Law School Prof Looking To Challenge 'Hurt Locker' Lawsuits In Cases Of Weak Evidence

from the nice-to-see dept

With the ongoing mass lawsuit campaign for those accused of sharing the movie Hurt Locker online, we're still waiting to see if US Copyright Group will really go through with its stated intentions of filing actual lawsuits against individuals. As we've seen with similar "mass lawsuit" factories, the general business plan is to threaten as many people as possible, with demands to "pay up or else..." and never really get around to the "or else" part. USCG insists it really will sue, and I wouldn't be surprised if it planned to do so in a few select cases it thinks it definitely can win, just so it has a few "example" wins to point to.

However, as always in these mass lawsuit campaigns, the evidence is so weak that it often drags in many who are quite innocent of what they're accused of doing, and it seems rather unfair to make them either pay up, or pay lawyers to defend themselves. So it's neat to see that Robert Talbot, a law professor at University of San Francisco, is taking on a bunch of these cases (23 so far), with a focus on ones where it appears the accused did not, in fact, share the file. From the sound of it, Talbot (with the help of USF law students) have no intention of settling these cases, but are looking to fully defend the accused. My guess is that USCG will look to avoid any of those cases, and focus on the ones that are a bit more of a slam dunk.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    LOOL, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 4:58am

    Going by the scant theatre takings this movie took:
    I guess that the producers are just trying to get there money back. lol

     

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  2.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    They really need to look at the technology

    1. The original uploader is the only one who should be charged. They may have knowingly violated copyright law. The downloaders don't even know what they are downloading. They might think they do, but they won't know until everything is said and done.

    2. 123.456.XX1, 123,456,XX2, both charged for making available, meanwhile they were sharing back and forth while neither had full copy to distribute. How can they both be charged for making it available to the other?

    3. What if they quit the torrent, never downloaded full copy and shared back only a tiny fraction of what they did download?

     

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  3.  
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    abc gum, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:15am

    Re: They really need to look at the technology

    4. What if the accused does not even own a computer?

    5. How can they prove the logged IPAddr was not spoofed

     

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  4.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: They really need to look at the technology

    I was going by the assumptions they are already making that an IP address IDs' someone and is proof. Lets omit that assumption.

    Keep adding to the list!

     

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  5.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    would be nice to see more

    It would be nice to see more than a counter bluff, such as using these extremely weak cases to go after USCG for extortion. The attorneys who assisted in filing claims that can't stand up to the sniff test should be held accountable.

     

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  6.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:43am

    Slam Dunk?

    My guess is that USCG will look to avoid any of those cases, and focus on the ones that are a bit more of a slam dunk.

    All they have are IP addresses and allegations of file sharing. How can USCG know which are slam dunks or not?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:51am

    Re: Slam Dunk?

    All they have are IP addresses and allegations of file sharing. How can USCG know which are slam dunks or not?

    Easy. If they offer any resistance at all, they're not a slam dunk. If they don't do anything, or they want to settle, they're a slam dunk.

     

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  8.  
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    Mr Claypole (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:01am

    Re: Slam Dunk?

    Because as with all these speculative invoicing systems, they rely on coercing people into unnecessarily parting with useful information that can be used against them.

    Any response, written or verbal is logged in a database and picked apart for possible weaknesses. Cases get built and the most probable 'slam dunks' get identified.

    'Slam dunks', of course, are the people who are most likely to pay up without requiring actual court action against them

     

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  9.  
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    Shawn (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:06am

    Re: Slam Dunk?

    They have more than IP addresses in instances where they have sent "pay up or else" letters. The USPS does not deliver mail to IP addresses.

    Which brings me to the conclusion that since the USPS proved Santa is a real person by delivering mail to him. Since they do not deliver to IP addresses that must ipso facto mean that an IP address does NOT identify a real person!! Woot!! Who needs lawyers to fight Hollywood? We will pummel them with their own facts :)

     

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  10.  
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    abc gum, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: They really need to look at the technology

    Eventually, letters will be sent randomly without any supporting log data. Some from Nigeria.

     

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  11.  
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    Richard (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Re: would be nice to see more

    This has been tried successfully in the UK - I've posted the link several times in comments on other related stories - unfortunately I don't have time to retrieve it now.

     

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  12.  
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    Richard (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: would be nice to see more

    link is here

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    I think the industry doesn't know what Wireshark is.

     

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  14.  
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    Overcast (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Wow, it's showing on my 'on-demand' - but with all the stupid hype surrounding it - I don't even want to watch it 'for free'.

    Much less pay for it.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    It's about time someone stuck up for the person not the asshole company. Frak the supreme court, a company is not an individual. Stupid Republicans. They're destroying their own nest.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Howard, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Google: "tenenbaum copyright". University profs with unlimited free legal help from students are able to create very costly situations for the bad guys, so costly in fact that they are able to halt these unethical creeps.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    The way they have been acting, I will NEVER watch it. Nor any movie from the people who made it.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    I'll say this to anyone who happens to be a party to these suits in case you are looking for ways out of these suits:

    1. Wipe your drive of the offending files. Make sure you remove pointers to the files (recent files, cache, temp files, etc.)

    2. Use an app like ccleaner and choose the option to "wipe free space." Important: Set this app to schedule cleaning every day. This is important as you can claim you have run it since getting the computer.

    3. No forensics application used by the USCG or court will be able to recover the evidence of said files.

    4. Use the defense of "I've always run this app, and I always will, you cannot determine whether or not I have the files present or ever had."

    You are good to go now.

     

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  19.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    So knowingly destroy evidence and lie under oath? I would look for a (qualified) second opinion before following that advice.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Mona Burich, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Hurt Locker Item

    Professor Talbot is a Law Prof. as Univ. of San Francisco. Not UCSF. There is a big difference. USF is a Private Law School and UCSF is Public School. You should really have your facts correct before you write an article.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Hurt Locker Item

    Professor Talbot is a Law Prof. as Univ. of San Francisco. Not UCSF. There is a big difference. USF is a Private Law School and UCSF is Public School. You should really have your facts correct before you write an article.


    It's an innocent mistake -- and thank you for alerting us to it. We've now corrected it. No need to be snarky.

     

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  22.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    Well knowingly destroying evidence yes.... but forget the "lie under oath" part... if your smart enough to wipe your drives your probably also smart enough to not self-incriminate... that whole fifth amendment thing...

     

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  23.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, refusing to answer questions is a much better idea than giving false answers. And if you destroy evidence, you had better be danged sure there's no evidence that you destroyed evidence, because courts take a very dim view of that.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    john, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    anybody have some advise as to what to do? i got a letter from dunlap grubb weaver to pay $2900 by the 26th of the month or it jumps to 4k on the 10th of december. and my name may get added to a list of people to get served with a lawsuit. it also says the suit was filed against 5k doe defendants.

    they claim they subpoenaed my ISP to get my name and contact info. they even have the date and time of alleged infringement, and what i used to download it with. it also says if i pay i have to simply remove the file from my shared folder. talk about shitty. what do you guys think about this

     

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  25.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Re: copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    My legal advice is to get your legal advice from a lawyer, not from an internet forum.

     

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  26.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Re: copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    Nasch is correct of course. I am certainly not a lawyer and am definitely *not* giving legal advice, but step 1 of any decision you make will certainly have to be whether or not you are innocent.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    john, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 3:31pm

    copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    well that goes without saying guys. just wondering if there was anything else you knew about all this. i'm definitely getting legal advise on this though.
    they can't even really prove it was me right? i have a wireless router that i use and its a damn good one. the IP address is traceable to my household only right? not specific computers. and in that case...i have two computers, the laptop i download on. desktop just business crap. i'm not positive but i wouldn't think it could be proven if i stashed the laptop and or just got a new one or sold it. think about it...IP gets traced to my house. i have a wireless router used for my phone and a laptop that has nothing on it. and a desktop that don't have shit on it either. whats to say it wasn't a neighbor? or maybe i was hacked...idk. but yes, i am going to get legal advise. just doesn't hurt to try and find out info any way you can get it.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    joe, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 4:15pm

    copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    John: let us know how it pans out. The can not prove shit

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    BoB Jay, Nov 14th, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re: copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    John I am sure the 40,000+ others out there that will soon get similar letters from related movies suites. Many would like to know what your Attorney said.

    1. How much was the retainer or cost to represent?
    With the new out of Court offer going up to $2,900 then to $4,000 it seems like getting and paying an Attorney is now the cheaper way to go. Before, in other cases they wanted $1,000

    2. What did the Attorney suggest as the next step, reply or just ignore the letter.

    3. If it was reply what did you say? Something generic and not giving out too much info like,

    The defendant has no knowledge of said movie, had open wireless which is now locked down, and all Viruses were removed?

    Please advise

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Mike, Nov 20th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    I also received the letter, went to lawyer and he advised he write a letter saying our innocence and we would be willing to let them look at our comp to see if it was on there. I am in the same situation that (john, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 3:31pm) is in with computers where i use 2 for different situations. Lawyer only charged me $250 and covers the letter and the company has to contact him instead of me.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    chase, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    Re: copyright infringement of the hurt locker

    What ended up happening? please reply, i got the same letter

     

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


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