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Google Files Amicus Brief in Hotfile Case; MPAA Requests It Be Rejected 214

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the complying-with-the-law-is-insufficient dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google has once again stood up in court for the rights of users and services online, this time defending Hotfile from copyright infringement accusations. [Quoting the article]: 'Google takes a sort of hard-line approach via the DMCA, telling the court that however the MPAA may try to mislead them, Hotfile is in fact protected under safe harbor provisions. And furthermore, Google suggests that the MPAA's approach is contrary to the language in and precedents surrounding the DMCA. The onus is on copyright holders to alert a service to the nature and location of an infringement, and the service's responsibility is to alert the user if possible and remove the material within a reasonable period of time.'" The full brief has been uploaded to Scribd. The MPAA, naturally, has requested that the amicus brief be rejected by the court: "Google's proposed brief appears to be part of a systematic effort by Google, itself a defendant in ongoing copyright infringement cases, to influence the development of the law to Google's own advantage — as well as an effort by Hotfile (whose counsel also represent Google) to circumvent its page limits. Google is acting as a partisan advocate for Hotfile, making arguments that Hotfile has or could have made in its own opposition to summary judgment. The parties here are well-represented and have the incentive and wherewithal to make all the arguments the court will need. Although Google purports not to take a position regarding summary judgment here, Google unmistakably seeks a ruling against plaintiffs. Google's motion should be denied"
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Google Files Amicus Brief in Hotfile Case; MPAA Requests It Be Rejected

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  • Hypocrisy much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:13AM (#39412005)

    Google's proposed brief appears to be part of a systematic effort by Google, itself a defendant in ongoing copyright infringement cases, to influence the development of the law to Google's own advantage

    Isn't this what the MPAA and RIAA have been trying to do with SOPA/PIPA and all these other bills? I guess it's only ok when they do it though.

    • Re:Hypocrisy much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by firex726 (1188453) <firex726@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:19AM (#39412045)

      That's the part that stuck out with me too.

      It's a nice microcosm of our current legal/political system.
      "Accuse your opponent of the same bad shit you're doing"

      • That's amazingly common: IMHO, the folks who accuse others of X are often terrified that they will be accused of X, and strike out at other without realizing what they're implying.

        This has the pleasant effect of making it easy to discover what they're doing, and afraid of being called on (;-))

        --dave

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MarkvW (1037596)

        The MPAA's brief appears to be more stupidity than hypocrisy (or they're just milking their client). Their argument against the amicus brief is a presentation of the best reason why the amicus brief should be accepted.

    • Re:Hypocrisy much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:33AM (#39412137) Journal
      Yes.

      The legal system isn't about fairness, and those who are involved don't even seem to pretend it is any more. The goal of the lawyers is to win the case. If that involves making an argument that contradicts the one they made the previous week in every way, that's just how the game is played.
      • It never has been about fairness. The US has used an adversarial system since its founding. The process is fair only to the extent that all litigants have equal access to the process. That being said, what you and your attorney make of the process should not aim for fairness, but for winning. That's the whole point of an adversarial system.

        If you want to argue against the use of an adversarial system and why an inquisitorial system (or some other system) would be more "fair", have at it. But the adversarial

    • Re:Hypocrisy much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trailer Trash (60756) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:46AM (#39412203) Homepage

      Isn't this what the MPAA and RIAA have been trying to do with SOPA/PIPA and all these other bills? I guess it's only ok when they do it though.

      More to the point: This is what they did with the DMCA. The irony here is that the MPAA's lawyers are arguing against the law that they or their cronies wrote.

      • by nahdude812 (88157) *

        The irony here is that the MPAA's lawyers are arguing against the law that they or their cronies wrote

        They're trying to make the case that the current law as it stands right now is insufficient to protect their industry. So yes, they're arguing against their own law, in favor of one that favors them even more strongly.

        • Re:Hypocrisy much? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JeanCroix (99825) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:13PM (#39414397) Journal

          ...Which has been their tactic all along with this kind of legislation. They start with the foregone conclusion that stricter copyright legislation is the solution. Once it's passed into law, things can go one of two ways:

          1) If the MAFIAA's bottom line improves, then the stricter copyright law worked, so more/stricter laws are required to garner even more improvement for them.

          2) If their bottom line continues to drop after the law is passed, then it obviously wasn't strict enough, so more/stricter legislation is required.

          On a side note, how long until Disney blames the flop of John Carter on piracy, I wonder?

    • Isn't this the only reason everyone everywhere has ever filed an Amicus brief? I mean, how many lawyers are spending their time and money telling making arguments to courts on cases that they DON'T care about?

    • You know, I can almost see where the MPAA is coming from... In their mind, Hotfile is a bunch of thieves and Google is just another bunch of thieves wanting to butt into the trial solely to further their own ends. Google has no place in someone else's trial and if they want to change laws to their advantage, they should go to Congress where the laws are made.

      That being said, I think that's not the MPAA's actual viewpoint and they're simply trying every trick and maneuver to get the results they want, b
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:21AM (#39412059)

    If anyone should be trying to protect their revenue stream on this one, it's google...

    If enough users hit their 5th or 6th strike, that would impinge on googles money.

    We need someone like Microsoft (antitrust experience) to help fight this crap. Also, it couldn't hurt Microsoft to gain a little positive press.

  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558)
    Google takes a hardline aproache to the DCMA? Why the hell don't they with Youtube takedowns then? I will answer my own questions, because DCMA takedowns are not threatening revenue streams there. Money with a facade of resppnsibility is all the are. Many companies have dispensed with the facade, google will too someday.
    • by Hierarch (466609)

      The "hardline" is with respect to the 512(c) safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. That is, the "Neener neener, you can't sue our deep pockets" part. And in that, Google takes a very hard line indeed, since reinterpretations here could cost them tremendous amounts of money.

  • by s-whs (959229) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:35AM (#39412141)

    Google's proposed brief appears to be part of a systematic effort by Google, itself a defendant in ongoing copyright infringement cases, to influence the development of the law to Google's own advantage

    Pointing out the facts is not a 'systematic effort to influence the development of the law'. In fact it's been the MPAA and similar organisations that have been doing that, and the only ones who have been doing that, not by pointing out facts, but by describing their own fantasies (about how much they could earn, of course without thinking that if more money is spent on MPAA stuff, less is spent on other sectors in society) , and nightmares (about how much they're getting ripped off), and with their bribes (a.k.a. lobbying).

    And of course these people don't even understand their clients: The obnoxious 'don't copy' ads at the start of DVDs is almost enough to make me want to 'pirate' stuff.

    Accusing others of what they do themselves is something I found to be a typical trait of sociopaths in humans, and corporations are designed and geared to be exactly that, which shows the problems involved with corporations. Reduce liability: If a corporations spout such nonsense as this, they should be held in contempt of court, i.e. everyone responsible: The lawyers, and the entire board of directors etc.

    • Pointing out the facts is not a 'systematic effort to influence the development of the law'.

      [Begin MPAA Mode]
      Why, of course it is! How dare they bring up facts that run counter to the MPAA's case! Don't they know that piracy costs content creators eleventy bazillion dollars every nanosecond? Don't they know that piracy results in twelve thousand lost jobs per second, cancer of the ear lobe, muggings, global warming, and the hiccups? Google should be immediately turned over to the MPAA to operate for the

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      Pointing out facts seems to be a perfectly reasonable way to influence the law. Preventing it to be bend out of shape by fantasies is also influencing it. Just in a reasonable way.
  • This is the MPAA you're quoting, after all. I recognize your right to a fair use of their work of authorship, but it's doubtful their lawyers would with the positions they take... A C&D letter might be in your future...
  • by kikito (971480) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:04AM (#39412325) Homepage

    "Our opponents are trying to defend their interests, therefore their request should be denied"

    Well played, MPAA lawyers.

    Seriously. How much are these guys billing per hour?

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @10:17AM (#39412949)
      One of the arguments that the RIAA and MPAA always make against amicus curae briefs like these is that they are not impartial. By definition amicus curae briefs are third-party. They are gambling that the judges do not know that third party is not the same as impartial.
      • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@NoSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @11:11AM (#39413569) Homepage
        Amicus curiae briefs are, from a legal philosophy standpoint, meant to assist the court in determining the correct approach, not one of the parties or the filer. In practice it usually doesn't work this way when there's a private party submitting it, but "this guy is using an amicus brief to help him in other cases" is a valid attack.
        • by kikito (971480)

          > Amicus curiae briefs are, from a legal philosophy standpoint, meant to assist the court in determining the correct approach, not one of the parties or the filer

          I'm sorry but I'm not following you.

          AFAIK the amicus curiae contacts the court by his/her own will; it's not forced by any force or law. It's implicit that there is a personal motive behind that action. Are there other possible motivations?

          Or are you arging that the "correct approach" is never the parties' or filer's?

  • by crazyjj (2598719) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:04AM (#39412329)
    At this point they're starting to sound like a petulant child, repeatedly throwing temper tantrums and screaming "NO NO NO!!!" over and over again. Or would a better analogy be a guy standing in the middle of a flood, trying to stop the rushing waters by holding out his hands?
  • Wow... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ilsaloving (1534307) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:11AM (#39412385)

    "Google's proposed brief appears to be part of a systematic effort by Google, itself a defendant in ongoing copyright infringement cases, to influence the development of the law to Google's own advantage"

    Talk about projecting your feelings...

    • by Kleen13 (1006327)
      How valid is the MPAA's statement? When I read this I see a kid in the playground with his hands on his hips saying "Not Fair!" to the teacher.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:30AM (#39412501)

    We have Google to thank for helping our congress figure out that the Entertainment industry isn't the only private interest with money to spend... er--uh-- contribute. When you have pro-corporate politicians on BOTH sides of the isle coming against SOPA and PIPA when both measures formerly enjoyed so-called elusive bipartisan support, that can only mean one thing:

    It started raining money on the other side of the issue.

    The tech companies are now large enough and rich enough to make themselves both felt and heard. It's only a matter of time before the entertainment industry stops their offense and goes for a negotiated settlement. Their business models are in jeopardy and as they lose their ability to rig the game in their favor their days are only going to get darker not brighter. They're scared and they should be.

  • Proposed reply (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @10:12AM (#39412903) Homepage Journal

    Google should just change a few words and use the MPAA quote as a template:

    The MPAA's proposed prosecution appears to be part of a systematic effort by the MPAA, itself a prosecutor in ongoing copyright infringement cases, to influence the development of the law to the MPAA's own advantage. The MPAA is acting as a partisan persecutor of Hotfile, making arguments that the MPAA has or could have made in its own support of a summary judgment. The parties here are well-represented and have the incentive and wherewithal to make all the arguments the court will need. Although the MPAA purports not to take a position regarding summary judgment here, the MPAA unmistakably seeks a ruling in favour of the plaintiffs. The MPAA's charges should be dismissed.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Making a joke at the expense of the MPAA/RIAA on Slashdot is trolling?

      Wow. We must have some RIAA/MPAA supporters with accounts logged in today. :D

  • There seems to be a lot of discussion about Google's motives and how the MPAA is acting. But at least from my understanding of the law, Google is right. The safe harbor provision to DMCA was made for exactly the reason Google says, and the MPAA is trying to grab more legal power, beyond the vast powers DMCA already grants them.

    I'm not a knee-jerk Google fan-boy, and I understand Google has a dog in the fight, but in this case, Google is right.

  • by Jerry (6400) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:13PM (#39415319)

    "MPAA's lawsuit appears to be part of a systematic effort by MPAA, itself a plantif in ongoing lawsuits, to influence the development of the law to MPAA's own advantage."

    There, fixed that for them.

  • by ScooterComputer (10306) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:17PM (#39415365)

    Where is Apple? They are no longer the poor, dying company they were so many years ago. They profit handsomely from both sides of this debate (selling content companies' media for a profit and selling devices to consumers at a profit). They have power, influence, and some money.

    I think it is time for Apple to step up. For the company of record with the '1984' and 'Lemmings' commercials, I find it distasteful that Apple has seemingly only used their financial fortunes to engage in trifling patent wars. One letter from Steve Jobs changed the course of DRM on music. Yet Apple has sat quietly by as Google and Amazon have waded head-first into the DMCA battle royal. No, that's wrong, they have NOT sat by, in fact Apple has quietly worked to sign deals with the DMCA-abusing content providers that covers over the questions being debated. Apple is paying iTunes Match money as "streaming royalties" to RIAA on music that was already legally purchased and for which royalties were paid. Surely double-dip paying the RIAA isn't in the consumers' or artists' best interests. The basic assumption is that ALL music that gets matched (that wasn't from the iTunes store) was pirated...and that is both a lie and a dangerous precedent to Google's (consumer friendly) position. Apple cannot allow their animosity towards Google distract them from maintaining what is right for THEIR supporters and customers.

    Apple needs to make their position on the DMCA known: does the consumer have fair-use rights or not? Because I, for one, known where my money goes based on the answer.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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