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Piracy Your Rights Online

In Defense of Six Strikes 354

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the except-for-the-deep-packet-inspection dept.
Deathspawner writes with a view on Six Strikes we don't normally see around here: "It's been well-established all over the Web that the just-implemented 'Six Strikes' system is bad... horrible, worthy of death to those who created it. But let's take a deep breath for a moment. Can Six Strikes actually be a good thing for consumers? While the scheme isn't perfect (far from it), one of the biggest benefits from this system is that it introduces a proxy, and any persecution you might have easily faced prior to Six Strikes is delayed under the new program. Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?" A couple of days ago, someone sent Torrentfreak an actual alert they received from Comcast (the alert itself is a few screens down). Noteworthy is that there is zero mention of the appeals process.
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In Defense of Six Strikes

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  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:04PM (#43094277) Homepage
    The $35-for-an-appeal fee which they call a "due process" fee makes a mockery of the concept of due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty. Reverse that and it would be a tractably horrible idea, but it would be significantly less interesting to the people who are running it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:08PM (#43094327)

      The $35 appeal fee is waived when you upgrade to the new Comcast Lawyer class service.

      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        So, now my right for being "Innocent, until proven guilty" must be bought???
        • by jythie (914043)
          Well, that is how privately run legal systems work....
          • Who the FUCK delegated law enforcement to private corporations? I don't care if it's an industry association made up of shysters and leeches, like *IAA, or telco cartels. If they want to be cops, they will be treated like cops.

            That aint' pretty, from the customer market angle.

            • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:36PM (#43095529)

              Who the FUCK delegated law enforcement to private corporations?

              It's kind of funny that way. On the one hand people are saying that copyright infringement is a private affair and the government should butt out - and certainly not devote a bunch of police work to it. On the other hand, people start complaining when private businesses do start taking action to enforce their copyrights.
              ( Mind you, since some say the government is bought by corporations anyway, the distinction might be moot. )

              Since you seem to be railing against the latter, are you saying that e.g. the police should be actively looking for copyright infringement and bring down to bear all of the privileges granted unto them in this endeavor?

              • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:43PM (#43095605)
                I think when people say it should be a private affair, they are referring to the RIAA/MPAA not having special access to FBI resources that other types of civil crimes have. For instance if I was upset that a neighbor's dog was crapping on my lawn, I think we can agree that if I somehow pressured the FBI into going around and taking DNA samples of all my neighbor's dogs and then threatening them with fines well in excess of their lifetime earning potential, we could agree that I was getting disproportionate government assistance on my private matter, even though that private matter could leverage reasonable government support like getting the local police involved with minor fines and a warning.
      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:03PM (#43095111)
        There are actually some sources saying you won't have to pay if you're "[paid] a gross monthly income that is less than 300% of the federal poverty income level, are full-time students receiving needs-based financial aid, or who qualify for one of a series of means-tested federal benefits." (One such source, referring to leaked AT&T documents I think. [theregister.co.uk])

        It goes without saying that I'll believe such rumors when I see them and see how much trouble ISPs give you for proving you don't have to pay the fee. And, more importantly, whether an appeal will do anything at all in the first place.
    • Do you know what court costs are to fight a traffic ticket? Much more. Alas, we need something to allow the people who are really innocent from being crowded out fo the court system by those who aren't. Court costs are just a fact of life in the legal system.
    • by stanlyb (1839382) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:27PM (#43095395)
      I have an idea, for everyone who receives this kind of warning from Comcast to respond with the following:
      Dear Comcast,
      Let me remind you that i am innocent until proven guilty, and that the only place where i could be found guilty is the court, and that if you try to imply that i am guilty of something, without due process, and punishing me on top of that, you are either blackmailing me, or you are trying to replace the court, both of which are unconstitutional, and would force me to sue you personally (corporations are persons now, right?), not for the before mentioned "infringement", but for blackmailing.
      Please consider this letter as a legal warning, and the fact that you read it, as an acknowledgment that you have read it.
      Sincerely. Yours
      THE CUSTOMER
      • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @04:18PM (#43096683) Homepage Journal

        I have an idea, for everyone who receives this kind of warning from Comcast to respond with the following:

        Dear Comcast,

              Let me remind you that i am innocent until proven guilty, and that the only place where i could be found guilty is the court, and that if you try to imply that i am guilty of something, without due process, and punishing me on top of that, you are either blackmailing me, or you are trying to replace the court, both of which are unconstitutional, and would force me to sue you personally (corporations are persons now, right?), not for the before mentioned "infringement", but for blackmailing.

        Please consider this letter as a legal warning, and the fact that you read it, as an acknowledgment that you have read it.

        Sincerely. Yours

        THE CUSTOMER

        P.S. make sure you send that bad boy certified mail, that way they can't say they never received it.

  • Neither? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:05PM (#43094295)

    Why do I have to choose between six strikes vs. RIAA/MPAA legal threat?

    • Re:Neither? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rob Riggs (6418) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:24PM (#43094541) Homepage Journal
      The force is strong in this one. He didn't fall for the Jedi mind trick of "false dichotomy".
    • by earls (1367951) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:24PM (#43094543)

      You don't. Don't worry, it's both. The "six strikes" are to build a case against the owner of the connection and after the owner "strikes out," they can expect a summons.

      That's why they ask for confirmation: "Click the button below to confirm you received this Copyright Alert"

      In court they'll say, "but your Honor, they acknowledge six times that copyright infringement was occurring and did nothing about it - exactly how many warnings do they need?!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My kingdom for both mod points, and the ability to log in from work to use said mod points if I had them.

        This is EXACTLY what's going to happen. You get a pile of warnings, and Comcast says they won't litigate against you, sure, fine. They'll just pass your information along to the RIAA, and now they'll have all the ammunition they need to drain every dollar that you'll ever earn for the rest of your life from you. Acknowledgement that you not only "stole" (naturally, they'll keep using that word) their

    • You still have legal threats under the six strikes system.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:07PM (#43094317) Journal

    It only costs $35 to appeal, but it will cost your ISP more than that to go through the appeals process. If everyone appeals, the system will be unworkable, and therefore everyone should appeal.

    • by haus (129916)

      But there are no cost for claims to be made against people. Hence they can flood the zone, send claims to ant account that gets email. The incentives on this program are simply wrong.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        There is no cost to file a complaint under six strikes, UNLESS you appeal. Therefore, you must appeal in order to discourage complaints.

        • by haus (129916)

          They could simply ignore your appeal, which you would then win by default.

          They could simply make a new claim, costing you another $35 dollars, Rinse, wash, repeat until you no longer have money.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          There is no cost to file a complaint under six strikes, UNLESS you appeal. Therefore, you must appeal in order to discourage complaints.

          And not appealing is tacitly saying "yeah, I did that".

          This boils down to "a 3rd party has made an allegation with no actual proof, we're going to assume this is true". If you didn't download copyrighted stuff, you'll need to appeal every time you get one of these at your own expense.

          And I have no faith whatsoever that the copyright folks are doing good evidence gathering

    • That assumes that there are any costs to the ISP or the copyright holder associated with an appeal. So far the appeals process sounds like a complete farce that would consist of nothing more than a 5 minute "hearing" in front of someone being paid minimum wage - and that's assuming the hearing isn't conducted via telephone with someone off-shore making $0.15 / hr.

    • It only costs $35 to appeal, but it will cost your ISP more than that to go through the appeals process. If everyone appeals, the system will be unworkable, and therefore everyone should appeal.

      How do you know it costs the ISP more? Have we seen what this appeal process looks like? Is your ISP just forwarding your appeal to the source of the complaint? A canned response from the Six Strike Tribunal with all the fields filled out from the Monitor (or did you mean: ISP as Internet Surveillance Provider) is hardly $35 to produce.

      Aside of costs, first you are volunteering yourself as a party in the process and what evidence are you required to submit, for instance names and addresses of everyone who h

    • If everyone appeals, ISPs will raise their rates more than they were planning to anyway. They might also raise the appeal rates or change the terms too.

      Some of us will say "I'M NOT GOING TO STAND FOR IT ANYMORE! FUCK YOU GUYS! I'M GOING WITH THE COMPETI....oh..."
  • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:12PM (#43094371)

    ... and any persecution you might have easily faced prior to Six Strikes is delayed under the new program. Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?"

    "Delayed." Very funny. You must be joking. Before, you got a legal threat, which you could pretty much ignore. An IP address != an individual. Now, "$moran" accuses you, and you have to pay to contest the accusation, or find another provider, and in the US, that's often not possible.

    Six Strikes is evil incarnate. You pay for net access, and now who you're paying for that access is working for imbeciles against you. CAPITALISM!!!111

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redmid17 (1217076) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:12PM (#43094375)
    Can Six Strikes actually be a good thing for consumers?

    No. It can, at best, be a marginally better than the alternative.

    Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?"

    Yes, but I would also rather have my kneecaps broken than shot in the face. It doesn't make either option actually palatable.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:13PM (#43094389) Homepage Journal

    I sell you this dumb phone at $1000, and tell you that at retail is selling at 5000, would you buy it? Putting that your only choices are punishment and strong punishment means that you take out of your mind that you couldn't be doing anything wrong. So you have to accept the lesser evil because could be a worse one, instead of considering that should not be any or that are more alternatives.

    But probably is ok in US, after all they choose Obama instead of Romney because the very same reasoning, so they explicitely wanted all that is coming after, including this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:13PM (#43094393)

    The RIAA/MPAA is doing an end run around the court system and attacking the ISPs. Let's just toss this on the stack of things this private industry is doing to ruin the lives of the people who would ordinarily want to pay them money:

    They have copyright terms that last two centuries.
    They have the incredibly overbearing Digital Millenium Copyright Act that ensures that anything you do to copyrighted material which you own is illegal.
    They have the ability to take down any content on the internet they feel infringes on said copyright without having to prove they hold the copyright in question, that the infringing activity actually infringes, or that they have the right to make the claim under the DMCA. (Oh, and this process is completely automated in many cases, while appeals are not only grounds for lawsuits but must be evaluated by a human being on a case by case basis... Does anyone remember the mortgage foreclosure robosigning scandal? Because I sure do.)
    They have been making great strides in persuading countries around the world to make copyright infringement a criminal, rather than civil offense so they can get the law enforcement agencies to do their dirty work. (Oh wait, the FBI raided Dotcom and ICE seizes websites at the behest of private industry without due process... nevermind.)

    What really confuses me is that in the big picture the RIAA/MPAA is small potatoes compared to the other things that make money via digital distribution. They wield rather disproportionate influence over the activities of third parties that have nothing to do with them or those they claim to represent.

    • And here's why a lot of companies realized it's more profitable to invest in lobbying than in R&D.

  • I like this idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:17PM (#43094441)
    There was an AC post in another /. article about this I liked. It said something like create a crappy copyrighted work (in paint, sndrec of you singing, whatever). Host it free somewhere. Now create another page that says you do not have permission to download this file, with a link to the hosted file. Spam out the link to the page that says DO NOT DOWNLOAD everywhere you can. Not just one or two places, but thousands. Hell, post it through 10,000 forum backlinks free scams.
    Now collect the IPs of everyone who clicks the link and vies the file. Spam the six strike system with those IPs.
    If they ignore legitimate notices from you and do not issue alerts, sue, as they are using what is supposed to be a fair arbitration system to only police for content/companies they deem worthy. Keep flooding them with -legitimate- requests until they cannot handle it.
    • Re:I like this idea (Score:5, Informative)

      by jd659 (2730387) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:43PM (#43094829)
      Idea is interesting, but it doesn't work under the current copyright law. The fact that anyone is downloading any material does not make that an infringement. "Making available" or sharing the copyrighted work is the only infringement that is a violation. In your case, only the server that hosts the file might be infringing on the copyright, not the people downloading.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Idea is interesting, but it doesn't work under the current copyright law. The fact that anyone is downloading any material does not make that an infringement. "Making available" or sharing the copyrighted work is the only infringement that is a violation. In your case, only the server that hosts the file might be infringing on the copyright, not the people downloading.

        Which law would that be? Not US law, not the way US courts rule. source [resource.org]:

        We agree that plaintiffs have shown that Napster users infringe at least two of the copyright holders' exclusive rights: the rights of reproduction, 106(1); and distribution, 106(3). Napster users who upload file names to the search index for others to copy violate plaintiffs' distribution rights. Napster users who download files containing copyrighted music violate plaintiffs' reproduction rights.

        In fact, it is far more debatable if "making available" is an infringement without proving actual instances of distribution.

      • Re:I like this idea (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:20PM (#43095311)

        But Six Strikes ISN'T about the hoster. It's about the downloader. That's why so many people are upset about it - there's a good legal argument that they didn't violate copyright, yet they're getting warnings accusing them of doing just that. The *AA hasn't had much (if any) luck going after the hosters, so they're going after the downloaders and forcing the ISPs to be their lackeys. Because otherwise they'll just sue the ISPs for contributing to the process, and the ISPs REALLY don't want that...

        CAPTCHA: crueler

  • The same people that decided 6 strikes could change their mind depending on who gives them the most money or the most pain.

    It's like a tax that starts at .5%. Sooner or later it gets increased to suit those with the most influence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:18PM (#43094467)

    1. "Six Strikes" it NOT a _LAW_.
    2. Not all copyright holders are participating and none are _bound_ to it.

    Because of that, there is no guarantee that you will receive a "strike" before receiving a settlement demand for infringement or before being named in a federal copyright infringement lawsuit!

    Example: Let's say you go download the latest LA porn producer's newest amateur flick via a public BitTorrent tracker. This producer is not participating in six strikes. The porn producer is monitoring the torrent, and logs your IP. They are teamed with a lawyer, and sue you as a John Doe in a lawsuit. You find out when the lawsuit reaches discovery.

    What will your defense be? "I never got a first strike, let alone a sixth!" Yeah, tell _THAT_ to the judge. They won't care. You're still getting sued. Copyright trolls will continue extorting innocent victims.

  • Anti-trust (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KoshClassic (325934) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:19PM (#43094477)

    What we really have here is a huge anti-trust lawsuit waiting to happen - a situation where the large record & movie companies have banded together to collectively negotiate away our privacy with all of the large ISP's, who themselves have banded together and negotiated it away. Its completely anti-competitive in that, if I had any sort of option to get high speed Internet Access where I live from a company who wouldn't wave the white flag and offer up my information based on an IP address at the first hint of displeasure from the copyright industry, and I'd dump Time Warner immediately, almost entirely without regard for the cost or other aspects of whatever the alternative company might be offering.

    Any argument about supporting the artists crumbles in the face of studio accounting practices where no movie is ever profitable if the studios must share the profits, and where music artists basically never see a dime from the music that they record.

  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:21PM (#43094501) Journal

    Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?"

    No.
    This is a form of the prisoner's dilemma.
    Individually, it makes sense for each of us to take the easy way out, but collectively, this is bad public policy.
    Private accusations of crime, followed by private punishments, is odious to our system of justice.

    More and more court cases are ending up like this one [techdirt.com], where minimal evidence gets turned away as insufficient.
    The real truth is that the copyright industry doesn't want to prosecute these cases, because lawyers and discovery and expert witnesses are expensive.
    Even Hollywood can't afford 10,000 cases at a time.

    I am not unsympathetic to their problem, but the solution needs to balance the due process rights of the people with the interests of big business.
    That hasn't happened since the copyright owners discovered the scale of infringement couldn't be cheaply addressed by the existing legal system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, it's stag hunt: Stag Hunt [wikipedia.org]

  • Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?"

    Yes, I absolutely would like to rather get a notice from the copyright holder. However, given the nature of the Internet connection, I cannot ever agree to my ISP giving out my details to any third party at their will. I also cannot assume any responsibility for some IP address that was leased to me by my ISP and was not spelled out as a part of my contract. That also means that when I have the internet connection, I should be able to share it to whomever I want to share and not have some artificial anti

  • Could someone help me with this "would you rather" logic displayed in TFA.

    There are NO changes in law. The only change is an agreement between vigilante conspirators.

    MPAA/RIAA have to get a court order/subpeona to send you legal threats. They remain perfectly free do this regardless of the numbered strike you happen to be on today.

    If anything CAS makes it worse. The lawyers will no doubt argue by clicking close on connection hijack delivered warnings or following subsequent instructions you have admitted

  • That's the whole problem, fracking with the constitution. If i am not innocent until proven guilty, and it is done by some funny, corporate one sided agreement, do we really have constitution any more? Or it is just a paper that we use, while in the restroom...
  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:44PM (#43094837)
    I just have one question... did the RIAA pay for this submission or the MPAA?
  • There are reasons far and few between to applaud a cable/ISP co, but I noted that Cox Communications didn't sign on (at least, as of three or four days ago they hadn't). Two years ago or so, I forgot to get my VPN going prior to torrenting the first episode of Game of Thrones to see if it alone would be strong enough of a reason to subscribe to HBO, and HBO apparently was policing this closely. Cox sent me a letter telling me that HBO wanted to know who I was, and that they refused to reveal; they asked me
  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:48PM (#43095641) Homepage Journal

    He fell on his face with point #2.

    Is the Six Strikes program well-designed enough to prevent mislabeling offenses? You're funny. Are you a comedian? But seriously, you have six of them. Even if one is an error (a nearly 17% rate, which I would think is unacceptable), it's pretty clear what the other five are.

    The entire argument depends upon the above quotation being logically well-founded. Take the error probability, raise it to the sixth power, and you get a small enough fraction that you can blow it off. On the face of it, it's not stupid... until you realize that the system actually adds the fractions to each other, rather than multiplying them. Oy. We're off to a good start here, aren't we? And that's if we accept that the errors will really just be random noise, rather than possibly arise from systematic failures and patterns.

    If you disagree with that founding assertion (and you will, if you have observed what has happened so far), then nothing else he says is going to make sense.

    IMHO, nobody knows how Six Strikes works, or what its false positive rate is. If someone knew, they would have stepped forward by now. This is getting to become something like both the evidence which suggests Intelligent Design as a hypothesis, and the secret idea for an experiment to falsify it, together which would make it be a theory. At some point, when no one comes forth with either or them (let alone both), it starts to become reasonable to assume the theory probably doesn't yet exist.

    Similarly, we have no reason to suspect Six Strikes' detection and identification tech is accurate. It might be, it's just that nothing leads us to that conclusion except faith. And it's not that it can't be done (within certain limitations); it's that we have past records (anyone remember the RIAA lawsuits?) of it being done by totally incompetent people, who went to work for the "MAFIAA" because that was the only job they could get. MAFIAA, show us your methodology, because your reputation is that you're crooks who just make shit up.

    And because of the how-it-works problem, his last sentence

    In a society so utterly desensitized to generic warnings, a little bit of secrecy can go a long way to getting people to take it more seriously.

    is exactly wrong. It will be taken less seriously, because when you get one of these notices, your first thought isn't going to be "who in the house shared the Megadeth song?" It's going to be "which now-dead neighbor, who DHCP leased my current address for a couple weeks back in 2006, downloaded a file named peace_time_economics_in_the_rust_belt.pdf which matched some Megadeth keywords?"

    Oh, they might be taken seriously as threats, but seriously not as being related to anything which may have happened on your ISP connection.

    If you have seen how the MPAA has DMCAed some Google results in recent times, you will know (it's not even speculative) that false positives are extremely common in this industry's robot's actions, right now. Once I saw one of these false positives happen to me, it became apparent how easy it would be to accrue six Google-censored-results in a year, just by having truly innocent web pages which say certain words on them. (Tip: use HBO's show names. Haven't tried Showtime yet.) We're supposed to believe that your Six Strikes p2p tech is vastly better than your web tech? Why? What's your excuse? Please. [sits back, opens popcorn] This'll be good.

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