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U.S. judge doubts IP addresses can identify pirates

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 09 May 2012 1:14 User comments (6)

U.S. judge doubts IP addresses can identify pirates United States Magistrate Judge Gary R Brown laments "abusive litigation."
Brown criticised legal arguments that an IP address is sufficient for identifying an individual responsible for copyright infringement online. He made the comments in the K-Beech, Inc. v. John Does 1-37 case which deals with the illegal sharing of adult entertainment videos.

"The assumption that the person who pays for Internet access at a given location is the same individual who allegedly downloaded a single sexually explicit film is tenuous, and one that has grown more so over time. An IP address provides only the location at which one of any number of computer devices may be deployed, much like a telephone number can be used for any number of telephones," Brown commented.

"Thus, it is no more likely that the subscriber to an IP address carried out a particular computer function ? here the purported illegal downloading of a single pornographic film ? than to say an individual who pays the telephone bill made a specific telephone call."

Brown also noted some of the defendants claims. One woman, for example, said that her wireless router was not secured and that she lives beside a municipal parking lot where somebody might have used her connection to download or share files.

The testimony of another defendant also showed that K-Beech was allegedly more interested in intimidating defendants into paying thousands to settle cases than giving them a chance to prove their innocence.

"The Negotiator was offered unfettered access to my computer, my employment records, and any other discovery they may need to show that I was not the culpable party. Instead, the Negotiator refused and was only willing to settle the Complaint for thousands of dollars," the defendant claims.

Brown referred to this as "abusive litigation tactics" and alluded that the principal purpose of these cases was probably to extract settlements from John Doe defendants.

Nevertheless, the judgement permits the plaintiffs to obtain relevant information from Internet Service Providers.

Tags: piracy
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6 user comments

19.5.2012 5:23

I gotta say it...

Capitalist societies were never intended to sustain a production system where production entities are capable of duplicating their works without a compensated labor force.

The justice system was also never prepared for such a system. The evidence of this is a justice system which allows the producers, who are benefiting from having no compensatory distribution requirements, to use their unbalanced financial strength to influence the judicial system into convicting those accused of crimes before being found guilty of those crimes.

Since governments feel the need to tax everything else to death, I propose there should be a tax on the free digital reproduction of media which needs no labor force to be distributed. That money should be put to use in some fashion which provides jobs to replace a huge labor pool which has been eradicated.

Maybe if Hollywood had to pay for their digital copies the way they expect everyone else to, they wouldn't have the financial power to buy and sell justice at their whim.

...just a thought.

When laws allow unlimited ownership of ideas, it is to a society as iron fusion is to the core of a star.

When verified realities lead us to anger, we must learn to reevaluate our beliefs.

29.5.2012 7:51

Glad to see a judge thats knows the reality of things...

39.5.2012 11:03

now that this is on the books we all can point to it and say its already been ruled on... this will help if you claiming to have been spoofed

49.5.2012 12:02

Originally posted by Clam_Up:

Maybe if Hollywood had to pay for their digital copies the way they expect everyone else to, they wouldn't have the financial power to buy and sell justice at their whim.
It's called our ticket prices, DVD sales & belligerent blitzkrieg advertising & "WE" (the viewing audience) pay each time we purchase the products or a ticket.

And unless you were being facetious, Hollywood already thinks they can dictate justice at their whim via their lobbying the RIAA/MPAA & their barrage of bullshit legislation.

I wouldn't have a problem with it... if their original intentions were indeed 'noble'. They're not.

Seeing as I live in a college town & the bulk of these kids are on their way out now; I've been hit again with a piece of hate mail by my ISP for supposedly pirating a game.

Now, any correspondence with them is instantly going to be seen as an admission of guilt in their eyes & they'll pass the buck. I simply won't have that. I'll change the log-in info on the router again & wait till next year when my ISP tries to cut me off for a 3rd offense (as they don't seem to have any statute of limitations for offenses) & I'll raise hell with them.

It's the American way.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 May 2012 @ 12:02

59.5.2012 18:17
Unverified new user

It is sooooooo easy to to frame someone for almost anything online. Even a mediocre hacker can imitate IP addresses and MAC addresses. A hacker can put virus on your computer that make you download/upload anything without even knowing. I have said this before but know someone who did just that. If you had a fast cable or T1 line in my area, odds were this guy put a virus on your computer so you were unknowningly hosting all sorts of movies, music, etc for his IRC channel.

69.5.2012 20:29

Of course it's abusive litigation....and extortion....and injustice. Either pay a few thousand dollars now, or pay a lawyer tens of thousands of dollars to represent you. Guilty or not. Doesn't matter. The previous judges have stated that you should have stood guard over your computer or encrypted your router. Naughty naughty. Glad to see one judge out there with common sense. Stop this nonsense of picking on people without the ability or resourses to prove their innocence.

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