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Australian ISP Argues For BitTorrent Users 207

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the potential-for-more-harm-than-good dept.
taucross writes "Australian ISP iiNet is making a very bold move. They are asking the court to accept that essentially, BitTorrent cannot be used to distribute pirated content because a packet does not represent a substantial portion of the infringing material. They are also hedging their bets purely on the strength of the movie studios' 'forensic' evidence. This ruling will go straight to the heart of Australia's copyright law. At last, an ISP willing to stand up for its customers! Let's hope we have a technically-informed judge."
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Australian ISP Argues For BitTorrent Users

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  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by niner69 (1431193) on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:15PM (#27363617)
    An ISP grew a pair?
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Friday March 27, 2009 @06:03PM (#27364235) Journal
      I think they may have come to the conclusion that the high bandwidth cost of file sharing is less expensive and time consuming than being responsible for their customers' copyright infringement.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @07:17PM (#27365285)

        I think they may have come to the conclusion that the high bandwidth cost of file sharing is less expensive and time consuming than being responsible for their customers' copyright infringement.

        Or they see a niche market among those who are on the wrong end of the witch hunt.

        "We protect our users" could be a pretty good slogan.

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by grim-one (1312413) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @02:01AM (#27368159)
        In Australia we have quotas on our internet plans, users who download large volumes of data pay a premium for it (up to AU$140 for 140GB per month). iiNet is defending its interests and revenue stream - they don't want to see quota downgrades en-masse from people abandoning file-sharing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I don't know iiNet's motive, but I think their reasoning is falacious.

          If I copy 1 page of a textbook today, 1 page the next day, and so on..... its true each "packet" could be considered fair use, but I eventually end-up with a whole book by the end of the year. So it IS copyright infringement. The same is true with torrents.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      I will defiantly switch to iiNet when the opportunity arises.

    • Exactly. More ISPs need to do this. I would SO sign up with these guys, if I lived in Oz.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by erikina (1112587) <eri.kina@gmail.com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @07:51PM (#27365691) Homepage

      Nope. It's just good business sense. Here (in Australia) we pay for our usage. I'm on a 20GB/month plan, while someone like my mum is on a 500MB/month plan.

      The "heavier" the user, the better the customer. In other parts of world, you have the opposite problem when the "light" users are the most profitable customers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:16PM (#27363629)

    One packet per customer, sorry folks.

  • SO if I (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:17PM (#27363641) Homepage Journal

    Bought a book, and then started handing out copies I make of the book one page at a time It is not copyright infringement?

    Yeah, that will fly~

    Using it to counter this specific item i.e. forensic evidence, might.

    • Re:SO if I (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:24PM (#27363715) Journal

      No, but if you always handed out the first page, it might. You'd probably need to show some reasonable purpose for doing so, though, e.g. scholarly research and criticism. I don't think BitTorrent will pass even such a low bar. And the fact that you'd be handing out every page, merely handing out different ones to different people, makes this defense prima facie laughable, IMHO. Hope they have some more subtle arguments that I'm not seeing. Otherwise, that seems like a really weak defense to me.

      • The page-a-day analogy is a good one. It really shows how weak the argument/defense is, and I really hope they have something better for their day in court. Otherwise they're just opening up the BitTorrent community to a general attack at the ISP level.

        • Otherwise they're just deliberately(?) opening up the BitTorrent community to a general attack at the ISP level.

          It's a trap!!!

          • by msobkow (48369)

            I was thinking more along the lines of them arguing about the share ratios of BitTorrent users, and how you haven't even done so much as borrow a copy unless you're seeding back to more than a 1.0 share ratio. Just because your IP got caught in a sweep doesn't mean you were "really" seeding the torrent in question, or it just might be a "dead" torrent without a lot of downloaders so you can't get your share ratio up.

      • Re:SO if I (Score:5, Insightful)

        by taucross (1330311) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @12:03AM (#27367621)

        It unfortunately does seem very weak. But, at least they're not playing ball with the plantiffs. By not even admitting that their users download illegal content, they've made it quite clear they won't be co-operating with the studios.

        Can't say I blame them. I'm of the belief that the "internet is imaginary" - I don't think anyone should be prosecuted for anything on it. Unpopular school of thought I know, you needn't inform me. :)

    • Re:SO if I (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:26PM (#27363729)

      I think the argument that they're making here is that you're handing out single letters at a time, to follow the book analogy.

      Except that you're not handing out an entire book (unless you're the original seed). You're handing out some of the letters, more or less randomly - just in a framework that they can all be put together in.

      In all fairness, the argument is fairly sound. The individual seeds are only accessories to copyright infringement, and someone who only downloads and doesn't seed back is entirely innocent of it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HTH NE1 (675604)

        someone who only downloads and doesn't seed back is entirely innocent of [copyright infringement].

        Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

        • by langelgjm (860756)

          Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

          I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law. Obviously it could be considered evidence that you had participated in distribution or copying, which is illegal, but that's different.

          • Re:SO if I (Score:5, Informative)

            by Kjella (173770) on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:52PM (#27364093) Homepage

            I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law.

            According to the grokster case, the uploader is violating the distribution right and the downloader the reproduction right by fixing the transitory data stream to a medium on his computer. Otherwise it wouldn't be illegal to film in a cinema, it could be against the cinema's rules but if filming it didn't involve any of the copyright holder's exclusive rights it couldn't be copyright infringement either.

            • by langelgjm (860756)

              According to the grokster case, the uploader is violating the distribution right and the downloader the reproduction right by fixing the transitory data stream to a medium on his computer.

              Right, but that's different than "being in receipt of infringing goods" (which the OP seemed to liken to being in receipt of stolen goods). Downloading implies making a copy and fixing it in a tangible medium.

              The better question would be what happens to the person who buys the knockoff cam from a street corner. The buyer is not reproducing the work in the way that a downloader is, but it's also not a stolen good.

              • by HTH NE1 (675604)

                The better question would be what happens to the person who buys the knockoff cam from a street corner. The buyer is not reproducing the work in the way that a downloader is, but it's also not a stolen good.

                The person who buys the knockoff cam is registering a demand in a market that cams movies to produce more product. He's not necessarily punished like someone who (I'm probably going to regret making this analogy) buys child pornography (because the crimes and consequences are disproportionally different) even though both have a similar effect on the production of new product, but the justification for prosecution is there.

                (Oh, I don't like making this analogy at all. Please don't read anything inflammatory

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nurb432 (527695)

              Some of us really don't care either way and will continue to do as we please with the digital copy that in reality doesn't effect the original in any way.

            • I'm not sure that theater-camming is illegal -- just against the theater's rule. IANAL and I could be WRONG, don't try this at your theater

              Oh, and I'm too lazy to s/theater/cinema/g my post, so I'll just submit it this way.

            • the downloader [is violating] the reproduction right by fixing the transitory data stream to a medium on his computer.

              Allow me to conjecture wildly, and see where that takes me.

              • If someone streams music to me, it's illegal for me to use mplayer -dumpstream.
              • OTOH, I'm allowed to listen to the stream, which means I'm allowed to buffer the stream in memory.
              • Say the default mplayer.conf says "buffer EVERYTHING first, then play it back". I'm allowed to buffer the whole file for purposes of playing it back (you can't expect me to know the technical details of how my program works).
              • So if I buy a fuckton of RAM and a UPS unit, I could torrent everything to a RAM disk and play it from there: it's not the case that I fix the "stream" to a medium in a way that I don't do when I stream audio which I'm allowed to do.

              From the {RI,MP}AA's point of view, there are two steps missing: "???" and "Lost profit!"

              It would be interesting to see how this plays out in court. Maybe that's a way to be a law-abiding citizen while still getting Free Shit (tm)... otherwise, there's always Jamendo :D

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by HTH NE1 (675604)

            Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

            I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law.

            Its usually only used against pawn shops that buy hot goods and don't finger(print) their customers, or against someone who buys something that "fell off the back of a truck". They don't tend to prosecute those duped into buying the merchandise (ignorance of the crime isn't ignorance of the law), but neither do they remunerate the duped for relinquishing the evidence either--that would be a civil matter between customer and illegal vendor.

          • by rmerry72 (934528)

            I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law.

            Except this is in Australia so its a matter of Aussie law. Oh wait, no you're right. That Free Trade Agreement means the two are a lot closer now, save for the Aussie laws removing any possible pesky free speech, satire or first right of sale "rights" - I mean: defenses ... no: loopholes. If its against US law then the FTA means its against Aussie law.

        • Re:SO if I (Score:4, Insightful)

          by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday March 27, 2009 @06:10PM (#27364359)

          Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

          You can't be in receipt of infringing goods. Goods also cannot be infringed upon in the first place as they are physical. I know it's nitpicking, but it's important as you can never steal intellectual property. This is on the internet, so the distribution is digital over wires and not transferred on a physical medium which can be called a "good" and actually stolen.

          The person sending the data infringes upon the copyrights by distributing without permission. The person receiving it only starts to infringe upon the copyrights when they first begin to use it without permission, or distribute it themselves in it's entirety.

          The whole argument is weak bullshit of course. Bittorrent can be used for piracy just as much as it can be used to distribute free information. Where it is weak is claiming that only one piece at a time is sent, which is not infringing in of itself (The letter A is not copyrighted), but failing to recognize the ultimate purpose is to receive 100% of the data. Not 70, 80, or 90. 100%.

          The only person that is not guilty of copyright violation at all, are the assholes that do not seed back with a 1:1 ratio. In that case, they never actually sent the entire file. However, Bittorrent would have failed a long time ago if that happened everywhere.

          Ultimately, Bittorrent can result in the distribution of pirated data unless you interrupt the process to prevent it from reaching its intended, and designed goal.

          The only way they could make that work is if you had A,B,C each having 33.3% of the data and participating in the torrent. They don't ever download more than what they have, and none of their recipients ever give back 100%. That is NOT the way Bittorrent works and I think the judge will understand that at least. It makes no sense.

          • by againjj (1132651)
            While I generally agree with your analysis, I must strongly disagree on this point:

            The only person that is not guilty of copyright violation at all, are the assholes that do not seed back with a 1:1 ratio. In that case, they never actually sent the entire file.

            Just because you don't send the entire file does not mean you are not infringing copyright. Any substantial portion will do.

            • by bug1 (96678)

              And the seeding ratio is not relevent in determining if its a "substantial portion", someone might be sending a small portion on a large scale.

            • IANAL, but if you use BitThief (which uses a 0:1 ratio; i.e. it doesn't upload) you might be okay. Of course, BitThief ruins the swarm health if used en masse

            • Just because you don't send the entire file does not mean you are not infringing copyright. Any substantial portion will do.

              So how much of a file is required for it to be infringing? And is there any case law anywhere that states this? Not trying to be funny or adversarial, just curious.

          • by HTH NE1 (675604)

            I know it's nitpicking, but it's important as you can never steal intellectual property.

            Yes, that's why I was referencing the illegality aspect only and deliberately not using the words "steal", "stolen", or "theft". I did not want this to devolve into another tired argument over definitions and just acknowledge the illegality.

            The whole argument is weak bullshit of course. Bittorrent can be used for piracy just as much as it can be used to distribute free information. Where it is weak is claiming that only one piece at a time is sent, which is not infringing in of itself (The letter A is not copyrighted), but failing to recognize the ultimate purpose is to receive 100% of the data. Not 70, 80, or 90. 100%.

            Agreed. As I was intending to reply to posting #27363715 [slashdot.org] (but got distracted by my followups), the intent is still the same: to assist in making a copy, and if the rights aren't there, it's infringing. It becomes a conspiracy in aggregate to infringe the copyright.

            But if

            • [snip]
              But that's not hard for the prosecution to prove: they don't need to know everyone who has ever been in the swarm; they just need to have the relevant rights holders and assignees testify under oath that they weren't participating in the swarm. Then it's left to the defense to discredit the testimony to the satisfaction of the court/jury.

              If they sold DRM'd software to tens of thousands of people I bet it would be hard to prove. What if customer #69,105 moved to, say, China (dumb move in terms of Human Rights, but smart move in terms of Intellectual Property) (WARNING:Don't move to China)

          • Re:SO if I (Score:4, Funny)

            by Zerth (26112) on Friday March 27, 2009 @08:14PM (#27365959)

            Actually, for a while I ran a modded bittornado client that deliberately would never upload more than 10% of the torrent to any one IP for expressly this purpose. It also lied to the tracker about my ratio for additional deniability.

            Not that I thought I'd get away with it, but I figured that if I was that screwed, it'd be amusing to have my lawyer whip out the client source in court showing that I couldn't have supplied anyone with a complete copy, that my actual transfer was substantially different than what the tracker showed, and thus any evidence they had could not show a complete infringement.

            Then I got a real job.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        someone who only downloads and doesn't seed back is entirely innocent

        except said someone is kind of a douchebag

      • by westlake (615356)

        You're handing out some of the letters, more or less randomly - just in a framework that they can all be put together in.

        The same could be said of be said of any form of communication across the Internet.

        The framework exists,

        The pieces of the puzzle will come together.

        The geek knows this perfectly well.

        He is - after all - the guy who designs the systems and software that makes it happen.

        So don't try peddling this bull shit to a judge.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by master5o1 (1068594)
      Or what about this:

      That 30 second preview on Wikipedia. Say there are websites that have this 30 second preview at different parts of the song...you find one at the beginning, one that is 30 seconds into the song, etc..until you have the entire song.

      Remember, you've just been using the 30 second preview from various websites, absolutely `legal`...or is it? (oh yeah. 30 seconds was the time it took me to think of this crappy post)
      • If the song is a minute long, probably not. If it's seventeen minutes long [wikipedia.org], maybe, but IANAL. And no, that's not absolutely legal [wikipedia.org], although it might be short enough that the company doesn't bother suing. Again, IANAL, go ask NYCL if you care, but don't expect a lack of disclaimers. Or perhaps a lawyer whom you actually pay?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Volda (1113105)
      A better apology would be say 100 people bought the same book then each person copies a few pages and gives it to other people who are then able to form the full book after collecting the pieces from the other 100 people. I think what they are trying to prove is that a individual that uses bit torrent is only giving another person a part of the info they need to complete a file. For them to be able to prosecute they would have to prosecute everyone who is sharing the copies. All or none basically. I b
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by atari2600 (545988)

      No if you bought a book and then handed out each word in the book, then it's not copyright infringement. Like if you print out this post and pass out each character of the English alphabet, as much as I will hate you, I cannot sue you *and* win.

      • Yes it is copyright infringement.

        Assuming copyright infringement is illegal, then if your intent is to give me the full copy, does it really matter how you give it to me?

        You may as well argue that printing something with an inkjet or laserjet printer can never infringe anything, becuase it prints it out one dot at a time. Just very quickly.

        Or e-mailing files. Pft, how about a license key? There's nothing illegal about Microsoft requiring a license for using its software, right? So, if I give you my lice

        • Sorry, Zeno. :)
        • Assuming copyright infringement is illegal, then if your intent is to give me the full copy, does it really matter how you give it to me?

          I think the point here is that the intent of any single user is to not give the full copy. The fully copy is only obtained through many, many different users, not from a single source.

          That said, I doubt that this argument is going to fly. And surely there's no way they can argue that the recipient of the full copy wasn't participating in copyright infringement! But iiNet are in serious difficulty: they either stop all p2p services -- in which case, they lose almost all of their customers; or else they fi

  • by ancientt (569920) * <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:19PM (#27363661) Homepage Journal

    Cobden for iiNet - "You aren't the boss of me"
    Bannon for Studios - "We told them to stop letting people do bad things, and they didn't do what we told them!"

    Apparently there is speculation over whether iiNet will try to argue that packets of data are not a substantial portion of a work, or maybe that the one to one nature of bittorrent isn't the same as a public dissemination, but personally I hope that they establish first that the studios don't have a right to just shut people down by accusation and then argue the technicalities that might get them off. I think that the arguments that it isn't piracy are much weaker than the arguments that the Studio's lawyers do not representive a duely appointed government representative.

  • by quangdog (1002624) <quangdog&gmail,com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:20PM (#27363681)
    Perhaps I'm misinformed, but is there any evidence to suggest that BitTorrent is used exclusively to distribute copyrighted materials? It seems to me that the argument against it is that it *may* be used to distribute copyrighted materials. If this is truly the case, then I guess we had better go ahead and unplug the whole internet. It was fun while it lasted, but it *may* be used for evil, so while I agr*#&$@@ NO CARRIER
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As far as I read it, the problem wasn't with bittorrent being allowed or not, but with iiNet receiving information from copyright holders about copyright infringements happening, and then doing nothing to stop it from happening (in turn condoning the actions of its customers).

      The movies mob needs to prove it gave enough information and proof it was happening (and possibly show that iiNet was then allowing its customers to perform illegal actions), and iiNet has to prove that with the information given it wa

  • Each packet is just a bunch of 1's and 0's - those are hardly copyrighted either... right?
  • Objectivity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:29PM (#27363781)
    Just because someone is arguing a side that most of us support, doesn't mean that their argument isn't ridiculous. We need to keep our intellectual honesty about us. Taking their reasoning, it could be argued the TCP/IP never violates copyright; that a file broken out on disk clusters never violates copyright; and so on.

    If you're sharing a copyrighted file via torrent without permission, I think you indisputably are violating copyright law. Perhaps copyright law is poorly conceived... I certainly think it is. However, I don't think arguing through silly loopholes is going to help the core problem. The law needs reformed.
    • Someone earlier analogized Bittorrent as pushing a work through a shredder and sending the pieces out 1 person at a time.

      The mere fact that the shreds can be reassembled into a complete copyrighted work suggests then that at least the shredded works are a derivative work.

    • > If you're sharing a copyrighted file via torrent without permission, I think you indisputably are violating copyright law

      I think the mafiaa, unexpectedly, claims a higher hurdle for themselves:

      The movie studios' lawyers argued that this is irrelevant to their case as all they need to prove is that iiNet users illegally obtained the files and then made them available for others

      That part about starting out with an illegal file seems to me to leave a pretty big door open.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      doesn't mean that their argument isn't ridiculous.

      Gotta agree here. Even if you're trying to claim that individual packets can't be a significant portion of a copyrighted work, nobody joins a swarm and sends just one packet.

    • Re:Objectivity (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:59PM (#27364193)

      There is a big difference here that you are missing .....

      They are not arguing for the individual users. They are arguing for Bittorrent.

      As an analogy, you can use Xerox copy machines to photocopy an entire book. The RIAA, MPAA, and so forth have in effect been going after Xerox for copyright infringement. The single act of copying a single page does not constitute copyright infringement while copying an entire book does.

      Thus the copyright infringement occurs through the actions of the user not the actions of the company who built the copy machine or the software used to transmit a file. Similarly, Ford, Chevy, Ferrari, Porsche, are not sued when someone speeds, crashes and hurts someone. The driver is at fault not the auto companies.

    • Honesty ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bug1 (96678) on Friday March 27, 2009 @06:35PM (#27364731)

      If we are going to be honest, let us all (RIAA, MPAA etc) admit that its people, not technology that violate copyrights.

      If we are going to be honest, how about the Music cartels refund all the royalties they collect from the sale BLANK cd's and dvd's. (they arent all used to violate copyright)

      If we are going to be honest, how about the RIAA, MPAA stop labeling copyright infringer's as thieves (copyright violation isnt theft, different law).

      If we are going to be honest, how about the RIAA, MPAA confess all the dirty legal and technical methods they have used in their attempt to convict anyone they can (other than the sony hack we already know about)

      Its a dirty fight, the other side isnt interested in honesty or fairness, i say we fight them any way we can.

      • Its a dirty fight, the other side isnt interested in honesty or fairness, i say we fight them any way we can.

        And I say that stooping to their level is a great way to alienate supporters, especially those who enjoy the moral high ground.

        There are also some prejudices associated with piracy (most of which I personally hold). For example, that pirates are selfish people, who are willing to screw artists to have extra entertainment. Another example: pirates are addicted to their free entertainment stream.*

        What

  • I don't know about AU, but the US has long standing laws and precedent for how to deal with situations where people try and get around the law using silly technicalities like this. You don't think organized crime hasn't played these sort of games in the real world before?

  • Won't work. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:39PM (#27363911)
    Courts hate people trying to be 'smart' infront of them with arguments, and this is exactly what iiNet is doing. Why limit this to Bittorrent? If breaking the item in question down into individual packets eliminates the copyright concern, then surely just transferring the file by any means digitally will do the same - I can't think of a single protocol which doesn't use packets to transfer a fractional payload of the total, including TCP.

    iiNet are going to fall flat on their face with this argument.
    • It's hard to tell from the article, but perhaps this was just one of their defenses? I know that in some contexts, at least, lawyers will throw out every argument they can think of, just so they're not restricted from using those arguments later (whether they actually use those arguments is another matter...)

    • I hope so. The summary lays it out as if this were a legitimate stand for consumer rights against evil corporations. If our best defense comes down to mincing semantics, then we're fucked, and rightfully so.

  • by mark-t (151149)
    By that exact same reasoning a raw IP packet "cannot be used to distribute pirated content because a packet does not represent a substantial portion of the infringing material". Yet every packet that gets sent on the internet is built on raw ip. Are they saying, therefore, that any piracy that is perceived to occur at anytime over the internet is actually a figment of somebody's imagination?
    • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rohan972 (880586) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @01:10AM (#27367921)

      By that exact same reasoning a raw IP packet "cannot be used to distribute pirated content because a packet does not represent a substantial portion of the infringing material".

      From TFA: They also claimed that, because files are broken up into tiny "packets" before being sent over BitTorrent, this may not be enough to suggest a "substantial portion" of a copyrighted file was distributed.

      I think the argument might not be that sending it by packets cannot be infringement but that logging a few packets is not enough evidence either to kick their customers or be held liable themselves.

      iiNet have a contract with their customers, not with the media companies. Should they disconnect people only on the basis of an IP number and file name given to them by a third party? They ought to be wary of breaking those service contracts. Since the customers also do not go on an ISP blacklist or anything (yet) all their compliance would do is to send that customer to another ISP, their competition, as well as expose them to lawsuits from ex-customers who got disconnected. So they have quite rightly stated that they require a higher standard of evidence than media company accusations.

  • by huwr (627730) on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:57PM (#27364171)
    It's important to consider that the studios are claiming that ISPs should be responsible for what their customers do with their service. That is, that "iiNet was responsible for customers downloading movies illegally and then burning them to DVD to sell or share with friends." To me, that's the much more interesting matter.

    The studios should then sue the electricity companies for providing electricity to people's DVD burners.
  • Following that logic, the following would also be true. The internet can't serve up web pages, because all of the content doesn't fit in a single packet. VoIP can't be used to communication, because an entire conversation can't fit in a single packet. The list goes on and on. What kind of idiot comes up with these arguments?
    • Dude, this is Slashdot. This is one of the holiest of holies: pretending that copyrighted material is free for the taking no matter what.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The movie industry is fighting against the very laws that they helped create. There are five [whirlpool.net.au] very [whirlpool.net.au] interesting [whirlpool.net.au] posts [whirlpool.net.au] that I found [whirlpool.net.au] in a couple of minutes on Whirlpool that discuss the situation the ISPs and the media companies are in. The short of it: the media companies lobbied for particular procedures that let them go after individual users; they got them; and when they found that they were unworkable, decided to go after the ISPs instead. Deja vu, anyone?

  • So this is basically Zeno's argument applied to network communications.
    • Yes. By extension, if you go to a bookstore several times and rip out some of the pages of a book each time until you have stolen the entire book, then there's nothing wrong. The degree of deliberate self-delusion on this thread is mind boggling. Look at the repeated modding as off-topic of this [slashdot.org] post. It is off-topic to argue on a thread about copyright piracy that copyright piracy is illegal. No rational thought, not even a perfunctory nod to prevailing law. I want it, so it's OK to just take it without pa
  • Wrong defense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sashang (608223) on Friday March 27, 2009 @06:53PM (#27364987)
    That's a daft argument. You could extend that to say an ethernet frame and say 'oh because ethernet frames are broken up they can't be used to distribute copyrighted data'. Similar argument for reading writing blocks to disk etc... It's pretty obvious bittorent can be used to transmit information copyrighted or not. Their defense should focus on the accuracy identifying weather the information transmitted is copyrighted or not, since people do use bittorrent for legitimate reasons. ISP's probably want to win this case because they are aware of the enormous amount of traffic bittorrent generates, most of it being movies, mp3s etc... Forcing them to curtail this will hurt their revenue. The other side of the coin is that people that create music, movies, software are entitled to license it however they want. If they give it away for free good for you but if they copyright it and require payment for it then that doesn't mean you can just take it from them.
  • Just a quick thought,

    Copyrights can only be applied to goods, I believe, right? If this is the case, then why is IP of this nature even copyrighted to begin with?

    It would, in my eyes, seem to be more of a service than anything. By purchasing a legal copy of a movie online to download, I'm receiving nothing physical for what I payed for. It's not a good.
    I am, however, being provided with the service of entertainment.

    Can services be copyrighted?

    If I were to go down the street, find a street perfo

    • It would, in my eyes, seem to be more of a service than anything. By purchasing a legal copy of a movie online to download, I'm receiving nothing physical for what I payed for. It's not a good.

      What do you mean "nothing physical"? Is it spiritual? Is it in some magical dimension? You don't think magnetic marks on a disk or voltage spikes on a wire are physical? Are you so obtuse that you can't distinguish between A) the service of providing you a medium with digital data of some kind, and 2) the actual dig

  • Wait a second. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027)

    I am all for ISPs standing up for the rights of their users, but I call bullshit on this one.

    Bittorrent CAN be used for copyright infringement, just like a photocopier. Just because it CAN be used for illicit purposes doesn't mean that it always is. I have downloaded several Linux distributions using Bittorrent.

    It's one thing to say "No, we're not giving you any information about our subscribers without proof." It's quite another to pretend that it's not possible to do something that we all know is.

    LK

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