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Piracy Movies The Courts

More Popcorn Time Users Sued 147

An anonymous reader writes: The torrent-based video streaming software Popcorn Time has been in the news lately as multiple entities have initiated legal action over its use. Now, 16 Oregon-based Comcast subscribers have been targeted for their torrenting of the movie Survivor. The attorney who filed the lawsuit (PDF) says his client, Survivor Productions Inc., doesn't plan to seek any more than the minimum $750 fine, and that their goal is to "deter infringement." The lawsuit against these Popcorn Time users was accompanied by 12 other lawsuits targeting individuals who acquired copies of the movie using more typical torrenting practices.
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More Popcorn Time Users Sued

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's good that they're actually going after the infringes not the company this time.

    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2015 @09:57AM (#50443321) Journal

      Even more interesting is the attorney who's pursuing this. Carl Crowell [wweek.com] (based out of Salem, IIRC) is pretty damned prolific about this - enough that he has a rather slick operation (see article) that chews through a lot of these each month. I find it interesting that they're willing to settle for $750/ea (though IMHO that's still a bit too high), while most settlements average $5k-$7.5k or so.

      Like most copyright suits, he almost always gets the money via settlement. It all still hinges on IP addresses, the ISP, and how well they keep records, though. I'm guessing that Popcorn Time likely blares your IP addy out nice and loud for the world to see by other torrenters, though one would wonder about sharing a movie in order to sue other sharers over the same movie...

  • but will, eventually.
  • WHOA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @08:16PM (#50440641)
    Hold the fucking phone. They're seeking damages that won't financially ruin entire families, and whose effects won't be felt generations down the line?

    What the fuck?
    • Re:WHOA (Score:5, Funny)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @08:32PM (#50440729) Journal

      They're seeking damages that won't financially ruin entire families, and whose effects won't be felt generations down the line?

      Unlike Survivor itself.

      • Nevermind the fact that the poor bastards they're suing are already suffering from having to use Comcast as an ISP.
        • Shouldn't that be the perfect defense? "Your Honor, how could my clients have possibly watched a movie, illegally or otherwise, with Charter as their ISP?"
    • Re:WHOA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @10:35PM (#50441275)

      They have learned something that civilized society has known for a very long time.

      High severity of punishment is not an effective deterrent. High likelihood of getting caught is an effective deterrent.

      Ramping up monitoring and blanketing infringers with minor fees that they would rather pay than fight will further the media group's agenda much better than permanently impoverishing single moms after wildly expensive court battles.

      They have not become kinder. Just wiser.

    • Hold the fucking phone. They're seeking damages that won't financially ruin entire families, and whose effects won't be felt generations down the line?

      What the fuck?

      What the quick buck more likely. They no doubt figure it's easier (not to mention more realistic) to get 750 than 750,000.

      Of course 750 for a single film is still ridiculous.

  • by h33t l4x0r ( 4107715 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @08:17PM (#50440643)
    Then they should leave Popcorn Time users alone. That app does more to deter infringement than anyone.
  • I paid a fee to a cable company which gives me the right to watch any movie they are currently playing.
    It should not matter where I get it from.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I paid a fee to a cable company which gives me the right to watch any movie they are currently playing.

      It should not matter where I get it from.

      I don't think it works that way...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        First of all if you're torrenting it then it's basically out there for the world to download from your machine - so you're at least enabling infringement. Second, your viewing of any particular media may be subject to other requirements such as submitting to periodic advertising. Shifting media would allow you to skirt around those secondary provisions. We can pretend these things aren't our problem but the final price they're offering factors in all of their rights, licenses, and third-party advertising de

        • by plover ( 150551 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @11:53PM (#50441517) Homepage Journal

          My PC is hobbled to near-uselessness with crapware installed by Lenovo

          We've recently purchased some Lenovo machines, and yes, they came with a metric assload of shitty software that nobody could possibly use or want, and that soaked up RAM and CPU like a drunk in a vineyard. But you do know you're allowed to uninstall all that shovel-ware, right? And if you don't know what to remove or how to uninstall them yourself, a useful tool is the PC Decrapifier [pcdecrapifier.com], which is so simple anyone can run it.

          The Decrapifier is not perfect, though, as the authors seem to be dodging some legal lines by not being particularly aggressive in what they recommend you remove. And it won't get everything. My sister asked me to help her as her machine had slowed to the point of unusability. At some point her machine had become infested by some particularly nasty McAfee "free" malware that required a ludicrous amount of effort to destroy. It took me far too long to discover I had to surf to their site to download a custom uninstall tool. I think I spent almost two hours downloading updates and scrubbing the malware from three machines simultaneously. But once all the crapware was gone, and they had current patches, they actually became some decent machines. (Then I had to go home and take a shower, because that McAfee software made me feel filthy.)

          I consider that wasted time as an expense that jacked up the cost of owning the machines by a couple hundred dollars. It would not be worth the investment on a cheap Lenovo, which I would never recommend unless you have the nothing but time to waste, but as I was getting a big SSD, fast CPU, hi res screen, and lots of RAM, I overlooked it. But I'm not forgetting it.

          Lenovo, if you're reading this, know that I'm the senior buyer for all computer and electronic equipment purchased by my two extended families, and that $20 in kickbacks you got for installing the shitware on my machine will never recoup the costs of even one of the never-buy-Lenovo recommendations I've been handing out. Multiply that by the thousands of nerds who feel like I do, and that's millions of units you're not selling because of your own stupidity.

          • But you do know you're allowed to uninstall all that shovel-ware, right?

            Lenovo bakes shit into their ROM chips so BIOS/UEFI reinfects Windows machines with their shit every time you boot.
            There have been a slew of stories about it lately.

            • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
              Only the lojack software is baked in, if I recall correctly. I haven't touched a lenovo in awhile...
    • should be fine as long as you didn't torrent it, because that would mean you giving slices of it to others as you obtained it

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        They installed software to stream movies not share them. There is a major difference in use, the software is sharing in the background without the seeming activity of the user and the user has no way of knowing whether the content, the specific copy they are watching is legal or not. This is being prosecuted in the US because no loser pay laws (so the defendants lose either way, either pay for their legal defence or pay the privately instituted fine with the power of corrupt government), in other countries

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )

          ...the user has no way of knowing whether the content, the specific copy they are watching is legal or not.

          For the kind of content you are talking about, you'd think the fact that they didn't pay for it, or that it wasn't being provided by someone they would have reasonable basis to believe was reputable might be a fairly good indicator, don'tcha think?

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Perhaps you have never seen an idiot box, hmmmmm?!? (hint, hint). Lots of free to air stuff all over the place, in fact ten of billions of internet pages are powered by it, but of course pigopolists will always lie whenever greed demands.

        • Loser pay laws discourage poor people from suing corporations if they might have to pay for expensive lawyers and court costs.
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            It does not discourage the poor when they have rich high priced lawyers who can cash in on the court case. Logically in a civil court case the loser should pay as they could have settled without the court.

    • i am no friend of the idea of intellectual property, but it doesn't help to be delusional about how law works

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )

      It matters because you're retransmitting it to other people who do not have the rights. Your agreement to license this content does not cover redistribution.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @08:23PM (#50440675) Homepage

    The goal is to deter infringement

    and avoid judicial scrutiny. The RIAA for example has long had an infringement website where you can "pay" your "settlement" should you receive one and dont wish to be burdened by your constitutional right to a trial by jury for what --unless all those DVD warnings are wrong-- is a federal felony.

    the problem is if this becomes a federal trial, media companies and their attorneys have to do things like disclose evidence. depending on the nature, and how far down the rabbit hole defense wants to go, media companies understand they can eventually begin to risk the legality or constitutionality of the DMCA itself. They can call severe attention to the disparaging, clandestine, and overzealous nature of copyright itself and in turn through a simple federal case could open the door to the possibility of copyright reform. In some cases, like the well published instances where media companies file lawsuits totalling in the millions against child plaintiffs or single mothers, the damages can be knocked down to a fraction of what it costs them to prosecute something like this or worse, thrown out entirely.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This comment bugs me a lot. It seems like media companies are screwed no matter what they do. If they sue for the maximum amount, they're accused of being greedy bastards who destroy people's lives with excessive judgments. If they sue for the minimum amount, they're accused of intentionally trying to avoid judicial scrutiny. It seems like the only way to make some people happy on Slashdot is for media companies to allow their works to be pirated and not take legal action to prevent it. That's just not fair

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      $750 seems convenient because it's the statutory minimum allowed by law. The law allows for either actual damages and profit, or statutory damages of $750-30k unless it was willful infringement, then the upper limit is $150k. Actual damages/profit is impossible to prove in this case so $750 would be the minimum.

      Also, because they are being accused for sharing the same work as a collective, I believe that $750 gets split up between all parties, or if one party pays it the other parties are not individually l

  • How are they finding these people? The article doesn't really say.
    • They're finding them the same way they find people on normal torrents - Popcorn Time is basically a torrent client with streaming video built in. They have one of those "piracy protection" firms sit on the torrent and gather IPs, then subpoena the ISPs to find out who had the offending IP address at the time they saw it in the swarm for the torrent. From there, all it takes is a few threatening letters and a legal team backed by the deep pockets of Big Media.

  • Torrented it from KAT. Godfuckingawful "film". It's like Salt without any of that film's superior aspects. Immediately deleted it. To think people are being sued for $750 for a film that isn't worth what Wal-Mart would charge for it from their discount bin is shocking, and more evidence that the law in the US is easily perverted for profit.
    • 16 x $750 = $12K. You would think the lawyer fees would be at least that when it's all said and done. And like this is going to "deter infringement" for the masses...
      • Exactly. Anybody who follows copyright infringement news would've quit by now if they cared. Or they would use a VPN.
  • ... to understand:

    Pirating is illegal.

    We're not taking questions from the audience, because that's all we're going to say about that.

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @09:14PM (#50440909) Homepage Journal

      We're not taking questions from the audience

      Why not?

      • ... because that's all we're going to say about that.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Why is that all you're going to say about that? Are you Forrest Gump from the "Viet-fucking-nam" scene or something?

          • We will continue to treat all individuals equally and we stand by our pledge to protect the planet, while sustaining our continued economic growth as we adjust our business model in the forward-going directionalized mission to be competitive in a volatile market where shareholder confidence is a parameter that we recognize and appreciate is a futuralized initiative-driven wide scope paradigmed pledge to demarginalize those on the periphery of the broad customer base that we feel is essential to the revenue

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Needs more synergy. And cowbell.

            • The film and television industry is failing even these buzzwords.

              forward-going directionalized mission to be competitive

              A mission that the industry is failing.

              You can't "be competitive" with piracy if you refuse to make lawful versions of works available. I understand some of the rationale behind the Disney sales moratorium cycle, but where's the authentic DVD of Song of the South?

              pledge to demarginalize those on the periphery of the broad customer base

              A pledge that the industry is failing.

              "Those on the periphery of the broad customer base" demand genuine copies of more obscure TV series like Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea. Y

    • Pirating is illegal.

      In which country?

      Something online possibly being illegal somewhere at some time to someone is about the single most complicated thing about life right now.

      • Where piracy is not piracy, it is not called piracy and it is not treated as piracy.

        You are not successful in making a simple thing difficult.

        • Where piracy is not piracy is most of the world, where only wide spread distribution is in any way considered illegal and someone downloading a song amount to a breach of contract. For example see the current trends in Australia where a movie studio is suing hundreds of people and all they may be liable for is the cost of the movie.

          Piracy in most of the world is a civil issue, not a criminal one. Legality is based on case laws, and for the most part the cases on online piracy have not been written. While we

      • by Kasar ( 838340 )
        Over 400,000 federal laws and regulations (even government agencies can't come up with a solid number). Then there are the state, county, and municipal laws. It's a common joke in law school that ever person over the age of 18 is guilty of some federal crime. This is why the NSA mass data gathering and archival is an issue, out of control legislators have created a joke of a legal system, representative of anything but a free society, wherein a database of everything on a person can probably produce somet
        • And yet amazingly, piracy, by definition, is illegal.

          • by jdavidb ( 449077 )
            Courts have been ruling that use of the term "piracy" is inadmissible obfuscation. Simply copying and assisting in copying data does not involve raping or pillaging anybody and is not theft.
            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Simply copying and assisting in copying data does not involve raping or pillaging anybody and is not theft.

              You seem to be not using torrents properly.

            • Oh you are definitely going to have to provide a citation for that, since piracy has been used to mean copyright infringement for hundreds of years.

          • And yet copyright infringement is not piracy in any legal definition. Also mostly it's not illegal but rather a contractual / civil law issue between two parties.

    • by jdavidb ( 449077 )
      Drinking out of the wrong water fountain used to be illegal, too. The law is essentially constructed to benefit some people at the expense of others.
      • Copyright laws are the only things preventing someone from immediately printing & selling (or giving away) their own 10 million copies of Harry Potter. You wouldn't allow that so why do you think it's okay just because it's music or movies and done on the internet.

        Sure, you can get away with it...but at some point, for most people, life becomes more about right & wrong than what you can get away with.

        • by Boronx ( 228853 )

          If there's money to be made from Harry Potter, then J. K. Rowling should get it, but there shouldn't be any right that money can be made from Harry Potter.

          Selling Harry Potter without giving Rowling her cut is immoral, but free copying of Harry Potter, not so much. What's the moral difference between reading a torrented ebook of Harry Potter and checking it out of the library?

          • The difference is that the library has paid for it. And can only lend it to one person at a time.
            • by Boronx ( 228853 )

              I may download Harry Potter from someone who legally purchased a copy.

              Would it be immoral for a library to lend a book out to more than one person at a time if it were possible? On the contrary, libraries would better serve their purpose.

        • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

          Copyright laws are the only things preventing someone from immediately printing & selling (or giving away) their own 10 million copies of Harry Potter. You wouldn't allow that

          What? Yes I would; of course I would. I think that is perfectly moral and ethical behavior.

        • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

          Sure, you can get away with it...but at some point, for most people, life becomes more about right & wrong than what you can get away with.

          Clearly you and I have very different conceptions of right and wrong. I believe using force to punish somebody for printing and selling their own 10 million copies of Harry Potter is wrong. To me it's so clearly wrong it's hard to even explain it to those who think otherwise. It's like we are from totally different cultures or something.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Pirating is illegal."

      No its not. When they abolished public domain they reneged on their side of the social contract. There is therefore no obligation for us to uphold our end of the bargain.

      Until such time as public domain is reinstated... there is no such thing as copyright.

      • social contract

        Your social contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
        Please try referencing laws that actually exist.

    • So is running a Taxi service without proper licensing. Why isn't torrenting getting the same pass? It's all for the sake of capitalism bringing people a product they want right?
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @09:02PM (#50440865) Homepage Journal

    Use a VPN, there's even one built in. Just need to sign up.
    • Just need to sign up.

      :-) Neat trick

    • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @11:54PM (#50441519)

      Or better yet, go to the library, check out a good book, and read it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Never paying for a movie, never again.

        Never fucking ever.

        I *tried* playing by their rules once. Turns out, I was not allowed to use the tv-out on my graphics card, to view the dvd I *bought*, on my tv.

        Fuck them. They are *not* trying to be fair or just. Do not be fucking fooled. Do *not* fall into the "you gotta pay, you freeloader, you're stealing" guilt-trip. Because when i PAID for it, I got screwed over.

        • At that point, you fire up something like DVDFab and make an ISO with the copy protection garbage stripped out. Then you should be able to use VLC to play the ISO and output to your TV.

          Pretty simple rocket surgery.

          • by chefren ( 17219 )
            Or download the movie from the Internet which is easier, not to mention no more illegal in some countries. No rocket surgery should be needed to lawfully view the DVD you bought in your own home according to the terms of the EULA. If it's needed, the product's quality is inferior and the main argument for buying the thing in the first place is weakened.
      • I think I saw the movie about that...

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        Like what? :P

  • Everyone comes in these threads trying to justify piracy with some sort of legal/ethical spin. Let's just call it like we see it. Piracy is easy, low risk and near free. It's also a near-victimless crime. The only victim is a media conglomerate that hauled in more money than they know what do do with. In fact, in 2015, 21st Century Fox had a larger revenue in 3 months than my entire Canadian province did in a year. It's hard to be sympathetic when they bitch and complain about what amounts to pennies for th
    • Everyone comes in these threads trying to justify piracy with some sort of legal/ethical spin. Let's just call it like we see it.

      I see it in legal and ethical terms, so that's how I call it. Imagine for a second that we discovered that there was life on Mars... and they were copying our movies. Would anyone suggest that gave us a right to invade, and seize their real property? Now, what ethical principle differentiates this from one country seeking to do the same to another, or one individual seeking to

  • I get the error:
    http://ppa.launchpad.net/webup... [launchpad.net] 404 Not Found
    Is there a new address to use ?
  • I think we all agree that attacking ships on the high seas, kidnapping and murdering the people on them should be prosecuted.
    Please don't confound copyright infringement with piracy.
    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.en.html#Piracy [gnu.org]

  • I thought the courts already ruled that an IP Address cannot be used it identify a person... http://techland.time.com/2012/... [time.com]
  • Never fucking ever. I *tried* playing by their rules once. Turns out, I was not allowed to use the tv-out on my graphics card, to view the dvd I *bought*, on my tv. you can see horror movie http://bit.ly/1EoywpE [bit.ly]

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