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Ask Slashdot: P2P Liability On a Shared Connection?

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the until-proven-innocent dept.

Privacy 346

An anonymous reader writes "I have a roommate that insists on using BitTorrent without taking any kind of precautions. He has an affinity for downloading material that is extremely popular and high-risk. He's received a warning from a well-known media giant in the past about his file sharing, but hasn't been sued. We've recently begun living in an apartment together (with one other person) and share our Internet connection and IP address. If his p2p activity leads to someone attempting to take legal action, could I be held liable? How would our accusers differentiate between our computers if we all share the same IP address? Would they just sue the lot of us?" Some lawyers would certainly like to get a look at everything on the other side of the connection. Has anyone out there faced legal problems as a result of someone else's use of your connection?

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I agree (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363460)

We are all guilty on their internets.

Re:I agree (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 3 years ago | (#37363498)

We are all guilty on their internets.

Thank you for that confession on behalf of all Anonymous Cowards. I'll use your confession in my own defense against every kind of accusation, should it ever become necessary:
Me: "Your honor, that AC already admitted his guilt, so there is no case for me to answer..."

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363776)

We are all guilty on their internets.

Thank you for that confession on behalf of all Anonymous Cowards. I'll use your confession in my own defense against every kind of accusation, should it ever become necessary: Me: "Your honor, that AC already admitted his guilt, so there is no case for me to answer..."

With your hypersensitive outburst you just admitted you are the "anonymous reader" who is asking this question. Thanks. I was wondering who it was.

Throw as much mud as they can (2)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 3 years ago | (#37363466)

Presumably they would just try and sue whoever they can. Chuck a couple of letters out to whoever lives there and see who caves or settles first.

If you are renting would the landlord be targetted?

Re:Throw as much mud as they can (3)

dougmc (70836) | about 3 years ago | (#37363730)

If you are renting would the landlord be targetted?

If the plaintiffs thought they had a chance of prevailing ... absolutely. Similarly, if they thought it would work, they'd also sue your ISP, computer manufacturer, parents, doctor and fifth grade teacher.

(Do they have a chance? Got me.)

Whose name is the account under? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363472)

Make sure it is his.

Re:Whose name is the account under? (2)

burni2 (1643061) | about 3 years ago | (#37363504)

Right !

And make sure you have a full hard disk encryption ! -> http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org]
And make sure you have your tier1 data some where else and also encrypted (SDHC 32GB or 1,8" SSD sounds good or ?).

I prefer saving my data encrypted on a datasette .. ;)

Re:Whose name is the account under? (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 3 years ago | (#37363744)

What good would full hard disk encryption do against a copyright lawsuit? The judge would order you to decrypt the data, and you'd be obligated to oblige or be found in contempt of court and put in jail (the right to not incriminate yourself is only for criminal cases and this would be a civil case.)

Re:Whose name is the account under? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363846)

Well a psychologist will tell you that we remember things better when familiar cues are present. Our memory also fails under stress.
I have no problem remembering my long and complex encryption key by heart when I'm at my desk, relaxed, and typing it casually like I always do when I turn on my computer.
If I had to give that key anywhere else but at my desk, at home, or with people around me, or under any form of threat, I would most likely have trouble remembering the key. And any psychologist will testify that yes, I am most likely telling the truth when I say my memory is failing me due to stress or due to not having my familiar cues present when I attempt to recall the key - I even know people who can't remember an 8 character password made only of letters and numbers unless they're typing it on whatever website they're used to entering it (happens to me too actually).

And I'm not saying I will lie should I be asked to give my key. I'm just using my knowledge of psychology to make a (fairly obvious) prediction about events beyond my control.

Re:Whose name is the account under? (2)

John Bresnahan (638668) | about 3 years ago | (#37363878)

Hope you enjoy being the girlfriend of the inmate with the most cigarettes!

Re:Whose name is the account under? (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | about 3 years ago | (#37363854)

I have this really bad habit of forgetting my passwords.....

Re:Whose name is the account under? (1)

North Korea (2457866) | about 3 years ago | (#37363868)

The judge would order you to decrypt the data, and you'd be obligated to oblige or be found in contempt of court and put in jail (the right to not incriminate yourself is only for criminal cases and this would be a civil case.)

According to what country's laws? Nowhere in the summary it says they're talking about US.

My experience in this situation (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363478)

Christ, I love Greek! Women just don't seem to understand that a man can find just as much pleasure in the warm confines of a well- muscled ass as they can in the satin embrace of a well-wetted cunt. Maybe we men have conditioned them too well to ignoring one hole for the other: nonetheless, every man I've talked to about it loves Greek and every woman who I've talked to about it has been less than enthusiastic. So imagine my surprise last weekend when Kathleen treated me to the joys of anal sex in what must be the first time in five or six years.

The night started our strangely. Kathleen had just finished re- arranging her large library and was exhausted. As suits my biological clock, I was just coming awake at 10 PM when she was turning in. She invited me to bed and I politely declined: I was horny as usual and told her I'd keep her awake. After a couple of more requests from her, I stripped and crawled in beside her. Kathleen loves to snuggle and wasted no time in curling her small body up next to mine. I turned and kissed her. She was oddly responsive for her tired state, and teased me with a hint of tongue in her kisses. I reached down to feel her muff and found it just beginning to rev as her right hand slipped down her belly to her clit.

I took up what has become my customary position between her legs - kneeling and using my cock as a sex toy to tickle her lower labia and the entrance to her cunt. But this time I let my aim wander lower to the wonderful curve where ass, crotch, and leg meet. I rubbed my cock against this soft crescent and expanded the stroke to brush against the entrance to her ass. I noticed that every time that my prick touched her rosebud, her strokes on her clit quickened. It wasn't long before I was pressing the tip of my cock against her asshole.

Surprise! My cock slipped easily into her ass until the entire head was buried inside, and just as I was about to pull out and apoligize, she handed me a bottle of sex lubricant and said "What the fuck? Why not?". I pulled back and poured the lubricant on my hard cock and noticed her pussy was swollen and very wet. I worked my cock back into its previous nest. It was so easy. I could feel her ass muscles relaxing and opening for me. I eased ever so slowly deeper. Such heaven! Like a warm, wet hand gripping all around my prick - so much tighter than pussy, and delightful in an entirely different way. I could feel her hips grind against me as I worked the last of my seven-plus inches into her back door. Realizing where I was and how long it had been since I'd known this pleasure, I had to fight to pull the reigns in on my orgasm.

It seemed like forever - my slow rocking pulling my cock almost full-length out of her ass before easing it back in until my balls rested against her firm buns. Her right hand furiously massaged her clit and her left hand played at the entrance of her cunt, pressing on the full length of her labia. And all the while my cock was enveloped in a firm net of gripping muscles that wrestled to bring the cum from me. "It's so weird," she said as she searched for the grip on her own orgasm. Suddenly, it was upon her. I felt her ass open up like a mouth that was just to blow up a ballon. "Are you close?" she hissed. "No," I grunted. She was close, tho'. Too close to stop. I felt her stiffen and lurch under me. "Uuhhhh! Come on you bastard! Fill my ass!" she yelled as she dug her nails into my back. Amazing what a little dirty talk will do - from that special nowhere where good men hide their orgasms until their lovers are ready, my load bolted from my crotch to my brain and back to my flushed balls. I gripped the pillow with my teeth and jerked my neck back and forth and tried not to deafen Kathleen when my cum blasted out of my cock like water from a firehose. The rush of jism racing up my tube seemed to last for stroke after stroke until sweaty Kathleen gasped, grunted, and pushed me from on top of her. Since I have a little anal experience myself, I knew the sudden discomfort of having something in your ass after you've orgasmed. I considerately slipped out of her despite not having finsihed my own orgasm to my complete satisfaction.

I kissed her and thanked her for her special gift, but she pushed me away. "Go wash off and fuck my pussy," she said " I feel like something's undone." So after a quick and thourough shower, I returned to the futon where her dripping, swollen twat waited for my not-quite-recovered cock.

And that's another story...

Whos name is the internet account in? (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#37363480)

Since you cant share ownership of an internet account, someone has to have their name on the paper work. If its you, then its your account and you are liable but also in a position to dictate change. If its him, then its his problem.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363548)

Actually it's not uncommon to share ownership on utilities.

My take on this is: it's fine, don't worry about it. Also, you don't need to find legal advice from a professional when you can just ask for free on the internet while making yourself look like a fool.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363586)

Who says "you are liable"??? IANAL, but it's pretty obvious you aren't, either.

The idea that the owner of a piece of equipment is liable for someone else's unauthorized use of it, simply won't fly. Some states have done that exclusively in the case of automobiles, but their legal authority to do even that is on pretty thin grounds.

If somebody, without my permission, uses my internet connection to do something illegitimate, there is no law making me liable or responsible for their actions.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (0)

Xelios (822510) | about 3 years ago | (#37363638)

You may be right. Do you feel like spending tens of thousands of dollars and going through 5 years of constant stress to test your assumption? In the end you might be lucky enough to have them drop their case against you, leaving nothing decided so they're free to go after the next person. Such is justice when you're up against a multi-million dollar law firm backed by media conglomerates.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363664)

That kind of attitude is EXACTLY what lets them get away with this intimidation and harassment bullshit.

If you don't want to stand up for your own rights, at least get the hell out of the way and let other people do it.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363766)

That's pretty bold talk for someone with no dog in the fight.
 
The questioner is certainly at risk, given the shared nature of the connection. It's quite likely that members of a jury would find a reasonable assumption that he was sharing in the activity given that he was living with the active downloader, and that's enough for civil litigation. He'd have to come up with a pretty airtight presentation that none of his equipment contained any pirated material, and that he didn't use it.
 
The actual response from the poster should be to demand his roommate stop putting him at risk with his illegal activity, or to move out. If the roommate won't do either, then this guy should move out.
 
Myself, I don't associate very closely with lawbreakers.
 
If you're actually committed to your high-minded principles of freedom, then feel free to help pay the poster's future legal bills, in addition to flapping your lips (or tapping your fingertips) in righteous judgment at people who suggest a prudent course.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

microbee (682094) | about 3 years ago | (#37363842)

Yeah? How much would YOU like to donate to the legal fees?

Put infringers name on ISP contract/account (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37363874)

That kind of attitude is EXACTLY what lets them get away with this intimidation and harassment bullshit. If you don't want to stand up for your own rights, at least get the hell out of the way and let other people do it.

Absolutely. Take your name off the ISP contract/account and let the copyright infringer put their name on the ISP contract/account. That is what you are advocating isn't it?

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

mellon (7048) | about 3 years ago | (#37363658)

I think "liable" does not mean what you think it means. It doesn't mean you did it. It means you can plausibly be blamed for it. If you are aware that your roommate is engaging in infringing activities using your Internet connection, and you don't do anything to stop it, then it is just naive to think that you won't be found liable. If you want to be protected from this, move, and do not let your "friend" bring computers to your new apartment.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363680)

No, "liable" means you can be HELD responsible and accountable, no matter who did it. It has nothing to do with blame. Look it up.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37363666)

"Who says "you are liable"??? IANAL, but it's pretty obvious you aren't, either"

I am no lawyer, but I do remember from a few law classes that there are 2 things that determine if you are liable:

1. Duty of care. Do you have a duty to protect those who are injured, phyiscally, emotionally, or financially?
2. Foreseeable: Was it foreseeable that this action could cause it?

It is reasonable that the owner of the internet connection had a duty of care to protect others from financial harm by his connection. Since he had a letter already by the MPAA, he told his roomate to stop sharing, and to top it off he asked slashdot and now has a record on it. Therefore, it is 100% foreseeable.

So is he liable? My answer would be 100% yes.

Solution: Jave his roomate pay for the connection and switch the service in his name or if the other guy owns the place kick him out.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363698)

You glaringly left out: authorized use.

If someone breaks into my house and steals a gun from me, I am not liable for their subsequent use of that gun. If they murder somebody with it, it's their problem, not mine.

Otherwise, it's blaming the victim for the crime... which is 100% against the legal principles of this country.

Authorized in some de facto sense? (2)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37363886)

You glaringly left out: authorized use.

Given that the owner of the account is aware of the copyright infringement and not doing anything to stop it there probably is a legal argument that he is authorizing that conduct in some de facto sense.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37363898)

Well he gave permission for his roomate to use it. Therefore he is authorized.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363914)

If you take insufficient precautions to secure a deadly weapon, you are most assuredly guilty of negligence, and should pay a penalty for that. Not the resulting murder, but you'd have to live with that stain on your conscience the rest of your life.
 
But you digress... the facts in THIS case of the poster living with the moronic pirate include evidence that he knew of the illegal activity (he posted it, for fuck's sake). He's either skating on thin ice, or he's already treading water; he needs to sever connections with the 'tard lawbreaker, or live with the possibilty of legal sanctions that will destroy him financially.
 
You may say we shouldn't live with this system, but I didn't see you mention anything you're doing to change it. A quixotic "fuck you" to the realities of our society is very satisfying, until you get served with the civil suit papers. But don't let that stop you from faulting people for protecting their own interests.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363726)

"It is reasonable that the owner of the internet connection had a duty of care to protect others from financial harm by his connection."

I think you have a pretty funny definition of "reasonable". How much difficulty should one have to go through, for example, to prevent someone from stealing your car and running over his ex-wife? If you leave the keys in the car, are you liable? How about an alarm with a combination lock? Would you count that as reasonable?

But wait... many people could not afford to have those put on their old cars, or know how to do it themselves. So is it actually reasonable?

But you are saying that somebody should be compelled to use advanced encryption technology in order to block the remote possibility that a neighbor would "borrow" the equipment, and cause the loss of A FEW PENNIES of profit to some company in a far-off state???

"Reasonable", my lily white ass.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363736)

And that's only THEORETICAL loss, by the way. There is no proof that there would ever have been a sale, so even that is entirely speculative.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363696)

If somebody, without my permission, uses my internet connection to do something illegitimate, there is no law making me liable or responsible for their actions.

Except for when there is. One such avenue is accomplice liability (another reply to this outlined another, similar theory). Examples of accomplice liability:

Someone steals your car and then robs a bank: not liable. Someone borrows your car and you know they are doing so to rob the bank: liable. You sell someone a shovel used to kill someone: not liable. You sell someone a shovel used to kill someone and charged them 500% more because he told you what it was for: liable.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37363742)

But you're describing a different case. He's clearly sharing the connection intentionally, which authorizes the usage. His response needs to be to cut off his roommate if the connection is in his name.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | about 3 years ago | (#37363908)

The idea that the owner of a piece of equipment is liable for someone else's unauthorized use of it, simply won't fly.

They are sharing the connection. By definition, that makes the other person an authorized user.

If the OP were to lock down the router, and refuse to give his roommate the password, then maybe he wouldn't have a problem. Of course, then they wouldn't be sharing the connection any more.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363606)

It's not quite that simple. Your agreement to be liable for all traffic on the account is to cover any cost that the ISP could face and to allow them to cut you off for someone else's actions. The agreement does not extend to third parties and cover that sort of liability. They could get you for aiding and abetting. Personally, I would have him sign something where he indemnifies you for any liability that is the result of his action.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

dosware (695578) | about 3 years ago | (#37363652)

It's your car I'm driving (it's registered in your name) and I'm drunk and run over the neighbor kid and do a hit and run. Someone see's the license plate. But Woo Hoo!...I'm off the hook. Your sorry a$$ is going to the big house for life!

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363756)

That's what I said! Some (most?) states have declared that the owner of an automobile is liable for its use, IF the actual perpetrator cannot be found.

But that applies ONLY to automobiles, and as I said before, that concept is on pretty shaky legal grounds.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

dosware (695578) | about 3 years ago | (#37363890)

Wow- I was unaware of that...and that is scary. Thanks for the heads up....no more lending the car to friends.

Re:Whos name is the internet account in? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37363750)

Generally, if you want to 'dictate change,' you need to be willing to take on the full cost of the internet connection if the other guy refuses. Otherwise your threats are just empty words, and you look like an idiot.

That's assuming they are already splitting the internet bill. If not, then throw a password on that thing and be happy.

yes. they wouldnt. yes. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363486)

this is not legal advice and i may be a lawyer in your state but am not your lawyer and do not represent you.
1. If they take legal action you could be sued and held liable. the burden of proof is 1% - i.e. if you are found even 1% liable you could be held liable, even if it was for a trifling amount. its preponderance of the evidence in a civil matter i.e if they show it is more than 51% likely that you were responsible for the 1% liability you are liable.
2. your accusers would ask for discovery and depending on the judge and state you would have to give up your computers for them to poke around or use a 3rd party lab to poke around for signs of infringement.
3. Yes they would likely sue everyone in the household who owned a computer.

Does it really matter? (4, Insightful)

Derekloffin (741455) | about 3 years ago | (#37363490)

Even if you assume you are 100% legally in the clear, they can still sue you, get your ISP to cut you off, and make your life generally miserable. Sadly being in the right doesn't mean someone else can't accuse you of being in the legal wrong and thus forcing you to prove otherwise.

Re:Does it really matter? (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363620)

Actually, and technically, that's not correct. That is harassment, attempted coercion, interference with a legal contract, and a groundless, malicious suit, which are illegal in many if not most states. (It is even possible it falls under the category of a SLAPP suit, but that might be reaching a bit.)

I'm not saying that they don't sometimes get away with it, but what they are actually doing in those situations is ILLEGAL.

Re:Does it really matter? (2)

nephorm (464234) | about 3 years ago | (#37363714)

Actually, and technically, that's not correct. That is harassment, attempted coercion, interference with a legal contract, and a groundless, malicious suit, which are illegal in many if not most states. (It is even possible it falls under the category of a SLAPP suit, but that might be reaching a bit.)
I'm not saying that they don't sometimes get away with it, but what they are actually doing in those situations is ILLEGAL.

If they have evidence that their products were shared illegally using a connection with your name on it, none of your breathless characterizations is accurate. Being "100% legally in the clear" does not innoculate you from being legitimately sued. It is only a determination that is made after the suit has been brought. Your argument is like saying that every criminal defendant found not-guilty was maliciously prosecuted.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about 3 years ago | (#37363818)

Yes that's all fine. But how much money and FUD do you have to wade through to get such a judgement. The thing is, if your right or wrong, (I, we, you - the little guy) does not matter, once they got their hooks into you, your wallet will take a big hit as the drag you through the mud.. Justice costs $$$ my friend and they got alot more than you or I.

Re:Does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363624)

Yea- and you could get killed while on the road. The chances are so tiny it isn't worth worrying about. How many convictions have actually been obtained from p2p infringement? That is what I thought. Nothing to see here. Move along. I've actually received notices from running Tor. It isn't a big deal. You are not liable. Chances of them actually getting you into a court room are so slim that I'd just write them a letter saying I committed copyright infringement and to please bring me to court. I bet they still wouldn't take action despite having admitted it in a letter.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#37363632)

Of course, they can do that even without anyone using Bittorrent.

Consider yourself lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363500)

Just be thankful that you aren't the account holder, and you don't live in New Zealand.

With our new law the account holder is liable for all traffic on a connection, so unsecured WiFi and other people aren't defences.

I will be SO pissed if any of my flatmates torrent/get caught...

Self Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363502)

1. I would gather proof of the piracy (screen shots, etc...) of the room mate's computer (get consent first!). That way if there is legal action, you can rest assured that you have evidence of his infringement and not your own.

2. Also ask that he sign a letter stating his use of bit torrent.

3.Make sure the internet connection is registered to all your names. Regardless of the way you have arranged the payments, make sure the ISP knows its a multi-dwelling home. They should be able to at least in the account notes or in some fashion on their end identify all of you as the "co-owners" of the connection, sharing responsibility.

4. Lastly, talk to the room mate about legitimate sources of material, or using VPN-type connection for his pirating activities.

Best of luck - Sam

Warning! (1)

NunyoBidnez (934415) | about 3 years ago | (#37363510)

If his illegal activity draws any heat, they will seize every computer in the house while they try to figure out whodunnit. Do you have anything on your computer that could incriminate you in any way? Are you sure? If not, and you do manage to avoid federal prosecution, you still might not ever get your stuff back.

Re:Warning! (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 years ago | (#37363588)

If his illegal activity draws any heat, they will seize every computer in the house while they try to figure out whodunnit. Do you have anything on your computer that could incriminate you in any way? Are you sure? If not, and you do manage to avoid federal prosecution, you still might not ever get your stuff back.

You can prevent your computers from being seized by ratting on your roommate in this situation. And since he insisted, against your wishes, to keep downloading stuff illegally, you have no obligations towards him. (Of course he can try to claim it was you, but that would get him into very serious trouble when yours and his computers are examined. In England it would be called "perverting the course of justice" and is considerably worse than the copyright infringement. )

Tell your roommate (5, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 years ago | (#37363514)

that if you receive any letters from any lawyers you will answer them truthfully. So if you get accused of illegal downloads, you would truthfully reply that you didn't do it, but your roommate.

It seems your roommate insists, against your objections, to do things that are illegal, and bound to get you into expensive trouble, without taking any precautions. If the shit hits the fan, you have no obligation at all to support him in any way; your only responsibility is to get out of trouble yourself as cheaply as possible.

Re:Tell your roommate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363546)

that if you receive any letters from any lawyers you will answer them truthfully. So if you get accused of illegal downloads, you would truthfully reply that you didn't do it, but your roommate.

The OP never said that he doesn't download illegal things himself, but suggested that he wouldn't do so without protection.

Re:Tell your roommate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363572)

That's like not being gay because you wear a condom when your boyfriend bare backs your asshole.

Re:Tell your roommate (2)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 3 years ago | (#37363602)

And in most cases it's a damn fool who thinks he's "protected".

Do people really think blacklists and whitelists and other stupid filtering protocols are going to save them? As if the AA associations can't buy or borrow a billion IP addresses outside their corporate blocks?

Only extreme measures like a VPN through a foreign country give you *any* trustworthy protection, and never forget that absolutely nothing will *ever* protect you absolutely.

Re:Tell your roommate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363656)

I don't recall what protections he use - though if it is THOSE specific measures, then it is not really enough compared to say having THAT, PLUS encryption, or some means of obfuscation.

Re:Tell your roommate (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37363692)

Kicking him out would be responsible. I do assume he owns the apartment and if not then leave and get a new place.

Re:Tell your roommate (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 years ago | (#37363700)

Given the roommate's behavior, it's likely that should OP do as you suggest, his roommate will simply deny downloading anything. And I believe the wording on most ISP contracts makes the account owner liable for all activity on the account (with a possible exception for being hacked).

Re:Tell your roommate (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37363828)

Liable to the ISP, not 3rd parties. So if the ISP gets sued, they can in turn come after you.

Re:Tell your roommate (1)

Xeroxis (2163152) | about 3 years ago | (#37363838)

sharing network is certanly not against the law so each network user is responsible for themselves, but person that sues need to prove u did it anyway (if u didnt they cant anyway)

Simple... (5, Informative)

penguinbrat (711309) | about 3 years ago | (#37363516)

Put the connection in his name, the warning goes to him - the law suit goes to him...

Re:Simple... (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 years ago | (#37363600)

Or make him use a VPN [vpnuk.net] that's in his name.

Re:Simple... (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37363690)

Standard Legal Advice

[ And now for the standard disclaimer: Legal advice is given by an attorney duly admitted to practice law after confidentially and candidly hearing your version of the facts and applying a specialized analysis of the facts and relevant law. This, however, is a silly post on the Internet, and not legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created with anyone as a result of this post. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. If legal advice is what you want, go hire a competent lawyer. Don't ask slashdot.

From Capt. Kangorooski

Re:Simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363792)

Please, for the love of god, close your "[" with a "]", my programmer mind rebels at your thoughtless syntax.

Re:Simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363836)

I'm outside of the world (you call it ye old world), do i have to give a rat's ass...?

Re:Simple... (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37363732)

Still if the injured party feels that this is beyond a civil act and is a criminal one, the MPAA can get the FBI to confiscate your computers in the name of obtaining evidence of course.

They could even seize the apartment which would scare the shit out of the landlord. For example, if you someone smoked a join in a rented home, the police take the home away agaisnt your will and sell it for their own financial gain. If you own the home and have a mortgage you are SOL. Pretty scary and I am shocked it is illegal but true. The police love seizures as it is a great way to raise money.

Massive crimes are scary and you need to take responsibility. Kick the roomate out and tell the landlord how he will be liable or leave yourself. Of course if you own the place and need a roomate for some extra cash then kick his ass out and cancel the internet subscription and use a competitor. Remember, even after he leaves you still could be hunted down.

Plausable deniability. (3, Interesting)

mrquagmire (2326560) | about 3 years ago | (#37363530)

Run a Tor exit node and open up a guest wireless connection that anyone can use.

Re:Plausable deniability. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363542)

So, that it won't be a civil suit about copyright infringement, but a criminal for child porn access?
Sound plan, where can I sign up to your newsletter?

Re:Plausable deniability. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363752)

Not to mention wasting bandwidth.

One strike... (2)

mmullings (1142559) | about 3 years ago | (#37363536)

A few years ago (circa MS Flight Sim X) my unprotected wireless was used to download and share the aforementioned software through a torrent. MS contacted my ISP (Cox) and I got a letter from MS's IP dept. I had to go through quite a bit of paperwork and finally talk to someone at MS. I explained that I didn't realize my neighbors had access to my wireless (honestly didn't think it would reach). Basically I was told this was my one and only chance, don't let it happen again and secure my router.

Re:One strike... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37363640)

That's still nothing but intimidation. They can't legally make you secure your router! Nor can they try to hold you responsible if there is reason to believe someone else did it... unsecured router or not!

They were bullying you. Nothing more. Nothing less. And you fell for it.

Re:One strike... (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about 3 years ago | (#37363860)

That's not actually true. READ YOUR TOS that you agreed to.

Re:One strike... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363904)

Because TOS agreements are so reasonable and all of them are enforced by the law...

Someone says they're blaming me for what someone else did? My response: shut the fuck up.

Re:One strike... (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | about 3 years ago | (#37363884)

But next time they can say "oh, this guy again" and jump straight to the part where he gets sued. Even if someone else did it it's going to take time, effort, money and lawyers to sort it out.

Here's what you do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363552)

"Here's what you do. You tell him that you're his friend and that you're gonna help him and that everyone's gonna be all right. And then you put a wire on him and you find out who's selling him drugs and then you get that guy and you flip up, turn him into a snitch. You follow that guy to the people who's really really bad." -Michael Scott

Log NAT translations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363556)

Granted it's a lot of logs - but if you put in a linux+iptables or bsd+pf box as your router, you could log every connection to file - at least text zips well. store them for 6 months, only log connections which become fully established (since if you log half-open connections you'll likely be logging orders of magnitude more). It probably wouldn't take up a huge volume of space if you compress them, and you could also probably not log outgoing connections terminating on port 80 or 443 (though undoubtedly peer clients try and use those from time to time, it'd help you shave your logs if you hedge your bets that someone looking to sue your roomate isn't using 80/443 for their endpoint).

This in addition to truthfully answering lawyers' questions should cover your ass plenty sufficiently.

Log NAT Translations (2)

FliesLikeABrick (943848) | about 3 years ago | (#37363566)

Granted it's a lot of logs - but if you put in a linux+iptables or bsd+pf box as your router, you could log every connection to file - at least text zips well. store them for 6 months, only log connections which become fully established (since if you log half-open connections you'll likely be logging orders of magnitude more). It probably wouldn't take up a huge volume of space if you compress them, and you could also probably not log outgoing connections terminating on port 80 or 443 (though undoubtedly peer clients try and use those from time to time, it'd help you shave your logs if you hedge your bets that someone looking to sue your roomate isn't using 80/443 for their endpoint).

This in addition to truthfully answering lawyers' questions should cover your ass plenty sufficiently.

Problem solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363576)

Snitch on your roommate and collect a reward, especially if he pirates software. BSA pays good money for this.

Get a new roommate. (1)

rjh (40933) | about 3 years ago | (#37363592)

Let's rephrase the question.

Dear Slashdot:

My roommate insists on doing things that might create expensive legal nightmares for me. I've asked him to stop, but he won't. What should I do?

The answer is, "Get a new roommate. Your current one is not respecting you, as evidenced by his disregard for your wishes and the way he's exposing you to potentially massive legal fees. You need to be able to trust your roommate, and you apparently can't trust your current one. Finding a new roommate might be hard, but it's necessary. Good luck!"

With respect to the legal question you've raised, the only answer here is "talk to a real lawyer." Trusting Slashdot to give you legal counsel is, TBH, just flat-out crazy.

Re:Get a new roommate. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#37363684)

Absolutely. Or cut off their physical access (wired access only, tied to mac address and port number, with the switch in a locked area, authentication required to connect so if he unplugs your cable into his machine and spoofs your address, he still can't use it.

And while you're at it, make sure you don't download anything questionable either. The time you're wasting watching that "must-watch" show/move could be used doing something more interesting.

Re:Get a new roommate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363702)

Seriously. You are a prick. I wouldn't want to live with an uptight ass hole who is clearly paranoid (and really is- not just overstating here) about law enforcement. Unless this person you are living with is downloading criminal (not just infringing material) I wouldn't be one bit concerned. What are they going to get from you? If you are living with a room mate there is likely nothing for them to get.

Re:Get a new roommate. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 3 years ago | (#37363712)

Let's rephrase the question.

Dear Slashdot:

My roommate insists on doing things that might create expensive legal nightmares for me. I've asked him to stop, but he won't. What should I do?

The answer is, "Get a new roommate. Your current one is not respecting you, as evidenced by his disregard for your wishes and the way he's exposing you to potentially massive legal fees. You need to be able to trust your roommate, and you apparently can't trust your current one. Finding a new roommate might be hard, but it's necessary. Good luck!"

With respect to the legal question you've raised, the only answer here is "talk to a real lawyer." Trusting Slashdot to give you legal counsel is, TBH, just flat-out crazy.

Exactly. What if your roommate were running a meth lab or had a child pornography studio set up in his room? Yes, these are more serious crimes, but the principle is the same. If you are aware that your roommate is engaging in illegal activity that could get you into trouble, it would be prudent to either stop the activity or get a new roommate. You wouldn't give it a second thought if it were one of the more serious crimes listed above.

decent roommates are scarse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363850)

A decent roommate can be hard to find, so are probably drawbacks to dropping the current roommate. He's probably already put a lot of thought into selection of roommate. I would put the question as: "How do I shift legal responsibility to my roommate?".

With regards to lawyers, spend a significant amount of time thinking, and asking around (guess that includes slashdot), to write down an exact set of questions, and exact answers. At the lawyer's office, talk to the lowest ranking person possible about the billing and stuff. Then, when you talk to the expensive lawyer, stick to business, fire off the exact, written questions, leave, and then write down the lawyer's reponse.

well..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363594)

Does the agreement you signed say you share any liability for any damage/problems? I'd hope not but its worth checking.
Also, see if it says anything about not reporting something you see the others do.

Other than that I'd say you're safe. In fact I'd say you have a fairly good 'you cant prove it was actually me' legal defence
if you did some p2p yourself (if you take basic precautions).

VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363610)

Tell him that if he wants to torrent he has to use a VPN account that's in his name. You could even configure it so that the router he connects to is acting as a VPN bridge.

Don't sweat it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363614)

I read that IP laws are made up and can be safely ignored. At least that's what most of the asshats on Slashdot would have you think. I'm sure one of them would come up and make some bullshit argument for you. Who knows, the judge just might laugh himself to death. This is the wrong forum to seek legal advice.

Re:Don't sweat it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363764)

I read anon. cowards like you are too retarded to understand an argument and actually respond to it.

Two possible solutions... (2)

garyok (218493) | about 3 years ago | (#37363636)

Technical: Block the standard ports for bittorrent at your router and tell him it's your ISP doing it. Change the password to the router and say the ISP did that remotely because of new T&Cs too. If he's such a low-watt bulb that he doesn't know to download and use PeerBlock or Blocklist Manager, it'd be a stretch to think he'd be able to unravel that cunningly crafted web of deceit.

Manly: Cut him loose. He couldn't give two shits about how his behaviour affects you. You could be a pussy about it and hope you find a conveniently non-confrontational legal loophole so you never have to take any form of stand against his irresponsibility. Or you could relocate your balls and tell him to take a hike because you're not going to be liable for his douchebaggery.

Your choice.

Re:Two possible solutions... (1)

gront (594175) | about 3 years ago | (#37363676)

Not legal advice, but why not get your roomie to sign a piece of paper, an agreement between you and him that you have no knowledge of his Internet activities and he is soley responsible for them, and he is paying you because you are the account holder for billing purposes but in all other ways it is his responsibility for his access? Just imagine if he was looking a kiddie porn... Having that agreement in place ahead of time would really be a Good Thing.

Re:Two possible solutions... (1)

burni2 (1643061) | about 3 years ago | (#37363748)

No, it wouldn't be. It clearly state that you knew off a felony ( accessory ), and thus brings you in REAL legal trouble too, under any circumstances.

So that would be a bad advice.

Re:Two possible solutions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363794)

Even with the agreement, you're still in hot water. Signing an agreement won't stop the potential lawsuit. The Media Company will subpoena your ISP, and your ISP will provide the details of whoever signed up for service. Then the Media Company will sue the subscriber. If you're the subscriber, parsing out the details of some piece of paper (that you drafted) later is not a position you want to be in--particularly if you're not a lawyer.

Re:Two possible solutions... (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 3 years ago | (#37363704)

You are making two mistaken assumptions here. 1. There are no standard ports for bittorrent anymore as evidenced by the randomize port button being checked by default in many clients. 2. You are then assuming that the roommate is technically less than competent. Presumably both are paying for it. Which indicates to me, that either have the rights to the router it is connected to. One possible solution is to see if there is a WiMAX internet provider around, and a new internet connection can be done.

Re:Two possible solutions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363720)

I would simply block all ports except for web and ssl for his computer. Sorry, but I don't put up with nonsense like that, and neither should you, especially if the connection is in your name.

If he doesn't want to put up with this, then tell him to buy his own connection.

If you can't beat them, join them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363660)

I suggest you start downloading as much copyrighted material as you can, to make sure that the total value of pirated material will be greater than any future fine. That way, you can still win, even if you get caught. And then blame it all on your roommate anyway.

Is it worth worrying about? (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | about 3 years ago | (#37363746)

Really, is the risk of getting the attention of the copyright/lawsuit industry significantly higher than the risk of, say, him going crazy and murdering you in your sleep or you getting hit by lightning while crossing the street? How many other people are sharing those same extremely popular files as your mate, and how many of them are getting caught?

In short, is it worth worrying about at all?

Re:Is it worth worrying about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363808)

You're from the RIAA aren't you :)

Kick ass. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 years ago | (#37363796)

He has an affinity for downloading material that is extremely popular and high-risk.

Who owns the primary Internet account? Who holds the lease on the apartment? Who is the head of household? The responsible adult here?

If the answer to any of those questions is you, you have a problem, but you also - quite literally - hold the key to the solution. You can tell your roomate to stop and you can make it stick.

"High risk" suggests many possibilities. If your roomate is trading in hard core porn over your shared connection, a raid by the ICE or FBI is not out of the question.

You do not want to be caught up in anything like that, even as the presumptively innocent bystander.

how to stop his torrenting without any anonymizers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37363802)

better option , if he refuses to take any sort of precautions (peerblock is simple and easy to use) then change the password on your router and turn of upnp which will end his ability to make socket connections for torrents

Easy, tell them not to ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37363824)

... and block P2P traffic.

My roommate blew up when I did that.

Then he noticed that our uselessly slow Internet connection was actually amazingly fast when it wasn't being hammered by improperly configured P2P clients.

Then peace returned.

The main gist of your problems (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37363834)

The main problem I see is that you know about the illegal activity. You could might have gotten off legally if you didn't know even if the ISP account was in your name. But that doesn't stop the *AA from suing you and you spending a lot of money to clear yourself. Remember they have sued people for years before that had no knowledge that their ISP accounts were being used to download copyrighted software. This unfortunately is losing situation for you. If you get sued by the *AA then you are at risk of getting your computer seized even if (1) the ISP account is in his name or (2) you get separate ISP accounts. Normally the *AA will go after everyone in the household, search and seize first, and ask questions later. Either he stops what he's doing or you find a new roommate.

Not a Technical or Legal Question (5, Insightful)

pz (113803) | about 3 years ago | (#37363882)

This is not a technical or legal question. It is a question about relationships. I'll take a stab, but, seriously, it does not belong on Slashdot. It belongs on some advice column.

As I understand it, you have a roommate who partakes in risky behavior that you have requested he stop. He does not agree to your request. It seems therefore that you need a new roommate since you do not wish to expose yourself to any potential risk and -- this is the important part -- you and he do not have sufficiently compatible lifestyles. You need a new living situation, whether that be by leaving and finding a new apartment on your own, or kicking this fellow out.

Any other discussions about relative liability or that include technological solutions, while potentially fascinating, are completely and utterly missing the point. This is not a technical or legal problem: it is a problem about relationships.

Separate Internet connection (2)

jroysdon (201893) | about 3 years ago | (#37363906)

I don't know what agreements you have in place, but if the Internet connection is in your name, then I would not allow anyone else to connect that you cannot trust.

If the Internet connection is in your troublesome roommate's name, I would get your own Internet connection. This may be difficult, but most places have at least 2-3 ISP options (DSL, Cable, Clear, etc.). It's too bad you probably can't get two public IPs for your connection and each have your own router for your devices behind it.

I think paying for your own Internet (or not having your roommate chip in or having to give them a discount for their share of the Internet you are not going to share) is more than worth it.

When (not if, it will happen eventually unless the laws are changed) your roommate ends up in court and should you somehow get named, your defense will be easy. You never connected to his Internet and have your own. Produce your bills as proof, and that's the end of the story for you.

I think the advice that someone else gave about keeping logs of where the connection went is a good idea at first thought - and I'm not lawyer - but that sounds kinda shady - you kept logs to prove it wasn't you? How do you prove there wasn't any editing or that you only ever used that one IP? Just sounds like you could have audit problems proving things since you would have access to the logging system. To have it be bulletproof, you need to have some third-party setting up that system without you having access to it.

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