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The Courts Piracy Your Rights Online

Federal Judge Rules P2P Users Aren't In a Conspiracy 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the personal-responsibility dept.
Fluffeh writes "Judge Holderman ruled against copyright holders who were trying to paint a rather distorted picture. They sue just one Internet user, but use that lawsuit as a pretext to subpoena other defendants who had participated in the same BitTorrent swarm. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the other users had participated in a "conspiracy" to assist one another in distributing particular copyrighted works. Because the copyright holder's threat is based on the cost of litigation (and risk of public embarrassment — as this is a tactic used increasingly by the pron industry) more so than the damages a defendant would face in the event of a loss, innocent defendants have virtually as much incentive to settle as guilty ones do. That's not how things are supposed to work, and more and more judges are refusing to play along. Coupled with recent rulings in Florida, the copyright holders seem to be finding less and less favor with judges."
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Federal Judge Rules P2P Users Aren't In a Conspiracy

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  • by ArcadeNut (85398) on Monday April 02, 2012 @12:00AM (#39545817) Homepage

    Guess, I'll wait until April 2nd before reading anything more on /.

    • Well, I guess judges do their best work at Sundays, so I would paint this as "You'll all get a clock in a tower in London if that isn't true"

  • consPiracy? (Score:5, Funny)

    by constpointertoconst (1979236) on Monday April 02, 2012 @12:10AM (#39545841)

    I see what you did there.

  • by dark grep (766587) on Monday April 02, 2012 @12:22AM (#39545915)

    It's already April 2 hear, so alert mode for April Fools has been switched off. 2nd story I have been sucked in by. 2nd -1 for off topic too I guess.

    • Your hearing is in the future? How does that work?

    • by antdude (79039)

      Nice typo. :P

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      Unless the US Court for Illinois started doing April fools jokes, on the 30th no less, this is not a joke. See the link at the bottom of the Ars Technica article to the judge's decision (someone also linked it higher up too.)
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Monday April 02, 2012 @12:39AM (#39545989)

    Selling drugs is P2P, but so is having sex (see wikipedia for more info fellow reader).

    Criminalizing a group of loosely or totally unrelated individuals based on a particular form of sharing content (or speech) is just one step away from a thoughtcrime and is seen in the banning of the web, twitter, or similar by oppressive regimes, and shows a undeniable contempt for those basics terms and concepts that form the acronym P2P.

    Person to person communication is inherent to all humans, and sought out even by those who are handicapped to the extreme. It is the basis of science, individual development, society, and anything else that didn't come from instict or perhaps indirect observation. If you live in a society that doesn't allow newpapers, a certain internet sharing site, or any other medium that allows honest expression then you need to run like hell and be glad that you did. This is testing the waters.

    I remember when using P2P for legimitate uses during the late 90'- early 2000's being so disgusted that the judges at the time couldn't seem to fathom in their wildest dreams how this new means of exchange could possibly be anything other than 100% destructive "theft" oriented black-market oriented, when in reality a lot of early P2P really was centered around specialized information exchange that had a dynamic nature not offered by the web and only hinted at by services like Hotline and the others. Sure the smart people set up their own FTPs, but for many mediums and industries there was little to no expectation-especially at that time- that the person had the skills to do so. The PC was still not on every desktop, or even remotely required for many non-technologically inclined persons.

    This dynamism was of course the same reason Napster and the rest were able to gain such rapid traction- it was so easy, and connective. Before web search got it right, and even still P2P allows personalization and selectivity of content that has never been matched. Those early days of fairly high penetration of modern-like P2P felt like having a personal mailing list but without the management, unlimited hosting, it has integrated search, didn't require much work, and didn't make you wanna move to antarctica in the way you felt after the first attempt to "share" via a dutifully built template based GeoCity's monstrosity.

    But despite the damage done to legitimate P2P by the so-called Napster boom of early last decade I refuse to buy the "blame the tool" B.S. leveled at those site who tended toward unlicensed transfers. It was a shit argument than, and time has only proven even more how P2P really is the core of the internet even if it isn't always manifested purely at the protocol level. Love them or hate them, but sites that allow quick person to person communication like Flickr, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and old stalwarts like email and various chat clients represent the biggest reason people are shifting time away from TV and DVD porn. Sure companies have perverted and manipulated this model- Facebook being perhaps the worst- But the spirit of sharing is so central to human communication and by extension the web that literal clusterfucking; as in clustering us by service or protocol, and then sending in the lawyers to fuck us based on that designation is just wrong. There is perhaps no force that threatens free speech more, than being grouped in and implicated by remote extension with an individual based on their theoretical possibility to commit a potential crime.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday April 02, 2012 @01:11AM (#39546115)

    the copyright holders seem to be finding less and less favor with judges."

    Curiously, all of those judges were replaced when exceptionally large political donations were made to every one of their opponents during the next election. -_- The last time a few judges got it in their head to go against the corporate agenda, they were declared "activist judges" and dealt a massive amount of media spin, quickly ending their careers. That phrase has since lost the spotlight, but the instigators of that media frenzy are still perfectly willing and able to do the same thing.

    • Re:FTFY (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kirijini (214824) <kirijiniNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday April 02, 2012 @01:53AM (#39546297)

      Federal judges are protected by article III of the Constitution, and cannot be removed from office except by impeachment. Many judges never really retire, either, they just become "senior" judges with reduced case loads. They are nominated for their offices by the president and confirmed by the senate.

      They aren't free of corruption (see Justice Thomas, or more specifically, his wife), but the federal judiciary is remarkably free from corporate pressure, and it really is the closest thing the USA has to a bastion of liberty and freedom.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        There is one other way to remove a federal judge from office, but it's, er... 'frowned upon' by law enforcement. And 'polite' society.

        • by Kirijini (214824)

          What, you mean like when Jared Lee Loughner shot and killed Judge John Roll?

          It's pretty tasteless to suggest that only "polite" people disapprove of the assassination of public servants.

      • Re:FTFY (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Monday April 02, 2012 @09:32AM (#39548045) Journal

        the federal judiciary is remarkably free from corporate pressure, and it really is the closest thing the USA has to a bastion of liberty and freedom.

        Which is more sad than anything else.

    • Are judges elected in the US, or just higher positions like attorney generals?

      There's been some griping in Canada over recent "too soft on crime" rulings, and some idiots are saying judges should be elected. This is one of the most monumentally stupid things a democracy can do, as it's effectively mob justice. Judges are supposed to interpret the law, not waste time every X years justifying their decisions to a legally-ignorant electorate too easily swayed by emotions.

  • our plan is working perfectly.

  • "copyright holders seem to be finding less and less favor with judges."

    Maybe the judge found his name in the list of infrigers... :-)

  • We all send them a check for $3.17 right? Thats all I got when they conspired to rip me off for those degradable 20th century recording media they forced on us...

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

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