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Hurt Locker Lawsuits May Reach Canadians, Too 159

First time accepted submitter so.dan writes "Canadian copyright guru Michael Geist reports that the 'File sharing lawsuits involving the movie the Hurt Locker [that] have been big news in the United States for months... are coming to Canada as the Federal Court of Canada has paved the way for the identification of subscribers at Bell Canada, Cogeco, and Videotron who are alleged to have copied the movie.' This is the first I've ever heard of MAFIAA lawsuits beginning to succeed in Canada. The move seems to target larger ISPs. Are subscribers of smaller ISPs — who must lease their lines from the larger ones such as Bell — relatively protected from such invasions of privacy due to some sort of technical difficulty in determining the names of subscribers? (Please excuse my technical ignorance)."
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Hurt Locker Lawsuits May Reach Canadians, Too

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  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhatAreYouDoingHere ( 2458602 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @06:52PM (#37364612)
    You made a bad movie. Stop involving the lawyers and blaming everybody else.
    • by gd2shoe ( 747932 )

      Are subscribers of smaller ISPs — who must lease their lines from the larger ones such as Bell — relatively protected from such invasions of privacy due to some sort of technical difficulty in determining the names of subscribers? (Please excuse my technical ignorance)."

      Short answer: no

      Longer answer: not likely

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hurt Locker wasn't a bad movie. Of course, I've only seen it once I could rent it.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        It wasn't a good movie. It wasn't a bad movie. It was just a movie.
        • I enjoyed the acting and cinematography, but as a war movie it rates below "In The Army Now" in terms of realism. You'd be hard-pressed to find a scene in that movie that wasn't completely unrealistic.

          • Now you're being unfair. The credits looked quite credible.

          • by geogob ( 569250 )

            That's why we call them movies and not documentaries.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The producers think they are entitled. Their arrogance will be their downfall in the Canadian courts, at least till C-32 gets shoved down our throats.

    • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phantomcircuit ( 938963 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @07:22PM (#37364744) Homepage

      You made a bad movie. Stop involving the lawyers and blaming everybody else.

      They actually made an excellent movie.

      However it was not available for purchase for 99% of the people who wanted to watch it, so people pirated it.

      Shocking right?

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @10:47PM (#37365550)

        The main reason for illegal copying, actually.

        Take a look at how often TV shows get copied. TV shows, the very same you get to see on TV for free anyway. Now, why would people do that?

        First, because they're not available at all where they live. It took 3 years to get Big Bang Theory where I live, and for the longest time it didn't look like we'd get it at all. Same for IT Crowd. And I'm still waiting for Mongrels (and it's not bloody likely I'll ever get to see it on TV).

        Then there's the delay for non-US people getting shows. We're at the very least one season behind. More often, more than one. Sheen's freak out, causing an interruption in Two and a half man still hasn't hit us. And it won't for some time, the writer's strike just recently caused us to watch reruns. Not to mention that they often mess up the order and that we almost certainly don't get to see "season themed" shows (for Halloween or X-Mas) when they're appropriate.

        And finally, the often atrocious dubbing. I won't go into detail, but a lot of jokes and often even the meaning get changed and mangled in translation. Simpsons are notorious for it, but for almost all shows, once you've seen the original, you realize just how crappy the dubbing is. And there's no chance in hell that you could simply forgo it.

        Now, of course one could argue to get the show DVDs. And if they're available, I'll certainly take that option gladly. But they often fail for the same three reasons: Shows that weren't on TV yet are often "not available in that country", it takes ages for it to become available on DVD (we're literally talking years here) and it's often a matter of luck whether you can actually get a non-dubbed version.

        Fix that and "piracy" will drop instantly.

        • by geogob ( 569250 )

          Availability is the biggest problem... and that's entirely the distributors fault. They should be held accountable for the situation they cause, not the customers trying to fight their way through artificial limits and rarity (probably as a motivator to increase prices).

          The best example I can see is that with online movie downloads like on iTunes. Why are only a few titles in HD? Why are some in HD in the US, but not in Canada or Gemany or whatever? Why can't I choose the languages or, even, multiple langua

          • Just so you know... localization (translation) happens at the final edit level. As in, when the final version of the movie is cut (sometimes weeks before the cinematic release) it is remastered for all the different language versions. So the excuse that "we had to make a re-cut to dub in language X" is horseshit.

            I did some contract work at a post production house a couple years ago. Maybe it's different now, but I doubt it.
            • Not always. Actually a lot of anime gets cut and butchered to the point where they literally have to reshuffle the scenes and construct a completely different story to make it fit somehow. It gets especially atrocious when they try to fit some anime decidedly NOT for kids into the afternoon cartoon lineup.

              • Good point... but I was thinking more about the typical hollywood film, however, which is what the parent post is concerned with.
                • Even they get often butchered beyond recognition. Sometimes the dialogues barely resemble the original ones. Usually it's explained with having to match the lip movement to the words, but often you get meanings twisted and turned around, mostly due to sloppy translator work, either because he lacks the information about certain events (especially if the dialogue is about current events or requires special knowledge about certain topics) or because the translator is simply too stupid to know what kind of cra

          • Basically that's the point. And the reason is simply that good movies can easily convince people to watch it twice or even more times, something they have to pay for every time they actually go into the movies, unlike when they buy a DVD. Also, the "box office" results determine the success, and hence the perceived quality, of a movie, along with its chances to win an Oscar or some other award.

            Concerning the dubbing delay and the refusal to view the movie undubbed, I have that (conspiration) theory that it'

      • Could you elaborate on this?

        The movie is readily available at both Amazon and Walmart, and other retailers.

        • The movie played at various film festivals and was released in italy, then they soft launched in the US. At this point there was huge demand to watch the movie but absolutely no legal way for 99% of the people to watch it.

          I would guess that it's probably one of the most pirated movies of all time.

      • However it was not available for purchase for 99% of the people who wanted to watch it, so people pirated it.

        Because it's a basic human right to be able to consume other people's content on your own terms.

        • Right? Not necessarily, but it is the natural order of things.

          Copyright is the aberration, created by law, to prevent the natural condition that we would be able to consume the content on our own terms. Since it isn't naturally 'other people's content' It's other people's creations, but the instant they release it, it becomes everyone's content. Copyright is just restricting ourselves from what is naturally the situation.

          Does that mean I'm against copyright? No, but what I think isn't important, you ju

      • One of the most overrated movies of 2000s. I suspect that Oscar was given to it because of political reasons.

      • No, it's a fucking terrible movie, cartoonish in it's portrayal of soldiers, war and combat.

        It's terrible because it tries to be realistic and fails.

        GI JOE is a better movie because it doesn't pretend to be something it's not.
    • How could you possibly get +4 insightful? The Hurt Locker is one of the most awarded and acclaimed movies of the last decade. Its awards have their own (long) Wikipedia page []. It has a 97% (!) amongst critics and 83% amongst users at Rotten Tomatoes, got a 4-star review from Roger Ebert [], and it made something like triple its budget []. The mods must be crazy. I guess I can hope they accidentally clicked "Insightful" instead of "Troll".
      • by zill ( 1690130 )

        bad movie

        one of the most awarded and acclaimed movies of the last decade

        This may come as a shock to you, but no amount of awards, acclaims, and raving reviews will make a movie good.

        • Duh. You managed to completely ignore the high correlation between lots of accolades and "goodness" while coming up with an almost tautological and content-less one-liner. This is why I hate computer geek culture. There's always another smug idiot ready to bless the world with his unique insight, since he really does have insight in the computer world, and the real world is the same, right?

          Of course objective measures of a subjective phenomenon are imperfect. That should be obvious to anyone. Unless you say

      • The movie is acclaimed for its "realism". However as a trained national serviceman, I stopped watching after the part where the sergeant ordered his men individually into dark alleys. I would shoot the sergeant on the spot for endangering the lives of his men if I were there. Not a good movie IMO.
        • by dlt074 ( 548126 )

          i made it to the part where the car rolls thru the PSD cordon and right up to EOD... then i turned it off because i knew i was going to be absolute make believe shit posing as something realistic. horrible movie.

      • Hurt Locker is not the only one [] with a long page of awards...
        • I should have made my point clearer. The person I was responding to implied the makers of The Hurt Locker were sore over making a bad movie, so were taking it out on people by suing them. With the kind of accolades I listed, it's preposterous to imply that. Who could possibly think they had made a bad movie with all those accolades, including Best Picture and rave reviews from tons of professional critics? At the very least, the person I was replying to needed to supply strong evidence for their extraordina

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Now with regards to this thread the quality of the movie is meanignless, what really counts is Canada has a loser pays system for civil suits. The loser pays court costs and the winners legal costs.

        When playing games of mass civil suits, you need just one winner and everyone else cites that case and all of a sudden they have lost thousands of case and face counter suit for harassment and psychological harm.

        This has always been the reason why they haven't played civil suit games in countries with tighte

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @10:19PM (#37365466) Journal
      Don't know, but if I thought I could make millions by suing downloaders of something I made, I would be seriously tempted as well. Who wouldn't be?
    • More like... The Butthurt Locker.

      THANK YOU THANK YOU i'll be here all week.
    • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

      You made a bad movie.

      A word of advice: If everyone else loves the movies you hate, then maybe, just maybe, you have bad taste.

      Note: This also works for books, television, music and fashion, but unfortunately not for Slashdot posts.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      How is the movie bad? It was great.

  • by stretch0611 ( 603238 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @06:52PM (#37364616) Journal

    FTA: "The ISPs were given two weeks to respond and are entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses."

    Once ISP expenses cost more than the expected settlement amount, this nonsense will stop in Canada.

    • FTA: "The ISPs were given two weeks to respond and are entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses."

      Once ISP expenses cost more than the expected settlement amount, this nonsense will stop in Canada.

      I disagree. I don't think these lawsuits are about making money for the studios as much as they are about deterrence.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We should also go back to spelling it as micro$oft in the summaries, too!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is the real acronym...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, we should rather drop the last "A". I worked with lawyers and people in the industry and studied the whole way they work.

      Imagine a gang that told everyone they needed "protection" so much, that people actually started to believe it.
      That's what the media industry did.
      They told everyone that you could "own information" so much, that people actually started to believe it.
      Even here on Slashdot. Even though everyone who seriously thinks about it, realizes that it's actually physically impossible to own

      • > I, for one, am gonna put them behind bars where they belong.

        The sooner the better!

        BTW, regarding this ridiculously appropriate acronym, it's hard to imagine that they weren't aware of what it almost spells. That leads me to suspect that it was intentional... sorta like Orwellian newspeak.

  • by static416 ( 1002522 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @07:14PM (#37364716)

    There was a previous case involving BMG that was stopped because CIPPIC intervened and showed that you can't plausibly identify an individual based on an IP address, and that there were huge privacy violations involved in just handing over subscriber information. [] We have a Privacy Act here in Canada that is supposed to prevent these sorts of things.

    In this case the Voltage (movie production company) moved so fast that there was no chance for anyone to intervene, and the ISPs didn't put up any kind of fight, so the court process was mostly a formality. On top of that, Bell, Cogeco, and Videotron provided all the subscriber info within two weeks of the ruling.

    Two weeks is a very short time. With the same situation in the US, I think Comcast and Time Warner said that it would take them months and months to find all the information.

    My guess is that Voltage approached Bell, Cogeco, and Videotron much earlier and made sure they would not be putting up a fight. And possibly even got them to start collecting the information early. By making sure it moved quickly they minimized the chances that CIPPIC could get involved and block it as they did before. This is why they didn't include other ISPs, they wanted to make sure the ISPs they were dealing with were just going to just go along with it, and smaller providers like Teksavvy would have very likely stood up for their customers and drawn CIPPIC into the battle with them.

    Now that they have all the information they need, I'm sure that individual suits will start. But the situation in Canada is a little different than the US, and the suits may not work as well. Here we have something of a precedent showing that this information should not have been provided in the first place. Furthermore, if the defendant is able to win, Voltage will be forced to pay the defendants legal fees so it's not quite the same extortion racket it is in the US.

    • Wait; in the US, if you sue someone and lose, you don't have to pay their legal fees? Is that right?
      • That's right. It's a little ridiculous. They're trying to introduce a law at the moment, so those who bring frivilous lawsuits (ie, those with no merit that they know they're going to lose) have to pay the fees for the other side. The legal establishment is fighting extremely hard to stop this, and being quite powerful they probably will succeed.

        Frivilous lawsuits are their bread and butter. They convince some ignorant sap that they'll win a court case which they (the lawyers) know they'll most likely lose,

        • The court can always charge a side with legal fees if the lawsuit is without merit. What you actually want is universal fee shifting. Sounds great until you consider every company will pay their attorneys 1,000 dollars an hour. No suits will be brought.

          As an attorney I think you're on to something and should push this as hard as possible. However, be aware that your idea give companies even greater power. Right now it's everyone pays their own fees with fee shifting in certain statutory situations and merit

          • No, the law doesn't propose universal fee shifting. And no, that's not what I want.

            At the moment courts *can* award for meritless cases, but also don't have to. Frequently cases are simply dismissed without any fee shifting, and two sets of lawyers go home happy. The law being proposed makes fee shifting mandatory in frivilous cases. It doesn't apply to cases which aren't frivilous, so there's no balanced equation which means no cases can be brought, as you're suggesting. It simply means that there'll be a

            • It doesn't apply to "cases which aren't frivolous?" Awesome, who decides what's frivolous and what's not? I thought I knew frivolous cases from reading newspapers. Then I went to law school and actually read the cases. Give me an example of what you consider a frivolous case.

              And court fees are always the domain of the court. I do 8th amendment/1983 actions which allow fee shifting but doesn't require it. What you really want is universal fee shifting. And that's OK, my Advanced Civil Procedure Professor wan

              • Even having the loser pay doesn't always help. When I was a student, one of my friends sued the university because she fell over and injured her head. She tripped over a small curb, and a lawyer argued that it was the university's liability because the area wasn't properly lit and the curb wasn't sufficiently marked. She just wanted the university to paint a white line and fix the streetlamp to make sure no one else would trip in the same place (at dusk, it was hard to see the raised bit of the path).

          • Well, the fee-shifting, if warranted, should include all four parties involved. The two parties in the dispute, and their lawyers....

      • by telso ( 924323 )

        Depends. The English rule [], used in most common law and Western jurisdictions for civil cases, except state-level cases in the US, allows the judge to award costs [] to the prevailing party (FRCP [] 54 causes this to apply to federal civil suits in the US). The American rule [] is used for state-level civil suits, and requires each side to pay its own legal fees. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

        The rationale for awarding costs is obviously to dissuade frivolous litigation; you're going to be badly hurt if you lo

  • by jimmyswimmy ( 749153 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @08:38PM (#37365096)

    In answer to OP's question, I suspect that the movie mafia are going after downloaders at large ISPs because the payoff is bigger - they get one process going through one legal department, and a number of names and addresses of suspected downloaders is produced, after which they send out ransom letters. At smaller ISPs, there are fewer targets to send letters to, so the cost is proportionally higher per target.

    So in a sense, you could say that customers at smaller ISPs are safer, depending on the movie organizations' intent - if they want to make money off people and get a lot of big settlements to make news, they would focus on large ISPs and their customers. If they want to thoroughly scare people, they'll go after everyone, independent of the cost of doing so.

    • I bet if small ISPs stood up for their clients they could increase their market share markedly. Whereas large ISPs will lose only a tiny fraction of their client base because their despicable bastards, due largely to the fact that their customers are with them because they don't know of the alternatives.

      With the new laws about sharing infrastructure Teksavvy, Wind and Mobilicity have become viable ISPs in the cities. These companies have drastically improved options for cell phone service and people might
  • How about someone makes a database that lists everyone in every one of these movies they sue over and boycott any works by those studios, the actors, even down to the crews that work in them. If any of those people are in a movie or related to it in anyway; it's boycotted. The real power is in the consumer, not the courts, not the studios.

    • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @09:41PM (#37365324)

      Oh goodie! A call for a boycott - because those work so well when there's still millions who won't join in on said boycott :D /sarcasm

      Let's give it a shot, though...

      Starting with the production companies...
      Voltage Pictures - not much to boycott there.
      Grosvenor Park - no watching "Love in the Time of Cholera", "Disaster Movie" (no loss there) or "Righteous Kill"
      Film Capital Europe Funds - again, not much to boycott.
      First Light Production - no "K-19 The Widowmaker"
      Kingsgate - zilch

      Ohhhh... this one should get some teenage girls going "omg I have to boycott them!? noooooooeees":
      Summit Entertainment - That's right, no more watching the "Twilight" saga, the "Step Up" series, "Push", "Knowing" (ot: great opening sequence), "The Brothers Grimm", "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", "Memento", "Vanilla Sky",

      I guess we'll leave the distribution companies be, but just for kicks, they include Warner Brothers Pictures, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Summit Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Including them, and the other distributions, means you can now put more than half of the movies made, EVER, on your boycott list. That shouldn't be too hard, eh.

      Oh, another good one..
      Effects: Company 3 - They have worked on, among other, "Tower Heist", "Conan the Barbarian" but also the "Transformers" series, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, "X-Men: The Last Stand", "Sucker Punch", "Rango"... shit, they go all the way back to "Being John Malkovich". That's 202 more movies - many of which quite popular - that you can add to your boycott list.

      And we haven't even gotten to the fact that you want the crew to be included. You do realize that eventually, it's entirely likely that you will have put, say, 95% of all movies out of Hollywood - and whatever bunch more that the distributors and investment companies etc. touch outside of Hollywood - on your boycott list, right?

      Yes, the real power is in the consumer. The question however is not whether the consumer has the power to bring down corporations; that power is a given. The question is whether that consumer has the power to stop themselves from enjoying entertainment just because somebody on Slashdot is entirely deluded on the feasibility of boycotts in general, and especially those scoped as large as you just have.

      If you just want to boycott the studio that's actually doing the suing, rather than some make-up artist who would give you puzzling looks as to what the hell you're on, then boycott Voltage Pictures.

      But, again, there's just not much to boycott there, even though I guess their list is growing: []

      • Good points, I am just frustrated, and that doesn't make for good suggestions.

      • What about just switching ISPs (if possible). If a significant number of people with Bell sent letters to Bell and said please terminate my service I don't trust you to protect my privacy any more since you were willing to hand over names and addresses just because you were provided and IP address and an accusation.

        Also if I were accidentally caught up in this (and didn't download anything) my first check would be whether I can sue my ISP for breaching privacy laws. There is definitely a Tort case to be mad

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      Well, since 99.9% of the movie going public could really care less, it would be a waste of effort.

  • Because of certain laws, not because they simply never got around to it yet. now this seems to be saying that Canada has been illegal movie download litigation free simply because they have not bothered to sue anyone yet?

    I am not sure about movies, but I know we are allowed/semi allowed to pirate music because the government taxes all MP3 players expressly to pay for the loss of profits that piracy costs the artists.

  • I downloaded the movie, but never could watch, it well, just sounded way too dumb.

    So am I guilty?

    It got deleted, never watched.

    Obviously I'm somewhat guilty of having bad taste, but I deleted the movie before it damaged my mental capabilities, so does that take some of the downloading shame away?

    Wait, I should sue the movie makers for putting out a movie that i wasted time downloading but not watching.

  • Comments that say the movie sucks will get modded up.

    Comments that defend the movie will stay below sea level moderation.

    This is because some people associated with the movie decided to pursue a civil copyright lawsuit.

    The summary will say the MPAA is involved. This will be false.

    No analysis of the movie, or any new analysis of copyright law will occur.

    • No analysis of the movie, or any new analysis of copyright law will occur.

      To be fair, the flaws in the latter are well-known and have been for quite some time. Naturally no explanation of this would be complete without an understanding of how political power works and thus, how it got to be so flawed in the first place and what must first be corrected before the laws will change.

      I suppose the movie is open to novel forms of analysis... but the second half of that statement may as well be a tautology.

  • As a nation, Canada just said...."No." to this. To America's absolutely nutso attempts to punish the misdeeds (arguable) of a minority at the expense of the majority. I doubt it will ever really happen here in the States...but maybe there are other countries that don't subscribe to this particular brand of insanity?
  • We're looking for legislation that basically stops online piracy and illegal file sharing

    Legislation just stops nothing.
    Criminals will do whatever they want.

    Last I checked, murder is nailed down pretty well and it still happens every day.

    Exactly what kind of legislation do they think they could enact that would "stop" online piracy?

    Perhaps something of the nature "If the movie industry even thinks you've shared one byte of a pirated movie they're entitled to schedule a predator strike on your house" might w

  • Typical Hollywood crap. If some two-bit adrenaline junkie ran around playing cowboy in RL like the main protagonist did in that movie, he'd have spent four-fifths of his tour of duty in the guardhouse.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.