Netflix and its all-consuming thirst for bandwidth may get a lot of the headlines these days, but don't make the mistake of thinking illegal P2P file sharing is dead. Hop onto one of the big name torrent sites and you'll find a veritable ocean of available titles being seeded by a whole heck of a lot of people. But just because the media's forgotten about file sharers doesn't mean the lawyers have; in fact, over 200,000 pirates have found themselves slapped with a lawsuit since the beginning of 2010.
Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the woman who made numerous headlines for taking on the RIAA in a losing battle over file sharing, may want to heed the advice of Kenny Rogers. Among his more notable lyrics, Kenny Rogers sang "You got to know when to hold 'em, known when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run." Now that a federal judge has again lowered Thomas-Rasset's verdict, this time from $1.5 million to $54,000, it might be time to run.
Everyone knows you can't squeeze blood from a turnip, but you might be surprised how much cash you can choke out of LimeWire. The former peer-to-peer file sharing service is the center of another lawsuit, this one by Merlin, a trade group that represents more than 12,000 independent labels. These record companies claim LimeWire founder Mark Gorton reneged on a promise he made in 2008 to pay them for tracks that LimeWire users pirated before going belly-up, and it's time to settle up.
In some ways, life was easier as a teen before ubiquitous broadband Internet connections made file sharing an all too accessible past time. Just ask one 15-year-old from Sweden who now faces prosecution for sharing movies online. According to translated text from Swedish website GP.se, the kid from Gothenburg is accused of making available over 30 copyrighted movies via computer, and his fate now lies in the hands of a public defender.
We're fairly certain if you take a random sample of folks in their 70s and ask them to describe what BitTorrent is, the majority of them will tell you to hush up because you're interrupting Matlock. Even folks much younger who aren't entrenched in the tech world aren't likely to be all that familiar with BitTorrent, but they're all fair game for sue-happy firms looking to score quick settlements for big media.
While so-called “three strikes laws” have been passed in several countries to kick those repeatedly accused of copyright infringement off the Internet, Cnet is reporting that some US ISPs are not waiting for the government to impose such a system. Several companies including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are reportedly deep in talks with entertainment companies to establish tough punishments for alleged file sharers.
BitTorrent may be the name that draws the headlines, but uTorrent is the application that draws the users. No P2P sharing program enjoys a bigger user base than uTorrent – which is owned by BitTorrent, coincidentally enough – but its developers don't use the application's success as an excuse to sit around and watch "Game of Thrones" downloads all day – you know, "for research." Version 3.0 of the popular client has been in beta since April, and today, it went live.
Creative associations and ISPs have been trying to cast copyright-infringing file-sharers as digital boogeymen for years now. They've also been lobbying for a version of the Internet based around baseball: three copyright violation strikes and you're out of the Internet, cut off not just from P2P but also Twitter, email and MaximumPC.com. "Hold your horses," says a special report by the UN’s Human Rights Council. Apparently, three-strikes-style laws aren't just a ridiculous overreaction, they're a violation of human rights.
Battered and beaten up in court, peer-to-peer file sharing service LimeWire has agreed to pay $105 million in damages to major record labels, the Recording Industry Association of America announced. The settlement ends a jury trial that began last week to determine the amount of damages LimeWire would owe, which could have ended up being 10 times the amount of the settlement, or more.
The popular file sharing and synching service known as Dropbox has been receiving some heat lately for changes the company made to its Terms of Service (TOS). For many, the point of concern was a section about compliance with law enforcement, in which Dropbox outlined situations where it would feel compelled to fork over personal data about its users. This sparked a bit of outrage among fans of the service, so Dropbox decided to set the record straight in a lengthy blog post explaining the changes.