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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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  • problem solved (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thehodapp (1931332) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:03PM (#35111902)
    don't be a victim. Use a proxy.
    • Proxies are seriously slow unless you configure your own in some way, or know someone with a nice low-user high-speed setup in an anonymous location.

  • 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 mickwd (196449) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:41PM (#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 muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:39PM (#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> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:46PM (#35112560) Homepage Journal

          If we had a system like in Switzerland, where any law the public does not agree with can be invalidated with a successful referendum

          Then we'd have three-fourths of the states being able to pass federal laws right over the Congress's head. Such an amendment process already exists if 34 state legislatures call a convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution and 38 state legislatures ratify the amendment.

          • by Kvasio (127200)

            you've said "state legislatures", GP said "where the public does not agree". Your solution just brings the same problem to the different people, you cannot trust that state legislatures will do what voters wish for.

        • by lee1026 (876806) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @03:51PM (#35113362)

          We do have a system like that here in California. It is not working extremely well as the people just keep voting in spending increases while voting down tax increases.

          • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @05:17PM (#35114004) Journal

            It could be worse. They could be voting for both spending increases and tax increases.

            Taxes never balance the budget in a situation like you've apparently got, because when an "acceptable deficit level" is found, all that increasing taxes does is mask the cost of the spending and make it appear that even even more increases are possible...

            • It could be worse. They could be voting for both spending increases and tax increases.

              Taxes never balance the budget in a situation like you've apparently got, because when an "acceptable deficit level" is found, all that increasing taxes does is mask the cost of the spending and make it appear that even even more increases are possible...

              How exactly would the people demonstrating a willingness to pay for what they want their government to provide be "worse"? Wouldn't that be the definition of "fiscal responsibility"?

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          And when they promise not to support this but then do?

          Well, some may view it as extreme for breaking one promise, but the official could always be recalled [wikipedia.org]. Remember Gray Davis? A big stink was made about how he essentially was kicked out of office by the people. Massive media circus.

          If someone blatantly balks on their promises to a large degree, the people always have the option to initiate the recall vote. I'm personally note sure if it's an option in all states or just a few; it really should be available everywhere.

          • I think the best solution is to introduce perjury laws to politics. Any campaign speeches or official announcements made by candidates should be legally considered to be under oath, and saying anything that turns out to be untrue would leave them open to criminal perjury charges. No I am not so naive that I believe this would change how politicians behave once in office, but it should make them think a bit more carefully about what they say on the campaign trail.

            Oh and what that guy earlier said about ha
      • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:43PM (#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].

      • Politicians are whores for corporate money. They then become johns, where they use that money to pay for advertising, rallies, and such. We are the scabies who follow around the whores and the johns. When it's all over, for some reason, the politician with the most scabies declares themselves the winner.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crackspackle (759472)

      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, e

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:07PM (#35111930)

    So you get an extortion note. Then what? Do you settle? If not, do you hire a lawyer? Do you do nothing and wait to see if an actual trial happens?

    Who's to say that someone isn't being naughty and spoofing your address? Or perhaps someone has sniffed enough of your wireless AP traffic to divine the password and go to town downloading crap?

    • This is prohibition 2.0
      Smiting the random, in an attempt to hold back the tide.

    • by MikeURL (890801) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:53PM (#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?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 th

        • by rduke15 (721841)

          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

          .

          Well in practice, it's more like 10 to 30 minutes, once you are used to doing it.

          First you need to find a WEP AP, and where I live, they are few and far between. Everything is WPA or WPA2.
          Then it has to be not too far away so that you have a good signal.
          Then you need a supported network card. USB wifis are cheap, but you may have to try several until you find one that actually works for injectionj.
          Then you need various software (or a Backtrack VM) and know how to use it.

          Once you have the right wifi card an

      • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:09PM (#35112292)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228)

          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 a

        • by RogerWilco (99615)

          I simply can't pay for the content I want, because nobody wants to sell it so me because of the country I live in. See my longer reply to the grandparent.
          Services like iTunes and Amazon carry the stuff I'm interested in, but will not sell to IP addresses or credit-card holders in my geographical location.

          And it's not some weird backwater that I live in. It's basically Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

          But as soon as you live outside the main target market, you can often only obtain certain content illegally. How

        • Do I rip my DVDs and put them on my iPod? Absolutely.

          And you do realize that ripping your own encrypted DVD and putting it on your own iPod is 100% illegal because you circumnavigated the DRM of the disc, right? By doing that, you are as guilty of breaking the law as anyone downloading the same disc. That is, unless all you own are $2 Laurel and Hardy DVDs where the company didn't bother to encrypt the disc at all.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:13PM (#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 nurb432 (527695) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:16PM (#35112338) Homepage 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.

        Of course it matters, as it inserts 'reasonable doubt' into the equation. There are also viruses, etc that factor into this.

        Just beacuse they THINK i did something wrong does not make it true, and they need to prove it was *me*. I am speaking from expirence to the extent that years ago my Linux based router ( back in the dialup days, not recently ) was hacked into and was turned into a Russian porn IRC bot for a day ( it was quickly discovered and remedied, and I notified the next guy in the chain as a good citizen ). But who knows what could have happens for those 8 hours or so. Major corporations are hit to, it really can happen to the best of us.

        The only thing i'm guilty of if i get hacked is violating my AUP with my ISP. Its not much different than if someone steals my locked car and uses it in a crime. I didn't commit a crime.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          >'reasonable doubt'

          Kids are so civically illiterate these days. It's a civil suit; all the jury needs is "preponderance of the evidence" to nail you, a much, much lower bar.

          • by nurb432 (527695)

            But you forget that the media giants are buying laws so its considered criminal. ( so that tax dollars are used instead of their own )

            It already is if they trump up the dollar amounts.

        • by bmo (77928) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @06:33PM (#35114454)

          "Of course it matters, as it inserts 'reasonable doubt' into the equation."

          Instead of using my mod points in this thread, I'm going to reply, because this is kinda important that people understand this.

          The standard of proof in civil suits is not the same as in criminal accusations. It's "preponderance of the evidence" which is fuzzy to define and varies from state to state, sometimes reducing lawsuits to a crapshoot, which is why many people and companies sue for the sake of suing as if it's a lottery.

          "Reasonable doubt" is not enough to defend yourself in a civil suit.

          For a definition, see:

          http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Preponderance+of+Evidence [thefreedictionary.com]

          --
          BMO

      • by Znork (31774) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:39PM (#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 vertinox (846076)

        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.

        There is no law, legal requirement, or precedent (AFAIK) that one must secure your router.

        Adding to that, there is no law saying the owner of the router is to be punished for unauthorized but illegal use of their network.

        Otherwise, people who pirate on coffee shop networks would therefore get the coffee shop in trouble.

        BTW, if

      • by mikael_j (106439)

        I'd pay for it if I could.

        That's my main argument for TV shows.

        I suppose I could technically wait for months until the shows air here in Sweden (because the producers of the content don't want to upset the swedish TV channels by allowing online distribution through the iTunes store or similar venues) but then there's the issue of me not having a TV.

        I am willing to pay for TV shows but I can't unless you count "wait for months and then watch a version with commercials at a predetermined time on a device I do

        • by RogerWilco (99615)

          Most stuff I'm interested in doesn't even get picked up by any of the local radio/TV. I live in the Netherlands but happen to have very international tastes.

          There are two separate issues:
          - Regional availability
          - Format

          Neither should be a problem in the Internet Age, but they are.

      • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @04:45PM (#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.

      • by RogerWilco (99615)

        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.

        I would like to pay for it. But nobody is selling it.

        I'm not talking about porn. But products like movies and TV series and books.

        A lot of what is produced in a certain country will never be available outside it. This certainly holds true for stuff made in Japan, India or France, but even a lot of stuff that gets made in the USA never gets outside Region 1. If you happen to be an expat, or just interested in a culture that's not your own, you often have very little legal options.

        The second problem is format

    • I suspect that that is why(in addition to the fact that there are a lot of independent porn outfits, rather than the comparatively small number of feature film publishers, with the biggest often working through the MPAA) the porn guys find the extortion notes so convenient.

      All else being equal, most people would much rather go to court and create a public record of the dispute over whether or not they downloaded $OSCAR_NOMINEE than whether or not they downloaded "Weapons of Ass Destruction, Vol. 14"...
    • by westlake (615356)

      So you get an extortion note.

      An offer to settle a claim out of court is not extortion.

      The problem is not going to go away. Save your rants for someone who isn't billing you by the hour.

      Who's to say that someone isn't being naughty and spoofing your address? Or perhaps someone has sniffed enough of your wireless AP traffic to divine the password and go to town downloading crap?

      "Who's to say?"

      You are.

      It's your defense.

      But look at what your argument implies about the taste in media, the range of the signal and the technical knowledge, persistence, and resources of your neighbors.

      In a civil case, the simpler explanation almost always wins.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:10PM (#35111948) Homepage

    100,000 P2P users means that if you illegally download something you have approximately a %0.25 chance of being sued. If you're trying to deter people from a behavior, you have to increase the chance that there will be negative consequences for that behavior.

    And of course it doesn't help that many of those 100,000 may well be guilty of nothing. Being sued doesn't necessarily make somebody actually liable, but the RIAA's tactics are all about making the cost of defending yourself higher than the cost of settling, as NewYorkCountryLawyer has made very clear for a while now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:24PM (#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 Anonymous Coward
    Nearly 100,000 alleged P2P Users Sued In the Past Year

    FTFY
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:16PM (#35111980)
    I know that most cannot afford to even spend the time. But if they did, they would bankrupt these guys under a sea of legal expenses. They would be forced to respond in thousands of jurisdictions. It would be like getting devoured by fire ants. Just a thought.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      They'd just drop the weakest suits, and nail the others for millions. Remember, they can walk away from the suit pretty much whenever they want.

      • So pull the leverage to your side. If you sue them for lost wages in dealing with their frivolous harassment, then they don't have the option of dropping that suit. If you sue for harassment in general, they don't get to say "Nevermind, we weren't harassing you...suit dropped".

        It may be an expense they expect, but the time suck will make it completely worthless for them to continue with that tactic.

  • I2P (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is why I now only use I2P Postman (anonymous bittorrent) for movies and games. Demonoid for books.
    I2P usually takes a few days to download a 1080p movie, but it is worth the wait with the security and anonymity.

    • I can't quite figure out, with all the free porn out there, why anyone would want to actual pirate any of it. I mean, fucking is fucking, right?

    • by Smauler (915644)

      Anonymity is essentially non-existant on the internet. You can make it difficult for people, but you'll never be 100% anonymous.

    • Re:I2P (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:35PM (#35112078) Homepage

      Great. Clog up the exit nodes of I2P and TOR so that users with a real political need can't access the web.

      At least get a VPN that terminates in Scandinavia.

      • From their website:

        Many applications are available that interface with I2P, including mail, peer-peer, IRC chat, and others.

        They also have the sections "I2P BitTorrent", "I2Phex" and "iMule". I'm pretty sure they don't discourage it.

        Tor is different, and yes, you should keep P2P out of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Demonoid? Here, a little tip for you, "private tracker" doesn't mean a damn thing. Your actions aren't private.
      Your actions are as public as any other tracker.
      The term private tracker should be erased from existence since it gives people a false sense of security with the word private.

      If you managed to get in to an invite-only tracker, you can bet your ass that media companies got in long before you did.
      They have people dedicated to searching sites and chats for new information on trackers, invites and ge

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Remember saying "Napster is just a search engine, sue the users who are actually committing copyright infringement"? It's good to see the recording industry is doing that. Those who are guilty deserve to be convicted and fined. They should be fined around the $1-$10 per item cost of the materiel they're warezing, but that's a different matter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:30PM (#35112056)

    The U.S: government should just copyright all it's confidential documents. Then any newspaper publishing the diplomatic cables given to Wikileaks would be liable for copyright infringement. So would the thousands who download any other leaked document. And so would Wikileaks for received the documents and not destroying them right away.
    Copyright law sure is awesome.

    • by Professr3 (670356)
      Who would own the copyright? Most people seem to have forgotten that everything the government owns is public property - copyrighting something in the name of the public domain doesn't really have much effect. This is why you can request copies of any government documents (of course, they make you pay a fee, and they redact them, and take years, etc.). The only reason you don't always get the documents you request is if they've been deemed secret for reasons of "national security".
    • by t0p (1154575)
      Written works (which obviously includes "confidential documents" are, by international convention, covered by copyright as soon as they are created. No one has to "copyright them" (whatever that's supposed to mean).
      • But in the US, you can't sue for statutory damages unless it's a registered copyright, and works for/of the US government are not copyrightable.
    • The Federal Government cannot own copyrights by law.

  • Has there actually been any evidence that any plaintiff has even made their lawyer's fees back? If not, calling it profitable is questionable
  • by drougie (36782)

    I'm one of the guys who received one of these letters over a porn torrent. It instructs me to log into their website (I haven't) to find out how much they want, offer's off the table March something yada yada. My ISP guy suggests I just lie low and ignore the thing.

    What do?

  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:39PM (#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.

    • I'm going to guess that you paid the "small fee to avoid court action."

      Regardless, if this happens in the future I urge you and anyone else, to opt for the court option. It's the fact that everyone basically takes option (1) that they can get away with that kind of shenanigans.

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      I would have gone to court, even if it would have cost me more in the end, purely on principle.

  • Oddly, most of those subpoenaed have long since gone blind.
  • by thomst (1640045) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @03:08PM (#35113096) Homepage

    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."

    What utter bullshit.

    Judges are throwing aggregated lawsuits out as fast as they're being filed. Both in Britain and the U.S., they've consistently ruled that individual downloaders must be sued individually - and the D.C. judge here in the States told the pr0n asshats that they had to sue individuals in their home jurisdictions for good measure. These cases may have been filed, but NONE of them has come to trial.

    And none of them will, because it simply doesn't pencil out for the law firms involved. Some shysters here and in Olde Blighty thought they saw an angle to shoot - and they've gotten shot down themselves. These weasels are no credible threat to anyone. DON'T pay their extortion demands - respond with a promise to counter-sue them for defamation of character, instead. I'll bet you a shiny, new, Ohio quarter you won't hear another peep out of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    QWEST communications shut off my internet service because they received a series of complaints regarding illegal file sharing from my address. QWEST did not notify me in advance. At about 1 PM on Monday my internet was shut off while I was watching a Youtube video. I called QWEST up to ask why; at that time I was told illegal file sharing. I was also told that I would have to file a DMCA dispute. When I asked how without a carrier, QWEST turned the line back on. At that time QWEST emailed me the DMCA compla

  • spankwire, etc? (Score:4, Informative)

    by markass530 (870112) <markass530.gmail@com> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @04:35PM (#35113678) Homepage
    not that I've ever used any of these sits, but what about the likes of tubestack, xxhamster, and youporn, etc?? All these are straight up websites, With an infinite amount of porn, and I don't think any of it is "Public Domain Porn"
  • For "Lawsuit Insurance". If you worry about getting nuisance suits, which is what these are, pay a small fee and be covered for them (either hiring a lawyer, or getting reimbursed for paying the demanded amount, whichever you choose). Since the odds are small that you will be sued, the fee will be small too. The insurer has an incentive to work out the best response letters, legal tactics, etc, and supply them to their customers.

  • Suing because your business model is no longer viable won't work in the long run. The same thing happened to newspapers.
  • by nanospook (521118) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @08:19PM (#35115246)
    I wonder how many of the 100,000 were using a VPN? I run a VPN (supervpn $4 a month) before downloading content. I am aware that vpn can be broken but figure they are not going to spend that resource when there are plenty of other users downloading without VPN. Is this true or am I making a bad assumption?

You had mail, but the super-user read it, and deleted it!

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