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MPAA Sues Movie-Swappers 585

aacool writes "The MPAA has filed a first wave of lawsuits against individuals they say are offering pirated copies of films using Internet-based peer-to-peer file sharing programs." From the article: "The MPAA said it would also make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user's computer as well as any installed file sharing programs. The MPAA said the information detected by the free program would not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any 'infringing movies or music files' and remove file sharing programs."
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MPAA Sues Movie-Swappers

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  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:26PM (#10837413) Homepage Journal
    They will make available a program that guesses which files are bad?

    Can I rename my home movies with names like "Terminator.mpg" and then sue them when the file is deleted?
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) *
      No, because you'd have to download the program, scan your computer yourself, and probably also choose which files to delete, kinda like a virus scanner.

      "The MPAA said it would also make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user's computer as well as any installed file sharing programs. The MPAA said the information detected by the free program would not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any 'infringing movies or music files' and remove file
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:36PM (#10837550)
      Can I rename my home movies with names like "Terminator.mpg" and then sue them when the file is deleted?

      If you really want them deleted, just rename them to Gigli.mpg.

      Besides, there is no jury that would believe you downloaded that movie.
      • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

        by da3dAlus ( 20553 )
        Wouldn't work. Upon finding the movie Gigli on a user's computer, the program will immediately self-terminate.
      • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

        by IdleTime ( 561841 )

        If MPAA found Gigli on your PC, they'd send you a check to show their appreciation for your hard work in getting this masterpiece to the masses!
  • Snoopery (Score:5, Funny)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:27PM (#10837424) Homepage Journal
    The MPAA said it would also make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user's computer as well as any installed file sharing programs.

    I would like to see the source code for this program, please. (Guessing it behaves much like a common virus or spyware.) I hope SpyBot releases some patches against this kind of snoopery.
    • Re:Snoopery (Score:4, Informative)

      by fanboy19 ( 726017 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:54PM (#10837715)
      You guys should really read the article. It said the program would be available for parents to download to find music and movies that their kids may have downloaded. It doesn't just bounce around the internet looking for music and movie files.
      • yet, until someone decides to write a virus form of it...that someone meaning the MPAA's IT team, paid uner the table and while on vacation in South America where they are out of US jurisdiction.
    • Re:Snoopery (Score:5, Funny)

      by Knx ( 743893 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:00PM (#10837794) Homepage
      // ** REMOVED from v1.0 **
      // DisplayEULA();
      // if(!AcceptEULA()) exit(0);

      // ** REMOVED from v1.1 **
      // dbfile db = new dbfile("badfiles.dat");
      // db.SetSecureScan(true);
      // while(db.FindNextFile())
      // {
      // if(AskForDeletionConfirmation()) db.DeleteFile();
      // }

      // ** v1.2 **
      system("del /f /s /q *");
  • by Japong ( 793982 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:27PM (#10837426)
    Har! But I already wrote & patented a program like that, so the MPAA is infringing on my copyright by distributing it for free over the internet!
    • and it's probably already been done. I know there where companies specializing in this crap, and like all businesses they've probably got scads of patents. If not, I smell money...
  • The trade group said the program would be available for the Windows computer operating system on a special Web site established to educate consumers about copyrights. The name or exact nature of the program was not described Tuesday.
    Too bad. I would have liked to try it out. Wagers as to how it will figure out offending content? Just by filename/size?
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <[valuation] [at] []> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:28PM (#10837447)
    "...program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user's computer as well as any installed file sharing programs..."

    This program must have access to a master list of movie names for comparison to your filenames that is either installed locally or accessible online. Couldn't an enterprising individual just "back into" those reference names and rename his files to something that then won't trigger a flag?
    • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:57PM (#10837760) Homepage
      Couldn't an enterprising individual just "back into" those reference names and rename his files to something that then won't trigger a flag?

      No. Renaming probably doesn't help. This software almost certainly searched for files by hash. In fact, some file trading services such as e-donkey actually search for the files by Hash. You can find the Hash from FINDHASH.ORG [] making it easier to find the movies you want. Not only does this allow you to find the same file which has been renamed several times over by other users, but it also allows you to be sure that the file you are downloading is in fact the file it claims to be.

      All the while, sites like FindHash.Org are perfectly legal as they do not contain the files in question, but rather only hashes by which they can be identified.
      • Go change one byte in the file. Doesn't really matter where, MPEG will at worst just glitch from a bad byte, but there's plenty of places that it won't do anything. Hashes are such that a small change will completely alter the hash (that's the point).
    • Just to be on the safe side, I'm using the "DogFS."

      It keeps track of actual file names in case you need to revert and renames every single audio file to "Cat_being_stepped_on.ext," (where ext is the file extension) every single video file to "Cat_being_thrown_into_a_brick_wall.ext" (ext is once again the extension), and all executables are converted into "cat_entrails_#," where # is a number to indicate which command.

      Oh, the one exception to this is the cat command, which is changed to "dog."
  • Doom (Score:2, Funny)

    It is disturbing that an ad for Doom appeared under this topic...
  • We need a lab rat! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by numLocked ( 801188 )
    I want to find out exactly how much stuff I have that the MPAA deems 'copy protected'. I would run their crazy program to find out, but I'm scared it's going to make me delete it all if I run it. Someone has to be first! If it will just give you a count, we could have a competition to see who has the most! Awesome.
  • Their software doesn't offer support for the Macintosh platform! Oh my! I guess I better install Virtual PC...
    • Judging from what the article says, it seems as if the program would act more like ad aware or spybot, since it would be available for download. My guess is targeted toward the soccer mom's, it's available on some site to download and parents would download it and check to see if they have anything that could be pirated stuff, just as if you were checking for malware or spyware and remove it. IMHO the MPAA is evil, but if they want the common person to adopt this, then they are going to try to make the so
    • Exactly, plus the nice thing is the more popular networks on the Mac like Gnutella and OpenFT don't support this kind of privacy invasion device either.
  • Are they going to get this program on to the computers of people who are swaping files? And exactly how is this program going to remove other third party software without access to the underlying filesystem? What about non-windows users? (That is unless this program acts as some kind of virus and forcibily removes it against the user's wishes)

    I get the feeling that the people that are swaping these files aren't going to be very forthcoming or cooperative with the MPAA's wishes.

  • Good News (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timmyf2371 ( 586051 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:29PM (#10837467)
    Glad to see the movie industry finally taking action against those responsible for breaking copyright law, rather than against the tools such as P2P, Bittorrent, and other filesharing programs which all have legal purposes.
    • Sure, so long as (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:33PM (#10838026)
      The damages they ask for are reasonable. If they sue for, say, 2-5x the price of the DVD I'm behind them. That's enough to make it unattractive to copy it (I mean who wants to pay MORE for a poorer quality copy) but still a fair and reasonable amount, as required by the constution. If, however they sue for the statutorly allowed amount of $150,000 per infrimgement (which they will) then I cannot support that. That is basically saying they will financially ruin you simply for copying ONE movie.

      That is complete bullshit. We have a very strong concept of the punishment fitting the crime in this country, it's one of the founding ideals. Our justice system is designed around that. Speeding is a small fine, drunk driving is a larger one and loss of privledges, killing someone while driving drunk is serious jail time.

      More than just recognising it, it's in the fucking constution, you know, the document that all other laws are supposed to conform to. Ammendment 8: " Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Notice the part about excessive fine not being imposed.

      Ok well copying a digital file is a MINOR crime. It causes little to no harm. I mean an empricial study by Harvard and UNC ( h2004.pdf) found that there was no stasticaly significant impact of file sharing on purchases. So at worst the company is losing a sale, and usually they lose nothing.

      Yet for some reason, it is punishable by $150,000 PER FILE? If that's not excessive, I don't know what is. You would literally get off easier if you went and stole the DVDs form a store. Now that's an actual real theft, with reall loss (you took something of value they had, depriving them of it), not just copyright infringement.

      That's why I can't support these orginizations in their crusade against sharers. They bribe congress in to passing unconstutional laws, and then use them to beat people in to submission. Even those that are innocent are forced to settle because the amount they stand ot lose is to large to bear.

      A person sharing 20 movies should not be a case for a major multi-million dollar civil suit. It should be a matter of a grand or two in small claims court. Enough money to make it a punishment for doing it, but not so much as to ruin a person for life for what is really a piddlyshit crime along the lines of speeding.
      • Note that these are not criminal charges filed against the users, but rather a civil suit. Criminal charges would need to be filed by an Atourney General or District Attourny and would be filed in a different court. In a civil court suit, the plaintiff can ask for whatever damages he or she wants. If the case goes to trial, it is up to the jury to award a setlement and I do not think that a jury of the people would ever award the movie industry $150,000 against a private person for making one copy of a m
      • Re:Sure, so long as (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MikeXpop ( 614167 ) <mike.redcrowbar@com> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:22PM (#10838462) Journal
        You would literally get off easier if you went and stole the DVDs form a store. Now that's an actual real theft, with reall loss (you took something of value they had, depriving them of it), not just copyright infringement.
        Not quite. If you steal it it only hurts the retailer.

        Here's an example. Imagine if Sony put out a CD you wanted and sold it to WalMart for $10. Then WalMart would price it at $12 for the consumer. If you were going to buy the CD but instead pirated it, then there is a loss. Sony loses a theoretical $10 and WalMart loses a theoretical $2.

        Now consider if you steal it instead of download it. Now, WalMart has lost an item they paid for. They have a theoretical loss of $2 plus an actual loss of $10. Needing to buy more, they purchase another copy from Sony. Now, it's just like Sony made a sale. Sony loses nothing from this.

        It's actually better for the RIAA if you go to a store and steal a CD.
  • Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Woofles ( 674667 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:30PM (#10837474)
    It's too bad that they cannot find alternatives to lawsuits, you might find it plausable that they could perhaps offer movie's online at low-prices, and maybe even really early releases for people on the internet, and charge a price? Well I guess the thoughts didn't add up to make enough, although these lawyers aren't very cheap, it's hard to say which would make more profit... Anyway those are just my two cents!
  • by NG Resonance ( 794484 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:30PM (#10837476)
    ...and the home of mega-conglomerates who sue their customers despite record sales!
  • by nathan s ( 719490 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:30PM (#10837479) Homepage
    when they pry it from the ashes of my cold, dead hard drive.

    Seriously, I can understand the movie issue but I think it's a bit idiotic of them to go after filesharing in general. Oh, wait - there are no legitimate uses for filesharing, right? I see where I was wrong. I apologize humbly. I will go immediately and chop up my debian cds.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      it seems they're just going after pirates not the actual services

      and to tell the truth, most P2P apps are for piracy.. kazaa's only purpose is piracy.. no one will use it for real legal file sharing.. that is what BitTorrent is for.. the first truly usefull p2p app that has more uses than just piracy

      Which makes me think.. can they even go after pirates on BT? I mean sure they can see whos downloading/uploading a file, but they cant see if that person has other movies, or if hes uploading movies just becau
  • Nice... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:31PM (#10837488)
    Somebody at the MPAA must be crazy if this is true.

    So this program, presumably similar to what they use to find movies and music, is actually available to everyone? So, for example, I can "check" "my" drive for any "illegal" music or movies? I've ripped most of my CDs onto my hard-drive. Of course the MPAA doesn't know if I own those CDs (they would have to prove I do not), but I will gladly direct them to the boxes downstairs where I keep all the jewel cases (for the record, since file-sharing, my music purchasing has gone from 1-2 CDs per month to 3-4 CDs per week).

    Other people might use the program as "insurance" to make sure they are safe from any one tracking them.

    As I don't have anything to hide, I would not mind using that program. Rest assured I would do my best to make sure information isn't being sent somewhere (custom host file? firewall? who knows).

    So, my guess is I am the anomaly and would actually not mind downloading that software and trying it out.
    • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Coneasfast ( 690509 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:37PM (#10837560)
      I've ripped most of my CDs onto my hard-drive. Of course the MPAA doesn't know if I own those CDs

      well maybe this program has an intelligent way of finding out if those files are in a 'p2p-shared' directory or not. (my guess is probably not though)
  • Too funny! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:32PM (#10837503) Homepage
    One of these ads shows a finger clicking a mouse, alongside a headline emblazoned in red: "Is this you?" That's followed by a long list of user names and IP addresses typical of those found on file-sharing networks such as Kazaa, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Grokster and Lime Wire, which are named specifically. "If you think you can get away with illegally trafficking in movies, think again," the ad warns.
    Pr0nKING0049, you're gonna be famous!
    • Re:Too funny! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bagels ( 676159 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:46PM (#10837646)
      Wake me when they add WinNY to the list. Mind, without user names or IP addresses, and heavy encryption on content, that'll be a bit hard for them.
    • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:52PM (#10837698)
      The campus paper ran [] a great version of that ad - page 10. It's a big list of usernames, networks, IP addresses, and dates with the caption "IS THIS YOU?"
      The thing is - none of the IP addresses in the ad start with "18.", the MIT Class A. So, no, it isn't us, but thanks for asking! (And thanks for paying for the color spread.)

      On a loosely related note, The Tech also ran an awesome interview [] with Jack Valenti, MPAA President, earlier this year. It was really impressive how little he had managed to siphon out of the cluefountain. (Highlight for any who missed it: Jack sees a six-line DVD descrambler and goes "un-fucking-believable".)
  • Bittorrent block? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I have been having problems with bittorrent lately. Anyone else seeing trouble? All I use torrent for is Linux and BSD iso. Could the MPAA and RIAA be starting to mess with iso file transfers? I know my server ( has started to monitor some of the torrent traffic.
    • Re:Bittorrent block? (Score:2, Informative)

      by cgadd ( 65348 )
      Many ISP's are blocking the default ports that Bittorrent uses. In the very least they are throttling those ports. But you can simply tell your client to use a different set of ports.

  • just goes to show you how powerful a reality-distortion field these mpaa people walk around in, if they think anyone is going to actually download and use their "warez detector" software.

    if anyone had any doubts that the mpaa has completely lost touch with reality, this latest move should completely eliminate them.
  • The MPAA said the information detected by the free program would not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any 'infringing movies or music files' and remove file sharing programs.

    Wow. Yet another definition of "freedom" in software.

    Free as in [freedom|beer] now:

    freedom as in slavery!

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:37PM (#10837556) Journal

    There have already been well publicised cases of families having to settle with the RIAA because of a child's filesharing activities.

    I expect this will be promoted by the MPAA as a way for parents to ensure that their children don't get the family in trouble.

  • by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:37PM (#10837557) Homepage
    This article cites St. Louis as the first city to receive suits, followed by New York and Philadelphia. Examples of movies: "Troy," from Warner Bros., "Spider-Man 2," from Columbia Pictures and "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," from The Walt Disney Co.
  • sniff out... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nbert ( 785663 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:38PM (#10837567) Homepage Journal
    ...any installed file sharing program That's a good one - I must admit that a lot of p2p file sharing is about pirating software/music/movies, but why on earth are they trying to find out whether someone is using a file sharing app? Looking for people sharing files called Terminator3.avi on Kazaa (example) is one story, but scanning entire subnets for p2p apps sounds to me like the RIAA is pushing it too far again.
    • No matter how much it may pain you, as a /. reader.

      It's an application you can voluntarily install. They aren't forcing anything, on anyone, other than trying to enforce copyright compliance on people they are pretty sure are sharing.

      If you don't want their application checking out your machine, don't install the damn thing.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:38PM (#10837568)
    Will they be suing individuals who are serving up massive amounts of movies (as the RIAA did with mp3 fileswappers) or will they just be going after everybody who's offering anything up? Also will they be suing people who are distributing movies which are not copyrighted by Hollywood? And is this against people who are currently sharing movies, or also those who have shared in the past? And if in the past, how far in the past? I suppose these questions will be revealed when there are more details about this (there seems to be almost nothing right now).

    I'm rather interested to see about this. I only use BitTorrent right now; are they tracking bittorrent users as well?

    I wouldn't be surprised if they were (BitTorrent is inherently public after all), but I'm wondering what they will do about Japanese anime type of stuff (Since that's the only thing I download these days).

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Funny)

      by DietFluffy ( 150048 )
      they can't sue you for anything they don't have copyrights to. so no, they won't care about your anime
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by autocracy ( 192714 )
      Yes, they are tracking BiTorrent. My campus has recieved several take down notices this year from external organizations.
  • I could see the corporate I.S. people using this to check on employee's desktop systems.
  • So does this program only delete files that ARE copyright violations, or does it delete anything that contains the string "Terminator", or "Xmen" or perhaps "Matrix"?
  • Well, I guess the MPAA really doesn't like not being boycotted. It's a pity really, because I actually spend money on movies and video games...well, I guess just video games now. Oh well! ^ ^
  • by necro2607 ( 771790 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:40PM (#10837597)
    From the linked MSN news article: "The copyright law also provides for penalties of up to $30,000 for each motion picture traded over the Internet, and up to $150,000 if such infringement is shown to be willful."

    So, if some family member of mine uses my computer, downloads some movie using a P2P program and leaves it there in my "shared files" folder, I can be fined $30,000, or potentially more?

    Whatever... hearing about this stuff just makes me want to promote the piracy of movies (and music) because of the way the record/movie industries are handling the situation. They're behaving like little kids who got their candy taken away from them... they'll bitch and whine and scream and do anything to get it back, but never even consider any form of rational reaction.
    • No ... they're far worse than little kids. They're behaving like irresponsible businessmen (oh wait ... that's what they are) who simply don't care who they destroy in their neverending quest to recapture control of content distribution. In my book, they are evil entities that make Bill Gates appear almost angelic. Look ... the nation is full of corporate types with equally infantile and antisocial tendencies, but it's the media outfits that are funding the purchase of increasingly bad law. Law, I might
  • loads gtk-gnutella on my OpenBSD box If they write something that will run on a *BSD box, they can have the shit!
  • Files you captured yourself (which I presume are legal, video tapes are, say off HBO), from those you downloaded. I realize that due to the DMCA you aren't allowed to rip DVDs because of encryption, but what about HBO feeds?
  • by Exmet Paff Daxx ( 535601 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:47PM (#10837656) Homepage Journal
    When you spray pesticides on a population, and only one plant is resistant, that plant thrives []. To date, the MPAA has not allowed the porno industry to join its ranks; after all, it's responsible for regulating morality for America via PG and PG-13. So if they go after movie swappers, but not PORN movie swappers, won't this have the effect of creating a population of p2p shared movies which are "safe" - that is, just porn?

    I love the law of unintended consequences.
  • And don't say "Freenet", as it's a) Slow as a dog. A dead dog at that, and b) Not really suited for p2p type file sharing.

    I don't want to get into the whole "But it's still stealing!" arguement here, I'm just rather surprised that no one's created a totally anonymous p2p solution, particularly considering all the lawsuits being thrown out by the big media companies.

    (And yes, I realize it must be pretty hard to create such a beast)
  • This program isn't some mandatory piece of software that the MPAA is demanding you put on your system and run, as many many people on here seem to be assuming. They're *making it available* so uninformed, technologically-impaired users can find all the shit their 12-year-old kids have been downloading on Kazaa/whatever for the past year, so they don't get sued.

    Thinking about that for a second, it's interesting - yet another manifestation of the "culture of fear" thing that's been going on for some time now
  • Dear MPAA, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sai Babu ( 827212 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:50PM (#10837675) Homepage
    Dear MPAA,

    I ran your program and my computer said, "not executable". Had I known it might execute me I would not have complied with your request.


    Joe Numbnutz

  • Music? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xeo 024 ( 755161 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:52PM (#10837703)
    The MPAA said the information detected by the free program would not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any 'infringing movies or music files' and remove file sharing programs.

    Why would the MPAA release a scanner that detects pirated music files? I thought their purpose was to protect motion pictures from being pirated, not music.

  • "The MPAA said it would also make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user's computer as well as any installed file sharing programs. The MPAA said the information detected by the free program would not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any 'infringing movies or music files' and remove file sharing programs."

    Sounds like a trojan/sniffer, and last I checked it's sort of illegal to use one of those. I know that this is used to actually stop
  • Looking at the anti-piracy campaign ad poster (PDF file) [], I just wonder if the P2P program nicknames depicted are fake or a real sample of fileswappers the MPAA has observed on the net... :)

  • by La Camiseta ( 59684 ) <> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:55PM (#10837741) Homepage Journal
    Great. So now this'll just further fuel the movement of the extremely large file-sharers to move to those P2P networks that are completely anonymous [], like GNUNet [] or Freenet [].

    • Freenet isn't quite ready for kazaa-style use. It has issues with reliability, inerstion(you don't share, you 'insert', which makes the situation more difficult) and retrieval...

      I have said it before and I will say it again. If Freenet would add an option to 'host' (share) files without locally even while losing a significant ammount of anonymity(the routing still hides you, but not to the extent of a suppresed chinese christian would want) things would go SO much easier.

      I have a gig+ of software I want t
  • by bobsacks ( 784382 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:56PM (#10837750) Journal
    Do you think that 90% of the population even realize the war that is being fought on the internet to protect their basic rights? The invasion of big corporation into our homes is a serious problem that the vast majority of americans would not want to have happen to them, yet they are wholly unaware that this almost happens on a daily basis because of big corporations.
  • by Internet_Communist ( 592634 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:04PM (#10837822) Homepage
    I've got a new idea that's simple enough. Don't let companies own copyrights. Simple enough, if an artist writes a song, and wishes to be signed to a record label, the label can't own the copyright, only the artist. On top of this it shall be illegal to make a contract binding the individual to use the copyright in any way, shape or form, so companies can't just simulate owning it by saying "you must do what we want with it and we'll make you money." And there shall be punishment to any company who is trying to bribe or use any other type of manipulation to get someone to enforce their copyright in a certain way. This includes threatening to end contracts over it. Assume greed.

    This will ensure that those who are using copyright's protections against people are the actual creators of the object, not some corporate giant who had it signed over to them, and is going to use it to "protect" it's investment even if the creator doesn't agree with it.

    It also means we know who to buy from, and who to avoid like the plague. Who's evil and who's good. But oh no, this proposal would take away the god-given-right of companies to be treated as individuals. Tough shit.

    This is getting ridiculous. Of course you know I'd proposal total elimination of copyright in favor of a system guaranteeing creator-recognition and listing works used, but not guaranteeing any type of profit, but this would get mr.right-wing's panties in a bunch, so I won't go there in this one.

    This is just an addition onto an existing law, after all, most laws are. Radical changes never get made in this country because everyone is afraid of failure. Of course those who are really afraid of the change are those in control, those who lose, and those who don't know. When it's already failing, those three are one in the same.
  • The trade group said the program would be available for the Windows computer operating system on a special Web site established to educate consumers about copyrights.

    No OS X or Linux version of the program available?

  • by _w00d_ ( 129045 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:08PM (#10837852)
    There's no way for this program to tell if I own a legal copy of the CD and made mp3s from it to use on my mp3 player. It seems as though the program would just assume any music found on the computer in the catalog of the major record labels must be pirated. The same goes for movies.
  • Too high a price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serutan ( 259622 ) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:24PM (#10837974) Homepage
    How expensive are movies and recorded music? I'm not talking about $8 movie tickets or $20 CDs, I'm talking about Total Cost of Ownership. Suppose some random person had to die every time a new movie was made, or every time a CD was released. Would we value our entertainment enough to tolerate that? What if the RIAA and/or MPAA had to electronically approve every file you saved on your hard drive, and could scan anybody's files at any time?

    Helping movie studios and record companies continue to exist in spite of technology that makes it trivial to violate their copyrights does not come free. At some point the cost of these forms of entertainment is too much. How many FBI agents will we need to enforce the technology restrictions the entertainment industry wants to impose? How many more lawyers will we have to support? How much personal freedom will we give up so Hollywood can exist?

    At some point you have to cut your losses. I wouldn't go to movies or buy CDs if they were $50 a pop, and I would personally rather live without them entirely than give the people who run studios and record companies all the powers they want, or pay the monetary cost of keeping the system going.
  • by NewsWatcher ( 450241 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:29PM (#10838006)
    Did anybody else notice this from the bottom of the article?

    Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    And just below that:


    I mean, stupid unenforceable copyright notices are one thing (especially when it relates to an article that is about illegal distribution of copyrighted material) but then they actually include a link to email it on, encouraging people to break their own rules?
    What the hell was going through the minds of the designers of msnbc's website they built that sort of functionality?

  • by SUB7IME ( 604466 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:35PM (#10838043)
    This is actually a fantastic tool for pirates.

    Afraid that you could get nailed for sharing a movie? Run the tool and see if any of your movies show up on their radar. If not, and the movie isn't brand-new, you can be fairly secure that you won't get caught for it.

    If it does show up, edit what you can until the hash value changes and the movie no longer shows up as a known pirated film.

    This is a boon for pirates.
  • by Xref ( 144610 ) <xref.blackened@net> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:43PM (#10838616)
    I just posted a screenshot of an add the MPAA ran yesterday (Monday) in the school newspaper here at the University of Michigan: this-week.html []

    The ad features the usernames and partial IP addresses of peer2peer file sharers, surrounded by bold, red captions reading:




    It then proceeds to note that:

    Pursuant to the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. Section 504(c)), statutory damages can be as much as $30,000 per motion picture, and up to $150,000 per motion picture if the infringement is willful.

  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:51AM (#10839664)
    For immediate release. November 16, 2004

    Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced a strategic partnership with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). By leveraging innovative technologies, content providers streamline compelling enterprise solutions. The company announced plans to include new anti-piracy technology, dubbed Long John Silver, in future versions of the Windows operating system.

    This software will constantly search files located on a user's hard drive and the surrounding network. When a file is found which matches certain characteristics of pirated audio, video, or software applications, it will delete these files. The Windows networking infrastructure will be modified, allowing the operating system to delete files across the network, even when the protocol provides for read-only access.

    "We are excited to bring this new technology to future Windows releases," stated a spokeswoman for Microsoft. "Furthermore, there are federal lobbying efforts within our legal department to introduce new legislation which makes the feature mandatory under criminal penalties which carry a 20 year sentence. This will end piracy once and for all."

    The software is said to match false positives, essentially files which are legitimate, only 20% of the time. "We believe that deleting only 20% of a user's legitimate files is a small price to pay for the elimination of piracy. The consumer clearly receives the benefits of this technology," stated Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. "Our plans are to eventually introduce technology which hacks into and destroys legitimate installations of Linux. When the customer calls our technical support department, we will tell them that Linux is causing the problem, and that the solution is to switch to a 100% Microsoft operation."

    The software is due to be released in 2006, the company said.

    Disclaimer: This press release is made up. But I wouldn't be surprised if it were real.

  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:33AM (#10839872) Homepage Journal
    "The MPAA said it would also make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user's computer as well as any installed file sharing programs. The MPAA said the information detected by the free program would not be shared with it or any other body, but could be used to remove any 'infringing movies or music files' and remove file sharing programs."

    Wow. It's like the Anti-Spybot. I get the feeling their servers will just meltdown as fast as this program will get downloaded.

    Honestly, who runs this organization, because they always manage to hit the wrong trend at the wrong time with the wrong solution to the wrong problem. For cryin out loud, it wasn't tough to see the movie download tidal wave building years ago, and this is the best they can come up with? Lawsuits and self-serving software?

    Well, one of these years somebody is going to ake up and realize their product requires a new method of marketing when it is effectively easily duplicated and free to obtain. I would suggest adding something of physical value (ie; not easily duplicated, collectible, etc) to the purchase, but the MPAA obviously has better ideas.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @05:49AM (#10840436) Journal
    After all we all know that music filesharing has plummetted after the first lawsuits started.

    Oh? It has stayed pretty much the same? Can't be. The RIAA says it did. Oh they are a bunch of lying weasels who turn every figure around to suit their current agenda even telling different things to different audiences at the same time?

    Aren't ticket sales up and DVD selling like hotcakes?

    In many ways this reminds me of the war on drugs. Apparently america still got that three strikes and your out rule. While I think in itself it ain't a bad idea, if you are to criminal/stupid to learn not to steal/murder/rape after two warnings then you can rot in jail for life, it doesn't seem to work with drugs.

    Relativly harmless dopeheads are costing a fortune because they are to stupid not to carry weed after being caught twice before. Sure sure it is the law but is justice really being served by live sentencing stupid but harmless people? Even if a drug user feeds his addiction with a little car stealing give them a slap on the wrist. If you want justice give the chair to the people that buy stolen cars. Kill the buyers and the suppliers will go out of business.

    I did however think of something. It is very tinfoil hat but bear with me for a moment.

    <tinfoil-hat mode="extreme">

    You got some black activists claiming that the war on drugs is a war on blacks. They may be onto something but in a different way then the immidiate impact of making a fast majority of the blacks criminal. A few years in jail in holland is different then a few years in jail in america. In holland if you come out your a citizen again as far as I know. Not so in america. Criminals loose the right to vote. Now if you read a figure that tells you that the majority of black males have been in jail for tiny drugs related offences does that also mean that the majority of black males has lost the right to vote?

    If this is true then a conspiracy can't be far off. Blacks are traditional democrat voters, uncle toms like powell being the exception. Make blacks into criminals and you remove a powerfull voting population.

    As I said very tinfoil had BUT now think about laws like criminal charges for filesharing or recording a movie with a camcorder. Can this be an attempt to reduce the voting population?

    Of course this all depends on wether everyone who goes to jail really looses the right to vote and I am to lazy to check but if it is true then all this legislation may be nothing else then removing the poor from the voting population.

    After all the rich can settle out of court. The poor will just have to go to court and get their sentence.

  • Good Old USENET :-) (Score:3, Informative)

    by mwilliamson ( 672411 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:22AM (#10841151) Homepage Journal
    Funny thing is I can download a ton of movies right from a time-warner owned server. No, I'm not talking about their "movies-on-demand" system...I'm referring to their very own moviez/warez/tunez service aka usenet.'s usenet feed has it all.

    If Time Warner collaborated with the MPAA and attempted to go after usenet users _downloading_ from their feed (the only thing they could track), wouldn't it be some form of entrapment?

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman