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UK Anti-Piracy Firm E-mails Reveal Cavalier Attitude Toward Legal Threats

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the who-would-have-thought dept.

The Almighty Buck 200

Khyber writes "A recent DDoS attack against a UK-based anti-pirating firm, ACS:Law, has resulted in a large backup archive of the server contents being made available for download, [and this archive] is now being hosted by the Pirate Bay. Within this archive are e-mails from Andrew Crossley basically admitting that he is running a scam job, sending out thousands of frivolous legal threats on the premise that a percentage pay up immediately to avoid legal hassles."

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Wow. (5, Interesting)

Cryolithic (563545) | about 4 years ago | (#33696026)

Is this surprising at all? I don't think anyone would be shocked at this...

Re:Wow. (5, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 4 years ago | (#33696054)

What is surprising is that it seems that there is little or no involvement of the police or law enforcement agencies in this.

What appears to have happened is private companies have been granted permission to sample Internet traffic and this information is then made available to these dubious legal firms who just spam people with demands for payment.

Re:Wow. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696072)

Why would there be any involvement? It's all civil.

Re:Wow. (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33696138)

No, actually, making false accusations in the hope of obtaining money is extortion. While the threat of legal action is specifically exempt, the threat of public embarrassment (accusing old people of downloading a gay porn video called "Army Fuckers") is not.

Also, given that they claim to have "forensic computer evidence" when they do not (sorry, a date and time from a server log, without the hard disk in the server being removed to preserve the "evidence", and a proper chain of custody, is not "forensic evidence").

This is why BritGov is investigating them.

Re:Wow. - Extortion vs Coercion (2, Informative)

DevConcepts (1194347) | about 4 years ago | (#33696206)

There is a difference!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extortion [wikipedia.org]
Extortion, outwresting, and/or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coercion [wikipedia.org]
Coercion (pronounced /korn/) is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation, trickery, or some other form of pressure or force. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way.

Re:Wow. - Extortion vs Coercion (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33696236)

Perhaps there's a difference legally, but I don't see any difference for the common man.

"Pay us $5000 or else be prosecuted," is extortion in my mind, especially since it involves money. The law firms are acting like members of The Family. "Pay us money or else we'll rough you up."

Re:Wow. - Extortion vs Coercion (1)

DevConcepts (1194347) | about 4 years ago | (#33696272)

Common man difference is the follow through.

Extortion:
Pay us or we will break your legs
No
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Pay us or we will break your legs
OK

Coercion:
Pay us or we will break your legs
No
OK Bye

Re:Wow. - Extortion vs Coercion (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696332)

Common man difference is the follow through.

Extortion:
Pay us or we will break your legs
No
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Pay us or we will break your legs
OK

corrected version
Extortion:
Pay us or we will break your legs
No
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Pay us or we will break your legs
nice try suckers by the way hows your broken neck twat

Re:Wow. - Extortion vs Coercion (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33696362)

Legally, any attempt to get someone to do something by means of threats, etc except the threat of legal action is extortion. That's why you can threaten to sue someone, and it's not extortion. However, the way these were done crossed over the line, in that they also included false claims of having "forensic evidence", as well as the implied threat of public humiliation for being accused of downloading gay porn, and for asking for an arbitrary amount, rather than saying "these are the damages we've suffered." That last one is a killer - you cannot just ask for money - it has to be in relation to damages.

Stores had a policy of catching teen-age shoplifters, then sending their parents a demand letter saying they wanted $300 for some nebulous "costs". The judges rightfully threw it out. When someone does you harm, you're entitled to be compensated. You may even be entitled to exemplary damages. However, unless there's an amount that is set by statute (which is why they're known as "statutory damages"), you can't just "pull a number out of the air."

Trying to get what you, as a lawyer, should know the law does not allow, is extortion because your threat of legal action is being used to commit a crime. You no longer enjoy the "except threat of legal action" exemption.

Re:Wow. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#33696344)

they claim to have "forensic computer evidence" when they do not (sorry, a date and time from a server log, without the hard disk in the server being removed to preserve the "evidence", and a proper chain of custody, is not "forensic evidence")

Agreed, but a large part of the server contents could probably be proven legitimate by third parties who received the corresponding emails etc. If someone seizes their server after this and the seized contents don't match what was proven in the posted content, or if there are obvious gaps where the posted but unproven content was expected to be, then they'd have a very hard time explaining it. It's not like they can just burn the drives now, and make this all go away.

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33696416)

All that's irrelevant. They made a specific claim - that they had "forensic evidence" - and they don't. A letter from British Telecom saying that IP address W.X.Y.Z was used at such and such a time and date is not forensic evidence. There's no scientific testing involved.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696140)

Demanding money off people? That doesn't sound very civil to me :)

Re:Wow. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33696862)

I doubt that it's civil in nature. The woman that falsely claimed to have been a victim of an acid attack in Vancouver, WA, is going to be charged with, theft by deception, IIRC. Which is a criminal charge. I'm not sure about other states or the UK, but if you're calling people up and telling them that they have to pay to settle up for a violation that you don't have a good faith belief that they owe you for, I don't get why something similar wouldn't apply.

Not just piracy... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33696186)

I once read on the Internet about a guy who sent a bunch of random invoices to mid-size companies and a few of them got paid.

Don't know if it's true or just an Internet story ...

Re:Not just piracy... (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33696232)

Its been a scam for longer than the internet has been around.

Re:Not just piracy... (-1, Redundant)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33696242)

>>>a guy who sent a bunch of random invoices to mid-size companies and a few of them got paid.

Hmmmm.

There's actually just two companies I'd target - the ones who didn't pay me for my last week of work.

Re:Wow. (3, Insightful)

poly_pusher (1004145) | about 4 years ago | (#33696108)

Whether anyone is surprised doesn't really matter. What matters is that this is proof of their intentions and motivations. Unfortunately information obtained through this manner can not be used in a legal setting. However, now that there are documents clearly showing intent and that there is a story making the rounds, hopefully a few more people won't cave to this kind of extortion and public outrage over these practices can continue to build.

Re:Wow. (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#33696116)

Is what surprising? After reading the linked articles, they don't support the blurb, particularly the claim Crossley is "admitting that he is running a scam job, sending out thousands of frivolous legal threats on the premise that a percentage pay up immediately to avoid legal hassles." He does come across as something of a jerk, but then, a lot of people probably say things about ex-wives.

Re:Wow. (1)

Cryolithic (563545) | about 4 years ago | (#33696142)

wait wait wait...you read TFA? ymbnh...

Re:Wow. (1)

observer7 (753034) | about 4 years ago | (#33696560)

do be careful scan of the file detects 14 Trojans

Re:Wow. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696664)

do be careful scan of the file detects 14 Trojans

Good. Give the Windows users something to busy themselves with.

"Well, I have antivirus, antispyware, a glorified sockets ACL that is somehow called a "firewall", registry cleaners, Windows Update, defrag programs, popup updates for every little program that can put an icon in the tray with no central management, I am constantly asked to "allow or deny" every little action by every little program to prevent spyware, and then to "allow or deny" every attempt to open a socket ... hey, now I have achieved a bare minimum of security! Woohoo! Oh shit, all of that still isn't good enough, I better beware of the 14 Trojans in those DATA files, yeah, oooh ahhh big scary."

Another satisfied Microsoft customer. How's it feel to need a ton of third-party software and metric tons of petty micromanagement just to achieve a level of security below what Linux and OSX users take for granted? Don't you have some virus definitions to update or something?

Re:Wow. (1)

observer7 (753034) | about 4 years ago | (#33696732)

i use debain but i scanned the file using clam ,just wanted to give the folks a heads up . i have been using Linux since 2000

Not shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696038)

I am however suprised that the con-man admits its a con.

That's not usually a smart move... But then again... how smart can they be if they put it into emails. let alone had their emails all made public... :P

Doing a Ratner (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 4 years ago | (#33696608)

Don't be - we have a well established history [wikipedia.org] of people being refreshingly honest in the UK.

has resulted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696040)

A recent DDoS attack against a UK-based anti-pirating firm, ACS:Law, has resulted in a large backup archive of the server contents being made available for download

The DDoS has nothing to do with the server archive being stolen and made available. They are two separate events that were done at the same time by the same group of people.

The DOS did cause leak. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696066)

It was a chain of events, which was triggered by the DOS. According to what I read, in the process of countering the DOS, the default home page was briefly moved. This exposed a listing of the root directory, which happened to contain a backup image, which was rapidly grabbed by the DOSers.

Re:has resulted? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696082)

The DDoS brought their servers down. They went down in flames so ACS:Law had to reinstall everything and their idiot admin exposed their entire website (mostly tons of confidential information) to the public. I downloaded it myself, the file is called backup-8.24.2010_12-58-28_acslawor and the shit I found in it was very scarry. If it wasn't for the DDoS, we wouldn't have gotten our hands on this file. Go die somewhere and stop posting shit you don't know anything about.

Re:has resulted? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33696482)

Not sure about the legality of their scam, but I do wonder if making this stuff available constitutes not taking sufficient care to preserve confidentiality and is enough for disbarment.

Re:has resulted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696124)

Has been made available, it's just a pretty way of saying they were stolen. Don't get upset about it.

Re:has resulted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696146)

A recent DDoS attack against a UK-based anti-pirating firm, ACS:Law, has resulted in a large backup archive of the server contents being made available for download

The DDoS has nothing to do with the server archive being stolen and made available. They are two separate events that were done at the same time by the same group of people.

Not according to TFA. When the site came back after the DDOS attack it accidentally had a directory listing of a full backup of the server with all the information.

Re:has resulted? (1)

kurokame (1764228) | about 4 years ago | (#33696700)

Could there please be one of those rare sudden outbreaks of common sense? This is a clear demonstration that Big Media is contracting with people who are not technically competent, then wanting to turn around and present them as technical experts in court. They're abusing the legal system. Ban this farce already.

For that matter, if anyone needs to get banned from teh internets for life, it's these clowns, not some kid downloading crappy pop music.

Duh (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | about 4 years ago | (#33696050)

I've gotten, umm.. a dozen or so cease and desist letters over the years.. my response to every single one of them has been to ignore it. No response. They never follow up. Why would they? It's a fishing game, the only way they can get you on the hook is if you take the bait.

Re:Duh (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33696254)

Good advice.

I'd probably send a "fuck off" reply but your solution is better. Like internet trolls/baiters, ignoring is probably the best policy.

Correct legal terminology (5, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 4 years ago | (#33696638)

I'd probably send a "fuck off" reply

Please, if you are replying to a legal letter the correct response is "I refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram [wikipedia.org] ".

That's not quite true (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33696378)

Ignoring a cease-and-desist letter that has proof of delivery can hurt you if you are in the wrong.

It's much harder to claim that the plaintiffs sued you "out of the blue, with no warning" for one thing.

If you are in the right, or if the underlying law is unsettled, ignoring them may be the best thing to do - but check with a local lawyer with expertise in that area to be sure. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Re:Duh (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33696422)

Cease and Desist

To QuantumG it may concern,
We do hereby demand that you stop ignoring us!! Come on! How are we supposed to pay our immoral & unethical investigators and attorneys if you just ignore us? Is that really fair?

We shall consider your lack of reply acknowledgement of your complete agreement with our claims and that your check is in the mail. We look forward to not hearing from you.

Sinisterly,
Asshat and Associates

Re:Duh (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33696884)

That's a risky tactic to take. At very least you ought to be running it by an attorney and probably have them send a response to the note requesting appropriate information. Not sure about the second half, but the attorney should know how to appropriately respond.

The problem is that if you ignore it and they do proceed, they could have you confused with somebody else you could end up making things worse by ignoring it.

As many suspected. (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696062)

I think many people have long suspected that firms like this were running a 'threaten first, confirm later' policy. After all, there is no penalty for ACS:Law if they mistakenly threaten a non-infringer, so what incentive is there for them to be accurate?

The submission is a little inaccurate. Crossley didn't admit, even implicitly, to deliberatly running a scam. What he has admitted is that the data upon which ACS sends out it's threatening letters is of poor quality and riddled with inaccuracies so severe even the clients are complaining - but even though he knows that many of those he accuses are innocent, he threatens them anyway because it's faster and cheaper than producing accurate data. Instead, ACS just threatens to sue anyone who criticises this practice for libel. I imagine that works very well, given that the UK arrangement of libel law is quite infamously written in favor of the plaintiff.

Pointless. (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 4 years ago | (#33696064)

And probably all rendered inadmissible in court because they were obtained illegally. Way to immunise a guy against an awful lot of evidence.

I know someone who was threatened by ACS:Law. As with all things serious, we researched it and discovered it was likely a scam, and this was WAY before they were news-worthy. The threat was ignored, except for a polite response, and nothing else happened. If you pay up, you're a moron. If you think this will stop such companies, there are no shortage of other morons willing to pick up such easy work, and they don't even need to be anywhere near a lawyer themselves.

DDOS, hacking, etc. isn't doing anything but legitimising their actions should they go to the mainstream media. Just ignoring their threats and/or inviting them to court, as any sensible person would do (and have done - ACS:Law are under investigation by various high-level UK legal authorities for legal irregularities) does infinitely more.

The guys an scamming idiot, but it's like a playground fight here - I can guess how much a moron he is without having to break into his personal emails and just because they might reveal he is an asshole doesn't mean that you've "won" anything against anti-piracy lawsuits or even against legal threats with zero evidence. All you've done is become nothing more than a publicity generator. How long before I see on the news: "Pirates hack into law-firm's servers, distribute private emails, law-firm says it's represents the mindset of the people they are chasing".

Re:Pointless. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696084)

This evidence was obtained illegally, however it's enough that it could start an investigation where they could then gain the same, or more evidence via legal means (seized computers, lawful investigation with write blockers)

Re:Pointless. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#33696090)

inadmissible in court, but opinion-shaping in public eye.

Re:Pointless. (1)

Peil (549875) | about 4 years ago | (#33696462)

Maybe under US law, but here in the UK the courts have no problem accepting evidence no matter how it was obtained.

Re:Pointless. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#33696506)

you probably confused public opinion shaping with courts. they are not relevant.

Re:Pointless. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696106)

That's actually an excellent question - is a file that was visible in the root directory of a web server for download, illegally obtained?

Re:Pointless. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696134)

If there was no intent to publish it, yes. I think more important question might be who obtained it - this wasn't evidence secretly taken without a warrent by law enforcement. It came to light incidentially, due to the actions of a third party. But I am not a lawyer, and know nothing of this area of law.

Re:Pointless. (5, Interesting)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | about 4 years ago | (#33696218)

In UK law, this would be admissible in the court. Even if the police break the law obtaining evidence, it is still admissible. The punishment for the methods used is, unlike the US, a separate issue from admissibility.

Re:Pointless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696488)

This is actually a quite acceptable solution.
Just because the evidence were gathered in an illegal matter does not mean that no crime was commited, it means that two crimes were commited and both should be punsihed.
However one have to be careful with this kind of laws. Some of the laws around evidence gathering are there to protect non-criminals from harrasment from police-officers, others are there to make sure that "false" evidence isn't used to frame innocents. Not all evidence that was gathered by illegal means is usable.

Re:Pointless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696460)

If there was no intent to publish it, yes.

I suspect most people, including a judge, would accept that placing the file on a publicly accessible web server in a location with directory listings enabled could be considered an intent to publish. Even if it were accidental, the person downloading it would have no way of knowing that, particularly if the file was placed alongside other files on the web server which they did intend to publish.

Re:Pointless. (2, Informative)

equex (747231) | about 4 years ago | (#33696624)

Anyone could have gotten the file by going there at the right moment, regardless of whether he was part of the DDoS or not. If you put a bunch of files in the web server root while its still online, you can't argue that it wasn't meant to be published, because that is where you put files when you want to publish something. It would have been different if the files where obtained from another computer. (let's say you got into a command line on the web server and found out about samba shares and whatnot, to another office machine). It is a security blunder, but you can't blame anyone else for the results. IANAL.

Re:Pointless. (4, Interesting)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 4 years ago | (#33696394)

I wonder if this would meet the threshold for "making available" that RIAA et al base their lawsuits on.

Not pointless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696114)

In what dream world would there ever have been a case against him to begin with? "oh noes, it's rendered inadmissable". Wake up from your fantasy, it's this or it'd never even surface AT ALL.

No, it's a safe bet that destroying his business and his name IS in fact the winning move. As can be seen, he was already being doubted by his clients ("rights holders"), this will likely mean he's dropped like a hot potato. No clients, no income, no income no "Lambo".

Not saying it'll really change anything, but at least one more Douche [youtube.com] is getting what he so justly deserves.

Re:Pointless. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696120)

Not entirely useless. The firm's reputation is severely damaged, which is going to harm their ability to attract new clients. Even now, the only companies that will do business with them are porn studios. How are they going to expand when they are known as a company so unprofessional they not only admit internally to practices of questionable professional ethics, but then let their email archive and billing information get stolen by opportunistic hackers? I wouldn't trust a company that allows a breach like that.

Re:Pointless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696190)

Not entirely useless. The firm's reputation is severely damaged, which is going to harm their ability to attract new clients.

That's why scammers and other scumbags regularly scrap their firms and create new ones; a new name and everything's forgotten. When the legal backlash becomes too big they just move on and start over.

Re:Pointless. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696136)

Umm, I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that under UK law (as opposed to US law) evidence that has appeared as a result of an illegal act, especially if the illegal act was by a third party unconnected to any investigation/civil action began, is not blanket rendered inadmissible in court. (That's not to argue about whether it should be or not, just what the law is.)

Re:Pointless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696494)

One of the basic rules of evidence is that even illegally obtained evidence is admissible in court, as long as the prosecution (criminal or civil) offering the evidence to the court did not participate in the illegal acquisition of it.

There once was a case of a safecracker/burglar who broke into a house and stole a safe. When he got it to his workshop, and opened it, he find child porn on a USB stick. The guy the safe was stolen from got busted and went to jail for the child porn.

Re:Pointless. (2, Informative)

kurokame (1764228) | about 4 years ago | (#33696716)

And probably all rendered inadmissible in court because they were obtained illegally.

Bullpocky. They posted it to a public server, even if it was through incompetence. They're being presented in courts as technical experts, so that little detail should be absolutely no defense.

Re:Pointless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696720)

Pure BS. The police didn't hack the system, someone else did. If I break into a house and find a bloody knife, it's still admissible even though my actions were illegal.

Re:Pointless. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | about 4 years ago | (#33696890)

How was it obtained illegally?

It was downloaded from a publicly accessible web server by following links on their front page!

Granted, those links only existed because there was a DoS and the real front page was taken down, leaving a directory index.

But if someone commits arson against me, burning down a a wall and exposing stolen artwork to the world, I might be able to get it thrown out if the arsonist takes a pictures of it and tries to have me arrested from that, but anyone else who sees it and takes a picture results in perfectly fine testimony.

...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Virgin (5, Interesting)

bobstay (137547) | about 4 years ago | (#33696070)

From TFA: "Email evidence that ACS:Law deliberately does not target two UK ISPs, TalkTalk and Virgin Media"

That's interesting. I'm with Virgin so that's nice to know. I wonder why these two?

Perhaps they don't cave as easily as the others.

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (1)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | about 4 years ago | (#33696080)

Or perhaps those ISPs *have* caved, and started passing information direct to the studios
meaning there's no need for ACS:Law to target their customers

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#33696112)

can it be that because virgin is also a big boy music/media player ?

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (3, Informative)

drunkenoafoffofb3ta (1262668) | about 4 years ago | (#33696208)

No, you're being confused by the Virgin name. Virgin Media (the broadband provider) was sold to NTL. Although Branson owns shares in the company, it's not the same company as the record label -- indeed Virgin Media pay Branson a yearly fee just to use the Virgin brand. Further, the Virgin record label was sold off to EMI years ago.

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#33696270)

"Branson owns shares in the company" - there.

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33696442)

No, you're being confused by the Virgin name.

On /. the word 'virgin' usually has a completely different meaning ;-)

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (2, Informative)

MattBD (1157291) | about 4 years ago | (#33696734)

TalkTalk definitely haven't - they were quite vocally opposed to the Digital Economy Act, and have publicly stated that they will never surrender customer's details unless presented with a court order.

Re:...deliberately does not target TalkTalk or Vir (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696892)

TalkTalk definitely haven't - they were quite vocally opposed to the Digital Economy Act

I still find it odd that the boss of TalkTalk is heavily against the Digital Economy Act [talktalkblog.co.uk] , but had no problem tracking all of his customers. [theregister.co.uk]

Fabricated - It's the PIRATE Bey (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696076)

It's fake.

Re:Fabricated - It's the PIRATE Bey (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#33696104)

you cant even spell 'bay' correct. yet, you bullshit us over it being fake.

fake emails with full headers ... do you actually know ANY shit ?

Re:Fabricated - It's the PIRATE Bey (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696150)

Not this quickly. It would take weeks of work by a team of experts to put something like this together convincingly.

Re:Fabricated - It's the PIRATE Bey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696426)

It's not fake.

And you're still out of a job...

AHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA.

Sucks to be you.

And i mean really... did you think it would work like that forever? i mean hell.. the IT people you had are stupid enough to leave a backup sitting in a root directory.... that's just fucking stupid... you were in way over your heads.

Common strategy (5, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | about 4 years ago | (#33696088)

It's the same strategy used by police and councils, sending out fines with threats of prosecution for minor motoring offences. Realistically the case is unlikely to go to court, but people pay up anyway because: (1) they want to avoid the months of worry, waiting to find out if they are taken to court or not; (2) often the case would be heard hundred of miles from their home and, even if they win, they can't recover their travel / accommodation expenses; and (3) the court system is notoriously biased against the motorist and appeals are expensive and complicated.

This isn't as off-topic as you may think. People have been convinced by government / police campaigns that paying the fine is "the done thing". For example, someone driving at 67mph in a 60mph zone may be faced with a £30 fine, but if they let it go to court they risk getting 6 points on their license (halfway to losing it!) and a fine in the thousands.

This is what the copyright enforcement industry is now trying to achieve: A form of "justice" based on fear. Not fear of a fair punishment for a genuine offence, but fear of being put in to a situation where right or wrong, win or lose, people suffer significant financial loss and a great deal of worry.

Re:Common strategy (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 4 years ago | (#33696162)

Other thing is applying a ridiculous intrest rate while the motorist is not paying. (Hungary)

Re:Common strategy (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33696216)

This is what's wrong with all these threats - the "if you settle now it won't cost much but if you dare to contest it you could be in big trouble and owe a lot of money" approach. The RIAA is a big fan of this approach.

If governments want to pass some laws they should be passing them against people like this, not the paid-for laws they're so fond of lately.

Re:Common strategy (2, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | about 4 years ago | (#33696246)

If governments want to pass some laws they should be passing them against people like this

Aside from being hypocritical, it would be self-damaging for any government to pass laws against this type of scam, because it's exactly this type of scam that governments use as a source of income.

As governments lower taxes to gain popularity and/or win votes, they increasingly criminalise every aspect of our lives so they can fine us.

Have you noticed that nearly every new offence is punishable by a fine, not jail time?

Re:Common strategy (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696388)

The jails are getting full. They've reached the point in both the US and UK where rehabilitation is being ignored in the desperate attempt to just cram everyone into the limited space somehow.

Re:Common strategy (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#33696534)

They've reached the point in both the US and UK where rehabilitation is being ignored in the desperate attempt to just cram everyone into the limited space somehow.

Rehabilitation never worked in the first place, so that's no great loss. Prison is debilitating.

Re:Common strategy (4, Interesting)

Inda (580031) | about 4 years ago | (#33696226)

The same happens with debt collection agencies. They buy huge lists of names and send threatening letters to them all, multiple times. Some people pay, some ignore, some fight.

I keep getting chased for debts that aren't mine. The lists get sold, I get a letter. The agencies have never replied to a CCA letter (a legal requesting for information). Bunch of criminal chancers.

Re:Common strategy (1)

andywebsdale (715221) | about 4 years ago | (#33696262)

Exactly - the average parent (say) whose kid has been using their connection will just shit their pants and pay up. Their biggest fear is probably that non-payment will ruin their credit rating and bring bailiffs round demanding huge sums(like they do in those docusoap programmes). There's a lot of scared people out there who'll do anything they're told if it comes in the guise of a official-looking headed letter & this guy knows it.

Re:Common strategy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696276)

How is it not off-topic?

You're cross because you get caught.

Don't like the responsibility to drive at or below the posted speed? Don't drive. I know it feels great zipping along, shaving a few seconds off your arrival time, and with only a comparatively small chance of ploughing through some school girl and ending her life.

"Your honour, my client is a good man, and wants to pretend that being 'Sorry' somehow makes up for his day-in day-out recklessness. Please let him go free to enjoy the rest of his life as if nothing had happened."

Stop being a cunt, that's my recommendation.

Re:Common strategy (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | about 4 years ago | (#33696480)

Don't like the responsibility to drive at or below the posted speed? Don't drive.

I don't speed. I'm looking at the bigger picture. I'm sick of police time being wasted catching motorists coming off a dual-carriageway and not slowing back down to 60mph fast enough, when those same police officers could be on duty outside a school to make sure people aren't speeding there. The person doing 70mph in a 60mph zone is not certain to be a dangerous driver, then or at any other time. The person doing 40mph outside a school _is_ driving dangerously, right there and then.

I want the police to save lives. Right now they are becoming a debt creation agency.

Re:Common strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696570)

In my experience only a tiny fraction of British drivers are even close to safe.

Most drive too fast, with too little spacing, and without due attention to the road. And they take to the road in vehicles they don't service regularly, and without checking things like coolant, tire pressure, brakes...

And then they whine about police enforcement. "Why are the police enforcing the rules on me? They should go find someone who is not me, because I'm a good person" blah blah, bullshit bullshit.

You want something to blame? Blame a culture which made what is clearly a skilled profession (driving tonnes of metal around many times faster than you can run) into something every 17 year old is supposed to master.

Need another example of how incompetent the motorists are? The RAIB has to compile lists of contributory elements in its accident reports. Almost every time that a car is hit by a train, the report lists as a contributory element the fact that many drivers do not realise that flashing red lights mean stop. Think about that. Flashing red lights. What could they mean? Drive faster? Honk your horn? Or maybe STOP? Despite this being in the book every potential driver is supposed to read and understand, for the past several decades, many drivers still don't know it.

That's because they're not competent to drive. But taking the millions of incompetent drivers off the road is unthinkable.

Re:Common strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696688)

The bigger picture is that anyone speeding is breaking the law; it's usually those who break the 11th commandment ("Thou shalt not get caught") who create the loudest noise about it being unfair that police are catching those doing 70 when the max is 60 and not real police work of catching the criminals breaking into houses or those doing 40 outside a school - how long after getting caught at 70mph in a 60mph did you decide to not speed?

I find it really funny that one of the biggest earning speed cameras is the 50mph one at the end of the M11 - some 500m after the 70mph limit drops to 50mph, and where the two overtaking lanes (lanes 2 & 3) merge into one. If people can't (a) see the 50mph sign and/or (b) slow down from 70mph to 50mph in 500m then they clearly are not driving with due care and attention and so should be fined for the safety of every other road user (which also includes cyclists and pedestrians) - it may make them pay more attention in future.

Re:Common strategy (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 4 years ago | (#33696278)

This isn't as off-topic as you may think. People have been convinced by government / police campaigns that paying the fine is "the done thing". For example, someone driving at 67mph in a 60mph zone may be faced with a £30 fine, but if they let it go to court they risk getting 6 points on their license (halfway to losing it!) and a fine in the thousands.

You get 3 points on your licence in any case. I got 3 automated 'average speed camera' charges against me in the course of 2 weeks, for going probably 55MPH on a 50MPH dual carriageway. 9 point on the licence, and £180 in fines.

It sucks to be a motorist here.

Re:Common strategy (2, Interesting)

Andy Smith (55346) | about 4 years ago | (#33696354)

You get 3 points on your licence in any case

Sorry, yes, you're right. My only brush with the law was driving on a poorly-marked bus lane, which you don't get points for. Speeding offences do have mandatory points, yes.

An interesting point I've heard about speed cameras: To get permission for a speed camera placement, the police must show that a _majority_ of people speed at that location. How absurd is that? Surely if a majority of people consider it safe to speed there, it probably is. The police should be putting speed cameras where the dangerous _minority_ of people speed.

There was a big initiative launched here (Scottish Highlands) a few weeks ago, with the police clamping down on speeding motorists. The police took news photographers and TV camera crews out to village streets and roads near schools, showing officers with hand-held speed cameras. When was the last time you ever saw a police officer with a speed camera outside a school? Round here you only ever see them at the end of dual carriageways and overtaking lanes. They'd prefer to issue hundreds of fines to motorists driving safely over the 60mph limit, rather than catch the genuinely dangerous motorists doing 40mph past a school.

It sickens me that people are being killed by dangerous drivers while the police busy themselves handing out fines to safe drivers.

Re:Common strategy (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33696514)

When was the last time you ever saw a police officer with a speed camera outside a school?

Areas around schools tend to be too packed with cars for anyone to speed. My mother lives on a hill between two tiny villages. One of the villages has a 20 mile an hour speed limit, but the limit on the road between them is much higher. The reason for the low limit is that it's a narrow road with a blind bend and frequently has pedestrians (often small children) crossing. The doesn't seem to stop people driving into it at around 40. I have seen police with handheld radar guns there.

Can you hear that? (5, Interesting)

Torinir (870836) | about 4 years ago | (#33696094)

It's the sound of the copyright lobby having another heart attack.

When will the governments of the world finally say "Enough is enough" to these clowns?

It's not like all this litigation and threats are profitable or anything. I believe /. had an article on the fact that RIAA spent $16m to recover $391,000 in 2008. It was worse in 2007, when they spent $21m and only recovered $516,000. I know it's been all over the place at various points. Add in the frivolous lawsuits, DDoS attacks and harassment of uninvolved individuals, and the whole copyright lobby looks like an organized crime syndicate.

Re:Can you hear that? (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 4 years ago | (#33696212)

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Re:Can you hear that? (1)

funkatron (912521) | about 4 years ago | (#33696544)

It's the sound of the copyright lobby having another heart attack. When will the governments of the world finally say "Enough is enough" to these clowns?

The lobbying will stop when the money runs out. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to make that happen quickly.

Re:Can you hear that? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 4 years ago | (#33696600)

Oh, there is a way to make them run out of money: massive and unrestricted targeting of their assets for destruction. Blow their shit up, burn it, destroy. Cause so much damage that even insurance can't cover them anymore. If they try to intimidate the public, then they can't complain if intimidation turns to be a multiplayer game. They can fight with lawyers, we fight with firebombs. They drive families into poverty, we draw screwdrivers through their eyeballs. They raid torrent sites, we raid their offices with heavy firepower.
For Internet Freedom, STRIKE!

HAHAHA WOW (1)

TideX (1908876) | about 4 years ago | (#33696194)

Oh I wish I could taste Crossley's tears right now.. This is going to be big.

Lawyers are amoral. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696238)

Or so my lawyer friends say, telling me a lawyer must faithfully target the client interests -- without any prejudice.

All fine and dandy, but does a judge work like this? Isn't a judge not bound to consider the social context?

Another similar and related example of law misappropriation is patents: who, being sound of mind, would propose to give anyone legal instruments to avoid innovation or to secure market niches? Of course, implementations can and must be protected -- but how did we come to phrases like "innovation must be left to the private sector" or "our corporation is the most innovative (implying others don't need to be) and we'll fiercely pursue or IP rights (implying some group has exclusive rights over human knowledge)"?

It's understandable that one country seek economic advantage from retaining knowledge (in itself a debatable concept, since it probably leads to greater overall ignorance and loss even to said country), and that may work if such nation also has means to enforce such selfish control. OTOH, can it be done? That's harder to do than managing the proverbial herd of cats.

All this behaviour is going to be repeated when another country step up to the leading role... and I wonder how current corporations will fare at China's PTO?

Data protection act hmmm ;) (4, Insightful)

Stu101 (1031686) | about 4 years ago | (#33696244)

Just a thought, and I am not really too up on it, but by allowing peoples details to be leaked, including address, phone number, account numbers etc isn't this company negligent in its duty to keep such information confidential.

If I was an "Infringer" I would be asking how much for ME to go away after you really screwed up by not even having rudimentary security in place as is required by the DPA and peoples details downloadable my poor data hygiene.

Re:Data protection act hmmm ;) (1)

egnop (531002) | about 4 years ago | (#33696736)

Including scanned PDF's with infringers full CC info, beat that?

Cavalier attitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33696342)

They lost, Cromwell and his Roundheads won, and Charkes I was executed...

Re:Cavalier attitude (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33696420)

It didn't last, though. Cromwell turned out to be even worse than the monarchy he replaced - as soon as he died, people decided that the old way wasn't so bad after all.

Re:Cavalier attitude (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33696532)

Actually, people didn't decide the old way was better. The old way was an absolute monarchy, while the post-restoration monarchy was severely limited by parliament. People really decided that, having set the precedent that you were allowed to behead bad kings, having a king was better than having a Lord Protector with no such precedent.

Privacy, there must be a law? (1)

egnop (531002) | about 4 years ago | (#33696510)

The emails contain spreadsheets with real people, with real adresses and their IP, containing which (adult) torrent they are charged with.

There are also pdf's containing FULL Credit card information.

By the leak they exposed themselves with private information.

Can't they be sued over that?

Re:Privacy, there must be a law? (4, Informative)

MattBD (1157291) | about 4 years ago | (#33696874)

Sued - probably not. But they might well be at risk of prosecution. This is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998, one of the principles of which states that appropriate technical and training measures need to be taken against granting unauthorised access to data. If they are in breach of this they could well be prosecuted by the Information Commissioner's Office. DPA also requires that the data subject has consented to the processing, which makes me wonder whether by passing user data on to ACS:Law without a court order, ISP's are breaching the Data Protection Act.
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