No Surprise: If You Actively Promote The Fact That You Lead People To Infringing Content, Courts Will Smack You Down

from the ok,-move-on dept

I'd been avoiding writing about the Newzbin case, because, honestly, I didn't have much to say about it -- but people keep submitting it, so here's a very quick post. Newzbin, one of a bunch of Usenet aggregators, was found liable for copyright infringement of its users in a UK court. The ruling doesn't appear all that different from similar rulings elsewhere, with courts focusing on staff actively promoting the infringing nature of content on the site. In this case, it told site "editors" to promote works that were almost certainly infringing. Whether or not this makes sense in the larger picture, the message is clear: if you actively promote infringing activities, courts are not going to look kindly on your activities, even if the actual infringement is done by users. This trend has been clear for quite some time, and I'm still confused why any site would encourage its users to infringe these days. It's just asking for a legal beatdown.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    the free revolution crash lands in reality.

     

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

  2.  
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    Brendan (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:41pm

    Making it too easy?

    But part of the argument was that the reports (which helpfully group related usenet headers together) were the problem, not the indexing of the headers themselves. I assume this is because the header indexing is simply publicly available factual information.

    What I don't understand is how the headers are somehow "worse."

    Is Google similarly guilty for allowing user to search the listing of several torrent sites at once?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:55pm

    Re:

    One very slightly, tiny aspect of the "free" revolution lands in a lawyerly created reality.

    The revolution keeps on revolving, so to speak.

     

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

  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    "I'm still confused why any site would encourage its users to infringe these days. It's just asking for a legal beatdown."

    Most of the time its a couple off hand posted comments based on baiting that kill sites like Newzbin. "Yeah if you are looking for VVVVVVV try searching for ...", "TV shows are easy to download ...", etc

    Just had an idea ... how about an rss feed of a torrent of torrents.

    or

    How big would a zip file of all the current torrents at the pirate bay be?

    or

    an RSS feed of just the Checksums of a torrent of torrents.

    ... also how deep can levels of liability go legally?

     

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  5.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    Soooooo

    i r has this newsgroup servers and you can up files like this like my own video and music tune as an example

    there solves it all no?
    thats showing people how they can do three own videos and its not telling them at all in the least to infringe and hten if they do i can go huh i dont keep logs and i aint watching it except to keep it running.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:07pm

    Re: Making it too easy?

    Google actually suggests, based on other users searches, that you add "torrent" to your search terms to find what you're looking for. When I search for an HBO show, and suggests I add torrent, stream or download to my terms are they not encouraging me to infringe? Are they, too, asking for a legal beatdown?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:09pm

    Re:

    hiring someone else to put the bullets in the gun, someone else to carry the gun to the crime scene,and someone else to pull the trigger. in the end the same conspiracy remains intact.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re:

    You forgot to arrest the manufacturer, seller, inventor, and designer of the gun.

     

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

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:29pm

    Notice and Takedown Not Good Enough

    In this case, it told site "editors" to promote works that were almost certainly infringing.

    The closest thing I could find to that was this:

    "People look at our site for movies, games and apps, pretty much in that order," said guidance for editors quoted by Mr Justice Kitchin in his ruling. "If you report movies, then you get rewarded for it because we want you to report them …you're benefiting the entire community a LOT more by making movie posts and decoding the cryptic filenames people come up with."

    I couldn't find anywhere that they actually told editors to promote infringement unless you just assume that all "movies, games and apps" infringe. In fact, their TOS actually prohibits infringement and they had a notice and take-down procedure in place. Justice Kitchin, however, has decided that that isn't enough and that they must use filters to keep links to infringing files from being posted in the first place.

    Justice Kitchin also said that "[Newzbin] well knows that it is making available to its premium members infringing copies of films". Now I thought that Newzbin was just an indexing site, so I really don't understand that one.

    Finally, to justify his ruling, he somehow also relied on an EU ruling that hotels are liable for public performance fees if they actively promote such performances by providing radios or televisions in the guest rooms.

     

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

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    only if you told them your intentions

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, I know I always send an email to a website's owners whenever I plan to do anything on it.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    Downloader Shield?

    Here's another angle to this ruling. Justice Kitchin of the High Court wrote, "I am entirely satisfied that a reasonable member would deduce from the [Newzbin's] activities that it purports to possess the authority to grant any required permission to copy any film that a member may choose from the Movies category on Newzbin and that [it] has sanctioned, approved and countenanced the copying of the [studios'] films".

    So it looks to me like the High Court in the UK just absolved downloaders of any liability because "a reasonable member" of a service could deduce that all files indexed by the service are authorized for copying. So said the court! :)

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I write them a letter and make sure to involve the post office. One cannot be too careful these days. Best to have as many people as possible whenever committing any civil infractions.

     

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

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 4:55am

    RE: Downloader Shield?

    Downloaders have never been liable for anything they've downloaded...excluding certain porn of course. Downloading is not illegal. It's the distribution that's illegal. No absolving here.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 4:59am

    Meh

    I never liked newzbin. There are plenty of non-membership indexers that are more user friendly than newzbin. Not to mention most decent Usenet providers have their own search functionality.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    Are you paying for the air you breathe? ... Bunch of pirates

     

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

  17.  
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    abc gum, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re:

    So what do you do about it?

    You sue the cab company that drove them to the crime scene, overlooking the fact that the cab can carry all sorts of passengers, criminals and saints alike.

     

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

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    you are mistaking incidental people with actual players. if the cab company is called rides to murders or the pirate cab, and if they offer a list of the top 100 ways to kill someone, and they only carry people to murders, they might be part of the deal. the only a cab company defense wont work.

     

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  19.  
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    Jimr (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 6:54am

    never my fault - right?

    Content maker should not make their products so desirable... and then they spend money on commercials and advertising how much I need it... no must have it. I think they they are actively promote me to get their contend by any means necessary. After all in this modern crazy world it is never my fault - right?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are mistaking civil infraction with felony offense

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 7:06am

    ENOUGH

    i have the 100% solution
    ignore copyright laws on masse
    lets see how the courtas handle it as we teach EVERY citizen how to delay the system as much as possible

    to #20 and when you dont pay the judgement then what
    PRISON
    so whats the diff

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Confused.

    You pack your luggage for a vacation. I make a list of what you packed. I go to jail because, unbeknownst to me, one of the items on my list turned out to something illegal.

    Is that analogy about right?

     

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  23.  
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    PRMan, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Re: Confused.

    "You pack your luggage for a vacation. I make a list of what you packed. I go to jail because, unbeknownst to me, one of the items on my list turned out to something illegal.

    Is that analogy about right?"

    No, it's more like "We provide a service whereby we will stash guns and drugs so that the custom officials won't find them. Oh, yeah, we'll pack your underwear too if you like, but nobody actually uses us to do that. wink. wink."

    "What? How dare we get busted for packing guns and drugs in people's luggage?!? We pack EVERYTHING!!! That's so unfair! We're just luggage packers...."

     

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

  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright infringement is like murder because some people are just really dense.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Confused.

    Movies and music and guns and drugs. There all the same thing, man!

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: Confused.

    "What? How dare we get busted for packing guns and drugs in people's luggage?!? We pack EVERYTHING!!! That's so unfair! We're just luggage packers...."

    Yeah, that reminds me of people selling drug paraphernalia trying to claim that they aren't liable for the illegal drug use that follows. Just the other day I caught a supposedly "legitimate" store in my very own neighborhood selling what is probably the most common drug paraphernalia of all. It was right out on the self in plain view everyone, including children! I think they were calling them "Baggies", or something like that.

    /s

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    if the cab company is called rides to murders or the pirate cab

    I see. So, the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers or MLB's Pittsburg Pirates must be criminal organizations.

    and they only carry people to murders

    Okay then, that means Newzbin really wasn't an "actual player" because they didn't index *only* infringing messages. Thanks for clearing that up.

     

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


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