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NY Judge Rules IP Addresses Insufficient To Identify Pirates 268

Posted by timothy
from the that-pesky-proof-thing dept.
milbournosphere writes "New York Judge Gary Brown has found that IP addresses don't provide enough evidence to identify pirates, and wrote an extensive argument explaining his reasoning. A quote from the judge's order: 'While a decade ago, home wireless networks were nearly non-existent, 61% of U.S. homes now have wireless access. As a result, a single IP address usually supports multiple computer devices – which unlike traditional telephones can be operated simultaneously by different individuals. Different family members, or even visitors, could have performed the alleged downloads. Unless the wireless router has been appropriately secured (and in some cases, even if it has been secured), neighbors or passersby could access the Internet using the IP address assigned to a particular subscriber and download the plaintiff's film.' Perhaps this will help to stem the tide of frivolous mass lawsuits being brought by the RIAA and other rights-holders where IP addresses are the bulk of the 'evidence' suggested."
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NY Judge Rules IP Addresses Insufficient To Identify Pirates

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  • by CriticalAnalysis (2631225) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @05:38PM (#39883295)
    Does this ruling apply if someone downloads child porn, makes bomb threats, discusses with terrorists or other larger crimes? Just saying it should be consistent if pirates get a pass.
  • by pavon (30274) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @05:47PM (#39883451)

    Well, the ruling doesn't really set any legal precedent since it is just a district judge, and it is about a civil case not a criminal one. But it is consistent with how most judges have ruled across the country. The consensus is that it is more than sufficient evidence to get a warrant, is not even close to enough to secure a conviction by itself, but when combined with other evidence may do the job. Just follows common sense really.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @06:45PM (#39884135)

    My understanding of "sufficient" is

    Lawyer: We think that IP is a pirate.

    Judge: Well, I IP is not sufficient ev

    Lawyer: That IP has downloaded 500 movies this month, has never stopped being active in the swarm (so it's not a passerby), runs a linux-based torrent client (they are only ~3% of the desktop market and the dude has an FSF sticker on his car, so it's totally him), and one of the movies was 'Hackers'. Who the hell watches that but geeks who like 'sticking it to the man'?

    Judge: I see. In that case, release the pirate hounds.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @06:46PM (#39884153) Journal

    Except that it is not. I was arrested for "resisting arrest", then added a charge of being "drunk in public" to cover the act that I knew that they couldn't arrest me for resisting arrest alone. They then changed the charge to "Resisting arrest" and "Assault on a police officer" after I informed the police I was neither "drunk" nor in "public" (being sober INSIDE a private residence).

    The prosecutor continued prosecution through the trial and I was acquitted in less than 1 hour. Juries take a very dim view of police trying to cover their asses. It also helps that could recall with exact detail (even to this day) the entire conversation the police officers had trying to cover the fact that they were arresting an asshole (me) who was smarter than they were.

    My suggestion is, don't resist, but don't help them. They often claim the latter is the former, it is not.

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