Can Someone Please Tell Us How You Determine What's A 'Legal' Search Engine From An 'Illegal' One?

from the is-it-like-obscenity? dept

I've had a lot of trouble with courts around the globe pinning blame on search engines for what they find, using a questionable interpretation of the law for "contributory" infringement or "inducing" infringement. Such things leave open such a wide spectrum of questions, it basically puts any search engine at risk. People have questioned in the past why Google isn't targeted the same way The Pirate Bay or Torrentspy were, because functionally they're doing the same thing: they index information and help people find it. Of course, some will say that The Pirate Bay is somehow guilty because of the way it acts towards copyright holders, but since when has attitude changed whether the same action is legal or illegal?

Either way it's beginning to feel like judges are determining what is and what is not contributory infringement in the same way "obscenity" is determined, using Justice Potter Stewart's famous "I know it when I see it" test. This is a bad thing, because while some may claim the extremes are clear (which is certainly questionable) there's a large gray area in the middle that is completely unclear. And having a huge unclear gray area means a lot of potential liability on innovators -- leading fewer people to innovate. And that's undeniably bad.

Take for example, the situation going on in the UK, where Anton Benjamin Vickerman and his wife Kelly-Anne Vickerman decided to do something that makes a lot of sense: create a search engine for videos online, indexing a variety of different sites. This was as a part of their company Scopelight, and the search engine itself was called Surfthechannel. This is certainly a useful product. But, of course, the search engine's algorithm has no way of knowing if that video has been put up by the copyright holder on purpose or if it's unauthorized. Even more tricky, how does it determine fair use? So, it did the reasonable thing: it includes everything. Lots of the videos are legal. Plenty are potentially unauthorized. Apparently that wasn't good enough for a UK-based anti-piracy group UK-FACT, who had Scopelight's premises raided, claiming the site is illegal, since people can find unauthorized content via it. Of course, you can find unauthorized content on Google as well.

But you know who's liable for that? Whoever actually put it online. Not the search engine that pointed you to it.

UK-FACT was unable to get criminal charges filed against SurfTheChannel, but no matter, a civil case has been filed instead. So, once again, a judge is going to have to determine why a third party website can be guilty of others' infringement based on a highly subjective "I know it when I see it" set of reasons. This is a bad deal for everyone.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 7:33am

    It is difficult to write a phrase that would specifically explain it, but yes, it is "when you see it you will know it".

    Best way is to look at focus: TPB is a "search engine" which focuses on torrents. The vast majority of what is searched for and is listed (on top listings) is illegal content.

    Yes, some of the content on TPB is legal - but the vast majority is not, and just as importantly, the public is generally aware of that fact. The top lists are created out of the public's searches.

    For the case at hand, the owners could very easily look at each site before they decide to add it to their index. Is the majority of the content TV shows and movies? Is it likely that those programs are out there legally? Probably not. Common sense really.

    I think it gets back to that very basic problem: When in doubt, say no, not yes.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 7:41am

    Re:

    "TPB is a "search engine" which focuses on torrents. The vast majority of what is searched for and is listed (on top listings) is illegal content."

    It is? I fully acknowledge that that's almost always the case in the top searches list, but do you actually have data to back up the broader implication that by overwhelming volume, TPB is concerned w/illegal content? How do you define that, by total bytes? Total files? Is there any data on the amount of files and/or bytes tracked/searched via TPB which states those bytes are illegal/legal?

    "I think it gets back to that very basic problem: When in doubt, say no, not yes."

    How Barbara Bush of you. My mantra is a tad different: "When in doubt, rub one out", hence you can see my need for torrent porn...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, it is pretty easy. Go to TPB. Download a copy of the top list every day for the next 30 days. Report back how many legal items were on that top list.

    As searches tend to be a bit of a curve, the top searches will occupy a very large number of queries in a day, and others rolling out (in a sort of Long Tail). So if you look at the top lists, you will see what the primary focus is.

    In the case of TPB, by being so agressive about NOT protecting copyright holders, they make their intentions very clear.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Go to TPB. Download a copy of the top list every day for the next 30 days. Report back how many legal items were on that top list."

    I think you missed what I was asking...

    "So if you look at the top lists, you will see what the primary focus is."

    Yeah, you missed it. I don't care about top lists, top searches, or any of that. I want to know by total volume over a representative amount of time, say all torrents tracked/accessed by TPB over the span of 4 weeks. Then I want to take that list and figure out how many files were infringing vs. not, and how many bytes were infringing vs. not. I want the meat and potatoes, not the top search highlights. Do you know of a way to attain that information?

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Re:

    "When in doubt, say no, not yes."

    This is the sort of thinking which stops all progress.

    Example:
    Caveman 1: Hey Ogg! I just invented this new thing, I call it a spear! We can throw it at animals to hunt, so we won't have to sprint up to them with with a club anymore!

    Caveman 2 (Ogg): I don't know... Has it ever been tested? How reliable is it? Come to think of it, you know my philosophy: 'When in doubt, say no, not yes.' Sorry bud, gotta turn you down on that one. You should really spend more time focusing on your wind-sprints and club technique and not waste time on your new-fangled gadgets.

    [Later, the whole tribe of cavamen died.]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, you didn't read, let me repeat:

    "As searches tend to be a bit of a curve, the top searches will occupy a very large number of queries in a day, and others rolling out (in a sort of Long Tail). So if you look at the top lists, you will see what the primary focus is."

    Basically, the queries for the top 100 will normally be a large portion of the total searches in a day. I don't a site I can easily point you to in order to explain with simple diagrams and basic grade school math, but the idea is that if 50% of the people search for things in the top 100, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on.

    Essentially, you are sampling to get results, because actually counting it all would be a really, really, really long job.

    Also, as torrents use a P2P network system, there isn't any byte count to work from. However, if you want to figure it out, assuming 50% of the searches are for the top 100 items, then just work it out from there - calculate out the average for those 100 files, and go from there. :)

     

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    Craig, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Two main rules apply:

    1. The search engine follows robots.txt protocol such that it indexes only sites that want their content to be indexed

    2. The search engine provides only a summary link to the item (i.e., search engine encourages the user to visit the originating site to fully view content vs. "scraping" the content such that it can be displayed and consumed on the search engine)

    It's the responsibility of the content site to determine if it should appropriately put something online

     

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    sheldon, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    intent

    It is not 'attitude' which governs what is legal or not, it's 'intent'.

     

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    AJ, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:20am

    What about Google....

    I'm willing to bet, a percentage of google's search results show illegal content. Because they are searchable, lets raid there offices and take all the servers. Won't happen, why? Because Google has the money to fight back. These guys are nothing but a bunch of bullies, picking on the kids that can't fight back.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "but the idea is that if 50% of the people search for things in the top 100, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on"

    First off, way to sound like an insulting tool referencing grade school math when I'm asking a legitimate question. Secondly, what is the basis for "50% of the people search for things in the top 100"? I don't like assumptions or rough ideas, I want data, otherwise the science is useless.

    "Essentially, you are sampling to get results, because actually counting it all would be a really, really, really long job."

    I get that. I want data on how to properly sample. Didn't I basically say that before?

    "Also, as torrents use a P2P network system, there isn't any byte count to work from. However, if you want to figure it out, assuming 50% of the searches are for the top 100 items"

    That's kind of what I figured on the byte portion, but again, where does this 50% assumption come from? I'm willing to work w/it IF there's something firm to back it up. Bt if say the top 10 DL list looks like this:

    1. Infringing File - DL'd 2.1 million times
    2. Infringing File - DL'd 2.05 million times
    3. Infringing File - DL'd 2.03 million times
    ...
    10. Infringing File -DL'd 1.93 million times

    and then the list continues

    11. non-Infringing File - DL'd 1.92 million times
    12. non-Infringing File - DL'd 1.90 million times
    ...

    ...then the whole "Top #" list can be misrepresenting of total volume. See what I mean?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Re: What about Google....

    Nope, sorry, fail.

    a percentage of google's searches will turn up illegal material - but not the majority of them.

    It's a question of scale once again. 1-2% of all listings being for illegal material is nothing. 75% or 90% being for illegal material? problem!

    Your argument is the typical argument used by drug dealers. Congrats.

     

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    Rob R. (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Logic??

    So why don't they use these search engines to track down the infringers that are listing illegal materials and just go have them raided instead? Would that not make a lot more sense and be a lot more effective?

    Oh wait, copyright madness negates are logic and their intent is not and has never been to actually be effective. They just want money.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re:

    Another Example:

    Caveman 1: Hey Ogg! I rub sticks together. Make smoke, then fire! It warm like inside of your sister! Now we warm during snow time!

    Caveman 2 (Ogg): You no need fire. You forget that Ogg open Ogg's Snuffleupagus Fur Shop. Fur keep you warm. Buy fur from me!

    Caveman 1: Me not so sure. Fire pretty warm.

    Caveman 2: That true, but Ogg just got Sturm and Drang on Cave Council to outlaw fire. Buy fur.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    This was the worst story ever. I understand the point you're trying to make, but god was that awful.

     

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    Rob R. (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not surprisingly, you are totally wrong in your base hypothesis. I rather expect that from an obvious industry shill.

    The search data is irrelevant. That displays the focus of the users, not of the search engine. The search engine's focus is simply to search for files and display the files that match the search criteria. That is the only intent of a search engine.

    A search engine is a tool. There is no intent from a tool ( well, you're a tool and have intent, so maybe I did err a bit there). I mean, if I stab you in the eyeball with my #0 Phillips screwdriver, will you then blame Snap-On for making a driver that is meant to encourage the stabbing of assholes?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    Even greater fail.

    With your attitude, Google would never have existed in the first place. After all, they should never index stuff unless they've checked it manually first, right?

     

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    AJ, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    "a percentage of google's searches will turn up illegal material - but not the majority of them."

    But if thats what you are looking for on a search engine you can still find it, just like you can find legal torrents on torrent sites if that is what your looking for. I can find alot more torrent trackers using Google than i can on any one torrent search site.

    "It's a question of scale once again. 1-2% of all listings being for illegal material is nothing. 75% or 90% being for illegal material? problem!"

    I love the scale argument. If what you say is true, then it's ok for me to download illegal torrents as long as i stay in the 1-2% range of all downloaders? Sounds good to me.

    "Your argument is the typical argument used by drug dealers. Congrats"

    .. and yours is typical of the people that find any reason to stop progress.

     

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    Rangda, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re: What about google

    To AC in #11, I'm not so sure about that. I just did a google search on a relatively obscure band (Trobar De Morte if you must know) looking for someplace to buy a CD. Google nicely gave me the band sites towards the top of the list, last.fm and a few other legit sites (reviews), then hundreds of links to torrents, youtube videos, "free" MP3 downloads, rapidshare pages, and Russing sites that sell mp3's for $.19 each. Buried amongst those hundreds results I managed to fine 1 link to a place where I could actually buy a CD.

    So if you go looking for music I think the number of 'infringing' hits you get from google is pretty big. But I dare the xIAA mafia to go after google...

     

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    Surfpup (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: What about Google....

    The problem here is that you're pulling random percentages out of nowhere. Also, what people are searching for has nothing to do with what the engine has on its listings. If, suddenly, there were no torrent search engines, all the people searching for torrents would just use google - so would that make google any more illegal than it is now?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    "When in doubt, say no, not yes."

    Good thing search engines chose to do the exact opposite, otherwise they would never exist.

    Good thing email never did this, otherwise snail mail would be just as fast.

    Good thing blog sites chose to do this, otherwise your comment wouldn't be showing here.

    ...Wow, come to think of it, "say no, not yes" basically kills off the entire internet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Google is a search engine and does NOT host torrent files.
    The Pirate Bay is a torrent host. KEYWORD is HOST in case anybody missed it :)

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    The issue at hand is "What crime have they committed." I can't speak for other countries so I'll talk from the perspective from an American view point.

    Typically it is seen as you taking responsibility when you take a lot of active effort to filter content on your website. Certain things that are serious taboo/crimes are excused from this. (Like Child porn and the like)

    Yes TPB was made as a powerful tool to link pirated materials. But how is that a crime? What did they do wrong? Ok, they made a powerful tool geared towards criminals. Lacking morals much? Of course! Breaking the law? I don't see how. Google can search for torrents pretty well on it's own it just isn't as easy to find the good downloads causing you to spend a bit more time looking for the 'good' rip of that movie you are looking to pirate.

    You can twist the law a bit and make a good run at an argument about how they are guilty of mass conspiracy. I can't really defend them all that much except from the standpoint of "This is going no where and you are setting horrible precedents trying to take these guys down!"

    At the end of the day who's going to win? The "pirates" will. You cut them down and they keep coming back stronger and stronger. You constantly advertise about how they steal and how people get things for free.

    Reminds me of a story I heard where there was a sign in the rooms at a hotel near a popular fishing river. It said, "Do not practice casting off the balconies" because the anchor would come back over your balcony and smash the window below. After a while they don't understand why people never stopped, and why anyone would do this anyways. So one day noticing the signs weren't helping took them down. All of the sudden the occurrences of people practicing off balconies stopped.

    The moral of the story... stop giving people ideas! your best defense is to stop talking about it!

     

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  23.  
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    Minshi, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    It depends on how you count infringing files too. If you believe some companies, all clips on Youtube and other sites are infringing on their copyright. As such, if you search for any Viacom show by title, you can claim that Google gives high importance to "illegal and infringing content".

    Also, I have found when searching for game mods and patches you are likely to have at least one Torrent in the first two pages. And by the logic presented: Most Torrents are Illegal, thus a Search Engine finding Torrents must be Illegal. Right?

    Also, lets ask this, how do you deal with infringing content? Pirate Bay dismisses them as unenforceable and not on them. On the other hand, if they DID respond? Lets say you got Bethesda sending a Cease and Desist saying "No sharing our content or else!" Obviously the full game is infringing. What about the patch which has a redistribution license? It IS official and from Bethesda, does it have to go? What about the unofficial patches? What about the Mods? Both have titles of the game in the name, so when the lawyers come back and do a search they will see 'infringing content'. Also, how do you begin to separate them, without YOU YOURSELF as the search engine downloading, installing, and figuring out what it is your letting into your search engine?

    Or, is it back to "Torrents are used for infringement, get rid of them all" mentality?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Basically, the queries for the top 100 will normally be a large portion of the total searches in a day. I don't a site I can easily point you to in order to explain with simple diagrams and basic grade school math, but the idea is that if 50% of the people search for things in the top 100, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on."

    This is complete nonsense, its true the downloads follow a curve but that means that the top 100 could represent anything from a 90% to a 10%, in comercial endeavours there is a economic interest to make the curve as steep as possible( the top 100 represent most of the market so you only need to produce (spend) in those 100 to get most of the benefit so you push so the top 100 represent even a grater fraction of the market), but that is not the case here there is no production cost nor distribution cost. So there is no interest in make it steep. Plus you need to take in account your integration period, the top 100 is calculated por day that is not important what you would need is the total over the whole existence of the search engine, by you account the bible (the more published book in history) is not important (never has been in a bestseller list )

     

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    Surfpup (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    While the Pirate Bay does host torrent files, these files have no infringing content within them. They might make it possible for people to share infringing content, but there's no way an automated system can know whether a torrent is infringing or not. So basically, The Pirate Bay has no infringing content on its servers.

     

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    Oliver, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think the legality of a search engine should be determined by whether it returns more "legal" or "illegal" content, that is preposterous.

    If that is the case who is going to sift through Google's huge database and doing the counting?

    I think it is a massive mistake to make search engines responsible for what they find. I think it would make more sense to require some type of action on the part of the ISP.

     

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    AJ, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    Right, exactly my point! Trackers don't contain illegal files, it simply tells you where to get them, that is exactly what Google does. It doesn't host the files, it shows you who does.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    Um lets think... it is illegal to sell drugs. That isn't a question of scale, if you sell 1 illegal item, you are 100% illegal.

    How is that a question of scale? durrrrrrrr which way did he go?

    Keep the sarcasm out of your writing moron. "fail and congrats" are akin to saying "F_ck you and your opinion."

     

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    Oliver, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    By your argument Google is committing a crime by creating cached pages.

    Google holds a significant portion of pages in a cache, so if they happen to grab an illegal site are you saying they should be liable for that material?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Re:

    an no torrent file is ilegal because they are only metadata and where put there by their creator. So they index and host some information and some of it can depending of where in the world is used lead to someone to access illegally to some content

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re:

    Nobody is denying that. BUT it could be said that they are assisting in copyright infringement by providing the means to do so.

    BTW - I support TPB! But this is a conversation that's been taking place since bittorrent invented torrents! Comparing Google or other search engines to a torrent host is not even remotely the same thing.

    If a guy says to me "where do I get some weed"? and I tell him "I don't smoke that stuff but you might wanna try 2 blocks down" - did I commit a crime? NO. If I go get it for him did I commit a crime? YES.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: What about Google....

    "Um lets think... it is illegal to sell drugs. That isn't a question of scale, if you sell 1 illegal item, you are 100% illegal."

    Medicine is classified as a "drug", so pharmacies are equal to crack houses, and pharmacist to dealers, so arrest em all because there cannot be any legit uses for a "drug".

     

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  33.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    The torrents are just links to the data (infringing material or not) and by them selves are not illegal.

     

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    chris (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    It is difficult to write a phrase that would specifically explain it, but yes, it is "when you see it you will know it".

    ahh the ages old practice of hand waving. how scientific of you.

    what are the top 100 searches on google? are they for legal stuff? do you know what i use to find torrents that aren't on my favorite torrent trackers? google.

    if you type the word ".torrent" in to google i get tons of links to torrents and torrent trackers. if my intent is to find torrents of illegal content, i am already breaking the law before i hit TPB.

    TPB gets used for illegal stuff. so too does google, and instant messaging (every client has a file transfer function) and removable storage. so too do computers and the internet in general. these are all tools that serve perfectly legal purposes that also get used for illegal purposes. yes TPB gets used for a lot of illegal things, but safe harbor laws are safe harbor laws.

    the point with TPB specifically, and search engines in general, is that you have to take up the issue with the people sharing illegal content and not the providers of the platform.

    this is why suing craigslist because someone posts an ad for prostitution, or suing ebay for hosting an ad for something stolen, or suing youtube because someone posts a video without authorization is so wrong.

    the people to sue are those who are sharing the files you don't want shared. the trouble is, there are millions of them and they probably don't have any money to take. but companies like TBP, craigslist, ebay, or even ISPs are single visible entities that easy to find and convenient to sue.

    that's like saying, "i don't know who stole my bike, so i am going to go kick the mayor's ass because i know where his office is".

    also, these visible entities that are convenient to sue are more likely to have money.

    if an employee at mcdonalds punches you in the face, you should sue the employee, but your lawyer will tell you to sue mcdonald's as well since the corporation has money.

    your corporate overlords have a beef with filesharing, which they are certainly entitled to have, so they want to take down the current platform that enables it, but that is a stupid move.

    TPB is a nice convenient place to see what's being shared. it let's you see what is on the scene so you can track the underground popularity of things (hello free maketing data). you can also grab the torrent files just like everyone else and use TPB to gather data on who is sharing (so you can find the guy that stole your bike instead of beating on the mayor).

    if you shut it down, you will temporarily disrupt the scene, but the activity will resume. only now it will be more fragmented, more underground, and tougher for you to track. plus, you will be pushing the state of the art of the technology and the scene.

    you think it's tough fighting piracy now, wait until torrent search functionality is hidden within the torrent system itself as well as the routes to seeders. sure BT will slow down for a bit until there are enough relays set up, but in the end piracy will prevail.

    you may be able to stop one of us, but you can't stop us all.

    who will set up these relays, for free, using their own equipment? the community itself, and they will be happy to do it.

     

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    chris (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, it is pretty easy. Go to TPB. Download a copy of the top list every day for the next 30 days. Report back how many legal items were on that top list.

    that only reports what the users are doing, not the engine itself. this is why we have safe harbor laws.

    the engine itself is serving up data that the users ask for, and that data is links to content that may or may not be legal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Basically, the queries for the top 100 will normally be a large portion of the total searches in a day. I don't a site I can easily point you to in order to explain with simple diagrams and basic grade school math, but the idea is that if 50% of the people search for things in the top 100, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on."

    I think you're missing Dark Helmets point. What you are talking about with the "Top" searches idea deals with the popularity of a torrent. What Dark Helmet is getting at is the quantity of TORRENTS available not the quantity of SEARCHES for a subset of those TORRENTS.

    back to your original post
    "Yes, some of the content on TPB is legal - but the vast majority is not, and just as importantly, the public is generally aware of that fact."

    When you say "content" that implies number of torrents being tracked by TPB and "vast majority" implies an (as yet) unqualified percentage of the torrents being tracked by TPB. That the public has any kind of perception of TPB has nothing to do with quantifiable ratios of legitimate vs illegitimate content.

     

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  37.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thank you for apparently vocalizing (literating?) better than I could. I thought my question was clear. Also, apologies for the serious conversation. I'll try to go back to being this websites Chief Smartass :)

     

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  38.  
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    Travis, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "BUT it could be said that they are assisting in copyright infringement by providing the means to do so."

    By the logic dictated here, cars should be illegal since they allow people to speed. TPB is a tool, tools can be used for many purposes. The intent of the user makes the actions legal or illegal, not the tool itself.

     

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  39.  
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    PRMan, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    Which gun?

    Can somebody please tell me which gun is illegal and which one is not?

    I mean, first there was a criminal on COPS that was using a certain brand of gun, and he was arrested. Then I saw the same gun on Mythbusters, and the cops were right there with them helping them.

    I don't understand! Can somebody PLEASE tell me how to tell if a gun is illegal!

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Logic? Cars CAN be used for legal activities as well and speeding is NOT a crime unless excessive. It is a violation. COPYRIGHT infringement is 100% illegal. PERIOD.

    If anybody actually wants to help TPB then come up with a better argument :)

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: What about Google....

    not true

    if some guy thinks he should hide some drugs in a bag of chips its not the store that sells it fault cause they unintentionally sold drugs

     

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  42.  
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    Steven (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm trying to follow you here. In your weed example, you tell they guy two blocks down and it's not illegal. With TPB hosting torrents, TPB says 'I don't have the file, but here's how to find they guys that do' (which to me seems the same as 'two blocks down'). So are you saying TPB does not commit crimes? You seem to assert that they do in the first sentence.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    The world is gray. Neither the english language or human understanding are enough to define a black and white rule for everything.

     

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  44.  
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    Steven (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually speeding is a crime, it is 100% (as opposed to 83%, really?) illegal. However because of the low risk nature, and high overhead of prosecution, speeding just a little bit is generally overlooked.

    On the other hand we have copyright infringement, which has little impact, and high overhead of prosecution (if it were done right and actually went against the people who are breaking the law, at least in countries where this is even illegal). Here we see lawsuits against third parties because it's easier and they have more money.

    This would be like a state billing/fining/suing Toyota based on the number of Toyota drivers that were speeding.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    torrents can be legal just like cars

    but lets go to guns : if a gun store has a higher amount of sold guns that comment illegal shootings then not should it invade peoples privacy to find out if their going to use it legally
    or should shut down spreading its old illegal buyers to other stores making them shut down

     

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  46.  
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    GHynson, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Old @$$ Thinking

    We have a 21st century legal system run by 12th century thinkers.

     

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  47.  
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    David Title (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    How about OVGuide?

    I really wonder about sites like OVGuide.com or ChannelSurfing.net(maybe .com?) since they also provide direct links to a slew of content that is not being lawfully broadcast.

    Anyone going to those sites is not there for what would be considered "legal" viewing.

    Of course, going after them is a lot easier than going after those posting the questionable content.

    Neither approach will have much effect on closing the barn doors now that the horse is well gone.

     

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  48.  
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    another mike (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    dont wake the giant

    The reason they went after The Pirate Bay instead of Google is that, relatively speaking, TPB is a 98 lbs. weakling. If you are stupid enough to go after the ten ton behemoth, consider yourself very lucky when GOOG just buys you out. Take the settlement and STFU. The other option is that Larry and Sergei roust up the lawyers from their coffee breaks. And then they steamroll you, rofl-stomping your face into the pavement.

     

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  49.  
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    Jim, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    So is it point of view then?

    I keep reading in many threads such as this on tracking sites and search engines and the like that since tracking sites provide the means for people to infringe they are (pick your word, evil, illegal, immoral) isn't that a matter of point of view? Yes a tracking site makes it easy to find infringing content. Try another viewpoint, a traking site aids in the finding of illegal content and those sharing it. Why... we have it all wrong! It CAN be used to infringe, it also CAN be used to find the infringers... OMG, tracking sites help to find infringers! They are, therefor, paragons of virtue and upright stalwart internet citizens! Why they should be rewarded a medal of honor for their efforts by the XIAA!

    Gee, point of view makes a world of difference doesn't it?

    The tracking site is neutral, neither evil or righteous.

     

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  50.  
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    Brian, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    A legal search engine is one where they have enough money and lawyers to tell you to go screw yourself when you mess with them. The illegal one returns the same results, but doesn't have any lawyers to defend their rights.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re:

    Hey surfpup,
    Sweet now I can justify being a drug mule.

     

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  52.  
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    Wahwah, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    RE, Re, RE, Re,RE, Re, RE, Re,RE, Re, RE, Re,RE, Re, RE, Re,RE, Re, RE, Re,

    You are all stupid. Talking about a thing which you do not know. fucking assholes are gathered here. Let me lead you to your mom's (.)(.)

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Nah. Google's easy. Use this Google search for torrents:

    http://bit.ly/IKkvX

    And yes, I got that from a previous post on this site.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    An example of an 'illegal' search engine is one that surfs only for child porn, displays links and pictures.

    A 'legal' search engine is anything else.

     

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  55.  
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    Joker_, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Logic...

    "Logic? Cars CAN be used for legal activities as well and speeding is NOT a crime unless excessive. It is a violation. COPYRIGHT infringement is 100% illegal. PERIOD."

    What are you trying to say? TPB is guilty for copyright infringement? I think we both know that is not the case.

    TPB has been sued for ASSISTING in copyright infringement. They have only provided means to share information. Just like Toyota is providing means to speed.

    Copyright infringement being 100 % illegal is completely irrelevant if we are talking about TPB.

    "If anybody actually wants to help TPB then come up with a better argument :)"

    I think the anybody is you.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    Re: What about Google....

    Saying that the major entertainment industry companies are not willing to go after Google because they have the cash to go to court is not a true statement. They are willing to fight any organization of any size. Many major entertainment industry companies routinely have legal disputes with YouTube all the time (which is owned by Google). For example: http://mashable.com/2007/03/13/viacom-youtube/

    The biggest difference between YouTube and the Pirate Bay is that YouTube complies with the copyright holders' requests. The Pirate Bay denies them (and aggressively insults them). Not to mention Google and YouTube provide suitable technologies for entertainment industry companies, while TPB does not (in their minds). That's why they're not against Google as aggressively as they are against the Pirate Bay.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that not all the material that is linked to is infringing, thus I just burst your logic. Sorry, but the car argument still stands up to you.

     

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  58.  
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    Mucha, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Explain this.....

    Can Someone Please Tell Us How You Determine What's A 'Legal' Bank loaning money From An 'Illegal' Loan Shark loaning money ?

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    Depending on how you structure your google search term, a majority of its results WILL be pointing to illegal material.

    Just look at sites like: http://www.smacki.com/mp3%20search%20using%20google

    No one goes after google because Google has the money to fight back AND win!

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: What about Google....

    No, nobody goes after google because (1) the percentage of searches that lead to illegal material is low, and (2) google respects DMCA take down noticed and will remove links to offending pages.

    TPB's biggest error, IMHO, is having a snarky attitude about takedown notices. That make it clear that their intent was to be the masters of the illegal. They earned the reaming they are getting now.

     

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  61.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Explain this.....

    "Can Someone Please Tell Us How You Determine What's A 'Legal' Bank loaning money From An 'Illegal' Loan Shark loaning money ?"

    One is an evil enterprise, likely owned in large part by someone with the last names Rockefeller, Morgan, Dowd, or Bormann that bilks honest people out of money simply because there is nearly nowhere else to get it, then threatens them with all manner of harm if they do not follow their every unreasonable term.

    The other is a loan shark...

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What about Google....

    > No, nobody goes after google because (1) the percentage of
    > searches that lead to illegal material is low, and (2)
    > google respects DMCA take down noticed and will remove
    > links to offending pages.

    The total percentage of illegal searchs using google may be low. But I the volume of illegal searchs in Google is huge, I know of search engines that use google to seed their 'illegal' indexes.

    How does one go about removing something from google's index? Youtube is a completely different beast, youtube STORES the videos. Google search is an index.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Re:

    It is difficult to write a phrase that would specifically explain it, but yes, it is "when you see it you will know it".
    That's what's known as arbitrary and capricious, which is supposed to be unconstitutional in the US. Hah!

    Best way is to look at focus: TPB is a "search engine" which focuses on torrents. The vast majority of what is searched for and is listed (on top listings) is illegal content.
    What is "searched for" is done by the users, not TPB.

    Try this Google search:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&num=100&q=xvid+filetype%3At orrent&btnG=Search
    Hey, looky! Is that the kind of stuff you were calling "illegal"?

    Yes, some of the content on TPB is legal - but the vast majority is not...
    TPB doesn't host what most people call "content", legal or otherwise. So where is this illegal "content" on TPB?

    ...and just as importantly, the public is generally aware of that fact. The top lists are created out of the public's searches.
    So what are you trying to say, that the general public is criminal? Then why not just lock up the general public? No, you're trying to make the guys at TPB into Christ figures and crucify them for sins of all mankind instead.

    Is the majority of the content TV shows and movies? Is it likely that those programs are out there legally? Probably not.
    So, a site like, say, http://www.nbc.com/Video/ is probably illegal, huh? Wow.

    Common sense really.
    That seems to be neither to me. (And "common sense" used to say that the world was flat, too. Naysayers were tortured and killed by those with "common sense".)

    I think it gets back to that very basic problem: When in doubt, say no, not yes.
    And there it finally is, you come right out and say it. Since there will almost always be doubt, search engines would cease to exist along with with most of the Internet. Of course, there are lots of people who would like nothing better than to see the end of search engines if not the Internet itself. It seems that there are a disproportionate number of them in the entertainment and newspaper industries (and their astroturfing trolls).

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Caveman 2: That true, but Ogg just got Sturm and Drang on Cave Council to outlaw fire. Buy fur.

    Fire dangerous! Must outlaw! Think of children!

     

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  65.  
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    AC Killa, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re:

    AC, I'm in doubt about your post.

    Mark, please pull it.

    Thanks

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    a percentage of google's searches will turn up illegal material - but not the majority of them.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&num=100&q=xvid+filetype%3At orrent&btnG=Search

    Most of those results are not what you are calling "illegal", huh?

    Your argument is the typical argument used by drug dealers. Congrats.

    Your argument is the typical argument used by industry shills. Congrats.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    The biggest difference between YouTube and the Pirate Bay is that YouTube complies with the copyright holders' requests.

    That's a lie, shill. YouTube hosts infringing content. The Pirate Bay doesn't, so they have nothing infringing to take down.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:17pm

    Re:

    Google is a search engine and does NOT host torrent files.
    The Pirate Bay is a torrent host. KEYWORD is HOST in case anybody missed it :)


    Umm, so? Are torrent files infringing or something?

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nobody is denying that. BUT it could be said that they are assisting in copyright infringement by providing the means to do so.

    Then so is my ISP. So is Google. In fact, Google even hosts and distributes a tool often used to obtain infringing content: http://www.google.com/chrome

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: What about Google....

    The Pirate Bay denies them (and aggressively insults them).

    TPB insults idiots that send threatening letters demanding that they remove supposedly infringing material that they don't even have.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hey surfpup,
    Sweet now I can justify being a drug mule.


    Hate to tell ya this doofus, but you're not going to have much value if you don't carry anything illegal.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If a guy says to me "where do I get some weed"? and I tell him "I don't smoke that stuff but you might wanna try 2 blocks down" - did I commit a crime? NO.

    In Texas you did. And that's what the entertainment industry wants: to make copyright laws like drug laws and put lots of people in prison.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    speeding is NOT a crime

    Try telling that to the judge.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Re:

    An example of an 'illegal' search engine is one that surfs only for child porn, displays links and pictures.

    Define "child porn".

     

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  75.  
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    Someone, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: What about Google....

    Also, the people who send threatening letters have based their demands on the American copyright laws, telling doing this is wrong according to this law, that according to that law etc. Those laws simply don't apply to The Pirate Bay, which is a Swedish site.

     

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  76.  
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    M-RES, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    Re:

    You're wrong - the vast majority of stuff on TPB is LEGAL. The most POPULAR downloaded torrents may be for unlawfully infringed copyrighted material, but in terms of quantity of material (nit number of downloads which is a different thing), most of the content is perfectly permissible.

     

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  77.  
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    Spooky, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Court Warns Police Over Private Affairs

    The claimant, Scopelight Limited, ran a website (Surfthechannel.com) with a video search engine with thousands of links to third-party website videos. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) represents the interests of the audiovisual industry.
    Investigations by FACT suggested the claimant company and its owners, Anton Benjamin Vickerman and Kelly-Anne Vickerman,a married couple from Gateshead, were hosting internet sites from which copyrighted material was being downloaded. Northumbria Police applied for a section 8 warrant under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) to search the claimants’ premises, resulting in 31 items of property being seized, including the computer towers and servers. The force handed some items to FACT.
    By 12 December 2008, the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute. The force notified the claimants of this, indicating that the property could be returned.All property subsequently came into FACT’s possession. Following the CPS decision, FACT decided to bring a private criminal prosecution.
    On 22 January 2009, the claimants began proceedings for return of the property and damages for conversion. A day later, FACT alerted the force of its decision to bring a private prosecution. On 28 January, the claimant applied for an interim order for delivery of the property, which Mrs Justice Sharp granted. On 12 February, FACT began the private prosecution.

    THE DECISION

    The defendants argued that once the property was lawfully seized for the purposes of a criminal investigation, it was immaterial whether any subsequent prosecution was undertaken by the CPS or FACT, as long as the material was retained for use as evidence in connection with the alleged offence. The claimants argued that the private actions of people and bodies form no part of the police service’s functions. So once the CPS decided not to prosecute, retaining the property to assist FACT in its private prosecution fell outside the scope of PACE.
    On 7th May, at the High Court, Mrs Justice Sharp agreed with the claimants. While acknowledging that the force had a duty to prevent crime, those powers were not unlimited. The judge observed that there was ‘an obvious distinction between what may be desirable in a particular case, and what is permissible as a matter of law’

    COMMENT

    While a disappointment for FACT, this decision draws a clear line between interference with private property for public purposes under PACE and the prosecution of private interests.

    http://surfthechannel.wordpress.com/

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Here's a question:

    Let's say I decide to start a new website that is a central clearing house for contacting drug dealers, pimps, hitmen, the mafia, gang leaders, and tin pot dictators all over the world.

    The only thing the site would do is allow you to search by keywords for people who match what you are looking for, perhaps by region.

    So click "new york city" and "crack cocaine" and you get a list of reputable crack dealers, their street corners, and their cell phone numbers. Want large quantities? Heck, seperate section for "bulk purchasing".

    Drug dealer stiffed you? Just search for "new york city" and "hitman", and the search engine would rank them from low cost to high cost, perhaps with a user ranking system.

    Planning a heist and need some help? Classified ads let you find the henchmen you need.

    Legal?

     

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  79.  
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    Nonamehere, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Surfthechannel = Suprnova on steroids

    Suprnova.org could never have run without the forum been there, the forum has been run by a few different people in the past, but is now in the hands of a guy called anton Vickerman (FD aka TheShadow)

    This is a money driven guy, If the is no cash there, he wont be either.
    Over the last few months we have seen a massive change in nova, this is due to methlabs paying slon an extreamly large amount of money to drop Bittorrent and use the mass amount of people that come to nova to promote there new p2p software to, As the forum is the heart of suprnova, everyone from the site can go there and talk to eachother, MY advice to anyone going there still is ask lots of questions,

    Its a shame to see so many people sticking up for suprnova when they are unaware of what they are actually sticking up for.

    It use to be a very good torrent dump site, now its a cash machine for the owners.

    Its time for you guys to wise up and relise that suprnova is dead, now is the time for them to rake in as much money as possible.

    I wouldnt be suprised if slon was on the run, someone did put his real home address in the irc channel (he used it when he first registerd suprnova) also i wouldnt be suprised if FD aka the shadow had something coming to him aswell as he made the same misstake when first registering his old sites, i know his real home address was even floating around as a torrent so quite a few people must have it.

    So il say it again, suprnova is dead, now is the time of the money makers

    by Family Friend on January 29, 2005 at 2:13 pm

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070927050134/http://www.carniola.org/2004/11/hunting-slovenias-li ttle-elephant.htm

     

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  80.  
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    The Cenobyte, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    They don't care if it's legal

    None of the people that work for these big companies (MPAA, soundscan, RIAA, UK-FACT, etc) are idiots. They know that what is going on with these sites is totally legal. It's a threat to them so they fight it.

    If these sites are allowed for continue they loose control of their cash cow, the delivery of media. If media can be moved without them in the middle their is no need for them. So like almost anyone else, they try and defend their little patch of land. They don't care if what you are doing is legal or not, they care if it's a threat or not. If it's a threat they are willing to use anything in their power to counter it. Honestly just about everyone reacts this way and it shouldn't be that surprising that they are reacting this way. I with the laws had been able to keep up with making clear where the lines are in this new digital world, but it should be expected and is really not different than the problems that happened when the printing press became the big thing.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 4:15pm

    Providing the means to comitt a crime is not a crime.

    Just think about a copy machine, or a cd burner, or a usb thumb stick. all of these are frequently used to duplicate copy protected works. therefore all devices designed to copy or allow the copying of copy protected work. Wait all things written according to the US copyright laws are protected by copyright, whether they have formally submitted a request to be included in the copyright registrar or not,

    Therefore by most of you out there saying that TPB is breaking the law because they are providing the means to break the law so is every company who manufactures any device or object wich allows the copying of the written or spoken word.

    This is just rediculous.

     

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  82.  
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    Noname, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    Surfthechannel wins court case against FACT in UK

    Nick Brett specialises in the defence of FACT prosecutions and copyright offences. It is a tribute to both his determination and ability that he and junior counsel (acting alone) pitted against an entire team from FACT, won this case on behalf of his delighted clients at first instance.

    Source: http://lewisnedas.co.uk/2009/05/high-court-judgement/
    Verdict: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2009/958.html

     

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  83.  
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    John Gotts, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Vickerman Attempt to Avoid Prosecution Rejected

    In a landmark victory for the copyright enforcers, Anton Vickerman and his wife Kelly have lost their attempt to block the police from handing over evidence of their operation of two bittorrent sites and the (now linking site) surfthechannel.

    In the Appeal Court, judges rules that the Vickerman's proteseth too much and the police are within their rights to hand over evidence of their wrongdoinfs. Police also confirmed that they had not dropped charges against the Vickermans, rather that they were waiting on other judgements in related cases (TVLinks) before commencing criminal proceedings.

    The court gave FACT the right to use the evidence held by the police in their own criminal action, and a civil action has already been launched against the hapless former colleague of Sloncek (remember Suprnova), aka "FD", aka "Clown Face", "Coco" and many other names - including those used to obtain false bank accounts in foreign climes - according to FACT

    A blow for freedom? Depends on your perspective. If you are an investor or employed in the movie industry, then it must be welcome news. Come to think of it, few in the torrent scene are sad to see Vickerman ("a legend in his own mind")facing the prospect of bankruptcy and jail. Especially those who remember the demise of Suprnova and the loss of the legendary Slonceck, who he sold down the river.

    RIP Snarf-it & STC

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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