officials doing their job poorly.
Deciding to which public services the county does and does not want to offer is a legitimate function of government. Choosing to end one is not a "punishment".

okay (1, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079306)

If I had the power to, I'd love to end your water supply from the city and see if you feel punished.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (0, Redundant)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078688)

Which I mean, given the circumstances - was probably the best course of action. If someone is doing something illegal on your public network, you better cut that off ASAP so that you aren't liable. And if the people clammer about how they don't have their internets, you can tell them that one of them ruined it for the rest of them.

Safe Harbor (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078722)

Re:Safe Harbor (0)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078822)

But it goes both ways.
It'd be easier to argue that they stopped providing Wifi to stop illegal activity (In good faith)
than it would be to argue that they were providing Wifi (In Good Faith) knowing that it was helping someone perform illegal downloading.

Re:Safe Harbor (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079088)

But it goes both ways. It'd be easier to argue that they stopped providing Wifi to stop illegal activity (In good faith) than it would be to argue that they were providing Wifi (In Good Faith) knowing that it was helping someone perform illegal downloading.

So will this set precedence for cities refusing to sell gun dealers a license in their town? You know, because one could argue "that they were providing guns (In Good Faith) knowing that they were helping someone perform illegal murders/robberies."

Please try to grow a spine, and a brain to sit atop it.

Re:Safe Harbor (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079186)

I would be all for that, actually.

Re:Safe Harbor (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079378)

I would be all for that, actually.

Citation needed! All for growing a spine and a brain? Or all for basically making guns illegal by exploiting and manipulating people without spines and brains?

Re:Safe Harbor (1, Flamebait)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079462)

The making guns illegal part. Spines and brains irrelevant.

Re:Safe Harbor (3, Informative)

bl968 (190792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079280)

Only applies to content hosted on their network. If the ISP is not directly hosting the content on servers they own, then they have no requirement to take it down. When the content is hosted on the customers system the ISP has no legal liability regardless of claims to the contrary, Why? Because the they can take legal action against the person directly at that point, and they have a legal obligation to minimize the affects. That would be like me forcing LEVEL3 to take down Comcast because one of Comcast's customers is hosting a file for download on a machine outside of Comcast's direct control.

512. Limitations on liability relating to material online
(a) Transitory Digital Network Communications.-- A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the provider's transmitting, routing, or providing connections for, material through a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, or by reason of the intermediate and transient storage of that material in the course of such transmitting, routing, or providing connections, if--
(1) the transmission of the material was initiated by or at the direction of a person other than the service provider;
(2) the transmission, routing, provision of connections, or storage is carried out through an automatic technical process without selection of the material by the service provider;
(3) the service provider does not select the recipients of the material except as an automatic response to the request of another person;
(4) no copy of the material made by the service provider in the course of such intermediate or transient storage is maintained on the system or network in a manner ordinarily accessible to anyone other than anticipated recipients, and no such copy is maintained on the system or network in a manner ordinarily accessible to such anticipated recipients for a longer period than is reasonably necessary for the transmission, routing, or provision of connections; and
(5) the material is transmitted through the system or network without modification of its content.

Notice there is no absolutely no requirement to terminate the user.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (2, Interesting)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078792)

That's what the common carrier principle is for. You wouldn't be liable. From a tech standpoint, though, you might want to know what is dragging down the bandwidth in a specific area. It might be indicating a problem other than a heavy file download.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078834)

But ISPs aren't common carriers. How many times does this need to be repeated?

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078966)

Really? Then why is it the RIAA has to do John Doe lawsuits over file sharing rather than just suing the ISP itself? There might be a bit of legal terminology that's mixed up in this discussion, and I haven't participated in the conversations that ISPs aren't Common Carriers. They are shielded to some degree regarding the actions of their users. I can surmise that for a whole town of people, and only one downloading a movie, the action was drastic compared to what's probably happening on the normal home accounts.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079030)

Really?

Yes. This is just an oft-repeated falsity by the Slashtard horde.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079132)

Awesome. Then you can explain or link the principle under which the RIAA doesn't sue the ISPs directly? Help me learn, please :)

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079154)

The safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079288)

Thanky.

That's what the DMCA safe harbor provision is for. You wouldn't be liable. From a tech standpoint, though, you might want to know what is dragging down the bandwidth in a specific area. It might be indicating a problem other than a heavy file download.

Not quite a fixed post, but close enough.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079190)

in a nutshell, common carriers have to deliver (almost) anything you ask them to deliver, so ISPs really don't want that designation because they would like to maintain the right to throttle or deny service to anyone for any reason (telephone networks and the postal service are examples of common carriers.)

ISPs are shielded under the safe harbor provision of the DMCA which basically says that you'll take down infringing content on your network once you're provided notice, or else you end up liable.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078992)

It doesn't "need" to be repeated that ISPs are not common carriers, but if it feels good to do so, please continue to repeat it.

Your efforts toward establishing logically coherent groupthink are appreciated.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079166)

Yeah, and I bet if someone is caught speeding on a county road, they'll shut down all of the roads too. After all, speeding is illegal.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079404)

By your logic we should shut down all the roads and confiscate all the cars. After all, some people use them to smuggle drugs...

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078702)

I RTFA and I can't be the only one who sees a discongruence between "an entire town's municipal WiFi" & "the 300 block".

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (2, Funny)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078854)

I RTFA and I can't be the only one who sees a discongruence between "an entire town's municipal WiFi" & "the 300 block".

But telling the truth isn't quite as sensationalist! I mean he even said that this was against the Geneva Convention! THE GENEVA CONVENTION!!!!1111ONE

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (2, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078750)

I am going to guess this had something to do with certain officials owing a favor or two to something relating to this:

"This short-range service is entirely separate from the wireless broadband being deployed throughout the county by Lightspeed."

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (5, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078788)

Wow, talk about misrepresenting the facts

Well, it is boingboing after all, which is the 'Net's equivalent of Orwell's "Two Minutes Hate": the editors post inane stories in the most inflammatory language possible, the crowd all goes apeshit for a short time, and then moves on to the next thing, having done nothing, accomplished nothing, and learned nothing.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079068)

Well, it is slashdot after all, which is the 'Net's equivalent of Orwell's "Two Minutes Hate": the editors post inane stories in the most inflammatory language possible, the crowd all goes apeshit for a short time, and then moves on to the next thing, having done nothing, accomplished nothing, and learned nothing.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079398)

Well, it is boingboing after all

How do the unicorns fit into your rant?

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (0, Offtopic)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078950)

This is part of the reason why I think government-funded Internet access is generally a bad idea. Governments are too trigger-happy with regard to avoiding liability, and are otherwise too censor-prone to properly deal with the significant responsibility of administering the local population's Internet connection.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079372)

government-funded Internet access is fine (even with issues like this) when there is still a non-government-funded option.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079472)

Yeah, companies are known to fight for their clients...

Maybe we need TPB owners to run our public Wifi networks.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079014)

While that clears up the mechanics, it still points to the MPAA being too powerful since it is an example of a private company being able to control a public government though simple fear of ending up in the crosshairs.

When governments fear corporations, we have gone through full circle though capitalism and can arrive on the other side of communism.

Re:Wasn't the MPAA who shut down the network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079418)

So they threatened someone into shutting it off for them. What is the diff? Sort of like the school bully grabbing your hand and playing "Stop Hitting Yourself".

Reciprocity (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078648)

Let the town pass an ordinance that requires explanation of the facts and recommendation of content from less onerous publishers in every place MPAA affiliated content is sold or performed. Imagine a local movie theater showing foreign and indy films and recommending one when someone asks for a ticket to Transformers.

Re:Reciprocity (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079010)

That sounds like a good way to kill the entertainment businesses in your town and watch the tax revenue move across the city limits to the town next door or unincorporated county.

Re:Reciprocity (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079050)

Yeah, almost as bad as killing off business of all the vendors that have been relying on WiFi to process credit cards.

Re:Reciprocity (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079188)

Actually it would probably be far worse to do what you recommend.

Geneva Conventions (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078650)

Hate to be pedantic.. but the fourth Geneva Convention (which OP was referring to) sets forth protection for civilians in times of war. Last I checked, there is not a war going on in Coshocton, OH and the MPAA is not a sovereign authority (as much as it might like to be). I always cringe when people reference the Geneva Conventions like this in such an overly dramatic and misrepresentation way.

Re:Geneva Conventions (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078682)

Incidentally, this is why cops get to use chemical weapons and soldiers don't...

Re:Geneva Conventions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078752)

Hate to be pedantic.. but the fourth Geneva Convention (which OP was referring to) sets forth protection for civilians in times of war. Last I checked, there is not a war going on in Coshocton, OH and the MPAA is not a sovereign authority (as much as it might like to be). I always cringe when people reference the Geneva Conventions like this in such an overly dramatic and misrepresentation way.

Cmon, its the shameless self promoter and huckster, Cory Doctrow who referenced the Geneva Convention. Would you expect anything less?

Re:Geneva Conventions (5, Interesting)

vekrander (1400525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078768)

So the MPAA is clearly then allowed to treat civilians worse than people being occupied in wartime by any country that has signed the Geneva Convention?

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078888)

If you don't like it, seek out politicians that are taking MPAA money and get them out of office. Then it's less likely lawmakers will turn a blind eye toward them when they go nuts.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079056)

If you don't like it, seek out politicians that are taking MPAA money and get them out of office. Then it's less likely lawmakers will turn a blind eye toward them when they go nuts.

Good thinking, except it will be the candidates who have the most financial backing who will likely be elected to replace them.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078968)

So the MPAA is clearly then allowed to treat civilians worse than people being occupied in wartime...

You can bet your ass they can.

As the preceding Anonymous Coward response points out - your state and local police force may be permitted to use weapons your national militia may not.

There are certain unspoken legal advantages to NOT being a branch of any sovreign national government. Take note that many (not all) of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were committed by private contractors. That doesn't excuse the official government personnel who were supposed to have control but the penalties for the contractors are very different.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078984)

As the entire issue is completely internal to the United States, the international community has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

A pity though that the only folks who DO have jurisdiction have already been bought.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079108)

Well, technically, yes, assuming there's something legal under US law that's banned in the Geneva convention. In practice, they tend not to have the ability to do this.

Incidentally - the rule works two ways. We can treat the MPAA worse than an invading army treats civilians in exactly the same way.

In a sense, yes, but that's hyperbole. (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079296)

So the MPAA is clearly then allowed to treat civilians worse than people being occupied in wartime by any country that has signed the Geneva Convention?

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention only applies to "protected persons."

Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.

Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it. Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.

In short, a state can punish its own citizens collectively, at least as long as there's no actual war -- and all you smarty-pants who think the "War on Drugs" is an actual war are impressing no one, least of all an international criminal court. (It's worth nothing that the US doesn't recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC either.) This is why, no matter how much I still resent her, my 4th grade teacher isn't a war criminal.

It's also worth noting that turning off a service one party provides for free to multiple third parties is not generally recognized as a punitive act towards the third parties in the US. "Punishment" is reserved for actions taken directly against an individual or group. So closing a soup kitchen for health code violations is not "collective punishment" of the homeless nor is imprisoning a father collective punishment of his family.

Lastly, I think you've got a really sad sense of entitlement and pathetic, comfortable ignorance if you think that cutting off free Wi-fi at the park is equivalent to the kind of collective punishments that happen during war. Read up on Stalin's Order 270 [bentcorner.com] or Sherman's March to the Sea. [wikipedia.org]

And then stop your whining about Wi-fi. The MPAA is being a bunch of jerks, but they're not engaging in war crimes. People need to get some goddamned perspective.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

alecto (42429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078776)

Why wouldn't they? The people using it that way have probably been hearing that we are "at war" on something since they were children: the "War on Poverty," the "War on (some) Drugs," the "War on Terror."

Re:Geneva Conventions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30078790)

War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Filesharing, War on common sense.
At least one of these if going on right now!

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078902)

War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Filesharing, War on common sense. At least one of these if going on right now!

I wonder which one is closest to being "won".

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079016)

The War on Sanity finished decades ago. Unfortunately, we all lost.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079246)

War on common sense? Isn't that like declaring war on Troy?

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078812)

But we ARE in a war. A couple actually. The war on terror, the war on drugs... Probably more.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079202)

The Korean War, technically (gogo, almost 60 years now!)

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079470)

Technically, no. Technically there was no declaration of war by Congress; Hence no war.

Re:Geneva Conventions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079340)

The war on evil movie pirates that are going to bankrupt the movie industry...

completely unrelated:
I think the MPAA should show how much $ they are spending on copyright protection and then how much they are losing via lost DVD sales & rentals and movie tickets...

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078814)

How could someone forget the ongoing war on drugs that's taking place there?

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078876)

So civilians are entitled to less protection during times of peace? Granted, bringing up the Geneva Convention in this isn't fully appropriate for the topic, but it's probably the only cited example they could think of. Group punishment isn't allowed in the US legal system when it concerns normal citizens, is it? I've never heard of a case where the Judge arrested or penalized an entire store of people only because one of them was a shoplifter.

"Don't do the time if you didn't do the crime". I think the TV cop phrase is "if you're innocent , then you have nothing to worry about".

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079046)

This isn't group punishment. The city shut down a WiFi connection they ran for 1 city block around a courthouse. The vast majority of the city wasn't even effected.

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079252)

The actions of one individual caused a reaction that removed a public resource, thus denying it's use by others? Sounds like group punishment to me, even if the scale isn't city wide.

It's not different than revoking the drivers license of everybody on your street because one person might have been speeding. You didn't do anything wrong, but you're being penalized. That'd be considered group punishment, right?

Re:Geneva Conventions (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078974)

Last I checked, there is not a war going on in Coshocton, OH

You think not? We are all, every one of us, not spectators, oh no, but soldiers in the war for freedom! Be it in the high desert of Afghanistan, the cities of Iraq, or the wi-fi spectrum of Coshocton, Ohio, we will fight the enemies of freedom wherever they raise their malignant heads. We will fight them on the internets; we will fight them in the courtrooms; we shall never surrender!

This post brought to you by a ghost named Churchill.

Re:Geneva Conventions (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079276)

well, yes and no. Normally during a war, all bets are off - if you can't keep, in peacetime, to the minimum standards expected during wartime, you're doing something wrong.

actually, we are at war. (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079348)

At least, that was the excuse given when they put Jose Padilla, an American citizen on American soil, in jail without allowing him a lawyer or a fair hearing. Your rights are already gone due to the "war" on "terror" we are engaged in. So don't be so naive. The fact that we are "at war" has already been used to take away our rights, therefore the Geneva Convention does indeed apply.

Non-story (4, Informative)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078754)

Another troll by Cory. The WiFi was using a single IP address and NAT. The one connection was shutdown, that's all.

vendors/festivals (-1, Offtopic)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078762)

From TFA

During festival times, vendors find it a convenience to check the status of credit cards being used to make purchases, LaVigne said.

It's details like this that reinforce my decision long ago to classify festivals & street fairs as cash-only events, and never use cards when attending them.

Hold your horses. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078860)

Put yourself in the IT admin's shoes. The city asks you to provide free, unencumbered wireless to everyone downtown.

If you're smart, you implement a registration system, etc. but of course nobody wants to deal with registration, so you just leave it open. Then you get slapped by the MPAA. You can magically secure funding / time to deal with this and make sure that you have a means to identify and disconnect infringers (which is what you need to get the MPAA off your back.)

Or you can turn the thing off. Odds are, the admin doesn't have resources for option A. And it makes sense: no one wants to be operating a network when they don't know who is using it.

Help Me Understand .... (1)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30078882)

I don't drink Alcohol, and have never spent time in bars while others around me get plastered - so I'm honestly curious:

What responsibility or culpability does the bar owner / bar tender have if someone leaves their bar totally drunk and kills someone on their way home?

I know that bars and such are private entities, but I fail to understand how the municipality would think that they are responsible for the actions taken by those using their goods or services. I say let the MPAA come after them - prove culpability or get off my lawn.

Re:Help Me Understand .... (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079090)

they don't however to have bartenders better enforce the "uhh sry dude your already drunk i cant serve you" they force bars to be responsible. also this helps enforce the bar cutting someone off when they've helped them too much and the bar helping them find a ride when they get too drunk.

Re:Help Me Understand .... (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079098)

In the case of bars - the premise is that by serving you drinks, or making them available to you the bar assumes a certain level of responsibility for what you might do while drunk.

In the case of an open WiFi gateway - the same premise applies. The gateway provider is perceived to have assumed some responsibility for what users do with the service.

I ain't sayin' it's right... that's just the argument that is getting people in trouble.

Re:Help Me Understand .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079148)

Easy.

Bar Owner = small-time, laws apply to them.
MPAA = big time, laws do not apply to them.

Re:Help Me Understand .... (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079236)

Actually the MPAA has case law on their side. If the ISP and the city are informed that someone is using the connection to infringe copyright and they do nothing about it then they become liable as well. This came about from a ruling around 30 years ago.

Re:Help Me Understand .... (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079206)

"What responsibility or culpability does the bar owner / bar tender have if someone leaves their bar totally drunk and kills someone on their way home? "

The bar owner has money, assets, property, and a business that can be seized if sued. Usually the drunk doesn't.

Re:Help Me Understand .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079210)

in the usa .. the bartender ( the server personally ) can be held liable. If it can be shown that the owner encouraged the server to allow people to drive when it is obvious they are not in any condition to .. the owner can be also held ..

Re:Help Me Understand .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079266)

Actually, related to someone who owns a bar - I know for a fact that bars ARE IN FACT held responsible, at least in washington state, when they over serve a person, and they go out and cause some sort of dangerous consequence due to them being so inebriated.

So yes, when a business provides the opportunity for something bad to happen, and doesn't at least attempt to mitigate the damages, they will be held responsible.

Bars get fined heavily for excessive serving.

Obviously, these guys didn't want to get fined, jailed or whatever else, for excessive free wireless networking :P

Re:Help Me Understand .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079300)

I don't drink Alcohol, and have never spent time in bars while others around me get plastered - so I'm honestly curious:

What responsibility or culpability does the bar owner / bar tender have if someone leaves their bar totally drunk and kills someone on their way home?

I don't drink, either, nor do I hang around in bars, but as I understand it, bar owners/tenders DO have at least some responsibility to make sure their patrons don't get drunk to the point of a risk to their healths (i.e. alcohol poisoning) or to the bar or whatever's nearby it (i.e. cutting someone off if they start getting rowdy or otherwise uncontrollable).

I'm not sure if said responsibility is just out of the bar owner/tender's altruistic attempts to not explicitly make his/her establishment a hazard or if there's some precedent where they CAN be held legally responsible for what happens to their customers if served in excess, but I've got a feeling it's the latter.

Whether this applies to a municipality's WiFi access, of course, is a different matter.

What we deserve (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079020)

I guess we are going to get this sort of treatment because let the media conglomerates and other corporate interests treat us this way. I wouldn't be surprised if the were just testing how far they could go this time around.

This should've never come out of the firehose... (2, Informative)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079074)

The town had ONE, count 'em, ONE wireless router left unsecured for public use - by the courthouse. They weren't providing an 802.11n wifi computing mushroom over the city, it was ONE wifi router left open. I'm quite sure that the city still has use of that item of hardware, which I'm quite sure is still connected to the same internet in the same way using the same equipment connected to the same Internet Service Provider it was before. I'm sure all they did was to secure their wifi hotspot. I might choose to do the same if I were running an open wifi hotspot and got a takedown notice from the Mafiaa.

I don't think the existence of an open wifi hotspot was a matter voted into existence by the people of Coshocton, OH, nor do I think it came to be as a result of a lawful mandate. Somebody decided it could be kind of nice, opened it up, smiled broadly at the general sense of doing something good, and was unceremoniously educated into the potential issues connected with what I'm sure somebody thought was a simple idea. "Hey, I turned this on, I can turn this off if there's a problem" sure beats "I think I'll get the city involved in a deep-pockets lawsuit over something which isn't our responsibility".

Now, if the presence of an open wifi hotspot were something the citizens had voted for, or even if there was a city budget entry specifying funds to support an open wifi hotspot, that'd be one thing (and turning it off would be a very difficult proposition at that point). Not the case here. To quote Lieutenant Starbuck, "I can turn you on, I can turn you off". I guess in this case, Cy was left "off".

Am I reading correctly? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079096)

Even worse than the MPAA, I think the most offensive part of this article is that vendors use a completely unsecure wireless network to check status on CREDIT CARD purchases. WTF, mate?

Geneva Convention? WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079118)

Geneva Convention applies to international conflict bud, not private corporations.

Re:Geneva Convention? WTF?! (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079256)

Cory doesn't let facts get in his way. Things like how this was a WiFi connection for a block around the city courthouse, not a WiFi connection for the entire town.

Well then, (1)

buttfscking (1515709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079284)

I bet you that guy feels like an ass.

i hope they apply it to their business next... (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079326)

If the MPAA closes every single cinema because one person snuck in a camera to record the movie... It would be the same kind of punisment, the only difference would be that it would affect their business this time instead of slaughtering an entire town's user base...

hack for great justice (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079382)

Let's get some of them illegal pr0n bots and install them on MPAA computers, see how they like dealing with the shit end of the stick.

Why are you surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30079390)

the MPAA's spokeslizard took the opportunity to cry poor (even though the studios are bringing in record box-office and aftermarket receipts)

      Hollywood. Jews. Enough said.

Maybe the the town should ... (0, Redundant)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30079400)

... shut down all movie theatres.

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