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Piracy Your Rights Online

Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up 376

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the guilty-until-proven-guilty dept.
A few weeks ago, Rightscorp announced plans to have ISPs disconnect repeat copyright infringers. mpicpp (3454017) wrote in with news that Rightscorp announced during their latest earnings call further plans to require ISPs to block all web access (using a proxy system similar to hotel / college campus wifi logins) until users admit guilt and pay a settlement fine (replacing the current system of ISPs merely forwarding notices to users). Quoting TorrentFreak: [Rightscorp] says 75,000 cases have been settled so far with copyright holders picking up $10 from each. ... What is clear is that Rightscorp is determined to go after "Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cable Vision and one more" in order to "get all of them compliant" (i.e forwarding settlement demands). The company predicts that more details on the strategy will develop in the fall, but comments from COO & CTO Robert Steele hint on how that might be achieved. ... "[What] we really want to do is move away from termination and move to what's called a hard redirect, like, when you go into a hotel and you have to put your room number in order to get past the browser and get on to browsing the web." The idea that mere allegations from an anti-piracy company could bring a complete halt to an entire household or business Internet connection until a fine is paid is less like a "piracy speeding ticket" and more like a "piracy wheel clamp", one that costs $20 to have removed.
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

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  • As long as... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mad-seumas (59267) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:38PM (#47699463)

    they can be sued out of existence for every mistake they make, I'm cool with it.

  • CFAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:44PM (#47699507)

    These Rightscorp asshats should be prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and serve multiple-lifetime prison sentences each.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:47PM (#47699531) Journal

    Seems to me that any ISP that redirects browser HTTP requests becomes liable to suit from the customers - for substantially more than $20.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:48PM (#47699549)

    "The Computer Misuse Act (1990) was introduced to help deal with the problems caused by the misuse of computers and communication systems, especially that of âhacking' and âunauthorised access.' The Act introduced three offences; it is illegal for any unauthorised person to access programs or data, the unauthorised modification of that data, and having unauthorised access with further criminal intent."

    Seems clearly within the description of this law.

  • Useful Tip (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:54PM (#47699599)

    A top-notch, full-speed, multi-country VPN service can be had for $40/year, with $20/year deals available if you shop around a bit.

  • Re:CFAA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcl630 (1839996) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:04PM (#47699659)

    Extortion laws ought to apply here as well.

  • Re:"Hard redirect" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:13PM (#47699723) Journal

    Yes, it would work on almost all browsers and there likely would never be a patch that would get around it. Well not a legal one- you would basically have to hack the authentification system.

    The browser is only in play in order to display messages with this. Access control is typically on the hardware level with the packets being redirected to control access. Of course if done by proxy, its a software/hardware combo but the router will not forward packets outside what they allow.

    I see some consumer protection laws comming into play. Currently, if they shut you off, you do not continue to be charged. If they keep ylur account active but deny you the internet (which would be neccesary to display the messages) you aren't getting what you payed for. I'm also thinking some RICO statutes might be in play too if it can be determined they colluded in ordr to defraud the consumer.

  • Re:nuisance fee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:21PM (#47699753) Journal

    Once they've confirmed that I'm willing to pay, how many times will they come back?

    You know the answer to that... once you've paid the Danegeld, you'll never get rid of the Dane.

  • by causality (777677) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:27PM (#47699789)

    You cannot prove a negative.

    Sure you fucking can. Anything defined in such a way as to exclude other possible definitions can have the latter definitions be proven in the negative just as surely as the former definition can be in the positive.

    3 != 4. A triangle is not a square. Red is not blue. Hydrogen is not helium. A dog is not a cat. If the coin landed heads-up, the coin did not land tails-up. If someone was in location A at time T, they could not have been in location B at time T committing crime C. You are not smart.

    In your examples you are not actually proving a negative (that something didn't happen). You are proving that something is not possible or could not have happened.


    Possible or not possible are easy by comparison. Proving a negative means, "take this thing that really could have possibly happened, and prove that it didn't happen". A shape cannot both be a triangle and a square. A pure color at a single wavelength cannot both be red and blue. You are drastically underestimating the scope of how difficult it is to prove a negative. "This couldn't have happened because it is impossible" is actually a positive claim and as such, can be proven.

  • Re:Unconstitutinal (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:57PM (#47699975)

    Didn't you get the memo? The constitution only applies to the government, everyone else is permitted to do whatever they please to to. Don't like it? Quit breathing. -- Libertarians

  • Re:Unconstitutinal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sixoh1 (996418) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:03PM (#47700003) Homepage

    While its nice to think that the Constitution prevents this kind of thing, it is generally ONLY applicable to criminal defense. You can still be indicted, arrested and jailed awaiting trial, and until you enter the courtroom this presumption of innocence doesn't event matter. You only get the benefit from this Constitutional right _AFTER_ you have been through all of the previous steps, so don't expect to pull out your laminated copy of the Bill of Rights as a shield.

    In a civil matters, particularly a trial, you are not entitled to automatic presumption of innocence as a defense, and not even a tiny amount of deference is due to you in the exercise and enforcement of a contract you might have with your ISP.

    About the only legal protection an individual might have is a class-action lawsuit alleging fraud against the ISP, and that's something that takes years to work its way up to the pain threshold of settlement or trial.

  • Re:Unconstitutinal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:09PM (#47700051)

    Correct in concept, wrong in practice. Today you are guilty first, and parallel construction will be used to ensure guilt if someone want's you that way. Unless of course you have a whole lot of money, in which case you will never see charges let alone a trial.

    I hope you are right that it never happens, but in practice how long was that porn company [courthousenews.com] extorting money from people? Nobody from the company went to jail for extortion to my knowledge, they were just told by a judge to stop. I'm not going to dig past a summary, you can surely do more if you like.

    The point is that you should never say never, especially with the high level of corruption we are seeing in the USA. It may be implemented just to test the waters, I personally would not be shocked.

  • Re:As long as... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Harlequin80 (1671040) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:19PM (#47700091)

    I run my own business from home where the internet is critical. I literally have to stop working if it goes offline. Now I have redundant internet connections because of that but if they turned those off it would be very easy for me to prove substantial losses.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:22PM (#47700117)

    Everyone who has used the Internet has downloaded copyrighted content. You've done so just now, in fact -- the very text you're currently reading is copyrighted (by me).

    The issue is whether you have not been authorized to download the copyrighted content, and that's what should require a strong burden of proof on the part of the copyright holder.

  • Re:"Hard redirect" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:24PM (#47700125)

    Similar logic applies to having the ISP cut off your connection entirely

    What the GP is mentioning, Tortious Interference, is what Rightscorp would be doing: interfering with your contract. Your ISP has a clause that allows them to end your contract whenever they want. Rightscorp has no right to trigger that clause, and if they do, you can sue for tortious interference. You won't win, but you can sue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:26PM (#47700135)

    Oh for fucks sake, you KNEW what he meant by the post.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:55PM (#47700269) Homepage Journal

    This is why we Americans now have the Fourth Amendment, requiring due process (with various levels of proof) before interfering with someone's life.

    Well, but that was a while ago. Now the legal system is using rationales like "hey, your MONEY doesn't have any rights, so we don't need due process to seize it, just suspicion [journalgazette.net]" and also "terrorism", "you are on this list", and the big winner, "I think I'll just shoot you [cnn.com]" (and often your dog, even, every once in a while, your cat), plus "we like searching your finances and communications without a warrant, so we do (IRS, NSA, DEA, other TLAs)", etc.

    You gotta keep up a little better.

    Also, the 4th constrains the federal government. With significant optimism poured on the 14th amendment, plus a judge who hasn't received his most recent bribes, the 4th also constrains state governments. It does not, however, constrain corporations or individuals. That is, of course, if anyone was still paying it serious notice, which is clearly not the case anyway.

    This stuff actually depends upon civil law, and there, the rules are *completely* different and not at all what you expect. Or will enjoy. Civil law exists specifically so the system can hammer you in the event that criminal law is not up to the job. Any other usefulness is wholly coincidental.

  • Re:"Hard redirect" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:07PM (#47700315)
    And the correct way to handle this is to put Rightscorp staff in jail . And if that is not possible, then kill them at first sight with extreme prejudice.
  • by Copid (137416) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:10PM (#47700327)
    This sort of makes the statement, "You can't prove a negative," break down into, "You can't prove something that can't be proved." Well, now that's out of the way.
  • Re:Unconstitutinal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday August 18, 2014 @11:16PM (#47700607)

    That only applies to the legal system. Rightscorp is bypassing the legal system and instead getting the ISPs to do the work of law enforcement, and with no analogue to the court system. Basically there are three private parties, Rightscorp, the ISP, and the ISP's customer, and any of the three is legally allowed to presume the other two parties are guilty bastards without proof. Also any of the three are able to sue if they feel unfairly treated if they think some laws are being broken, and they can countersue if anyone sues them, if they'd rather spend that kind of money doing so.

  • by ruir (2709173) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:48AM (#47701473) Homepage
    From the ISP point of view, why should I work for free for this bastards, and damage the relationship with my customers?

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