Telenor Looks To Lead The Anti-Troll Fight In Europe

from the to-arms dept

In what is beginning to look like a much-welcomed trend, it seems like copyright trolls are finally due to receive some pushback from powerful industry players. Whereas previous pushback has been both isolated and chiefly the province of smaller European government groups, the real curtailing of copyright trolling efforts was always going to come from a revolt by tangential corporate interests. It appears that the soldier on the front of that fight might be Telenor, an ISP that has previously pushed back against efforts for wholesale site-blocking in the name of copyright, and one that is is now looking to export its recent anti-troll win in Norway to the country of Denmark by gathering allies in the ISP industry to its side.

To stop the trolling efforts from getting out of hand, Telenor is now preparing to build a new case at the Frederiksberg Court, hoping to protect the identities of its subscribers. In Denmark, Telenor is supported by fellow Internet provider Telia, which says it will be more critical toward trolling efforts going forward.

The branch organization Telecommunications Industry in Denmark notes that other ISPs are backing Telenor’s efforts as well. The group’s director, Jakob Willer, describes the copyright trolling scheme as a “mafia-like” practice, which should be stopped.

“There is full support from the industry to Telenor to take this fight and protect customers against mafia-like practices,” Willer says.

This language choice is not remotely inappropriate. Copyright trolls rarely find themselves before an actual court against defendants, instead relying on well-crafted and often deceptive threat letters to generate settlement income for themselves and their clients. It should be immediately clear exactly what is going on here when a law firm so haphazardly threatens litigation yet never conducts it. Extortion is a word that leaps to mind, even if these wolves are garbed in the sheep's clothing offered by the imprimatur of legal language and the status of being an otherwise valid law firm. What's required to break these efforts is the unmasking of these tactics and the tenuous evidence on which they are based, as well as having the privacy erosion that these tactics require laid bare for all to see. ISPs are the perfect paladin for this, as they are the ones giving up customer information based typically on scant evidence.

Individuals will find themselves unable to compete with the legal teams of these copyright trolls. So much so, that the unmasking of account information is quickly getting out of control.

These so-called “copyright trolls” have also landed in Denmark, where the number of targeted Internet subscribers is growing at a rapid rate.

In 2015, rightsholders received permission from courts to obtain the personal details of 6,187 alleged BitTorrent pirates, based on their IP-addresses. A year later the number of accused subscribers increased by nearly 250 percent, to 21,163.

Why courts so often side with industry in this manner is a discussion for another day, but given that reality, ISPs too are an industry that can take up this fight. Seeing them begin to do so, and banding together to provide a more formidable legal defense of what is essentially their customers' rights, is obviously a step in the right direction. And, while geography plays little role in internet-related questions of this kind, it strikes anyone looking at the map how Telenor appears to be surrounding Germany, the birthplace of copyright trolling, with its legal efforts.

All is not quiet on the copyright troll front, in other words, with ISPs now looking to ally against them.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2017 @ 9:26pm

    ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

    Answer to WHY these corporations defend customers. Clear up side, clearly no down side.

    Now look at this: suppose the piracy were not of content, but CONNECTION. Say 30 or 40 residents of an apartment building chipped in to buy one high speed connection and "shared" it... OH, DIFFERENT, THEN, EH? This corporation would be trying to get those "sharers" jailed! And probably succeed.

    And finally: if content was downloaded as alleged, then it's not trolling, or "extortion", or "mafia" tactics, but lawful redress of grievance for infraction of civil law. Content costs money to make, and requires control of copies in order to recover costs, or to profit.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2017 @ 9:34pm

      Re:

      Expected to see out_of_the_blue or My_Name_Here rush to the defense of Europe's version of Prenda Law. Was not surprised when it happened.

      Enjoy having your Guardaley litigation machine ripped apart and uncovered from the inside out.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 1 Jun 2017 @ 10:30pm

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      And finally: if content was downloaded as alleged,

      The bigger if: IF it was downloaded by who they allege. They're often wrong. They're guessing that the person on the bill was responsible for the download. Worse, they're guessing that the IP address was legit, and belonged to the person on the bill at the time.

      Which is why it's standard practice for them to drop the lawsuit and run away when anyone tries to defend themselves in court.

      Which is why they only demand a few thousand dollars, less than the price of a legal defense. Costing the victim a fortune even if they win. Even if the troll runs away.

      Which is why their trolling has EARNED the "extortion" and "mafia tactics" labels.

      And why you've earned your reputation for dishonesty.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2017 @ 11:20pm

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      The companies having started this effort are having a court-rate that is pathetic and the number of convictions, even in those cases is not convincing.

      One lawyer from such a company has uttered the legal theory:
      "If people can proove their innocence we will look at the case." and " and "Its a question of if we feel we can proove something illegal has happened".

      That is also their stance after they have sent out a nastygram with an economic demand. People have been specifically warned that paying the nastygrams is a bad idea. If you ignore them, they will go away or you can collect them for user right groups identifying the trolls.

      The advantage in Denmark compared to USA is that court fees are automatically shifted in civil cases if a case is adjudicated. It doesn't mean the upfront cost of seeking legal help is waved or the lawfirms sending the letters will get punished, though...

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 2 Jun 2017 @ 3:04am

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      It's not a lawful redress to make threats practically at random, demanding money, or the threat of legal action which almost never materializes because they know they are full of shit and have no case.

      People actually seeking redress over infringed works in a reasonable manner aren't trolls. Those people exist, and no one here complains about them.

      If you are worried about creators, nearly all the problem they have with compensation revolves around the sectors they allow to represent them, supposedly collect royalties for them, and have control (or not, even, in some cases) the rights the creators have assigned away.

      If you are whining for major corporate productions, even piracy at the scale you seem to imagine exists doesn't even touch them. It's more free advertising than anything.

      If 30 or 40 people shared a connection (uh, you realize large buildings actually do this), they would have to buy enough bandwidth for all those people, or they would just have really poor service. But good point, ISPs, especially in North America, also charge way beyond the cost of service, just like some want rather insane amounts of money for the cost of "reproduction". Both are at an asymptotic limit approaching zero.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2017 @ 6:07am

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      You do realise that you can legally have an open wifi connection right? It's totes legal to invite 30 or 40 of your friends to use it too. Also I "allege" that you are a froth-mouthed raving gibbon eyed freak of nature. That statement cost money to make. Now pay me!

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

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 2 Jun 2017 @ 6:19am

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      "Now look at this: suppose the piracy were not of content, but CONNECTION. Say 30 or 40 residents of an apartment building chipped in to buy one high speed connection and "shared" it... OH, DIFFERENT, THEN, EH? This corporation would be trying to get those "sharers" jailed! And probably succeed."

      Funny, since they don't actually do this when people and/or businesses make their WiFi open and available for use. You do realize people and companies do this, just, ALL THE TIME, and there isn't a shred of illegality in any of it?

      "And finally: if content was downloaded as alleged...."

      You appear to have missed the point completely, Scooter, about which I am hardly shocked. The point is that the "evidence" they're using isn't evidence at all, as EU courts have ruled in the past. That's why they try to unmask people through the ISPs. They don't have the data needed for their threats so they go to the ISP to find someone to threaten. Threaten being the operative word, btw, since these things never go to trial. As I wrote in the post, that should tell you all you need to know.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2017 @ 7:48am

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      >ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      And most of that content is made available for free by the creators.The MPAA and RIAA are now minority players when it comes to hours of video and music that is published These days I can find something legal and worth watching or listening to on the Internet in seconds, and remember when even with cable it was impossible to find something worth watching.

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

    • icon
      sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 2 Jun 2017 @ 9:39am

      Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

      And finally: if content was downloaded as alleged, then it's not trolling, or "extortion", or "mafia" tactics, but lawful redress of grievance for infraction of civil law.

      You are woefully ignorant, and your Google is broken.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2017 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Re: ISPs directly get more customers from availability of "free" content, and they don't care about the distant creators.

        your Google is broken

        That's not really a surprise. The notion that Google exists makes out_of_the_blue take a shit in his pants out of righteous fury.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 2 Jun 2017 @ 3:06am

    _Extortion is a word that leaps to mind [...]_

    From a cliff. With a sword spitting lightning. With it's own very loud theme music and a lightshow. And a shirt that reads, "Right here, dawg."

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 2 Jun 2017 @ 8:33am

    ISPs are the perfect paladin for this, as they are the ones giving up customer information based typically on scant evidence.

    Ah yes, ISPs, those shining crusaders that Techdirt is always praising for their consumer-rights-protecting virtue.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2017 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      Well there is a large difference between US ISP's and the Scandinavian ISP's (even the larges ones like Telia and Telenor) in their overall view on privacy rights and consumers.

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

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 2 Jun 2017 @ 3:17pm

    About those IP addresses

    I would just like to point out that, because I live in regional Australia and have no other good option, I use satellite internet.

    That means my IP address is shared with around 60,000 other users of that satellite. Troll that!

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


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