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Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the millions-of-people-unwilling-to-admit-to-being-relieved dept.

The Courts 136

netbuzz writes: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling it a 'crushing blow for copyright trolls.' A federal appeals court today has for the first time ruled against what critics call a shakedown scheme aimed at pornography downloaders and practiced by the likes of AF Holdings, an arm of notorious copyright troll Prenda Law. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit called the lawsuit 'a quintessential example of Prenda Law's modus operandi' in reversing a lower court ruling that would have forced a half-dozen ISPs to identify account holders associated with 1,058 IP addresses."

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The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103067)

All other related issues are just symptoms.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103149)

Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen. Creating a system where the poor can't afford to sue because they may have to pay for the other guy's legal costs means that only the rich would be able to afford to defend themselves. The legal system would become instead of 80% biased for the Republicans like we have now to 100% against the normal people. That is a horrible idea.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#47103165)

Creating a system where the poor can't afford to sue because they may have to pay for the other guy's legal costs means that only the rich would be able to afford to defend themselves.

That's already true, so lets make life better for most instead of none (legally speaking).

Well ,unless you really love lawyers who benefit most from the "sue everyone and see what sticks" approach.

I was caught for seeding Cum Dripping Creampies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103211)

by Devils Own. I learned my lesson. I set up one of those rapidgator-esque accounts and concealed the filenames the next time around. :\

Re:I was caught for seeding Cum Dripping Creampies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103241)

Yeah, they got me for putting my seed on BBW BBQ. I learned my lesson. Extra protein.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 5 months ago | (#47103301)

The current system sucks, but "loser pays" is even worse because it assumes that the person who is "wrong" is the person who always loses, and that simply is not the case.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 5 months ago | (#47104517)

The current system sucks, but "loser pays" is even worse because it assumes that the person who is "wrong" is the person who always loses, and that simply is not the case.

If you can't make the basic assumption that the person in the wrong is the one who loses then the system is completely broken and needs to be reformed until
you CAN safely make that assumption. Saying that loser-pay is a bad idea because the system is completely broken doesn't really support your argument.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (4, Informative)

hr raattgift (249975) | about 5 months ago | (#47105323)

The current system (in U.S. District courts) *is* loser pays (see U.S. F.R.Civ.P. rule 54(d)).

Where the federal courts differ from most "loser pays" systems is that evidence of offers to settle ahead of a trial is generally excluded as a matter of policy.

Pretty much no loser-pays system (and that includes federal courts and several private law systems in the various states) actually requires that the loser *always* pays the full costs of the other side *in all circumstances*; wide latitudes are given to the courts to assess costs in a way it feels is just, or appropriate to the behaviour of the parties, etc. U.S. district courts have narrower latitude than both, owing in part to statute.

Generally speaking, if no offers to settle out of court are made (and thus also not rejected), then the loser generally is assessed costs unless it would be unjust to do so, thus "loser pays". However, offers to settle out of court are normal and even in district courts are encouraged to avoid unnecessary court costs and time dealing with controversies which can be worked out by the litigating parties outside of court.

In most loser-pays systems costs are assessed against parties who should have ended litigation sooner. For example under most systems that use a regulated offer along the lines of the Calderbank rules (this is definitely untrue of many state systems and U.S. district courts, but is true in some states, such as Florida), a winning party that was made an offer to settle out of court that it rejected and subsequently did not beat in court is usually assessed at least some proportion of the offeror's costs after that point, even if the offeror is ultimately the losing party. That is, even though the party won, it could have achieved the same result with fewer costs to the parties and the courts, and should therefore bear some of those avoidable costs. There are often codified forms of offer which make it even more clear that refusing a well-pitched offer could be expensive (as in Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (England and Wales)) for a party that does not subsequently better it.

Additionally, most systems allow the parties to agree on how to split costs in order to avoid further litigation on who should pay which costs; the motions under F.R.Civ.P rule 54(d)(1)&(2) are frequently consent motions agreed between the parties after judgement.

http://www.nlrg.com/public-law... [nlrg.com]

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47106119)

The UK system is normally 'loser pays' but is strictly the for court to decide so if someone takes the piss they can force the winners to pay. I recall someone taken to court for stealing a pen by their employer who was then given a token fine while the employer had to pay costs.
Also in the UK you can get fee remission if you are poor and if you do end up having to pay costs and are poor it will be set at an amount per week or whatever that is sustainable for the person so it wont drive them to destitution.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#47104761)

A far better system: loser pays his opponent the lesser of the two side's legal costs. This way, the little guy can still sue the mega-corp, as he's never on the hook for more than double his own legal costs.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104879)

And if the lawyer volunteers his/her time, just to spite the mega-corp?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2)

stoploss (2842505) | about 5 months ago | (#47104991)

And if the lawyer volunteers his/her time, just to spite the mega-corp?

If a pro-bono lawyer defeats the legal department of a mega-corp, then I would say that the it is extremely likely that justice has been done. I am deriving this conclusion from the fact that the pro-bono lawyer must have had such an airtight case that no amount of money blown on high-priced corporate lawyers could scuttle the case or indefinitely delay the judgement.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (5, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#47103195)

Why not make the losing plaintiffs the lesser of the 2 legal bills? Big corp sues small guy. Small guy wins. Big corp pays his costs.

Small guy sues big corp. Small guy loses. Small guy pays the equivalent of his legal bills to the big corp.

That way, overspending isn't covered.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 5 months ago | (#47103323)

Why not make the losing plaintiffs the lesser of the 2 legal bills? Big corp sues small guy. Small guy wins. Big corp pays his costs.

Small guy sues big corp. Small guy loses. Small guy pays the equivalent of his legal bills to the big corp.

That way, overspending isn't covered.

So, BigMegaCorp fucks you over and you sue them. They can afford to throw more lawyers at you and you lose. This happens. A lot.

It isn't bad enough that BigMegaCorp fucked you, now you get to pay extra for getting fucked.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104003)

...But that's today's system. Where is the "pay extra" in his proposal?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#47104925)

His proposal would double your court costs in case of a loss.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (4, Interesting)

Compholio (770966) | about 5 months ago | (#47103475)

Have both parties pay into a pool managed by the court, legal bills need to be addressed to the court and each party can only spend half of the pool. Frivolous cases can still be reimbursed as with the current system, but you need to think more carefully about any money you spend since that money also helps your opponent.

Complicated by staff lawyers (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 5 months ago | (#47104473)

This would be made complicated by staff lawyers - many larger companies have staffs of lawyers in house.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#47104569)

Except that you'd have to pay to set up the pool in the first place. Most of the costs come from miscellaneous stuff. Essentiallly just about any piece of paperwork filed with the courts costs a fee, it's the only way most courts in the US are funded. So the small guy could be out of money even before the courts can decide on the amount of the pool.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 5 months ago | (#47106161)

All I'm saying is I only hire lawyers who buy me Chinese food every day!

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#47104593)

I have an even better idea. We could all be required by law to pay an equal amount into a pool that is then used to pay all lawyers. The government will hire a few private contractors to manage who pays in and who gets paid.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 months ago | (#47105333)

Even better...both sides pay into a "lawyer fund" and each side is given exactly half the fund, this would be for criminal as well as civil...this way rich corp (or the state) can't stack the deck with a whole legal team complete with a dozen experts for hire while the poor person can't afford more than an ambulance chaser.

As an upside this would discourage lawsuits as the case would have to be about the merits NOT who could hire the best legal team. Frankly this would IMHO bring things back to the way the founding fathers had originally envisioned which is two ordinary folks arguing their case before a judge who would then weigh the case and decide. if you want a fair legal system you have to take money OUT of the equation and by making both sides 100% equal on funds you have made money no longer a deciding factor.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103363)

Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen. Creating a system where the poor can't afford to sue because they may have to pay for the other guy's legal costs means that only the rich would be able to afford to defend themselves. The legal system would become instead of 80% biased for the Republicans like we have now to 100% against the normal people. That is a horrible idea.

Wow, Talk about knee-jerk smears.

How the hell is holding lawyers accountable for this kind of crap REPUBLICAN???

You want your little guy to have the ability to sue? Exempt class-action suits from loser-pays, or, better yet, make the plaintiff's LAW FIRM pay in class-action suits, or maybe even in suits with contingency-based fees.

Capcha: slither. Quite appropriate when responding to someone defending lawyer's ability to win huge fees no matter what the outcome of the case is.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#47104791)

I like the way he contrasts "Republicans" with "normal people". Should we wear gold stars now, so the normal people can know an keep their distance?

Republicans are about half the country, and not especially the richer half. It's about values, not about net worth.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105099)

I like the way he contrasts "Republicans" with "normal people". Should we wear gold stars now, so the normal people can know an keep their distance?

You're comparing some ill conceived post on /. to nazi antisemitism. That's preposterous.

Republicans are about half the country, and not especially the richer half. It's about values, not about net worth.

Hook, line, sinker, rod and fisherman.

Re: The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103389)

The current system, in which plaintiffs can sue at little cost to themselves, and where defendants have to bear crippling legal bills is hardly fair either. It means that if you are sued and you win in court you still end up the loser.

Re: The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103401)

As everyone knows there are no Democratic lawyers right genius? I think you'll find the left deserves just as much blame. Anymore there is no right or left just different shades of the same junk.

Re: The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#47104617)

The TLA supports far more Democrats than Republicans but everything the TLA and its members do is the fault of the Republicans. That is a prime example of liberal logic right there.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103403)

Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen. Creating a system where the poor can't afford to sue because they may have to pay for the other guy's legal costs means that only the rich would be able to afford to defend themselves. The legal system would become instead of 80% biased for the Republicans like we have now to 100% against the normal people. That is a horrible idea.

Good God coward, you're a fucking moron. If you ever crawl out from under your rock, you'll be happy to learn the communists..er... democrats are in charge now and have been since 2009.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103471)

You just called someone a moron, then announced that you're a moron by mistaking Democrats for communists. Seek professional help, you've gone completely off the rails into wingnutville.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0, Troll)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 5 months ago | (#47103991)

Have to agree. At least the communists had a philosophically consistent political platform. It may have been based on a failed belief system (dialectic materialism) that had no basis in reality but at least it flowed fairly consistently from there. Democrats on the other hand seem to only be concerned with getting re-elected and watching out for the causes supported by their left wing, limousine liberal benefactors. Whitness Harry Reid's crass behavior when it came to patent reform, the recent "crackdown" on the NSA, etc.

There really is a difference. Glad you pointed that out.

Cheers,
Dave

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104727)

Most democrats are progressives. All Progressives are socialists and some are communists. So Saying democrats are communists isn't wrong just inaccurate.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47106179)

All Progressives are socialists and some are communists.

What's you definition of a progressive [person]? It appears to be socialists and communists are progressive [people] which makes it uninformative to then restate

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#47103417)

That's his point. Prenda lost because someone actually could afford to defend.

This is a problem that must be fixed ASAP. Putting other issues in front of holy making of the profit is communism.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103819)

That's his point. Prenda lost because someone actually could afford to defend.

This is a problem that must be fixed ASAP. Putting other issues in front of holy making of the profit is communism.

AF Holdings (related to, but not the same as Prenda) lost because they did indeed sue someone who could defend: Comcast and Verizon. The case was originally one that was being used to get names and addresses from a list of IP addresses. The IPSs said no, so AF Holding decided to sue them to get the info. They also sued Comcast as a co-conspirator to the infringement because they were stalling, which just pissed off their in-house legal staff. When you piss off the legal staff of a major corporation, be prepared to lose.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 5 months ago | (#47104733)

Prenda lost because they violated their rules and kept pissing off a judge who actually did some due diligence in the area they were suing.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103421)

Stupid "it's the Republicans" troll makes another idiotic post. Please dry up and blow away, moron.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2)

BitterOak (537666) | about 5 months ago | (#47103583)

Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen. Creating a system where the poor can't afford to sue because they may have to pay for the other guy's legal costs means that only the rich would be able to afford to defend themselves.

But the poor would only have to pay if they LOSE. If they have a legit lawsuit, that wouldn't be an issue.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47103775)

You've obviously never had to pay for a lawyer for anything. The system is rigged that whoever wins or loses in a trial, the lawyers always get paid.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104053)

> Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen.

I didn't realize that Republicans controlled Europe, which has such a system. Yes, you need spending controls, but it's not unsolvable. And if you hadn't noticed, we're already 100% biased against normal people. When's the last time you priced a real lawsuit? This just makes it harder to bully people when you have no case. One might think that was a *good* thing.

Or are you a lawyer?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

jtwiegand (3533989) | about 5 months ago | (#47104121)

Lawyers work on a contingency basis all the time. There would likely be a market for a contingency-based lawyer in the loser-pays paradigm where the less-moneyed party can get a lawyer who is willing to bet his fee on the outcome of the case. Sure, the fee would probably be high under that model, but that's still a fair bit better than risking financial ruin for losing a case you ought to win because you're outclassed in the legal department. At least in a loser pays system there is an actual incentive to win the case, instead of wear the other side down with endless legalese. There are obviously no perfect solutions in the legal arena, but a loser-pays system is certainly the least bad when it comes to patent trolling and other litigious litigation. Then there is some hazard to reckless litigation, where currently the side with the most money nearly always wins. Under a loser-pays paradigm the side with the better case would have a much better chance of winning, and bad-faith actors in the legal system would have an incentive to act in bad faith less often.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104259)

You Democrats have the right ideas. We need to legislate something like the Affordable Legal Care Act. The federal government should take over the whole lawyer industry. Every lawyer should be a federal employee. Every case is assigned an equal number of lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant. These lawyers should be paid a standard federal wage by the federal government. The plaintiff and defendant don't pay a dime in legal fees.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (2, Informative)

Boawk (525582) | about 5 months ago | (#47104297)

Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen...The legal system would become instead of 80% biased for the Republicans...

Blaming "loser pay" advocacy on political affiliation shows you haven't done your homework [npr.org] .

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 5 months ago | (#47104561)

Wow, you Republicans are getting more brazen. Creating a system where the poor can't afford to sue because they may have to pay for the other guy's legal costs means that only the rich would be able to afford to defend themselves. The legal system would become instead of 80% biased for the Republicans like we have now to 100% against the normal people. That is a horrible idea.

Its already 100% biased against the poor. We just want all lawyers to work probono.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47106225)

A sane legal system that doesn't take a lawyer to interpret would be better. How can it be just to hold people to laws they can't even understand?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104609)

Seems to work [wikipedia.org] for nearly every other developed country [pointoflaw.com] . I just wish the rest of the world could live up to the shining beacon of hope that is the US legal system.

You see, it promotes a fair system where the poor CAN sue on equal footing with the rich, if they have a viable case, they don't need to take out a mortgage to engage in civil actions.

Re: The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105353)

here we may ask for the costs of the action if need be, and the system works pretty well. if anything be, it avoids frivolous lawsuits.

Re: The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47106239)

Are you seriously claiming the USA's legal system avoids frivolous lawsuits? If that where the case this story wouldn't be news.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105977)

The poor can't afford to sue in the U.S. anyway with a reasonable chance of success because of competent representation. In addition, meritless lawsuits abound because the risk for the plaintiff is low.

In countries with a loser-pays-all rule, there is affordable legal insurance for private persons. The insurance will cover the cost of your legal representation, obviously with some fairly standard exceptions lined out in the licenses, and like with any insurance, the ability for either party to part ways after fulfilling all pending obligations and giving proper notice.

Since the legal representation of the insurer is, out of self-interest, usually competent, and since the legal system in most other countries is not based on baffling an intentionally incompetent jury (leading to a proliferation of expensive "star attorneys" good at that) and since all legal costs including attorney costs are limited by reasonable rates (there is no such things as $500/hr billings or such, again working against a "star attorney" culture) and most particular since both award and punishments are proportionate to the misdemeanor rather than boasting dazzling monetary and punitive lottery prizes, the ability of such insurances means that people availing themselves can get justice without incurring large costs to themselves.

Serial plaintiffs with meritless cases will tend to find themselves without an insurance willing to work for them after a while, and then meritless cases will start becoming expensive.

When you are clearly in the right, the threat of a vexatious lawsuit is not much of a distraction even if you have no legal insurance: legal bills are only to be paid after a case closes. Of course, if you ask an attorney for his opinion and then choose to settle, the opinion will still be billed to you. But that's nowhere near the cost of a court case.

Since there is a general expectation of competent defense and the respective costs, launching lawsuits as a threat, particularly an existence-threatening one, is rare. So even those without actual insurance profit from a climate not particularly favorable to unnecessary lawsuits.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103157)

Yeah, you sue MegaCorp, Inc. because you slipped on their slippery floor, and *you* pay for their 15 lawyer defense team should you loose...

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#47104637)

Or maybe take a bit of personal responsibility and notice the wet, slippery floor and avoid it. Do you also sue God or Mother Nature for the ice and rain?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47106243)

Better than strict loser pays is what most of the world actually has and that is that the court decides, with the default being loser pays.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (5, Insightful)

superdave80 (1226592) | about 5 months ago | (#47103161)

The problem becomes: Pay how much? A set standard rate regardless of what the loser actually paid their attorney? If I bring a lawsuit against a large corporation with an internal team of lawyers, how do I know much it really cost them to litigate? And even if I 'win' against a guy with no money, so what? And when is someone considered a 'loser', since there are so many levels of appeal?

I think the bigger problem with our legal system is that it even requires a lawyer to handle the most basic of procedures. That shows that the legal system has just become too complex to be useful. But since the legal system is ruled by lawyers (on all sides of the equation), there is little incentive for them to make the system more simplified and easy to access for the average person.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 5 months ago | (#47103285)

s/internal/infernal

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103311)

State issued public adjuster?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104773)

The solution is easy. Kill all the lawyers..

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105053)

I think the bigger problem with our legal system is that it even requires a lawyer to handle the most basic of procedures.

That's the one thing I think lawyers should do and is the smallest problem of our legal system. Lawyers being protocol masters of the law just establishes a more consistent stage for all parties involved to function instead of people guessing or making up stuff as they go.

to make the system more simplified and easy to access for the average person.

Consider the Bible. Leave it in Hebrew/Latin/Greek makes it simplified but not very easy to access--analogous to lawyer jargon, precedent, etc. Translate it into English makes it easy to access, but you get the King James, the New King James, the New International Version, etc, etc, all of which lose something in the translation and allows for a wealth of vernacular interpretation which hardly make it simply to have "one true" understanding of the Bible--analogous to attempts to use simpler text in the law and to specified direct the courts on how to interpret things which, of course, end up having to be interpreted by the courts and it quickly becomes a mess trying to figure out if "theft" includes embezzlement, conversion, whether there should be any consideration on the scope of the theft, whether it being a "real" theft--versus, say, a loss in a stock price or a "destruction" of virtual goods--, etc.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47106261)

I think the bigger problem with our legal system is that it even requires a lawyer to handle the most basic of procedures.

That's the one thing I think lawyers should do and is the smallest problem of our legal system. Lawyers being protocol masters of the law just establishes a more consistent stage for all parties involved to function instead of people guessing or making up stuff as they go.

to make the system more simplified and easy to access for the average person.

Consider the Bible. Leave it in Hebrew/Latin/Greek makes it simplified but not very easy to access--analogous to lawyer jargon, precedent, etc. Translate it into English makes it easy to access, but you get the King James, the New King James, the New International Version, etc, etc, all of which lose something in the translation and allows for a wealth of vernacular interpretation which hardly make it simply to have "one true" understanding of the Bible--analogous to attempts to use simpler text in the law and to specified direct the courts on how to interpret things which, of course, end up having to be interpreted by the courts and it quickly becomes a mess trying to figure out if "theft" includes embezzlement, conversion, whether there should be any consideration on the scope of the theft, whether it being a "real" theft--versus, say, a loss in a stock price or a "destruction" of virtual goods--, etc.

If people can't even tell what the legal system says how is it just to hold them to it?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103163)

Except that it wouldn't help here- you don't "lose" joinder, and your opponents don't win. Unless you're telling me none of the thousand-odd people did in fact share the porn?

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103237)

A legal system that works for everyone ? That's Socialism . Next you will be calling for a society with roads and public utilities,

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103453)

A legal system that works for everyone ? That's Socialism . Next you will be calling for a society with roads and public utilities,

Considering the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit called the lawsuit 'a quintessential example of Prenda Law's modus operandi' wouldn't the Court have the authority to file a complaint of bad conduct against Prenda Law with the American Bar Association? At the very least Prenda Law should be judicially sanctioned in civil court with a multi-million dollar fine.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103255)

All other related issues are just symptoms.

That only works if the judges are honest and wise. People tend to become judges based on their power and influence over the locals, not because they're honest and wise people. See the Salem witch trials and the drug war as examples of judicial systems gone wrong that most of us can agree on.

We should have the smartest people with the best intentions leading us, but that's not how the current system works.

Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 5 months ago | (#47104033)

The defedant always has the option of counter-suing the plantif. They can also file a complaint to the local bar association asserting barratry against the plantif's lawyers.

Cheers,
Dave

Judges are People (pervs) Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103069)

Nobody -- nobody -- wants it to be easy to identify and publicly excoriate those whom have downloaded pornography.

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103299)

If you don't know how to use "whom" correctly, you just probably just avoid it entirely.

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103765)

If you don't know how to use "just" correctly, you should probably just avoid it entirely.

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 5 months ago | (#47103429)

If you actually read anything about this case or ones brought by the MPAA: plaintiffs cannot file lawsuits against multiple people at once that are not joined or related. If the copyright holders wish to sue any individual they have to bring individual lawsuits.

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104341)

Good point. Don't forget Robert Bork. Forgot who he is? Well, he was a supreme court nominee until his video rental records were leaked. Yep, porn. (I guess he knows it when he sees it!). So, if you want to know why video rental records are now protected by law, that's why. And you can bet your ass that Elena Kagen and Ruth Bader Ginsberg would not be on the high court if their masturbation movies were public record

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47104703)

I doubt they kept any records of porn rentals in the 1950s.

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104987)

Yet another arrogant but profoundly ignorant AC.

According to the author of the Bork Tapes article, Michael Dolan, "Gist: Bork enjoyed whodunits and Brit films, costume drama and otherwise; he and his hadn't rented anything remotely salacious enough to rankle patron Reagan's buds in the Moral Majority."

See the entire article and the author's commentary here:
http://www.theamericanporch.com/bork2.htm

Re:Judges are People (pervs) Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105051)

citation needed.

During debate over his nomination, Bork's video rental history was leaked to the press. His video rental history was unremarkable, and included such harmless titles as A Day at the Races, Ruthless People, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. Writer Michael Dolan, who obtained a copy of the hand-written list of rentals, wrote about it for the Washington City Paper.[29] Dolan justified accessing the list on the ground that Bork himself had stated that Americans only had such privacy rights as afforded them by direct legislation. The incident led to the enactment of the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act.

[1] [wikipedia.org]

The US needs a loser-pays legal system (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103091)

All related issues are only symptoms.

Apply to Hollywood? Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103097)

Can this be used as precedent to dismiss all the pending RIAA and MPAA lawsuits? What about reversing past suits whose victims are already in the body count?

Re:Apply to Hollywood? Please? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 5 months ago | (#47103435)

The courts have already ruled the same thing against the RIAA and MPAA in other cases.

Re:Apply to Hollywood? Please? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 5 months ago | (#47103507)

This isn't RIAA/MPAA. It's the Prendateers.

Re:Apply to Hollywood? Please? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 5 months ago | (#47103857)

The ruling is the same: Copyright holders cannot file lawsuits en masse like this. They have to file individual suits to go after individuals.

A Crushing Blow? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103125)

Actually, that's probably the best blow I've had in a while! Those justices give me a raging hard-on just reading it. I'm definitely going to have to find that video of justice pr0n and watch it tonight.

Wait, man! (1)

Guy From V (1453391) | about 5 months ago | (#47103153)

I was just torrenting Game of Bones: Winter is Cumming for the articles........?

"pulls plug" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103189)

Could anything more blatantly sexual be inserted in the headline?

Re:"pulls plug" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103289)

It wasn't inserted it was pulled!

Re:"pulls plug" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103439)

What comes out must have gone in.

piracy is theft (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103413)

Most slashdot commenters have never had anyone steal their intellectual property and give it away to others thereby destroying considerable portion of the value.
I have. Yes, I sell porn -- legal niche / specialty content. A small producer where every dollar counts who has no money neither for lawyers nor the more suitable hitman. A user named Larry Lackey signed up with a fake / stolen credit card to my site. Either he himself or someone he traded to then posted the most popular, best selling, video I ever made on a file sharing site where others propagated this to other filesharing sites. DMCA takedown notices only work if the file sharing site is in the US or feeling responsible. Either way it is a game of whack-a-mole -- and if I ever catch Larry Lackey, I will whack *him*. Not only did he steal my video, *I* had to pay for his evil deed with a chargeback penalty (I don't control fraud scrubbing, that's what I thought I was supposed to get by paying merchant processing fees)
You want free stuff? Go for all the stuff the amateurs give away because they want to , the teasers and samples from producers that give it away to show you their wares. Don't steal. Trading passwords and content is stealing as much as shoplifting in the physical world. When you steal content, you are taking money from people / businesses beyond just the producer such as web hosts and ISPs not to mention the trickle-down to all those companies like camera manufacturers and lighting equipment and of course computer hardware and software vendors.

Yes, it is a bunch of stupid lawyers at Prenda who should pay for some extra technical analysis of their hoard of IP addresses so they can figure out which IP address belongs to which ISP. It's not exactly hidden but they're just the lawyer version of script kiddies using tools that they know nothing about.

The Larry Lackeys and other pirates of the digital age should do hard time not face copyright infringement penalty. They DO act in concert, they are part of loosely-organized conspiracies which use various IRC channels and web forums to coordinate their thefts and trade the property they have stolen. The web forums that profit from these trades should be charged as at least accessories if not co-conspirators. Of course, throwing people in jail doesn't get money for the plaintiff's bar.

Re:piracy is theft? NO! Copyright is theft! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103533)

You're a fucking troll/flambaiter. GFTO!

Re:piracy is theft (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105241)

Most slashdot readers won't like what I have to say, so I guess I'm hoping that the parent AC comes back to look at any replies to his/her post.

Let's start with this proposition: if there were no fear of having copyright enforced, copyright holders would make less money due to the virtual ubiquitous availability of free copyrighted material on the Internets. Taking the position(s) that a copyright shouldn't exist, or that statutory damages are wrong/inflated, or that copyright term is too long, or that individuals shouldn't be liable for infringement of the distribution right are all fine- but I think it leaves you out of this conversation because your problem is with Congress, the Copyright Act, the Berne treaty, and, frankly, a million other things that aren't going to change in our system.

That being said, can you identify things Prenda has done wrong here? Absolutely. Personal jurisdiction over a defendant has been in the bedrock of the US legal system forever- there is simply no excuse for presenting a court with an unverified list of IP addresses on some assumption that the court has jurisdiction. Their tactics in other cases? Reprehensible... but that shouldn't be grounds for throwing out a newly-filed case. It certainly seems like it'd be grounds for close supervision by the district court judge, but any good-faith copyright plaintiff should have no problem with a court approving content of settlement letters, paying actual costs to ISPs for translating IP addresses to physical addresses, or indeed paying reasonable fees to the court for dealing with bulk action. Prior failure to take a case to trial? Irrelevant: should no crime be prosecuted in my county because 98% of all charges filed result in plea agreements rather than trials?

We still have the joinder issue, though. Reasonable people can disagree on this, and in general, courts themselves have. But here's the federal rule: defendants may be joined if "any right to relief is asserted against them... with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences." Myself, I have a hard time reconciling what I actually know about, say, BitTorrent, and how it wouldn't be a "series of transactions." Or, least of all, how a court can definitively determine that there is no nexus when no discovery pertaining to the defendants has taken place. All it'd take is one guy with logs to say yep, I've got those IP addresses in my download log.

But anyway, that's not really my point. The problem is one where if nobody gets joined, justice isn't served. Plaintiffs have a choice of not enforcing their copyright (which, as above, I believe they should be able to do) or pulling random numbers from a hat to see who gets incredibly screwed. "Well, your honor, we'd have been happy to settle with the defendant over there, but we just spent $12,000 in court costs filing against 30 John Doe individuals in separate lawsuits, and she's the only one who hasn't moved and isn't judgement-proof. To say nothing of the paralegal time, the subpoena response fees, defendant credit check fees, or even lawyer time invested. Not to mention our client actually wants to see some of the damages. So we need, say, $100,000- which your honor will note is less than the maximum statutory damages- and we think she's good for it, but she only offered us $10 for that movie she could have rented for $2. Really, it only gets worse if we have to win at trial just because people think there's something wrong with settling." By refusing joinder, a court essentially says that this is the only model for enforcement. I think if we consider those choices as:

1) Copyright is no longer really enforceable;
2) Some defendants' lives are ruined because the costs of enforcement are placed on them individually; or
3) We let some of this actually play out under better judicial supervision, deterring copyright infringement, getting at least some cash into the copyright holder's pocket, and nobody really pays that much individually.

Did I mention under no. 3 you can always move to have your case severed? Or that you could indeed defend yourself?

Anyway...

So does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103643)

I can haz pr0n?

"Copyright troll?" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103773)

A "patent troll" is a company that obtains a broad patent, and then asserts it against legitimate companies, even though the "troll" itself makes no products.

There's no such thing as a "copyright troll," because copyright is, by definition, narrow. If no one actually copied the artistic work attached to the copyright, then there's no infringement. Conversely, if a party doesn't actually create an artistic work, then it doesn't have any copyright to assert.

The EFF once again demonstrates its ineptitude in understanding the basics of intellectual property law.

Re:"Copyright troll?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104253)

Idiot. A copyright troll is a company that uses copyright law in ridiculous ways to try to make money off of lawsuits, sue people en masse so people don't have a chance to defend themselves, generally abuses copyright law in ways that it wasn't intended to be used, or some combination of those.

Conversely, if a party doesn't actually create an artistic work, then it doesn't have any copyright to assert.

People sign away their copyrights to scumbag companies all the time.

The EFF once again demonstrates its ineptitude in understanding the basics of intellectual property law.

"intellectual property" is a propaganda term designed to confuse people by lumping together completely different concepts like copyright, patents, and trademarks.

Nonliteral similarity (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47104895)

copyright is, by definition, narrow. If no one actually copied the artistic work attached to the copyright, then there's no infringement.

It might not be as narrow as one might naively think, especially when the copyright-owning plaintiff claims nonliteral similarity [wikipedia.org] .

Funniest thing about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47103889)

...is that P0rn, in the U. S. of A. is not copyright-able!

Re:Funniest thing about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104123)

Uh, yes it is.

Where did you learn something so straight-up wrong?

Useless description (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104047)

What the crap is this posting saying?? Without knowing the full back-story, it is completely incomprehensible.

Sounds like... (2)

luckymutt (996573) | about 5 months ago | (#47104265)

...there might be a judge who knows how to torrent.

I ignored them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47104415)

They used to send twenty to thirty emails to support a month. They would call and tell me I was required to deliver them to our customers. I told them fine as long as they were willing to pay fifty dollars a truck roll we would hand deliver their emails to our customers. They never called back.

Why copyright for porn? (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about 5 months ago | (#47104575)

In general governments and "well-thinking" pressure groups don't like porn. It seems to me that a perfect and easy way to give that industry a heavy blow is to rule that porn cannot be copyrighted. So why is this not done?

Re:Why copyright for porn? (1)

mmell (832646) | about 5 months ago | (#47104957)

If pornography is legal (and it is. Think: free speech), then pornographic works deserve the same protections as any other speech (other recorded works such as movies and music).

So to do as you suggest would require dismantling of virtually the entire copyright system as it currently exists in the US - either that or a declaration that pornography is not merely socially unacceptable but illegal.

Besides, what would happen to all of the porn stars if what you suggest were allowed. Won't someone think of the (porn stars') children?

Re:Why copyright for porn? (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about 5 months ago | (#47106071)

Well, you could be right. I am not an American. But I thought that let us say the artform was illegal in some American states. I read an article a few years ago about a particularly nasty actor/director in the genre (sorry, I forgot the name, others may chime in) who was jailed because of his extreme videos, while it was all consensual adults. If it were legal in that state, then why was he locked up?
Again, I am not American but because of this my perception is that it is not everywhere legal in the USA.
If it would happen, then the stars would need to find another job. I have no strong views pro or con myself, except perhaps that there is already enough of it to satisfy multiple lifetimes of self pleasure.

Re:Why copyright for porn? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105103)

Tropic of Cancer and Lolita have both been banned on obscenity laws and would likely have fallen under any sort of "porn" restriction, but these are both important pieces of culture that shouldn't have protections stripped because some prudish busy body doesn't like them and lets not forget stuff like Requiem for a Dream, Eyes Wide Shut, and Mulholland Drive which likely wouldn't exist at all if "obscene" works weren't protected by copyright.

A simple question then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105065)

After reading the ruling (amazing right?), why can't the court just immediately recommend disbarment of the lawyers that brought the case? From the ruling it certainly appears that there has been repeated abuse of the system and likely real harm done. Instead it appears that this is just a "nope, you can't do that". I really don't see the significant ramifications, especially since it would appear the costs of this case were fairly low for the plaintiffs (based in part on the mention of $15 million in profit). Any lawyers or judges out there that can explain how this is a true "win" against trolls?

So must have been quite the number (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 months ago | (#47105687)

of poiticians that were in possesion of some porn or maybe just one powerfull one?

Unify the two tracks of our legal system (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47106127)

Instead of loser pays or, worse, having the government decide on damage caps, I would eliminate the special lawyer-enriching set of privileges the civil legal system enjoys by making it operate by the same stringent rules as criminal procedure. I would put civil plaintiffs in the same legal position as criminal prosecutors: they would have to win cases on a unanimous jury vote, rather than a majority, and using a 'beyond a reasonable doubt' evidence standard, rather than 'preponderance of evidence'. The junk forms of evidence allowable in civil cases, such as hearsay, would also get chucked in favor of criminal-quality standards. Doing this would cause huge wads of junk torts to simply never get filed.

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