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Piracy Your Rights Online

MPAA Agent Poses As Homebuyer To Catch Pirates 289

bonch writes "The MPAA used an undercover agent posing as a potential homebuyer to gain access to the home of a British couple charged with running a streaming links site. UK authorities decided not to pursue the case, but the MPAA continued, focusing on a Boston programmer who worked on the site, leading to an unprecedented legal maneuver whereby U.S. charges were dropped in exchange for testimony in a UK fraud case."
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MPAA Agent Poses As Homebuyer To Catch Pirates

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  • Outsourced eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:57PM (#40077909)

    I guess even police work and evidence collection is getting outsourced these days....

    On a serious note, what right does the MPAA have to place 'undercover' agents?

  • Man.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:00PM (#40077951)

    Fuck the **AA

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:08PM (#40078051) Journal
    I don't really have an issue with piracy when the media companies make it difficult to view the content legally. I have a major issue when someone is making money off piracy. Screw these people. Throw the book at them.

    I would agree with you, except I have a much, much bigger problem with corporations sending UNDERCOVER FUCKING AGENTS into people's homes under false pretenses.

    If you can't gather enough evidence of criminal activity to convince a rubberstamp-wielding judge to issue a warrant, served by people at least superficially trained in such silly little issues as chain-of-custody, then you drop the issue. You don't hire plumbers to break in and go through your enemies' files.
  • Re:Outsourced eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:11PM (#40078069)

    Read the story: MPAA were the ones that siezed the equipment under police guard, did the investigation of the equipment themselves, and then even were allowed to participate in the questioning.

    There is a problem here.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:11PM (#40078071) Journal
    When discussing a case that includes both the UK and the USA. make it clear where the cities are located. Not only are there probably many cities called "London" in the USA, but more importantly, there is at least one "Boston" in the UK.
  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:14PM (#40078109) Homepage Journal

    I think it's probably the Profit motive. You're a hero if you are providing access to media not otherwise available. If you are seeking money for it when you're not the copyright holder then you're just a money grubbing dick. You might be a money grubber even if you hold the copyright; but then you're at least legal.

    It's like the story of the vet who sent something like 10k pirated DVDs over to the desert. Yes, he violated copyright, but people have his sympathy. If somebody took those 10k DVDs and tried to sell them for $2 profit each, the view is much different. People view you differently if you're not doing it for profit, especially if you're 'donating' your own resources to the cause without hope of return.

  • I feel like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeeEff ( 2370332 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:15PM (#40078125)

    This is getting too wacky and out of hand. I mean, piracy is one thing, but playing police?

    Next thing you know laws will be privatized for the highest bidder in a location. I think we need to step back and ask ourselves, is piracy really worth letting this crap slip by?

    I think we should start by reducing the amount of legislation and bureaucracy and let the police do their job. Then we write the minimum amount of laws required to protect start up industries, and then we hang all the lawyers anyways because they're ridiculous and will ruin everything (as always).

  • by a90Tj2P7 ( 1533853 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:15PM (#40078127)
    Except they didn't break in, they didn't go through anybody's files, they weren't "agents" in the context of law enforcement. It's not like financial companies, insurance companies, service providers and other industries don't have their own investigators who look into things before taking legal action. While there's definitely a few red flags here, the summary presents this like it was some kind of undercover raid, and the comments like this kind of take that even further.
  • by klingens ( 147173 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:22PM (#40078191)

    Simply blackmail in a legal way: you sue the programmer in the US so he has to spend tens of thousands of dollars to defend himself: that will bankrupt him. Or he won't spend that amount of money to defend himself and the torts from the lawsuit will bankrupt him. Now the MPAA has a lever and can coerce the programmer to testify for them.
    Welcome to the legal system of the United States of America. If some people with italian sounding names did such a thing, they'd be prosecuted under RICO.

  • Re:Outsourced eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:23PM (#40078205) Homepage Journal

    Bullshit. Major problem here. The MPAA isn't supposed to be a governmental organization. They have no business participating in a raid.

  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:28PM (#40078253) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like gaining entrance to home under false pretenses should be prosecuted as fraud as well.
  • Re:I feel like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NardoPolo88 ( 1417637 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:29PM (#40078269)

    Welcome to the return of the Pinkertons.

  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:33PM (#40078321) Homepage

    >They were even allowed to investigate the confiscated equipment themselves.

    \Wouldn't any lawyer be able to get this easily thrown out? The police giving away evidence to the plaintiff to do as they wish with it aster the case was dropped? Isn't that stealing, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, tampering with evidence, etc, etc , etc.....

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:33PM (#40078323)
    where are the laws to stop that?
  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:35PM (#40078357)

    Sounds like the couple aren't the ones who should be charged with fraud. Verifying the identities of the 'interested parties' would have likely quashed this whole debacle before it progressed into the absurdity it is now.

    If the MPAA/RIAA are going so far as to infiltrate your home with 'actors' to thwart copyright infringement, they really have hit the bottom of the cesspool. That's absolutely disgusting!

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:44PM (#40078473) Homepage Journal

    Pay your legislators enough cash and you don't only control governmental actions, you almost become PART of the government apparently.

    Well, corporations are government creations, so it's not entirely surprising. The cycle goes roughly:
    1) create permanent private-benefit corporations
    2) protect individuals in corporations from nearly all consequences
    3) allow corporations to grow much larger than non-corporate business could achieve to gain unnatural economies of scale
    4) allow corporations to squelch their competition through favorable laws, incumbent-protecting regulations, court actions, etc. Be sure to speak boldly about new regulations to control corporations, then let corporations write those regulations.
    5) take small percentage of corporate profits as taxes
    6) take much larger percentage of corporate profits as campaign contributions to ensure cycle perpetuation
    7) GOTO 2

    You'll notice the loop is positive feedback and doesn't halt so long as resources are available to keep it running.

  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:45PM (#40078507) Homepage Journal

    It's only a crime if the people in power say it's a crime. Right now, the people in power are the MPAA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:09PM (#40078793)

    You have to realize that Slashdotters never click the links to read articles. They rely on the summary to tell them what reaction to have so they can post comments about it. Actual reading of the article or may or may not occur at a later date.

  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:20PM (#40078907) Journal

    Please. They've sued dead people. If you think this is rock bottom you've forgotten the last 12 years.

  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:26PM (#40078945)

    Not only were Hollywood representatives taking part in the questioning, they also brought along investigators who were allowed to examine the equipment.

    Why on earth are they allowed to look at the equipment? Can company X allege something now against company Y in order to look through Y's internal files?

  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @03:06PM (#40079397)
    They're also re-writing the laws with their checkbooks, implementing censorship to protect an obsolete business model. Whacky spy shit does not trouble me. Taking away our rights is, morally, rock bottom.
  • Re:Clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @04:17PM (#40080131)

    Private corporations are not law enforcement officers.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @04:42PM (#40080333) Journal

    It means that the sick greed which drives the movie industry knows no bounds.

  • Re:Clarify (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @06:25PM (#40081389)

    It gets even better when you read about stories like this one, where RIAA member owned VEVO was busted illegally streaming a football game [] at an event at Sundance a couple years ago.

    And let's not even get into Hollywood Accounting []...

    You know why the MAFIAA is so pissed off about getting ripped off? Because it's cutting into the profits they make ripping other people off. Poor babies...

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982