TorrentFreak Pulls The Switcheroo On Copyright Troll That Cited Them In Threat Letters

from the trolling-the-trolls dept

Torrentfreak notes that Prenda Law, one of the more well known copyright trolls out there these days, which has run into a series of skeptical judges lately, has been using a Torrentfreak article in its recent threat letters. The article in question is one we wrote about as well, concerning a default judgment against someone who didn't just share some random works, but had a specific watermark on the files that corresponded to his account. Of course, in the threat letter, all of the additional context about much greater evidence and a variety of other factors that made this case unique aren't mentioned at all.

Feeling that was unfair, Torrentfreak changed that page to something that Prenda might not appreciate:

We redirected the URL referenced by Prenda to a page with information about these mass-BitTorrent lawsuits.

So, instead of being scared by an article about a $1.5 million judgment, Internet bill payers can inform themselves about the steps they can take to respond to the settlement letter.

The page in question explains that increasingly judges are condemning the practices of copyright trolls, and that many mass lawsuits have been thrown out. Just recently a judge designated Prenda's ways as a “bad faith effort,” and dismissed one of their mass-BitTorrent lawsuits.

In addition to some much-needed balance we also included links to attorneys who are familiar with these lawsuits, plus links to other useful resources.

Trolling the trolls. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to have too much of an impact. It's doubtful that Prenda expects too many people to actually go read the article. They just want the basic "be afraid, settle now!" message to get through.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chris Brand (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    Does make a point, though

    ...that regardless of what was at a particular URL when you linked to it, unless it's on your site you have no control whatsoever over what will be there when somebody follows the link. That's the main reason why "linking to something illegal" *can't* be illegal.

     

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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    C'mon Mike, it was fun, even during the conception and anticipation phases. Just read the comments. Whether any recipient followed the link is beyond the point. Ernesto said that "Even if just one person reads it, it was totally worth the effort." I think it was worth the effort regardless.

    It's a normal MO to fight scum with serious faces, and that what we do 99% of time, but IMO the most devastating blows villains get when their to-be victims stop perceiving them seriously. We need to use fun warfare more.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Does make a point, though

    So if I tell you where to buy drugs and take you there and complete the deal at the push of a button, I can't be guilty of trafficking in drugs because down the road someone might mess with the button and redirect what it does? That's awesome! I'll break all the laws I want, getting off free because I can argue that if some third party were to change something down the road maybe my ongoing crime will be thwarted. That's certain to work. Genius!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    That makes absolutely no sense. If a link points you to "illegal content", your act of clicking on the link does not result in you getting said content without you proceeding to download said content.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Way to illustrate your lack of logical thinking.

    Let me assist you .........

    So if I tell you where to buy lollipops and puppy dogs, take you there and complete the deal at the push of a button, I can't be guilty of trafficking in drugs simply because down the road someone might mess with the button and redirect it to point to illicit material.

    This has and will continue to occur, so dont bother with the denials.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    The humor level would have been set to eleven had they linked to goatse

     

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  7.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    Mike Mike Mike...
    You underestimate how many people these morons terrify.

    I dealt with an entire wave of terrified people after Randazza's $250,000 "win" was making headlines. See while the "win" of $250,000 was wildly/widely reported, no one shared the context of that win. I somehow think xbiz won't carry a story I wrote... go figure.

    A Corbin Fisher customer, allegedly (is it still allegedly after he settled to avoid a court case getting him thrown out of school? Funny his name was made public, seems underhanded to me.) shared files he downloaded from the CF website. Using the records of logins at the CF website they managed to match a user against an IP seeding the files within a short time frame. When in doubt sue your paying customers, cute the debate about the immorality of copyright infringment and I'll just counter with outing customers, telling them to lie, and imaginary experts.

    They pressured him into settling, using his background and position against him, for a $250,000 paper settlement.
    The actual amount to be repaid was $25,000 (or less), paid in installments monthly. As long as he makes his payments on time and is never naughty again (no really read the terms, the full amount kicks in if he ever violates copyright ever again... on average the standard person violates copyright hundreds of times a day.) and the total owed will be reduced by an amount covered by an NDA and not entered into the court records.

    I got a 2nd and 3rd wave of people panicked about this dollar amount when Steele added it to his letters as an example of what is going to happen to you if you don't just cough up a few thousand.

    Every little bit those of us who are fighting copyright trolls do counts. DTD, SJD, and others have made the case #'s Google hits, so Does get informed instead of scared. Tons of money has been spent on Pacer, to free the filings so people directly effected by the rulings can see what is happening - because some "Judges" consider them non-parties to the case seeking their identities. People are being denied access to cases where the outcome is they get extortion demands, how is that fair? People are being told they don't have standing to challenge anything the trolls claim... funny I do not see a single court raining hellfire down on Steele and Malibu Media, who does not have ANY cause of action for infringement in a majority of their cases. They are defrauding the court, but Does can't make a motion pointing this out.

    So yes, changing 1 web page might not seem like a big deal. But keeping 1 person from fearfully paying extortion, and giving them the information they need is enough of an impact. And the more coverage these things get, the more people learn. The more people learn, they more angry they get. Angry people use what they have to help the next poor soul targeted.

    I've met many Does who arrived terrified, learned the truth, and now speak loudly. They are learning the ins and outs of the cases, giving us more eyes to catch small cases trying to slip under the radar.

    They call us pirates and anti-copyright, they are extortionists and liars. Who are the bad guys again?

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Steele pookie, is that you?

    I thought you learned to STFU when it came to the web after people pointed out naming people merely accused of crimes and painting them as being guilty was bad form.

    But then you've been making and changing twitter accounts in your less than sober moments, railing and screaming. If we were so wrong, why say anything? If your so right, why resort to personal attacks over facts?

    Maybe because you know how screwed you are, and you might have gotten away with it if not for us meddling kids.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    That makes absolutely no sense. If a link points you to "illegal content", your act of clicking on the link does not result in you getting said content without you proceeding to download said content.

    If I provide you a direct link to infringing content, knowing that it's infringing, then I can't avoid liability by arguing that some third party might change the content the link I posted points to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    So if I tell you where to buy lollipops and puppy dogs, take you there and complete the deal at the push of a button, I can't be guilty of trafficking in drugs simply because down the road someone might mess with the button and redirect it to point to illicit material.

    This has and will continue to occur, so dont bother with the denials.


    The conviction is because of where the link originally pointed to. That the thing linked to later was changed is irrelevant. You can't avert liability for linking on the argument that the thing linked to might have changed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    teele pookie, is that you?

    I thought you learned to STFU when it came to the web after people pointed out naming people merely accused of crimes and painting them as being guilty was bad form.

    But then you've been making and changing twitter accounts in your less than sober moments, railing and screaming. If we were so wrong, why say anything? If your so right, why resort to personal attacks over facts?

    Maybe because you know how screwed you are, and you might have gotten away with it if not for us meddling kids.


    I honestly have no idea what or who you're talking about. If you have a point to make, I'm not understanding it. Try again?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:49pm

    IP laws are a social abomination and we must seek their demise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Assuming "knowing". By your logic, if I wanted to buy drugs and took a taxi or bus or other forms of public transport to a location where it sold them, the taxi driver, and the company that provided the service, and all passengers on the bus would be guilty of - I dunno, some "assisting lawbreaking" or "not policing enough" clause. Which is incredibly silly, and doesn't justify your point. You're trying to claim that you can break laws because something might happen to make your actions no longer illegal, which wasn't the point mentioned - the point, I believe, meant that your action cannot be defined as illegal if in the first place it was legal.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    I get sick of explaining this to you people when you refuse to listen. It's a link, much like a phone number or a street address. It's not a guy with a dimebag, it's not van full of full-auto weapons, and it's not den of Asian sex slaves. It is a pointer, nothing more. The link doesn't involve the linking site in the transfer, it only pointed you to the content and that's where it's involvement ended.

    You're either incredibly stupid or dishonest. Take your pick.

     

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    MrWilson, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    And of course it's obvious which content was the first content linked to, right? That's something you just know, the same way you can just know what's infringing, right? The same way Viacom can tell what YouTube videos its own employees uploaded and which ones copyright infringers uploaded.

    Feel free to cite an actual law that stipulates that such links are in fact illegal. I'll wait here.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    If I provide you a direct link to infringing content[...]

    Ah but here's the rub.. Infringing where? Just because something is unlawfully infringing (which in itself needs to be proven under lawful process - but that's a separate issue) in one jurisdiction (most likely the USA) does NOT mean it is somewhere else, and also linking to that unlawful content (in one jurisdiction) might not be unlawful (whether knowingly or vicariously or not) either.

    The intent (mens rae) in context with all elements that need to be fulfilled for the action to be considered unlawful (or illegal even) is a pure and absolute doctrine that has to be looked at when considering third party liability no matter what the US DoJ state or you may think. Also you need to understand, I will make the informed assumption that you are an American, or even Canadian citizen. Litigious liability that someone needs to always answer for butthurtness of REASONABLENESS is a purely US export.. sadly Germany has, due to its association with the USA after WW2 tries to outdo this doctrine of "someone needs to pay for my boo boo".

    As for your analogy regarding Drugs - Since high category illicit drugs (not marijuana) come under international criminal statutes/treaties and are classified as major crimes (not like IP is even in its criminal area) the analogy is not just irrelevant but absolutely misleading. Unless your talking about the purchasing of LEGAL medicinal drugs online from lawful Canadian pharmacies/chemists by US citizens? BUt again that is a purely US quirk of stupidity and coporate/political pandering.

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Wait if you will, just don't hold you breath lest AC be guilty of murder.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Again you are wrong.. A conviction (which is criminal only) or actionable tort is ONLY for the instance in time that the action (or lack thereof) occured.

    If the charge is "knowingly linked to xxx that says blah to do whatever" and the link has changed, the onus is on the plaintiff/prosecutor to prove that the original intent was before the link was changed.. Which means you need to have absolute authenticated proof that the link was ever changed or was even what you said it was. And believe me that is the hardest if not near impossible thing to do especially f you have no jurisdictional or other legal ability to make the owner of the thing that the link links to preserve it. Big problems.. and Google cache is NOT evidentially admissible .

     

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  19.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 8:01pm

    Re:

    I'd of gone further.. Made a script that if someone came directly in on that url to torrentfreak they are redirected to a specific page with that specifically talks about the letter they have received

    ie: "Have you come here after reading a letter from Prenda Law? If so have we got some great information for you!"

    Fight the letter specifically thereby also annoying the hell out of Prenda Law - Prenda might then be stupid enough to start screaming and threatening actions (defamation or some other bullshit interference claim) which would then be even better!

     

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    lolzzzzz, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:02pm

    myself this is what id have done

    id have sued them for copyright infringement as they are making money off the text i had written without epxressed written permission

    haha and id put that at the bottom of the page
    prenda is about to be sued for using this text without expressed written permission in a money making lawsuit for which i have no compensation.

    then id use that cash as donations to those sued to hep get them lawyers.

    Grins ....Oh i'm just getting started folks....i been a studying law for a long time now....

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Steele has much more serious problems to deal with at the moment than to rant on forums. Stay intrigued.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:09pm

    Re: myself this is what id have done

    I think Average_joe has been copying your homework.

     

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  23.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    "You're either incredibly stupid or dishonest. Take your pick."

    These people tend to demonstrate quite conclusively that it's possible to be both at the same time.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 2:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Yes, the murder of facts.

     

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  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 2:35am

    lol. Mike Masnick: pirate cheerleader.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Of course they know.

    This (Google) is a multi-billion dollar corporation that derives it's revenue from ads- gazillions of which are on illegal content sites. This behemoth of a corporation has exactly zero interest in giving up any of that revenue. Their stock price is all they care about; it's what their future yacht and vacation home purchases are dependent upon.

    So yeah, steal some more music and movies, and keep pretending you're stickin it to "the man" when you do that, all you fake anarchists.

     

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  27.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 3:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Yawn... If only you tossers were as interested in reality as you are about fantasies and lying...

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Where did Google come into the conversation?

    The thing about Google is, it's a hyperlink indexing site. Computer algorithms run on the servers and work out what people actually want when searching for certain terms. Notice the term 'people want', if Google stop serving people the links they want then Google don't have a business. People are searching for free downloads, google is not forcing them on people.

    What you are effectively arguing is that instead of adapting to the new opportunities the internet has to offer you (and the legacy industry) insist that Google ruins its own service and goes bust instead.

    I can see your flawless logic there......

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Completely wrong. It's far more like asking someone at a bar where to buy drugs and then buying the drugs using information they you with out any further assistance from them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Yawn indeed.

    What parts in that post were fantasy or "lying"?

    None of them. Not one single thing.

    The truth stings, doesn't it angry man?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Screw what I said. I misunderstood you comment.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    What a boneheaded analogy.

    Do the Yellow Pages have the numbers for pot dealers? Or contract killers, etc.?

    Pull your head out of your ass pronto, please.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Considering the number of examples where the copyright industry itself can't accurately figure out what is and isn't infringement on the internet, how do you expect google, whom the copyright companies seem to have a Vendetta against know what is and isn't illegal.

    I mean it's not like the copyright industry is providing google with all the licensing deals they've made. So how could they know?

    Then there is the small matter of their being billions of links... The only practical solution is an automated script to filter, but no one has provided anyone with an algorithm that works anywhere close to accurately enough to implement. So the only practical thing to do, is assume they are all legitimate until someone can prove they are not.

    If you can provide an algorithm that proves a link is legit or not, then please do so. I'm sure it would be put to use.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    "What parts in that post were fantasy or "lying"?"

    Well, apart from the delusions you people have about Google, let's try this:

    "So yeah, steal some more music and movies, and keep pretending you're stickin it to "the man" when you do that, all you fake anarchists."

    If your head wasn't firmly lodged up your anus, you'd understand that most of the people you're attacking (like myself) are people who legally purchase content and are trying to point out where the industry is going wrong. Yet, all you do is attack a strawman who doesn't exist, because you can't face reality. The people you're arguing against aren't pirates - unless you can provide proof that we are. Go on, prove I'm a pirate via something other than your own delusions. Hint: you can't, because I'm not. Don't start with the "waah! prove you're not" bullshit either, because I've done that many times, yet here you are making the same lies yet again.

    On top of that, who are you arguing against? You're making a positive claim of that AC's actions, yet I bet you can't tell who he is. If you're making positive claims about a person's actions without even being aware of his identity, that's a lie and a fantasy. Feel free to present evidence, but I bet you have none.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Of course Google can't do that, because there's information relevant to an infringing status that can't be worked out by an algorithm. The exact same file can be infringing or non-infringing, depending on who uploaded it, where it's uploaded to, special licences or permissions granted, the context in which it's presented and so on.

    Some uses depend on the location of the user, and as you mentioned, even people within the same corporations can't tell the legitimacy of a file. All that's just the things applicable to sites where Google has direct control (such as YouTube), not even considering the many places where all Google may have access to is a link and nothing else (e.g. a link to a password protected file with a non-obvious filename that doesn't indicate its contents).

    To think that Google can know all this just by examining a link is one of the many ways in which we can tell that these people are full of shit and literally have no idea what they're blathering on about.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    So pot dealers and contract killers are now to be considered of the same level of social harm as copyright?
    Try again, idiot, this time not with an emotive argument. Try one that actually makes sense.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS NOT THE SAME AS THEFT OR STEALING!

    I wish I could bash this message into your thick skull, or wherever your brains are.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    The phone book undoubtedly has numbers of pot dealers. Just not labeled as such.

    You know that J. Smith, 12 example avenue, Example city is a pot dealer. You look up his phone number in the phone book of Example city. You dial the number and order some pot.

    Is the phone book now liable for you and the dealer breaking the law? I don't think so.

    But that's what Google does now.

    You are looking for song Q, you go on Google and search for Q. You find a link to a website that offers Q for download, and you download Q.

    Google is not responsible for you potentially breaking copyright law in that situation, neither is Google responsible for the website potentially breaking copyright law.

    Google can't magically know that that offering of Q is legal or not. Just the same way that the phone book can't magically know that J. Smith is a pot dealer.

     

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    Tunnen (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Look at it another way, if I link to a fully legal version of some content online, let's say Disney decided to allow people to watch "A Christmas Carol" (2009) for free (I know, but just go with it). All the major news outlets pick up this story and post the link for all their readers. Later, after Christmas when the ghost of Walt leaves the current CEO alone, Disney then decides to cut the feed. Now, someone else redirects that link to a site that offers a non-authorized version of the same movie.

    That link went to legal content in the beginning, but is now pointing to illegal content. Are you saying that all those News outlets should have known better and are now all liable for copyright infringement?

    *I know that it would be hard for that link to be re-directed, but some guy at Disney or their PR department could be stupid enough to release the domain that hosted the link, allowing a 3rd party to be able to then register the domain and re-direct the link.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Re:

    So... do you want to point out where in the article that piracy was supported, or just flat out admit that you couldn't be bothered and would rather just insult everybody?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Essentially the same, and the US Supreme Court has ruled as such.

    "No different than garden variety theft".

    Try again.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    I think......number 2?

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re:

    IIRC Ernesto basically did that and sent people to the top sites where we discuss and deconstruct troll cases.

    I am sure that SJD and DTD could look up metrics for hits from that page to give an indication of the impact it had.

    TF isn't fighting the battle, its a news site. They hate trolls to, but there is no reason to reinvent the wheels we already have turning. They just refused to be a cog in the theater of fear.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    It hasn't stopped him before, even as cases were going down in flames around him he always pokes his head up and blathers about how he is winning... its like watching Charlie Sheen screaming winning while stuffing his nether regions into a sausage grinder. Its horrifying but you keep wondering why is he still turning the crank.

     

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  45.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:38pm

    Re:

    I'm not sure the peg boob thing is going to catch on...

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    From that substituted page 793 followed the link to my site.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    No, I mean MUCH more serious problems: we'll learn about them tomorrow I hope.

     

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

  48.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    danke SJD.

    Seems like it might have had an impact beyond a couple people. :D

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    What lying to a Federal Court Judge?
    Not new, although the fact the Judge seemed less than pleased and was angry enough to lay out actions being pursued was nice.

    Stealing someones name for an offshore entity that exists just to hide the ill-gotten gains of his extortion mill?
    Suspected for a while, was always curious who was the name on the papers... of course the submitted papers always seemed to have other companies names on them for the transfer to, but not to the suing company.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does make a point, though

    Which is why they're also punished in essentially the same way, right?

    Try again.

     

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


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