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Court Allows Unmasking of P2P Downloaders 244

bricko writes "A federal appeals court says copyright-infringing downloaders can now be outed. If you use or have used P2P, this may interest you. From Wired: 'The RIAA detected what it claimed to be infringing activity on an IP address the university linked to the student. The unidentified student moved to quash a federal judge’s order that the university forward the student’s identity to the RIAA. The student asserted a First Amendment right of privacy on the Internet, in addition to a fair-use right to the six music tracks in question. The appeals court ruled in the RIAA’s favor (PDF) after balancing a constitutional right to remain anonymous against a copyright owner’s right to disclosure of the identity of a possible “trespasser of its intellectual property interest."'"
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Court Allows Unmasking of P2P Downloaders

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  • by bbqsrc ( 1441981 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:13AM (#32055560) Homepage
    I'd like them to definitively prove that he was the user behind the IP address.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:15AM (#32055576)
    Regardless of how you feel about copyright, let's be honest here: The "right to privacy" is a bullshit excuse when you're involved in what is, more or less, a community activity.

    I think we've lost sight of the bare metal workings of what the founding fathers meant them to be.
  • Promised Land? BS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Voulnet ( 1630793 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:19AM (#32055596)
    Bit by bit, people in America lose everybit of freedom they thought they had. It seems that freedom in America is granted as long as it doesn't interfere with the interests of corporations. That's worse than the freedom in many many parts around the world! Is the American public capable of a revolution against the system that favors those with deep pockets? The right to share, the right for a fair trial, the right to use what you bought in whatever way you want; and consequently the right of privacy; are the first forts of freedom to fall. What else are you people going to let go, citizens of the USA?
  • by portnux ( 630256 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:28AM (#32055634)
    At least terrorists, pornographers and mass-murderers are still protected.
  • by ThreeGigs ( 239452 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:30AM (#32055644)

    Which can only be done in court. And which can only happen if the person whose account was using that IP address is known. And _that_ will only happen if copyright holders can subpoena ISPs for user identities.

    So congrats, you're getting what you want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:31AM (#32055660)

    Flowing like a river
    Beckoning me
    Who knows when we shall meet again
    If ever
    But time
    Keeps flowing like a river
    To the sea

    Goodbye my love
    Maybe for forever
    Goodbye my love
    The tide waits for me
    Who knows when we shall meet again
    If ever
    But time
    Keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
    To the sea, to the sea

    Till it's gone forever
    Gone forever
    Gone forevermore

    Goodbye my friends (goodbye my love, now I must leave)
    Maybe for forever
    Goodbye my friends (who knows when we shall meet again)
    The stars wait for me
    Who knows where we shall meet again
    If ever
    But time
    Keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
    To the sea, to the sea

    Till it's gone forever
    Gone forever
    Gone forevermore


  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:33AM (#32055670) Journal
    As far as I can see, the best way to change this stuff is civil disobedience - breaking the law, asserting rights to use all human knowledge as a human right, and accusing the law of denying the rights to freedom of thought, expression, assembly, knowledge and communication. As a political campaign, ideally I think this should be public, not anonymous, and in great numbers, accompanied by media communications. A public wifi network in a public square, public distribution of copyrighted works on media, etc. Sheets of paper with links and instructions on how to share files, addresses, etc. Following this, public debate on the law will begin, and the more public involved in the debate, the vocal they are, the more likely the public will win, not the copyright holders.
  • by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:37AM (#32055684) Homepage Journal
    I'm not a confused hippie constitutional scholar but I did just take a political science class. The teacher talked about something called precedent and about unwritten or "unenumerated" rights. The 9th Amendment counsels against dismissing such rights. The actual right to privacy was handed down in Roe v. Wade when the supreme court ruled in the favor of Norma McCorvey saying she had a right to privacy in general, and a right to abortion more specifically. Of course the right to an abortion is not equal throughout the entire pregnancy term as I am sure you know.

    So don't be so quick to toss away your unwritten rights, yes you do have them, and accept that the consitution is not the final paper on where your rights are. Start looking at court cases too.
  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:39AM (#32055690) Homepage

    You have a right to communicate anonymously. This is protected by the first amendment and anyone who stands in your way of doing so is committing a crime.

    You do NOT have the right to force others to act as if you are anonymous after you communicate non-anonymously. This is not protected by anything, and is pretty stupid.

  • by __aasqbs9791 ( 1402899 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:50AM (#32055746)

    I take the other approach. I think we need to work to make things much worse for the average user (and not so average). We need to push for laws that make IP infringement a mandatory capital offense. And then we need to make sure sons of politicians get caught, daughters of RIAA execs get caught, spouses of MPAA execs get caught. Only then will we see some change that isn't awful.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:51AM (#32055752)

    Copyright infringement is neither Piracy OR Theft, despite what the RIAA/MPAA FUD would have you believe.

    It is still illegal though and yes I agree that ISPs should be required to hand over subscriber details but ONLY after the copyright holder has shown proof that was sharing at .

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:54AM (#32055770) Journal

    Except that in choosing to claim he may have had a fair use right to "share" the songs on the computer, he has admitted he was the person behind the IP address who had the songs on his computer.

  • by Bauguss ( 62171 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:08AM (#32055848)

    All these comments about privacy. My understanding of our basic rights is that we have them as long as they don't infringe upon the rights of others. All of you are blindly trying to say we all have the right to P2P. While true, we do not have the right to hand out our music or games to others for free. It is one thing to burn a friend a cd of some songs, its entirely different to burn 1000 discs and hand them out blindly. You would be infringing upon someone's right to make a living. (yes even the evil RIAA) I hate them as much as the next person, but most P2P that I see is illegal sharing of (mostly porn) stuff people have no rights to give away en mass. Those of you that participate in this practice, sorry, but law enforcement should have the power to throw your ass in jail. It is thieving plain and simple.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:12AM (#32055866) Homepage

    Except - I don't see any examples here of any 'loss of freedom'. John Doe was sharing copyrighted material, which has been illegal for a very long time, so being prosecuted for it hardly represents anything new.

    The right to share, the right for a fair trial, the right to use what you bought in whatever way you want; and consequently the right of privacy; are the first forts of freedom to fall.

    We've never had the unlimited right to share what does not belong to us. There's nothing here preventing the defendant(s) from getting a fair trial. The unlimited 'right' to use what bought in whatever way you want has never been a right - it's strictly a creation of pirates to justify their actions. And you've never been able to claim anonymity to avoid prosecution except in the limited case of whistle blowers.
    Or, in short, while your statement is essentially the 'perfect storm' of karmawhoring - it bears very little connection with reality.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:16AM (#32055888) Journal

    Article 1 Section 8 "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

    Article 3 Section 1 "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."

    USC 28A Rule 45 is the law concerning subpoenas in civil trials, which this case is.

    As the making of copyright law is a power of Congress, the power to make law concerning copyright law is delegated to the federal government and not the states.

    You have failed on multiple levels.

    Now, please post the article and section of the Constitution of the United States where it says that you have an absolute right to privacy and anonymity.

  • by hanabal ( 717731 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:24AM (#32055928)

    ISPs should be required to hand over subscriber details but ONLY after the copyright holder has shown proof that was sharing at .

    how about after a legally obtained warrant has been given to the ISP by a law enforcement officer

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:26AM (#32055940) Journal

    What is it specifically you don't like about copyright and patent laws? Is it the whole thing; the whole concept? Or is it just parts (e.g. term lengths, DMCA, no protection of fair use, etc)? I don't know, perhaps it is the whole thing, and perhaps you should be violating every copyright and patent you can see. However, that being the case, good luck finding enough people for a political movement. Sure, they exist, but most people you talk to can see some utility in copyright and patent law, including most judges.

    If it's not so much the entire bundle as it is certain parts, try to focus on those parts. Perhaps, if you object to DMCA, restrict yourself to distributing cracks for popular games. Or if you dislike term lengths, perhaps violate only the copyrights that are older than 20-30 years. Try to violate only what you object to.

    An even better approach would be to divorce yourself from copyrighted media (or the elements you dislike). Prove to people that you, and they, can live without $BAD_FACTOR_OF_COPYRIGHT and everything that it could possibly bring. Prove that we are better off without it. It's certainly no less harmful to Big Media.

    There's a lot of greed in play in the copyright debate. Not just on Big Media's side, but on both sides. It's difficult to differentiate between those who want change and those who want free stuff. Make it unavoidably clear, whatever you do, that you are not in it for the entertainment.

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:30AM (#32055950)

    asserting rights to use all human knowledge as a human right

    Do you think that the world would be a better place if the only thing we valued was manual labor? If any public knowledge was worthless (in a financial sense) knowledge?

    The world already experimented with the idea that "knowledge is free to all". We ended up with opaque guilds that fiercely protected their trade secrets. The Freemasons and similar groups are a throwback to when skilled labor groups used every means they had to ensure that the skills of their trade never became public knowledge. And while modern companies might not use threats of supernatural violence and arcane authorization rituals, eliminating intellectual property laws would almost certainly lead to more draconian restrictions on information.

  • by Ambiguous Puzuma ( 1134017 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:34AM (#32055970)

    I'm no lawyer, but isn't the defendant allowed a defense in layers, even if those layers contradict each other? (I think there's a legal term for this but I can't seem to find it.) The defense would go something like: "It wasn't me. And if it was me, I had fair use rights to the songs in question."

  • by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:38AM (#32055994) Homepage
    You do realize judges aren't morons and don't buy all these little bullshit "what if" excuses that are collaborated with zero evidence? You do realize in civil law the prosecution's burden is less than it is with criminal law? You do realize the one left holding the bag is the one who gets pinned with the blame? You do realize all the prosecution has to do is convince the judge/jury that you are likely guilty?

    You are yet another slashdot fool pretending to have more legal smarts than you actually have. You spew idiotic--no I dare say it--dangerous advice to a mostly unsuspecting crowd. Maybe you should sit this one out. I get mighty sick of you arm chair lawyers.
  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:44AM (#32056032) Journal

    One other thing, fair use is a defense and the court gets to decide whether it is a valid defense. It is not, however, a reason to quash the subpoena because whether it falls under fair use is the question the court must decide.

  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:49AM (#32056062) Homepage Journal

    The requirement on THEY is much less than you might like to believe

    "THEY" have to prove your IP was the connection

    then it's your responsibility to mount a defense
    "YOU" have to PROVE you were hacked
    then YOU must PROVE the hacker did it

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:52AM (#32056080) Journal

    Please show where in American history there was a time when people were free to make unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Remember, if there is N copies of a work in existence authorized by the copyright holder and an action occurs without the copyright holders consent after which there are N+1 copies then copying has taken place and unless it falls under fair use, which is for a court to decide, then it is copyright infringement.

    Please explain how this person is not getting a fair trial.

    Please explain where in U.S. law it says one has an absolute right to privacy that can not be violate, at all, ever.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:01AM (#32056134)

    You fail at your argument because you are using false dichotomy, slippery slope, appeal to emotion, and appeal to fear. It is just one big fallacy.

          I have lived a lifetime. You have not. I remember what America WAS. You do not. You think the slippery slope isn't real? Ok, wait.

  • by siride ( 974284 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:19AM (#32056238)
    Still an idiotic argument. You *certainly* use your own router. You have no proof that these other people are doing it (and it's not "likely" that large numbers of people are using your router anyway). In the most likely case, it was *you* who did the downloading. If you want to propose that it's someone else, you will need to provide evidence for that. And the mere possibility that someone might have used your router doesn't seem to me to be strong evidence. In fact, I recall that there was a case where the BS open WiFi argument was quashed (
  • by Dripdry ( 1062282 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:26AM (#32056296) Journal

    As simple as that, eh?

    What about the law that protects these works for what many would view as an overly long and culturally/intellectually/societally injurious length of time?

    Oh, right, change the laws.

    What about the legal system that favors the powerful corporations who lobby to have these protections put up in the first place?

    Why not boycott the companies and stop buying their products so they fail.

    What about the fact that people are, and yet these entities are so large and so entrenched that nothing less than government intervention will change them?

    Oh, change government you say?

    Well what about the general helplessness and clueless nature of 90% of people about the system, how it runs, and how to change its "Brazil"-esque nature?

    Change the culture, you say?

    Well how about big media's hold on news media, entertainment, and advertising? ...yet MORE questions that can't be answered easily and that constantly come up on Slashdot.

    It really isn't that simple, and all it takes is a little intellectual rigor to realize that. Using a generalized ad hominem attack just because someone says they want to pirate something doesn't seem useful.

    It sounds like my dad when he wants to ignore facts and what is in front of him in favor of hoping that the problem will just magically disappear. It's not taking personal responsibility for a system which, from certain points of view, is incredibly fucked up.

    Just my two cents.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:32AM (#32056332) Homepage Journal

    If *everyone* disobeys, they will just automate the process, strip of us of more rights without due process and end up just adding a RIAA tax.

  • by siride ( 974284 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:44AM (#32056424)
    The idea with copyright is that you, the consumer, *don't* actually own the content. You own a copy, which is a limited use grant of the content. Only the copyright owner actually owns it and is free to do with it what he or she pleases, including giving it away for free to anyone. You do not have that freedom.
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:16PM (#32056664) Homepage

    He may as well have said, literally, "I don't want them to have my name because I don't want to be sued and I don't think I did anything wrong."
    Every time one uses either or both of these arguments, you look like a selfish, childish asshole.

    And really, that's my problem with the pirates and why they get so little sympathy from the general public - their argument ultimately boils down "I don't want to respect anyone's rights and want everyone else to be forced to give up their rights". Then this guys comes along and claims "and while I shouldn't be forced to respect the rights of others, they should be forced to respect the rights I've created for myself out of whole cloth".

  • Re:Yes, well ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:14PM (#32057676)

    Of course, once the RIAA discovers that it has nailed a Federal judge's kid, they'd drop the case like a hot potato.

    A cynical, lazy and dangerous assumption that is all too typically geek.

    Spend some time talking to a kid whose father is a pastor, a policeman, a federal prosecutor or a strict "law and order" judge. It will help clear your head of such nonsense.

    Actually I've spoken to lawyers about it, and given the nature of the RIAA's operation, it's a very reasonable assumption, cynical or otherwise. They cherry-pick their cases. Spend some time reading about the RIAA's lawsuit mill: that will help clear your head of some obvious misunderstandings. Start with Ray Beckerman's blog, go from there.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright