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Questionable "Best Effort" Copyright Enforcement

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the when-best-is-not-good-enough dept.

Privacy 123

pmdubs writes "Princeton University Professor Michael Freedman, creator of CoralCDN, discusses how he received around 100 pre-settlement letters in one month from various copyright agencies after invalid BitTorrent tracker requests were issued through CoralCDN's proxies. Interestingly, the participating agencies made no effort whatsoever to verify that the Coral nodes were actually running BitTorrent, which they weren't! He questions just how much effort agencies take to reduce false positives when it comes to DMCA notices. Considering the credence that network operators give to such notices (they'll often cut your service upon receipt), it would seem that the answer is 'not enough.'"

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123 comments

First hand experience (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371846)

I ran a Tor exit node for a semester at Marquette University. I got DMCA takedown notices all the time, for copyrighted Britney Spears music that was apparently being downloaded through my exit node. Each time, they made me sign a letter admitting guilt to get my Internet turned back on. Fortunately, I was able to make a slightly modified letter that looked the same as the one they had sent me, but didn't actually admit anything, and they would still turn it back on.

I was following all the rules with my exit node. It was completely permitted.

Re:First hand experience (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371864)

The frightening thing is that someone old enough to go to Marquette still wants Britney Spears "music".

Re:First hand experience (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372074)

Are you perhaps stupid?

Re:First hand experience (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372150)

The frightening thing is that someone knowledgeable enough to use Tor still wants Britney Spears "music".

Re:First hand experience (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372686)

No, no, embarrassment over his or her love of Britney Spears's music was almost certainly the *reason* that he or she used Tor....

Re:First hand experience (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375508)

Yes, it certainly is a frightening thought that someone might disagree with you and still not be stupid.

Re:First hand experience (2, Insightful)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372874)

I would think, if they're using a Tor node at Marquette, the downloader is probably not at Marquette...?

Re:First hand experience (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374524)

Well obviously!

With that “taste” of “music”, would you stay on the net, not being completely and perfectly military-grade anonymized??
.
.
.
See... :D

Re:First hand experience (2, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371902)

Sounds like a good plan to me.
I'll try this the next time I have to sign something.

Simply edit it slightly to my advantage, film myself doing so (in case they then do the same, and in court, it'll be a question of which is the original), sign it, turn it in, and let them sign it / approve it.

$16.7500 / month for rent? 2 year lease? Sweet!

Re:First hand experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371996)

You'll have a fun time when you come home to find your door drywalled in or when that vacant apartment above you has a water leak and they can't get to it for a week.

Re:First hand experience (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372446)

Sounds like a good plan to me.
I'll try this the next time I have to sign something.

Simply edit it slightly to my advantage, film myself doing so (in case they then do the same, and in court, it'll be a question of which is the original), sign it, turn it in, and let them sign it / approve it.

Changes to a contract (especially for property) have to be agreed upon by both parties so that there is a meeting of the minds [wikipedia.org].
It's one of the foundations of our common law.

Suffice it to say that your plan would never fly in front of a judge.
At best, the judge would say there was never a contract and you need to GTFO.
At worst, you could end up getting charged with fraud.

Re:First hand experience (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373008)

Party A prepares document.

Party B alters document, signs document, gives document to Party A for review and signature.

Party A reviews and signs document.

The assumption that the document party A received is the same as the document that party A handed out is the fault of party A.

The plan is unlikely to ever be viable because most companies will hand you a pre-signed or otherwise pre-approved document - copying their signature / barcode / whatever would be fraud.

Neglecting to mention that you altered the contract would not be. If I agree to rent a place for X with a deposit of Y, and they hand me a lease that says I'm renting it for X with a deposit of Z, then it is up to ME to notice the change, and agree/disagree to it.

Of course a judge will rule based on both the letter and the spirit of the law - and as such the most likely outcome would be that the entire contract is invalidated if the preparer can convince the judge that you indeed altered the contract. When you're altering a contract in this way, you obviously dislike the original offered contract and don't want to be held to its terms. When the judge throws out the contract, you still win.

Obviously this tactic has very limited uses - your landlord / property manager will know when you pay the first month's rent. The gym will know when you pay your first month's dues.

But you could, for example, alter the terms of something on the tail end. Apartment doesn't allow pets? Change it, hide your pets, and if you get caught, trot out the contract to buy yourself more time before getting kicked out (they'll still find some bullshit reason to kick you out of course, and keep your security deposit). Gym won't let you cancel your membership until 2 years have past? Change it to 2 months. Cancel in 4 months when you realize you never go to the gym, and trot out the contract.

"Read before you sign" applies equally to both the person preparing the document and to the person accepting (or not accepting) the terms. If you're dumb enough to provide someone an unsigned contract, let them take it out of your sight, and then blindly sign it when they bring it back, you deserve what you get.

Re:First hand experience (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373124)

Except that this isn't necessarily signed by both parties. The letter isn't ever signed by the school. Even if this was the case, he couldn't be held to the first contract because he never agreed to it in any matter (verbal or otherwise).

Now, the entire point of submitting a different letter is to void the "contract". You give them some bullshit, they give you internet access. I can't see how this is fraud. He returns a signed letter. He's not being deceptive with poor wording, or trying to obfuscate something. Everything is right there in plain English. If the university doesn't bother to read the letter he sent, that's their loss.

Think about it. If the university doesn't have to read the signed letters they receive, then they could just as easily claim that their junk mail is letters admitting copyright infringement.

Re:First hand experience (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373356)

I can't see how this is fraud. He returns a signed letter. He's not being deceptive with poor wording, or trying to obfuscate something. Everything is right there in plain English. If the university doesn't bother to read the letter he sent, that's their loss.

If this is legal for a record company to do (sending a different contract than was agreed on), I don't see why it wouldn't be for a student.

Re:First hand experience (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375652)

This sort of thing might be called "bad faith" by the courts.

But I am not a judge or lawyer. Check with your lawyer.

Re:First hand experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373142)

Detecting and finding changes in contracts as it gets passed around and finalized is one of the reasons law firms use document compare tools.
One example is http://www.workshare.com/products/ [workshare.com]

Re:First hand experience (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373360)

At best, the judge would say there was never a contract and you need to GTFO.

Good. The RIAA relies on the existence of a contract, not the GP.

Re:First hand experience (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373004)

I do this every time I'm asked to sign that my baggage is fragile/unsuitably packed.

I travel with somewhat fragile sporting equipment, so this happens most flights. I delete the 'unsuitably packed' section and any disclaimers of liability, initial it, and sign at the bottom. So I'm just signing that my item is fragile, which seems honest. But I'm not saying it's alright for the baggage handlers to ride it up the conveyor belt (I've seen this happen).

Please helP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372020)

My toilet is exploding, how do I stop it? Everywhere...shit! Everywhere...urine! Everywhere...faeces! If only my toilet was OSS, and its users could have inspected its source, this would never have happened.

Re:Please helP! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372806)

I'm actually trying to understand the point that you're attempting to make, but it seems your head exploded and what appears to be your brain is... Everywhere!

Re:First hand experience (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372050)

I should also probably mention that they wanted my roommate to sign the same admission of guilt, even though there was only one accusation. Without both signatures, they refused to restore the Internet access.

As in the story in the article, there was no proof, just an accusation, which was not digitally signed. IT Services assumed guilt, and shut off my Internet connection immediately (and then sent me the letter I needed to sign, 2 days later).

It only worked the first 2 times. Marquette has a strange sort of 3-strikes policy. After the third alleged infringement, they said that I couldn't get it turned back on at all, but they still demanded that I sign the admission to guilt. I contacted ITS daily to try to get them to fulfill their contractual obligation (under the dorm's housing agreement) and restore my Internet access, but after about a week of this, the tech support people at ITS started telling me that they were forbidden from speaking to me. Eventually cops came and hinted that if I contacted IT Services again, they would arrest me.

Re:First hand experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372486)

So how did the story end? Did you eventually start admitting guilt, or did you live without Internet access? Or something else?

Re:First hand experience (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373196)

I had my RA assign me to a different dorm room, where the Internet was still connected. ITS never knew :)

Re:First hand experience (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373388)

It only worked the first 2 times. Marquette has a strange sort of 3-strikes policy. After the third alleged infringement, they said that I couldn't get it turned back on at all, but they still demanded that I sign the admission to guilt. I contacted ITS daily to try to get them to fulfill their contractual obligation (under the dorm's housing agreement) and restore my Internet access, but after about a week of this, the tech support people at ITS started telling me that they were forbidden from speaking to me. Eventually cops came and hinted that if I contacted IT Services again, they would arrest me.

If I was in that situation, I'd "hint" to ITS/the cops/whomever that I had a lawyer.

This post is not legal advice of any kind.

Re:First hand experience (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373176)

I am not a lawyer, and you do not have deep pockets to fight it but....If you've given the entire story they may be violating the DMCA by refusing to reconnect you if you respond to the accusation by saying you were not doing it. Next, it could be defamation to tell other people you were doing something illegal if you were not. It could also be considered coercion to pressure someone to admit to a crime they did not commit. I'd be getting legal advice, preferably pro bono if you can find it.

Re:First hand experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374534)

No, do not try it.

The judge will say, your connection, you subleased it, you were responsible for what other people did with the service you provided, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Free Speech Bunch Of B.S. (-1, Offtopic)

AnonymousPinhead2 (1696272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373750)

I love proxies,unlimited emails and the fact i can even change my mac id, good things you say. Not for Slashdot who has indeed proved the free speech thing wrong and it is all saved. want proof i'll show you,ive got it. I might even take it to my lawyer's office, hay i need the money who doesnt, i wonder how serious this Free Speech thing is you denied it to me, Btw you need to put were everyone can see all comments and even articles Are Not Fact and we are not giving you information all the time that is "Fact" Fact is thats not what slashdot is about, just suggestion. I already know that but it should be seen on every page. And it seems everyone loves windows here, put a windows section here it might get results. Put this Offtopic btw it had nothing to do with the topic

The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371872)

Sneaking some bitTorrent traffic onto someone's network is the new, legitimized DDOS?

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (2, Interesting)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372146)

You don't even need BitTorrent; you just register their IP address with a tracker and they get legal threats.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372662)

register FCC, NSA, and FBI, and various senators (sponsors of the DMCA in particular) IP addresses and see how fast the DMCA is repealed. :)

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (4, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372948)

register FCC, NSA, and FBI, and various senators (sponsors of the DMCA in particular) IP addresses and see how fast the DMCA is repealed. :)

This is actually a very good idea IMHO. You might want to add a few Federal judges and maybe even a few Supreme Court judges. The LEO's and TLA's...maybe not such a good idea. They don't have a very developed sense of humor. Besides, I would think that they'd be more likely to try to keep it quiet, and public outrage by VIP's...preferably with some power to change things...was the point, no?

Strat

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (3, Interesting)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373220)

register FCC, NSA, and FBI, and various senators (sponsors of the DMCA in particular) IP addresses and see how the law doesn't apply to them, only to citizens like you. :)

FTFY. We all know the law is their weapon to wield as they wish, and it won't be turned against them.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373446)

The RIAA is too stupid to remember that when dealing with IPs.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373806)

You misunderstand.

1) RIAA sends letter to NSA.
2) NSA ignores letter.
3) ??? 4) Profit!

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (5, Interesting)

Monkier (607445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373426)

Can you easily implicate people by registering their IP address with a tracker? From the article:

...requests to BitTorrent trackers can also use CoralCDN, as these are simply HTTP GETs with a client's relevant information encoded in the tracker URL's query string, e.g., http://denis.stalker.h3q.com.6969.nyud.net/announce?info_hash=(hash)&peer_id=(name)&port=52864&uploaded=231374848&downloaded=2227372596&left=0&corrupt=0&key=E0591124&numwant=200&compact=1&no_peer_id=1 [nyud.net]. Notice that the HTTP request includes a peer's unique name (a long random string) and a port number, but notably does not include an IP address for that client. It's an optional parameter in the specification that many BitTorrent clients don't include. (In fact, even if the request includes this IP parameter, some trackers ignore it.) Instead, the tracker records the network-level IP address from where the HTTP request originated (the other end of the TCP connection), together with the supplied port, as the peer's network address.

In this case CoralCDN was effectively acting as a proxy - the IP address wasn't being falsified. Although these guys did appear to have some luck with falsified IP addresses: Why My Printer Received a DMCA Takedown Notice [washington.edu].

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (5, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372230)

From what I understand, the notices are not being sent because of traffic, but because of IP logs (which are not the same). Specifically, they look at the IP logs on the torrent tracker to identify which machines have the content. Any machine is able to register itself with the tracker and say it has any content, regardless of whether it does or not, and regardless of whether it's even running BitTorrent. That's how the guy got his printer DMCA'd - he manually registered his printer's IP address with one or more trackers.

Considering the fact that it's possible to do that, I am completely confused as to how it is possible that every single IP address that the RIAA, MPAA, Congress, or Senate uses has not been registered with as many trackers as possible. Sure, it would degrade BitTorrent performance on those trackers, but it would be worth it to have the RIAA flood the house or senate with takedown notices when no illegal activity has taken place. Then we might start to see that "under the penalty of perjury" clause get enforced.

If they aren't actually connecting to those machines and verifying that 1) they are receiving traffic and 2) they are distributing content, then they haven't exactly made a good-faith effort.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372344)

I was thinking more along the lines of registering the MPAA and RIAA and trying to figure out how one would frame the MPAA with downloading music, frame the RIAA with downloading movies, and framing all the politicians who have passed laws allowing those organizations to use their legal tactics with child porn.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372378)

Can you really register someone else's IP address? Why not modify the trackers to only allow registration of the IP address that is the source of the request? (Or am I misunderstanding how the nodes communicate with the tracker? If it's UDP I suppose you could forge the headers; why not require a confirmation message with a unique hash code be sent to and echoed back by each registered node?)

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372494)

Yeah, I'm not sure about the technical details of the BitTorrent spec, but I do know that one fellow was able to register his printer's IP as a proof-of-concept. It could be that he assigned the IP to a computer temporarily, but I think that would defeat the purpose. He ended up receiving 9 takedown notices on his printer though.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372718)

This is directed at both the parent and the GP: Did you guys even RTFA? Of course not, this is Slashdot.

As TFA says, most trackers DO ignore the IP, and do actually use the one that is the source of the request. So, when you make the request through a proxy, the tracker records the proxy's IP. The proxy isn't running BitTorrent. The proxy gets a wrongful take-down notice, because nobody ever checked to see if the IP in question was actually running BitTorrent and serving illegal content.

I know you're specifically mentioning the printer here (which would still be easy to do... unplug the printer, use it's IP to register with the tracker, plug printer back in), but jesus fucking christ... how hard would it be to just check the article to see if what you're asking was covered, before running your mouth off and sounding like a retard?

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372904)

I tried to read the fine article, and got the following: Your organization's Internet use policy restricts access to this web page at this time. Reason: The Websense category "Proxy Avoidance" is filtered. URL: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com.nyud.net/blog/mfreed [nyud.net]

How hard would it be to check you facts before insulting people, running off your mouth, and sounding like a retard?

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373254)

Most people might say something like "I couldn't read TFA, but..." ... so how would anyone be expected to know that your organization is too lame to let you read it, when pretty much everyone else can? Because the very reasonable and most common assumption would be that you could read the article, and that you were just being a typical user and not reading the article.

Since you were blocked from the article, I do sincerely apologize for getting at you for not reading the article when you weren't actually able to. Peace?

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373354)

No problem. Sometimes people just need to check their assumptions.

I still think this is a flaw in the tracker protocol; if I registered through a proxy and it used the proxy's IP address, then the proxy wouldn't know how to forward incoming requests to me. Does this mean you get zero torrent uploads just be going through a proxy? Also, if no one can actually download the content the tracker is advertising you as having, then no one is really guilty of "making available" copyrighted content, and there should be no case. I agree with others that they should actually attempt a download before filing court papers. Is it a violation of copyright law to advertise copyrighted content for free when you are never actually providing it? Sounds like simple fraud to me, but since nothing of value has actually changed hands, again it doesn't appear actionable.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373406)

Thanks.

It's definitely a flaw in the protocol. The article's author mentioned that he couldn't understand such an oversight. Torrents basically don't work if you're using a proxy.

You definitely bring up some good points about advertising content while not providing it. I could post a link to "The Dark Knight" and post a picture of my own creation, or even just a 404 error. I doubt they'd send me a notice for that... so you would *think* they shouldn't with a torrent either... good question. I don't think I'll be the one to test it in court, though. I'm just not interested in bringing down a bunch of legal bullshit, even if I'd win, just to prove a point :)

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374170)

You can get torrents to work with a proxy. You just appear to be behind a firewall, so only connection your client initiate will work.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373340)

I tried to read the fine article, and got the following: Your organization's Internet use policy restricts access to this web page at this time.

Reason:

The Websense category "Proxy Avoidance" is filtered.

URL:

http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com.nyud.net/blog/mfreed [nyud.net]

How hard would it be to check you facts before insulting people, running off your mouth, and sounding like a retard?

That's because the article actually links to a Coralized URL.

The original URL is at: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/mfreed

just remove the .nyud.net suffix on the hostname (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375244)

If you remove the .nyud.net suffix on the hostname, you will no longer be using a proxy, and your work's Websense configuration might allow you to read the article.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373556)

how hard would it be to just check the article to see if what you're asking was covered, before running your mouth off and sounding like a retard?

Oddly enough, almost all of the information I got (aside from the printer story [washington.edu]) came from what I understood from the article.

Sigh.. I'll try again tomorrow I suppose.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372690)

Yes, you can: the UDP tracker protocol.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372544)

I like the way you think! Maybe we should wait for the 3 strikes laws so we can take the government and every major corporation of the net for good.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (2, Funny)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372556)

Might I suggest the IRS as the first govt IP addresses to get added

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372728)

I recall that one of the things built into the DMCA to get it to pass is some fairly harsh penalties for sending out false notices. There have been many documented false notices now, but has anyone actually been hit with a penalty for issuing a false law?
It's not a just law. It's an extortion racket. Those using it are not sticking to it themselves when the use it as a blunt instrument. It will get worse until companies get fined and people get fired for these instances of "demanding money with menaces" which would put private citizens in jail.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (2, Insightful)

grahamm (8844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375742)

If it is an extortion racket, should the perpetrators not be charged under RICO?

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372924)

From what I understand, the notices are not being sent because of traffic, but because of IP logs (which are not the same). Specifically, they look at the IP logs on the torrent tracker to identify which machines have the content. Any machine is able to register itself with the tracker and say it has any content, regardless of whether it does or not, and regardless of whether it's even running BitTorrent. That's how the guy got his printer DMCA'd - he manually registered his printer's IP address with one or more trackers.

Well, my office has some high-end canon printers. The print rendering engine is a custom linux computer with some dedicated hardware and a full range of software that runs on it. I'm sure with a little work I could get it to run BitTorrent!

Probably void the warranty though...

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (2, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373578)

If you could get your printer DMCA'd for distributing Office Space, I would consider that poetry.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373760)

Better yet, let's create a web site where anyone can submit an IP address for this service. Then, let's post a link to it here on Slashdot.

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373904)

Considering the fact that it's possible to do that, I am completely confused as to how it is possible that every single IP address that the RIAA, MPAA, Congress, or Senate uses has not been registered with as many trackers as possible. Sure, it would degrade BitTorrent performance on those trackers, but it would be worth it to have the RIAA flood the house or senate with takedown notices when no illegal activity has taken place.

And how would congress react to that? Outlaw the use of software that isn't internet approved! Increased penalties for forging IP numbers!

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30375514)

or thieves like you could stop leeching music from everyone else who pays for it.
Scumbag...

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (3, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375574)

or thieves like you could stop leeching music from everyone else who pays for it.

I'll only leach from people who haven't paid for it then. Fair?

Re:The new way to shut ppl down who you don't like (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374574)

I predict some politicians with huge loads of torrented child porn (with sound tracks out of commercial music) on their PCs. ^^

The best way to get to their computers, is to become the technician, and make it a time capsule which goes off some random time when you’ve left and are forgotten. Don’t try any office computer shit. Their *private* computers are where you should do it. The security there is basically zero.
Get yourself and a friend invited there. The friend distracts them, you stick in the USB stick, run autostart, pull it out, and done.
Because of the incubation delay, you’re out of the question.

Now all you need is social engineering to get him to invite you. ^^
Think about what he wants. Learn to understand him. Fulfill his greed. Has he prostitutes coming over? Does he buy drugs? Those are sure shots. But really, any weird thing that he really wants, will make him open up. Easy peasy.

No, I am not a special agent, and I have better things to do than such stuff. :)
I recommend reading some leaked CIA manuals though, so they can’t pull this shit on you. ^^

Pft... evidence is for losers. (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371896)

It would be kinda nice if they where required to get the sign off of a judge before submitting a pre-settlement offer. But thats just not how civil cases work. More's the pity, but often the defendant in a civil case needs to go to court and ask for a dismissal if the person leveling the suite has no actual grounds. Just doing so can cost a fair amount, so it boils down to "pay us or we'll sue you can it'll cost more".

Re:Pft... evidence is for losers. (2, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372152)

It would be kinda nice if they where required to get the sign off of a judge before submitting a pre-settlement offer. But thats just not how civil cases work. More's the pity, but often the defendant in a civil case needs to go to court and ask for a dismissal if the person leveling the suite has no actual grounds. Just doing so can cost a fair amount, so it boils down to "pay us or we'll sue you can it'll cost more".

That is one of my pet peeves about these frivolous lawsuits. The amount of time/money it can cost to go against an empire with limitless resources seems very prohibitive. Who can afford it? Basically you are damned if you go after them and damned if you don'y (financially).

Re:Pft... evidence is for losers. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30374652)

I'm just curious... since these aren't actually bottomless pits of money, and perhaps there are thousands of people who can and would sue. Would it make sense just to sue these groups en-mass? What if a million people separately sued them for being a nuisance? If it costs them a thousand or more per suit just to look at it, would it bring them down to size?

I misread Coral ... (-1, Offtopic)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371968)

... as Corel ... and it got me reminiscing about the Penguin that came with the Corel WordPerfect® Office 2000 Deluxe for Linux. Enjoy! [google.com]

It's not in their interest to make an effort. (3, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372172)

Bittorrent allows independent artists/authors/programmers to distribute their works at little to no cost. This is their competition. The more people find independent works (for example, creative commons music, independent video clips, Linux distributions, etc), the more business they lose.

False threats may lead to people thinking "well I better not run Bittorrent at all, to protect myself/my organization."

Not to mention that this lets sleazy lawyers "fish" for people willing to pay them off rather than prove they did nothing wrong.

Re:It's not in their interest to make an effort. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372660)

"Not to mention that this lets sleazy lawyers "fish" for people willing to pay them off rather than prove they did nothing wrong."

Ladies and gentlem, seeker_1us has just accidently illustraded exacly what's wrong.

It SHOULD be:

"Not to mention that this lets sleazy lawyers "fish" for people willing to pay them off rather than defend their innocence."

People ahve someone how got the twisted notion the innocence should be proven. This is wrong. it's to be defended.

Re:It's not in their interest to make an effort. (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375580)

People ahve someone how got the twisted notion the innocence should be proven. This is wrong. it's to be defended.

In a criminal court, that's true; but copyright infringement is a civil matter, which means that yes, you have to prove your innocence.

Civil court was originally meant to solve things like contract disputes and other such matters. Nowadays it's being used as a de facto criminal court without the presumption of innocence, to help the powerful extort and crush the weak. That's the twisted part.

It's a sad day when the legal system, which was meant to curtail the law of the jungle, is being used as the very fist of the hundred-pound gorillas.

Of course they aren't making an effort (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372410)

It costs more money to actually do any double-checking than it does to send a DMCA notice to anyone who might possibly perhaps maybe be violating a copyright.

Which is cheaper? (3, Insightful)

mikep554 (787194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372434)

They are effectively shifting the work of verification to the recipient of the letter. If you are guilty, they found their mark. If you haven't done what they accuse you of, and you will probably be indignant enough to go through some effort to correct their "error". Sending out the letters without verification requires almost no work from them, has no risk, and sometimes gets them money. Verification would only add more work with no payback in reduction of risk or increase in monetary return.

I am surprised more people don't see this as a shakedown racket. Also, since the RIAA gets money in return for the cost of a trained monkey running mailmerge in Microsoft Word, I don't see why they haven't purchased an electronic copy of the phone book so they can simply send out letters to everyone in the country.

Re:Which is cheaper? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373422)

It says a lot that sending back a letter saying "I didn't do it and if you disagree we can discuss this in court" is often enough for them to close the case regardless of guilt...

I aworkld where (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372644)

guilt is assumed, it's up to to to prove your innocence.

That is why the DMCA and current copyright enforcement laws are a complete slap in the face to our most important rights.

Re:I aworkld where (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30372790)

Exactly ! We have the right to enjoy correct grammar and vocabulary.

False DMCA fee? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372704)

Can't recipients of false DMCA claims charge the sender to be fined, or to collect a fee from them?

Re:False DMCA fee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373470)

some DC in SF said that a DMCA takedown notice actually has to be sent based on reasonable information (or some equivalent of that). I don't think any court has followed it. IANAL, IAMA3L.

Re:False DMCA fee? (2, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373536)

Isn't this Libel?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libel [wikipedia.org] ...libel (for written or otherwise published words)--is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. It is usually, ... a requirement that this claim be false... ...and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).

-----

Not sure which interesecting law hits first if they give it to you in the bogus letter, but the second one to the ISP would hopefully be.

We have a decision matrix gang. If the attack wins 1.2 million and a penalty = "oops sorry" it's pretty obvious.

Re:False DMCA fee? (1)

ShinmaWa (449201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374062)

Slander and libel both require "publication". That is the one defamer must communicate to persons who likely know the defamed and the communication is likely harm the reputation of the defamed.

- If it is not published to third parties, it is not defamation.
- If it is published only to third parties who have no clue to the defamed is, it is not defamation. (i.e. you can't defame the anonymous.)
- If it can not harm the reputation of the defamed, it is not defamation (i.e. You can't easily defame Charles Manson, for example.)

DMCA takedown notices are generally not published by the one issuing them and fails on the first bullet.

Re:False DMCA fee? (4, Insightful)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374330)

1.) The notice is published to a third party: The ISP or content provider
2.) The third party knows the defamed: the defamed is a user/account holder with whom the third party has an existing business relationship
3.) The notice can harm the third parties reputation: the notice is falsely informing the third party that someone with whom they have a business relationship is engaging in illegal activity while using a service provided by that third party, most likely in violation of the contract (through the inclusion of an acceptable use policy or terms of service) between the third party and that user.

To me, it sounds like this meets the standard your bring.

Re:False DMCA fee? (2, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374068)

Actually, it's more along the lines of fraud; akin to mailing out an invoice to a company for a service (or item) that was never provided.

What the RIAA is doing is similar to a fraudster sending out invoices to everyone in the local business directory knowing that only a small number of those businesses were ever provided with his/her service.

DMCA notices sent out totally indiscriminately (4, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30372802)

He questions just how much effort agencies take to reduce false positives when it comes to DMCA notices.

I think the answer is absolutely no effort at all. Here [boingboing.net] is a notorious example where a busybody associated with a professional writes' association sent out a slew of automated DMCA notices, including some totally erroneous ones that caused authors' work to be taken down after they had intentionally put it up. Actually, they appeared to the service providers to be DMCA notices, but the guy who sent them out now claims that they weren't; this is because a real DMCA notice is supposed to be sent under penalty of perjury.

I experienced one of these myself recently. I've written some books that are under CC licenses, and various people have (totally legally) posted copies of them on Scribd. I got an email from Scribd saying that they got a DMCA takedown notice from a publisher for one of my books. Turns out that some contracted in SF hired by the publisher issued the notice without checking carefully. Apparently the title was similar to one of their books. They didn't bother checking the name of the author. So they're going after me for violating the copyright on my own book. Great. I called the contractor in SF, and they said, "Oops, never mind." So theoretically they've exposed themselves to prosecution for perjury. If I called the DA in San Francisco or in my own jurisdiction and asked them to prosecute, what do you think the chances are that they'd do it? Zero, I'd guess.

I wonder if anything the EFF can do about this in the courts. It really sucks.

Re:DMCA notices sent out totally indiscriminately (5, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373212)

Send your DA a letter a day. Not an email, a physical letter. And yes, contact the EFF. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that needs to see its way into the courts. Especially because this was your own book, there's no grey area where someone might have actually violated copyright, this is a clear cut case where you did absolutely no wrong whatsoever.

Re:DMCA notices sent out totally indiscriminately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30373742)

You can "press charges". You're going to have to provide some evidence to convince them, but your letter and "whoops never mind" ought to be enough.

Re:DMCA notices sent out totally indiscriminately (2, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374422)

So theoretically they've exposed themselves to prosecution for perjury. If I called the DA in San Francisco or in my own jurisdiction and asked them to prosecute, what do you think the chances are that they'd do it? Zero, I'd guess.

IANAL, but I remember reading [sfgate.com] that it's particularly rare to prosecute for perjury in general.

Re:DMCA notices sent out totally indiscriminately (2, Insightful)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375176)

And the less people attempt, the rarer it'll be.

Lopsided incentives (0, Offtopic)

horatio (127595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373064)

The incentives for sending the takedown notice are multiple, and there are no consequences when you're wrong. At least, none that anyone pursues.

Hate me for the comparison, but this is exactly what happened to Gov. Palin during and after the 2008 presidential race. A handful of people filed baseless ethics complaints based on an Alaska law she helped pass to bring sunlight to government corruption. They filed complaints, and filed more of them. Sometimes for really stupid stuff (read the book). I mean, why not? There are no consequences and no costs (other than your own time) for doing so, even if you're just making shit up. The result was that the Alaska state government was virtually brought to a halt by the paperwork. Yes, "good" whatever. That isn't the point.

The point is that if filing DMCA take-down notices, ethics complaints, or lawsuits without merit or basis have no consequences then our legal system is a joke. If you're an asshole, trying to use the legal system to bully someone either negligently or maliciously, then you should face your own medicine. If you file a patently ridiculous lawsuit and lose, you pay damages. No more of this BS of tying up individuals and businesses for years in legal wrangling until the "defendant" cries uncle. This also includes the extortion "settlement" letters by RIAA, MPAA, and the BSA. If you don't make your case, you pay. If you've filed a claim you know to be false, then you pay double. Simple.

Re:Lopsided incentives (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374456)

You were supposed to be logged on under your 'bad analogy guy' id when you wrote that. Seriously, what does that analogy have to do with ANYTHING?

Isn't this defamation? (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373152)

It seems to me it ought to be defamation to accuse someone of a crime without making an effort to check that it's true, and run around telling his access provider.

Re:Isn't this defamation? (5, Interesting)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373706)

The way it sounded to me from TFA, this is fraud. Here's the legal definition (not TFA):

To establish a claim of fraud, plaintiffs must show by clear and convincing evidence (1) a representation; (2) its falsity; (3) its materiality; (4) knowledge of its falsity or a reckless disregard for its truth or falsity; (5) intent that the plaintiff act upon the representation; (6) the hearer’s ignorance of its falsity; (7) the hearer’s reliance on its truth; (8) the hearer’s right to rely thereon; and (9) the hearer’s consequent and proximate injury. King v. Oxford, 282 S.C. 307, 311, 318 S.E.2d 125, 127 (Ct. App. 1984).

Could be an interesting case to argue in court.

Shows a continuing lack of standards (1)

CSEMike (1046410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30373256)

As the article points out, these practices are identical to the lax enforcement practices described last year on slashdot [slashdot.org] and elsewhere.

The use of indirect evidence as "proof" of downloads is known, the interesting bit here is that in spite of pushback from ISPs and users, industry practices have not changed.

Perhaps this (and the widespread lack of privacy in cloud-based services generally) will drive more users to privacy-preserving data sharing options, such as OneSwarm [washington.edu].

Re:Shows a continuing lack of standards (2, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30375602)

Perhaps this (and the widespread lack of privacy in cloud-based services generally) will drive more users to privacy-preserving data sharing options, such as OneSwarm.

Or Freenet [freenetproject.org].

Helooo? That argument is old and solved! (4, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30374512)

He questions just how much effort agencies take to reduce false positives when it comes to DMCA notices.

Hasn’t he got the memo? Doesn’t he get anything at all?
I didn’t think that there still are people out there, who are so incredibly naive, to believe, that the point of those DMCA notices is, to stop you from copying the music!
No. Everybody realized for a looong time, that the whole point is solely, to make money!
I mean, if you realized it, it’s so obvious! The whole point of a business is to make money. Since when does it matter, how and by which means? At the end of the day, the most successful strategy of making money, is what will be done. That’s natural selection... kinda.

How can he call himself an expert, and not know that?? Seriously! It boggles the mind!

I’ve seen it twice: Even if you started to pay money, but stop right in the middle... you’ll never hear something from them again. It already was profitable. Now the effort would be bigger than the profit. So they won’t take any further actions.

From practical experience, I know that the best experience is, to simply tell them to get lost, that you are an expert in the area, *know* that they got shit, and will kick their ass to hell and back if they ever contact you again.
Sometimes, they will not stop at a letter from a lawyer, but try some pseudo-scary shit. Like a letter from court and such. Just send a letter back that you completely disagree with all claims. Because then they have to come up with some proof. Which they can’t. 99% of the time, that’s it. In rare cases, they come up with fake “proof”. Only in these cases, hope that your judge is not a total backwards retard.

But I don’t have to tell you that it’s better to live in a country with competent courts, do I? ^^

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