MPAA Gets Town To Turn Off Free Muni-WiFi Over Single Unauthorized Movie Download

from the the-internets-must-die dept

Dan alerts us to the news that the free muni-WiFi system used around the Coshocton?s County Courthouse in Northern Ohio was shut down over a complaint by the MPAA over a single unauthorized movie download. Amazingly, rather than admit that perhaps that was going a bit too far in punishing everyone in that town over a single individual’s usage, the MPAA couldn’t resist the opportunity to complain about the evils of movie piracy again. The MPAA doesn’t seem concerned at all about the collateral damage, and just thinks that it’s a good opportunity to push ahead with its misguided complaint against file sharing.

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Companies: mpaa

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Comments on “MPAA Gets Town To Turn Off Free Muni-WiFi Over Single Unauthorized Movie Download”

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53 Comments
senshikaze (profile) says:

If i was the county It admin, I would have said bugger off. Hell, I have never seen our county governments react that fast to anything technology wise (roommate works for the IT dept in our county). The request would have to have gone through at least ten level of bureaucratic BS until the decision was made, and then it would have to go back through to make sure the decision was made properly. One letter from anybody wouldn’t do jack shit around here.
Sometimes having a slow, techno-phobic government isn’t all that bad…

Anonymous Coward says:

Interesting Idea

Perhaps the three strikes law they are trying to implement in the UK good be amended as follows:-

Once accused three times the accused’s Internet access is cut off along with all of their neighbours within a 100 metre radius.

Also, to discourage further “theft” the neighbours should be sent the name, address and recent mugshot of the accused along with a note saying “go get the thieving bastard who cut off your internet access”.

Skout (profile) says:

I wonder how it was downloaded

While I’m almost always on the side of freedom and sharing, I have to wonder what medium was used to download it, and I think that consideration show weigh heavily on any decision. If it was a torrent or kazaa, I think the admins of the system SHOULD be embarrassed and take it down.

A free service run by taxpayers should be run by professionals who know how to control the system and prevent active illegal filesharing.

Otherwise, carry on! 🙂 As to NullOp above, hear hear! I’m not sure Hollywood will hear us correctly when we don’t buy more of their offerings, but it’s the only way we can voice our ire: STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCT.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

“A free service run by taxpayers should be run by professionals who know how to control the system and prevent active illegal filesharing.”

Well, hey, I’m not the most technical person in the virtual room, but you’re telling me that there are IT Professionals that can lock down internet access on a network in such a way that they can prevent EVEN ONE CASE of filesharing?

It seems to me that if we’ve learned anything from the filesharers throughout the world, it’s that by and large you ain’t gonna stop them. Certainly not at a 100% clip.

Call me Al says:

Re: Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

Very true. Many people, including no small number of Techdirt readers, pride themselves on being able to get around systems put in place to stop them doing what they want to do. A determined person who knows there stuff will crack any system the County could have put in place.

Also lets face it, the best and the brightest are hardly likely to be workng for the County and running their free WIFI.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

“I’m not sure Hollywood will hear us correctly when we don’t buy more of their offerings, but it’s the only way we can voice our ire: STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCT.”

No, they will just claim the declining sales are all due to piracy. They will go on 60 Minutes and show depressed retailers moaning about dismal sales due to piracy. They will hold press conferences and issue press releases with bogus statistics showing how piracy is to blame for their problems and press their pocket Congressmen to pass laws to protect their precious profit machine.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: I wonder how it was downloaded

So much wrong with this sentence: “A free service run by taxpayers should be run by professionals who know how to control the system and prevent active illegal filesharing.”

It’s not free, the taxpayers paid for it.

The people running it are professionals, unless they do not draw a salary to run it, which is highly unlikely.

Preventing active illegal “anything” is as possible as the same preventive measures you take for anything else the taxpayer funded for public use: roads, schools, buildings. Do we shut down roads because a bank robber fled on it? No, you find the bank robber. Do we close schools and board them up because someone gets hurt? No.

So why does the MPAA get to stop a piece of public infrastructure? Because you let them.

geekrawker (user link) says:

Re: Re: This promotes buying?

Sure, to ease the minds of industry shareholders…and for the MPAA’s legal departments to justify there rates. If they found no instances of file sharing, or were unable to shutdown public infrastructures and throw old ladies in jail, there would be no reason to keep the legal vigilantes on payroll. Job Security anyone?

As to the comments on Boycotting, ya that doesn’t really work. Look how well the gas boycotts go each year. There are too many in the masses that don’t care or are oblivious to the facts. I doubt our small group of tech heads would make much of an impact on the industry. I stopped buying movies and audio CDs in 2001 (with the exception of my favorites, probably just a few discs a year now). Plus i prefer to order direct from the artist or company when available, so at least they can associate the sale with a true fan, and all the malling lists perks like stickers, coozies, and pre-releases.

I think it will take the death of the baby boom generation before we ever see any real reform with copyrights, IP, TM, and the Music and Movie industry. (Don’t take that the wrong way dad)

gorehound (profile) says:

I am getting more and more angry at what these bigwig greedbag hollywood and mpaa are doing to us.we are not all pirates assholes.you are offending me and millions of others with your asshole ideas taking away freedoms and things we should have legally.
i am going to protest your greedyness by not buying anymore new films.i can wait a few weeks and then i can go out and buy your new movie USED !!!! and buying a movie used will insure that you greedbags get nothing out of me.and as far as sony goes you can kiss my ass.
i do not own blu-ray.i do not own a PS3.

Anonymous Coward says:

Its a sad day when our county governments are so scared of companies suing them that they react in this way. The complaint was about a single file being uploaded. So the knuckleheads in the IT department shutdown the entire wifi network – a network that is used by the courts and local police (among others) to do county business. Also, it sounds like the city already did some filtering and is now going to implement monitoring too. Its Sony’s job to protect its property not the county’s.

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

Free WiFi Networks....

Anyone that admins a free public network SHOULD certainly know better than the admins for the courthouse WiFi. The shutdown of the network was a bit over-done. If it were me, and yes I’m an admin, it wouldn’t have happened to begin with. Secondly, I would have locked down the ports and protocols a hell of a lot more than they did, strictly for liability purposes. However, I do support file-sharing. 😉

The MPAA/RIAA are nothing more than MAFIA Organizations who’s business model died decades ago. ” }:> “

And as for Sony Pictures… Their pre-release “DVD Screeners” for new movies are the most WIDELY LEAKED DVDs in the file-sharing community. They need to look in the mirror, before pointing their finger at others. ” }:> ”

Share the wealth. 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Let me see if I have this right.

Sony (apparently NOT the MPAA) sent a letter to an ISP, a copy of which is not provided, the ISP in some manner contacted the town (presumably its IT people, but it could have been another group in the town), and the town then presumably decides to shut down the system for some unstated period of time.

Despite the above, people on this site once more rail “greed”, “MPAA”, and all the other buzzwords that get them whipped up into a techdirt inspiried frenzy.

If this is an example of what to expect with internet journalism, then we have a much bigger problem than internet v. print journalism. We have a lack of critical, independent thinking among the news consuming public.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

MPAA members include the “big six” major Hollywood studios which are:
Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group (The Walt Disney Company);
Columbia Pictures (Sony Corporation);
Paramount Pictures (Viacom);
20th Century Fox (News Corporation);
Universal Studios (NBC Universal);
Warner Bros. (Time Warner).

So, Sony is actually part of the MPAA. Don’t believe any movie industry trolls that may be going around pretending otherwise. In addition, the MPAA has been going around spinning the story in the press.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If this is an example of what to expect with internet journalism, then we have a much bigger problem than internet v. print journalism. We have a lack of critical, independent thinking among the news consuming public.

Have you asked Mike if he considers this blog to be categorized as a news site?

As for the rest of your comment, I tend to think the opposite. It seems that due to personnel cutbacks, print news lacks the resources to dig deeper than a press release authored by a PR firm. And for most print journalists, the press release is sufficient enough to produce a story. Lack of critical, independent thinking isn’t a problem with the general public.

The internet has free resources which can dig deeper into a story and provide sources that may add to the original story. These free resources can’t be duplicated in a newsroom with a defined number of journalists, and deadlines.

Out of your points, I’ll give you one- some print resources have better editing and a house-defined style, but that’s about the only difference.

I think more people gravitate to internet news because it seems more “human” and interesting to the reader.

Anonymous Coward says:

Incorrect title?

Hey Mike, according ot the article:
“was completely shut down by the county’s Information Technology Department, after Sony Pictures tracked one user sharing a single movie and issued a complaint”

I think that ‘sharing’ is uploading, not downloading. Am I missing something that makes this upload a download?

Rekrul says:

If you were to give the MPAA/RIAA a magic button that would instantly and permanently disable every single device in the world capable of being used for copyright infringement, they’d be pounding on it like maniacs before you could even finish the first sentence, and then would wonder why none of of their cameras or recording studios were working.

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