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Piracy The Courts

Appeals Court Upholds Sanction Against BitTorrent Download Attorney 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld sanctions awarded by a District Court against one of the lawyers bringing copyright infringement cases against individuals for BitTorrent movie downloads, in Mick Haig Productions v. Does 1-670. The Court's opinion (PDF) described the lawyer's 'strategy' as 'suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars — a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.'"
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Appeals Court Upholds Sanction Against BitTorrent Download Attorney

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @09:39PM (#40635039)

    The Gentleman's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, feds, etc.)
    http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm [cryptome.org]
    http://pastebin.com/irj4Fyd5 [pastebin.com]

  • by Drishmung (458368) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:04PM (#40635169)
    Drawn and quartered?

    I don't think we do that any more.

    "For the term of his natural life"?
    I'm betting not.

    Some time in prison?
    After all, as an officer of the court, he's undermined the institution. Surely this should be treated seriously?

    A large fine?
    ???

    ...and of course, disbarment.

    I really don't know, but I'm guessing none of the above.
    So, what are the consequences of his actions?

  • Re:Plea bargains? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:21PM (#40635283) Journal

    I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

    The flip side is, that if you "did the crime" you'd be offered two choices. Plead or trial, with much stiffer penalties for trial than for pleading. How many trials are for people so obviously guilty that everyone in the court already knows they did it (film, witnesses, caught in the act etc) that get trials because they want the charade of a trial.

    To Temper the Prosecution's zeal, they would be held accountable for all the prosecutions they have, and if they get a "conviction" of someone who is later proved innocent (i.e. DNA proof), that they are tossed in Jail for the remainder of the plaintiffs sentence.

    All Lawyers would be "public" lawyers, and would be assigned randomly to one side or the other side of the case. Lawyers with extensive experience and a proven record would be eligible for Judgeships.

    I'm sure it isn't a perfect system, but I suspect that it would function better than the crapshoot and Lawyer Wars we have now.

  • Re:Plea bargains? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tanktalus (794810) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @11:09PM (#40635585) Journal

    I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

    This makes some sense. The state has significantly more resource available than your average accused and should always be interested in truth and justice, not convictions. Unfortunately, management gets in the way, and they want to measure something. Measuring convictions is way too easy to measure, nevermind that it measures the Wrong Thing.

    The flip side is, that if you "did the crime" you'd be offered two choices. Plead or trial, with much stiffer penalties for trial than for pleading. How many trials are for people so obviously guilty that everyone in the court already knows they did it (film, witnesses, caught in the act etc) that get trials because they want the charade of a trial.

    Again, fairly reasonable. Playing poker for time instead of money, makes sense.

    To Temper the Prosecution's zeal, they would be held accountable for all the prosecutions they have, and if they get a "conviction" of someone who is later proved innocent (i.e. DNA proof), that they are tossed in Jail for the remainder of the plaintiffs sentence.

    Woah, Nelly. That's almost like penalising me the cost of fixing a bug for having written one. A bit extreme. Yes, if there is evidence of malicious prosecution, I don't think prosecutorial immunity should apply. However, mistakes are made, and you don't throw someone in jail for mistakes. Even today, police officers and prosecutors will decline charges over mistakes (at least if they're in a good mood). Don't make them more snarky, please.

    And if prosecutorial misconduct is proven, "remainder of the plaintiff's sentence" is only going to make them stall and/or obstruct. It's a new criminal charge, it gets its own time. But I could go for a karmic "the greater of 2 years and the time served by the maliciously prosecuted".

    All Lawyers would be "public" lawyers, and would be assigned randomly to one side or the other side of the case. Lawyers with extensive experience and a proven record would be eligible for Judgeships.

    I'm sure it isn't a perfect system, but I suspect that it would function better than the crapshoot and Lawyer Wars we have now.

    Unfortunately, at least in the US, "free speech" would prevent this aspect.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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