There are a lot of people in the legal community much like Paul Levy from Public Citizen who assists Techdirt with Legal issues, and I am sure Ken from Popehat as well as numerous other Lawyers who would help Techdirt if they thought Techdirt and it's writers needed them.
I don't see Homeland Security getting very far with this, I liken this to the Big Bad Wolf who wants to huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down...except the Department of Homeland Security is playing the part of the Big Bad Wolf at the behest of someone from CBP/ICE.
This whole thing is a farce in my opinion, I think the agent mentioned in the story is a little embarrassed as he is associated to the seizure on the behalf of CBP/ICE who have much egg on their face as well.
I am sure the good folks over at CBP/ICE are just a little embarrassed that this didnt stay out of the media and their methods and attempt at a legal hold up for fun and profit didnt work out so well.
I doubt Techdirt is shivering in fear and the staff is plastered to the windows waiting for the dark colored SUV's full of Agent Foster Grannt's piling out and running into the building to seize everything, far from it.
Well I guess we know now that the good folks at Homeland security are reading Techdirt, I guess that is one way for them to find out what is happening in the cases they are in court with.
And it would also seem that ICE, CBP Homeland Security aren't very big fans of the media doing stories on the asset seizures that happen to involve cash from citizens because they can (no crime needed it would seem)
Honestly so how much time and money are they going to waste on this so called "investigation" of that comment. Was the comment over the line, to a point yeah, but honestly how many other people post way worse on the internet?
Seriously there are people posting a heel of a lot worse and more direct threats at other people or groups.
This seems to me this is someones more butthurt at the story subject, and this is the ICE, CBP, Homeland Security indirect way of trying to throw a little scare at Techdirt by the way of using the comment as leverage to say" Hey, keep this up and we will tie you up in legal fees and make life hell for your company and writers if you want to keep writing and questioning cash seizures we do for fun and profit.
Well this further's my suspicion when it comes to copyright trolls suing alleged infringers of their clients movies/music and using geo location tools to locate the alleged infringer.
To listen to the copyright trolls claim in their submission to the court and as part of their application to get expedited discovery from the ISP for the subscribers information they often (and I mean religiously) say how the geo location tools they use have a 99% accuracy in pin pointing the alleged infringer lives in this are and is served by so and so ISP.
I have always thought that this was baloney, and much like Andrew has pointed out in his article you should believe in the baloney too. If you look at the data Andrew included and his test he ran, there is a lot of hocus pocus in the trolls claims off 99% accuracy.
Not only have their been cases were they the trolls sued a small business because the geo location information led them to that IP address as being the infringer (mind you the business owner replied to the court with a WTF) and then promptly dismissed the business owner once it was pointed out to the trolls it was a business, but that points out how geo location tools are not as accurate as the trolls claim.
Yet to the courts as part of their boilerplate complaints you will see the trolls always always claim how their geo location tools are 99% accurate and their investigative methods point to the IP address of the ISP subscriber as the infringer.
It really is a joke at how much the courts are fooled by the B.S. the trolls fill their submissions to the court with in their complaint to get the whole extortion scheme going and the trolls continue to get away with this
Sorry but I am not going to cry and Tears for the online Advertising companies. A person who surfs the internet nowadays is barraged with all sorts of invasive forms of Ad's.
The Ad companies have no one to blame but themselves, they have graduated from ads that were banners to intrusive things, like pop-under, mouse-overs, IFrames, redirects, oversize, auto play, malvertising and virus laden ads, forcing you to click or hit the esc button, forcing you to click thru and on and on and on and it is even worse if your on a tablet or mobile device.
If your on a tablet or mobile device you have all the same worries and the added bonus of watching your device bandwidth get eaten up and your device slowing down or grinding to a close halt.
The advertisers thirst for cash and subjecting surfers to the aforementioned garbage type ads is the whole reason Ad Blockers are so prevalent now and the Ad Blocking industry has been booming.
I realize sites need and want revenue from the ads, we all get that, however I will be damned if I am going to sit and be prey to the intrusive ones that turn a simple web site visit into one of those annoying moments were I can wait to get the fuck away from that site and vow never to return and go off to search for what I am looking for elsewhere on the web.
As for the sites who kindly as you to turn off your ad blocker, I do that to the ones where I find the Ad's aren't intrusive, but to the others that ask and then they pull the above laden intrusive ads..fuck you!
So Let's see Hollywood went and bought Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood to use his office and it's powers to Investigate Google and try and force Google to do what Hollywood wanted...and then that blew up in Hollywood's face big time.
So having no luck using Hood here in the U.S. and Google dragging the MPAA and Hood thru the courts all while leaving them bruised and battered, Hollywood still learned nothing from the events that have unfolded thus far.
So In Hollywood's wisdom they have decided to use their BPI pals and the bought & paid for UK Government to go after Google their because their efforts blew up in their faces in the U.S.
Once again you have private companies who are buying Governments and getting said Governments to do what it never ever could thru civil litigation or even negotiation. Yet Hollywood once again will use Governments to see that their profits are maintained and they still seek to control how, where, when and how much you pay to see their music or movies.
Hollywood still reminisces for the days when they controlled, distributed, and manufactured the supply of music and media to the public and those fat profits they made doing so. Hollywood hates that you can have the option to see the movies/music thru other methods, they hate that you can get around their restrictions on when , where and how much.
Hollywood will never ever change their message or come around to letting the people get the media/movies they want without region restrictions and fair prices, so they will stoop once again to let their bought and paid for Goverment's do what they can not and have been unwilling to do with Google.
She never should have been arrested in the first place and of course the police abused their powers.
The fact that bothers me is that the police arrested her because they didnt like her sticking up for her clients and they full well knew she was within her right in acting as the defendants counsel and that this was taking place outside of the courtroom.
So Police decided to play the heavy card and arrest her, and this was plain and simply abuse of power. There are certain elements of the police that seem to think they can do and say what they want and when questioned on it, abuse the powers of arrest and trumped up charges to justify their illegal acts.
It's the police officers stupidity in this case that if this lady sues, you can bet she will end up with a settlement because how can the police say this was justified especially when there were a hall full of witnesses and someone who happened to video record it.
I doubt this will be the first or last time we see something like this happen, seems nowadays peoples rights are being trampled with impunity
The real sad thing here is that people and groups not associated with Hansmeier that had legitimate ADA complaints were getting the guilt by association that Hansemeier's ADA trolling was responsible for with his lawsuit spree.
It's reprehensible that abuse of legislation and process can be used to get quick cash such as Hansmeier has been responsible for and many small business owners have been hit by and some forced out of business due to the costs of settling or trying to fight these lawsuits.
Is Hansmeier on the ropes right now? Most would agree he is treading water in the deep end of the pool. The thing is that Steele is also in the ADA lawsuit game, so they have both found a new way to generate easy cash settlements to which they are addicted to in my opinion.
If the ADA lawsuits settlement game draws to a close, I would fully expect you will see Steele and Hansmeier look for another law or piece of legislation that they can twist and use to generate quick cash settlements under the guise of enforcement.
One has to remember this is only occurring in Minnesota where they are trying to bring some semblance of fairness to those being hit by ADA lawsuits, I believe Steele is plying his trade in Illinois although I believe in a much quieter manner.
No one should under estimate the temptation that Steele and Hansmeier have to that sweet easy settlement cash that I believe they are addicted to, and I would be of the belief that if Hansmeier efforts start to peter out on the ADA front, that a new scheme will be presented and operational to get cash rolling in.
I thought after the Prenda gang came crashing down that they would scale back their desire for easy settlement cash, but it would appear that addictive lure of easy settlement cash was much to hard to walk away from and hence the ADA lawsuit game was born.
There is no way Hansmeier will walk away from the game of easy settlement money, if ADA troll suits go down the drain, I fully expect Hans to either take this game on the road by finding poor schmucks who just got their law license in other states to get brought in to the game while Hans stays behind the scenes or Hans finds a new legal loophole to generate lawsuits and cash settlements.
I dont see Hansemeier having the want to walk away from the easy cash lawsuit settlement game, Steele either. I am of the opinion they will just find a new one
Bullshit. The US DOJ knows it is in an uphill battle to get the court to agree to what it was seeking from Apple and the precedent they hoped a win would get them as a door to use a favorable ruling in other cases where devices were encrypted and rather than face a decision they would have to abide by if they lost, they now want to tuck tail and run.
The US Doj put on the full court press and lambasted Aplle every chance they got and made sure they put it to the courts and especially the public that Apple was thumbing it's nose at Law Enforcement and was on the side of criminals and terrorists with it's failure to give the US DOJ what it wanted.
If it wasnt for the weight of the tech companies, the EFF and others throwing their weight behind Apple would the US DOj really be backing down, I doubt it. The US DOJ was hoping to get Apple to buckle under the pressure, and Apple did not.
I really hope the court does not allow the US DOJ to back peddle it's way out of this when they are the ones who pushed for this to get rules upon. It would be nice to get the court to put a ruling in place and set the ground rules so the US DOJ can not continue to trample all over people and companies rights because they have or seem to believe they have the power to.
Again Hollywood is pressuring a company to do what it has been unable to do thru their country restrictive licensing agreements.
Hollywood wants to have control and keep it thru the guise of copyright reinforcement when in reality it is all about money derived from the restriction of content.
If Hollywood priced it fairly and stop cumbersome restriction of content with the Geo location restrictions, maybe people wouldn't have the need for VPN's to get around the Geo location restriction to use the services like Nextflix that they paid for.
But alas Hollywood has learned nothing from the Likes of Napster and online streaming services, they still cling to the day when they controlled the distribution, production and venue for where the public could get their content despite their record profits and claims of how without copyright enforcement and geo restriction licensing deals they will lose millions
Roca and it;s people in charge honestly must be somewhat delusional in their attempts to silence their critics thru lawsuits. As these cases drag on and on, all they have to show for their efforts is a high legal bill and attention to their brand that they were trying to avoid in the first place.
Roca has done exceptionally the wrong things to avoid attention thru the use of force of legal might. It seems every step they have taken has gone against them.
The fact that Roca brought more attention to themselves and their product, just goes to show you how bad a strategy this was in my opinion, I would have to think their chief strategist was someone named Wylie E. Coyote , but even Wylie was smart enough to walk away when the going got tough.
Roca much like Suburban Express will live on in infamy for the attention it brought to itself and it's product that many folks had never even heard of, but now know of and would be wary of going near.
" During the second week of December, as part of its Warrant Redemption Program, Vigilant Solutions sent several warrant notices – on behalf of our law enforcement partners – in error to citizens across the state of Texas. A technical error caused us to send warrant notices to the wrong recipients. "
" These types of mistakes are not acceptable and we deeply apologize to those who received the warrant correspondence in error and to our law enforcement customers. "
In my opinion the problem with this case Malibu has is that their so called proprietary tracking software or magic box can only give them so much information such as the IP and the torrent client used to download the file and date and times.
One would have to think that inst a whole lot to go on ( Malibu seems to think it's a lot to go on ) so they launch phase two once they get their subpoena granted to get the ISP details for the IP address and the customer information.
This is where Malibu's "Investigation" starts to try to assemble anything they can find about the ISP subscriber thru social media accounts ( Twitter, Instagram, Facebook ) and try and hoover up any information they can use such as a movie you liked or went and saw, a song, tv show you liked, if you bought any electronics and posted comments or pictures about any of those subjects, what you do at work, what you do at home where you live and have lived who you work for and what you do for them.
This is all gathered up and then they work thru it and try and assemble what they consider evidence to back up their claim that you or someone in your house downloaded their copyrighted work.
It is all gamed at helping them if you deny being the infringer. Then they can say, well Bob has shown that he likes movies and he likes this or that kind of movie. Or Bob had indicated he only has a laptop but in the pictures on twitter he is using an IPad at some point.
And heaven forbid if you have a torrent client, then they will really pour it on to say well Bob is well versed in using torrent and downloading them and someone at bobs house used a torrent client to download our clients movies.
So in my opinion when Malibu runs up against someone who denies downloading their movies, what do they do, they try and point to missing devices and devices that weren't turned over and spoilation in the defendant wiped their computer or failed to turn over all devices and other levels of histrionics that they can add to salvage their case
Malibu then takes any of those above mentioned things and basically tells the court this in a motion. As for Paige's expert report, it seems to be in my opinion more full of assumptions than any hard evidence of infringement. No Malibu movies found or traces of them, no infringement one would believe.
The trolls are loathe to walk away empty handed, they try and stay in as long as they can in hopes of wringing some cash out of the poor ISP[ subscriber, and if Malibu fails to do that and thinks they are in trouble they ask the court to dismiss the case and no award the defendant any fees.
The sad thing is, the courts let the trolls use them to achieve their settlements goal. As one of the ,most prolific copyright trolls Malibu knows that the chance they get hit with costs is a very small percentage to what they will rake in thru settlements.
I believe Malibu has filed somewhere around 4000+ copyright lawsuits, and even if they took in $3500.00 from just 2000 of the lawsuits filed... do the math and that's a nice chunk of change for little cost
If anyone wonders how far the MPAA will go to manufacture a case and use Government to do it's bidding while they pull the strings like a marionette, you really just have to look at what the MPAA tried to do with Google.
The MPAA went to great lengths to get Mississippi state Attorney General Jim Hood to go after Google by using his offices investigative and subpoena powers to "investigate" Google for aiding and abetting copyright infringement...then it leaked thru the Sony hack that the MPAA had a law firm they use draft up the letter and the subpoena for Hood to send to Google, and all the while the MPAA stayed in the shadows.
The MPAA has very dirty hands in the Google case and in Dotcom's case, and has demonstrated that they will go to great lengths to get politicians and governments ( both foreign and domestic ) to do what they have been unable and unwilling to do.
I don't believe anyone is surprised by this at all.the amount of political interference by the US Government and back channels used by the US DOJ to pressure New Zealand to arrest and get Dotcom held and extradited has been extraordinary.
The MPAA and Hollywood have been after Dotcom and Mega-upload for years, and while they haven't been able to get Dotcom and Mega-upload thru civil actions, they dreamed up a way to get him criminally which is what we have seen so far.
How the US Government and it's DOJ has become the legal arm of the MPAA & RIAA is frightening. The MPAA & Hollywood have gone to great lengths to stretch US Copyright law to extend past Americas borders and have it apply to non citizens of the US in other countries.
Am I a Dotcom fan, not entirely but this case has bordered on the insanity level. The fact that Hollywood has roped the US Government, the US DOJ and the New Zealand government into being it's private prosecution and has twisted US copyright laws and criminal law to manufacture a criminal case is asinine
The US DOJ has even picked Judge Liam O'Grady to handle this case ( For those who don't know is well connected to Hollywood ). O'Grady gave us the wonderful Cox vs. Rightscorp ruling and that ruling showed that O'Grady still isn't able to be impartial and rule according to law and forget his days when he worked for Hollywood.
Dotcom has the right to face his accusers and have his case heard, but the amount of histrionics thrown around in this whole farce of get Dotcom by any means necessary is plain wrong.
The amount of taxpayers money that the US Government and the New Zealand government has spent on this case has to be in the tens of millions of dollars already and I would have to think is far past any financial losses that the MPAA claims Hollywood suffered ( and the way Hollywood makes up their damage claims can we even trust them when we do get a number, it's already been proven that Hollywood likes to throw around big numbers in a win of a lawsuit like they did in the Hotfile case that are not what they really received in the settlement from the case )
Dotcom has had the decked stacked against him from day one when this farce started and it will continue to be this way when he arrives on american soil.for this trial. It is amazing how far a private group has gone to turn a civil matter into a criminal matter and all with taxpayer dollars being spent.
This case will drag on and on and on because the US Government can not say "not our problem" to their Hollywood backers and that this is a civil court issue, and the fact that they have managed to manufacture a criminal case on non U.S citizens is nothing less than frightening.
Am I a fan of red light camera and photo radar, no I am not. It's due to the fact that most cities are not pitched on the safety that these devices are alleged to encourage, it's the fact that these cities are pitched on the revenues from these devices they can make.
In the city I live in photo radar and red light camera is used more here than in any other city in my country. In fact our city has lowered the threshold as to when a speeding ticket is issued to within a 1 to 3 difference over the posted 50 speed limit, that revenues went up from 10.3 million to 45.8 million dollars a year.
Yet the claim is always how it is about safety and we need people to slow down in school zones and in neighborhoods. If you look at where these locations are set up though, you will see it is no where near any of those locations of where they stated the speed needs to be controlled.
Rather we see it in high traffic high volume locations were they are playing the odds, knowing that is lets say 55k cars are going thru such and such a location a day, they are going to get a certain percentage of driver over that 50 speed limit.
If they used theses were they said they would and for what they said, I'd be fine with it, but when they are abusing these devices and doing nothing more than playing the odds to gain revenue, then I have an issue with it.
The potential for abuse is ripe and these machines are not infalliable, and the companies and police departments are loathe to give up information on the technical specs to fight a ticket in court because they know the technology is not perfect by any stretch.
With the labels history of wacky accounting much like the movie industry has the same accounting issues, I believe the artists will get next to nothing.
How many times have artists sued their labels due to not getting their fair share of profits from their music. The labels like to have control of the money and they are very loathe to give it up, history has proven that.
You left out the fact that cable co's have been jacking up rates constantly while telling the customer "you cant have this without taking that, oh and that will cost you more".
Not to mention all the other little ways they can nickle and dime you for other things on your bill.
Cable is much like the movie and music industry's have been to loathe to give up that lucrative and captive consumer cash stream they used to have monopolies on and way too resistant to change with the times and consumer demands.
Is the demand still there, sure it is, but it isn't what it used to be and it will go further down hill as more people can get their media delivered thru other means at much better costs and in a more convenient way.