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US Copyright Group — Lawsuits, DDoS, and Bomb Threats 365

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-bombs dept.
Andorin writes "The US law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, otherwise known as the US Copyright Group, filed suit at the end of August against another 2,177 individuals for allegedly downloading and sharing the slasher film Cornered! (In total the USCG has now filed suit against over 16,200 individuals.) In retaliation, Operation Payback, the Anonymous-led project responsible for DDoSing websites of the RIAA and MPAA, targeted the US Copyright Group's website with a DDoS, temporarily bringing it down for a few hours. The group behind the attacks say they'll continue 'until they stop being angry.' Additionally, the local police department evacuated the office of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver after a bomb threat was emailed to the firm. The building was searched, but no bomb was found."
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US Copyright Group — Lawsuits, DDoS, and Bomb Threats

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @10:51AM (#33770102)
    I'm not justifying the actions of those who made the bomb threat or who are behind the DDoS attacks, but if US Copyright Group is going to act like a bully they are going to experience some backlash in a variety of forms. They think they can do as they wish just because they're lawyers, etc, but they're discovering that the public doesn't like a bully, plain and simple.
  • Anonymous (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @10:51AM (#33770104)
    Not so cowardly...
  • I am... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:10AM (#33770208)

    When the government doesn't protect individuals, the companies harassing them are supposed to face public backslash proportional to the damage they cause. IE: When they harass thousands and ruin hundreds of lives for profit, they can and should be willing to expect pretty much anything. That's what happens when government doesn't do what it is supposed to: A small step towards anarchy.

    That all aside, I don't expect that Anonymous will ever do anything serious as they are mostly doing things for personal amusement.

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyfet (154716) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:11AM (#33770216) Homepage

    When faced with a fundamentally unjust society people will increasingly turn to alternate means to redress legitimate grievances. This is why civil liberties matter and why due process, equal justice, proportionate punishment, and presumption of innocence rather than presumption of guilt are essential, and yet all of these core principles are under open attack in the United States today.

  • Re:Hmmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:16AM (#33770246)

    "I wouldn't be surprised if individuals who work for these firms will start to be publically identified and their private lives targetted."

    That's exactly what needs to happen, copyright and corporations have shown themselves to want nothing more then a monopoly, and turn customers and citizens of the world into serfs where the rent everything in perpetuity. WHere ownership rights on the customer end are being rescinded and quite frankly copyright will always be abused it goes against our rights to own what we purchase outright and modify it as we see fit.

    I will never understand why westerners are so supportive of corporatist removal of our rights to own outright and modify our stuff as customers and human beings. We've seen how free market ideology works in the real world where there are no scruples and money makes the rules and if you don't have money your voice doesn't matter. We're already in an era of corporate dictatorship of policy to such an insidious degree.

    Why exactly would you want more of it? Right now the economy, government and law is so twisted by the structures of power that be, we need constant resistance and less ideological infighting of right vs left, left and right simply doesn't matter, these are distractions from the main issues - the removal of our liberties and rights as human beings view the market mechanism. We're seeing how money and markets can be transform a society into a society of serfs, any system can be gamed, transformed and abused, how so many people can't see this is disturbing.

  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:16AM (#33770248) Journal

    That smart-ass bomb threat going to get them classified as a "terrorist group." Then you can bet every agency will want "in" on the action; busting a bunch of (misguided) geeks is a lot safer than going after heavily armed drug dealers and much easier than tracking down serial killers.

  • Re:Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:18AM (#33770262)
    In a world where votes are counted in dollars changing laws is no longer up to the people.
  • Evil begets evil (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:18AM (#33770268)

    Individuals who work for these firms can always chose to stop being evil, thereby reducing their risk.

  • Re:Hmmmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:23AM (#33770296) Homepage Journal
    You say it like it's a bad thing. It's the only way the lawyers will put any thought into what they're doing. Those folks(the lawyers in this case) are out to ruin lives. Those guys pay firms to DDos you, hack you, stalk you, put malware on your computer, and finally litigate you to death, just for uploading a few songs. Do you think the Jammie Thomas case, even the more lenient judgement, is justice?

    If anything, it sounds like Anonymous is trying to beat the thugs at their own game. Let's hope that they succeed.
  • by Moryath (553296) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:28AM (#33770326)

    On the one hand, doing things like this makes 'Anonymous' look bad, and by association, then makes what they are supporting look bad and hands ammunition to the MafiAA and bully groups whose perspective is "fuck the consumer, down with consumer rights."

    On the other hand, simply protesting verbally and writing letters, even writing letters to congresscritters, seems to do only two things: jack and shit.

    And on the gripping hand...

  • Re:Hmmmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:30AM (#33770338)

    We're seeing how money and markets can be transform a society into a society of serfs, any system can be gamed, transformed and abused, how so many people can't see this is disturbing.

    How most people can't see this is quite a mystery unless you are willing to entertain the idea that people are not naturally this blind and must be trained to be this way [cantrip.org]. Then you realize this is the main reason for having a government-run public school system [johntaylorgatto.com]. The mystery then disappears but a sense of relief is not forthcoming, because it took a few generations to make things this way and may well take a few generations to begin to undo the damage.

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:31AM (#33770346) Journal

    Of course, you may just be from the UK, where you have the options to state that acts of the government's definition of terror are wrong or to risk up to 7 years in prison [legislation.gov.uk].

    Remember, kids, driving opinions underground is a great way of preventing angry words from turning into action.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:34AM (#33770362) Journal

    Nuh-uh.

    Pranks, yeah. Making their lives miserable through perfectly legal means, yeah, I can smile at it (e.g. when Mr. Ralsky got a taste of his own spammy medicine a few years back... those were good times).

    OTOH, breaking the law is only good for those willing to challenge an unjust law. Notice that the US Civil Rights Movement didn't resort to breaking other laws to make a point - they only broke the unjust ones. Most importantly, they were willing to take the punishment for it, in order to point out to the world at large just how unjust those laws were. That's the whole point of civil disobedience.

    While, yeah, I have zero love for a law firm that engages in the RIAA/MPAA's tactics, the best way to make one's point is to do so w/o breaking other, more important laws.

    What this would accomplish (at least if done large-scale or over time) is to provide fodder to make existing laws even more draconian, and to allow government(s) to step in and regulate the Internet even more, which none of us want.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:43AM (#33770410) Journal

    By that logic we should stop allowing private ownership of knives. It only takes one nutcase to cross that thin line between butchering a cow and stabbing a human.

    Or we could just accept the fact that 0.001% of humans are nutters and will do stupid stuff regardless, so there's no point punishing the other 99.999% of sane persons who use various tools responsibly.

  • Re:Hmmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:58AM (#33770480)

    So what. If you work for an a$$hole company, you need to be willing to live with the consequences.

  • by horza (87255) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:04PM (#33770512) Homepage

    A DDoS is not so bad, but a bomb? There is no justifying it.

    There fixed that for you.

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent". The phrasing of the opening sentence does justify Operation Payback's action, if somehow indirectly.

    A prank phone call is now violence?

    Phillip.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:21PM (#33770584) Homepage

    "A DDoS is not so bad, but a bomb threat? There is no justifying it."

    I believe you are confusing a bomb threat with an actual bombing.

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:25PM (#33770606)

    That smart-ass bomb threat going to get them classified as a "terrorist group." Then you can bet every agency will want "in" on the action; busting a bunch of (misguided) geeks is a lot safer than going after heavily armed drug dealers and much easier than tracking down serial killers.

    "Whah! I want my Mommy!

    The Feds are at the door because I have been playing with C4!"

    Here again, the geek presents himself as a misunderstood and persecuted minority --- but in a very strange juxtaposition with the drug dealer and serial killer.

         

  • Re:Hmmmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:51PM (#33770748) Homepage

    Then you realize this is the main reason for having a government-run public school system.

    Sometimes I wonder how this trash gets modded up. Pretty much all modern countries have public schools because otherwise kids wouldn't get any school at all. See the whole third world as an example, lack of education is a huge blocker for prosperity. The reason we have teacher's degrees and curriculum is because otherwise we'd have no quality control and no assurances that kids would get out of school knowing even the minimum about the world they ought to. Why is creationism so prevalent in the US as opposed to everywhere else? Because you can pull your kids out of school and teach them whatever you like. And not how reproduction works and what a condom is for. Can homeschooling or private schools be better than public schools? Yes. Can they be worse? Absolutely. At a minimum, you have to deal with a lot of other kids that aren't like you and don't think like you. By far the most narrow-minded and with the most twisted world views I've met have been American and home schooled. Granted, so have some of the brightest but it seems to bring out both kinds of extremes.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @01:26PM (#33770932) Homepage

    Since when is a "bomb threat" a tool?

    "Bomb threat" isn't a tool; it's a coercion on others by instilling fear, and any form of coercion is an aggression.

    Having a knife is fine. Threatening to stab someone, even if you don't end up doing it, isn't. This is and should be illegal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @01:39PM (#33771020)

    "If you act like a terrorist or terrorist organization then you should be treated as one. "

    Ok, then let's apply that logic. Arrest the RIAA and MPAA. After all, they exist to terrorize everyone from grandmothers to independent artists. I say that threatening hundreds of thousands of people with loss of their livelihood is more terrorism than any bomb threat.

    But keep your double standard. We need them for "society" to work.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @02:23PM (#33771252) Homepage Journal
    Its the same reason why douche-bags across Silicon Valley start driving bullet proof cars, get panic rooms and start flying around in helicopters.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @02:41PM (#33771370) Homepage Journal

    Clearly you have not been somewhere that matters when a DDoS is in full effect. I've seen equipment get fried (usually equipment that's not too healthy to start with, but still) and have firsthand felt the stresses involved. A bomb threat? Call in the professionals and run the hell away.

    DDoS? Nope, you get to stick through it responding to all the insensitive assholes bitching all the while doing your best (which is never enough against a real DDoS, thus failing)

  • Re:I am... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @03:09PM (#33771544) Journal

    We, The People, never actually had a say in the creation of those "laws" which were supposedly broken. I say supposedly because we have seen these same braintrusts in the past sue grandmas that couldn't even email, much less P2P, and of course dead folks. But the laws have been hopelessly perverted by the multinationals against the wishes of the people as I doubt very seriously you could even find 5% that would agree that 150 year+ copyrights are anything but robbery.

    So yes, the government if it were actually functional should protect the people from those that would pervert the laws with money but it is pretty obvious to anyone with a brain it is by the corporation, for the corporation now, which means the people will have to take care of themselves and fight back. If the people had any say pot would be legal, copyrights would be the same as they were for 150+ years, and it would be legal to walk into any Walmart and buy a device that walked you through ripping DVDs to it, so they wouldn't have to worry about kids scratching their discs. The fact that common sense is so far away from anything being written into law only proves We, The People had nothing to do with it.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @03:43PM (#33771726)

    "even if it contradicts popular vote"

    What popular vote? As far as I'm aware, the people can't even vote on 99% of the laws that these idiots try to pass. If they could, there would be much less corruption going around.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @03:51PM (#33771768)
    "Bomb threat" isn't a tool; it's a coercion on others by instilling fear, and any form of coercion is an aggression.

    I disagree. A bomb threat is a remote way of pulling the fire alarm. The intent in the majority of bomb threats is to clear the building. Rarely is someone levying an actual threat, and even more rare is there an actual bomb. Pulling a fire alarm isn't coercion by instilling fear. It's triggering a set response to get a desired physical action. I don't exit buildings from fire alarms because of fear. I do it because it's the process you go through while the alarm is checked out. The same is true of bomb threats. "There's been a bomb threat, please leave the building while we check it out." It is a DOS.
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @04:07PM (#33771898) Journal
    "PAY UP BASTARD 5000 DOLLARS OR WE'S GONNA DRAG YOUR ASS TO COURT." - that's the essence of what RIAA/MPAA s mailing to millions of people. Yes I consider that use of terror.
  • Re:Not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reteo Varala (743) <reteo,varala&gmail,com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @04:42PM (#33772110) Homepage

    What legitimate grievances? The RIAA, MPAA, and other groups have generally not been suing people who didn't, in fact, commit copyright infringement. In the few trials that have reached the verdict stage, the defendants have been found liable. The issues are about the level of damages, the cost of litigation, and whether the litigation strategy even makes sense. What's not an issue is that the defendants who were found liable broke the law.

    I can see two major grievances.

    The first is that the copyright system is being extended specifically to prevent anything from being placed into the public domain. Originally, in the US, the term of a copyright was 14 years, after which the work would enter the public domain. Today, the term of a copyright is 70 years after the death of the author. What this means is that copyright terms have increased by roughly one order of magnitude.

    The second is the inclusion of criminal elements in a specifically civil matter. Originally, copyright was a case where the copyright holder was responsible for enforcing their copyrights through the legal process. However, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act introduced criminal elements into the process, making certain forms of infringements (circumventing anti-copying protections) into a criminal matter.

    Simply put, the law is being tilted in favor of the copyright holders in order to increase their profits at the detriment of the public domain, which has remained static at 1923 for several decades now... not counting legal hiccups, such as "Happy Birthday," which was able to squeeze in due to the pre-1923 works being "unauthorized."

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @05:14PM (#33772296) Homepage

    > Filing a law suit is a legal way to claim what you believe is rightfully yours.

    Or Barratry. There are convicts that engage in barratry as a hobby because they're bored and need an outlet for their destructive urges.

    The manner in which the RIAA and the MPAA easily falls under the headings of blackmail or terrorism.

    They are certainly not proper tort cases.

  • Re:I am... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davev2.0 (1873518) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @05:30PM (#33772382)

    We, The People, never actually had a say in the creation of those "laws" where were supposedly broken.

    We, The People, elected the people who made the laws, therefore we had a say in the creation of the laws. If you want to change the laws, elect different people, people who will change the law. And, no one did anything against the wishes of the people. Most people didn't know and don't care what the laws actually say. It may be sad, and you may not like it, but it is the truth.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @10:08PM (#33773902)
    I'm an independent, and I am in agreement with what the Tea Party is promoting, and there are polls saying 70% of the country agrees with their platform.

    I've made polls. I've purposefully manipulated polls. I've read the teabagger platform. I claim bullshit on 70% of the country agreeing with their platform. Now, if you were to ask "do you believe in responsible government" and 70% agreed, then released a press release stating that 70% of Americans agree with teabaggers, then you'd be both 100% factually correct and a liar. From what I've seen, anything that gets more than 5% support for teabaggers is a pile of lies. Of course, as a response, you could just as well ask "do you believe in forcing others to obey your religious tenets, so long as you don't actually force them to worship your God?" and clam that any dissent is people that "hate the teabagger platform" and be no less intellectually honest than the pro-teabagger polls.

    I never trust a poll that doesn't release every question asked in the order asked so I can judge the bias of the question askers. Whenever one side claims it supports their claims and the other side disagrees, it's usually a case of a biased study (and almost every single political poll is purposefully biased).

    If the only people you're talking to are other leftists then you're getting a very slanted view of what is going on in this country.

    I'm an independent. I can always tell the affiliation of the person talking to me because conservative nutjobs call me leftist. Liberal nutjobs call me a rightist. I think I have a good view of what's happening to the country. The divisive asses who have to label everyone else as "leftists" or such are ruining the country. Yes, that's you destroying the American Way. When we enter hyperinflation to pay off our debt, it will be your fault. Thanks.

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