MPAA Gets Town To Turn Off Free Muni-WiFi Over Single Unauthorized Movie Download

from the the-internets-must-die dept

Dan alerts us to the news that the free muni-WiFi system used around the Coshocton’s County Courthouse in Northern Ohio was shut down over a complaint by the MPAA over a single unauthorized movie download. Amazingly, rather than admit that perhaps that was going a bit too far in punishing everyone in that town over a single individual's usage, the MPAA couldn't resist the opportunity to complain about the evils of movie piracy again. The MPAA doesn't seem concerned at all about the collateral damage, and just thinks that it's a good opportunity to push ahead with its misguided complaint against file sharing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 4:36am

    If i was the county It admin, I would have said bugger off. Hell, I have never seen our county governments react that fast to anything technology wise (roommate works for the IT dept in our county). The request would have to have gone through at least ten level of bureaucratic BS until the decision was made, and then it would have to go back through to make sure the decision was made properly. One letter from anybody wouldn't do jack shit around here.
    Sometimes having a slow, techno-phobic government isn't all that bad...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    Interesting Idea

    Perhaps the three strikes law they are trying to implement in the UK good be amended as follows:-

    Once accused three times the accused's Internet access is cut off along with all of their neighbours within a 100 metre radius.

    Also, to discourage further "theft" the neighbours should be sent the name, address and recent mugshot of the accused along with a note saying "go get the thieving bastard who cut off your internet access".

     

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  3.  
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    Dan, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 5:45am

    Boycott

    Just don't ever buy any movies - only if its your all time favorite and no more than 1 a years of those and preferably bought on ebay.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    Re:

    It may take 10 levels to start something but in any bureaucracy, it only takes one call from the top down to the bottom to stop it. Check it out and you may find the MPAA has a friend at the top in that county.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    Re: Boycott

    I've had enough of this "Boycott" @%#& IT WILL NEVER WORK! Why ? Because the people that already understand what is happening ARE boycotting. Everyone else goes on in the wonderful little la-la-land.

     

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  6.  
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    NullOp, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Strike a blow for freedom

    You've heard me say it before, now here it is again. This Christmas leave all the media on the shelves. Let "GreedyWood" deal with the results of low sales this Xmas! Really, Strike a Blow For Freedom!

     

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  7.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    Please tell me..

    ...that they didn't name the infringing downloader. That guy would be the Steve Bartman of the town and probably have to move...

     

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  8.  
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    Skout (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:05am

    I wonder how it was downloaded

    While I'm almost always on the side of freedom and sharing, I have to wonder what medium was used to download it, and I think that consideration show weigh heavily on any decision. If it was a torrent or kazaa, I think the admins of the system SHOULD be embarrassed and take it down.

    A free service run by taxpayers should be run by professionals who know how to control the system and prevent active illegal filesharing.

    Otherwise, carry on! :) As to NullOp above, hear hear! I'm not sure Hollywood will hear us correctly when we don't buy more of their offerings, but it's the only way we can voice our ire: STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCT.

     

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  9.  
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    jsl4980 (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:09am

    This promotes buying?

    This is a great opportunity to ask again - how does this promote buying?

     

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  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

    "A free service run by taxpayers should be run by professionals who know how to control the system and prevent active illegal filesharing."

    Well, hey, I'm not the most technical person in the virtual room, but you're telling me that there are IT Professionals that can lock down internet access on a network in such a way that they can prevent EVEN ONE CASE of filesharing?

    It seems to me that if we've learned anything from the filesharers throughout the world, it's that by and large you ain't gonna stop them. Certainly not at a 100% clip.

     

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  11.  
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    Call me Al, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

    Very true. Many people, including no small number of Techdirt readers, pride themselves on being able to get around systems put in place to stop them doing what they want to do. A determined person who knows there stuff will crack any system the County could have put in place.

    Also lets face it, the best and the brightest are hardly likely to be workng for the County and running their free WIFI.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

    "I'm not sure Hollywood will hear us correctly when we don't buy more of their offerings, but it's the only way we can voice our ire: STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCT."

    No, they will just claim the declining sales are all due to piracy. They will go on 60 Minutes and show depressed retailers moaning about dismal sales due to piracy. They will hold press conferences and issue press releases with bogus statistics showing how piracy is to blame for their problems and press their pocket Congressmen to pass laws to protect their precious profit machine.

     

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  13.  
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    Lisa (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Re: This promotes buying?

    It doesn't, I suspect things like this are probably just done to try to ease the minds of industry shareholders.

     

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  14.  
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    Poddys (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    I know the MPAA are handing out some strict punishments for illegally downloading movies in an attempt to stop people from doing this, but it's rather unfair to punish the whole community because of the actions of one individual.

    And come on - it was only ONE MOVIE after all! I think a warning ought to suffice...

     

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  15.  
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    Christopher (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

    So much wrong with this sentence: "A free service run by taxpayers should be run by professionals who know how to control the system and prevent active illegal filesharing."

    It's not free, the taxpayers paid for it.

    The people running it are professionals, unless they do not draw a salary to run it, which is highly unlikely.

    Preventing active illegal "anything" is as possible as the same preventive measures you take for anything else the taxpayer funded for public use: roads, schools, buildings. Do we shut down roads because a bank robber fled on it? No, you find the bank robber. Do we close schools and board them up because someone gets hurt? No.

    So why does the MPAA get to stop a piece of public infrastructure? Because you let them.

     

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  16.  
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    gorehound (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    I am getting more and more angry at what these bigwig greedbag hollywood and mpaa are doing to us.we are not all pirates assholes.you are offending me and millions of others with your asshole ideas taking away freedoms and things we should have legally.
    i am going to protest your greedyness by not buying anymore new films.i can wait a few weeks and then i can go out and buy your new movie USED !!!! and buying a movie used will insure that you greedbags get nothing out of me.and as far as sony goes you can kiss my ass.
    i do not own blu-ray.i do not own a PS3.

     

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  17.  
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    Tom The Toe, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Not a download

    This wasn't even a movie download. The user was sharing a movie from his own computer

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Its a sad day when our county governments are so scared of companies suing them that they react in this way. The complaint was about a single file being uploaded. So the knuckleheads in the IT department shutdown the entire wifi network - a network that is used by the courts and local police (among others) to do county business. Also, it sounds like the city already did some filtering and is now going to implement monitoring too. Its Sony's job to protect its property not the county's.

     

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  19.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    Does anyone know .....

    What proof was offered that there was an actual infringement? I didnt find anything in the article other than ...

    "after Sony Pictures tracked one user sharing a single movie and issued a complaint"

     

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  20.  
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    sexydiverguy (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    Does the MPAA even know how to read server logs? The admins could try and block the abusers ports.

    Someone had mentioned torrents or Kazza..Kazza possibly yes, torrents no..even Microsoft uses torrents and if torrents are used the system has no way of telling if its a legal software download or a movie.

     

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  21.  
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    Chris, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    You have to wonder if they have a death wish or something. I for one will not pay for any movie to support these attitudes from the MPAA.

     

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  22.  
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    Ben (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Cell phones?

    What if I used my 3G phone as a very expensive modem to download a movie? Would Sony have AT&T shut down nationwide?

     

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  23.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Free WiFi Networks....

    Anyone that admins a free public network SHOULD certainly know better than the admins for the courthouse WiFi. The shutdown of the network was a bit over-done. If it were me, and yes I'm an admin, it wouldn't have happened to begin with. Secondly, I would have locked down the ports and protocols a hell of a lot more than they did, strictly for liability purposes. However, I do support file-sharing. ;)

    The MPAA/RIAA are nothing more than MAFIA Organizations who's business model died decades ago. " }:> "

    And as for Sony Pictures... Their pre-release "DVD Screeners" for new movies are the most WIDELY LEAKED DVDs in the file-sharing community. They need to look in the mirror, before pointing their finger at others. " }:> "

    Share the wealth. ;)

     

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  24.  
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    tipo, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    So.. someone use X road to commit a murder... lets close that road so no one can used again to commit a murder.. its the same principle.. or someone use X gun to murder someone.... lets close the gun making factory...better yet... a guys use his cellphone to do something illegal.. lest shutdown all the phone companies !!!

     

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  25.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Boycott

    Well then go out and tell someone. If all of us tell one person each and they tell one person each then the news spreads.

     

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  26.  
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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re:

    Yup. I guess the call from the top was a message on some lowly tech's answer machine from his boss's boss's boss saying "Do whatever it takes to make sure this never happens again; I don't want to be bothered with the trivia, just get it stopped."

     

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  27.  
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    geekrawker, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

     

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  28.  
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    geekrawker, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

    Porting on isle 5, porting on isle 5. Would the user of the blue dell netbook please report to security for a mandatory HD format.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    Well, I have heard (sorry, I haven't been able to find a citation) that one of the arguments against building the interstate highway system is that it would aid bank robbers.

     

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  30.  
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    geekrawker, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: This promotes buying?

    Sure, to ease the minds of industry shareholders...and for the MPAA's legal departments to justify there rates. If they found no instances of file sharing, or were unable to shutdown public infrastructures and throw old ladies in jail, there would be no reason to keep the legal vigilantes on payroll. Job Security anyone?

    As to the comments on Boycotting, ya that doesn't really work. Look how well the gas boycotts go each year. There are too many in the masses that don't care or are oblivious to the facts. I doubt our small group of tech heads would make much of an impact on the industry. I stopped buying movies and audio CDs in 2001 (with the exception of my favorites, probably just a few discs a year now). Plus i prefer to order direct from the artist or company when available, so at least they can associate the sale with a true fan, and all the malling lists perks like stickers, coozies, and pre-releases.

    I think it will take the death of the baby boom generation before we ever see any real reform with copyrights, IP, TM, and the Music and Movie industry. (Don't take that the wrong way dad)

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    In a world where stupid suits' decisions hurt everyone...

    ...one man had the strength to stand up for justice--if...they could find him in time.

    "Sir! The MPAA is telling us to shut off all the public wi-fi! They're threatening legal action! Legal action!"

    "Get me...

    Terry Childs."

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Cell phones?

    The issue was with uploading, not downloading.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    i have a idea

    Can we find that lawyer who sued for like 50 million dollars over some pants? Get him to sue the MPAA and RIAA for harassment, claiming the warning and 'you wouldn't steal a car' adds are harassing. I think he can do it.

     

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  34.  
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    Ignorant Troll, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:04am

    Someone should pirate these people's lives the world will be a better place. Honest. Once gone, the free market should kick in, we'll have movies worth watching and music possibly worth buying. But that's just me an ignorant troll

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: i have a idea

    He was a judge and he lost every case he has brought to trial. It might work as far as a good harassment tactic, but as far as setting precedent it might be a very bad idea...

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Excuse

    I'm betting that someone high up in local gov't already had it in for muni-WiFi (probably under influence from the local cable and telephone operators) and was just looking for an excuse to shut it down anyway. This was it (it might have even been a setup) and the check is in the mail.

     

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  37.  
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    AC, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Re: Interesting Idea

    What a brainwave - why don't you recommnd fellow citizens put bricks through the accused's windows, just for good measure.
    Oh sorry. I forgot, US of A. Vigilantees R US. Due process, innocent until proven guilty - yeah we've heard of that.

     

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  38.  
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    Captain Obvious, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    The HQ's of the *AA's need to be wiped out - without a place to operate from, and without their records and files, they cannot function. Cut off the serpent's head, and all that. Come to think of it, the same should be done for the RIAA and the Fed.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Let me see if I have this right.

    Sony (apparently NOT the MPAA) sent a letter to an ISP, a copy of which is not provided, the ISP in some manner contacted the town (presumably its IT people, but it could have been another group in the town), and the town then presumably decides to shut down the system for some unstated period of time.

    Despite the above, people on this site once more rail "greed", "MPAA", and all the other buzzwords that get them whipped up into a techdirt inspiried frenzy.

    If this is an example of what to expect with internet journalism, then we have a much bigger problem than internet v. print journalism. We have a lack of critical, independent thinking among the news consuming public.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Incorrect title?

    Hey Mike, according ot the article:
    "was completely shut down by the county’s Information Technology Department, after Sony Pictures tracked one user sharing a single movie and issued a complaint"

    I think that 'sharing' is uploading, not downloading. Am I missing something that makes this upload a download?

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    MPAA members include the "big six" major Hollywood studios which are:
    Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group (The Walt Disney Company);
    Columbia Pictures (Sony Corporation);
    Paramount Pictures (Viacom);
    20th Century Fox (News Corporation);
    Universal Studios (NBC Universal);
    Warner Bros. (Time Warner).

    So, Sony is actually part of the MPAA. Don't believe any movie industry trolls that may be going around pretending otherwise. In addition, the MPAA has been going around spinning the story in the press.

     

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

  42.  
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    Cipher-0, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Obligatory Pedant

    It's been a while since I read it, but don't the Geneva Conventions specifically outlaw collective punishment?

     

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  43.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    quite honestly, there is something missing from this.

    either there is a component to the story that is not being told or the IT department is either under the thumb of an idiot or comprised of idiots.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Re:

    If this is an example of what to expect with internet journalism, then we have a much bigger problem than internet v. print journalism. We have a lack of critical, independent thinking among the news consuming public.

    Have you asked Mike if he considers this blog to be categorized as a news site?

    As for the rest of your comment, I tend to think the opposite. It seems that due to personnel cutbacks, print news lacks the resources to dig deeper than a press release authored by a PR firm. And for most print journalists, the press release is sufficient enough to produce a story. Lack of critical, independent thinking isn't a problem with the general public.

    The internet has free resources which can dig deeper into a story and provide sources that may add to the original story. These free resources can't be duplicated in a newsroom with a defined number of journalists, and deadlines.

    Out of your points, I'll give you one- some print resources have better editing and a house-defined style, but that's about the only difference.

    I think more people gravitate to internet news because it seems more "human" and interesting to the reader.

     

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  45.  
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    randy, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    might as well do the crime

    I've never illegally downloaded or shared a movie file - seriously. Never done Kazaa, Napster or any flavor of torrent. But if I were just punished (my access cut off) for being the neighbor of someone who did, well then, maybe I should get my money's worth and start building a library.

     

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  46.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    "If this is an example of what to expect with internet journalism..."

    No worries, because this site doesn't do journalism. It does analysis and commentary.

     

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

  47.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    "I think more people gravitate to internet news because it seems more "human" and interesting to the reader."

    Maybe so. I gravitate to internet news because it's more accurate and timely than the usual sources most of the time.

     

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

  48.  
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    batch, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    It was an overreaction by the IT dept. Probably because they realized that closing ports wouldn't stop a determined person, that many other options exist to bypass that, then their head exploded from the paradox.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Why is it when we read about some nutjob running around killing tons of people, it's never at the RIAA or MPAA headquarters?

     

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

  50.  
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    hegemon13, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Strike a blow for freedom

    They would just use the low sales numbers as "proof" of the effect of piracy, and strengthen their position with Congress in getting more anti-consumer laws passed.

    It's a no-win situation now.

     

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

  51.  
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    Rekrul, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:42pm

    If you were to give the MPAA/RIAA a magic button that would instantly and permanently disable every single device in the world capable of being used for copyright infringement, they'd be pounding on it like maniacs before you could even finish the first sentence, and then would wonder why none of of their cameras or recording studios were working.

     

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

  52.  
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    Kyote (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

    LMAO

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    MD, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 11:34pm

    Re: Incorrect title?

    According to the source article: "It was disabled last week after someone used the wireless local area network address to illegally download a movie."

    http://www.coshoctontribune.com/article/20091109/UPDATES01/91109015

     

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


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