Technolotics #23 – So Sue Me


Listen: Episode 23
Watch: Youtube
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Notes

Special Report – File Sharing Lawsuit

Last Years File sharing Case

Application Last July before Justice Kelly J in commercial court.
BT, Eircom and other ISPs should provide Names and Addresses linked to I.P of file traders
US Company – Media Sentry hired by IRMA to gather data
Method of Data Gathering

Searches of Gnuttella (Limewire, Bearshare) and Fast-track (Kazaa) networks – DCC++ & Torrent not searched
Shared folders scanned – sample tracks downloaded
Screenshots of folders taken to demonstrate availability of copyrighted material

ISPs neither consented nor objected

If objected – liable for costs in loss
If consented – plaintiff liable for their costs in loss

ISPs pointed out many of the privacy issues, data protection issues, and international precedents

Norwich Pharmacal order [1] – where innocent party is required to provide information about an infringer

Allows rejection of privacy right in ‘Prima Facia’ (self evident) case of breach of individual property rights

IMRO received all the personal data they had sought

None of the alleged file sharers were tried – most settled (for and average of € 2,500), 5/17 refused to pay – IMRO and the labels have 7 years in which to sue them [2]

Detailed discussion of the case (including contributions from Digital Rights Ireland chair TJ McIntyre) [3]

Dutch Precedent

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
A case was taken in Holland – Dutch court rejected claim under European law – on the basis that the firm acquiring the data was based in the US – a nation with no data protection act

specific companies can acquire ‘safe harbor provision’ to circumnavigate this restriction
Media Sentry had not acquired such a provision

Media Sentry was scanning more than just media – folders could have included user’s personal data
Media Sentry had not demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that i.p addresses were connected to particular infringing computers
Dutch court stated that ISPs “are obligated to deny the request to provide identifying information”

Data in this case were being exported – the Irish court at the time of the first case were not aware of this
Analysis of Dutch Decision from Constitutional Code Blog [4]

This weeks case

24th January 2006
Under ‘Phase II’ of IMRO’s action against ‘serial file sharers’

In a press release to announce the action IMRO stated – “The scale of the challenge and the damage is apparent when we consider that any one of these individuals engaged in illegal file sharing could be connected to some 2-3 million others at any one time on the Internet.”
This misleadingly implies simultaneous downloads

Justice Peter Kelly
49 alleged copyright infringers
29 users had tracks copyright to Warner music, 15 from Universal, 29 from Sony
500 – 5000 songs available each

One address appeared so much that it was ‘almost industrial’ in scale

Affidavit – from manager of EMI Ian Cavana

stated – publicity measures of ISPs unlikely to succeed
50% claimed drop of P2P recorded for two month period after case
Sought names, addresses, and phone numbers

In court this Wednesday – Eircom stated DRI letter had informed them of Dutch case
Label barrister stated ‘litigation is currently being conducted in many countries, and the courts there apply the data protection legislation as they find it’
Need for a balance between property and privacy rights – ‘the level of infringement here sets property rights at naught. Like property rights just aren’t worth anything’

Essentially the balance of proof that they were not in violation was with the accused users

ISPs e.g.: Irish Broadband ‘Don’t and can’t monitor’ use of connections

Today – court ordered names should be handed over
Judge described behavior as ‘Not petty theft. Some of it seems to be theft on a grand scale’

DRI’s stance

Fighting this litigation of technical grounds – view copyright infringement as indefensible
oppose not suits but potentially unlawful manner of data gathering
no legally coherent pro-file sharing argument
believe issues like the recent introduction of sweeping European data retention laws more important [5]

Future Liability

Under Irish Law – Section 140 of the Copyright and Related Acts 2000[6]

sharers of copyrighted files (not downloaders) – are liable for criminal prosecution – and thus potentially imprisonment of up to 5 years
liability for each song uploaded could be up to €1,900 for each copyrighted song in their shared folder, up to a maximum of €127,000 euro

No ‘fair use’ [7] provision exists under Irish Law

Hence copying the songs you buy on CD onto your PC or Mp3 player could open you to legal action
Who’s to know you may think – but with the recent update to the iTunes music store information can be carried back to Apple – remember every song you’ve not bought from the iTunes music store is technically an illegal copy
as is every *.WMA (windows media) song purchased from another music store and ‘transcoded’ (imported) into iTunes

Personal use as a right was specifically excised by the Copyright Act 2000

Possible Legal Defense

I.P’s assigned to wireless routers – publicly accessible connection argument

has been used successfully in the US [8]
untested in Irish court

Why the Law is wrong

The law in this area is self evidently ridiculous – but lets look at why

    Copyright infringement is not stealing or theft – OED ‘the felonious taking away of the personal goods of another’ – note taking away
    The corralling of knowledge ownership
    The denial of creative dissent
    File Sharing does not lead to a drop in record sales [9]
    File sharers buy more music – [10] – up to 4.5 times more – unsurprising as they are music fans – Many use file sharing to sample new tracks
    RIAA, IMRO and other industry bodies have refused all attempts to monetarize file sharing – fearing not the bottom line, but their monopolistic control of artists
    Industry estimate of file sharing are deliberately low for three reasons – to make it seem illegitimate – and to hide the fact that it is so widespread as to make anti file sharing laws undemocratic [11] – the real figures make a nonsense of their proclaimed impact on sales (up to 900million ‘illicit’ downloads per year)
    Industry estimates of the costs of file sharing are ridiculously high – of course each track made available does not cost X dollars – that is to assume a sale lost (whether per download etc) – in fact, wide distribution can equal increased sales, as more people hear the song in question and a proportion of those buy the song
    Many highly respected academics and organisations – such as the BBC [12] have a more positive interpretation of file sharing than the recording industry party line
    Although Recording Industry bodies purport to represent all musicians – their defacto monopoly of representation and the commitment of many musicians not to allow labels to sue fans for downloading their music make a nonsense of this – artists as diverse as Alanis Morissette, Ani DiFranco, Beastie Boys, David Bowie, Green Day, Courtney Love, Pearl Jam, REM refuse to allow their fans to be sued for sharing the music they love. – Here’s the story Francis mentions in the show, about Avril Lavines label actually funding the case of a sued file sharer [13]
    Law suits do not reduce file sharing – over 7000 file sharers have been sued in the US since 2003. Meanwhile file sharing has increased [14]
    Despite having to compete with an increased range of media purchases – DVD, Internet, Digital Television – CD sales have increased [15] and are not being reduced by file sharing
    16% of the Irish public admit to having downloaded copyrighted music [16]
    The majority of music published in history is not being made available by record labels – either in file or CD form [17] – This music is not generating a profit for anyone, which translates in economic terms to a loss – This music will under copyright till 2067
    Many (probably a majority) of books published in the past century are similarly unavailable [18] – and many classics are lost to history – Life of the author +70yrs copyright – File sharing and digital information sharing can stop this – [19]

Media Reporting

DRI Press Release [20]
DRI Article [21]
The Register [22]
Irish Examiner [23]
RTE Business [24]
Irish Times [25]
Underway In Ireland [26] MP3

Are Parasites controlling your BRAIN!

Parasites exhibit the ability to manipulate the ability of their hosts

Example: parasite that causes ant to clamp itself to the tips of grass blades greatly increasing the chances of it being eaten by grazing animals. Getting into a sheep or grazer’s digestive system allows the parasite to complete it’s life cycle.
Example: Rabies can cause carriers to become aggressive and bite. By no coincidence the disease can be contracted through the saliva of a victim.

Toxoplasma gondii: lives in the guts of cats eggs that can be picked up by rats and other animals that can just so happen be eaten by cats.

Toxoplasma forms cysts throughout its intermediate host’s body, including the brain. And yet a Toxoplasma-ridden rat is perfectly healthy.
The rats are different to uninfected rats in one way: they are more likely to be eaten by a cat.
Healthy rats shied away from cat odors such as cat urine as it causes high anxiety in the rat: a survival mechanism, stay away from predators.
The infected rats were not anxious behaving as if the odor wasn’t there.

Toxoplasma gondii can be carried by people so can it also have a subtle effect on the human carrier?

E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute and his colleagues had noticed some intriguing links between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia.
Pregnant women with high levels of Toxoplasma antibodies in their blood were more likely to give birth to children who would later develop schizophrenia.
Most interestingly, drugs that are used to treat schizophrenia can be used to treat Toxoplasma.

A fascinating area for further study, what other parasites are altering our personalities and can they be part of the reason for cultural diversity?
Links:

The Return of the Puppet Masters
Do Parasites Contribute to Human Cultural Diversity

Vista will only allow signed kernel-mode software

In a supposed effort to curb the threat of rootkits Microsoft plans to block uncertified drivers from loading on x64 versions of Windows Vista.
To get your driver to run on Vista you must obtain PIC (Publisher Identity Certificate) from Microsoft.
There’s no way round this save some kind of hack “Even users with administrator privileges cannot load unsigned kernel-mode code”
Microsoft will give away the PIC for free, but software publishers are required to purchase a VeriSign Class 3 Commercial Software Publisher Certificate.
Drivers must be signed for devices that stream protected content. This includes audio drivers that use PUMA (Protected User Mode Audio) and PAP (Protected Audio Path), and video device drivers that handle protected video path-output protection management (PVP-OPM) commands.
The above seems like the real motivation for this, to protect copyrighted content. Microsoft control what drivers and arguably what hardware will work with Vista. It’s pretty easy to see that no drivers that could do anything the RIAA or MPAA don’t like will ever get a PIC.
One poster at the Awful Forums compared the idea to “cutting your leg off to avoid the pain after a workout.”
Links:

Commentary on the idea
eWeek:Microsoft Hardens Vista Against Kernel-Mode Malware
Whitepaper on the Issue

The Beast’s 50 Most Loathsome People in America 2005.

Interesting Entries:

47. Martha Stewart.
44. George Lucas. Charge: being an “awful writer and a shitty, shitty director.”
40. Tom Cruise. Charge: “Criminal Narcissism.”
26. Spammers
25. Paris Hilton Charge: “Won’t go away”
16. R Kelly Charge: “urinating on an underage girl” and “inflicting the worst piece of music in American history upon the public consciousness.”
13. God Charge : “If your answer to the age-old question of God’s existence is “yes,” your next question should be, “Why is he such a dick?” After three major natural disasters, not to mention the eternal constants of famine, war and disease, to believe in God is to believe either that He enjoys fucking with us, or at best has totally lost interest in the whole “people” thing. Never calls anymore.”
6. Michael Jackson.
No. 4 is You!
Charges: Silently enabling and contributing to the irreversible destruction of your planet. Absolving yourself of your responsibility to do anything about it that your immediate neighbors don’t. Assuming that it’s normal behavior to spend several hours each day totally inert and staring into a cathode ray tube. Substituting antidepressants for physical motion. Caring more about the personal relationships of people you will never meet than your own. Shrugging your shoulders at the knowledge that your government is populated by criminal liar’s intent on fooling you into impoverished, helpless submission. Cheering this process on.

Exhibit A: You don’t even know who your congressman is.
Sentence: Deathbed realization that your entire life was an unending series of stupid mistakes and wasted opportunities, a priceless gift of potential extravagantly squandered, for which you deserve nothing but scorn or, at best, indifference, and a cold, meaningless demise.

3. George W. Bush
2. Dick Cheney
1. Pat Robertson Charge: being a “insecure, misogynistic, homicidal fanatic”

Links:

The Beast

Media Pimp

Francis’ Pimp

TurboTanks Tank Game [27]

A cool and addictive game based on the Atari 2600 classic.

MPAA Dvd warning parody [28]

A parody of the warning message that appears on every dvd.
My particular favorite is “You may view this media only in your own dwelling, in complete secrecy, with the shades drawn, and with an armed sentry posted at the door. You can not loan this media to anyone for any purpose. We reserve the right to charge an additional fee if you can remember or recollect the contents of this media.”

Gareth’s Pimp

An intricate but well thought out theory on what’s going on behind the scenes in Lost [29]

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One thought on “Technolotics #23 – So Sue Me

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