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Piracy Australia The Courts Your Rights Online

Mass Piracy Lawsuits Come To Australia 183

Posted by timothy
from the america-exports-quite-a-bit-of-some-things dept.
daria42 writes "Remember when the RIAA started sending tens of thousands of letters to Americans who it had alleged had infringed copyright online, trying to get them all to settle out of court? Yeah, good times. Well that style of mass-lawsuit has now arrived in Australia, courtesy of a new company which dubs itself the 'Movie Rights Group.' The company is currently seeking to obtain details of at least 9,000 Australians it alleges has infringed copyright on one film, and it has a number of other films in the pipeline. Sounds like a good time to know an IP lawyer."
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Mass Piracy Lawsuits Come To Australia

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  • It's not really surprising. Almost always anti-piracy groups start making noise when summer is starting. Feels like they're trying to scare off kids.
  • On a related side note, Pirate Bay has been unreachable all evening.
    • On a related side note, Pirate Bay has been unreachable all evening.

      TPB's main feed Serious Tube Networks (based in Stockholm) 194.68.0.0/24 AS50066 seems to be blocked. Could be hardware/config issue or it could be deliberate.

  • Hmmmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @11:16PM (#37586978)

    Comment EULA:

    By reading this comment, you agree to be bound by the terms listed herein; If you are a member, employee, associate, business partner, or affiliate of the RIAA or MPAA, you owe me one million ($1,000,000.00) USD, payable in full immediately. Thanks to your f*cked up interpretation of the law, this is, in fact, perfectly legal. Any attempt to evade this legally binding contract will be grounds for me to sue you at three times the requested amount, waive your right to a trial, and hold me utterly and totally immune to any form of legal challenge by you and/or your employer, until at least 150 years after my timely and natural death. Everybody else... I love 'ya. Stay awesome.

    • legal BS Foster's Australian for Beer.

      • legal BS Foster's Australian for Beer.

        No one in Australia drinks Fosters, that is only for export.

        Nothing is too bad for the rest of the world.

        In all seriousness, it's not even brewed here in Oz any more, Heiniken International owns the license so it's not even owned by Fosters Group any more. The last time I saw a Fosters was in Singapore. I had the choice between Fosters, Pure Blonde or some local brew I'd never heard of, I took the local brew.

        • by causality (777677)

          I took the local brew.

          Good fucking choice. Seriously.

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          Why let truth get in the way of good commercials? Besides, there are plenty of US brews way worse than Fosters. Milwaukee's Best, anyone?

        • by strack (1051390)
          you can get it ricking a roll. you can get it buryin a troll. you can get it cool storyin a bro. matter of fact i got it now. vic. vic bitter.
          • by mjwx (966435)

            you can get it ricking a roll.
            you can get it buryin a troll.
            you can get it cool storyin a bro.
            matter of fact i got it now.
            vic. vic bitter.

            Applause sir,

            No doubt our American friends wont get it though. I still have the VB song ringtone somewhere.

    • ...until at least 150 years after my timely and natural death. Everybody else... I love 'ya. Stay awesome.

      Actually, given the way that the USA and European Union continue to play leapfrog with copyright extensions, even 150 years after your death the copyright on You will still validly belong to somebody.

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        Until you come back as a zombie and reclaim your copyright. Hmm, I wonder if being undead and walking around is cause for an automatic renewal of the time frame for claiming copyright? Same thing if they reanimated Walt Disney's head a la Futurama.

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      By reading this comment, you agree to be bound by the terms listed herein; If you are a member, employee, associate, business partner, or affiliate of the RIAA or MPAA, you owe me one million ($1,000,000.00) USD, payable in full immediately. Thanks to your f*cked up interpretation of the law, this is, in fact, perfectly legal. Any attempt to evade this legally binding contract will be grounds for me to sue you at three times the requested amount, waive your right to a trial, and hold me utterly and totally

    • Comment EULA:

      By reading this comment, you agree to be bound by the terms listed herein; If you are a member, employee, associate, business partner, or affiliate of the RIAA or MPAA, you owe me one million ($1,000,000.00) USD, payable in full immediately. Thanks to your f*cked up interpretation of the law, this is, in fact, perfectly legal. Any attempt to evade this legally binding contract will be grounds for me to sue you at three times the requested amount, waive your right to a trial, and hold me utterly and totally immune to any form of legal challenge by you and/or your employer, until at least 150 years after my timely and natural death. Everybody else... I love 'ya. Stay awesome.

      Damn. No mod points.

  • Arrr! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by coolstoryhansel (1827480) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @11:26PM (#37587018)
    Join an organisation like the Pirate Party and help advocate for changes in the law. This sort of predatory litigation is only going to get worse because the law enables it.
    • A political party that is so inept that they call themselves the Pirate party is not going to make a lick of difference.
  • by Sasayaki (1096761) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @11:47PM (#37587102)

    I'm in the process of writing a book, called Lacuna: Demons of the Void, seen here [lacunaverse.com]. The first three chapters are available for free, and are CC-BY-SA-NC; this means that you can legally and safely write whatever fanfiction you want, or pass the sample chapters around, or change and remix them or do whatever you want basically as long as you don't sell it, don't change the licence and credit me appropriately.

    I did this because if the book (and subsequent sequels if any) gets popular, I didn't want to get old and fat and retarded and turn into the next George Lucas, grabbing hold of my precious precious IP and never letting go.

    Anyway.

    Regarding piracy, I wrote on my webpage:

    First up I don't like the term "piracy". Bleh. But language is fluid and you all know what I mean, so let's go with it.

    Real pirates, like those guys in Somalia, are evil. They're not Jack Sparrow, they're not Captain Hook, they're murderers and rapists and kidnappers and deserved to eat a Tomahawk missile in their sleep. They're scum. They're villains. They're evil. They're not some kid who just wants to read the next (awesome, awesome, aweeeesome) Harry Potter book for free or whatever.

    I've never understood musicians, writers and artists who get all messed up about digital piracy. It just strikes me as entirely retarded, especially if they're not in full compliance with every piece of software, hardware, music and movies they've ever seen or owned. I'm sure their $2,000 copy of Adobe Photoshop is fully legitimate now and was when they were 14, and I'm sure they've never downloaded an MP3 in their life.

    I see this crap everywhere. I see rap artists thumbing their nose at society, waxing lyrical about sticking it to the man, pimping hoes, glorifying robbery, murder and pushing drugs, while at the same time appearing bereaved that their latest forgettable album appeared on The Pirate Bay the day after it appeared in iTunes. I see armies of cocaine huffing, hooker bashing, Harvard educated RIAA trust-fund babies who've never wanted for anything in their life but a full head of hair, going on about how Limewire costs them the GDP of the entire world ($75,000,000,000,000 dollars) in lost revenue and also, simultaneously, claiming to have had one of their most profitable years ever. How do you even rationalize that kind of blatant, intrinsic wrongness?

    Fuck those guys.

    I don't give a shit if you got my book from The Pirate Bay. It costs $2 to buy and is available in DRM free PDFs, or even DRM free plaintext if you really want it and you're Richard Stallman (I met you once, by the way, and you were cool. You hated my iPhone though. Sorry bro). If you make $15 Aussie dollars an hour, minimum wage, then $2 represents about eight minutes of your time. If you spent more than eight minutes bringing up the highly overloaded Pirate Bay page, finding a correct torrent, loading the torrent into uTorrent, downloading the file, moving it around on your NAS, putting it into iTunes, getting the book's coverart then syncing it to your iPhone, then yeah you pretty much just robbed yourself.

    Just saying. You're probably saving money by buying it vs pirating it, since time=money. LOL. This is why CD's shouldn't be so fucking expensive.

    But hey, a lot people have genuine and interesting philosophical beliefs against paying for services rather than physical objects ("it's just bits, man! You can't own bits...!"). Other people are unemployed (or underemployed) and couldn't afford the book anyway. How both these types have high-speed internet is a mystery for the ages, but for those people, well, go forth and torrent... I don't care. I just ask that if you believe all that crazy crap and do like the book, then subsequently you think I deserve some kind of reward for creating it, I beg you not to compromise your principles. Instead, just donate $2 (or whatever) to Child's Play, run by the infinitely-more-talented-than-me dynamic duo of

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rudy_wayne (414635)

      If you make $15 Aussie dollars an hour, minimum wage, then $2 represents about eight minutes of your time. If you spent more than eight minutes bringing up the highly overloaded Pirate Bay page, finding a correct torrent, loading the torrent into uTorrent, downloading the file, moving it around on your NAS, putting it into iTunes, getting the book's coverart then syncing it to your iPhone, then yeah you pretty much just robbed yourself.

      Just saying. You're probably saving money by buying it vs pirating it, since time=money. LOL.

      Time = money is only true when you paying someone. If you are paying someone $15 per hour, then yes, 8 minutes is worth $2. However, when you are sitting at home and not getting paid then 8 minutes of your time, or 8 hours, or 8 days, is worth exactly zero.

      • by Sasayaki (1096761)

        Perhaps so, but if you are sitting at home and not being paid (assuming you just worked a full day and are tired), how much is extra hours in the day worth to you? Would you pay a couple of bucks to get an extra 15 minutes in a day of relaxation time?

        That's what I'm trying to say here. You can either spend, say, 15 minutes torrenting or take a few clicks to get the thing through the Kindle store (when it's up there). What you're buying is those extra few minutes, and spending a couple of bucks to do so.

        • by Binestar (28861)
          Bah, that 15 minutes it took them to download the song provided entertainment as well, so your argument is moot. For a large portion of people, they will be willing to "work" for less when they "work" for themselves. So even if it took them 15 minutes to download one song, it is still worth it.
        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Would you pay a couple of bucks to get an extra 15 minutes in a day of relaxation time?

          If surfing the net or moving a file on your computer is a stressful event then you're doing it wrong.

          Yes I'd gladly take the money not to be at work.
          No sitting at home in front of a computer doing something I want as opposed to something someone else wants does not count as work.

          • No sitting at home in front of a computer doing something I want as opposed to something someone else wants does not count as work.

            Even if you're getting paid for it?

        • Perhaps so, but if you are sitting at home and not being paid (assuming you just worked a full day and are tired), how much is extra hours in the day worth to you? Would you pay a couple of bucks to get an extra 15 minutes in a day of relaxation time?

          If you're pirating a brand-new game, then those 15 minutes are probably going to be wasted anyway dealing with draconian DRM, show-stopping bugs, and progress-hindering crashes. If it's movie or music, then 15 minutes is a gross over-estimate, because it's probably a whole lot quicker and easier than that.

      • by bug1 (96678)

        Time = money is only true when you paying someone. If you are paying someone $15 per hour, then yes, 8 minutes is worth $2. However, when you are sitting at home and not getting paid then 8 minutes of your time, or 8 hours, or 8 days, is worth exactly zero.

        Your time is finite, its irreplaceable, you cant get it back if you waste it.
        Your time should be valuable to you even if you cant sell it to others.

        Very naive to think you can measure its value with dollars and cents.

        • The question was whether it would be cheaper to buy or download from a P2P network. The non-monetary value of time is completely irrelevant in this context.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Time = money is only true when you paying someone. If you are paying someone $15 per hour, then yes, 8 minutes is worth $2. However, when you are sitting at home and not getting paid then 8 minutes of your time, or 8 hours, or 8 days, is worth exactly zero.

        Assuming you got nothing better you wanted to do, then being able to do that instead is worth something to you. At least my non-work time can be divided into chores and leisure and generally I'd be willing to pay to have less of the former and more of the latter. Everything you do also has an opportunity cost, could you something more productive with your time? If you could work one more hour for $10 in post-tax income then spend one hour less bargain-hunting increasing your expenses by $5, you come out ahe

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Time is not money. It's time.

          Very few of us have the equivalent of some magic money making machine where time goes in one side and money comes out the other.

          Nearly certainly, anyone whining about "time is money" here on Slashdot is a big fat poser.

          Their time when they are actually working isn't worth dick and they've got plenty of free time on their hands.

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        Not giving any money to scumbags who want to use it against me -- and even against artists who they claim they care for -- is worth quite a lot.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        I find that my free time is worth much more than the time I spend at work.

      • If you make $15 Aussie dollars an hour, minimum wage, then $2 represents about eight minutes of your time. If you spent more than eight minutes bringing up the highly overloaded Pirate Bay page, finding a correct torrent, loading the torrent into uTorrent, downloading the file, moving it around on your NAS, putting it into iTunes, getting the book's coverart then syncing it to your iPhone, then yeah you pretty much just robbed yourself.

        Just saying. You're probably saving money by buying it vs pirating it, since time=money. LOL.

        Time = money is only true when you paying someone. If you are paying someone $15 per hour, then yes, 8 minutes is worth $2. However, when you are sitting at home and not getting paid then 8 minutes of your time, or 8 hours, or 8 days, is worth exactly zero.

        Hate to burst your bubbles, dudes, but my guess is that the majority of people who pirate are either unemployed, going to school, or too young for a job, so any analysis of their cost:benefit ratios is liable to waste your time. Sure, they (and coupon clippers, and soda-can collectors) might be making below minimum wage, but these activities are not terribly stressful and don't require a lot of thought.

        Not to mention, some people find pirating "fun," and when I was younger I would have agreed. Nowadays it's

    • by gweihir (88907) on Monday October 03, 2011 @12:21AM (#37587236)

      +1, insightful

      Time = money works only to a certain extend, but is still a good rule of thumb. I have used it for a long time to decide whether something was worth my money.

      The only exceptions I remember at the moment are DVDs and CDs that I cannot copy on my computer or (as in the case of some music CDs) that I cannot play on my computer. Or that have horribly long and annoying unskippable advertising and threats when played.Bad usability is a mood-killer and far more expensive than the time it consumes. So is insulting the customer on video.

      I do have to admit that I did not get the music I could not play from the net. I just dropped the artists entirely.

      I do something else some people may consider "criminal" or "amoral": Whenever ads on web-pages are animated or otherwise annoying, they go into my ad-blocker.

    • I don't give a shit if you got my book from The Pirate Bay. It costs $2 to buy and is available in DRM free PDFs, or even DRM free plaintext if you really want it and you're Richard Stallman (I met you once, by the way, and you were cool. You hated my iPhone though. Sorry bro). If you make $15 Aussie dollars an hour, minimum wage, then $2 represents about eight minutes of your time. If you spent more than eight minutes bringing up the highly overloaded Pirate Bay page, finding a correct torrent, loading the torrent into uTorrent, downloading the file, moving it around on your NAS, putting it into iTunes, getting the book's coverart then syncing it to your iPhone, then yeah you pretty much just robbed yourself.

      Get the torrent, start the download, and then do something else while you wait.

      And not everyone works all the time (or highly values a bit of time).

      • by Sasayaki (1096761)

        That's cool. If you don't want to pay for it, or you think $2 is too much to pay for a book, as the post clearly indicated I don't really care. You don't have to justify why you're not buying it, just... don't buy it.

        • Ah, I don't think it's a justification. It''s just the natural response of the /. crowd to a dubious claim to respond to it. Doesn't necessarily mean the repliers will actually download it instead of buying.

    • But hey, a lot people have genuine and interesting philosophical beliefs against paying for services rather than physical objects ("it's just bits, man! You can't own bits...!").

      I am one of those people and such a belief is based on an in-depth analysis of what is "private property" and what are its characteristics and how they are utterly incompatible with the characteristics of information. Note that the objection is not to "services" - which are indeed quite subject to commercial exchange and are in fac

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Bleh or whatever bro. LOL.

      Thanks, but I don't think I'll be needing to read your sample chapters.

    • by blarkon (1712194)

      When you earn enough income from your writing to have to make mention of it on your tax return, you're in a position to call yourself an author. Even more realistic if it's the bulk of your income on a tax return.

      There's an old adage. You're only an author when someone whose books you own calls you an author. You might want to creep up on that benchmark before you conflate pumping out a few thousand words a day for a couple of weeks with being an author.

    • I'll put your book on my reading queue and buy the finished one if I like the first 3 chapters.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday October 03, 2011 @12:26AM (#37587262)
    Here the crime of "demanding money with menaces" could probably be laid on these guys if they have some sort of autobot making threats demanding money instead of demanding that you turn up in court (with an option to settle). Rememebr SCO? They were relatively quiet in Australia because if people gave into their demands and they sold one bogus linux licence somebody at SCO Australia may have ended up doing time. I'm aware of some people that rang SCO to attempt to buy a licence (for entrapment, general mischeif or just to see how far they could get) and they were put off with the end result that SCO didn't sell any linux licences in Australia.
    Judges really hate lazy lawyers and the idea of spam autobot legal threats on slim evidence is likely to piss them off enough to really want to hurt these guys as much as possible. It will be interesting to see when it happens.
    • you're forgetting that these people aren't honest, they buy judges and politicians, and eventually the lawyers they hire become the judges who rule on cases. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/riaa-lobbyist-becomes-federal-judge-rules-on-file-sharing-cases.ars [arstechnica.com] These people aren't bound by the same rules you and I are. They know the people they need to know, and they buy their way into anything they need to buy. In Canada the new conservative majority is tabling a canadian DMCA, even though
      • by Techman83 (949264)
        That might work in America, but I'm not so sure it will work here. Time will tell I guess.
      • Bribery and conflicts of interest in the Judicary is taken a little more seriously in Australia where it is not an elected post but chosen by existing members of the Judicary - theoretically entirely by merit. It's only the high court that gets appointed by elected officials and they have to choose among existing Judges.
        Any barrister that is going to be working for this copyright group is at least a couple of decades away from the high court, and for the sort of corruption you are talking about it has to m
      • by tg123 (1409503)
        Thankfully Australian judges are usually honest and they are expected to be impartial and not let their political views affect their judgements. Not to say it can not happen it's just a lot harder to do.

        ie : catch the judge with little boys etc.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Murphy [wikipedia.org] (infamous case in australia)
        • thankfully Australian judges are usually honest and they are expected to be impartial and not let their political views affect their judgements. Not to say it can not happen it's just a lot harder to do.

          ie : catch the judge with little boys etc.

          (whoops sorry I made a mistake here sorry Lionel Murphy it was David Yeldham I ment to link to.)

          http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s72790.htm [abc.net.au] (infamous case in australia)
          • by dbIII (701233)
            Lionel Murphy's "little mate" was a grown man and it wasn't a physical sort of mating anyway :) Not that there's anything wrong with that and the frequent harrassment by members of the "Liberal" party of another Judge that is gay was appalling.
            Any deviation from what is seen as perfect behaviour and somebody that sees themselves as being impeded by that high court Judge treats it as if it is a crime comparable to murder.
    • by tg123 (1409503)
      I agree , Australia is not like the USA in regards to law suits. Mass Suing of people to get money out of them is not taken to kindly by justices in Australia.

      I think the paragraph in Australian copyright law reads "groundless threats of legal action" but I am not a lawyer so I could be wrong.

      http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s202.html [austlii.edu.au]
    • ... some sort of autobot making threats demanding money...

      No way, man! That sounds like Decepticon behaviour to me.

    • I'm no lawyer but I get them impression that if this guy sends out a huge number of notices and can't prove that he's been instructed by Anchor Bay Entertainment to do it before it is done then he may be facing jail time.
      The legal system really hates people who pull scams that function by fooling people into thinking that they are lawyers without actually being lawyers.
  • by Macgrrl (762836) on Monday October 03, 2011 @12:52AM (#37587366)

    If over 9,000 people downloaded it, maybe it's worth a watch. Gimmie a sec to fire up NZB.

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      Hrm... I should have RTFA, the film was Kill the Irishman [imdb.com]

      I don't recall the film being released down here, though if it was, it was only a very small number of screens. Chances are it's yet another example of Aussies downloading content not yet available in this market because Hollywood still thinks it's a good idea to do regional staggered releases in these days of digital 'prints'.

      • How ironic, considering that film glorifies the life of a gangster who abused his position as a union leader to steal goods from ships in Cleveland. Not to mention that he killed dozens of people and used his status as an FBI informant to further his criminal agenda.

      • Re:Which movie? (Score:4, Informative)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday October 03, 2011 @03:13AM (#37587690)

        Chances are it's yet another example of Aussies downloading content not yet available in this market because Hollywood still thinks it's a good idea to do regional staggered releases in these days of digital 'prints'.

        How about films that don't even get shown like Submarine [rottentomatoes.com]. Now here's a film that came out more than a year ago at the film festivals around the world, and generally was released in March and June in the UK / US respectively. It showed in Australia last month ... in New South Wales. We did a lot of digging and found one independent cinema in my state was showing this film which we've heard rave reviews about. It was showing the film on weekdays at 2pm.

        I would have happily paid to see the film. I would have happily paid a premium to see the film at an independent cinema in the city. But I was simply not given that option.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Another one was Princess Mononoko (Disney released the English version) which took ten years before a single sold out showing at a film festival in Australia and twelve before it had an actual cinema release (one screen in one city, probably about eight weeks).
  • by Nethead (1563)

    So is this why I can't find a torrent of the current season of Junior MasterChef Australia? Best damn food show in the world.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can I please give an example of how this is complete BS.

    IP Address does not equal a Person or Company.

    This is a real world example. We get repairs in from customers from time to time that have uTorrent running while the computer is booting, it is sometimes seeding a file or what have you. We have all of these either plugged in via ethernet or wireless as we have to do a series of checks on the machine (internet, video stress testing etc) to make sure that it is ready to be sent back to avoid other issues th

    • by ledow (319597)

      This is hardly a compelling argument.

      And the IT manager in me is screaming "So you let random, broken, virus-infested machines onto your network and let them connect direct to the Internet with no intervening controls, free to do whatever they like?"

      Piracy is the LEAST of your worries. Hell, I'd be worried about people downloading things much more of interest to law enforcement (copyright is only a civil matter) - such as pornography, anarchist cookbooks, etc.

      What you're trying to say is that if one of you

  • Sounds like a good time to BE an IP lawyer...
    • This bunch are instead "toecutters" - criminals that prey on others, in this case extortion of petty copyright offenders. If the extortion doesn't work they'll aparently call in a legal firm.
      I'll use the "quacks like a duck" excuse and call them a gang instead of a company. They are not even in the phone book. If they are actually a registered company (which I doubt) it wouldn't be to hard to find their address and send them a tin of spam.
      • They are based in a small office with a bunch of tax accountants at the arse end of the Gold Coast.
        It's probably one guy and a receptionist like the Cape York spaceport scam.
        I'm sure the lowest of Lawyers are a much higher form of life.
  • In Poland same thing is happening, on pretty large scale, some legal office - Pro Bono (sic), is sending to many internet users in PL letters demanding paying them some amount of money (from $30 to few thousands) and signing an agreement in which that user agrees to pay and, agrees that he/she is guilty of that CRIME and will cease all the illegal activities online (like downloading movies from torrent sites). What is important here is the way how this office obtained users addresses and IPs. Such info is n

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