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Crackdown on BT Users in Hong Kong

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the it's-not-safe-to-breathe-anymore dept.

Patents 229

griffinn writes "100 BitTorrent users in Hong Kong are about to receive legal threats from the MPIA (Hong Kong's equivalent of the MPAA), BusinessWeek reports. The users were randomly selected from more than 6000 IP addresses collected by investigators. Customs officials are also following through on their previous arrest of a 38-year-old man who allegedly uploaded three movies." From the article: "If convicted, the suspect faces up to four years in prison and a fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,400) for every illegal copy."

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GNAA FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373747)

heil hitler

jade empire trade outpost crushes rebel bittorrent (0, Offtopic)

che.kai-jei (686930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373753)

users in a trap.

Re:jade empire trade outpost crushes rebel bittorr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373799)

jerks. this is on-topic. maybe not funny. but not off topic

DUPE!! (0, Offtopic)

MondoMor (262881) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373756)

Just kidding. Given Zonk's proofreading capabilities, it's actually likely.

I'm Spartacus! (5, Funny)

CrosbieFitch (694308) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373759)

If you ask me, the other 5900 BitTorrent users should come forward and say "I'M SPARTACUS!"

Re:I'm Spartacus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374463)

you mean 5999?

Damn commies (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373762)

And thier self imposed internet laws....

China (4, Funny)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373767)

I say, it's about time China recieved the same lack of freedoms that we have right here in the good old US of A.

Re:China (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374018)

oh really? did you really believe you had the "freedom" to pirate other people's property in the USA to begin with?

Because you never did. In your rush to automatically equate China and the US, the lack of freedoms between them don't even come close.

Go back to junior high, boy. I just ripped you to fuckin schreds.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374159)

oh really? did you really believe you had the "freedom" to pirate other people's property in the USA to begin with?

Because you never did. In your rush to automatically equate China and the US, the lack of freedoms between them don't even come close.


Yeah, and eternal monopolies on ideas, images, and sounds are just such a natural thing. They practically enforce themselves.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374132)

About time? You can't be serious! You obviously don't know much about China then. They're about as free as US citizens are to elect a president of their choice... that's not very free, by the way.

So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (-1, Troll)

andreMA (643885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373769)

I recall reading a day or two about how China was going to "get serious" on IP enforcement.

They should just cane them; that'd get a lot of politicians really hard.

Re:So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (2, Informative)

MissingIntellect (583853) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373953)

Although Hong Kong is now technically under the control of China, it is not a part of China. If you've seen the term SAR, it's an acronym for Special Administrative Republic. (One country, two systems) In all reality Hong Kong basically just an independent state. So China != Hong Kong.

Re:So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374073)

OMFG, you actually drink the kool aid!

Re:So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (0, Troll)

MissingIntellect (583853) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374190)

Sigh...I know it was a troll, but I still thought it was something worth pointing out. Stupid trolls.

Re:So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374437)

So China != Hong Kong.

Are you sure? When we say China != Taiwan, they throw a fit.

Re:So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (2, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374255)

Personally, if that was the upper limit of the punishment, I'd go for the caning over three years in prison. Hell, I'd set up weekly appointments for canings just so I can keep torrenting. (yes, I just verbed that word. Grammar Nazis ho!)

Re:So... this is China sucking up to US Senators? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374433)

Hell, I'd set up weekly appointments for canings just so I can keep torrenting.

Go ahead and admit it. You're not really interested in the torrents, are you?

Maybe they can plead down... (5, Funny)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373773)

...to something like Manslaughter or Murder 3.

Re:Maybe they can plead down... (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374422)

For a second there, I thought you said Manhunt, and here I was thinking that one got a video game in Hong Kong for committing a crime.

Really (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373774)

break the law and get caught? Who would have thought?

Scare tactics (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373777)

This is just to scare the sheeps. Very common tactic.

Re:Scare tactics (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374067)

This is just to scare the sheeps. Very common tactic.

And the intelligent ones will go underground, untraceable. Just as they've always done.

Re:Scare tactics (1)

danbond_98 (761308) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374128)

Was as long as the sheep aren't scared it's ok.

Bloody typical (5, Interesting)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373791)

How can you expect the RIAA to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate uses of BitTorrent when slashdot editors cannot be bothered to do the same? Hong Kong is not cracking down on BT Users, but on wilful copyright violators who happen to use BitTorrent.

You might as well run a headline "US police crack down on Drivers", leading to a report detailing the arrest of a guy who drove a getaway car in a robbery.

Sheesh.

Re:Bloody typical (4, Insightful)

andreMA (643885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373882)

You have a valid point, but there's only so much room in a headline. Headlines are intended to be a bit over the top, to entice you into reading the summary... and then hopefully the article.

The real issue here, I think, is that the (presumed guilty) copyright offenders are looking at 4 years in a Chinese prison. Is that an appropriate punishment for the offense? Is that proportionate to what other offenders get under the Chinese justice system? If not, what political and financial influence was exerted to provide disproportionate protection to copyright holders... and why?

These are the rich topics for debate here, not BitTorrent per se.

Re:Bloody typical (5, Interesting)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374193)

The real issue here, I think, is that the (presumed guilty) copyright offenders are looking at 4 years in a Chinese prison. Is that an appropriate punishment for the offense?

Considering that apparently every street corner in China has guys selling pirated DVDs for thier OWN PROFIT, it does seem a little disproportionate, yes.

Re:Bloody typical (5, Interesting)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374405)

The situation in Hong Kong is quite different from the rest of China. Hong Kong judicial system [flyingchair.net] is based on British common law. The basic law set the guiding prinicple around the system after 1997.

I think the judges still wear that stupid wig from colonial days, and vast majority of them are actually ethnicity of non-chinese last time I checked [judiciary.gov.hk] . "MORTIMER", "HOFFMANN", "Hon Sir Ivor RICHARDSON" doesn't sound Chinese to me. The official language in court is actually English, unless approved by the judge to use Cantonese.

Please, please, please, fellow slash-dotters, for once stop making sweeping statement about China, that because they're communist, they must be evil in every aspect. I'm not saying communist is better but check out how well western democratic is working for all of us. We in Canada are ruling by a party of 35% support (liberal), and soon we'll probably be ruled by a party of 30% (conservatives).

If you want to read more about politics/judicial/business corruption mess, please first check with Halliburton and Enron.

I urge all of us to read more before making judgements.

Legitimate uses of BitTorrent? (0)

Molly Lipton (865392) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374097)

I suppose BitTorrent can be used for legitimate purposes. For example, I've heard of people serving homemade videofiles and to hundreds of people without using much bandwidth of their own using BitTorrent. On the other hand, the vast majority of traffic generated by BitTorrent users is trafficking of copyright-protected content, i.e. IP Theft.

I think a better analogy is the opium trade in Imperial China. Sure, opium has some legitimate medical uses, but the government found that the the effect was largely negative and that it was used for illegitimate purposes in nearly all cases.

Maybe the right way to deal with BitTorrent and similar technologies is some sort of regulation structure, similar to the FDA and other food and drug regulating bodies in other countries.

Re:Bloody typical (5, Informative)

quax (19371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374127)

The article says:

Separately, a Hong Kong movie industry trade association said it plans to send letters to 100 BitTorrent users through their Internet service providers threatening legal action unless they stop using the software.

Apparently the Hong Kong movie industry does not bother to make the distinction either and the headline ins entirely justified.

Re:Bloody typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374328)

Well said.
These people are uploading copies of movies for distribution.
They do not own the movies, what they are doing is at worst illegal and at best immoral.

When will you /. fuckwitts get over this ?

If this happened in the US... (5, Interesting)

Veinor (871770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373792)

BitTorrent is not inherently illegal. You could use a similar argument to prohibit downloading of ANY files, since they just use a different method.

It appears that their government is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If they tried that sort of stuff in the United States, then the government would catch so much flak from people claiming this is an invasion of privacy (which it is.)

Not inherently but mostly illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373885)

It's not inherently illegal but it is used MOSTLY for illegal purposes.

That's why all P2P is banned all over here. That includes private ISPs, corporations and government agencies and you know what? I think it makes perfect sense. Yeah, sure you could load a Linux distribution with a P2P application, but most people will simply use it to download the Britney Spears' latest CD thus committing a crime.

Re:Not inherently but mostly illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373984)

Errr some Linux distributions are going Bittorrent only

Maybe something to think about

P2P is going down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374117)

Something to think about, yes.

Maybe the people distributing those distros should choose another, less controversial media.

Face it. "There is SOME legal traffic there" is never, ever going to cut it. P2P is going down because most of the traffic is illegal.

Re:If this happened in the US... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373936)

Is BT legal in Hong Kong? While the story was misleading, its always the countries choice to outlaw something..

Even if it is silly.

This is HONG KONG!!! (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373810)

Simply leave your apartment, go to the nearest corner, buy all the DVDs you want for about a buck each, then go home and watch them!

Re:This is HONG KONG!!! (1)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373840)

I don't know, now that they have gigabit broadband [slashdot.org] it might be easier to just do it all from home...

Re:This is HONG KONG!!! (1)

Tethys_was_taken (813654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374198)

Where do you think the original source for those DVDs comes from?

Re:This is HONG KONG!!! (3, Informative)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374394)

Pirated DVDs and VCDs are no longer as ubiquitous as they once were.

The HK police and Customs Department have been cracking down on these vendors because of increased pressure from other governments and because many of them were linked to triads.

Also, the widespread use of BitTorrent and other P2P systems have made them increasingly redundant.

smartness (5, Insightful)

meester fox (877084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373811)

4 years in prison? I can understand thieves and murderers doing prsion time, but some dude uploading a movie on the internet? Kinda a waste of jail space, I think. That and he (or she) won't really fit in, because there are plenty of decent people who swap movies and music.

aside from that, is it just BT users in general, or ones who were found to be swapping illegal content?

Re:smartness (2, Funny)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374101)

Are you really concerned about how well the presumed guilty file-swappers will fit in... in PRISON? I don't ever recall someone getting let out of a jail sentence because "the other prisoners would think they're pussies."

Re:smartness (1)

meester fox (877084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374212)

That WOULD be a neat idea.

"sorry, i'm too much of a whimp for jail"

I just think that 4 years in prison is a bit much for just swapping movies. A fine I can understand. But jail time? That's a bit much, I think. Because in the end, they aren't really hurting anyone. It's not like they are physically stealing stuff, which could hurt a company directly. But since it's in digital, all they are losing is money that they could have made, in theory.

Re:smartness (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374137)

Kinda a waste of jail space, I think.

Meanwhile, in a HK prison...

(translated from chinese for your convenience)

"What ya guys here for?" asked a rather strong looking villain.

"I murdered ten people", said one, chewing a gum.
"I raped a girl", said another.
"I tried to steal a bank, and killed a hostage. That was my mistake."
"And you?"
(timid looking nerd guy) "I downloaded a movie with bittorrent..."

(The criminals gasp in shock and fear)

Re:smartness (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374167)

Well, they could always impose a sentence to trumpet it to the world about how they're serious about stamping out copyright infringement, even on foreign-owned material, and then reduce the sentence when the reporters stop covering the case. Oh, and warn the victim not to go talking about it to the press, either.

This fellow may have been selected to serve as an example, but it's not necessarily for the benefit of the domestic audience.

Re:smartness (1)

clausiam (609879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374356)

I can understand thieves and murderers doing prsion time, but some dude uploading a movie on the internet?

What is the difference between a thief and a person uploading a copyrighted movie to the internet? That's right there is none!

There's so much RIAA/MPAA bashing on /. about them not distinguishing between legal uses of P2P and illegal uses, but when I read stupid comments like this one I can't say I blame them. Pirating is stealing. Downloading pirated material is "small fish" stealing (and if you actually use it for evaluation and buy the CD/DVD/Program afterwards it's not stealing at all in my book, but I bet most people who use the "evaluation" argument never buys it anyway - why, spend money on something you already have). Uploading pirated material is "big fish" stealing, because you actually not only steal your own single copy but facilitate others in doing the same. The fact that the technology (in the case of bittorrent) is such that both upload and download is potentially part of any "transaction" doesn't change this fact.

Re:smartness (1)

ultramk (470198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374417)

That and he (or she) won't really fit in, because there are plenty of decent people who swap movies and music.

There are also plenty of decent people who: ... have a bit of a pot habit. ... occasionally drive a little too fast. ... didn't pay their taxes on time. ... got into a fight in a bar. ... took advantage of their employer. ... took advantage of their babysitter. ... had a little too much to drink, and decided to drive home afterwards. ... etc.

Not that I disagree with you that this is excessive, but there are lots of people in jail who are "nice people" by almost any metric. Of course, there are lots of people in there who aren't very nice, as well.

Just a thought.

m-

Re:smartness (1)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374431)

4 years in prison? I can understand thieves and murderers doing prsion time, but some dude uploading a movie on the internet? Kinda a waste of jail space, I think.

Completely agree with you that it is a waste of jail space.

However, I don't think any government persuing this course of action is looking to put all users in jail. They are simply looking for a way to make an example out of someone to scare the beejeezus out of the rest of the populace. I say, if one is going to try to use this tactic and be effective, then one should go the full way: execute the person committing the "crime." That'd scare the hell out of the rest of the sheeple.

Or maybe, just maybe... governments should leave Machiavellian tactics to Machiavelli and try to find a constructive way to deal with what is entirely a commercial/civil problem.

Very sane approach (4, Insightful)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373812)

The article said that 600 people would get letters telling them to stop using the torrent software to upload illegal content.

Sounds a lot better than getting sued for tens of thousands of dollars...

TROLL! Can the MODS actually CHECK the claim? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374031)

- greps article for the string "600"
- finds nothing

no way!! (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373824)

People are pirating entertainment in Southeast Asia?

BT doesn't always mean BitTorrent (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373845)

Am I the only one who glanced at the headline and wondered why Hong Kong was cracking down on Blue Tooth users?

Re:BT doesn't always mean BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373977)

I was wondering what China had against British Telecom customers.

Re:BT doesn't always mean BitTorrent (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374023)

I think it also apllies to British Telecom [bt.com] . We techies have way too many acronyms. I have had some interesting conversations at work when sorting out which one we mean. We also have some that sound similar VOD&VOB and NOC&MOC for starters. Phone conversations are fun too.

Re:BT doesn't always mean BitTorrent (1)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374109)

Being a Virginia Tech graduate, the first thing that popped into my mind was Blacksburg Transit, pretty much the best public bus system I've had the pleasure of riding.

I was like, wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374320)

Who doesn't like Big Tits?

for reals.

yo.

heh.

How were the 6000 IPs selected anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373850)

It sounds like they just grabbed IPs out of thin air. Then again, they probably could. I mean downloading movies with BT is rather simple and hard to resist when you've got fast broadband. Still, it would be interesting to know how they came up with their numbers.

Re:How were the 6000 IPs selected anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374378)

Anyone downloading from BitTorrent can see the IP of everyone else that's also downloading. That's a feature, not a bug. Otherwise you couldn't send packets to each other and, you know, share p2p. They just need to jump on an illegal torrent and they've got everyone else.

Do not doubt that the FBI, MPAA, and RIAA have been doing the same thing for many moons now. They are not as dumb as /. takes them for. They're just trying to catch 'em all and scare the bejeezus out of everyone all at once.

Legal download of copyrighted material. (2, Interesting)

iolaus (704845) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373860)

Is there such a thing as legitimate download of copyrighted material? For instance, if I own a DVD, would I be within my rights to go and download a rip of that dvd? If so, doesn't it become very difficult for authorities to prove who is and is not violating copyright by downloading from services like Bit Torrent?

Re:Legal download of copyrighted material. (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373930)

The problem is, while you *may* have the right to download it, you don't have the right to distribute it, and there's no way to *just* download via bittorrent. You are violating the copyright by distributing it to random people out on the internet.

Now, if you go to a website that has the rip and download it from there, I personally don't see you as a copyright violator (though the website you got it from, if they don't own the copright on the file, is one). My opinions don't mean anything, though, as I don't have a cache of lawyers waiting to sue anybody I can get their hands on.

Re:Legal download of copyrighted material. (1)

griffinn (240043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374275)

there's no way to *just* download via bittorrent

Problem is, how does a copyright holder prove that someone has uploaded as well as downloaded? BitTorrent clients can be configured into leech mode (though it's frowned upon).

The copyright holder can of course establish the proof by downloading from whoever they're targeting. But then since the copyright holder already has rights to the movie (duh), there is nothing wrong in giving a copy of the movie back to him. It's difficult to prove that the user is infringing only by virtue of having a copy of the copyrighted material either, as the grandparent post explained.

My original submission includes comments on the legal aspects but they got edited away. Well here it is:

To prove that a user has committed copyright violation using a BitTorrent client, the copyright holder has to establish that the user actually has a file (or portion of it) that the copyright holder is entitled to. To achieve this, the copyright holder can either upload the file to the guy (entrapment), or download from the guy (the guy does nothing wrong in this case as explained above), or obtain the cooperation of the user's ISP to do massively intrusive monitoring.

So how did they gather their evidence? Can the evidence stand in court? Was the evidence lawfully gathered? Is it possible to gather absolutely damning evidence only by lawful means? These are the questions we need to ask.

(Obligatory IANAL goes here.)

Re:Legal download of copyrighted material. (2, Interesting)

meester fox (877084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373947)

That's a good point. I suppose it could be argued either way. I think if your copy was too beat up to play, that it would be within your right to go and download another copy of it. Though they would probably still get after you for it, it would (I think) be legal, since your just replacing a broken copy. "They" already got money from you for it.

Re:Legal download of copyrighted material. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373996)

you smell funny! and so does your post!

Re:Legal download of copyrighted material. (2, Interesting)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374074)

Depends on the laws in your country. In the United States, the answer is no. When you buy a DVD, you have a liscense to the content on that DVD only. You are allowed to make a personal backup copy of the DVD, but that does not intitle you to make copies of other people's DVD's, or other people's version of the movie (VCD, VHS, Film, etc).

Re:Legal download of copyrighted material. (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374081)

Depends where you are, perhaps. In the United States, I'd say -- almost certainly not, for two main reasons:

(1) The person offering it on BitTorrent is probably not authorized to distribute (or else you wouldn't be asking *shrug*) so you're risking accusations of contributory copyright infringement. The downloads don't happen by themselves, and it takes two to tango.

(2) I don't think there's a positive right to a replacement by such means. You may have the right to make a backup of your own DVD's contents for archival purposes, subject to DMCA-related restrictions, but it's not a blanket right to get copies by any means that you see fit.

Bear in mind that this story relates to China. There, it's whether the authorities bother to charge you that matters, not whether you're innocent or guilty. Proof of innocence is less important than having the luck to not be a pawn sacrificed to reduce China's image as an infringement-happy country.

Rent a cop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373896)

Think of the state the world would be in if drug dealers could afford to buy legislation and law enforcement like the media cartels can?

Re:Rent a cop (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374207)

The major drug barons probably can.

However, it's probably not considered a good idea to write a letter to your local congressman saying "The Crack Cocaine Dealers Association of America would like to make a donation of $500,000 to your noble party".

Re:Rent a cop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374400)

Think of the state the world would be in if drug dealers could afford to buy legislation and law enforcement like the media cartels can?

Apparantly you haven't heard about the recent Medicare Drug law. Welcome to today.

Poor Chan (5, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373914)

So sad, I wonder if there was another reason for arresting this man?
He should have done what everyone else does in China, just go to the local street market and buy the pirated copy.
They should also reduce the sentence due to the bad selection of movies he made (Daredevil, Red Planet, Miss Congeniality), he deserves no more than a slap on the wrist and good movie guide.

Re:Poor Chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374478)

If he's downloading Daredevil, Red Planet & Miss Congeniality, he deserves hard time, for the heinous crime of bad taste.

Lucky Random Winner (3, Insightful)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373925)

There is something seriously wrong when your "randomly" select someone to be legally procecuded.

Do they get a group of murders and randomly select which one is going to have a trail, and let the rest of scott free?

Re:Lucky Random Winner (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374217)

It looks like it's an industry group doing the random selection, not the authorities. Well, they may be the same if it's a state-owned or influenced enterprise, but I'm not assuming that. *shrug*

The industry group is under no obligation to be remotely fair in who it sues, I would think. And, if it can get a similar effect (scaring a certain fraction of the intended audience) while paying its attorneys for fewer hours on fewer defendants, it would make financial sense to do so.

Re:Lucky Random Winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374413)


"The industry group is under no obligation to be remotely fair in who it sues, I would think."

There must be some limitations.

If you have a situation where your rights are being infringed by people of many ethnic groups and religions, but you only prosecute blacks or jews, you're going to have some problems sooner or later.

How does this related to patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12373935)

Why using Patent Pending logo on this article? Does that mean BT is patented?

In Hong Kong... (0, Redundant)

j!mmy v. (613784) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373939)

...Internet logs on to YOU!

/just when I got positive karma

It's like an anti-lottery! (1)

ElAurian (133656) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373942)

"Okay, we've chucked 6000 names in a barrel, let's pull one out. Remember, the prize is four years in prison and a huge fine! Henry Wong, you're our first winner!"

"Woohoo! I win! Wait..."

Considering... (1)

MissingIntellect (583853) | more than 9 years ago | (#12373978)

Considering the fine for spitting is something like 15,000 Hong Kong dollars (I forget, it's been a while since I was there) 50,000 is really nothing.

Why is everything so extreme? (5, Insightful)

RayDude (798709) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374015)

Its obvious that stealing music is wrong. Just as software pirating is wrong, stealing TV is wrong, stealing movies is wrong, etc etc etc.

But the question I always ask myself when I hear about the RIAA and the MPAA suing individuals is, "What good can come from this?"

And the answer is obviously, "Nothing good can come from this."

Suing customers isn't going to help. Most people who steal media do so for the fun of it. Many are just collectors who would most likely not purchase the media if they couldn't steal it.

Are the lawsuits preventing the piracy? I don't think so. I think they are just driving the piracy deeper underground.

Are the lawsuits pissing off people? Just read slashdot, of course they are.

I think corporate America's whole tack on DRM is completely out of whack. Instead of attacking perspective customers, they should be trying to win their money by providing product that is more compelling than the free copy by being less expensive and easier to get than the illegal stuff.

Instead of being control freaks, trying to control all the people in America to prevent loss of money, they should focus on improving content and find ways lower the cost of digital media distrobution to the point that stealing isn't as fun anymore. Everyone has a different "fun" threshold and for many, releasing tunes for 33 cents or 50 cents a piece would remove the fun of trying to get a decent download.

And that's my main point. Its fun to get something for practically nothing and to collect a massive music collection on the cheap. And that's why people do it, for the fun of it. If Joe P2Per has 2 million mp3s on his music server, how often does he get to hear each and every one of them? Not very often. He sticks to the songs he really likes, and I'll bet he's got those on CD, because he wants to support the bands he likes because he wants them to succeed.

I think RIAA and MPAA need to step back and re-analyze the situation. I think they're going down the wrong path and they need to stop.

Raydude

Re:Why is everything so extreme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374296)

I always wondered if the MPAA could sell Divx copies of movies for about US$3-$5 ... or maybe charge downloaders by MB of data transferred a la allofmp3.com . Or maybe they could even offer DVD ISOs for download. The possibilities are endless. It's just a question of will.

Re:Why is everything so extreme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374346)

Its obvious that stealing music is wrong.

This is neither wrong nor stealing.

Re:Why is everything so extreme? (1)

my_haz (840523) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374362)

This is more or less what the rest of the buisness comunity is saying.

A better product or a better price; not pissing of the average consumer is what needs to be done. What seems particularly odd to me about the music/movie optical media pricing sceam is that a great number of times the most popular of the products (thus the ones that are produced in the greatest abundance) are generally the most expensive. In addition the markerters are marketing music cd's (and performers) with only one or two good songs per album. This encourages people to download the two good songs as apposed to paying the ~20USD for the two good songs and the filler. Find artists that can create entire albums not just one or two good songs.

Re:Why is everything so extreme? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374383)

"Its obvious that stealing music is wrong"

It's not obvious to everyone. The line between "stealing" and "just listening" is pretty fuzzy actually. It can be quite difficult to explain to some people the difference between Radio, Television, Internet Radio, and P2P.

In fact, I'm not really sure I see the differences all that clearly myself.

Re:Why is everything so extreme? (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374439)

Playing devil's advocate here, but...

Its obvious that stealing music is wrong.

Firstly, it's not stealing, it's copyright infringement. Unless you refer specifically to "going into a record shop and walking out with a bag full of CDs you didn't pay for".

Secondly, how is copyright infringment "obviously" wrong? What if you buy the CD and go to a few concerts on the strength of what you pirated? Is it wrong then? What if you use it purely as a "try-before-you-buy" mechanism - deleting what you don't like and buying what you do. Technically it's still piracy, but is it wrong?

And the answer is obviously, "Nothing good can come from this."

Again, how is this obvious? Two major groups of people are likely to come out of all this:
1. People get pissed off at the entire record industry and instead support independent artists and labels such as magnatune.
2. People get scared to pirate music, knowing full well that it's legally wrong and ethically dubious, and instead decide to buy their music through legitimate channels.

Slashdot and similar sites tend to be swarming with people who belong to group 1. The record industry is banking on the majority of people belonging to group 2.

Breaking the law. (1)

ajaf (672235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374069)

It's incredible how a normal person can break the law with a software.. and be caught.
A lot of people doesn't think that sharing files using a p2p program is illegal.
They just treat software, music and movies as normal data, not copyrighted "data".

Probable cause (3, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374087)

I regularly go to the houses of friends and relatives to help them with their computer problems.

Typically, during the course of unfouling the mess I find, there are several gigabytes of movies, music, software, and other files in directories made by various malware programs. I uninstall the software and delete the files.

Just because a movie was uploaded from a particular computer, it doesn't mean the user knew about it. It takes a person of greater expertise than is common among end users to discover the problem (even though the average user notices lower performance, that's not the same as knowing that the machine is hosting a "Spiderman 2" torrent).

If you don't know that you are doing something, you shouldn't be held accountable for it. There are various levels of "knowing" something in a legal sense: knowing of the problem, knowing the problem *could* occur, knowing with certitude, etc.

The standard (in the U.S., anyway) is that the user must know that a program is on his computer that will transfer files illegally. He doesn't have to put the software there knowingly, put the unlicensed material there, nor actively initiate the illegal transfer itself. If and only if he knows the facility for the illegal transfer exists and he fails to stop it is he liable when the transfer happens.

It's like this: suppose you have a dog that never bites anyone and has never left his yard. If someone else comes along to give your dog PCP, you aren't liable when your dog goes nuts. If you know that the dog has gotten the PCP, you are liable whether you are present when the dog goes nuts or not.

O'course, that's just the theory; you still may be stuck proving your innocence, either with a drugged-up dog or a mal-P2P-infected PC.

Re:Probable cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374350)

You regularly find gigabytes of media - including movies - that the owners know nothing about on hard drives?

I see why your friends call you to fix things. When I worked in a retail PC shop just before the Win95 era people would come in with computers full of porn that they "had no idea" where it all came from either. The difference is that we only pretended to believe them.

bt != priacy && rar != piracy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374089)

but in some people's eyes, all p2p is priacy... when i worked at a (then) major isp (think #5) our free web hosting brands both cracked down on ANYONE using rar to archive files... they thought it was only used for piracy.

i found this out when i uploaded my collection of starcraft maps to my starcraft page (rar gave me 25% better compression than zip) and i was promptly closed down.

BT users? (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374110)

I didn't know BT [bt.com] still did service in Hong Kong, I'd have thought it was provided by the Chinese...

Oh, you mean BitTorrent.

Fuck.

Seriously.. what the hell is wrong with the world (1)

darkmayo (251580) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374125)

It seems everyday some crap like this comes up, 4 years in a chinese prison, HOT DAMN. Then there is the bill that Dubya signed into law.. up to 3 years on that one..

IP laws, DMCA, RIAA, MPAA, levies and taxes on recordable media, jail time, huge fines???
Man we are on the slope right now.. and it seems to be near frictionless I just want to know where did this BS start and who to shoot in the face, if I go to jail who cares, I'll be bunkin with a guy who uploaded Spiderman 2.

Cruel (2, Insightful)

akeyes (720106) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374130)

So, last week, we get an article about Hong Kong and gig sized pipes to residents, now they are going after the file sharers.

I have no comment.

Dongers (0, Troll)

lousyd (459028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374189)

a fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars

They're called "dongers". That's what my Chief Of the Boat told me.

How many uploads?? (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374202)

These scare tactics seem to be working on some level, but its pretty clear that (copyright) file-sharing will evolve back (de-evolve?) to close-nit networks on IM/IRC but with lesions learnt from P2P - the next generation of file sharing apps will be orientated so that you share with friends and friends of friends, kinda like basic file-transfers on say AIM but more sophisticated, and kinda like Kazaa but less random these networks will be far harder for the RIAA etc to infiltrate but will probably result in less traffic overall.

How do they actually measure how many films someone has 'uploaded' with bittorrent? since you usually upload only small chunks to many people you might have helped 1000 people get a file but in fact only uploaded a few MB, you may have uploaded 100% of the file to 100 people or 1% of the file to 100 people. Obviously the MPIA want to use the higher statistic to get more money, but how do they do it?

I don't get it (2, Interesting)

eamonman (567383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374209)

Is their gov't doing this because the torrenters are infringing upon the hundreds of those hard-working $1-a-dvd companies? I mean, those companies go out of their way to make their DVDs Region Free, show off their creative subtitling skills (for Anime (Jpn->Cat->Eng)), and put them in nice little sleeves instead of those overly inefficient cases we're used to. Because we sure need those companies. ;)

Patent pending logo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374224)

Not to be a patent pedant, but what the hell has this to do with patent topic?

Pirating is not all bad (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374226)

Coming from a fairly poor economic background and having to save with my parents for my first dx2/66 MHz computer (~$2500.00) I never would have achieved what I have had it not been for Warez, etc. I was able to try different software, graphics apps, web design, programming languages, games, system utils and apps, etc. I was able to teach myself such a broad base of skills that later propelled me into a degree and to work in the IT field. Plus learning the technology, terms, etc. just to be able to find and download things was invaluable to learning about compression algorithms, file formats and more.

MP3 and DVD's don't have the ability to teach as much but there is still value in it. Downloading massive amounts of content and selling it is WRONG, and no one can argue that however the poor kid who has no other way to break into computing (which is a huge amount of geeks I know) should not be sitting in jail with a $60,000+ fine because he wanted to learn Photoshop, or Dreamweaver. This is all getting a bit out of hand.

Re:Pirating is not all bad (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374337)

however the poor kid who has no other way to break into computing (which is a huge amount of geeks I know) should not be sitting in jail with a $60,000+ fine because he wanted to learn Photoshop, or Dreamweaver. This is all getting a bit out of hand.

Indeed, Adobe and all should advertise the fact that there are comparable free programs out there!

Re:Pirating is not all bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374347)

"I never would have achieved what I have had it not been for Warez, etc."

I never would have achieved what I have had it not been for the protection of the Gambino Family, and all the opportunities that the Don has given men.

Oh, that's just EVIL... (2, Insightful)

Eyeball97 (816684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12374233)

Give them all gigabit ethernet [slashdot.org]

And then take away their torrent access...

Is this what they call "Chinese Torture"?

Just 6,900,400 more to go. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374300)

They'll have this all cleared up in no time now. Yeah right.

A few hundred thousand more arrests wouldn't even be one percent of the poplulation of the place [wikipedia.org] and it's just one city. Despite being huge, it's not even among the top three of the largest in China. Old media interests can get as ugly as they want. The simple fact is that copyright laws are unenforceable on the Net if for no other reason than because of the demographics.

As of 1990 just the largest hundred cites in China have a larger population than the entire US. Just the top ten had over fifty million people and that was fifteen years ago. It would literally bankrupt the country to apply the law to the numbers of people who are currently violating these laws. Prison labor isn't cheap compared to what they already have when you factor in the cost of the guards and the room and board. The scare tactics can only continue for so long because it is, in fact, a bluff. This is obvious according to the numbers.

Daredevil, Red Planet and Miss Congeniality (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12374481)

Spreading this crap is more deserving of a littering charge than piracy.
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