MPAA Threatens To Have Google Disconnected From The Internet Over File Sharing?

from the ah,-the-power-of-false-threats dept

While Homeland Security insists that Google is different than the sites whose domain names its seized lately, its agents haven’t done a very good job of explaining why (beyond “in our minds, it’s different.”) However, at least according to the automated script the MPAA uses to warn ISPs of file sharing, perhaps Google isn’t all that different. The MPAA — who, it should be noted — was a major driver for the domain name seizures — sends out form letters warning people they could lose their internet access over file sharing, and over at TorrentFreak, they’ve noticed that Google’s been on the receiving end of a bunch of these threats lately. Mostly at issue are situations where people are using Google’s free WiFi that’s provided mainly in Mountain View, but in some cases it appears to involve employees working from Google’s headquarters. Of course, the chances of Google losing internet access over such threats is less than nil, but it’s amusing to see the MPAA still include the baseless threat.

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Companies: google, mpaa

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Comments on “MPAA Threatens To Have Google Disconnected From The Internet Over File Sharing?”

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Not an electronic Rodent says:


Of course, the chances of Google losing internet access over such threats is less than nil, but it’s amusing to see the MPAA still include the baseless threat.

The thing I find interesting about that statement is that such a threat against Google has no more or less basis in fact than those against any end user. So why exactly is it a ludicrous threat against google when it’s not against a user? The obvious answer is that Google have billions of pounds with which to contest such a claim. Pretty much demonstrates to me that copyright law as it stands at the moment is nothing more than legalised extortion against people that can’t possibly defend themselves.
Maybe it’s just me, but every time I hear about these letters I have a mental image of Ray Winston standing in a small shop in the East End of London commenting to the owner; (husky menacing cockney accent) “Very… flammable these old places, ‘know what I mean…?”

Not an electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re: Quite

Since Google was founded and is headquartered in the U.S., I prefer to say they have billions of dollars.

A fair point and a slip on my part, but then $ wouldn’t have fitted my East End gangster reference quite so well would it? I meant they can afford to defend themselves against threats better than the average guy on the street.
To keep my slightly silly mental image running, think the shopkeeper in question replying to Mr. Winston “I don’t know nuffink about that guvnor you want to talk to Mr. Kray and his bruvver” 🙂

Or perhaps in this case you’d prefer “You want to talk to Mr. Wilson and his brothers, Woodrow, Woodrow and Woodrow.”

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Looks like someone’s getting too big for their britches! No doubt the asshats at the MPAA have been emboldened by the recent website shutdowns, and their strategy is now clear.

Their goal was never about shutting down these smaller websites, but about setting precedent so they could go after bigger fish. Looks like Google is their first target. Also, to continue with fishing analogies, the MPAA is going to need a bigger boat.

halley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Okay, I agree that it’s just a mistake on MPAA’s part to do this. However, this points to a big problem in the cases: they do NO due diligence on vetting these cases. Filing suit, or even sending a C&D, should not be done without a good faith effort. What we have here is a robot-rubber-stamped process that is spamming the legal system. How is this not a DoS attack on the courts?

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

But the goal isn’t to shut Google down. It’s to extort massive amounts of money from them with the threat of blocking them from the Internet or whatever. The fact that there was no due process for the smaller lesser/unknown websites didn’t stop them, it merely emboldened them.

I have no doubt this will backfire on them, they just don’t see that yet.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

>> I don’t think even the MPAA is stupid enough to go after google

Wrong. There are many who would step up to fill Google’s shoes with a more corporate and monopolistic bent if Google could be displaced.

Google gives everyone similar rights, but I can see other candidates who would strike deals with the major players and largely exclude most other people from the show (eg, to be “safe”) or tax them unfairly because of their small size.

Wealth has a strong tendency to preservation of it (and more so the more wealth in concentrated in few hands). Those hands don’t like anything that resembles fairness.

In fact, without the government — and people love to hit on the government — there would be much greater abuse since those with the greatest levers are able to exact the most draconian/biased of contract terms so as to even more convincingly lock in their gains. Once they have you on paper to very unfair terms and locked out of most “rights” and reasonable chance to win things back, your only recourse is physical force. .. And, except in the most extreme of circumstances, wealth buys you better guns, supplies, and manpower.

Anonymous Coward says:

That does it...

I’m done. Got a new movie coming out? DON’T CARE! I’m not going to watch it, at the theater, Red Box, Online, NetFlix…nothing. New catchy song? DON’T CARE! I’m not going to listen to it on the raido, torrent it, iTunes it, youtube it…nothing.

I’m past tired of the RIAA/MPAA antics. Supporting them is pretty much like giving cash to a drug addict. They refuse to change their ways, and may get you in legal trouble. So I’m doing to RIAA/MPAA media like I would a drug addict, remove them from my life.

I got better things to spend my money on.

Anonymous Coward says:

All this piss and vinegar from a bunch of people who didn’t read the story:

“Of the 100 latest infringement notices received by Google for sharing copyright works, most of them are associated with IP-addresses used by Wi-Fi customers while a few point to Google?s headquarters. “

Some of them are wifi, but some of them are also Google employee computers. It doesn’t matter who the company is, this is truly unacceptable behavior. What you choose to do in your own home is your own legal issue, but doing it at work, well…

It pays to read the story.

Berenerd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Do you know how many State government PCs a month are removed from the network for “sharing illegal content”? When I worked in state government it was about 28%. 99.9 times out of 100 it was the machines were infected with viruses. Just because they point to IPs on the Google intranet doesn’t mean they are consciously infringing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You would think that the brains at Google would know how to keep a computer from getting infected (don’t they use linux anyway?). That should not be an issue for them.

You are saying that 28% of state government computers were dropped offline each month for illegal file sharing (and not any other issue)?

Are they so poorly setup, lacking basic anti-virus software that they get hacked at a rate like that? That would be major news, you better call your local TV station for coverage. That would be a very serious situation!

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Maybe you should count yourself among those who didn’t read the article. It says that there has been a spike in the number of infringement notices Google has been receiving. Either the number of people filesharing has suddenly spiked or the MPAA is looking at bigger targets.

Occam’s razor applies here. The MPAA has had success with smaller websites and now they are setting up for larger ones.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Occam’s razor doesn’t mean “apply what you think is right”, does it?

Have you considered the simple alternatives, such as increases in people using wi-fi in the area to lower their risk of getting caught pirating? Perhaps Google hiring new people who are less up on corporate policy? Perhaps changes in their networks or computers that allow employees more freedom (and thus maybe more viruses)?

Perhaps the MPAA people have started to specifically work an area that they noticed a bunch of file sharing coming from. Perhaps they know it’s Google’s wi-fi network and want to get the media talking about the negatives of open wifi connections.

There are plenty of possiblities on the wi-fi side, fewer on the Google corporate office side.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It also pays to understand the technology.

What is the methodology of these automated ‘We detected an infringement’ letters? Do they actually connect to the IP and download all or part of the file?

Many bit torrent trackers are inserting random IPs into their tables. That’s how you get network printer IPs that are ‘detected’ or how people without computers (but cable service) are sued.

What if the IP is the external address of a NAT? There could be hundreds of hosts behind that NAT and no way to tell which it was.

Heck, it could even be a honeypot machine designed to capture malware for study in order to prevent end users from getting it.

average_joe says:

From the torrentfreak article Mike linked to:

Every year, the major movie studios and record labels send out tens of thousands of warnings to Internet users who are suspected of sharing their content using BitTorrent. These infringement notices are meant to inform users of their wrongdoings, and to convince the recipients to never download anything again.

The process works as follows. The copyright holders hire companies such as BayTSP and MediaSentry to track down people who share certain titles on BitTorrent and other file-sharing networks. These companies then join the swarm and request files from others. When someone shares a piece of the file with them, they log the IP-address, look up the ISP and send out an infringement notice automatically.

Most of the notices are sent out to the larger ISPs who are then asked to forward them to the customers in question . . . .

Here’s what I don’t get… the ISPs are complaining about the IP lookups in the mass infringement cases. Time Warner, for example, told a judge they can only lookup 28 IP addresses a month total for two cases combined. Another big ISP (I can’t remember which), told a judge it costs them $120 per lookup. If that’s the case, how is it that the ISPs can do “tens of thousands” of lookups for these automatically-generated infringement notices, but when faced with a court order to do the same, it’s too big a burden?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If that’s the case, how is it that the ISPs can do “tens of thousands” of lookups for these automatically-generated infringement notices, but when faced with a court order to do the same, it’s too big a burden?

Very likely because providing information as a result of a court ordered subpoena is an entirely different situation than sending an automated scary email.

Providing incorrect information to the court – there’s possibly a perjury charge there. So multiple databases need to be crosschecked by a human being to insure accuracy to the best of their ability.

Automated infringement notice? Blast off scary email message to 1000 users based on the first hit of an IP lookup. Meh, anyone can write a script to do that. Worst that happens is you scare some people into using less of the ISP’s precious bandwidth, or you generate a few calls to your outsourced customer service call center.

Jimr (profile) says:

Better get MS, Apple, unix, etc off too

It all those nasty operating systems that facility the piracy. Better stop those too.

Hell even hardware manufactures are in on piracy facility game too. Stop them.

Your eyes allow you to see pirated stuff better poke them out for good measure. And your ears so you can not hear with out paying the RIAA for certified hearing aid.

I think a far better solution would be to cut the internet off to the all MPAA/RIAA offices, staffs, homes and lawyers.

It is all well and nice to try to protect your investments but trying to hold everyone else accountable for you bad business models and expectations of profit is just unrealistic.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

This is a whole lot of NOTHING

This is just comical. The MPAA just has an automated process that targeted Google on accident. They have no intention of threatening or extorting anything from Google. Attacking Google over copyrights would basically be the same as declaring war on the net. The MPAA would then have to threaten Yahoo and Microsoft as well as any other major search engines.

That alone would bring enough of a firestorm on the doorstep of nearly every politician in the world and certainly change A LOT of views about copyright laws. The MPAA doesn’t want reductions in copyright laws or to lose any political strength it has right now.

So take it for what it is, a comical mistake that just shows the MPAA has no real clue.

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