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To Media Companies, BitTorrent Implies Guilt 381

Posted by kdawson
from the law-and-disorder dept.
kripkenstein writes "The big media companies immediately assume you are guilty by your mere presence on a BitTorrent swarm, an investigation by a university security worker reveals. Turns out companies like BayTSP (which the media companies employ) will send shutdown notices to ISPs without any evidence of copyright infringment; all they feel they need is an indication that you are reported by the tracker to be in the swarm." From the post: "For my investigation, I wrote a very simple BitTorrent client. My client sent a request to the tracker, and generally acted like a normal Bittorrent client up to sharing files. The client refused to accept downloads of, or upload copyrighted content. It obeyed the law... With just this, completely legal, BitTorrent client, I was able to get notices from BayTSP. To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."
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To Media Companies, BitTorrent Implies Guilt

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  • Come on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ack154 (591432) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:35PM (#17936010)
    Does this really surprise anyone that reads Slashdot? I've certainly come to expect tactics such as this from any media company.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:52PM (#17936248)
      Yeah, that doesn't surprise us any, but it DOES provide proof. Why is that important? If you happen to get sued by them, it undermines their case!

      This could, in theory, be introduced as evidence in a case and might be enough to shoot down their allegations of copyright infringement. I'd say that THAT is pretty important, wouldn't you?

      Here's to hoping that it screws up a few of their copyright infringement lawsuits!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ack154 (591432)
        IMO, it would only undermine their case if the judge understands what is going on... not necessarily in all situations. But as per usual Slashdot commentary, IANAL. So I could be wrong.

        But ya, important in a sense that we know it's proof, but I would be very interested in seeing how it might actually help someone - or if it even would.
        • by brianosaurus (48471) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:52PM (#17937112) Homepage
          While I believe that explaining bittorrent is complicated, surely understanding of the protocol is prerequisite to a judge making a decision in any of these cases. Once that has been established, demonstrating how this client collects swarm info, but rejects any data transfer should be a simple matter.

          The harder part would more likely be convincing the judge that the user was using a torrent client in this manner, rather than for downloading. Its a good thing we're all "innocent until proven guilty." IANAL, but this should establish that the plaintiffs need to demonstrate that defendants actually distributed content. Presence in the swarm is clearly not enough for a conviction, so it certainly should not be enough for an ISP takedown.

          The article's author would make for a great expert witness in any of these cases. If the only evidence being shown is the defendant's IP address in the cloud, they have nothing.
          • by Skreems (598317) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:59PM (#17937224) Homepage
            I don't know about that... unless a significant number of people start using this essentially broken client, it's a pretty reasonable assumption that if you're connected to a bittorrent swarm, you're participating in the data flow. I mean, it IS the only function the software is made to perform. And remember, in civil cases like this, reasonable doubt isn't enough to get you off the hook.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by poot_rootbeer (188613)
              it's a pretty reasonable assumption that if you're connected to a bittorrent swarm, you're participating in the data flow.

              Assumptions aren't proof.

              Assumptions aren't even EVIDENCE.
            • by Anonymous Coward
              What's to stop some people from adding a "screw BayTSP" feature to trackers and BT clients? I.E. the tracker could feed random IPs into the mix, or because TFA states that the BayTSP clients use peer exchange, they could exchange lots of phony peers with them.

              This is even more a possibility due to the fact that TFA gives a number of features by which one can detect them. And when you further factor in the fact that they do such a poor job of figuring out whether or not they actually own whatever content t
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by shmlco (594907)
            "The harder part would more likely be convincing the judge that the user was using a torrent client in this manner, rather than for downloading. "

            Yeah, especially given the gigabytes of files found on the user's hard drive.

            For that matter, one would think that a simple check of the ISPs records regarding bandwidth utilization would disprove this argument pretty easily.
      • by techno-vampire (666512) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:42PM (#17936988) Homepage
        Here's to hoping that it screws up a few of their copyright infringement lawsuits!


        I agree, but it probably won't have that much affect. Remember, in a civil suit, the plaintiff doesn't need to prove it's case "to a moral certainty and beyond a reasonable doubt" as the prosecution does in a criminal case. The standard is the more simple "preponderance of evidence." That means that if the jury feels it's more likely that the plaintiff is right than that the defendant is, they vote for the plaintiff even if they're not completely sure. This would make their claims less believable, but probably wouldn't be enough in and of itself to disprove them.

  • Absolutely (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047)
    One of the best ways of getting arrested and released - repeated - is to hang around with drug dealers and users when they are dealing and using.

    Sure, you are going to get released most of the time. But it is going to be a significant hassle for you. You got to choose that course when you chose your dealing and using friends.

    I believe the same is applicable to BitTorrent.
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:43PM (#17936092) Homepage Journal

      One of the best ways of getting arrested and released - repeated - is to hang around with drug dealers and users when they are dealing and using.

      If I use my PC to connect to a BitTorrent tracker that offers legitimate free software, free media, and fair-use parody media, I still get a notice. This is as if I were to get arrested for hanging around outside a legitimate drug dealer such as CVS [wikipedia.org] or Walgreens [wikipedia.org] or Rite Aid [wikipedia.org].

      • "This is as if I were to get arrested for hanging around outside a legitimate drug dealer such as CVS or Walgreens or Rite Aid."

        Arrested for loitering?

        I kid, I kid

      • Good try, but no. If you are part of a swarm for this legitimate software, then you're not going to be part of the swarm that's hit upon. The issue is when you connect to a swarm that's sharing software illegitimately.

        So, no, it's not like that at all.

      • by bperkins (12056) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:13PM (#17936588) Homepage Journal
        I'm a bit confused about the orginal article.
        What I _think_ he is claiming is that if connects to a swarm that is downloading an illegal file, but doesn't actually downlaod or upload anything, he still gets a notice.

        While I understand that he may have a technical argument to avoid conviction, I don't think this means you have much of a chance for getting caught if you share a legitimate file.

        I'd say his analogy that it's akin to hanging out with drug dealers isn not apt. It's more like hanging around on street corners intentionally taking something that looks like money for something that looks like drugs and complaining that you got arrested.

        Again, I might be missing something.

        • by gr8_phk (621180) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:42PM (#17936992)
          No, you're not missing anything. Notice that this guy had to write a special bit-torrent client in order to avoid actually doing anything wrong during his tests. Anyone connected with normal software would be either a) downloading the file and/or b) providing parts of that file to others. No one connects to a swarm just to "hang out". They are only targeting people connected to swarms that are sharing copyrighted works. I'd say the media companies method is sound, and accurate - if you're going to pretend to engage in illegal activity, you have to expect people to treat you like a criminal.
      • by fishdan (569872) * on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:19PM (#17936686) Homepage Journal
        Not quite:

        From the article:

        I placed this client on a number of torrent files that I suspected were monitored by BayTSP (For my own protection I don't want to identify the torrents used for this research. I used the fact that NBC is a client of BayTSP to find trackers.
        So it's like going up to an illegal drug dealer (because the torrent is not of a legally shared file) and asking him/her "Can I buy some crack from you." (because the client sent a request to the tracker). Even though no illegal goods changed hands, we're are definitely NOT talking about the companies disconnecting people because thry are downloading FC6 [fedoraproject.org] or Ctrl-Alt-Chicken [revision3.com] via bittorrent.

        I'm not agreeing with the media companies here, but it's not as draconian as you are making it out to be.

    • Re:Absolutely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grimJester (890090) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:06PM (#17936462)
      Yes, using any p2p software is suspect. Actually, just like if you purchased a means to store data [wikipedia.org], you should pay a tax just as if you were guilty. Guilty of what!?!? . Doesn't matter. You must be guilty of something. Like playing World of Warcraft [wikipedia.org].
    • The drug metaphor should really be that you get picked up by the cops for getting a legal prescription filled at your local Walgreens.

      The problem with all of this is that it costs those companies a pittance to send out those take down notices and it causes a lot of trouble for the people who get them. The burden should be on them to have solid evidence and, if they don't, to leave people the hell alone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gordyf (23004)
        There was nothing legal about the torrents he joined with his modified client -- he was joining torrents for copyrighted material and got the notices.

        This really is like approaching a drug dealer with a cop in plain view, pretending to buy something, then just claiming you were there to hang out.
        • by Jon Luckey (7563) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @04:57PM (#17938916)
          There was nothing legal about the torrents he joined with his modified client -- he was joining torrents for copyrighted material and got the notices

          Yet the very people who sent him the notices had agents also joined to that swarm. Applying your suggested standard would mean they were breaking the law. (actually that case is arguable, since sending false DMCA takedown notices is a violation in the DCMA too)

          I could easily see the experimenter claiming he was doing exactly the same thing as BayTSP, collecting data on BitTorrent swarms without actually sharing files. I suggest that he could even offer the data collected for sale. Say like (pinkie to smirked lips) $1 Million Dollars per IP address to establish his Bono Fides. :)
    • One of the best ways of getting arrested and released - repeated - is to hang around with drug dealers and users when they are dealing and using.

      Oh, crap. A fried of mine is a pharmacist.

    • by kalirion (728907)
      Seems about right. One of the best ways of getting kidnapped, rendered to another country, tortured, and (hopefully) released is to have lunch with a suspected terrorist.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Garridan (597129)
      Not at all. The only time I use bittorrent is to download free software. I don't equate this to "hanging out with drug dealers", I equate it to "riding the bus". Drug dealers ride busses all the time. So do I. Does this implicate me? Hell no. Neither should using bittorrent.

      Another analogy. Criminals use guns. Therefore, we should arrest anybody who uses guns. First stop, police shooting range.
  • Just like VCRs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jabrwock (985861) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:38PM (#17936032) Homepage
    Anyone who buys a VCR is CLEARLY only interested in pirating as many movies as they get their hands on, camcorder owners are only interested in filming screeners, people who run spyware scanners and firewalls obviously have something to hide, and anyone who asserts their rights is obviously doing something illegal...
    • by jb.hl.com (782137)
      Yes, but as I posted elsewhere, what exactly were these torrents of? Was it a legal download (e.g. a Linux ISO) or an illegal one (e.g. copyrighted movie)? If the former, then yes this is wrong, however in the latter case it's a little more understandable...in the absence of any indication of what a user has downloaded or uploaded, how else are you supposed to tell if someone is trying to download something other than their being connected to a torrent for that something?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nos. (179609)
        If you read the article you'll see that he connected specifically to torrents of questionable legality, ones he believed were being monitored:

        I placed this client on a number of torrent files that I suspected were monitored by BayTSP

        Its not like they block everyone going to thepiratebay.org, only people who appear to be partaking in the sharing of a copyrighted work. I'm not saying this tactic is a good one, just not quite as bad as its being made out to be.
      • Re:Just like VCRs (Score:4, Informative)

        by curunir (98273) * on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:03PM (#17937294) Homepage Journal

        ...in the absence of any indication of what a user has downloaded or uploaded
        Why wouldn't there be an indication that the user has downloaded or uploaded something? There's nothing that prevents them from actually connecting to the tracker and pretending to be a BitTorrent client, so all they have to do is start downloading and anyone who actually sends them something will give them a clear indication that they've both downloaded and uploaded copyrighted material. Moreover, they'll have an exact idea of what that copyrighted content is.

        This isn't rocket science, it's just going the extra mile to actually prove the infringement took place rather than simply taking a short cut and making an assumption that can obviously prove to be wrong.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sancho (17056) *
          I think the BitTorrent protocol makes this difficult. Especially for large swarms, it's possible that they wouldn't catch everyone (not everyone might upload to their tracker). Also, people who don't upload tend to be penalized, exacerbating the problem. And there are untested and very strange legal implications if they do upload....

          Also, their assumptions are correct almost all of the time. Though some researchers might use modified clients to connect to trackers without up/downloading, the overwhelmin
    • by Kjella (173770)
      VCR has timeshifting, camcorders have home videos, spyware scanners and firewalls have plenty uses, bittorrent has plenty legal sharing possibilities. But what other use has taking part in a copyright breaking torrent? Try telling a cop you're looking to trade some drugs, then when they bust your ass say "I was only kidding, I just said I was" and see how far you get.
      • Re:Just like VCRs (Score:4, Insightful)

        by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @03:18PM (#17937516)
        But what other use has taking part in a copyright[-violating] torrent?

        Corrected it for you.

        Same as the VCR: timeshifting. The damn cable box didn't change the channel when the TiVo told it to, so the only options to catch all episodes in order is either to skip the rest of the season and get the DVD or download someone else's copy. Either way, the advertisers are going to miss out on their impressions.

        Did people hesitate borrowing VHS tapes of the previous night's TV they'd missed? Have friends record each other's scheduling conflicts?

        IMO, as long as there was a good-faith effort or intent to watch or record the broadcast yourself, downloading it within the week shouldn't be illegal.
  • It is more like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qwerty1 (1049756) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:39PM (#17936046)
    Hanging out in a Pawn Shop. Cops know there are stolen items in there as well as legitimate items. So, anyone going into the pawn shop has to be only there for stolen items. Therefore you are served a warrant. What a bunch of A$$ Hats.
    • Weak (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mfh (56)
      If someone adds your IP to a swarm by sending you a mysterious link using a URL shrinking site, how could you possibly have intent to break a law? IANAL, but copyright infringement must require intent, no?

      It's a really weak legal angle for them to take, and if it's all they have going for them, most people have very little to worry about (except really long and boring lawsuits that cost way too much money and only enrich the lives of lawyers).

      Meh.
      • by winnabago (949419)
        except really long and boring lawsuits that cost way too much money and only enrich the lives of lawyers

        I don't know about you, but I worry about this very much. Especially since I own my own business and have some assets that could easily become tangled in court.
      • Re:Weak (Score:4, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:10PM (#17936532) Homepage
        IANAL, but copyright infringement must require intent, no?

        No. Copyright infringement is a strict liability offense. Intent is not required.
    • by FatSean (18753) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:17PM (#17936646) Homepage Journal
      The system is unjust, and getting worse. I simply obey the laws I agree with, and disobey the ones I don't agree with. If the chance of getting caught is high, and the penalty stiff enough, I MIGHT not do the illegal things...but then again I might.

      Can't let my 18-year-old son have a beer with dinner? Fuck you, bust me.
      Can't trade DVDs in person with my friends? Fuck you, bust me.
      Government using misleading statistics to incite fear (and then over reaching legislature) for issues like drunk driving and terrorism? I simply make misleading statements to police when given the opportunity. Alas, it isn't often I get that chance since I moved out of the city.

      I can't imagine I'm the only freak like this.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by malchus842 (741252)

        Can't let my 18-year-old son have a beer with dinner? Fuck you, bust me.

        One of my pet peeves. My kids have been allowed to drink wine with dinner since they were little. The state can shove their laws right up their collective...well, you know. The nanny state is getting worse by the minute, prodded along by big business like the MPAA, RIAA, etc, etc, and trying to control everything we do. Well, I have news for them:

        That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their j

      • It might be nice to setup a website where we can all list the laws we don't obey (anonymously), rather than simply silently disobeying. That way, we can provide some sort of feedback to legislators and law enforcement -- basically, if 90% of people disobey a given law, and think it's a bad law, it's probably time to change that law.

        In any case, I'm mostly with you. I don't care much for alcohol, but I do plenty of things that are illegal -- mostly filesharing, also speeding (on occasion). I do take steps to
    • Re:It is more like (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shawb (16347) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:20PM (#17936704)
      After reading the article, BayTSP is running the tracker. What this guy is doing is like walking up to an undercover police officer and asking them about any illegal wares they have for sale... when he already suspects that this is a cop. Okay, it's a private company... so it's more like walking up to a security guard and asking whether they'd be willing to help you steal something from the store they're guarding. Okay, bring on the "copyright infringement is not theft!!!" lines, I believe that's true. And in fact, so does the law... copyright infringement has much stiffer penalties than mere theft. I don't believe that's right if the infringer is not gaining financially (I.E. selling bootlegs on the street) but I don't feel there are many places where the law is not just.

      Okay, I just came up a better analogy that doesn't cross the "copyright infringement/theft line." This is like going to a movie theater and asking an usher if he can hold your camcorder pointed at the screen while you go to the concession stand. Even if there is no tape in the camcorder (such as this guy's specially written client) you're still likely to get in trouble, and at least lose the camcorder (Like this guy's ISP reportedly responding to the take-down notice.) I wouldn't expect anything else in this situation... the online world is no longer some lawless frontier untouchable by the hands of the real world wielders of power (And I mean lawless in the dramatic Old West as represented by Hollywood way, not the lawlessness of a near future post-apocalyptic manner.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HTH NE1 (675604)
        After reading the article, BayTSP is running the tracker.

        Then you didn't read the article correctly.

        BayTSP is monitoring particular torrents on trackers with their own torrent client designed for monitoring the swarm, not operating their own trackers.
  • To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs.

    Or it'd be like getting arrested for engaging in prostitution (or whatever the actual offense is) if you're seen with a prostitute, even if you haven't actually had sex. I've always been amused by that one, too.
    • by amrust (686727)

      To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs.

      I think they call this "acting in concert". You participated by virtue of your actions 'assisting' the crime in question. I don't know if 'assisting' actually means "just being there and not calling the cops".

      One of those tricky legal deals, to be sure. I think it's pretty hard to prove in court.

    • In many places in the world paying for sex is not illegal if it is between two adults; what is illegal is the act of buying/selling sex in a public place is illegal. This is what makes escorts completely legal and street walking is illegal.

      It is questionable as to whether this system is completely fair but the main goals from a system like this is to limit the "Social Damage" from prostitution; in general, prevent people's housing values from dropping because their community is full of prostitutes.
  • by letsgolightning (1004592) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:43PM (#17936104)
    In the spirit of slashdot, could I request that we instead get a car analogy? Preferably one involving hookers... and blackjack. You know what? Forget the analogy.
    • by rob1980 (941751)
      It'd be like pulling up to a hooker in your car and talking with one, but not actually... you know, hooking up with them.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      Okay, how's this:

      Its like sitting in your Dodge Viper, parked on the side of the street. Along walks a hooker carrying a blackjack. Five minutes later (still parked on the side of the street) you are arrested for speeding. Everyone knows that you don't buy a Viper to go slow.
    • by slim-t (578136) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:19PM (#17936678)
      It's like picking up a hooker to have someone to talk to while playing blackjack, then getting thrown out for counting cards even though you were just trying to make sure they were 52 in the deck, then a cop seeing you starting your own car with a screwdriver and arresting you for soliciting prostitution when he sees who you're with. Not a perfect analogy, but it happened to a friend of mine once.
  • "To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    It's more like being arrested for being a pirate because you own a boat or have been in water. Even if it's a toy schooner and you're in the bathtub.
  • by Some_Llama (763766) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:44PM (#17936114) Homepage Journal
    " I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    Reminds me of the time i was pulled over, handcuffed, searched, and my car ripped apart looking for drugs because (as the cop said) "I was in the wrong part of town".

  • "...To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    The analogy doesn't sound surprising. Maybe I misunderstand the law, but I believe you CAN be arrested for hanging out with known drug dealers. They can certain search you (probable cause) and can probably make you submit to a drug screening. I just think that if you're actually innocent,

  • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:47PM (#17936160) Homepage
    You aren't getting arrested for being in a bittorrent swarm.

    Also, if you want a fair comparison, this would be like finding a notice board marked "people who buy/sell drugs", copying all the names off it, and putting yours on. Now, this isn't something you should be locked up for, but I think it's reasonable for the police to pop around and ask a few questions.

    This kind of technical fiddling really doesn't help anyone, although I'm sure it helps you feel clever.
    • by smbarbour (893880)
      Actually I think a better comparison would be:

      If a vigilante group (BayTSP) saw you entering a building that is a known haven for drug dealers/users (BitTorrent) and contacted every cab company (ISP) to blacklist you from taking a taxi.

      In these cases, there is no law enforcement activity involved.

      Or for another example, if the vigilante group saw you talking to prostitutes and contacted every cab company.
  • There's a word for people "hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs". They're called look-outs -- their job is to watch for law enforcement and to notify the dealer so he can get away clean. Of course they get arrested as well if they're caught. Hanging out with any aquaintance while you are knowledgeable of them committing a crime (espcially on a regular basis) and you not stopping or reporting that crime may make you an accessory to the crime. You can't
  • Er (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@@@joe-baldwin...net> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:48PM (#17936194) Homepage Journal
    These torrents...what were they of exactly? If they were of Linux ISOs or other legally available material, then sure, get angry. But if you're connected to a torrent for movies, games, music etc...well, they can't tell how much you've uploaded or downloaded, can they? Whether you're connected to a torrent or not is the only truly reliable metric that there can be. I mean, if you're seen hanging around with drug dealers and talking to them in places where they tend to deal drugs, isn't it fairly safe to assume you're trying to buy drugs?

    Outside of this application, a BitTorrent client designed to not do anything BitTorrent was designed to do except connect to a torrent, how many other people connect to torrents only not to (attempt to) download/upload what's on them?

    So, the message here is: don't try to download copyrighted stuff and you won't get sued for downloading copyrighted stuff.
    • Re:Er (Score:5, Informative)

      by snarlydwarf (532865) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:54PM (#17936278) Homepage

      So, the message here is: don't try to download copyrighted stuff and you won't get sued for downloading copyrighted stuff.

      I think you mean "illegal stuff". I download copyrighted music with BitTorrent quite often and it is very legal: DGMLive has lots of great King Crimson and Robert Fripp material that you are encouraged to use BitTorrent to download after paying them. Since DGM is owned by Fripp and has rights to the King Crimson catalog: they can do that legally and even make a profit.

  • There are numerous legitimate reasons for joining a swarm and not participating in the exchange, including doing research like this.

    Should it also be illegal for me to drive along a shady avenue downtown and count the number of prostitutes for research on a book or a blog post I'm writing about prostitution in my city? If I ask them if they're prostitutes but don't offer them money for sex, what did I do wrong?

  • by rueger (210566) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:50PM (#17936224) Homepage
    ...t'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    Hmmph - sounds like you're on the side of the Terrorists!

    There once was a crazy ass country that had laws about "innocent until proven guilty", but in these Terroristic times it's just so much safer to fall back on "Suspicion of being under suspicion."
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@HORSEop ... minus herbivore> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:51PM (#17936226) Journal

    ...Media Companies imply greed and incompetence.

  • by Bullfish (858648) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:51PM (#17936236)
    Is coming back into vogue? It never left, the media companies have based a lot of their cases on it. Mostly they make money from the cases where their target simply doesn't have the cash to fight back. Thing is, they want to blame the net for their problems, well, it's true to an extent. Before the net and widespread cable TV, videos and DVD's, they had very little competition. Those were the glory days. Now they unfortunately for them, they are creatively bankrupt as a result of flooding the market with so much crap that a lot of people are going back to 60's, 70's and 80's music. Therefore, a lot of sales of new music suffers and kids are listening to ACDC and Led Zeppelin again.

    Ditto for movies, only this time the industry is rehashing old TV shows, old movies and dusting off hackneyed plots that wouldn't see the light of day when they made fewer movies. Kind of like you see what happens to sports leagues with uncontrolled expansion. The more you try to produce in such endeavours, the closer you move to mediocrity.

    So their sales suffer. It must be the web's fault. Like an old has-been blaming the new kid on the block, they whine and complain, and in this case lobby. Next, they will be demanding a tithe if you own a computer.

    After all, the problem couldn't be with their product.
  • To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."


    That's a poor analogy, it's even more innocent than that - they saw you with a pipe. I mean the kind that can smoke tobacco, and is often used to do just that. Nothing inherantly illegal about it.

    What a crock of bull-poo.
    • by TheCarp (96830) *
      They saw you with a pipe.... maybe a clean pipe thats never been used.... but your friend that you were hanging out with had a big bag of grass.....

      The funny thing is, people can be convicted of stuff like this. There are, in fact, laws against things like "being in a place where heroin is known to be kept". Yup... if its possibly "known" to you that your friend has heroin, it may be illegal for you to hang out with him.... even if you don't use, sell, or have ever touched heroin.

      So overall... sounds like t
  • And? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:53PM (#17936264) Homepage
    Don't vote. Don't voice your opinion to the representatives most of you didn't vote for. Don't organize a coordinated political attack on the DMCA and this is what we all get.

    For dog's sake don't support the eff either. http://www.eff.org/ [eff.org] You wouldn't want to be marginalized as a zealot, fanatic or crackpot.

    [\rant]

  • ... not bittorrent! Having bittorrent implies guilt? Imagine when that apply to firearms!
    • by mark-t (151149)
      Well actually, the number of people with guns that go around breaking the law with them is a minority compared to the actual number of people with guns. But the number of people that use bittorrent to share copyrighted content without permission from the copyright holder is, in fact, a very large portion of bittorrent traffic. In spite of bittorrent's potential to be used completely legally, most people that employ it do it for the purpose of infringing on copyright.

      So it's really just a question of sca

  • Reminds me of .. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:53PM (#17936270)
    Your article on these BayTSP notices reminds me of when large parts of the Windows NT4/2000 source code were leaked. I created a fake "Windows Longhorn Source Code" file which was about 1.2GB in size and full of zeroes, and then shared it on eMule to see how far it spread (quite far, initially.)

    A couple of weeks later I received a copyright infringement notice from my ISP for this fake file. They had been contacted by one of Microsoft's agents who obviously conducted their analyses using a method of similar incompetence to BayTSP's.

  • Besides this particular individual, who would waste computer resources being involved in a tracker unless they were sharing bits in the torrent?

    I thought court cases involving copyright law was based on "reasonable doubt", not "beyond all shadow of a doubt". It certainly sounds reasonable that being on a torrent means there is intent on sharing bits in the torrent.

    As for the bit about an individual hanging out on the corner with drug sellers: It does sound reasonable for police officers to question people
    • by geekoid (135745)
      except bittorrent is being used for legitiment file transfers.

      For example World of Warcraft uses a bit torrent to distribute content.

    • I thought court cases involving copyright law was based on "reasonable doubt",

      Only in a criminal copyright infringement case, and those are pretty rare. Ordinary copyright infringement cases use a balance of the probabilities standard, which is a lot lower.

      It certainly sounds reasonable that being on a torrent means there is intent on sharing bits in the torrent.

      And again, while intent is important in a criminal copyright infringement case, it is irrelevant in a civil copyright infringement case. First, bec
  • it's like diagnostics in C, any conforming C compiler can emit ANY warning they want (whether warranted or not).

    BayTSP is not the government (right?) they can issue any non-legally binding warning they want, up to the point they are served an injunction. it doesn't mean you, or your ISP, have to act on its behalf.

    Tom
    • Your ISP, however, might be in violation of its own ToS. If they cite unauthorised distribution of copyright material for cancelling your service, and you were not doing so, then you probably have a case against them.
  • Bittorrent is the primary means of distribution for that filthy, UnAmerican, Communist, no sorry, Terrorist (that's what they tell you now isn't it?) software that is GNU/Linux.
  • To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs.

    And the problem here is....? If you hang out with drug dealers when the police come calling, you can pretty much rely on getting arrested. Doesn't mean you'll get charged, and it certainly doesn't mean you'll get convicted.

    And I don't think BayTSP actually qualify as being comparable to law en

  • Quoth the article:
    "To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    That may not be the best choice of examples for a reductio ad absurdum argument.
    Remember, the war on drugs has given us all kinds of asinine laws to let courts prosecute suspected drug dealers that they can't actually catch dealing drugs. Just possessing large sums of cash can
  • "it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    Wow dude, great way to make your case there. I mean who doesn't totally sympathize with people that get arrested while hanging out with drug dealers?
  • ...with time & money on my hands then I'd set up a tracker for sharing all sorts of F/OSS ISO's via Bittorrent. Then I sue these idiots back to the stoneage for making such unfounded claims.
  • class action lawsuit.
  • I disagree with the metaphor, because you aren't really hanging out with "drug dealers" in this case. Instead it's more like you are crossing the street where drugs have been traded, which is sadly how many city streets are from time to time. Although perspective would have to be applied and this would probably be like some distopyan Neotokyo Gotham, but that's another argument altogether.
  • That's ridiculous. At least 99% of bittorrent traffic is Linux distributions and homemade techno songs!

    Oh wait, at least 99% of bittorrent traffic is piracy, and sending a notice is a reasonable response. If people were getting arrested, the bar of proof would be set a little higher.

  • "To put this in to perspective, if BayTSP were trying to bust me for doing drugs, it'd be like getting arrested because I was hanging out with some dealers, but they never saw me using, buying, or selling any drugs."

    The problem with analogies is they break down somewhere, and now you will get many replies showing where it breaks down or offering counter analogies.
  • by MartinG (52587)
    Some people say that proxying all tracker requests via the tor network is a good idea. This news seems to support that suggestion.

    If everyone routed all bittorrent traffic (the peer-to-peer part) via tor would clearly destroy the network, but it should easily be able to handle a few people using it for the tracker traffic.
  • My experience with BayTSP came a few months ago. My ISP, Adelphia, sent me a notice that they had received a complaint from BayTSP (on behalf of a movie studio), that I was sharing the movie "Mission Impossible 3." I was confused, since I do not trade Hollywood movies. I read further in the complaint, and found the Hash for an eDonkey file, supposedly the movie in question. Checking my "shared" files, I found that this movie was, in fact, a file that was being mislabeled by others that were sharing it.
  • How much work does the **IA have to do to protect themselves from being sued for false infringment claims and legal recourse for improper invokation of the DMCA to a user's internet provider? It seems to me that in this case of his faux BT client, what the content companies have done is broken the law, but not in a realistic sense. As much as I hate to say it, I do not see this helping Joe Sixpack's from being falsely accused. Yes the masses may be able to claim such a client was employed at the time the bo

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