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Piracy The Courts

Torrent Users Fight Back 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-not-going-to-take-it dept.
eonlabs writes "Torrent users being blamed for illegally downloading Far Cry are fighting back. In a 96-page lawsuit, the lawyers at Dunlap, Grubb, and Weaver are being accused of: 'extortion, fraudulent omissions, mail fraud, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, racketeering, fraud upon the court, abuse of process, fraud on the Copyright Office, copyright misuse, unjust enrichment, and consumer protection violations.'"
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Torrent Users Fight Back

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  • by Abstrackt (609015) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:34PM (#34407220)
    From TFA: "In short, Shirokov's lawsuit is accusing Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver of knowingly breaching copyright law to make money."
  • by SoundGuyNoise (864550) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:34PM (#34407224) Homepage
    Don't forget mopery!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:36PM (#34407264)
    Let us raise our glasses in toast to these people and hope that they will be successful, and that their success will cause more to follow in their footsteps.
    • I sure as hell hope so. Whats better, every last charge is extremely valid, no lopped on bullshit like the opposition uses. This pleases me.

    • Raise our glasses? How can we help fund efforts against the USCG? I've got my checkbook ready.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Honestly, in the long term the best way is probably just buying items from businesses they don't represent. Just about anything else just gives them ammunition for decrying teh evil pirates.
        • While I can see your viewport, someone is going to be funding this dragon for a bit. That'd be like ignoring SCO. Possible? Perhaps. But some may want to face the problem head on.

    • No, I raise a glass in toast, in hopes they will be successful, and that they are the last to do what they are doing. For they would only be the last if no other troll firm ever tries this trick with copyright again...

    • Pirating is inexcusable in our age of cheap media. Pirating a Uwe Boll movie is like shoplifting a Girls Gone Wild video. You deserve to have the book thrown at you for being a born asshead.
    • by pitchpipe (708843)

      Let us raise our glasses in toast to these people and hope that they will be successful, and that their success will cause more to follow in their footsteps.

      Maybe a class action lawsuit against all of the record companies for conspiring against the artists and their fans.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:42PM (#34407374) Homepage

    Similar to how the Constructicons [wikipedia.org] combined to form Devastator, imaginary property lawyers are combining with the mob^H^H^H RIAA, and Obama's Intellectual Property Rights Task Force [cybercrime.gov] to form $0.

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:43PM (#34407388)
    Sure the law might be on their side, but we aren't ruled by laws, we are ruled by men. While the "law" might say one thing, the judges adhere to a sort of spirit of the law. And the spirit of the law is that big corporations and corporate are implicitly responsible, good and therefore in the right. When they don't like what a young person does that young person is in the wrong. It's just that simple.
    • When the laws are not enforced justly or institutionally, the laws return to the hands of the people. Yes, that's revolutionary, it is in the Declaration of Independence and it is messy.
  • ... "And it wasn't even that good!"

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:56PM (#34407668)
    1) Release low-budget, badly-written & directed crappy movie to the public
    2) Give it time to be distributed illegally on the internet
    3) Find those who have supposedly shared it
    4) Sue everybody, but count on only some people paying to settle out of court and collect fines
    5) PROFIT!
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Hollywood was doing #1 long before the internet.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      You forgot the step whereby you allow a third party to do you farm it out to a third party for enforcement.

      I still have no idea why the US Copyright Group has any standing to sue anybody ... did the copyrights get transferred to them? Or, are they just suing for some bizarre reason?

    • 1) Release low-budget, badly-written & directed crappy movie to the public 2) Give it time to be distributed illegally on the internet 3) Find those who have supposedly shared it 4) Sue everybody, but count on only some people paying to settle out of court and collect fines 5) PROFIT!

      I can't quite tell if this is meant more as a joke or as well-justified speculation on Uwe Boll's motives. It could well be the truth. Until recently his business model centered around exploiting German tax law [wikipedia.org] to receive money regardless of how badly his movies did. I wouldn't doubt for a moment that he is now doing something similar with American (international, really) copyright law, and maybe even planned for Far Cry to produce profits through copyright damages/settlements before he even released it.

      Of

  • Or does that not apply?
  • by Eudial (590661) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:57PM (#34407696)

    That's a lot of fraud. I can see how this must have happened:

    Man: Well, what've you got?

    Prosecutor: Well, there's extortion and blackmail; extortion racketeering and blackmail; blackmail and fraud; extortion and fraud; racketeering extortion blackmail and fraud; extortion indecent exposure blackmail and fraud; fraud indecent exposure fraud fraud criminal negligence and fraud; fraud misuse of police property fraud fraud racketeering fraud extortion and spam;

    Vikings: Fraud fraud fraud fraud...

    Prosecutor: ...fraud fraud fraud criminal negligence and fraud; fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud traffic violation fraud fraud fraud...

    Vikings: fraud! Lovely fraud! Lovely fraud!

    Prosecutor: ...or international terror conspiracy to overthrow the government with an insurgent army funded with drug trafficking and armed robbery and fraud.

    Wife: Have you got anything without fraud?

    Prosecutor: Well, there's fraud indecent exposure extortion and fraud, that's not got much fraud in it.

    Wife: I don't want ANY fraud!

    Man: Why can't she have racketeering extortion blackmail and fraud?

    Wife: THAT'S got fraud in it!

    Man: Hasn't got as much fraud in it as fraud extortion traffic ticket and fraud, has it?

    Vikings: Fraud fraud fraud fraud... (Crescendo through next few lines...)

    Wife: Could you do the extortion indecent exposure blackmail and fraud without the fraud then?

    Prosecutor: Urgghh!

    Wife: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like fraud!

    Vikings: Lovely fraud! Wonderful fraud!

    Prosecutor: Shut up!
    Vikings: Lovely fraud! Wonderful fraud!

    Prosecutor: Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can't have extortion indecent exposure blackmail and fraud without the fraud.

    Wife: I don't like fraud!

    Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your fraud. I love it. I'm having fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud extortion fraud fraud fraud and fraud!

    Vikings: Fraud fraud fraud fraud. Lovely fraud! Wonderful fraud!

    Waitress: Shut up!! Extortion is off.

    Man: Well could I have her fraud instead of the extortion then?

    Waitress: You mean fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud... (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)

    Vikings: (Singing elaborately...) Fraud fraud fraud fraud. Lovely fraud! Wonderful fraud! Fraud fra-a-a-a-a-ud fraud fra-a-a-a-a-ud fraud. Lovely fraud! Lovely fraud! Lovely fraud! Lovely fraud! Lovely fraud! Fraud fraud fraud fraud!

  • Sounds like a Leisure Suit Larry level: The firm of Done That, Grubby and Deceiver would like to sue you? Do you accept?
  • by Zocalo (252965) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @02:02PM (#34407792) Homepage
    ...but such a shame that it pretty much adds up to an admission of guilt. Anyone who had genuinely not downloaded the movie would surely have included slander and/or libel in that list.
  • Without it, I'd have not been able to get my people in on this so fast.

    We wanted to go with a Federal RICO suit but instead decided a larger levee of smaller charges would be far more effective.

    Now sit back and watch the show, people. USCG is about to get their ass torn up like EA, and I'm only providing financial support this round, I'm not even named in the suit.

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @02:20PM (#34408120) Homepage
      I would not get too optimistic; Courts frequently don't like shotgun pleadings and this complaint certainly qualifies. And some of the claims seem a little dubious.
      • by hedwards (940851)
        They might not like it, but that's the way that the court system works. If you don't include the pleading then you can't later add it if more evidence turns up. Or at least that's my understanding of it. You have to file that paperwork in order to get to the discovery phase of the trial and at that point you get to subpoena records and depose witnesses and such. Prior to that you're just giving it your best shot with the evidence in hand, it's quite possible that discovery will turn up more information.
        • by Khyber (864651)

          It goes a little deeper than that, but basically it's a chess move - you're setting up your opponent to put up a HUGE defense so you can poke tiny holes through it and win. And if more evidence happens to come through during discovery, those tiny holes just get opened up wider and wider.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @02:12PM (#34407990)

    I'm rooting for the guy, but he has made a serious blunder.

    USCG registered Far Cry's copyright on behalf of the German studio that owns it in January 2010. Registrations must be made within 60 days of publication, and Shirokov claims they lied to the USCO by stating the movie was released in April, 2009. That would be copyright fraud, and would completely invalidate all of USCG's lawsuits, and could possibly land them jail time. However, Far Cry was released in April 2009 in the Netherlands. The US release was, in fact, November 2009.

    The case basically unhinges after that, and the only argument he really has left is that the majority of law-suits by USCG were for either issued before November 2009 (limiting maximum penalty to actual damages - or about $25), or were for infringement occurring before November 2009. In both cases a $1500 settlement threat could be considered coercion. That would mean the racketeering claim might still stand, but I'm not sure anything else would. I don't think an offer to settle for $1500 even though the maximum penalty is about $25 is illegal, and I don't believe insinuating a $300k per item penalty is illegal, since I believe what is stated in the settlement offer is factually correct (there have been $300k+ judgments before, but in these types of cases the statutory damages have limits to about $7k, if I remember correctly). The combination and the fact that they send these letters to people they know cannot afford representation, combined with the fact that they have never, ever sued anyone who rejected their offer, should make the racketeering case a decent option.

    He is also attempting to push the issue that these mass-multidefendant lawsuits are frivolous and waste the court's time - the exact charge USCG leveled against the lawyer selling DIY motions to dismiss kits. That might be fruitful too (it's the one I really want him to win).

    • From the complaint:

      45. An application for a registration of copyright in a published work requires a statement of the date of first publication; the nation of first publication should also be given. Specifically, under the Copyright Office’s guidelines an application covering a work first published outside the United States should state the date of first publication there, and should be accompanied by a copy or phonorecord of the foreign edition as first published.

      IANAL, but whoever wrote the motio

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        That's not what it says there. It says there that the date must be recorded.

        • That is true, but even if it is the case that the date that counts is the US publication date and the foreign publication date simply has to be disclosed, my (limited) understanding of the argument in the complaint is that they didn't disclose the foreign publication date at all. This would mean that they would be alleging that the copyright registration was fraudulent in any event.

          That said, from my reading of the complaint, the arguments substantially depend on the idea that it is this initial (foreign
    • I don't know, he does probably have an argument, as the netherlands was the first publish point

    • USCG registered Far Cry's copyright on behalf of the German studio that owns it in January 2010. Registrations must be made within 60 days of publication, and Shirokov claims they lied to the USCO by stating the movie was released in April, 2009. That would be copyright fraud, and would completely invalidate all of USCG's lawsuits, and could possibly land them jail time. However, Far Cry was released in April 2009 in the Netherlands. The US release was, in fact, November 2009.

      That's not how I read it. I read it as the movie first being "published", by definition, in October 2008 in Germany, which was the world premier. Since the movie was distributed to theaters for the purpose of public showings, that qualifies as publication. Therefore, to answer this question from the copyright office:

      If the material has been published or publicly distributed, please give the
      date of the first publication or earliest distribution and the nation of the first
      publication or earliest distribution.

      The correct answer is clearly "October 2, 2008" and "Germany". The answer is not "November 24, 2009" and "United States". Many of the infringements happened prior to November 2009, so obvio

    • by MooseTick (895855)

      "Registrations must be made within 60 days of publication, and Shirokov claims they lied to the USCO by stating the movie was released in April, 2009."

      I'm pretty sure you don't have to register something to be protected by copyright in the US.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      In any case they have no case. Filing for copyright makes litigating against infringers easier because it brings in statutory relief and all the case law precedents where people did the paperwork and makes it marginally easier to prove ownership. Not filing for copyright doesn't abrogate copyright, since the Berne Convention long ago adopted by the U.S. states that copyright inures to the creator of a work at the time the work is created, and registration is not necessary. The statutory relief isn't dire

  • by EnsilZah (575600) <EnsilZah.Gmail@com> on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @02:34PM (#34408394)

    for insinuating they willingly watched Far Cry.

  • by judeancodersfront (1760122) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @02:47PM (#34408610)
    Not only is piracy unethical but it also tells people like Uwe Boll that there is actually demand for his terrible movies.

    Netflix streaming is only $8 per month and turns people on to smaller producers.

    Hollywood and other big producers make the bulk of their funds from theater and retail blu-ray/dvd sales. The profits from Netflix are pennies on the dollar in comparison. Support Netflix, not piracy.
    • by Troggie87 (1579051) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @03:47PM (#34409586)

      Not only is piracy unethical but it also tells people like Uwe Boll that there is actually demand for his terrible movies.

      Lets be careful about using the word unethical. Illegal certainly, and for arguably good reason. Ethics is another thing entirely. Simply being "the law" doesn't lend much (if any) ethical weight to an idea.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Lets be careful about using the word unethical.

        What makes you think the poster wasn't? Just because it disagrees with your viewpoint?

    • by pacinpm (631330)

      Support Netflix, not piracy.

      I can't. Netflix is not available here. Nor Pandora. Nor Hulu.

  • This is like watching a game between the Cowboys and the Patriots. I can't figure out which side pisses me off more.

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