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Anti-Piracy Lawyers 'Knew Letters Hit Innocents'

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the collateral-profit dept.

Piracy 240

nk497 writes "A UK legal watchdog has claimed lawyers who sent out letters demanding settlement payments from alleged file-sharers knew they would end up hitting innocent people. The Solicitors Regulators Authority said the two Davenport Lyons lawyers 'knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP numeric had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach.' The SRA also said the two lawyers lost their independence because they convinced right holders to allow them to act on their behalf by waiving hourly fees and instead taking a cut of the settlements. The pair earned £150,000 of the £370,000 collected from alleged file-sharers. Because they were looking to recoup their own costs, the lawyers ignored clients' concerns about the negative publicity the letter campaign could — and eventually did — cause, the SRA claimed."

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I think Shakespear had it right (5, Insightful)

DragonFodder (712772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281268)

Famous qoute, "First Kill all the lawyers" seems apropos.

And I know it probably wasn't what was intended within the context of the play, but it sure does seem correct now.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281316)

Famous qoute, "First Kill all the lawyers" seems apropos. And I know it probably wasn't what was intended within the context of the play, but it sure does seem correct now.

No, no,no. That's like hitting all your dogs on the nose when one pisses on the rug.

Just shoot the assholes like these and let the other animals learn from that. And if Britain is creating lawyers half as fast as the US is, there will plenty of lawyers to fill in the gap.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (-1, Troll)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281460)

That's like hitting all your dogs on the nose when one pisses on the rug.

Well, that one's your own fault for having the dog in the house in the first place.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281664)

You'd make a great parent.

I have a cat (3, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281666)

And I didn't use a cat analogy on purpose because....

the cat will shit on the rug, piss on the couch and when you discipline it, it looks at you with a look of "What the fuck is your problem?!" and goes off and does it again.

Re:I have a cat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281724)

After which it looks at you contemptuously and commands: "Now bring the food tribute due to me, slave."

Re:I have a cat (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282088)

My cat is looking at me with disdain for reading your post. I'm sure by the end of this reply he'll claw me away from the keybo

Re:I have a cat (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282646)

At least you cat didn't sit on your keybolnaagakslgne333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

Re:I have a cat (2, Informative)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282380)

One of the reasons I like my cat -- he's got a better attitude then that. Most he does is go somewhere visible and start knocking things over when he doesn't get the attention he wants (he literally finds the nearest place a few feet off the ground that someone is looking at and starts pushing stuff off the edge to make a mess as a bid for attention)...so he's more like a teenaged girl than anything, just with less cutting. =p

Thankfully most of the attention he asks for is of the "I want to sleep somewhere soft and warm, I demand your lap" variety.

Re:I have a cat (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282684)

My cat doe the same thing, except his preferred target is any glass with fluid in it, only after he has knocked over every accessible drink will he go for things like mail and keys.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (5, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281898)

Just shoot the assholes like these and let the other animals learn from that.

The death penalty hasn't worked to deter extremely violent crimes. If it doesn't work for the scum of the earth, why do you think it would work for an even lower life form?

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282282)

well, at least there's one less lawyer... just sayin'.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (2, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282330)

The death penalty wasn't designed to deter extremely violent crimes. The death penalty was designed to remove extremely violent persons from our society. The same way killing lawyers is about removing those that are so corrupt that it is believed they cannot be rehabilitated.

The death penalty is designed to prevent (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282522)

recidivism.

You can be absolutely SURE there won't be repeat offenders.

Unfortunately psychopaths, sociopaths and gummints feel justified in the heinous acts they perpetrate and there are always more of those being born every minute.

Okay gummints not so much because they're harder to get rid of than a SOC7 error at 11:00 at night.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282466)

The death penalty hasn't worked to deter extremely violent crimes. If it doesn't work for the scum of the earth, why do you think it would work for an even lower life form?

Honestly, what are the odds that a violent criminal will get the death penalty? Serial rapists can't unless they murder someone. A criminal who cuts off all the limbs of his victims can't get the death penalty unless one of the victims dies.

The Supreme Court found in Kennedy v. Louisiana [deathpenaltyinfo.org] that the victim must die for the death penalty to be an option. Basically you can rape and brutalize millions of women (and children!) knowing full well that the U.S. government cannot execute you kill one of the victims.

That, to me, is a tragedy.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282702)

And how many years do we wait to execute death row inmates? I read something recently that indicated it's over ten years on average. Some have been detained over 30 years, and a quarter of the executionees die of natural causes! When we do finally get around to execution time, we often treat them better than our pets (giving them anesthetic before the lethal dose)--in a quiet setting.

And then we talk about it's lack of deterrent effect. I say give them one appeal in a court distant from their original trial to help weed out miscarriage of justice, and then get on with it, and make it public and make it bloody.

No, Voltaire had it right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282050)

We should shoot one (or two, actually) "pour encourager les autres!"

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (2, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282064)

Yes yes, we all know not ALL lawyers are evil.
But a court case requires atleast two lawyers, so what good is it to kill all but the good one?

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282128)

Let's see how it work in prison: if you punish everyone for something, the problem will solve itself without any other intervention.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281484)

Actually, it kinda was...

http://www.spectacle.org/797/finkel.html

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281642)

Wait, the laywers are being blamed for doing exactly what they were asked to do?

The instant any top-ranking member of the recording industry realized that the campaign was causing unpopularity, they could have reigned the lawyers in.

I am not saying these laywers aren't at fault. I am saying that a mugger can't get away with his crimes by blaming the knife.

 

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281652)

No, there are good lawyers, but bad lawyers like these give the other 1% a bad name.

List of good lawyers I know of:
Lawrence Lessig
NYCL
My divorce attorney
My bankrupcy attorney

Yeah, it's a short list, but still...

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281706)

So in other words, lawyers are good when they're on your side.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281832)

of course, whenever you need a lawyer don't you want to have the meanest bastard you can find to drag the other guy through the coals and then spit on him to add insult?

its about winning, not justice.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

tdc_vga (787793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282202)

And that's why people dislike lawyers -- they think it's about winning not justice. A good lawyer knows it's about justice, not simply winning.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282730)

And a successful lawyer knows that winning will define justice.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282590)

That's when the fight is personal. But this fight isn't, it's just about fighting over crap music and crap movies.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282716)

It's the lawyer's job to be on the side of their client, regardless of who they might personally judge is in the right morally. Like mercinaries.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282778)

If you've been in a traffic accident, and at the hospital while you're being taken out of the ambulance a lawyer shoves a business card in your pocket and tells you to "don't talk to anyone but the medical personnel and call him if you want the big settlement" the lawyer is definitely "on your side" but not "good".

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282056)

List of good lawyers I know of:

Surprisingly, my ex-girlfriend

Not sure if I'd say the same if she was my ex-wife however =P

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282120)

So you like mostly Lawyers that get you out of agreements you have made.

Divorce and bankruptcy. I am wondering if people should believe anything you say?

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282388)

Perhaps his wife plunged him into ruinous debt and then decided to leave him to have sex with an unemployed young man.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282790)

Hahaha, you just wrote a page out of my life right there. Only I was smart enough to not marry her, still lost 8 years of my life to a childish slut though.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282174)

Also, I am sure that the recording industry never intended the legal action to get so out-of-hand like this. Its all the fault of the lawyers they hired which, for some reason, were allowed to continue with the harmful/injust practices long after they were initially publicized.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

eknagy (1056622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282752)

If you needed a bankrupcy attorney then maybe your divorce attorney wasn't so good.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281790)

There was one Justice League episode that had the ultimate answer to prevent scumball lawyers - all lawyers share the sentence of their clients.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282526)

Lawyers have a duty to defend anyone who asks them for representation. To refuse without good reason can result in them being disbarred. Your approach would send lawyers both good and bad indiscriminately to jail. The scumbag lawyers are the ones who know that their clients are guilty (as in, they have evidence of this) and still carry on representing them. Unfortunately there's no accurate way to separate the good from the bad (and yes, before everyone jumps in here, there are some good ones, even if they're few and far between).

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282546)

There was one Justice League episode that had the ultimate answer to prevent scumball lawyers - all lawyers share the sentence of their clients.

And how would that work for O. J.?

You have it all wrong. (1)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282034)

We're not supposed to complain when lawyers are hired by large corporations to sue peasants, only when peasants hire lawyers to sue large corporations. Now go back to North Korea you damned collectivist! [/rightwingstrawman]

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (4, Insightful)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282364)

I'm not defending these lawyers, but isn't this "kill all lawyers"-kinda indiscriminate punishment very much akin to what these lawyers are doing and what we're all railing against in the first place?

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282578)

I'm not defending these lawyers, but isn't this "kill all lawyers"-kinda indiscriminate punishment very much akin to what these lawyers are doing and what we're all railing against in the first place?

Aren't most of the politicians in Washington, lawyers? There, fixed that for ya.

Re:I think Shakespear had it right (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282480)

Famous qoute, "First Kill all the lawyers" seems apropos. And I know it probably wasn't what was intended within the context of the play, but it sure does seem correct now.

Pirates and sharks, how apropos.

I thought... (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281308)

I thought this kind of shit only happens in the US.

I am looking forward to the lawyer bubble popping.

Re:I thought... (4, Insightful)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281576)

Don't hold your breath, I highly doubt that the entire legal profession will disappear overnight. Even less likely that the profession will stop attracting assholes who are ready to do anything at all for money, including victimising innocent people like these two and their compatriots at ACS:Law.

Re:I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281812)

I thought this kind of shit only happens in the US.

I am looking forward to the lawyer bubble popping.

Well with the increased offshoring of much legal work by US law firms to law firms in India I doubt your wish will come true anytime soon. Even in the US law school graduates are having trouble finding USD15.00 per hour document review contract positions.

I see (3, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281312)

Can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs?

"Screw the omlette. Can't go skeet shooting without breaking a few lawyers." -My wife's uncle

Haven't we known this all along? (1)

Jason_D_Berg (745832) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281318)

Haven't we known this all along? This tactic isn't about piracy. It's not about upholding justice. It's a business move to increase revenues through extortion-like techniques. I'm not shocked that they're indiscriminate about who they extort money from. More people receiving the letters just means more money in their pockets. Why spend the time trying to figure out who's actually "stealing" from them? There are obviously no consequences for using the shotgun technique.

Re:Haven't we known this all along? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281386)

We all knew it, but it seems that now, somebody in a position to do something about it is doing something about it..

Re:Haven't we known this all along? (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281470)

doing something about it

Exactly. These lawyers are in real danger of receiving a sternly-worded rebuke.

Re:Haven't we known this all along? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281628)

We all knew it, but it seems that now, somebody in a position to do something about it is doing something about it..

(emphasis added)

That's supposed to be us. Clearly you can see the problem...

Re:Haven't we known this all along? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282632)

It's not even extortion, it's marketing. They want to keep this in the news. Even if the news is "these idiots are suing the wrong people" they don't care, because enough of the "right" people will hear about it, and the "wrong" ones might still put pressure on their friends and relatives. They essentially want to make sharing an activity that society shuns, and they don't care who they have to harm to do it - even these stories probably help their cause, so long as they don't suffer any real repercussions for their actions.

Re:Haven't we known this all along? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282750)

It is about piracy. The idea is to scare people into not pirating.

Trash (1)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281324)

So the accepted method of dealing with letters such as these of filing them in the trash is justified. IANAL, but surely there is a case here, perhaps class action, to go after these guys for harassment? Or perhaps ask if that infamous pizzeria at /b/ might be interested in dropping some snacks off?

Re:Trash (1, Troll)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281442)

So the accepted method of dealing with letters such as these of filing them in the trash is justified.

It all depends. A second or third letter might prompt your ISP to cut your connection, so if you've received one of these letters "in error" (1) it's probably best to contact your ISP immediately and ensure that they know you did nothing, and have them check your usage logs to make sure there's no evidence your connection might have been used, in case it was without your consent. Might also help to change your WiFi password and make sure you're running WPA2/AES as a precaution.

If you actually are pirating materials, then please do go ahead and throw the letter away. In fact, you should return it with a death threat just to be sure they are aware of your contempt for them. I hate the current state of copyright law as much as pirates do, but I also see pirates as part of the problem and not part of the solution. So, please, be as blatantly self-righteous about it as possible. The more actual pirates we can kick off the Internet, the more likely it is that the grown-ups can have rational discussions about reasonable copyright laws and reasonable enforcement.

(1) I use the term "in error" loosely since knowingly sending letters to people who have obviously not engaged in piracy is pretty far from an "error"

Re:Trash (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281592)

I'm not sure if the UK has class action lawsuits.

Re:Trash (2, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281736)

A couple of seconds typing "class action uk" into google gave me this: http://www.contactlaw.co.uk/class-action-lawyers.html [contactlaw.co.uk]

Re:Trash (5, Informative)

augustw (785088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281914)

Class actions don't exist in England, or Scotland. Group actions do, but they are strictly for the benefit those who are direct parties to the action. Unlike class actions, once a judgement is made, it only applies to those who were parties to the action, and not all those affected by the original wrong. Those who were originally wronged, but were not party to the successful group action, must raise a fresh action, and cannot gain anything from a previous group action. So, very different from US class actions.

Re:Trash (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281606)

Or perhaps ask if that infamous pizzeria at /b/ might be interested in dropping some snacks off?

They already went after ACS:Law who were doing the same thing, so I'm sure their brightest and best (almost an oxymoron given the context) are firing up their harassment engines as we speak.

Re:Trash (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282486)

How about extortion and racketeering? They threatened a group of people they knew to be innocent with a large harm (huge legal bills etc) and offered to make it go away if they made a lesser payment.

Not legit (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281370)

Is this some type of new corporate phishing scheme?

Things like this tarnish the sparkling reputation of lawyers everywhere!

"...the lawyers ignored clients' concerns..." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281382)

The clients were publishers, not ordinary working people, weren't they? Implying that they were swindled by fast-talking lawyers seems rather naive.

Re:"...the lawyers ignored clients' concerns..." (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281418)

Perhaps the publishers have some more fast-talking lawyers of their own to limit their liability

Re:"...the lawyers ignored clients' concerns..." (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281572)

I'm assuming that this is some legal analog of that trope from just about every special operations/spy themed violence drama ever made: "We are sending you to do something dangerous and illegal and highly advantageous to us. If it goes well, congratulations all around and we weren't involved. If it goes poorly, we've never heard of you before, and if we had than you must have gone rogue and been acting without authorization and we have nothing to do with it..."

Re:"...the lawyers ignored clients' concerns..." (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282704)

In this case it's not even that drastic. If it goes well, you'll make a ton of money and we'll nuke a few file sharers off the internet, if it goes badly you'll make a ton of money and probably get a slap on the wrist for your part in it.

Re:"...the lawyers ignored clients' concerns..." (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282108)

The clients were publishers, not ordinary working people, weren't they? Implying that they were swindled by fast-talking lawyers seems rather naive.

I don't think /. is saying they were swindled, I think they mean to say that the publishers weren't as fucking blindly stupid as they seemed to be: It's not that they couldn't imagine this shit being a bad move, they just fell into their own greedy lawyer-trap.

Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281448)

And just HOW is this not racketeering, exactly? At least the mafia offered a dental plan.

Re:Ahem... (3, Interesting)

splutty (43475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281476)

I don't think "Pay up now, or we remove all your teeth" is considered a dental plan by most people.

But then again, we know all about those dentists being in cahoots with the mafia, don't we!

Re:Ahem... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281526)

At least the mafia offered a dental plan.

Is that the free tooth extractions with pliers, or the other dental plan where they help your teeth stay in your mouth (the one done by not hitting you in it if you pay up)?

Re:Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281836)

Hmm, choice of missing teeth sans anesthetic, and an empty wallet, versus.....

A lifetime of indentured servitude with garnished wages and/ or an unlimited prison sentence for contempt that lands you "quality time" with a bunk mate and, if your lucky, a tub of vaseline.

That dental plan sounds more appealing all the time.

Can they be sued for malpractice? (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281480)

May be they should be sued for malpractice and made to pay triple damages. A taste of their own medicine might do a whole lot of good in this case.

Re:Can they be sued for malpractice? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281616)

I believe the correct for for this type of action is extortion and they should face criminal charges.

Re:Can they be sued for malpractice? (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281710)

The innocents who were sued by these lawyers, could counter sue them for extortion. But the copyright owners, the alleged clients of the lawyers, could sue their own lawyers for malpractice.

Re:Can they be sued for malpractice? (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282740)

Or since a $0.99 song being shared causes $62,500 in damages [wikipedia.org] , they (and the industry they represent) should be charged $62,500 * (falsely accused recipient) * (average requested settlement amount).

Wow, Lawyers can't speak in English! (2, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281516)

The Solicitors Regulators Authority said the two Davenport Lyons lawyers 'knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP numeric had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach.'

(My highlighting)

"IP numeric"? "IP holders"? They obviously aren't techies or tech-aware...which makes you wonder how they can ever be trusted to know what they're doing with these legal threats. Oh, yes, that's right, the whole things is a bit dodgy anyway - that explains the lack of technical awareness.

I guess it was all sold to managers without a clue by lawyers without a clue, just a scent of blood (or money, whichever pays better).

Re:Wow, Lawyers can't speak in English! (2, Informative)

babyrat (314371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281880)

"IP numeric"? "IP holders"? They obviously aren't techies or tech-aware...which makes you wonder how they can ever be trusted to know what they're doing with these legal threats. Oh, yes, that's right, the whole things is a bit dodgy anyway - that explains the lack of technical awareness.

Right - the Solicitors Regulatory Authority are a bit dodgy - oh wait - they were the ones who used the IP Numeric term, not the lawyers who sent out the notices.

But let's not let facts get in the way of our comments.

Re:Wow, Lawyers can't speak in English! (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281892)

News flash - people skilled in one field sometimes make a mess of jargon used in a different field. Film at 11.

Also, you realise that you're quoting the criticism of the lawyers, not the lawyers themselves, yes? The terms may not be quite right, but the concept - that just because an IP address was identified as being involved in the copyright infringement doesn't prove that the person paying for the connection is the infringer - is bang on.

But you go ahead and castigate the people trying to curb this sort of scatter-gun approach to suing for messing up some of the technical terms.

Re:Wow, Lawyers can't speak in English! (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281900)

The Solicitors Regulators Authority said the two Davenport Lyons lawyers 'knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP numeric had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach.'

(My highlighting)

"IP numeric"? "IP holders"? They obviously aren't techies or tech-aware...

I believe they are just mixing acronyms poorly, and that it should be read as 'Intellectual Property holders (ie. possessors) whose Internet Protocol numeric (ie. number) had been used...'
So in legalese that just means, "people that did possess and did share copyrighted files, identified by computer logs".

Legalese is a lot older than techie speak. You're about 400 years too late for the 'can't speak English' joke. :) The lingo ain't gonna change to suit the way you think it should sound.

Re:Wow, Lawyers can't speak in English! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282458)

It's perfectly comprehensible - "numeric" parses as "numeric address" which pretty adequately sums up an IP address, while "IP holder" is pretty unambiguously "the person holding a particular IP address". Given that it's written for the legal trade it's completely understandable that they'd write it in their style. I wouldn't rip into a mathematician for saying I expand a wavefunction in a basis of gaussian functions instead of the proper jargon basis set.

Re:Wow, Lawyers can't speak in English! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282796)

It makes more sense if you read 'IP holder' as 'Intellectual property holder' - the person who was in posession of and distributing the client's intellectual property without authorisation.

The letter has no more legal weight than any other (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281520)

I never understand why people comply with demand letters or C&D's. They aren't magic legal instruments. They aren't court orders. They can become evidence, and that is their purpose, but that doesn't make them any different from any other letter. Yet people will send money, change their behavior or the way they do business, even change the name of their business, just because they've received "a letter from a lawyer." It's shocking.

Re:The letter has no more legal weight than any ot (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281942)

Having being on the end of what I felt was a hugely over-stretch request to stop using a trademark (others in the community got a full C&D, I got a "friendly" warning from the company boss - read: barely veiled threat of lawyers) then people change their behaviour because they can't afford not to.

Yeah, I could have risked it and said "you're in the US, I'm in the UK, and I think your argument is tenuous at best given that your trademark is a noun and an agent noun that I am using in a descriptive manner for a similar product, so lets see what you do next", but a) I can't afford to fight it if the lawyers were subsequently drafted in and b) even if I could have fought it, I don't have enough faith in the legal system that I'd win - after all, in this case then the generic term had already been allowed as a trademark.

Moral indignation and protestation is all well and good, but at the end of the day then it is usually "he with most money doth win the contest".

Nasty "no cure, no pay" lawyers (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281522)

The typical problem of lawyers working on "no cure, no pay" basis. It is very close to police officers being allowed to keep (part of) the fines they hand out to people. They lose their integrity.

Lawyers have a very bad name on /., I believe that has a lot to do with those stupid lawsuits in the US, typical medical related (person is doing something stupid, gets hurt, sues maker, gets awards, and now irons come with warnings like "do not iron clothes while taking a bath"). Suits that are primarily started by "no cure no pay" type lawyers.

In many country that whole practice is outlawed, for good reason. Lawyers have an important role to fulfil in our society, but those kind of actions gives them a very bad name.

Mod parent up. (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281768)

"No cure no pay" is illegal in most civil law countries. Oh, and most of them are also "loser pays court and attorney fees" jurisdictions.

Re:Nasty "no cure, no pay" lawyers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281792)

And what do poor people do if they need legal representation?

There are many lawyers doing good work for a cut of the settlement, because that's the only way many many people could get someone to pay attention to them.

"Sir, a doctor took my left leg off when I went in for a vasectomy."
"Very good, that sounds like a solid case. Based on similar cases I've argued, it will take around 2 years and cost approximately $60,000. I'll expect 20% up front and I will provide you invoices for services rendered until we're done. Payment details will be on the invoices."
"Oh, I only make $36,000 a year. I can't afford that. Can I pay you once we win the case?"
"Good luck with that stumpy, that's illegal. GTFO so I can find a paying client."

Re:Nasty "no cure, no pay" lawyers (1)

TurinX (1323321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281822)

Conversely though, lawyers often charge extortionate hourly fees and then take their sweet time doing seemingly simple tasks.... I've been billed 3 hours time for 3 emails and proof reading a 1 page document... all at an eye watering rate.

Re:Nasty "no cure, no pay" lawyers (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282334)

Conversely though, lawyers often charge extortionate hourly fees and then take their sweet time doing seemingly simple tasks.... I've been billed 3 hours time for 3 emails and proof reading a 1 page document... all at an eye watering rate.

There's a middle ground between contingency-based and hourly-based fees: claim value-based fees. If a claim is worth x, lawyer get paid f(x) based on a preset formula, win or lose; losing party pays; reputation matters.

Re:Nasty "no cure, no pay" lawyers (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281838)

I don't think that blaming contingency-basis laywers as a general institution is all that accurate(and their lack can be positively harmful).

Because contingency-basis lawyers have to win cases in order to get paid, they arguably have to hew to a more selective standard than do standard per-hour lawyers. If I'm getting my hourly rate, I'll pretty much do whatever legal faffing you want, as long as it won't get me disbarred or otherwise open me to trouble that isn't worth it. If I get absolutely nothing until I win, I'm going to give the winnability(note, this is not identical with merit) of your case a very good look....

Now, the fact that winnability and merit are not identical, either because(as in this case) they are simply engaging in extortion outside the courtroom, or because(as in some malpractice cases) juries are simple emotional saps is a problem, and contingency-basis lawyers will(as a body that acts roughly value-rationally on average) be willing to take winnable cases whether or not they are justly winnable; but so will standard-fee lawyers(who will also be willing to take unwinnable cases, just or unjust, or harassment cases).

Plus, contingency-basis laywers are, in many cases, the only thing preventing access to justice(particularly civil justice) from being even more ludicrously lopsided than it already is. Criminal defendants have a right to an(often mediocre, horribly overworked) laywer, shockingly "law and order" plays better than "pay more public defenders"... People who have been wronged civilly have to get their own. Since lawyers aren't cheap, this pretty much means that civil justice for anybody who isn't at least upper-middle-class(or sticking strictly to small claims court) is available through a contingency-fee lawyer or not at all. Given the frequency with which civil wrongs are committed down the economic totem pole, "not at all" seems like a pretty lousy option...

The fact that it is possible to win unjust cases, and sometimes simply extort people, is a problem that needs to be addressed. The fact that there are lawyers who are willing to share their client's fate is, if anything, more conducive to justice than the alternative. Contingency-fee lawyers may be like cops who get a cut of the fine(if we consider fines that have to be demonstrated in court, not that "asset forfeiture" crap); in that they will swarm like flies over anything winnable in court; but hourly laywers are like mercenaries, in that they will do the bidding of whoever is paying them, without regard for winnability, much less justice, excepting only actions likely to make them liable to more punishment than is worth it.

If I were going to forbid a type of lawyer-payment arrangement, I'd actually say that justice would be better served by forbidding non-contingency lawyers(except in criminal cases, since a great many of those involve no money, only jail time, changing hands). A contingency-lawyer has to do the best job he can, on the best cases he can, or starve. A fee-based lawyer has to do the best job he can, on whatever his client is paying him to do, or starve. One will necessarily hew to winnability(whose relationship to justice is something that can be controlled by public policy), while the other will be a freelance heavy in the service of his client's economic interests...

Allegedly (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281618)

Because they were looking to recoup their own costs, the lawyers ignored clients' concerns about the negative publicity the letter campaign could — and eventually did — cause, the SRA claimed

Implausible deniability. Everyone knows that lawyers are so careful, so crafty with the details of the law that they would never be so careless unless their clients specifically instructed them to act this way.

This is nothing (4, Interesting)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281646)

Once the three-strikes law comes into effect and they become able to legally blackmail people, all kinds of slease-bags (lawyers or not) will be coming out of the woodwork.

In fact, the smart sleasy lawyers will be making a killing by selling "Kits" and giving "Courses" on "Using the 3-Strikes Legislation to protect your IP":
- Considering that everybody is an IP producer and it's easy to publish your IP on the Net (in fact, this post is an example of both), everybody can go around accusing everybody else of stealing their IP, collect the "settlements" (or "drop the case" when confronted with with somebody that actually fights back) without spending a cent in courts and lawyers beyond the standard notice templates and such from the "Kits".

There being no punishment for wrongfully accusing somebody of IP "theft" and no due process before somebody's connection is cut, a whole new class of easy, cheap and profitable scams will be born.

Re:This is nothing (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282042)

Do I have to attend the Course to get the Kit?

Re:This is nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282336)

> Considering that everybody is an IP producer and it's easy to publish your IP on the Net (in fact, this post is an example of both),

Are you a multi-million dollar film or music studio? No? Then don't think for a minute that you will be able to exploit these new laws. While _technically_ you might be a "content producer" and _theoretically_ the law should benefit you just as much it does them, you can be damn sure they will only ever be used by big companies to smack down smaller entities. They paid good money for these laws, you don't think they intend to share them, do you?

Re:This is nothing (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282494)

If a corporation is a legal person, and a corporation violates my IP, does the whole corporation lose its right to connect to the internet on the third strike? I'm going to assume "no". Reminded of that equal/egalitarian distinction someone made recently.

ahem. (0)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281732)

I want those fuckers DISBARRED.

in forgiving mood I see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34282554)

I want those fuckers DISBARRED.

And I want those fuckers lined up against a wall and shot in the base of their skull. It should obvious by now that those fuckers are sociopaths, and in the absence of a viable cure for fuckers like them, it's cheaper and better for society in general to just have them put down. Fortunately for those fuckers, that's illegal, so they'll be permitted to continue their immoral behavior.

RICO?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34281742)

Wouldn't this be where RICO laws come into play, since essentially, they're admitting going after the non-infringers, innocents, strictly for monetary gain?

Also, wouldn't this be a due process violation? I'm thinking disbarment and heavy fines sound appropriate here.

Re:RICO?? (1)

babyrat (314371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34281922)

Wouldn't this be where RICO laws come into play

No.

To explain further, RICO is a law in the United States, and this occurred in the UK.

"The Economist" and "Viz" view of the UK (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282032)

I read these two UK periodicals to get a full spectrum of folks in the UK. From these two, one can conclude that UK citizens (née, subjects) are a highly intelligent, diplomatic and genteel folk, who will punch your fucking teeth out, if you spill their pint. "A pint and a fight, a great British night!"

So it boggles me a bit that UK folks would just pay up on this scam without resistance. It's a good thing that Darl Charles McBride doesn't know about this. Everyone in the UK would be sent a bill for $699 for running Linux on their refrigerators. "Oi! Are yee linuxing up oor lass?"

Hit those cockroachfuckers (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282074)

Take ALL of their possessions, throw them into the streets. Mob justice is the only kind of justice they deserve. Their families should share their fate as well, since they benefitted directly from their actions.

A Better Idea For Online Music Distribution (1)

imyy4u3 (1290108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34282352)

Better idea - make all music/mp3s free - however - either add advertisements for like 5 seconds at the beginning of each song (annoying but doable), OR, somehow incorporate a url or a link or an option into mp3 players and computers so that if you "like" a song you've downloaded, you can choose to contribute $1 or some amount to the artist. I think artists would make much more money this way, I mean I would certainly contribute for songs I liked, and it would ALL go to the artist and not the stupid record companies. Plus it would encourage artists to make every song good, rather than coming up with "filler" songs to fill a CD. Then again, of course record companies would never do this, as they'd go out of business...but would they really be missed?
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