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Piracy The Almighty Buck The Courts Your Rights Online

$1,500,000 Fine For Sharing 10 Movies On BitTorrent 339

Posted by Soulskill
from the equivalent-to-running-over-200-construction-workers dept.
another random user writes with news that a Virginia man, Kywan Fisher, has been ordered to pay $1,500,000 to porn-maker Flava Works for sharing ten of the company's films over BitTorrent. "The huge total was reached through penalties of $150,000 per movie, the maximum possible statutory damages under U.S. copyright law." The man did not make any defense in federal court to Flava Works' copyright infringement claims, so the judge handed down a default judgement. "In 2011 Fisher and several other defendants were sued by adult entertainment company Flava Works. The case in question differs from the so-called 'John Doe' lawsuits as the copyright holder had detailed information on the defendants who had paid accounts on the company’s movie portal. For Fisher the trouble started when instead of just viewing the films for personal entertainment, he allegedly went on to share copies on BitTorrent. These illicit copies were traced directly back to his account through a code embedded in the videos. ... The verdict will be welcomed by Flava and the many other copyright holders involved in BitTorrent lawsuits in the United States. DieTrollDie, a close follower and critic of these cases, points out that it will be widely cited in settlement letters to other defendants, but that the case itself is notably different. 'This was not the normal Copyright Troll case – there was some actual evidence beyond a public IP address. Not a smoking gun by far, but certainly enough to show a preponderance of evidence,' DTD writes.
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$1,500,000 Fine For Sharing 10 Movies On BitTorrent

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  • Re:embedded code? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:49AM (#41851843)

    They probably did a steganography on some key frames in the movie.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:57AM (#41851897) Homepage

    Play the video on the screen and record it with your camcorder before you share it. The analog-HOLE will save you from detection.... Unless they do the punched hole technique that Hollywood does on some frames in a movie.... Then you are hosed....

  • by siddesu (698447) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:01AM (#41851929)
    What useful arts and sciences does it promote? And then, why isn't the penalty declared unconstitutional, it is obvious the penalty exceeds the harm done many times over.
  • by Novogrudok (2486718) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:02AM (#41851937)

    "[porn distributor] had detailed information on the defendants who had paid accounts on the company’s movie portal"

    Look, anybody who voluntarily surrenders *their own credit card details with their real name on it* to an internet porn distributor just asks for trouble.

  • Spin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by biodata (1981610) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:02AM (#41851939)
    The quoted story sounds like it's full of spin. The way I read the story from the BBC was that there were several defendants, most got thrown out of court due to there being no actual evidence of guilt (IP addresses anyone?) and this guy was found against because he didn't bother turning up. Maybe I misread it though.
  • Re:WTF... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tgd (2822) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:07AM (#41851963)

    The problem is not Bittorrent. The problem is what you use Bittorent for.
    I I use Bittorent almost exclusivly for down/uploading Linux iso's so I think I'm pretty safe.

    No, for the particular use case this guy (and the GP) are talking about, Bittorrent is, in fact, a dumb solution. The downloading isn't the problem, the sharing back of data you didn't originate is.

    And more generically, you're wrong anyway. If someone rooted one of the seeds of your Linux ISO and stuck a bunch of child porn in it, you're guilty of both downloading and distributing child pornography at that point. It doesn't matter what you say you were doing, or that you didn't produce the ISO. And you can't really detect there's a problem until you've already downloaded the whole ISO so you can hash the file. Now, maybe you get your .torrent files from somewhere secure, but people get onto distro servers with some regularity.

    So, the GP is absolutely right -- using Bittorrent to download and re-seed anything you didn't explicitly produce yourself is, in fact, unsafe, and doing so with content you know is illegal is just plain stupid.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:47AM (#41852343)

    People pay for the higher quality stuff. Not higher quality as in HD resolution but higher quality as in more attractive stars doing hotter acts. If you've only seen free porn, you haven't seen the good stuff yet.

  • Re:WTF... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:08AM (#41852551) Journal

    No you aren't. You only need to provide an offer, good for 3 years, to provide the source code for a nominal fee. If you are distributing the source code unmodified, then you can provide a copy of the offer that you received from upstream[1]. Any Linux ISO that you download will also contain this offer, so by passing it on unmodified you are not violating the GPL.

    [1] This actually provides a fairly simple loophole if you're willing to wait three years: take some GPL code, modify it, and give it to a third party. They then sit on it for three years and then sell it as a binary-only product. They pass on your (now expired) offer, and no one has the right to demand the source code from you.

  • Re:embedded code? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:18PM (#41854075)
    I work for a provider of digitally downloaded music, and we use watermarking.
    Several years ago, we had an incident where a high-profile music score was released earlier than intended (a winner of a talent show of some sort IIRC), sold a handful of copies before realising the mistake, and then removing the track again. It popped up on piratebay shortly after, and thanks to watermarking, we were easily able to locate the exact individual who shared the track.

    Turned out the marketing guys didn't wanna follow up on the case, apparently because they were afraid to lose reputation with the legit customers.
    To this day, I still have this weird "What is power if you don't use it!" feeling when thinking of the case, and I'm regularly annoyed by uneducated masses who essentially doesn't believe such technology exists and can practically be applied.

    Posting anonymously for probably obvious reasons.

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