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Paramount Sues Ohio Man For $100,000 724

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the one-guy-one-movie-drop-the-bomb dept.
ematic writes "A hapless tech-novice finds himself in a US$100,000 lawsuit with Paramount Pictures for allegedly uploading the movie, Coach Carter, to eDonkey. Paramount had the police seize his four computers, but nothing was found. The tech-novice maintains his innocence, and contends that he is a victim of a drive-by upload. According to the ChannelCincinnati story, the victim 'is either a slick film pirate or an unwitting victim of someone who fits that description.'"
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Paramount Sues Ohio Man For $100,000

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  • Tech Novice? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod (12942) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:34AM (#14254011) Homepage
    A tech novice with 4 computers? That seems sort of unlikely. I'm not saying he's guilty, but the facts just don't seem to mesh with the description there.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:35AM (#14254018)
      A tech novice with 4 computers?

      Er... someone just broke in and left them here. What are those things anyway? I thought they were modern art.
      • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by smchris (464899) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @08:24AM (#14255079)
        Trust me. I know a couple guys with a bunch of computers each I wouldn't trust around any of my machines if they were on fire. I figure it is the modern equivalent to having several cars on blocks in front of your trailer home.

        I think the moral here is that the argument/alibi for excusable irresponsibility because the network was unsecured probably isn't working so well.
        • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @10:12AM (#14255593)
          Curious really, as you can't haul in the householder for murder because someone in "that house" killed someone... The law demands proof that the specific person did the specific crime. In fact there have been cases that have collapsed because 2 suspects both pointed to each other, and no proof could be found to nail it to one or the other.

          Amazing how the law bends when huge corporations are involved...

          Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the paranoid!
          • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Reliant-1864 (530256) <sabarokaresh@NOspaM.yahoo.ca> on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @11:40AM (#14256278)
            You're talking about criminal court, where there has to be "beyond a reasonable doubt". This case is in civil court, which is just a "preponderance of the evidence". I think this one will go in favor of the defendant, the only evidence Paramount has is the IP address, which can easily be shown on unsecure wireless to be very unreliable for accuracy. They couldn't find any corroborating evidence on the computers. Paramount should have dropped it, bet you it's just lawyers wanting to get a paycheck for pursuing a case
    • by michaeltoe (651785) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:37AM (#14254032) Journal
      If he keeps a lot of old machines around it's not that unreasonable.
      • Piece of cake ... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:18AM (#14254200)
        Sniff for IP addresses active during business hours, but essentially are unavailabe after hours .

        Then figure out that persons MAC address, and spoof it with MAC change on ur router/firewall .

        Upload ur movie, reset, adios .

        Odds are it isn't even that brilliant, the guy with the router prolly picked a MAC address
        assigned to a NIC type that he does not even own, as the list is published .

        He prolly picked the last few hex digits at random .

        Alot of dorm ppl are doing this to ppl that have their computers direct connected ,
        and the Uni is too cheap to replace the hubs at the edge of the network .

        So they don't get fried for doing p2p over their dorm connect .

        If they had managed switches at the edge of their network they could stop this behaviour .

        Not all Uni's have switches at the edge of their network yet, ones where sports is
        more important often neglect the tech/sci to spend multiple millions on chasing sewn
        together animal skin, aka baseball, volleyball, football, basketball .

        Stadiums and Arenas that could house all the US homeless 10 times over are left empty
        more days than they are full, pathetic .

        We wonder why other parts of the world are starting to pass us by .... priorities...

        Rome...Bread and Circuses...

        Ex-MislTech
        • Not all Uni's have switches at the edge of their network yet, ones where sports is
          more important often neglect the tech/sci to spend multiple millions on chasing sewn
          together animal skin, aka baseball, volleyball, football, basketball .


          At many schools the money made from sports actually subsidizes the rest of the school's activities. If the university wasn't making a killing on advertizing, merchandise, game tickets, alumni donations that only happen because the alumni are sports fans, etc., then they would
        • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @10:46AM (#14255848)
          I'll practice some restraint and avoid calling you "stupid" or "dumb" like many, many other people have done for other reasons.

          Then figure out that persons MAC address, and spoof it with MAC change on ur router/firewall

          Instead, I'll just point out the flaw in your plan. MAC addresses don't traverse over routers. If there are any routers between your workstation and a server, the server sees "your" MAC address as the router on the same subnet as that server. Your spoofing trick would be a colossal waste of time.

          I advise you to study the ARP protocol and really learn what a MAC address is and how it works.
          • Spoofing the mac may not be effective for masking yourself from the target machine, but may be very effective in masking yourself from being identified by an investigator. Imagine spoofing the MAC of your wireless card, and connecting to your neighbor's access point, using his laptop's wireless mac address. It would be a farily tight frame, with your neighbor's wap log files indicating his MAC during the time/date of the intrusions. Possibly enough for "reasonable doubt." Unfortunately this is almost tr
      • by cottcd (615219) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:23AM (#14254220)
        ...or maybe he is like my mom. She doesn't waste money but just won't get rid of her old machines, dating back to the first one she bought ten years ago. She's as far from a techie as one can get but has at least three at home.
    • by blanktek (177640) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:40AM (#14254046)
      One computer and three coffee holders...
    • Motive? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yog (19073) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:44AM (#14254068) Homepage Journal
      The news article is short on facts. So, what's this guy's motivation for uploading a movie to the internet? Did they even establish that he possesses the movie or a copy of it? Did he admit to such possession? What about his computer that was supposedly "cleaned"--what makes them think so, and how can they prove it? And, one might ask, how can they establish that this alleged uploading cost them $100,000.

      There are a lot of unanswered questions here. This is typical of the big media companies now, just like the Mafia: shake down the little people and get the word out that you should toe the line and pay your protection money, or we'll get you.

      I do agree that circumstantial evidence seems to suggest he's a bit more tech savvy than one might think, but on the other hand, a tech-savvy person can also get their network broken into or their password stolen. Basically, this company doesn't have a leg to stand on. Maybe that's why they're shaking him down for so much money, to make him feel he has no choice but to settle.

      • Re:Motive? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:08AM (#14254164) Homepage Journal
        "What about his computer that was supposedly "cleaned"--what makes them think so, and how can they prove it?"

        I had a relative that needed to 'wipe' his computer fairly regularly. (no, not for anything illegal.) He had an app that would go through each sector of a hard drive and 0 it out repeatedly. As I understand it, and no I'm not an expert, just formatting a drive won't necessarily clear the data off it. Even if it did 0 out all the data, it would still be recoverable by a professional service. I believe tihs worked by reading some sort of residual that could indicate whether that bit was a 1 or a 0. This app was supposed to be so thorough that even the professional services couldn't read the data. (this was the sort of thing the gov't would use for classified computers.)

        I may not have all the details 100% right (... corrections gratefully welcomed!) but the gist of my point is this: If they took his computer, noticed the HD was totally blank even though it looked like it should at least have an OS on it, and they analyzed and found out that something more serious than a basic format had occured, they'd have justifiable reasons to believe that he blanked it intentionally to remove incriminating evidence. To the best of my knowledge, though, they wouldn't be able to prove that he did it as a result of their arrival. Circumstantial at best. Personally, I could see an innocent man OR a guilty man doing the exact same thing.
        • Re:Motive? (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:16AM (#14254189) Journal
          I do zero out unused blocks on some of my drives from time to time.

          This is especially when I am about to make full image backups of my drives. If you zero out the unused regions the drive image compresses much better.

          Otherwise you end up using space to backup up deleted data. In some cases you do want to do that, but not always.
          • Re:Motive? (Score:3, Informative)

            by el americano (799629)
            You should be using file system aware backup software.

            I use partimage [partimage.org] off a CD [sysresccd.org] for Windows or Linux partitions.

            Zeroing or randomizing unused drive space is for privacy only.

            • by ThreeDayMonk (673466) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @06:11AM (#14254759) Homepage
              I use partimage off a CD for Windows or Linux partitions.

              Given that, according to the link you gave, partimage's support for NTFS is experimental and for HFS beta, the grandparent's method of zeroing, dd'ing and compressing seems a safer bet if it's not one of the stable supported file systems.

              Yes, yes, I'm sure that it will probably work, but sometimes you need to be sure. After all, a backup that won't restore properly isn't a lot of good.
            • Re:Motive? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by macemoneta (154740) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @12:10PM (#14256563) Homepage
              Zeroing a drive is not just for privacy; it's useful when you need to perform recovery operations as well. I regularly zero the free space on my drives for just this reason. I use an ext3 filesystem, and have twice in the past had an "oops" moment where I managed to erase an important file. I was able to recover the file by simply grep'ing the /dev/hdx device. In this case, zeroing the free sectors in advance prevents false positives. If law enforcement personnel use a zero'd drive as an indication of wrong-doing, then they would be making the same erroneous assumption.
        • Re:Motive? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @10:01AM (#14255540) Journal
          The big problem with trying to secure wipe your drive is that it takes hours...Not really the kind of thing that you can do with the feds beating on your door. Even a secure wipe of the slack space (deleted files, swap file, etc) would take a significant amount of time.

          You'd have to be savvy enough to know you need to secure erase, paranoid enough to think you might be nailed at any time, and proactive enough to schedule erasure for every night at 5:00am (Bedtime).

          It's not that I don't think that a person could be those things. I do think, however, that a person who is ALL of those things would be unlikely to be mistaken for a neophyte by anyone.
          • Re:Motive? (Score:3, Funny)

            by dodobh (65811)
            EMPs can do the trick.
        • Re:Motive? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dwandy (907337) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @10:18AM (#14255629) Homepage Journal
          To the best of my knowledge, though, they wouldn't be able to prove that he did it as a result of their arrival. Circumstantial at best. Personally, I could see an innocent man OR a guilty man doing the exact same thing.

          This reminds me of the "you have encryption tools, you must have something to hide" bit from a couple of months ago...
          There is absolutely nothing illegal about having encryption tools, or having wiped your HDD with something stronger than a format.

          Try:
          He is cleaning an axe: he must be an axe murderer.
          She has covered a car: the car underneath must be stolen.
          He paid cash: he must be engaged in tax evasion.

          There are lots of activities that honest people engage in every day for reasons that are their own ... I think the reason we see this is because poeple don't understand technology, and so anything can be considered dangerous, malicious or evidence of illegal activity.

    • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JanneM (7445)
      My SO has no interest or talent for computers; she needs them for work and communication, that's all. She has all her older Macs still around, and she has the next-to-newest still connected along with the current machine since she feels more comfortable and secure getting to the data on it directly rather than moving it (and thus having the potential for application and OS version problems, lost or corrupted data and so on). She treats each one as a separate, volatile, black box, and once one is running, sh
    • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Family Desktop
      Family Laptop
      Kid's Computer
      Work Laptop

      Family Desktop
      Kid's Computer
      Other Kid's Computer
      Work Laptop

      Family Desktop
      Kid's Desktop
      Work Laptop
      Wife's Work Laptop

      Family Desktop
      Kid's Desktop
      Old Family Desktop Collecting Dust in Storage
      Work Laptop

      etc... etc...
      • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:28AM (#14254435)

        Knowing the MPAA/RIAA and their tactics, the definition of "four computers" was probably more like:

        • His computer
        • His wireless router
        • His old Commodore 64 stuffed in storage in his garage
        • His PDA

        He should count himself lucky if they didn't take his cell phone and wristwatch.

        What I'm curious about is this: How the hell did Paramount have the police seize four of his computers? IANAL, but last time I checked, that would have required a search warrant obtained by a judge with probable cause that he commited a crime. Even assuming that they went through that trouble, it would be law enforcement officers who would investigate the computers, not Paramount. But TFA specifically says, "Paramount has looked at all four computers in Lee's home..." Hmmm...

        I figure the more likely scenario is that Paramount told the guy, "If you let us have your computers, we won't sue you." The guy, not being a lawyer and thinking that was a good deal, said, "Okay," then erased one of his hard drives, since he was at least smart enough to know that if Paramount found what they were looking for they would have sued him anyway. (Or maybe he's innocent and just didn't want them to see his downloaded porn collection; either way doesn't matter.) Then Paramount, mad, sued him anyway.

        The guy needs to go get a really lawyer pronto. Whether he's innocent or guilty, Paramount is going to do their best to screw him, and personally, even if he's guilty, I hope he comes out of this clean. Not because I think that sharing files illegally is okay, but becuase they (Paramount) are using crooked tactics that are much worse than the crimes this guy may or may not have committed.

        • by davidsyes (765062) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @10:34AM (#14255754) Homepage Journal
          that typically, when the police seize anything--ESPECIALLY computers--- they tend to hold on to the items as evidence that they "did the public duty". Worse, than having your shit seized is having it in THEIR hands for MONTHS because of either their being backlogged (in which case the complainant should pay an expedite fee so that even IF their is their stolen material on it, it should be scraped, tagged, and your original stuff returned PRONTO so you can get back to work or homework), OR the cops LIKE what they see and decide to drag ass on returning it.

          With digital content being wrung harder for profits and with the studios and others hell-bent to make examples of others, and with the police needing to show the public its money is being well spent, it's probably inevitable that more people will be pulled into the hollywood/content provider dragnet.

          The best thing WE can do is to archive ALL our work and make SO many identical copies that it would be PROFOUNDLY egregious (in the eyes of a FAIR judge AND in the eyes of the public) for ANY police or complainant to say "give us ALLLLL of your archives, no matter how redundant they are".

          What the law enforcement agencies need to do or be FORCED to do is this:

          Perform NO search and NO seizure unless the party asking for the warrant provides forensic and archival equipment to protect the accused from suffering work stoppage, psychological damage (hey, I'd go goddam ballistic if my shit were seized, as I PAY for my DVDs and music, even if it costs $15-$30-- I don't even really lament not copying music from amaroK), and to keep unnecessary eyes from prying too deeply and too long at stuff on the seized machines that is NOT their business (business plans, school work, love letters, research...), not of danger value and probably would take them YEARS just to sort out before even reading the multiple versions and revisions of endless stuff.

          Nice police will insist the accusers not run all over the accused. We're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. With abuse of unsecure (not INsecure) internet access, poorly protected windoze boxes, ignorant users, and a lot of greedy or lazy pirates and "fair-use" abusers, it's just a matter of time before almost ANYone with a computer connected to the Net is a recipient of a boilerplate letter.

          SCARY.
          • by Achra (846023) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @11:30AM (#14256185) Journal
            At this point, I really think that "The government is running amok".

            About 5 months ago, I had a knock on my door by the "Drug TaskForce". They informed me that they had a warrant to search my house, and had been given an anonymous tip. I was a "Black-tar heroin dealer", they claimed. They had about 20 people, they searched my place end to end, brought the dog through, looking clearly dissapointed (I don't even drink).. and in the end, they said, "Well, we have to take your computers to look for activity on there". I work from home. When they seized my machines, my company lost 2 weeks of work right there.. I had to hire an attorney to get my PC's back, and in the end it was 4 months before I had my machines returned to me. I took them directly to the local computer shop so I would have a witness when I powered them on, and sure enough, one of them was completely hosed. They'd probably plugged in their diagnostic machine backwards or some crap.. The motherboard needed replacing. When I informed them that they broke my machine, they started threatening that they found a couple mp3's on my machine.. If I shutup about the whole ordeal, they wouldn't come after me for the mp3's. I said, um, those mp3's were ripped from a CD I own.. That's perfectly legal, and not even a circumvention of the DMCA. Well, I got the shaft. Unless you're willing to sue the government in a 1983 suit, you're totally out of luck.
            • How thorough are the searches. I mean, if you had CAT5 running through your walls, and it just so happened that a V-Gear LanDisk was connected into that network and actually dry walled into the wall... would they ever find your data? They'd essentially be hauling away dumb terminals :)
    • Re:Tech Novice? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ihlosi (895663)
      A tech novice with 4 computers?



      You can have four cars and still don't know how an engine actually works ...

    • by Pofy (471469)
      >A tech novice with 4 computers?

      No, no, no! He just had a very fast processor. That would then be the *equivalency* of 4 computers. You must learn the correct mathematics.
  • by Cruithne (658153) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:35AM (#14254015)
    ... what, like Johnny Dep?
  • Indeed... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sensible Clod (771142) <dc-7@nOsPam.charter.net> on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:35AM (#14254017) Homepage
    either a slick film pirate or an unwitting victim of someone who fits that description

    Which is of course why these kinds of tactics don't, and won't, work in the long run. All the unwitting victims just net you bad publicity, while the slick file pirates just sit and laugh.
  • by Blahbooboo3 (874492) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:36AM (#14254019)
    It will be interesting if his arguement holds up, as I always thought this might be a good defense for people who do this sort of activity --- keep your wireless networks wide open and claim that it wasn't you but someone who snuck on your network.
    • With logging in the default state, of course.

      That is to say, OFF. :)
  • Disregarding whether the man actually uploaded or a drive-by uploaded, it's another reason to secure your wireless connection (preferably with WPA, not with (broken WEP)).
  • by yo5oy (549821) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:36AM (#14254024)
    Just another reason to have an open/unsecured wap on your network so you can have plausible deniability.

    dupe, dump, deny, and divide.
    • "Just another reason to have an open/unsecured wap on your network so you can have plausible deniability."

      Would that even work? Suppose I leave my apartment unlocked and some drug dealers leave a stash there, then I'm busted with it. Plausible deniability?

      (Note: Yes, this is a very inadequate example. No problemo. I'm still curious what would happen, so it's not a total loss...)
    • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:02AM (#14254144) Homepage
      There really is no such concept in civil copyright infringement cases. Remember, the standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. So long as it is even slightly more likely than not that the person with the WAP did it, as opposed to some mysterious other person, that is sufficient proof that he did do it. It's criminal trials prosecuted by the government that use the higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. That is not the standard used here.

      Additionally, courts are aware that defendants may engage in behavior, knowing what the outcome is likely to be. Willful blindness, such as you suggest, is pretty obvious and does not help people get off the hook.

      It's possible that you are thinking of the legal system as a mechanism that is not intelligent, and can be gotten around through cleverness. That is not the case. People are involved in the system at every step, and often they are more clever than you, and have a dim view of amateurs trying to manipulate them. Basically, if you would see through such a ploy, or if you think other intelligent people would, you should expect that your opponents in a legal battle would.
      • by Rinkhals (930763) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @07:01AM (#14254881)
        Yikes!

        As someone living in the third world, I am constantly amazed at how little protection is afforded the average American by their laws. Obviously, I am not refering to O.J.Simpson or Michael Jackson.

        And yet the death penalty has pretty much universal support!

        Not only is it shocking that these Corporations seem to be all-powerful and there seems nothing that ordinary Americans can do against them, but they seem to have sanction from every section of your community.

        Everybody here seems to be saying: "Well, I believe he did it, he should hang". Nobody seems to think how ludicrous it is to pursue ordinary citizens for these kind of punative damages.

        Wow.
        • And yet the death penalty has pretty much universal support [in the United States]!

          If you believe this to be true, I recommend you seek out other media sources for your news about American affairs, as we are FAR from unified in our views about the death penalty.
  • What the... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tezkah (771144) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:37AM (#14254029)
    Paramount has looked at all four computers in Lee's home, alleging he had one of them cleaned to erase evidence. The company has filed a federal lawsuit against the Blue Ash man.

    Movie companies have the right to look at all the computers in your house, because you allegedly commited *copyright infringement*.

    Wow.
    • This type of thing is highly underrated in the news. I mean, when the government pulls some kind of stunt like this on possible terrorists (as bad that sometimes is), it makes news at least some of the time. But companies? Come on.
    • Re:What the... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Otterley (29945)
      Any party involved in civil litigation has a legal right to obtain discovery regarding any manner that is relevant and not privileges and which may lend credence to a claim or defense. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) [cornell.edu].

      In this case, it would certainly cover examining computers for evidence of copyright infringement.
      • Re:What the... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Vengie (533896) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:04AM (#14254154)
        There are no facts here. Fuentes v Shevin -- you can't just sequester shit without due process. It's not just "you file a rule 26(b)(1) motion and "poof" you can barge in and take his computers...
        • Re:What the... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Otterley (29945)
          Uh, you mean other than the fact that the plaintiffs have an IP address associated with the upload of the movie that are associated with the defendant's use of his Internet service?
  • $100,000? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by free space (13714) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:38AM (#14254033)
    why do movie/music companies use the naive method of mutiplying the cose of the dvd times the # of movies uploaded?
    there are thousands of variables that go into the calculated 'loss'.

    - would all the downloaders actually buy the dvd?
    - would the dvd stay on sale until all those would be customers buy it?
    - would the dvd price stay the same?

    more importantly, why does the law accept take their word on it?
    • It does not have to. Remember, there are statutory damages on copyright infringement.
  • Next Door (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tinn-Can (938690)
    That is why you use the next door neighbor's wi-fi... maybe being in jail will keep him from blasting the TV all night... secure your wireless, or have the MPAA come after you...
  • 2 things: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zunni (565203) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:45AM (#14254072)
    1) Is anyone else extremely troubled by the following line from the article "A DVD that retails for $21.99 could cost a local man more than $100,000,".
    Seriously? $100,000? Quick math tells me that he would have had to share the movie 4,547 and 1/2 times to have shared enough copies to equal that price tag. I get the idea of a deterent but man. Side note even if the film was compressed to around 700 megs or so (to fit on a CD) that would take 3,183,265 and some change megabyes of bandwidth (3 terabytes if my late nite mind is still working at all) to share that file that many times. Seems a little unlikely the punishment fits the crime.

    2) Isn't there a burden of proof on the prosecution in this case? Don't they have to show he was the one responsible for uploading the file? If someone steals my car then commits a drive by shooting, I can't be held responsible, can I? To me, having an open wireless access point seems perfectly reasonable (if that is your preference) and it would seem to be a tough sell to get a judge to fine this guy when there's no evidence he did anything wrong and he can produce a line of reasonable doubt.

    I'm not up to date on case law in the US, so maybe I'm wrong but seems really shaky at first glance.
    • Re:2 things: (Score:5, Informative)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:20AM (#14254209) Homepage
      What makes you think that the numbers are the product of something else? Why can't it be arbitrary?

      In fact, statutory damages for copyright infringement in the US are arbitrary. They range from $750 - $30,000 ordinarily, rarely go as low as $200, and can fairly easily go as high as $150,000. And that's per work infringed, not the number of infringements (i.e. make a million copies of a movie, and it only counts once; make one copy each of two movies, and it counts twice).

      Even where only the minimum amount (almost inevitably $750 per work) is claimed by the plaintiff, multiplying this by a large number of works (e.g. 100 songs is $75,000) can still be very significant to individuals.

      Regarding proof, this is a civil case, not a criminal one. While the plaintiff (not prosecutor) has to prove that the defendant infringed, he merely has to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant infringed. Open WAPs aside, the person who uses your WAP most is likely to be you, especially if you don't show that it was in fact someone else, that the files were never on your system, etc. I'm plenty sympathetic here, but honestly, I think the odds are at least marginally in favor of the perpetrator not being a third party, and that's all it takes to satisfy the relevant standard.
  • Happened to a friend (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Unknown_monkey (938642) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:45AM (#14254073)
    In Iowa, he recieved the MPAA letter through his cable ISP. They requested ~$5000 for his sharing of several movies on Bittorrent. His response was to get a wireless router, tell them that it was someone accessing his unsecured WAP, they let him off. But they didn't have police raid his house. Maybe that raid is the result of guys like him using the "open wap, sorry" excuse? Now that they know people can create excuses, the MPAA has to escalate the response. Soon you'll just get a package at your door that explodes when it hears the MGM or Paramount music and senses a WAP.
  • Someone pirated the movie! That explains why it only made $67 million instead of being a hit!
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:50AM (#14254093) Homepage Journal
    Even if this man did not know what was done on his machines, he's still responsible. That is the law that the law givers made. The punishment must be death by mahi mahi. Feigning ignorance of the law by claiming that he did not know what was done is a white herring designed to try and make people think otherwise. This displeases the law givers. He will feel their wrath for his ignorance as they beat him.

    -Grobo, Son of Chinea in the Tenth Dynasty of Koll
  • Police Priorities? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaPoderosa (908833) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:53AM (#14254107)
    What sickens me here is far more serious offenses than this go ignored if reported by your average citizen. I know countless people who've been the victims of theft or internet fraud, and even with names and addresses of the perps they haven't had any action taken, just another report going in the file bin.
  • "Drive-by"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mblase (200735) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @02:57AM (#14254121)
    The tech-novice maintains his innocence, and contends that he is a victim of a drive-by upload.

    I admit I haven't seen "Coach Carter", and I'm not using hard numbers here, but I estimate that uploading an entire motion picture at any worthwhile quality would take at least six hours, maybe twelve. That's not a drive-by, that's your next-door neighbor using your bandwidth all day long.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:09AM (#14254166) Homepage Journal
    "I don't even know what they're talking about," Lee said. "I didn't do it."

    Paramount has looked at all four computers in Lee's home, alleging he had one of them cleaned to erase evidence. The company has filed a federal lawsuit against the Blue Ash man.

    But Lee claims that because his wireless connection was unsecured at the time, anyone could have parked near or in front of his home, tapped in and then driven off.

    "If I can do anything to make people understand that please, if you're using wireless Internet, have somebody install it that knows what they're doing," he said. "Because if you don't, they could get in trouble just like me."


    nice attempt at defence: but it wasn't me, it was someone else who used my unsecured connection.

    Who the hell wants to 'share' a movie with others of p2p networks so much that they would go war-driving? I have a very strong feeling that this guy is lying. Of-course this will have to be proven in court, but it is just a gut feeling. In the case he actually did this, he deserves what is coming to him.
    • Someone who doesn't want to get busted for sharing it through their own ISP? Or maybe his neighbor who simply didn't want to pay for high speed?
    • Who the hell wants to 'share' a movie with others of p2p networks so much that they would go war-driving? I have a very strong feeling that this guy is lying. Of-course this will have to be proven in court, but it is just a gut feeling. In the case he actually did this, he deserves what is coming to him.

      From time to time I can see my neighbors wireless connection. If I so desired I imagine I could mount an antenna and use it with with great reliability... granted that would be wrong but the fact of the mat
    • Who the hell wants to 'share' a movie with others of p2p networks so much that they would go war-driving? I have a very strong feeling that this guy is lying. Of-course this will have to be proven in court, but it is just a gut feeling. In the case he actually did this, he deserves what is coming to him.
      So you really think that $100,000 is a reasonable fine for uploading a movie? Personally I do feel he should be punished if he's guilty but I also feel that the punishment here is totally out of line wi
  • by VonSkippy (892467) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:09AM (#14254168) Homepage
    Only way that dog of a movie could make $100K is to sue someone - that and all the chump change picked up from the PR resulting in curiosity sales. //no body = no conviction, but this is the RIAA so don't count on logic figuring into the case.
  • by dirtsurfer (595452) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:33AM (#14254266) Journal
    If he didn't want to draw attention to himself, he shouldn't have been going by the name "Ohio Man" in the first place.
  • You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DwarfGoanna (447841) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:34AM (#14254270)
    I don't live too far from this guy, and it just struck me that maybe the idea is to hit a sweet spot geographically with these lawsuits.How do they decide who and when to sue anyway? I'd be really interested to see a map overlay of the places media cabals have filed suit against people. I have a hunch its pretty well distributed across the US.
  • by mattwarden (699984) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:45AM (#14254308) Homepage

    I hadn't heard of this movie until this story. Further proof that piracy helps the movie industry.

  • by Barkmullz (594479) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @03:58AM (#14254349)
    I have 5 networked computers at home. My WAP's security is a bit shaky. I sometimes "clean" computers. This is not enough information to determine if he did it. I would like to think the prosecutor have more information that we are not privy to.

    This guy I know has a lot of guns. He also makes a lot of his own ammo. Recently, he *gasp* cleaned his pistol. Clearly he is hiding evidence and he is the killer we are looking for.

  • Seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sieb (749103) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @04:06AM (#14254373)
    Why are all of these lawsuits based on false numbers? $100,000 for a movie that sucked which he may/may not have uploaded. "Who cares, take everything he has, someone has to pay!" Its not like Paramount would ever see that money anyway, it all goes to the lawyers. And its not like that guy could just fork over 100grand either. He'd have to file bankruptcy. Aside from ruining the rest of his life financially, they still wouldn't get any money out of him. Sure, you could say "these deter would-be pirates." My ass, just hits home that all any big company cares about is money, even if they have to ruin your life to get it..
    • Re:Seriously (Score:4, Informative)

      by infinite9 (319274) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @12:06PM (#14256524)
      He'd have to file bankruptcy.

      Actually, thanks to the new bankruptcy laws that went into effect on October 17th, he would most likely be forced into a chapter 13 where he would be required to make payments on possibly the entire amount through the courts for the next seven years. If I were the target of this sort of corporate oppression, I would seriously consider moving my family to a different country.
  • Paramont Bin Laden (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Simonetta (207550) on Wednesday December 14, 2005 @10:34AM (#14255761)
    Osama Bin Laden is an extremely wealthy fanatic who believes that all Westerners and all Americans in particular are criminals because of either their religion or just their nationality.
        He believes that he has the authority to do anything to these 'criminals', including the most extreme and gruesome murder and maiming.
        But there are just too many Americans around, and Osama is just one man. So he randomly selects 'criminals' to be 'punished' in the horrible ways imaginable.

        Paramount is a wealthy corporation that believes that all of the Westerners and most of all young Americans are 'criminals'. They bought the laws from politicians to ensure the legal details were in order from their perspective. They believe that all of these criminals should be punished. But they aren't Arabs, so instead of blowing people up, they just take everything that a person has ever owned and get a legal warrant to take from the person everything that they will own in the future. All for their 'crimes'.

        But there are too many young Americans, and Paramount is only one legal person. So they randomly select people to be punished in the most spectacular fashion. Criminals are punished: all is in order in the world.

        Osama is a terrorist; hunted by all civilized people on earth and protected by the uncivilized.

        Paramount is a respected corporation owned by General Electric.

        But they both operate in exactly the same fashion!
       

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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