In law school, one of my profs made exactly this point. To paraphrase:
"You need to look at the interests of the client to determine if litigation is really the answer. If you have an employee suing someone who fired them, they might really want a good reference, and you might be able to get that with just a polite phone call. And if someone is out there publishing embarrassing but true details about your client, and he wants them to stop, a lawsuit is often the last thing you want to do. It puts the details into the public record, and makes it easy for journalists to report them without running afoul of any laws themselves--they can just report that someone else is saying something. It also makes it vastly more likely to hit the news. That's the time to send a polite letter asking for them to help you out, not to go nuclear.
And above all, remember that you can always go nuclear /later/, unless you're up against a limitations period. But you can't lead off by being aggressive and then try to play nice You've already blown the opportunity at that point."
Short-term effect: Piracy goes down a bit. People are scared.
Longer-term effect: The motivations for the piracy still exist. People are still unable to access the content they want through legitimate means, and/or those legitimate means come with digital handcuffs that make this 'availability' unsuitable.
Result: People start looking for ways to continue to access material, but taking additional precautions. People figure out how to turn on privacy/anti-tracking/etc features in torrent clients, switch to private trackers, and various other means. Whether these means work or not is irrelevant, so long as thye provide some psychological comfort for the users. Downloading resumes.
Further, as a result of having invested the effort into taking the above precautions, people feel less responsible to support the artists, and more entitled to download material. So people who occasionally downloaded do so more frequently, and in larger quantities. You convert people who are casual downloaders into people who have made a commitment in terms of time and effort to become more serious downloaders.
In the longer term, tools to protect privacy get made more common, more easy to use, and more effective. But, again, whether they actually work is irrelevant. They only need to provide a safety blanket, and people are going to want to believe these measures work, because they want to continue to access content. Eventually, even the most timid people initially deterred by the new laws are back to it, convinced that the danger has passed.
Plus, the shrilling about piracy serves as an effective advertisement for it, so when someone who hasn't downloaded before finds their favourite show/song/etc unavailable, they think, "well, what about downloading it illegally?".
These measures are therefore ineffective at best, and self-defeating at worst (and the latter more often than the former).
When you hear something this stupid, you know there's a very simple explanation. What you're hearing is the voice of a lobbyist that has been echoing around in an empty skull, until it could be released somewhere suitably destructive.
In my area, there's a provision called "security for costs".
Where I am, the courts can (and usually do) award costs against one party, which are an amount of money intended to help defray the costs of the litigation, usually awarded to the winner. So, the loser also pays part of the winner's legal bills.
Now, there's also a rule that allows you to ask for security for costs, which is money that the plaintiff has to put up up front, to pay costs if they're awarded. This is intended to prevent people who couldn't pay costs, and who have weak claims from 'shaking down' others, knowing that they're immune to ever having to pay out. Getting security for costs requires showing that it'd be hard to get costs from the plaintiff if they lost, and that the claim isn't particularly strong (a strong claim rarely will attract an order for security for costs).
So, when these copyright trolling lawsuits come to my area, I think the /first/ line of argument would not be one about improper joinder. The first line of argument should be that the plaintiff has to put up security for costs. Point to Righthaven as an example of one of these companies not paying out when required to do so. Point to the various places these tactics have been shot down. Point to rulings like this, that talk about the abusive and predatory nature of these practices.
With them asking for millions of dollars from each defendant, and thousands of defendants, the amount required as security for costs would be itself in the millions of dollars, most likely. They can't pay, the suit dies there.
Honestly, this sort of 'lawsuit as business model' is /exactly/ the sort of thing that security for costs is intended to prevent.
Canada's copyright laws are far from perfect, but they have been moving in very progressive directions lately, with a strong emphasis on user rights—and Canadian universities should be harnessing that momentum, not working against it.
The direction they're likely to go in the near future is to create a 'DRM right' for publishers.
Looks like they're trying to say "don't make copies of infinite goods, because you might lose scarce goods". It's not a bad ad--I mean, they knew how to scare people, by suggesting the loss of those scarce goods. It'd be a lot less effective if it was suggesting people might lose infinite goods.
Just for laughs, picture it. Bored office drone is sitting there, eating a sandwich and looking for pirated (or free, it's not clear) software. Suddenly, there are creepy eyes peering at them, and dramatic music as they get closer to their download... suddenly, the creepy guy is also eating a very similar sandwich. A moment later, the guy finds the software he wants, and the creepy guy is now wearing the same outfit. When he hits download, the creepy guy now has the same hairstyle.
A forensic specialist, on seizing the drive, will have loaded it in a write-blocker, and made a bit-for-bit copy. The only thing they'll give you to let you enter your nuke password on is one of those copies.
You enter your nuke password, and send back the disk. Now they can compare the two disks, and find that you've changed them.
Now they're charging you with destruction of evidence, and they /still demand the unencrypted contents/. What does that mean? Well, it means they can hold you in contempt, and detain you indefinitely until you comply. IE, instead of that 30 years to life, you're there for "until you comply". After you comply, you still have the 30 years to life to face.
I'm in Canada. The FBI has neither jurisdiction nor presence here.
It's just people name their access points random things. When I lived in an apartment the crack dealer on the second floor (I think, anyway--the SSID went away when he moved) had his named "Secret Service", and another person had one named "Playboy Mansion". I'm also pretty sure that there was no Playboy Mansion in that neighbourhood.
It's long been the case that the most certain way to guarantee you get criminal charges is to be a victim of police brutality.
It's done to cover their asses. If the police beat someone, that person had better be doing something wrong. It also lets them attack the person's character in the media. Charge big, and pretend you've got a sure case. After the media furor dies down, you can drop the charges or reduce them to something reasonable.
The new twist is that merely witnessing police brutality can now be treated the same way by misapplying wiretap laws, or obstruction of justice laws, or whatever else they think they can make stick.
If your password is a random string of gibberish, it'd be pretty easy to forget it if you weren't regularly typing it in. It'd be even easier to forget it if you had to memorize new random strings of gibberish (like the encryption password on your new computer).
I have heard that you have decided to test your new subscription model here in Canada. I thought that you might be interested in my response as a Canadian.
I used to be a reader of the New York Times. That ends today, and for as long as your subscription model continues. I also frequently linked to NYT content, as it was both available to visitors and highly reputable. However, now when I am sharing news stories I shall not use the New York Times as I cannot know that those I would be sending to your page will be able to view the content. As my intention is to share the information, I shall instead find news articles elsewhere to link to. I will naturally encourage my friends (both actual and Facebook) to do likewise.
I am sure that your experiment with this model will, like all previous such experiments, be a glorious failure that is eventually withdrawn. On that day I will return as a reader, unless I find a site I like better in the meantime. I wasn't looking before, but I am now.
Twice I've been on the phone while driving... to call 911 to report drunk drivers. On both instances the police asked me to follow the car in question if I could do so safely, in order to provide them with details as to where it was going so that they could catch the car in question.
I'm sure blocking that signal would have made all drivers on the road much safer.
The new laws being proposed don't have anything to do with Craigslist. They are:
1) prohibiting the use of telecommunications to plan a sex offence
2) providing sexually-explicit material to a child to â€śgroomâ€ť them for sexual purposes
Of course, they don't actually have anything to do with child porn, either.