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The Courts Piracy Your Rights Online

Federal Judge Rules P2P Users Aren't In a Conspiracy 66

Fluffeh writes "Judge Holderman ruled against copyright holders who were trying to paint a rather distorted picture. They sue just one Internet user, but use that lawsuit as a pretext to subpoena other defendants who had participated in the same BitTorrent swarm. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the other users had participated in a "conspiracy" to assist one another in distributing particular copyrighted works. Because the copyright holder's threat is based on the cost of litigation (and risk of public embarrassment — as this is a tactic used increasingly by the pron industry) more so than the damages a defendant would face in the event of a loss, innocent defendants have virtually as much incentive to settle as guilty ones do. That's not how things are supposed to work, and more and more judges are refusing to play along. Coupled with recent rulings in Florida, the copyright holders seem to be finding less and less favor with judges."
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Federal Judge Rules P2P Users Aren't In a Conspiracy

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  • by WiiVault ( 1039946 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @12:52AM (#39546033)

    How does this not matter considering it refers to legislation dealing with the cost common experience humans have with a PC today, the internet? Yeah I was gonna say porn since it is referenced, and likely the only thing to cause more addiction than middleschools obsession with Facebook, both the same thing in this context.

    Not sure what your beef is- perhaps it wasn't important enough for you? Fine, but I'm pretty sure this isn't anything as narrow-audience even here as half the book reviews for things like a minor Moodle version bump or some obscure database system tips and tricks that somehow made frontpage right after the article mocking the antiquity of old media writing and how the new version is dropping in the next week and going to fix all of the awfully missteps which incidentally formed a major focus for the book reviewed.

    Remember this is a site that has "Cloud" listed as prominent topic category so just be glad we aren't talking about that vapid empty term which is inadvertently cynically descriptive of the concept itself in the modern era.

  • Re:April Fools? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by D'Sphitz ( 699604 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @01:27AM (#39546189) Journal
    I can't figure out who is supposed to benefit from it. I hear plenty of bitching about it, much of which is my own muttering as I wade through the mostly stupid "jokes" plaguing virtually every website. Are there droves of silent users out there who just love spending the day playing "fact or fiction" on the internet?

    Granted it's just one day a year, but that's not a justification. If millions of websites all switched to a pink wingdings font every June 7th for no other reason than someone else is doing it too, that it's only one day a year wouldn't explain who is supposed to be appreciating it.

    I'm glad /. toned it down this year anyway.
  • Re:Innocent what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @02:04AM (#39546329) Homepage

    You have just the right attitude for law enforcement. Apply now, free donuts.

  • Re:April Fools? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheTurtlesMoves ( 1442727 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @02:36AM (#39546443)
    Please tell me when its not "fact or fiction" day on the internet?
  • Re:April Fools? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @04:23AM (#39546783) Homepage

    The best April Fools stories are those that border between the outrageous and the plausible. I fell for one this year, usually I don't because a friend of mine has his birthday on March 31st but I had a good hangover and forgot. It got me to anger, then to rage, then to "damnit, got me" and was well played. The rest of the day is kind of a waste though. Actually what I found funniest was the reverse April Fools, our version of AP or Reuters called NTB sent out a press message listing the various jokes, except one of those news stories was real. So they had to send out a fairly embarrassing retraction correcting themselves. Then you have all the laughs at other people who did fall for something, not to mention the smugness of not falling for it. Overall lighten up a bit, the world needs one less than serious day a year.

  • Re:Innocent what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @04:55AM (#39546875)
    Well, it is true they aren't exactly known for their accuracy in their accusations. Since they've been doing this they've accused lots of people that wouldn't know a P2P program if it came with it's own spokesmodel, a few network printers, a couple of people that don't own computers, a computer user who's computer runs an operating system that doesn't even have a version of the supposed program for it, someone that was verifiabley out of the country for the time period in question, and I believe I saw a report of an online webcam being targeted as well.

    So of course they 'attack' a lot of innocent people, they're just stupid that way. (Especially since the courts have been letting them get away with it, and that most people can't afford to fight it in the first place.) Although having a conspiracy charge slapped on it would make it a lot worse for you whether or not you are guilt or innocent. It's kind of like being in front of a firing squad and being told they won't stop the execution unless either the governor calls in time (fat chance) or you pay them $3000 to conveniently forget they ever saw you (until the next time they target you).

    As to the few that have taken them to court, it's not much better. They spend a lot more than the extortion money they would have otherwise paid, and don't even get to be officially declared innocent because the blackmailers... err... copyright holders drop the case if it looks like they will lose. Apparently that's done to try and avoid setting a precedent that can be used against them.

    Of course, like you mentioned, there are lots of other reasons why various groups frown on this B.S., but until they do something drastic, or otherwise make it obviously non-profitable, the scammers will keep accusing people to garner filthy lucre.
  • Re:FTFY (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @09:32AM (#39548045) Journal

    the federal judiciary is remarkably free from corporate pressure, and it really is the closest thing the USA has to a bastion of liberty and freedom.

    Which is more sad than anything else.

  • Re:Innocent what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mounthood ( 993037 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @10:04AM (#39548363)

    Most federal judges are not impressed with this "settlement extortion" legal strategy, and aren't letting porn companies (and similar plaintiffs) get away with this on the cheap.

    It's not the legal strategy that judges have a problem with -- it was allowed for years when the RIAA started doing it. It's only after the p0rn industry started using the same strategy that judges viewed it as extortion.

    Now if we could just get some really obnoxious patent trolls, maybe we could get some legal bias against patents.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"