US Judge Gary Brown: An IP-Address Doesn’t Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)
“A landmark ruling in one of the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the US has delivered a severe blow to a thus far lucrative business. Among other things, New York Judge Gary Brown explains in great detail why an IP-address is not sufficient evidence to identify copyright infringers. According to the Judge this lack of specific evidence means that many alleged BitTorrent pirates have been wrongfully accused by copyright holders.
Mass-BitTorrent lawsuits have been dragging on for more than two years in the US, involving more than a quarter million alleged downloaders.
The copyright holders who start these cases generally provide nothing more than an IP-address as evidence. They then ask the courts to grant a subpoena, allowing them to ask Internet providers for the personal details of the alleged offenders.
The problem, however, is that the person listed as the account holder is often not the person who downloaded the infringing material. Or put differently; an IP-address is not a person.”~Read More: TorrentFreak
#SOPA RIAA and ʎʇıɹnɔǝs puɐןǝɯoɥ Caught Downloading Torrents Via @TorrentFreak
“If there’s one organization known for its crusade against online piracy, it’s the RIAA. Nevertheless, even in the RIAA’s headquarters several people use BitTorrent to download pirated music, movies, TV-shows and software. And they are in good company. The Department of ʎʇıɹnɔǝs puɐןǝɯoɥ – known for seizing pirate domain names – also harbors hundreds of BitTorrent pirates.
Last week we wrote about a new website that exposes what people behind an IP-address have downloaded using BitTorrent. The Russian-based founders of the site gathered this data from public BitTorrent trackers, much like anti-piracy outfits do when they track down copyright infringers.
In response to the article many readers commented that they indeed saw a few familiar downloads, and they are not alone.
YouHaveDownloaded currently lists information on more than 50 million users. Although this is only a fraction of all public BitTorrent downloads, it shows that in pretty much every major organization people are pirating content.
Earlier this week we already showed that there are BitTorrent pirates at Sony, Universal and Fox. A few days later it was revealed that torrents are being downloaded in the palace of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and today we can add the RIAA and the Department of ʎʇıɹnɔǝs puɐןǝɯoɥ to the list.
After carefully checking all the IP-addresses of the RIAA we found 6 unique addresses from where copyrighted material was shared. Aside from recent music albums from Jay-Z and Kanye West – which may have been downloaded for research purposes – RIAA staff also pirated the first five seasons of Dexter, an episode of Law and Order SVU, and a pirated audio converter and MP3 tagger.
RIAA staff have a taste for crime dramas.
And of course some handy audio tools.
All in all, quite an astonishing revelation for an outfit that wants to disconnect copyright infringers from the Internet.
Another prominent organization that has been in the news for their tough actions against online piracy is the Department of ʎʇıɹnɔǝs puɐןǝɯoɥ. In recent months they have seized domain names of hundreds of sites accused of facilitating counterfeiting and piracy, including the torrent search engine Torrent-Finder.
By now it probably comes as no surprise that staff at the Department of ʎʇıɹnɔǝs puɐןǝɯoɥ are also using BitTorrent. In fact, we found more than 900 unique IP-addresses at the Government organization through which copyrighted files were downloaded.
Since ʎʇıɹnɔǝs puɐןǝɯoɥ employs more than 200,000 people the finding is hardly a surprise. However, this and the other revelations show that BitTorrent is being used everywhere, from government agencies to even the most outspoken anti-piracy outfits.
For now at least, since the RIAA has lobbied hard for a nationwide piracy monitoring system much like YouHaveDownloaded.
In a few months millions of online ‘pirates’ will be monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all major U.S. Internet providers. Alleged infringers will be notified about their misbehavior, and repeat offenders will eventually be punished.
But will the RIAA be punished too?”~TorrentFreak
"The music I listen to is too obscure to find a torrent for so I had to buy it."-First World Problems (via epic4chan)
Busted: #BitTorrent #Pirates at Sony, Universal and Fox Via: @TorrentFreak
I <3 TorrentFreak…Sometimes I think I could mirror their entire blog.
“With increasing lobbying efforts from the entertainment industry against BitTorrent sites and users, we wondered whether these companies hold themselves to the same standards they demand of others. After some initial skimming we’ve discovered BitTorrent pirates at nearly every major entertainment industry company in the US, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox Entertainment and NBC Universal. Busted.
A few days ago we wrote about a new website that exposes what people behind an IP-address have downloaded on BitTorrent. The Russian-based founders of the site developed the service so people can show their friends how public their downloading habits are, and that is exactly what we’re going to do today.
Armed with the IP-ranges of major Hollywood studios we decided to find out what they’ve been downloading. As expected, it didn’t take us long before we found BitTorrent ‘pirates’ at several leading entertainment industry companies. Yes, these are the same companies who want to disconnect people from the Internet after they’ve been caught sharing copyrighted material.
First up is Sony Pictures Entertainment. As shown below, on this single IP-address alone a wide variety of music and movies have been downloaded. And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg, as YouHaveDownloaded only tracks only a small percentage of all public BitTorrent downloads.
Downloads from a Sony Pictures IP
Another Hollywood studio where it’s not uncommon to download music, TV-shows and movies is NBC Universal. The employee(s) behind one of the IP-addresses at the Fort Lauderdale office in Florida downloaded the first season of ‘Game of Thrones,’ some trance music, a DVD of ‘Cowboys and Aliens’, and much more.
Downloads from a NBC Universal IP
And then there are the fine upstanding people at Fox Entertainment checking out the work of a competing studio. Perhaps downloading ‘Super 8′ can be branded as “market research,” but in this instance actually paying for the DVD might be more appropriate.
After all, when Fox notices that one of their own movies has leaked online they quickly contact the FBI to get the offender jailed. Ouch.
Download from a Fox Entertainment IP
By highlighting the above our intention is not to get anyone into trouble, and for that reason we masked out the end of the IP addresses to avoid a witch hunt. An IP address is not a person, IP addresses can be shared among many people, and anyone can be behind a keyboard at any given time.
Of course our search wasn’t limited only to these big Hollywood studios. We also checked the downloads at the BitTorrent Inc. headquarters in San Francisco. Interestingly there were no downloads recorded there. But there’s plenty of piracy at other tech companies and other institutions.
An IP registered to Google’s Corporate office in New York comes up with a long list of downloads (including a Windows 7 copy), and that’s just one of the many addresses at the search giant. Even at the Church of God the “thou shalt not steal” commandment is less important than getting the latest TV-shows.
We aren’t the only ones to come up with the idea of revealing the BitTorrent habits of copyright advocates. Yesterday, the Dutch blog Geenstijl exposed how someone at the local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra downloaded a copy of the TV-show Entourage and video game Battlefield 3.
In a response Buma/Stemra issued a press release stating that their IP-addresses were spoofed. A very unlikely scenario, but one that will be welcomed by BitTorrent pirates worldwide. In fact, they’d encourage Sony, Universal and Fox to say something similar. After all, if it’s so easy to spoof an IP-address, then accused file-sharers can use this same defense against copyright holders.
Two File-Sharers Fined Total of $725,000, Others Asked To Pay Thousands
Speaking of outrageous charges.
“Two long-standing file-sharing cases have just been concluded and both defendants have been hit with extraordinarily harsh punishments. A 36-year-old received a 4 month jail sentence and a fine equivalent to $433,000, and a 22-year-old received a fine of $291,600. Meanwhile, the anti-piracy group behind the action is sending “pay-up-or-else” letters to Internet subscribers, and not always getting it right.
While there is nothing inherently ‘unsafe’ about the Direct Connect file-sharing client when compared to similar systems, users often choose to share their entire media libraries with the world, all at once, and in the same place. In the statistically unlikely event an anti-piracy company is watching, demonstrating massive multiple infringement then becomes fairly easy, and a breeze compared to doing the same against BitTorrent users.
Two individuals from Finland have just learned this the hard way. Their cases, relating to offenses carried out in 2007 when they operated a pair of Direct Connect hubs, have just been concluded and to say their punishments are harsh is an understatement.”~Read More: TorrentFreak