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Piracy Your Rights Online

Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up 376

A few weeks ago, Rightscorp announced plans to have ISPs disconnect repeat copyright infringers. mpicpp (3454017) wrote in with news that Rightscorp announced during their latest earnings call further plans to require ISPs to block all web access (using a proxy system similar to hotel / college campus wifi logins) until users admit guilt and pay a settlement fine (replacing the current system of ISPs merely forwarding notices to users). Quoting TorrentFreak: [Rightscorp] says 75,000 cases have been settled so far with copyright holders picking up $10 from each. ... What is clear is that Rightscorp is determined to go after "Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cable Vision and one more" in order to "get all of them compliant" (i.e forwarding settlement demands). The company predicts that more details on the strategy will develop in the fall, but comments from COO & CTO Robert Steele hint on how that might be achieved. ... "[What] we really want to do is move away from termination and move to what's called a hard redirect, like, when you go into a hotel and you have to put your room number in order to get past the browser and get on to browsing the web." The idea that mere allegations from an anti-piracy company could bring a complete halt to an entire household or business Internet connection until a fine is paid is less like a "piracy speeding ticket" and more like a "piracy wheel clamp", one that costs $20 to have removed.
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

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  • If you download stuff that the rights-holders don't want to sell you, and you end up paying $20, of which $10 goes to the copyright holder, that's pretty damn decent.
  • nuisance fee (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bored_engineer ( 951004 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:41PM (#47699489)

    The trouble is, that this is just a nuisance fee. I can pay $20 out-of-pocket to make a bogus "piracy claim" go away. I'm sure, though, that they'll include contractual language asserting my guilt, even though I've never downloaded from The Pirate Bay or its ilk. Once they've confirmed that I'm willing to pay, how many times will they come back? The article mentioned settling accounts exceeding $300 for multiple "infringements."

    Also, how are they going to convince my ISP, with whom I have both an ongoing relationship and competitive alternatives, to do this?

  • by mikeiver1 ( 1630021 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:10PM (#47699695)
    So just how would one handle the issue of not ever having ever downloaded any copyrighted content and still having gotten locked out wrongly? Oh yah, just pay the $20.00 fee and then challenge it later to get reimbursed....SURE! This friends is the business model of the future of entertainment. Grab your ankles and say "thank you sir, may I have another?"
  • You cannot prove a negative.

    Sure you can. I was once falsely (and maliciously) accused of something, and was able to prove that I was 100 km away in a different city for the extended weekend, with hundreds of witnesses. 7 witnesses was more than sufficient.

  • Re:"Hard redirect" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sixoh1 ( 996418 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:57PM (#47699973) Homepage

    IANAL but this definitely seems to fall within Tortious Interference [] or similar acts which would serve to break the contract between you and your ISP. Then again there is probably a clause in your ToS which they will attempt to use to allow this based on their "need" to charge Netflix extra for network peering.

    Don't forget to read your contract and notifications of change!

  • Re:"Hard redirect" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Adriax ( 746043 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @11:14PM (#47700601)

    Yeah. My question is what malware are they stealing the idea from.
    Something their CEO caught probably.

  • metaphors (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @01:29AM (#47701101) Homepage Journal

    is less like a "piracy speeding ticket" and more like a "piracy wheel clamp"

    No, it is not. A wheel clamp is attached by police, i.e. the executive branch of the government elected by the people. Like it or hate it, it's part of the democratic system and it is authorized to do this.

  • Re:"Hard redirect" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Entrope ( 68843 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @07:38AM (#47702097) Homepage

    The key element of a tortious interference claim is not the existence of a contract, it is third-party interference with a business or contractual relationship. sixoh1 was suggesting that someone might have a cause of action against Rightscorp, not the ISP, so the ISP's prerogative to terminate customer contracts is not relevant.

  • Re:Unconstitutinal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @08:30AM (#47702323)

    I don't know how it works in other countries, but here in the USofA, there's a little thing known as "the presumption of innocence," meaning that the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. This does the exact opposite by assuming that anybody who's accused must be guilty and penalizing them without allowing them to present a defense. No judge would ever be stupid enough to rule in favor of Rightscorp, making the idea DOA at best, even if they don't get sued into bankruptcy the first time they try to enforce it.

    You really do not understand how the US legal system works. I'm not an attorney, but my best friend is. He has taught me a lot about how the legal system really works here. I can assure you that it is indeed quite possible to find a judge who would rule in favor of Rightscorp. Anything can happen in a US court - anything. I know of a case involving a business dispute in my city where an appellate court ruled that the court that decided the case made up the law out of thin air. Think about that - a court was found to have made up the law they ruled on. My friend told me he had never heard of that happening before. The Naxos vs. Capitol case,which had devastating results for those of us who hoped that copyrights might actually expire one day, in my opinion also resulted in a ruling where the court that heard the case made up the law they ruled on out of nothing. If the US Supreme Court was to get some kind of hypothetical case where the law technically was very clear and required a certain ruling but actually giving that ruling would destroy the United States, plunge it into civil war and directly lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people, at least 4 members of the current court would shrug their shoulders and give that ruling, acting powerless to do anything else. There were all kinds of crazy decisions made by courts allowing mass mailings of infringement notices some years ago and that was probably as big a violation of due process as is even possible, yet it took years before judges in general began to oppose the practice. And this isn't even getting into the practice of having juries decide complex patent cases. All I can tell you is that if you haven't served on a jury, you really cannot even comprehend how stupid and technically challenged many if not most jury members are.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.