The Carpathia hosting company has already sunk over half a million bucks into keeping the user data stored on Megaupload's 25,000 servers, and that tally's rising by another $9k a day. Now, the company's looking to offset that cost by either: (A) selling 25 petabytes of data back to Megaupload; (B) get the court to help foot the maintenance bill; or (C) receive court protection from civil claims if it has to wipe the data to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately for Megaupload users on the up-and-up, the government and MPAA are blowing a raspberry at all three options.
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.
It believes that the similar nature of claims is a solid ground for such consolidation: "All of the complaints in the Google Wi-Fi Cases assert claims under the federal Wiretap Act. Some cases involve other, similar claims, including state law claims subject to preemption arguments under federal law. All of the complaints make very similar factual allegations, and thus any necessary discovery will be of common facts.”
An organization known as the US Copyright Group has issued lawsuits against thousands of alleged movie pirates. The organization represents an alliance of independent film producers, with backing from the Independent Film & Television Alliance. The group is expected to file another round of lawsuits (possible as many as 30,000) in the coming weeks. The really troubling thing here is almost all of these are so called “John Doe” cases with IPs as the only identifying information. The group is trying to force ISPs to hand over names. Thus far, only one ISP has cooperated, resulting in 71 names. Using so called “pre-settlement” letters; the US Copyright Group has so far gotten five of those people to pony up some cash.
This scheme seems to be aimed at casting the widest possible net to increase the odds of scaring someone enough that they settle an automated lawsuit. This practice has been common in Europe for some time, but this is the first time it has reached American shores. Even the RIAA has abandoned suing individuals, but this new trend is growing. "We're creating a revenue stream and monetizing the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel,” said lawyer Jeffrey Weaver.
The US Copyright Group is using a new software technology that monitors large Torrent swarms and logs IP addresses. By moving ahead with these large numbers, they hope to reach a stable cost/benefit ratio. They really do see this as a revenue stream. Unfortunately, this means ISPs have a huge burden to be the middle men processing the complaints. Does anyone want to play devil’s advocate and defend this practice?
The unreleased U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" was leaked onto Bit Torrent last week, and the resulting downloads have sent the RIAA into a frenzied fit. New rumors reported by TechCrunch have revealed that the recording industry might be looking to track down people who downloaded the album using Last.fm’s Scrobbler service. Scrobbler keeps track of songs playing on a user’s computer, regardless of the program used to do so. This information is then shared with Last.fm’s servers which broadcast’s playlists, along with recommending new tracks. According to unconfirmed sources within Last.FM, the RIAA contacted and obtained the logs of users who may have played the leaked U2 tracks. Apparently the logs also contain information that “can be used to identify individuals and will likely be shared with 3rd parties that have relationships with the RIAA.”
Given the fact that that no legal precedent would force Last.fm ito release a user’s personal information, should they be protecting its customers from the RIAA here? Let us know what you think after the jump.
About a month ago we took a look at a disturbing new trend that was emerging in Australia involving the movie industry’s new approach to copyright enforcement. It now appears as though this heavy handed approach has indeed crossed the ocean and the RIAA is preparing to switch gears. Over the past 6 years the music industry has initiated lawsuits against over 35,000 people. Seniors, minors, or the deceased, nobody was safe from the wrath of the recording industry. This public relations nightmare was bound to end sooner or later, but their new approach could see tens of thousands of internet users booted off the web.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered agreements made between several unnamed ISP’s and the RIAA which will make it possible for them to force internet service providers to disconnect user’s who refuse to cease and desist music sharing after being issued a written warning. Warnings will likely start with an emailed notice of violation which can then lead to restricted bandwidth, or in worst case scenarios as we mentioned before, the disconnection of internet service. Under the newly proposed system, the RIAA would forward a notice to the ISP of an offending IP address, and would leave it up to the provider to contact the individual customer. The positive change here would be that your privacy would not be compromised, and the RIAA would not require disclosure of the customer’s name.
The RIAA believes this new approach will “reach more people” and that it cannot afford to ignore piracy. The group cites NPD figures which show that the growth of illegally downloaded content has stalled in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuits. Their new approach would be much more covert, and would likely attract less media attention.
So would you rather be sued or booted off the net? I think I’ll pay the 99 cents a track thank you very much.