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Patent and Copyright Wars Gone Wild

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the I'll-go-away-for-a-dollar dept.

The Courts 197

snydeq writes "While Apple and Samsung fight over patents and prototypes, other copyright trolls are waging an X-rated battle on innocent users, as lawyers representing some adult movie companies are sending letters accusing users of illegally downloading their movies and saying that, for a price, they can make the charges go away. 'Cases like this, usually involving pornographic content, are very common,' Mitch Stoltz, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation said. At least 250,000 individuals have been named in group lawsuits over the last few years. There's a very common belief that if someone pirates your Wi-Fi connection or uses your computer without your permission, you are responsible for illegal downloads of copyrighted material. That's not true, says Stoltz; the law is quite clear. However, the lawyers who bring those cases use that misperception to convince innocent people that they had better pay up. Since $3,500 is just a fraction of the money it would take to fight a case in court, most people simply settle."

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Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (5, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#40863959)

Fuck You.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864047)

Fuck You.

It's easy to blame those who (ab)use the system. But they're not the real problem. The real underlying problem is the system itself. If the system is bad in design, there will always be those who abuse it and take advantage of it. Can't really blame them, now can you?

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864267)

Why, yes. Yes we can.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (5, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 2 years ago | (#40864307)

Absolutely we can. The "system" didn't appear out of nowhere from pure intentions. It was designed, bought and paid for by the very interests that are now abusing it for profit. It's how politics works now.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (2, Interesting)

pspahn (1175617) | about 2 years ago | (#40864379)

Can we please just vote for "No President" for the next four years? Honestly, it would be a nice change, and if your biggest fear is that Jon Stewart won't have anybody to make fun of, I believe the contrary, and that he will simply find a plethora of other dirtbags to make fun of instead.

Let's at least get Gary Johnson some poll points. I'd like to listen to him rip both of those yahoos a new one.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (3, Informative)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40864485)

Unfortunately, someone would be chosen. Remember, you don't actually vote for the President, the Electors for your State vote for the President in the Electoral College.

However, I do wish more people that were unhappy with those in power would go and vote and write in "no one" or some such nonsense. It wont have a bearing on who is elected - just like staying home - but it will at least let those that are elected and those that lost know that you are unhappy and not just lazy. And maybe they will start to court your vote.

Wrong answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864551)

Good thinking - but I've been thinking about this for far longer, I believe. It's a nice thought, but No President would do pretty much nothing to change the country for the better. Or even keep us at our current state of craptitude.

What we really need is No Legislature for the next eight or so years. Presidents provide soundbites. Congress provides the sound of millions of Americans crying out as they're sodomized.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (5, Funny)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | about 2 years ago | (#40864919)

Cthulu 2012: Why Settle For A Lesser Evil?

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865051)

LOVE this!!!!!!!

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#40865127)

Excellent!

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865191)

Vote Jon Stewart simply to mess with his comedy.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Informative)

rbrausse (1319883) | about 2 years ago | (#40865355)

Can we please just vote for "No President" for the next four years?

Belgium had between June 2010 and November 2011 no functioning central government (only a managing administration without own majority in the parliament) - and the country still functioned. So yes, "no president" could be an interesting and working way of politicking.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864479)

The "system" has been slapping the shit out of these guys lately. There's legislation coming to stop frivolous lawsuits, judges are hammering the trolls in court, etc.

Unless you're one of the fringe that doesn't think any IP deserves any protection, things will get squared away soon enough.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#40865203)

Indeed, and high time, I hear that hell is freezing over and I want to see the little demons ice skating!!!

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40864715)

"Don't hate the playa, hate the game" - Ice T

I hate both the game and the players that play it. The only winning move is not to play.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#40865211)

Strange game, Dr. Falken...

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 2 years ago | (#40865195)

It was designed, bought and paid for by the very interests that are now abusing it for profit.

Yes, those pornographers that control Congress and have every representative at their beck and call!

They basically *write* IP laws these days, lemma tell ya! Every politician wants to show off how they have the support of Big Porn!

(???)

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40865601)

Weird isn't it? The Porn industry is the only one that doesn't seem to attempt to write laws, but they're very quick to exploit them. Makes you wonder if Paramount Pictures is a subsidiary of Naughty America Inc or something, and the content producers are all owned by pornographers.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#40864323)

I dunno, the system clarifies extortion as illegal, so.....

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#40864339)

Unfortunately only in very specific cases. Nowadays there are considerably more cases where extortion is legal than cases where it is not.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (3, Insightful)

psiclops (1011105) | about 2 years ago | (#40864411)

If the system is bad in design, there will always be those who abuse it and take advantage of it. Can't really blame them, now can you?

yes you can. they're being dicks on purpose. that's their fault.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Insightful)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#40864417)

It's even easier to blame the knife and not the murderer.

you blame both (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40864505)

a bad system doesn't excuse bad actors

you fix the system AND you punish the bad actors

and will also oftentimes find that the bad system continues to exist the way it does precisely because of efforts by the bad actors. such as professional groups and business consortia giving money to politicians

Re:you blame both (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865607)

This is PORN we're talking about. Not a good actor as far as the eye can see.

Yes we can (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#40864511)

In no small part because there's no such thing as a perfect system. If you demand a perfect legal system you'll never have one. Part of what leads to shitloads of convoluted laws is assholes that exploit the system, requiring legislation to deal with them.

I had a microcosm of that on a forum I admin. Asshole line-steppers who were always seeking to cause trouble and just skirt the rules. I kept piling on rules and more rules which just made things worse. Finally I replaced it with "Don't be a dick." They whined because it was vague, and got banned for violating it later, but everyone else was quite happy.

So yes you can get mad at assholes that abuse the system. Not saying the system doesn't need to be fixed but that doesn't mean that the abusers don't deserve to get set on fire.

Re:Yes we can (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865991)

You took your system of laws and moved to a dictactorship. Effective for a forum, maybe not so good for a government.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (2, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40865003)

Yes, the problem is that we had the insane idea to grant ownership of information. That was the start of it. All of this is fallout from that original sin of censorship, greed, and falsification.

It is time we learn and get rid of it while we still can.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865069)

Fuck You.

It's easy to blame those who (ab)use the system. But they're not the real problem. The real underlying problem is the system itself. If the system is bad in design, there will always be those who abuse it and take advantage of it. Can't really blame them, now can you?

Yes, we can blame them. Their lack of ethics has nothing to do with the law or the system.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Insightful)

platypussrex (594064) | about 2 years ago | (#40864073)

I screwed up and read TFA. What a waste of electronic ink. Talk about lack of substance, analysis, or depth. I feel dumber afterwards than I did before I read it. This is probably a real topic, but you'd never know if from that article.

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#40864453)

This. Holy shit that hurt to read.

This guy gets paid to write this article that's all over the place? Did he smoke a fattie while writing it or was he just drunk?

Yes, it's an actual issue. You're much better off reading Ray Beckerman's blog.

http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

--
BMO

Re:Dear Proprietarians and Patent Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864743)

i wanna make sweet love to ya

Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (4, Insightful)

Sparx139 (1460489) | about 2 years ago | (#40863971)

I mean, really, who wants to be named on court documents for allegedly pirating porn?

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (5, Funny)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864027)

I wouldn't mind. Everyone knows I'm a regular, old perv, it'd just earn me some street-cred.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864305)

You know this may finally be just the impetus that we need to come out into the open....

I too am a pervert.

That felt good to get off my chest :)

It's funny, lately I had a friend confess to me he was in deep shit with his girlfriend over an alleged "porn addiction" because he got caught surfing porn. I told him every man is addicted to porn. There is no such thing as "porn addiction", the truth is, there is masturbation addiction. As long as you are not chaffing, or getting pulled over, or distracted by sounds of people in the park, or unable to keep a job, you are just fine.

Women... you are full of shit. All of you are reading your versions of porn right now. It's called Fifty Shades of Wet Vagina.

We don't have anything to hide guys. Don't let these assclown lawyers bully you into submission. Stand up! Be Proud!

I MASTURBATE TO PORN ON THE INTERNET!

Where's our fucking parade?

submitted anonymously because I don't want anybody to see I wrote this.. especially the you-know-who

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (4, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864369)

It's funny, lately I had a friend confess to me he was in deep shit with his girlfriend over an alleged "porn addiction" because he got caught surfing porn. I told him every man is addicted to porn. There is no such thing as "porn addiction", the truth is, there is masturbation addiction.

Actually, there is pornography addiction; some people just get so attached to porn that they can't get aroused at all by anything else and they go to unhealthy lengths to collect and consume porn. Addiction to masturbation is a separate thing, though you often find both issues in the same individual. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_addiction [wikipedia.org]

Now, before anyone jumps to some strange conclusions -- this is Slashdot, after all -- I'm definitely not saying masturbating even on daily basis is indicative of an addict nor that it is even slightly abnormal. In fact there's hardly anything more normal than masturbating; it's really a core instinct in us humans.

Women... you are full of shit. All of you are reading your versions of porn right now. It's called Fifty Shades of Wet Vagina.

Hey, I take offense to that, I'm female, you know? I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I plan to, nor do I like Twilight, either.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 years ago | (#40865581)

> it's really a core instinct in us humans.

It's a core instinct in most mammals. What do you think a dog is doing when he humps a pillow, or a leg ? I live in Africa, and I see baboons quite often, it's actually a RARE occasion to watch a troop of baboons and not see at least one or two masturbating.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (0)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 2 years ago | (#40864609)

Women... you are full of shit. All of you are reading your versions of porn right now. It's called Fifty Shades of Wet Vagina.

If I wanted to read psuedo-BDSM soft pr0n I'd read something like Anne Rice (The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty for example), at least it's not bad recycled fan-fic.

Amusingly our local library mis-categorised the above book as children's literature based on the title without opening it and reading from any random page. Not all of us have been suckered in by the 50 Shades bandwagon, any more than all of us read Twilight (the inspiration for the original fan-fic).

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 2 years ago | (#40864031)

I wouldn't mine. Do you have something to hide ?

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40864487)

Well, for many people (like teachers and public figures) it could ruin their careers.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864901)

Says more about the puritan undercurrents than anything else.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40865009)

Which is why, every time on this site, there is an outcry against how no one values privacy anymore... I smile. The more open we get as a society, the less ancient prejudices and small-mindedness can survive. If everyone knows everyone has porn, it ceases to be something you can use against anyone.

Maybe we need more lawsuits like that.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40865067)

The problem is that people hold some careers to an impossible standard. Parents will complain about teachers drinking at bars. Teachers the parents saw while they were drinking at a bar also.

Re:Plus, there's the embarrassment factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864033)

Obviously Hungbeard and his merry band of butt pirates!

Or Captain Vulvona and the Clam Carvers!

I think I see a new porn movie forming.

Plus the added blackmail factor (1)

seanzig (834642) | about 2 years ago | (#40863985)

In addition to possibly being cheaper to settle, it's also probably embarrassing for some if they are accused publicly of porn surfing.

Lesser of two evils (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#40864007)

And while what they may be telling you is false, it'll take a lawyer and thousands of dollars and time to defend that.
Plus you'll have a record on file of what kind of porn you downloaded.

Often times people feel it's the better option to pay up.

Re:Lesser of two evils (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40864837)

it'll take a lawyer and thousands of dollars and time to defend

For many people it would require two lawyers. One to defend you against charges of downloading copyrighted porn, and one to handle your divorce. I think a desire to avoid the divorce case will motivate many people to quietly settle the copyright case. Looks like a lucrative racket to me.

Re:Lesser of two evils (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 2 years ago | (#40865519)

You seem assume they actually downloaded the stuff, why would you assume the trolls are right? Anyway it doesn't take that much to defend because there already is a case, and the other side has already lost and been ORDERED not to harass more people. Starting a case is an automatic win and will help disbar these guys.

Stonewall or Fight! (5, Informative)

grot (57003) | about 2 years ago | (#40864049)

IAAL, and I've worked on a bunch of these cases. The real problem is, it's almost always cheaper to settle than to fight. This is what we call a "cost of defense" shakedown: if it would cost $5k to fight, then it makes sense to pay $3k to make it go away. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

* The trolls are very unlikely to go after any individual, no matter how much they huff and puff. The reason is, if they have 1000 Does in a complaint, and they start going against one of them, that Doe will (eventually) get copies of the evidence against him. If it's sh!t (and I believe it will probably turn out to be) then the other 999 Does will see that, and no longer be willing to pay.

* The insurance industry had a problem with cost-of-defense complaints: crappy auto accidents that weren't worth more than a few grand in damages. But they banded together and fought every single one of them (paying just the actual damages & medical, and fighting almost every "pain & suffering" claim). And now, you can hardly find a PI lawyer to take a small case -- they know there's no money in it. So the insurance companies don't have to fight any more, and they don't even consider paying anything you can't produce a receipt for.

The only way to clean up these trolls is if some Does sack up and fight, or if the courts stop going along with the shakedown.

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (4, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40864145)

The insurance industry had a problem with cost-of-defense complaints: crappy auto accidents that weren't worth more than a few grand in damages. But they banded together and fought every single one of them (paying just the actual damages & medical, and fighting almost every "pain & suffering" claim).

Not doubting you, but is this a universal thing? About two years ago, my father was in a car crash, and the experience he went through was different. The incident happened when he was supposedly looking at the wrong traffic light (at this location, there are 2 parallel traffic light intersections less than 50 feet apart) and T-boned another car. My father was shaken, but unhurt. The other driver broke a finger in the crash. In addition, both cars were totaled. The insurance company paid out just under $100,000 to the other driver, which fortunately slid in right below the coverage limit on the policy. Still a lot for injuries that minor – I remember commenting that I'd gladly suffer a broken finger for a hundred grand. It can't possibly have cost that much in medical costs, and I'm pretty sure there was a major "pain and suffering" component. This was a small insurance company, so maybe they weren't in on the collaborative deal?

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (2)

grot (57003) | about 2 years ago | (#40864205)

Depends on the state (and country!) and probably some other stuff. My experience is mainly in California, where it's very hard to find a lawyer to take a small auto personal-injury case. Policy limits for a totaled car but minor injury would be pretty unusual, IME.

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864495)

The trolls are very unlikely to go after any individual, no matter how much they huff and puff. The reason is, if they have 1000 Does in a complaint, and they start going against one of them, that Doe will (eventually) get copies of the evidence against him. If it's sh!t (and I believe it will probably turn out to be) then the other 999 Does will see that, and no longer be willing to pay.

I thought Microsoft had patented that particular tactic?

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (3, Informative)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#40864655)

There are still some reasons to be hopeful. First, most judges are NOT very sympathetic to plaintiff attorneys representing pornographers, so they're looking for something, anything, to get those cases out of their courtrooms. This makes many judges very sympathetic to even the most amateur Motion to Quash Subpoenas [fightcopyrighttrolls.com] filed by pro-se Does or indeed just about any other motion that would give them an excuse to dismiss the case and get the aforementioned smut peddlers the hell out of their courtroom. If more people would take an hour or so to fill out and file some of these motions to quash their subpoenas or even just to dismiss the case, they might find that judges are sympathetic to their requests, amateur though they may be.

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864785)

IANAL - But I've been in the trenches working the background of these cases for a very long time.
Even if the Does do try to fight, the troll dismisses the IPs from the claim and falls back on the but we never named you so there was no lawsuit defense.
They have been flat out caught telling Judges we never said we'd sue, and the Does produce letters showing they said that and MORE.
The Wong case was all about that, and the settlement was sealed so no other Doe being faced with this shakedown can point out that the troll lies.

Judges approve these IP fishing trips for copyright infringement when the copyright doesn't exist, is misrepresented, has a falsified filing.
They let the cases sit open on the docket well past the 120 day mark, having never served a single person. And if the Judge decides to do something it is to offer an extension of that time spelled out in the rules of the court. And when the Judge gets fed up... they drop the case without prejudice and keep working down the list of 1000's of people threatening to file lawsuits unless you pay up.
The Does can try to raise issues before their name is given out, but some Judges refuse to hear the motions or allow them to be filed with the respondents information under seal, making getting the information from the ISP a moot point.
You have 1 troll using a robodialer, breaking laws in several states, calling well outside of allowed times, multiple times a day and no one cares.
You have Judges who are unwilling to even consider for a second the "experts" who provided the IP capture have a financial stake in the case, and might not be completely truthful in their "expert" statements.
You have Judges ruling an IP Address =! a person, and other Judges treating IP's like they are DNA fingering only the guilty.
You have trolls having to admit in court they have filed hundreds of cases, getting the names of thousands of Does and not filing a SINGLE named case from all of that.
And they still file cases in these courts to this day.

The Does are trying to fight back, but the deck is stacked against them on so many levels.
Look at the posts on http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com and http://dietrolldie.com these are run by people I consider my friends in all of this.
Regular people targeted who fought back tooth and nail, and now show people they don't have to be scared of the lies.

These trolls openly lie saying movies precluded by the copyright act from getting more than "ACTUAL" damages are eligible for the up to $150,000 award against the Does, when they can lie in these "settlement negotiation" letters like this who are the Does supposed to turn to?
When the trolls immediately drop and refile cases when they get assigned a Judge who won't just roll over for them, who is supposed to call them on forum shopping?

It might be time for the courts to actually get on the same page for once, instead of scattered rulings across all of the courts and the trolls just move to file in another court in another state where they aren't onto them yet. But then you have a former RIAA lobbyist sitting on the bench who ruled that Does had no rights to try to fight the release of their records, or to challenge the merits of the filing because they were not a party to the case.

I remain....
TAC

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 years ago | (#40864859)

these are big ifs you know. I have a friend lawyer here in Germany and he told me this - it is no chance that you win. The court and thus the friendly judge is chosen by the attacker which may incur additional travelling costs etc. but is just setting enviornment against you as they can chose whole country to press charges. This means you have to fight at least two stages as the first one is almost set. Add to this the fact that almost certainly somebody from your household did download some stuff illegally. Thepr0n issue is not even that frequent but that happens too which just adds to embarrassment of being seen as a criminal. There are two other points here: the ignorance of judges which makes a complex arguments difficult to be made (how can you be sure that it is your IP address and that it has been used at this particular time - the time data is often not correct enuff to invalidate the charges but how to get hold of it and then how to convince the judge?) as well as you need to have access to data and experts that can invalidate the arguments of the oher side. Interestingly the morons fail often enuff (seeing the ods skewed so much their side) and lawyers that do this rocket in an automatic and indiscriminate way risk being disbarred here in Germany. Still this is your problem so you may just decide to pay and many do.

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40864871)

The insurance industry had a problem with cost-of-defense complaints: crappy auto accidents that weren't worth more than a few grand in damages. But they banded together and fought every single one of them (paying just the actual damages & medical, and fighting almost every "pain & suffering" claim

Had a buddy whose wife was getting sued. A car of people (who had done this several times before) turned left from a side street in front of her, and she rear-ended them.

They were claiming that she was responsible to pay them since she didn't swerve and slaughter herself in oncoming traffic.

One of the affected insurance companies wanted to settle, the other was fighting it to the death. I have no idea the result. I hope the people in the other car and their lawyers all got kidnapped and had their heads sawn off.

Oh, also some porn company in Korea once got ahold of my credit card (god only knows how) and started charging multiple monthly porn site fees. I questioned it and they sent me an email saying they'd call my work, my friends, my family, and ask why I wasn't paying my porn bills.

I had the credit card cancelled immediately.

Re:Stonewall or Fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864973)

So while fighting the trolls would be the most honorable thing, it would be the most costly way to proceed.

So what about telling the trolls to pound sand, or simply ignoring the nastygrams? What are the odds that they'd ultimately subpoena any or every "doe" who refused to play ball with the settlement offer? Faced with such a flimsy case to begin with, having to provide discovery evidence to the defendants, the very real risk that those brought forth have no assets or income to garnish, and the possibility of their cases being heard by judges who instead of rolling over, would dismiss the suits with prejudice.

Not only that, but were they to act upon the implicit blackmail threat and publish stories in the local paper about Joe Schmoe's prodigious collection of midget porn which he downloaded illegally; they'd be heavily exposed to charges of libel.

Protection Racket! (1)

linatux (63153) | about 2 years ago | (#40864051)

No way to claim back costs if you successfully defend yourself?

They tried this in the UK... (4, Informative)

microbread (2651139) | about 2 years ago | (#40864055)

And the courts weren't happy about it. The wording of the letter has to be extremely precise and boils down to:

We think you've been downloading porn, but we can't prove it. We'd like you to pay us some protection money, but legally we can't force you to without you agreeing to show us what's on your hard drive.

So, there's no onus on you to pay up whatsoever. Remember that IP addresses are still not considered solid evidence in most countries. To the extent that if your laptop gets stolen and you have an IP address and a GPS fix on the crook's address, the police often refuse to go round and batter the door down because it's they need more proof.

Re:They tried this in the UK... (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#40864193)

To the extent that if your laptop gets stolen and you have an IP address and a GPS fix on the crook's address, the police often refuse to go round and batter the door down because it's they need more proof.

That's just a domestic residential robbery or burglary. In search of evidence to support a charge of violation of the laws against the criminal tresspass of Steamboat Willy's IP rights they will not just batter down your door - the door doesn't even have to be in their US jurisdiction.

Not universally. (3, Informative)

ANonyMouser (2641869) | about 2 years ago | (#40864131)

"There's a very common belief that if someone pirates your Wi-Fi connection or uses your computer without your permission, you are responsible for illegal downloads of copyrighted material." Thanks to the NZ government bending over for special interests, you are responsible in NZ. The punishment for being **alleged** to having your WiFi security violated three times is disconnection.

Re:Not universally. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864235)

It's even crazier in Malaysia: http://www.parlimen.gov.my/files/billindex/pdf/2012/DR162012E.pdf [parlimen.gov.my]

"Presumption of fact in publication
114A. (1) A person whose name, photograph or pseudonym
appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner,
host, administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any
manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is
presumed to have published or re-published the contents of
the publication unless the contrary is proved.
(2) A person who is registered with a network service
provider as a subscriber of a network service on which any
publication originates from is presumed to be the person who
published or re-published the publication unless the contrary
is proved.
(3) Any person who has in his custody or control any
computer on which any publication originates from is
presumed to have published or re-published the content of
the publication unless the contrary is proved.
(4) For the purpose of this section-
(a) "network service" and "network service provider"
have the meaning assigned to them in section 6
of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998
[Act 588]; and
(b) "publication" means a statement or a representation,
whether in written, printed, pictorial, film, graphical,
acoustic or other form displayed on the screen of a
computer.".

what about ISPs? (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 years ago | (#40864561)

If your network is left open or hacked into why are you not considered an ISP? If you provide free wifi to people near your house or around your small business you are an ISP. A larger ISP is not punished for it's customers; libraries and other institutions which provide free internet to "customers" are not viewed as ISPs but they are.

If there is an exemption for ISPs who are just carriers than how does one get that legal status as well? Surely, it must be made available to small businesses as well which is your loophole to get some people an ability to be exempt from being liable for what their users do over their network.

Mesh networks will make this more interesting.

Re:what about ISPs? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40865655)

Actually, if you have open Wifi in the course of your business there is an exemption due to providing service to transients. Also, the definition of an ISP (called an IPAP in the NZ law) is very narrow - technically you could even get the government's internet connection disconnected as even they qualify as an end-user.

Re:Not universally. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 2 years ago | (#40865537)

Same in Germany. Though I think here it was the supreme court that introduced the law, eventhough it violates the german consitution, violates human rights and that germany has codified law which means courts can not introduce new rules.

Where does the idea come from anyway, why does people assume you will be help responsible for acts that you are innocent of? It seems like such a brain-fart. If someone steals your gun and kills someone, you will not be found guilty of murder, at most for not protecting your gun properly. But with IP-infringements people assume you will be responsible for the act, not accesory to the act or not securing your WiFi, but the act itself? What TV -program did I miss that brainwashed people to believe that?

Downloading or uploading? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40864199)

From the original article:

Phan told the station that a lawyer for an adult movie outfit called Elegant Angel Productions sent her a letter accusing her of illegally downloading one of its productions. The on-air reporter said the movie has a title "we can't repeat on TV."
It appears that the movie company hired a security firm to find IP addresses associated with pirated content via BitTorrent.

I'm wondering if something might have gotten mangled in translation here. Is the official claim against her for downloading the material, or for uploading it? With BitTorrent, this gets a bit fuzzy because both are done simultaneously in normal use. I'm thinking that whoever performed this access (whether it was indeed Ms. Phan or someone else) thought they were downloading the media, but probably didn't realize that the BitTorrent client was simultaneously uploading it to other users, making them vulnerable to an allegation of distributing copyrighted material. Has anyone ever been sued for pure downloading of copyrighted material? Is this a tort and/or crime under the Copyright Act? Would the copyright holder have to prove that the person knew the material was unauthorized, or is this a strict liability offense?

Re:Downloading or uploading? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864327)

Here in Finland you should be perfectly fine if you simply download something, and even if you were using BitTorrent and ended up sharing something you could argue that your primary intent was to download the file(s) and this sharing was only a means to an end - the intent of your action tends to play a large role here, you see. However, this has never actually been tested in court, the only cases that have been to court have been about large-scale sharing and infringement, as such we do not really have a proper court judgment on that. In the Netherlands, however, it is clearly stated in the law that downloading something is legal, only the act of uploading/sharing it is illegal and the law is so clear on that that you'd only be wasting your time and money even trying to dispute that.

Re:Downloading or uploading? (1)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#40865843)

the intent of your action tends to play a large role here, you see.

Good god... saunas _and_ fair play. How soon can I emigrate?

Re:Downloading or uploading? (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#40864357)

Even more interesting...what if a bittorrent user reduces their upload bandwidth to the smallest possible level, and then immediately leaves the swarm when downloading is complete? Could they be convicted for uploading when they went out of their way to make sure they uploaded as little as possible? What kind of ratio would be required in order to show that you went out of your way to prevent uploading?

Re:Downloading or uploading? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864477)

To augment your scenario a little: since you are allowed to share a certain portion of a copyrighted work up to a limit on the basis of Fair Use - laws you could likely argue that you must have shared content with a single entity over the limit for it to constitute copyright infringement. For example, if you share something with 100 people and the Fair Use - limit is 10% of the work but you only shared at max. 7% with any single individual you could argue that they all fell under Fair Use. 7% times 100 people would equal 700%, or 7 full copies worth of data, so if the court ruled that the previous defense was actually invalid you could still try to argue that you could only be held responsible for 7 cases of copyright infringement and that the litigant couldn't even prove that you actually ever shared a full copy -- remember, all the downloaded data could come from the same portion of the file(s), so even if you combined all the data uploaded together you'd still not get a single, working copy.

Alas, no one has ever actually tested any of these defenses in court.

Re:Downloading or uploading? (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40864513)

Eh. Technically you still uploaded. Working to diminish your uploading while still uploading does not negate that you were uploading.

Re:Downloading or uploading? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864573)

No, but the actual amount shared is important when considering Fair Use. And in some countries -- like e.g. here in Finland -- your intent also plays a large role in court.

How to fuck the industry porn producers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864261)

Enjoy your free amateur porn on line. That's how you fuck over those guys.

Re:How to fuck the industry porn producers? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864395)

Fucking your hand while watching people fucking just to fuck with an entity whose expertise is all about people fucking? That sounds like... *puts on her shades* ... a fucking mess.

Re:How to fuck the industry porn producers? (0)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#40865213)

YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH

(sorry...)

This is happening to me right now. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864283)

I'm following this guide:
http://copyright-infringement-notice.com/

Has anyone been thru this yet? What's the best way to stop the threats?

Re:This is happening to me right now. (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40864429)

Tell them that you are aware of your rights and since IP-addresses cannot be tied to individual people, only to locations, the only way they could prove you guilty would be to access your actual computer. As the burden of proof lies on them they'll have to manage to prove to court that it was you doing the downloading. Also, do mention that they'll need to be able to prove without doubt actual amounts downloaded and uploaded; there was a recent case in the U.S. ( I am only assuming you're from there as you didn't mention anything else ) where the judge declared that 10% of any work can be redistributed on Fair Use - basis, so you could quite likely use that as a defense in court and they'd have to prove reliably that you shared more than 10% of that work to a single entity. Also, never admit to anything, make certain to construct your sentences in a way that you're clearly speaking about you "supposedly" having done something or "per their claim" to have done something. And then just tell them to sod off.

Disclaimer: IANAL, though I <3 anal.

Re:This is happening to me right now. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40864621)

I'm not certain, and IANAL. But a notice to "pay up or else" doesn't sound like the proper method for initiating a civil suit. Not that they might sue you (eventually). But this kind of contact could be viewed as a shakedown. So, save all your communications and contact your State Attorney General's office. Tell them that you think this some sort of protection racket, forward a copy of the correspondence to their office and ask them to look into it.

Article has nothing to do with patents (4, Funny)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#40864303)

While Apple and Samsung fight over patents and prototypes, other copyright trolls are waging an X-rated battle...

While China and America vie for Gold in London, other copyright trolls are waging an X-rated battle...

While the Horde and Alliance battle in the Outlands, other copyright trolls are waging an X-rated battle...

While McDonalds and Burger King fight over the best fries, other copyright trolls are waging an X-rated battle...

While sensationalist submitters and editors figh- oh, wait, they're in total agreement.

Re:Article has lots to do with IP .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864441)

& you win twit of the week award

Re:Article has nothing to do with patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864701)

http://astore.amazon.com/tabletguyz-20 is where the resolution is solved to the problem. Simply, apple and samsung tablets are displayed here

Stop kidding yourselves (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864313)

Is anyone ACTUALLY under the delusion that these people didn't actually download the material in question? I'd wager that 99.9%+ of these cases are valid.

Argue against copyright laws all you want (and you should), but don't try and make loads of excuses and claim that these people didn't illegally download the material. They did. ... and here's a protip: if you don't want to get caught downloading copyrighted material, DON'T DOWNLOAD COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. There's plenty of Free stuff out there that you should be supporting instead.

Re:Stop kidding yourselves (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40864375)

Is anyone ACTUALLY under the delusion that these people didn't actually download the material in question?

According to Wikipedia, Elegant Angel Productions [wikipedia.org] (the plaintiff in this case) is "one of the early pioneers of Gonzo pornography". I think it's quite likely that the thirtyish mother shown in the Tucson news report [kgun9.com] did not download this file. She's hardly in the prime demographic for this sort of stuff. It seems much more probable that her Wi-Fi was open to the public and was used by someone else.

Re:Stop kidding yourselves (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#40864393)

I would rather let a thousand copyright infringers go free than to shake down one innocent person.

Let's go with your 99.9% value. Out of 250,000 people, this means at least 250 people are being illegally shaken down. At least 250 people that will have to either pony up settlement money or pay for a lawyer.

I just want to be clear that you're okay with punishing those 250 people who did nothing wrong by allowing them to be shaken down with what really amounts to extortion - "Pay up or I'll sue you over porn"

Only on Slashdot (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864321)

Patent and Copyright law cannot seriously be discussed in the same space. Anyone who tries is woefully ignorant of the subjects at hand. A discussion that happens on that level can never bear anything worth the time of the reader except in a purely emotional way that is worthless in the real world.

Copyright Terms (2)

MnemonicMan (2596371) | about 2 years ago | (#40864343)

I'd like to propose a little civil disobedience. Copyright terms are insane and have been continually extended by copyright maximalists for years now. I think sane copyright terms are 20 years for everything but software and 10 years for software as it changes so fast.

I will separate my downloads out into two categories: older than the above terms and younger than those terms. If I ever have the misfortune to be dragged into court over my downloads the older ones I will plead no contest to with a submission that I am not accepting Hollywood's forever copyright, and anything newer than those terms I will have to plead guilty of copyright infringement for.

20 years is long enough for copyright - maximalists are holding our culture hostage by pushing for anything longer.

The Public Domain [thepublicdomain.org]

Re:Copyright Terms (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about 2 years ago | (#40864451)

I'd like to propose a little civil disobedience. Copyright terms are insane and have been continually extended by copyright maximalists for years now. I think sane copyright terms are 20 years for everything but software and 10 years for software as it changes so fast.

I'd actually be okay with an unlimited set of 10 year terms, but the renewal cost grows exponentially.

A culture of suing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864383)

When people see high profile corporations like Apple go around and sue others, and see them succeed often enough, it gives lots of people precedent to think about doing exactly the same.

Before Apple, the phone manufacturers would imitate/copy or license any new idea or technology, everyone contributed (some a bit more, some less), everyone gained. When the first "camera phones" came out they got smiles due to crappy resolution pictures, some companies didn't bother and considered it feature bloat (which was one of the reasons Siemens' phone unit went under, even though the created quality phones), others would simple create "camera phones" from that point on.

When one manufacturer started making "flip-phones" it didn't sue everybody else into oblivion for attempting to do the same, that was simply not the culture and modus operandi of the mobile phone world in those days. Manufacturers simply implemented ideas from others and added their own sometimes creating completely new use cases and device categories (just think of the Nokia 770). This was a culture that acknowledged and allowed progress.

Then the new player Apple enters and does essentially the same - use others years of research and technology and add some of their own ideas, granted it was a very polished even ground-breaking implementation, they created a new category "smart phones"; but then they turn around and say "We legally goto access to your technology (because you allowed it), but we are not willing to share our ideas on the same basis and we will sue anyone who tries to implement any of them." - Most of their patents are basically "X on a smart phone.", where "X" is something somebody else has already done on a non-"smart phone" (multi touch, pinch zoom, curved rectangle chassis etc.).

This didn't happen immediately and only recently have the litigation reached these epic proportions, while we're seeing a decline in real technological innovation on Apple's side.

I'm not saying good ideas shouldn't be rewarded, but seeing the millions and millions Apple has already raked in I think they have been adequately compensated and should continue focusing on innovating and churning out new ideas to keep the cash flow going instead of stifling competition through lawsuits.

Patents (1)

Thuktun (221615) | about 2 years ago | (#40864403)

Where's Manfred Macx when you need him?

Joey Bones (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#40864405)

for a price, they can make the charges go away.

'Cause a lotta bad things can happen to dat nice Linux box, you know what I mean? Like, uh, accidents. We wouldn't want anything, you know, bad to happen, would we?

why is it legal? (3, Interesting)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about 2 years ago | (#40864591)

This kind of fraud should be classified as mail fraud, and the perpetrators charged accordingly.

Re:why is it legal? (2)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 years ago | (#40864865)

hanged in front of their office is sufficient

Re:why is it legal? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#40865111)

It is legal, because it is in favor of some companies and some rich people. Why do you hate America?

Every time our politics looks bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40864787)

I look at that of the States and laugh. Cheers me up no end.

see the light... (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40864961)

I am surprised Americans have been unwilling to treat marauding trolls guilty of extortion and home invasion like earlier generations of criminal extortionists and home invaders. You know, like a quick introduction the the trusty old light saber, or, perhaps a 454 Casull ear cleaner.

Patent Trolls Gone Wild! (2)

paimin (656338) | about 2 years ago | (#40865031)

Show us your tits!

Uh, actually no. Please don't.

1 IP != 1 person! (2)

xenobyte (446878) | about 2 years ago | (#40865123)

The porn case mentioned in TFA was again based on abusing bittorrent to reveal the IP of someone downloading something, which in itself is a double fail.

First, the rights granted to the users of bittorrent explicitly forbids using it for law enforcement purposes and also forbids reverse engineering of applications and protocol (which the DMCA also forbids), so using it to reveal IPs of individual users with the purpose of suing or prosecuting them, is clearly illegal.in itself. So here we have someone claiming to protect one piece of intellectual property by violating another... Fail.

Second, it has been proven time and time again that 1 IP != 1 person. A single IP can represent anything from 1 person to thousands, and any number of these may be unknown, regardless of whether open Wifi exists or not. Protected Wifi can be broken. Rogue cables can be plugged into the cabled local network. And everything can be removed between abuse and discovery, leaving no trace. Fail again.

Re:1 IP != 1 person! (-1)

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Re:1 IP != 1 person! (1)

Umuri (897961) | about 2 years ago | (#40865983)

First, the rights granted to the users of bittorrent explicitly forbids using it for law enforcement purposes

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you believe the whole "Cops have to say if they're cops if you ask" line too....

Most people simply settle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865181)

The 3500 aren't just a fraction of the court costs (and the eventual damages), but also a fraction of what people would pay to avoid having their (alleged) pornography downloads publicly discussed in court.

good post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865401)

my best friend's mom makes $86 an hour on the laptop. She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her check was $20307 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site http://ulinks.net/71a0

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