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Two Florida Judges Quash Copyright Fishing Lawsuits

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out dept.

Music 17

Fluffeh writes with a piece of good news on the privacy front: "Two rulings in related cases this week have dealt a serious blow to the plaintiffs and their dodgy legal strategy. Ordinarily, copyright law is handled by the federal courts, but Florida plaintiffs have begun using an obscure provision of state law called a 'pure bill of discovery' to attempt to force ISPs to reveal the identity of suspected file-sharers. The rulings, one on Monday and one on Wednesday, saw two different judges siding with the objecting ISPs. 'These back-to-back rulings against the plaintiffs suggest that they're likely to lose any time ISPs raise objections to fishing expeditions against their customers.'"

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What is ISP is a copyright holder itself? (3, Insightful)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510205)

Time Warner, Cablevision -- will they protect their customers from "fishing expeditions"? Will they conduct expeditions of their own?

Re:What is ISP is a copyright holder itself? (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510335)

Time Warner, Cablevision -- will they protect their customers from "fishing expeditions"? Will they conduct expeditions of their own?

In cases like this, apply the following reasoning:
- Is the behaviour profittable?
- Is there any way of knowing about the behaviour?

If the answers are Yes and No, assume the behaviour is in course. There is no need to evaluate if it's legal or moral.

Re:What is ISP is a copyright holder itself? (1)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511617)

Maybe it's best not to use a company's own network to steal from said company? (yeah, yeah, copying isn't stealing...)

Re:What is ISP is a copyright holder itself? (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39514775)

If you know it's not stealing why did you say it? If you think it's not why accept it?

...what? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510329)

These back-to-back rulings against the plaintiffs suggest that they're likely to lose any time ISPs raise objections to fishing expeditions against their customers.'"

That's funny, last I checked, ISPs were happy to sell off any amount of customer data for a buck.
Let me guess, they're upset because the government only offered them fifty cents?

Re:...what? (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510569)

That's funny, last I checked, ISPs were happy to sell off any amount of customer data for a buck.
Let me guess, they're upset because the government only offered them fifty cents?

Well, naturally, they're a business, and businesses exist to make money. This should not come as a surprise. It's basic math... if (money received) > (money spent + damage to customer relations) then they do it. If not, they fight it.

The bigger problem seems to be when an ISP decides to automate and streamline the process rather than fight for their customer rights. This alters the equation so that "money spent" is almost eliminated, and then they're faced with deciding "How much is it worth to sell out our customer's good will?" Since many ISPs have a monopoly in their area, bad P.R. doesn't count for much, and they do it, what are you going to do, go back to dialup? It's a new revenue stream, so why wouldn't they? They're looking at this as a new way to make money, like any good business would.

I like it more when they don't automate it so completely, and submit a bill for ~$35 for each customer on the list. And when the first list they get has 100,000 IP addresses on it, it hits the fan, and splatters around. But in many markets this is arguably the "high road, the road less traveled" not "the road to greater profit". So we don't see it much.

Re:...what? (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511957)

It's a battle of greed, the ISPs are willing to sell all the data they can, but the media industry isn't willing to pay for it, feeling that it's their "right" to fish endlessly... As long as both sides are greedy, we actually win. Heaven help us if they ever come to a compromise!

Two Florida Judges Quash Copyright Fishing Lawsuit (1)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510645)

For a moment, I thought someone was trying to copyright fishing...

Of course, such an unprecedented discovery such as fishing should instead be worthy of a patent!

Re:Two Florida Judges Quash Copyright Fishing Laws (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510849)

No, fishing as been around for ages. Fishing on a computer on the other hand...

Re:Two Florida Judges Quash Copyright Fishing Laws (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511591)

No, fishing as been around for ages. Fishing on a computer on the other hand...

Has also [wikipedia.org] been around for a while, since 1982. "In 1982, Taito released an early golf game, Birdie King,[29] Tehkan released an early swimming game, Swimmer,[30] and Data East released an early fishing game, Angler Dangler.[31]"

Even fishing _inside_ a computer theoretically could be done, as long as you had a MacQuarium [wikipedia.org] or something similar.

Re:Two Florida Judges Quash Copyright Fishing Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512923)

Fishing on a computer has been around a long time as well.

Fishing on a mobile device however...

Unlicensed private investigators. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39510949)

You still have the basic problem that the "list of infringing IP numbers" is typed up behind closed doors by unlicensed investigators who are working with no oversight whatsoever. This is illegal and absurd. These people are the ones who should be arrested and punished.

Give a man a fish ... (4)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511699)

... and he's fed for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he becomes an intellectual property attorney for Hollywood.

MAFIAA legal evasive tactics = RICO offenses? (3)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39514521)

Legal federal precedent has already established that the practice of filing "John Doe" lawsuits en masse in a single jurisdiction friendly to their interests is a violation of jurisdiction policy in that the plaintiff must file cases in separate jurisdictions where the defendent resides. This puts a financial burden on the MAFIAA as they now must pay court costs for each venue.

What this article highlights is that the MAFIAA are using state courts to evade the hurdles established by federal courts. They are twisting a state law out of the spirit of its original intention to expedite disclosure of true identities of "John Does". And once again they are attempting to pursue their case out of a single jurisdiction in direct contempt to federal legal precedent, even though the majority of ISPs named are outside the local jurisdiction. When certain ISPs opted to oppose their efforts, the MAFIAA merely removed the ISPs from their list rather than having their tactics exposed in a court of law.

These intentionally evasive tactics violated defendents' rights in the interest of minimizing legal expenses, expedited turnaround, and shielding lower courts from knowledge of case law. It is also a bullying tactic in that ISPs with weak spines had submitted when they were served with a subpeona obtained under shaky circumstances.

If this doesn't smell like a RICO lawsuit, I don't know what does.

Re:MAFIAA legal evasive tactics = RICO offenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39520605)

Who decides if this is a RICO lawsuit, what happens when it is found to be a RICO lawsuit?
Can the ISP now sue the MAFIAA for 'legal bullying'?

Hillsboro Inlet Fishing Center (1)

HIFishingCenter (2562157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538915)

Here at Hillsboro Inlet fishing center we've been having good success also. This year has been good so far for your fishing charters. We had some good mahi fishing. South Florida fishing is all fun in the sun! Hillsboro Inlet Fishing Center www.hillsboroinletfishcenter.com

Re:Hillsboro Inlet Fishing Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39546009)

I ate some fish from your place, I died from it.

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