Guy Fined For Posting Links To Official Broadcast Of Hockey Games

from the say-what-now? dept

Over in Sweden, it appears that a guy has been fined for linking to an online broadcast of a hockey game. We've heard stories of people getting in trouble merely for linking to unauthorized content, but this story is even more ridiculous. The guy wasn't linking to unauthorized content. He was linking to an online video feed from the official broadcaster, Canal Plus. The issue was that Canal Plus was apparently technically incompetent in how they set up the feeds, and never intended to make the feeds public. But the way they set up the offering, it was easy for anyone to quickly figure out what the full public feed was and this guy then linked to it. In other words, he was fined not for any actual infringement. And he was not fined for linking to infringing content, but for pointing to a publicly available stream that was only public due to Canal Plus' poor engineering choices. And rather than admit that it was its own poor technical skills that were the problem, Canal Plus blamed the guy:
In the summons against the man, Canal Plus called his actions “an assault on the entire operations of pay TV services on the Internet” and that by publishing links to the streams broadcast openly from the Canal Plus website he had illegally made them available to the public.
And the court agreed. That's the really scary part.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    If I understand this situation correctly, the rights holder left a "door" unlocked through which people could enter and watch something for free without having to pay. This person drew the ire of the rights holder for basically telling people where the unlocked door was located.

    People leave doors unlocked all the time, usually out of ignorance or forgetfulness. Does this mean that they should be without recourse should someone discover such a door and tell everyone where it can be found?

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Internet hard!

     

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

  3.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    Yes. Yes, it does.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    Yes. Actually, if there are no signs posted proclaiming it trespassing, and you find an open door, you are legally allowed to enter.

    Spent many a good time exploring various private universities, corporate buildings, etc... like that.

    About the most they can do is escort you off the premises.

     

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  5.  
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    Anon, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    Let't try the analogy a bit differently.

    The rights holder forgot to close the shade on a "window" through which people could look through and watch something for free. The person drew the ire of the rights holder for basically telling people the street address of the un-shaded window.

    People leave windows un-shaded all the time[...]. Does this mean that they should be without recourse should someone discover such an un-shaded window and tell everyone where it can be found?

     

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  6.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    Could you please point out in what jurisdiction of ANY relatively free country in the world it would actually be "illegal" to tell people where something is located?

    Just because I say the bank is open doesn't mean I should be to blame if it gets robbed!

    Please apply some logic to your arguments next time.

     

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  7.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    “an assault on the entire operations of pay TV services on the Internet”

    Laughable, until the court agreed. THAT'S the REALLY REALLY scary part.

     

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  8.  
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    Cuadie, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    absurd

    It's not like the guy was going trying to adjust scripts and codes, he just had the direct link and shared it. Imo this is the networks fault, it's plain stupid to leave it accesible without a loginscreen first or something.

     

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  9.  
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    Greevar (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    Head hurt!

     

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  10.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    If you leave your keys in the car, and it gets stolen, it is your fault.

     

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  11.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Anonymously Cowardly

    People leave doors unlocked all the time, usually out of ignorance or forgetfulness. Does this mean that they should be without recourse should someone discover such a door and tell everyone where it can be found?

    Trouble is, using your analogy to justify prosecuting this guy is like arguing that people take candy away from babies all the time, therefore it’s fine to use that as an analogy to support whatever point you want to make. It just doesn’t make sense.

     

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  12.  
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    Cowardly Annon, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    There is no door...

    Your analogy is a bit flawed actually. In this case, they didn't even put up a door. It was set up as a wide open public feed.

    So basically, they made it public (no door) and then got mad at him for pointing out that there was NOTHING stopping people from accessing the data.

    I would change your analogy to be: If you leave a $20 bill in a public place, can you expect that when someone finds it that they won't take it?

     

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  13.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    I had a truck like that once.

     

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  14.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    They have a recourse. It's called a key.

     

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  15.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Court smash!

     

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  16.  
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    NullOp, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Fined?

    Send the team an invoice for the advert! Then sue the bastards if they don't pay! Stick it to da man!!!

     

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  17.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    HE SCORES(link here)

    pay them now

     

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  18.  
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    Jesse, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    YES!!!

    Don't leave your door unlocked!!! WTF

    Security through obscurity much?

     

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  19.  
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    Mojo, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    I hate to play devil's advocate here, but if the guy's site basically said "hey look, I found a link to a stream they forgot was open to the public! So the hell with paying for the game, click here and watch it for free!" then I can see the court's view. This guy basically knows you're supposed to pay to watch the game, but he's throwing a forgotten free link out there for everyone to "get around" the system.

    While I agree the provider should make sure all their streams are accounted for, I can't say the guy who knowingly pointed to a "way around paying" for it is entirely without guilt.

    At the very least, if this was the scenario, it's not at all shocking a court would fine him.

     

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  20.  
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    ac, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

    Re:

    i would agree but leaving a stream completely open to the public is akin to Disney wheeling a tv into the alley behind a 7-11 and showing Tron Legacy. Sure they didn't tell the world they were doing it, but if some guy sees it and tells his buddies, that's sour grapes.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 4:28pm

    I'm having flashbacks to the judge from Phoenix Wright. Did they somehow get him to preside over this case?

     

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  22.  
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    abc gum, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re:

    "If you leave your keys in the car, and it gets stolen, it is your fault."

    Actually not.

    One may be charged with "leaving keys in vehicle", but they are not charged with grand theft auto. Nice try though.

    btw, ianal

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Though you say "ianal", you fairly well capture the essence of the issue.

     

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  24.  
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    Ryan Diederich, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 9:49pm

    He is innocent...

    This guy did nothing wrong here. This is the internet. We use the internet. If something is on the internet, we will find it.

    This is not akin to stealing a car in any way, since no one "stole" anything, rather they didnt pay for it. It isnt a scare good, so it should not be considered theft by the old definition.

    This ruling makes me afraid to use the internet. Should I fear posting anything at all on a forum? I am legitimately frightened that I may mention a "trademarked" term or accidentally slander someone, or, heaven forbid, link to something.

    If I can link to it, then there should be no infringement. If this guy found it, so can anyone else who is looking.

    I will be sure to tell all my friends to watch illegal hockey game streams and to only buy knockoff merchandise.

    Haha

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 1:50am

    Re: Re:

    Your analogy isn't that accurate either and it does show why analogies aren't the best way to highlight a point.

    The simple fact is the broadcast was publicly available, therefore there was zero infringement. It's like me telling you to turn to channel 21 and watch the show that's on right now. Which is basically what this guy did.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 1:54am

    Re: There is no door...

    I would change your analogy to be: If you leave a $20 bill in a public place, can you expect that when someone finds it that they won't take it?

    Again, with the flawed analogies. Here's a fixed version:

    I would change your analogy to be: If you errect a 100ft screen in a public square to display the hockey game, can you expect people not to watch it? Is it reasonable that any sane court find someone guilty for telling people where the sqaure was?

     

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

  27.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 2:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Try claiming insurance on a car that was stolen with the keys in it.

     

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

  28.  
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    NotNormal (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    Re: There is no door...

    In Japan, they would turn it in to the police so the owner can claim it. All depends on the culture.

     

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

  29.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    > People leave doors unlocked all the time, usually out of ignorance
    > or forgetfulness. Does this mean that they should be without recourse
    > should someone discover such a door and tell everyone where it can
    > be found?

    Your analogy doesn't quite hold up. In the real world, if you're a total stranger, you can't contextually walk into someone's home without permission regardless of whether to door is locked or not, because people's homes are private by definition.

    When a total stranger goes to a public commercial web site and finds it offering content to the public, it's assumed based on the way the internet works, that the content is authorized. It's not up to me as the consumer to investigate every stream, article and download on every site in the world to make sure the site's owner really, really, did mean to make it available.

     

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

  30.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re:

    > Yes. Actually, if there are no signs posted proclaiming it trespassing,
    > and you find an open door, you are legally allowed to enter.

    Not sure where you live, but where I am, that's not true at all. If I leave the front door to my house unlocked (hell, even if it's wide open), that hardly gives you the legal right to just waltz into my home, sit down and start watching TV and doing whatever the hell you like.

    If you do that, trespassing is the least you could be charge with. Breaking and entering would be more likely. (And contrary to common belief, you don't have to actually "break" a window or a lock to be charged with breaking and entering. The "breaking" refers to a breaking of the "close", which is an old-school way of referring to the building's threshold. So you can be charged with breaking and entering even if the door is standing wide open.)

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    David Kastrup, Nov 21st, 2010 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re:

    CommonSense "If you leave your keys in the car, and it gets stolen, it is your fault."

    The insurance will certaintly, and correctly, refuse to pay in the course of extreme negligence.

    Whoever steals the car, however, still steals the car.

    But we are not talking about the person stealing the car. We are talking about someone announcing the location of the unlocked car.

    The question is whether the announcement is in a form that makes it clear that taking the car is stealing it, or whether it is essentially "If you want to take it, there is a car with key in it at this and that location.".

    If whoever takes the car is left unclear about the availability of the car, the informant bears a share of responsibility.

    The article is quite unclear about just _how_ that link was presented.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2010 @ 2:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It all depends really. There would need to be a means test as to whether the area is public or private and whether it is open to anyone or restricted access. So if you have an open day for a house inspection and visit the house looking to buy it you are in an unrestricted public area. The next day you buy the house - it is then a restricted private area. If you hold a party the next day and invite all the neighbours and tell them to bring their friends then it is a partially restricted private area.

     

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  33.  
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    joe, Nov 21st, 2010 @ 2:59am

    Re:

    But HE DIDN'T even do the entering- it was more like hearing about someone who has left a door unlocked in an unsafe neighbourhood and telling everybody about it. Stupidity hurts. You can't be punished for that. That's freedom of speech. Free speech in any democratic society and a human right.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2010 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    The door analogy does not account for one important thing: On the Internet, things do not work that way. It's that simple.

    On the Internet, a website and it's content is implied to be public unless they are protected by a password or a paywall (a gadget that blocks content such as movies until you pay a fee).
    That's because in real life, you can tell a house and a store apart just by looking at them from outside. On the Internet, you have to connect to websites to know if they're private or public. It's up to website owners to put up a gate that keeps people out and opens only when they pay or provide the right password.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2010 @ 8:07am

    All analogies above are flawed and wrong, the following is a better analogy:

    Two teams are playing a sport in a field, the game was scheduled to be played in a stadium.. but through incompetence the stadium was never built. Instead a cardboard cut-out was placed around one half of the pitch which fooled the investors into thinking one had been built; on this half of the pitch a stall was set up which people queued at, paid money, walked through the cutout and began watching the game.

    On his way to the game a dog walker comes from the other side of the park, see's the game and cannot see the stall to pay money at. Sits next to the other people and begins watching the game, he then puts up a sign saying "hey look at this, this is interesting".. for others to see who are also walking in the park. - something that is a VERY common practice in the park.

    The people who did wrong here are the people who lied to the investors. They are covering their incompetence by blaming the dog walker. Some people were cheated, but it was not the fault of the dog walker.

     

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

  36.  
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    MatsSvensson, Nov 21st, 2010 @ 8:19am

    Crimeless victims

    Doesn't this fall under the same category as people who doesn't put up curtains and then walk around naked for all the dirty dirty perverts in town to see?

    Booo-f.ing-whooo!

     

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

  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Bribed or incompetent courts

    "Canal Plus called his actions “an assault on the entire operations of pay TV services on the Internet” and that by publishing links to the streams broadcast openly from the Canal Plus website he had illegally made them available to the public."

    Ignoring for one moment that these are blatant lies that if true would mean that Bing, Google, Yahoo, and every other search engine and index of hyperlinks in Sweden would be illegal(is this true? hell no), making factually false statements to a court like this should have Canal Plus criminally charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

    "he had illegally made them available" in the same way that talking about a great new website i found to my friends, or that some movie is on TV later is illegal? So easy to prove this accusation is nonsense and not against any law.. so why wasn't this done? Or in Sweden do you really need to beg and grovel for permission to speak from unaccountable unelected groups that you have no contractual relationship with? What idiocy.

    You gotta take a stand against criminals like Canal or you just make your country a hospitable place for crime and a juicy target for even worse crimes once you send out the message you are OK with your citizens being attacked and robbed without legal recourse.

     

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  38.  
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    Guss, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 11:59pm

    Sweden has fallen off the deep end...

    That has to be one of the dumbest rulings I have ever heard! The country and its legal system are bending totally over to US IP concerns.

    I like how a guy illustrated the lunacy: http://goo.gl/Xjy8j

    With the upholding of the conviction on Pirate Bay and this I am sure we will soon see more.

     

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


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