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YouTube Hands Over User Info To Fox

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the their-tube dept.

The Courts 396

An anonymous reader writes "Tech Crunch has an article about YouTube identifying and handing over a user's information after a request from Fox. 'Three weeks after receiving a subpoena from the U.S. District Court in Northern California, YouTube has reportedly identified a user accused by 20th Century Fox Television of uploading episodes of the show 24 a week prior to their running on television. That user, named ECOTtotal, is also alleged to have uploaded 12 episodes of The Simpsons, some quite old. Apparently Google and YouTube were willing and able to identify the owner of the username ECOTtotal, according to a report on InternetNews.com.'"

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Google (2, Funny)

StaticFish (839708) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015980)

Don't be evil

OT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016178)

OT, anonymous, mod down, etc.

"There's no place like 127.0.0.1" makes no sense. "There's no place like localhost?"

Clue for you all: 127.0.0.1 != "home". Stop embarrassing yourselves. Try "There's no place like ~", for example.

You're welcome. Please send all profits from the "There's No Place Like ~" t-shirts to the EFF or similar organization that fights for basic freedom and rights.
   

Re:OT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016530)

There's nothing better than you ending it all by slitting your fucking wrists fucktard. That the rest of the world won't have to put up with fucktards like you anymore.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MOD POINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!

Re:OT (1, Offtopic)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016576)

Clue for you all: 127.0.0.1 != "home". Stop embarrassing yourselves. Try "There's no place like ~", for example.

Actually, ~ != home either. ~ in my case is /home/FunkyELF/....I think what you're looking for is...

There's no place like ~/..

Re:Google (5, Insightful)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016354)

RRRRRight. So let's say you see a guy get robbed in the street and can identify the robber. The police find out you witnessed the robbery and subpeona you to appear as a witness. Are you evil for giving up the identity of the robber?

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that whoever uploaded this video early was breaking some law or another. How is it evil to turn him in, especially if your it states in your privacy policy that you will comply with law enforcement? If they had refused to hand over the information, we'd probably be getting people complaining about how Google is aiding and concealing criminals.

A sarcastic "Don't be evil" is not an insightful (much less thoughtful, intelligent, or unique) response to every single action Google takes for the rest of eternity.

Re:Google (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016438)

I agree with you that Google should definitely have handed over information in response to a court order, and that the parent's sarcastic "Don't be evil" comment was not insightful.

But you don't really think that copyright infringement and mugging share a common moral space, do you? Death penalty for speeders while we're at it?

Re:Google (-1, Flamebait)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016570)

RRRRRight. So let's say you see a guy get robbed in the street and can identify the robber. The police find out you witnessed the robbery and subpeona you to appear as a witness. Are you evil for giving up the identity of the robber?
--
Ahem, there's a _client_ of yours, who pays your rent, who might have been sitting in the front of the bus while having a relatively dark complexion, (something being frowned upon by some part society) we (not the police nor the judge) want to know who the client is so we can annoy him and we'll tell him you told us his name...

That's more like it.

Willing and able (5, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015992)

"Apparently Google and YouTube were willing" ... to comply with a subpoena from a US District Court. I think most companies would do the same thing.

Re:Willing and able (4, Informative)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016020)

Not only would they, they pretty much have to if they don't want law enforcement just coming in and confiscating all of their hardware.

Re:Willing and able (5, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016106)

Yeah, but "Google Complies With The Law" doesn't make as good a headline...

Re:Willing and able (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016232)

Maybe Google/YouTube should have fought the subpoena in the U.S. District Court? I did not think Google/YouTube had definite knowledge of the real-life identity of the person behind a username/screenname. I have to admit this is news to me. I generally go by AC (post anonymously), so I don't see this as an issue for my own life. But many other people do sign up for things online under a username/screenname and expect to maintain the anonymity promised by the system they sign up with.

I do wonder: Is the real life person behind the uploading a Fox employee? Was s/he paid by Fox for this publicity stunt? Or is it strictly off the books?

Re:Willing and able (5, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016370)

Outside of privacy-related websites, there are none that promise privacy. At best, they will claim not to give/sell your information to others (read: spammers), but to expect anyone to promise to disobey the law to protect identity is ludicrous.

Re:Willing and able (4, Insightful)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016382)

This case is also different because the person put them on YouTube BEFORE they aired, so this is a bit more serious than just uploading the video. Non-Story.

Re:Willing and able (1, Insightful)

croddy (659025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016544)

Some do, and some don't. Verizon, for example, went to bat for its customers [eff.org] when the RIAA was launching one of its first full broadsides of subpoenas. They had to go into appeals, but eventually obtained a decision invalidating the subpoenas.

That's the difference between "don't be evil" and "genuinely, honestly don't be evil."

It was only a matter of time (2, Insightful)

Bobb Sledd (307434) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015996)

I began to wonder why this hasn't already happened.

Re:It was only a matter of time (1)

President_Camacho (1063384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016102)

I began to wonder why this hasn't already happened.

But does it really matter (realistically, not morally)? If this guy was smart, he'd have uploaded this stuff from an open access point anyway (either an unsecured AP locally, or free public wireless).

Re:It was only a matter of time (4, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016224)

If this guy was smart, he'd have uploaded this stuff from an open access point anyway (either an unsecured AP locally, or free public wireless).
Ah, but given the fact that he uploaded episodes of 24 _before_ they aired, the list of suspects is already narrowed significantly. Searching for someone who would have had access to the material prior to the air date and lives near the unsecured AP or free public wireless network will provide a workable list for law enforcement. Unless this turkey is working as an anonymous team member with somebody else (IE, there's no relationship between where the media was acquired and where it was uploaded), he will almost certainly get caught.

Re:It was only a matter of time (5, Informative)

roger6106 (847020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016380)

A previous post [slashdot.org]

The full DVD of the first four episodes was ALL OVER Usenet on the 7th.

Thousands of people DLed that, and one guy encoded it for submission to YouTube.

No insider job here.

Re:It was only a matter of time (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016480)

I've never uploaded anything to YouTube, but couldn't you do it with Tor (veeeerrrrry sllllooooowwwwly)?

u toob (-1, Offtopic)

Neuropol (665537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016002)

did somebody ask me to bring the fucking rock? Because, ya know, I did. I brought the fucking rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_4aGXTHo7w [youtube.com]

Willing to identify? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016004)

If they were subpoenaed, they didn't have much choice. I hate the MPAA/RIAA/Studios as much as the next guy, but neither Fox or YouTube seem unrealistic here.

Re:Willing to identify? (4, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016310)

Seems to me that the issue at hand is more of a precursor to all the RIAA/MPAA/copyright gobbledygook. This someone was posting shows before they aired. It would be akin to publishing a company's trade secrets before they went public with them (i.e. leaking insider information that would influence the company's stock price).

Yes, the copyright stuff applies in whatever sense that it does, but if I were Fox, that would be taking a back seat to getting someone that was leaking "my" shows before they aired. Of course, once that someone were caught, "I" wouldn't be afraid to add copyright infringement to the list of charges.

Do no evil... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016006)

...unless a lawyer subpoenas you.

Really, when is this Slashdot love for Google going to die? This is a company whose founders contribute very little back of their wealth to charitable causes and instead choose to spend it on 747's with waterbeds and other such items.

Rich industrialists & charity work (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016154)

> This is a company whose founders contribute very little back of their wealth to charitable causes
> and instead choose to spend it on 747's with waterbeds and other such items.

Sounds like they gave something back then, bet they made friends at Boeing at any rate and kept a few ordinary workers gainfully employed.

Getting involved in charities is something rich industrialists should NOT do until they retire from day to day operations, until then they are performing a far greater service to society by PRODUCING WEALTH. After they tire of working eighty hour weeks creating wealth and start feeling their mortality is the time to use their share of the wealth they created to leave monuments to themselves. And I'm good with that too, after all ya can't take it with you and leaving craploads of cash to your offspring is an almost sure fire way to destroy em.

Re:Rich industrialists & charity work (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016204)

after all ya can't take it with you and leaving craploads of cash to your offspring is an almost sure fire way to destroy em.
Im perfectly willing to test this theory. I can virtually guarentee a billion dollars wont destroy me. Honest, im willing to prove it. Please?

Re:Rich industrialists & charity work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016388)

Well, and this is for your own good, we have to say no.

Re:Do no evil... (2, Insightful)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016400)

Do not evil unless a lawyer subpoenas you.

Why is it "evil" to comply with a court to catch someone who is breaking the law? I hate the RIAA attacks on individuals (I realize this is Fox, not the RIAA), but I certainly don't blame any ISP for complying with a subpoena for information. If I wrote a book and someone posted it to the Internet before I even had a chance to publish it, damn right I'd want to go after that person. It's not the ISP's/YouTube's/Google's job to run interference so someone else can break the law. In fact, I'd say that doing so would be evil.

how does this work? (2, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016010)


OK, I post a youtube video of the goatse guy in action.

I guess this dissapears? Haven't tried.

OK, I post simpsons video, and the copyright owner says, stop it, and the video stays up (or down??) and then the user who submitted gets turned over to be turned into the goatse guy?

My point, is why can come content just dissapear w/o a problem, but the other is then escalated into a problem?

Re:how does this work? (0, Troll)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016072)

Because Goatse guy isn't a multi-billion dollar corporation with squadrons of rabid lawyers waiting to strike.

At least, as far as I know he isn't.

Re:how does this work? (4, Funny)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016128)

He looks more like he was on the receiving end of a squadron of rabid lawyers.

Re:how does this work? (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016086)

There's a difference between the problems of showing a disgusting video that isn't protected by copyright, and a funny one that is protected by copyright.

The difference is the copyright.

And of course the remedy is different: deleting vs penalties for the unauthorized copies.

Re:how does this work? (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016260)

The difference is the copyright.

And of course the remedy is different: deleting vs penalties for the unauthorized copies.


OK, now pretend goatse is copyrighted. I would bet that youtube would just burry it, and go on. Right?

Re:how does this work? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016434)

Why would you pretend that, if the goatse copyright owner complained to YouTube?

You're talking like "copyright" is some arbitrary characteristic, like a color in the video's palette. Don't you understand the difference between offending some viewers and property? That the owner complaining has legal force?

Re:how does this work? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016552)

You're talking like "copyright" is some arbitrary characteristic, like a color in the video's palette. Don't you understand the difference between offending some viewers and property? That the owner complaining has legal force?

If the copyright holder of a video of goatse man's gaping anus went to the court and got a subpoena, then google would probably do precisely the same thing that they did in this case. If the copyright holder simply complained to them, then they would just remove the offending content - presumably what they would have done in this case as well. Fox chose to go the court route because instead of just devaluing the DVDs slightly, prereleasing episodes of a serial show devalues the entire franchise.

It's worth mentioning here that any media of any kind is covered by copyright unless the copyright holder explicitly gives up that right by placing the work in the public domain, by default, so this whole line of conversation is stupid anyway.

Re:how does this work? (2, Funny)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016274)

showing a disgusting video
I'm glad someone agrees with me regarding the new Simpsons episodes.

Re:how does this work? (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016094)

This guy was uploading content before it was televised. That's why Fox is going so heavy on him.

Re:how does this work? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016494)

One can only imagine what FOX would do if the person had uploaded content before FOX ripped it off from another network.

More importantly (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016172)

Why in the world would you have this video? I doubt 99% of those familiar with goatse are aware it exists, if it in fact does, and here you are talking about it in open conversation in an unrelated topic.

Just... odd.

Re:how does this work? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016206)

I think the real problem deals with the episode of '24' being put on youtube prior to the actual airing. The 'Simpsons' videos were just other stuff also uploaded by the same user.

Had it just been 'Simpsons' episodes, they probably just would've been removed and maybe the user banned (unless they were previously unseen episodes).

Re:how does this work? (1)

Nykon (304003) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016374)

Copyrighted videos are all over YouTube and typically they ONLY take them down without legal action. The reason this one has escalated is because the user in question uploaded a video of 24 BEFORE it was aired. Fox noticed, and had a court subpoenas the information. Typically it's not like Google or YouTube to go after a user, they just remove the content. But if a court subpoenas the information Google/YouTube really has no choice but to comply.

If you were Fox you'd want this too (1)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016024)

I see nothing bad about this. Obviously the Youtuber in question must have secret access to something! It very well could be someone in the company that did this...

Re:If you were Fox you'd want this too (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016542)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it was a SONY rootkit on a FOX officials computer which in turn was hijacked by the goatsee that official was watching that caused this.

yeah -- good luck... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016028)

...trying to prove who the hell "ECOTtotal" is. Maybe it's changed, but I'm pretty sure an IP still doesn't equal a person.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016062)

If the user's ISP cooperates - which they will if they have a subpoena sent to their legal department or equivalent - then they will be able to determine who had that IP at what time. Easy peasy. Hope this doesn't come as a surprise to you.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016080)

aye... and if the guy had an unprotected wireless router? What then?

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016170)

If someone steals your registered gun and murders someone with it, leaving the gun at the scene, guess who's going to be knocking on YOUR door... I'm not saying that a good lawyer couldn't get you out of it in court, but the fact is they will still drag you in as a suspect.

Same thing if you leave your wireless connection on unprotected and someone uses it for something illegal.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016330)

However, to be completely accurate, in this case your "gun" can be used to murder someone without it ever leaving your property or possession, and can be used in this fashion by many people, simultaneously.

But, I'll agree with you -- I don't doubt they'll soon drag someone in. I'd be surprised if it's an open and shut case, though.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (2, Funny)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016264)

aye... and if the guy had an unprotected wireless router? What then?

Law enforcement looks for people living or working near the unsecured router and that either would have had access to the media prior to airtime, or have established relationships with people that would have had access. If the FBI gets involved, I guarantee they'll at least figure out who the guy is before they lose the laptop with all the details of the case.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016282)

aye... and if the guy had an unprotected wireless router? What then?

Then as part of dragging him into court, his computer will be seized and analyzed.

Even if he's not guilty it's a huge headache.

Allowing free access through your hotspot may be a bad idea. At the very least you should be logging connections and making an effort to capture identifying information so that you have a plausible claim that any illegal activity carried out on the connection didn't originate from inside.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016196)

I guess then he would learn his lesson to upload it from a free wi-fi hotspot or an unsecured one in his neighborhood next time. But then again, perhaps he already did this?

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016360)

Well, if he wasn't already doing this, I'd almost say the dumbass deserves to be caught.

Re:yeah -- good luck... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016068)

I'm with you on this one, and quite interested to see how this works out....

Seriously though... (3, Funny)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016030)

Fox shows aren't important enough to be uploaded. The funny ones will air on other channels.

What's that got to do with 24? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016430)

Fox shows aren't important enough to be uploaded. The funny ones will air on other channels.

What's that got to do with 24, which is funny only unintentionally?

Re:What's that got to do with 24? (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016484)

What's that got to do with 24, which is funny only unintentionally?
Tell me about it. Chloe spends 12 hours of every day reconfiguring uplinks. Write a damn shell script!

Duh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016032)

Perhaps the rest will stop linking their personal information to accounts used in illicit activities. Privacy experts report that it's the simple things that get most people burned.

Darwin at work. Anyone stupid enough to put their real info and post copyrited stuff deserves to get caught. Anyone expecting any amount of true privacy on the net is just kidding themselves (except for the rare few who really go through the lengths required to do so).

Re:Duh (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016096)

I wonder if YouTube handed over historic IP logs of that user's activity. While IP doesn't necessarily equal a person, it's probably just a bridge for the next request of information from an ISP.

Why YouTube? (3, Insightful)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016060)

Of all the places you *could* post an illegal copy of a copyrighted TV program, why YouTube? It's pretty much guaranteed you're going to get caught.

Stupidity sometimes gets what it deserves...

Re:Why YouTube? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016160)

Because it's easy enough to be idiot-proof. YouTube is full of pirated TV shows and even full movies (chopped into 9:59 segments) put there by Average Joe Sixpack who finds creating, uploading, and seeding a .torrent or posting to a newsgroup just too gosh-darn computer-nerdy. Anyone can chop up an ill-gotten DIVX clip with the barebones movie-maker that comes with Windows, and Youtube pretty much holds your hand for the uploading process.

Summary is very misleading... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016076)

Providing information in response to a court subpeona is very different than doing so "after a request from Fox."

This really is theft (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016088)

People like to say all the time that downloading movies is not theft; it's copyright infringement. And that is true.

However in this case it is truly theft, because the 24 video was never in the public to "copy". This was outright theft of what is basically confidential data.

Re:This really is theft (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016212)

However in this case it is truly theft, because the 24 video was never in the public to "copy". This was outright theft of what is basically confidential data.

Nope, still not theft. Some people may still think it wrong, and I'd agree it's different to copying alread-published data (but not that it's hugely wrong - in fact, since it hurts a corporation, I'd consider it right - I disagree with limitation of liability and corporate personhood in general).

But the only way you'd get me to even consider calling something information-y "theft" is if he *erased* fox's copy of the data. The "theft" aspect of "theft" hinges on that - fox wouldn't have the data anymore.

Re:This really is theft (1)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016280)

Nope, still not theft. Some people may still think it wrong, and I'd agree it's different to copying alread-published data (but not that it's hugely wrong - in fact, since it hurts a corporation, I'd consider it right - I disagree with limitation of liability and corporate personhood in general).
I'm not sure what you're getting at, but by this definition you wouldn't consider copying of personal information theft until some other action more criminal happened with the content. So if I'm copying SSN data and giving it to someone else who then commits identity theft, I'd be innocent since I stole the data from a business and didn't deny them the right to it.

Re:This really is theft (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016340)

So if I'm copying SSN data and giving it to someone else who then commits identity theft, I'd be innocent since I stole the data from a business and didn't deny them the right to it.

What he's saying is that it's not theft, regardless of what some stupid people might call it. In fact, misuse of SSNs are their own special violation of law. If enough people are involved you might even get busted for conspiracy.

It's a matter of definiton. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016524)

I'm not sure what you're getting at...

What he's getting at is the definition of "theft".

Theft has two elements:
  - The bad guy gains the McGuffin.
  - The owner loses the McGuffin. He doesn't have it any more.

There are other crimes where the bad guy improperly obtains something without the owner losing it. They are not "theft", because depriving the owner of his property has not occurred.

(Depriving the owner of much or all of the VALUE of his property may have occurred - which is typically why these non-theft crimes are similar enough to be confused with actual theft.)

Re:This really is theft (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016288)

and how do you know that the person in question did not actually steal physical data carriers with data on them? Of-course this is irrelevant, because whatever you want to call this, what was done is quite illegal and can and should be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows.

Re:This really is theft (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016568)

and how do you know that the person in question did not actually steal physical data carriers with data on them?

Then prosecute him for theft of the data carriers. He still didn't "steal" the episode.

Of-course this is irrelevant, because whatever you want to call this, what was done is quite illegal and can and should be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows.

Well, duh. Just because people don't call rape cannibalism doesn't mean people don't take rape seriously.

Re:This really is theft (1)

TiredOfCrap (885340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016554)

Can we, once and for all, determine the meaning of the word theft?

In English law it is defined as "The unlawful taking and removing of personal property with intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner".

I believe in American law it is: "The felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it."

Consequently, this cannot be deemed as theft as the owner still has the property.

Re:This really is theft (2, Insightful)

LainTouko (926420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016262)

People like to say all the time that downloading movies is not theft; it's copyright infringement. And that is true.

However in this case it is truly theft, because the 24 video was never in the public to "copy". This was outright theft of what is basically confidential data.

Your second paragraph shows that you do not understand your first.

It's not theft because nobody has ceased to possess anything. Whether what was being copied was supposed to be secret or not is irrelevant.

Re:This really is theft (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016410)

Fox no longer possessed the ability to be the first to display the content to the general public.

Re:This really is theft (4, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016538)

No, in this case you are wrong. Until the information has been made public, it could be claimed (and a jury would likely agree) that the material is a Fox trade secret. It contains plot twists and other elements that are confidential until their air date, so that their impact has not been diluted by pre-emptive copies. Imagine if a writer for a soap opera saw a plot twist on a pre-release version of 24, then wrote that same twist into his or her soap to air before the 24 air date.

Federal law does prohibit stealing of trade secrets, and it is classified as "theft". See for example the recent conviction of a Coca-Cola ex-secretary, who attempted to sell formula information to Pepsi-Cola. Copying the data and providing it to Pepsi did not cause Coke to lose possession of their formula, but it did potentially deprive them of a trade secret.

Before you respond, please read through and understand Title 18, United States Code, Section 1832(a)(1-3).

Re:This really is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016564)

Fox has lost viewership for the program, which affects their advertising revenues.

If I take $10 from your desk drawer w/o your permission, is that theft? After all, you probably have a job, money is replaceable, and $10 isn't all that much to begin with. Possibly you won't even notice it. What this guy did cost Fox a lot more than $10. It's theft.

Re:This really is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016444)

In that case, he should get off easy.

How public is public? (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016458)

However in this case it is truly theft, because the 24 video was never in the public to "copy". This was outright theft of what is basically confidential data.

That may depend on whether or not you consider an unencrypted satellite uplink transmission "in the public". First-run syndicated programming is often like this. Hell, I saw the first episode of Viper on my cable, without commercials, well before its premiere and well before I'd even heard of the show. I've even seen rough storyboarded commercials before they were finalized, in 10, 15, 20, and 30 second versions. (That may have been before our local CableVision become Time Warner Cable. I'd have to research the dates.)

I wouldn't expect network programming to be in the clear on satellite like that however. But then I don't have the hardware to pick up those signals.

However, reading the article (and the article linked to by the article), it appears to only be the first four episodes of 24 [amazon.com] that were made available in advance, again pointing to someone getting ahold of the DVDs of the first four episodes prior to their street date (the day after the two-day premiere).

And this "ECOTtotal" probably wasn't even the ripper nor could identify who was. As reported, the episodes were available elsewhere before they were available on YouTube. So if they do succeed in tracking him down, he's screwed.

As others have pointed out, rental stores also got them early and some Blockbuster employees were permitted to rent them before they were made available to customers. So how public is public? A privileged group had access early, but who had the privilege was not under control of Fox. It just wasn't broadcast-televised.

(Huh, my Firefox installation's dictionary didn't include the word "ahold".)

Got ta say..... (4, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016090)

This is an obvious case of thieft and they have every right to plug the leak at their end. Posting episodes before they air has to be coming from their end so they have the right to locate and fire/prosecute the source. It has nothing to do with fair use it has to do with protecting their work. Advertisers can potentially cut funding and kill the series if they don't defend it. Youtube really has no choice since they'd be protecting the thief. Supporting the people involved harms those supporting fair use since it appears they are supporting outright thieft. A line has to be drawn and they crossed it in this case.

Re:Got ta say..... (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016424)

Totally agree with you. What is sad that maniacs posting stuff like this will get associated with general Linux/Free/Open/Software community and build the opinion that such users don't give a shit about stealing (well this is not exactly theft - copyright violation).

I am all about copyrights (and copylefts). The same rights that protect new Simpsons episodes also apply to protecting f.e. GPL-ed code (from license violations).

It is also sad that editors running this site are retarded to post things like that. :\

Re:Got ta say..... (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016512)

This is an obvious case of thieft

Your brain apparently revolted against the nonsense you were spewing and caused you to misspell the offending word.

Copyright infringement is NOT THEFT. It is copyright infringement. We have a name for it for a reason, and that reason is to distinguish it from theft, in which you deprive another of the thing which you are taking. When you make a copy of something you are NOT taking it. You are copying it. Note too that copying and taking are not the same thing, which is why we have different words for them.

Every time you equate copyright infringement to theft, a RIAA or MPAA lawyer gets his horns, tail and pitchfork.

no (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016514)

This is an obvious case of copyright infringment.

info8mative dolldoll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016104)

Represents the elected, we took 80s, DARPA saw BSD Baby...don't fear elected, we ttoK 'I have to kill Your own beer of progress. or make loud noises

What's Google/YouTube doing with PID anyway? (2, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016126)

Apparently Google and YouTube were willing and able to identify the owner of the username ECOTtotal...


How/why would Google/YouTube have personally identifying information about a user anyway? (Or was the user stupid enough to not anonymize himself before trying this?)

I'll bet this turns out to be the cousin/friend/lover of a TV critic; they have access to advance copies that aren't supposed to get spread around. (Yes, it's happened before.) Something tells me the average Fox employee isn't bright enough to fire up his/her own browser.

Re:What's Google/YouTube doing with PID anyway? (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016228)

The ISP will likely match up an IP with an actual human, unless the poster went to more trouble to hide his tracks than most do.

Re:What's Google/YouTube doing with PID anyway? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016504)

Well, it is perfectly possible for the uploader to have gmail id and used google check out to buy a gps system and got it delivered to his home. Never over estimate the average human intelligence. Now if I am really clever, and if I have a grouse against my employer or ex, I would create a google id in his/her name, get gps delivered to his/her home and use the same id to upload content that is sure to draw the attention of mpaa and then stand at the sidewalk and watch the fun. But sadly I am too smart for that ;-)

Good! (1)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016152)

Just because your username can be different from your real name doesn't mean that your actions are completely without consequences. Not that I have a lot of sympathies for either Fox, ECOTtotal, Fox viewers, viewers of the TV-show 24, people who upload copyrighted stuff to youtube, people who watch copyrighted stuff from youtube, or even people in general. But I do enjoy myself when corporate greed wins over stupid people.

Re:Good! (1)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016476)

But I do enjoy myself when corporate greed wins over stupid people.

I'm just the opposite: I like to see stupid people beating corporate greed. Actually, I like to see anyone beating corporate greed.

They're gonna be disappointed... (1)

Geek_3.3 (768699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016156)

...when the name "ljrllkjlfjdals lkjaldsji3oj" at email address uolikjalj@lkjdfljks.com shows up on their use logs... (or some other random confluence of characters at account creation)

And this is OK (2, Insightful)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016180)

It is not OK to take some licensed media and just upload if to Youtube. You fucking (/. editors) hypocrits will cry loud when GPL is violated but when somebody evidently pirates a copy of copyright protected Simpsons episode it is OK?

Re:And this is OK (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016242)

Actually, we believe that content should be freely distributable ala GPL or Creative Commons. Therefore, there is no hypocrisy because we would defend FOX if they used a freer license.

Viewed for free (0, Redundant)

idleprocess (606281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016222)

So, 24 and the Simpsons are on FOX. I have an antenna on my roof to get local channels. I've paid nothing to watch these shows.

So why is it a problem to provide a copy of something that was already given away for free?

I suppose advertising gets stripped but what the hell? Oh and thanks google for not being evil.

Re:Viewed for free (2, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016386)

The problem lies in the fact that it had not been given away for free _yet_ . There are people that pay fox to give away the content so that people watching the content will see the commercials of those paying. Now, if half of the people who would have watched the show decide not to because they already saw it 12 days before it aired, then those people paying probably wouldnt. FOX stands to lose enough from this scenario that they will be coming after this person hard. The fact that it will be an inside source makes this more important for them to stop it as it will continue indefinitely, and all those advertisers will be chased off.

Now, after it has aired for "free", i strangely have no interest in these things being protected, as I watch it on VCR, or tivo, or one of many other devices (youtube) that can allow me to skip. There is the case of several ads that still get played while I am distracted with other tasks, or need a break.

Re:Viewed for free (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016426)

So why is it a problem to provide a copy of something that was already given away for free?

Besides the fact that they like to sell DVDs, this is a case where the episodes hadn't actually aired yet. This is something that wasn't already given away for free. The really sad part is that you don't even have to RTFA to find this out, the summary tells you. Therefore I have concluded that you are a big idiot. But then I see you have foe'd me, so I will now return the favor so I don't even see your stupidity next time. HTH, HAND. Next time read the summary, bozo.

Let the retributive moderation from your homies commence!

Re:Viewed for free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016522)

because, you moron, the advertising is "paying" for the episode to be broadcast to you.

it's being paid for - just not directly by you.

Did Cheney torture them for it, Frist? (-1, Flamebait)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016276)

After all, it was 24, and on that show, unlike my actual experience in real counter-terrorism ops, torture always works.

Sad how much much more we resemble the former Soviet Union every day.

Re:Did Cheney torture them for it, Frist? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016368)

After all, it was 24, and on that show, unlike my actual experience in real counter-terrorism ops, torture always works.

And unlike your experience on slashdot, talking like a big-shot always works!

Were you the torturer, or the torturee?

Re:Did Cheney torture them for it, Frist? (3, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016422)

unlike my actual experience in real counter-terrorism ops

Sorry, neihter reading Tom Clancy nor playing his games qualify as real, counter-terrorism ops.

Falsely Believing You are Anonymous... (4, Interesting)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016352)

...on the Internet can lead to very bad or unexpected things for you or those around you. Just this week someone "anonymously" posting on a local newspaper online forum caused a mistrial [ljworld.com] in a multiple first degree murder and aggravated arson case where I live.

Why not go after the REAL source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016362)

The episodes were probably rips of the season premiere DVD that leaked before it aired (and were probably already on bit torrent and the newsgroups long before they were uploaded to YouTube). Why isn't FOX trying to go after the original hole on their end with this much effort?

YRO?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016436)

Why is this YRO? You don't have any right to upload copywrited shows without permission.

YouTube built a business based on infringing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016472)

YouTube built much if its business and traffic by allowing copyrighted material to be posted. They provided the tools. The user is obviously at fault. At the same time, it feels severely twisted that the YouTube founders are walking away with several $100M. This would not have happened if it wasn't for the gazillion users that posted copyrighted material. Face it, YouTube had little if any interest in preventing videos like this from being posted.

Time zone (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016488)

The Uploader must be in a different time-zone to Washington DC so that 24 happens an hour earlier...

Reruns are cool. Pre-runs are not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016506)

While I'm sure there are many pro-media people out there who will disagree with me, I think being able to go back and see an episode of "whatever" that you missed or something like that is cool. But come on! Sharing out an episode prior to public broadcast? That's direct bread-and-butter for those people who sell advertising. Sure it may be cool to have access to an episode prior to air date and all, but GEEZ! Have a *little* respect eh?
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