Copyright Troll John Steele Insists That 70-Year Old Is Responsible For Porn Downloads... Even If Someone Else Used WiFi

from the uh,-no dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in the story of a 70-year-old grandmother sued for downloading porn by bumbling copyright troll lawyer John Steele, whose claim to fame seems to be his ability to lose cases, as judges keep slamming his attempts to sue lots of people in what's clearly a shakedown situation.

And while it's entirely possible that a 70-year-old would download porn (who says they don't like porn?), in this case, the woman seems suitably confused about what's going on that it seems unlikely. At best, it sounds like she has an open WiFi, which someone else may have used. But, Steele is falsely claiming this doesn't matter:
The letter from Steele suggests that someone else using an unsecured wireless network isn't a viable legal defense for the account holder, noting that downloaders of child pornography have employed this excuse to no avail....

[....]

In an interview, he said anyone who fails to secure their Wi-Fi is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old.
This is simply untrue. In fact, generally speaking, US law and courts recognize that "service providers" don't have liability for third party usage of their networks. There are some conditions and exceptions, but to make a blanket claim like Steele did is simply false. Given his track record with these lawsuits and the attempts to pressure people into settling, it's no surprise that he'd mislead like that, but hopefully it just leads up to yet another court smacking him down.


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  1.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    There are two possibilities when it comes to this woman: either she is genuinely innocent, at which point this is quite sad, or she totally did download a bunch of porn and knows that she can get away with anything by acting befuddled, at which point she is awesome.

    Now compare this to John Steele, a man so shitty that he sucks even though is name is John Fucking Steele.

    What I'm saying is, I really hope this robbery ends with a purse-beating.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

    In fact, generally speaking, US law and courts recognize that "service providers" don't have liability for third party usage of their networks

    You're really comparing open WIFI to a service provider? Nice. I guess I will make sure everyone that uses mine signs that pesky contract then. Thanks for clearing that up!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    Re:

    You're quite the retard aren't you?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

    Re:

    If Steele can prove she didn't know anything and let it open unwillingly, then it's clearly not a voluntary service; and he could have a case. If it was voluntary, then it may, by some stretch of the imagination, fit into Mike's quoted "service provider".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Says the guy calling names...

     

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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    Even if it doesn't fall under "service provider" it still falls under "man is he stupid to be pursuing this case!"

    Having an open WIFI does not imediatly equate to guilt.

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    This is about the same as charging a car owner for material assistance to armed robbery when their car is stolen and used as a getaway vehicle.

    I hope this guy loses hard.

     

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  8.  
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    Colonel Panic, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re:

    If you have an open network that third parties are accessing, you are technically and legally operating as a service provider. This practice is generally forbidden by ISPs, and they will revoke your access for having an open network as a violation of the clause that you cannot operate as a service provider under your contract.

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re:

    So wait - if she didn't know about the infringement or even that she was providing the service, she should be more liable? Maybe they should just sue everyone in a three-house radius for having the infringing radio waves pass through their bodies.

     

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  10.  
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    bmcraec, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:55pm

    Re:

    That's exactly what you're doing when you accept the terms for accessing public wifi in a café, library, restaurant, airport, etc. Nobody every reads the terms, but clicking on the "Read and understand" checkbox and hitting OK is the network access provider's way of making SURE that they aren't liable for whatever you want to do on their network.

    Which is just fine, AFAIK.

     

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    thedigitari, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    Open wifi?

    My wifi is wide open for anyone to see, providing you can get it's weak signal. I leave it open on purpose. so anyone can find it. Of course I have mac address filtering, but you can still see it's open and "unsecured". I have no Movies on My PC nor any music, I have radio and cable TV for those and full surround sound.

     

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  12.  
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    A G Wright, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:14pm

    Seniors and computers

    I work with and for seniors quite often and most of them don't have a clue about anything to do with their computers, routers, DSL connections or anything else.
    They usually have a friend or relative that sets up their equipment and don't have a clue what has been done. If someone came in to help her and set up her connection for her. If that person didn't set up the security it just didn't get done.

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mmmm... nnnno? No, they won't. Not unless your open wifi is causing service issues for other customers. The ones I've dealt with (as customer or employee) generally just don't care.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    Disbarment?

    Why hasn't this ziphead been either censured or disbarred? Ditto Righthaven's attorneys... The egregious behavior of these people should result in their losing their licenses to practice law, and heavy fines plus restitution to their victims.

     

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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Open wifi?

    I leave one open, visible, and unfiltered for guests, neighbors who missed a bill, guests of the neighbors, etc... Every packet not destined for the great, wide Internet from it gets dropped and no incoming connections are allowed. Then I have a WPA2 network that's mac filtered, doesn't announce, and has a 30B strong password and all my wireless traffic runs over a VPN to a server on my wired network.

    Open networks have their place. That place just isn't being connected to my boxes.

     

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  16.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re:

    "If Steele can prove she didn't know anything and let it open unwillingly"

    Steele can not even prove it was her account involved. You see his super secret high tech tracking software that is 100% perfect, has never been vetted by anyone but Steele.

    Steele has no interest in pursing the actual perpetrator of the alleged crime.
    He has the single goal of getting a ruling that says if your WiFi was open, your at fault.
    His interests are not served in the pursuit of justice, but the pursuit of getting people to pay him to go away.
    Steele was getting laughed at by people he was pursuing in these cases, and then he trotted out the "awards" won in "similar" copyright cases. He included the awards Liberty Media Holdings won against the guy selling homemade DVDs of Corbin Fisher movies on eBay (an actual infringment) as well as the poor sap who settled for "a kajillion" (citation needed) but that amount gets knocked down as long as he makes his monthly payments and promises to never ever be naughty ever again.
    It is theater, they want to scare people with these huge awards, and give the appearance that it is so much cheaper to settle than for you to challenge them.
    This is lawyers exploiting the legal system with trickery to "win" money that more than likely they could never win in court, even with the more likely than not level of proof required.

     

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    Howard the Duck, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Open wifi, third party usage, what's the difference if you don't even know what open wifi is? This is something the courts generally recognize, outside the contract. If a bunch of real pervs tried this defense before, millions of times, it might make things hard for her.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    What gets me is that I recently upgraded to DOCIS 3 with Roadrunner. Was given (rental) a cablemodem/router/wireless access point, when I wanted to secure the wireless the tech would not give me the password to the unit to shut off the wireless and secure it.
    We finally found out that if a network cable were plugged into the proper socket the wireless would be turned off.
    As I have another wireless router and it is secured with WPA-2 I am not to worried about anyone using my wireless without my knowledge.

    You would think that ISP's would be a bit more security friendly towards their customers.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:54pm

    Wait a minute, downloading porn is illegal? Ruh-roh!

     

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    Dennis Flagg, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:04pm

    Justice is Blind

    I agree this lawsuit is probably not fair. Justice is not fair, it is blind. Justice only see's right and wrong. In addition, not knowing the law and the contents of the contracts that you sign is not a defense. For intance, if I leave my computer unattended and not locked at work, I'm liable for whatever happens on that computer. Also, being 80 is not an excuse unless she has a medical condition making her unfit to make decisions of this nature.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:04pm

    Re:

    >>Wait a minute, downloading porn is illegal? Ruh-roh!

    Apparently it was a copyright violation. That's why a private lawyer is sending the letters and not a district attorney.

     

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    Ragaboo (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:18pm

    Case against me just like this.

    I'm in the same boat as this woman. Last month I got a letter from Steele, Hansmeier (their tagline being, "A leading anti-piracy law firm") representing Hard Drive Productions, Inc. in a lawsuit against me claiming that I illegally downloaded a pornographic video owned by HDP via BitTorrent. The trouble is -- I didn't download the file in question. (And, for what it's worth, I've never downloaded porn via BitTorrent.)

    They have my IP address connected to the download, so obviously someone with access to my router downloaded the file. I have roommates, though. I also have people who visit me frequently. (I live in Vegas, so I get lots of visitors.) I've also opened my WiFi signal from time to time to let people use it without having to go through my security (I use MAC address filters, among other things) and then forget to reinstate the security after they leave.

    They wanted me to pay $2,900 to settle for that single file. This is obviously extortion, especially since part of the settlement letter was them effectively saying, "If you don't settle, keep in mind we'll plaster your name all over the Internet to publicly shame you for downloading porn."

    So, I've got a few interesting points/questions regarding this situation that I was hoping you or your readers could answer:

    1) I know the legal system is screwed up with Internet-age cases, but an IP address alone couldn't possibly be sufficient evidence to win a lawsuit claiming that I personally downloaded this file, could it? I realize this is a flawed analogy -- and please provide a better analogy if you can think of one -- but to me, that's like a gun I own being used in a murder, and me getting convicted based on that evidence alone. You can only prove that my gun was used, not that I was the killer.

    2) How was the person who downloaded this file supposed to know that it was illegal? They certainly couldn't have known before they downloaded it, and I sincerely doubt there was any way to know *after* they downloaded it, either. If you have no way of knowing that you've downloaded copyrighted content, how can what you've done be illegal? They're basing their case on people assuming they're downloading something illegally, not knowing they're downloading something illegally. There are plenty of porn companies who gladly put some of their videos on BitTorrent sites as *promotional tools* to whet people's appetites for more.

    3) The mass settlement letters are obviously a money grab. What's more, since there's the threat of a lawsuit/public humiliation if you don't accept the settlement, I don't see how this doesn't amount to blatant extortion. (For the record, I declined the settlement since I didn't download the file.)

    4) Branching off of the public-humiliation aspect of their extortion letter, would I have a reasonable countersuit for defamation?

    5) I’m also considering the idea of using a few of my friends in PR to launch a PR campaign against the porn company and the law firm. Is there any merit to such a campaign?

    They have not served me papers yet -- although I did have a phone conversation with a representative from the Steele office wherein I declined settlement. They may not actually serve me since a single file might not be worth their time, and it’s a shakedown anyway, but I’d like to be prepared. I’d also like to preemptively strike in any ways I can. I want to use this case to set an example.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:23pm

    I take some umbrage to the comparison of downloaders and three year olds (although it does imply that downloaders and hackers are not responsible for their own actions), but I'll put that aside for now to focus on something else:

    "...anyone who fails to secure their Wi-Fi is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old. "

    By this logic the following are also true:

    ... anyone who fails to secure their [car] is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies [committed by the thief] as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old.

    ... anyone who fails to secure their [back door] is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies [wrought by the home invaders] as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old.

    ...anyone who [purchased Enron stock was] as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old.

    ...anyone who fails to [purchase a new car once a year] is as responsible for the subsequent [industry bail outs] as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old.

    ... anyone who fails to [bribe their judge] is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old.

    Actually, that does makes sense in a weird way. Provided I twist it into a mobius strip and squint vigorously while drinking tequila.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:30pm

    Re:

    Imagine John Steele as the guy being beaten in this youtube video and it gets even funnier. If the link does not work, search for funny voicemail on youtube.

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Justice is Blind

    For intance, if I leave my computer unattended and not locked at work, I'm liable for whatever happens on that computer.

    That's funny, because I'm having trouble thinking of any area other than copyright infringement where that would be the case. If someone used your computer to hack into another system, they would be the ones who broke hacking laws, not you. If they picked it up and bludgeoned someone to death with it, they would be charged with murder, not you.

     

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    Bengie, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:43pm

    fixed

    "In an interview, he said anyone who fails to secure their Wi-Fi is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun^H^H^H Pixie Stick within reach of a 3-year old."

     

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    abc gum, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Justice is Blind

    corollary ... you are responsible for the snail mail deposited in your mailbox, regardless of whether it was you who requested it. Awesome.

     

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  28.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:50pm

    Errr

    The letter from Steele suggests that someone else using an unsecured wireless network isn't a viable legal defense for the account holder, noting that downloaders of child pornography have employed this excuse to no avail....

    If the police accuse you of downloading child porn, but when they seize and search your computers they can't find any, then yes, that is a a legally viable defense.

     

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  29.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Case against me just like this.

    1 - It has nothing to do with an actual case in an actual court. It is about getting you terrified of the what-ifs so that you just pay them. USCG currently has a case pending against another Grandmother in Minnesota. I think her case is pretty strong that she did not download the movie, she does not own a computer. But USCG pursues the case in the hopes that a Judge will rule that because your name is on the bill your liable for others actions.

    2 - Because every scrap of media on the planet is owned by someone. The entertaining portion was a Mick Haig (IIRC) production called Der Unkle (sp) which shares a name with a film in the public domain. Even Stone lied on the copyright application in that case and mucked it all up. The other fun thing to point out is the lawyers hands are rarely clean in these matters, as often the exhibits from the ip tracking firms show that they were uploading to the swarm as well as downloading. I think a Judge would be curious why these defenders of copyright are making the situation worse by adding to the alleged infringement. There is a story here on TechDirt about a German tracking firm who in their contract spell out that they will be creating the honeypot for others to download from, which seems less than legit.

    3 - It is not a "threat" it is them explaining what could happen if a legal case were to be filed. The words are chosen carefully, but make no mistake this is extortion carefully covered in legalese.

    4 - Nope. Unless they started posting lists of the names of the accused in the paper. Otherwise it is a simple legal case that is public record, and it can not be their fault if people do not give you the presumption of innocence.

    5 - Roll with it. There are many small disconnected groups of users out there who have been targeted by these types of firms. The studios don't care because it costs them nothing, all costs are paid by the lawyer from the settlements and he pays them after he takes his cut. A man posted an open letter to Larry Flynt around the time Evan Stone started a case on behalf of Hustler, and the more coverage it got the less interested in pursing the matter Hustler became. People targeted tend to demonize the lawyers involved but do not seem to scream as loudly at the studios involved. I think if there were more negative publicity for the studios, they might change their mind.

    Many people are afraid to come forward, because these lawyers make it clear that they will make an example of anyone they can. No one wants to be the head of the revolution.

    You might want to search the copyright registration database and make sure the film they accuse you of having downloaded actually is registered, often they are not or they are filed right before the case drops. But a lapse in filing the case changes the damage awards they could actually win if they were to file a real case.

    Be cautious talking to Steele's phone people, they like to trick people and manipulate you into incriminating yourself. They use standard debt collector techniques pretending this is all real and for sure.

     

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  30.  
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    abc gum, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    "In an interview, he said anyone who fails to secure their Wi-Fi is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within reach of a 3-year old. "

    Wrong.
    Not even close to being comparable.
    Only a grandiose ass would attempt such a claim.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Case against me just like this.

    Shut up and get a lawyer.

     

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  32.  
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    David Liu (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Justice is Blind

    Err, you'd only be liable for whatever happens on that computer if the terms/security protocols at your workplace deem that you must lock your computer for this very reason. And even then, you'd only be legally responsible in terms of the contract of your job, not criminally liable in the terms of the law.

     

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  33.  
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    David Liu (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Re: Case against me just like this.

    This. You don't want to slip up and say something that could be misused in court in the slim chance that you actually get taken to court.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Says the Anonymous Coward ... ;)

     

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  35.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Justice is Blind

    Wow, you are such an idiot.

    "Justice only see's right and wrong."

    Justice has nothing to do with right and wrong, it has to do with the law. The law is an arbitray set of rules created by man. Influenced by those who wish the law to be one way or another. Nothing more, nothing less. Unjust and unreasonable laws are ignored, and ones that benefit society are followed.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Justice is Blind

    Not that I disagree, but to be precise that applies to legal justice, as opposed to karma.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:26pm

    This is simply untrue. In fact, generally speaking, US law and courts recognize that "service providers" don't have liability for third party usage of their networks. There are some conditions and exceptions, but to make a blanket claim like Steele did is simply false.

    Is a grandma with an open wifi considered a "service provider" under the law? That doesn't sound right. Got any links?

    I think that what Steele is saying is saying is essentially true. Once the plaintiff makes a prima facie showing of infringement, the burden shifts to the defendant to show they didn't do it. "I have an open wifi" is not a complete defense. Without more, it's not enough to prove the defendant didn't do it.

    "While defendant claims that he uses an unsecured wireless router at his residence, which could have been used by an outside party to commit the alleged infringing activity, this does not constitute a complete defense." Arista Records, Inc. v. Musemeci, 2007 WL 3124545 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 18, 2007.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Justice is Blind

    When Comcast installed our wireless internet they left it wide open by default and said absolutely NOTHING about securing it. Got it up and running and left.

    Years later I have (Comcast provided) wireless adapter issues and I am *asked* by the phone tech if I would like to secure my wireless. I said sure, why not, and he talked me through the procedure. Whatev.

    I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm not the dullest either, and until I got asked I had zero idea that our connection was not or even should be secured. I have little doubt this woman had any idea either. I'd wager she never even knew to ask about such a thing.

     

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    BearGriz72 (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    Re:

    "What I'm saying is, I really hope this robbery ends with a purse-beating."

    +1 Internets to you sir!

     

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  40.  
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    Liz, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Says the Greek God of the Forge...

     

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  41.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 12:32am

    Re: Case against me just like this.

    They have my IP address connected to the download, so obviously someone with access to my router downloaded the file.

    Whoa...... stop right there. Even that bit is not obvious. They have a piece of software that picked up some numbers off the internet. They then got your service provider to cough up the details of the customer that was using that address at the time. They used another piece of s/w to extract those details. Remember that all s/w has undiscovered flaws. Maybe his piece of s/w had a bug that garbled the IP address - maybe it got the time wrong (IP addresses change with time - someone else could have been using those numbers shortly before or after you. The same applies to your ISP's s/w.

    That is not evidence that should ever stand up in court. If you look at the procedures used for prosecuting computer based crime you would realise that there is no way that this procedure could come even close to meeting the strict standard required.

    I couldn't ever get a student "convicted" of academic misconduct (plagiarism) on that type of evidence!

    If you need advice on how to handle this I think the being threatened site would be a good place to look. ACS law seem to be dead now but this guy seems to have a similar modus operandi.

     

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  42.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 12:57am

    Re:

    "While defendant claims that he uses an unsecured wireless router at his residence, which could have been used by an outside party to commit the alleged infringing activity, this does not constitute a complete defense." Arista Records, Inc. v. Musemeci, 2007 WL 3124545 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 18, 2007.

    OK - so supposing you are innocent and you find yourself in the position of the defendant, what are you supposed to do?

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 4:08am

    Re: Re: Justice is Blind

    This place would be so nice if it weren't for the fanboys jumping at everyone disagreeing, trying to rip their throats out...

     

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  44.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re:

    And I guess you're no stranger to douchebaggery, are you?

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 5:30am

    Re: Re: Justice is Blind

    Yeah, but to subhuman sacks of monkey shit like John Steele, that should not matter at all, because in his bizzaro world, anything he says is true, and anything anyone else says counter to that is automatically a lie. In a just world, this attorney would be pimp-slapped to the ground, and then kicked and stomped until the only unbroken bones in his body would be the ones in his inner ear. Then, the ice pick would be used. Perfect justice! Too bad there is no justice in the real world, other than that which you obtain at point of knife or barrel of gun.

     

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    Jason, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    Somewhat diagree

    First, I think Steele and the like are completely sleavy for the tactics they use. However according to lawyers who defend the people Steele sues, what he does is perfectly legal and perfectly in line with protecting his client's rights. However IMO it would serve best to go after the people distributing the content and not the people consuming it. But the fact is, both parties are doing something illegal. That is a fact NO ONE can change.

    I fear it is just a matter of time (or past time) before the content owners begin to leak their material all over the place just to fish for settlements.

    In this case, the poor lady got swept up by the large net by actions likely not her own. If it is true that she is responsible for actions taken on her network by others, then the law is the law. I would think common sense here would prevail as she likely had her grandson set things up in the easiest way possible for an old lady to use new technology, and thus should be given a pass. But at some point we cannot make excuses for ignorance. It ain't bliss.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 6:37am

    Re: Justice is Blind

    Nope that is not how the law works.
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/07/hacking-neighbor-from-hell/?utm_source=feedburner&a mp;utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29

    Quote:
    A Minnesota hacker prosecutors described as a “depraved criminal” was handed an 18-year prison term Tuesday for unleashing a vendetta of cyberterror that turned his neighbors’ lives into a living nightmare.

    Barry Ardolf, 46, repeatedly hacked into his next-door neighbors’ Wi-Fi network in 2009, and used it to try and frame them for child pornography, sexual harassment, various kinds of professional misconduct and to send threatening e-mail to politicians, including Vice President Joe Biden.


    And that is not how WiFi works, most of the routers out there are not even capable of being secured, because they are not up to date and would need to be changed for them to be less insecure.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re:

    The only thing Steele can prove is that he is a turnip.

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Justice is Blind

    God damnit, we are not fucking Jacob the fucking bishiewolf!

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re:

    You just need more. You could turn over your computer for inspection. If there's no peer-to-peer programs or downloads, that would work in your favor. Plus, your credibility would be a factor. The judge would probably be inclined to believe that grandma wasn't downloading hardcore porn if she testified as such.

     

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  51.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Justice is Blind

    The guy is saying that you are responsible, for what other people do. That is sheer stupidity. Place blame on the person commiting the act, not the innocent bystander.

     

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

  52.  
    icon
    taoareyou (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Millions of invalid claims can make valid claims invalid? This logic flaw is why it's so hard to get the insurance companies to pay.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re:

    Are you saying that copyright violations are not considered illegal, as evidenced by a letter from a lawyer in private practice? Would you care to try that one again? I'll definitely give you a bye on the first attempt--maybe you hadn't eaten dinner yet.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please provide some support for this assertion: "If you have an open network that third parties are accessing, you are technically and legally operating as a service provider."

    Thanks!

    Anyway, the "conditions and exceptions" that the article casually brushes aside will almost NEVER be satisfied by someone who just has an open wifi network for their home (e.g., registering with the copyright office).

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Justice is Blind

    I agree, but this is not really a good example of that. I mean, this guy's post was just way off base.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Case against me just like this.

    Let me give you a simpler example: If you had one of your room mates or friends who used your phone to make numerous long distance charges or call 900 style numbers, you would be personally responsible for the debt. There are mechanisms in place for forgiveness, but in legal terms, you are responsible.

    You are not a "telephone service provider", you are an end user. In the same manner, you are not an "internet service provider", you are an end user. If you choose to let other people use your connection, if you choose to intentionally have an open wi-fi connection, and so on, you are taking the risks that come with it, as the account holder and end user.

    Mass settlement letters are a shaking of the tree. Those who pay, great. Those who fight back, equally great, see you in court sonny.

    It's not really hard. They have you dead to rights.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Case against me just like this.

    "That is not evidence that should ever stand up in court. If you look at the procedures used for prosecuting computer based crime you would realise that there is no way that this procedure could come even close to meeting the strict standard required."

    Just a word of warning, this is not a criminal case, so criminal evidentiary standards do not apply. The type of evidence you're talking about likely would be admitted in a civil copyright case, and you would be free to criticize its merit/weight.

    I just don't want anybody getting a false idea of how strong/weak anybody's case is.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Case against me just like this.

    Your example is flawed in several ways.

    First, the telephone example is a matter of contract between you and the phone company. The copyright example is not a matter of contract between you and your ISP. Rather, the copyright holder must show that you infringed, or that you meet the requirements for some sort of secondary liability. Someone using your wifi without you having the slightest clue what's happening is not sufficient for secondary liability.

    Second, it is not "equally great" for these attorneys if you put up a fight, because I suspect they are not billing by the hour on these cases.

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Capt. Hubris should be along soon to comment. Why would he comment? He is John Steele, that's why.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Steele thinks he can't be touched

    Here is a comment from Mr. Steele on an article detailing his questionable ethics. The man thinks he is untouchable:


    0 JohnSteele
    Hello, I enjoy reading all the non attorney analysis of the ardc and me, they think pirate complaints of our suits are a joke and don't even forward them to me anymore.

    I never hear anyone claim they didn't do it on this site, just complaints of getting caught. These sites are always two months behind what is going on. Just wait. We are just getting started. Here is my advice: next time your mom makes you a snack, and your thinking about taking a break from world of Warcraft, just close Your eyes and dream of your favorite star trek character. It's cheaper

    Source
    http://current.com/technology/93161143_copyright-troll-john-steele-vs-illinois-co de-of-professional-conduct-oped.htm#93340002

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Darkness, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Case against me just like this.

    That not true, already case law is already changing in the direction where open wi-fi connection will be looked at. It all happen when the Fed's raided a house looking for child porn. It turn out a neighbor was doing it, and using the person who was raided connection to download the illegal files. Because of this situation the case law is changing for the better. Also just because they have a set of numbers and they say that you. Does not mean they have enough to prove that you are doing the infringement. Also even with a wifi that not open will not prevent a person from hacking a routier. The older routiers systems are easy to hack.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    What about me, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 5:51am

    IDK

    Pardon my ignorance. Most of you folks seem pretty well educated about this downloading stuff. I'm hoping I can ask a question without being attacked. I don't download music, movies, or pornography. I don't have a laptop. I don't even have internet service. I use the internet at the library, work (rarely), and sometimes from my friends computers. So if the way that Mr. Steele gets IP addresses is from his software and then the ISP gives them the name of the person using that IP address - why is this guy bothering me? If I don't have internet service how can I have an IP address? I don't have cable TV service. I don't even have a phone with internet access; so how could I have an IP address attached to my name? He can't just start calling and screaming at random people, even if they don't have internet service right? I don't even know how he got my contact information. And why does Mr. Steele have to call people names and make personal attacks? He seems very irrational and very unprofessional.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    Re: IDK

    No one is completely sure how Mr. Steele collects IP addresses, so I can only speculate as to how he got your info. There is a possibility that what you are dealing with is similar to the many well documented cases of cops obtaining warrants and then raiding the wrong house due to human error. Here are a few possibilities: 1) Someone set-up an internet service account and decided to provide a fake phone number because they hate telemarketers, so when Mr. Steele obtained the contact info, he ended up calling you 2) Mr. Steele obtained the IP address of someone near you, and he couldn't contact them so he decided to try to go after the neighbor 3) The more likely version of #2 which would be that Mr. Steele's automated software muddled the IP addresses resulting in innaccurate contact info which was probably messed up again by middle men like Mark Lutz 4) They are idiots who don't know how to use computers......see:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110408/03285313826/mass-infringement-lawyer- never-mind-facts-just-pay-up.shtml

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    DoxFTW, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 2:09pm

    Anti-Steele Facebook Club anyone

    With stories like a 70 year old grandma being threatened, time traveling settlement letters, non-internet users being harassed, etc. We all need a open up a facebook group dedicated to listing out the many screw-ups contained in the stories of his targets. Hopefully collect enough stories and get him disbared

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    What about me, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Anti-Steele Facebook Club anyone

    Yes. Please someone start something to centralize the news about this creep. I am someone who is really getting screwed by this guy and I had a hard time finding a place where I could ask for help and learn what is going on.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    What about me, Jul 24th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: IDK

    Obviously this guy is out of control. I didn't and couldn't have downloaded anything. Maybe my 4 year old downloaded it on his Etch-a-Sketch or my 1 year old channeled it through his wind up mobile? That's all we have back at the house. I don't know what this guy couldn't understand = NO INTERNET for the 6 years we have lived here! That doesn't matter to Mr. Steele. Yes, it's been a case of harassment first and get the facts later. It was clear to me that he was not interested in the facts. He spent most of the call talking over me, yelling and making insulting comments about me personally. This guy doesn't know me, he doesn't know anything about me, but I refused to pay for something that I know couldn't have possibly taken place so he had to berate and belittle me. He also had to tell me how powerful he is. The last call was 12 minutes of my life I am never going to get back. I think he should pay me $99.99 per minute for listening to him. Thanks for your answer and for not making fun of my question. I am sure there are other people like me. I hope that they are able to find this site and get help too.

     

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

  67.  
    icon
    TrollBusterIL (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Pink Lotus Entertainment LLC v. Does 1-20

    Anyone being named in this case ( or any other), please do you homework before you hand over a settlement to this jerk! The copyright registration date for "Dexxxter" (referenced in this particular case) is 4/22/2011. The date of publication was 9/29/2009. This may not mean much to most, but if you dig into the copyright code it states:

    § 412 • Registration as prerequisite to certain remedies
    for infringement
    In any action under this title, other than an action brought for a violation of
    the rights of the author under section 106A(a), an action for infringement of the
    copyright of a work that has been preregistered under section 408(f) before the
    commencement of the infringement and that has an effective date of registration
    not later than the earlier of 3 months after the first publication of the work or 1
    month after the copyright owner has learned of the infringement, or an action
    instituted under section 411(c), no award of statutory damages or of attorney’s
    fees, as provided by sections 504 and 505, shall be made for—
    (1) any infringement of copyright in an unpublished work commenced
    before the effective date of its registration; or
    (2) any infringement of copyright commenced after first publication of the
    work and before the effective date of its registration, unless such registration
    is made within three months after the first publication of the work.

    This means that Mr Steele would not be awarded statutory damages or attorney fees ( as he settlement letter scares you with). He could try in court for lost revenue, which he would have to prove.
    Seems, that the dates are in the defendants favor! Do your homework!

    Here are links to the code to check out yourself:
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/

    Here are the links to look up a copyright, and the copyright basics manual:
    http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First

    http://www.copyri ght.gov/circs/circ1.pdf

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    I can't believe I almost went to law school. Steel has zero scruples. For God's sake, he's suing a 70 year old grandmother and a 74 year old terminal cancer patient in assisted living...that one's not in the news (said patient has absolutely access to his internet account at home, no way he could've done what he's accused of doing). If these people had an ounce scruples, they wouldn't be flooding the courts with frivilous lawsuits and coming close to violating FRCP Rule 11 by never naming defendants. He has to name or dismiss in HDP v. Does 1-1000 yet, instead of actually serving these "pirates," he's STILL collecting settlements.

    He never intended for any of these cases to go in front of a jury because that'd cut into his profits, not to mention all of the holes in these cases that you could drive a bus through. These judges need to realize Steele's endgame and stop him before he gets started. Expedited discovery is meant for a quick and speedy trial, not a long, drawn-out process of legalized systematic extortion via mail and phone calls (from a wanted fugitive). I wish the IARDC would pull its head out of its posterior and investigate this guy.

     

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


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