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Music Industry Suits Could Bankrupt Pirate Party Members 215

Posted by timothy
from the joint-and-several dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Music industry group BPI has threatened legal action against six members of the UK Pirate Party, after the party refused to take its Pirate Bay proxy offline. BPI seems to want to hold the individual members of the party responsible for copyright infringements that may occur via the proxy, which puts them at risk of personal bankruptcy. Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye criticized the latest music industry threats and reiterated that blocking The Pirate Bay is a disproportionate measure."
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Music Industry Suits Could Bankrupt Pirate Party Members

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  • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:38PM (#42304603) Journal

    If so, the money they get from the SLAPP-back lawsuits could fill the Pirate Party's campaign coffers for the next century. This is a very stupid move for any large group of companies to pull. If BPI has even a mote of legal sense, they need to fire their lawyers now, pull out of the suit, and offer a settlement in exchange for the Pirate Party not countersuing.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:57PM (#42304705)

      IIRC, the UK has a rule where the winning party is paid their legal fees by the losing side.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @09:36PM (#42304853)

      Hint: The music industry is tiny. The whole global revenue of the music industry (2011) is about as much as the profits of a single German construction company (Holzwinkel) were before they went bankrupt. It's insane. The whole German revenue of the music industry is as "big" as the revenue of the public transportation company (KVB) of one single 1 million people city (Cologne)!

      That is nothing! If I were a big company, I would just buy the big three [wikipedia.org], fire them all, and be done with it. I could file the expenses under "bought new toilet brushes for the entire company", and nobody would even blink. I'm surprised Google and Apple haven't already done it. I mean the cartel watchdogs won't complain. It already is a cartel.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @10:02PM (#42304967)

        The whole global revenue of the music industry (2011) is about as much as the profits of a single German construction company (Holzwinkel) were before they went bankrupt.

        Based on the numbers listed for tax purposes.

        • by fostware (551290) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @01:07AM (#42305683) Homepage

          +1

          Remember their imaginative lawyers are second only to their imaginative accountants - just ask the artists...

          • Remember their imaginative lawyers are second only to their imaginative accountants - just ask the artists...

            Everybody imagines accountancy and the legal professions to be dry, bookish jobs dealing in facts, history and obscurae.

            But the truth is that those jobs are just as creative as writers, painters or musicians.

            If anything, we should be paying them more!

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The whole global revenue of the music industry (2011) is about as much as the profits of a single German construction company (Holzwinkel) were before they went bankrupt.

          Based on the numbers listed for tax purposes.

          If someone with racks and stacks of cash wanted to salt their ground they could initiate hostile takeovers against them, and then laugh and laugh as they had to admit how badly they're cheesing the numbers in order to prove their financial solvency and their ability to operate without being bought out.

      • by westlake (615356) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @02:34AM (#42305917)

        That is nothing! If I were a big company, I would just buy the big three, fire them all, and be done with it.

        The big three are Universal Music Group Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

        UMG in turn is a division of Vivendi and WMG a division of Access Industries.

        Access Industries is one those blandly named, incredibly rich --- and all-but-invisible --- privately held conglomerates that seem to have a hand in almost everything: Russian oil, petrochemicals, aluminum, broadcasting, mobile communications, hotels, real estate and so on.

        Vivendi's assets, which include 61% of Activision Blizzard, are worth about 56 billion euros, which is by no means pocket change.

        It may have escaped the geek's attention, but companies that actually make big investments in popular entertainment --- not fantasy buy-outs on Slashdot --- tend to be very protective of their IP.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @03:45PM (#42308223) Journal

        You are forgetting about Hollywood Accounting [wikipedia.org] which allows them to make record profits WHILE not paying the artists shit AND in some cases actually getting rebates from Uncle Sam! After all this is the same bunch of scum that had the big brass balls to say "Bat Out Of Hell I", an album that just FYI has the RECORD for the longest time for an album on the Billboard Top 200, didn't make a cent and which caused Meatloaf to go bankrupt not once but twice trying to get paid anything for his record setting album. This is also the same group of pricks that say "If your album came out before iTunes we don't owe you shit on digital sales" which is why Cheap trick and Styx and several other big 70s acts are now suing because they haven't seen a single PENNY from iTunes sales, they kept every cent!

        So excuse me if I say "Please snatch every damned song you can" to everybody out there, between their bribery to get copyrights turned into Valenti's "Forever minus a single day" (if there is a hell may he rot) and fucking the artists out of the mere pittance they were due in the first place? These cocksuckers complaining about people ripping them off is like a mugger having the gall to bitch about how while he was busy mugging your ass somebody broke into his place and stold his stereo! Boo fucking hoo, please go DIAF you worthless leeches on the ass of society. All you do is rob kids by paying them a pittance and then find ways to make sure they don't even get that while you lock the music they worked so hard to create behind a paywall and demand they pay you every time they play their own song. Fuck off and die, you rich old pieces of human waste.

    • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @09:42PM (#42304869) Journal

      The UK doesn't have SLAPP laws. In theory, frivolous lawsuits are supposed to be shut down by the judges before they get that far. While there's no real way to counter-sue, this sort of behaviour is usually dealt with through costs orders (making the side wasting the other's time pay all the other's costs).

      Of course, if the BPI win (or the Party runs out of funds first), that's another matter...

      • by Xest (935314) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @05:45AM (#42306263)

        The UK does however also have a list of vexatious litigants:

        http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/vexatious-litigants [justice.gov.uk]

        These are people who can no longer bring civil suits because they have taken the piss too much. If the BPI files too many frivolous lawsuits it's staff (likely it's lawyers) will find themselves no longer able to practice in civil suits because they will become named on this list.

        • Yes, but to get on that list you have to be a vexatious litigant; and bringing (or threatening to bring) one case against a few people in what is a fairly grey legal area probably won't cover that.

          • by Xest (935314)

            Yes, it fundamentally depends on how many. If they're talking about a large number of members including some who have merely given financial contribution to the party then that would almost certainly be construed as vexatious litigation as it would be a clear attempt to subdue the party by going after it's funding source- it's members.

            If it's just going after the members who actually setup, and maintained the proxy, then you're probably right, it wouldn't be enough.

            This said, the vexatious litigant list is

  • Seems like... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:39PM (#42304615)

    ...BPI wants to create some martyrs and boost the UK pirate party right to the parliament.

  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meglon (1001833) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:40PM (#42304621)
    Bribing, threatening, or extorting, public officials should be a no-no. Perhaps Scotland Yard should crawl up BPI's ass with a microscope, and start tossing people in jail.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:58PM (#42304709) Homepage

      Bribing, threatening, or extorting, public officials should be a no-no.

      Well, yes, but what's that got to do with this? Being a member of a political party doesn't make you a public official, and the only thing being threatened here is legal action, which is perfectly, well, legal.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Since when is a torrent/magnet link illegal or a copyright infringement?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bribing, threatening, or extorting, public officials should be a no-no.

        Well, yes, but what's that got to do with this? Being a member of a political party doesn't make you a public official, and the only thing being threatened here is legal action, which is perfectly, well, legal.

        On the contrary. Threatening legal action as a form of extortion is called "Barratry" and is illegal.

        • On the contrary. Threatening legal action as a form of extortion is called "Barratry" and is illegal.

          What indications are there that this is what's happening here?

        • failing to warn people that you have a problem with their actions, and just leaping straight to a court case is also bad.

          I'm fairly sure that what you call 'threatening', the BPI would call 'fair warning'

          Not that I support their case, just that if they are going to take it - I would absolutely require them to warn the pirate party, and attempt a settlement first.

          I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure this is how the british legal system encourages people to act.

      • by Tuoqui (1091447)

        Yeah threatening legal action is also called blackmail in some circles too... I guess it just depends on how much money you have whether it's 'legal action' or 'blackmail'.

    • by matunos (1587263)

      They have to be public officials first, and threatening to sue is not really extortion.

  • by Lisias (447563) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:58PM (#42304707) Homepage Journal

    This will open a precedent.

    Just think : "Individuals are being charged for felonies committed by the organization".

    Microsoft, Exxon, MPAA, RIAA et all !!!!

    Man, I can't hold myself in the chair, this can be great!!!

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      This will open a precedent.

      Just think : "Individuals are being charged for felonies committed by the organization".

      Microsoft, Exxon, MPAA, RIAA et all !!!!

      Man, I can't hold myself in the chair, this can be great!!!

      Just think, a morally bankrupt organization trying to financially bankrupt another. Neil Young may have something to say about that.

    • Hmmm generally to take advantage of the corporate veil requires that you uh incorporate first.

  • by Mister Liberty (769145) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @09:08PM (#42304739)

    Take names, kick ass.

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @10:52PM (#42305159) Homepage
    Shall we?  I'd be happy to organize it.
  • by jsepeta (412566) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:55PM (#42305413) Homepage
    at $200,000 a song, and not being held to prove intent to distribute, the music industry could prosecute anyone into bankruptcy. fuck them. i paid piracy taxes on blank cd's and blank cassette tapes, taxes which go straight into the RIAA's coffers. yet i record my own music, and am blamed ahead of time for crimes i haven't committed. so yes, fuck the music industry, fuck them all the way.
  • by Cassini2 (956052) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @01:10AM (#42305691)

    The McLibel [mcspotlight.org] trial was widely regarded as the biggest publicity disaster [wikipedia.org] to every hit McDonalds.

    This case is so peripherally connected with file sharing, that it could sour the public on the recording industry. Specifically, if England, if they go to trial, the can subpoena the record company executives to testify at trial. There is no end of embarassing documents that might come up.

    • The content industry has no reputation left to loose, the days people liked a record label as much as an artist is long gone.

      Furthermore, the case would be fought by a proxy, not by a restaurant chain people have to physically enter to buy stuff from.

      McDonald's has lots of competition for food pounds, the content industry controls ALL content, they are united. If people wanted to boycott McDonald's (and how many did that anyway?) they can still go to Burger King. If they want to boycott the record labels,

  • by Sean (422) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @02:52AM (#42305961)

    Purchasing music, movies, or paying for cable TV is immoral. Just don't do it, and try your best to stop your friends and family from doing it.

    • Purchasing music, movies, or paying for cable TV is immoral.

      I don't see why. Giving money to companies associated with these ass clowns is, sure. But there's a world of stuff out there. It's perfectly possible to acquite art, pay the artist and not involve these litigious bastards in any way whatsoever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Is it? Please tell me which cable TV company you use that is not associated with these ass clowns in any way or form NOR does it financially contribute to these ass clowns. I'm curious...

        GP is right. If you are giving money to these litigious bastards, you are part of the PROBLEM, not of the solution.

        Some things are more important than getting your quick fix of entertainment.

        With that said, I agree with you... there are indie artists out there that actually deserve your money. Look for them, love them, supp

  • by Martin S. (98249) <Martin.Spamer@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @06:10AM (#42306315) Homepage Journal

    The Pirate Party should consider the McLibel defence [wikipedia.org].

  • That is all this is, no real 'escalation' has occurred. I dont think this 'war' will ever end anyway, much like the 'war on terror', so instead of getting all worked up about today's silliness, its better to just plan for the long term.

  • by beatsme (1472991) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @03:10PM (#42308065)
    Quick, someone set-up a proxy of their proxy.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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