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Australian Copyright Troll Rumored To Have Shut Down 67

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the copyright-trolls-not-welcome-down-under dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Remember how a shadowy group arose a few months back with the promise of suing thousands of Australians for allegedly pirating movies? ... Well, it looks like the effort has bit the dust as quickly as it was kicked off, with the organization's vice president of sales and marketing leaving and its website shut down. Sounds like that bright future of mega-lawsuits for Internet piracy wasn't so bright after all."
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Australian Copyright Troll Rumored To Have Shut Down

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  • by neight108 (974915) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:18AM (#38132748)
    "Remember how a shadowy group arose a few months back with the promise of suing thousands of Australians for allegedly pirating movies?

    Nope...
    • by mjwx (966435)

      "Remember how a shadowy group arose a few months back with the promise of suing thousands of Australians for allegedly pirating movies?

      Nope...

      It's the reverse of the Pacific Price Dilation Field, crap in Oz costs twice as much as in the States and takes six months longer to get here. News from Oz takes six months to reach the States.

      Also given this is /., you can expect the story to be broken here a month after that.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      They came from a land down-under!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    who would of thought two brothers from the gold coast who make porn, didn't get away with buying rights to crappy movies seeding them themselves, then trying to bully gulibile users into paying 10s of thousands of dollars?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:28AM (#38133232)

      What does porn have to do with it? Don't compare copyright trolls to porn. Sex is a honorable business. In fact, it's one of the most honest businesses humankind has ever had. It's one of the basic needs after food and shelter.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I have nothing against porn but i think it would be easier to get away with something as dubious as this if you came from a law background, or a major music company. Maybe if all the population had your attitude they would have a chance.

  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:30AM (#38132800)

    ...that lots of other jurisdictions around the planet have handed copyright and patent trolls their posteriors when they couldn't show actual proof they owned what they were suing over. SCO with their issues with Novell took the last vestiges of both the memory of the original SCO and of Caldera and ground them into a bloody pulp, and Righthaven recently hasn't done so well either.

    I've maintained for a long time that if businesses that supply ideas want to get paid for their ideas, they need to charge the correct amount for them. As much as I dislike the movie industry for their incessant push for longer and longer copyrights, they do make it inexpensive to have movies in the home. New DVDs for $5.00 and new Blu-Ray for $10 are a no-brainer. The music industry still hasn't got it though, charging a lot more for CDs well past their release dates than they're worth. In the case of movies, they're still somewhat difficult to pirate given the size of files and the lossy formats, but the recording industry should have learned that pirating music for a megabyte a minute is a no-brainer for a lot of people, even if the formats are slightly lossy. They're probably still better than recording FM radio at 22KHz broadcast quality...

    • by Watertowers (1061714) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:17AM (#38132938)

      Where are the $5 new release DVDs? We are charged closer to $25 which is why Australians pirate so many movies and TV shows. The price will only come down if regions are abolished to introduce competition.

      • by Nursie (632944)

        Yup, and a 3D Bluray (which you'd think would be on special to try and push the tech) costs around $60.

        For Americans wondering about exchange rates, we have rough parity at the moment, though the AUD has been creeping a couple of cents over now and again.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by cheeks5965 (1682996)
        Whoosh
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        The price will only come down if regions are abolished to introduce competition.

        They have been. Australian DVD players are sold region free. I buy DVDs from Amazon these days if I can't find them locally for a really marked down price.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      the recording industry should have learned that pirating music for a megabyte a minute is a no-brainer for a lot of people, even if the formats are slightly lossy. They're probably still better than recording FM radio at 22KHz broadcast quality...

      You really need pretty decent equipment to be able to hear the difference between MP3 and CD, and listen concentrated, without doing something else while the music is playing nor having any background noises. In the vast majority of situations it fails on the first account already, most consumer grade electronics is just not good enough to tell the difference. Then people are usually doing something else while listening to music, and background noises are also commonplace.

      • And yet why settle for the "good enough" option when you can have "the best"?
        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Because, as I said, for most people and with normal quality audio equipment there is no audible difference between mp3 and CD. So mp3 is good enough, CD doesn't sound better, just costs more and is less convenient in storage and so. So indeed those people taking mp3 over CD may consider it better: sounds the same; more convenience.

          Good enough is good enough. Anything better is only costing more for no extra benefit, as it's good enough already.

          • So in other words, you don't mind that your thanksgiving turkey is quite burnt, because under all the scorched stuff, there's still some edible parts, yes? That's good enough, yes? It's sort-of edible, so it's good enough, yes? No? Good enough is entirely relative to the situation. You may think something is good enough where I don't. 60 FPS in a computer game is good enough for most people, but not for me. I hate playing at 60FPS. I like having 100+ FPS because the games just feel better at that range.
            • by wvmarle (1070040)
              Then you go ahead and get that fancy machine that does 100 fps, but if 60 fps is good enough for most, then that 's what most people buy. You go ahead get that CD, most other people will settle for the mp3 because they find the sound good enough and find it more convenient. You know there is choice. And about thanksgiving turkeys I never had any, probably never will have, and wouldn't know what it's meant to be for nor do I really care. Knowing the existence of that fest is good enough for me.
        • by TWX (665546)

          I can't afford a Bang and Olufsen setup, can you?

    • by 517714 (762276)
      I don't buy a (DVD or Blu-ray) movie that I have seen, but I will buy music (a CD) that I have heard - sometimes many years later. In fact, I am more likely to buy a CD that I have heard portions of several times. The difference in long term value is real, therefore the price of music not dropping weeks after release makes sense. When people more than a generation younger than I like the same bands I did in high school, why should they pay substantially less simply because the original recording was made
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:44AM (#38132840)

    The industry is getting just about everything it wants from almost every government in the world where a meaningful percentage of the population has access to high-speed internet.

    This isn't the time or place to make the sheeple nervous by having a front company for the entertainment industry grab the home and life savings of some sweet old granny because a grandchild "stole" a half hour cartoon show.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:39AM (#38133282)

      Isn't it weird that if you steal a DVD from a store (get a physical disk, packaging, high quality) you get something like a $100 fine; yet when you download a film even if it was on TV the night before it apparently cost the movie industry tens of thousands.

      • by Elbereth (58257) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @05:13AM (#38133600) Journal

        Not really... in most cases, the industry groups are more concerned with uploaders, rather than downloaders. It just so happens that most file sharing is synchronous. If you leeched all those files from an ftp site, they probably wouldn't care all that much about you, unless you ran into a particularly vindictive group of lawyers. Instead, they'd go after the guy who uploaded the files.

        When some dumb teenager pirates an MP3, he doesn't get charged with thousands of dollars in fines. It's only when they upload the file, allowing hundreds (or thousands) of other people to download it, that you see people getting those kinds of fines. It makes more sense when you realize that uploading is the big problem that they're trying to stamp out. Kids (and stupid people) don't understand how the technology works, and they don't realize that they're uploading the files at the same time that they're downloading. Some people have tried to argue this in court ("I didn't know the program was sharing the files!"), but it didn't work out too well for them. Ignorance and stupidity don't usually work too well as a defense, unfortunately.

        It's entirely possible that the rights holders will go after you for downloading a pirated movie from Megaupload, but it's really not worth their time. They'd rather go after the person who uploaded it and sue him for millions of dollars. Even if they did sue you, like you said, the amount of money they could claim to have lost is miniscule, since you haven't shared the file with anyone else.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm not quite following. The suers don't want to bother suing the dumb teenager who pirates an mp3 but all downloaders are uploaders due to the nature of file sharing, so all downloaders are fair game, and the i didn't know excuse doesn't work.

        • It's only when they upload the file, allowing hundreds (or thousands) of other people to download it, that you see people getting those kinds of fines.

          They seem to want to put the burden on a single uploader. However, if they also sued another person who was also downloading the exact same files, would they do the same to them? That seems like double-dipping to me. Getting paid for the same thing (all of the copies uploaded) multiple times.

          Unless those millions of dollars are just punitive damages. But in that case, I'd say a fine that big is absolutely ridiculous.

  • The ISP trade union was in discussion with AFACT and others for an agreement on how to process copyright complaints. This was after the most ruling in the court case for iiNet. This bold announcement was likely a negotiating tactic from the start.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:46AM (#38132854)
    They were not even lawyers, they just had a business model that involved pretending to be lawyers and having a real lawyer to consult around 1 hours drive away.
    Perhaps the legal firm they were employing in Brisbane finally convinced them it would be difficult to have a shotgun approach to sending out writs without going to jail for demanding money with menaces and contempt of court. I'm not a lawyer either, but when I described what this idiot at the Gold Coast was trying to do he considered it to be insane.
  • Unsurprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trawg (308495) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:53AM (#38132878) Homepage

    As I understand it, this organisation's purported plan was to attempt to sue copyright infringers by the innovative idea of actually following due process as required by Australian law - getting a court order to force ISPs to hand over the details of infringing customers and then attempt to extract money.

    This is basically the same spectacularly unsuccessful [blogspot.com] process that the RIAA has been following in the USA.

    iiNet, a major ISP over here that has been in the news a lot in copyright battles after getting taken to court by the media industry for bullshit like aiding and abetting copyright infringement (and winning) stated they were completely happy for this group to exist if that was their process, I assume because they knew it would be too expensive to be productive if they weren't able to get ISPs to just hand over customer details.

    The whole thing seemed to be a lot of noise about nothing to me. Things like SOPA are much, much scarier to me as an Australian because it sounds like that will short-circuit the entire legal process - and given that we seem to inherit a lot of American IP laws, there's a real chance we'll cop it here.

    • Re:Unsurprising (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:18AM (#38132944) Homepage

      The catch is, Australia is loser pays. Which means in this kind of extortions game, lose just one case and everyone else will use that exact same defence and you lose every case. Those losses of course means you pay for your lawyer, their lawyer and court costs ie judge et al. Then it is also possible to file counter suit for psychological harm brought about by that attack in the courts, so really really dangerous game bound to blow up in the faces of the criminals who attempt it.

      • Re:Unsurprising (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @04:33AM (#38133468)

        The catch is, Australia is loser pays. Which means in this kind of extortions game, lose just one case and everyone else will use that exact same defence and you lose every case. Those losses of course means you pay for your lawyer, their lawyer and court costs ie judge et al. Then it is also possible to file counter suit for psychological harm brought about by that attack in the courts, so really really dangerous game bound to blow up in the faces of the criminals who attempt it.

        Exactly, due to Australia's libel laws, you're up for more then just the winners court costs. They can counter sue for making a false accusation. This kind of thing has turned many legal issues into Mexican stand-offs (Victorian stand-offs) that have lasted for years.

        Whilst this system pretty flawed, it does keep the Shyster Lawyer population down by making frivolous law suits too risky for the average person, thus depleting their food supply.

  • Overpaid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OffTheRicta (2513842) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:58AM (#38132894)
    Gimme a break.. people like Beyonce, 50cent, Metallica etc can blat on all they like. As long as they are making hundreds of millions for having fun and being adored by millions, while we pay through the nose to listen or watch it, there will be piracy. Brad Pitt... $40 Million for a movie? Turn it up. Pay him5 million and charge me $5 to go see it. Bill Gates $80 BIllion? Turn it up. He should have 2 billion and I should pay $100 for Office Pro, not $600. Things are clearly overpriced. Companies dont charge what they need to to make a profit anymore, they charge what they think we will pay regardless of what it costs to produce.
    • by tsa (15680)

      Companies dont charge what they need to to make a profit anymore

      Anymore? Must be a looooong time ago that they did that, then.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Australia has always been different e.g.. hardware:
        http://www.current.com.au/2011/11/21/article/UPDATE-Canon-issues-fighting-words-to-JB-Hi-Fi-over-grey-imports/XQGPTTQVSI.html [current.com.au]
        As for movies and series, wait out the US release dates and then milk the Australian market for top dvd $ months or years later.
        So yes someone in the middle is :) big time.
        • by Nursie (632944)

          Someone will find a way to give them the smackdown.

          In the EU it was a combination of trademark and safety standards, IIRC, that allowed Sony to give the smackdown to grey-market importers of PSPs before the official european release date, effectively ending commercialisation of grey markets there and then. I have no doubt that if JB Hifi keep it up, and especially if others follow their lead, they'll find themselves on the wrong end of some or other legal travesty.

          Of course the only reason they're even tryi

    • Re:Overpaid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:33AM (#38133254)

      Businesses are in it to make money, and they will do their best to make as much money as possible. So they will charge a price as high as possible. If you think that movie is too expensive, don't go watch it, and the movie maker doesn't get anything. If you think that concert ticket costs too much, don't go watch it, and the concert organiser doesn't get anything.

      Well maybe someone else thinks it's worth it, and will pay for it. And the concert organiser and movie theatre will charge a price where there are enough someones other than you that think it's worth the price to fill up the seats.

      That you think it's overpriced doesn't mean it is overpriced, nor that they should lower prices.

    • If you don't like the price, don't buy it. It's as simple as that.
    • Gimme a break.. people like Beyonce, 50cent, Metallica etc can blat on all they like. As long as they are making hundreds of millions for having fun and being adored by millions, while we pay through the nose to listen or watch it, there will be piracy.

      Most of the money for the artists comes from doing concerts, endorsements etc. RIAA keeps most of the record sales.

  • The RIAA and it's local lapdog don't own our Government yet. Give them time though and our idiotic following of the US legal mire and this may change. iinet are the front line at the moment...
  • ... and pass SOPA [wikipedia.org] now. Before everyone figures out that its pointless.

  • Not suprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:45AM (#38133310) Journal

    To keep the law is amazingly hard if people don't want to. It is rarely touched upon but the police heavily relies on the good will of the people its patrols else it will soon become clear how you can keep 99% down with far less then 1%. See Libya. Khadaffi and his sons looked more suprised then anything else at the end. WTF happened. And then he died at the hand of a pauper he didn't even know existed.

    In Holland there was a recent story about the police not knowing what to do with the person who has been drink driving for 30 years. In Holland we have no 3 strike rule OR consecutive sentences. This means the entire punishment system is basically, don't do it again or we will have to ask you again.

    This works... for those people that want to obey the laws (drink driving is dangerous for yourself and most people don't want to hurt other people) but not for those who don't. It doesn't really matter whether YOU consider a law just or unjust, if you don't feel like obeying it, you won't.

    Try this, for the essential Godwin. Say you could travel back in time and kill Hitler. Would you? It is murder and you WILL die for it. Will you do it? Maybe you wouldn't but say your grandfather who did live through it, would he? Would he commit murder for say a pair of sneakers?

    People have come to accept downloading content without paying for it as acceptable. Just as people wanting to travel back in time to kill X see it as acceptable to kill someone for a crime not yet committed. Because many of us have told ourselves that content creators are basically screwing us up the ass and the only way to get them back is to screw them back. By not paying. Voting with your dollars. It is hard to argue with this when for instance game companies seem so deaf to their customers.

    Simple example. RPG type games and the invisible helmet option. It is a trivial thing to implement. A checkbox on the config screen that does or does not render the helmet so you can have the stats but also can see the face of the character you spent ages creating. Believe it or not but it matters to same sad people like me.

    Any game coder who can confirm this? Oh hell, it ain't hard, kiddies on the net have implemented it within a few days of release with no toolkit. Skyrim is just the latest offender. And it is not as if they didn't have a warning. Dragon Age had the same problem AND again, it was users that had to fix it.

    Hell Bethseda doesn't even SELL the collectors edition in my region. Just buying the regular edition instead will not send a signal to them. Neither will downloading the game but at least it saves me 40 bucks. They upset about me downloading. Me upset about NOT being able to spend a 140 bucks AND getting a buggy game with missing basic options that by now the industry should have figured out.

    What all this ranting is supposed to lead to is that it is very hard to change peoples mind once they are made up. How many of you think it is okay to litter? Okay, most probably said no. How many of those smoke and do NOT throw their cigarette away whereever it damn well pleases them? Now, to clean up this pollution, each cigarette will have a 1 dollar charge added to it to clean up after your filthy addict ass. Agree?

    No? But that is what the copyright charge on blank media is.

    The only thing that charge did and a litter charge on cigarettes will do, is convince people they are now entitled to commit the offence they paid a fine for.

    The cat is out of the bag and as any cat owner knows, it is impossible to put the cat back in.

    • The only thing that charge did and a litter charge on cigarettes will do, is convince people they are now entitled to commit the offence they paid a fine for.

      What publishers need to do is to affect a shift in attitude. People need to be made to feel that wanton piracy is socially unacceptable. Here's what producers have done towards this goal:

      1) Lobby for levies (as you mentioned) which force the guilty and innocent alike to pay
      2) Push for increasingly restrictive laws and the lengthening of copyright terms
      3) Laughable and insulting anti-piracy adverts included with my purchases. No, I would not steal a car, but I do not consider it wrong to download a torrent o

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