As Expected, MPAA's Filter For IsoHunt Blocks Plenty Of Legit Content, Even As MPAA Whines It's Not Good Enough

from the because-filtering-is-stupid dept

The MPAA has been engaged in an ongoing legal battle with torrent search engine IsoHunt, where a court ordered IsoHunt to wave a magic wand and block all infringement based on an MPAA list of what has to be blocked. This is pretty stupid for a variety of reasons. Hell, back in the Napster case over a decade ago, the judge made a similar requirement only to learn that filters suck for this kind of thing. There are two reasons for this: (1) they don't do a very good job blocking infringing content, and (2) they always block legitimate content. While those two things may sound contradictory, they're not. When such blocks go into place, people who really want to share unauthorized content quickly work out ways around the filters, whether it's some sort of shorthand that avoids the filters or with some other simple to decipher system. Yet, for content that wants to be found, there's no need for such basic obfuscation, and then the legit content gets blocked. In fact, last year we wrote about legitimate content being blocked.

And it's still happening today. Even as the MPAA is claiming that IsoHunt has constructed its filter to still let people infringe, there are reports coming out about how ridiculously broad and stupid the filter is, such that plenty of legitimate and authorized content is getting caught and blocked. It appears, for reasons that make no sense, the MPAA has more or less made IsoHunt set up blanket blocks on certain terms, no matter how generic:

This week artist Elliot Wallace found out that the music he shares with a Creative Commons license is blocked for U.S. visitors. Those who try to download his two track album “The Spirit Truth” will see the following error message.

“Torrent has been censored, as required by US court.”

Needless to say, Wallace doesn’t want his music to be blocked. However, one of his tracks is titled “In the Kingdom of the Undead” which contains “The Kingdom,” a combination of words which the MPAA deems infringing.

TorrentFreak goes on to note that this single filter item of "the kingdom" has resulted in a whole bunch of authorized content getting blocked:
For example, legitimate torrents blocked by “The Kingdom” phrase include an album with Reggaeton music, a selection of sermons preached at the North Main Church of Christ and a live concert from Uncle Earl. All these files are also hosted on the Internet Archive and can be shared freely.
And that's just a single phrase. There are many others, some of which the article highlights.

Meanwhile, I'm curious if anyone actually thinks this is making someone do such a search and then go give money to an MPAA-associated studio? I find that doubtful.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Meanwhile they are trying to gut the official channels that effectively kill the demand for such material instead of providing greater availability, ease of use and value in their services.

    Good, they successfully destroyed one service. Several million to go.

     

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  2.  
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    Arsik Vek (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    I agree. These filters aren't good enough. And they'll never be good enough as long as they continue to block any amount of non-infringing content. And as long as they're not good enough, they shouldn't be used.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    So who was in charge of actually implementing the filter? Was such naive filtering the MPAA's requirement, or is IsoHunt just trying to prove a point?

    I mean, seriously, who wouldn't expect this result if they are just filtering based on a vague title?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Audiogalaxy also had a filter in place whether this was by a court order or not i can't recall but people using that service were also renaming the names of the files to get around the filter.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Precedent

    OK, so maybe this judge isn't bound by the precedents, but the history of filters is still out there. Just what, under the law, causes him to ignore reality?

     

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  6.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    Was such naive filtering the MPAA's requirement, or is IsoHunt just trying to prove a point?


    I believe the judgement against IsoHunt stipulated that IsoHunt has to filter US users based on keywords provided by the MPAA.

    IsoHunt's doing exactly what it was told to do. The blocking of legit content is completely the MPAA's doing, IMHO.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    "At the time, isoHunt’s founder voiced concerns that this would lead to overfiltering, and it appears that he is right." -- Ooh, no confirmation bias there.

    This is simply an offshoot of criminality by IsoHunt, and I'd bet deliberate sabotage in the implementation.

    "However, one of his tracks is titled “In the Kingdom of the Undead” which contains “The Kingdom,” a combination of words which the MPAA deems infringing." -- So IsoHunt can't make a whitelist? Baloney.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymouse, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:25am

    They should also filter out the word "The", the letter "A" and the number "6".

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    So now Isohunt is fucking people yet again. If they had just policed themselves like most other websites manage to do, then they wouldn't have been sanctioned by a court. They brought this on themselves.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:47am

    Re: IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    So not only is the service to be held liable for the actions of third party users AND for running over every piece of content on their system with a fine tooth comb, they are also to be held liable for following a court order they knew and argued would be ineffectual when they are proven correct?

    Now you want them to bring on more hands to browse the internet for every piece of content not actually meant to be blocked by the overly broad filters to apply to a whitelist?

    Or perhaps a reporting system would be useful. if only the copyright holders had access to a reporting system for informing the site their content shouldnt be there to begin with.

    Oh wait....

     

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  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    "Backed up by screenshots, the MPAA cites several examples of popular movies whose titles are on the ban list, but are still available thought the site."

    http://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-demands-source-code-of-isohunts-failing-piracy-filter-130720/

    If you read all available information, you'll find that Pirate Mike's slant always leaves out key points and is always pro-piracy in spite of the facts.

    IsoHunt had its "due process", trial, and appeal, and still lost in court. Yet Mike won't concede, just takes off on new rants that MPAA is to blame for effects of secret code that IsoHunt wrote.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    ""Backed up by screenshots, the MPAA cites several examples of popular movies whose titles are on the ban list, but are still available thought the site.""

    Did the MPAA use a US server to access ISOhunt to get the screen shot or did they use a server outside of the US and in doing so those titles would not be filtered as the filter is only subjected to people who use US servers to access the site. Nothing would put it past the MPAA to use servers outside of the US to bypass the the filter to show falsely to the court that ISOhunt is not using a filter.

     

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  13. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    What part of "Implemented" do you not understand? MPAA is trying to get IsoHunt's source code so everyone can see just exactly where the problem is created. Just read this, the complaints in court which Mike characterizes as "whining":

    http://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-demands-source-code-of-isohunts-failing-piracy-filter-130 720/

    IsoHunt LOST in court, was found criminal in its actions that amount to infringement. It's now subject to a court order that may well stifle it to bankruptcy, but it's been done through full "due process" and trial in open court. IsoHunt had and has NO content of its own, but nearly all of its value as a site GRIFTED off valuable copyright content made by studios which invested tens of millions, NOT the tiny amount of intentionally free stuff by amateurs.

     

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  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    @ AC, with a feeble attempt to evade FACTS: "Did the MPAA use a US server to access ISOhunt to get the screen shot or did they use a server outside of the US and in doing so those titles would not be filtered as the filter is only subjected to people who use US servers to access the site. Nothing would put it past the MPAA to use servers outside of the US to bypass the the filter to show falsely to the court that ISOhunt is not using a filter.


    It's a representation made to a court, so had damn well better be accurate. I bet that it is.

    In any event, let's have IsoHunt release its source code; that's the only sure way to check -- unless of course convicted criminal enterprise IsoHunt fakes up what it releases, and I'd surprised if doesn't, SO THERE.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    That doesn't change the fact that that "tiny amount" is being blocked when it shouldn't be.

    The whole point of things like being presumed innocent, day in court, and all that other legal schmantsy pantsy stuff is to avoid getting caught in dragnets like this.

    MPAA gets to decide what terms are filtered, and they are choosing incredibly broad terms thus the problem. spending money does not give an automatic blanket license to willfully deny access to someone elses content. The end.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    "@ AC, with a feeble attempt to evade FACTS:"

    Since the article does not show or prove that the MPAA used a US server to access the site then neither you or anyone can prove that they did use a US server. And we all know that the MPAA are exactly truthful with what they say don't we.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    The criminal enterprise that wasn't shut down, wasn't raided, hasn't had it's assets seized, nobody has been sent to jail...

    Also,

    "I take the RIAA and MPAA at it's word".

    You mean the guys with the no-pay list schemes, denied royalties, hollywood accounting.. thoes guys? You take their evidence on a good faith basis? What a magical fairyland you live in.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re:

    Thought that was it. The usual stupidity.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    Should have read "And we all know that the MPAA are NOT exactly truthful with what they say don't we."

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    They'll never be satisfied until the Internet is shut down and everyone even suspected of any copyright infringement is shipped to the gulags.

    Then again, they'll still dig up some form of excuse.

     

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

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    And yet ISOhunt wasn't shutdown or had its assets seized and neither did they have the SWAT team storming someones house and putting people in jail waiting a trial ala Megaupload did they.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    Most websites police themselves? I don't think you use the internet much.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymouse, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    They don't want the internet shut down. They just want a credit card slot on every PC so that everyone can pay to watch their overlord approved content in a 1-way streaming manner. :p

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    when are the damn fools that keep doing whatever the entertainment industries tells them to do going to wise up and see the amount of harm that's being done and how it's a hell of a lot more than any benefit that comes out of those industries!
    all we hear is how many jobs that piracy has cost the industry when they include the most lowliest employee of a company so far removed from the entertainment industries it's unbelievable, people like the farmers that grow the crops that is turned into food to go into the sandwiches eaten when 'on location'! how artists are being deprived of wages when the true depriver is the industry itself, making use all the time of 'Hollywood Accounting' that keeps all the revenue generated by funneling it to various shell companies. how record shops are closing because everyone is copying songs between each other, when in actual fact, it was the industry itself that stopped using records, then stopped using tapes and now uses little plastic disks to burn music and movies on to. if shops are closing it's because they continued to try to sell records, instead of progressing to the modern media. then move to what else the industries have done or tried to do to delay the progression in the digital age. i really would like to know exactly what has been lost just because some fat, cigar smoking, 80 year old wants to stay in the time of the 1960s. there are a miriad of things that have either been slowed to a crawl or still not happening, all because the entertainment industries didn't want it/them to. the monies lost would over shadow any figure the industries SAY they have lost thousands of times! and still our stupid politicians carry on doing what the industries tell them to do, like good little boys!!

     

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  25.  
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    James Burkhardt (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    OOTB, Computer Programmers and scientists will tell you there is no way to implement a filter such as described by the court that blocks determined people. for instance:

    What am I searching for when I search the following terms:
    20-8-5 11-9-14-7-4-15-13
    - .... . / -.- .. -. --. -.. --- --
    1.0000.0.101.00.10.110.100.111.11
    0101010001101000011001010010000001001011011010010110111001100 1110110010001101111
    TKinghedom

    Give up yet? They are all easy to perform transcodes of The Kingdom, but not something most people think to censor. Filters are a race, where the filter trys to get ahead of the codes used to disguise the real term. like how you hid your computer porn stash by labeling the folder Econ Homework.

    They will find that their filter works like every other filter on the planet, looking at search terms and comparing them to a blacklist. Maybe a few hueristic algorithims to try to teach it new terms as they emerge, but that is going to make things even worse on the genuine content blocking angle.

     

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  26.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    > unless of course convicted criminal enterprise
    > IsoHunt fakes up what it releases

    It was civil case, not a criminal case, dumbshit.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    This shit is so old. Give it up already. The world is on to the scam that the tech industry is trying to pull via exploiting artists with ads on pirate sites.

    You people look silly trotting out the same old 10 year old lies. You're not fooling anyone.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Re:

    This "shit" is not old. Claiming that supermarkets and florists fell under "IP-intensive industries" was as recent as this year, made by the MPAA.

    out_of_the_blue and average_joe just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re:

    10 year old lies?

    pot, meet kettle

    Unlike the copyright cartels' arguments that keep changing every year after being debunked, these arguments are still valid which is why they're still in place 10 years later.

    I would also argue that piracy has likely created far more jobs than have been lost. Their roles have just changed and most of they "jobs" they fabricate into their numbers are bullshit anyway. Just because they stop ordering food from some caterer doesn't mean the caterer is out of a job, they're just doing business with different people. Much like the money that isn't spent on CDs/DVDs doesn't disappear from the economy, it just gets spent elsewhere. I'd be willing to bet that for every caterer that they stopped ordering food from, they've hired 3 anti-piracy people. If piracy suddenly stopped tomorrow there would be far more people out of work that actually DO work for the cartels than what they're claiming now. The cartels are nothing but smoke and mirror spinmasters who have been crying "Wolf!" for so long now that they can't get away with it anymore. Not everyone is as gullible as you.

     

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  30.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    FACTS by the likes of MPAA? Ankle-biter #1 is off his meds and delusional again. No surprise there.

     

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  31.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:17pm

    Re: IsoHunt IMPLEMENTED the filter, so Mike blames MPAA!

    So what? MPAA and RIAA blame everyone else for their mistakes.

     

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  32.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 10:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Ooh, the irony.

     

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  33.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    It's a representation made to a court, so had damn well better be accurate. I bet that it is.>/i>

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA....

    Oh that's awesome...

    Wait... ummm you're not trying to be sarcastic at all are you? oh dear.. you believe that twaddle... umm yeah.. baks away slowly from the crazy loon!

     

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  34.  
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    James Burkhardt (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 12:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    Given that this image: http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8622/pnz1.png shows the current state of a search for zero dark thirty at ONE result less then one mb in ....I think the filter is working better then the MPAA claims.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 4:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, all the money now goes to tech douches, rather than people that actually create art.

    Go die in a fire. Please.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What a stupid response that missed every point I was trying to make.

    BTW... I'm a survivor of a house fire so fuck off. Please.

     

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

  37.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You mean the people with real jobs who produce something useful for the benefit of the the world, as opposed to the entitled whiners who think everyone should be forced to consume their "art," and are just SO sure they would be millionaire celebrities if it weren't for the non-seeded torrent file of their shitty movie or album?

    Oh, if only you were right about that.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2013 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Watch out. You might get what you're after.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2013 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, you can't afford another solid gold Humvee. What a shame. Here, have a sad song played on the world's smallest violin. And a DMCA vote thrown in, you jacktard.

     

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

  40.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 1:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: IsoHunt won't release source code:

    Go back to stories where the labels have been found literally stealing money from people or the stories about how the studios deliberately avoid paying royalties - and then look at the responses from ootb and his idiot brethren. The logical contortions they try to go through to justify their behaviour are breathtaking.

     

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

  41.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 1:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ironically, to make that statement, you had to pay good money to "tech douches", from your ISP to the creator of the device you typed on as well as support others who gave away the fruits of their labour for free to benefit humanity (and most of them still manage to feed themselves - maybe if you'd listen to them you "artists" would do the same!).

    If you hate "tech douches" so much, please stop paying them and remove yourself from the internet. Using technology to complain about people who create technology just makes you look like a moron.

     

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

  42.  
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    Bergman (profile), Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 11:24pm

    I'm curious...

    If you are the owner of legit content that gets improperly blocked by a court order that any reasonable, technologically-savvy person would know is a very badly-worded order, can you name the judge in a lawsuit for damages?

     

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


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