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MPAA Violates Another Software License

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the that's-a-little-cold dept.

Movies 297

Patrick Robib, a blogger who wrote his own blogging engine called Forest Blog recently noticed that none other than the MPAA was using his work, and had completely violated his linkware license by removing all links back to the Forest Blog site, not crediting him in any way. The MPAA blog was using the Forest Blog software, but had completely stripped off his name, and links back to his site. He only found about it accidentally when he happened to visit the MPAA site.

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Maybe they should be investigated som more (5, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18056684)

I am quite sure MPAA would fail in many similar regards if someone would take the effort to investigate.

Re:Maybe they should be investigated som more (5, Funny)

daknapp (156051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057812)

Wouldn't it be nice to send the friendly folks from the BSA to do a complete software audit of the MPAA?

Maybe an auditing circle-jerk could be set up: the BSA investigates the MPAA, who investigates the RIAA, who invesigates the BSA, etc. ad nauseum, and they could just leave the rest of us alone.

Re:Maybe they should be investigated som more (5, Funny)

eskayp (597995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057954)

"Maybe an auditing circle-jerk could be set up:..."

Their circle is already a bunch of jerks.

Re:Maybe they should be investigated som more (5, Interesting)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058180)

While I hope this is true - it would look good on the MPAA

1) The screencaps show very little detail
2) "Dan Glickman Forum" from the screencaps turn up nothing in Google.
3) The line provided http://www.mpaa.org/blog_default.asp doesn't exist, isn't found in google OR the wayback machine and the home page back in September 06 looks very much like it does today - I don't find any obvious links to this.

If the MPAA accuses me of stealing files they had better produce some evidence and I damn well expect (not that they desterve it) that evidence has to be provided on this.

Of course my Google skills might not be up to snuff - but come on community, find the evidence while it still exists - if it did at all.

Re:Maybe they should be investigated som more (4, Interesting)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058478)

The third screenshot is of an article that was published by Glickman in "Variety":

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117931921.html?c ategoryid=9&cs=1 [variety.com]

Now, it's possible that he was lazy and just dumped an article he was paid for straight into his BLOG, but it's equally likely the screenshot was faked using data that was already out there. :-/

Re:Maybe they should be investigated som more (1, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058308)

ad nauseum
Did you read that in a museam?

Re:Maybe they should be investigated som more (3, Funny)

chawly (750383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058290)

I'm sure you're wrong - they are such nice fellahs, I'm sure they'd never, ever do any such thing. Unless of course they thought they were above the law, being the MPAA and all

Well, not anymore... (4, Funny)

rwven (663186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057836)

Apparently they're hiding now. I get a "Page cannot be found" on the MPAA blog...

Re:Well, not anymore... (2)

frup (998325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057870)

I really do hope they get in trouble for this. If not legal ramifications, at least a loss of credibility... and not just amongst slashdotters ;)

Re:Well, not anymore... (1, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057946)

Don't worry, after they pay for the Forest Blog software, they'll ... um ... they won't be able to buy a corporate lunch. Not bankruptcy I suppose, but something.

Note, at present exchange rate, the permision to remove the links is $97.

Re:Well, not anymore... (3, Informative)

MaverickUW (177871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058196)

Good thing you know how to use the currency converter.

I mean, come on. 150 pounds is not $97. 97 pounds is $150.

Besides, he could go after full penalties now, which is significantly more than 150 pounds. Sure, it's nothing to the MPAA, but still, it doesn't look good that they do so much to enforce IP then they lose in court for similar violations

Re:Well, not anymore... (4, Funny)

David Horn (772985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058548)

Actually, £97 is about $190 thanks to your tumbling economy... ;-)

Re:Well, not anymore... (3, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058576)

Actually, we're both wrong. Somehow, I red the 25 pounds as 50. Since they're only running 1 commercial blog, the price is 25 pounds. http://www.hostforest.co.uk/Purchase/default.asp [hostforest.co.uk]

Re:Well, not anymore... (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058580)

and I can't type tonight

Re:Well, not anymore... (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058226)

Oh if that's how the RIAA (and I imagine MPAA) worked getting sued them would be a hardship rather then simply ridiculous. No, the MPAA has to pay 100 million dollars for every page they have that lacks the link (so if they've made 10 blog posts, that's at least 10 pages).

Re:Well, not anymore... (5, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058380)

Don't worry, after they pay for the Forest Blog software, they'll ... um ... they won't be able to buy a corporate lunch. Not bankruptcy I suppose, but something.

Note, at present exchange rate, the permision to remove the links is $97.

No no no. It has nothing to do with the cost of the albu^H^H^H^Hsoftware. You see, since they didn't pay initially, they should have had a link. And if they had placed a link, then there would have been more users of Forest Blog, and thus they are liable for each user who did not use Forest Blog because they were missing the link. Therefore their liability should be $97 times everyone who has visited mpaa.org, and thus was a lost customer, plus punitive damages of $150,000 per page that should have had a link.

Re:Well, not anymore... (1)

quadra23 (786171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057958)

Apparently they're hiding now. I get a "Page cannot be found" on the MPAA blog...

You sure it wasn't just slashdotted? That's happened before...on many an occasion ;-)

Re:Well, not anymore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058582)

You know what? That 404 page being a complete IIS/Windows/Microsoft advertisement in name of "help" is really insightful for me and some others.

I mean the fact that RIAA/MPAA somehow loves using Microsoft software.

RIAA hides their OS for some reason but it can be easily found in IIS 404 page like http://www.riaa.com/test.html [riaa.com]

A true open or documented independent codec (e.g. h264) based web market which everyone can sell their art without those leeches are bad for Microsoft too, where would be "Sorry, Windows needed to purchase our music/movie" messages? Where would be Microsoft?

BTW congratulations to MPAA for porting IIS/6.0 to Linux! http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http:/ /www.mpaa.org [netcraft.com]

Not the first time (5, Informative)

Ydna (32354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057862)

This is not the first time the MPAA has been caught pirating the copyrighted works of others. They got caught making and distributing copies of This Film Is Not Yet Rated [imdb.com] without permission (and after they claimed they did not make any copies).

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18057962)

Oh you mean the whole article title that they've violated someone's IP *again* wasn't just an exaggeration?

Re:Not the first time (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058122)

This crowd has been violating other peoples' "IP" since they moved out west. This little fact seems to go right over a certain moderator's [slashdot.org] head. It should be no surprise that the law doesn't apply to everybody.

Re:Not the first time (0)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058288)

Overrated

Of course it's overated. I know that. You're just proving it, Mister Freak. Otherwise such corporate and government hypocrisy would actually be an election issue, and we would vote for politicians who wouldn't tolerate it.

Re:Not the first time (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058188)

I don't know why your post is modded as "informative," because you haven't provided any information about the incident to which you are referring. Maybe if I post that the MPAA were caught red-handed drowning kittens and leaving the toilet seat up I can be modded "informative" too?

Re:Not the first time (4, Informative)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058298)

I don't know why your post is modded as "informative," because you haven't provided any information about the incident to which you are referring.

Should you happen to rent or buy This Film Is Not Yet Rated [netflix.com] the "incident" discussed in-thread is detailed during the audio commentary (by the film's director and producer) and again within a deleted scene (the phone call from an MPAA lawyer that informed the director of unauthorized copying was filmed, though the MPAA's half of the conversation was not directly recorded).

In a nutshell, the director had submitted the film to the MPAA for ratings review and was told that no one other than the raters would view the tape provided. He was also told that no copies would be made of the supplied materials. It came to pass that members of the MPAA admitted to not only screening the film for several non-raters but also to making at least one complete (and unauthorized) copy of the supplied tape.

Wikipedia covers this same ground [wikipedia.org] though that summary is about as lacking as mine in terms of substantive references.

How hard is it to check the license? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18057878)

At least *I* make sure that "grep GPL /dev/dvd" gets a match before I copy a DVD.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (4, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057930)

Thats not the issue really. The issue is that strict copyright law is basically unenforcable. This isn't 10 rich guys and 30 lawers going, "Muwhahaha", this is some web team figuring that they're no different from the thousands of other coders like us that break the occasional license unbeknownst to our bosses.

If anything, this is like the futility to pointing out that MPAA or RIAA heads' family members pirate content. At the end of the day, what are people against the copyright lobby fighting for? Some say downright incorrect prosecution, which obviously happens, but underneath it all, its the result of a lack leniancy and less strict laws. The only reason that breaking a "Linkware" license is news is because of it highlites that copyright laws are, in the end, only selectively enforced, not because of some organizational hypocricy. The hypocricy basically is unintentional, and to me, thats really what the problem is. Its not some blatent flogging, its just the old adage of the impractibility of ensuring that those around you practise what you preach. Getting onto that soapbox and being adamant about how you live your life is in no way an argument against an organzation that is hypocritical for the very reason that it is not one single person but a large organization of people. Its like some company saying that j-walking in all cases, always, everytime, hurts their bottom line; it'd take you less than 10 minutes if you had full access to everyone at a company to spot apparent hypocricy, but that wouldn't be the time to point out, "Hey, *I* don't j-walk." Its not revelent, because at some point, the eagerness of enforcement is more relevant than the actual law.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058036)

The issue is that strict copyright law is basically unenforcable. This isn't 10 rich guys and 30 lawers going, "Muwhahaha", this is some web team figuring that they're no different from the thousands of other coders like us that break the occasional license unbeknownst to our bosses.
It's not that strict copyright law is unenforceable, it's the fact that the culture overwhelmingly looks at copyright as a minor violation.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (2, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058212)

Chicken, meet egg.

I was ready to flame but have ultimately decided that its the same thing. Culture sees it as a minor violation because the current legal definition of copyright is unenforcable. Its a minor problem precisely because going after every violater leads to two conclusions: its rights granted by current copyright law are too strong, and most people know somebody that should be locked up for violating it.

Its pretty much the same thing. My original post was more about saying that if, as an individual, you don't violate it, you might as well suggest that it'd be okay if wearing green coloured shirts were illegal because you don't own any green shirts. The fact is that peopel violate copyright law all the time, and if we had some magical transporter that put all these folks into jail right this minute, society would cease to function.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058376)

It's not that strict copyright law is unenforceable, it's the fact that the culture overwhelmingly looks at copyright as a minor violation.

In the age of digital copies, strict copyright law is unenforceable.

Regular theft leaves evidence behind - the stolen item is gone - you know you have been robbed. Stealing a copy of something leaves behind no evidence. If you do not know it has been stolen, you can not even begin to start looking for the thief.

Someone is likely to pipe in that there is evidence of theft - the stolen item/copy itself. Before that someone starts piping, ask yourself just how many crimes are investigated because the cops found a guy with stolen items versus how many are investigated because something went missing? I am going to SWAG and say at least 1:10,000 maybe even 1:100,000, which is about as good an example of unenforceable as you are going to get. Of course those 1 out of 10 thousand cases have about a 100% success rate, but that's only because the crimes are already solved by the time they are discovered.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (1)

Selanit (192811) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058172)

It's actually really bizarre that they didn't pay even after the software's author emailed them to say "Hey, no fair, pay up." I mean, the MPAA represents an industry making billions of dollars a year ... and they couldn't be bothered to cough up a measly 25 quid? The British pound may be one of the strongest currencies in the world, but twenty five of them ain't gonna break the MPAA's bank. I guarantee, the cost of this public relations snafu is gonna be way more than that.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058238)

I guarantee, the cost of this public relations snafu is gonna be way more than that.

I hate to burst your bubble, but email me in 6 months with the "I told you so" if you're right. This is the cost of doing business, and whatever flak they take from this will pale in comparison to financially ruining people who didn't even violate the law in the first place months ago. And those actions are taken under the "cost of doing business" reasoning to begin with. This is a really nit-picky kind of story if you're trying to make a case against the absurdity of copyright law and how the RIAA and the MPAA are running amok.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (1)

nixkuroi (569546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058302)

...this is some web team figuring that they're no different from the thousands of other coders like us...

Nah, they're not like us...we still have jobs. :)

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058312)

Copyrights are unenforceable because most aren't obeying the law. If the speed limit is 55 and everyone goes 65 then the speed limit is unenforceable. People forget the copyright system largely worked up until home computers and the internet. It was the ease with which people could circumvent the law that changed things not the law itself.

Re:How hard is it to check the license? (2, Insightful)

CryBaby (679336) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058466)

This isn't 10 rich guys and 30 lawers going, "Muwhahaha", this is some web team figuring that they're no different from the thousands of other coders like us that break the occasional license unbeknownst to our bosses.

Astounding -- you knowingly expose your employer to legal liability by violating software licenses *and* you're a programmer? Did the whole "Free Software" thing that comes up on Slashdot every once in a while just sail right over your head or what?

You are in a much smaller minority than you apparently think. Between the habitually law-abiding, the regular folk who value their paychecks, and those of us who actively advocate Free Software, no programmer I know would use any software in their company's products or services without researching the license, much less intentionally violate a license.

Maybe... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18057890)

the author should extort the RIAA for $10,000 per byte that was pirated.

Re:Maybe... (1)

log0 (714969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058166)

Or, better yet, extort the MPAA.

Then again, the RIAA never bothers to check if they've got the right victim so why should anyone else?

It looks like a replay (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057904)

It looks like a replay of the times when Hollywood was flaunting the Edison patents. Anything new here?

Who's laughing now! (2, Funny)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18057950)

Who's the pirate now, MAFIAA?

Oh, the sweet paradox for Slashdot. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18057996)

If you hold the MPAA to the law on this, then it is a tacit acknowledgement that I.P. is a valid thing. You can't have it both ways, Slashdot.

Re:Oh, the sweet paradox for Slashdot. (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058044)

If you hold the MPAA to the law on this, then it is a tacit acknowledgement that I.P. is a valid thing. You can't have it both ways, Slashdot.

Some call this fighting fire with fire. It's the way the industry works. For example, Linux would be in some serious IP hell from Microsoft if IBM and others didn't have it's army of lawyers ready for a Battle Royale.

You don't get it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058086)

If you want the MPAA to hang for this, you must also call for all the movie downloading pirates to hang as well. To not do so would be hypocritical, and having selective morality. It's called "practicing what you preach".

Re:You don't get it. (1)

Jehosephat2k (562701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058168)

But that is what is being promoted from the legal-eagles anyway. F 'em.

Re:You don't get it. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058246)

I'd like to see neither hung. However while the MPAA continues to try to sue people, then I'll support them getting hung.

No, we get it. (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058266)

We want to remind the MPAA that "those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." If the MPAA wasn't complaining about other people's copyright infringment, then I wouldn't complain about its. But it is, so I will. Get it?

Re:You don't get it. (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058354)

If you want the MPAA to hang for this, you must also call for all the movie downloading pirates to hang as well. To not do so would be hypocritical, and having selective morality. It's called "practicing what you preach".

I've never advocated that movie pirates get away with it, nor am I a movie pirate. I have an TiVo Series 3 (~$800 + Lifetime Transfer), pay for over 120 on cable per month and have a massive DVD collection. All I'm saying is that if they are stealing other peoples IP while going around suing downloaders the they need to practice what they preach.

Are they not the ones running around suing????

Oh, the M.A.D. for Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058272)

"Some call this fighting fire with fire. It's the way the industry works. For example, Linux would be in some serious IP hell from Microsoft if IBM and others didn't have it's army of lawyers ready for a Battle Royale"

Good thing Russia "gave up" before we did, else fighting "fire with fire" would have no winners.

Fair use? (2, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058056)

Perhaps the MPAA considered it "Fair Use"--after all, they were modifying the pages for their own personal use...

Re:Oh, the sweet paradox for Slashdot. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058082)

No is is trying to "have it both ways", dickhead. No one gives a crap that this guy's blog software is being used "illegally". All that matters is that it exposes more hypocrisy from the MPAA.

Re:Oh, the sweet paradox for Slashdot. (4, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058318)

It's not about whether or not anyone supports or opposes copyright law. The MPAA has claimed in public that copyright infringement is immoral and unethical. Their motivation for doing this is obvious: If they inform the public that some action is illegal, while the public thinks there's nothing wrong with the action morally and ethically, then they risk having the law changed to reflect the public's opinion. Convincing people that they have the moral/ethical high ground ensures that they can continue to benefit from the current legal system, or even lobby successfully for stricter measures in their favour.

Remember their ad campaign:

YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR
YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A HANDBAG
YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A TELEVISION
YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A DVD
DOWNLOADING PIRATED FILMS IS STEALING

The message that they are obviously trying to advance is that copyright infringement is stealing, and therefore is immoral, unethical, and illegal. However, their blatant disregard for the exclusive legal rights of others under copyright law demonstrates the hypocrisy of this claim to the moral and ethical high ground. It shows that even the people behind the MPAA are not themselves convinced that the issue is as simple as "copyright infringement is stealing". How, then, do they expect the rest of the public to be convinced?

There is a difference. (2, Insightful)

bheekling (976077) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058384)

The point of the article and what everyone is hollering about is that the MPAA is not practising what they are preaching. This makes it seem as though they will selectively apply the concept of IP to further their own interests.
Besides, the guy had released the thing for free on a Linkware license. How difficult is it to retain backlinks in the source code? Or even pay the mere 25 pounds he was asking for a commercial license?

Re:Oh, the sweet paradox for Slashdot. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058434)

They wrote the rules.

It's childish, but at least tit-for-tat retribution points out the hypocrisy.

Patrick Robib? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058020)

It's Patrick Robin.

Middleman? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058022)

What if someone else violated the license and made a stripped version of the code available, without any references to the original author? How in general can one tell whether one is getting the original code with intact copyright notices?

Re:Middleman? (4, Insightful)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058138)

What if someone else violated the license and made a stripped version of Epic Movie available, without any references to the original author? How in general can one tell whether one is getting the original movie with intact copyright notices?

Re:Middleman? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058512)

What if someone else violated the license and made a stripped version of Epic Movie available, without any references to the original author?

It'd still be awful, but we wouldn't know who to blame.

Re:Middleman? (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058538)

Do you think that would stop the MPAA from considering everyone involved to be guilty?

Re:Middleman? (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058310)

What if someone else violated the license and made a stripped version of the code available, without any references to the original author? How in general can one tell whether one is getting the original code with intact copyright notices?

That's what I think whenever I download free music from the Internet: "Must just be a cover band releasing their work for free." I've never seen or heard any copyright notices on Free Internet Music, after all...

well yeah.... (1)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058030)

Its ok for the MPAA to steal whatever they want, duh!

Its not ok for you to download crap that you wouldn't have paid to see in the first place.

Civil (not criminal) (4, Insightful)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058046)

In spite of the fact there is criminal legislation in place for copyright infringment, I expect the prosecutors will look the other way and declare it to be civil. This will just be another example of the double standard.

As a civil issue ( the only other legal avenue ), you can only hope to obtain justice through the courts. It will cost $1000's to get a judgment, perhaps $100,000's. There is no justice. All we have is persecution it would seem with the powerful pretty much doing whatever they like with impunity.

While its not fair, the question any prosecutor is going to ask is if spending the taxpayers money on this is a good idea. Of course, spending the taxpayers money prosecuting a person charged with a traffic incident is always considered a good idea because its cheap (usually) and meant to keep the sheep in line and paying the fines.

Am I a cynic?

Re:Civil (not criminal) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058118)

This is a criminal offense and must be prosecuted as such.

Re:Civil (not criminal) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058216)

thats what he is saying will happen, fucktard

Re:Civil (not criminal) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058294)

No, it's not. Up yours.

Re:Civil (not criminal) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058328)

This will just be another example of the double standard... There is no justice. All we have is persecution it would seem with the powerful pretty much doing whatever they like with impunity.
Sad, but true.

Am I a cynic?
Does it make a difference?

Re:Civil (not criminal) (1)

Josef Meixner (1020161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058398)

I am not so sure about that, though. The author seems to be from Great Brittain, so he probably could sue before a British Court. The website is accessible in GB and so the MPAA is violating the British copyright.

But honestly I think we shouldn't step down to the low standard of the MPAA. I think firing off the email and making it public is probably the right way. Afterall the MPAA relies on its public image and if more and more details surface about them not being a honest party it might inflict much bigger harm to them in the long run. In contrast to all the public traded companies the MPAA represents we don't have to fullfill a 3 month plan to make money and so we can wait.

I think we should give the MPAA enough rope to hang itself. The RIAA already looks rather tangled up in wires they spanned themselves.

Contact MPAA about piracy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058054)

Here, I suggest contact MPAA about the whole piracy issue and point them to the offending party; themselves.

http://www.mpaa.org/ReportPiracy.asp [mpaa.org]
Please feel free to let them know about their own transgressions.

Re:Done (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058114)

Already been done. I will contact the BSA in the morning as they most likely have all sorts of unlicensed software from BSA members laying around.

Re:Contact MPAA about piracy (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058352)

It's always fun to flood the MPAA with information about vicious acts of piracy.

I made sure to point out that not only did they infringe Forest Blog's copyright on every page view, they also stole advertising revenue from Forest Blog that would have been generated by the links that were removed from the MPAA's blog, causing at least as much financial harm as "stealing" copies of DVDs. I think the author probably has a reasonably strong civil claim to get that money back, which would hopefully pull in plenty of statutory damages for each act of infringement too.

Here's the MPAA response: (5, Informative)

All_One_Mind (945389) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058084)

From the next blog post [patrickrobin.co.uk] on the authors site:

Well, I must say I'm surprised;to after getting no response to my previous emails to the MPAA about their use of Forest Blog at the tail end of last year I got a result within five hours this time, unless they were just replying to the original email?

Anyway, thanks to Paul Egge and Richard Kroon the situation has now been resolved and they've removed Forest Blog from their web server.

Re:Here's the MPAA response: (2, Informative)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058160)

From the blog's update...

Here's a section of the email I received from Richard who I think is the Director of Application Development ast the MPAA:

The material has been removed from our Web server.

        * No Web links were ever provided to the blog.
        * The blog was never assigned a domain name.
        * The blog was never advertised to the public in any way.
        * The material on the server was a proof of concept awaiting approval to move into production.
        * The blog was only ever used for testing purposes.
        * Should we have decided to make the move to production, then we would have paid the 25 Pounds that would have authorized us to run a version of the blog without the logos and links.


Okay, great -- So the question is, how did Patrick become aware of it? If it wasn't linked, assigned a domain name, advertised to the public, and only for testing, why was *anyone* aware of it?

Re:Here's the MPAA response: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058208)

If you feel like reading the article...
>> Way back in October last year whilst going through the website referals list for another of my sites I stumbled across

He got it from his server logs.
I'd guess someone working on it viewed it prior to removing all the link backs.

Re:Here's the MPAA response: (1)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058292)

Read my post above.

It's not in Google or the Wayback machine nor does google find the information post on screen caps - ie the title of the blog.

This at least does make sense. It does not exonerate the RIAA. But it does seem to make sense.

Re:Here's the MPAA response: (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058424)

MPAA, not RIAA (Yes, I'm being pedantic)

However, regardless, if a single person other then the individual who modified it managed to view it, a copyright violation occurred.

Re:Here's the MPAA response: (2, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058326)

If that is really their reponse, go ahead and substitute the word "Blog" with "Song", and throw it back at them. Maybe a very dim light will start to glow in their puny little minds.

Simply the fact that they went through the trouble of removing all the links and pictures tells me that this was a blatant attempt to scr*w the author out of his 25 Pounds. No-one goes through the trouble of doing this *ON A PUBLIC PRODUCTION WEBSERVER* just for testing.

Here's the "/." response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058178)

In other words when informed they do the correct thing about it. Now contrast that to slashdot's response to license violations. "Whaaa! He's too young. Whaaa! Give him a slap on the wrist. Whaaa!"

Re:Here's the "/." response: (5, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058252)

In other words when informed they do the correct thing about it.

How many of the targets of **AA action were afforded the opportunity to just say the same thing - "okay, sorry, I took it down, and it wasn't really meant for public consumption anyway, so we didn't do anything wrong", as opposed to being on the wrong end of a settlement demand?

Re:Here's the "/." response: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058264)

No, they didn't do the so called "right" thing. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of their own law for their transgression. If I torrent a movie and I get caught, can I simply delete it to solve the problem? No. you can bet your ass that the MPAA will jump into court as soon as the can and charge me with the highest crime possible, like dickwads. And to the allogations of WAAAAAAA! they should not even be charged. If I tell a friend about the movie, it can be as good as watching it. Forget about the entire copyright law thing.

traditionalist thinking (2, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058120)

I've concluded that the traditionalist forces and thinkers (read: MPAA, "follow the rules without question simply because they are the rules and everyone follows them") are evolved in such a way as to be unable to adapt once the traditions have been set. Such people simply need to die off more quickly now that the world is changing more quickly thus significantly reducing overall conflict. Rather horrifying, but an unavoidable conclusion.

Apply MPAA logic (2, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058124)

One respondent to TFA suggested using the MPAA's own logic against them in court. Another suggested suing them in small claims court which is apparently much easier.

I submit that a software author is the same as a music CD author on an artistic level, perhaps more so since he does not have all the studio people to massage his work into something palatable.

If this artist is left on his own, he could make some cash in small claims court, or at least his 150 pound license fee [hostforest.co.uk] if he is not the litigous sort perhaps.

However I think this is also a very good opportunity for a big guns lawyers supplied perhaps by the EFF to find the paper where the MPAA writes down its killer legal strategies, and tear it up into tiny pieces, much as IBM is doing to SCO.

Equate software to music. Equate running softare or viewing a webpage as a "performance" in the legal sense. Use MPAA rules. Since the license costs about $100, calculate based on a 300% markup over a $35 average MPAA cd price. The sum will be punitive damages for theft, plus the 300% of what the MPAA sues for a song, plus the price of a "performance" multiplied by the number of visits to any of the blog's pages, based on the evidence of the MPAA's server logs which is must produce in court. Although this sounds over the top, it is simply using the same non-common-sensical strategy the MPAA is using in court, and I think a judge and jury might just see justice in that, or at least a reason not to throw the case out.

I think this ought to net a nice award for the author.

When you think about it, SCO has lasted this long because it is like a pathogen that bends the organism that is the legal system to its intent, far beyond the realm of common sense: If they don't show the infringing code it is common sense that they ought not be able to argue beyond that. The MPAA also also exhibits pathogenic qualities; it sues its own customers for such outrageous sums that it is not only beyond common sense, you have to wonder if their worth is based more on legal games than actually what their members sell. Unless we take advantage of such amazing incidents as this one and use their own weapons against them, it will just continue. We now have a chance to stir up some talk about whether the MPAA is also over the top, and what to do about it.

Re:Apply MPAA logic (3, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058260)

Another suggested suing them in small claims court which is apparently much easier.

It might be, if it were even possible. You can't sue anyone for copyright infringement in small claims court. There is exclusive federal jurisdiction for copyright suits, which means you'd have to go to federal district court.

Equate software to music. Equate running softare or viewing a webpage as a "performance" in the legal sense.

First, why? What possible advantage would that get you? Second, that is not likely to work. Merely running software could only infringe the reproduction and perhaps derivative rights, but there's an exception under 117 which may well be applicable here. Viewing a webpage is pretty much reproduction only. Having a globally-accessible webpage could be considered a performance or display (depending on precisely what it consisted of) but the present caselaw leans toward distribution instead. But it could be a moot point anyway; this author didn't write the web pages at issue, he wrote the program used to write the web pages. Portions of the page are based on his work, but probably not enough, given the whittling-away effects that a decent lawyer could achieve by using things like merger and scenes a faire, to matter much.

Since the license costs about $100, calculate based on a 300% markup over a $35 average MPAA cd price. The sum will be punitive damages for theft, plus the 300% of what the MPAA sues for a song, plus the price of a "performance" multiplied by the number of visits to any of the blog's pages, based on the evidence of the MPAA's server logs which is must produce in court. Although this sounds over the top, it is simply using the same non-common-sensical strategy the MPAA is using in court, and I think a judge and jury might just see justice in that, or at least a reason not to throw the case out.

No, it sounds utterly moronic.

There are two ways to compute damages for copyright infringement suits. First, you can get actual damages and profits. This means you get money in the amount you were actually damaged (in this case a paltry sum, since the software was available so cheaply) and also in the amount of net profit realized by the defendant that is attributable to the infringment (Gross profits, and profits that are attributable to other sources don't qualify). Since this is MPAA's blog, there are likely to be no awardable profits. Maybe $1 as a token sum.

The other way is statutory damages, which range from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed, and can go down to $200 or up to $150,000, depending on certain factors. But you have to have registered your work within a certain time limit in order to be eligible for this, and although I don't know either way, I'd be willing to bet that this work wasn't registered within the time limits. That means these damages would not be available.

RIAA does bother to register their works, however, which is why they routinely ask for the maximum amount of statutory damages ($150,000 per work infringed) which can add up if you infringe on a lot of works.

The crap you're talking about is just that; made up crap without a basis in reality. You don't get to arbitrarily name figures and multiply them by whatever. And there isn't even any such thing as punative damages in copyright, so that's out the window too. RIAA has a solid basis for what they do, even if you don't like it and don't understand it. You don't.

I think this ought to net a nice award for the author.

The reality is that this is probably not worth suing over; the author would probably lose money or at best break even. The best strategy is probably to write a nasty letter and then ignore it. A victory wouldn't be hard to get, but wouldn't be worthwhile either.

Did I miss the memo? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058128)

I thought it was okay to violate licenses because information wants to be free, and copyright stifles innovation, and the author probably isn't starving anyway?

Re:Did I miss the memo? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058182)

actually dipshit, it is free, but they can't even stick to using someone elses work for free and abiding by the copyright holders license, which states they must leave logo's and links back to his website intack.

so it would appear the mpaa doesn't think their own rules don't apply to them.

Re:Did I miss the memo? (1)

Jehosephat2k (562701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058200)

Realistically, it doesn't. They are the masters, and the public are their slaves. Get used to it. That is what Corporate Amerika is all about.

This guy won't get a penny. If anything, HE will be found of violating the MPAA's "rights". That is how it works folks.

Did I miss the lesson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058320)

"actually dipshit, it is free, but they can't even stick to using someone elses work for free and abiding by the copyright holders license, which states they must leave logo's and links back to his website intack. so it would appear the mpaa doesn't think their own rules don't apply to them."

So what's the slashargument for today? "We're better than you!"* So how many here have copied the contents of another site contrary to the owner's wishes? The MPAA may be hypocrites? But the group doing the pointing is no better.

*It sure can't be "we're worse than you." Or, "we're the same as you".

Sue them (1)

Jehosephat2k (562701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058148)

He should sue them into oblivion. $100M

sue for damages (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058152)

sue them for $1000 for each post claiming it's lost revenue. after all theres no telling how much work or job offers this guy has lost due to the lack of exposure from them removing his links. it's the exact same reasoning they use when sueing people for p2p traffic.

taste that? it's irony

MPAA existential dilemma (4, Insightful)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058198)

P.S. Personally I think there is a major problem with the existence of an industry association like the MPAA and it being able to generate limitless lawsuits against customers on behalf of its members. I say Sony or Toshiba EMI ought to be required to do the suing, and see if they really have the stomach to do it and get caught out.

As it is now, the MPAA appears to exist for the sake of making lawsuits; its profit is based on the success of the lawsuits, and it is presumably paid by its members the startup cash needed to hire all those lawyers, to generate enough income to eventually make the lawsuit engine self-sustaining. Sounds like Microsoft/Baystar and SCO doesn't it? Or a recent RAM patent company?

When Sony embeds a rootkit they get clobbered with bad PR, and when EMI's copy protection sucks they get clobbered. Conversely, when EMI considers removing all copy protection they get even more, positive, PR. But when the MPAA sues soccer moms, the record companies seem to be wearing some kind of armor. All the bad PR sticks to their stalking horse, the MPAA. (Which like JASRAC in Japan has been the number one impediment to online distribution.)

I say the MPAA is a menace to the public and serves no purpose other than to make frivolous lawsuits on the behalf of big record companies while insulating them from the media. It does not exist to protect authors at all, but rather seeks to cause enough mayhem to scare people from trying other distribution mechanisms, by grabbing "rights" that never previously existed for music before the digital age. This is remembered well by anyone who grew up with cassettes or 8 track tapes.

I posted elsewhere in this thread that the MPAA's logic should be used against them to generate a huge award for the theft and performance of the Forest Blog software for a potentially huge number of page views. This model, in which a software author is granted the same rights as a music author, turns software downloading and web page views into something much more insidious than trite torrent sharing, in a legal sense. So I think now is a good time not only to make a legal case against the MPAA, but in fact to start aiming at them with big cannons like RICO and public opinion. Let the record labels do their own dirty work and pay for it individually when their customers get mad.

Re:MPAA existential dilemma (1)

Der Reiseweltmeister (1048212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058364)

I say the MPAA is a menace to the public and serves no purpose other than to make frivolous lawsuits on the behalf of big record companies

With the amount of people who have already pointed it out, you'd think people would begin to get which one the RIAA is and which one the MPAA is. (hint: think audio-recordings vs. Movies)

Update on his site (5, Insightful)

creativeHavoc (1052138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058224)

http://www.patrickrobin.co.uk/default.asp?Display= 5 [patrickrobin.co.uk] The MPAA claim that it was in use only privatly and they had no advertising. Good to know. If they ever come knocking, I will tell them I watched the movies and home and never sold them to anyone.

Read the update as well (3, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058248)

The material has been removed from our Web server. [patrickrobin.co.uk]
  • No Web links were ever provided to the blog.
  • The blog was never assigned a domain name.
  • The blog was never advertised to the public in any way.
  • The material on the server was a proof of concept awaiting approval to move into production.
  • The blog was only ever used for testing purposes.
  • Should we have decided to make the move to production, then we would have paid the 25 Pounds that would have authorized us to run a version of the blog without the logos and links.

ORLY? Note the lack of anything resembling an apology. Also, I must remember that defence when I get a P2P Tax demand from them: "Oh, sure, I copied your memebers' work, but only for testing purposes, and now that I've been caught, I can totally assure you that I intended to buy licensed versions."

Re:Read the update as well (1)

Soko (17987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058450)

Save that. Legal precedent, for all to use. You'd make a good lawyer.

Soko

Rejoice! (1)

toejam316 (1000986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058262)

We now have a plausable defense vrs organisations like the MPAA! "You! You did xxxx with our video, we demand compensation! etc.etc." "No. I used it privately!" "Foiled." Yay! Download like mad!

SUE THE TITS OFF THEM (2)

SUROK (815273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058334)

Sue the tits off them, sue them for everything they have

Story isn't up to date (4, Insightful)

Ace905 (163071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058340)

Just so everybody knows, this story does have a happy ending. The MPAA responded, finally, to his inquiries after a very long wait - by saying essentially that they were only using his software for 'testing' purposes and that the offending site was never made live, advertised on the internet etc.

The Forest Blog Author retorted, in his update to this story, that he doubts they would have been so kind if he 'borrowed' some movies for 'testing' purposes but never distributed them to anybody. He makes a valid point.

The entire trial over those dvd-codec software coders was based on them 'circumventing' a DVD's protection mechanism - it had nothing to do with them actually committing piracy, and were it not for the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act the MPAA would have had no case at all. Essentially they sued and won, establishing for the first time in history that you can purchase intellectual property but essentially not have ownership of the rights to even use it, however you see fit.

Remember that all laws previous to the DMCA were to protect against piracy, (bootlegging, distribution, etc). But now the DMCA actually limits your freedom of use, even for personal use. And it's been proven. If they can do that, why can they abuse fair-use of software they essentially got just by agreeing to it's terms of use?

I say he still send his case to the EFF and hope that they can use something in this as ammunition against the MPAA.

---
DMCA Doesn't Protect Against This! [douginadress.com]

Any internet developer postiotions open? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058404)

I think Dan Glickman is looking for a job. Or the MPAA's web developer who probably claimed he coded the page himself.
Sure boss I can make you a blog, what's a blog, hi Patrick Robin, you know what I'm robbin.

so what ? - his theoretical loss is only 25 pounds (-1, Flamebait)

indaba (32226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058414)

Given that a commercial licence is only 25 pounds ( http://www.hostforest.co.uk/Purchase/default.asp [hostforest.co.uk] ) ; commercially this is a non-event.

That's an amount not even worth chasing via the small claims courts which is a lawyer free zone.

Re:so what ? - his theoretical loss is only 25 pou (2, Insightful)

semiotec (948062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058516)

what hole have you been hiding in? RIAA has been claiming damages to the tunes of %750 PER SONG, I have no idea how much MPAA has been claiming. The point is both about the amount and not about the amount. It's about that the MAFIAA have been claiming that piracy has put such a dent in their God-given right to make tonnes of money, that they should be asking for such disproportionate amount of damage to cover their losses. And YET, when THEY are the ones "stealing" other people's work, all of a sudden, it's not such a big matter? Do you think the MAFIAA would let people get away if they just say that they never put links to the songs they downloaded, they never publicised it and it was purely for personal use?

Re:so what ? - his theoretical loss is only 25 pou (2, Funny)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058564)

And a DVD costs what? 12 bucks or so.

The Big Picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18058456)

OK, take a deep breath and look a few steps ahead of the finger pointing.

Every person who just blasted the MPAA for "violating the author's copyright" is being recorded and researched by the MPAA and RIAA. They will then build a case against you based on all the songs/movies you have downloaded, all the CDs/DVDs you have burned, and every iPod purchased with your credit card (including the one you bought for Aunt Sally's birthday), and when they get you up on the stand and you say, "what I did was not wrong," they will pull out this post, exhibit 326b, in which you passionately stated that it is wrong, immoral and illegal to violate copyright. Open. Shut. Call the next lemming to the stand.

DMCA (5, Insightful)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058502)

Simply send a DMCA take down notice to their ISP requesting that the site be taken down because it is infringing.

*PAA (1)

yoprst (944706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18058562)

Mean Pirate Assotiation of America? Who's gonna come up with better M* word?
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