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$4 Million In Fines For Linking To Infringing Files 317

Posted by Soulskill
from the even-the-fringe-infringers dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The MPAA won judgments totaling $4M against two sites which merely link to infringing content. They're not arguing that it's an infringement of their distribution right, like the RIAA has with their 'making available' argument. Instead, they got the sites for 'contributory copyright infringement', just like RIAA v. LimeWire. To translate all that legalese into English, search engines which primarily index copyright-infringing material and the people who run them may not be safe in the US. That applies even if the sites in question do not host any infringing materials, participate in, or encourage the infringement done by their users. And, even honoring DMCA notices in order to take advantage of the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions hasn't prevented the **AA from suing."
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$4 Million In Fines For Linking To Infringing Files

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  • Copywrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Odder (1288958) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:16AM (#23535715)

    So now any service can be DoS'd by the RIAA and MPAA. You know they will stuff any independent index with their crappy content and so destroy all alternative distribution channels.

    • Re:Copywrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by palegray.net (1195047) <philip...paradis@@@palegray...net> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:28AM (#23535777) Homepage Journal
      This is actually something I hadn't considered before. Say some industry thugs go out and find some techno-thugs who just happen to operate in a jurisdiction outside the reach of U.S. law and monitoring. Said techno-thugs inherit big bags of money for all the infringing content they can get placed on competing independent distribution systems alongside "legitimate" tracks.

      Unfortunately for them, said independent distribution guys just happen to be inside U.S. jurisdiction. Bad day...
      • Re:Copywrong. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Odder (1288958) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:53AM (#23535945)

        Anyone can be shut down with this, not just "thugs". Google's YouTube service has been in the crosshairs for a while now. All the legacy copyright owners have to do is stuff the channel to shut it down. Copyright must be changed to prevent that kind of denial of service. One of PJ's first entries was about P2P and industry's fear of a richer world [groklaw.net].

    • Re:Copywrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:44AM (#23535883) Homepage
      Index stuffing doesn't quite do it, as far as I can tell from TFA.

      both were found guilty of contributory copyright infringement, according to the judges' opinions, because they searched for, identified, collected, and indexed links to illegal copies of movies and TV shows.
      That goes quite a bit beyond mere running a forum, that's actively seeking out illegal content and indexing it up for others to download (probably with some ad revenue for your trouble). I don't know what kind of site they was, but it's far between the "there's a bunch of torrent links" and "here's a sorted index by TV show with verified links without fakes or dupes that we compiled". The former is one of "meh, we can't control everything our users do" while the latter is "here's a service we offer specificly to help you all find pirated stuff", and clearly the latter is exactly what contributory copyright infringement is supposed to cover.

      I mean, apart from these sites do you know any other site that so blatantly and directly markets themselves to people breaking the law? It'd be on the level of a water pipe store with a posted map to nearby pot salesmen. Aside from my feelings on copyright, if something first is illegal I think there should be limits to how far you can go assisting them, marketing to them, turning a blind eye to them and so on. Whether you call that "aiding and abetting", "conspiracy" or "contributory infringement" is more of a legal issue, but clearly some of these sites overstep what I'd consider natural. It's like seeing a gun marketed as "Cop killer*" and in 2pt font "*only applicable when said cop is on drugs, shooting wildly around him and shooting him would be in self-defense". Some of the piracy sites are equally blatant, like "Get the latest TV shows here*" and in 2pt font "*no responsibility for 3rd party content."
      • Re:Copywrong. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Odder (1288958) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:16AM (#23536045)

        You are stepping around the issue by claiming these companies "actively" indexed content owned by the MPAA. The issue is that any service can be stuffed by the MPAA. If you bother to index it and eliminate duplicates and noise files, you will get burnt. Indexing should be allowed and sharing should be allowed. You can't have those things and give copyright holders the ability to police things. What you are left with is a rather stark choice: freedom or copyright. There may be some middle ground, such a allowing personal copy, but it's hard to imagine a way to enforce copyright that won't sabotage everyone's network freedom, free press and free speech.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by billcopc (196330)
        It's like seeing a gun marketed as "Cop killer*" and in 2pt font "*only applicable when said cop is on drugs, shooting wildly around him and shooting him would be in self-defense".

        Problem is, the guns are there SPECIFICALLY to kill cops. Well at least that's what the right to bear arms was for. I'm not saying you should mow down every pig you see, but the whole point of arming plain citizens is to (theoretically) protect themselves from the threat of a totalitarian regime. Obviously that definition has l
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ravenshrike (808508)
          Actually, the point of the 2nd was to ensure that a totalitarian regime never came about in the first place. Reason being is that as long as the 2nd was intact no one would dare to bring about said regime. But thanks to the bullshit interstate commerce clause along with the progressives lovely anti-gun train, you get where we are today.
          • It's more a phenomenon of the founders not really anticipating properly that the people would lay down and give it all up, although of course they did have some inkling. What to do, what to do?

            C//
        • Google is not in court, because the RIAA/MPAA doesn't have enough money to beat them. That's all.

          Given that it is now possible (or at least somewhat more common) to Invest in Lawsuits [lawmall.com] the fact that Google has not been served with a lawsuit probably has more to do with the present cases either not establishing a generic enough precedent OR not being litigated high enough into the court system to be a strong precedent AND not lack of funds on the part of the RIAA/MPAA (or the ability to raise them with lawsuit investors). If Google perceives a credible threat to their business then they will certainly a

      • Re:Copywrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JPLemme (106723) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:32AM (#23536131)
        I agree.

        Breaking the law and then complaining that the punishment is unfair because it leans too heavily in favor of corporate interests is not the right way to go about it. The right way is to refuse to purchase the *AA's products (thus depriving them of ammunition), and then becoming politically active about IP policy.

        This isn't a situation where you need to break the law to make a living or to feed your kids. It's just music and movies. Learn to play the piano. Go see a play.

        (And to strike pre-emptively, yes I know that the entire system is unfair and tilted against the little guy. But for all its warts this is the best system so far devised. And when enough people get angry the politicians will jump on the populist bandwagon, too.)
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Breaking the law and then complaining that the punishment is unfair because it leans too heavily in favor of corporate interests is not the right way to go about it.

          Um, it's called civil disobedience (well, so long as people are accepting the punishment to prove a point) and rebellion (against absurd laws). How *else* do people find out about or really even take much consideration about laws which, otherwise, might only be applied in a much more conservative and "accpetable" fashion? Those who approve o

      • by ATMAvatar (648864)
        I mean, apart from these sites do you know any other site that so blatantly and directly markets themselves to people breaking the law?

        whitehouse.gov [whitehouse.gov]?
    • Simple solution really. That will instantly also take care of the **AA too. Nobody needs the spam coming from the USA anyway...
    • by cliffski (65094)
      I seriously doubt that. if you run a download site that is legit, has demos of all the major games and software, or sells songs for the record companies or hosts only freeware, you REALLY think that the RIAA will target YOU?
      Of course not. but it is a very predictable excuse to get all hot and bothered about the fact that the 'we was only linking guv' defence has rightfully fallen flat on its ass.
      It's a BIG difference between being 'tricked' into accidentally hosting pirated content, and running "WarezForFre
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:17AM (#23535717)
    Google is likely to sued real soon as well as many other web sites.
    • I hope it is google then maybe the iaa and mpaa will be put in there place
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MoonFog (586818)
        And what if Google were to lose? It's sad when we have to wait and hope for these organizations to sue someone big instead of picking on the little guy to have some hope that they might actually be struck down.
        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          And what if Google were to lose?

          Then they'd probably get the fuck out of the States rather than see their business suffer in America. Probably some sort of tax haven.

          Great idea, let's give American companies even MORE of a reason to leave our shores.

    • by UnxMully (805504) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:31AM (#23535793)
      I see this as a very bad thing all around. Surely the point of search engines is that they provide access to all corners of teh interweb and can only do this by hitting every site and indexing it. If they become responsible for the content on those sites, or rather not providing links to "illegal" content, how do they continue to provide that access when they may potentially have to vet every link they index?

      OK, so they can filter but surely that's as much of a minefield as indexing everything? Imagine the law suits when their filtering algorithms start excluding one company and include their opposition.

      Not sure I like the sound of this.
      • by FudRucker (866063)
        good call UnxMully, thats the way I see it too, I wish I had mod points I would bump your comment up :^)
      • OK, so they can filter but surely that's as much of a minefield as indexing everything? Imagine the law suits when their filtering algorithms start excluding one company and include their opposition.
        No, they can't filter without running a much higher risk of being held responsible for the content. Google's "SafeSearch" feature sort of skirts the fine edge of this reasoning, but hasn't been challenged yet (i.e. Google getting sued because someone found kiddie porn being "make available" via their search engine). Their broad filtering of search results in some non-U.S. markets might be "iffy" as well.

        Although not meeting the strict legal definition as such, search engine providers like Google could conceivably angle for the protections afforded common carriers [wikipedia.org].
        • by FudRucker (866063)
          if i was in charge of a search engine and my web spiders found some kiddie porn i would most definitely forward that information to the police as quickly as possible, (i am sure Google already does that)...
        • by westlake (615356)
          Although not meeting the strict legal definition as such, search engine providers like Google could conceivably angle for the protections afforded common carriers.

          To simplify things drastically, a common carrier receives a measure of immunity from ordinary civil and criminal actions in exchange for the public services it provides.

          The price is regulation. The price is cooperation with the government. You play by the rules or you lose your protection.

    • by reebmmm (939463) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:32AM (#23535811)
      Well, no. These sites' purpose and content consisted substantially of indexing and enabling the search for unlawful copies of copyrighted works. While Google certainly has some capability to do this as well, I don't think most people would see that as a substantial portion of their content or their purpose.

      This case really isn't that surprising.
      • I don't think most people would see that as a substantial portion of their content or their purpose.
        Isn't that irrelevant?

        A judgment was made: If you link to copyrighted material, you can be taken to court.
        I didn't notice any conditions that exclude this based on "substantial portions of content".

        And why wouldn't Google be suable, for general reasons & the fact that a cached-page of those indexing sites can be just as useful as the original sites?
      • How can you tell? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Odder (1288958)

        How do you know that these two sites did not intend for people to share their own movies? How can you keep the MPAA from loading up any "legitimate" site with all of their own files they way they have with Media Sentry? The ability to DoS legitimate services mandates a change in copyright law. If cases like these continue to win, there will be no alternate distribution channels or free press on the internet.

      • by Dragoon412 (648209) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:30AM (#23536127)
        Actually, it is. What does Google link to that isn't copyrighted? For example, try a Google Image Search for virtually any topic you can think of, and you get Google-created thumbnailed versions of copyrighted works that link directly to the often-infringing images themselves.

        Our copyright in the US works largely on the owners' good graces, apathy, and ignorance. Copyright infringement, in a technical sense, happens constantly. And not just from music and movie downloaders, but ordinary people. Tattoos of cartoon characters, playing some popular song on your guitar, hosting images someone else created on your own server.

        This may, in fact, have appeared on Slashdot before, but John Tehranian, a law professor at the University of Utah, estimates that a typical person could easily rack up $12.45 million in copyright liability doing ordinary things like sending email, sketching on a notepad, the afore-mentioned cartoon tattoo, writing poetry, and singing "Happy Birthday." And then there's this:

        At the end of the day, John checks his mailbox, where he finds the latest issue of an artsy hipster rag to which he subscribes. The 'zine, named Found, is a nationally distributed quarterly that collects and catalogues curious notes, drawings, and other items of interest that readers find lying in city streets, public transportation, and other random places. In short, Jogn has purchased a magazine containing the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, and public display of fifty copyrighted notes and drawings. His knowing, material contribution to Found's fifty acts of infringment subjects Jogn to secondary liability in the amount of $7.5 million.

        You can find the entirety of Professor Tehranian's article in PDF here [turnergreen.com].

        The entire structure of our copyright law in the US is based on what strikes me as being the courts' absolutely blind willingness to enforce laws, the language of which criminalizes the day-to-day acts of normal people, and therefore makes the system open to the sort of hyper-technical abuse characterized in the article.

        Of course, our national legislators are to blame for the sloppy language, not the courts. But the courts are still the agents enforcing these laws that just fly in the face of any reasonable or well-considered social policy.
        • by reebmmm (939463)

          Actually, it is. What does Google link to that isn't copyrighted?

          Not the same. I said, "UNLAWFUL copies." If a news agency wants to put up their copyrighted photos on a website, then someone browsing their site isn't a copyright infringer. Ditto for a search engine that POINTS to those sites. The index is to a bunch of LAWFUL copies.

          In this case, we have UNLAWFUL copies of copyrighted works. Someone ripped them from a DVD, CD, or TV and posted them on the internet. It's not the copyright owners actions, it'

          • by Dragoon412 (648209) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:17PM (#23536363)

            Not the same. I said, "UNLAWFUL copies." If a news agency wants to put up their copyrighted photos on a website, then someone browsing their site isn't a copyright infringer. Ditto for a search engine that POINTS to those sites. The index is to a bunch of LAWFUL copies.
            What you're neglecting to take into consideration, though, is that Google isn't just indexing the copyright-owners' own sites.

            Try looking for Transformers on Google. That fan site with the picture of Optimus Prime? That's infringement; it's unlawful. The wiki hosting a sound clip of some exchange between Star Scream and Megatron? That's infringment. The fanfic? Infringement. Google's linking to it all. They're even hosting thumbnails of some of it.

            The distinction between linking to lawful and unlawful copyright works is something that can't be sustained in the face of a modern search engine. It would be asinine to tell Google that it couldn't link to anything without first ascertaining that the site has a clear and lawful copyright on the substance. A search engine just couldn't work in such a case. Likewise, saying a search engine is guilty of contributory copyright infringement when it does link to infringing material is no more sustainable, because the internet is a minefield. The liability imposed would be so monstrous as to either destroy the entire industry or create such legal liability that we're left with the last situation: search engines only able to link to things after they verify the owner's valid copyright claims.

            For this to be good precedent, there needs to be a distinction made by the courts as to what makes these sites different from Google, Yahoo, and the like, and it can't be based on a post hoc determination of the host site's copyright validity.
          • by gnud (934243)
            Well, when I browse that news site, a temporary copy of their image is stored in my browser cache. If I have a worm, that means I might have distributed a copy of that image, albeit unknowingly.
      • How easy would it be to write a front end to Google that would zero in on links to copies of copyrighted works? I, for one, would be delighted to help the MPAA find these violations. With a simple Google front end (rather than having to learn complex and sometimes arcane search terms and methods) many good citizens could join in this distributed endeavor.

        To make clear the point of this software, a "Report this to the MPAA" button should appear beside each potential violation. As part of the volunteer MPAA v
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:43AM (#23535875)
      Don't think so. The ??AAs are much like school bullies. They prefer picking on the weaker kids, they rarely try it on the ones that can push back.
    • by Da Fokka (94074) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:45AM (#23535891) Homepage
      Of course not. **AA would be crazy to try to take on Google. Their case would be much weaker for two reasons. First of all, Google has the cash to put together a stellar legal team. They would do so, because linking to stuff is pretty much at the center of the business model. Second of all, Google links to all kinds of content, of which infringing content is just one, while ShowStash and Cinematube primarily linked to infringing content.
    • This is different to google, these 2 sites were linking specifically to mostly infringing content (and from a quick google, they were clearly indicating the fact that they link to feature films and TV shows, both things that generally imply content produced by someone who isn't going to give a random web site permission to host their content)

      Google links to anything and everything.

      If I run a newspaper and someone places a classified ad to sell a stolen TV, I am not breaking any law by running that ad. (espe
    • by nihaopaul (782885) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:03AM (#23535991) Homepage
      easy, find an XSS vulnerability in either the MPAA or the RIAA site and link it to copyrighted material, then also target government websites with the same XSS vulnerability and do the same, repeat over again until change.
  • by doomedpr0digy (1143953) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:38AM (#23535843) Homepage
    This will break the internet.
    • But it protects the all important profit. Didn't you get the memo, you may cause whatever damage necessary to protect your outdated business model.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScentCone (795499)
        protect your outdated business model

        Yeah, that whole "not stealing people's work" way of looking at things is so quaint, isn't it? When you really respect an artist, and are glad they've managed to spend a couple of years and tons of money laboring over something that will be available for you to pay a latte's worth of cash to enjoy, the REAL way to show your respect for that artist is to rip off their work. Ideally, as a real monument to that artist, nobody would ever pay them, and they can just be your
        • by snl2587 (1177409)

          Ideally, as a real monument to that artist, nobody would ever pay them, and they can just be your bankrupt entertainment slave.

          Save for the really successful and heavily marketed artists, the record companies hardly pay them, either. Most of the money artists make come from live shows. The majority of the price of an album goes toward an overly bloated business.

          Still, that mostly applies to records and not music. For movies, you do realize that the amount people who actual act in and direct the movie make from DVD sales is pretty much nil, right? I agree that copying movies still in theaters hurts the creators, as it's like thei

          • by ScentCone (795499)
            Save for the really successful and heavily marketed artists, the record companies hardly pay them, either

            Ah, well, then. I guess it's cool to steal their work then, after all.

            Or are you saying that poor musicians - their simple minds so full of music and whatnot, and with not a single other professional musician's career out there for them to study and to understand - are, almost every one of them, unable to grasp the numbers that are put in front of them as they sign a contract? That thousands of mus
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by snl2587 (1177409)

              And you're saying that the only thing that stops you from not being even more active in depriving them of the choices that musicians make, is being afraid of getting caught. (emphasis mine)

              It seems you've bought in to the RIAA's claim, among others, that it's wrong to buy used CDs. To legally transfer between two parties the music of an artist so that the receiving party can be exposed to it. Few artists, I'm sure, would say that's a bad thing.

              And by the way, I am not a fan of pop music (i.e. the only ones who actually benefit from modern record deals), and let me state that from personal experience I know record deals do just about didly-squat for the rest, and the artists are fully aware

        • by _Ludwig (86077)
          Yeah, that whole "not stealing ...

          You lose.

    • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:57AM (#23535961)
      This will break the internet.

      No, this will just damage the "business" plans for those that set out, specifically, to direct people to content that the search engine and the people using it all know are pirated resources. When these sites promote themselves as ways to find ripped-off DVD images, have an entire atmosphere that revolves around perpetuating that notion, and show search results that are loaded with (rather than links to RottenTomatos.com or IMDB) bootleg copies of commercial material when you search by, for example, movie title... that's what this is all about. Running a web site that bumps into and indexes such content while also returning lots of legit links is very different than building a web site expressly to draw in people looking to rip off movies so that they can generate a few cents worth of click-through revenue by running "Hook Up With A Hottie" banner ads throughout the list of places you can get hold of a leaked Indiana Jones review DVD ISO or Season Two of Deadwood. When you run a web site that says or implies, "come here for help with ripping off the entertainment you want," then you shouldn't be surprised when the people who invest the money to make that entertainment go to some trouble to stop you when you deliberately, publicly, state that you'll help people (people too cheap to spend $3 so that they and their friends/family can watch a movie) rip them off.
    • by NetFusion (86828)

      This will break the internet.
      I have it on good authority that if you type "Google" into Google, you can break the internet. So please, no one try it. Just don't. Even for a joke. It's not a laughing matter, you can break the internet.
    • Not quite. This decision will only hinder US internet businesses. The rest of the world will keep on ticking as nothing has happened.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:41AM (#23535859)
    So, does this mean that when Starforce posted a link to a pirated copy of Galactic Civilizations II to try to encourage Stardock to use their copy protection (http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/11/2049230) [slashdot.org], they opened themselves up to a lawsuit from Stardock?
     
    I'd love to see a company that is part of the problem get snared by the laws that they were pushing for themselves.
  • digital TV... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 3seas (184403) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:47AM (#23535911) Journal
    I have a 32" working just fine non digital TV and don't have cable but use an antenna. I have no intention on getting a converter box or new TV. But I'll use the TV for DVD's and VHS, for which I buy inexpensive previewed media.

    Since I'm no longer going to support the broadcast markets, including PBS, its advertisers and won't buy new media, there is one obvious things that is going to happen.

    The MPAA is going to really get spoiled baby scream noisy and make all sorts of claims about piracy destroying their business when this digital only broadcast TV switch happens. From this they will pursue any and all non-authorized outlets, further isolating the property of their scope, away from me.

    But the fact of the matter is, it is the entertainment industry attacking consumers, that is the biggest turn off, where the digital TV switchover will be turning off the set for the consumer, whom will not turn it back on so quickly...

    Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thereofone (1287878)
      You do realize that your viewing habits are in the fringe and that these companies couldn't give less of a shit? The solipsism of your post is mind boggling.
    • Re:digital TV... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ndege (12658) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:00PM (#23536273)

      But the fact of the matter is, it is the entertainment industry attacking consumers, that is the biggest turn off, where the digital TV switchover will be turning off the set for the consumer, whom will not turn it back on so quickly...
      I mostly agree. However, you miss the big picture. As was recently mentioned in a post here on /. ... In televison, the people are the PRODUCTS being delivered to the advertisers; the real customers. Let me say that again. The person watching television is merely a product being delivered to an advertiser. It does not matter what television content is produced or broadcast for it is merely the lure and mechanism to attract the most people into watching the advertisements.

      Having not really thought about it much, is there a similar situation occurring with the **AA?
      • Re:digital TV... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 3seas (184403) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:59PM (#23536603) Journal
        "In televison, the people are the PRODUCTS being delivered to the advertisers; the real customers."

        lol, there is a difference between a broadcasters POV in effort to obtain advertising dollars and the consumers POV in whether or not they actually watch the advertisements.

        In verification, an advertiser does not get my number, name or person by my just watching a commercial. But I get the advertiser number if I chose to watch and write it down and I get the product or service if I chose to by it. Advertisers are being delivered to me, the consumer, via commercials. It is this delivery media which the broadcasters are selling to the advertisers and nothing more than abstract an sales pitch that makes it sound like its the other way around.

        I call it "bit flipping", the act of taking something and making it sound to be just the opposite of what it really is. As its all advertisement/promotion, be it a commercial I might see or a sales pitch the broadcaster pitches to the advertisers to "buy" air time.

        But lets ignore facts and assume you are correct. Come February 2009, broadcasters inventory of consumers get reduced by the federal government. So how many broadcasters think they own me or more specifically, my attention? And how much of it does each own? I bet it adds up to much more than 24hrs of my attention a day. Doesn't that sound rather silly? Do not get so caught up in sales rhetoric that you lose sight of reality.

        Come February 2009, I won't be watching broadcast TV. And I will have lost sight of whatever "Reality TV" is broadcast.

        Listening to the radio this morning (I suppose radio will be the next thing to go totally digital) and there was a talk on how this Y generation is really DUMB, as in stupid, as in uneducated, as a result of computer technology. Even here in Gerogia the school test scores are so bad they actually through out all history tests with the conclusion that it can't be that bad, over 80% failed...

        I suppose with the drive to use internet connection to broadcast TV shows and movies.... their will be a further contributing to the educational downfall. Another thing to add to teh list of student with pocket sized entertainment distractions.

        And of course it all comes back to blaming piracy and suing the consumer.... Gotta teach them consumers not to watch.

        • by Solandri (704621)

          "In televison, the people are the PRODUCTS being delivered to the advertisers; the real customers."

          lol, there is a difference between a broadcasters POV in effort to obtain advertising dollars and the consumers POV in whether or not they actually watch the advertisements.

          Actually, both POVs are right. The fundamental tenet of capitalism is that certain transactions are not zero-sum games, they are profitable for both sides (or in this case, all three sides). For the advertisers, the product recognition

  • oblig (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fallen Andy (795676) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:51AM (#23535935)
    First they came for the indirect links and I did nothing. Then they came for the doubly indirect links and...

    Think about it. If a site links to a site which links to illegal content?

    This nonsense needs to be stopped real soon now. (OR inject "offending" links into **AA company members websites and let them sue each other to death).

    ... and here is a little thought experiment for all my fellow programmers etc. out there - consider a "torrent" which is supposedly a movie. If you only seed blank frames (but claim you have the whole movie), then you aren't violating anyone's copyright (since every movie has blank frames). So, no one can say it's their movie (you're lying about the actual content but since no money is involved I guess not fraudulent in a legal sense (IANAL).).

    Same principle should work for most programs if done carefully. (consider the code from the C etc. run time library).

    On a large enough scale the resultant false accusations and legal actions from the **AA could get them into serious trouble.

    Andy

    • Absolutely.

      First they came for the indirect links and I did nothing. Then they came for the doubly indirect links and...

      Perhaps they should just take the $4 million dollar fine and divide it by the exponentially increasing number of sites that link. We could all link then and just pay our 0.2 cents, this way they could get the ipod tax they always wanted...
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Oh dont worry about them linking to each others stuff... They're a Cartel. Cartel's dont shoot their own, they only shoot other people trying to get in on their own action.
  • wait for the appeal (Score:3, Informative)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:57AM (#23535967) Journal
    Just a FYI, the appeal on this would most likely win and find them guilty of nothing. Assuming they're smart enough to do so...which they probably won't, unfortunately.

    If there is an appeal, then it will be a bigger deal on this one.
  • Welcome to Canada (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:00AM (#23535979)
    We would like to welcome our new search-engine overlords! Seriously, Microsoft a few years ago was considering jumping ship to Vancouver, BC. We are working on a more open set of copyright laws (vs the draconian U.S.) and I'm sure there would be some HUGE tax incentives. Granted the RIAA/MPAA's northern arms will want the same thing but I suspect it will be denied. Money trumps pretty much everything, and up here Google et all would have a lot more then the CRIA.
    • Seriously, Microsoft a few years ago was considering jumping ship to Vancouver, BC.

      That's just because the girls are hotter and the traffic is (a little bit) better. Don't go getting all technical and righteous on us.

  • Short memories (Score:4, Informative)

    by DaHat (247651) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:07AM (#23536005) Homepage
    My /. has a short memory... this was exactly what the old 2600 case over DeCSS was about.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      That case was the first thing I thought of when I read the article.

      Actually, didn't the 2600 DeCSS case kind of set a precident? I remember Eric saying that he'd keep publishing or coming up with ways to obey the letter of the rulings but still provide access somehow until they either stopped, or until the judge got to the point of ordering him not to think, speak or even HEAR about DeCSS. I think the intention was to push so hard as to expose the insanity of the current direction of IP. At one point, they
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Looks like they have it both ways again. The requirement to honor DMCA complaints without a court order is balanced by the privilege to host information without having to check it for copyright violations first. If they don't want to allow the latter, why should we allow them to take a short cut when they want some information taken down?
  • by Nichotin (794369) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:40AM (#23536179)
    After many years of cases like this, why are people still basing their services in the US? I live in Norway, and due to some legal precedents set in this country, I would not ever have my torrent trackers or ed2k indexers hosted here. In fact, I would not even have my name associated with that service because I would be paying anonymously to a host in a country were the laws are more suitable.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:09PM (#23536331) Journal
    completely dark Internet 3.0 sites that give you links to sites outside of the USA in 3.... 2.... 1...

    Bad laws are bad laws, the community will 'route around them' and that will be that. Also get ready for the court cases that the **AA will lose because the content was not infringing etc.

    It's not possible to continue their berserk legal campaign and not injure some parties. I believe that the blowback will always be expensive for them, and continued elucidation of their antics to the public will be harmful to their standard revenue streams. There will be NO new CD's or DVD's in my house from now on. I can live without them. period. it's not so difficult.

    In the USA in particular, any effort to educate the populace should be squarely aimed at government legislators. That is to say: When you publish, publish in the form of:

    Look what we sent to Senator XYZ? All this information about IP and how the law is not good, and why it's not good. Senator XYZ doesn't care about your rights, here is how s/he voted on issues relating to your rights.

    If 800 legislators have to be swift boated, meh, who fscking cares. That's what happens when you volunteer for public service.

    Once the issues become election issues, it will get sorted out because they cannot begin to help the lobbyists if they are serving biggie sized burgers in their home city after the election. They have to get elected, and if doing so means forsaking their **AA lobbyist friends, believe me, they will.

    That is how the people shut down a bad law campaign. Elect only people that do not support those laws.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tuoqui (1091447)
      In a more perfect world thats how things would work...

      Unfortunately this is the real world where the little guy does not have the access or exposure to set these politicians on fire. Look at all these bullshit political ads that come up around election time... Unless you can afford to air this around the clock 24/7 in commercials you're boned because noone will see your message.

      And if you think the media is gonna give a damn... they're in bed with Hollywood and the Politicians, they're not gonna buck a good
      • by zappepcs (820751)
        You are absolutely right, and that is why Anonymous is a good thing. They are informing the public on a specific issue. This is what might be required for any issue these days because of the roadblocks that you have pointed out. It will take the Internet and groups of demonstrators to make the public aware of what is happening.

        I'm hoping that those monitoring the government and legislators will start to grade politicians, and widely publish their grade marks. If your senator is getting an F or D- you might
  • Please put down the mallet and quit sounding the deathknell for personal freedom. I still have mine. You still have yours. Try to stay within the law, and you'll probably keep it. If you don't like parts of US law, then vote and lobby to change it. Research the issues and write your congressmen real paper letters with convincing arguments and evidence. Post cogent, pertinent comments on their web sites. If you don't like paying for movies and music, you certainly are welcome to make your own [subject to copyright and pornography laws, of course]. Contrary to some opinions, the US is still a free country. As evidenced by this rant here today.

    [Flame Off]
    • The problem is that these kinds of decisions open up new slippery slopes in places where there wasn't any sign of one. People have settled and paid substantial chunks of change to the RIAA and MPAA when they weren't even the ones infringing, because they were afraid that if they fought they'd end up paying more. It's only been recently that any of these false lawsuits have been successfully fought. Once they get their foot in the door they'll start throwing the "linking" argument in their bag of dirty trick
    • *sigh*... unlike the **AA, the paper I write on isn't green and doesn't say "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private..." on it. So, it'll likely be ignored by any congress-critter.

      /P

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      What about those of us outside the US who can't afford to purchase a congress man?
  • They didn't "merely" link to these sites. Google "Merely" links to the sites.

    These guys appear to have run sites who's sole de-facto purpose was to make finding infringing material easier. They can't claim they didn't know good and well what was going on.
    • by szyzyg (7313)
      Indeed, the thing with these 'contributory infringement' cases is the ratio of legal, non-infringing use of the technology vs infringing use. Going back to the famous Betamax case, the judge found that there were significant non-infringing uses (time shifting vs piracy) and therefore video recorders were deemed to be a legal technology. Now if you setup a search engine which specificly targets content that is infringin then you're more likely to be found guilty, also, if you target a type of technology wher
  • They just need to send Pretty leading Man/Woman of the month around to the court house to blow a judge or three.....
  • In 4 easy steps... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:34PM (#23536463)

    1) Translate name of movie into Chinese
    2) tudou.com / 56.com / youku.com / any chinese video site
    3) ???
    4) PROFIT

    Good luck getting Chinese sites shut down. Even if you get rid of the indexing sites, mildly creative people will be able to just search foreign video sites.

    I picture places like tv-links.co.uk (Oh, how I miss thee) reemerging, perhaps as some sort of decentralized P2P darknet. There's no host to take down, and you couldn't possibly target all of the members. A good use for Freenet, I think, that doesn't involve pedophilia (unless they index Alice In Wonderland).

  • by DodgeRules (854165) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:12PM (#23536687)

    And, even honoring DMCA notices in order to take advantage of the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions hasn't prevented the **AA from suing.
    So, if I find a movie online and send the link to the MPAA and report it, then I can get sued for contributing to copywrite infringment for providing that link. I guess it is time that I stop reporting possible infringements.
  • I for one want the RIAA/MPAA to be able to blind me and make me deaf.
  • Fall out (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @06:15PM (#23538741) Homepage Journal
    So when does google get nailed for allowing 'bad links' to occur? They have proven the can remove links on command.

    When does Borders get told to remove books off the shelf as they have 'improper information' in them, and be fined afterwards for having them searchable in their database?

    Libraries.. same thing.. They have a 'card catalog' that links...

    This has so many long term ramifications that it should scare the piss out of you if you value your freedom to speak.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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