Nearly 50,000 People Ask Why The Government Is Seizing Their Digital Files

from the speak-out dept

The folks at Demand Progress today filed a brief in one part of the ongoing Megaupload case: the fight over users being able to get their files back. The DOJ is trying to block this, while also wanting the evidence destroyed. The MPAA says it is okay with data being returned... if there is a 100% guarantee that no infringing works are accessed (an impossibly high standard). The Demand Progress filing points out that this whole thing flies in the face of being innocent until proven guilty, and argues that users who are non-parties to the lawsuit should have access to their files.

Related to this, Demand Progress has also put together a petition, asking people to sign on to support a user's right to his or her own files -- and against the government just magically taking files out of the cloud:

One day after the Internet staged a massive blackout to protest Congress's Internet censorship legislation (SOPA/PIPA), the United States responded by seizing millions of ordinary user files hosted on the popular website Megaupload.com.

With an aim of shutting down Megaupload and other Cloud-based hosting services (like Dropbox, YouTube or even your email provider), the government is trying to claim website operators should face decades in prison for the misdeeds of some of their users. But while they pursue trumped up criminal charges against the companies' founders, they are shutting down dozens of websites, and leaving ordinary Internet users without any way of retrieving their files.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak called the case against Megaupload a "threat to innovation." Wozniak likened the Megaupload site to a highway and those who shared pirated movies and songs to speeding motorists. "You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding," he said.

Numerous laws on the books already give copyright holders plenty of avenues to stop actual infringement, but that's not enough to satisfy Hollywood's lawyers and lobbyists. The prosecutor in the case, Neil MacBride, previously served as the Anti-Piracy Vice President of the Business Software Alliance, where he represented the intellectual property interests of countless multinational corporations.

Now Hollywood's lobbyists, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, want him to make it nearly impossible for ordinary Internet users to get their property back.

As I write this, the petition appears to have just short of 50,000 signatures, and the number is increasing rapidly... The Internet vs. Hollywood


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:03pm

    Can somebody tell me why the "The Internet vs. Hollywood" petition seems to be US only?
    No "Country" box, just a ZIP one?

    Hey guys, let's be serious for a moment...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:03pm

    It doesn't really add up to a hill of beans. It would be interesting to see how many of the people signing up (a) actually had files on the site, and (b) actually have no other valid copies of it remaining.

    Petitions are sort of the ultimate way for the minority to act like they are a big deal. With (according to Kimdotcom himself) 150 million users, 50k isn't really a significant number of users affected, is it? It certainly wouldn't show significant non-infringing uses for the site.

    Remember, you can argue all you like - the seizures will in the end stand and that will be that.

     

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  3.  
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    Brad Hubbard (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:08pm

    What I still don't get

    There's one thing that's troubled me over all this.

    OK, so suppose I operate a monthly parking lot. One day, the cops tell me that they're pretty sure a stolen car is parked in my lot. So they lock the gates and proceed to airlift all of the cars out to a holding location while they determine if they're stolen or not. Meanwhile, all my PAYING customers want their cars back, but I can't give it to them. All because they think I might have known one of the cars was stolen (but they don't know which ones).

    Then you tell me the storage lot you dragged numerous, non-stolen cars to is too expensive, and so they might just blow up the cars or sell them off or whatever, but my customers who broke no laws can't have them back, in case they MIGHT be stolen (though, it'd be too hard to check, cuz there's all those numbers!).

    Just because it's digital doesn't mean no laws on due process or prior restraint apply. If it did, why are we having all these arguments around "intellectual property" laws in the first place?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    Exactly. It seems that people in the US are unaware of any other country in the world.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:14pm

    Re:

    It's in support of a US court filing... only jurisdiction over Americans...

     

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  6.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:14pm

    Re:

    50k isn't really a significant number of users affected, is it?

    Getting 50k signatures in less than a day is a big deal no matter what.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re:

    But non Americans would like to have a say because these idiotic things tend to spread and we would like to show our disgust early.

     

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  8.  
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    Rabbit80, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re:

    So - not really "The Internet vs. Hollywood" after all then. More like "Some Americans vs. Hollywood"

     

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  9.  
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    TheBigH (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Public pressure like this is a big reason why SOPA died, and ACTA is dying.

    Mr. Anonymous Shill knows this, and is terrified.

     

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  10.  
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    Rabbit80, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    Re: What I still don't get

    Its more like MU is the owner of the parking lot business, they rent the building from Carpathia and the police have locked the lot, left the cars there and are trying to identify the stolen ones from a couple of photo's which only show a tiny portion of said lot. Meanwhile, MU can't pay the rent, Carpathia can't lease the building to anyone else and have to keep paying rates etc and the car owners can't access their vehicles. Meanwhile the owner of the parking lot business (MU / K Dotcom) is based in a foreign country, has had his home illegally searched and is facing extradition charges.

     

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  11.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Re:

    the minority to act like they are a big deal.

    On this site you're the minority.

    (and in the wider world too!)

     

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  12.  
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    Grey Ferret, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:35pm

    Re: What I still don't get

    Did you just turn the "Illegal download = Stolen Car" analogy around against the shills? Nice!!

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    America Must Declare War...

     

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  14.  
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    Al Bert (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    condensed clouds

    I notice a significant amount of redundant entries in the list
    As important as the issue is, i'm troubled that doomed petitioning seems to be an appropriate reminder of the extent of available recourse at the moment.

    Condensed clouds contain only 1 ppt to 1 ppb silver by mass.

     

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  15.  
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    Khaim (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    We the People

    Instead of an internet petition on obviously-biased-personal-website, whose results ultimately don't mean anything, why not start an internet petition on the official government website?Don't mention the criminal trial at all, just ask for the personal data of law-abiding citizens to be returned to them. Make reference to a safety deposit box, or some similar analogy.

    Or start petitioning the media companies to start covering this story. Doesn't CNN have that "iReport" gimmick? Use that. But a petition only works if someone has agreed to listen to it, otherwise you're just yelling at the sky.

     

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  16.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    It doesn't really add up to a hill of beans. It would be interesting to see how many of the people shilling on this posts' comments (a) actually have substantiated arguments, and (b) actually have no other forums to shill.

    Shilling is sort of the ultimate way for the minority to act like they are a big deal. With hundreds daily comments, half a dozen isn't really a significant number, is it?

    Remember, you can argue all you like - the common sense will prevail and that will be that.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Did you sign it?

     

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  18.  
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    Jupiter Kansas, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:01pm

    Re: What I still don't get

    But what if most of the cars in the lot were stolen?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Agreed, you guys need to make a seperate international pertition to compliment yours, this doesnt just affect america.......and having international support cant be a bad, or am i wrong?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:05pm

    Re:

    Do you have anything else to say other than "neener neener neener"?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: What I still don't get

    But what if most of the cars in the lot were stolen?

    Fair enough

    But what if most of the cars in the lot were'nt stolen?

     

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  22.  
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    Simple Mind (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    Re: condensed clouds

    Yes, it is sad that all we can do is sit around watching these injustices and stupidities happening everywhere and feel helpless to do anything about it other than complain to each other and sign ineffective petitions.

    I am missing your point about the clouds though. Looking for a silver lining?

     

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  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

    Re: What I still don't get

    Actually your analogy is wrong. It is more like ...

    I operate a monthly parking lot. One day the police tell me it is possible that one or more of the cars in the lot was printed on a 3D printer. They then confiscate the entire parking lot.

     

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  24.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: What I still don't get

    But what if most of the cars in the lot were capable of time travel?

    But what if most of the cars in the lot were capable of flight?

    But what if most of the cars in the lot were rentals?

    Wow - it IS easy to make up totally useless questions with no facts to back them up. Who knew?

     

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  25.  
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    Pixelation, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:42pm

    Thank God the government is stealing from Americans (and non-Americans). I mean, think of all the money the poor musicians are now making because of it.

     

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  26.  
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    Al Bert (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: condensed clouds

    That's just the standard of the cynic's burden.
    What mostly bothered me was specifically the fact that the signature list looked about as legitimate as something made as a joke.

    Here we're watching an institution of criminals crushing privacy, innovation, and civil liberties. I look around and i see a disinterested or uninformed general public. I look to the names of those who recognize the threat and it appears they're just clowning for teh lulz.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    Re:

    Will stand like the case against DotCom in New Zealand?

     

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  28.  
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    Bahska, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    Re:

    Thats not really the point, the point is if you use the internet like say youtube? well they could be shutdown just like megaupload hell they have already been taken to court over this same issue.

    If you use, watch, listen to anything on the internet this effects you.
    Doesn't really matter if you use megaupload or not.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    Re: petitions

    Petitions are a valid way of spreading the message to those who support an issue.

    There are not many avenues available for protest anymore.

     

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  30.  
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    Bahska, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes but this issue could and already is/has impacted other countrys

     

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  31.  
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    Bahska, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:09pm

    Re: condensed clouds

    You are wrong that petitions are useless however, if they were SOPA amd its sister bills would already have been passed in many many country's and we wouldn't be commenting on this post.

    Petitions work if the number is big enough.
    Sure 50k people sounds small but 50k people in a few hours isn't that small.

     

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  32.  
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    Bahska, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:16pm

    Re: We the People

    Or there forced to listen by the shear number of people signing.

    Demand Progress aren't the only people doing petitions and other things on this and many other issues, just cause this article only tells you about one doesn't mean there is only one.

    There are many non profit organizations that lobby in courtrooms for the people in America and country's across the world every day.

     

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  33.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:17pm

    Re: We the People

    Instead of an internet petition on obviously-biased-personal-website, whose results ultimately don't mean anything, why not start an internet petition on the official government website?

    Like this one?

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120609/00050419257/tell-white-house-to-stop-illegally-seizing -shutting-down-websites.shtml

    The people signing the other one should look at this one too. It's only open for a few more days.

     

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  34.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: We the People

    The actual link to the petition is at the bottom of the article. I'll post it here for convenience:

    https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/%21/petition/shut-down-operation-our-sites/s0J pVcgp?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:32pm

    Re: We the People

    But the major media companies believe they will benefit from increased copyrights. The number one industry backing SOPA/PIPA were television and satillitte companies.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:45pm

    Re:

    Because it's trying to influence US politicians who are barely responsive to voters who do not make contributions to their campaigns or offer plush jobs to move onto, and are less responsive still to non voters who cannot offer these things.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:50pm

    Re:

    It does not matter if it is their only copy. It's their data, the end.

    There is no certainty that the seizure will stand up. The seizures in New Zealand have already been ruled illegal for instance.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: What I still don't get

    Yeah, his home, his family home, illegally raided by around 70 armed men dressed like para troopers and bringing with them a couple of helicopters, who forced their way into his home where they then terrorized his staff, including his entirely innocent nanny, along with his wife who was pregnant with twins at the time.

    Real classy hollyweird and ICE, real classy.

    Screw the excitable boys in the NZ police who went along with this crap, not even bothering to ensure the drastic actions they were taking were premised on a valid warrant.

    Fancy having armed people illegally raid your home, terrorizing your pregnant wife and your unfortunate nanny. Dispicable.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 7:14pm

    Orwellian

    The Cloud IS Big Brother.

     

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  40.  
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    maclypse (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re:

    While this is technically true, it's still sad. The very least they could have done is add a way to internationally support the matter - even if a court can't take those international voices into account.

    Most of us non-Americans wouldn't even know where to BEGIN when it comes to filing legal complaints internationally, against the US government, for their actions in New Zeeland.

    Nice that someone is trying to rally some support for this, but it's a shame all non-US victims are left out in the cold.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Re:

    Its nothing to do with influencing politicians, although i hope at least one has the decency to do a double take....its about other countries other then america taking note........do you want another influential country to come out and support these things, you know america will spin this in a possitive light, how long before other countries fall in line, once they do, it'll be embarising for them to retract it, if america does, how will they look........i tell you .........like puppets......in the face of that, will they retract or continue in the hopes of saving face, if they keep it, will they continue enforcing it, or completly lax the issue, knowing that their citizens may have a strong reaction to it

    One message, with international cooperation, its not really feasable for us to petition individually, as support will be all over the place, too many individual countries, but in this instance you have a perfect opportunity for all countries to poll in their support in one unified manner, on things we believe will actually go somewhere, if it went our way...........i reckon its a wasted opportunity that the international crowd doesnt get a say in these things, if only to express our opinion on the matter, by the numbers, hopefully, huge one *shrug*

    When i say america, i mean the corrupted

    Ok, that one turned onto a ramble...........again.....enjoy .........the other comments

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 7:54pm

    Re: We the People

    As much as i doubt the us government would be stupid enough to tamper with the numbers, beccause if it ever came out........

    i think i'd rather see confirmed numbers from an unbiased site first, to get a genereal estimation on the numbers we should expect going to the government site

    call me a pessimist, but dont call me shirley

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2012 @ 8:22pm

    "You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding". No, this is America, where they block the street under the pretext (or should I say, pretense) that SOMEbody MIGHT be driving drunk, even though there's no evidence that anybody actually is.

     

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  44.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 9:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Because, you know, it's safe to assume people from other countries would be absolutely fine to not be given their files back on bogus charges. And they'd love to see the US extend their jurisdiction at will.

     

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  45.  
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    Torg (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: What I still don't get

    I'd be pretty pissed to discover that my car was blown up just because I parked it next to a stolen one.

     

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  46.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 9:49pm

    Re:

    Except of course you don't provide a shred of evidence that anyone not signing up (the 149950000) were using it for infringement.

     

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  47.  
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    Karl (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 10:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: We the People

    Yeah, please sign this, if you haven't already, and spread the word.

    I'm just one guy, I don't have a multi-thousand person mailing list like Demand Progress. I'd still like it to get enough signatures for the petition to be noticed.

     

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  48.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 29th, 2012 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Quite correct, though if an international petition is commissioned I can see the DOJ argument now.

    Demand Progress: "We submit this petition of concerned International persons to the court."

    Court: hmm it seems over 3million humans are quite concerned with this case.

    DoJ: Your honour, we class all those people as terrorists since they are trying to tell us the God Loving USofAAAAAAAA what to do. We hereby request under National Security all those names to place on a watch list and also can now show the court that this 'evidence" must be destroyed becuase otherwise would be the USA submitting to terroristic demands. Hooah!

    Court: *slightly scared and worried of the black hatted gentlemen who now appear in the gallery* "welll.. ummm. quite... the DoJ is correct. Case dismissed"

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Cowherd, Jun 30th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    "You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding"

    No, and you especially don't then proceed to seize and try to destroy the cars of all the people who happened to be driving there when it was shut down.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It has everything to do with influencing politicians.

    If non-Americans really want to make a difference, instead of trying to find ways to add there voices to a petition of a US court (which will mostly ignore the will of Americans, much less non-Americans) they should focus more of putting in place government officials who won't simply roll over the first time the Us says heel.

    Of course if Americans would stop pretending that 98% of both the Republicans and Democrats in this country could care less about the people and only for the corporate interests maybe the US won't be the world's biggest bully.

    On, and it's not the "internet vs Holywood", it's the people vs. Hollywood. The internet couldn't care a crap about what Hollywood does.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    Because Hollywood is in the U.S., and the U.S. thinks it owns and controls the internet.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    tsk tsk Mike

    the government "took" nothing, remember it isn't "theft", as it isn't real, they are an infinitely copyable digital product, the government didn't stop you from selling/posting your infinitly copyable digital product

    and having "rights" to your files???? I didn't think Mike thought you had "rights" to an infinitely copyable digital product

    that was why you liked piracy and supported file sharing was culture, NOW you agree that people should have "rights" over their infinitely copyable digital product, and should not have their "rights" violated????

    wow, hows your own medicine taste?? you flip faster than obama on raising our taxes

     

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  53.  
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    Karl (profile), Jul 1st, 2012 @ 2:16am

    Re:

    the government didn't stop you from selling/posting your infinitly copyable digital product

    Actually, that's exactly what they did. They seized the only remaining copies of Goodwin's (not Mike's) personal data. That data was literally taken: the government taking possession of it means that Goodwin doesn't have it anymore. If the government merely made copies of the data (e.g. for evidence), then we would be having a different discussion.

    The rest is just straw man arguments and slander. Mike never once said infinitely copyable digital products aren't "real," nor has he ever said nobody has (or should have) rights to it.

     

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  54.  
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    letherial (profile), Jul 1st, 2012 @ 3:57am

    Re: Re:

    Wait, your saying there is other country's!?

    You sir are delusional.

     

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  55.  
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    phlynhi (profile), Jul 1st, 2012 @ 5:57am

    Abuse of Irony

    I use(d) MU to easily share files (home movies and photos, mostly) with my far-flung family members. Email a link to a group and done. No need for social network accounts, fear of loss of privacy associated with such, so many advantages to MU.
    Additionally, I use(d) MU for Android rooting files and themes, to share and as a kind of Dropbox account (in case messing around w/ my phone was more interesting than working while at work).
    The irony of ICE/MPAA stealing my files that were on Megaupload (actually stealing, not copying) in response to alleged threat is so overwhelming to me that it creates a taste of raw spinach and old pennies in my mouth.

     

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  56.  
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    Rabbit80, Jul 1st, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Given the fact the warrants for searching K Dotcoms mansion were unlawful, there was millions of $$$s worth of stuff taken not related to copyright infringement (eg cars) and that it was an armed raid, wouldn't the raid qualify as armed robbery?

     

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  57.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 1st, 2012 @ 11:19pm

    Re:

    So I'm confused, are you trying to have your cake and eat it too?

    Your position seems to be that infinitely copyable files are capable of being stolen when it's the 'entertainment' industry making the accusations, but they aren't capable of being stolen if it's a citizen making the accusation.

    I swear, that 'H' word is just on the tip of my tongue, if only I could remember what it was...

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2012 @ 5:14am

    a whole 'nearly 50,000' (but not quite)..

    Nearly 50,000

    How nearly ???

    and what percentage of that is it of the total users of the internet ??

    0.00000000000000000000001%

    Nice try at 'spin' but as usual you miss the mark by a long shot !!!...

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2012 @ 5:16am

    how many of that 50,000 (sorry Nearly 50,000) were actually ones who had "THEIR" files taken ??

    I bet not many (or any) of them..

    So your heading, Masnick, as usual, IS A LIE..

     

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

  60.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jul 2nd, 2012 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re:

    "only jurisdiction over Americans..." - unlike the American 'law' that seems to have jurisdiction over the rest of the world.

    No legalising without representation!

     

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

  61.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jul 2nd, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: What I still don't get

    You should have known, you piracy supporter!

     

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

  62.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jul 2nd, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Re:

    So people aren't allowed to be concerned citizens about something that doesn't actually directly affect them? Thank goodness, we can close down the Westboro Baptist Church and One Million Moms! Bryan Fischer can finally shut up!

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re:

    Hypocrisy?

    I can't see where (in this thread) Karl places any suggestion of a viewpoint that aligns with the statements you claim.

    It is of course possible to steal/thieve data from an entertainment provider, if you take physical possession of the data holding media of the data you are stealing.

     

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

  64.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 3rd, 2012 @ 7:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, small mistake on your part, I wasn't responding to Karl, we were both responding to an AC, in particular the post that starts with 'tsk tsk Mike'.

    Setting comments to 'Threaded' instead of 'Flattened' helps avoid those kind of confusions.

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Ilfar, Jul 3rd, 2012 @ 11:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: What I still don't get

    We had a fellow holed up in his home, masses of ammo, and who had already shot at police and neighbours... And we didn't get that level of police response.

    The Aramoana massacre, guy went on a rampage and shot up most of a small community... And we didn't get that level of police response.

    Sickening to watch my country sink to this kind of action.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    formation seo, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Bonjour et bravo pour ce que vous faites. Vous avez une très belle plume, bravo ! Amicalement,

     

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


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