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UK Court: MPAA Not Entitled To Profits From Piracy 159

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
jfruh writes "The MPAA and other entertainment industry groups have been locked for years in a legal struggle against Newzbin2, a Usenet-indexing site. Since Newzbin2 profited from making it easier for users to find pirated movies online, the MPAA contends they can sue to take those profits on behalf of members who produced that content in the first place. But a British court has rejected that argument."
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UK Court: MPAA Not Entitled To Profits From Piracy

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  • Dear MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:37AM (#42817513) Journal
    Fuck You. Parasitic Bastards.
  • by Sperbels (1008585) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @01:59AM (#42817615)
    Well... don't they?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:00AM (#42817617)

    ..with the view to giving those profits *to* those members?

  • My point exactly! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:07AM (#42817643)

    I've been comparing so-called piracy to historic real estate squatting, rather than comparing it to stealing or thievery as has become the propaganda of Big Content. When a court compares it to real estate trespass, it's recognizing the same disingenuous manipulation of Big Content's propaganda.

  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:14AM (#42817675)

    Well, the judge's argument seems logical to me.

    "Suppose, say, that a market trader sells infringing DVDs, among other goods, from a stall he has set up on someone else's land without consent. The owner of the land could not, as I see it, make any proprietary claim to the proceeds of the trading or even the profit from it. There is no evident reason why the owner of the copyright in the DVDs should be in a better position in this respect," he said.

  • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:14AM (#42817677)
    Since you don't know what profits were from piracy and what was actually legit use of the service can't be determined.
  • Hopefully... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:34AM (#42817749)

    The world is finally getting sick and tired of hearing stupid shit from the MPAA/RIAA media mafia.

    I know i sure am...

    On another silly note. I deserve profits for life because i worked on construction of all MPAA buildings. I'll be waiting for my royalty check you deadbeat fucks.
    Sounds pretty stupid. But hey. That's what you're arguing on some non physical property. So pay me now. Or forever shut the fuck up.

    I also paid taxes that built the roads that the mpaa uses every day. I'll need a kickback on that too. For life.

    I also had children. Future mpaa customers. You need to pay me for providing those. If it wasn't for me you'd have less customers in the future.
    An exponential number of future customers all because of me... Pay up now.

    What? That's all stupid as fuck? Go fuck myself? Well now you know how the world feels about you mpaa assholes....

  • Re:Dear MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:58AM (#42818005) Homepage

    You aren't much into the MPAA's business model are you? The only thing the MPAA creates it wealth for itself.

  • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:13AM (#42818357)

    It'd also mean they'd be guilty of receiving the proceeds of crime, a criminal offense in itself.

  • by admiral snackbar (2559943) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:21AM (#42818605)
    I disagree. I am very sure that whenever the MPAA wins a lawsuit (and unfortunately that happens too), they will publish the result in order to inform/intimidate the public as to the validity of their claims. If the times when the MPAA loses are not published, people might get the perception that the MPAA always wins. Which would be bad.
  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:42AM (#42818923)
    That'll actually make things worse. It'll mean that every company has no choice but to to pursue infringers or risk losing the copyright. An indie studio who can't afford to sue people (especially when the awards would be small or not paid)? They're fucked.
  • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawkinspeter (831501) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:12AM (#42819023)
    That's the most retarded comment I've read all day. How can it be receiving the proceeds of the crime before the crime has been committed? If the robber bought the map from the proceeds of the bank robbery, then why does he need to buy the map?
  • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tapewolf (1639955) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:21AM (#42819051)

    It'd also mean they'd be guilty of receiving the proceeds of crime, a criminal offense in itself.

    More to the point, I am sure that books, music and music are also traded on usenet. So they would actually be profiting from the 'theft' of other people's work, not merely the ones which they own.

  • by BobTheLawyer (692026) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:15AM (#42819265)

    absolutely correct. The case was not about whether MPAA could sue Newzbin for damages - it is clear that under English law it can. But to do so, the MPAA would need to show its members suffered loss, and the MPAA could then only recover for their loss. The members' loss has no direct relationship with Newzbin's profits - it could be more than Newzbin's profits; it could be less than Newzbin's profits.

    In fact pretty hard to show what the MPAA members' loss is - and this case was about a crafty attempt by the MPAA to avoid that difficulty.

    The argument was that Newzbin's profits actually belonged to the MPAA members (in the same way that if you steal my bike, the bike still belongs to me, and if you steal my cash, I can have a proprietary right in your bank account of the same amount). Would be a great result for the MPAA, as they would then simply take the all profit and not need to show any loss. The slight problem was that there was no legal authority for such a claim, and so they lost

    Bob

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:32AM (#42819379)
    If you can afford the F1, you can afford the women that will fit into the "seats."
  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @02:04PM (#42822071) Homepage Journal

    I really don't understand why everyone here makes such a big deal out of this. Is theft some special, awful crime in the US? .. Everyone wastes so much time arguing about an exact physical analogy to copyright infringement that the main issue (without copyright, creators get no financial reward for their work) goes ignored.

    Metaphors can be a tool for avoiding deep thought. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; I'm not saying don't use metaphors or use any other heuristics in order to avoid doing work! Sometimes that's a wise approach, especially if you're trying to do something quickly. Sometimes, though, you want people to think harder, and then you want to discourage metaphors. Perhaps you're not in a hurry. Or you want people to not think, so you encourage a default position which works to your own advantage.

    If copyright infringement is theft, then instead of wasting time thinking about how you might deal with copyright infringement, you can instead think about how you have in the past dealt with theft. (For the most part, people think theft has been covered fairly well, as societies have had millennia to work on it.) Then, if you implement similar policies with regard to copyright infringement, this is simple conservativism rather than radical new-fangled unproven speculation. It's common sense. It's tried and true strategy. Not thinking can be smart! (?!)

    If copyright infringement is not theft, then it's probably dumb to use policies derived from theft. It's going to fail to address the badness in copyright infringement, and it's going to result in collateral damage against innocent non-infringers (i.e. the policy will cause badness of some kind).

    In USA, we currently all vote unanimously for politicians who treat copyright infringement as theft; we've either completely bought into the metaphor, or we act like we have. These lawmakers then pass laws which are based on that idea, so, for example, you get a situation where DRM is seen as being much like a "lock" on someone else's property. Of course you don't break someone else's lock, unless you intend to steal their stuff. From this premise, DMCA isn't absurd.

    On the other hand...

    If you have used a computer for more than a couple weeks, or if you have ever purchased DRMed media and then tried to make use of it, then you start to realize that the "lock" is on something you bought, and keeps you from conveniently making non-infringing use of it. So right off, the metaphor is letting you down, and laws based on it (DMCA) are a kind of injustice. But it gets even worse. You go pirate the thing you already bought, in order to get a DRM-free copy which you're able to play (if the DRM is non-trivial; if the DRM is trivial then you might simply use an illegal player, limiting your "black market" exposure to a single non-recurring instance). Go through this a few times, and you soon get habituated to using the piracy sources routinely, and ..

    .. (huh, that's weird, who could have predicted this?) ..

    .. eventually you stop seeing any advantage to ever bothering with the initial purchasing step. You never get anything useful out of it except a warm'n'fuzzy feeling, and you always have to pirate anyway, so pretty soon the piracy sources become the primary source ("I'll get around to buying the BluRay that the file was derived from, some day.... even though it'll stay shrink-wrapped since staying up-to-date with the keys and the BD+ scheme du jour is so tedious..")..

    .. somehow the lawmakers' metaphor that copyright infringement is theft, not only fails to make a dent in the theft, but is causing creators to get less financial reward. Oops. Instead of the law being a force for justice, it has created an "Everyone loses" situation.

    That is the power of a metaphor, when the metaphor has been d

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