The produces of The Hurt Locker aren't the only ones going after file shares. According to reports, three adult film producers are getting ready to send subpoenas to ISPs across the United States to obtain the identities of subscribers they claim illegally shared movies over the Internet.
Kenneth Ford, the attorney representing the film makers and who also operates an antipiracy company called Adult Copyright Company, has already been granted motions for early discovery by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, resulting in 5,000 lawsuits.
"My intention is to file suit against several thousand more illegal downloaders in the next week or two," Ford said. "The coming lawsuits will name in the neighborhood of 10,000 Doe defendants."
This week, a Federal Judge in South Dakota sided with ISP Midcontinent and quashed one of the many Hurt Locker subpoenas seeking subscriber information. The ISP had, on August 9, received the subpoena via fax instructing them to hand over the details on people connected to several IP addresses. Midcontinent Decided thatrather than comply, they would take the case to the local Federal Court.
The legal action stems from claims made by the US Copyright Group on behalf of a number of indie movie companies, including Hurt Locker makers Voltage Pictures. This legal group is issuing huge numbers of "Doe" subpoenas to force ISPs to divulge the real identities of those believed to have shared the film online.
While the ISP in question made a number of arguments as to why they should not have to comply, Judge John Simko decided to stop the subpoena right there because of "Federal Rule 45", which addresses how subpoenas must be handled with regard to geographic location. Simko believed that the Subpoena did not fulfill any of the four requirements, so it was quashed. The Judge also more or less called the US Copyright Group lazy for sending the document by fax instead of courier, or registered mail. Do you think this will affect other pending subpoenas in the case?
There's a huge difference between 100Mbps and 64Kbps, and throttling the former to the latter has earned Austrian ISP "Optus" a date with a judge.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Optus misled consumers with its "Supersonic" and "Think Bigger" broadband plans, violating the Trade Practices Act in the process. The ACCC points out 11 television, print, billboard, and Internet advertisements claiming the Supersonic services are "four times faster than standard broadband," but fail to disclose the almost dial-up speeds for users who chew through their monthly data limit.
The data caps sit at 50GB for peak hours (12am to 12pm) and 70GB for off-peak hours (12pm to 12am), and those who go over will see their supersonic 100Mbps throttled to a super slow 64Kbps. Absent, however, are any excess usage charges.
Even so, the ACCC "alleges that Optus engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false representations in relation to the advertising of certain broadband plans." To help with their case, regulators plan to call in an expert to examine the practical differences between 100Mbps and 64Kbps by going over what services and apps can be realistically be used on each speed grade.
This isn't the first time Optus' advertising practices have landed the company in hot water. Back in June, the ACCC took Optus to court on similar charges for using the word "unlimited" to describe voice and data plans that had usage caps and prices.
A few months back, Voltage Studios (the indie studio that made "The Hurt Locker") began legal proceedings against those seen illegally sharing the movie online. 5,000 "John Doe" lawsuits were filed by the film's producers. Voltage Pictures has now started moving ahead with the next phase of the legal process. Several ISP customers have received notices that their provider has been subpoenaed, and must turn over their names to Voltage's lawyers.
A number of small movie studios have been working with the law firm of Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver. This firm is managing the cases in exchange for a portion of any settlements of judgments that result. The ACLU and EFF have both strongly opposed this action. Some ISPs have even objected due to the huge number of subpoenas they are likely to get.
Some alleged infringers have already been offered settlement offers of several thousand dollars. When faced with the possibility of huge legal fees, many individuals may choose to settle. This strategy didn't work out so well for the RIAA, do you think the producers of The Hurt Locker have a better chance of success?
One of the world's largest botnets responsible for as much as 10 percent of all spam suffered a temporary setback this week when several ISPs took action by unplugging infected servers, according to security firm M86 Security.
Known as the Pushdo or Cutwail network, this top 5 botnet specialized in sending out spam for fake AV software, designer goods, and pharmaceutical products, said Ed Rowley, product manager for M86 Security. But for the next couple of weeks, you can expect less of these emails in your inbox.
Security experts with the security company LastLine took it upon themselves to start contacting ISPs found to be hosting the command-and-control infrastructure of the botnet. All told, there were about 30 servers at 8 different ISPs keeping the botnet alive, 20 of which have since been taken offline.
According to Rowley, LastLine's efforts "will almost certainly have a positive effect for two to three weeks," but "the spammers will be able to find other hosting providers where they will be able to get their systems up and running."
Maybe sooner. Leaving at least 10 servers online is a major concern, as Pushdo is capable of generating random domain names, which can then be registered and activated.
Many ISPs around the world have taken to instituting restricting bandwidth caps, but Belgian ISP Telenet has a fairly amicable system. Lower priced, slower service is capped between 50 and 80GB pr month, but higher packages are governed only by fair use. Telenet recently posted to their forums a list of the 25 top downloaders in the last month. The top user in that list used an astonishing 2.7TB (down and up) during that billing cycle.
The list doesn't appear to have any personally identifiable except what appear to be forum usernames for some users. Below the 2.7TB top end, it drops off quickly to a respectable 1.9TB, then to 1.5 and 1.3TB. The last user on the list used 430GB of total bandwidth. Telenet reserves the right to throttle users down to 512Kbps is they engage in excessive usage, it is unclear if any of these users will feel the sting of a slowed connection.
It's hard to see how these users managed to use so much data unless they were running torrents or Usenet downloads constantly. There's certainly nothing saying users cannot use those protocols, but Telenet says the connection is only to be used for " legal data". By stipulating the fair use limits, they're free to complain about this sort of usage. While we might secretly root for these giants of data usage, none of us would want to live in their neighborhood and share their pipes.
In a Verizon statement today, the company announced that a recent field test of their fiber optic network showed near gigabit speeds. The test was carried out in Taunton, Mass with the help of a business customer. The customer saw speeds of 925Mbps when connected to the local Verizon office. Drop off was not as bad as you might expect. Speeds as high as 800Mbps were recorded with test servers over 400 miles away.
This is Verizon has been able to demonstrate these speeds in a real-life scenario. Google attracted a lot of attention when they started searching for a community to hook up with experimental 1Gbps broadband service. Verizon's accomplishment is different because it uses an existing network, with new gigabit passive optical network (GPON) switches.
Verizon's current FiOS service is offered at 50Mbps, and no word is available on if faster speeds will be rolled out in the wake of this test. Some feel the Taunton test was done mainly to demonstrate that the fiber network could handle future uses like 3DTV. How fast is your home internet service? Are FiOS-level speeds even available to you?
Yep, you read the title correctly. Comcast, the seemingly masochist ISP that gets repeatedly beat up in the press, is again taking a flogging, this time for billing a customer with a $0.00 balance and demanding remittance.
"To avoid an interruption of your service, please pay $0.00," the confused customer's bill reads. "As your account is currently delinquent, your Digital Voice, High Speed Internet and Cable services may be subject to interruption. While interrupted, you will retain the ability to place calls to 911 using your Digital Voice service."
According to some readers who caught wind of this quirky bill, this isn't a one-time SNAFU on Comcast's part, as others have reported receiving similar bills. And Comcast isn't alone, either. One reader said he received a notice from Charter Communications to pay a $0.00 balance, and when he failed to return a blank envelope or a check written out for absolutely nothing, the ISP allegedly shut off his service and wanted him to pay a $25 fee for the whole ordeal.
Has something like this happened to any of you? Hit the jump and tell us your quirky biling stories.
Depending on who you ask, the percentage varies, but it’s always high. Way too high.
Allegedly, 90% of internet traffic is spam. Or maybe it’s 95%.
Personally, I don’t see as much spam as I used to. I use Gmail and its spam-filtering is pretty good. I haven’t heard from any Nigerians in a long time—which kind of disappoints me, because I always regarded the Nigerian swindle as an opportunity to have some fun.
I learned a long time ago that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So when someone sends me an email telling me that if I will send them my bank account number, they’ll send me ten percent of forty million dollars, my BS alarm goes off big time.
I used to reply to the Nigerians with: “All of us here at the International Outreach Effort of the Institute for Homosexual Research are thrilled at your generosity. Your continuing donations will allow us to do important work all over Africa, educating people everywhere on the importance of gay liberation…. Please tell us how to proceed, etc.”
Why this? Because homosexuality is criminalized in Nigeria. Extremely so. So if someone is monitoring emails in Nigeria, this might very well put a few swindlers out of business in a very nasty way. As far as I’m concerned, swindlers are fair game. And no, I’m not a nice man. Why do you even bother to ask?
Australians who plan to traverse the Web better make sure they have antivirus and firewall software installed on their PCs, because if they don't, they risk being cut off from the Internet. And if they do manage to get an infection, they can expect their ISPs to disconnect service until they can prove a clean bill of health.
These recommendations come as part of a new plan being kicked around Australia's House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications. In a report titled "Hackers, Fraudsters, and Botnets: Tackling the Problem of Cyber Crime," the committee spent 260 pages outlining 34 recommendations on how to deal with the growing threat of cyber crime, everything from the above scenario to holding companies financially responsible who release IT products with security vulnerabilities.
"In the past decade, cyber crime has grown from the nuisance of the cyber smart hacker into an organized transnational crime committed for vast profit and often with devastating consequences for its victims," said committee chair Belinda Neal.
Is Australia's House of Representatives on to something here, or are they off their rocker? Hit the jump and sound off.