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The Courts Piracy The Internet Your Rights Online

Nearly 100,000 P2P Users Sued In the Past Year 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the cholesterol-for-the-courts dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The avalanche of copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States, mainly against BitTorrent users, are about to hit a dubious milestone. In total 99,924 defendants have been sued in the last 12 months, and new cases are being filed at a rapid rate. Adult companies in particular have embraced the profitable pay-up-or-else scheme where tens of millions of dollars are at stake." Though, as other readers point out, both judges and cable companies are getting tired of the endless subpoenas in P2P porn cases.
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Nearly 100,000 P2P Users Sued In the Past Year

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  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie.hotmail@com> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:06PM (#35111916) Homepage

    How about the rest of the relevant statistics? Ie. how many of those actually went to court, and in how many of those did the judge actually rule in benefit of the porn company? Just saying that 100,000 people got sued doesn't really tell enough.

    I'm not too good with spreadsheets and I can't see such information in the article itself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:11PM (#35111954)
    Nearly 100,000 alleged P2P Users Sued In the Past Year

    FTFY
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:24PM (#35112024)

    but the legal system's tactics are all about making the cost of defending yourself higher than the cost of settling

    FTFY.

    I wish this problem were limited to the RIAA. That'd be an improvement. Fact is there are two sets of law. If you are wealthy you can afford to throw lawyers at any legal challenge and tie it up in court for years even if you truly are liable. If you are an average person a lawsuit esp from a corporation is an immense threat to your livelihood even if you have broken no law.

    This has been so well-known for so many years ... the fact that no one in power has even attempted to change it is evidence that it's intentional.

  • by mickwd (196449) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:41PM (#35112106)

    Speaking of statistic, 100,000 is starting to be a big group of.....voters. Especially if you include the families of those affected.

    Big enough to make the difference in some marginal seats.

    Perhaps it's time to start asking questions of which politicians do and don't support these legal actions.

    Politiians are whores for your votes - perhaps it's time to start using that fact.

  • by MikeURL (890801) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:53PM (#35112188) Journal
    It just doesn't matter. You are expected to secure your wifi and not doing so isn't a blanket excuse. If it were then everyone would leave their wifi open and there would be no suits.

    Personally I think it is time to just stop with the torrents. They expose people to too much risk. Even if they aren't exposing you to risk then you are exposing your neighbor by using their wireless. And if you are using TOR you're slowing that down for everyone and stop it.

    Seriously, if you want the content then pay for it. if you can't afford it then don't watch/listen. I can almost guarantee that losing the latest stuff that the porn industry has turned out will in no way impair your enjoyment of life. If it isn't available in your country then it isn't. The same caveat applies...not having it probably won't hurt you much.

    In short, they are slowly tightening this noose and eventually they are going to catch all but the most leet hackers. As opinion leaders I really wish /. readers would start to make a wholesale shift on this. Namely, pay for it or live without it. If the DRM is too onerous--live without it. If you can't get it in your country--live without it. If you want to make 12 backup copies and mod it to run on your linux tablet--live without it.

    We can vote with our dollars here. I personally gave up torrents probably two years ago and I really don't miss it. There are a few legal avenues that work and are not too expensive. For the stuff that is too hard to get I ignore it. It will either eventually be legal to buy cheaply or I'll just simply never see it. Can we start to agree to stop playing this sick game with the content creators where they try to make us pay and we try not to?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:09PM (#35112284)

    Almost all wifi routers set up by cable companies are using WEP. A billion years ago the FBI had a news conference about WEP security which is anything but secure, and demonstrated it can be broken in 2 minutes. That was well after anyone with a remote interest in network knew how bad it was.

    Most people can use applications they download, most people have no idea about different security protocols. A secure icon and entering a password has every indication they are secure. My entire neighborhood believes they are secure, all but one is using WEP. Anyone can be using their network, just park behind the fence, do the deed. Move on.

    You think a consumer should understand minutia of a specialized field? That's BS. Do you service your own car, assuming you can afford something remotely modern?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:13PM (#35112326)

    So, in your twisted little world, you consider it perfectly allright for someone to sue a kid, a college student, or someone who might not have top not security skills for millions of dollars for a movie that might cost $15 to watch at a theater.

    You are the type of person which causes a lot of people here in the US a lot of misery because you condone extreme penalties for relatively small infractions. No wonder why our jails are packed with nonviolent inmates. But, I'm sure you have Corrections Company of America stock, so every person in jail is more cash in your pocket.

    Realistically, each violation should be something like $50 to $100 or something like that. Condoning far greater amounts just means you condone tyranny.

  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:37PM (#35112486)

    That is why the damages and fees in the cases can reach the insane. It is to make piracy not worth it.

    I can make up fairy tale reasons for things too. The earth goes around the sun because banana!

    The reason damages are so high is because the laws were originally written with large-scale commercial copyright infringement in mind. That used to be the only kind of copyright infringement that was feasible. The penalties have simply never been adjusted because the *AA likes it the way it is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:39PM (#35112494)

    Seriously, if you want the content then pay for it

    Mod parent up.

    It's time to face facts - Torrenting copywritten videos and audio files is eventually going to get you bitten - And you can make all the academic arguements you want about 'data wanting to be free' and blah blah blah but the fact remains that as things sit today the law isn't on your side. Do I rip my DVDs and put them on my iPod? Absolutely. Do I share those rips online? No damn way.

    Go away mom.

  • by Znork (31774) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:39PM (#35112496)
    <i>if you want the content then pay for it. </i>

    Ah, sorry, I consider supporting antidemocratic forces with money unethical. I'd rather pay for proxies and VPN tunnels.

    <i>not having it probably won't hurt you much.</i>

    Certainly not. But someone else might want it, in which case I can help them by sharing.

    <i>In short, they are slowly tightening this noose</i>

    Hardly. With nextgen f2f and darknets it'll slip permanently out of reach.

    <i>Can we start to agree to stop playing this sick game with the content creators</i>

    You misspelled content controllers. The content creators are on the sidelines as they, as a general rule, are already getting screwed out of any money by the industry.

    This is not a game. The economic burden of IPR is unmaintainable in a free market economy and will become ever less bearable as production costs in the rest of the economy fall and the monopoly effects of IPR render the affected economies uncompetitive. The control burden is incompatible with free speech and freedom in general. The political burden of having private taxation rights like IPR automatically lead to corruption and alienation from voters.
  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:39PM (#35112504) Homepage

    Settle-or-else cases need to be made illegal.

    Last year I was driving in Glasgow city centre for the first time, and I drove along an unmarked bus lane. (Signs in the wrong place, no markings on the road, etc.) Two police officers stopped me and although they knew the lane was inadequately marked, they had been told to give everyone a ticket so that's what they did. They said it would never go to court and, even if it did, I was sure to win. They were really nice about it, or so I thought at the time.

    Months later I received notice of court action, with an offer to avoid court action by paying a £60 fine. That's when I spoke to a lawyer for advice. His advice with to just pay it, because the system is stacked against you.

    Here's what would happen if I didn't pay:

    1. I'd have to go to court TWICE in a city hundreds of miles away. Let's say £40 fuel each time. If I had to stay overnight then let's say another £40 for a hotel each time. So that's £160.

    2. Courts are known for ignoring the law on bus lanes. Legally the lane must be marked in certain ways, but courts don't take that in to account. If the lane is registered with the council as bus-only then you've broken the law.

    3. In the very unlikely event that you win, you can't claim back your fuel / hotel costs, or any kind of compensation.

    This has been going on for decades.

    All the record / movie companies are doing now is exactly what the police have been doing for a very long time. They give people two choices:

    1. Pay a relatively small fee to avoid court action, or
    2. Prove yourself innocent and pay more.

    As much as I can see the bad side of what I'm about to say, I believe the law needs to change so that settlement offers are outlawed. Police, councils, individuals, copyright holders, or whoever, must either take you to court or leave you alone. Intimidation, which is the intent of settlement offers, should be a criminal offence.

  • by muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:39PM (#35112506)

    > Perhaps it's time to start asking questions of which politicians do and don't support these legal actions.

    And when they promise not to support this but then do?
    And then you look for somebody else for the next election, and then they also promise not to but then do?

    The fundamental problem here is: you cant punish politicians for outright lying other than not voting for them the next time. But because there always pass several years between the elections, the electorate simply forgets who broke what promise years ago. They tend to trust their guts and weight recent believeable promises way more than on long forgotten lies. Knowing that, in order to get elected you merely have to make believeable promises. After being elected you then can base your decisions on what to actually _do_ solely on who pays the most.

    If we had a system like in Switzerland, where any law the public does not agree with can be invalidated with a successful referendum, the politicians could be trained to not to introduce laws which with a high probability would be invalidated anyway _and_ would damage their party's chances to get reelected next time. Also Switzerland has a real and more dynamical multi party system with more than merely two (identical) choices, but thats a another story.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:43PM (#35112528) Homepage Journal

    Politiians are whores for your votes

    Major copyright owners can provide more votes than concerned members of the public because major copyright owners control the major U.S. television news media. This lets major copyright owners manipulate voters' awareness of both issues and candidates [pineight.com].

  • by Danse (1026) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:46PM (#35112558)

    ... how about you suck it up, acknowledge you got caught, and pay the fine?

    99.9999% of these people are guilty of an illegal act. Pretending otherwise is ridiculous and deliberately trying to avoid that point.

    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

    Hmm... made-up statistics, presumption of guilt. The new American justice.

  • by crackspackle (759472) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @04:46PM (#35113336)

    How about the rest of the relevant statistics? Ie. how many of those actually went to court, and in how many of those did the judge actually rule in benefit of the porn company? Just saying that 100,000 people got sued doesn't really tell enough.

    I'm not too good with spreadsheets and I can't see such information in the article itself.

    The fact this number of people in the U.S. were sued is sufficient enough reason for me to avoid file sharing completely. No disposition of case is easier than not having been sued at all. Regardless of my beliefs on the ethics of file sharing or the dubious length of copyright holder rights, there are far many other causes of greater concern than for me to waste my time or risk significant legal exposure to prove I'm right on a point that could be argued correctly ad infinitum on either side of the coin, especially when it comes to torrents which are trivial to track. You ask for more statistics but given that there are a smaller number of file sharers than the population as a whole, that number is more than enough for me. Yes, I did read the article and yes, that number applies to the United States alone.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @05:10PM (#35113492) Journal

    Actually I'd say mod the parent (and you) down, because you seem to miss the point that the *.A.As of this world want to have their cake and eat it too and you seem to think that is fine, which it is not. Here's an example:

    According to the EULAs and the *.A.As you are NOT buying any copy, you are getting a license which is how they think they can get around Fair Use. Okay, I'll play. That means that since I bought a license that means I get a replacement when it gets torn up or broken, right? After all I already have a license! Oh no no no, that is when they say you bought a copy and know you have to buy it again!

    BULLSHIT! total bullshit! Never in history have you been allowed to use licenses and physical objects in a "whichever way we feel today" change at will. It is either A OR B which have clear legal definitions based on them, not this BS where they get to claim the legal protections of both but the legal obligations of neither.

    That of course don't even bring up the fact that they used treasonous bribery to make the clearly worded" by securing for limited Times clause of the constitution into "forever minus a single day" perversion of the law. The entire system has been allowed to be so corrupted that We, The People don't get a voice in the discussion, and until we do then copyrights should be treated as the shame that they are.

    Never forget its original intent, now broken by bribery: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." It was supposed to be a TRADE, nothing more. In return for a LIMITED time to profit We, The People got a richer Public Domain which allowed us to "stand on the shoulders of giants" only now those shoulders are owned by the *.A.As, and this leads to stagnation and processed crap like we have now.

    How anyone can support this sick joke is beyond me. It is a perversion of everything our Founding Fathers wrote on the subject.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @05:45PM (#35113760) Journal

    ...
    Personally I think it is time to just stop with the torrents. They expose people to too much risk. Even if they aren't exposing you to risk then you are exposing your neighbor by using their wireless. And if you are using TOR you're slowing that down for everyone and stop it.

    Seriously, if you want the content then pay for it. if you can't afford it then don't watch/listen. I can almost guarantee that losing the latest stuff that the porn industry has turned out will in no way impair your enjoyment of life. If it isn't available in your country then it isn't. The same caveat applies...not having it probably won't hurt you much. ...

    We can vote with our dollars here. I personally gave up torrents probably two years ago and I really don't miss it. There are a few legal avenues that work and are not too expensive. For the stuff that is too hard to get I ignore it. It will either eventually be legal to buy cheaply or I'll just simply never see it. Can we start to agree to stop playing this sick game with the content creators where they try to make us pay and we try not to?

    First off, I'd like to say, fuck you.

    It don't matter if I use torrent to get copy right material or not. In fact, even if torrents ceased to exist the Corps would still use piracy as an excuse.

    You don't understand. Piracy is just an excuse to Corporation to apply crappy drm and laws to try to maximize their profit. That is all. They are still making money, they are just crying because in stead of getting $3 billion, they are getting $1 or $2 Billion in profit.

    I don't buy most stuff. Music, Movies, TV Shows, most games (I do buy some games), I download. Guess what? I wouldn't buy most that shit anyways. Movies? I can go without. TV Shows? I can, well, watch on TV. Games? Most the ones I play, I purchase, ones I don't purchase are usually crappy shit I wouldn't give to me enemies.

    And guess what? Most the peeps doing what I do, are just like me. And we aren't effecting the fucking bottom line of this out of control corporation. They are crying wolf, and you are buying it.

    So, next time, before you spout "Let's get rid of torrents" learn exactly what you are saying, and maybe figure out if it would be effective.

    Here's a little history.

    Before Torrents there was:

    Copy parties (where you'd meet in person and copy software)
    BBS (Bulletion Board Systems) People would call up using their modems and download software.
    Internet Age: FTP, FSP, then IRC, the P2P programs (Naspter, limewire, etc), then fucking finally Torrents.

    So get fucking rid of torrents, and something new will pop up.

    So, your solution, won't do shit for anyone.

    And I do vote with my dollars. I don't spend it on crap, and I know the stuff is crap because I scope it out, for free, before hand. See, the corps can't put out something hoping I will be an unaware consumer and buy it up. I am a smart shopper. I can get stuff for free, so if you want me to fucking pay for it, it needs to be worth it. That is what really scares the corporations, is people like me.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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