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Media Privacy The Courts Your Rights Online

New Copyright Lawsuits Go After Porn On Bittorrent 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-explaining-that-subpoena-to-your-parents dept.
neoflexycurrent writes "Three adult media entertainment producers filed suit Thursday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging copyright infringement against hundreds of anonymous defendants accused of trading videos using Bittorrent. This kind of action resembles the much-criticized mass litigation undertaken by the US Copyright Group against hordes of unknown accused Bittorrent users trading movies like The Hurt Locker. In this case, the subject matter promises to be more provocative."
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New Copyright Lawsuits Go After Porn On Bittorrent

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  • by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @11:30AM (#33475580)
    Or they realized that if they hit 10,000 people with a $1,000 settlement, they could easily $10,000,000 without having to do a whole lot. Especially if it's a film with a very raunchy sounding title. Most people would gladly pay $1,000 to avoid having that information become public. They probably won't even have to go to court for most of the cases. Then they can use that $10,000,000 to make 2000 more pornos and sue another 10,000 people for copyright infringement.

    Reminds me of a scene from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels: (Quote taken from IMDB)

    Tom: Listen to this one then; you open a company called the Arse Tickler's Faggot Fan Club. You take an advert in the back page of some gay mag, advertising the latest in arse-intruding dildos, sell it a bit with, er... I dunno, "does what no other dildo can do until now", latest and greatest in sexual technology. Guaranteed results or money back, all that bollocks. These dills cost twenty-five each; a snip for all the pleasure they are going to give the recipients. They send a cheque to the company name, nothing offensive, er, Bobbie's Bits or something, for twenty-five. You put these in the bank for two weeks and let them clear. Now this is the clever bit. Then you send back the cheques for twenty-five pounds from the real company name, Arse Tickler's Faggot Fan Club, saying sorry, we couldn't get the supply from America, they have sold out. Now you see how many of the people cash those cheques; not a single soul, because who wants his bank manager to know he tickles arses when he is not paying in cheques!
  • by Nursie (632944) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:08PM (#33475788)

    There are always ways to exchange data secretly.

    The problem comes when you want to both exchange data secretly and do it with anyone that asks. Bittorrent was never good for this. Private trackers offer at least some sort of protection I suppose, but it's not an ideal solution by any means.

    What we need is for home users to start having a decent upload speed, so that a multihop, friend-to-friend network can spring up, such that you only ever exchange data with people you know, and they do with people they know until the whole world is joined...

    That needs a lot of bandwidth, a lot of otherwise unnecessary bandwidth, but is feasible. I know there are some projects (OneSwarm) and some mature networking tools (I2P) out there that can already help.

    Or you could just stop ripping stuff off. Just sayin'

  • by the Gray Mouser (1013773) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:24PM (#33475912)

    First, I would think slashdotter's would be for this. Remember, the GPL and other "free" or "open" licenses all get their power of enforcement from copyright law. So if you want strong open source software licenses, you need strong copyright protection.

    Second, Porn sites don't cost much. A lot of them will offer a discount if you click out of the signup page. Join for a few months, download all you want high quality and DRM free, then cancel. Beats searching around through random links where you never know what will pop up.

    Third, porn may be one of the last pillars we have left in this economy. When all the other businesses are starving for customers, people still want their porn. And it's the adult entertainment industry that's been on the forefront of internet and network development for years. Stuff like live chat, streaming video, secure billing.

    Without porn the internet would still be a dry and barren wasteland where only the most computer savvy could tread.

  • Interesting Tension (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:42PM (#33476024)

    The judges will HATE dealing with porno cases. They will want to make them go away. Judges can make things "go away" very easily. One erroneous fact finding can kill a case dead--permanently and totally dead. They can also cut all the legal breaks in favor of dismissing a lawsuit. We place a lot of trust in our judges and sometimes they betray us. A good example can be found in the judges in the South tasked with enforcing the "separate but equal" laws. They enforced the 'separate' part, but the 'equal' part got lost.

    Even though the judges will want to make the porno cases go away, they won't be able to treat them too rudely (because the court rules and legal principles in effect are supposed to be "content neutral"). This tension might manifest itself in the porno cases in cool and interesting ways.

    Porno is the big sleeping giant that the big media ignores. If they behave like pricks (or like the RIAA), the judges are going to go all hairy on their ass. When mainstream media comes around and tries to do the same bad things that the porno media wasn't allowed to do, the Courts will be hamstrung by their need to appear consistent. This presents some pretty cool ideas.

    If you want to support internet freedom, support the Larry Flynts of the world in their efforts to protect their ultra-gross porno copyrights. You want them to be mean and brutal in the glorious tradition of the RIAA. Support them on appeal--all the way to the bitter end. This would be a legal version of a sapping attack. The judges will cut the filth-purveyors the absolute least slack possible. This will make for a better and more fair copyright law--and will have the humorous by product of watching the RIAA support the filthiest porn purveyors in the appellate courts.

    It could get pretty absurd.

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:57PM (#33476108) Homepage

    A colleague of mine had a cable modem. For a number of reasons, he just happened to be aware of his IP address. It was DHCP assigned, but essentially a static assignment because it never changed. Then one day, there was a technical problem. Whatever the problem was, the cable company's solution consisted of changing his IP address. Great! New IP address! Problem solved.

    A few months later, he gets a nastygram from the cable ISP. "Your IP address x.x.x.x was used for illegal file sharing activity on $DATE, and your contact information been supplied to the copyright holder pursuant to a subpeona..." One TINY little problem. The address in question was his NEW IP address and the date in question was BEFORE THE ADDRESS WAS ASSIGNED TO HIM! It seems the ISP looked up the IP address in question and identified the CURRENT user, with no consideration about who was using it at the time!

    It gets better. The colleague in question has a lot of money, lawyers, and the willingness to use them. The cable clowns got spanked big-time. I have reason to believe they paid a substantial settlement to avoid a defamation suit. And of course, the process of identifying users by IP address has now been proven to be error-prone. Reasonable doubt for everyone!

    In addition to incompetent ISP research, there are a number of ways for a user to hijack your IP address, which I won't go into here. But trust me, it's possible. More reasonable doubt.

    It's one thing to accuse someone of sharing "The Sound of Music" and say "oops" when the user in question turns out to deaf and clueless about P2P. But when the movie is "Debbie Does Detroit", the reputation of the defendant is damaged. That's a BIG problem if the user identification process is flawed (as described above). Sooner or later, the plaintiffs are going to go to court armed with bad information and all hell will break loose.

  • by Ogi_UnixNut (916982) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:59PM (#33476122) Homepage
    I always wondered why they didn't go after companies such as rapidshare. Surely it should be easier to take down a centralised system? It's almost as bad as the old FTP sites (in fact it's worse, FTP sites generally were not indexed by search engines). These companies should be easy pickings as far as lawsuits are concerned. What am I missing?
  • Re:Uh oh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:35PM (#33477142)

    Y'all do realize that blocking certain IP ranges is useless, Right? Any company that is hired to find copyright scofflaws is extremely foolish to use only one IP range and never change it.
    In fact, if they had half a brain, they'd subscribe to Peerblock/guardian/whatever, and make sure to use IP addresses that are Not listed. All it takes is a phone call to their ISP....

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @04:26PM (#33477462) Journal

    Uhhh...you DO know that BOTH PeerGuardian and PeerBlock can use the same Bluetack blocklists? That is all PeerBlock is using anyway and it takes less than 5 minutes to set up PeerGuardian to do the same.

    As for TFA, how do we know THEY didn't put the porn up themselves, ala Viacom and Youtube? Seems like a great way if your studio is running low on cash for blow and hookers to pump up your numbers. Just upload, sue anyone who downloads via "we know what you're doing! Give us teh monies or we put it in teh paperz!" extortion letters, and rake in the cash. Considering how fucking sleazy the lawyers are and the "investigators" like Media Defender or whatever they call themselves this week, it really wouldn't surprise me if that was the game plan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @04:43PM (#33477540)

    someone who is knowledgeable about copyright and who you have probably heard of, but I don't know if it's ok to quote him by name, so I'll leave that out.

    My question was, the Miller obscenity test (to suppress publication of something because it's obscene) has three prongs, of which all three have to be met for suppression. One of the three prongs is that the material has no redeeming social value, and for better or worse there are already many legal findings that porn meets that prong. Porn (other than extreme or child porn) is usually not suppressed (any more) because it doesn't meet the other two prongs, even if courts find (which they do) that it has no redeeming value. The First Amendment recognizes a right to publish stuff whether it has redeeming social value or not.

    Copyright exists for a different purpose: to promote progress in science and the useful arts, under a now very broad interpretation of "progress" etc. So I asked the lawyer, if there's already a legal finding that a particular work (i.e. a piece of porn) has no redeeming value, how can extending copyright to it promote progress? Obviously people should be free to publish it (freedom of press) but it shouldn't be copyrightable. Public domain porn for the win.

    The lawyer said that argument had already been tried in court, and the ruling was that porn was copyrightable.

  • IP list (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zomg (818060) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:06PM (#33477648)
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:59PM (#33477968)
    They are forgetting that 2 large industries (music and mainstream movies) with more money and clout than even the porno industry has, have both failed to make ANY money on their lawsuits, AND failed to stop or even slow down filesharing!

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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