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Piracy The Courts

Florida Judge Rules IP Address Can't Identify a BitTorrent Pirate 158

An anonymous reader writes "Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Malibu Media against an alleged BitTorrent pirate. Though Malibu Media explained how they geolocated the download site and verified that the IP address was residential rather than a public wifi hotspot, the judge reasoned that the 'Plaintiff has not shown how this geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant....Even if this IP address is located within a residence, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence's computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff's copyright.' Judge Ungaro's ruling is not the first of its kind, but it could signal a growing legal trend whereby copyright lawsuits can no longer just hinge on the acquisition of an IP address."


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Florida Judge Rules IP Address Can't Identify a BitTorrent Pirate

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  • by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:25PM (#46570023)

    You know how this will eventually play out. They'll wind up amending the law to state that whoever the ip address is assigned to is prima facie liable and will have to prove their innocence. Loophole closed.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:07PM (#46570281) Homepage Journal

    You mean, if I were to sneak into your home, and run an ethernet wire to your modem, then attach a wifi router so that I could torrent from down the street, your IP address would definitely pin my activity on you? Cool - I'll be there Friday morning!

  • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:47PM (#46570487)

    The ruling is good. Let's enjoy that.

    However, this is a HORRIBLE writeup. It suggests that "...IP-address evidence can't identify the person who actually downloaded the pirated file."

    Under current US law:
    1. There is no copyright infringement in downloading a file.
    2. Files are. They just are. They are not "pirated files."
    3. MAKING INFRINGING CONTENT AVAILABLE TO OTHERS is what is considered copyright infringement/distribution. THAT is why an IP address is important... if one SHARES and MAKES AVAILABLE A FILE. It takes a court to determine whether the actions constitute an actionable behavior.

    I can't believe Torrentfreak got it wrong. At least they got the headline right. And this is a good ruling.
    Hopefully fightcopyrighttrolls.com and dietrolldie.com won't make that mistake.

  • by anubi ( 640541 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @09:53PM (#46570513) Journal
    When I try to log anything going through my system, I get all sorts of activity that I have no earthly idea what it is... but if I block it, there will be some app that suddenly stops working.

    I am reticent to block all activity except for known ports, as a lot of today's software requires me to run the stuff open so they can communicate with their home base.

    I would be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if I were to reverse engineer the code to find out exactly what they wanted. So, in accordance of my understanding of the Terms of Compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was bought by the Copyright Holders, I run my wireless nodes that pass information subject to softwares governed by the DMCA wide open. I do not attempt to monitor, reverse engineer, or try to "break their codes". Like watching activity on the street, its not my issue with what other people are doing. Its been my experience that interfering in other people's doings is not very healthful.

    The Copyright Industry has fought long and hard, spending countless resources to have law passed that makes ignorance of how one's stuff works as a condition of lawful compliance with their terms and conditions. We are now getting a lawfully compliant population who leaves every port on their system open because some copyright holder might want to use that port, closing it will cause the system to malfunction. Troubleshooting and repairing the malfunction is now defined by our Congress as being in violation of Copyright Law.

    For my critical stuff, which I have not signed away any rights, I can still communicate securely, but for the commercial stuff, which I agreed to leave access wide open, I comply.

    But as far as my wireless access points...


    Nor, do I feel I am lawfully allowed to know.

    As far as I am concerned, I am running a public toilet.

    Anyone is welcome as long as they don't come in and make a mess.
  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:12PM (#46570631)

    Traffic shaping. There's plenty of free software out there... you give yourself priority over all other traffic. They can use it for free but as soon as you hop on you get first dibs. Liability for what strangers do with your open wifi is another thing. Sure, you may eventually win in court but when the police haul you out of work on child porn charges how victorious will you feel when you finally get cleared 3 years later after spending your last dime on lawyers?

  • Re:car analogy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:37AM (#46571383)
    No.The car analogy is wrong and stupid here because of wifi. Anyone passing by your house or living near you could crack your wifi and do whatever they want. There is also the possibility that your computer becomes a part of someone's botnet, where they can control it from anywhere in the world.

    Also, just because your IP showed up in a torrent swarm doesn't mean you were actually distributing copyrighted materials at all. BitTorrent is not illegal. Downloading is not illegal.
  • by kthreadd ( 1558445 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @03:10AM (#46571775)

    Why even bother with a cable. It's not impossible to crack wireless networks.

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