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Piracy Movies The Courts Your Rights Online

Uwe Boll, Other Filmmakers Sue Thousands of Movie Pirates 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the part-two-the-revenge dept.
linzeal writes "Directors whose films have done poorly at the box office are increasingly being solicited by high-powered law firms to file lawsuits with offers of settlement. This practice, which the EFF has been calling extortive and 'mafia-like', has resulted in courts starting to rule in favor of the consumer, and in some cases throwing out the lawsuits. This is all fine and dandy, however, when you are considered the world's worst director and you largely finance films through your own holding company. At that point, the rhetoric and ridicule gets ratcheted up rather quickly."
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Uwe Boll, Other Filmmakers Sue Thousands of Movie Pirates

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  • Sue Me! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bruha (412869) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:35PM (#32572106) Homepage Journal

    You'd have to sue me to download this guys stuff.

    Now we have "You pirated my movie!" trolls.

    Can we get back to dealing with real criminals?

  • Old news (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:37PM (#32572142) Homepage

    These ludicrous lawsuits are already in jeopardy, as the judge has ruled they have to prove a valid legal reason to roll up all these John/Jane Does in one lawsuit [arstechnica.com]. Rightfully so. I have no problem with them suing these people, but trying to roll them up into single lawsuits so that their filing costs and complexity remain low is abuse of the justice system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:40PM (#32572194)

    Er, they've sued innocents before... I'm sure that's not true in the majority of cases but it does happen.

  • Re:LOL? Wut? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:49PM (#32572292) Homepage

    From the article I linked to:

    "A brief entry in the official court docket lays out the order. "MINUTE ORDER requiring Plaintiff to show cause in writing no later than June 21, 2010 why Doe Defendants 2 through 2000 should not be dismissed for misjoinder under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20," wrote the judge in The Steam Experiment case. The same order was repeated in a separate case targeting 4,577 users alleged to have shared the film Far Cry."

    Let's take a look at Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20:

    "Persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if: [cornell.edu]

    (A) they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and

    (B) any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the action. "

    Unless all of these people were a part of some vast conspiracy to download the same movie from the same source en mass, they can't be joined together in a single lawsuit. Explain how my post is wrong, based on the entry in the court docket and Procedure 20.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:51PM (#32572332) Homepage

    You already responded to a post where I put up a link, but just in case others miss it and are curious, Ars had the story a few days ago [arstechnica.com].

  • Wrong. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday June 14, 2010 @07:13PM (#32572554)

    [Sure fire 100% guaranteed way...]to not get sued for pirating movies.

    Don't pirate movies.

    Wrong.

    Not doing something doesn't stop you from getting accused of doing it, and a lawsuit is, after all, just a very formal accusation.

    Specifically relevant to copyright and P2P, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the history of Media Sentry and Media Defender.

  • Re:LOL? Wut? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 14, 2010 @07:22PM (#32572652) Homepage

    GAH!

    Thanks for pointing that out. here is the relevant portion, from the same link:

    Persons -- as well as a vessel, cargo, or other property subject to admiralty process in rem -- may be joined in one action as defendants if:

    (A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and

    (B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.

  • Re:Not the case (Score:5, Informative)

    by BitterOak (537666) on Monday June 14, 2010 @07:39PM (#32572832)

    While all those points may be valid, don't forget that we're talking about civil law here, not criminal. The standard is preponderance of the evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    So when an IP shows up as having downloaded a file, and the ISP provides the logs which map the IP address to a person, the question before the jury isn't "Does that prove conclusively that that person downloaded a file?" but rather "Given the evidence, is it more likely than not that they did?". The plaintiffs really only have to prove there's a 51% chance you downloaded the file. It's not a very high burden.

  • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:15PM (#32573170) Homepage Journal

        That was a pretty good summary of the civil court system. :) But you left out the part that you (the plaintiff) may still will in court on an unjustified lawsuit. A lot of it has to do with how good the lawyers are for both sides. If there is a jury involved, it's all showmanship. Whoever puts on the best show wins.

        Plaintiff with a big budget versus defendant who can barely afford to keep his Internet connection, I'd wager on the plaintiff.

        The only sure way not to get sued is to not be on record anywhere, and never have contact of any sort with anyone. If no one knows who you are, and no one finds out about you, then you're almost safe. That is becoming harder and harder to do though.

  • Re:Not the case (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gavrielkay (1819320) on Monday June 14, 2010 @08:25PM (#32573268)
    Last year I received 3 separate emails from my ISP claiming copyright violations. Two were for downloading movies and one for a game title. My household consists of my husband and I - we have no children or room-mates to be messing around with our computers. After each email I called the ISP to tell them that we hadn't downloaded the content and were basically told that their software said we did and they didn't believe us. After much yelling and 2 more emails, we finally figured out that the problem was a cable modem that we had used briefly before switching back to an older model. The new one had gone back to the store where we bought it and evidently was purchased by someone else for use at the same ISP. Given cable company monopolies, this shouldn't be too surprising. Long story short, they still had the MAC address of that returned modem linked to my account. It was only after they blocked access for that MAC address and got a phone call from the other subscriber that they truly believed us. If anyone had gotten sued over this mess, it would have been my husband and I, despite our complete innocence. We would have been essentially blackmailed into settling rather than risk a court believing us as much as the techs at the ISP did.
  • by UBfusion (1303959) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:07AM (#32574858)

    I am not embarrassed at all regarding Rampage. I was pleasantly surprised and I sincerely think that anybody interested in a study of the origins of violence should give it a try.

    Any citizen who has experienced violence first hand (and not just through the media) will find the scenario quite realistic and an objective profile of a non-ideology, non-politics driven unstable zero-the-hero who flips out and becomes obsessed with cleaning up the mess.

    The main character is played by an inexplicably good actor. Maybe he draws his performance by externalising the little Zorro or Superman hiding inside all of us. His parents are the real horror. If we were also offered a peek at his school life, the portrayal would have been complete.

    Finally, the cinematography is not that bad. I've seen much worse van Damme and Seagull films.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:31AM (#32575408)

    I agree. Me and my friends used to watch "so bad that it's good" movies a lot. Especially fun in before-parties. Good movies include

  • The real news in TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcvos (645701) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @05:20AM (#32575734)

    The real news (and injustice) in TFA is this:

    His production company, Boll KG, exploits a German tax loophole, so even when he films an English-language movie in Canada ... his financiers get a fat write-off from the German government.

    So German taxpayers are funding Uwe Boll's movies? Shouldn't we petition Germany to stop that crime against humanity?

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashBLUEdot.org minus berry> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:34PM (#32580872)

    Don’t worry. There is a reason Boll stopped making “movies”: They finally closed the loophole.

    He’s basically done now. Perhaps that’s why he’s now trying it this way.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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