US Copyright Group, Hurt Locker Producers Sue Dead Man & Others Unlikely To Have Infringed

from the collateral-damage dept

Most of US Copyright Group's lawsuits haven't been going too well -- including the decision to completely drop the case for Nu Image, the producers of The Expendables. USCG's other "high profile" case, however, involves the movie The Hurt Locker, and it continues to move forward. While judges in other cases have been rejecting these mass "fishing trip" lawsuits, knowing full well that they're being used to shake down people to "settle" despite being outside the court's jurisdiction, it appears that USCG got "lucky" with the Hurt Locker case, in that the case was handed to Beryl Howell. Howell, of course, was an RIAA lobbyist not long before becoming a judge, which certainly calls into question her impartiality in such a case -- especially when her rulings seem to contradict just about every other judge who has received one of these mass lawsuits.

In this case, brought on behalf of producers Voltage Pictures, by US Copyright Group (really DC law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver), 24,583 people were sued based on IP addresses. And while most courts have cut out those outside of their jurisdiction, Judge Howell seems to have no problem with USCG getting subpoenas sent all over the country. And, with so many people sued on such flimsy evidence, it's no surprise that many receiving notice from their ISPs of the subpoena are shocked and insist they have nothing to do with it.

In some cases, their claims are pretty compelling -- such as the case in which the notice was returned... because the recipient was dead.
Meanwhile, Nate Anderson has been collecting a bunch of the responses from people who insist they have no clue why they're being sued. Of course, as TorrentFreak points out, in such cases, it's probably a really bad idea to write to the court directly protesting your innocence, because that publicly reveals who you are -- something that USCG might not have known previously. Even worse, in this case, rather than recognize the ridiculousness of suing 24,583 people based solely on flimsy IP addresses, Howell is saying that these responses are meaningless until a trial actually begins -- by which point many of these same people will realize that it's probably cheaper to settle up than pay to have to defend themselves.

The sampling of letters, however, certainly suggests a fair amount of collateral damage from filing lawsuits on such weak evidence. While some may insist that (1) some of these people are lying or (2) they can just prove their innocence in court, I would suggest that you're not recognizing just how traumatic it can be to get sued, especially if you're not that familiar with the law and, indeed, have no clue why you're getting sued. It's exactly this situation that USCG and Voltage Pictures were counting on with this process, so kudos to Judge Beryl Howell for making the lives of a bunch of innocent people a living hell.

Here are just a few of the letters. More can be found at the link above:
The Pinestead Reef Resort in Traverse City, Michigan:
We object to the suit given the fact that we operate a Timeshare resort named Pinstead Brief Resort that is 46 units all of which have a Wi-Fi connection using our IP address. We have numerous users at various times and are unable to monitor or control what they are doing on the computer in their room... I can assure you that the movie was not downloaded from any of the 5 computers that we use in our office on a daily basis.
MidAtlanticBroadband Hospitality Services of Baltimore, Maryland:
MidAtlanticBroadband Hospitality Services is filing an objection to provide information as our information is irrelevant, as we are not the end-user nor do we have any information related to the actual usage of this IP address.
A woman named Sarah, no address given:
I am objecting to the disclosure and release of my identifying information by Charter Communications Inc. on the grounds that I’m not the owner nor have I ever owned the computer with the MAC IP address [sic] that they are claiming illegally downloaded the copyrighted work. When this download took place I was living in a college apartment with roommates and we all shared the wireless network. I had opened the account and my roommates each paid me a portion of the monthly bill since we all shared the same wireless network. When I contacted Charter Communications Inc. regarding the subpoena to inform them they had the wrong person named for the download they said it could have been anyone in the apartment complex and that I was named as a potential defendant due to my being the one that set up the account.
Ann from St. Louis, Missouri:
As a soon to be 70-year-old woman, I can assure the court that I have neither downloaded or distributed ANY copyrighted work as alleged in this lawsuit. Thank you for your consideration.
Rick from St. Louis, Missouri:

I did not download this movie. From a telephone conversation with Charter Communications’ technical customer service I learned it is possible someone outside my home may have compromised the IP address and downloaded the movie without my knowledge.

Charter further advised me to place a lock on the wireless router to help prevent people from hacking into the system and using my IP address. This has now been done.

Take pay cuts over the past years, having a disabled wife and struggling to support a family, I do not have the money to hire an attorney to protect myself especially in this case where I did nothing wrong.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    While judges in other cases have been rejecting these mass "fishing trip" lawsuits, knowing full well that they're being used to shake down people to "settle" despite being outside the court's jurisdiction, it appears that USCG got "lucky" with the Hurt Locker case, in that the case was handed to Beryl Howell. Howell, of course, was an RIAA lobbyist not long before becoming a judge, which certainly calls into question her impartiality in such a case -- especially when her rulings seem to contradict just about every other judge who has received one of these mass lawsuits.

    Can you explain which of her rulings you're looking at, and which other judges' rulings you're looking at that she has contradicted? I doubt it.

    In some cases, their claims are pretty compelling -- such as the case in which the notice was returned... because the recipient was dead.

    That doesn't mean that person didn't infringe before he died. I know how desperate you are to say anything at all bad about copyright plaintiffs (while you celebrate and defend pirates everywhere), but the fact that somebody died is meaningless without more information. You of course know this, but you're too busy spreading FUD to care.

     

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  2.  
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    Aaron, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:36am

    Pretending to be deceased?

    Given the vast number of defendants named, could you just return your subpoena with "Deceased RTS" written on it and assume the lawyers haven't got the resources to check up on it?

    Might be interesting next time a mass mailer is sent out from a law firm if thousands of defendants claimed after-life status. Would the law firm be obligated to check into every single one, and what kind of drain would that have on their resources?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:37am

    Almost every case listed is "SODDI", because of an open Wi-fi. See a pattern?

    I agree with comment 1, it's mostly FUD. The customer with the Wi-FI left it open, and just like long distance charges on their phone line, they should be liable. They are not "service providers", they are end customers.

    As for the dead guy, have you considered that he infringed before he was dead?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    Justice?

    If it is so expensive to defend yourself from a frivolous lawsuit that it is better to settle, it seems that this "justice" is not that just.

     

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  5.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:03am

    Re:

    "As for the dead guy, have you considered that he infringed before he was dead?"

    God you're awesome....

     

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  6.  
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    Another AC, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:12am

    Re:

    So much ignorance in one little comment, my head just exploded :(

     

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  7.  
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    Another AC, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:18am

    Re: Pretending to be deceased?

    You are clearly new to the "Internet" so let me explain: See that little box in the top corner that says "Search Techdirt"? It's a box you can type into to find articles on this "website". A website is a place where you can look at stuff, like you're doing now.

    If you typed "Beryl Howell" into that box and click on the search button (with your mouse) you'll find exactly the answers to your questions:

    http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?cx=partner-pub-4050006937094082%3Acx0qff-dnm1&c of=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Beryl+Howell

    Here's a pro tip: Next time, be informed before you start accusing people of spreading 'FUD', or people will start to call you out for spreading your own 'FUD'.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Pretending to be deceased?

    Sorry Aaron, I meant this for the AC above, with their comment "Can you explain which of her rulings you're looking at, and which other judges' rulings you're looking at that she has contradicted? I doubt it."

    I am also clearly new to the "Internet"

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Another AC, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:19am

    Re:

    You are clearly new to the "Internet" so let me explain: See that little box in the top corner that says "Search Techdirt"? It's a box you can type into to find articles on this "website". A website is a place where you can look at stuff, like you're doing now.

    If you typed "Beryl Howell" into that box and click on the search button (with your mouse) you'll find exactly the answers to your questions:

    http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?cx=partner-pub-4050006937094082%3Acx0qff-dnm1&c of=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Beryl+Howell

    Here's a pro tip: Next time, be informed before you start accusing people of spreading 'FUD', or people will start to call you out for spreading your own 'FUD'.

     

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  10.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:22am

    Re:

    Can you explain which of her rulings you're looking at, and which other judges' rulings you're looking at that she has contradicted? I doubt it.

    Link

    First paragraph:

    Last week, Washington, DC federal judge Beryl Howell ruled on three mass file-sharing lawsuits. Judges in Texas, West Virginia, and Illinois had all ruled recently that such lawsuits were defective in various ways, but Howell gave her cases the green light; attorneys could use the federal courts to sue thousands of people at once and then issue mass subpoenas to Internet providers. Yes, issues of "joinder" and "jurisdiction" would no doubt arise later, but the initial mass unmasking of alleged file-swappers was legitimate.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. Troll better next time.

     

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  11.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    Re:

    I'm damn near to tears. He's totally serious! BWAAHAHAHA

     

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  12.  
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    Krusty, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:27am

    Re:

    Your name is apt.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Pretending to be deceased?

    You haven't shown me her ruling, nor have you shown me the rulings she purportedly contradicted.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re:

    Please explain exactly how he's ignorant. From what I've seen from this poster, he knows way more about this topic than you do.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    You gave yourself up when you said "That doesn't mean that person didn't infringe before he died.".

    An F for the trolling.

     

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  16.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    As for the dead guy, have you considered that he infringed before he was dead?

    I'm sure he might have a wedding ring and some gold fillings you can pull from his interred corpse to pay for that infringement. But for you guys I would think that the only good pirate is a dead pirate and leave it at that.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    >The customer with the Wi-FI left it open, and just like long distance charges on their phone line, they should be liable.

    I disagree with this analogy. It's not a fee assessment, but a criminal liability. It would be like a person being liable because a harassing phone call was made from a phone number registered in their name.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    Robin your Batman is falling try to catch him puleeeze.

     

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  19.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is not illegal to have an open Wi-Fi...yet! If somebody uses the network to commit a crime then that person is the criminal...not the person who owns the network. If one of the customers at one of these time-share resorts or hotels decided to bring a prostitute back to the room is the owner guilty of prostitution.

     

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  20.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:45am

    Re:

    Uhh, the death certificate was issued before the date on the subpoena. I don't know if zombies have the capacity to infringe, but pissing off a grieving family is a surefire way to gain support for your5 cause...

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    http://www.digicrime.com/noprivacy.html

    Go to that website using Netscape 3.0 or 4.0b1 and he will show you how people can send an email from your computer without your consent.

    Today is even easier to do that kind of stuff since people keep adding extensions and apps to their phones and web-browsers.

    Are you one of those that enable scripts everywhere you go on the internet?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re:

    You can't just look at the outcome and say that her ruling contradicted those other rulings. Take the issue of joinder, for example. Perhaps in those other cases, counsel for plaintiff did not sufficiently plead that there was a series of transactions or occurrences. As the text you quoted states, those other cases were "defective." Nothing indicates that the case before Howell was similarly defective.

    You simply haven't shown me that there was a contradiction. Nor have you shown that what she ruled was improper or reversible on appeal. It's FUD.

     

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  23.  
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    The Logician (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:50am

    There is a word to describe the actions of the US Copyright Group - "fishing." Are you not aware, AC #1, of the presumption of innocence of the accused that must be respected in US law? You cannot declare guilt until it has been proven. And you cannot accuse without sound evidence, which an IP address is not, given how easily they can be faked, hidden, or randomized. Every case involved in this incident must be dropped immediately, the USCG fined and dissolved for misusing the legal system for its own gain, and the lawyers who participated in this action disbarred permanently.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re:

    Gave myself up? I don't understand what you mean. Mike posted a big headline about how they sued a dead guy. The horror! Of course, he failed to mention whether this person was alive at the time the purported infringement took place. FUD.

     

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  25.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Have you read it and the problems with USCG's tracking plus how an IP address isn't an ID User?

    I can only help you so much. If you can't see that her ruling of mass IPs goes against tradition set as far back as the RIAA's sue em all strategy, I can't help you.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:55am

    Question(s):

    Lets suppose someone claims that I illegally downloaded something and presents my IP address as proof.

    In case I am innocent, how do I prove that I am indeed innocent? How do I prove that that IP address did not do the things they say that it did?

    Also, how do they prove that they legitimately acquired that IP address, and that it did, in fact, do the illegal downloading? How do we guarantee that they didn't just pull IP addresses out of their ass?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And you failed to produce evidence that he was (and assumed whatever was most convenient to you) while accusing everyone else of spreading FUD.

    If Mike is wrong, why don't you show us evidence then?

     

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  28.  
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    Another AC, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Really?

    The fact that you've already made up your mind it's 'FUD' yet refuse to bother looking up the facts yourself is pretty telling... I suspect you don't even want to know the truth - can't take the risk it might lead you to form a reasoned opinion.

    Who's the one spreading the 'FUD' here exactly?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re:

    I disagree with this analogy. It's not a fee assessment, but a criminal liability. It would be like a person being liable because a harassing phone call was made from a phone number registered in their name.

    I'm with you. We're not talking about a phone bill with charges on it because I let someone else use my phone. We're talking about tortious/criminal acts being committed using my phone line. I think there's good arguments for holding the subscriber responsible for the acts of others, like on a negligence theory, but I don't think the phone bill analogy is apt.

     

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  30.  
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    Another AC, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Pretending to be deceased?

    It's also not my job nor anyone else. You have the tools to go find the facts, don't be so lazy AC!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    When the RIAA sued a dead person they gave the family a 60 day reprieve before they transferred the suit to his children / heirs.

    Why should it be considered "FUD" when assholes act like assholes?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Like if I hijack your email and send a lot of kiddy pr0n to all your contacts you should be held responsible?

    I hope you are one of those people who have the scripts enabled all the time LoL

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't produce any evidence because I'm not making a claim about whether this person was dead or not at the time of the infringement. My point is that without actually knowing whether he was dead at the time of the infringement, it's FUD to proclaim that they sued a dead man. So what if they sued a dead guy? The fact that he's dead now is meaningless. What matters is whether he was dead when they say he was infringing. Make sense?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which part made them an asshole? If they had a legitimate suit against him, I see no problem with going after his estate. If you commit a tortious act against me today and die tomorrow, I will sue your successors.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Troll don't back-peddle on your statements.

     

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  36.  
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    Another AC, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Pretending to be deceased?

    Ah I apologize, I understand your confusion now. So that funny looking text i pasted there is called a 'link'. You have to click on it (with your mouse) and it will show you a new 'webpage'. But don't just stop there and throw your hands up and say "You didn't show me anything!". Those 'webpages' have more 'links' to click on (with your mouse)... Mike dutifully posts rulings to his posts when they are avaiable, just look a little harder and you'll find them!

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:07am

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

    Sigh. You're the one trolling. Please point out where exactly I backpedaled.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:09am

    Re:

    Unless you are a computer forensic expert it will be difficult for you to get the MAC address and monitor that to see if people are accessing your network.

    Every computer that connects to a network sends its MAC address that is unique, it can be spoofed but not many hackers do that today yet.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I will instruct my children how to use a gun.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You don't produce evidence because you are just a troll.

     

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  41.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    That's precisely it: if you gave me your IP address, I could use any number of pieces of readily-available open-source software to fabricate "proof" that you downloaded and/or shared something. Packet construction kits and tools like tcpreplay make this fairly easy to automate. So I could then use that to convince a judge/jury that yes, you did it...and there's no way you could produce evidence that you didn't.

    And that's the thing: none of the "evidence" produced by the companies bringing these suits has any merit. They haven't done anything to actually prove that it's real. (And this is generously presuming that they have any clue what they're doing...which, given their history, is very much in doubt.)

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In the future, people will look back at this moment in time when many people didn't secure their wif-fi and say, "oh, how cute is that? So quaint."

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    ABOLISH IP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    If you are running netscape 3.0, you get everything you deserve.

    You might also want to try it under windows 3.1 to see how it goes. Dumbass.

     

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  45.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:35am

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

    And you call yourself a journalist, AC? Try to get the facts first.

     

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  46.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    Wow, hotels and resorts are not service providers, but end customers.

    Hey, I just figured out my phone company and the pizza delivery I use are not service provider either! They should be liable for everything. Like, if they send pizza somewhere owned by the Mafia (not the MAFIAA though) they should go to jail for money laundering or racketeering or something!

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re:

    First off the "They should have locked down their wifi if they didn't want to be harassed by a crew of greedy lawyers" is idiotic and unsupported by law. Please refer to the act and clause(s) which assign liability to people not using wifi encryption.

    Additionally, you realize that wifi encryption is hackable, right? WEP is the security equivalent of wet tissue paper, and many people own routers which only support WEP. Does owning an old router impart liability?

     

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  48.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re:

    Blargh, that's me, i guess my cookie dun gone and died.

     

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  49.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re:

    The customer with the Wi-FI left it open, and just like long distance charges on their phone line, they should be liable.

    Over and over again, you bring this complete bullshit out. I'll just start cut and pasting my comments from the last time.

    "Long distance calls made on your phone is a billing issue between you and your phone company. And its a near certainty that you signed or agreed to be held responsible for the billing costs of those calls when you got the service.

    A copyright infringement claim is a legal issue between you and a third party copyright holder. I would consider it highly unlikely that you signed an agreement with the copyright holder to be held legally responsible for copyright infringement that occurred on an IP address that happened to be leased to you at the time of infringement.

    If someone breaks into a house and calls in a bomb threat from the phone, I have no problems with the police using the subscribers information as a starting point for an investigation into the identity of who called it in.

    Under the law, I don't have a legal argument against a copyright holder filing an individual infringement suit for discovery of additional evidence against an individual unknown holder if they have more than just "this IP address was detected sharing content" - and then using the subscriber info from the ISP for further evidence collection that they have the correct person who was sharing the content."

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    You failed this time out.

    Civil action doesn't require anywhere near the level of proof you are claiming, only a preponderance of evidence. That is to say that reasonable doubt isn't an issue here.

    It's the reason OJ technically isn't a murderer, but he is paying out a huge civil settlement for the rest of his life as a result of it.

    The IP address is not the only thing on the table, it is the tool used to get the ISPs to release customer information. Beyond that, we cannot see at this point what they have in their case.

    For a logician, you really seem to fail at basic logic.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re:

    That is probably why eventually no jury will condemn a pirate in the future.

     

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  53.  
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    RD, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    "I agree with comment 1, it's mostly FUD. The customer with the Wi-FI left it open, and just like long distance charges on their phone line, they should be liable. They are not "service providers", they are end customers."

    Ah, good, so I can rent a car or a gun and go rob a bank and it will the fault of the OWNER of the car/gun, and not me, since the blame doesn't fall on the ACTUAL person committing the offense. Thanks for clearing that up.

    And yes, I know I just made a car analogy, but at least it wasn't how the car itself is like digital data.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    Those lawyers should not get shocked when they get shot LoL

     

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  55.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ACS law and Davenport Lyons were in the same game in the UK. In the end the judges there slapped them both down and they ended up with (in the case of DL) fines and suspension from practising law and the business being wound up (ACS law).

    Eventually the same will happen to USCG.

    A word of advice: "You'll look bad if you continue to defend these scammers. "

     

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  56.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:19am

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

    Stop defending extortioners!

     

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  57.  
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    RD, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Gave myself up? I don't understand what you mean. Mike posted a big headline about how they sued a dead guy. The horror! Of course, he failed to mention whether this person was alive at the time the purported infringement took place. FUD."

    Alright this is like the 3rd time in this post that one of you shilltards (notice they are ALL AC's too) has brought this up. Here is your answer:

    SO FUCKING WHAT?

    The guy is DEAD, get it? So WHAT if he infringed while alive, he is DEAD. Don't you understand DEAD?

    HE IS DEAD. Any claims or attempts at relief against him died with him.

    Get a fucking clue, and Troll Harder next time.

     

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  58.  
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    RD, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    "In case I am innocent, how do I prove that I am indeed innocent? How do I prove that that IP address did not do the things they say that it did?

    Also, how do they prove that they legitimately acquired that IP address, and that it did, in fact, do the illegal downloading? How do we guarantee that they didn't just pull IP addresses out of their ass?"

    FINALLY, and AC with a brain! These are EXACTLY the questions that should be asked when a case like this comes up. No one does, however, as the lawyers, government and judiciary are all content to accept IP=GUILT without question. There is NO vetting of the legitimacy of the accusations, there is only "you MUST be guilty because we have an IP address" and the shilltrolls support this 100% without any proof required. The accused is left to prove they DIDN'T (a negative).

     

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  59.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    against me today and die tomorrow, I will sue your successors.

    Have you no shame???

     

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  60.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are many other ways that you can end up with the wrong IP address open wifi is just the one that most people seem to be aware of.

    The basic problem is that the correctness of the identification relies on the integrity of several pieces of s/w (Bit torrent itself, the ISP 's s/w and the s/w used to harvest the IP addresses. ALL s/w has errors. None of this information should ever stand up in court. It falls far short of what is required as evidence.

     

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  61.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    . From what I've seen from this poster, he knows way more about this topic than you do.
    If he knew anything at all he would know that this is an extortion scam - ands he wouldn't defend it.

     

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  62.  
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    Atkray (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The fact that he's dead now is meaningless."

    WRONG

    They are suing a dead guy is entirely the point.

    This demonstrates they are willing to sue anyone and everyone regardless.

     

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  63.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Stop defending extortion!

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re:

    it can be spoofed but not many hackers do that today yet.


    Really? Please cite your source for that. MAC spoofing has been going on for years.

    Unless you are a computer forensic expert it will be difficult for you to get the MAC address and monitor that to see if people are accessing your network.


    The connection table on my wireless router shows the MAC of each connected client. There are no forensics involved. Only eyes and a connection to the firewall on port 443 through a web browser. Your average computer user may not know where to look, but you don't need a degree to figure it out.

    I think the whole shakedown is stupid, but let's be intelligent about this. Saying that people aren't spoofing MAC addresses or that you have to be some sort of computer god to see that people are connecting to your network are things that will hinder the argument because they will be used in the next straw-man argument by people on the other side.

    In the proud tradition of /., I propose a car analogy. Judges seem to understand cars. If I have basic protection on my firewall, that's like having a basic car door locks. If someone breaks in, takes my car, and does something illegal then I should not be liable, even though the car belongs to me. I am one of the victims. Even if I leave the doors to my car unlocked and someone uses my car to run over old ladies and kittens, I am not liable for vehicular manslaughter and willful destruction of kittens.

     

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  65.  
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    Pitabred (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...why? I like having an open, unencrypted, bandwidth limited access point for my family and friends and neighbors. Easier for them to connect to, anybody can use it and I don't have to worry about them being on the same network as my computers. Everybody wins.

    Oh, you mean there must be no legitimate reason for unencrypted wifi, right?

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re:

    Now this is a good argument.

     

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  67.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re:

    [citation needed]

     

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  68.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Will you be suing for reparations?

     

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  69.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re:

    Additionally, you realize that wifi encryption is hackable, right? WEP is the security equivalent of wet tissue paper, and many people own routers which only support WEP. Does owning an old router impart liability?


    This.

    Further, although it's more difficult, it is possible and practical to crack WPA and WPA2 as well as WEP. It's done daily. So even those owning modern, locked-down APs could find themselves open to this kind of extortion.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:15am

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

    They are suing a dead guy is entirely the point.

    This demonstrates they are willing to sue anyone and everyone regardless.


    They're suing a John Doe. They're suing an IP address. If the subscriber of the IP address is dead, how could they possibly know this when they sue? They can't. They don't know who the subscriber is. That's why the ISPs are subpoenaed in the first place, to put a name to the IP address.

     

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  71.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re:

    Civil action doesn't require anywhere near the level of proof you are claiming, only a preponderance of evidence.


    True. Although if the only evidence is that a given IP address was used to infringe, that's very far from "a preponderance of evidence."

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:16am

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

    Have you no shame???

    Let's say you get drunk, go driving, and crash into my parked car. You die the next day. You can bet that I will sue your successors for the repair of my car.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    HE IS DEAD. Any claims or attempts at relief against him died with him.

    When somebody dies, their estate is liable for whatever debts they owe. I think you're missing that major point.

    They didn't sue a dead guy. They sued a John Doe, known only by his IP address. This means that: (1) they don't know the identity of the subscriber of the IP address, and (2) they couldn't possibly know if that person is now dead.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you hijack my email, you're using it without my permission. I didn't agree to it, and I'm not likely to be liable. As far as having an open wifi goes, I think under the right set of facts, it could be negligence on your part if someone uses your wifi to commit crimes/torts. But it has to be the right set of facts. I don't think that generally leaving your wifi open should lead to liability for negligence. Not without more.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    I haven't seen that fact presented anywhere, so I'm not sure where you're getting that. Even if it were true, it's meaningless. USCG is simply suing the registered owner of the IP address. If that owner died and his family neglected to change the name on the account, how could USCG possibly know that? Remember, they're suing a John Doe, and then suing the IP address to get the identity of the subscriber. If that subscriber is actually a dead person, USCG would have no way of knowing that up front.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just go around and ask people you know how many are aware of MAC spoofing and if it was necessary to hack someone's internet, I'm pretty sure that not many people know what it is, outside a select group of people who discuss those issues.

    "The connection table on my wireless router shows the MAC of each connected client. There are no forensics involved. Only eyes and a connection to the firewall on port 443 through a web browser. Your average computer user may not know where to look, but you don't need a degree to figure it out."

    Show for a limited time it gets overridden eventually hence the need to log the table and setup the software to do it which is out of the competence of ordinary people.

    And I don't care what you do with your connection, I'm not the one trying to say he is guilty, just showing that today he would be screwed, maybe I was not very clear on that point so I apologize, what I was trying to say is that because judges are IT ignorant and lawyers are bloodsucking fuck ups he probably would be screwed since nobody in the legal department seams to believe that trying to secure a million lines of code or more for thousands of different setups from thousands of manufacturers around the world is like trying to secure a thousand acres farm from people trying to pass through it, or doing something wrong inside it, it ain't gonna happen, computers are deceivingly small, but the knowledge necessary to secure that crap is not and the human able to do it was not yet born, not even a team was put together.

     

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  77.  
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    Greg G (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Hurt Locker producers

    "I sue dead people."

     

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  78.  
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    fb39ca4 (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re:

    I have had that same concern. What do you do when you have an encrypted router but someone hacks it? You can even hack WEP from an iPhone these days.

    Also, could you say that you are providing a service in having an open wifi network as a defense?

     

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  79.  
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    fb39ca4 (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    The way this is going, the MAFIAA might as well abolish the internet.

     

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  80.  
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    mike allen (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    why would you sue the children of a dead person. That is appalling it is probable that they have their own family and therefore not even at home.
    Here in the UK we are far more civilised If someone is dead no case can be brought to them or their family. I understood the same in USA am I wrong? someone tell me even the copyright trolls are not that despicable.

     

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  81.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:50am

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

    Like I said - you have no shame!

     

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  82.  
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    mike allen (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re:

    My head too this troll must work for ACS law only they would be stupid enough to suggest half what he has.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You sue the successors, whoever they may be, of the dead man's estate--you sue the estate through the successors. Say someone runs into my car causing $5,000 worth damage, and then that person dies the next day with a million dollars in the bank. If I sue the estate/successors who inherit the million bucks, I get the $5,000 to fix my car out of that million.

     

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  84.  
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    mike allen (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Will you wake up they should have exercised a full investigation on who had the IP address when which computer was on at the time oh and weather the owner was alive or dead.
    on all 23,000 J.Does.

     

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  85.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:57am

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

    Which is a great example of what's wrong with this case. They're suing people based on IP addresses and it is well established that IP addresses do not identify individuals.

    As other judges have noted, they're suing to get names and addresses in order to extort settle payments without evidence that the individuals connected to the IP addresses are the actual infringers. Since lawyers tend to cost a lot and not a lot of people have discretionary funds set aside on the off chance they'll be randomly sued because they chose to pay for an internet connection, they are inclined to settle even if they didn't commit the alleged act.

    If you don't see anything wrong with this scenario, you need to take an ethics class.

     

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  86.  
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    Prisoner 201, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re:

    Some anonymous vigilante group should start sending tailored packets to all the big infringement torrents - containing the IP addresses of various law enforcement and lawmakers computers. Their home IPs as well if they can get them.

    When they start geting subpoenas for infringement, maybe they will understand the beef that people have with the whole IP address = DNA fallacy.

    Of course they will get off the hook, but whatever defense they use will then be usable by everyone else.

     

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  87.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:04am

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

    Having car insurance is cheaper than hiring a lawyer after the fact.

     

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  88.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I suspect you don't even want to know the truth - can't take the risk it might lead you to form a reasoned opinion.

    No, if they do that then they will be worthless to their paymasters. It is best that they clear their mind of all truth and reason and continue to state the opinion they've been paid to say.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:06am

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

    As other judges have noted, they're suing to get names and addresses in order to extort settle payments without evidence that the individuals connected to the IP addresses are the actual infringers.

    If your IP address is used to infringe, that is evidence that you, the subscriber of that IP address, is the infringer. It's not conclusive evidence, but it's probative and material. It's relevant. It's enough to subpoena your ISP for your identity.

    I agree with you though that they only want to "extort" payments. They're simply offering to settle in lieu of a protracted lawsuit. While it's distasteful, I don't think it's illegal or immoral.

     

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  90.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I haven't seen that fact presented anywhere, so I'm not sure where you're getting that. Even if it were true, it's meaningless. USCG is simply suing the registered owner of the IP address. If that owner died and his family neglected to change the name on the account, how could USCG possibly know that? Remember, they're suing a John Doe, and then suing the IP address to get the identity of the subscriber. If that subscriber is actually a dead person, USCG would have no way of knowing that up front.

    Yes - and that might be OK if it were a real lawsuit - but we know that it isn't. When they get identifying information USCG won't be starting by asking polite questions -they will be sending a demand for cash to make a threat go away. They are reckless as to whether they are threatening inniocent people or not - and that is why it is extortion rather than a real lawsuit.

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:07am

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

    I hear you can save about 15% with Geico.

     

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  92.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When somebody dies, their estate is liable for whatever debts they owe. I think you're missing that major point.

    What if the dead guy owed millions of dollars to someone else when they died. Do you share in the loss too? What if the dead guy authored some books. Do you get publishing rights? Can you make a movie from their works? What if right before he died, he donated all of his possessions to a charity...can you now extort the charity?

     

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  93.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:18am

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

    You'll get a better reception if you say "sue the estate" rather than "sue the successors," as that's what you'll be doing. You're not suing the successors, really, you're suing the estate -- the successors are just the legal representative of the estate. The successors won't have to pay a dime out of their own resources. If the estate has nothing, you get nothing.

    But what I really wanted to say is that your drunk driving analogy is deeply flawed. In your analogy, real damage was done. In the case of copyright infringement, none (or so close to none that the difference is negligible) has been done.

     

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  94.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They sued a John Doe, known only by his IP address.


    And there is the problem. They sued a complete unknown, about whom they knew nothing. The IP address is indicative of the identity of the infringer. That's how they end up suing a corpse.

    This is no different than being wronged by some unkown person in your neighborhood and so suing arbitrary people who happen to live nearby. It's flawed, unjust, and plain wrong.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:22am

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

    You're not suing the successors, really, you're suing the estate -- the successors are just the legal representative of the estate.

    In my state you sue the successors, not the estate. You can't sue the estate because it's not a juridical entity. So "sue the successors" is correct for the state I live in. I understand what you're saying though. It is a bit confusing.

     

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  96.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:23am

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

    If they haven't already, I'm pretty sure these apologists for overreaching lawsuits will one day imply or explicitly state that the only reason to have an open wi-fi is to deflect accusations of copyright infringement.

    By the same logic, only people who are doing something wrong have anything to hide...like their social security number, naked pictures of their wife, or embarrassing medical conditions.

     

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  97.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Also, could you say that you are providing a service in having an open wifi network as a defense?


    Yes. The literal reading of the law supports this, and it has been upheld in at least one court case.

     

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  98.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:25am

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

    You have literally no idea of how an IP address is assigned, do you? The closest they can get to me is my link to the backbone. They have to obtain private inforation in order to find out whether I'm infringing or not. And before you ask, I've used a number of lookup sites to confirm this.

     

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  99.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:26am

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

    And there is the problem. They sued a complete unknown, about whom they knew nothing. The IP address is indicative of the identity of the infringer. That's how they end up suing a corpse.

    I disagree. Say someone commits a tort against me using the internet. How am I to find out who the wrongdoer is? All I have is the IP address. It makes sense to uncover the subscriber of the IP address. Perhaps that subscriber is the wrongdoer. Perhaps not. Chances are that once I uncover the subscriber's identity, I'll learn the identity of the wrongdoer.

    They didn't sue a corpse. They sued a John Doe, known only by an IP address. It makes sense and is proper because it's the only way for a plaintiff to discover who did wrong to them.

     

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  100.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Do you even listen to yourself?

    It does not matter. They tried to sue someone who is no longer able to defend themselves. Dead means that he no longer exists, legally speaking.

    Moreover, have you ever tried to change an account upon the death of someone? It takes ages to do so. If they're suing a Doe that they have obtained information on, and it turns out they're dead, you don't go, "oh well, there's a little less money coming in." You go, "I'm sorry for your loss, we'll sort it out."

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:40am

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

    the subscriber of that IP address

    That statement indicates your ignorance. People don't subscribe to an IP address, the subscribe to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) who may assign them an IP address which is good for minutes or years. I'm not particularly inclined to trust that most ISPs are keeping sufficient records to know which customer is assigned which address at any given time.

    They're simply offering to settle in lieu of a protracted lawsuit. While it's distasteful, I don't think it's illegal or immoral.

    All I can say is ... you must have one f'ed up set of morals. Extortion is both immoral and unethical, and to some extent may be illegal for a lawyer. Other lawyers pulling these scams have had sanctions brought against them so it will come as no surprise when the same thing happens to USCG.


    In addition to those two points, I'm amazed that you would try to argue the ethics of these types of lawsuits considering that the judge should have recused herself in the first place since she was a former representative of a related trade group with a similar legal agenda.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:44am

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

    "If your IP address is used to infringe, that is evidence that you, the subscriber of that IP address, is the infringer. It's not conclusive evidence, but it's probative and material. It's relevant. It's enough to subpoena your ISP for your identity."

    Ah, good. Then this follows as well:

    "If your car/gun that you rented is used to rob a bank, that is evidence that you, the owner of that car/gun, is the robber. It's not conclusive evidence, but it's probative and material. It's relevant. It's enough to subpoena your records for your identity."

     

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  103.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "MAC spoofing has been going on for years."

    Heck, it's built right into routers these days.

    "Just go around and ask people you know how many are aware of MAC spoofing and if it was necessary to hack someone's internet, I'm pretty sure that not many people know what it is, outside a select group of people who discuss those issues."

    I've known about it for years and I don't think I've ever discussed it before now. Does that make me part of your "select group"? Please, tell me I'm not part of your select group.

    Oddly enough it doesn't have to be the unwashed masses that know about MAC spoofing to permit one person to use it for hiding his online activities. So I'm not sure what the point is of making this argument.

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:49am

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

    That statement indicates your ignorance. People don't subscribe to an IP address, the subscribe to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) who may assign them an IP address which is good for minutes or years. I'm not particularly inclined to trust that most ISPs are keeping sufficient records to know which customer is assigned which address at any given time.

    And a shorthand way to say "subscriber to an ISP who assigns an IP address" is to say "subscriber to an IP address." I know how it works. There's no need to assume I'm ignorant just because I'm using shorthand.

    All I can say is ... you must have one f'ed up set of morals. Extortion is both immoral and unethical, and to some extent may be illegal for a lawyer. Other lawyers pulling these scams have had sanctions brought against them so it will come as no surprise when the same thing happens to USCG.

    There is evidence that the subscriber of the IP address (yes, I will continue to use my shorthand) is the infringer. It's not conclusive proof, but it's enough to get a lawsuit off the ground. Offering to settle with someone rather than pursue a lawsuit happens all the time, and it's favored in the legal system (most people settle before suit is brought/completed). To say it's immoral is silly.

    In addition to those two points, I'm amazed that you would try to argue the ethics of these types of lawsuits considering that the judge should have recused herself in the first place since she was a former representative of a related trade group with a similar legal agenda.

    I see no reason that she should have recused herself. She used to work for the RIAA. This suit was brought by a film company.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh please Mike, put a sock in it. If you haven't got anything to add, why bother?

    I don't work for ACS or any other related company, or for anyone in the music or movie industries, or their susidiaries, or their advertising companies, or in any way related to them.

    I just don't see the point here. The open Wi-Fi deal is the biggest excuse in the world, the "two black youths" of the internet. You want to pirate something? Just attach an open wi-fi and have a nice day.

    What a joke!

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:51am

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

    The problem with both of your analogies is that real harm was caused (i.e. damage to real property). If copyright infringement is the same as stealing as you have said before Average Joe then they would only be entitled to recover their property. However, for some reason they are able to sue for $150,000.

    And how exactly does an estate (or successors) defend against a copyright suit brought against a dead man? If they are unable to raise a meaningful defense (considering that the alleged actions where committed by someone unable to defend themselves) would an IP address be sufficient to get a civil judgement? Hardly. Just as an IP address isn't sufficient evidence to find probably cause ... well, except in the mind of someone who is completely ignorant.

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's kind of where I'm going with my argument. I'm usually a fairly successful troll around here (mostly with issues I don't care about, sometimes to try to force people to come up with better arguments) but this is kind of a big deal to me. I don't like easily debunked arguments being used on this side of the fence. I want well thought out arguments that will make a judge, a jury, and an average citizen stop and think about why these shakedowns are stupid.

    Badly worded and badly thought out arguments hurt the cause. Pass it around.

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:00am

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


    Ah, good. Then this follows as well:

    "If your car/gun that you rented is used to rob a bank, that is evidence that you, the owner of that car/gun, is the robber. It's not conclusive evidence, but it's probative and material. It's relevant. It's enough to subpoena your records for your identity."


    Of course that follows. If you rent a car and that car is used in a murder, the fact that you rented the car is evidence that you may be tied up in that murder.

    Perhaps you don't understand what "evidence" means.

     

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  109.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:00am

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

    It makes sense and is proper because it's the only way for a plaintiff to discover who did wrong to them.

    Well that's flat out wrong.

    More importantly you use another example that is a poor stand in for reality. They are looking to uncover the identities of 24,000 people with one court filing. A simple examination of the IP addresses would indicate that the vast majority of those people don't reside in the district where the motion has been filed. That alone is a defect in the case which should have gotten it thrown out.

    I guess when the strategy is slowly replacing impartial judges with ex-employees the RIAA and MPAA can expect a little more justice than the rest of us??

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:03am

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

    Well that's flat out wrong.

    Tell me how a copyright holder could discover who is infringing on his copyright if he's unable to unmask the subscriber behind the IP address that's being used to infringe?

    You guys do a lot of complaining, but you never offer a better alternative.

     

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  111.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:06am

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

    Why should he unsmask anyone if the only purpose is not to find justice but to extort money?

     

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  112.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:11am

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

    More importantly you use another example that is a poor stand in for reality. They are looking to uncover the identities of 24,000 people with one court filing. A simple examination of the IP addresses would indicate that the vast majority of those people don't reside in the district where the motion has been filed. That alone is a defect in the case which should have gotten it thrown out.

    The personal jurisdiction argument is interesting. What was Howell's logic? I think she said that it's premature to determine personal jurisdiction since it's only John Does being sued, and not any named defendants. I don't know enough about that to have an educated opinion. I found her arguments persuasive, but I've seen arguments the other way that are persuasive too. I'm not sure who's right on that point.

     

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  113.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:12am

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

    So due process means nothing to you right because the only thing you are interested is in your precious personal interest in having somebody assert the law on others doesn't matter if they are inocent or not.

    Because collecting 25 thousand IP that don't tell you who was behind that piece of equipment it is pretty flimsy evidence, but the fact that those people you call copyright holders are having improper contacts with people and asking them money with veiled treats its all ok?

    IN WHAT FUCKING WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN?

     

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  114.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re:

    No, wrong.

    Macs are easily spoofed. Many routers and all macs (the apple/steve jobs kind) can do it out of the box through standard interface options, and it requires fairly minor digging with windows.

    MAC addresses are also easily acquired, it's part of basic Wifi polling, among many other things.

    Finally, many hackers spoof their mac addresses.

     

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  115.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is your internal phone loop encrypted?

     

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  116.  
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    RD, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:21am

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

    "Of course that follows. If you rent a car and that car is used in a murder, the fact that you rented the car is evidence that you may be tied up in that murder.

    Perhaps you don't understand what "evidence" means."

    Perhaps your reading comprehension is lacking. In the example, it was a car you RENTED, but the OWNER of the car (not you, as you are the RENTER) that gets arrested/charged for the crime.

    Try to follow along better before you open your mouth to attempt to refute a point.

     

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  117.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:27am

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

    My apologies if I misunderstood the analogy. I don't see how it refutes my point though. If my IP address is used to infringe, that means there's evidence I'm involved in the infringement.

     

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  118.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:29am

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

    Offering to settle with someone rather than pursue a lawsuit happens all the time, and it's favored in the legal system (most people settle before suit is brought/completed). To say it's immoral is silly.


    It's not silly. It's extortion, plain and simple. And deeply offensive and immoral.

    Not to say that all settlement offers are immoral, of course, but in these cases it's plain as day.

    If you're a normal person who is innocent of infringement and you get one of these letters, you are faced with a choice: a heavy financial burden and not insignificant chance of financial ruin by having to defend yourself in court, or pay the settlement. I'd settle, despite my innocence, because the alternative is too dire.

    How is that any different than a thug saying "pay me or I'll break your kneecaps?"

    Settlement offers would not be immoral if the one offering them made at least a reasonable effort to ensure the person they're offering the settlement to is guilty. Unfortunately, in these cases, that does not happen. That's what makes it extortion.

     

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  119.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:30am

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

    If your IP address is used to infringe, that is evidence that you, the subscriber of that IP address, is the infringer. It's not conclusive evidence, but it's probative and material. It's relevant. It's enough to subpoena your ISP for your identity.


    To what end? "Aha, the subscriber's name is John, therefore we now have sufficient evidence to establish infringement!".

    The ip address is certainly evidence that the subscriber may have infringed, but it is not sufficient to prove that, even based upon a preponderance of evidence (as opposed to the higher standard in criminal cases).

    Typically, in a scenario where you have some indicative but insufficient evidence, subpoenas are used to gather additional evidence in order to be considered "proof", that is certainly the intent at least.

    The problem with all of this is that what they are not subpoenaing for further evidence, but for enough information to be able to threaten and extort.

    They don't care about the truth, as evidenced by what they are subpoenaing.

     

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  120.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:33am

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

    How is that any different than a thug saying "pay me or I'll break your kneecaps?"

    Threatening to take an action you are legally entitled to take makes it not extortion. Breaking kneecaps is illegal. Filing suit for infringement is not.

    Settlement offers would not be immoral if the one offering them made at least a reasonable effort to ensure the person they're offering the settlement to is guilty

    There is enough evidence to instigate a suit in good faith, right? How do you figure that further effort is needed on the part of the plaintiff before offering to settle? Is that a legal imperative, or a moral one based on your personal view of morality?

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Does the fact that you knew means now that everybody knows what MAC addresses are?
    Do everyone knows how to retrieve those tables and more importantly how to monitor them and record those?

    Will you give technical advice on how to monitor the network for signs of intrusion and try to recover any evidence not only from the routers/switches but from other places inside the OS and be responsible if you miss something?

     

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  122.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:38am

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

    Who cares, today is my turn to troll you.

     

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  123.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:40am

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

    Just because you are using the law to threaten people it doesn't make it right.

    But that is ok, when people start resorting to violence to settle this and you can bet it will come to that, I will have zero sympathy for you crazy people.

     

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  124.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:45am

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

    No it means the equipment that was used to infringe may or may not be yours and you may or may not be the responsible party.

    Miss-identification occurs all the time on the ISP logs, more in cases involving just collection of IP's that don't have logs of data transfers which can be done with wireshar, not only that but even if it is the right IP it doesn't prove the responsible for that IP was the one doing anything, he can be part of a botnet without knowing, he could have had his internet hijacked by others, it could have been a friend visiting.

    How those that not cross your mind is just mind boggling, you suffer from tunnel vision don't you?.

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    hahaha hackers don't spoof the mac addresses.

    Only the very cautios ones and those are few.

     

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  126.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Lets test it, go out and ask the first person you see to spoof a mac address please?

     

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  127.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Now lets get this straight if anybody got a letter and they wanted to prove they didn't do you would tell them what to do and be responsible for it right?

    And in Windows you actually have to edit the registry, how is that minor?

     

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  128.  
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    Zot-Sindi, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re:

    ABOLISH THE MAFIAA!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  129.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    The IP address is indeed evidence, but how the plaintiff acquires it is important. There are two general ways in which the IP address can be shown as invalid evidence in the course of proving infringement by a particular person. The IP address can be spoofed in certain situations or someone else has used your IP address to infringe and you shouldn't be liable for that use.

    Spoofing IP:
    The easiest way to spoof the IP in a P2P context can occur when the plaintiff uses the indirect detection method and simply queries the tracker as to what IPs are acting as peers. There is an option which allows specifying your IP address separately from the source IP address in the packet used to talk to the tracker. This allows someone to introduce any arbitrary IP address into the list of peer IPs kept by the tracker. Effectively, this means someone can frame you. Not all P2P software running on trackers is configured to allow this option. In fact, the, often cited, 2008 study done at the University of Washington indicated that only 5% of the BitTorrent trackers allowed this option. However, because of the existence of this option, plaintiffs should be restricted to using a direct method of detection for acquiring IPs to include in their lawsuits. The direct method monitors IPs address belonging to peers that are part of a swarm. This means that the IP address in question is actively involved in downloading/uploading the infringing content. It is still possible to spoof an IP address in this scenario but this is now much harder and not possible in the most typical situation. This typical situation is where you gain access to the internet with an account from an ISP. Here, you can spoof the source IP in any packet you send, but you will not be receiving packets with that IP address in the destination. Additionally, ISPs filter outgoing packets with source IPs not in the ISP's range.
    Another possibility for spoofing is when the owner of the tracker falsely injects an IP address to act as a peer. This reinforces the idea that only direct detection method should be allowed. One where the plaintiff has to monitor the ongoing traffic involved in a swarm. Also, it should go without saying that the plaintiff should not control the tracker and, for other reasons, should not be the initial seed, or act as a seed, period.
    My understanding is that courts aren't requiring the method of collecting IPs be detailed by the plaintiff. They should, even at the initial stage of filing a lawsuit.

    Others using your IP address to infringe:
    There are many different situations where multiple computers can use the same IP or multiple people can use the same computer. How can one tell who the infringing party is? The plaintiff should be required to collect information in addition to a source IP address that can help to identify the actual infringer. Information in the HTTP header can be used to fingerprint the computer involved. In my mind, this is still not conclusive evidence, but should be enough to initiate a lawsuit.

    The crux of the problem is that these are civil suits, not criminal complaints. There has been no forensics done on the computer associated with the alleged IP address. It would be too expensive for the plaintiff to acquire enough convincing evidence to convict if they are going after hundreds or thousands of infringers. On the other hand it is also too expensive for a defendant to defend themselves and any option to settle rather than fight because of the expense leads to extortion.

     

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  130.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

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

    Tell me how a copyright holder could discover who is infringing on his copyright if he's unable to unmask the subscriber behind the IP address that's being used to infringe?

    You can't without costing yourself a lot of money or introducing oppressive laws. It follows that the smart thing to do is to find ways to make money without relying on copyright enforcement. This site has given plenty of examples of how to do this.

    However the prent case is an extortion scam pure and simple. They aren't going to use the IP information to "investigate who the infringer is". They're just going to send a demand for money. In this they are reckless as to whether the person they accuse is innocent or not.

    This had been found to be against legal code of practice in the UK and the lawyers involved have been fined and banned from practising. The solicitors regulatory authority, commenting on the case said
    "“Some of those affected were vulnerable members of the public. There was significant distress. We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and hope that it serves as a warning to others."

    If the US is a country with a proper legal system then the
    same will happen there. USCG should heed the warning and stop this abuse now.

     

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  131.  
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    RD, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

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

    "My apologies if I misunderstood the analogy. I don't see how it refutes my point though. If my IP address is used to infringe, that means there's evidence I'm involved in the infringement."

    Ok...so you have no problem with loaning (or renting, or if its stolen) your car to someone who robs a bank with it and YOU are arrested and charged with robbery, right?

    Ok. Be 'round to pick your car up tomorrow. Enjoy your time in the big house.

     

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  132.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

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

    If you CHOOSE to have open wi-fi, and provide access to those people, as a private individual and not as as service provider, you should bear responsiblity for what happens on that connection.

    Whacking a wi-fi on your internet connection doesn't suddenly give you an invisibility cloak.

     

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  133.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:38pm

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

    Kinda like 'the only use for bittorrent/encryption/TOR/VPN is for infringement' argument?

    Gotta love shills.

     

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  134.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:38pm

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

    If you CHOOSE to have open wi-fi, and provide access to those people, as a private individual and not as as service provider,

    If you have open wifi - then you are providing a service - which makes you a service provider.

     

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  135.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

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

    Wow. That was fast...

     

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  136.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

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

    If you CHOOSE to have open wi-fi, and provide access to those people, as a private individual and not as as service provider, you should bear responsiblity for what happens on that connection.

    Whacking a wi-fi on your internet connection doesn't suddenly give you an invisibility cloak.


    I don't think it's that simple. If I let someone use my wifi, I might be responsible in some way for what they do, or I might not. It depends on the circumstances. But I don't think it's right to say that I'll always be responsible for whatever any invitee does on my connection.

    Let's have an example. You're my brother-in-law and you're at my house. I let you use my wifi and I give you the password to get on it. You had told me you wanted to check your email. While on my wifi, you send an email to President Obama threatening to kill him. I had no idea that you were going to do this, and it was not foreseeable. Am I liable in any way? No.

     

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  137.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

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

    ...and if one CHOOSES to use TOR (as a private individual), one must accept responsibility for those who choose to use it for infringement, amirite?

    I mean, if you set up a TOR exit node, then you KNOW you are supporting infringement!

    What do you have to hide?

     

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  138.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sure, I did. It was a two year old girl. She responded "poo poo head", clearly referring to you.

    This established what exactly?

     

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  139.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

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

    If Howell is willing to accept that an IP address is sufficient information to warrant probable cause then she must believe that the IP addresses are accurate and since an IP addresses geo-location can be obtained without naming a defendant it would be trivially easy to prove jurisdiction.

    I suspect she has no interest in determining the appropriate jurisdiction and I would go so far as to bet money that she will allow the suit to move forward (if it is actually pursued) regardless of the victim's defendant's locations.

    I'll repeat, she should have recused herself; being a copyright lobbyist on behalf of the RIAA is a clear conflict of interest in a copyright case and if you can't admit that I would strongly consider cheating on your ethics exam ... it may be hard to pass otherwise.

     

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  140.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

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

    And a shorthand way to say "subscriber to an ISP who assigns an IP address" is to say "subscriber to an IP address." I know how it works. There's no need to assume I'm ignorant just because I'm using shorthand.

    I'm going to say this as kindly as possible. Stop quoting pieces of text and then NOT responding to them. You used "shorthand" (which isn't really shorthand), whatever, fascinating. What you didn't address is that IP addresses are changed constantly and most ISPs don't have logging of a sufficient quality to sand up in court. Trust me, I have friends who work in computer forensics and IP addresses are sometimes a side note but never represent the bulk of the evidence.

    Offering to settle with someone rather than pursue a lawsuit happens all the time, and it's favored in the legal system (most people settle before suit is brought/completed). To say it's immoral is silly.

    Stop being intellectually dishonest ... and condescending. No one said that offering to settle a case is immoral. However, sending a settlement offer for a case which doesn't exist and never will is immoral. I always wish I could have a reasonable conversation with you Average Joe, but you will never pull your head out of your ass long enough to see how ridiculous you are being.

    This meticulous devotion to the code of law (regardless of the moral or ethical implications) is why everyone hates lawyers. They hate you even more when you have a meticulous devotion to your own idea of what the law is rather than what it actually is (or was intended to be.)

     

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  141.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

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

    This just in...

    "The court remains unpersuaded that the peer-to-peer architecture of the BitTorrent technology justifies the joinder of otherwise unrelated defendants in a single action," wrote (PDF) federal Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero last week before launching into a detailed analysis of how BitTorrent "swarm" activity might be mapped to existing legal notions about "acting in concert":

    First, the Hansmeier declaration [about BitTorrent technology] argues at length about the "concerted activity" within a given swarm. Presumably he does so in response to the concern highlighted by Judge Ryu that users in different swarms have nothing in common other than downloading the same work, which as this court and others have noted is insufficient under our precedent. But the Hansmeier declaration itself offers overwhelming evidence that the IP addresses were in fact gathered from multiple swarms.

    Second, even if the IP addresses at issue in this motion all came from a single swarm, there is no evidence to suggest that each of the addresses "acted in concert" with all of the others. In fact, the nearly six-week span covering the activity associated with each of the addresses calls into question whether there was ever common activity linking the addresses in this case. In this age of instant digital gratification, it is difficult to imagine, let alone believe, that an alleged infringer of the copyrighted work would patiently wait six weeks to collect the bits of the work necessary to watch the work as a whole. At the very least, there is no proof that bits from each of these addresses were ever assembled into a single swarm. As the court previously explained, under this court's precedent regarding other file sharing protocols, merely infringing the same copyrighted work over this period is not enough.

    Finally, nothing in the BitTorrent architecture changes the fact that each defendant also will likely have a different defense."

    The bold part? That's where Howell is out of concert. Of course, since she helped draft those laws, she knows how to work around the system and allow these plaintiffs to sue for settlement damages instead of doing what's right.

     

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  142.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Now lets get this straight if anybody got a letter and they wanted to prove they didn't do you would tell them what to do and be responsible for it right?"
    What? I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but assuming I've understood this, because I am asserting that MAC addresses are easily changed, you claim I want to tell people what to do? Are you sure you're replying to the comment you think you're replying to?

    "And in Windows you actually have to edit the registry, how is that minor?"

    Weren't we talking about hackers? Try to keep up.

     

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  143.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

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

    I'll repeat, she should have recused herself; being a copyright lobbyist on behalf of the RIAA is a clear conflict of interest in a copyright case and if you can't admit that I would strongly consider cheating on your ethics exam ... it may be hard to pass otherwise.

    Whether I pass the MPRE does not turn on whether I believe Howell should have recused herself. Your suggestion otherwise is just silly. She obviously saw no reason to recuse herself, and as a new judge, you'd think she'd be sensitive to the issue, erring on the side of caution in case of doubt. It seems to me that your judgment is clouded, not hers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Howell is saying that these responses are meaningless until a trial actually begins -- by which point many of these same people will realize that it's probably cheaper to settle up than pay to have to defend themselves.

    "I've taken several pay cuts over the last few years, my wife is disabled, I can barely afford to feed my family much less hire a lawyer."
    "TOO BAD! Pay up, chump!"
    What a wonderful guy this judge is. What a shining bastion of humanitarianism.
    I bet he can kill puppies and butterflies just by staring at them.

     

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  145.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

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

    'Threatening to take an action you are legally entitled to take makes it not extortion.'

    Legalized extortion is still extortion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

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

    'm going to say this as kindly as possible. Stop quoting pieces of text and then NOT responding to them. You used "shorthand" (which isn't really shorthand), whatever, fascinating. What you didn't address is that IP addresses are changed constantly and most ISPs don't have logging of a sufficient quality to sand up in court. Trust me, I have friends who work in computer forensics and IP addresses are sometimes a side note but never represent the bulk of the evidence.

    You may have evidence that ISPs don't "have logging of a sufficient quality to stand up in court," but that's news to me. I'd love to see your evidence. Do share. I assume you have precedent cases you can point me to as well. I'd love to see a court that held this. I'm not saying they don't exist... I'm only saying I'm unaware of any.

    Stop being intellectually dishonest ... and condescending. No one said that offering to settle a case is immoral. However, sending a settlement offer for a case which doesn't exist and never will is immoral. I always wish I could have a reasonable conversation with you Average Joe, but you will never pull your head out of your ass long enough to see how ridiculous you are being.

    I actually feel in my gut that there's something wrong with it too. I've been unable to suss out exactly why it seems that way. I'm enjoying the back and forth with you because it's helping me to see the arguments. If my head seems up my ass, it's partly because I'm playing Devil's advocate on this point.

    This meticulous devotion to the code of law (regardless of the moral or ethical implications) is why everyone hates lawyers. They hate you even more when you have a meticulous devotion to your own idea of what the law is rather than what it actually is (or was intended to be.)

    It's not a meticulous devotion to the law. I'm trying to understand if it's "wrong" in the legal sense, the moral sense, or both. I think the law's wrong all the time, yet it's constantly evolving. If everything was perfect nothing could ever change for the better. That would be boring.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

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

    One minute you seem to know everything about networking and the next you have no idea how you could find out who is infringing without an IP address?

    Here are two off the top of my head:

    Network traffic analysis (deep packet inspection) - this mean being directly connected to an ISPs network data and monitoring which cable modems are sending and receiving traffic.

    Run a torrent tracker and torrent site - once people subscribe you would have significantly more data about them.


    Of course both of those are difficult, expensive, and also likely to give false positives. But copyright law makes it quite clear that the burden of enforcing the right falls to the person who has been granted the right ... so I don't really care what they do. I'm much more concerned about false accusations and their incredible cost.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

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

    Well it's a good thing I trust your judgement even less than Howells.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    See, this argument doesn't mesh. You see, making long distance calls isn't illegal... Long distance charges are like going over your cap. What you want is someone making obscene calls from your phone. You would NOT be liable for that, though they would certainly come knocking to ask some questions.

     

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    Some Guy, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    K, I'm aiming this reply at whoever the "genius" (and I use the term as sarcastically as possible) is that keeps saying "if you have open wifi, it's your responsibility" and "negligence" and whatever else it is he's saying.

    Awhile back, TorrentFreak had two lawyers come in and do an article on exactly that issue. One lawyer said "you have open wifi, you're guilty" the other said "you have open wifi, you're not guilty". Both explained their points. The former resorted to saying you are guilty due to negligence and cited a law from 1932 (or so) as precedent for said guilt. The law involved radios on boats. The other lawyer explained it in relation to how it pertains to current laws. Well, so many people were more curious about the ridiculousness of "open wifi = guilt" that the second lawyer came back and did another article this week that basically dissected the "guilty" lawyers position and broke it down and explained how it is inaccurate and won't fly in a court of law.

    The article that explained why "open wifi DOES NOT equal guilt and why negligence won't fly in court" can be found here:
    https://torrentfreak.com/open-wifi-and-pirates-why-copyright-negligence-won%E2%80%99t-fly-110 827/

    The other two articles that originally came before this are linked to in the top of said article. Try reading it. For those of you who haven't that is. Read it all though, slowly and try comprehending it. I know there are some ACs on here who'll go read it and then then come back and cover there ears and say "blah blah blah I can't hear you" and resume the "you're guilty, it's your fault, etc" stance. That's a given, but I think that article shoots down anything they say. And yes, there has also been a recent article on TF where a U.S. judge did clearly say that an "IP address DOES NOT equal guilt, much less a specific person" and another explaining how the "evidence" used by the USCG was flawed and incorrect in quite a few cases, hence all those studios using their services dropped their lawsuits, because the evidence was shoddy at best and it'd already been stated as such by several other courts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

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

    You may have evidence that ISPs don't "have logging of a sufficient quality to stand up in court," but that's news to me. I'd love to see your evidence. Do share. I assume you have precedent cases you can point me to as well. I'd love to see a court that held this. I'm not saying they don't exist... I'm only saying I'm unaware of any.

    Two examples from my personal life. I recently contacted Time Warner Cable because of a problem with my modem. After giving them my account number, current IP address, name, and phone number it still took them 12 tries to find the right cable modem.

    It is hard to find case law around the quality of logging as I don't know if anyone has ruled on it directly. Typically, there is a lot of other evidence and the IP address is a side note. I have several friends in computer forensics (both criminal and civil) and neither of them really trust IP addresses as a sufficient means of identifying someone. My friend who works for the FBI (looking for kiddy porn producers) would hardly trust an IP address to determine anything let alone consider it enough for a warrant.

    It's only in civil court that such flimsy evidence could be used.


    As for the immoral / unethical side of the conversation, I feel like the problem is obvious. USCG (and others like them) are not really trying to sue anyone. Knowing how you think (to a limited degree) I think you would be much more comfortable with this whole arrangement if you believed that they would ever pursue a lawsuit; however, I think we both know that they are using the court system like muscle in a extortion scam and will collect as many settlements as possible before dropping the cases against the remaining defendants.

    That is a huge abuse of the justice system. I also think that you are reasonable enough to agree that the current penalties for non-commercial copyright infringement are WAAAAAY out of line with any actual harm / damages. Any lawyer in their right mind should be horrified that stealing a CD from a record store carries a smaller penalty than downloading it from a website. At least in one case the harm is quantifiable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

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

    kidding?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Could you be more specific that some vague search on 'mac' in a forum?

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't work for ACS That would be because they don't exist anymore as a result of being burned by the courts for exactly the same kind of scam that you are defending.

    Oh and it is pretty much clear that many of the people they targeted were innocent. I agree that the "open wifi excuse" is a joke - in fact it seems to have been pushed by the plaintiffs - because once the defendant uses it they are pretty much admitting that infringement took place via their connection. In fact they need not admit that much - there are plenty of other reasons why an innocent party being accused - one of which is that the plaintiff's IP harvesting s/w is faulty - but of course they don't care aboiut that - because they can make more money from scaring innocent people.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

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

    "that an alleged infringer of the copyrighted work would patiently wait six weeks to collect the bits of the work necessary to watch the work as a whole."

    Umm...I'm guilty of that. I once left my computer on for two months straight, 24/7, to download a file through Bittorent (I had crappy internet then). There are patient people out there.
    And just in case people say why don't you buy it then, the price in electricity used was a saving versus the purchase of the software (which would have been hundreds, if not thousands).

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're being contradictory there.
    In the one sense, if I hijack your email and send a threatening message, you and I both agree that only I would be at fault, you would be held blameless (perhaps you left the web browser open on your email inbox and I happened to look at your computer).
    However, if the wifi is open, now you, the subscriber, are responsible? Most routers are set to open by default, you need a little bit of computer know-how to secure them. The average joe doesn't have that know-how. The average joe wouldn't know they had to do that, unless their ISP said so and gave them instructions or did it for them.
    There are all sorts of reasons for why an IP address was logged. My favourite one is that some of the more popular torrent trackers poison their own IP lists, by putting in fake IP addresses that aren't actually connected to the tracker. If the people doing the suing are using this as pretty much their only evidence (and I have yet to hear about any other evidence, just an IP address), then it should be thrown out, because the evidence is completely unreliable.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Could you give us a link please? I believe you and everything, but it at least makes your argument stronger when you have something to point towards.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly. A row of numbers on a spreadsheet does not equal guilt. A row of numbers on a spreadsheet with OTHER evidence does.
    For example, just today, my boss called me in and said I was in trouble for going into the office and doing nothing for an hour last week. Her proof (which she only mentioned, but completely neglected to actually show me) was that my equipment was logged out according to the computers for an hour. That one piece of evidence is meaningless: I could have been using someone else's equipment, I could have been doing work that didn't involve that equipment, the computer records could be faulty etc.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

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

    Threatening to take an action you are legally entitled to take makes it not extortion. Breaking kneecaps is illegal. Filing suit for infringement is not.


    Ah, so if it's legal, it must be moral. Got it.

    There is enough evidence to instigate a suit in good faith, right?


    This is where we differ. I don't see any indication that these actions are done in good faith. I see every indication that they are done scattershot, knowing full well that the odds are overwhelming that a sizable percentage of the people being threatened have done nothing wrong and will settle anyway.

    It's all about the extortion, not about justice.

     

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    JMT (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

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

    "Threatening to take an action you are legally entitled to take makes it not extortion."

    I don't believe your definition of extortion is accurate, not in a common-sense way at least.

    If a pair of large thugs with baseball bats threaten to bash me unless I pay them, I probably will because I would not be able to defend my self against them and losing the money is the least bad option.

    If a law firm threatens threaten to sue me for a large amount of money unless I pay them some smaller amount, I probably will pay them because I would not be able to afford to defend myself against them and losing the lesser amount of money is the least bad option.

    I really don't see much difference here. This is exactly the position a lot of the accused people find themselves in.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

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

    That is a huge abuse of the justice system.

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. If it's such a huge abuse of the legal system, then it should be easy to stop, right? What's the holdup?

     

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  162.  
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    JMT (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "My point is that without actually knowing whether he was dead at the time of the infringement, it's FUD to proclaim that they sued a dead man."

    Please stop misusing the term FUD. You clearly don't know what it means. I'm am neither Fearful, Uncertain or Doubtful about he statement that they sued a dead guy, and I doubt many others are.

     

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    JMT (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

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

    "If you CHOOSE to have open wi-fi, and provide access to those people, as a private individual and not as as service provider, you should bear responsiblity for what happens on that connection."

    If you CHOOSE to build, say, a road, and provide access to other drivers, as a private individual and not as as service provider, you should bear responsiblity for what happens on that road. So all their speeding and parking tickets get sent to you. Sound reasonable?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You want to pirate something? Just attach an open wi-fi and have a nice day.


    Yeah, not really.

    In most cases, it would be pretty easy to determine whether or not the owner of the WiFi was the guilty party. All you have to do is watch the traffic. Of course, that would mean you'd have to actually investigate and it would make these extortion attempts too expensive to engage in.

    In other words, it's a win for society at large.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

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

    It's fun to watch you gleefully admit, repeatedly, that you don't know what a service provider is.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sure. You can easily find the law itself through Google, but here's a good overview of the service provider part: http://www.ivanhoffman.com/provider.html

    Operating an open Wifi qualifies as a "transient service provider":

    a service provider is an “entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user’s choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received.”


    There is no requirement under the law that you be a commercial or corporate entity, or be operating for any particular purpose.

    There is one potential gotcha, though. The law requires that you have (and implement) a mechanism by which you can disconnect people who use your service for illegal purposes.

    All modern access points provide the technical mechanism (a configuration option that lets you block access to specific MAC addresses). Practically, this means that if you are told that a user is breaking the law and you don't try to block him, you lose your service provider status.

    If you haven't noticed or been informed of the activity, or if you can't identify the culprit, then you are likely to be safe.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

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


    Threatening to take an action you are legally entitled to take makes it not extortion. Breaking kneecaps is illegal. Filing suit for infringement is not.


    The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in the UK disagrees with you:

    The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has suspended two Davenport Lyons lawyers from practising and fined them £20,000 each for sending “intimidating letters” to individuals they accused of illegal file-sharing.

    It is possible to do something which you are technically legally entitled to do in a way that makes it illegal.

    It is a bit like stalking. Every individual action a stalker takes is legal - but the sum total is not.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

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

    What's the holdup?

    The legal system...

    It's been more or less stopped in the UK - once the courts actually got around to it - the scam has simply moved on to fresh pastures.

     

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  169.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Does it really matter?

    I mean if we allow Dead people to be infringed upon, why not allow Dead people to do the infringing as well....


    Your great, great, grandfather used the same words that my great, great, great, grandmother wrote in her diary.... Give us your house and your horse, and my great, great, great grandmother can finally rest in pieces....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:09pm

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

    Could you even sue the estate of the dead guy? You could try to collect if a judgement was issued, but wouldn't a lawsuit, either yet to be filed or in progress, just die with the man?

     

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  171.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Established that the knowledge needed to do such actions is not a) something that is natural(you are not born with that knowledge) and b) you are unlikely to find others with the necessary knowledge to do that without them having being exposed to that knowledge in a prior instance.

    Meaning the group of people who know about this is small in comparison to the whole of society and if anybody non initiated in the arts of IT is ever in the position that it needs to disprove something he will need an "expert"(and I use the term loosely) to do it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You may have been talking about hackers I was responding to the "In case I am innocent, how do I prove that I am indeed innocent? How do I prove that that IP address did not do the things they say that it did?".

    And the answer is, you probably don't, you call in somebody who can, somebody who knows where the information is and how to monitor it.

    If you are ever faced with that in the current climate the judges need to be educated on the art by someone whith verifiable credentials and not a geek-squad person or a local hacker.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

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

    I agree with you though that they only want to "extort" payments. They're simply offering to settle in lieu of a protracted lawsuit. While it's distasteful, I don't think it's illegal or immoral.

    What they are doing is no different than the criminals in the old days who went to businesses and requested protection money to keep their businesses from incurring financial losses/property damage (at their hands). Except here they are demanding settlement money to keep from incurring financial loss/bankruptcy for the next 30 years (and trust me, companies like this CAN keep a case in litigation until the vast majority of their victims are so far in debt that they can't continue to litigate). There is no "extort", what they are doing IS extortion as far as I am concerned, and extortion IS illegal.



    And even if we split hairs on the finer points of legality, I most certainly do consider such activity immoral. Mainly because even if you condone a "fight fire with fire" mentality, the vast majority of people who are engaged in the most illegal/immoral activities also tend to be among the most technically savvy as well, and for whom IP spoofing/routing/masking is among the easiest of tricks. Therefore these lawsuits are perhaps the least efficient method for finding the very people it says it is looking for.

    And again, my personal opinion is that anyone to claim otherwise means they are either lying and/or of questionable moral character at best.

    Which ever way you cut it, either the industry knows all of this, and doesn't care (in which case they fail to garner my support/sympathy) or they are simply too incompetent to deserve to stay in business (in which case they fail to garner my support/sympathy).

     

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  174.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:36pm

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

    Do people really need to prove that companies responsible for paying customers do error in their billings?

    If even companies that have a vested interest in billing someone for what he uses can't get it right what in God's name make you think that an ISP that has zero motivation to maintain accurate logs of what people do would fare any better?

    More do we know how the collection of that data was done in the first place? could that be verified by a neutral third party?

    Did that judge assert the veracity of such claims?
    Answer that judge did nothing, she failed to ascertain that the facts presented before her where accurate.

    Also you have said before that people should be responsible for their networks and who uses them, since computers code have hundreds of millions of lines and no single human being is capable of understanding it all in any meaningful way what you are implying is just not possible, can you describe the OSI layer levels and how they interact with each other? Can you read the code from a program and be able to fix it if it needs to be fixed?

    That is just likely as you are to read law in mandarin and understand how the judicial system of another country works and being able to enforce it by yourself.

    Are you going to learn the laws of every other country and how to read them? can you do it?
    If no, why are you asking anybody to learn about hundreds of millions of lines of code and be responsible for it all?

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    Re:

    But their Judges were never in the employee of the RIAA, and have refused to have the case dropped after no one being served in 120 days, federal rules are only to be used for the rights of corporations and never for the people.

    We covered the Randazza open wifi means your guilty, and the best they could come up with was well this lawsuit said it was. And they shut up shortly after we pointed out that it was a settlement not an actual punishment of the court. In fact the amount was specifically set out so they it could be used to scare other people targeted with the boogeyman of even if you didn't do it and knew nothing about it you still owe me money because you didn't protect my clients copyright.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do not forget that they also told the court that the man, who was dying of cancer and fighting these leeches tooth and nail, was close to reaching a settlement with them as well when they gave them time to grieve.

    They were lying through their teeth, to a Judge in court papers... but don't let that color your opinion of lawyers.

     

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  177.  
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    notthistime, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re:

    There ain't no law that says you have to lock your door, or your internet access.

     

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    BeeAitch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:08pm

    Re:

    Um, Beryl Howell is a she...

     

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    indieThing (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 4:03am

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

    No, you're wrong, there is enough evidence to point you in the right direction for further investigation. You should check deeper to find the right person to sue.

    I would probably support a subpoena to have the account holder questioned under oath and/or have their computer system examined by a neutral third party.

    But, at the end of the day, the sueing entity, should really look at their business models before starting a course of sueing their customers.

     

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    One Nemesis (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re:

    Seems to me that if one is behind a router (that seems to be the case for most of these instances)the only available MAC address is that of the ROUTER and no other MAC address is available.

     

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

  181.  
    icon
    One Nemesis (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 6:14am

    RICO

    This whole mass filing out of jurisdition is in the same category as a scam. Most people do not realize that they must respond to the court to assert lack of jurisdiction in their first response to the court; otherwise, it will be assumed that they have agreed to accept the jurisdiction of the court.

    Since I, as Mike and others, believe that the mass filings are fishing expeditions with little evidence to support them are done much more to scare people into paying up instead of going to court. Now if I go out and scare people to extort money from them I would probably be charged with blackmail and/or (God forbid!) a RICO violation and lose everything I have.

    Funny how the "LEGAL" way, using the court, makes blackmail okay.

    Cure: get the IP laws changed to allow for ONLY recovery of lost PROFIT (since no organization had any COSTS) and limit fines to a much smaller amount. Then the lawyers will have to find some other way to make money.

    This is, of course, for civil violations. I do not want to see some criminal organizations that rip music or movies to sell get away with it. Throw the book at them.

     

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

  182.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 8:25am

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

    I still don't get your point. We were discussing whether or not MAC Addresses can be spoofed as a means to gain access to wifi and surreptitiously infringe.

    Not sure what an expert would prove or disprove. Establishing that someone gained access to a wifi after the fact is essentially impossible, especially with most routers and default settings.

     

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

  183.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 10:35am

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

    " She obviously saw no reason to recuse herself, and as a new judge, you'd think she'd be sensitive to the issue, erring on the side of caution in case of doubt. It seems to me that your judgment is clouded, not hers"

    So you ignore the conflict of interest in the fact that she crafted the laws she is now upholding... Very telling.

     

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

  184.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

    There is a class action law suit again Dunlap for there cases. It is not moving very fast

     

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

  185.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

    Re:

    But the information in that case have pointed out that they "technology" being used is flawed and has been thrown out in other courts.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110825/03043315676/us-copyright-group-lawsuits-based-h ighly-questionable-evidence.shtml

     

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

  186.  
    identicon
    rumpole7, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    I am a defendant who intends to fight. How do I prove convincingly that,if my IP address was used, I was not the user. Please note that I believe this is a civil case and therefore they don't have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

     

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

  187.  
    identicon
    rumpole7, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    I am a defendant who intends to fight. How do I prove convincingly that,if my IP address was used, I was not the user. Please note that I believe this is a civil case and therefore they don't have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

     

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

  188.  
    identicon
    victim, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Im a victim

    I recieved a letter from my internet provider stating that i had alledegdly downloaded a film using bittorrent without copyright permission i have never downloaded any film period, i have never heard of the film that they listed, I contacted a very good intelluctual proprty law firm,and they are retaining an it firm to scan and confirm my innocence also, i will be no longer a customer to my internet provider

     

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


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