TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Movie Studios to Sue Internet File Traders

Re: Movie Studios to Sue Internet File Traders

Robert Bonomi (
Sat, 20 Nov 2004 01:46:06 +0000

In article <>,
charsand <> wrote:

> (Bob Smythe) wrote in message
> news:<>:

>> The thing is, it is illegal to download or upload copyrighted works,
>> the concept of file sharing and actual file sharing is not illegal. I
>> do not condone illegal file sharing, but am just trying to clarify a
>> few things.

>> The MPAA (and RIAA) have not and will not target individual
>> downloaders. There is no real way to get them. They are not a law
>> enforcement agency. They cannot entrap individual users. If you
>> download from them, and they are the rightful owners, then there is no
>> law broken, even if it is widely know that the service being used is
>> to illegally obtain files. Plus having downloaded one file will not be
>> worthwhile anyway in court.

Statutory copyright infringement penalty, $30,000 per occurrence. Each
making of a copy is a separate violation.

Don't _bet_ on it not being worthwhile in court.

You can't afford to be _right_, let alone wrong.

(A _successful_ infringement defense typically runs into six figures
left of the decimal point.)

Particularly, an 'association' is _not_ looking to 'make money' from
the lawsuit -- their primary aim is the 'chilling effect', as it were,
of the successful prosecution. The _smaller_ the perp that is
successfully prosecuted, the stronger the message that is 'sent',
regarding the 'risk' of such actions.

[[., munch ..]]

> I heard somewhere that those caught could receive not only fines, but
> jail time-is this true?

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It would not suprise me at all. Nor
> does it surprise me that they just toss out lawsuits all over the
> place without even having the *name* or *any identity* of the persons
> they intend to sue. I can see where 'John Doe' might be a valid way
> to sue someone you had caught when you could not otherwise get his
> name, but lawsuits at random against John Does 1 through 9999 (fill
> in the names, addresses and particulars when you find the person)
> seems to me to be a gross abuse of the legal system. But they seem to
> be setting out the lawsuits, then finding the person later on and
> already having the suit set up. Not a good faith thing, IMO. PAT]

Not surprisingly, our esteemed moderator doesn't understand the

They've _already_ got the IP address, and timestamp, data, and all the
'downloading' evidence to support the suit. But they don't know _who_
was using that IP address at that time. And the ISP's will -not-
divulge *that* information except by court order.

Hence the John Doe filing. followed by a subpoena to the ISP.
Followed by an 'amended' filing to insert the actual perpetrators
name. Then, and *ONLY*THEN* can you 'serve' the perp with the summons
for the lawsuit.

Any _given_ "John Doe" is alleged to have committed _specific_ acts --
e.g., "at this specific date/time, did download thus-and-such movie
from IP address to xx.yy.zz.ww"

You can't file the suit, -then- go find some *other* violations, and change
the allegations in pre-existing suit to match.

As to the prior poster's question regarding jail time -- the answer is
"yes". The "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" _did_ introduce
*criminal* prosecution and penalties for certain kinds of copyright
infringement. In general, the criminal provisions deal with those who
_distribute_, for money or otherwise, infringing copies.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: But many IP addresses are not static,
but dynamic. What do they do then to find the person who 'stole' the
movie or the piece of music? PAT]

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