Guardaley | DGW

More light under the bridge

Copyright trolling phenomenon has attracted some big media attention. Good news, one of my goals is publicity — exactly what trolls want to avoid.

Also I was pleasantly surprised that someone fights back in the court, not merely defending as I was doing, but attacking:

BitTorrent user Dmitriy Shirokov filed a lawsuit last year making the case that the firm has made a business out of threatening people. The suit alleged that USCG exploited copyright law — and that its goal was to frighten people into paying up a small settlement of $1,500 to $2,500 rather than face litigation.

The case is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Booth Sweet attorney Dan Booth, who filed that suit, said that USCG hasn’t responded to the claims, and has moved to have the case dismissed. It also asked the court to sanction Booth Sweet, a Massachusetts-based law firm, for taking the case.

Followup

TorrentFreak comments on the same CNN article and lists some statistics:

  • The first case was filed January 8 2010 on behalf of Worldwide Film Entertainment and targeted 749 alleged downloaders of The Gray Man. This case was dismissed a few months later.
  • 203 cases have been filed in total, most of them dealing with adult content.
  • 164 cases are still active.
  • 182,078 “Does” were targeted initially, and 133,701 are still at risk (133,242 BitTorrent and 459 ed2k).
  • Anti-piracy lawyer John Steele is most active and has filed more than 60 cases.
  • Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (The U.S. Copyright Group) has sued most defendants, more than 90,000.
  • The largest case is that of The Hurt Locker, with 24,583 defendants.
  • The largest settlement paid to a copyright holder is $250,000.

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Discussion

3 responses to ‘More light under the bridge

  1. Glad to see someone is getting the word out about the prostitution of copyright law by lawyers and “IP” owners. If more “regular people” and not just internet geeks knew how their rights to Fair Use and a lot of, taken for granted, constitutional rights were being abused, they would be up in arms against the oppression by the fascist swaying US government. The SCOTUS gave corporations the right to pound their self-serving philosophies home to the politicians and now we have seen the outcome….the corporations have declared war on our sovereign rights as US citizens and have made law abiding citizens lawbreakers by default with their lopsided rulings. This atrocity has just begun but needs to be STOPPED!

  2. Take a look at http://copyrightenforcementgroup.com/

    Another Copyright troll is a listed partner Ira M. Siegel. These people outright advertise using settlement demands and lawsuits as a revenue stream. The site even implies that they do in fact upload content to p2p sites and then monitor them. (Though they will probably just say that they monitor the MD5 or SHA hash of the files rather than actively serve them on gnutella or seed them on BT.)

    One more thing it may be a good idea to bring up the fact that IP addresses are a finite set of numbers, all of the IP addresses that are usable have been assigned, it is possible to distinguish between public IP addresses and internal ones using pattern matching schemes. (Programmers call these regular expressions.) Because IP addresses follow a specific pattern and are finite it is possible to generate real IP addresses with simple computer programs. Sites like this one can generate IP addresses within a given range:http://www.ipaddresslocation.org/ip-address-ranges.php

    The programs to do this part are trivial. It is also trivial to create spreadsheets with computer generated IP addresses and some file names and time stamps. Perl, Ruby, or Python are your friends here.

    In short if anyone thinks that these spreadsheets they come into court with are not evidence because of spoofing, or the reality of routers they are only partially right; these spreadsheets are not evidence by themselves because they can be readily created from thin air by just about anyone! The patterns for valid IP addresses can be found effortlessly on the internet because needing to validate them is such a common task. The mechanism to generate a set of these numbers is of the most basic in computer programming that does not require anything like experience. A beginner could create such a thing with very little difficulty.

    The issue isn’t that the IP’s are fake, it is that you can easily generate a list of genuine ones and proceed to accuse people who then have to prove their innocence. There is absolutely no way to tell if the plaintiff just used a generating software to come up with some if not all of the IP’s if he or she uses the right patterns. (Which will not generate invalid addresses.)

    • Good find. This is scary and very disappointing: cynical extortion procedure openly advertised. On the other hand, this is yet another proof of trolls’ dirty methods, and can be used as evidence against them.

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