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Australia Government Piracy The Courts United States

US Embassy Sanctioned Lawsuit Against Aussie ISP iiNet 263

New submitter Elenor writes with this story (excerpted) from TorrentFreak, another nugget gleaned from the cables made public by WikiLeaks: "The Canberra Wikileaks cables have revealed that the U.S. Embassy sanctioned a conspiracy by Hollywood studios to target Australian communications company iiNet through the local court-system, with the aim of establishing a binding common-law precedent which would make ISPs responsible for the unauthorised file-sharing of their customers. Both the location, Australia, and the target, iiNet, were carefully selected. A precedent set in Australia would be influential in countries with comparable legal systems such as Canada, India, New Zealand and Great Britain. Australian telecommunications giant Telstra was judged too large for the purposes of the attack. Owing to its smaller size and more limited resources, iiNet was gauged the perfect candidate." The cable describes no overt action on the part of the American embassy, but the wording is telling: "Mike Ellis, the Singapore-based President for Asia Pacific of the Motion Picture Association ... said MPAA did not see any role for Embassy at this time, but wanted to keep us informed."
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US Embassy Sanctioned Lawsuit Against Aussie ISP iiNet

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  • by rhook ( 943951 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:53PM (#38814161)

    And this is why lobbying and campaign contributions need to be outlawed.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:58PM (#38814213) Journal

    So, american embassies are MPAA's bitches ?

    Not quite - More like the entire US government will bend over for the highest bidder. The fact that embassies serve our interests abroad, and the MPAA can bid pretty damned high, counts as merely an incidental fact in this situation.

    Ironically enough, as a consequence, we may do better with the personally-richer candidate in any election, because it will cost more for them to take any potential buyer seriously. But at this point, it looks more and more like we have only one of the traditional "boxes" of democracy remaining.

    Seriously? We have Hollywood publicly admitting an expectation of quid pro quo for its "campaign contributions" and now this, and the government doesn't give the least bit of a flying fuck. Welcome to the end of the modern experiment. At least we went the "Marie Antoinette", rather than the "thermonuclear global holocaust", route.

  • by bigtrike ( 904535 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:02PM (#38814247)

    The government is spending your tax money to subvert the laws of a foreign nation in order to increase the profits of a domestic business. I suppose this is considered "pro business" by the neo-conservative types and applauded.

  • by Avarist ( 2453728 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:08PM (#38814287)
    They might want you to call it 'lobbying and campaign contributions', I call that outright corruption.
  • by spyder-implee ( 864295 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:13PM (#38814329)
    It totally should, although until then I think that iiNet's court victory coupled with the un-earthing of the clandestine activities of the record company & US embassy will hamper any cases brought by the recording industry in the near future. Or is that just wishful thinking?
  • by zAPPzAPP ( 1207370 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:21PM (#38814381)

    Other industries certainly possess as much power. The defence industry is involved a lot when it comes to foreign policies (who gets to buy which weapons, which decides the fate of entire countries).
    Big oil companies too can get what they want easily, for example rights to drill wherever they want.

    But in those cases it is real power, created by the scarcity and importance of their products. They don't need to push for laws, or do extreme lobbying, because they already wield that power and no one is going to take it from them soon.

    The power of media companies is mostly artificial. No on really needs them, they created the demand for their services themselves.
    That must be why they push so hard for laws. It's a desperate move to tie themselves into everything, so they can't be easily disposed off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:41PM (#38814489)

    Why can't we just cut diplomatic relationship with the US. What the hell do we need those fuckers for ?
    They sure aren't producing anything valuable.

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:43PM (#38814509) Journal

    Regardless, it's things like this which makes Wikileaks absoloutely a very very important web site for the entire internet. I'm very glad this information has been revealed.

  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:00PM (#38814651)
    Against the US military? Are you KIDDING? Guns won't do anything productive other than cost lives. IF this country somehow manages a revolution, it will NEED to be nonviolent.
  • Re:Right on time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:01PM (#38814653)

    Well keep in mind that iiNet, in the end, won its case. If they'd lost, and then this was revealed, then perhaps there would be a bit more of an outcry. So our least our courts gave the MPAA a bit of a smackdown...

    (Not to mention the fact that I'd read this story in the newspaper at least three or four days ago, Slashdot is slow on the uptake!)

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:02PM (#38814665)
    Give us a year or two - for now we still buy a little bit of stuff from the USA instead of directly from Asia where it is made. As you guys keep outsourcing it won't be long before there isn't anything we want to buy from the USA.
    You can keep the military hardware. We've been conned into buying crap as part of political deals - notably some obsolete but expensive torpedoes that didn't fit our subs until we modified the subs (stupid for torpedoes that are not made any more), some ancient Sea Sprite helicopters that were rubbish in 1975 let alone 2006, and some tanks that we can't even use within our own country without tanker trucks following them around. And don't get me started on the JSF. You may have some good equipment but politics and corruption means that instead of supplying it to your military allies you simply drain their military budgets into the pockets of big contributors and make your military allies buy expensive crap as part of a package deal.
    So there you go, you've fucked up your economy so badly that there's nothing much that we want that we can actually buy from the USA.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:07AM (#38815147)

    I still think that Assange is a dangerous, mentally ill douchebag

    The guy risks his life and freedom to bring information to us, the people. If what it takes to do that is a "dangerous, mentally ill douchebag" maybe the world needs more dangerous, mentally ill douchebags*.

    * although I agree he poses a danger to abusive governments and corporations around the world, what mental gymnastics did you do to conclude he is mentally ill (or are you his doctor?)? I think calling Assange a douchebag must be the cool thing to do because whenever Wikileaks pops up (even if tangentially) there are always some idiots who can't stop telling everyone how this Assange guy they have never met is such huge douche.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:26AM (#38815269)
    You can't buy a vote, this is illegal. However you can buy a Congressman outright and tell em' what to do. This is infinitely worse.
  • by Lotana ( 842533 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:46AM (#38815903)

    By far the biggest hurdle to overcome is people's apathy.

    There is revolution talk here in nearly every YRO story. Does anything comes out of it? Maybe Slashdoters are passionate, but we are the minority compared to the population at large. Not to mention that noone outside of tech circles gives a shit about the functioning of Internet or the government policies towards it. Do you honestly expect people to put their lives on a line because of government regulations towards these computer thingies?

    Until the police state will start to really affect everyday basic living, don't expect to see anything changed. Hell, TSA are molesting people in airports and asking for papers on roads and trains and I haven't even heard of any protests against it!

    Another annoying thing about these revolution threads is that they keep going on about the fighting, but never what happens after. What happens after you shoot all the current authority figures and their pets?

    What will be the new policies? Who will be the new leaders and how will they be different? What will be the new safeguards that will prevent the same issues as the previous ways? What things will be changed? How is the new regime be better than the old? What are the detailed plans for the new governement structure? Why are your ideals worth dying for? Etc.

    If someone can come up with extensive, comprehensive and thorough answers to the above questions and have some charisma, then you might have a start to try to work on people's apathy and conservatism. Without this it is all just talk that can go on without any change for decades.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @03:02AM (#38815977)

    Yes, they want drugs, and gun crime, and the KKK, and lower life expectancy, and higher infant mortality, and a shitty healthcare system, and a third world education system, and religious lunatics in every political office, and a crapped out economy, and 10% unemployment (real figure more like 20%) and all their jobs going overseas.

    Wake up, NO-ONE except some poor Third World Peon wants to "be" the USA, we all feel sorry for you instead.

    I'd only consider living in the USA if outrageous profit was involved, to offset the, frankly, shitty experience of being there in the first place. For most other developed countries the USA is definitely a step down.

  • The true cellar-dwelling geek --- the mushroom maiden --- with no social or political life whatsoever

    And a true cellar-dwelling American has no knowledge of politics or processes outside his own nation.

    To quote Graeme Orr:

    Of gravest concern is the perception of the sale of governmental favours. This concern has been most recently raised with regard to the exercise of discretion by the federal immigration authorities and Minister in favour of donors to the Liberal Party.[110]
    There is a danger that the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) will swallow the corporate view that such fees are valuable consideration, shelled out as part of doing business in Australia. Indeed one AEC handbook states that ‘value [ie, consideration] includes gaining access to lobby government ministers’.[111] On that reasoning, even large-scale donations are simply ‘part of doing business’ and their tax deductibility as an ordinary business expense would be undeniable! No matter how perfect the disclosure system, if the sale of political favours is assimilated as an acceptable part of the ‘commerce’ of parties, then politics risks collapsing into a business, not a public service.

    Does anything look familiar here? This was in 2003, and the reform proposals outlined were considered to be a major step towards reducing the influence of direct lobbying in Australian politics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @04:29AM (#38816325)

    You're not making any sense. It's like claiming that everyone secretly wants leprosy.

    You're obviously listening to the wrong people. Try and keep clear of the unemployed wigger hangouts at the bus stops, ok?

    Some people go from Oz to the US for pie in the sky reasons like Hollywood to be in a movie, or sometimes to do some time in one of the Universities or major research centres.

    Almost all people go from the US to OZ to have a decent life and a job and the best standard of living in the world just about, and to not get gunned down by some Uzi toting crackhead and then be bankrupted in hospital, assuming they lived.

    The US is great for a quick holiday, or Disneyland or Vegas, but living there 24/7 ????........eeeeeeeeeeew..... too dirty and poor these days.

    For instance, average household wealth in OZ is FOUR TIMES average US household wealth, not to mention unemployment is less than half US rates, incomes are approximately double US rates and the currency is at parity or worth more than the greenback.

    Nothing personal, you just have to remember that Yoo Ess Ayy Numba Wun only works on the Africans and Mexicans and other Third Worlders these days.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy @ g m a> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @06:11AM (#38816613)

    Yes, they want drugs, and gun crime, and the KKK, and lower life expectancy, and higher infant mortality, and a shitty healthcare system, and a third world education system, and religious lunatics in every political office, and a crapped out economy, and 10% unemployment (real figure more like 20%) and all their jobs going overseas.

    The way they keep voting certainly suggests so, yes.

    I'd only consider living in the USA if outrageous profit was involved, to offset the, frankly, shitty experience of being there in the first place. For most other developed countries the USA is definitely a step down.

    Having lived in the US (and a few other countries), if you have a solid job and good ($100k+) income, the lifestyle is pretty unbeatable due to the low cost of living. I can't think of another country where such a relatively low income can buy such a relatively high lifestyle.

  • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @10:29AM (#38817849)

    And this is why lobbying and campaign contributions need to be outlawed.

    Unfortunately thats impossible to achieve through the democratic process.

    The people who make the laws are the ones who benefit most from this corruption. They cannot possibly fund an election campaign without huge amounts of cash from corporate donors. Any politician who stands up against this corruption won't get any campaign contributions and therefore they will effectively vanish from the political scene. There will be no media coverage of them. They won't be able to make any advertisements or phone campaigns or anything.

    No, I am afraid that the USA and much of the so-called democratic world are lost and the only way to fix the situation is through some kind of revolution.

    Look at voter turnout in the USA. Its abysmal. Why? I would argue that most people who do not vote either do not actually care whether they live in a democracy or not or they understand that they do not actually live in a democracy and that voting changes nothing. This is especially true in the USA which is, in effect, a one-party state. Democrat and Republican are basically two factions of one political party and shut all competition out of the process.

    Look at the way that the democratic system is so dampened by 'noise' that many elections in many parts of the world end up almost even matches with very close counts.

    What we have come to call 'democracy' in the western world actually makes a mockery of democracy.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta