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Australian ISP Argues For BitTorrent Users

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the potential-for-more-harm-than-good dept.

The Courts 207

taucross writes "Australian ISP iiNet is making a very bold move. They are asking the court to accept that essentially, BitTorrent cannot be used to distribute pirated content because a packet does not represent a substantial portion of the infringing material. They are also hedging their bets purely on the strength of the movie studios' 'forensic' evidence. This ruling will go straight to the heart of Australia's copyright law. At last, an ISP willing to stand up for its customers! Let's hope we have a technically-informed judge."

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What? (-1, Offtopic)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363611)

First!

Wow (5, Funny)

niner69 (1431193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363617)

An ISP grew a pair?

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

UbuntuLinux (1242150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363637)

This is the worst comment ever posted on Slashdot. Its a fucking shambles. Mods please ban this idiot.

Re:Wow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363941)

What does slashdot have to do with shambleses?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364013)

Haha, if I had moderation points I would assign one to you, plus one funny.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364235)

I think they may have come to the conclusion that the high bandwidth cost of file sharing is less expensive and time consuming than being responsible for their customers' copyright infringement.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365285)

I think they may have come to the conclusion that the high bandwidth cost of file sharing is less expensive and time consuming than being responsible for their customers' copyright infringement.

Or they see a niche market among those who are on the wrong end of the witch hunt.

"We protect our users" could be a pretty good slogan.

Re:Wow (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365299)

I will defiantly switch to iiNet when the opportunity arises.

Re:Wow (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365325)

Exactly. More ISPs need to do this. I would SO sign up with these guys, if I lived in Oz.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

erikina (1112587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365691)

Nope. It's just good business sense. Here (in Australia) we pay for our usage. I'm on a 20GB/month plan, while someone like my mum is on a 500MB/month plan.

The "heavier" the user, the better the customer. In other parts of world, you have the opposite problem when the "light" users are the most profitable customers.

Terrible news! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363629)

One packet per customer, sorry folks.

Re:Terrible news! (2, Funny)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363759)

Wow, that's not even enough to get through DHCP...

SO if I (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363641)

Bought a book, and then started handing out copies I make of the book one page at a time It is not copyright infringement?

Yeah, that will fly~

Using it to counter this specific item i.e. forensic evidence, might.

Re:SO if I (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363715)

No, but if you always handed out the first page, it might. You'd probably need to show some reasonable purpose for doing so, though, e.g. scholarly research and criticism. I don't think BitTorrent will pass even such a low bar. And the fact that you'd be handing out every page, merely handing out different ones to different people, makes this defense prima facie laughable, IMHO. Hope they have some more subtle arguments that I'm not seeing. Otherwise, that seems like a really weak defense to me.

I hope they have better arguments in court (2, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364389)

The page-a-day analogy is a good one. It really shows how weak the argument/defense is, and I really hope they have something better for their day in court. Otherwise they're just opening up the BitTorrent community to a general attack at the ISP level.

Re:I hope they have better arguments in court (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365557)

Otherwise they're just deliberately(?) opening up the BitTorrent community to a general attack at the ISP level.

It's a trap!!!

Re:SO if I (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363729)

I think the argument that they're making here is that you're handing out single letters at a time, to follow the book analogy.

Except that you're not handing out an entire book (unless you're the original seed). You're handing out some of the letters, more or less randomly - just in a framework that they can all be put together in.

In all fairness, the argument is fairly sound. The individual seeds are only accessories to copyright infringement, and someone who only downloads and doesn't seed back is entirely innocent of it.

Re:SO if I (2, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363875)

someone who only downloads and doesn't seed back is entirely innocent of [copyright infringement].

Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

Re:SO if I (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363959)

Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law. Obviously it could be considered evidence that you had participated in distribution or copying, which is illegal, but that's different.

Re:SO if I (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364093)

I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law.

According to the grokster case, the uploader is violating the distribution right and the downloader the reproduction right by fixing the transitory data stream to a medium on his computer. Otherwise it wouldn't be illegal to film in a cinema, it could be against the cinema's rules but if filming it didn't involve any of the copyright holder's exclusive rights it couldn't be copyright infringement either.

Re:SO if I (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364151)

According to the grokster case, the uploader is violating the distribution right and the downloader the reproduction right by fixing the transitory data stream to a medium on his computer.

Right, but that's different than "being in receipt of infringing goods" (which the OP seemed to liken to being in receipt of stolen goods). Downloading implies making a copy and fixing it in a tangible medium.

The better question would be what happens to the person who buys the knockoff cam from a street corner. The buyer is not reproducing the work in the way that a downloader is, but it's also not a stolen good.

Re:SO if I (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364917)

The better question would be what happens to the person who buys the knockoff cam from a street corner. The buyer is not reproducing the work in the way that a downloader is, but it's also not a stolen good.

The person who buys the knockoff cam is registering a demand in a market that cams movies to produce more product. He's not necessarily punished like someone who (I'm probably going to regret making this analogy) buys child pornography (because the crimes and consequences are disproportionally different) even though both have a similar effect on the production of new product, but the justification for prosecution is there.

(Oh, I don't like making this analogy at all. Please don't read anything inflammatory into it. I'm not intending to equate, inflate, excuse, or belittle any crime here. I acknowledge the disproportionality of this comparison, particularly in the victimology, but the point is apt.)

(My spell checker is flagging "disproportionality" and "victimology".)

Re:SO if I (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365291)

Some of us really don't care either way and will continue to do as we please with the digital copy that in reality doesn't effect the original in any way.

Re:SO if I (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365595)

I'm not sure that theater-camming is illegal -- just against the theater's rule. IANAL and I could be WRONG, don't try this at your theater

Oh, and I'm too lazy to s/theater/cinema/g my post, so I'll just submit it this way.

Re:SO if I (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364309)

Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

I'm not aware that this is actually against (U.S.) law.

Its usually only used against pawn shops that buy hot goods and don't finger(print) their customers, or against someone who buys something that "fell off the back of a truck". They don't tend to prosecute those duped into buying the merchandise (ignorance of the crime isn't ignorance of the law), but neither do they remunerate the duped for relinquishing the evidence either--that would be a civil matter between customer and illegal vendor.

Re:SO if I (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364359)

Well, except for that pesky little thing of being in receipt of infringing goods.

You can't be in receipt of infringing goods. Goods also cannot be infringed upon in the first place as they are physical. I know it's nitpicking, but it's important as you can never steal intellectual property. This is on the internet, so the distribution is digital over wires and not transferred on a physical medium which can be called a "good" and actually stolen.

The person sending the data infringes upon the copyrights by distributing without permission. The person receiving it only starts to infringe upon the copyrights when they first begin to use it without permission, or distribute it themselves in it's entirety.

The whole argument is weak bullshit of course. Bittorrent can be used for piracy just as much as it can be used to distribute free information. Where it is weak is claiming that only one piece at a time is sent, which is not infringing in of itself (The letter A is not copyrighted), but failing to recognize the ultimate purpose is to receive 100% of the data. Not 70, 80, or 90. 100%.

The only person that is not guilty of copyright violation at all, are the assholes that do not seed back with a 1:1 ratio. In that case, they never actually sent the entire file. However, Bittorrent would have failed a long time ago if that happened everywhere.

Ultimately, Bittorrent can result in the distribution of pirated data unless you interrupt the process to prevent it from reaching its intended, and designed goal.

The only way they could make that work is if you had A,B,C each having 33.3% of the data and participating in the torrent. They don't ever download more than what they have, and none of their recipients ever give back 100%. That is NOT the way Bittorrent works and I think the judge will understand that at least. It makes no sense.

Re:SO if I (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364915)

While I generally agree with your analysis, I must strongly disagree on this point:

The only person that is not guilty of copyright violation at all, are the assholes that do not seed back with a 1:1 ratio. In that case, they never actually sent the entire file.

Just because you don't send the entire file does not mean you are not infringing copyright. Any substantial portion will do.

Re:SO if I (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365357)

And the seeding ratio is not relevent in determining if its a "substantial portion", someone might be sending a small portion on a large scale.

Re:SO if I (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365225)

I know it's nitpicking, but it's important as you can never steal intellectual property.

Yes, that's why I was referencing the illegality aspect only and deliberately not using the words "steal", "stolen", or "theft". I did not want this to devolve into another tired argument over definitions and just acknowledge the illegality.

The whole argument is weak bullshit of course. Bittorrent can be used for piracy just as much as it can be used to distribute free information. Where it is weak is claiming that only one piece at a time is sent, which is not infringing in of itself (The letter A is not copyrighted), but failing to recognize the ultimate purpose is to receive 100% of the data. Not 70, 80, or 90. 100%.

Agreed. As I was intending to reply to posting #27363715 [slashdot.org] (but got distracted by my followups), the intent is still the same: to assist in making a copy, and if the rights aren't there, it's infringing. It becomes a conspiracy in aggregate to infringe the copyright.

But if even one of the people torrenting the file actually owns or has been assigned the right to copy it by the owner of the copyright, the whole swarm becomes immune to prosecution. But that's not hard for the prosecution to prove: they don't need to know everyone who has ever been in the swarm; they just need to have the relevant rights holders and assignees testify under oath that they weren't participating in the swarm. Then it's left to the defense to discredit the testimony to the satisfaction of the court/jury.

Re:SO if I (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364233)

someone who only downloads and doesn't seed back is entirely innocent

except said someone is kind of a douchebag

Re:SO if I (2, Insightful)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363745)

Or what about this:

That 30 second preview on Wikipedia. Say there are websites that have this 30 second preview at different parts of the song...you find one at the beginning, one that is 30 seconds into the song, etc..until you have the entire song.

Remember, you've just been using the 30 second preview from various websites, absolutely `legal`...or is it? (oh yeah. 30 seconds was the time it took me to think of this crappy post)

Re:SO if I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363751)

Bought a book, and then started handing out copies I make of the book one page at a time It is not copyright infringement?

More like you bought a book, put it through a confetti shredder, then doled it out one flake at a time...

Re:SO if I (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364187)

Rubbish - your parent poster had it and you're just being ridiculous. The 'flakes' you speak of carry no information that would allow reassebmly - it would be practically impossible. The pages (or packets), while only a fragment of the original, can be easily reassembled into the original because of the existence of extra information assisting that (page numbers).

Were bittorrent to work like your analogy, it would spew out random octects, in no particular order. Eventually the entire content might be sent, but no receiver would have any way of knowing it, let alone reordering them into the original publication.

tl;dr: don't be pathetic.

Re:SO if I (1)

palesius (6386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364397)

Granted this would be computationally impractical, but what if rather than distributing the actual work, you distributed hashes of the work only. For example you take a 12 byte segment of the work and generate a MD5 hash of it. (We can substitute whatever value of 12 bytes would gaurantee no collisions The uploader sends the downloader a sequence of these hashes. The downloader then attempts to generate each possible 12 byte segment until it gets a match and then concatenates them.
They aren't actually sending you the contraband bytes, or something that can directly be turned into them.
This would be somewhat analogous to asking someone (about the book they are reading):
Is the 1st letter A?
Is the 1st letter B?
etc. until they say yes.
And continuing for each subsequent letter.
Horrendously inefficient, but are you copying it? revaling it?

Is telling someone the answer is 42 really the same as telling them the question is what do you get when you multiply 6 by nine? (Unless they have access to a planet sized computer.)

Re:SO if I (1)

cibyr (898667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364869)

Several similarly silly schemes actually exist (see the OFF System [sourceforge.net] , and lawyers tend to be unimpressed - they all amount to encrypting the communication and/or obfuscating what you're transferring. So if what you're transferring is copyrighted, you're still infringing on that copyright.

See What Colour are your bits? [sooke.bc.ca] .

Re:SO if I (3, Informative)

Volda (1113105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363789)

A better apology would be say 100 people bought the same book then each person copies a few pages and gives it to other people who are then able to form the full book after collecting the pieces from the other 100 people. I think what they are trying to prove is that a individual that uses bit torrent is only giving another person a part of the info they need to complete a file. For them to be able to prosecute they would have to prosecute everyone who is sharing the copies. All or none basically. I believe fair use laws are being used to somewhat protect bit torrent users in this case. It may work for a while but i have no doubt that the politicians will start to make new laws specifying that even a part of a file is equal to the whole file.

Re:SO if I (4, Funny)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363985)

I think I had that quest in WoW

Re:SO if I (4, Funny)

iron-kurton (891451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364003)

My head just exploded because I can only think in terms of car analogies.

Re:SO if I (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364355)

It's like taking a car apart down to each individual piece, fabricating new pieces, and handing those individual parts out to random people that ask for it.

Re:SO if I (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364687)

It's like taking a car apart down to each individual piece, fabricating new pieces, and handing those individual parts out to random people that ask for it.

No, it really isn't, because doing this to a car is legal except where the reproduction of parts would violate a patent. You're fired!

Re:SO if I (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365439)

Who owns the patent on binary digits?

Re:SO if I (4, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364183)

apology accepted

Re:SO if I (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363823)

well said, but enjoy the bullshit rationalisations you will get as repleis here, as people try desperately to find some way to justify copyright infringement...

Re:SO if I (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364035)

For real. I take it so far as to defend my piracy of programs I would never buy - the maker hasn't lost any money from my infringement, and so I have not hurt them or done anything wrong. On the other hand, this defense seems totally asinine. It's obvious that downloading a copyrighted work over BitTorrent is piracy. Just because you get parts of it from different seeders/peers doesn't mean you haven't pirated that movie, app, or whatever.

Re:SO if I (2, Insightful)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363977)

No if you bought a book and then handed out each word in the book, then it's not copyright infringement. Like if you print out this post and pass out each character of the English alphabet, as much as I will hate you, I cannot sue you *and* win.

Re:SO if I (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364613)

Yes it is copyright infringement.

Assuming copyright infringement is illegal, then if your intent is to give me the full copy, does it really matter how you give it to me?

You may as well argue that printing something with an inkjet or laserjet printer can never infringe anything, becuase it prints it out one dot at a time. Just very quickly.

Or e-mailing files. Pft, how about a license key? There's nothing illegal about Microsoft requiring a license for using its software, right? So, if I give you my license one character at a type and you type it into a copy of XP one character at a time, it's not illegal?

This is, IMO, a ridiculous argument... sort of like Xenos famous logical argument that movement is impossible.

Re:SO if I (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364643)

Sorry, Zeno. :)

Re:SO if I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27365311)

No- but it means that photocopiers (i.e. the technology used to make the copy) wouldn't be illegal.

Re:SO if I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27365693)

bought a book and started handing out copies at one word at a time is it copyright infringement?

Lets hope they win, but how is important too (4, Interesting)

ancientt (569920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363661)

Cobden for iiNet - "You aren't the boss of me"
Bannon for Studios - "We told them to stop letting people do bad things, and they didn't do what we told them!"

Apparently there is speculation over whether iiNet will try to argue that packets of data are not a substantial portion of a work, or maybe that the one to one nature of bittorrent isn't the same as a public dissemination, but personally I hope that they establish first that the studios don't have a right to just shut people down by accusation and then argue the technicalities that might get them off. I think that the arguments that it isn't piracy are much weaker than the arguments that the Studio's lawyers do not representive a duely appointed government representative.

I did not killed him! (1, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363675)

Taken independently, each of my blow was not enough to kill!

Shut Down All Possible Ways To Break Laws... (3, Funny)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363681)

Perhaps I'm misinformed, but is there any evidence to suggest that BitTorrent is used exclusively to distribute copyrighted materials? It seems to me that the argument against it is that it *may* be used to distribute copyrighted materials. If this is truly the case, then I guess we had better go ahead and unplug the whole internet. It was fun while it lasted, but it *may* be used for evil, so while I agr*#&$@@ NO CARRIER

Re:Shut Down All Possible Ways To Break Laws... (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363937)

a lot of Linux distro's use bt. torrents were made to be used for legitimate transfer of files that ended up gettin used for illegal things. Kinda like guns, they were original made for things like hunting, but ppl use them them for illegal things so might well ban gun's complete all over the world.

Re:Shut Down All Possible Ways To Break Laws... (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363955)

after i posted that last one i had a 2nd one, dvd burners and cd burners were ment for legit use but they get used all the time for making pirated movies, music cd's so lets ban them to while we are at it

Re:Shut Down All Possible Ways To Break Laws... (4, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364073)

The first guns were made for military use. The earliest recorded military use of a firearm (that I know of) is 1327. Hunting came much later when firearms became small enough, and reliable enough, that they did not need several people to use them, and to protect the shooter while he was using the gun.

Re:Shut Down All Possible Ways To Break Laws... (2, Informative)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364923)

Wikipedia puts the oldest surviving gun at 1288 in China. Oldest depiction go back to the 1100s (again, China). These were also all military weapons.

It really only makes sense that guns came from a military. Until fairly recently in history, guns have been quite unreliable. And I don't just mean they were likely to miss your target or not fire. I mean they were likely to do things like explode and blow your hand off. This really only make sense if the user of the weapon is somewhat expendable. But they were also likely to miss, so again they only make sense in terms of a number of gun users firing at a number of targets.

None of this in any way makes a gun very practical for typical hunting. I have no idea where the OP got that from.

Re:Shut Down All Possible Ways To Break Laws... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365317)

The earliest recorded military use of a firearm (that I know of) is 1327. Hunting came much later...

When it was already 1337 after only ten years, it's hard to believe that progress on the firearm could have been all that slow.

In that case... (1)

JamJam (785046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363697)

Each packet is just a bunch of 1's and 0's - those are hardly copyrighted either... right?

Re:In that case... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363885)

Right, but they are patented. [theonion.com] :)

Objectivity (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363781)

Just because someone is arguing a side that most of us support, doesn't mean that their argument isn't ridiculous. We need to keep our intellectual honesty about us. Taking their reasoning, it could be argued the TCP/IP never violates copyright; that a file broken out on disk clusters never violates copyright; and so on.

If you're sharing a copyrighted file via torrent without permission, I think you indisputably are violating copyright law. Perhaps copyright law is poorly conceived... I certainly think it is. However, I don't think arguing through silly loopholes is going to help the core problem. The law needs reformed.

Re:Objectivity (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363855)

Someone earlier analogized Bittorrent as pushing a work through a shredder and sending the pieces out 1 person at a time.

The mere fact that the shreds can be reassembled into a complete copyrighted work suggests then that at least the shredded works are a derivative work.

Re:Objectivity (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364275)

But the whole point of the shredder is to make it impossible (well, infeasible) to reassemble into the original form, wheres the point of all the metadata put in the packets is the opposite. Just like the GP says, just because you agree doesn't mean they're not being ridiculous - and the shredder analogy is.

Re:Objectivity (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364947)

So is it the shredders fault, or the persons pushing its buttons fault...

Should shredders have to be registered, do we need a government agency to review everything before it goes into the shredder to make sure the user isnt doing something wrong ?

I think the whole point to the bit-torrent argument is that the music cartels are trying to place restrict on file sharing technology just because it might be used to break a law.

If society goes around banning things that might be used to break a law then eventually everything will be banned.

Re:Objectivity (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363899)

> If you're sharing a copyrighted file via torrent without permission, I think you indisputably are violating copyright law

I think the mafiaa, unexpectedly, claims a higher hurdle for themselves:

The movie studios' lawyers argued that this is irrelevant to their case as all they need to prove is that iiNet users illegally obtained the files and then made them available for others

That part about starting out with an illegal file seems to me to leave a pretty big door open.

Re:Objectivity (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364033)

doesn't mean that their argument isn't ridiculous.

Gotta agree here. Even if you're trying to claim that individual packets can't be a significant portion of a copyrighted work, nobody joins a swarm and sends just one packet.

Re:Objectivity (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364193)

There is a big difference here that you are missing .....

They are not arguing for the individual users. They are arguing for Bittorrent.

As an analogy, you can use Xerox copy machines to photocopy an entire book. The RIAA, MPAA, and so forth have in effect been going after Xerox for copyright infringement. The single act of copying a single page does not constitute copyright infringement while copying an entire book does.

Thus the copyright infringement occurs through the actions of the user not the actions of the company who built the copy machine or the software used to transmit a file. Similarly, Ford, Chevy, Ferrari, Porsche, are not sued when someone speeds, crashes and hurts someone. The driver is at fault not the auto companies.

Re:Objectivity (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364497)

The tinfoil hat part of me says that the ISP may be looking to have BitTorrent classified as unauthorized traffic by defending it in such a piss-poor manner...

Honesty ? (5, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364731)

If we are going to be honest, let us all (RIAA, MPAA etc) admit that its people, not technology that violate copyrights.

If we are going to be honest, how about the Music cartels refund all the royalties they collect from the sale BLANK cd's and dvd's. (they arent all used to violate copyright)

If we are going to be honest, how about the RIAA, MPAA stop labeling copyright infringer's as thieves (copyright violation isnt theft, different law).

If we are going to be honest, how about the RIAA, MPAA confess all the dirty legal and technical methods they have used in their attempt to convict anyone they can (other than the sony hack we already know about)

Its a dirty fight, the other side isnt interested in honesty or fairness, i say we fight them any way we can.

Re:Honesty ? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365613)

Its a dirty fight, the other side isnt interested in honesty or fairness, i say we fight them any way we can.

And I say that stooping to their level is a great way to alienate supporters, especially those who enjoy the moral high ground.

There are also some prejudices associated with piracy (most of which I personally hold). For example, that pirates are selfish people, who are willing to screw artists to have extra entertainment. Another example: pirates are addicted to their free entertainment stream.*

What do you think that arguing petty loopholes would do to the already tarnished image of the average pirate? It makes you look desperate, which makes you look addicted and selfish. You'd best keep the moral high ground.

*Ever noticed how many "well why don't you just stop?" posts there are out there in piracy discussions?

Interesting. (2, Insightful)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363859)

I wish that I had the URL of the article, but China is the location of the most torrented movies.

Why? because movies have to be approved by the government and Hollywood see that as too much work.

So while hollywood has given up on china, china hasn't given up on them.

BTW, I think since our government is being so intrusive into private businesses lately maybe they

should do something actor pay and ticket prices, Also how much Network Exec's can make.

Conspiracy to Commit Copyright Infringement Then (1, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363881)

I don't know about AU, but the US has long standing laws and precedent for how to deal with situations where people try and get around the law using silly technicalities like this. You don't think organized crime hasn't played these sort of games in the real world before?

Re:Conspiracy to Commit Copyright Infringement The (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364261)

the US has long standing laws and precedent for how to deal with situations where people try and get around the law using silly technicalities like this. You don't think organized crime hasn't played these sort of games in the real world before?

True. The first 8 years of the new millennium demonstrated that the only 100% bullet-proof ways for criminals to get around US laws are i) presidential signing statements; and ii) justice department memos.

Just be safe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363883)

And use encryption.

Re:Just be safe. (1)

LuxMaker (996734) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363949)

When encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will use encryption. This is the next step.

PHEW! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27363901)

I was beginning to think we were going to get an Australian Spam-free day here on Slashdot, but luckily the ScuttleMonkey/Zonk/timothy/kdawson/whateverheiscallinghimselfnow Australia Promotions Drone came through for us in the end!

Thank idol for that!

Won't work. (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27363911)

Courts hate people trying to be 'smart' infront of them with arguments, and this is exactly what iiNet is doing. Why limit this to Bittorrent? If breaking the item in question down into individual packets eliminates the copyright concern, then surely just transferring the file by any means digitally will do the same - I can't think of a single protocol which doesn't use packets to transfer a fractional payload of the total, including TCP.

iiNet are going to fall flat on their face with this argument.

Re:Won't work. (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364129)

It's hard to tell from the article, but perhaps this was just one of their defenses? I know that in some contexts, at least, lawyers will throw out every argument they can think of, just so they're not restricted from using those arguments later (whether they actually use those arguments is another matter...)

Re:Won't work. (1)

palesius (6386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364185)

I agree that this seems a bit silly, but there is a difference here.
Transferring a file over FTP, for example, you are sending all the pieces to one person.
With bittorrent, you are sending some of the pieces to one person, some to another. Unless you are the sole seeder, it is highly likely that anyone is getting the copy solely from you.
One could make a tortured analogy to illegal drug manufacture. While it might be illegal to sell some drug, the chemicals one could use to create it are not. Even if some are, the chemicals that in turn make those up may not be. If you go far enough down the chain you will eventually arrive at something which can legally be distributed.
So if you take these perfectly legal components, and distribute each one to a different person, are you culpable when they exchange these pieces amongst themselves and manufacture an illegal end product?

Yes, I know that you could then make an argument that you are conspiring with them to commit this illegal act. But IANAL and certainly IANAAL (Australian Lawyer), so I'll leave the technicalities of conspiracy to wiser heads.

Re:Won't work. (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364651)

Your argument is weak since it ultimately comes down to intent.

If you have 10 chemical manufacturers you could reasonably argue that there is not a specific intent to allow illegal or dangerous combination of their chemicals to be made. That is reasonable, and as a judge or a member of the jury I would believe that Manufacturer A never intended or condoned any illegal activity with their products.

Bittorrent however, does intend that the various seeders cooperate together to deliver 100% of all the different pieces from 100 people to just one.

You are right. Under most circumstances it is entirely possible that you could seed back 5:1 on a particular torrent while never actually sending a particular group of the pieces to anyone at all, as well as never sending 100% of the pieces to anyone as well. However, your intent is clearly to effect a 100% distribution of data.

Let's create an entirely different method (say CTorrent), that is designed in such a way that nobody ever sends 100% of the pieces. Divide up the data into 26 pieces A through Z. The tracker assigns you into your letter group. As part of group K, you are banned by policy to send out any K pieces (you can of course receive K pieces from a non-K member). In order for a torrent to be 100% available there must be at least two members from different letter groups. Participants can still seed out 5:1, since it is still possible to send out 5 times as much data as you received.

Even with CTorrent, the intent is STILL to effect a 100% distribution of the data.

Judges can and do look at intent. The intended function of FTP and Bittorrent is exactly the same. Only their methods are different, and distribution methods alone can't be used to argue copyright law.

Re:Won't work. (1)

palesius (6386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364919)

I wasn't trying to make the case that there is no intent to distribute with bittorrent, but that rather than actually comitting the illegal act you are engaged in a conspiracy to commit it. My point was more that it is not a 1:1 comparison with transferring a file via FTP, not that it renders you law-proof. There is a fundamental difference between a distributed action and a unilateral action. They may be similar and have the same ends, but it isn't quite right to claim that uploading 100% of a file to 1 person is quite the same as uploading 1% of a file to 100 people.
You are acting as part of a crowd, which may make your culpability worse. I believe that in some cases conspiracy only requires planning to be charged, not necessarily action on your part. So you could begin downloading a torrent, and never successfully download (or upload) any pieces, and potentially still be guilty of conspiracy.

Re:Won't work. (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364645)

I hope so. The summary lays it out as if this were a legitimate stand for consumer rights against evil corporations. If our best defense comes down to mincing semantics, then we're fucked, and rightfully so.

OH GOD, NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364085)

This is going to end up turning Torrents into the illegal part!

Torrents tell it where to look for and construct these "ownerless" packets!

This was exactly the reasoning beyond the OFF system!

Meh... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364111)

By that exact same reasoning a raw IP packet "cannot be used to distribute pirated content because a packet does not represent a substantial portion of the infringing material". Yet every packet that gets sent on the internet is built on raw ip. Are they saying, therefore, that any piracy that is perceived to occur at anytime over the internet is actually a figment of somebody's imagination?

It's Friday trollin time! (-1, Offtopic)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364141)

Hey, you, moderator! Give me a mod down! Make it a double...it's been a rough day.

Re:It's Friday trollin time! (-1, Redundant)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364661)

Brother, could you spare a downmod?

Sue the electricity companies too (3, Interesting)

huwr (627730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364171)

It's important to consider that the studios are claiming that ISPs should be responsible for what their customers do with their service. That is, that "iiNet was responsible for customers downloading movies illegally and then burning them to DVD to sell or share with friends." To me, that's the much more interesting matter.

The studios should then sue the electricity companies for providing electricity to people's DVD burners.

Someone tag this.... (1)

thesymbolicfrog (907527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364219)

Zenosparadox

Honestly, this is the same type of argument :)
"...but yer honor, how could I have gotten all of these leet warez? Anytime I would have wished to download any one of them, I would have an individually, incredibly tiny packet. Furthermore, I would have downloaded only half of each packet in half the time, and a quarter of the packet in a quarter of the time. So you see, I could never have downloaded anything at all, and Dell must have put this Ukrainian copy of Left 4 Dead on my computer when it was shipped!"

Twisted Logic (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364221)

Following that logic, the following would also be true. The internet can't serve up web pages, because all of the content doesn't fit in a single packet. VoIP can't be used to communication, because an entire conversation can't fit in a single packet. The list goes on and on. What kind of idiot comes up with these arguments?

No great surprise here. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364341)

The movie industry is fighting against the very laws that they helped create. There are five [whirlpool.net.au] very [whirlpool.net.au] interesting [whirlpool.net.au] posts [whirlpool.net.au] that I found [whirlpool.net.au] in a couple of minutes on Whirlpool that discuss the situation the ISPs and the media companies are in. The short of it: the media companies lobbied for particular procedures that let them go after individual users; they got them; and when they found that they were unworkable, decided to go after the ISPs instead. Deja vu, anyone?

Informative indeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27364539)

MOD PARENT UP

Zeno (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364633)

So this is basically Zeno's argument applied to network communications.

fantasy land (0, Offtopic)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364793)

People who violate copyrighted material are in a fantasy world. If someone creates something, music, software, video, whatever, they have a right to charge for it. You do not have a right to consume it in its totality (fair use exists for parts of it) if they do not explicitly allow you to by some kind of license. What part of that don't you understand? Who do you think you are to expect people to work at making things and accept that you can take whatever you want from them without permission and without compensation?

Morons think music should be free apparently because of the mere fact that they like to listen to it, usually accompanied by some sappy argument that music should be free because things of beauty should be free, and the human soul is free, blah blah blah. Another favorite is that since these days it is easy to copy, it can no longer be copyrighted and is thus free. I guess if you are skilled enough to enter people's homes at night and steal their silverware, it isn't really theirs to begin with, not to mention if it is really beautiful silverware and wants to be free. Truly arguments only a hopeless dumbshit could put forth.

If someone explicitly allows you to take something with GPL or a Creative Commons license, great! If they don't, you have to pay. It's someone's income, you idiot, regardless of whether the price is reasonable or controlled by a cartel or not. Grow the fuck up for Chrissake.

Re:fantasy land (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365029)

You do not have a right to consume it in its totality (fair use exists for parts of it) if they do not explicitly allow you to by some kind of license. What part of that don't you understand?

Well, for a start, I don't understand what you mean by 'consume it in its totality'. Normally, once I've finished consuming something, it is destroyed. When I consume a litre of petrol in travelling, that's one litre less petrol in the world. When I consume a loaf of bread, again, one less loaf of bread. What is consumed when - entirely hypothetically of course - I copy a movie? Electricity, I suppose, and bandwidth, but I'm paying for both of those.

Re:fantasy land (0, Offtopic)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365093)

Why do you insist on arguing something you know full well is irrelevant? Do you eat mp3 files or videos? Are they destroyed after you listen to or view them? You do understand that consuming music means listening to it and consuming video means watching it, right? Right?

JeeeZUS...

Re:fantasy land (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27365437)

It is irrelevant that "intellectual property" is substantially different than real property?

Re:fantasy land (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365707)

You do understand that consuming music means listening to it and consuming video means watching it, right?

I don't understand that at all. I don't consider either something you 'consume'. I listen to music. I watch videos. I don't consume either of them, any more than I consume a book when I read it, or consume a chair when I sit on it, or consume a table when I eat my dinner off it. To my mind, if you consume something, you use it and use it up entirely in doing so. You consume food, you consume fuel, you consume anything that is necessarily destroyed in the process of its usage. For nondestructive usage, we have all manner of perfectly cromulent verbs that we can use instead.

Wrong defense (3, Interesting)

sashang (608223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27364987)

That's a daft argument. You could extend that to say an ethernet frame and say 'oh because ethernet frames are broken up they can't be used to distribute copyrighted data'. Similar argument for reading writing blocks to disk etc... It's pretty obvious bittorent can be used to transmit information copyrighted or not. Their defense should focus on the accuracy identifying weather the information transmitted is copyrighted or not, since people do use bittorrent for legitimate reasons. ISP's probably want to win this case because they are aware of the enormous amount of traffic bittorrent generates, most of it being movies, mp3s etc... Forcing them to curtail this will hurt their revenue. The other side of the coin is that people that create music, movies, software are entitled to license it however they want. If they give it away for free good for you but if they copyright it and require payment for it then that doesn't mean you can just take it from them.

nope, that wont work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27365213)

as you still end up with with an unauthorized copy of the data at the receivers end, the result is still a breach of copyright. The transport of the material is not the real issue, it's the fact that a person ends up with an unauthorized copy, either by small chunks, packets, 360k floppies, bar codes, or whatever. theft is theft

Why are these considered a "good" to begin with? (2, Interesting)

Hertne (1381263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27365611)

Just a quick thought,

Copyrights can only be applied to goods, I believe, right? If this is the case, then why is IP of this nature even copyrighted to begin with?

It would, in my eyes, seem to be more of a service than anything. By purchasing a legal copy of a movie online to download, I'm receiving nothing physical for what I payed for. It's not a good.
  I am, however, being provided with the service of entertainment.

Can services be copyrighted?

If I were to go down the street, find a street performer and start to copy him (See: Eurotrip [isohunt.com] , silver "robot"), and other people were to start paying me, would that be considered copyright infringement? Can he copyright his "act" to begin with?

Maybe I misunderstand something, but this seems messed up to begin with...

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