Music Publishers, With Help From Rightscorp, Test Legal Theory That DMCA Requires Kicking Repeat Infringers Off The Internet

from the this-ought-to-get-interesting dept

Late Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, two music publishers, BMG and Round Hill Music, who are partners of struggling copyright trolling operation Rightscorp, sued the ISP Cox, testing out the theory that (1) the DMCA requires ISPs to kick "repeat infringers" offline entirely and (2) that notices from Rightscorp suffice to prove that one is a repeat infringer. You can read the complaint here [pdf or embedded below].

There's a lot of background here to unpack -- very little of which made it into the WSJ's initial coverage of this story. First off, it's true that the DMCA safe harbors include a requirement of a "repeat infringer" termination policy in 512(i). Furthermore, for years, the RIAA and its friends have insisted that 512(i) means that ISPs need to boot people off the internet entirely. After the RIAA, MPAA and five top ISPs agreed to the "voluntary" six strikes program, in which the ISPs insisted that it wouldn't kick anyone off the internet for file sharing, the RIAA started telling people that even when ISPs said that, 512(i) would require ISPs to kick users offline anyway.

However, that hadn't been tested in court. There had been some thinking that the RIAA and associated labels would likely wait until they had enough examples of individuals hitting all "six strikes" and still having an account before testing out this legal theory -- but it looks like Rightscorp's friends are jumping the gun. If it succeeds, then the legacy copyright players will have a massive new weapon in their arsenal: a digital guillotine that would allow them to pressure ISPs to kick people entirely off the internet for a few simple infringements.

It's interesting that the target of the lawsuit is Cox for a couple of reasons. First, years back, Cox was actually one of the first ISPs to kick people offline for file sharing, publicly stating that the DMCA required it. This argument was, and remains, incorrect, but it's unclear if Cox still follows the same practices today. The filing says that Cox says this is its policy, but it doesn't actually follow through. Second, Cox is not a partner in the "six strikes" program -- and it makes you wonder if the plaintiffs will try to use that against the company (which could pressure ISPs into joining the program to avoid liability). In other words, it's possible that part of this strategy will be to force all ISPs to join the "voluntary" six strikes program.

Either way, the legal theory is fairly questionable. As AT&T argued years ago when such a theory was floated, an ISP can't just assume that someone is a "repeat infringer" based on questionable notices -- especially when the evidence for such notices (generally IP addresses) is notoriously unreliable. Furthermore, it's worth reading the details of probably the key case on implementing a "reasonable" policy, the Perfect 10 v. CCBill case. While the situations are not analogous, that case certainly seems to suggest that service providers have pretty wide latitude in setting up a policy, so long as they're not purposely trying to interfere with efforts to respond to infringement. The fact that, at least in the past, Cox did kick users off its service, suggests that it's not ignoring these issues and has a policy, even if it's not to Rightscorp's liking. Now, that CCBill case is in the 9th Circuit, and this lawsuit was filed in Virginia (the 4th Circuit), so perhaps the plaintiffs are hoping for a friendlier view towards these theories.

In the specifics in this case, BMG and Round Hill seem to be upset that Cox won't forward Rightscorp's notices -- and, in fact, appear to treat them as spam:
Plaintiffs, through their agent, have attempted to work closely with Cox to find a workable and common sense solution to Cox's system-wide repeat infringer problem. Cox, however, has refused to engage with Plaintiffs' agent in any substantive way and instead has taken the position that repeat infringement notices provided to Cox "do not relate to matters subject to the DMCA." Incredibly, Cox's Privacy Counsel advised Plaintiffs' agent that it has implemented a "policy not to accept or to forward notices such as those sent to us by your firm." Moreover, Cox chose "to limit the number of notices that [it] can accept from many senders because of the total volume that [it] receive[s]."

By its actions. Cox has intentionally ignored and continues to ignore the overwhelming evidence that provides it with actual knowledge ofrepeat copyright infringers on its network and Cox actually has taken measures to avoid and stop receiving those notifications in direct violation of the spirit and legal requirements of the DMCA. Cox cannot have any credible, effective repeat infringer policy, let alone one that is reasonably implemented as required by 512(i), if it purposefully ignores notifications, sufficient under the DMCA, of repeat infnngers sent by copyright owners who are tracking the repeat infnngers on the Cox network and providing Cox with actual knowledge of those repeat infringers on a daily basis.
Once again, though, the publishers are exaggerating the actual law and what's happening. They seem to assume that Cox has some sort of legal obligation to pass along Rightscorp's notices, which just isn't the case. Furthermore, the lawsuit states, incorrectly, that "Cox directly profits" from repeat infringements. But that's wrong. Cox may profit from people who have used its service to infringe, but the law (and court rulings) have been fairly clear that Cox would need to profit specifically from the infringements itself, not merely because some users infringe. Users who infringe and users who don't all pay Cox the same amount, so Cox receives no special profits from infringement, blowing a big hole in the legal theory presented.

No matter what, courts sometimes come out with wacky decisions, and this one could quickly shape up to be a key case in testing this theory that's floated around for years, but has never really been tested. That makes this a clear case to follow, as it could have tremendous impact. If the publishers' theory is vindicated by the courts, it would mean that -- contrary to all the previous promises that ISPs wouldn't kick people accused of infringing offline -- the US technically might require the loss of internet service for repeat infringers. Such a policy would clearly go against stated aims of the government in encouraging internet access, but it's not impossible. I would imagine that if such a result came about, the resulting protests from internet users would be even more vocal than what happened to prevent SOPA. Kicking people entirely off their internet connection for copyright infringement has always been a non-starter in the US. Kicking that hornet's nest seems like a risky move for these publishers.

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 6:28am

    Dear artists,

    Instead of blaming others for stealing, why not take a closer look at who the real thieves are.

    Sincerely,
    Everyone else.

    On a side note: BMG is owned by Sony, who was recently a target of some serious hacking. Several unreleased movies are now released and threats of internal documents looms over the company.

    Hot damn, do I just love karma.

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  • icon
    jdc (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 7:55am

    Hmm. There is an aspect to this that may have been overlooked.

    If memory serves, there has been more than one case where a DMCA takedown notice has been sent for content uploaded by the actual copyright holder's representatives. It would be extremely ... appropriate ... for those repeat offenders to be taken completely offline. I wonder how the RIAA et. al. would react as various recording companies get booted due to repeat infringement.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:35am

      Re: Hmm. There is an aspect to this that may have been overlooked.

      they'll just wave their magic "I'm exempt" wand.

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

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re: Hmm. There is an aspect to this that may have been overlooked.

        I don't recall seeing any such exemption in the laws...

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hmm. There is an aspect to this that may have been overlooked.

          Really? When's the last time you remember a large company actually facing a real penalty for their actions? In particular due to perjury from clearly bogus DMCA claims?

          If this case actually does go their way, there is no chance at all that it would ever apply to them.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hmm. There is an aspect to this that may have been overlooked.

          That's because you only get to read the laws meant for us plebes to read. You don't get to read the laws that those in power follow (and many of those aren't written down at all, since they're "Golden Rules": he who has the gold makes the rules.

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

  • icon
    Haywood (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:08am

    Sounds like good news for VPN providers.

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

  • icon
    Namel3ss (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:12am

    I knew back when the DMCA was passed in '98 that it was a BAD law, and time has just proven that true. All benefits to the copyright holders and no consequences for takedown notices for stuff they don't actually hold copyright on.

    And every year it seems it just keeps getting better and better.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:25am

    Protests

    I would imagine that if such a result came about, the resulting protests from internet users would be even more vocal than what happened to prevent SOPA.
    That depends on whether the protesters organize faster than the RIAA can spam out false notices to kick those protesters offline, thereby silencing them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:56am

      Re: Protests

      A person wouldn't be "kicked off the internet", just forced to use a different service.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: Protests

        Right... because everyone has access to "a different service".

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Protests

          If they don't have access to a different service then maybe they shouldn't illegally download stuff.

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

          • icon
            steell (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

            So, you want to do away with the "Innocent until proven guilty" thing? Guilty because someone claims you are guilty, I got it.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

              Are you pretending that massive amounts of illegal downloading are not occurring without punishment? That's a non-starter. I don't want pirates screwing up my legal online experience.

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

              • identicon
                David, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:43am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

                I don't want pirates screwing up my legal online experience.

                Well, this case is about the RIAA and MPAA screwing up people's online experience. And given their track record, this includes screwing up legal online experiences as collateral.

                Now how are the "pirates" supposedly screwing up your "legal online experience"? The only viable way would seem to be hogging bandwidth. But they are not getting more bandwidth than the service providers are selling them, and one can perfectly well hog the same bandwidth enjoying "legal online experience".

                So it would seem that you are focusing on the wrong culprits here.

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

                • identicon
                  Michael, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

                  But they are not getting more bandwidth than the service providers are selling them

                  Those bastards are getting the bandwidth their service providers are selling them! How do I get that much bandwidth? THAT'S the problem! They are actually getting the bandwidth that everyone else was also promised!

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:45am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

                  I've made the same arguments over and over. There are no bandwidth hogs because you are sold a package of what speed/usage you have. You can not exceed that.

                  More times than not you are sold a package claiming to reach speeds you can't. It's called overselling of resources and the bandwidth hog is an easy out explanation for the gullible.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:01am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

                Netflix and Spotify have proven that there is amarket that is not being served.

                A simple, convenient, valuable service is all that is required to considerably reduce infringment. But that is not happening. Go and have a look at, for example, AC: Unity, where the unlawful experience is better than the normal experience; or Hachette e-books, which only discounted about 0.1% of its e-books during the recent megasales.

                It's a combined business/service issue, and to say otherwise is quite wrong-headed.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

                I REALLY hope you get some unfounded accusations of piracy because they fucked up their IP gathering again and you get kicked of the internet for it.

                Just to give you a taste of how fucked up the system you find so great is.

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

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:28am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

                "I don't want pirates screwing up my legal online experience."

                Good, then, because they aren't.

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

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

            "maybe they shouldn't illegally download stuff."

            Fine for those people who engage in piracy and get flagged for it. But not so fine for those who do not engage in piracy and get flagged for it anyway.

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

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Protests

          Right... because everyone has access to "a different service".

          We do. Starbucks, McD's, public library, ... Snailmail to elected reps is free too (at least it is where I live).

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

          • icon
            John85851 (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 8:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

            And going to Starbucks is so convenient for paying online bills after you're kicked off the Internet because you didn't know you could password-protect your router and the neighbor's kid decided to download movies while using your IP address.

            On a side-note: go around your neighborhood after Christmas and see how many people got routers and haven't secured them yet.

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

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 12:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

              "go around your neighborhood after Christmas and see how many people got routers and haven't secured them yet."

              Almost all routers sold beginning a couple of years ago have the encryption turned on by default now, so you shouldn't see too many of those -- except for people (like me) who intentionally open them up.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Protests

          I never realized that personal ISP accounts are the only way to access the web.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 4:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protests

            Where I live, I have several options. But go 40 miles from here and you have areas where there's no reliable cell service and one available provider. I'd be relatively OK in the "guilty until proven innocent" scenarios typically proposed by the content providers, but what about others?

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

      • icon
        Jeremy Z (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:57am

        Re: Re: Protests

        Except for the millions of people who live in areas with no competition.

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

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:35am

    And maybe they are

    "In the specifics in this case, BMG and Round Hill seem to be upset that Cox won't forward Rightscorp's notices -- and, in fact, appear to treat them as spam:"

    If they fit the canonical definition of spam ("unsolicited bulk email") then they ARE spam, so treating them as such would be appropriate.

    Note that Cox is not obligated to furnish Rightscorp with any computing services -- absent a contractual agreement stipulating so. Cox may furnish or withhold HTTP services, DNS services, SMTP services, or anything else as it pleases, at any time for any reason. If Cox graciously decides to accept some of Rightscorp's messages but not all: Rightscorp has no complaint. (Any more than someone receiving 5 free ice cream cones should complain that they didn't receive 500.)

    Also note that the question of whether something is or isn't spam doesn't involve content (zero-length messages may be still be spam), intent (intent is unknowable and irrelevant), reason (also unknowable and irrelevant), timing (slow spam or fast spam, it's still spam), or sender/destination address. Not having seen samples of these messages, I'm not in a position to say whether they qualify or not; but past history of hyper-aggressive DMCA enforcement suggests that they may well do so.

    Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that Rightscorp has some number of valid complaints, that does not excuse abusive behavior toward Cox. Perhaps they should learn what some of us learned years ago: it is never appropriate to respond to abuse to abuse -- the outcome is nearly always negative for everyone involved and sometimes for uninvolved third parties.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:41am

    This seems stupid to me. Blocking a repeat infringer might make sense when you're dealing with, say, an anonymous YouTube account. But here we're dealing with ISP's. Can't they just get a subpoena for the person's information followed by a court order? According to the law, "A copyright owner or a person authorized to act on the owner’s behalf may request the clerk of any United States district court to issue a subpoena to a service provider for identification of an alleged infringer in accordance with this subsection."

    The copyright holders might counter with "Yeah, but we tried that with Prenda, and as it turns out, knowing the IP address isn't enough to know who the infringer is." To which I would respond, not my problem, and...

    To get immunity, an ISP needs "a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers". Note the wording. It does not say accounts that are repeat infringers. It says account HOLDERS who are repeat infringers. So unless someone has evidence that it is the account holder who is the one committing the infringement, this clause does not appear to require disconnection.

    I would further question whether "appropriate circumstances" includes cases where an ISP is merely told "trust us, they infringe". And it says "who are repeat infringers", not "who have been repeatedly accused of infringement."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      eh. The point is that they don't appear to have any real repeat infringer policy. Unless that changes, they'll lose this case.

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

      • icon
        steell (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:21am

        Re: Re:

        I don't know where you get your info, but we're discussing the above article, and it says the following:

        "First, years back, Cox was actually one of the first ISPs to kick people offline for file sharing, publicly stating that the DMCA required it. This argument was, and remains, incorrect, but it's unclear if Cox still follows the same practices today. The filing says that Cox says this is its policy, but it doesn't actually follow through."

        It appears to me that they do have a repeat infringers policy.

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

    • icon
      TruthHurts (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      The courts are refusing to allow this kind of garbage collection, so the RIAA Rico gang have altered direction and are trying to get the ISPs to do their jobs for them.

      Since IP addresses can never decisively be tied to an individual (ip spoofing, mac address spoofing, open wifi, hacked wifi, etc) - there is no way that an ISP can prove that the ip address in question goes to any specific person.

      Without this discernible link between individuals and services used, there is no legal way to acuse someone solely on ip address used, which is why the courts refuse to action the requests by the RIAA/MPAA Rico Gangs.

      The really funny (not really to us, but funny on them) is that all of the infringement (their words, not ours) that they are attacking, improves their bottom line.

      They would have better profits if they stopped wasting money on encryption and monitoring to attack their customer base.

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

    • icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      Can't they just get a subpoena for the person's information followed by a court order?

      Yes, of course they can. However, the courts have been pushing back on the bulk fishing expeditions based on nothing more than "we saw these IPs in a bittorrent cloud" bullshit. Which means that the copyright holders have to both do a something more than minimal investigation and cover initial court and legal fees - which is costly upfront and doesn't come remotely close to covering even in the event of a judgement.

      The short answer is that the copyright holders want to enforce their rights by pushing all theirs costs onto other services.

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

    • icon
      WDS (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:33am

      Re: Subpoena

      I think the section that you are referring to is the same section that Rightscorp is getting sued for using, because it doesn't apply to transport only providers, but to hosting providers.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re: Subpoena

        I think the section that you are referring to is the same section that Rightscorp is getting sued for using, because it doesn't apply to transport only providers, but to hosting providers.


        The law says the subpoena can be issued to a "service provider", and according to the definition in section (k), that means "a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor". Clearly an ISP qualifies under this definition.

        Companies like Rightscorp got in trouble for other reasons. IIRC they may have violated "a sworn declaration to the effect that the purpose for which the subpoena is sought is to obtain the identity of an alleged infringer and that such information will only be used for the purpose of protecting rights under this title", which is required for such a subpoena.

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

        • icon
          WDS (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Subpoena

          Taken from the Class Action filed against Rightscorp:

          “It has been well-established for a decade that subpoenas may not be issued under 17 U.S.C. § 512(h) to ISPs merely acting as conduits for electronic communications. In re Charter Commc 'ns, Inc. , 393 F.3d771, 776-78 (8th Cir. 2005) (finding that Section 5 12(h) does not authorize the issuance of subpoenas to ISPs acting as mere conduits for communications between Internet users and vacating order issued by district court enforcing improperly issued Section 512(h) subpoenas); Recording Indus. Assoc. of Am. v. Verizon Internet Svcs., Inc., 351 F.3d 1229, 1236-39 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (Section 512(h) inapplicable where Internet service provider acted as conduit for alleged peer-to-peer filesharing between Internet users)."

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 3:01pm

      Another important part:

      "a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers".

      Simply accusing someone of infringing wouldn't be enough to trigger the penalty, they would have to be found guilty in court, several times, before the 'repeat infringer' penalty would even come into play.

      To those that believe accusation is enough, I say only this:

      "You're accused of committing arson."
      "You're accused of committing arson."
      "You're accused of committing arson."

      There, you've been accused three times, off to jail with you.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 5:37pm

        Re: Another important part:

        JFYI, nothing in the DMCA says anything about "in court". Ergo, the decision as to who is a repeat infringer is not up to a court

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 6:08pm

          Re: Re: Another important part:

          Perhaps, but it also seems to be lacking the phrase 'accused repeat infringers', indicating that someone has to be a proven repeat infringer for it to actually kick in.

          Of course that would be the sane, sensible interpretation of the wording, now to see if the judge(s) involved are sane and sensible when they rule on it, or if once again the magic words 'copyright infringement' will pervert the law and make 'guilty until proven innocent' apply here.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 8:54am

          Re: Re: Another important part:

          "JFYI, nothing in the DMCA says anything about "in court". Ergo, the decision as to who is a repeat infringer is not up to a court"

          Then it's up to the ISP to determine.

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

    • icon
      ExpatBrit (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:26pm

      Re: Subpoenas

      Rightscorp is already in trouble for using illegal under Federal law Subpoenas. That's why Grande Communications a small Texas ISP is taking them to court despite the fact that Rightscorp has tried to get the case dismissed ;)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:49am

    It really does seem that Plaintiff's argument hinges solely on the assertion that a mere accusation of infringement is enough to trigger disconnection. No discovery, no forensics, no proof. Just an accusation from Rightscorp, a company that makes money from generating accusations.

    Can't wait to read Cox's Reply.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:02am

    the only good thing that will come out of this is that, finally, ISPs will have to seriously enter the fray, which will bring in massive companies like Google. they will need to be in on this because it is the obvious next step if the ISPs lose! it will perhaps bring home that it doesn't matter what is done to try to please the entertainment industries, they will keep on kicking until they get complete control of the Internet. 'it wont happen' i hear cried out. we never thought that file sharing would be turned from a civli crime to a criminal crime, but it has! we never thought that people would be sent to jail because they shared files, but they have! we never thought that people would be prevented from entering a cinema until they handed over their mobile phones, but they are! the two things that haven't happened, as yet are the one i state above and someone being given the death penalty for file sharing or running a file sharing web site! we are so close to both of these things happening. if there isn't some serious push back like 10x what there was over ACTA, the planet is going to have the best communication and distribution method invented so far run by an industry that relies on make believe as a product, and have that product bought by the very people it is doing as much as possible to stop from sharing! we dont have much longer, people. if we wait a little while, we will be screwed to a point we cant get back from!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:05am

    Violates FOI and " Universal Service"

    There are laws which make it illegal to interfere with Freedom of Information access. Since many public records are only accessible from the internet, blocking service would be a violation.

    The internet is under the broad category of "universal services" which is under federal regulations. This means everybody is entitled to universal service for phone, TV, and internet, if they pay for it.

    Think of the children!

    What if they don't have a phone, but use Skype for a phone? How would they call 911? They could contact someone on Facebook to call 911.

    Some local libraries restrict internet use as a punishment for unpaid late fees for book loans. This violates Freedom of Information laws. Library late fees should not be tied to computer use in the library. Some children need those computers for home-work, also.

    Think of the Children!

    And the homeless!
    These people may have lost their ID's and SS cards. You can't get an ID without a SS card, and you can't get a SS card without an ID. How are they going to dig themselves out of a hole? -- at the library computer, where they can't get a library card because they don't have proof of an address.

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

  • icon
    TruthHurts (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:13am

    Class Action Lawsuit against MPAA

    This is an off-topic post, so I apologize up front about that.

    Do you get upset when you insert a newly bought DVD or Blu-Ray disc and cannot skip those damned advertisements or legal threats forced upon us by the MPAA Rico Gang?

    How much of your life is wasted sitting through things you don't want to, shouldn't have to, doesn't apply to you?

    Why threaten people who legally purchased content? To make them angry? To make them not want to buy your product?

    Why are they allowed to make false assertions and threats in the first place? Making a personal backup of a DVD for your personal use has been declared fair use in the courts, so all of their legalsleeze is a lie, a mis-representation of the law to intimidate people.

    Why does the MPAA think they have the right to hijack our personal DVD/Blu-Ray players?

    I want my time back, I want to be able to "skip" over their threats and allegations that I am a criminal for buying their product.

    I feel that if I bought it, I shouldn't have to sit through their legalsleeze and ficticious warnings about consequences that will never apply to me since I bought the damned product to begin with.

    I think that a minimum fine of $100.00 per DVD / Blu-Ray disc that has those "lockouts" that prevent skipping or fast forwarding during advertisements and fake legal threats would be a good start.

    I would suggest that the MPAA Rico Gang should be made to pay for all replacement devices that remove those content controls entirely since they've been used for illegal (threatening consumers with fictitious penalties causing anxiety, worry, etc) in customers who have done absolutely nothing wrong.

    So $100.00 per DVD/Blu-Ray with the threats and control lockouts, replacement device (consumers choice as to what to buy, 100% paid for by the MPAA) that removes the ability for content to prevent skipping or fast-forwarding, 1000.00 for pain and suffering of each device owner and a new law that prohibits the MPAA from ever implementing anything that takes any kind of controls out of the hands of the consumer.

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

    • identicon
      David, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:48am

      Re: Class Action Lawsuit against MPAA

      Why threaten people who legally purchased content? To make them angry? To make them not want to buy your product?

      It's sort of a watermark since it's the first thing anybody concerned with an enjoyable viewing experience would remove.

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

      • icon
        TruthHurts (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re: Class Action Lawsuit against MPAA

        It's a threat letter, pure and simple.

        It's an attempt to scare a consumer who has legally purchased an item and should be treated as such.

        How many millions of DVDs / Blu-Rays have been sold with these threats in them, threatening citizens with all kinds of badness that haven't done anything illegal.

        If nothing else, it would come under slander / libel as it's a bald faced accusation of infringement by the MPAA Rico Gang members.

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

    • icon
      tracyanne (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:54pm

      Re: Class Action Lawsuit against MPAA

      quote::I think that a minimum fine of $100.00 per DVD / Blu-Ray disc that has those "lockouts" that prevent skipping or fast forwarding during advertisements and fake legal threats would be a good start.::quote

      "lockouts" is this something new, or does it only apply on certain devices/operating systems?

      I have never experienced such a thing.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re: Class Action Lawsuit against MPAA

        "I have never experienced such a thing"

        It's hard to imagine that you've never experienced it. He's talking about when you are playing a DVD and pressing any button that skips a portion of the content is disallowed. This exists in most DVDs. Try skipping past the piracy warning on most, and the advertisements on many, and observe that it doesn't work.

        This, actually, was entirely the reason why I stopped using commercial DVDs directly and started ripping them to watch them -- to get rid of that nonsense.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 3:13pm

      Re: Class Action Lawsuit against MPAA

      Do you get upset when you insert a newly bought DVD or Blu-Ray disc and cannot skip those damned advertisements or legal threats forced upon us by the MPAA Rico Gang?

      Nope, because thanks to the actions of the *AA's I do my best never to buy anything from them. Hence, no annoying warnings/threats about what a terrible person I am for actually paying money for their products.

      It's a win-win, I keep my money and give it to people who don't constantly treat me like a criminal, they get to keep their threats and not have to deal with the money I otherwise might have thrown their way.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:22am

    LOL Rightscorp and BMG said someone else has no credibility.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:29am

    They might have shot themselves in the foot by claiming that over 200,000 accounts were repeat infringers. The counter-argument is, what do you want them to do, shut down? They only have about four million subscribers, according to the complaint. That's 5% of their customers - and the complaint says that they believe the actual number of repeat infringers is "substantially higher".

    The other silly thing here is that, as far as I can tell, every time their bot checks if a work is available, they count that as another infringement. So they say that someone committed infringement 284 times in the past year, when that probably just means that the person had one infringing file and happened to have the torrent software running 284 times out of the 365 that they checked.

    The non-digital equivalent to this is asking someone every day if they would copy something for you, and counting it as an infringement every time they said "yes", whether or not they actually made a copy.

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

  • icon
    WDS (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:35am

    Surprised

    I am surprised that they are taking on Cox instead of some smaller ISP that doesn't have the resources to fight back.

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

    • icon
      ExpatBrit (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:42pm

      Re: Surprised

      They have done that but backed off after Grande Communications a small Texas ISP called their bluff and insisted on it going to court. Rightscorp then quickly backed off and tried to get the case dismissed. However Grande scented BS and are now taking Rightscorp to court for monetary damages and full attorney fees ;)

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:12am

    So shouldn't the headline be:

    Dicks sue Cox

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Rable-rouser, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:35am

    I wish I could get one of these notices. If 512(i) requires ISPs to disconnect someone from the Internet for mere allegations of civil copyright infringement, it's probably unconstitutional. Whether the copyright cartels like it or not, the DMCA is subject to the First Amendment. If the law is interpreted in such a way that one private party who provides the means for a limitless variety of protected expression (an ISP) is required by law (the DMCA) to disconnect a person solely because another private party (a copyright holder) has alleged infringement, there's no way it would survive the "narrow tailoring" constitutional test.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:41am

    So how long before these major ISPs decide they don't want to play this voluntary game anymore? The only reason they agreed was that the Obama admin told them come up with a plan or we'll make a law. In less than 2 years, we'll be looking at a new president; perhaps one that doesn't care all that much about making such a law.

    The copyright people push enough buttons and this little program could vanish like mist in the night.

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 1 Dec 2014 @ 1:04pm

    Blightscorp...I mean Rightscorp is trying to find new ways of stemming the bleeding of cash from their decaying corpse.

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

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:16pm

    What's most funny is that they really seem to think cutting people off from the Internet will suddenly make them buy their products. Good luck testing that theory.

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

  • icon
    ExpatBrit (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:17pm

    There are several points about this case that I'm sure that Cox will already know.

    1) The only reason it's BMG/RoundHill bringing the case is that Rightscorp knows as it doesn't hold the rights to the claimed downloaded files it can't initiate a lawsuit.

    2) Rightscorp needs a high profile case it can point to to try to attract suckers(oops sorry investors) to put money into their failing company.

    3) Rightscorp supposed proprietary technology is the same crawler that was used by Prenda Law and their German subsidiary and they can't afford that to come out in court if they started the case on behalf of Sony ;)

    4) As a company that is already on shaky ground due to lawsuits by both a class action lawsuit on behalf of aggrieved and probably innocent people plus one from an ISP (Grande Communications) which will prove that their so called legal subpoenas are anything but under Federal law, they desperately need to try to distance themselves from any bad fallout.

    5) Sony ie BMG are probably using the political methods so loved in the USA of "dark funding" in order to support Rightscorp and their stock price so that they can claim in court that they used a responsible company to research their claim. This would obviously fall apart if Rightscorp went bankrupt before the case can come to court.

    With all that said I cannot in all honesty see them getting anywhere near a win in their lawsuit as even the lowliest ISP would join in briefs against Sony and Rightscorps rather than have to be classed as title 2 providers and internet police. I fully expect if this ever does go to court for the big players to weigh in on the side of Cox on this.

    My own thoughts are that Sony and Rightscorp are hoping for a quick out of court settlement so they can claim a win and a precedent, rather than a long drawn out court fight which would expose just how faulty and inaccurate their so called detection methods are. So I'm hoping Cox refuses to back down and makes them pay dearly for blaming the water company when it's the household pipes that are faulty lol.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 1:04am

      Re:

      I am not sure #3 is accurate.
      I've never dug too deeply into the magic potato they use to detect infringement, but the history of RightsCorp's players show this is not their first day at the rodeo. They might have their own independent magical potato without the German potato salad magic.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Dec 2014 @ 1:06am

    I don't have one handy, but if someone were to look around I wonder if they could dredge up a copy of the email.

    IIRC what RightsCorp was sending didn't even meet the basic requirements of a DMCA notice, it was mostly just empty threats of we got you pay us or 150K when we go to court.

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

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 3 Dec 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Make the penalty the same as.....

    Drunk Driving....oh wait forget I said that. Briefly forgot that here in the US we punish our "infringer" much more harshly that we do the damn drunk drivers! To quote Dr. Sheldon Cooper...."I what universe does that make sense?"

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

  • identicon
    aicra, 4 Dec 2014 @ 10:15pm

    Limitations on Liability

    This is just so the SP has limitation on liability.

    The law does require the SP to "adopt" and "reasonably implement" and "inform" Subscribers of a policy "that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers;"
    and
    "(B) accommodates and does not interfere with standard technical measures.""

    Check out this definition!


    "Definition.— As used in this subsection, the term “standard technical measures” means technical measures that are used by copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works and—

    (A) have been developed pursuant to a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers in an open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process;

    (B) are available to any person on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms; and

    (C) do not impose substantial costs on service providers or substantial burdens on their systems or networks."

    Do not impose substantial costs on SP or burden to their system or networks.
    If a policy is in place regarding repeat infringement and the users are informed, the SP can take action based on the implemented policy. However, if that policy imposes costs to the SP or burdens the systems or networks - GAME OVER.

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

  • identicon
    cmb, 3 Mar 2015 @ 5:35pm

    I have gotten locked out of my internet until about 15 min ago by my ISP because of infringment and i called them earlier and they said i owed 1080 dollars for 54 files. they then reduced it to 652 dollars but said it must be paid in the next two days. I dont want this to end up costing me a buttload in legal fees if i dont pay, but i also dont feel like handing over 650 dollars. please help me

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


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