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Australia Piracy Your Rights Online

Wikileaks Reveals BitTorrent Lawsuit Background 209

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-copyright-regime-to-rule-them-all dept.
daria42 writes "A US diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks has revealed much of the previously hidden background behind the BitTorrent court case currently playing out in Australia's High Court, including the Motion Picture Association of America's prime mover role and US Embassy fears the trial could become portrayed as 'giant American bullies versus little Aussie battlers.'' Oops. Looks like there's a little bit of egg on the movie studios' faces!"
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Wikileaks Reveals BitTorrent Lawsuit Background

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  • I never saw that coming....
    • Re:Oh gee (Score:5, Insightful)

      by azalin (67640) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:12AM (#37263734)
      But these studios are the victims here. Not the bullies.
      Poor, wretched victims... Where is the MPAA relief fund when they are in such dire need.
      *Glues plastic tear under left eye*
  • And what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chuckymonkey (1059244) <charles.d.burton@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:10AM (#37263702) Journal
    Good, nice to see stuff like this. Although to be honest I don't really see anything changing. Really, what are the proles going to do? Protest? I'm sure the MAFIAA is oh so terrified of the protesters who after a day or so will get tired, go home, and watch a movie and listen to some music.
    • Re:And what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:28AM (#37263908)

      To be fair I think it's more subtle than that. Each time people see something like this they feel ever less guilty about, and ever less desensitized to piracy.

      Each time the MPAA does something like this, they push people further and further away from legitimate services.

      I for one don't see why anyone should see the slightest guilt in downloading MPAA movies, frankly paying money to buy their product to support their existence seems more morally bankrupt than downloading, or ideally just simply not watching their content at all nowadays.

      Really, all wars in whatever context rely on either winning the hearts and minds of the people, or brutally supressing them. The MPAA in it's war on piracy is attempting the latter, yet even the latter only works as a temporary stop gap, the former is the only permanent solution, yet that's a battle they've already long lost.

      • by grub (11606)

        Each time people see something like this they feel ever less guilty about, and ever less desensitized to piracy.

        I think you nailed it.
      • Re:And what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:04AM (#37264270) Homepage

        My favorite is the argument that downloading TV shows is stealing.
        I pay for cableTV so I get all those channels. how the hell is it illegal for me to download a TV Show that aired on a TV channel I PAY FOR to watch it later? I'm just using the internet as a TiVo... which is 100% legal.

        And how about all TV shows that are broadcast over public airwaves? Those are free to record.

        So I gladly continue to download TV shows. and tell the MPAA,RIAA,WMAA, NCAA and WNBA to stuff it up their rectums.

      • Each time people see something like this they feel ever less guilty about, and ever less desensitized to piracy.

        You mean "more desensitized" i think, which is ridiculous, since noone gives a crap about piracy now anyways.

        I mean, I think a lot of the laws suck too, but to watch people honestly defending perpetually using pirated games and defending Joel Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas, is ridiculous. As bad as the laws (and their requisite punishments) might be, I dont think anyone can make the case that people care too MUCH about piracy and copyright. One might remark that that is in fact the reason that MPAA is reacti

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)

        Really, all wars in whatever context rely on either winning the hearts and minds of the people, or brutally supressing them. The MPAA in it's war on piracy is attempting the latter, yet even the latter only works as a temporary stop gap, the former is the only permanent solution, yet that's a battle they've already long lost.

        Let me ask you, what do you think the purpose of DRM is? Go up to a dozen people on the street and ask them the same thing. Nearly all of them will tell you DRM is to prevent media theft. With how quickly TV and movies show up on the internet, surely someone, somewhere in the industry would have realized all their efforts aren't doing a damn thing, and perhaps they should not spend all that money developing such measures.

        DRM has nothing to do with anti-piracy measures. It exists to assert control over t

        • by hitmark (640295)

          It is also about creator lock-in. Consider that if a author wants to change ebook distributor, all his current ebook releases may be behind a different DRM system. Try explaining that to your readers.

        • by Cut (104189)

          Let me ask you, what do you think the purpose of DRM is? Go up to a dozen people on the street and ask them the same thing. Nearly all of them will tell you DRM is to prevent media theft.

          Actually, nearly all of them will tell you they have no idea what DRM is, much less what it's intended to do. I personally think that's a bigger problem, but it's also reality.

      • To be fair I think it's more subtle than that. Each time people see something like this they feel ever less guilty about, and ever less desensitized to piracy.

        Each time the MPAA does something like this, they push people further and further away from legitimate services.

        I for one don't see why anyone should see the slightest guilt in downloading MPAA movies, frankly paying money to buy their product to support their existence seems more morally bankrupt than downloading, or ideally just simply not watching their content at all nowadays.

        Really, all wars in whatever context rely on either winning the hearts and minds of the people, or brutally supressing them. The MPAA in it's war on piracy is attempting the latter, yet even the latter only works as a temporary stop gap, the former is the only permanent solution, yet that's a battle they've already long lost.

        right -- do I really need to remind you that if you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow? You protect profits by whatever means necessary. Failing to do so is immoral, since the only morality in business is a comfortably darwinian one.

      • I for one don't see why anyone should see the slightest guilt in downloading MPAA movies, frankly paying money to buy their product to support their existence seems more morally bankrupt than downloading, or ideally just simply not watching their content at all nowadays.

        Hear, hear.

        Let me add to that... Like any other war with something that is not 100% traceable (yes, I said 100%, not 98%, 99%.... 100%), there is never going to be an end to its existence. The more suit there is, the more knowledge people gain on the tracing mechanisms used to find it. The more knowledge, the more defense. The more defense, the more offense.

        But, wait, it's not 100% traceable! It's information. It will NEVER stop being shared. You (MPAA et al) may simply stop finding out HOW it is sha

    • by tpgp (48001)

      I'm sure the MAFIAA is oh so terrified of the protesters who after a day or so will get tired, go home, and watch a movie and listen to some music.

      You know, what? I reckon the people behind AFACT are truly terrified of people getting tired, going home, and watching a movie and listening to some music that they've downloaded from a non AFACT site.

  • I guess it's nice to know that the U.S. isn't the only country whose leaders are just slavish lapdogs for the MPAA/RIAA. Goodday mates!

  • The Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:20AM (#37263816)

    US Embassy fears the trial could become portrayed as 'giant American bullies versus little Aussie battlers'.

    So they are worried about the truth getting out. That is a warning flag that you are on the wrong side of an argument.

    • Re:The Truth (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:42AM (#37264038)

      Fear of being "portrayed" as giants bullies is a far different thing than actually being giant bullies. Now while I think the MPAA are giant extortionist bullies, but this cable is less fear of leaking the truth and more simple image management. And the Embassy doesn't really have anything to do with the case, it looks more like they were briefed simply because it's an international case, and what they fear is America looking bad. It's not like the US Embassy is trying to defend their own actions.

      The cable doesn't actually seem to contain anything scandalous, it just comfirms that the MPAA is the primary motivator behind the case. IANAL but that doesn't seem like either a surprise or a problem (legally speaking. Of course the MPAA are a bunch of scummy bastards who should be banned from legal filings pretty much period.)

      • by sjames (1099)

        If you don't want to look bad in front of the neighbors, a good step is to keep your dog on a leash so it doesn't crap in their flower garden.

  • Dinosaurs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Severus Snape (2376318) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:21AM (#37263836)
    The most worrying part of the cable is they admit one of the main reasons behind the higher rate of piracy in Australia is due to wait for content to broadcast in Australia and in some cases TV series and such never been released on DVD at all. They accept this, why the hell don't they tackle the real problem then instead of sueing everybody into oblivion just because their business model fails?
    • by am 2k (217885)

      Those aren't the same people. It looks to me like the diplomats of the US embassy are more on the intelligent side compared to the MPAA decision makers.

      • by powerlord (28156)

        Those aren't the same people. It looks to me like the diplomats of the US embassy are more on the intelligent side compared to the MPAA decision makers.

        I'm not sure that's saying much.

    • "They accept this, why the hell don't they tackle the real problem then instead of sueing everybody"

      Businesses have no business running a good business! Truth be told it's about control the rather not 'compete' they rather try to find a way to create a walled garden to keep their control. We're seeing the beginning of this in videogames where many games are becoming free2play mmo's and are DRM'd with steam or an always online connection.

    • Because that would
      A. Require they admit fault on their part and
      B. Require they do some sort of action other than a lawsuit.
    • Re:Dinosaurs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:46AM (#37264078)

      Because the MPAA, being a shield organization, can't really change that. Its members have to come to the same realization, but they're paying the MPAA dues to keep from having to confront reality.

      MPAA is paid to shield the movie studios from the reality that their business model is broken. When these things "hit the fan" so to speak, the MPAA takes the flak and the movie studios hype their next release. How many people gripe that Sony, Universal, or Disney do these things? None. They blame the MPAA. Thus the real culprits never face the wrath they deserve. And because of that, they never learn the lessons they need to learn.

    • Because the US Embassy in Australia doesn't produce and own TV shows?
      • by powerlord (28156)

        Because the US Embassy in Australia doesn't produce and own TV shows?

        Really?

        I thought they were behind that hit Beijing Show: "Big Brother: US Embassy - Australia"

    • by halowolf (692775)
      It'is why I've always stated that people should stop piracy, so that the business models of studios can be allowed to fail leaving them with no more excuses to hide behind. That they may actually be able accept that they are behind the times and no longer meet consumer needs.
    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      Yeah. I don't live in Australia, but in Europe. But the problem is the same: A lot of media content is not released globally (not just MPAA, also Japan, India, China) but with the Internet the borders between countries no longer exist.

      If I could buy what I want and play it on any device I own, then I would.

      • by dintech (998802)

        Reason being, companies want to squeeze the maximum possible revenue out of every individual region. This is why some products are more expensive than the US in Europe but cheaper in say China or India. People get a stronger sense of unfairness when it's something like an mp3 or movie and they pay more for the same digital bits transferred from the same server.

      • but with the Internet the borders between countries no longer exist.

        Except that now streaming web sites are starting to cut out IPs from other countries. They're not exactly learning their lesson here but trying to apply the same flaws that are inherent in previous methods to these new methods.

    • That was my take on this as well and what was most glaring. They admit to knowing what the problem is, yet take no steps to fix it. Instead, resorting to questionable legal tactics. Is there any business roadblocks to having movies/ TV shows released globally at the same time?

      • That was my take on this as well and what was most glaring. They admit to knowing what the problem is, yet take no steps to fix it. Instead, resorting to questionable legal tactics. Is there any business roadblocks to having movies/ TV shows released globally at the same time?

        Well, yeah, there are, and it's all about profit. For example, a studio won't go to the expense of distributing a product to a different region until they are reasonably certain that there is a profit to be made, ie, demand is high enough that they will be able to sell enough units to cover the cost of localizing for that region. I work for a company that assumes that risk, and gambles that the demand is out there, or can be created if it isn't. We acquire licenses for Japanese manga and anime, then loc

    • by rawler (1005089)

      Q: Why does a dog lick his balls?
      A: Because they can

      They need no reason other than that. Fix the legal system and they'd have to shape up, but as long as RIAA/MPAA is allowed to heavily influence the WTO, I think they'll prefer to adapt the legal systems rather than their business models.

      • Q: Why does a dog lick his balls? A: Because they can

        They need no reason other than that. Fix the legal system and they'd have to shape up, but as long as RIAA/MPAA is allowed to heavily influence the WTO, I think they'll prefer to adapt the legal systems rather than their business models.

        I'd mod you up, if I had any points. It's called "working the refs" in the US and it is a damn effective tactic.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      This is because the tiered distribution system is as old as film itself.

      Duplication, transport, differences in national standards, all added up to a system where a movie would hit rental one place before hitting cinemas elsewhere.

      Now however a english language movie has global reach on day one, but the agreements and corporate systems are set up around the old ways. And so they try to put the genie back in the bottle...

      This, in combo with the issues of exchange rates and differing wages results in a movie t

  • by organgtool (966989) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:59AM (#37264196)

    Oops. Looks like there's a little bit of egg on the movie studios' faces!

    There's no egg on any movie studios' faces. The MPAA is used as the tool to deflect hatred away from the groups it represents. If consumers directed their anger squarely at Sony, Universal, et al, then those people would likely consume fewer of their products. But since it's the MPAA we hate, we don't think anything of buying the products of the companies they represent.

    In addition to that, the cables state that the US Embassy is the one who fears the image of the United States. The MPAA doesn't care because they're used to be hated - that's become their primary purpose.

  • MPAA and bad PR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cain (14472) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:34AM (#37264490) Journal

    .'' Oops. Looks like there's a little bit of egg on the movie studios' faces!"

    The movie studios do not care that the MPAA looks like goons and everyone hates them. That's what the MPAA was created to do and that's why the studio keep them funded: they take all the bad PR on behalf of the studios. They are a front to take the bad PR.

  • by FlyingGuy (989135) <`flyingguy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @10:09AM (#37264760)

    But the simple answer is, stop pirating content and they will stop taking you to court.

    Regardless of peoples "I want it therefor since they are not providing it I will find a way to get it without their consent and give it away to all my friends" actions and attitudes the content is the property of the creators and it is their right to distribute it in the manner and time of their choosing and no one elses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is that like:

      "don't let anyone know you're homosexual, if you don't want to be persecuted for it"

      "don't dress like a slut if you don't want to be raped"

      "don't make a fuss if you don't want to be hammered down" ?

      Yup, I can totally see your point..... If I disagree with your actions than have no proven effect on me, and you have every natural right to be doing (which we do in this case, even if it's not legal, it is bloody moral) I should hit you as hard as I bloody well can.....

    • by PPH (736903)

      They're not taking the pirates to court. They're taking the ISP to court for failing to play enforcer for the MPAA and its sponsors.

      You steal content, you get charged. I'm fine with that. But the economic burden for enforcement isn't being borne by the studios. They are pushing part of the cost of their doing business out onto others. And its quite possible that, if the studios incurred these costs, they would revisit the economics of an outdated distribution system. And then we'd see some changes in their

    • Are you familiar with the facts of this case? iiNet is getting sued because it refused to shut off customers' internet access without a court case.
      • by FlyingGuy (989135)

        Yes I read TFA and understand what they are doing. What they are doing is reprehensible; however, they are trying fight their battle in the cheapest way they can and I can't really say I blame them. Going after everyone who pirates? You may as well try to hit the moon with a bottle rocket.

        This all comes down to one thing and that is their constituents ( any of the *AA's ) rights to control their content. This is really pitting a small minority of people who pirate content against the will of the content

        • by tombeard (126886)

          From TFA:
          "It was clear Ellis did not want to begin by tangling with Telstra,
          Australia's former telecom monopoly and still-dominant player
          in telephony and internet, and a company with the financial
          resources and demonstrated willingness to fight hard"

          from FlyingGuy:
          "What they are doing is reprehensible; however, they are trying fight their battle in the cheapest way they can and I can't really say I blame them"

          Much like thugs targeting the sick and elderly, you can't really blame them because they want to a

    • Nice Troll, but I'll play:

      We (the citizens of the world) have not given monopoly powers to content creators to maximize their profits nor to allow them to prevent or limit dissemination of their creations. We gave them those privileges to allow (in this case) art to flourish and advance so that all people could reasonably partake in the enjoyment. Part of that is ensuring that the artist does no go hungry, and part of that is that the works are available for others to enjoy.

      These "rights" you speak of are n

      • by FlyingGuy (989135)

        We (the citizens of the world) have not given monopoly powers to content creators to maximize their profits nor to allow them to prevent or limit dissemination of their creations.

        Yes you have. Your elected representatives are the ones who vote on those laws. If you don't like the way they are voting, the vote them out. If you can organize enough people who actually care and will not simply give up after 5 minutes things will change because elected representatives want to keep their jobs. Yes that sounds simplistic, but that is how it works. Get enough people elected who believe the way you do and you can change copyright, patent or anything else for that matter.

    • by hercubus (755805)

      ... the content is the property of the creators and it is their right to distribute it in the manner and time of their choosing and no one elses.

      Unfortunately it is more complicated than that. There is a cartel that controls distribution for movies. The cartel takes the largest share of any revenues. Giving money to the cartel perpetuates the cartel.

      My personal take is that I am loathe to give money to the cartel. Sony, for example, stands between me and the people who really made the movie. I can't give the actual creators any money, as much as I appreciate their work, I can only give Sony money and then some insignificant sliver of that go

      • by FlyingGuy (989135)

        Wow, I guess you have never really looked into how the book business works...

        Contrast the current movie situation with books. If a book is new and I want it, I pay for it. I do this because I appreciate an author's work and my money pays them for that work and encourages them to do more. A fair percentage of what I give Amazon will really get to the author, so I feel like my actions matter in this case. I'm also fairly persuaded that money for music is more fairly distributed and the "product" is now no longer crippled with DRM. I'd be thrilled if they ever did that for books, it's really the only sticky point for giving money to Amazon.

        You write a book. Take said manuscript to a publisher. The publisher thinks it will sell. The publisher does all kids of advance work from the editing, art and getting it into desktop publishing software to generate the final PDF file that goes to the printing house. The publisher then $pays$ to have the book's first run printed. This can be a lot of money if they think it will go large. The publisher then shops it to the majo

    • by sjames (1099)

      Given the quality of many of the piracy cases, that's not really true. Plenty around the world have been dragged into court or just paid the extortion in spite of not pirating (in one case, in spite of never owning a computer and being dead at the time of the supposed piracy). Meanwhile, the taxpayer who won't see a penny of profit from this nonsense gets to pay for the courts that they clog up.

      Now, they want so called 3-strikes laws where people get cut off from the internet on the 3rd unproven accusation

  • by geogob (569250) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @10:15AM (#37264838)

    The author of the cable seems pretty lucid about the whole copyright/piracy situation (I doubt the ambassador redacts the cables himself). Sadly, the people behind the movie associations do not share that lucidity.

    From TFA:

    [...] Australia, which does have very high rates of illegal movie and television show downloads, in part because of the sometimes long gaps between their release in the US and their arrival in Australian theaters or on local television.

    Oh! Did we just mention a probable (reasonable?) cause for increased piracy... which can be very easily solved?

  • by brit74 (831798) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @11:47AM (#37265962)
    As a matter of principle, I support cracking down on filesharing because I support the people who invested money to create products over the people who simply want free entertainment and contribute nothing back. I don't care if it's the RIAA or MPAA. It doesn't even matter if I dislike the RIAA. Similarly, if someone in my neighborhood is a crappy human being I still support certain rights for them - and if someone steals from that detestable person, I'm not going to say "we'll screw them, they're a crappy human being", as if being a bad person means they no longer get the protections everyone should get (in fact, mistreating them in the legal system would only make them worse).

    (And, no, I'm not saying I support long copyright terms or large financial penalties for pirates.)
  • Can someone tell me what a "cable" is? I am looking at the link in the story, and it looks like the kind of thing you'd see slowly printing off of a teletype machine in a 1970s political thriller.

    What is the purpose of sending cables rather than encrypted e-mails?

    Who maintains the "cable" system and what standard does it run on? Is it like old-school TTY or is it like fax or what? Do these get delivered over regular phone lines or some other network? What kind of "cables" are involved in transmitting "c

    • Any text message between a embasy and the parent goverment. Used to be done with international submarine communications cables. Likely done with all the above.
  • by StArSkY (128453) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @07:35PM (#37270756) Homepage

    Australians are getting ripped off, and are jack of it, so piracy is increasing. No surprises there.

    Some examples:
    The AUD and USD are close enough to each other to be comparable.

    Netflix Streaming only subscription in US - $8 per month UNLIMITED.
    Streaming service in Australia (no Unlimited subscription services exist as far as I know.
    Bigpond movies $6/movie. Sony on PS3 $6 or $7/movie, Quicklix $6/movie

    New release DVD purchased in Australia (Battle: Los Angeles) - $30
    New release DVD purchased in US (Battle: Los Angeles) - $20

    New release Blu-Ray purchased in Australia (Battle: Los Angeles) - $40
    New release Blu-Ray purchased in US (Battle: Los Angeles) - $30

    2D Cinema Ticket in Australia - $15.50
    2D Cinema Ticket in the US - ~$10.00

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