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Why the 'Six Strikes' Copyright Alert System Needs Antitrust Scrutiny 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the creators-clearly-aren't-familiar-with-baseball dept.
suraj.sun sends this quote from an op-ed at Ars Technica: "Eight months ago, content owners and Internet service providers agreed to the Copyright Alert System, a 'six-strike' plan to reduce copyright infringement by Internet users. Under the system, ISPs will soon send educational alerts, hijack browsers, and perhaps even slow/temporarily block the Internet service of users accused of online infringement (as identified by content owners). At the time it was announced, some speculated that the proposed system might not be legal under the antitrust laws. ... If I had to explain antitrust in a single word, it would not be 'competition' — it would be 'power.' The power to raise prices above a competitive level; the power to punish people who break your rules. Such power is something society usually vests in government. Antitrust law is in part concerned with private industry attempting to assert government-like power. ... The Copyright Alert System represents a raw exercise of concerted private power. Content owners as a group have control over their product. They have leveraged this control to forge this agreement with ISPs, who need to work with content owners in order to offer content to their own users. ISPs, in turn, have power over us as users."
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Why the 'Six Strikes' Copyright Alert System Needs Antitrust Scrutiny

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let's be realistic, here. This is America. The telcos can do whatever the hell they want and get away with it.

  • by cjb658 (1235986) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:58PM (#39405371) Journal

    Finally, the AAs will be able to do something to stop piracy!

  • by ai4px (1244212) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:00PM (#39405393)
    because it's not like a content provider every misidentified something like a bird song as it's own copyrighted material.
    • by X0563511 (793323) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:31PM (#39405827) Homepage Journal

      I recall an event on the Image-Line forum. One of the site admins (guys who make their software etc - content creation software) - was accused of "stealing" his own samples. Said content provider even "reviewed" the claims and rejected it... which was hilarious, because it was demonstrable that he created the damn things and gave permission for it's use in the work triggering the takedown.

      This shit is insane.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:15PM (#39406283)

        I recall an event on the Image-Line forum. One of the site admins (guys who make their software etc - content creation software) - was accused of "stealing" his own samples. Said content provider even "reviewed" the claims and rejected it... which was hilarious, because it was demonstrable that he created the damn things and gave permission for it's use in the work triggering the takedown.

        This shit is insane.

        It's not all about stopping piracy - you have to keep in mind they're basically glitzy headhunters. If there is no _need_ for a publishing agency they go out of business. If you can just go an be some kind of underground sensation, you not only risk them losing money over you giving your work away for free, but by diluting the amount of new media on the market - if you can make a profit on it in the process you have the added risk of becoming their competition - and the media is notorious (even making movies about it) for how ruthless they are - hell, the only truly evil corporations in America can almost always be classified in the healthcare, banking and publishing industries - and of the 3 they are the only group trading in both people and intangible assets.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        This is NOT about piracy.
        This is about old-guard publishers of content (movie studios, film distributors, TV production houses, TV networks and channels, cable companies, record companies, book publishers) trying to stop the biggest revolution in content publishing and distribution since Gutenberg invented the printing press.

        They know that the user-generated-content revolution is going to end their status as "gatekeepers" of the worlds content and take away their abillity to control how content is made and

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          This wasn't even user-generated content. This is stuff that costs hundreds of dollars... eg, the stuff professional producers (eg the people the RIAA etc contract for). That's what tickles me so much.

  • Strike Challenge? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:02PM (#39405419)

    If I can't challenge any 'Strike' brought against me to a neutral 3rd party against the ISP, or the content owners themselves, the system is broken before it's even begun.

    When did cross-sector Corporations become so buddy-buddy to the point that these ISP's are willing to lose costumers to appease certain Industries?

    Anyone else smell conflict of interest, AntiTrust if you will, if ANY ISP or Telco owns, or is owned, by ANY media or content company? You can have contracts together out the wazzo. Those contracts however, shouldn't take priority over my ability to get a lawfully provided service. Wait! It's not a public service is it. It's a private service. Nevermind! Thanks a lot FCC, SEC, and FTC!

    • by luther349 (645380)
      its broken before its out of the gate due to vpn and the fact as soon as some rich guy gets banned or whatever this idea will quickly get tossed.
    • When did cross-sector Corporations become so buddy-buddy to the point that these ISP's are willing to lose costumers to appease certain Industries?

      Probably when The Powers That Be realized that peaceful revolution could be achieved via the internet. Seriously, when people boycott their ISP by terminating their service in protest, those very people have become disconnected with those still connected. A SOPA-style exodus from GoDaddy doesn't work the same way with ISPs because you disagree with their draconian policies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just get all your friends to claim to be a content owner and submit take downs against everyone.
    The furor over the abuse should be enough to fix it quickly.
    Then the idiots, uh uh law makers, who passed the law will get a black eye and will consider the source when listening to presentations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:04PM (#39405455)

    From the **AA's, who brought you lawsuits against the dead, comes this latest greatest solution to the problem of not wanting to adapt!
    We got a buncha companies owned by our buddies to sign onto a program to screw the consumer.
    Our super secret tech, which no one can be allowed to challenge or examine, is never wrong! Except that one time it identified the woman who didn't own a computer.

    This great plan will raise the prices for consumers, all to protect our "rights".
    The plan is 50/50 funded by the ISPs and the **AA's, both of which will just extract those costs from you by passing them on.
    The system lacks any real fairness, and even if you can prove we were high as a kite when we blamed you... it costs $35 to challenge us.

    The main goal of this system is to give us the powers of SOPA, without having to waste money on Congresscritters.
    Even ISPs who aren't part of this plan now, well we are going to apply pressure and make them cave in.
    We might not terminate your service, but it'll work just as well at 1 step above Dialup speeds.

    You might want to move to a different ISP, well fuck you we have monopolies in most areas of the country.
    Once this plan is moving along perfectly, we plan on adding a requirement for deep packet inspection... we want to make sure you can't "steal" a cent from us by even discussing the plots of our shows. Dare to quote the lyrics of a new song? We'll send you a bill.

    It might be time to look into ripping the public funds out of the ISPs, making them purchase the rights to have poles and wires. Remove their monopoly control over communities, and demand actual competition. This is a service provider deciding a 3rd party has a right to control how you use the service your paying for. If someone claimed they saw you speeding, would you expect the car maker to come and make your car slower based on that claim? But your ISP thinks its a great idea.

    Its time to get the FCC, FTC, and a bunch of other acronyms to get off their asses and protect the public from this massive overreach.

    • by Rude Turnip (49495) <[valuation] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:36PM (#39405867)

      Cut THEIR cables from YOUR property and throw them into the street. Let's play real capitalism. I have no relationship with Comcast and see no need for their wires to trespass on my property, although I will rent out the space for $1 million per month. I concede the need to have power lines cross over, because they provide a necessity, while cable service is a mere luxury.

    • Do Nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The MAFIAA cannot be defeated by any recourse to law or government regulation, they have long since purchased the souls of polititians, judges and lawyers. Indeed it now seems that the media industries are becoming a desirable "retirement gig" for polititians now that banking has become discredited.

      Understand that the MAFIAA exist to only one end, money and lots of it. They care nothing for the Constitution or the Law. They have no ideological or dogmatic agenda. They care only about money and to achiev

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:05PM (#39405473) Homepage

    If you disconnect someone who is factually innocent, give them a right to sue for defamation where intent is irrelevant.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:06PM (#39405495) Journal

      Except you're new user agreement will strip away the right to sue in favor of arbitration... thanks a lot SCOTUS.

      • by luther349 (645380)
        if you don't agree with the arbiter. you can still sue. its just a extra step.
        • by russotto (537200)

          if you don't agree with the arbiter. you can still sue. its just a extra step.

          Nope, you give up the right to appeal on substantive grounds. You can only appeal on procedural grounds.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Except you're new user agreement will strip away the right to sue in favor of arbitration... thanks a lot SCOTUS.

        you can just sue.
        see the at&t shitcase, you can't actually force consumers into arbitration. if you could you'd have an eula on your fucking milk carton.

    • Probably wouldn't help much.

      Consider this. In Europe almost all EULAs of software products are illegal and void. In theory, people could sue companies or ignore the EULAs and sue if the companies try to apply them, but in reality nobody does it. Who has the money and will to pay for a lawyer and risk year-long lawsuits only to get a $15 CD coupon and a pre-formulated apology with advertisement leaflet in the end?

      The right way to fix a broken system is to fix it, not to help lawyers get richer.

  • ...Yet another reason to log out of the US.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:05PM (#39405487) Homepage

    I think we have seen more than our share of false assertions of copyright by parties who professionally act "on behalf of copyright holders." They operate on assumption and without proof. These systems which do not require proof, but instead operate on "good faith" and "...under penalty of perjury" are rife with abuse.

    Current systems in place are experiencing an epidemic of abuse by rights holders at the expense of many innocents. The harm this kind of thing causes the many outweighs the convenience and consideration of the many.

    • Current systems in place are experiencing an epidemic of abuse by rights holders at the expense of many innocents. The harm this kind of thing causes the many outweighs the convenience and consideration of the many.

      Untrue.

      Current systems in place are experiencing an epidemic of abuse by lawyers retained by organizations retained by rights-holding warehouse corporations at the expense of humanity, and many corporations. The harm this kind of thing causes the many outweighs the convenience and consideration of the many.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Of course the greedy foot soliers are the ones taking the actions. But do you really think the rights holders are innocent and unaware? It all begins and ends with the big publishers. They are the ones who bought the politicians and the laws which make it all possible.

        • I pointed this out because I am a rights holder. I do not retain a lawyer or have a publisher, however.
          For that matter, you are a rights holder too. Pretty much everyone who exists is a rights holder. Villifying rights holders isn't the way to go, neither is implying that only sociopathic corporations are rights holders; this just makes people think less about the rights they are forfeiting on a regular basis.

          • by erroneus (253617)

            I think there may be a nit or two in someone else's comments. Would you mind picking those for us? Thanks. Appreciate it.

            • I don't tend to pick people's nits unless they are tied to misconceptions that cause loss of freedom if they're accepted as true.

  • all this and any smart user will just use avpn or tor let them play with the packets all they whant.
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:10PM (#39405541) Homepage

    Somehow or another, the copyright MAFIAA has managed to hijack the public conversation such that the only value or goal of public telecom policy is to stop copyright violations.

    It's time to stop fighting defensive battles on "what's the best way to stop copyright violations".

    A better question is, "What should be the goal of telecom policy". My view: freer communication.

    Just as we accept that some people will die on the highways, but we don't shut them down. Some people may be offended by various speech, but we don't shut down the 1st amendment. Some people may get shot, but we don't abridge the right to bear arms.

    So, similarly, some copyright violations may occur, but we don't abridge the right to communicate. Also the 1st amendment amends the copyright clause [google.com].

    • by luther349 (645380)
      maybe 20 years ago.
    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#39405715)

      First Amendment does not alter the copyright clause in any singnificant way. See Eldred v. Ashcroft (SCOTUS case)

      Holding
      20-year retroactive extension of existing copyright terms did not violate the Copyright Clause or the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

      "On January 15, 2003, the Court held the CTEA constitutional by a 7-2 decision. The majority opinion, written by Justice Ginsburg, relied heavily on the Copyright Acts of 1790, 1831, 1909, and 1976 as precedent for retroactive extensions. One of the arguments supporting the act was the life expectancy has significantly increased among the human population since the 18th century, and therefore copyright law needed extending as well.

      "However, the major argument for the act that carried over into the case was that the Constitution specified that Congress only needed to set time limits for copyright, the length of which was left to their discretion. Thus, as long as the limit is not "forever," any limit set by Congress can be deemed constitutional." - wikipedia.

      • by Compaqt (1758360) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:43PM (#39405949) Homepage

        Yeah, if you go by the rule "the Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is."

        But nothing says the people cannot discuss what the Constitution means. And then vote in Presidents and Senators who will appoint the Supreme Court justices that agree with the people's interpretation of the Constitution.

        So what I did was the first step in that process: advance an opinion. And I'd encourage anybody who cares about the right to communicate to propagate the notion that the 1st amendment amends the copyright clause.

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        Every movement must begin first with moral persuasion.

        If you think the MAFIAA has gone too far, you're ready for this:

        Coypright violates the 1st and 8th amendments
        http://c4sif.org/2011/11/copyright-is-unconstitutional/ [c4sif.org]

      • First Amendment does not alter the copyright clause in any [significant] way. See Eldred v. Ashcroft (SCOTUS case)

        The SCOTUS cannot be considered an authoritative reference in cases involving their own parent organization (i.e. the federal government). That would be an obvious conflict of interest. They can act as an internal "watchdog" by ruling the actions of the federal government unconstitutional, but they cannot authoritatively declare any action constitutional in the positive sense. Only an impartial outsider or the legitimate principals (i.e. the People) can make that call. The SCOTUS ruling an action constituti

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>> Only an impartial outsider or the legitimate principals (i.e. the People)

          I would say the principals are the State Legislatures, same as over in the European Union. The States created the central contract known as the constitution (or Lisbon treaty) and more-importantly have the power & resources to nullify unconstitutional acts by the congress (whereas the people do not).

          • Only an impartial outsider or the legitimate principals (i.e. the People)

            I would say the principals are the State Legislatures...

            Sure, if you want to get technical. Ultimately the authority still comes from the People, however; the States are just middlemen. The States have no powers or resources apart from the powers and resources of their citizens.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      we accept that some people will die on the highways, but we don't shut them down.

      But we do take people off the road who kill other people.

      Some people may be offended by various speech, but we don't shut down the 1st amendment.

      But we do silence those who cause harm through their speech and hold them accountable for the damage they caused.

      Some people may get shot, but we don't abridge the right to bear arms.

      But we do take away the right to bear arms for the person who did the shooting.

      You've basically laid ou

  • Seems to be equivalent that you get your drivers license suspended when you did not pay a private parking house fee - or some toll fee while driving on a toll-road owned by some foreign (?) company....

    Should be illegal - two unrelated entities colluding to coerce actions and cause harm.

    Do people have too much time and money available to think out those schemes?

    • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#39405717)

      Never underestimate the power of stupid people in groups. And never underestimate the size of the coffers controlled by the *AA's. Couple large volumes of cash with large volumes of malignant stupidity and you've got a recipe for an anal rape of gargantuan proportions. And since the *AA's now don't have to try to legislate this, you won't get any lube.

      My hunch is lots more VPN traffic, and lots more encryption for those who want to infringe. It makes me laugh when I think of all the trouble these idiots go to in order to stop something that costs them nothing in terms of losses, but immeasurable amounts of goodwill. I wonder if this new "system" will be the thing that makes Joe Sixpack sit up and say "wait, those nerds were right! I'm getting screwed here!" :) Here's to hoping the Great Unwashed have a threshold of tolerance.... and I just wonder if this (like SOPA/PIPA) is the tipping point.

      For those of us who don't consume their product any longer (unless it's used DVDs... I had to get Young Frankenstein on DVD... heh.), there is always the chuckles associated with fanatical devotion to a business model that's more outdated than buggy whips, wagon wheels, and 78rpm records combined.

    • A better example might be if you fail to pay for parking at one parking lot, can other parking lots (different owners) black ball you? Can grocery stores join in on the blackball until I pay my parking bill? Can businesses form collaborations to blackball customers? What about in a restricted competition environment such as telecos? On the other side of this, should business be able to refuse to do business with you? If you ran a toy store would you want a convinced child molester in your store with fa
    • No. It's the equivalent of getting your driver's license suspended when they SAY you didn't pay one of their fees. No proof necessary, no complaint possible.

  • by Mike Van Pelt (32582) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:20PM (#39405687)
    This ...

    If I had to explain antitrust in a single word, it would not be 'competition' -- it would be 'power.' The power to raise prices above a competitive level; the power to punish people who break your rules. Such power is something society usually vests in government. Antitrust law is in part concerned with private industry attempting to assert government-like power.

    ... deserves "+5 Insightful".

  • The idea is inherent to corruption. Omnipotent powers granted to a select special group are bound to be abused. World is/has changing/changed. Public domain is what it is, PUBLIC. If the antiquated bureaucrat fat cats are that concerned with keeping status-quo of making millions off of someone else s creative efforts, they ought to not digitize their content. This is plain and simple bullies bullying their way into governing the public domain.
  • OK, even if a content provider such as Apple or Amazon intends to follow the rules they are sure to unintentionally distribute content they do not have the rights to. What are the chances they will be hit? I didn't think so
  • by fiatpirate (2445398) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:38PM (#39405893)
    Let's kill off the beast once and for all and eliminate most forms of intellectual property. The copyright term was so long originally because of slow distribution and printing channels. Now we have high speed internet (until they take it) and fast printing of media. If anything, copyright should be reduced to ten years and nothing more. Once copyright is reduced to a short term, the **AA's of the world will be forced to continually innovate and compete (which was ironically the original purpose of copyright).
    • Once copyright is reduced to a short term, the **AA's of the world will be forced to continually innovate and compete (which was ironically the original purpose of copyright).

      Unfortunately, they won't be forced to do this. They will instead re-mix everything they can get their hands on that is out of copyright, a la Disney. They will then increase their advertising budgets and the rates they charge for their products, as they no longer have protection.

      End result? They need to spend a bit more money, end up making even more money, the public domain gets swamped with more contentless drivel, and the consumer gets screwed, as usual.

  • Okay so you get tagged for a violation

    1 is the tag "correct"? (did you actually download/distribute/ect a "covered" file)
    2 Is the File in fact freely distributable??
    3 if they later find out you are in fact not guilty will they "untag" you??
    4 what about offline channels??
    5 exactly how not guilty are THEY??

  • by prefec2 (875483) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:43PM (#39405965)

    Recently, the German ministry for commerce, the ISPs and the content industry tried to negotiate a two strikes approach. The ISPs commissioned a report to evaluate if such agreement would be legal. The report states that such agreement would be unconstituional. And it would not make any difference if the commerical partners made an agreement or the state would make a law. The ministry of commerce thinks differently. However, the ministry of justice has similar doubts. As the report sees a direct violation of basic human rights in such an agreement, I wonder why such thing should be legal in the US. Even if European often think the US is some kind of banana republic, it is not true (at least not more true than for Europe as well). And basic consitutional things cannot be violated.

    But maybe I am totally wrong with my assumption about the US. How would your legal system react to such an agreement or law?

  • false positives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mozai (3547) on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:07PM (#39406215) Homepage

    We've already had people get slapped for birdsong [slashdot.org] as copyrighted work. An acquaintance of mine is already wrestling with YouTube because he recorded classical music on his guitar, and he's getting slapped because someone else identified it as a copy of their recording, and YouTube has already jammed advertisements into his video to compensate the accuser, as if he already agreed to a plea-bargain.

    Too many false positives, and it costs much less for the people who are already wealthy to make false claims than it does for private citizens to defend themselves against the false claims. This stinks to high heaven.

    • "Too many false positives, and it costs much less for the people who are already wealthy to make false claims than it does for private citizens to defend themselves against the false claims. This stinks to high heaven."

      Well, it sounds like this is all FUBAR.

      The Copyright Kings love it when a failed plan comes together.

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      To be fair, the birdsong example isn't a problem with this six strike approach, as the company that flagged it did correct the issue (and even posted comments to the slashdot story). As you get several warnings that have no real repercussion, that would give you a chance to refute false positives.

      That said, I have no reason to believe that this proposed rule will give you a proper means to refute strikes against you.
  • So what happens to those who make claims that do not pan out? Do they then reimburse the party they lied about as easy as they made the false complaint and fairly?

    Of course not, and therefor it is anti-trust violation.
    The real solution is to just kill everyone off and that way no one will infringe... fuck sales and free advertising...

  • There are some major privacy issues here. To determine what you are downloading, the ISPs will need to look at it. Passwords, financial records, email all seem to be at risk.

    Also, the ISPs involved appear to consist of cable tv franchises. And those are subject to local municipality controls. I doubt if the RIAA and MPAA can bribe all the local politicians in the US. So I would think that enforcing these kinds of controls would be something that municipalities could fight locally by threatening to
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Your privacy has always been at risk. They don't have to operate under the same rules as the government. The EULA would allow them to monitor data..

      Encryption is the key here, dont trust them.

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        Encryption is the key here, dont trust them.

        Of course, you know that the next step will be to only allow encrypted connections and VPNs to white-listed addresses/domains, right?

        After all, we *must* be protected from terrorism, child-porn, and file-sharing, and especially against individuals having the ability to promote themselves and share their music/video/news/software/inventions/ideologies all unrestricted, without going through "proper" corporate & government/political channels and filters, so as to restrict/halt the spread of "dangerous" id

  • ... am-i-right?

    NOBODY on Slashdot could have predicted that this would be abused and misinterpreted.

  • If I had to explain antitrust in a single word, it would not be 'competition' — it would be 'power.' The power to raise prices above a competitive level; the power to punish people who break your rules.

    So, would this be comparable to people being charged more for their utilities (in Texas) because they have a poor credit score? Seems mighty unfair to be charged more for your insurance with a poor credit score, too. Insurance companies make the claim that poor credit scores indicate a potential risk. Such practices unfairly penalize the majority who lost a good credit rating with an unintended hospital stay or lost their house because they were laid off. Personally, I'd like to see the end of the curre

  • How about we come up with an application, something like what Make Love not Spam was for spammers, which is a screensaver that sends DMCA takedown notices at random regarding thousands of randomly generated IP addresses. If we could somehow find the IP addresses from some RIAA and MPAA executives or their attorneys that would be even better.

    But bringing down the whole system from within sounds like an interesting idea to me. Yeah, there would be a huge amount of collateral damage, but it would be worth it.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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