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Studios Sue Oz ISP Over Allowing Piracy 400

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-can't-make-this-up dept.
Da Massive writes "Leading Hollywood film studios Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Disney Enterprises are suing Australia's second largest ISP, iiNet, saying it's complicit in the infringement of their copyrighted material. According to a statement of claim, 'the ISP knows that there are a large number of customers who are engaging in continuing infringements of copyright by using BitTorrent file sharing technology.'"
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Studios Sue Oz ISP Over Allowing Piracy

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  • Criminal intent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:13AM (#25832267)
    This is the age old debate where possession of a tool is equalled to necessarily having the criminal intent to use it to commit acts you know are ilegal. Next up - watch hardware stores get sued for selling hammers that can be used by thugs and crooks to mug people by hitting them over the head. When will shoe stores get sued for selling boots and shoes that are painful to the person receiving kicks in the ass?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tha_mink (518151)

      When will shoe stores get sued for selling boots and shoes that are painful to the person receiving kicks in the ass?

      Gotta remember though, they're starting in Australia, which is a good idea considering their government's attitude on the internet and the freedoms provided therein. Interesting to me that they've started there. If it works there and the government buys into it, then look for it to spread to the other overly conservative nations. (I'm looking at you Russia)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        wait, iiNet wasn't the one actually experimenting the new Australian filtering technology? This lawsuit is a HUGE win against such filtering protection... or not? Am I missing something?
        • Worse than you think (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:37PM (#25834483)

          wait, iiNet wasn't the one actually experimenting the new Australian filtering technology? This lawsuit is a HUGE win against such filtering protection... or not? Am I missing something?

          Yes, it is an indicator that iiNet is opposed to internet content filtering [pcauthority.com.au]. However, it's also an indicator to all ISP's around the world that if they do not employ filtering they risk an extremely expensive legal battle with the seven top film studios, each of which probably has more assets and prior experience in court than the ISP's.

          What's strange and rather scary about this situation is that "iiNet will be participating in the trials, mostly to prove that the filters are impractical, unworkable and unwanted." [see link above] The studios are suing them not for refusing to cooperate, but for cooperating reluctantly. That's all it takes for the MAFIAA to pull the trigger it seems.

          • by R4nneko (1194727) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:08PM (#25837571)
            That is because this case is unrelated to the filtering trial.

            iiNet are being sued because they didn't do anything when the film companies sent them notices that some of their customers were pirating their media. They apparently sent 18 notices [smh.com.au] and iiNet refused to do anything because they were allegations rather than court ordered actions.

            To be honest, this seems quite reasonable to me, iiNet should not have to cut people off just because someone says: That guy was pirating my stuff, here is an IP and a time. The companies should go after the individual, not the ISP.

            Ultimately we will see what the federal courts decide. The media companies in question have stated that if this goes well, they will continue onto other Australian ISPs.
            • by yuri benjamin (222127) <yuridg@gmail.com> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @07:29PM (#25839575) Journal

              iiNet are being sued because they didn't do anything when the film companies sent them notices that some of their customers were pirating their media. They apparently sent 18 notices and iiNet refused to do anything because they were allegations rather than court ordered actions.

              But they did do something about it. They passed the allegations on to the police. That is what anyone should do. It's the police's job to investigate allegations.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by jrumney (197329)
                That is beyond what they should do. The MPAA should have made their complaint to the police in the first place, and if the police decide to use their limited resources to follow it up, then and only then should iiNet get involved. Alternatively, if the MPAA starts a civil case and obtains a court order to get information out of iiNet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by RDW (41497)

        'If it works there and the government buys into it, then look for it to spread to the other overly conservative nations. (I'm looking at you Russia)'

        India is already pursuing a vigorous anti-piracy policy in cases of clear criminal intent, a move that has received international approval and calls for the wider adoption of such measures:

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7739171.stm [bbc.co.uk]

        "The United Nations and international community must decide how to solve this grave problem (of piracy). They must be m

      • by jimmux (1096839) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:16PM (#25834177)

        As an Australian, I find it depressing that we are now apparently perceived by the rest of the world as one of those "overly conservative nations".

        What happened to our traditional spirit of rebelion? What would those who took a stand in the Eureka Stockade [wikipedia.org] think of us now?

    • by eulernet (1132389) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:35AM (#25832561)

      They should sue the CD/DVD recorders companies, since they encourage piracy, much more than BitTorrent itself.

      Sure, it's useful for doing backups ;-)
      And it would probably be like shooting in oneself foot, since Sony sells DVD recorders.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by eln (21727)

        I have no doubt they would have sued the CD/DVD recorder companies if the precedent hadn't already been set by their failed lawsuit against the VCR manufacturers.

        • Re:Criminal intent? (Score:5, Informative)

          by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:51AM (#25832833)

          That didn't stop them. Even though they lost the Betamax case circa 1980, they still sued Digital Audio Tape (DAT) and kept it out of America. Then they tried to sue Digital Compact Cassette and Minidisc, which led to inbuilt copy protection of these devices.

          They will never stop. They fear losing their jobs and that's one powerful motive.

      • Remember that SONY (grrrr) produces lots of Films./Music through its plethora of subsidiaries but also makes CD & DVD writers.
        Now that I come to think of it, don't they also sell a BluRay drive capable of writing content?

        They (the RIAA/MPAA/etc) lawyers are being very careful but sooner or later they are going to come a cropper. It looks like they are targetting the carriers outside of the USA who don't have 'common carrier' immunity. All they are going to do is make more and more people pissed off at e

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Eskarel (565631)
          Actually they do have common carrier protections. One of the upsides of the fact that the US has ridden roughshod all over the world and forced everyone to match their copyright laws is that safe harbour applies as well.

          The argument is that safe harbour doesn't apply anymore because filtering is possible(a couple of schmucks from both sides of kazaa are selling a hash based filtering system and the government is buying it or at least pretending to). This is the general gist of the lawsuit, the guys from t
    • by genner (694963)
      Not only that you can use shoe laces to strangle people. Think of the children...etc.
    • by Simonetta (207550) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:02PM (#25833001)

      Until the Hollywood studios are ready, willing, and able to deliver their newest products, very inexpensively, to people living in tiny towns 700 miles northwest of Perth, they should stop hassling the people who are actually presently doing this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      While I agree with your sentiments, the analogy doesn't really hold up.

      The hammer shop has no way of knowing what the hammer is used for, after it leaves the shop.
      The ISP on the otherhand, does have the ability to know what an account is being used for, or what type of data is being sent.

      A better analogy would be an airline being held responsible for the cocaine that a passenger is carrying, or a tollway operator being charged because a car on its road network is carrying illegal firearms - in effect, you'r

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:14AM (#25832289) Homepage

    They think something is not legal. The opposing party does not agree, so they take it to the court.

    This seems to me exactly the situation where you'd want people to use the courts. Australia's a democracy. Everybody has the right to complain, and they may be right when they complain. Even Disney.

    Call again when you have a verdict. Then you have actual information to report.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:30AM (#25832483)

      "This seems to me exactly the situation where you'd want people to use the courts. Australia's a democracy. Everybody has the right to complain, and they may be right when they complain. Even Disney."

      What does being a democracy have to do with taking things to court?

      If you wanted to talk about a democracy, you'd say that Disney (et al) would propose a law and allow every person to vote on the merits of that law.

      But trying to get a ruling from a Judge instead of working with the legislature strikes me as *undemocratic*.

  • by MaXMC (138127) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:14AM (#25832293) Homepage

    Why don't do this to all the ISP's in Sweden?

    2.6 Million Swedes apparently pirate software, music and movies every day. That's almost 1/3rd of the populace.

    They make huge profits from this but in no way are they trying to hinder the use of p2p, well some try to filter it but that doesn't help very much.

    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:22AM (#25832399)
      Because the studios obviously think the Australian government is more likely to roll over and do what they want than the Swedes?
      • Or perhaps because Australia is filtering their content and losing their common carrier status?
    • by Tx (96709) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:22AM (#25832407) Journal

      It's only a matter of time. It will happen first in the countries who's current laws and governments make it most likely to succeed. The rest of the world will follow in due course.

      • by somersault (912633) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:40AM (#25832639) Homepage Journal

        The rest of the world will follow in due course.

        Ah, this explains how when I woke up this morning all countries had the death penalty, this afternoon there were no speed limits, and tomorrow I'm due to sacrifice my firstborn child after an edict from some leader of a tribe in south America. This automatic copying of laws from other countries is making life rather awkward.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tx (96709)

          We're not talking about copying laws, we're talking about filing lawsuits, do try to pay attention. Obviously it makes sense for the studios to file such suits in the countries where they are most likely to succeed first, before filing in other countries.

          • by theaveng (1243528)

            Correct. Once they have precedent they can stand before an U.S. or EU judge and say, "We won in Australia. You should follow their decision and comply with international law," or something similar.

            (Of course I've never understood why foreign law should have any influence on U.S. law - the People's Constitution is the only supreme law that should matter here. What happens elsewhere should be irrelevant.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Brought to you by Globalism.

          Globalism, when greed at home is not enough.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Ah, this explains how when I woke up this morning all countries had the death penalty,

          Death penalty is not being lobbied by the international media corporations.

          this afternoon there were no speed limits,

          Death penalty is not being lobbied by the international media corporations.

          and tomorrow I'm due to sacrifice my firstborn child after an edict from some leader of a tribe in south America.

          Sacrificing your firstborn child is not being lobbied by the international media corporations.

          This automatic copying o

        • by master_p (608214)

          There is no economic interest behind the death penalty, no speed limits, etc.

  • the ISP knows that there are a large number of customers who are engaging in continuing infringements of copyright by using BitTorrent file sharing technology.

    So what? McDonalds also knows that there are a large number of customers who are engaging in continuing infringements of copyright by using BitTorrent file sharing technology. So does Ford. Smith and Wesson know that they have customers who engage in murder and robbery. The phone company knowingly sells phone lines and number lists to telemarke
    • by mark-t (151149)
      Ah, but when they do that, the public goes all up in arms against that too, because they go after children, or the elderly, or handicapped.
  • by usul294 (1163169) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:17AM (#25832331)
    It's not the ISP's job to force its users to use its product legally, take any product that can be used to commit a crime, is the provider or the user at fault?
    • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:31AM (#25832507)
      They are liable as long as they are considered a content provider.

      As soon as the ISP's started filtering traffic they didn't like and affecting what data is on their network, they became content providers and could not ask for immunity. If they were to stop filtering/blocking/etc what goes over their tubes, they could probably ask to not be considered a content provider and then what happens on their tubes is not their fault; they would be just offering a service.

      (This is how I see the US working; AU might be a tad different)
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Yeah, and sue Fruit of the Loom too, since it turns out many criminals wear underwear.
  • by pzs (857406) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:21AM (#25832387)

    At least they're not suing a 17 year old with a broadband connection for a change. Maybe the ISP will have enough money that they can actually make a proper fight of this. That might mean we can finally have the argument aired carefully enough the general public can hear both sides.

    I agree with what somebody else said about hammers, but I don't think most people yet understand that argument. It will be great for the debate when more people do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DD32 (971130)

      The reason they're not suing the 17 year old, is because iiNet has refused to pass on the infrindgement notices.

      Its a civil law matter in australia, Its not up to AFAICT(our version of the MPAA/RIAA) or the ISP to determine that someone is downloading copyrighted material, The studio's need to goto the police, File a court case against the individual, Only once they're actually considered to be doing something illegal by the court can the ISP hand over personal details about the individual.

      The ISP is *n

  • Can someone sue last century fox if a psicopath starts killing people using a movie as inspiration?

    • I'm sure the victim's family would try if it was made common knowledge that the film was inspiration. Whether they'd get anything is another matter. It's psychopath by the way.

  • by AlterRNow (1215236) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:22AM (#25832403)

    .. when I asked them how I could make back-ups of my games so I don't have to cause damage to the originals to install them ( some 20 odd CDs for 'The Sims 2' ). They told me I couldn't because, and I quote:

    "You cannot create backup copies of the discs because this would allow a person to freely distribute copies of the game, which is something EA does not allow."

    My reply was similar to some other posts here:

    "I have no intention in distributing the copies, I merely wish to protect my investment by not using the original discs and therefore reduce the chance of damage to them. Denying me the ability to do that based on the _possibility_ that it can be used illegally is unfair and unjust.
    By the reasoning you have displayed, knives are not permitted to be sold as they can be used to injure or kill someone ( which the law does not allow ), along with plastic bags, rope, water, scissors and plenty of other items you can find in any house. However, this is not the case."

    In this case, it is "You are providing a service which allows people to do naughty things amongst other, legitimate activities. We are going to sue you."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Toll_Free (1295136)

      The problem is, you purchased the disks, and knew they where protected.

      Speak with your wallet. It's all corporate understands.

      No, if they put copy protection on the CD/DVD, then you cannot circumvent it, it's illegal. Don't like it, don't purchase that companies games.

      Simple, really. A company has the RIGHT to put out a product they want to. They also have the right to protect that product in as much as they legally can.

      Just because you don't like the delivery mechanism is no shame on them, it's more sh

      • by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:07PM (#25833105) Homepage Journal
        Right. But then try selling that disc that you purchased... and now you can't. Because you didn't buy a disc. You bought a "license" to use the game.

        But try excersizing that license if your disc breaks. You can't, because it wasn't a "license," it was a copy of a game you purchased.

        But you couldn't back it up? Oh, yes, because the corporation is just being legally dilligent. That must be it.
      • No, you don't know that they're protected when you buy them. It's a reasonable assumption nowadays, unfortunately, but the only people I've seen putting any indication of their restrictions on the box are products using Steam.
    • How exactly do you plan to make backups of the discs without 'using' them? If you only need to have the discs in the drive to install the game and not to play it, then what difference is there? A better backup solution would be to back up the game folder after it's installed anyway, then you won't have to go through tho whole 20 disc reinstallation. You could presumably just install the base game for the appropriate registry settings (if it even needs them), and then copy back the backed up directory to get

  • For knowing that there are a large number of customers who are engaging in continuing infringements of copyright by using media-sized shipping box technology.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:22AM (#25832415)

    We'd pay to see stuff at the cinema, and own it on DVD / Blu-Ray if they'd just stop suing everybody they can find and put the money into funding good script writers and directors.
     
    I seriously worry about how the American media industry does business nowerdays.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      We'd pay to see stuff at the cinema, and own it on DVD / Blu-Ray if they'd just stop suing everybody they can find and put the money into funding good script writers and directors.

      So, by your theory, people only take stuff for free if it is crappy stuff?

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:28AM (#25832459)
    The plaintiffs in this case need to lose bad. If they win then they control the Internet - which may be what they want, but not what the rest of us want.
  • OSI model (Score:5, Interesting)

    by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:31AM (#25832511) Homepage

    It would be in the ISP's best interests to stick to layer 3, forwarding IP packets. As soon as you start analysing and filtering them, you're doing a lot more than just being a service provider. The latest trends of demanding packet inspection and performing traffic-based throttling are really destroying the classic model of networking that the internet is based on. It's got to stop, or we'll have something that just isn't recognizable as "the internet" any longer.

    If they're smart, they'll just say that inspecting traffic and disallowing certain types of packets is not in their business plan, and they don't have the capability or reason to do it. Otherwise they'll open themselves up to a lot more lawsuits down the road, from both sides of the fence. They'll find themselves having to bend over again and again for anyone asking them for pretty much anything. Instead, the right answer is, "we just forward IP packets, we don't piece them together or look at what they contain."

    • But if they don't look at what they're carrying, how will they know if and when child porn and copyrighted songs are being trafficked across their tubes? Won't somebody please think of the children and the megacorporations!
    • I hope the day never arrives I have to find a "naked" internet provider (get it? like a naked DSL line?) who I have to VPN to in order to get raw internet, because ATComcasTimeWarner deep inspects and modifies my packets.

    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      It would be in the ISP's best interests to stick to layer 3, forwarding IP packets. As soon as you start analysing and filtering them, you're doing a lot more than just being a service provider. The latest trends of demanding packet inspection and performing traffic-based throttling are really destroying the classic model of networking that the internet is based on. It's got to stop, or we'll have something that just isn't recognizable as "the internet" any longer.

      If they're smart, they'll just say that ins

  • by alexhs (877055) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:35AM (#25832555) Homepage Journal

    Apparently iiNet didn't enforce the evil bit [ietf.org]

    They deserved to be sued.

    • by Jonah Hex (651948)

      Just wondering, has anyone actually implemented this (penetration testing wares, etc) or is it just a joke RFC?
      HEX

    • by compro01 (777531)

      The problem being, they were to block anything with the evil bit set, they would have to block anything originating from those studios.

  • Because it's iiNet (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bishop Rook (1281208) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:39AM (#25832629)

    I'd bet money that iiNet is being targeted because of this story [slashdot.org].

    In other news, iiNet dropped from largest ISP to second largest ISP in Australia over the course of a week&interrobang;

  • Car analogy! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, for car drug transports we can sue the government for building the roads they use?

  • "They send us a list of IP addresses and say `this IP address was involved in a breach on this date'. We look at that say `well what do you want us to do with this? We can't release the person's details to you on the basis of an allegation and we can't go and kick the customer off on the basis of an allegation from someone else'. So we say `you are alleging the person has broken the law; we're passing it to the police. Let them deal with it'."

    Excellent synopsis and way to deal with allegations, as we've all heard exactly how often they get these things wrong. If there is an allegation of a crime it's up to the police to properly collect evidence and give it to the prosecutor's office, or the equivalent thereof in local terms.

    He said another problem with this traffic is that is not on its network. "It is transiting our network along with the billions of other things passing across the network which are perfectly legal. We are not traffic cops. We can't stand in the middle of it and stop the individual items that might be against the law. These guys are asking us to be judge, jury and executioner," Malone said.

    And just like the Pr0n filters the government seems to be forcing on the public over in that section of the globe, it is completely unfeasible for a common carrier to even attempt this sort of thing. I would be completely pissed if I was blocked from accessing anything on the net. If a site is illegal then take it down, but don't try and filter what comes through my pipeline.

    "I think they genuinely believe that ISPs have a secret magic wand that we are hiding and if we bring it out we can make piracy disappear just by waving it. And it doesn't exist."

    An attitude all to prevalent among non-techies, that throwing a few filters in place will magically fix things. Unfortunately I run into this all the time, and no amount of rational explanation makes their attitude change. Some times you have to implement the wrong solution while documenting what the right one should be, then go back and do it correctly for twice the cost.
    Note: Cleaned up " ` ' in original quote to display correctly instead of in codes.
     
    HEX

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spikeles (972972)

      If there is an allegation of a crime it's up to the police to properly collect evidence and give it to the prosecutor's office, or the equivalent thereof in local terms.

      Except.. in Australia(i don't know about other countries), it's not usually a crime to commit copyright infringement. From http://www.copyright.org.au/information/introduction/intro-9.htm [copyright.org.au]

      A person who infringes copyright can be sued by the copyright owner and taken to court. A court can order a range of things, including that the infringer pay compensation and pay the copyright owner's costs. In some cases, a person who infringes copyright can be charged by the police, and can be ordered to pay a fine or, in serious cases, jailed.

      And from http://www.copyright.org.au/G052.pdf [copyright.org.au]

      Criminal penalties
      In some circumstances, infringement of copyright is a criminal offence to which fines and jail terms may apply. The criminal provisions generally apply to commercial piracy, and are used particularly in relation to infringements of copyright in records, videos and computer software.

      Unless there is large scale commercial piracy going on the police just won't care, and until then it's a civil dispute that to go before the courts.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:02PM (#25833015) Homepage
    bittorent isnt evil. in fact, one could argue it's more efficient and cost effective than stamping disc after disc of 'i am legend' and 'happy feet' into a holographic, 3d box, which is then encased in a plastic alarm, which is then tagged with a theft sticker but not before being shrink-wrapped. all this is then whored up with stickers and its own display case the size of a lawn tractor trucked into thousands of walmarts.

    fundamentally the concept of a movie must change. it cant be something thats administered in a controlled fashion like morphine, the technology has made that model obsolete. lowering the cost of a DVD to $12 doesnt work either, because the media available online is still free. if you're going up against free, you'd better come out with a stellar product or go home.

    the only solution is to accept that either the reign of the film tycoon is over and moving pictures have been forced back into an artform, or embrace online technology and advances like CGI at their actual cost...not pixar's billion-dollar markup.

    the whole goddamned film 'industry' is a conglomerate of artificiality, and im afraid the only ones to be stunned by the real prices of their 'art' are ironically the industry members themselves.
  • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:45PM (#25833721)
    Perhaps they're suing an Australian ISP because they know that it won't fly here in the U.S., and they're hoping if they win enough overseas cases against ISPs that it'll significantly influence future actions again American ISPs? I know we would all like to believe that the MPAA and RIAA are all knee-jerk, but it stands to reason.
  • by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @06:58PM (#25839163)
    Of course.. they're not going after Telstra, the No.1 telco in the country because that would be a Title Fight, as opposed to the David & Goliath battle they've waged here. There IS a simple way to fix this. Require IP holders to sue for ALL breaches of their IP content that they become aware of, otherwise they lose their hold on that IP. That means they HAVE TO sue the senators son for mp3s he's downloaded. They HAVE TO sue the No1 Telco for copyright infringements, not just the No2 ISP. In the end the MAFIAA will be suing so many different people that the people will demand a rewrite of the IP laws. The only way that this can come to a head is to prevent the MAFIAA from selectively picking their targets as example cases.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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