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Microsoft Fined In India For Using "Money Power" Against Pirates

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the somebody-forward-this-to-the-riaa dept.

Microsoft 204

bhagwad writes "The Delhi High Court has found Microsoft guilty of using money and influence to make it expensive to defend against piracy cases. According to the judge, 'When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power.' Furthermore, the judge said that Microsoft had to deposit a certain amount of money beforehand, and, if they lost the case, the money would go to the defendants for their legal and travel expenses. For icing on the cake, the court also appointed a commissioner to probe the matter further and ordered Microsoft to pay the costs. In an age where muscled corporations harass the ordinary person through expensive litigation, it's highly pleasurable to see them rapped for it by a judge."

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and 90% of slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434816)

just ejaculated in unison

Headline (3, Insightful)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434848)

Perhaps 'Using "Money Power" Against Suspected / Accused Pirates' or just plain "Against Defendants" would be more representative?

Re:Headline (2, Insightful)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434880)

Is "innocent until proven guilty" a tenet of Indian law? I'd imagine it is, but not sure.

Re:Headline (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434940)

Yes, it is. Although the police overstep their bounds regularly by beating/torturing suspects ("accused" is the term used by the police), it is illegal in the Indian constitution. And also whenever the police beat out a confession, it is always some poor suspect and the rich criminals/suspects are always treated properly.
 

Re:Headline (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435066)

Not always. There are some offenses called "cognizable" and "non-bailable". For example, practicing untouchability. Anyone can make a complaint and th accused would need to prove innocence. At least, I think that's so. IANAL.

Re:Headline (5, Informative)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434906)

Exactly, India adheres to principle of Innocent until proven Guilty. /. headline already calls the defendent Pirate. Judge Siding the pirate makes no sense. Judge has not ruled on the case yet. He is making an observation on the MS tactics of filing case in a different jurisdiction when they can file in the jurisdiction where the alleged infringment has happened. Commened the Judge for taking this stand. As usual, MS where ever they go, wouldn't change their lousy tactics.

Re:Headline (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435130)

It's sad. They even view this as correct behavior in the U.S.

It's a large part of the reason our justice system is broken with regard to the wealthy and powerful and corporations.
It's a large part of how RIAA succeeds. They just sue you to death until you are out of money and can't defend yourself.

Re:Headline (3, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434916)

Perhaps 'Using "Money Power" Against Suspected / Accused Pirates' or just plain "Against Defendants" would be more representative?

Hmm... representative. I remember reading about what happened in the 18th century in several countries when the courts were used predominantly as a tool for the rich. There was a rather pronounced change in government in several countries, notably France and the USA. It was messy, and all that perfectly good tea went to waste.

Re:Headline (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435312)

It was messy, and all that perfectly good tea went to waste.

We never sent our good tea to America!

Re:Headline (0, Flamebait)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435424)

No, just all the good people. You can keep the tea.

Re:Headline (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435446)

You mean Lipton isn't the pinnacle of tea-making civilization? It gets BETTER? ;)

Re:Headline (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435578)

Maybe that's why we threw it in the Atlantic and now vastly prefer coffee. ;)

Re:Headline (1)

memphis.barbecue (1402253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434988)

How is that even considered a 'fine'? It's not like Microsoft will have to shell out this money in all cases. An even better title would be "Microsoft Forced to Make Deposit in India to Protect Against Using 'Money Power'" ----- These mod points are none of your concern.

Re:Headline (2, Interesting)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435402)

well, it seams highly unlikely they could get this ummmm "deposit" back.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_India#Judiciary [wikipedia.org] Seams very likely this payment would guarantee the defendants never get their day in court, only bled out and locked up. While it is a admiral statement by the Judge, it probably is just like any politician the stated intent is exactly the opposite as the reality of the plan.

Oh Pleazzze... (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435302)

So essentially Microsoft sought a "Change of Venue" and was fined 16K? Buwahahaha! I wonder what was on Judge Judy today, maybe Slashdot's gonna start reporting that too...

Re:Oh Pleazzze... (0)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435348)

16K? I thought that all that ever would be needed was 640K...

Re:Oh Pleazzze... (2, Informative)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435476)

Yes, and Al Gore invented the internet.

Re:Oh Pleazzze... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435710)

yup, Al Gore wrote down the plans for the internet on a single square of toilet paper right after Sheryl Crow got done wiping her butt with it.

Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (4, Insightful)

fdrebin (846000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434870)

In theory that's the way it is, but in practice, most of the time you need a lot of money to deal with legal matters.

Too bad that lawsuits and prosecutions are about winning and losing, not about finding out the truth.

/F

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434888)

Thus India is more democratic than the US.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435296)

Not a chance. Look at their caste system and how little representation the lower castes (millions of people) have. America is far from perfect but you are making an entirely unfair statement. Informative my ass.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (2, Insightful)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435444)

. For instance, the Delhi High Court has a backlog of 466 years according to its chief justice.[1] This is despite the average processing time of four minutes and 55 seconds in the court. [wikipedia.org]
see MS will never see this money back, because the pirates will be locked up until their day in court (year 2455) awaiting trial.
So if by democratic, you mean corporation and money wins, then yes this seams 400 years ahead of USA.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (4, Interesting)

L0rdJedi (65690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434948)

This sounds like "loser pays" which is similar to the UK. The concept being that the entity bringing the lawsuit ends up paying all court fees if they lose the battle. It has less to do with India being more Democratic and more to do with India setting up their system to keep people from bringing frivolous lawsuits. "Loser pays" keeps people from suing about every little thing since they end up having to pay if the suit is found to be without merit and hence they "lose".

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435038)

"Loser pays" also gives large corporations carte blanche to screw individuals.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435206)

"Loser pays" also gives large corporations carte blanche to screw individuals.

Did your boss walk by or something? Please expand on that a little.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435330)

"Loser pays" also gives large corporations carte blanche to screw individuals.

Did your boss walk by or something? Please expand on that a little.

I'll try.

In a nutshell, big corp, no matter how much in the wrong the are, can wave in front of the 'little guy's" face that they'll keep him in court for years and if he loses, he'll be on the hook for millions of dollars in legal fees. I don't care how sure you are about your case, that's a huge disincentive to stick up for one's self. Now, add in the fact that the laws are skewed in the corporation's favor, it's a system that's ripe for even more abuse than we have now.

Imagine the RIAA going after folks and saying that they could fight and not only have to pay their own legal bills but also the RIAA's if they lose. No one would even think about it. The EFF would have to become very selective of the cases it took - even more than they are now.

And one last thing: there's a huge difference with an individual being stuck with the legal bills as opposed to a corporation. With a corporation, at least the big ones, they lose a lawsuit it's not a big deal - any legal costs an individual runs up they can pay out of their toilet paper budget. An individual loses and they're ruined.

For a loser pays system, I would want restrictions placed on what a corporation can do - maybe even preventing them from collecting legal fees when litigating against an individual in a "loser pays" system.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (5, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435434)

Way to miss the point! On a 'both parties pay' system, the little guy loses even when he/she wins - you can be sued for something completely unreasonable, and unless the court throws the case out summarily, it's going to cost a lot of money to defend yourself, so it's usually easier to settle. With a 'loser pays' system, well - obviously - the loser pays. That means that if the little guy is cetain he is right, it's worth giving it a shot if he thinks the court will understand the issue and he is likely to win. So if you win, you really win, unlike in the US system where you can win and still lose.

Also, it's worth lawyers taking on cases which they think they are likely to win, because they know they will get their fees (which has led to a proliferation of "no win, no fee" lawyers in the UK). Presumably, under the US system, legal firms need to decide on the likelihood of their client being solvent, rather than the likelihood that they will win, again stacking the deck in favour of those with the money.

Your issue about the restrictions on what a corporation can do - of course, in a 'loser pays' system, the opposition can't run up enormous legal bills and presume that the loser will pay them all. The court will award legal fees as part of the damages but that wouldn't mean covering the expenditure of the entire legal department of a big corporation for the duration of the case.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435688)

Point taken. And I'm split regarding loser pays or out current system here in the US. (Your post gave me more to chew on - so thank you.)

But I have to wonder, what about the people who are being sued and the case isn't so cut and dried where you're not sure if you have a chance at winning?

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (4, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435512)

That's how it already works though. Judges can award attorneys fees, though they tend to reserve this for awarding large corporations their legal fees, not individuals. For example, a Fox reporter was fired because his boss told him "I like that bit about bovine growth hormones, but we're sponsored by Monsanto, so change your conclusion to say that it's perfectly harmless", and he refused to lie on TV. A judge held that not only does Fox have a right to fire for refusing to outright lie on TV, but he found the lawsuit so DISGUSTING of an assault on free speech that he awarded Fox 2 million to cover their legal fees.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (4, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435338)

not the OP

But imagine you sue Microsoft for a small amount of money for, say, voiding your registration after updating a graphics card. MS, in their defense spends tens of thousands of dollars preparing to defend the case (this is not unrealistic, their corporate lawyers are already collecting a salary, now they're just billing their time against your case. Microsoft parades a few expert witnesses in front of the judge (or jury) and successfully confuses them. They rule against you - now you're on the hook for a huge legal bill.

Loser pays disincentivizes bringing law suits against big players. That is not to say our system is necessarily preferable, both systems have their pros and cons.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435548)

Maybe I don't understand loser pays, but I thought the way it worked was the loser pays the winner for legal fees, up to the cost of their own legal fees. So if A sues B, A loses, and A paid $1000 in legal fees, A must pay B up to $1000.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (3, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435352)

Well, it would stop me from bringing a suit. Even though I feel I have a good case, and even if there are very good odds i'd win, there is no such thing as a sure thing and the threat of having to pay no only my laywer fees but the oppositions is enough to deter me.

It wouldn't deter a major corporation though.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435374)

I think the GP is referring to the obvious fact that it would increase the risk for the individual to sue a large company.

Consider the case where someone has a valid suit against a large corporation. They take the suit to court, but are unable to prove their case sufficiently (or lose for other reasons, such as the corporation having better lawyers). This individual brought the case, and lost it, so they then have to pay the legal fees for the corporation's entire cadre of lawyers. This would likely be a huge amount, and far more than what the plaintiff paid for their own lawyers.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (3, Insightful)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435608)

Suppose that a faulty MegaCorp device burns Middle Class Joe's house to the ground. Joe tries to sue MegaCorp, but all he can afford is an average lawyer working on contingency. MegaCorp sends the dream team. If Joe wins, then MegaCorp has to pay him and his average lawyer. Sounds good: Joe gets more money. But if he loses, MegaCorp bankrupts him because even though his own lawyer is working on contingency, he has to pay MegaCorp's dream team. This provides a strong disincentive to bring suit.

It's even worse if the defendant automatically pays when losing. In this case, if the MAFIAA sues you, you defend yourself and you lose, you'll have to pay not only the ridiculous statutory damages, but also attorney's fees.

Of course, there are ways to fix this. The most obvious way is for the judge to have discretion on whether the loser pays, but caps on the fees might work almost as well.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435274)

Bullshit. "Loser pays" expenses of the defendant only if it makes sense to do so. In cases like Exxon being sued by fisherman because passing of their tanker coincides with oil slick, but the case is thrown out because of "lack of evidence", then the fishermen should not be paying Exxon. If on the other hand, if someone sues Exxon for contributing to Global Warming then in that case Exxon should be awarded justifiable legal expenses because the case is without merit (ie. it is not against the law to spew CO2).

It is called judicial discretion.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (4, Interesting)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435678)

"Loser pays" also gives large corporations carte blanche to screw individuals.

Yes you are undoubtedly correct. Case in point: when my wife and I sued Paypal, and the judge threw it out based on jurisdiction and on our supposedly having given up our right to sue in under any circumstances by signing Paypal's user agreement. It cost us less than $100 to file the suit. Had we had to pay for Paypal's lawyer, that would have prevented us from suing. And this wasn't a frivolous lawsuit - even that judge agreed that Paypal had clearly stolen our money, and their lawyer didn't dispute that either.

In theory a case like this one should have been a criminal case rather than civil, but there isn't always someone interested in prosecuting, even when a crime has clearly been committed. (Another anecdotal example, though not involving a corporation: my grandfather died of a head injury under very strange circumstances, and the DMV agreed that the person who wound up with most of his assets had forged the title on his sports car. But my grandmother was unable to get a criminal case opened, even for a crime of that severity.)

When the perpetrator is a corporation that can afford gazillion dollar lawyers, loser pays protects the corporation even when they are clearly guilty.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (5, Insightful)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435544)

I like the idea of "loser pays" until you need to file a suit against someone with unlimited resources. Personally, I'd like to see the method amended to only cover the cost of the lowest fees.

In other words, if you sue me and you spend $1000/hour on legal, but I only spend $100/hour, I only have to reimburse you for $100/hour. If your total fees were $100,000 and mine were only $10,000, I'd have to pay you $10,000 in "loser pays" fees.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435858)

This is exactly what I think. Loser pays the lesser of the 2 legal bills to the winner. If the individual wins with his country lawyer, he gets his legal fees back and it costs him nothing. If large megacorporation wins, the individual is still punished by paying double HIS legal fees, but he is probably not bankrupted by this.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (2, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434958)

You can theoretically sue for legal expenses after you have successfully won the first case, but in reality most people don't because the burden of proof then lies on their shoulders. In order to win legal fees in the US you have to prove intent to harm.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435116)

There are also statutory causes of action which allow the prevailing party to get legal fees and costs. It's kind of a hodgepodge.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (3, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435138)

Our laws are complex. There simply is no simple, fair solution to solving legal disputes, unless we re-write the laws from scratch, toss away centuries of precedents, and stop legislatures from messing things up again. So... it's not gonna happen.

The US system isn't fair because the better-funded legal team will simply have an advantage due to the unavoidable expenses in analyzing law and collecting evidence.

"Loser pays" systems are not fair, either. If you sue someone for something they really did do, but you just can't find enough evidence to convince the jury of that reality, it's unfair to force you to pay that person's legal bills.

One might imagine a system whereby both sides of a legal dispute must agree to use only the resources the poorer party can "reasonably" afford. But then there would be endless legal argument over what that amount is and how the rule is enforced!

The fact of the matter is that justice is prohibitively expensive.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435410)

Slashdot has the the worst form of moderation system, except all the others that have been tried.

I love that sig. Congrats for combining Churchill with a snark towards /. :)

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

anarchyboy (720565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435770)

How about a system where all legal aid is supplied say by the state. This could then be combined with a form of "loser pays" or giving the legal representation for free. Essentially everyone would then get the same lawyers no matter who they are, the number and quality of the lawyers given to both sides could be decided based on the importance of the case to society.

I think the drawbacks to such a system are pretty obvious, you put all of the legal power in the hands of the state and it would cost everyone in taxes but there might be something to it.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435796)

One might imagine a system whereby both sides of a legal dispute must agree to use only the resources the poorer party can "reasonably" afford. But then there would be endless legal argument over what that amount is and how the rule is enforced!

Oh, it can be done much simpler: require that lawyers on both sides are provided by the state (and thus payed the same), and picked randomly. Naturally, allow picked lawyers to excuse themselves if they consider to have a conflict of interest, and perhaps also allow parties to "re-roll" once or twice if they really don't like the initial pick. No private expensive lawyers, nor consultations.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435856)

require that lawyers on both sides are provided by the state

...that actually creates a conflict of interest in any case where the state has an interest in one side of the case.

Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435822)

The US system isn't fair because the better-funded legal team will simply have an advantage due to the unavoidable expenses in analyzing law and collecting evidence.

What are these unavoidable expenses? Are any of them not self imposed by the legal industry?

Jurisdictional Problem (5, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434898)

This is entirely about jurisdiction. The copyright violations occurred in four cities, but microsoft filed suit in the capital. The judge is merely saying that if they insist on suing in the capital they must pay for the defendants travel expenses in the event microsoft loses.

Re:Jurisdictional Problem (2, Insightful)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435188)

I don't agree that this is just a jurisdictional matter. This is about the fact that the judge thinks Microsoft filed suit in the capital to make it too expensive for the defendants to contest the case.

Get Your Legal Expenses Paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434920)

In the United States, the loser of a case usually only has to pay expenses if it was obviously frivolous. Maybe I could move to India, and make a living off getting sued falsely? I know it's easy to get the RIAA to sue you, by adding your IP Address to a tracker for copyrighted works (without actually downloading from that torrent). Or just by running a Tor exit node. If I could get sued enough for, could I profit off of it? Could I make them pay for my meals and hotel while I travel to the city where the court is?

Very Poor Taste (-1, Redundant)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434934)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary? It gets rather old watching the word used so flippantly. Good Job bhagwad, you just surpassed Kdawson as the worse /. editor.

CS-

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434962)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary?

Agreed. I realize that Vanilla Ice lowered the standards, but this crap would make Dr. Dre vomit.

Re:Very Poor Taste (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434966)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary? It gets rather old watching the word used so flippantly. Good Job bhagwad, you just surpassed Kdawson as the worse /. editor.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Very Poor Taste (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434972)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary? It gets rather old watching the word used so flippantly. Good Job bhagwad, you just surpassed Kdawson as the worse /. editor.

Ooooh! You rapped kdawson AND bhagwad there! Niiiiice!

Re:Very Poor Taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434982)

Someone call the PC police, and don't forget to bring a waambulance!

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435008)

Just making sure you know, "rapped" != "raped". I couldn't tell by your response which word you thought it was. Being rapped means to take a gentle blow, for example being rapped on the knuckles. Being raped, is well, being raped.

Re:Very Poor Taste (2, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435114)

Being rapped means to take a gentle blow, for example being rapped on the knuckles. Being raped, is well, being raped.

We're talking about Microsoft. I'm sure many people here would like them getting the later punishment.

Re:Very Poor Taste (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435018)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary? It gets rather old watching the word used so flippantly. Good Job bhagwad, you just surpassed Kdawson as the worse /. editor.

CS-

This is why spelling and reading comprehension are important in school. It is not just so that others can understand you. It is so that you can understand others.

Re:Very Poor Taste (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435090)

You dumbass, they were referring to the rapping of the GAVEL. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435102)

I agree... I'd much rather see Micro$oft get raped by a judge!

Re:Very Poor Taste (3, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435180)

A "rap" is a sharp blow (like knocking on a door), or a sharp rebuke (criticism for some wrongdoing), or a criminal sentence for committing a crime. Context would imply the second meaning (a sharp rebuke).

In the second meaning of this word, it's a perfectly appropriate usage for the circumstances. A judge issued a sharp rebuke, therefore he "rapped" Microsoft. I don't see how the usage is flippant, or frankly what's so horrible about the word that it would have a "flippant" usage. I won't cover the music that goes under the name "rap", because that IS too horrible to contemplate, but an Indian judge would use ragas anyway.

Now, if the article had said that that judge "raped" Microsoft, I'd say that was a flippant usage of THAT word.

Fortunately, that's not the word they used.

Re:Very Poor Taste (5, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435254)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary? It gets rather old watching the word used so flippantly.

A friend of mine made the same mistake many years ago. It was an English Literature class, and we had a group project where we had to stand up and present about various poetry.

When it was his group's turn, they stood in front of the class and began talking about and reading the same poetry that we had all been required to read and discuss - making the entire exercise completely pointless.

My friend was simply reading the poem allowed, from a printed copy when he committed the error.

The teacher heard it, I heard it, and a (different) friend heard it. My friend and I shot each other a glance - a terrible mistake, because I believe we now both got ulcers from containing our laughter.

My friend at the front of the class continued, blissfully unaware of his mistake. The teacher made no attempt to correct him. She either felt it was a lost cause, or was putting all of her effort into squelching her laughter.

The blank stares from the rest of his group, who were standing at his side waiting for their turn to be over, and from the rest of the class confirmed that they either didn't notice, or that they thought it was correct.

After the group was finished, the teacher quietly explained to my friend (who had committed the error) why we had been smirking, squirming in our seats, and frantically biting our tongues.

He was reading "The Raven", by Edgar Alan Poe.

For those unfamiliar...

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently raping, raping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Permitted poems (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435502)

My friend was simply reading the poem allowed

Perhaps if your friend had been allowed to choose a different poem, he might not have had such difficulties in reading it aloud :-)

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435534)

Wow, I knew Poe had some dark poetry, but this adds a whole new dimension of darkness to "The Raven".

I very seriously doubt I could have refrained from laughter, and any punishment for laughing would have been tame compared to the amount of damage I'd do to myself trying not to.

Re:Very Poor Taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435582)

My friend was simply reading the poem allowed,

Perhaps he should have read something unauthorized instead.

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435730)

A friend of mine made the same mistake many years ago.

Uh, it wasn’t a mistake... well, it was in your friend’s case, but “rapping” was correct. If your friend said “raping”, then yeah... whoops.

Re:Very Poor Taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435852)

Nice.

I did the exact same thing with condom condem... sigh.

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435906)

If somebody is gently raping my chamber door I'd call the police.

Re:Very Poor Taste (1)

noric (1203882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435708)

Was using the term "rapped" in the summary of the article necessary? It gets rather old watching the word used so flippantly. Good Job bhagwad, you just surpassed Kdawson as the worse /. editor.

CS-

yeah! good editors should detect spelling mistakes, but I still may have been unnecessary to say microsoft was raped by a judge ;)

Im torn (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434964)

Im torn here. I like the fact that Microsoft or any other company can not overpower a citizen with their wealth like they can here in the USA. RIAA has shown how one can be destroyed regardless of guilt. However, I know for a fact that companies in India warez their Microsoft products. This leads to an unfair advantage to these companies as Microsoft dollars can add up pretty quickly and companies that do obey the licensing laws are subject to higher prices when they charge for their services.
I am glad that Microsoft is finally going after companies in India and other foreign countries that companies here in the USA compete with. Perhaps this will help a bit in leveling the playing field. Good luck to MS in this endeavor.

Re:Im torn (4, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435242)

I don't see anything in that to be torn over.

The court's ruling does not prevent MS from pursuing its claims, particularly if they are legitimate. It does say that MS cannot try to deny the defendants their right to a fair trial. Even a guilty party has that right.

There is only a dilema if you believe you have reason to choose sides between the alleged pirates or MS. Why do you think you need to choose sides? If the alleged pirates are guilty, but also MS is trying to bully them, then both are wrong. On the other hand, while there is piracy in India, you don't know that these particular allegations are true.

That's the point of a fair trial. The rules shouldn't favor either side, so there is no need to take a side. All you have to decide to evaluate the merits of this ruling, is whether it makes the playing field more level or less so.

Re:Im torn (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435264)

If Microsoft feels they have a good case, they should still pursue it. Microsoft only has to pay the defendant's expenses if they lose. If they win, they can probably get their own travel expenses added on.

Large companies can and do use their banks of on-staff lawyers and the various jurisdictions they have presences in to make their suits harder to defend against. Individuals or small companies cannot hope to afford to defend themselves against a concerted attack from a megacorp. This could really have a chilling effect on the "sue 'em all and let the courts sort it out" approach to license management, which is good.

PS: Plenty of companies here in the US also warez their MS products. It's an incidental expense, though, compared to the real money savings (labor), so I honestly doubt you'll see a leveling of the playing field - many of your Indian competitors are very large companies (WiPro, TaTa) who I very much doubt would dare violate MS licensing for extra profit.

Nice idea: also in USA and for businesses? (1)

plankrwf (929870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434980)

Would be interesting, all those travel expenses to a Texas court, for patentcases filed in that special court in Texas...

I know, I know, just kidding!

India is sooo into equality (0, Troll)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435010)

'When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power.'

But it's OK if it's diluted by centuries of discrimination by caste.

Re:India is sooo into equality (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435092)

well.. that certainly a non sequitur argument if I ever saw one.

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435190)

well.. that certainly a non sequitur argument if I ever saw one.

How is a comment about India irrelevant in a discussion about India?

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435440)

The Indian caste system has nothing to do with this article. It's like if you were to complain about the American justice system by saying that the U.S. oppressed Africans for years. It might be factually correct, but what does it have to do with this discussion?

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435986)

Perhaps you should write to the judge and tell him that mentioning equality in his ruling was off topic.

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435604)

India is warm!

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435324)

'When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power.'

But it's OK if it's diluted by centuries of discrimination by caste.

"Shut up and get me my chai, chai walla!"?

Re:India is sooo into equality (2, Insightful)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435610)

I'm sure if you lend the Indians your time machine, they can go back in time and fix that issue. Until then, I guess they'll have to just live with outlawing caste discrimination in the constitution and then slowly working to change public attitudes.

Or perhaps you've discovered a way to fix the issue with smug off-topic one-liners?

Do tell. I eagerly await your insight into the issue.

-Laxitive

Re:India is sooo into equality (0, Troll)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436002)

My insight is that people in glass houses ...

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

binaryartist (1172973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435612)

Are you suggesting that the rulings are different if you are from a different caste? If so, you are uninformed but you think otherwise!

Re:India is sooo into equality (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436028)

"Are you suggesting that the rulings are different if you are from a different caste?"

Are you suggesting that no such thing has ever happened in India?

Free Curry (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435028)

Free Curry with next purchase of Microsoft Windows: Indian Edition!

Not as it seems... (4, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435032)

They were not “fined”.

Delhi High Court has asked Microsoft Corporation to shell out Rs 800,000 ($16,000) for choosing to
fight four copyright violation cases in the Indian capital even though they originated in other cities.

...but if you read on...

Microsoft said it was fighting the cases in Delhi as it has its office in the national capital.

But the court told Microsoft if it wanted the cases to be heard here, it would have to deposit a sum of Rs 200,000 per case - as a cost security.

The amount will be kept with the registrar general of the Delhi High Court till the final disposal of the four cases. It will be given to the defendants if the cases are found to be false.

It’s merely a deposit. If Microsoft wins, they get the money back.

Also... $16,000? That’s pocket change to Microsoft. They’re probably laughing right now.

Re:Not as it seems... (1)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435552)

Or maybe they just said "That seems fair" and went on?

Re:Not as it seems... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435626)

Perhaps that is so, but if stories like this still don’t make them laugh then they truly are soulless bastards.

Re:Not as it seems... (1)

binaryartist (1172973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435722)

$16000 might be pocket change to MS. They must have hired a few Indian lawyers and paid them to fight their case(they are helping job creation). So the defendants didnt lose anything(they are happy), a few lawyers in New Delhi got paid. I guess everybody is happy. Win- Win.

Correction to the article (1)

binaryartist (1172973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435100)

In the article, somewhere it is claimed that 25000 Rs = 5000$. This is is incorrect. 1$ is approx equal to 46 Rs. Even if you assume that 1$ ~ 50 Rs, 25000 Rs ~ 500$

Freudian Slip (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435160)

Does it count as a Freudian slip if it happens while reading? Here is what I read:

"...it's highly pleasurable to see them raped by a judge."

anonymous coward with no anonymous account nick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435174)

"highly pleasurable"? Oh, please. If you want to pretend you're a journalist, at least read a book on writing.

But India has the best... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435228)

India has the best judges money can buy.

This (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435276)

'When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power.'

If that quote had any actual truth to it, politics across the globe would be a lot different. It isn't, so it probably isn't. :-(

Good statement, though.

India would be better served... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435288)

Making its copyright laws more cut and dry. The problem with a loser pays system is that corporations like Microsoft can pay for $500/hour attorneys. Even if it were statutorally limited to "reasonable expenses," a loser pays system can destroy someone pretty quickly which can create real hardship for people who lose or forfeit, but aren't objectively guilty.

What I found interesting about reading the law books of the Old Testament is how many criminal offenses they cover (basically the same as most U.S. states), and how cut and dry (and protective) the standards of evidence are. No witnesses? No conviction in a "felony case." Witness is caught lying against the accused? Judge can summarily sentence the witness on the spot and drop the charges against the accused.

By contrast, modern legal systems are so highly convoluted that ordinary people often have no idea if what they're doing is legal; they just assume it is. I'm not saying that the Mosaic Law is a system we (and India) should adopt, but merely pointing out that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of a much simpler, more cut and dry legal system. Even if the penalties are harsher, a system that has built in 0 tolerance for lawyerly bullshit, that has exacting standards of evidence is a lot easier to defend oneself in.

Re:India would be better served... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435628)

Judge can summarily sentence the witness on the spot and drop the charges against the accused.

As I recall, the judge would be allowed to sentence the falsely-testifying witness according to what the false witness was trying to get the defendent accused of.... so, if the false witness said he saw so and so steal 50 shekels of silver and it turns out the witness was lying, the witness could be sentenced as if he had stolen 50 shekels of silver.

I could be wrong about that, I haven't read those sections of the OT in a while, but that's what I seem to remember.

And lest someone come with the "eye for an eye" and "tooth for a tooth" thing, that was, as I recall, a way to protect from over-sentencing, not a preclusion to mercy.

India Is Smarter (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435300)

It seems to me from this report that law in India is superior to law in the US. I never would have thought that to be possible. Now we need to get courts in America to protect the poor and the working classes. Go figure!

"pleasurable to see them rapped for it" (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435362)

Pbbbhh... chi. Pbbbhh pbbbh chi. Pbbbhh... chi. P'pbbbhh pbbbh chi.
Hoyee Hoyee Hoyee Hoyee
The beat box is back on. Commence.

Question.. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435632)

Why the extra "p"?

the wrong bad guy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30435762)

"In an age where muscled corporations harass the ordinary person through expensive litigation, it's highly pleasurable to see them rapped for it by a judge."

Well, to be honest if this would be Apple, or Google or the RIAA or Holywood, but i think to its customers Microsoft is way more honest then a lot of other big companies.
Nevermind the marketing talk which seams always wrong for any company.

Apple
Take I-Phone, did you ever heard of batery replacement.. nope cannt be done (is this listening to customers or fooling them).
Never mind brainwashing people that the expensive I-pod is of better quality then the average Korean or Taiwanese mp3 player. (never compare it to their better products like cowwon )
Oh i see you have learned a believe that its cool because it is white,, oh i'm sorry dude i though you where an audio freak who want the best of quality for his bucks..
Apple is using mass brainwashing techniques.
I-hope Google Microsoft, or even presidents of some countries will never use it ( yes we do ! )

Google,
Talking about creating hypes.., telling your own people is using a new phone who is not on the market yet..
Who cares I mean people get serious, dont you think this happens to Samsung, Nokia, HTC, LG, ... Even the "evil" microsoft eats their own dogfood first.
I just wonder how much privacy their phone will have, as they store alle your searches (in the name of patriot act), i wouldnt like a phone with banners based on that.
I'm sorry based on your brouwser searches your friendlist has now been forwarded to the FBI.
We also stop our porn add on your phone and will disconnect, unless your willing to pay a 10.000 dollar since we found you copied an mp3
Google is what any bigbrother likes to be.. i wonder if it receives government funding.. it would be better spend then lets say just another stealth fighter.

RIAA
I could say the same for RIAA but i'm not allowed they ban copy-ing, in the digital age.. common we left stonehenge realize that your out of bussiness, the new kids wont use you.
And you've been miss using young kids way to long now, or say you abused creative free children of art way too long, the artistic community likes to stop your commercial creativity killing activities.
Why is it the artist dont get rich but only the copyright protection agents, who fail to bring music to the audiance (doing a bad job and still get big money) lets go all back to Napster !!!
Without companies like these there would be way more artist, pubs would be popular, less DJ's and more live music. Artist who are free to build upon each-others works..
RIAA.. call them artist body snatchers.. (reminds me.. Radiohead broke free....

Holywood
Well what did they do wrong.. well by now Mickey Mouse should be public domain free of copyrights free for the public, but no see how big companies become, they change goverments.
I think when I dye, then i hope this rat can be hunted (drawn) by anyone dead or alive.. we got to much creativty into our throats from a company who literally in their time misused copyrights, and now is a frontier fighter of copyrights. The hell with them.. but no that's copyrighted by the relegion fanatics. (Even they should watch out, 2000 years copyright is gone for the bible..)
And now most of us all ready know how wrong the world can turn if your keep your copyrights for lets say 2000 years...
please stop these government overruling companies before its to late, and you got a Holywood symbol added to your genome...

And the Microsoft Vista wheren't they evil ?, selling an operating system which had security first as main design rule, to protect you people from viruses.. yeah they are so evil.
I believe they listen better to people then other companies ofcourse linux is more friendly since you cannt blame a company, but well i admit that the foundation is quite good everything works together, its not what i can say from most other software products.

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