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July 10, 2002
2:37 PM   Subscribe

Ever downloaded an episode of a tv show through gnutella or other P2P means? The MPAA may be on the lookout for you.
posted by mathowie (20 comments total)

 
I've seen these letters before. MPAA goes to ISP, ISP goes to subscriber. Anyway, I personally would not mess with anything called the Cox Abuse Team...d'oh!...d'oh!
posted by anathema at 2:54 PM on July 10, 2002


I wish I had something more pithy to say, but ... well ... just ... Shit! This worship of pennies has gotten way out of hand. Can I expect a letter now that I'm "sharing" the image of Homer J on my computer room door, and announcing it on a well frequented community blog? Would it be acceptable if I only look at that picture while having a Coke (sponsership is everything, youknow)?

The answer to your question, number 1, is that yes, I have downloaded a show from an online source, and it came complete with commercials. Is that the difference, or has the MPAA thought this through at all?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:58 PM on July 10, 2002


MPAA has always been reluctant to go after end-users (see Sony Betamax case) because they are potential customers. Just to be clear, the MPAA goes after the ISP in these situations (notice and takedown) and lets them look like the "bad" guy.
posted by anathema at 3:02 PM on July 10, 2002


We have received information that an individual has utilized the above referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of copyrighted motion picture(s) through a peer-to-peer service, including such title(s) as:

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
Simpsons, The (TV)
Windtalkers


Hmm, it's more a case of having shared copyright material, although since most P2P apps share your download folder by default, that's not uncommon.


Personally I think the bad-file honeypots are the best way of dealing with this situation, but lawyers gotta make money somehow, and the only way to tackle gnutella through the legal system, is to go after the users. Once you've decided to cross that line, you get the most bang-for-your-buck out of targetting the individuals who share the most recent material, most reliably, and are easiest to track. So that's people sharing recent movies 24/7 from fixed IPs. Note the copy of Windtalkers in that list, I bet that really bumped up this particular bandits score.

In summary;

Sharing pre-DVD release movies : high risk
Downloading post-broadcast tv shows : low risk
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:03 PM on July 10, 2002


During the Betamax proceedings, Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA, compared VCRs to the Boston strangler. He said that the VCR would be to the American public and the movie industry what the Boston strangler was to women. I kid you not. And now of course the movie industry makes billions on video rentals and sales. The MPAA idiots are just too dim to figure out how to make money with digital transmission, and this is the result. Poppycox.
posted by anathema at 3:09 PM on July 10, 2002


Just to be clear, the MPAA goes after the ISP in these situations (notice and takedown) and lets them look like the "bad" guy.

Going through the ISP is the obvious thing to do, because they're a pinch point, their address is on file, and they have your address.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:11 PM on July 10, 2002


Isn't this what a lot of us technophiles want? Instead of trying to get the technology made illegal or limiting the use of networks they should go after copyright infringers themselves in a fair court. If this angers their customer base and creates a situation where people question licensing schemes and how fair use is interpreted, well then all the better.
posted by skallas at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2002


Jesus Christ, imagine that - protecting their members' copyright!

Not that I think it's a wise business practice, but they've got every right to prosecute.
posted by Marquis at 3:21 PM on July 10, 2002


Very well stated skallas.
posted by anathema at 3:23 PM on July 10, 2002


So how did they not know that the members had dummy files, like the RIAA wants to put up on networks? In order to be sure, they'd have to download the file. I'm sure some enterprising programmers will figure out a way to block the MPAA meanies if they resort to downloading.
posted by geoff. at 3:24 PM on July 10, 2002


All of this would be really interesting if I didn't know that most top dogs in Hollywood share all their files with their cronies with P2P applications. Yes, they could sue themselves. It's really hypocritical.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:41 PM on July 10, 2002


If this angers their customer base and creates a situation where people question licensing schemes and how fair use is interpreted, well then all the better.

I don't think fair use is the issue here. Encrypting DVDs so that I can't extract sections for my own personal use (or, to invoke the current poster child, playback under linux) is a fair use issue. Handing out complete copies of a film to all and sundry is something else. There's a difference between creating a derivative work, and wholesale duplication.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:01 PM on July 10, 2002


Yes inpHilltra8r there is a difference, but I don't think skallas was suggesting otherwise, but I will let him speak for himself.
posted by anathema at 4:10 PM on July 10, 2002


Handing out complete copies of a film to all and sundry is something else.

How about handing out a favorite clip in a low bitrate format? Or webcasting a few songs to friends? Its all part of that big IP pie.
posted by skallas at 4:15 PM on July 10, 2002


Or another post child - region encoding.
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on July 10, 2002


How about handing out a favorite clip in a low bitrate format? Or webcasting a few songs to friends? Its all part of that big IP pie.

Oh I agree, and your two examples definately fall into the grey area, but IMHO, fair use is a specific argument.

Fair use to me is De La Soul vs the Turtles, Plunderphonics vs Sony, and Negativland vs Casey Kasem.

Zero-day warez are never going to be fair use, although they're always going to be a fact of life (as will the prosecution of those involved).
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:12 PM on July 10, 2002


Cox Abuse Team

The employees of Cox are known as Uckers. As in, "Hey you, Cox Ucker, get out here and fix my cable."
posted by kindall at 5:51 PM on July 10, 2002


If you feel strongly about these kinds of issues, Project Strangler is setting up a plan to make public the idiocy of Valenti's perpetually anti-technological viewpoint.
posted by skylar at 11:45 PM on July 10, 2002


How is sharing reruns different from taping a show and passing it around?
posted by mecran01 at 6:59 AM on July 11, 2002


How is sharing reruns different from taping a show and passing it around?

Scale.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:15 AM on July 11, 2002


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