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EFF Challenging U.S. Copyright Group Mass P2P Lawsuits
'Deprives defendants of fair access to individual justice,' says EFF
by Karl Bode 02:10PM Wednesday Jun 30 2010
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is heading to court today to battle the U.S. Copyright Group, a new firm that's trying to turn pre-settlement threat letters sent to P2P users into a revenue stream for copyright holders. In order to streamline the process, the U.S. Copyright Group is trying to lump some 14,000 anonymous "John Doe" lawsuits into one -- a shortcut the EFF complains "deprives the defendants of fair access to individual justice." The letters try and frighten P2P users who shared films from one of seven studios into quickly settling for between $1,500 and $2,500 dollars -- if they want to avoid the maximum penalty of $150,000 per movie.

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Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Thats a stretch

Countering actual lawsuits they file once people are identified would be one thing. But the John Doe suits are filed just to obtain the persons real name, with a NEW lawsuit filed against that individual later. I guess you could argue people have the right to keep their identity private, but only the person who's privacy was being invaded could make that claim. And until they are identified, they wouldn't know to fight it.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Thats a stretch

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: Thats a stretch

What if you are mistakenly identified? You are sued in a mass John Doe lawsuit where you have little chance to defend yourself from having your identity revealed. Once it is revealed, you are given a choice: 1) Settle for $3K or so and admit to being a pirate or 2) Face a long, costly lawsuit that could result in fines topping $1 million.

We really don't know what the false positive rate of this process is because the settlement forces the defendants to keep quiet and the copyright groups (US Copyright Group/RIAA) don't tend to allow third parties in to verify their processes.
--
-Jason Levine
Chubbysumo

join:2009-12-01
Superior, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Thats a stretch

said by Jason Levine:

We really don't know what the false positive rate of this process is because the settlement forces the defendants to keep quiet and the copyright groups (US Copyright Group/RIAA) don't tend to allow third parties in to verify their processes.
Actually, as part of the Discovery process of a civil law suit, the accused can have their own company verify the process in which the accuser gained the information to start the suit. there was a calling on DSLreports a few weeks ago about a company who wanted to verify Dunlap, Grubb, and Weaver's(US copyright group) resources, but since it was not a part of the suit, it could not. so they wanted anyone who was involved to contact them, so they could see if the DGW's info was cour-worthy. no idea what happened to that.
bt

join:2009-02-26
canada
kudos:1

1 edit
He's right in the sense that if everyone stopped doing it, the issue would probably go away. If there is no illegal activity going on, it's kind of hard to identify the wrong person as having done it. I really doubt there are many false positives where they got the right person but it was actually a legal activity (other than differences in the laws between jurisdictions).

But hey, it's a total pipe dream to expect that to happen. There's no getting this genie back in the bottle completely.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: Thats a stretch

They've sued printers (as in those machines that HP, Epson, etc make), dead people, grandparents (for downloading rap) and a college professor (for an MP3 that had "Usher" in the file name). If this many false positives cropped up, how many were quieted because paying $3,000 to make it go away is easier than spending time and money fighting to clear your name with the threat of possibly losing and bankruptcy?
--
-Jason Levine
33358088
Premium
join:2008-09-23
kudos:2

1 edit
said by bt:

He's right in the sense that if everyone stopped doing it, the issue would probably go away. If there is no illegal activity going on, it's kind of hard to identify the wrong person as having done it. I really doubt there are many false positives where they got the right person but it was actually a legal activity (other than differences in the laws between jurisdictions).

But hey, it's a total pipe dream to expect that to happen. There's no getting this genie back in the bottle completely.
so lower term rates to 10 years and make it life in person for anything under ten years and open the public domain on the rest

ends meaningless lawsuits , ends need for more taxes and ends hard ships and burdens on people across all lands and puts money back into the rest of the economy, which then means MORE JOBS for everyone rather then the 5 people running the labels and the 5000 lawyers they hire.

P.S. your gonna have a ton more support with a term rate at ten years then one at 95 years plus maybe another 75 or whatever.....
SixSpeed

join:2001-12-24
USA
said by bt:

He's right in the sense that if everyone stopped doing it, the issue would probably go away. If there is no illegal activity going on, it's kind of hard to identify the wrong person as having done it. I really doubt there are many false positives where they got the right person but it was actually a legal activity (other than differences in the laws between jurisdictions).

But hey, it's a total pipe dream to expect that to happen. There's no getting this genie back in the bottle completely.
Its not a resonable expectation at all, and quite silly to even mention.
wispalord

join:2007-09-20
Farmington, MO
and do this to americans that are allready struggling 1g mite as well be 1 million fuck em
AlfredNewman

join:2010-03-25
Columbus, OH

1 edit
Good point but heres the thing, all of those John Does are not pirates. If you follow these lawsuits some are eldarly couples without any type of computer to speak of and some have been known to be dead, and dead for some time. The problem here isn't the legality of gaining copyrighted material but rather how these lawsuits are being conducted by 3rd parties and their questionable means of gaining these users information.

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA

1 recommendation

said by ITALIAN926:

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.
Almost everything is copyrighted. Quit abusing the word.
--
Say no to JAMS!

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Thats a stretch

said by firephoto:

said by ITALIAN926:

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.
Almost everything is copyrighted. Quit abusing the word.
So what if its copyrightrighted the the copyright owners has certain rights. Don't abuse them. it's pretty simple. Are the copyrights laws crazy? Sure. Do they need to be fixed? Sure. Well then there's away you go about to get that changed. Abusing copyright laws is NOT one of them. All that ensures is that the copyright owners get even more stringent laws passed which is the exact opposite of what you'd want.

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA

Re: Thats a stretch

said by 88615298:

said by firephoto:

said by ITALIAN926:

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.
Almost everything is copyrighted. Quit abusing the word.
So what if its copyrightrighted the the copyright owners has certain rights. Don't abuse them. it's pretty simple. Are the copyrights laws crazy? Sure. Do they need to be fixed? Sure. Well then there's away you go about to get that changed. Abusing copyright laws is NOT one of them. All that ensures is that the copyright owners get even more stringent laws passed which is the exact opposite of what you'd want.
Downloading copyrighted material does not relate in any way to the law or someones rights being broken. Thus, quit abusing the word copyright when it comes to any and all buzzword FUD that relates to illegal file sharing.
--
Say no to JAMS!
WernerSchutz

join:2009-08-04
Sugar Land, TX
said by 88615298:

said by firephoto:

said by ITALIAN926:

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.
Almost everything is copyrighted. Quit abusing the word.
So what if its copyrightrighted the the copyright owners has certain rights. Don't abuse them. it's pretty simple. Are the copyrights laws crazy? Sure. Do they need to be fixed? Sure. Well then there's away you go about to get that changed. Abusing copyright laws is NOT one of them. All that ensures is that the copyright owners get even more stringent laws passed which is the exact opposite of what you'd want.
Let them pass more stringent laws. That way people will wake up about this shit and kick the ass of those buying these laws to be passed by corrupt, senile politicians.

It needs to reach a breaking point for things to get better. This is the country that after all, believed Prohibition was a good thing. Every time you defend imbecile laws like the copyright one think about that.
SixSpeed

join:2001-12-24
USA
said by ITALIAN926:

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.
You just don't understand do you? This process is faulty and is not based on any real proof that you did anything wrong. This is extortion, plain and simple.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
This is not extortion. If Im being falsely accused of downloading a movie, they WILL NOT be able to prove it. Sure, they can have access to my computer if they really wanted.. but they will find NOTHING on my hard drive. They couldnt possibly prove otherwise because it DID NOT HAPPEN.

Who will pay $3000 if theyre being wrongfully accused? NOBODY. Unless of course theyre WEALTHY and dont want a headache. OR.. if theyre UNSURE if their family , friends , or neighbors using their unsecured wi-fi is at fault.
You people make me laugh defending file sharers. STOP DOING IT and youll be fine.

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Thats a stretch

said by ITALIAN926:

This is not extortion. If Im being falsely accused of downloading a movie, they WILL NOT be able to prove it. Sure, they can have access to my computer if they really wanted.. but they will find NOTHING on my hard drive. They couldnt possibly prove otherwise because it DID NOT HAPPEN.

Who will pay $3000 if theyre being wrongfully accused? NOBODY. Unless of course theyre WEALTHY and dont want a headache. OR.. if theyre UNSURE if their family , friends , or neighbors using their unsecured wi-fi is at fault.
You people make me laugh defending file sharers. STOP DOING IT and youll be fine.
The problem is that their entire plan relies on the cost of fighting the suit being greater than just handing over your $3k. And it would be. Even you were 100% innocent, you'd have to fork over a lot more than that just on the retainer to get a lawyer involved.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
If I were wrongly accused, I would have to serious consider the $3,000 settlement over fighting a lawsuit. I don't have much money to spare and while $3K would be a big hit on our bank account, paying a lawyer and spending the time fighting a lawsuit (which would likely not be based in a court near me) would be a bigger hit.

My best hope, if I fought back, would be that I would have the headache and expense of a lawsuit for a year or so, win and then have another headache/expense of trying to get the copyright group to pay my legal fees. If I was successful in that, I might even wind up even on money spent/won back. The time spent and stress inflicted on me would never be paid back, though.

In short, I wouldn't blame someone for taking the $3,000 shortcut. It is purposefully designed to be the easier path to getting your life back.
--
-Jason Levine
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Thats a stretch

said by Jason Levine:

If I were wrongly accused, I would have to serious consider the $3,000 settlement over fighting a lawsuit. I don't have much money to spare and while $3K would be a big hit on our bank account, paying a lawyer and spending the time fighting a lawsuit (which would likely not be based in a court near me) would be a bigger hit.

My best hope, if I fought back, would be that I would have the headache and expense of a lawsuit for a year or so, win and then have another headache/expense of trying to get the copyright group to pay my legal fees. If I was successful in that, I might even wind up even on money spent/won back. The time spent and stress inflicted on me would never be paid back, though.

In short, I wouldn't blame someone for taking the $3,000 shortcut. It is purposefully designed to be the easier path to getting your life back.
i wonder with how they pick distant courts if someone could refuse to pay anything and simply state. "That ruling did not happen in my own state, so it does not apply to me".
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Thats a stretch

I am reasonably sure these things are all handled in Federal court, so that wouldn't apply. Nor would it even in state court, as judgments from any state are enforceable across the country.
wispalord

join:2007-09-20
Farmington, MO
and your the guy if who found $100 bill on the ground would turn it in to the bank to huh
k1ll3rdr4g0n

join:2005-03-19
Homer Glen, IL
said by ITALIAN926:

This would all be a MOOT ISSUE if people would stop uploading and downloading COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Forget the phrase "if its free, its for me" ... Download legally, put restrictions on your childs access, and secure your WI-Fi .. Youll be A-OK. If you got caught, boo-hoo.
Actually this is a moot issue because it was proven by a university that the IPs that get pushed to a torrent tracker can be spoofed. The test they did was to push the IPs of some printers to trackers, and lo and behold they got letters from their ISP - to stop file sharing with their printers. This article was actually on DSLreports awhile back.

You would fit well with the **AA, guilty until proven innocent....but in America isn't that innocent until proven guilty?

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Thats a stretch

said by k1ll3rdr4g0n:

You would fit well with the **AA, guilty until proven innocent....but in America isn't that innocent until proven guilty?
Not in civil court.
moes

join:2009-11-15
Cedar City, UT
Reviews:
·Revol Wireless
·Optimum Online

living in

wtf administration it seems now aday's.

Sue me go right ahead. I will show you we're to shove it. Once the industry plays fair espically the RIAA then well talk until then. bite me.

that is directed towards the industry not anybody on this forum.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Thumbs up E.F.F.

This is exactly why the draconian punishments are so unjust. Now you have firms looking to profit by simply extorting money by threatening people and holding the huge punishment over their heads. The threat of financial ruin will cause many people to pay the racket money just to avoid the risk.

Good job E.F.F.

Time to donate more money.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
Chubbysumo

join:2009-12-01
Superior, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

USCopyright Group should be charged with extortion.

If I received one of these threat letters, I would try to prosecute it AS EXTORTION. Until their (Dunlap, Grubb, and weaver) information that is used to bring these civil charges is verified as court worthy, IT IS EXTORTION!!! (at least in MN and WI, but I have yet to hear about anyone in either state that has received one)
MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Re: USCopyright Group should be charged with extortion.

Fight back - Get the record companies charged under RICO statutes.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
I wish! However, the companies are careful to donate the appropriate protection money to the elected officials and judges.

Extortion is where I go into a store and say "Pay me $500 right now and nothing bad will happen to your store tomorrow".

Lawyers simply say "You downloaded ???, pay me $ 3000 or I sue you for $150,000." Lawyers don't give a rats tushie whether or not the charges are true or not.

I doubt the judge cares whether or not the defendants did anything wrong or not; I'm only surprised they don't simply issue default judgments immediately. Maybe not getting enough under the table?

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

The reason behind lumping them...

Lawsuits should be lumped together if the defendants were acting in concert. However those 14,000 John Does weren't acting in concert. (Being accused of doing similar things doesn't equal "acting in concert.")

The real reason behind the lumping of the lawsuits is because U.S. Copyright Group (and the RIAA before them) doesn't want to spend the time and money to file 14,000 individual cases in the proper districts (which you could mostly determine from the IP addresses). If they did that, this "sue everyone" process wouldn't work.

So, instead of staying within the law and possibly limiting their lawsuits to the ones where they have the most evidence or the worst offenders, they lump the lawsuits together and hope that judges don't pick up on the fact that there's no legal backing for this.
--
-Jason Levine

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: The reason behind lumping them...

Imagine if you could file a lawsuit. One time, the lawsuit titled:

Me Vs Everyone who has ever pissed me off over anything

Then send out letters to businesses and people extorting money saying they'd better pay up or risk total financial ruin.

It's completely BS.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Gbcue
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: The reason behind lumping them...

said by KrK:

Imagine if you could file a lawsuit. One time, the lawsuit titled:

Me Vs Everyone who has ever pissed me off over anything

Then send out letters to businesses and people extorting money saying they'd better pay up or risk total financial ruin.
I like this idea. I'm going to run with it.
--
My Blog 2.0

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
The difference is this:

If you did it, the companies would fight back and countersue you into bankruptcy over your (most likely) frivolous lawsuit.

When they do it, you either settle or spend a ton of time/money fighting. If you decide to fight, they either drop the suit as quickly as possible while trying to keep you from countersuing (if it comes out that they will clearly lose the case) or they drag it on to drain you dry and make an example out of you.

The big companies are treated like people but they are "people" with much more funding than any person I know! More time to spend too when you consider that they can be doing a hundred things at once but I would virtually have to put my life on hold to defend against a suit like this.
--
-Jason Levine

WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5

1 edit

Re: The reason behind lumping them...

OTH, the a judge may declare them a vexatious litigant.

said by »legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona···litigant :
A legal action or proceeding initiated maliciously and without Probable Cause by an individual who is not acting in Good Faith for the purpose of annoying or embarrassing an opponent.

The U.S. legal system permits persons to file civil lawsuits to seek redress for injuries committed by a defendant. However, a legal action that is not likely to lead to any practical result is classified as vexatious litigation. Such litigation is regarded as frivolous and will result in the dismissal of the action by the court. A person who has been subjected to vexatious litigation may sue the plaintiff for Malicious Prosecution, seeking damages for any costs and injuries associated with the original lawsuit.
DISCLAIMER: The above quote is a snippet of the original webpage used for illustration and protected under the "Fair Use" doctrine for quoting copyrighted material. Better safe than sorry.
macman4hire

join:2009-03-30
Port Saint Lucie, FL

Re: The reason behind lumping them...

I am not advocating for the illegal downloaders but it seems that these letters amount to nothing more than extortion by the force of legal intimidation. I do not think these copyright holders would like it if the tables were turned on the them and internet users set them up as new revenue stream by baiting them by placing false files that do not contain any copyrighted material. An accredited research should conduct a controlled study by placing files that contain the titles of copyrighted material on a P2P network to cull how many false positives resulted in a threatening legal letter being sent. These false files would simple contain a review of the copyrighted work which under the fair use doctrine would permit the use of such a copyrighted works title which would be contained in the false files title.
gorehound

join:2009-06-19
Portland, ME
it is wrong to have sued this many folks at one time.there are many folk out there who do not have the proper knowledge or ability to lock down their wifi or compoter.my father is one of them a 86 year old man who calls me up to ask how can i open attachments on my email i can not see them !!!.He has no computer knowledge at all and there are millions of them in this country.
and what about folk who just are not that smart to begin with and they will not know what to do to lock a machine down.

we on dslreports have computer knowledge.some of you probably know enough to understand how to fake an IP Adress.

and lastly this lawsuit will force someone to travel even thousands of miles rather than being charged with a crime and going to a court in your city.

think hard on this issue.piracy/thieving is wrong but so is this lawsuit.USCG are a bunch of greedy arses.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: The reason behind lumping them...

Honestly, I don't care if they sue 14,000 users at once. However, they should have to file the 14,000 suits separately in courts that are likely near the defendant's home (as determined by IP address) and present their evidence for each case separately. Of course, doing so would be a huge time/money investment and they don't want to do that!
--
-Jason Levine
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
is it even legal to sue someone outside their district? i mean if it is than the law should be changed because imo you should not be able to sue someone in a court that is more than 1hr drive from their home.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
NoOneButMe

join:2001-08-24
TX

DTV did this back in the day too

the letters didn't last long they abused the court system and no judge wanted to touch a case with john doe lawsuits and dtv

Snowy
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Kailua, HI
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Clearwire Wireless

Who they decide NOT to sue is important too...

Over the years I've seen US States, Cities, Municipalities... networks hacked which were remotely put into copyrighted file sharing duty.
I doubt they'll be suing any of these 'guilty' IP's simply because it will show the weakness of identity by IP.
Whereas an entity with the resources can prove there were no intent, the average user is toast despite having no knowledge of the activity or intent.

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

1 edit

People who defend crime

As well as commit said crimes...

Are usually the types who say they are wrongfully accused when they are arrested.

Having taken part in many arguments about piracy on these forums, I'm not surprised that many people are calling themselves innocent over the threat of going to jail from their criminal activities.

•••