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Piracy Crime Music The Internet United Kingdom Your Rights Online

PayPal Joins London Police Effort 117

Posted by timothy
from the state-vs-man dept.
derGoldstein writes this excerpt from Ars Technica: "PayPal has joined a music copyright association and the City of London police department's bid to financially starve websites deemed 'illegal.' When presented with sufficient evidence of unlicensed downloading from a site, the United Kingdom's PayPal branch 'will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer,' said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's latest press release." The press release can be found here.
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PayPal Joins London Police Effort

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  • No surprise here. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu (698447) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:29AM (#36855578)

    The monopoly is the economic nature of copyright. And, like pringles, it is addictive. Once you pop, you can't stop.

    • by JavaBear (9872)

      The real addicts is the media industry. They have managed to get the good stuff when they persuaded the authorities to do their dirty work for them, and now they just can't stop till they get the next "fix"

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:29AM (#36855582)
    There are people who actually pay for "pirated music" via paypal instead of, say, downloading it for free?
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by myurr (468709) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:35AM (#36855610)

      Without having read TFA I would imagine that this is aimed more at people who pirate music and sell it as genuine. Their customers think they're buying from a legitimate source.

      So in a way this is a good thing, but is likely to be the thin end of a wedge where once people accept PayPal policing their users in this way then you'll start to see people having their PayPal accounts disabled for unrelated activities that someone or other doesn't approve of.

      • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:40AM (#36855626)
        I'm given to understand that this happens anyway. In fact, Paypal is famous for suspending peoples' accounts for 180 days when they have a large balance, for example. No appeal. So really this isn't news IMO. Yeah ok maybe finally the music industry has cottoned on to the fact that their target should be people who make a living by ripping them off instead of 13 year olds, grandmothers, and cats because after all that's what copyright was originally designed to prevent, but apart from that I just don't see a story.
        • In fact, Paypal is famous for suspending peoples' accounts for 180 days when they have a large balance, for example.

          If you're doing such a large transaction volume that PayPal will start holding funds, you can probably afford a real Internet merchant account with a bank.

          • by julesh (229690)

            If you're doing such a large transaction volume that PayPal will start holding funds, you can probably afford a real Internet merchant account with a bank.

            When dealing with a vendor I don't trust, I'd rather work through PayPal. PayPal offers a friendlier and easier-to-use dispute resolution system than my bank does, so if my goods don't turn up I'd rather be able to dispute the transaction with PayPal. Therefore, presented with two merchants, one of whom takes PayPal and the other doesn't, and little els

            • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @08:28AM (#36856138) Homepage

              When dealing with a vendor I don't trust, I'd rather use the one with a real merchant account. My bank offers a bullet proof dispute resolution system compared to paypal.

              Presented with the choice, I'll go with the site which has proper card processing setup. Paypal is just ghetto.

              • You have obviously never tried to dispute a charge with your bank. I have. There is almost no one to talk to, no one to appeal to. With Paypal, after a long telephone wait I can speak to a human with a southern American accent and explain my position. One hour later my funds are back in the account while the dispute is settled.

                I've fought with banks, I've fought with merchants, I've fought with Ebay, and I've fought with Paypal. I prefer to deal with Paypal.

                Yes, I also hate Paypal for what they did to wikil

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

          by datapharmer (1099455) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @08:59AM (#36856280) Homepage
          Seriously forget "illegal" websites. I could go on for an hour rant about how paypal has given my customers (legitimate registered 501c3 not for profit groups) the runaround freezing their legally earned money seemingly at random with the explanation of "maintaining compliance". They have required fax and email after letter and voided check to "verify" the account because the not-for-profit was not comfortable tying paypal to their bank account (with good reason it seems). In the end they had to tie it to a bank account, and are uncomfortable with the arrangement to this day. Paypal needs independent oversight, not arrangements with MAFIAA and police.
          • Paypal needs independent oversight, not arrangements with MAFIAA and police.

            The part I don't get is what's in this for Paypal? TFA says this will show they're serious about fighting copyright infringement. Why so eager to do law enforcement work? We have police for that. What happened, the MAFIAA threatened to sue them and they folded like a wet paper bag? The police are always looking for more power to, uh, do their jobs, maybe that's it? Seems there's even common ground between the police and the MAFIAA. Both hate recording devices being used on them and theirs.

            • by hedwards (940851)

              I'm guessing that they get to hold on to that money indefinitely while they "investigate" this is really just the continuation of that BS that they pulled on Notch and others where they refuse to refund or pass on the funds because they aren't a real banking institution.

              I'm just surprised that they're trying this outside the US where they're apparently supposed to be a bank.

            • The 'threatened to sue them' sounds plausible. Paypal is a company - their first duty is to their shareholders, not any ideological campaign. They probably just calculated the cost of fighting potential legal action verses the profit they can gain from possibly pirate websites and decided it'd be more economical to avoid the legal problems.
              • by vegiVamp (518171)

                > Their first duty is to their shareholders

                I loathe that phrase. It gets parroted all the time, but it is everything that is wrong with large businesses today.

                The first duty of everyone in a company, especially the senior staff, is to the company. You are there to run that company, in the way that is most beneficial to that company.

                If you do something that shareholders do not like, they may leave; but if that action is in the best interest of the company, other people will see that and become new shareho

            • Because Power is Fun. This will be more Power, and so Paypal can have more fun.

              We laughed at the "Tin Foil Hat" guys too long - now the real news stories are putting the xFiles to shame, minus the supernatural parts.

          • Get a secondary account, always keep the funds in it limited.

            Yeah, it's a bit of a pain. Especially if your primary bank automatically ties accounts so you can't limit the secondary account unless you open the account in another bank.

      • by houghi (78078)

        Without reading the article I would say it is about getting money from one part and not giving it to the other party. Just blocking accounts, so business as usual.

        And this being a good things? PayPal accounts are already disabled for unrelated activities. Money is blocked by them for almost random reasons.

        This makes it legal for them to steal your money. Or do you think it gets returned to the original person?

      • by Sinthet (2081954)

        I agree that the idea is good! However, no oversight + a company with a bad track record: What could go wrong?

        This will turn into another "guilty until proven innocent" scenario for everyone who has funds seized. I'm sure they'll manage to nab some of the "bad guys", but given their track record, I foresee more than one legitimate business having to produce tons of receipts and deal with bad PR because of this.

      • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

        That would make sense. The City of London Police's territorial area is the just the City of London, which is 1sq mile in the middle of London. They are, however, also the primary force for heading fraud investigations in the UK, because the City of London is the home of finance in the UK.

      • by Nikker (749551)
        This is likely a wide brush they are tarring people with. I would imagine any torrent site that takes donations would have just as much trouble as anyone else. From what I have seen from PayPals actions they figure if they can accuse both sides of the transaction with something they get to keep the money for themselves. I hope if the really do try to get any bigger than they are they are regulated tightly.
      • by Nyder (754090)

        Without having read TFA I would imagine that this is aimed more at people who pirate music and sell it as genuine. Their customers think they're buying from a legitimate source.

        So in a way this is a good thing, but is likely to be the thin end of a wedge where once people accept PayPal policing their users in this way then you'll start to see people having their PayPal accounts disabled for unrelated activities that someone or other doesn't approve of.

        Ya, i came across some sites like that.

        Was looking for flac recordings of Chris and Cosey, and from some sites that "sell" flac copies of the song.

        While I know they are doing something illegal, I'll bet most people don't realize it.

        Yes, of course I found a place to download them for free. http://welikeitlossless.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] (no, i have nothing to do with that blog, nor do they know i'm sharing their info here)

        And the only reason i can think that paypal is doing this, is they are getting more money for

    • by DaveHowe (51510)
      Not sure if this is applicable, but - many torrent trackers accept donations via paypal....
    • deemed illegal.

      In other words, whatever the RIAA deems illegal should be cut off from funds. Now take a wild guess what's the target.

      • deemed illegal.

        In other words, whatever the RIAA deems illegal should be cut off from funds. Now take a wild guess what's the target.

        Right, the golden rule. The RIAA has the gold.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      Yep.
      Although I wonder if I could string together a few notes and name it for example "Dark side of the mooon* and see if I can't get any lawsuit happening if I get refused payment.

    • you took the words right out of my fingers ... on a sidenote, imo ppl who charge for so-called pirated wares(z?) are kinda overdoing it ... then there's ofcourse the other discussion saying : if someone is stupid enough to buy it, then would darwin say : why not ?
      i dunno ...
  • by KiloByte (825081) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:35AM (#36855606)

    I'd boycott PayPal, but sadly, I can't boycott them any more than I already do.

    • by Tasha26 (1613349)
      You could try winning the lottery and start your own checkout business? :)
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:56AM (#36855684) Homepage

    We have seen numerous times in the past where the recording industry will seek to charge for works they have no power over. Specifically independent works. We have seen cases go to court where elements of the case were discarded because the plaintiffs didn't actually own the copyright over some of the material in question. So I am guessing, that under this arrangement, the big music publishers will not be required to show they have ownership or authority over any specific works at all and that a mere accusation will result in damaging actions against another party who may be operating in a completely legal manner.

    The article only says "sufficient evidence" is needed to start the action and doesn't say what is required. I suspect it will only be their word that infringement is occurring and we already know that the view music publishers have of infringement does not match that of the rest of the world as "fair use" and other such things simply do not exist in their minds.

    And just as in the case of the DMCA, we are seeing more and more skipping over the use of the courts system. We are seeing essentially police and others operating at the request of private industry. Only recently, we have seen the tragic result that come of that sort of situation where Cisco was involved in the arrest of a former executive who happened to be suing them at the time.

    The influence of business over government is damaging to the rest of the world. And this only seems to be getting worse.

    • by tepples (727027)

      So I am guessing, that under this arrangement, the big music publishers will not be required to show they have ownership or authority over any specific works at all

      Even if the alleged infringer countersues for slander of title?

      I suspect it will only be their word that infringement is occurring

      Not necessarily. For any given song by an independent songwriter, I suspect the incumbent music publishers will be able to dig up an older song that the songwriter is likely to have heard back in grade school. For example, after it was discovered that George Harrison had accidentally reused four measures from "He's So Fine" in his song "My Sweet Lord", Harrison lost a lawsuit for roughly a million dollars. Yet Lady Gaga gets away with reusing mu

      • For example, after it was discovered that George Harrison had accidentally reused four measures from "He's So Fine" in his song "My Sweet Lord", Harrison lost a lawsuit for roughly a million dollars. Yet Lady Gaga gets away with reusing much more of that: four measures from "Waterfalls" and six from "Express Yourself" in "Born This Way".

        I damn near did a spit-take when I first heard "Born This Way". I honestly thought it was some sort of cover of "Express Yourself" until I listened to the lyrics.

        I'm surprised that there wasn't a lawsuit over it, honestly. Michael Jackson was sued regularly for much more tenuous connections to other songs around the world and it really seems like Lady Gaga is getting a complete pass on the fact that she's pretty much built her entire career on being Madonna.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        Not necessarily. For any given song by an independent songwriter, I suspect the incumbent music publishers will be able to dig up an older song that the songwriter is likely to have heard back in grade school. For example, after it was discovered that George Harrison had accidentally reused four measures from "He's So Fine" in his song "My Sweet Lord", Harrison lost a lawsuit for roughly a million dollars. Yet Lady Gaga gets away with reusing much more of that: four measures from "Waterfalls" and six from "Express Yourself" in "Born This Way".

        There's no need to suspect, it's a dead cert.

        I can't find the actual paper (I'm sure someone else will find it...), but someone's done the arithmetic based on the back catalogue of the major record labels, the number of different musical notes (and hence possible permutations of (IIRC) 7 notes, the minimum number held by many courts to constitute "infringement"), the various rules that must be applied so you wind up with something that sounds good and the upshot is it is mathematically impossible to create

        • Doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations here... assuming that there are seven notes in a repeating theme, and that a theme may span one octave (On the grounds that anything shifted up or down an integral number of octaves would probably be considered identical for legal purposes), and twelve semitones per octave, that's 12^7 possible songs... 36 million. Now how many pieces of music have been written over the course of history? If you include all the amateurs, talentless wannabes, medieval minstrals, p
          • by jimicus (737525)

            That's more or less the size of it.

            Most of the big record labels claim to have back catalogs (still under copyright) on the order of millions, if not tens of millions of records; remember this includes all the album filler tracks that were never released as singles and if you didn't buy the album, you've never heard of; it includes specific genres that don't tend to be top ten hits but nevertheless did at some point get published, music by artists that got signed by some small company that's owned by the hu

        • Have you ever seen "Copycats" on the BBC? In one of the segments a member of the team "plays" a tune on a kazoo, who then repeats it down the line - but each player can only hear the one immediately before him - and the last player has to guess.

          Sometimes (when they get it wrong) I go "Those are almost the same tune, I'd never noticed!"

      • by scdeimos (632778)

        Even if the alleged infringer countersues for slander of title?

        A lot of businesses can't afford to do that, especially when their sole source of revenue is through the PayPal account that has just been suspended.

        Case in point: PayPal suspended the account of a business woman in West End (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) earlier this year when PayPal accused her of laundering money. Her crime: after the floods that ravaged the low-lying areas of Brisbane she was accepting donations to help out a couple of lo

    • As long as this stuff is happening ( and being driven by ) in the private sector, there is no requirement of proof.

  • ...to boycott it to a sufficient degree. Unless Google pulls a facebook on paypal.
    • Unless Google pulls a facebook on paypal.

      Fuck. This sentence just facebooked my google.

    • Well, there's Google Checkout, but I'd say that's more an Orkut than a Google+.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        It's sort of a catch 22, people won't use Google Check out because it's extremely limited and not offered by many merchants and merchants by and large won't offer it as long as people are fine using PayPal. Additionally, PayPal is one of the few options out there that's international.

        PayPal has a tremendous amount of power in the US because we don't get free wires the way that it's apparently common in the EU. Which means that we need a service like PayPal otherwise we're stuck paying large fees for what sh

  • by TAZ6416 (584004) <mccormackjNO@SPAMrocketmail.com> on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:31AM (#36855756) Homepage
    This is the force that harassed Ian Puddick http://www.ianpuddick.com/?p=492 [ianpuddick.com] and withheld evidence from IPCC over the death of Ian Tomlinson http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/09/ian-tomlinson-evidence-held-back [guardian.co.uk]

    Having worked in the City Of London, I can tell you that all they are good for is helping drunk Bankers find the way back to Liverpool Street Station for the last train home.
  • So, I'm an independent artist whose music was sampled on a Top 10 hit. I go to PayPal and the police and say, "Hey, here is my song and my copyright. Stop these people from selling my property." You know what the answer is going to be? "Sorry, sir. That's a civil matter, move along."
  • I know paypal is a private company and can do business with anyone they please, or not do business... But still, f-em for trying to impose their concepts of morality on their customers.

    If they want to ban *convicted* criminals, sure.. but *suspected*.. they can kiss my business good bye.

  • Ironic that Paypal should be looking to starve others of funds, I boycot Paypay for NOT being a bank*, for taking money from users accounts depending on what the weather is, for their disgraceful terms and conditions which affect your privacy and give them the right to do what they like, and generally getting away with scummy anti-competitive practices. The consumer councils here do not want to take on Paypal, and as people might of noticed in the recent news, the UK police are institutionally corrupt.

    Two c

  • ...recognize illegal sales. Only allow a numeric value to be placed with the product description. No matter what, nobody can claim copyrighted material has been transferred.
  • "Paypal joins London Police efforts"... Does that mean that PayPal will entertain in activities like harassing and arresting people for taking pictures, brutally beating innocent bystanders for being in the wrong place, murdering dark-skinned foreigners on the tube and then sell information to Murdoch? Bring on the letter bombs!
  • PayPal Joins London Police Effort

    It's a good idea. It's much more sensible for London police officers to take their regular payments from tabloid journalists via PayPal. The alternative - frequently meeting up in a dodgy pub to hand over an envelope of used bank notes - is just an big inconvienence for everybody concerned.

  • ... Bitcoin.

    So long, PayPal.

  • by Sean (422)

    We need sound money and anonymous ways to complete transactions remotely.

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