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Finland: Open WiFi Access Point Owner Not Liable For Infringement

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the pirating-play-goers dept.

Piracy 156

New submitter mjrauhal writes "In Finland, the operator of an open WiFi access point was found not guilty for copyright infringement allegedly committed over said access point. The operation of such access points would have become legally risky were this decided otherwise. Appeal by the Finnish Anti-Piracy Center is still possible for this district court ruling."

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Wow! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002267)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of my acquaintances sent me by email. As someone who doesn't know much about computers, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my acquaintance want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best anti-virus software out right then, a virus took over my computer and held it hostage. It was pretending to be a warning from Windows telling me to buy some strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove the virus.

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After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that is how bad this virus was.

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Re:Wow! (3, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003115)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of fellow slashdotters posted in a comment. As someone who doesn't know much about computers, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my fellow slashdotter want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

It was pretending to be a strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of.

Re:Wow! (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003931)

The suspense is killing me! What happened next?!

Such a thing! (-1, Offtopic)

BootyFucknessJones (2639289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002279)

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I will violate as I please like corn on peas! (-1, Offtopic)

FuckAssWithoutFail (2639291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002295)

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Re:I will violate as I please like corn on peas! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002631)

Can MyCleanPC clean up these advertisements too?

Better be safe than sorry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002315)

I think this goes to show that in most cases, its better to have some encryption than an open network. Sure, you can possibly
fight your way legally, but you're going to need decent lawyers, money, and the press. I just don't think its worth it for most people,
especially with draconian penalties for stuff like child porn tacked on.

Duh? (5, Interesting)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002327)

Offtopic: Can we please automatically delete all posts with links to my clean pc?

Ontopic:
This baffles me on how money is wasted on anti-piracy. This case should have been dismissed at the very beginning. How can you blame someone simply on the basis of ownership? This is like suing an owner of a car for not locking his car, because his car stolen and used in a crime.

What happens if I use WEP encryption? Would I be liable as well? I wish that the media corporations stopped trolling and started creating some business models which actually make sense in this day and age. All others have already moved forward.

Re:Duh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002383)

I'm surprised by the ruling because it removes the teeth of most copyright law. Now anybody can upload anything safely at airports, cafés, hotel lobbies. Hell, do it from your home WiFi router only make sure you don't use encryption for plausible deniability.

What I'm waiting for is a ruling on an upload from the wired LAN of a largish corporation where they can tie the infringement to the company but not to an individual MAC address. Will employers be forced to do ISP-type logging of all employee network access with 6-month retention?

Re:Duh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002399)

I'm surprised by the ruling because it removes the teeth of most copyright law.

I'm surprised too, but I think this ruling is satisfying. After all, just because it's hard/impossible to find the people who actually committed the crime (or perhaps it's just a civil suit), that doesn't mean they should be able to successfully punish/sue the wrong people.

Re:Duh? (1, Interesting)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002449)

> "I'm surprised too, but I think this ruling is satisfying. After all, just because it's hard/impossible to find the people who actually committed the crime (or perhaps it's just a civil suit), that doesn't mean they should be able to successfully punish/sue the wrong people."

I don't agree with punishing the wifi owner for the actual crime of the person who uses their wifi, but I do think wifi should be locked down for a variety of reasons - including piracy, viruses, hacking, etc. I also think ISPs should be allowed to ban people's computers if they're part of a botnet to do DOS attacks or send spam or viruses. I actually think it's kind of stupid the way we've put virtually no effort into securing the computer infrastructure. Perhaps if someone's wifi is left open and crimes are committed, then the ISPs should be proactive in helping to ensure that people's wifi's are made reasonably secure. If people are intentionally not securing their wifis, then maybe a small fine (which is not connected to the crimes committed) which is attached to the monthly bill.

Re:Duh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002483)

then maybe a small fine (which is not connected to the crimes committed) which is attached to the monthly bill.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that. Not even if it's the ISP's decision alone (especially not if enforced by the government). I don't believe in punishing people for something merely because it could be abused. Especially since the internet is intended to be open to begin with.

Re:Duh? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002683)

Well excuse me but my crappy PMCIA card and router refuse to talk beyond anything but WEP regardless of upgrades, so their crappy code is now my fault, well, FU ;D (joking about the last bit but seriously I should hardly be liable for broken upgrade code that's meant to allow WAP but doesn't and I'm stuck with WEP). So who gets the fine in this case me or the router/PMCIA card manufacturer (same company).

Re:Duh? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003141)

A friend has a smartphone that can either run Skype audio calls or use WPA. The CPU is not strong enough to run both. So, his accesspoint uses WEP.

Re:Duh? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003721)

Plenty of people with a Nintendo DS continue to run WEP because it doesn't support WPA.

Re:Duh? (3, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003841)

I do think wifi should be locked down for a variety of reasons - including piracy, viruses, hacking, etc.

In other words, people should not have anonymous Internet access least they commit a crime. Nice.

Re:Duh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002437)

This is why the Finnish citizens will get an extended "kasettimaksu" (cassette fee). They will increase the price of devices capable of storage (even the clouds) to support the music industry.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003723)

This is why the Finnish citizens will get an extended "kasettimaksu" (cassette fee). They will increase the price of devices capable of storage (even the clouds) to support the music industry.

Not so. Cassette fee is NOT to off-set possible losses for piracy. It's to offset losses from legalized copying to own private use (in Finland it's legal to make a copy to own personal use from a material for which a copyright has been paid for).

This is a problematic situation because:
a) It's used to justify piracy ("we're paying for this")
b) Copyright organizations claim it's necessary to pay (some of ) the costs of piracy, and advocate extensions to cassette fees due to piracy (ie. smartphones etc).

So both sides use it to drive their own agendas, whereas its original intention has very little to do with either.

It's a tax-like payment, collected from every citizen (buying hard drives etc.) and going to a private organization, where distribution of the collected money is out of the hands of the taxpayers.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002477)

I'm surprised by the ruling because it removes the teeth of most copyright law. Now anybody can upload anything safely at airports, cafés, hotel lobbies.

That's already the case. The point here is to exonerate the hotel when a customer does something illegal with the hotel's open wireless. Makes sense to me. The hotel is not responsible for the customer's actions.

Hell, do it from your home WiFi router only make sure you don't use encryption for plausible deniability.

Probably not that simple. If someone's wireless is used for illegal download, the *IAA will have probable cause to get a warrant and seize all the home PCs to look for evidence. If they actually did download, there will likely be traces showing illegal activity. If someone else downloaded, no traces will be found, and this ruling means the wireless owner is exonerated (at least in Finland.)

This is no different from most crimes. If the criminal was smart enough to commit the crime in a way that lets them avoid getting caught -- say, by stealing someone else's car or gun -- we don't hold the secondary victim responsible, do we? In the same sort of way, if a downloader uses someone else's wireless to download, and the downloader cannot be caught, the wireless owner is not culpable.

[Posting AC since I've been moderating.]

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002503)

If they actually did download, there will likely be traces showing illegal activity.

Not really. Overwrite any of the files that could immediately tell them that the game/movie/music was pirated (such as a torrent file) and then, if they do search your computer, simply say you lost the disc. It's on them to prove you did pirate it, after all.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002897)

A relatively small minority of highly technical users can hide their traces, sure. However, most file sharers are not that sophisticated. When the cops come barging in with a warrant, their drives will have the traces of illegal activity that are relatively easy to locate. The legal system assumes that most criminals will make a mistake. This is often proven correct.

And BTW, remember that most *IAA actions are civil, not criminal and certainly not capital. The standard for a civil lawsuit is "preponderance of evidence", not "beyond a reasonable doubt." If a download can be traced to an IP and the homeowner has a whole bunch of movies files on their HDD without physical copies, that's a lot of evidence. The homeowner's claim that the originals were lost is unlikely to counter the "preponderance of evidence".

[Still posting AC due to moderation.]

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002967)

I've always felt there is something wrong with the fact that civil suits aren't beyond a reasonable doubt.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002715)

Just make a deal with your next-door neighbor.

You do your downloads from his wifi router - and he does his downloads from yours. Install DD-WRT on both, and twiddle the logs...

No?

Re:Duh? (2)

grahamm (8844) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003449)

If a hoax or threatening or terrorist telephone call is made from a payphone, either one run directly by the telephone company or one in privately owned premises such as a hotel or motorway services (gas station for those in the USA), the authorities would not confiscate the phone or arrest the owner of the premises. So should an open WiFi connection available to the public not be treated the same way as a payphone?

Re:Duh? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003739)

Don't forget public mailboxes. Maybe we should put CCTV cameras covering all public mailboxes and ensure that dangerous/threatening letters can be traced back.

Re:Duh? (2)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002741)

I'm surprised by the ruling because it removes the teeth of most copyright law.

Not really. It still has all its power and teeths for those copyright infringement cases for which it was designed in the first place. (hint: internet did not exist at that time, so I doubt it involves wlan access points).

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003239)

I'm surprised by the ruling because it removes the teeth of most copyright law.

Good. Most of the time, rabid dogs get put down. Removing its teeth is a good start.

Re:Duh? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003707)

I'm surprised by the ruling because it removes the teeth of most copyright law. Now anybody can upload anything safely at airports, cafés, hotel lobbies. Hell, do it from your home WiFi router only make sure you don't use encryption for plausible deniability.

You are completely misinterpreting this. Your comment about airports, cafes etc.: This ruling helps the owner of the open router; it doesn't affect the user of that open router (who would likely not be caught anyway), so there it doesn't make any difference. Your comment about home use: "Plausible deniability" isn't going to help you, it's "preponderance of evidence" that is against you. In this case, there wasn't just "Plausible deniability", there was about hundred people present at exactly the time when the copyright infringement happened, which was usually not the case. Had the copyright infringement happened at a different time, especially if it had happened at two different times, then it would have been quite possible that she got convicted. Just because it is _possible_ that someone uses your open WiFi, that doesn't make it likely.

In case of a corporation, they are usually responsible for what their employees are doing, so if there is evidence that an unknown employee of company X has caused damage in his role as an employee, then it is quite possible that company X has to pay for the damage. It is then up to them to find that employee and try to recover the money, or fire him or her, if they wish to do so.

Re:Duh? (5, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002423)

> "I wish that the media corporations stopped trolling and started creating some business models which actually make sense in this day and age. All others have already moved forward."

I was on reddit the other day and the creator of Isohunt mentioned several times that making money from piracy was the holy grail and he had no idea how to do it. (Yeah, Kim Dotcom got money off of piracy, though I'm sure he was earning far less than market value, which makes sense since he didn't have the burden of any costs of production.) So, here's your chance to give suggestions. Preferably ones that don't end up making a *lot* less money than the current system. For example, I recently read a suggestion that companies should put all their movies on something like Hulu for free (but ad supported). The problem is that ads aren't close to paying the bills once you include the cost of making movies and the bandwidth of sending them to you. The only reason ad-supported movies are even available on Hulu is because they're long past their prime, so they're being used to make a few extra bucks. Maybe the solution is to only create movies that cost less than $10 million to make - then, even if piracy grows and takes 90% of your profits, you could still get by. In many ways, I think that's a sad outcome for the movie industry. Even more worryingly, I've noticed a lot of articles talking about new ad-skipping technologies (http://www.dishtvblog.com/dish-news/the-dish-hopper-adds-all-new-feature-auto-hop-that-will-allow-for-a-commercial-skipping-option/) and several people I know have been talking about how they always skip the ads. Which makes me think: gee, people don't want to pay for their entertainment and they're becoming more empowered and pushy about being able to skip the ads, too. I wonder how anyone is supposed to pay for the costs of creating stuff?

So, I just thought I'd put that question there. It's easy to say "hey, you guys should figure out a way to ...", but doing it is harder than saying it. I'm skeptical that there are any business models that can undercut piracy which don't also involve a large cut in revenues.

Re:Duh? (0)

HighTechDev (2639159) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002455)

And this is why Reddit is much more interesting than Slashdot nowadays. There's so much more and all the interesting people are there too. Slashdot only has extreme pro-piracy and extreme pro-FOSS people who call shill on anyone that dares to have different opinions on those things.

Re:Duh? (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002459)

The way to make money on piracy is the way that some content businesses are already doing it - by selling hardware. Media players, home theaters, hard drives - all the trappings of locally maintained content. They're not free, and they can't be copied. I remember reading that Sony makes 70-80% of their revenue from hardware (tangible products), and 20-30% from content. That's the model.

Re:Duh? (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003229)

It's the model for whom? It works fine for hardware manufacturers. But how does it help content producers?

If the content producers can make money by selling hardware, why wouldn't they just give up on making the content? Or, if not, if they cross-subsidise the content from the hardware sales, how do they stop Wing-Wang-Po Industries making similar hardware more cheaply by not subsidising the content?

The only way I can think of doing it is to put encryption keys in your product, protected as best you can, so that only your devices will play your content for a few years (until someone breaks it). And if you're going to do that, you might as well charge per content-item.

Re:Duh? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002497)

No, the model is coming up with new ways to make money off of the entertainment being created. Give it away for free (or sell it at a fraction of the cost where it becomes more work to pirate it) so it becomes wildly popular. Then, sell merchandise related to said media. Have special showings of said media. Have live shows...people can't pirate live shows. Sell advertising inside the media using product placement. I dunno...I am just making shit up but there ARE possibilities here. Why is everyone so lazy to think and come up with new ideas? The internet has changed things. I thought of some ideas in 30 seconds and I am an engineer with no creative ability. I am sure some of those artsy-fartsy types can figure something out if they put their minds to it! The entertainment industry needs to realize this, and adapt. Adapt or die.

Re:Duh? (1)

HighTechDev (2639159) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002615)

Yeah, I bet there's a huge market for live showings of video gaming.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002701)

Yeah, I bet there's a huge market for live showings of video gaming.

There isn't right now; but there could be one.

Sports games continue to be extremely popular. A digital football league (DFL) is only an entreprenuer away from being a commerical success.
With the right marketing, the big tournament could be as eagerly anticipated and as widely watched as the NFL's Super Bowl.

Re:Duh? (1)

AngryOldGuy (2639471) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002865)

Sorry, but no. The skill level required between virtual football and real life football is significantly different. Same is true for the entertainment value of watching them. The two just doesn't compare. It was already painful to take turns with friend when gaming back in the 90's when playing together, why the hell would I just want to watch now?

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002713)

Uh.. I would too. Starcraft and Call of Duty are probably the biggest draws globally. But there's Halo, Street Fighter, Tekken.. Other, somewhat smaller games have regional followings for big tournaments.

None of those games are being financed by that market of live games. And yet none of those games can claim to be unpirated. They still sell. Sell quite well, even.

Arcade first (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003823)

Ever heard of an arcade? It used to be that video games would come out first on an arcade platform such as Neo Geo or Capcom Play System and then get ported to a console six months later. That was the video game equivalent to films' theatrical window.

Re:Duh? (1)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002513)

How about starting with appreciating your customer?

Currently it looks like this [i-am-bored.com] and it is getting worse. At some point, it is simply being greedy. Most triple-A movies already pay off during first weeks of release. E.g. ( The Avengers [mtv.com] ). At that point, even $3 per copy makes you money.

Re:Duh? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002527)

The model is to banish our perpetual copyright, and go back to a sane amount of years until works enter the public domain.

I think 25 years is reasonable. At that rate, every movie from 1987 & before would be public domain, and we could have a decent selection on hulu.

Then, I might be willing to pay for a new movie...

business models that can undercut piracy which don't also involve a large cut in revenues.

Lobbying for new laws should not be a 'business model.' Who cares if they have to take a revenue cut? They backed themselves into this corner, fuck 'em, they *should* be taking a revenue cut.

Re:Duh? (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003355)

I know you're AC and unlikely to return back here, but back in my AC days I did.. so let's give it a shot..

Precursor: I've argued for the removal of copyright, period, before - my view on this is rather black-and-white, if you will.

You say that 25 years is reasonable. But do you then believe that strict enforcement under the full penalty that the law allows is also reasonable for infringement of works that fall within that 25-year period?

You note that you 'might' be willing to pay for a new movie. Can you expand on the 'might'?
Specifically, are you saying that you may or may not even want to see the new movie (and thus payment being implied in the case where you do want to see it) - or are you saying that if you want to see the movie, you might pay for it, but then again you might still 'pirate' it as you have been doing?
In the latter case, how do you believe that your argument for a 25-year period is bolstered by that behavior?

You also only note that you might be willing 'to pay' for a new movie. I would be willing to pay for a Lamborghini, myself, but not the several hundreds of thousands of dollars they currently go for. What do you feel is a reasonable price for a new movie - taking into account, say, day 1 of release?

The remainder of your comment takes a turn. Lobbying for laws has always been 'a business model', but one might well argue that in this case it's not particularly working anyway. One might also well argue that being backed into the corner they're in is not solely their own doing. After all, even if the film industry had caught on early and started putting every movie in their library and new releases as high quality files online without DRM for the cost of $1 each in a well-organized system with an open API so that it could also be offered through e.g. IMDB or any other site... then each movie would still find its way onto sites that will simply bypass that $1 payment and have every bit the breadth of offering, quality, and ease of use.. as those are mere technical limitations that are easily overcome. I have no doubt that it would have cut into 'piracy' substantially - given that there are people who will happily use their Roku to buy an Amazon Prime movie that for all intents and purposes may as well be DRM'd and can only be played back for 24 hours after having started it and must be started within a 48-hour period (iirc). But then again, the Roku box doesn't have an interface to piracy sites. Some others do. Over here it's not entirely uncommon for people to have a big-name media player with official 'newsgroups' support and people will simply hook that up to their favorite binaries server and download the latest movies for free (or something like $8/month if applicable to the binaries server), while people paying to see a movie on demand is far less common.

As to whether they should take a revenue cut... I don't believe they 'should'. That implies direction from above. I believe that if people buy their merchandise less, revenue cuts will follow. Basic business mechanisms will deal with revenue rise/fall - there's no 'should' required or desirable any more than a their desire of a revenue rise that 'should' happen by making it law for everybody to buy at least 1 movie per month. Legislation that says "pirating is disallowed" is vastly different from "you must buy", as the former still leaves the option of neither pirating -nor- buying.

Re:Duh? (1)

longk (2637033) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002535)

You mean they might end up having to make more movies with a compelling story and rely less on special effects? What horror.

Re:Duh? (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002579)

This is really easy. Just sell the darned DRM free video file. The pirates already have it anyway, so they may as well get the money of the people who want to pay.

Re:Duh? (5, Insightful)

Raved Thrad (1864414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002851)

That's the thing, though: the "rights-owners" act as if the people who want to pay are pirates themselves, or potential pirates. DRM doesn't convince people to pay for a product; rather, it's more likely to convince people that it's not worth the hassle of trying to be good, and end up pirating anyway. DRM is targeted at the people who are paying for the product, rather than the pirates who are going to hack the product anyway and never would have bought it in the first place.

Re:Duh? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003833)

DRM doesn't target them, it's just that pirates are so adept that paying customers are the only ones that get hit.

Re:Duh? (2)

Raved Thrad (1864414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003883)

If it's not targeted at them but they're the only ones getting hit, then the people deploying the DRM have really shitty aim.

Re:Duh? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003165)

Seconded. Just sell the stuff DRM-free with reasonable prices and easy payment, profit.

Re:Duh? (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003341)

We can just look at the music industry to see how well that works, and it seems to work OK. I buy music downloads, but I don't buy video because it's all DRMed (I currently get all my video by recording free over-the-air channels in MythTV, so it's legal, but I used to pirate a good amount of TV shows and video).

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002613)

Same way the media industry makes money; controlling the distribution channel for the goods.

Create an excellent F2F/P2P encrypted file sharing program that is easy to use for average joe all over (like kazaa, but harder to prosecute/catch/etc), and have ads on it. Make it just that much easier to share files between people you know, AND people you don't know. Write the software so well that it becomes the dominant standard, even with everything else (protocol and pricing) being equal.

This is how bittorrent became current king of file sharing, and it's honestly a very quirky little thing involving trackers and peers and all sorts of shenanigans involving setting up port forwarding and knowing which trackers to use. Do what it does without the hassle, and you'll see another Napster/Kazaa in your hands. Only trick is to make it so that you can't be liable for people who are sharing the files; surely this is do-able to a degree involving current state of the art encryption and authentication methods.

Good luck, fellow pirates!

Re:Duh? (2)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002727)

Copyright is a government-enforced monopoly. It's really hard to beat monopoly pricing when it comes to making money, but generally we don't think monopolies are a good idea.

If Domino's had a monopoly on pizza, I'm sure they'd make a lot more money than they do now. And if you came along and said, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't have a monopoly on pizza," they'd be upset at the prospect of losing all that revenue. They'd demand that you provide them with a business model that was just as lucrative. If all you could tell them is that their current revenues were artificially inflated because of their monopoly status, they'd dismiss you as not being serious.

Re:Duh? (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002763)

Preferably ones that don't end up making a *lot* less money than the current system.

Why?

What data did you use to reach the conclusion that our current level of spending on copyrighted works is the right amount?

We have a finite amount of money to spend on things (U.S. GDP, if the "we" we are talking about is the United States). Over the past 100 years, we have continually strengthened copyright. This has the effect of increasing the portion of GDP that is flowing to copyrighted works. Over the past 15 years, we have seen an escalating war between piracy and increased enforcement, and the data on whether this conflict has increased or decreased net proceeds to artists is *extremely* unclear and wildly misrepresented by all sides of the debate.

Seems to me in a data storm like that, it's pretty important to find some solid ground on which to stand. It behooves us to have some way of measuring whether the current approach to funding the production of copyrighted works is consuming too much or too little of our GDP. If we don't know whether we are spending too much or too little, we can't really say whether an alternative solution would do best to result in more or less funding.

Here's one example for spot-checking the situation: Are we more like the decadent side of Rome during the run-up to the decline, awash in circuses of spectacle, or are we more like Sparta in its prime, potent but lacking in culture? If the former, we may be spending too much on copyrighted works. If the latter, it would suggest we are spending too little.

There are other ways to hold a finger up to the wind, and still more to dig into harder data. Do you think we are under-spending or over-spending on the production of copyrighted works, and why?

Re:Duh? (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002863)

This has the effect of increasing the portion of GDP that is flowing to copyrighted works.

Footnote: Another way to frame this is that it increases the portion of U.S. resources (land, labor, capital, entrepreneurship) that are being dedicated to the production of copyrighted works instead of producing something else.

Authorship is the U.S.'s big export (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003859)

Except that copyrighted works are one of the few things that the United States still successfully exports. If the United States has no goods or services for export, then by the Balassa-Samuelson model, the value of its currency will plummet and it'll have a hard time importing things like energy.

Re:Duh? (1)

b1scuit (795301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003069)

>So, I just thought I'd put that question there. It's easy to say "hey, you guys should figure out a way to ...", but doing it is harder than saying it. I'm skeptical that there are any business models that can undercut piracy which don't also involve a large cut in revenues.

Sometimes, people make less money than they used to.

Re:Duh? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003081)

Maybe the solution is to only create movies that cost less than $10 million to make - then, even if piracy grows and takes 90% of your profits,

What makes you think piracy takes any profits at all? Do you have any proof that those downloading free copies of a given content (be it music or movies) would have otherwise paid for it? There is research proving otherwise.

Re:Duh? (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003145)

Create an Internet all -you-can-eat package. You pay 10E a month and you can get all the contentment for free (games, appz, movies, mp3 ,....). Owners will get paid based on how much time people use their products.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003189)

Bad idea.

How do you track who's using what and how long without causing an unacceptable breach of privacy?

What's covered by this "package"? Will people downloading Linux distributions and other free software and even proprietary freeware also cause money to flow to the creators of such software? And who gets to set the "price"? Is a fart app on your smartphone worth as much per hour of use as Photoshop?

How politically correct is it to propose a model which would essentially give a large amount of money to porn companies?

Re:Duh? (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003629)

Bad idea.

How do you track who's using what and how long without causing an unacceptable breach of privacy?

ISP already knows a lot about you, to protect your privacy we have laws.

What's covered by this "package"? Will people downloading Linux distributions and other free software and even proprietary freeware also cause money to flow to the creators of such software?

Whoever is the "owner" gets paid.

And who gets to set the "price"? Is a fart app on your smartphone worth as much per hour of use as Photoshop?

Me, 10E is ok. If you spend the same amount of time, then to you it has the same worth.

How politically correct is it to propose a model which would essentially give a large amount of money to porn companies?

So what, if they provied what you want they will get paid.

Re:Duh? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003871)

What's covered by this "package"? Will people downloading Linux distributions and other free software and even proprietary freeware also cause money to flow to the creators of such software?

Whoever is the "owner" gets paid.

So how does the ISP determine 1. what works of authorship are being used at any given moment, especially on a computer running a Free operating system and not connected to the Internet 24/7, and 2. who is the copyright owner of each work?

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003191)

I seem to recall somewhere that a vast majority of the money a movie makes is generated in cinema. The DVD sales are just a bonus.

Also, why the hell should anyone watch ads on pay tv?

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003399)

i priate tv
i would love to pay per file - but there is no way of doing it.
I pritae becaseu i want to watch it now, on whatever thing i want to watch it on.
For an episode i think 25p would be quite a lot. (renting a box set for a week is £3 for 21 or 24 episodes) so 25p is about the same - without a box set being printed.
But at the moment i have to (to watch Game of Thrones) sign up with Sky, get the HBO/Sky Atlantic package for £20pm, and then watch it when they broadcast it.

Re:Duh? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003785)

The ad-skipping is already being countered by an increase in product placement.

Re:Duh? (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003815)

The centre for economic and policy research postulates a tax deductable "artistic freedom voucher":
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-artistic-freedom-voucher-internet-age-alternative-to-copyrights [cepr.net]

Then there is Kickstarter.

Or you could look to how artistic works got created in the past - patronage.

Wanna know where that movie or music money goes? Well sometimes it goes to the star (McCartney is worth almost $800 mil, Cruise around $250 mil). But a huge wedge goes to the publishers and distributors.

The future for music may be a mix of live concerts and possible fan funded development. The film industry spending $250 million on a film may be doomed, but the quality and diversity of the films is likely to go up as a result. Super Size Me cost $65k to make and netted 30 million (although to be fair I don't know how much marketing cost). Source http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/records/budgets.php [the-numbers.com]

Re:Duh? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002639)

Offtopic: Can we please automatically delete all posts with links to my clean pc?

Ontopic: This baffles me on how money is wasted on anti-piracy. This case should have been dismissed at the very beginning. How can you blame someone simply on the basis of ownership? This is like suing an owner of a car for not locking his car, because his car stolen and used in a crime.

Hmmm... just for the sake of (hopefully civilized) debating: would one be off-the-hook if the dog one is owning bite a person passing-by? (say... while walking in the park. Even when on leash, sometime it happens)
If you think this is not a valid analogy, can you please explain why?

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002711)

In that situation, there is no human to punish. Furthermore, the owner is the only one that can keep the dog under control. You don't typically have full control over other human beings so you can keep them from committing crimes.

And then there's the fact that, unlike in the situation you describe, open WiFi can be used for legitimate purposes.

Re:Duh? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002785)

In that situation, there is no human to punish.

The dog's owner?

Furthermore, the owner is the only one that can keep the dog under control.

The dog was on leash. The bitten person just approached to much and too sudden for the owner to react (and actually the dog bite because of the surprise)

You don't typically have full control over other human beings so you can keep them from committing crimes.

And then there's the fact that, unlike in the situation you describe, open WiFi can be used for legitimate purposes.

A dog may be useful for legitimate purposes as well - property defense, guide dogs for the blind, etc.

There would be a difference: there was no other human using the dog for illegitimate purposes.
But this were it becomes interesting: even if the owner hasn't been negligent with the dog (his property) and there was noone else to "mishandle" it (this should make it a milder case), I reckon chances are high that a court will still award damages in the favor of the bitten person.

Re:Duh? (1)

thomsonjones (2639465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002841)

The dog's owner?

No other human to punish. It's difficult to punish a dog, and the dog doesn't have money. You know, the one who actually committed the supposed crime.

The dog was on leash.

And? Actually, isn't a dog being on a leash about the same thing as securing a WiFi? Would you get punished if someone hacked into it and misused it, too?

The bitten person just approached to much and too sudden for the owner to react (and actually the dog bite because of the surprise)

I'd say it's their fault in that case, then. I think too often dog owners get punished when it really wasn't their fault.

I reckon chances are high that a court will still award damages in the favor of the bitten person.

They should really stop that.

Re:Duh? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003243)

The bitten person just approached to much and too sudden for the owner to react (and actually the dog bite because of the surprise)

I'd say it's their fault in that case, then. I think too often dog owners get punished when it really wasn't their fault.

I reckon chances are high that a court will still award damages in the favor of the bitten person.

They should really stop that.

Ok. What's your opinion on the more general view of "responsibility of an owner about how their property is used no matter by whom"? Does it exist in such a general context? 'cause in more restricted contexts certainly is: e.g. at least in some (many?) countries, try to get a firearm and you'll be asked to keep it secure/under-lock when you are not wearing/using it.

Re:Duh? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003923)

the dogs owner is responsible. sheesh. just like the guns owner is responsible if the guns owner shoots it. or the traps owner if the traps owner builds and arms a trap to harm another person.

Re:Duh? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002675)

More like blaming a property owner when the tenants build a meth lab. And the property owner knew that meth cookers were a local problem. And the property owner let just anyone move in without knowing who they were.

I *want* open hotspots, but the legal issues are real.

Re:Duh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002805)

And the property owner knew that meth cookers were a local problem. And the property owner let just anyone move in without knowing who they were.

Uh... yes? Sorry, but I don't see the problem here. They committed the crime, not the property owner. Renting is a perfectly legitimate activity 99% of the time. I don't think the land owner should be liable for this, either.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003467)

In the UK there is an offence of allowing your property to be used for the use,sale or production of controlled drugs it is what the police use against landlords who rent their houses out to be used as cannabis farms so yes you would get done for a Meth lab - it is your responsibility to check on your tennants

Re:Duh? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003803)

The landlords also have to foot the cleanup bill. Landlords' insurance doesn't cover deliberate damage caused in the running of a pot farm, and the growers tend to trash the place in order to maximise production in an enclosed space. Bypassing the power meter, knocking holes through walls and floors for ventilation ducts, water damage from improvised irrigation systems.

Re:Duh? (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002781)

In Belgium you can get fined if you leave your vehicle open.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003095)

Prove it.

Re:Duh? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003807)

They don't care if you're aiding and abetting or not.

They just want to make you help them by threatening you with a lawsuit if you're not bending over backwards to police things for them.

Slashdot is pants! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002361)

Sharpie in pooper. Shoe on head.

Liability Black Holes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002509)

This is absolutely absurd and will be reversed on appeal. You simply cannot create liability black holes where one provides access to the internet and does not adequately track and monitor those who use that access in order to properly determine who is responsible for what criminal act, and expect society to continue to survive. You cannot evaporate liability and expect the rule of law to remain intact; the internet will soon be forced to learn this. In my mind, the solution will likely be per user insurance for internet connections, similar to car insurance.

Re:Liability Black Holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002529)

No. That's absolute bullshit. What you're suggesting is similar to collective punishment: punish everyone by not allowing them to have open WiFi because some people might do something illegal.

Guess what? The fact that it's difficult to catch the actual offenders is completely irrelevant. That's their job, and if it's difficult, tough luck. That's no reason to ban things or punish the wrong people.

Re:Liability Black Holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002697)

This is absolutely absurd and will be reversed on appeal.

Yeah, well, you know...that's like just your opinion man

You simply cannot create liability black holes where one provides access to the internet and does not adequately track and monitor those

Umm, that's the basis of the whole legal system, prove beyond a reasonable doubt or STFU

who use that access in order to properly determine who is responsible for what criminal act, and expect society to continue to survive.

Riiiiiiight, because society needs the internet, and the internet is like some angry god that can come destroy us all!

You cannot evaporate liability and expect the rule of law to remain intact;

Tell that to the industries that are constantly lobbying to make laws in their favor

the internet will soon be forced to learn this. In my mind, the solution will likely be per user insurance for internet connections, similar to car insurance.

Hahahahaaa that's priceless. You are so delusional. I'm glad Skynet has been invented already to learn this lesson.

Just an aside (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002595)

Does the font used on this article give anyone else a headache?

Re:Just an aside (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002793)

yes.

the article body text tries to mimic "official" typeface, ie. shitty typewriter.

It's illegal in Germany. (5, Informative)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002629)

In Germany, you are legally obligated to secure your wifi [techdirt.com] . There's a reason why the Pirate Party is receiving many votes in the state elections. If you're in Germany, a lot of YouTube videos (most of them are legit) are blocked because of GEMA (the German RIAA). I've heard that some bands aren't even allowed to post their OWN music on YouTube because GEMA won't allow this. My guess is that the old East German Stasi was just renamed to GEMA.

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002747)

In Germany, you are legally obligated to secure your wifi [techdirt.com] . There's a reason why the Pirate Party is receiving many votes in the state elections. If you're in Germany, a lot of YouTube videos (most of them are legit) are blocked because of GEMA (the German RIAA). I've heard that some bands aren't even allowed to post their OWN music on YouTube because GEMA won't allow this. My guess is that the old East German Stasi was just renamed to GEMA.

GEMA has achieved in Germany, what the MAFIAA could only dream of. A legally protected monopoly. Artists, Youtube Uploaders (even if its just background noise) and anyone else, needs to prove their innocence, or else pay up to GEMA.

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003343)

And if you think that GEMA is the only evil one in town, VG Wort. the German royalties collection monopoly for book authors is just as bad [hajji.name] .

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (1)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40002853)

So what happens if your hardware supports only WEP? What happens if you simply have bad luck and buy buggy hardware [slashdot.org] ?

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002963)

From my understanding, you are required to use the maximum possible security offered by your hardware. So if it can only do WPA, but you're only using WEP, you're liable.

Legacy devices (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003891)

But if there's a Nintendo DS on your WLAN, then your hardware can only do WEP.

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003335)

Viel Spaß : http://www.unblocker.yt/ [unblocker.yt] :D

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003865)

Do they have their privacy policy online somewhere? After all they could hijack your session, couldn't they? Does it work with HTTPS?

Re:It's illegal in Germany. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003359)

In Germany, you are legally obligated to secure your wifi.

What does that mean, technically? Is a password enough? Any password, like the default one or 'password'?

I think that, sadly, it might take a generational change for reasonable laws to become the norm. Currently there are simply too many old politicians and too many old voters around, who don't really know much about internet (or new technologies in general) and are too easily manipulated by either media corporations or "terrorist/pedo" witch hunters.

Tricky legalese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40002873)

The Kafkaesque feature to this incident is, that should you use encryption with your AP, YOU'd probably get sentenced when someone cracks your lame encryption scheme and downloads warez.
The prosecutors and judges probably wouldn't understand that someone can illegally use someone else's private wlan, as it's "secured".
I got at least ten wlans in my neighborhood I could associate with and crack (mostly lamer WEP). And with most APs having factory default admin passwords, much hilarity could ensue.
In Finland it's legal to use all (even private-but-) non-encrypted wlan networks (like your clueless neighbor's). I suppose this is a major headache to all MAFIAA media crooks.
But it apparently protects the AP owner from idiotic and malicious lawsuits.

Smokescreen (3, Interesting)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003039)

This fanfare over piracy, thinking of the children, and terrorism is just masking the real issue. Follow the money trail - it leads to mobile phone carriers.

If everyone had open access wifi, there would be reduced need for 3G data plans in major cities. Handsets would use VOIP.

Re:Smokescreen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003265)

Which the carriers would embrace. They still get to sell you a data plan, because you still need cell towers outside of the city. They benefit because they don't need to place nearly as much towers in the city, while still getting all the customers.

No, I think they don't mind open access points.

Internet on the bus (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40003911)

If everyone had open access wifi, there would be reduced need for 3G data plans in major cities.

How so? A device with a 3G data plan can connect to the Internet on public transit, unlike a device with only Wi-Fi.

Finnish Anti-Piracy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003247)

or FAP.

Re:Finnish Anti-Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003591)

So what about Finnish Amiga Party then?

yuVo fail it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003777)

Also dead, its offi3Ers. Others

Not to be unpopular, but I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40003849)

You leased that connection from the ISP and what goes across it is your responsibility.

The amount of calories being burned over so-called piracy is absurd, though.

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