When The Entertainment Industry Can't Legally Shut Down A Site It Doesn't Like, Bogus Charges Can Do The Trick

from the industry-bullies dept

Back in 2009, we wrote about how anti-piracy organization FACT worked closely with UK law enforcement to have the guy who operated Filesoup arrested. At the time, we noted that it wasn't at all clear what he was doing that was illegal, as the site was merely a forum. Though some people did, in fact, use that forum for the sake of infringement, that shouldn't implicate the forum host. And, in fact, after about a year and a half, the courts dropped the case, realizing that the arguments the industry kept feeding law enforcement didn't add up to anything illegal. The court noted that the charges never should have been brought in the first place. Of course, that's small comfort to the folks who ran the site and had to go through this ordeal. The site has announced that it's shutting down, and the arrests and lawsuits were a big part of what killed it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 4:10am

    Maybe it's just me

    An organization called FACT shuts a site down with bogus charges is pretty ironic. Maybe the police were confused and the organization should change its acronym to BOGUS so that even a moron in a hurry can divine their plans.

    I'll leave it up to the TechDirt community to come up with the meaning of BOGUS.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 4:18am

    FACT?

    Ironic name.

     

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    Nellius, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 4:21am

    Ironically, FACT stands for Federation Against Copyright Theft. That in itself shows how stupidly out of touch they are with these things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 4:59am

    typical of the way the entertainment industries do things. they are always complaining about all the illegal activities that are going on but are very quick to act in the same illegal way when they cant achieve what they want. usual double standards. nothing illegal with what is happening somewhere, just not liked, so sue knowing it will cost an absolute fortune to defend against trumped up charges forcing closure and getting what was wanted all along. shame the various law makers didn't do something about this practice but there again, they aren't getting kick backs from legal sources are they?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    FACETIOUS

    Federation Against Copyright Enforcement Totally Independent of United States

     

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    gorehound (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 5:11am

    MAFIAA pulls illegal shit all the time and in many ways.
    Fuckwads Association of Cock Twads !
    Your whole Entertainment Industry is Censored from my Money for life.No Theater, No Netflix, No digital Services that allow MAFIAA to get my money, and will only purchase a sed product.

     

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    Mega1987 (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 5:26am

    seriously...
    Why these big industries are in shoot first, ask question later?

    don't like competition? then you guys might not like thinking new ways on attracting customers to you group, and knocking other smaller competitors out...

     

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    abc gum, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 5:38am

    Once again it's High Court - low court

    If a commoner were to levy bogus charges against some fatcat outfit there would be repercussions.

     

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    Mike C. (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 5:44am

    FACTLESS

    Federation Against Copyright Theft Lying Excessively in Support of Shutdown

    /works for me

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    How do you steal a copyright? I'm not sure. But FACT knows.

     

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    Digitari, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 6:35am

    Re:

    Bitchy Old Guru's Underestimating Society


    ( I was awesome at acrophobia, back in the day )

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Idle question

    Could Filesoup sue for wrong arrest here?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Idle question

    Could Filesoup sue for wrongful arrest here?

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 7:03am

      Re: Idle question

      Not to up on UK law in this regard, but if anything like AU law (which AU is based more on UK law than USA) then yes and no..

      To initiate and win at a malicious prosecution suit they would have to prove that the charges were laid for malicious purposes, which is easier said than done. Since FACT would state (as the police would too) that they were basing their 'facts' on what they understood at the time and for no nefarious purposes. Though if you could prove it by evidential means (whistleblowing, emails, etc) then the case would be an interesting one.

      They might be able to prove Tortuous Interference though for any of these there is one glaringly obvious and real stumbling block. MONEY! It costs money to take a civil case to court or even to put paperwork together, and this is something Filesoup and it's principals do not currently have, unless some nice person would like to foot the bill for solicitors and barristers which do not come cheap.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:34am

      Re: Idle question

      Almost irrelevant, sadly. Even if they can, or even are, pursuing this to the limits of the law, their business has already been shut down. If it took this long for the authorities to even admit they didn't have a case, the negative effects of such false accusations will have had their effect on the industry long before they get their due compensation.

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: Idle question

        I'd agree with you that the business is gone. If, however, they get a ruling against the authorities then that informs the next site to be clobbered like this. Whether or not they can afford it and want to pursue it is the question.

        There's already the court ruling that says the arrest and all that followed shouldn't have happened which sets something of a precedent itself. Something that backs that up would be helpful if not entirely necessary.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 7:12am

    ICE T

    You would think that someone would be filing takedown notices against all the entertainment industry's websites and just generally crank up the heat, since there doesn't seem to be any consequences for false accusations.
    They must be infringing on something!

    Of course,they do control the ICE Machine.

    Where's Anonymous when u need them?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    If what the forum was doing wasn't illegal, it really should be. It's only reason for existing was helping people to get illegal downloads. While the laws have not caught up specifically with this stuff, you wouldn't be able to do it "in the real world" and get away with it for long.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      You ever see those streets with vendors selling bootlegged copies of stuff? Yeah, I do too, and they're still getting away with it and have been for a long time.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      Did you ever hear of the forum or visit it before it was closed down or are you just taking FACT's word for it?

      That didn't seem to be enough for the court, now, did it?

       

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      The eejit (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      ...and? That's pretty clearly an economics issue - basically, your business model is shit and full of shit and you're shit.

      Which is why I buy non-major-produced content, for the most part.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

      Re:

      you wouldn't be able to do it "in the real world" and get away with it for long.

      Could you offer a link or tweet or something to back that up?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 9:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Stand on a street corner and sell access to child porn, or to snuff movies... and see how long it takes before someone takes you out.

        Most of the major file locker sites, besides being a great place to keep your pirated goods, are also great places to keep your child porn and abuse videos. It's a business model that invites abuse.

        Forums generally are just front ends for the affiliate programs of these file locker sites. Rip a DVD, put it up, spam every pirate movie forum, and collect a pay check when people pay to get access to your file.

        Understanding what they do and how they operate is key to understanding why, if it isn't illegal, it should be.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Jun 13th, 2012 @ 1:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Most of the major file locker sites, besides being a great place to keep your pirated goods, are also great places to keep your child porn and abuse videos. It's a business model that invites abuse."

          Even more than that, they were great ways to get legal content and for the people who produced it to get some cash at the same time. Yet, you seem intent on ignoring the many legitimate uses and double down on your idiocy by building strawmen and other crap (has any child porn been found on MU or Filesoup, for example? Citation please).

          "Forums generally are just front ends for the affiliate programs of these file locker sites. Rip a DVD, put it up, spam every pirate movie forum, and collect a pay check when people pay to get access to your file."

          What you've just described is exactly how legal content was advertised as well. But, you ignore independent artists so long as your corporations can shut down competition, we know that.

          "Understanding what they do and how they operate is key to understanding why, if it isn't illegal, it should be."

          If it's not illegal, then they should not be shut down or prosecuted unless the law is changed to make them illegal. Not only do you reject the idea of innocent until proven guilty that Western justice is based upon, you also seem to want to make up laws that can be applied at a whim to people who don't know they exist (because they don't). As ever, reality is this way over here, join us...

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2012 @ 2:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          >Most of the major file locker sites, besides being a great place to keep your pirated goods, are also great places to keep your child porn and abuse videos.

          Emphasis mine. Funnily, if there were child porn and abuse videos on said file lockers, I think there's been enough attempts at enforcement to even get at Usenet/TOR groups so if you're going to insist that file lockers have child porn and abuse videos and are completely untouchable, go ahead and make citations. Unless you're speaking from experience?

           

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    You guys are AWESOME!

    Time for a recap... Instead of FACT, which makes little sense given the way the organization operates, it looks like there are quite a few good suggestions for changing their acronym to BOGUS that would better describe them and no longer confuse the police.

    Brain-dead Old Guys Uselessly Suing
    Buying Officials and Guilds then Uselessly Suing
    Bitchy Old Guru's Underestimating Society
    Bribing Officials Gets U SOPA
    Benign Organization Going Ultra Syncophantic

    Good stuff. Remember that it's this type of group effort that got Rick Santorum the infamous meaning for his last name.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    within five to ten years the entertainment industry will probably be running its own, government sanctioned paramilitary hit squads. Just wait till 12 year old Lucy is abducted in the middle of the night by heavily armed stormtroopers, dragged to a kangaroo court with a jury of "big media" execs, then sentenced to death for downloading the Justin Bieber discography.

    Her only chance for dying with any dignity would be to refuse to dig her own grave before they shot her in the back of the head...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 9:26am

      Re:

      quick! Buy extra tin foil before they run out or replace it with something else. Make sure your survival bunker has plenty of food, pirates porn, and wet naps. You will survive this upcoming paramilitary sweep!

      You do need to see a doctor though, your pills have run out.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    As bad us the US legal system often is. I believe there would be a pretty strong civil case available to filesoup here

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Hey! Everyone should remember we're free! Just as long as we do what they want when they want.

    -Troll face

     

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    For the Record, Jun 13th, 2012 @ 10:55am

    Where's the accountability?

    Any entity filing false charges, especially charges that were origionally filed as part of some agenda driven by greed or profiteering has to be held accountable when those charges are found to be completely unfounded. All pain and suffering even in just stress and costs associated with the defense against false and or unfounded accusations should be compensated for. OTHERWISE, I am calling BULLSHIT.

     

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    Vincent Giannell, Jun 13th, 2012 @ 5:39pm

    Next thing you know, our government will write a law that will make online protesting against current laws illegal.

     

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