Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Crime Your Rights Online

Copyright Troll USCG Violates Copyright 97

Posted by kdawson
from the do-as-i-say dept.
omarlittle writes "The US Copyright Group — a company owned by intellectual property lawyers, which has been in the news for threatening downloaders of the movie Hurt Locker — has apparently stolen their site from a competitor. At one point, even the competitor's phone number and copyright statement were copied word for word on USCG's 'settlement' website. The competitor is reportedly going to send a Cease & Desist."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Copyright Troll USCG Violates Copyright

Comments Filter:
  • Damn! (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:17PM (#33085606)

    If only there was some group that they could hire to fight copyright violations...

    • ...you mean like the ones they, err, ripped off? ;)

      Comeuppance is gonna be real fun to watch happen... Pity that in the end, some really stupid anti-liberty precedent may come of it (I'm hoping not considering that this particular case is simple plagiarism, but given this crowd, I'm not holding out much hope for sanity...)

    • If only there was some group that they could hire to fight copyright violations...

      Well first start a multi-national conglomerate so you will have the resources then go sniffing around the united states congress, with enough money you can get whatever you want.

    • by willabr (684561)
      I'm a copyright novice and know very little about these type of things; But did they not leave the copyright notice refering to the correct copyright holder?,, mayby the two have something worked out, if they had left that out would that have been worse?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      ... If you have a problem...if no one else can help...and if you can find them...maybe you can hire...The A-Team.
    • Re:Damn! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jdgeorge (18767) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:16PM (#33086464)

      Ironic it is. However, the real story is "copyright lawyers screwed by lazy web site developer." They paid somebody to create their website, and instead of just developing a web site, the lazy developer simply ripped off a site which served a similar business.

      It's not as if the firm's lawyers sat around saying "I don't know how to design our site... why don't we just use that one and put our information on it?"

      • Re:Damn! (Score:5, Informative)

        by chartreuse (16508) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:38PM (#33086736) Homepage

        TFA doesn't mention any developers involved. Why don't you add to our knowledge and name them, since you seem to be better-informed?

        A wholesale lifting of code (such as would be implied by their leaving their victim's phone number intact) could as easily have been done by a lazy, recklessly indifferent lawyer or lazy, supervised staff worker as by a lazy third-party web developer.

        Moreover I really doubt there's a legally viable argument that USCG, filled with state-licensed members of the bar, doesn't ultimately have responsibility for approving and operating a website that collects evidence for use in court.

        • by jdgeorge (18767)

          It is definitely the responsibility of the law firm, which is why it's ironic.

          However, the gleeful interpretation by The Not Very Fine Article and members of this site that these copyright lawyers willfully violated copyright is mere fantasy that's unsupported by any evidence.

          • by chartreuse (16508)

            ...and leaving the victim's phone number in was just an simple oversight, way too difficult for mere lawyers to grasp or even notice, since web development is so hard .

            I'll take your non-answer of my question as indication you don't have any evidence the development was done by an external firm. (Would it make a difference if it was a temp they hired who did it?) But maybe you're right, in which case I'm sure we'll hear about the lawsuit USCG (aka Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver) files against their contractor

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        You're right, this is really a nothing-to-see-here story and it is really shameful. I want to destroy copyright trolls, copyright extremism, and software patents as much as the next person, but this is just "spin" at its best.

        That being said, I do find it curious that a bunch of IP lawyers did not think to demand of the website developer a manifest of every single piece of copyrightable content on the site and its proof of proper licensing.

        This would be like the BSA setting up a branch office without any r

      • Consider.

        What would happen if the average "Mafiaa" espousing slashdotter (among who number some who do websites for a living) were to actually be hired by the RIAA or the MPAA.

        maybe it wasn't sloth- but nefarious and deliberate.

  • They bitch left and right about piracy yet they themselves are pirates.
  • by slaxative (1867220) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:18PM (#33085626)
    The ultimate compliment is plagiarism. So what if it is the purpose of your company to fight against that very thing.
  • I'm such a firm believer in conservationism, I'm going to go print up 100,000 fliers to raise awareness!
  • (c) (Score:3, Funny)

    by djdbass (1037730) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:20PM (#33085656)
    Pot, meet Kettle*

    * copyright 2010 djdbass. Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
    • by tokul (682258)

      Pot, meet Kettle*

      * copyright 2010 djdbass.

      Except for the part where you can't copyright generic idiom.

      Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1870, revised by Adrian Room (Millennium Edition). Looks like copyright is expired.

      • And fraudulent copyright notices are punishable by fine! Not that I've ever heard of anybody being fined for trying to, for instance, copyright a blank form.

        I even once tried to email copyright.gov when I found a fraudulent copyright notice on a public domain work. You know what their response was? If you own the copyright, you can sue them. So basically they don't investigate fraudulent claims, despite this being a possible way to get some extra income.

        • Part of the issue is that if they’ve done just about anything at all to it, they can copyright their “creative work” as a whole.

          For instance, you cannot copyright information, so the information in the phone book is free for the taking. However the book itself (its graphics, fonts, layout and formatting) is copyrighted, so you cannot just cut the binding, scan the pages, and re-print exact copies of it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by daremonai (859175)
            This is mostly false, at least in the U.S. While the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries have the concept of copyright for "typographical arrangement," the U.S. does not. It also does not have copyright in the printed appearance of a font (as opposed to, say, the TrueType encoding of a font, which is copyrightable). So, out of your list, only the graphics (assuming they are original) would be clearly subject to copyright in the U.S.
            • While the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries have the concept of copyright for "typographical arrangement," the U.S. does not.

              Citation needed. In the 1991 ruling on Feist v. Rural Tel. Service Co. you will find statements such as the following:

              a compilation of facts may possess the requisite originality because the author typically chooses which facts to include, in what order to place them, and how to arrange the data so that readers may use them effectively, [however] copyright protection extends only to those components of the work that are original to the author, not to the facts themselves.

              A compilation is not copyrightable per se, but is copyrightable only if its facts have been “selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.”

              Rural has a valid copyright in the directory as a whole because it contains some forward text and some original material in the yellow pages

              Hence, Feist would have been infringing had they scanned and duplicated Rural’s telephone book, but since they only extracted the listings (facts) they were within the law in so doing.

              • by daremonai (859175)
                Here's one, on sheet music; the author has written extensively on this area: http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/375/ [uga.edu].

                Note you are misreading Feist - the "originality" being discussed is in the selection and organization of facts, essentially a work of scholarship. This would not apply to merely typesetting an existing (public domain) text.

                Again, "typographical arrangement" is an explicit concept in UK and Commonwealth law, typically with a relatively short term (e.g., 25 years). So far as I k

                • Agreed, merely typesetting a public domain text would not be original enough to warrant a copyright. Perhaps you misunderstand me. As we have both reiterated, factual information / public domain works are not copyrightable. However, if a public domain work were to be reprinted with cover art, flyleaf summary, a foreword/preface, new illustrations, et cetera, it is almost certain that the work, as a whole, would be original enough so as to be copyrightable. The copyright would apply only to the originality o

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dogtanian (588974)

      Pot, meet Kettle*

      * copyright 2010 djdbass. Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

      I regret to inform you that I already hold the copyright on your copyright warning, and you now owe me $100,000 and a bag of jelly babies if you don't want investigated by the FBI, sent to prison for 5 years and fined $250,000.

      And the jelly babies have to be green.

  • Instant karma, reap what you sow... how ever you put it, they're getting what they deserve.
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:26PM (#33085758)

    *rips off rubber ghost mask*

    *gasp* "It's old man copyright troll, the guy who runs the haunted bittorrent tracker site!"

    "And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by AhabTheArab (798575)

      *rips off rubber ghost mask*

      *gasp* "It's old man copyright troll, the guy who runs the haunted bittorrent tracker site!"

      "And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!..."

      "...and that mangy mutt of yours"

      "scooby dooby dooooooo"

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:27PM (#33085764) Homepage Journal

    USCG stole something else as well then, their Acronym. USCG is the US COAST GUARD, not the US Copyright Group. These guys should get a clue.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by euxneks (516538)

      USCG stole something else as well then, their Acronym. USCG is the US COAST GUARD, not the US Copyright Group. These guys should get a clue.

      Thank you so much for using "their" in the proper context! At last! I have read a slashdot comment with proper grammar!!!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cap'nPedro (987782)

        Thank you so much for using "their" in the proper context! At last! I have read a slashdot comment with proper grammar!!!

        Your easy to please.

        Ooh, it made me cringe typing that.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          Thank you so much for using "their" in the proper context! At last! I have read a slashdot comment with proper grammar!!!

          Your easy to please.

          Ooh, it made me cringe typing that.

          Hey now: your not being very nice.

          • Can't we'll just get along?
            • by Dunega (901960)
              Sure, but you know that you're problem is that your going about it the wrong way. They're should be an easier method so that there able to get things done their. I was going to continue but my brain started to leak out my nose.
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        USCG stole something else as well then, their Acronym. USCG is the US COAST GUARD, not the US Copyright Group. These guys should get a clue.

        Thank you so much for using "their" in the proper context! At last! I have read a slashdot comment with proper grammar!!!

        Except, no! Usual american grammar uses the singular for groups such as companies, sports teams, etc.. So in this case, it should be "its", not "their"!
        I fully expect someone to point out errors in my post. Such is the fate of anyone who posts ab

    • Not all initialisms are acronyms. I am having some trouble pronouncing YouSeKahGuh anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RicktheBrick (588466)
      At first I wondered why the Coast Guard was stealing from another site than I was thinking that the copyright group stole it from the Coast Guard. But atlas the article has nothing to do with the United States Coast Guard. It is a shame that /. uses the Coast Guard's acronym to get readers to view this story.
    • by pdxp (1213906)
      Actually they stole the Coast Guard's initialism, which is even worse because it's obvious that all the letters are the same when repeated out loud!
    • by dlfretz (1250918)

      Run! It's the USCG armed with briefcases?

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      I thought the same thing. The Coast Guard stole some one's website?

    • As long as it wasn't the Navy's, Air Force's, Army's, Marine's, Local Police Department's or Boy Scout's website they stole I think the Coast Guard has a fair chance of fighting off any reprisal attack.
  • by grahamsaa (1287732) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:28PM (#33085778)
    It seems to me that the most appropriate solution to this would be to disbar the lawyers that run this firm. What they've done is clearly unethical, and it's also obvious that they were aware of (or should have been aware of) the infringement (they are intellectual property lawyers, right?).

    This will discourage others from behaving this way, and will make it impossible for some obviously bad actors to earn a living by behaving badly. Perhaps they could consider a new career in fast food? In any case, I have no sympathy for these people.
    • How do we go about getting somebody disbarred? Is there a public forum for filing complaints? I know for engineers, you just go to the State Board. So I guess you have to find out what state these guys (Dunlap, Grubb, and/or Weaver) operate in (VA?) and file a complaint with their state bar. Anybody know for sure?
  • Oh the irony... This isn't an isolated incident on the internet. From wordpress templates, javascript libraries to full sites it seems like businesses go pirate happy with sites they like. Generally, they're stealing from sites that can't afford to go out, hire an attorney and sue. I have a handful of (horrible) stock photos that I've upped to a stock photo site, they tend to show up all over the place. They're free to use, but at least send me an email saying that you're going to use them.

  • but, but, but it's ok, because they're fighting crime!
  • I thought there was supposed to be honor among thieves?
  • and this just in: "Family Values" politicians were caught cheating on their wives. Also, people protesting the American budget deficit support fighting two wars on credit. Where will it end ?
    DAMN YOU LOGICAL PRINCIPLES !!!!

  • by Husgaard (858362) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:49PM (#33086078)
    copyright violation != theft
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      word nazi != helpful

      • by Shagg (99693)

        The differences between copyright infringement and theft are pretty fundamental to a lot of IP discussions.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          True, but colloquial use of words is pretty fundamental to ALL discussions.

          You could rightfully say they 'ripped off' the site, could you not? And wouldn't that simply be a colorful synonym of 'theft'?

          Are we genuinely to believe that the author claims the original site owners no longer have that property?? Of course not.

          • In fact, "ripped off" is colloquially used as a synonym for a bad deal, just as frequently as for "theft." For example, people frequently complain about how movie theaters "rip them off" by charging a high price for popcorn and disallowing outside food. I hear the term "ripped off" used for more frequently to describe outrageously high prices than for "theft."

            Are we genuinely to believe that the author claims the original site owners no longer have that property?? Of course not.

            Then he needs to find a more descriptive word or term than "theft," since "theft" implies that someone no longer has their property. The very rea

            • by BobMcD (601576)

              Then he needs to find a more descriptive word or term than "theft," since "theft" implies that someone no longer has their property.

              The need is only exigent if the reader is confused. Not so much the case here, and you well realize it.

    • Sure they did; the original website was GONE! Just a 404.... oh, wait, it was still there. You're right.
    • copyright violation != theft

      Ha ha! Stole it! Wait... what? You still have it? Crap.

    • Copyright violation isn't theft. However, I do think they "stole" something. They presented someone else's work as if it was their own. That's plagiarism and it really is a form of theft, because it deprives the creator of the recognition and credit they deserve.
  • At first I was wondering why the hell the USCG would be copyright trolling. Then I saw it wasn't the US Coast Guard.
  • Bullies (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheStatsMan (1763322)
    Legal and fiscal bullying is one of the more common applications of copyright law, apparently.
  • by MarkGriz (520778) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:56PM (#33086196)

    Looks like the graphics have been replaced. Yet bizarrely they kept some stolen Javascript functions in there that they don't even use.

  • So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by parlancex (1322105) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:04PM (#33086302)
    I think they should be fined up to $10,000 per page view.
  • Additionally... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp@@@yahoo...com> on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:21PM (#33086524) Homepage

    The image of the "woman paying a bill online in her kitchen" was not likely owned by the Copyright Enforcement Group either but was licensed stock photography from somewhere else. Not only did they rip off CEG but also the owner of the stock image...

  • by Camel Pilot (78781) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:22PM (#33086542) Homepage Journal

    This reminds me of Senator Hatch who used unlicensed copyrighted software on his official website but then attempted, believe it or not, to pass legislation that would allowed the recording industry to remotely automatically destroy computers when they discovered that their copyrighted music was being downloaded.

    You couldn't invent this stuff...

    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2003/06/59305 [wired.com]

  • Since in the eyes of copyright trolls, each download is an infringement deserving the maximum penalty, and each page view is a separate download, the copyright trolls should be sued for $250,000 for each individually copyrighted component of each web page for each page view.

    That should bring the penalties into the billions of dollars rather quickly. THAT would be sweet justice.

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound

Working...