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Piracy Your Rights Online

In Defense of Six Strikes 354

Deathspawner writes with a view on Six Strikes we don't normally see around here: "It's been well-established all over the Web that the just-implemented 'Six Strikes' system is bad... horrible, worthy of death to those who created it. But let's take a deep breath for a moment. Can Six Strikes actually be a good thing for consumers? While the scheme isn't perfect (far from it), one of the biggest benefits from this system is that it introduces a proxy, and any persecution you might have easily faced prior to Six Strikes is delayed under the new program. Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?" A couple of days ago, someone sent Torrentfreak an actual alert they received from Comcast (the alert itself is a few screens down). Noteworthy is that there is zero mention of the appeals process.
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In Defense of Six Strikes

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  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:04PM (#43094277) Homepage
    The $35-for-an-appeal fee which they call a "due process" fee makes a mockery of the concept of due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty. Reverse that and it would be a tractably horrible idea, but it would be significantly less interesting to the people who are running it.
  • Neither? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:05PM (#43094295)

    Why do I have to choose between six strikes vs. RIAA/MPAA legal threat?

  • by alexandre_ganso ( 1227152 ) <surak@surak.eti.br> on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:07PM (#43094315)

    It's not about supporting arts. It's about supporting a dead business model that rewards little to the artists themselves, and which now has the right to spy on what you do online.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:07PM (#43094317) Journal

    It only costs $35 to appeal, but it will cost your ISP more than that to go through the appeals process. If everyone appeals, the system will be unworkable, and therefore everyone should appeal.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:12PM (#43094375)
    Can Six Strikes actually be a good thing for consumers?

    No. It can, at best, be a marginally better than the alternative.

    Wouldn't you rather receive a warning from your ISP than be sent a bill or legal threat by the RIAA/MPAA?"

    Yes, but I would also rather have my kneecaps broken than shot in the face. It doesn't make either option actually palatable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:13PM (#43094391)

    rewards little to the artists themselves,

    I'm sick of seeing this argument. If artists are willing to take on the risk that comes with launching their music on their own, then they're free to do so. I'm free to take my skill and try to launch a grand software project on my own. Sure, if I'm successful I'll make a lot more money than I do at work, but I don't think "my product was unsuccessful" will garner much sympathy from the folks that own my mortgage.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:13PM (#43094393)

    The RIAA/MPAA is doing an end run around the court system and attacking the ISPs. Let's just toss this on the stack of things this private industry is doing to ruin the lives of the people who would ordinarily want to pay them money:

    They have copyright terms that last two centuries.
    They have the incredibly overbearing Digital Millenium Copyright Act that ensures that anything you do to copyrighted material which you own is illegal.
    They have the ability to take down any content on the internet they feel infringes on said copyright without having to prove they hold the copyright in question, that the infringing activity actually infringes, or that they have the right to make the claim under the DMCA. (Oh, and this process is completely automated in many cases, while appeals are not only grounds for lawsuits but must be evaluated by a human being on a case by case basis... Does anyone remember the mortgage foreclosure robosigning scandal? Because I sure do.)
    They have been making great strides in persuading countries around the world to make copyright infringement a criminal, rather than civil offense so they can get the law enforcement agencies to do their dirty work. (Oh wait, the FBI raided Dotcom and ICE seizes websites at the behest of private industry without due process... nevermind.)

    What really confuses me is that in the big picture the RIAA/MPAA is small potatoes compared to the other things that make money via digital distribution. They wield rather disproportionate influence over the activities of third parties that have nothing to do with them or those they claim to represent.

  • by Dins ( 2538550 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:14PM (#43094409)

    If I could pay $30 or even $50 per month to get access to every movie and TV show ever made on demand within minutes I would happily pay that. Even though my family would probably only spend 5-10 hours per month using it. But that's not available. And don't tell me Netflix or Hulu. Those services are great, and I am a Netflix subscriber, but it's not complete.

    The industry needs to change it's business model...

  • by TheCycoONE ( 913189 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:21PM (#43094495)

    And the best way to not support that business model is to buy alternatives and boycott protected media. Stealing Argo doesn't make a statement, it's a way of justifying obtaining something you want enough to download but not enough to pay the asking price for.

    May I recommend Libraries (many, including the one in my city are partnered with digital distributors offering free music and e-books) , NetFlix, Rdio, as new business model alternatives that aren't illegal.

  • by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:23PM (#43094533)
    >How should copyright holders enforce their rights? I thought there was a legal system for that.
  • by earls ( 1367951 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:24PM (#43094543)

    You don't. Don't worry, it's both. The "six strikes" are to build a case against the owner of the connection and after the owner "strikes out," they can expect a summons.

    That's why they ask for confirmation: "Click the button below to confirm you received this Copyright Alert"

    In court they'll say, "but your Honor, they acknowledge six times that copyright infringement was occurring and did nothing about it - exactly how many warnings do they need?!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:40PM (#43094795)

    I thought that was the point. There's a legal system and people are complaining that it's being used. What are the complainer's asking for here? That's my interpretation of the question being asked.

    People aren't complaining that it's getting used, they are complaining that it is getting *abused*. Instead of a copyright holder gathering clear evidence of infringement, and taking a single infringer to court, proving how much damages they did (as would be required in any other arena of civil action) and waiting for the course of justice, they instead want to corral a bunch of "defendants" together that are linked to a crime by nothing more than a set of 4 small numbers, and then offer them "immunity" from a bogeyman trial for a modest fee of thousands of dollars, never really intending for the matter to go to court at all.

  • by drakaan ( 688386 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:42PM (#43094815) Homepage Journal

    If memory serves, the prohibition on materials protected by copyright is on the distributor of said materials. In the same way I'd get in trouble for publishing unauthorized copies of a famous book that was not in the public domain, I'd get in trouble from distributing unauthorized copies of copyrighted digital media.

    The 6-strikes law turns that on its head, and is incompatible with copyright law as we know it (don't get me started on the DMCA). The 35 dollar fee collected not by the judiciary, but commercial entities that provide access to a worldwide network, is just a cherry of aggravation on top of a sundae of stupidity.

    The complainers are asking that first, the appropriate entities be addressed (i.e. those distributing the files rather than those obtaining them) and second, that there be something remotely resembling due process (that thing where you're accused, can get legal counsel, might have a trial, etc) before any discussion of a fine.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:43PM (#43094817)

    The copyright holders are getting a free ride here. They aren't being required to pay anything to file the complaints, but the customer is required to pay to appeal the decision. Ultimately, the customers end up paying for the service that's being provided to the rights holders for free.

    The way it should work is that the rights holders should have to be paying the fees and recover the money when they file suit. If they don't intend to file suit, then they shouldn't be forcing somebody else to pay a fee to defend themselves.

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:46PM (#43094867) Journal

    I cannot wait till there are no more customers because everyone has had six strikes. Let them have their six strikes. The only way to win is not to play their games.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @01:46PM (#43094881) Homepage

    I have no problem with the legal system being used, if the legal system were fair and equitable. But the solution isn't to introduce a "Pay $35 to appeal an accusation" system. That's just using a DIFFERENT flawed system, not fixing the root cause.

    The main problems with the legal system are that penalties completely outstrip harm and it is too costly to defend yourself. If I share out a music file and five people download it, I've caused about $5 worth of damage. (Assuming that each person who downloaded it would have purchased it. Perhaps not a fair assumption, but let's give it to them for a second.) However, were I sued, I could face a fine of between $750 and $150,000. They wouldn't be able to prove how many times it was downloaded, so that's the rate for ONE file shared.

    Obviously, during any legal suit, they would threaten me with the $150,000 figure. Since this is much more money than I have, and in fact could bankrupt me, and since legal fees and time spent defending a case can be pricey, I would be pressured to accept any settlement they offer. No matter how one-sided it is. Such as their standard: "I will pay you $3,000, admit that I'm a dirty criminal, and never say a bad word about the RIAA ever again" agreement.

    But surely they don't have proof, right? Unfortunately, they have enough high priced lawyers to turn one line from an automated script into a convincing sounding proof that I'm a horrible pirate that deserves the worst possible punishment. (Some judges have begun to reject their arguments, but not nearly enough.) And if the case is going my way? They can drop it and walk away without a potentially precedent setting verdict against them. Meanwhile, I'm left with legal fees to pay. Otherwise, they can drag the case on until I'm bankrupt to make an example of me. So even if I win the case, I lose (my house, car, savings, credit rating, etc).

    And the laws that should be in place to protect me from overbearing situations like this? Written by politicians who are paid by the RIAA and similar organizations. Sometimes written BY those organizations and introduced by the politicians.

    Fix the legal system and I would have no problem with lawsuits against those who infringe copyright. Of course, that would be hard to do. It's so much easier to introduce a "slightly less bad" system and spin it as pro-consumer.

  • by dcollins117 ( 1267462 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @08:51PM (#43099823)

    I shutter to think what copyrighted crap would look like...

    Do you own a TV? Turn it on.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.