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Crime The Internet

Troll Complaint Dismissed; Subscriber Not Necessarily Infringer 189

Posted by timothy
from the common-sense-sneaks-in dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The courts are finally starting to get it, that the subscriber to an internet access account which has been used for a copyright infringement is not necessarily the infringer. In AF Holdings v. Rogers, a case in the Southern District of California, the Chief Judge of the Court has granted a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim where the only evidence the plaintiff has against defendant is that defendant appears to have been the subscriber to the internet access account in question. In his 7-page opinion (PDF), Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz noted that 'just because an IP address is registered to an individual does not mean that he or she is guilty of infringement when that IP address is used to commit infringing activity.'"
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Troll Complaint Dismissed; Subscriber Not Necessarily Infringer

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  • Great news!
  • On Appeal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gpmanrpi (548447) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @03:47PM (#42971825)
    This needs to be held up on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, and we can celebrate. Otherwise this is a smart District Court Judge's ruling that is only persuasive in other cases.
    • by Nukenbar (215420)

      This needs to be held up on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, and we can celebrate. Otherwise this is a smart District Court Judge's ruling that is only persuasive in other cases.

      That is why something like this will almost never be appealed. The MPAA doesn't want to create any "bad law" for themselves.

      And of course the winner can't "appeal" even if he wanted to create the precedent.

      • "That is why something like this will almost never be appealed. "

        Granted, you did say "almost" never. But a winner can sometimes appeal if they have legitimate grounds to feel the judgment was not fair or in accordance with the law.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I agree its probably best to wait until its moved higher up the chain. the frankly depressing news nobody seems to be talking about is what the "six strikes" crap that the ISPs have wholly embraced is gonna do to free Wifi which is kill it deader than Dixie. If you've looked at their little six strikes plans they don't have any kind of "safe harbor" provisions so all it will take is somebody looking at anything the media corps don't like (because frankly their definition of "infringing" seems to be "anythin

  • ... perhaps still responsible.

    Many ISP's terms of service hold the subscriber responsible for any activity coming from the IP addresses that they are leasing to the subscriber, and can in those cases still be held civilly liable (albeit not criminally).

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Well, in this case obviously the subscriber was not held to be civilly or criminally liable. If the ISP chooses to suspend or terminate the subscribers account based on the allegations of the 3rd party, then I guess that's their prerogative. However the ISP probably isn't going to have any proof of the infringement other than what the 3rd party claims, and the 3rd party probably isn't going to get involved in a case with further significant evidence other than basic information on a sheet of paper that ma

    • From the opinion:

      However, the Court is concerned about the lack of facts establishing that Defendant
      was using that IP address at that particular time. Indeed, the FAC does not explain what
      link, if any, there is between Defendant and the IP address. It is possible that Plaintiff sued
      Defendant because he is the subscriber to IP address 68.8.137.53. (The Court notes that
      it is actually unclear whether the IP address is registered to Defendant). As recognized by
      many courts, just because an IP address is registered to an individual does not mean that
      he or she is guilty of infringement when that IP address is used to commit infringing activity.

      Basically the plaintiff needs to subpoena the ISP for logs indicating that the IP was assigned to the defendant at the time of the alleged infringement. The IP alone will not be considered proof. Hopefully this stands on appeal on the basis of common sense.

  • More evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @03:57PM (#42971953) Homepage

    Is this really something to cheer about? Rah rah yay evil copyright trolls defeated! But wait... is this really fair?

    The judge's ruling states that an IP address isn't sufficient information to bring a claim, and that discovery is not permitted. Doesn't that make it pretty much impossible to file a copyright infringement claim against someone for downloading a file? The only way I can think of to tie an IP address download to an individual would be to look at the hard drive of the computer to determine if the file was ever there.

    The judge also points out that the owner of the wireless network is under no legal obligation to protect their wireless network from someone else using it. So it upholds the wireless network claim, although it wasn't used in this decision.

    I am no fan of the copyright trolls, but I don't think making it completely impossible to track down copyright infringement cases is fair either.

    Last note:
    The judge granted the motion on one of three counts brought against the individual. They can refile on the first two counts if they can find a way to identify the individual, not just the IP address.

    • Re:More evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

      by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:01PM (#42972011)

      Doesn't that make it pretty much impossible to file a copyright infringement claim against someone for downloading a file?

      Oh gosh, we can only hope.

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        And why is that good?

        The fact that the parent's snarky comment was modded to 4, while I bothered to read the judge's report, and point out the pros and cons of the ruling -- that gets modded up, then down, up, then down. Slashdot needs to grow up.

        Slashdot mentality:
        Copyright on TV and movies is evil! And games! I can watch or play whatever I want for free! And with no ads!
        Copyright on indie games? Or open source applications? That's good however.

        • by lgw (121541)

          First of all, downloading a file hasn't (yet) been a cause for complaint in any of these copyright claims, perhaps you meant sharing a file?

        • by maxdread (1769548)

          However, how is it fair to be forced to give up my PC to a 3rd party all based on an IP address. It sucks that it leaves little room for investigating copyright infringement but someone shouldn't have their lives turned upside down, even temporarily, based on just an IP address.

    • Re:More evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:10PM (#42972107) Homepage

      The judge's ruling states that an IP address isn't sufficient information to bring a claim, and that discovery is not permitted. Doesn't that make it pretty much impossible to file a copyright infringement claim against someone for downloading a file?

      It needs to be made more difficult, and there needs to be some burden of proof shifted to the accuser.

      So many of these they seem to send the "you've been caught downloading, pay us this much money and this goes away" extortion letters, or they file the John Doe lawsuits to get the subscribers names, and then sue them that way. They just go with presumed guilt, and make it impossible for someone to defend themselves without bankrupting themselves.

      I am no fan of the copyright trolls, but I don't think making it completely impossible to track down copyright infringement cases is fair either.

      It doesn't need to be completely impossible ... but there does need to be some actual evidence beyond "I have your IP address, therefore it was you" stuff they do now. They've been trending too much to the point where they can claim anything with no real evidence, and the courts follow along.

      • by rwise2112 (648849)

        ... but there does need to be some actual evidence beyond "I have your IP address, therefore it was you" stuff they do now. They've been trending too much to the point where they can claim anything with no real evidence, and the courts follow along.

        Nonsense: MPAA accuses laser printer [afterdawn.com]

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        It doesn't need to be completely impossible ... but there does need to be some actual evidence beyond "I have your IP address, therefore it was you" stuff they do now.

        So then, we are in agreement that this ruling is bad. This ruling says that they must tie it to an individual, but they are not allowed to do any investigation that would help them in doing that.

        • MobyDisk:

          This ruling says that they must tie it to an individual, but they are not allowed to do any investigation that would help them in doing that.

          I have hunted the 7-page decision in vain for the spot where the judge forbade Plaintiff "to do any investigation that would help ... ." The judge merely required Plaintiff to mention some alleged facts that, if proved, would associate Plaintiff with the alleged copyright infringment. According to the decision, Plaintiff merely mentioned an IP number, and di

          • The only way that a Plaintiff could obtain the evidence needed is with a subpoena. The judge dismissed the case before allowing any subpoenas to occur. Therefore the judge forbade the Plantiff from doing any useful investigation.

            • The only way that a Plaintiff could obtain the evidence needed is with a subpoena. The judge dismissed the case before allowing any subpoenas to occur.

              That's not what the decision says. The judge did not dismiss the 2 copyright infringment claims. He did not require evidence. He required before proceeding that Plaintiff reveal information, which Plaintiff claimed to possess already, linking Defendant to the IP number. Plaintiff dropped the suit without revealing that information. Subpoenas are by no mean

            • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @11:07PM (#42975817) Homepage

              The only way that a Plaintiff could obtain the evidence needed is with a subpoena. The judge dismissed the case before allowing any subpoenas to occur.

              No, the judge forbade them from going on a fishing expedition to try to make their case based on nothing other than an IP address.

              Lack of evidence isn't a basis to get a subpoena to gather more evidence. It means you lack evidence.

              Therefore the judge forbade the Plantiff from doing any useful investigation.

              No, the judge correctly identified that they haven't done any useful investigation, and that they need something more substantial to file a lawsuit.

              Or do you think that if I loudly accused you of embezzling money you should be immediately arrested and your stuff searched to provide evidence that what I said is true? I suspect you'd demand that I show evidence first. These guys are asking to be provided with evidence for their accusations, but haven't provided enough to support the claim.

              The judge hasn't hampered the case of the plaintiff, he's told them they haven't established one with anything they can link to the named individual. It actually puts the burden of proof on them, which is the way it should be.

      • Indeed. And it shouldn't be completely impossible for the average Joe or Jane to defend themselves against the legal steamroller, either. This Inquisition has been way, way to unbalanced in favor of the accusers for way too long. Accept extortionate demand or be bankrupted trying to prove your innocence. It isn't fair.

    • Re:More evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by taucross (1330311) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:19PM (#42972223)
      Fairness happens through a strict audit chain of deductive evidence. An IP address is not a way of identifying criminal liability. This is a fact, no matter how unfair it may seem. It can identify a person, yes; the account holder. But it does not then follow that the account holder is culpable. Do you think it is better to convict an innocent person, or to let a guilty person go free? The question is deeply philosophical and most tantalising.
      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        Fairness happens through a strict audit chain of deductive evidence. An IP address is not a way of identifying criminal liability.

        1) There is no criminal liability involved here. This is a civil case.

        This is a fact, no matter how unfair it may seem. It can identify a person, yes; the account holder. But it does not then follow that the account holder is culpable.

        2) yes, I agree. I said as much in my post. You missed the my point entirely.

        The problem is that the judge forbids discovery. Apparently no one on Slashdot knows what that means. It means that they are forbidden from obtaining any more evidence or doing any more research. They can't look at the network, or the hard drives, or anything. They can't contact the ISP. Nada. So even if they could prove it was an individual, they are no

        • I was under the impression the discovery in question means the court won't compel the account holder to hand over all of their computers to be forensically investigated, or compel anyone else to do it as part of the legal proceedings.
          Not that they can't investigate by going to the site the file was downloaded from, asking "was this downloaded by an account under the name Bob IPAddress" but the site owner is allowed to refuse.
          I just thought that the court won't do court orders for fishing trips.
          If I had your

        • From the post above by MobyDisk:

          The problem is that the judge forbids discovery. Apparently no one on Slashdot knows what that means. It means that they are forbidden from obtaining any more evidence or doing any more research.

          I hunted through the judge's decision, and could not find where he forbade discovery. I found that he required some alleged facts actually connecting the defendant to the alleged infringement. He didn't require evidence at this stage, merely a statement of a plausible specific claim

        • MobyDisk:

          The problem is that the judge forbids discovery. Apparently no one on Slashdot knows what that means. It means that they are forbidden from obtaining any more evidence or doing any more research.

          Well, I do know what "discovery" means (Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org]). The judge indicated that Plaintiff had not explained allegations well enough to justify certain types of discovery. By no means did he say "that they are forbidden from obtaining any more evidence or doing any more research." "Discovery" means req

    • by rwise2112 (648849)

      The only way I can think of to tie an IP address download to an individual would be to look at the hard drive of the computer to determine if the file was ever there.

      And how do you tie the user to the computer? Many computers are used by more than one person.

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        If it was a shared computer, such as at a library or school, then they would probably need to see who was logged-in at the time it was downloaded. They could also look at the date stamp on the file on the computer, or see whose user directory it was in. But at the moment, the ruling forbids any of that since it forbids discovery.

        My complaint with the ruling is that it forbids them from doing the investigation that would help them determine this!

    • But wait... is this really fair?

      Are you kidding me?

      These jerks abuse the legal system to conduct extortion. Several prominent trolls are facing serious jail time for their crimes, which are numerous. And here you are worried that they have to have actual proof before trying to ruin somebodys life?!
      • But wait... is this really fair?

        Are you kidding me?

        These jerks abuse the legal system to conduct extortion. Several prominent trolls are facing serious jail time for their crimes, which are numerous. And here you are worried that they have to have actual proof before trying to ruin somebodys life?!

        LOL.

        Now let's see, do I think it's fair? Hmmmm..........

        Uh......., yeah, I do.

    • ... Doesn't that make it pretty much impossible to file a copyright infringement claim against someone for downloading a file? The only way I can think of to tie an IP address download to an individual would be to look at the hard drive of the computer to determine if the file was ever there...

      You may be entirely right, and I simply don't care.

      Yes, I have friends and family who depend on their intellectual property to survive - they're artists, and it's a hard slog.

      However, I believe "no illegal search and seizure" is still an important principle, and remains a fundamental right, whether or not people believe the Constitution is still enforceable. It's still a document worth fighting for.

      There are trolls (noun) and people who troll (verb). To paw through peoples' belongings without a court orde

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        However, I believe "no illegal search and seizure" is still an important principle, and remains a fundamental right,

        100% agreed! This is very true. But it also has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion. There was no illegal search and seizure. There is no copyright troll involved here either. Save your rant for the next RIAA/MPAA story.

        The question I posed in this discussion is: why did the judge dismiss a request for legal discovery from a legitimate copyright holder who presented seemingly valid evidence? If this is the standard, how can a copyright holder prove a download was illegal?

        • by lgw (121541)

          It's not the court's job to prove the case on the platiff's behalf. Gaining enough evidence is entirely the plantiffs problem. The jusge decided that knowing an IP address was not sufficient evidence against any one person to justify seizure and search of any one person's computers. That seems right to me.

          Surely "probable cause" for a search must mean "more than 50%" by any reading of "probable". Come to court with evidence demonstrating a better than 50% chance that a specific person wronged you, or lea

        • There is no copyright troll involved here either.

          Actually the small team of lawyers in this case are often considered the kings of copyright trolling, responsible for pursuing legal action against upwards of one hundred thousand people in just a few years.

          Lets assume they've been doing this for 3 years, and work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. That gives them 374400 minutes of time spent, suing lets say 100k people. That gives us somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.74 minutes of discovery and case-bui
  • The pdf states that only claim 3 (negligence to secure ones internet connect) was dismissed. Claims 1 and 2 were deferred back to the plaintiff to provide more evidence to provide the claim that the defendant commited infringment and willingly redistributed copyrighted material. They plaintiffs have 20 days from the ruling to provide thsi evidence.
  • This is big (Score:5, Informative)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:29PM (#42972355) Homepage Journal
    This ruling is huge.

    Ever since I first got involved in fighting the RIAA's litigation campaign, and blogging about it, in 2005 [that's almost 8 years ago] I've been arguing that it is not a sufficient basis to bring a lawsuit against someone that an internet access account for which he or she pays the bill was used by someone for a copyright infringement. Even though I, and lots of other lawyers, and lots of other techies, and lots of other people from all walks of life knew this, I have never -- until this ruling -- seen a JUDGE dismiss a complaint because of this.

    If those of you who are saying this is "not a big deal" or "was expected" know of any prior decisions like this, please show them to me. Otherwise, STFU about it not being big. After about 10 years and hundreds of thousands of frivolous lawsuits, finally a judge has pointed out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.

    It is one of the most newsworthy copyright posts I have ever seen on Slashdot.
    • Re:This is big (Score:4, Interesting)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:07PM (#42972917)

      This ruling is not just huge - if upheld all the way, this could be the death knell for any hope of enforcing copyrights where it comes to individual users/distributors as long as the internet or structures like it (a potentially shared resource as the only identifying element) is involved.

      This is basically me, downloading all of the movies currently on offer on TPB, putting them on a server, and seeding them for as long as that system will last, sharing these movies with hundreds of thousands of people during the course of its operation, with there being nothing for the copyright holders to even start forming litigation around short of a John Doe; which doesn't get them very far if a judge is just going to say "who is John Doe?" and the answer is "we don't know, that's why it's a John Doe."

      They can write to my ISP, and even my ISP would have to concede that while the complaining party may very well have an IP address and a timestamp, and my ISP may very know which account that is assigned to, due to the fact that even my ISP doesn't know who - in terms of a legal entity - actually used the account.

      At worst, my ISP has a clause saying that the account may be closed if they have a reasonable suspicion that I am indeed performing the above - but they'll likely still try to shy away from doing so.

      The question is, how is this going to be countered? If there's one thing we've learned over time it's that the copyright holders will not just let the inevitable come easy.

      Will laws be constructed, or (re)interpreted, such that the account holder can be held legally accountable for that which is done through the account? Will only authorized modems be allowed on ISP networks with users wishing to use these modems required to use a token that identifies the person per-packet up to the ISP and make them legally responsible to take great care that this token remains only with them? If this, will lobby groups (and I'm not just thinking of 'big content' here) then push to have this per-packet identification be sent out across all of the internet so that infringement of all sorts can be dealt with directly?

      Yes, this is a victory on many levels for the great majority of internet users (albeit just a little more for 'pirates' who stand to benefit the most). Just don't be surprised if it's going to get worse long before it's going to get better.

      That said, there's that 'if' at the top of my comment. That's a big 'if'.

      On a side note: Good to see you again, NYCL - it's been a while.

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      Ray, given that they withdrew the case, does that still make this ruling precedent? And on what level of precedent? Federal, or just this circuit?

      • Ray, given that they withdrew the case, does that still make this ruling precedent? And on what level of precedent?

        It's not binding precedent, but IMHO it represents strong persuasive authority.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      Hey NYCL,

      So I got beat up here at Slashdot for suggesting that the judge should have granted discovery. Can you clarify here for me? Based on my reading of the ruling, the judge said that they could refile if they had additional evidence pointing to an individual. But it also seemed to deny any possibility for discovery. How could they tie it to an individual if they can't file for discovery? They could have looked at network logs, or hard drive contents, etc. and possibly proved who downloaded the fil

      • Re:This is big (Score:5, Informative)

        by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday February 21, 2013 @05:46PM (#42973391) Homepage Journal
        Moby, the thing is you're supposed to have done an investigation BEFORE bringing a federal lawsuit. When a lawyer signs his name to the complaint he's affirming that he's done that and has EVIDENCE that the DEFENDANT committed a copyright infringement.

        In the federal rules there's no procedure for bringing a lawsuit against someone to give yourself the ability to conduct an "Investigation" with all the coercive powers of a court at your disposal.

        This judge just called the plaintiff's lawyer's bluff, which is why the lawyer put his tail between his legs and ran.
        • by MobyDisk (75490)

          So where does discovery come in?

    • This ruling is huge... It is one of the most newsworthy copyright posts I have ever seen on Slashdot.

      [X] Strongly Agree. It's been a long time coming, hasn't it? Let's hope the long summer of love for the RIAA is over. Too many people screwed over, too many peoples' lives turned upside down by this latest Inquisition. File-sharers under every bed. Let it stop now.

      "Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer's Guild...Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

    • This ruling is huge.

      I agree. It is so important that we should fully expect that MAFIAA lobbyists to now focus their efforts on getting a bill passed to make the owner of the account legally culpable. They even have a case to point at and say, "this is a loophole in the currebnt law, just look how this court ruled."

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Ever since I first got involved in fighting the RIAA's litigation campaign, and blogging about it, in 2005 [that's almost 8 years ago] I've been arguing that it is not a sufficient basis to bring a lawsuit against someone that an internet access account for which he or she pays the bill was used by someone for a copyright infringement. Even though I, and lots of other lawyers, and lots of other techies, and lots of other people from all walks of life knew this, I have never -- until this ruling -- seen a JU

      • Not a lot of change that I can see.

        With IPv6, the smallest subnet that will be assigned is a /64 - meaning 64 bits of host addresses are possible within that subnet. Originally it was envisioned that those 64 bits would be the MAC address of the host, but people had a wee bit of a problem with that privacy-wise, for just this reason - exposing the MAC address of a system on the public Internet.

        So, many, if not most, hosts nowadays choose a random value for their host ID, do the IPv6 equivalent of a gratuit

    • by twmcneil (942300)
      Big Grats on this Ray! I know you've been preaching this for a long time. Good to see it finally getting some traction with the Courts.

      Am I also to believe that progress is being made with the improper joinder issue as well?
      • Big Grats on this Ray! I know you've been preaching this for a long time. Good to see it finally getting some traction with the Courts. Am I also to believe that progress is being made with the improper joinder issue as well?

        Absolutely, just today I posted another of many decisions [blogspot.com] granting severance and dismissal as to all John Does other than Doe 1:

    • Ever since I first got involved in fighting the RIAA's litigation campaign, and blogging about it, in 2005 [that's almost 8 years ago] I've been arguing that it is not a sufficient basis to bring a lawsuit against someone that an internet access account for which he or she pays the bill was used by someone for a copyright infringement.

      Just a few days ago, there was this discussion here on Slashdot about some guy who can't manage to keep a leech of his network:

      http://ask.slashdot.org/story/13/02/20/2058235/ask-slashdot-dealing-with-an-advanced-wi-fi-leech [slashdot.org]

    • I haven't much to say, other than from one New York lawyer to another, BIG UPS. Keep doing your thing, Ray. You'll wear the bastards down eventually!

  • How can you prosecute someone for infringement based on an IP address? IP address doesn't mean jack sh*t. Unless you have the person's computer with the infringing file, and video of them using said computer at the time the file was downloaded/uploaded, it shouldn't be possible to convict somebody of infringement.
  • IP Address, Car... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:49PM (#42972675) Journal
    If you substitute the word 'Car' for the words 'IP Address', the ruling reads:

    'just because a CAR is registered to an individual does not mean that he or she is guilty of infringement when that CAR is used to commit infringing activity.'

    A whole bunch of 'speed camera law' is in exact opposition to this ruling.

    I think that the ruling is positive and constructive - but I also think that it will be overruled at a higher level for the exact same reasons that the speed camera law is in place.
    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      That's exactly why many of us oppose those kind of laws. A significant number of places that use those cameras require an identifiable picture of the driver. Those that don't IMO are a severe constitutional breach that needs to be challenged up to the supreme court of necessary. The problem is that the fines (and lack of a hit to your drivers license or insurance) of make it more worthwhile to simply pay the fine. It's going to take some wealthy person with the will to spend 10-100X more than the fine to fi

  • The MPAA/RIAA when sponsoring the creation of the copyright law change in New Zealand, managed to get it passed that the SUBSCRIBER is the person legally responsible for what happens on the account, no matter what...

    and if that's not bad enough, if you're accused of downloading a file, a correctly filled in complaint form from the IP holder is deemed sufficient proof the offense occurred (3 strikes btw)... i.e, if someone accused YOU of downloading Justin Bieber - Baby.mp3 yesterday, could you prove you
    • if someone accused YOU of downloading Justin Bieber - Baby.mp3 yesterday, could you prove you didn't?

      No, but I could plead insanity.

  • From the judge's decision:

    To the extent that Plaintiff’s negligence claim alleges that Defendant failed to properly secure his internet connection or failed to properly monitor the use of his secured internet connection by others, Plaintiff’s claim fails because there is no underlying duty. One who fails to act to protect another is generally not liable for breaching a duty unless there is a special relationship giving rise to a duty to act. Mid-Cal National Bank v. Federal Reserve Bank of San F

  • While this is a great ruling, I've noticed a recent pattern: most of the cases where judges have come down hard on copyright trolls do not involve material from major studios. They involve pornography, often gay pornography. There are quite a few of these cases chronicled on TorrentFreak. I wonder to what extent the judges are letting their disgust of the underlying material come through in their rulings. Would they be making the same rulings if these people were accused of downloading mainstream music or f

    • While this is a great ruling, I've noticed a recent pattern: most of the cases where judges have come down hard on copyright trolls do not involve material from major studios. They involve pornography, often gay pornography. There are quite a few of these cases chronicled on TorrentFreak. I wonder to what extent the judges are letting their disgust of the underlying material come through in their rulings. Would they be making the same rulings if these people were accused of downloading mainstream music or films?

      Good question. I don't know the answer. It certainly seems that the overt sleeziness of the current crop of plaintiffs -- as opposed to the camouflaged sleeziness of the RIAA plaintiffs -- has alerted the judges to the fact that there's something wrong here.

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