Is Accessing A Website Using Someone Else's Login Copyright Infringement?

from the novel-arguments dept

Damon calls our attention to a rather novel (and potentially far reaching) claim of copyright infringement by a real estate information company called CoStar. CoStar provides subscription-based real estate information, which companies pay hundreds of dollars a month for in subscription fees. Not surprisingly, some customers have passed around their login information to others, leading to the lawsuit. However, rather than going after them for breach of contract or theft of services, CoStar is claiming that both handing over your login and accessing the content with someone else's login is copyright infringement. Thus, CoStar is asking for the statutory maximum of $150,000 for every access. Of course, there are already questions about whether that $150k number is constitutionally acceptable, but this lawsuit seems like a stretch no matter what.

I could understand a breach of contract claim, but CoStar is saying that anyone who passed on their logins or accessed the content using someone else's login effectively made an "unauthorized copy" of the content, which definitely seems like quite a stretch in interpreting copyright law. You have to wonder if the firm in question will fight back or settle, but if this case moves forward and accessing content under someone else's login is considered copyright infringement, potentially subject to fines of up to $150,000 per instance, it could lead to some fairly nasty unintended consequences. What if you use someone else's computer and they've logged themselves into a site with a cookie? If you visit that site, are you guilty of copyright infringement? This seems to clearly go beyond copyright's intended purpose.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Local copy AC, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Well if you look at it...

    browsers consistently cashe websites and info in order to display them. Not to mention the local representation in memory. This is a hell of a stretch but technically looking at a webpage does create a local copy. But this would lead to a revolt in the way the internet functions.

     

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  2.  
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    Tony, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    "This seems to clearly go beyond copyright's intended purpose."

    It seems to me that COPYRIGHT goes beyond copyright's intended purpose anymore. Really - how long after the creator's death should something remain in copyright?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    If we were going to have copyright based on a creator's death, then it would have to be at least long enough that nobody could profit from killing the creator. I bet that's why it doesn't work that way. Although somehow I don't think that was your point. I'd say you're preaching to the choir.

     

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  4.  
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    chuck green, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Stretch isn't the word

    Man, what will the lawyers come up with next?

    The defendant company should have just printed out the info and passed that around the office instead.
    One log in, same info, no trail of evidence.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Why not actually read the Complaint filed by CoStar before deriding the lawsuit? It can be found at:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/9681492/CoStar-v-Copier-Country-Complaint

    The alleged facts are nowhere as simplistic an the article suggests, and the case involves numerous Causes of Action besides simply copyright infringement.

    As to the copyright claim, you will note that it involves two parties, one against which a claim for contributory infringement is being asserted and another who used the disclosed login data to access content from CoStar and downloaded it for display on their office displays.

    You say this is a stretch in interpreting copyright law. I say this is a pure vanilla copyright infringement matter entirely consistent with longstanding copyright jurisprudence. Of course, how this one issue is finally decided will depend entirely upon relevant evidence presented to the court.

     

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  6.  
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    anonymous coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    real estate listings are IP?

    I may need to re-read the article, but aren't real estate listings facts and thus not copyright-able?

     

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  7.  
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    NullOp, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    It Figures!

    First we have a case of breach of contract by the uses. Second we have a case of greed on the part of CoStar. Third we have the question of copyright as applies to user logins. They are not copyrighted by any stretch of the imagination. Have you ever seen the copyright notice character on any login screen? No! Logins are property of the issuer and are subject to stated contract agreements. But, in no way are they copyrighted. Once again we see companies trying to profit not by fielding a great product but by misapplying legal statutes. Discouraging, very discouraging...

     

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  8.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Stretch isn't the word

    Well, you just made the defendants point for them, that sharing the login is the exact same as making ILLEGAL copy's and passing them out.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    My children's children's would like to listen to music without having to pay a lot to people its not there business anymore! Look at the Happy Birthday song see http://www.google.nl/search?hl=nl&q=Happy+Birthday+copyright+&btnG=Zoeken&meta=

     

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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: real estate listings are IP?

    Database consisting of facts can be copyrighted, ie encyclipedias.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    As to the copyright claim, you will note that it involves two parties, one against which a claim for contributory infringement is being asserted and another who used the disclosed login data to access content from CoStar and downloaded it for display on their office displays.

    Both of which represent a huge stretch. This should not be a copyright issue at all.

    You say this is a stretch in interpreting copyright law. I say this is a pure vanilla copyright infringement matter entirely consistent with longstanding copyright jurisprudence.

    And once again, you miss the point: that's a huge problem, as that goes WAY WAY beyond copyright's intended purpose.

    You really love to defend misuses of IP law, don't you?

     

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  12.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Re: It Figures!

    One, There not saying the login is copyright, there saying that the info on the sight is copyrighted and that sharing the login is the exact same as making ILLEGAL copy's and passing them out.

    Two, it's not greed(maybe), they make there money by providing something that there customers are giving away for free.

    And Three, Listen I Hate copyright laws too, but that is not a listens come up with bigger and better strawmen to support your arguments.

     

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  13.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    You know, I'm starting to notice something when it comes to this sight.

    "The alleged facts are nowhere as simplistic an the article suggests"

    They rarely are!!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re:

    You really love to defend misuses of IP law, don't you?

    Based upon the allegations presented in the Complaint this is hardly a situation involving a "misuse" of copyright law. To the contrary, the allegations are consistent with the law's intended purpose. I take it you are not a student of Nimmer's treatise on copyright law. If you were I am certain you would avoid the refrain that this case is a "stretch".

    Once again, read the complaint to understand the total scope of this matter.

     

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  15.  
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    Hulser, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    The alleged facts are nowhere as simplistic an the article suggests

    Thanks for the link, but perhaps it would be helpful if you gave some more detail on why you think the Techdirt article is oversimplifying the situation as it pertains to the application of copyright laws.

    and the case involves numerous Causes of Action besides simply copyright infringement.

    So? The TD article discusses the possible unintended consequences of how CoStar is using copyright laws in this case. How are these other "Causes of Action" relevent to the topic at hand or, specifically, the point about unintended consequences?

    As to the copyright claim, you will note that it involves two parties, one against which a claim for contributory infringement is being asserted and another who used the disclosed login data to access content from CoStar and downloaded it for display on their office displays.

    Can you reference the specific sections that relate to the examples you give here? I don't think most people here understood the nuances of that legal document, not to mention that the document is on the long side, so it'd be much easier for you just to quote the relevent section or at least tell us the section numbers.

    You say this is a stretch in interpreting copyright law. I say this is a pure vanilla copyright infringement matter entirely consistent with longstanding copyright jurisprudence.

    I think you have a point here if someone actually downloaded a copy of the data in a manner other than normal caching. Again, specific examples would help.

     

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  16.  
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    Hulser, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re:

    You know, I'm starting to notice something when it comes to this sight.

    "The alleged facts are nowhere as simplistic an the article suggests"

    They rarely are!!


    And I'm starting to notice that people like you frequently make blanket allegations without actually giving any examples or justification. Statements like yours have the logical equivalency of "Oh huh!"

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for the link, but perhaps it would be helpful if you gave some more detail on why you think the Techdirt article is oversimplifying the situation as it pertains to the application of copyright laws.

    In layman's terms, the party supplying the login information to others who do not have a subscription are facilitating copyright infringement by those other persons. This is a situation that clearly implicates the possibility of contributory infringement, a longstanding legal principle codified in copyright law and judicial jurisprudence.

    As for those using the login information to improperly gain access to the website, the complaint alleges not only that the content presented to a user is copyrighted, but that copyright registrations have been secured and are in hand.
    Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I am not aware of how one can view the content on a remote server without downloading the content for viewing on one's display. This is a classical example of making an unauthorized copy.

    Can you reference the specific sections that relate to the examples you give here? I don't think most people here understood the nuances of that legal document, not to mention that the document is on the long side, so it'd be much easier for you just to quote the relevent section or at least tell us the section numbers.

    See: Counts III and IV on pages 10-12. The factual allegations pertinent to these counts are recited in paras. 1 through 28.

    I think you have a point here if someone actually downloaded a copy of the data in a manner other than normal caching.

    I am not quite sure "normal caching" means to you. Mine is but the simple observation that access to the website is restricted to authorized users (i.e., those with current subscriptions). Those who are not authorized users are engaged in accessing and downloading content (i.e., making a copy) without the permission of the copyright holder.

     

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  18.  
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    Jesse, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    What if you tell a friend about a deal you find through a pay for service, is that copyright infringement too? Do they have rights to what we think?

     

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  19.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And I know for a fact you either don't frequent this site often or every go and read the article for which the blogs are referring, but you want a list fine, here are recent offenders of oversimplification.

    Sex Offenders In Georgia Required To Hand Over Passwords... To Protect The Children
    Turns Out You Can't Sue SexSearch.com If The Girl You Met Via It Is Underage
    Missing The Point In Movie Attendance Numbers
    Breast-Feeding Photo Brouhaha Shows How Impossible It Is To Rate Websites

    The fact of the matter is the blogs here will often oversimplify an example in order to make a point. But you keep on just eating what you are fed and disagreeing with everyone on principal alone.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    how does that work with loaning a friend a DVD or watching a DVD with a bunch of other people. neither is copyright infringement and both are similar to letting someone else use your login.

     

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  21.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re:

    "Can you reference the specific sections that relate to the examples you give here? I don't think most people here understood the nuances of that legal document, not to mention that the document is on the long side, so it'd be much easier for you just to quote the relevant section or at least tell us the section numbers."

    Can the blog reference its statements

    "CoStar is claiming that both handing over your login and accessing the content with someone else's login is copyright infringement"

    When in fact CoStar is not making a blanket statement for all cases. There saying that providing someone unauthorized access to copyright material and accessing it without authorization, in this case by login password, is copyright infringement. there is a difference and if you can't see it I can't help you.


    Furthermore if you demanded the same literary standards from Techdirt as you did from other Posters, we wouldn't be having this silly conversation.

    If your that interested go look it up yourself you lazy fanboy and offer an intelligent retort.

     

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  22.  
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    chuck green, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Stretch isn't the word

    It was a pun silly.
    Copies...copyright

    Besides if you think about it (not over think it as some here tend to do) They would have never brought suit being they would have (more than likely) never known about it.
    Unless they have a way to somehow monitor that companies printer... Wait that just scares me way too much.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There[sic] saying that providing someone unauthorized access to copyright material and accessing it without authorization, in this case by login password, is copyright infringement. there is a difference and if you can't see it I can't help you.

    I fail to see a difference between that and loaning DVDs or games to friends, having a ton of friends over to watch movies, or anything else. you have a copy, you share it with someone else who only gets to view it, and there are just as many copies of the content as before.

    if you want to argue that caching the video to play it is copyright infringement then so is playing a DVD in your computer because your computer with stream a copy of the data off of the disc into the memory (and sometimes hard drive) to play it. caching is the same way, it just doesn't get deleted as fast.

    so if you loan a CD (or access to a song) to someone, not copyright infringement. but if you loan a CD to someone and they actually copy it, they are guilty of copyright infringement. caching something isn't copyright infringement either (otherwise every person who uses the internet is guilty). so if you loan someone access to a video, as long as they don't do anything other than caching to play it, it not copyright infringement on either part. if however they download the video (as opposed to streaming it) then they are guilty of copyright infringement, you still would not be.

     

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  24.  
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    Sean, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    I think the terms of duration for copyright should be an either or situation. Copyright lasts for 50yrs or 5yrs after death of the creator what ever option is the longest in duration takes precedent. This way if the item is created in 1990 and the creator dies in 2050 the copyright will last until 2055 (copyright lasted 65yrs); but if it was created in 1990 and the creator died in 2010 the copyright would last till 2040 (copyright lasted 50yrs).

    The numbers could be changes but this is just an example.

     

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  25.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I fail to see a difference between that and loaning DVDs or games to friends, having a ton of friends over to watch movies."

    Well by that standard, the radio could play whatever song they wished and a cable company could play whatever movie they wished.

    When you loan a dvd, or watch it with a group, it can only be used once at any given time. When you loan a dvd you are loaning the ability to watch it. You bought it, and then loaned it to someone else. By Giving your login to this service, you are not loaning or sharing anything. You are GIVING them access at any time while you retain it also.

    Also the copyrighted material on the site you never really have in the way you have a DVD. Your possession is the ability to view it on the net. You are authorized to copy and use it. By giving your login, you have allowed someone else the means to obtain there own copy.

    However much I disagree, you have a point in that this is not the same cut and dry copyright case I originally thought it was.

     

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  26.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If a sight is copyrighted, how is sharing the login not the exact same as making ILLEGAL copy's and passing them out.

    Your legal copy is the one that exist by virtue of it appearing on the screen. Under fare Use you can make as many copies as you want as long as your restrict access to them to yourself. I can understand bad implications but not how this is a stretch.

     

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  27.  
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    hegemon13, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Ridiculous

    How is lending someone your login credentials any different than lending someone a book you purchased? I can see a problem if you and several other people access the site at once using the same credentials. However, as long as only one person uses it at once, there should be absolutely nothing about this that violates copyright law.

    It COULD be a breach of contract or even theft of service based on the contract. But, this is clearly not a copyright issue. Even if multiple users were using the info at once, it is not unauthorized if they are using authorized login credentials. Besides, shouldn't the site have a system in place that looks for a pattern of multiple simultaneous logins, which could then automatically disable accounts until the issue was resolved? That's how dial-up ISPs worked years ago.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:


    Well by that standard, the radio could play whatever song they wished and a cable company could play whatever movie they wished.


    I disagree, just like you can share a song or a movie with friends, while theaters and radio stations can not share with with massive amounts of people, or how you can not charge your friends to show them a movie. that is where copyright infringement typically comes into place: making a profit or sharing it with a more than just your friends.

     

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  29.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can share a song/movie, you can not give a song/movie. By providing passwords, these people have given

     

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  30.  
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    Hulser, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact of the matter is the blogs here will often oversimplify an example in order to make a point.

    I think you've done some oversimplification of your own. Either that, or you didn't understand the nature of my comment. I didn't say or even imply that TD never oversimplified a topic. I do frequent this site and I often do refer to the linked articles. And in fact, in the past I have pointed out where I believed TD to have mischaracterized information in the linked articles. But -- and here's the key -- when I found a discrepency, I didn't come back to the comments section here and just criticize TD without any justification. I gave examples and details on why I believed they were wrong. Comments like yours -- "They rarely are!" -- are useless noise without justification.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Under fare[sic] Use you can make as many copies as you want as long as your restrict access to them to yourself.

    this is not accurate, if I make a copy of a CD or movie, and loan it to a friend or listen/watch it with said friend I am still not guilty of infringing. I fail to see a difference in login into the site and watching content with your friend VS letting your friend login with your credentials and watching stuff, especially when they may have logged in via a password keeper (a feature in every web browser) so they still don't actually know your password and can't log in whenever they want.

     

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  32.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please forgive the partial quote, If I'm taking it out of context please elaborate

    "if I make a copy of a CD or movie, and loan it to a friend"
    If you do this you are guilty of copyright infringement. The fact that you retrieve it later does not change the fact that you made a copy outside of fairuse, and provided someone else the copy while retaining it your self. Either way I assume your defending point is that you intended to regain the loaned copy at some point. well you can't "loan" a password.

    "especially when they may have logged in via a password keeper "

    Part of fairuse is that you must take reasonable steps to safeguard the copies and restrict access. There is most definatly a difference, and while I will agree that this situation does provide for a lot of sticky grey area my contention remains the same: Willfully giving out your password to copyrighted material is no different than making copies and giving them out.

     

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  33.  
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    usmdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, instead you say things like, I don't believe your opinion and am to lazy to read the example you posted a link to.

     

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  34.  
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    Overcast, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    What if I personally logged in and they were looking at my screen as well - wouldn't it be the same thing?

    What if the data obtained was used at a conference at the business using the service - is that also copyright infringement?

    If so - I suspect the 'value' of services like that will sharply decline.

     

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  35.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you disagree with an opinion of mine you could simply ask me to elaborate or tell why you don't, but to categorize me in a negative fashion is just bad etiquette. How about you provide some "justification." of your own in your other posts.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I think you have a point here if someone actually downloaded a copy of the data in a manner other than normal caching."

    I understand how Costar feels that its data is being compromised. But I have to agree with the article. This should definately be categorized as a breach of contract.

    I dont think this is an issue of needing to look through a lengthy legal document to understand the basic priniciple in the article. The paying customers are at fault here. They are the ones who compromised Costars data.

    But if CoStar wants to go this route... Good Luck! I think its going to be almost impossible to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same person did not use this log on. In other words, Customer A logs on legitimately, Non paying Customer B logs on illegally. Okay, how can you prove that it was not Customer A all along. Different Ips? Different computers? Its not going to hold up very well unless you can prove that customer B got the log on info from Customer A, and you have hard evidence showing Customer B behind the controls of an illegal log on. In order for customer B to make illegal copies they still would need to get the data (or logon) from customer A. Keep in mind Customer B is not bound by any ToS or Contractual obligation. Customer B does not have to agree to anything.

    "Those who are not authorized users are engaged in accessing and downloading content (i.e., making a copy) without the permission of the copyright holder."

    Non-paying Customer B does not need to worry about understanding the difference between what an authorized uers is as opposed to unauthorized user. Hey, Customer B was given an account, GREAT! In Customer B's mind he or she is now authorized. Customer B does not have to understand he cant do this. Customer A needs to understand. Customer B does not need to worry about having permission of the copyright holder. (If your buddy gives you an account its okay for customer B to think he now has permission) That may not be accurate but it dont matter. Customer B does not need to be concerned with accuracy.

    There are to many circumstances that make me believe the main article is accurate in this case. Costar is trying to sue everyone and its probably going to hurt them in the long run. THis is breach of contract.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you do this you are guilty of copyright infringement. The fact that you retrieve it later does not change the fact that you made a copy outside of fairuse, and provided someone else the copy while retaining it your self.

    that is not correct. when you make a copy of anything you own you are legally allowed to do with it anything that you were allowed to do with the original, as long as only one is in use at a time. so if you copy a cd and put (and keep) the original in storage somewhere so it doesn't get scratched you can loan the copy to someone else legally.

    Either way I assume your defending point is that you intended to regain the loaned copy at some point. well you can't "loan" a password.

    I already provided a way that you can "loan" a password or access to an account, in fact there are two super easy ways that come to mind: use a password keeper and let them log in with that, or give them your password and when you don't want them using it anymore, change it to something else. both keeps them from having unlimited access to your account.

    Part of fairuse is that you must take reasonable steps to safeguard the copies and restrict access. There is most definatly a difference, and while I will agree that this situation does provide for a lot of sticky grey area my contention remains the same: Willfully giving out your password to copyrighted material is no different than making copies and giving them out.

    I disagree. if the person you give access to your account can not log back into it himself once he is logged out then it is no different to loaning a CD or watching something with a bunch of friends.

     

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  38.  
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    zcat, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re:

    This is the most absurd argument I've ever heard! The only person who could 'profit' from the death of a copyright holder is their heirs who inherit the copyright. And the same arguement holds for anyone who has inheritable assets, but millionaires don't get killed by their children every day!

    For anyone else, killing the copyright holder currently makes no difference at all. In the absence of a posthumous copyright, the author's death would simply put the work in the public domain where everyone benefits equally, and nobody (not even the author's heirs) can make the kind of monopoly profit that would be worth killing someone for.

     

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  39.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re:

    That wouldn't work as described. In the example you give the copyright would have expired in 2040 only to then be re-created and extended to 2055.

     

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  40.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The very term fairuse in and of itself imply's that the USE of said object is subject to scrutiny. I suggest you go here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright#Fair_use_and_fair_dealing
    here
    http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Fair_use
    or here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1976

    What you will basically learn is:

    Copyright holder has the exclusive rights to the following: to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (mechanical rights; including, sometimes, electronic copies: distribution rights),to import or export the work, to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work), to perform or display the work publicly (performance rights), to sell or assign these rights to others, to transmit or display by radio or video (broadcasting rights)

    whether something is fareuse will be judged in court by
    the purpose and character of the use;
    the nature of the copyrighted work;
    the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

    When you make a copy, you have entered into fairuse, you would be judged in court on these criteria.

    You cannot do everything with the copy you could do with the original!!!!
    There are now two copies, unless they are sold/loaned as a whole, when and where they are used does not matter.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    usmcdvdg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Put in its simplicest terms it is never fair use to assume the copyright holders right to distribution as this will always have a negative effect on the marketplace in regards to the copyright holders IP.

    You can never distribute something that has been copied!!!!

    You cannot even loan an original of something for which you retain a copy!!!

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    MartinH, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    A consequnece of the recent domination of copyright legislation by copyright holders

    I agree that this is another example of attempting to shoehorn garden variety contract breaches or forms of fraud into a copyright violation. The rationale is simple. Most significant copyright legislation of the late 30 years or so has been written by groups of copyright holders, and has concentrated on both ever increasing penalties for infringement, and ever lower standards required to prove infringement. Why would anyone proceed on limited remedy contract claims, or difficult to prove fraud claims when nice fat statutory damages are available just for showing that someone looked at something on a computer screen. Until congress rights this balance, there will be a strong incentive to examine every possible legal claim to see if it come somehow be characterized as a copyright violation. The rewards for do are simply too lucrative

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Ridiculous

    "How is lending someone your login credentials any different than lending someone a book you purchased?"

    Because you no longer have access to the book, but still have access to the site, regardless of whether you use it or not.

    "However, as long as only one person uses it at once"

    A copy right holder has the exclusive right to distribute the material, by making a copy you are doing this in there absence without there permission.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    CopyLib, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Ridiculous

    A book or DVD you loan does not have specific instructions that one must be authorised to view the information. CoStar's databases do have these restrictions and anyone who accesses them is bound by the Terms and Conditions.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ridiculous

    If you look at the first three or last three pages of any book,(and judging by the claims of the law suit) CoStars web site, It will say something to the effect of

    Copytight c 2001 by Microsoft Corporation
    All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Blah blah blah......

    I actually copied that out of a random book off my bookshelf. Now go to these places and read!
    here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright#Fair_use_and_fair_dealing
    here
    http://en.wikip edia. org/wiki/Fair_use
    And here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1976


    Now proceed to make an INTELLIGENT RESPONSE

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    usmcdvldg, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ridiculous

    And just in case you try a knee jerk retarded remark, Dvds display this before the movie starts and It is ALWAYS written either on the case/cover of, or dirctly on a, CD

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    WRT, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 12:52am

    Who made the copy?

    [Caps for emphasis, not shouting.]

    The way our systems are typically designed, the browser (client) makes a request for a document. The server, which is controlled by the copyright holder, makes a copy of the document and distributes it to the the browser.

    The COPY is MADE BY the COPYRIGHT HOLDER.

    The only thing that happened here is that an unauthorized user REQUESTED a copy. The copyright holder, unaware that the user was unauthorized, copied the document and delivered it to the unauthorized user.

    There's a contractual breach, in the sharing of the password, but no copyright violation.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 6:28am

    Re: Who made the copy?

    "The COPY is MADE BY the COPYRIGHT HOLDER"

    Respectfully disagree. While a data file may reside on a rights holder's server, the copy of the file is made by the downloader who has gained access to the server under false pretenses.

     

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  49.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jan 8th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    To those defending that it is copyright ..

    I think it is worth noting to those saying that this is copyright infringement, that you could very easily argue that they ARE authorized copies.
    The people may have logged in using a login that was not their own, but all of the material still resided on CoStar's servers, and those servers willingly sent the data to anyone who logged in. There is technology to say "oh look, this person is logging in from two different locations at the same time, block this user". So I would argue that it is impossible for it to be an unauthorized copy, when it was their own server that sent out the data.

    That is like the RIAA having people upload music to the net, then saying that those who download it are creating unauthorized copies, when they authorized the data to be given out. It just makes no sense at all.

    I too can Easily see a breach of contract. But with their server giving out the info, you will be extremely hard pressed convincing me that it was unauthorized. That is my view from the technical standpoint.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    usmcdvdg, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 8:15am

    Re: To those defending that it is copyright ..

    One person/entity was granted the right and the means to copy copyrighted material by the copyright holder.

    That person then illegally gave(under current copyright law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1976) that means to copy the copyright material to another person/entity.

    The scound person/enitiy then proceeded to make copies via access, which giving the nature of the internet is coping.

    This is what happened(as Costar claims), No matter how you try to re frame that claim into words that are more beneficial towards your point of view, that claim remains Copyright infringement.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    usmcdvldg, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    Re: Who made the copy?

    One, I also respectfully is disagree on your legal interpretation of the workings of the net.

    But for arguments sack, under this view, downloading copyrighted material is not copyright infringement.

    Uploading would be but downloading is not because your are only accepting a copy, not making one.
    Buying a bootleg would also not be copyright infringement because you are not making a copy.

    Also copyright infringement encompass far more than just coping. The copyright holder has many rights covering the use and display of said material far beyond just "making copies". As the viewing of the information is what is for sale and being protected by the copyright, under current copyright law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1976 this in and of itself without the permission of the copyright holder, could be considered copyright infringement.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    usmcdvdg, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re: Who made the copy?

    And in The most technical since, one copy is made by the copyright holder, that copy is then given to an isp which copies it several times, and is then presented to your computer. You however don't keep this copy, but copy it yourself in many different forms. your monitor displays a copy of the interpretation of the actual information. A copy probably exist in video ram, system ram, on your hardrive as a cache. So even though the copyright holder gave it out. Technically speaking(as you perfer), you have made MANY unauthorized copies.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    nasch, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: real estate listings are IP?

    The presentation of facts can be copyrighted, the facts themselves cannot be. Databases cannot be copyrighted in the US IIRC.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    usmcdvldg, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: real estate listings are IP?

    "The presentation of facts can be copyrighted,"

    What do you think a web site consisting of realestate listings IS??????????????????????????????????????????

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: real estate listings are IP?

    this is where copyright gets really stupid.

    show someone else a website: No infringement
    Print out a website: Infringement
    copy and paste information from the website into word and print it: no infringement


    seriously, how messed up is that?

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    usmcdvldg, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real estate listings are IP?

    Your right, but Now we're having a discussion on intent and fair use.

    It goes toward are you stealing customers from the ip's owner

    show someone else a website: In most cases no, Just like watching a DVD with a friend.
    Print out a website: well it depends, as long as you take reasonable steps to safeguard and restrict access then no otherwise yes
    copy and paste information from the website into word and print it: depends once again, what are you doing with the printout and how does it impact the IP holder

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Steven Hartman, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Unauthorized cacheing is copyright infringement

    I think the lawsuit has legs. Authorized users of password-protected websites have an implied license to cache the copyrighted content of the websites. That license arguably does not extend to unauthorized users of the password. There have been a number of lawsuits in the US by publishers against corporate subscribers who abuse their individual subscriptions by copying one paper issue and distributing it to other employees. That conduct constitutes copyright infringement and in principle should apply in the on-line context.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    killgreeth, Jan 11th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Pretty good post.....

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon..
    Goedkope Kathodische-bescherming

     

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


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