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Electronic Frontier Foundation Communications Social Networks Your Rights Online

Prison Messaging System JPay Withdraws Copyright Claims 141

Florida-based JPay has a specialized business model and an audience that is at least in part a (literally) captive one: the company specializes in logistics and communications services involving prisons and prisoners, ranging from payment services to logistics to electronic communications with prisoners. Now, via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing comes a report from the EFF that the company has back-pedaled on a particularly strange aspect of the terms under which the company provided messaging services for prisoners: namely, JPay's terms of service made exhaustive copyright claims on messages sent by prisoners, claiming rights to "all content, whether it be text, images, or video" send via the service. That language has now been excised, but not in time to prevent at least one bad outcome; from the EFF's description: [Valerie] Buford has been running a social media campaign to overturn her [brother, Leon Benson's] murder conviction. However, after Buford published a videogram that her brother recorded via JPay to Facebook, prison administrators cut off her access to the JPay system, sent Benson to solitary confinement, and stripped away some of his earned "good time." To justify the discipline, prison officials said they were enforcing JPay's intellectual property rights and terms of service.
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Prison Messaging System JPay Withdraws Copyright Claims

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They are in there to be "reformed", why do you punish them even more, just because of some stupid ass App.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's cute that you think prison is for "reform". Prison is for no such thing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Only in 'murica would you think prisons are NOT for rehabilitation and reform.

        In fact progressive countries who do not treat prisoners like inhuman scum (unlike the US) the rate of prisoners returning to jail is much lower.

      • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @01:49PM (#49658849)

        That's cute that you think prison is for "reform". Prison is for no such thing.

        Ah, but the Department of Corrections sounds soooo much more civilised than "the Department of Brutal Vengeance".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm glad you chose to quote my previous AC comment. Having, shall we say first hand, experience of the American Penal System, being sent to prison isn't for "reform and rehabilitation", but as a means of "branding" you as an unacceptable member of society, a means of keeping one in "one's place, or station".

          • I completely understand this, although thankfully not from first-hand experience. It is a tragedy that so many parts of our society see vindictive punishment as a valid goal, rather than attempting to reform offenders. It's all part of the wider societal love of trying to categorise people into goodies and baddies, like in the old westerns. Problem is, the cowboys we were brought up to think were the goodies were actually a bunch of evil c...s and the "nasty" injuns were just trying to survive.
            • by Anonymous Coward

              Your post raises some interesting observations. I'm not quite sure how to address them in a singular comprehensive manner, so I shall do my best to address them individually.

              I completely understand this, although thankfully not from first-hand experience. It is a tragedy that so many parts of our society see vindictive punishment as a valid goal, rather than attempting to reform offenders.

              There are indeed many members of American society who feel that "justice" should consist of swift and harsh punishments, that some sort of violent retribution should be induced. I find this to be a rather sad irony: these members of society who are so willing to inflict state supported violence(and state supported murder(and let's face

              • You obviously didn't address me, but I'd like to answer your questions.

                First - I believe that punishment for certain crimes should be swift and harsh. Truly heinous crimes should be met with harsh punishment, up to and including capital punishment. I'm talking about murder, kidnapping, brutal rape, maiming and disfigurement, slavery, sex traffiking minors - truly heinous crimes.

                We should NOT be punishing people for petty bullshit. Caught smoking a joint, you go to jail for a year, or maybe even prison fo

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Actually he would have been a good person if he'd used the free and generous food stamp program to buy food. Since that wasn't an option he must be a bad person who spent them elsewhere.

        • That's cute that you think prison is for "reform". Prison is for no such thing.

          Ah, but the Department of Corrections sounds soooo much more civilised than "the Department of Brutal Vengeance".

          Prisons -should- have 3 main purposes (with all of them equally important):

          • Correction of the prisoner (if that is possible), so he can return to society as a free men.
          • Protection of society from the criminal.
          • Vengeance to the criminal from society on behalf of the victim or his family so he/they not revenge him, as it's their right but may do it excessively.

          Many problems are created when only some (instead of all) of the above are served.

          • Vengeance to the criminal from society on behalf of the victim or his family so he/they not revenge him, as it's their right but may do it excessively.

            Vengeance is no-one's "right".

            "Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord." Romans 12:19.

            • Vengeance to the criminal from society on behalf of the victim or his family so he/they not revenge him, as it's their right but may do it excessively.

              Vengeance is no-one's "right".

              "Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord." Romans 12:19.

              I agree - you are right. But when i wrote that it's their right i meant it's their "civil right" and must provided to anyone choosing to exercise it (now it is done from society on behalf of the victim - more civilized i think) - someone may choose not to exercise his civil right to vengeance (and he will receive the blessings promised). Society collectively is far away from the Lord's path (yet), so it takes vengeance to the criminal - each person on it's own can choose the right path you just presented to

              • Nowhere in our legal system is there a civil right for "vengeance".

                I have no idea where you got that from. Maybe you've dug up something from England in 1200 or something. If so, I assure that precedent is no longer applicable.

                • Nowhere in our legal system is there a civil right for "vengeance".

                  I have no idea where you got that from. Maybe you've dug up something from England in 1200 or something. If so, I assure that precedent is no longer applicable.

                  Of cource your (and ours, Greek) legal system provides the civil right for "vengeance" - but as i wrote, now society exercise it on behalf of the victim (or victim's family), as a more civilized way.

                  • This is not correct. Crimes are considered injuries to the state, not to the individual victim (if any) of the crime. Victims can sometimes sue the offender to recover damages, but that's not criminal law.

                    The state isn't acting on behalf of the victim, either. Crimes can be prosecuted even if the victim doesn't want them to be prosecuted, and, if a prosecutor decides not to go after a particular suspected offender, the victim has no recourse.

                    • Crimes are considered injuries to the state even if they concern an individual victim because they are injuries to the society also (note that society suffers from the criminal because even if an individual victim forgives, the criminal may continue to commit crimes), plus because by that way any crime can be prosecuted even if the victim doesn't want them to be prosecuted (either because the individual victim forgives the criminal -but can not forgive on behalf of the society for the criminal's injury to t
                    • No.

                      Our justice system is historically based on the theory of retributive justice. Retributive justice is not the same as vengeance. Retributive justice theory says that the punishment must "fit" the crime, based on its severity. This theory says it's also impersonal; society is not supposed to get pleasure from the act of delivering this type of justice.

                      Of course, this makes no sense. How does inflicting more harm do anything to "solve" the fact that harm has already been inflicted? This is the logic o

                    • Very interesting comment. I must warn you that if you are "political-correct" you should not read my reply.

                      Our justice system is historically based on the theory of retributive justice. Retributive justice is not the same as vengeance. Retributive justice theory says that the punishment must "fit" the crime, based on its severity. This theory says it's also impersonal; society is not supposed to get pleasure from the act of delivering this type of justice.

                      We may have a terminology mis-undertanding (most probably my fault - see my sig!), since Vengeance=Revenge, and "revenge" in Greek has an extra meaning inside the compound word "ek-diki-si", of trial-justice, so it is not so negative as it may be in English. Also, as i wrote, one reason that it is only the society (i.e., not the victim itself) that can exercises the victim's right for revenge, is for t

              • "Society collectively is far away from the Lord's path (yet), so it takes vengeance to the criminal -" the further its away from the Lords path, the more civilised society will become. The lords path is to stone people to death, initiate genocide, perform child abuse etc
                • ""Society collectively is far away from the Lord's path (yet), so it takes vengeance to the criminal -"

                  " the further its away from the Lords path, the more civilised society will become. The lords path is to stone people to death, initiate genocide, perform child abuse etc

                  The Lord's path is written as a good summary in the New Testament as "love each other" - do not accuse the Lord for what the people do, and don't accuse those on the Lord's path for what those not on His path do.

                  • "The Lord's path is written as a good summary in the New Testament as "love each other" - do not accuse the Lord for what the people do, and don't accuse those on the Lord's path for what those not on His path do."

                    thats the usual, when its good, praise the lord and when its bad blame the people. Try reading the Old Testament as well which was never renounced by the new testament bods or current religious supporters
                    • "The Lord's path is written as a good summary in the New Testament as "love each other" - do not accuse the Lord for what the people do, and don't accuse those on the Lord's path for what those not on His path do." thats the usual, when its good, praise the lord and when its bad blame the people. Try reading the Old Testament as well which was never renounced by the new testament bods or current religious supporters

                      The New Testament (writen in Koine -i.e., "common"- Greek, called "Kaine" meaning New AND Upgraded) is what the vast majority of Christians (e.g., Orthodox like me, Catholics, most Protestants) think as their Book - the Old Testament (i.e., the Jew's Book, in Jewish - with the "Greek" as the most common ORIGINAL translation used in the world) is a Book of great wisdom (i read it), very misunderstood (e.g., the bad human nature stories are mistakenly considered by many as God's acts), that the vast majority

            • did you get that quote from the same book that says "an eye for eye, tooth for a tooth ", supports genocide, promotes the stoning of people for working on a sunday or children showing a lack of respect for their parents and so on....
              • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

                Funny. I am a practicing Jew, and I have never heard of a book that promoted all of those things.

                • by Holi ( 250190 )
                  Yeah the stoning was for people working on Saturday.
                • you've never read the Torah? the old testament shares books like Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy with the Torah, well the catholics appropriated them into their old testament
            • The "Lord" didn't say such a thing. Some human wrote it after a delirious dream.
              All deed must earn their reward, and short of a "Lord", society is the next best guess that could mete out this reward.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I disagree:

            The stage is not there for a tit for tat, eye for an eye entity. The criminal justice "system" is there for crime -prevention- first and foremost.

            From Criminal Justice 101: There are three purposes for prisons:

            Rehabilitation.
            Protection from society.
            Punishment.

            You toss a shoplifter or drunk driver in the can for a few days, and usually they don't like being locked up, so tend to not come back. This is the punishment aspect... being sent to jail/prison -as- punishment, not -for- punishment.

            A rap

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I don't think an AI would have to rule us, just change little things like that.

          If every message containing the words "department of corrections" was man in the middle attacked to say "the Department of Brutal Vengeance" the problem would get solved much more quickly.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Um, punishment is part of it too.

      Prison can do more than one thing. Or at least it's supposed to

    • Re:Um.. Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nashv ( 1479253 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @07:45PM (#49660725) Homepage

      More concerning is why the US Prison system is worried about a private corporation's intellectual rights and safeguarding them? Prisons are supposed to listen only to the courts. Did JPay have a judge-signed court order to send this person to solitary?

      You Americans should be very disturbed.

      • I am very disturbed. There's a lot of corruption, and sheer stupidity. I really think we need to spell out, in writing, a whole bunch of things that the powerful aren't allowed to do. No EULAs, copyrights, or other claims of legal rights that aren't actually true. For instance, the National Football League claims ownership of everything about every broadcast of every football game, including things that are clearly not theirs to claim. They assert so at the end of the game.

        I have an anecdote to share

      • by jopsen ( 885607 )

        More concerning is why the US Prison system is worried about a private corporation's intellectual rights and safeguarding them?

        Yeah, that's what blows my mind too... :)

        Did JPay have a judge-signed court order to send this person to solitary?

        Also isn't copyright violations normally a civil matter, and resolved through damages, as in money. So effectively this is solitary confinement as a form of debtors' prison...
        Wow, that's a lot of disturbing things.. :)

  • So the Godfather Tony in Prison doesn't have the copyright on the kill orders he sends from prison?

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      And does Godfather Tony relinquish liability for those orders as well? If Eddie the Weasel end up dead, can Tony just say, "Hey, don't talk to me. JPay owns the copyrights on those orders."

  • What's the J in JPay stand for?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    http://www.glassdoor.com/Revie... [glassdoor.com]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @03:48PM (#49659465) Homepage
    OK, JPay owns all your posts, what does not follow is the Original Poster being liable for any and all copyright violations of the content they created, and what does not follow at all is the prison system acting as an enforcement arm of JPay.
    • by jopsen ( 885607 )

      OK, JPay owns all your posts, what does not follow is the Original Poster being liable for any and all copyright violations of the content they created.

      Hmm... Maybej JPay wants to argue that the original poster was not authorized to send the video to his sister because it was copyrighted :)
      Lol, I hope the summary is inaccurate, because there is so many disturbing elements (like criminally corrupt violations of human rights) to that summary...

  • If not for Chris Rock jokes and my searching through Youtube and then Netflix, I would not have learned what a mess the USs judicial and prison systems are. I also caught up police procedures and criminal behavior by watching "The First 48," on Amazon VOD. Folks, the system is rotten from top to bottom, but also some people just ask for trouble repeatedly. My family was not perfect, but my dad hung around long enough to see me start college. That I recall, our only family incident involving the cops was whe
  • by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @07:38PM (#49660689)

    To justify the discipline, prison officials said they were enforcing JPay's intellectual property rights and terms of service.

    If you told someone that 20 years ago, they'd have called you a crazed conspiracy theorist and asked where your tinfold hat was. Well, ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. Let's make our life's goal the enforcing of "intellectual property" rights and TOS.

  • If J-Pay is for sending money to prisoners, then what is J-Date?

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