The best laughs in the country aren't found in comedy clubs or celebrity-filled roasts; if you want to really put the "L" in ROFL, you need to turn towards the court system. In today's humor-filled disposition, a store owner accused of selling illegal copies of DVDs says no, sir, he wasn't selling copyrighted DVDs – that's illegal, after all. He was actually giving the movies away for free, you see, and his customers were forking over $5 "donations" for the DVD cases.
Time Warner Cable doesn't necessarily have the greatest reputation when it comes to looking out for its customers best interests, but luckily for those who were unfortunate enough to try and pirate Uwe Boll's Far Cry 2 it will simply cost them too much to accommodate the lawyers. An independent DC legal outfit has requested the identity of more than 2,000 TWC customers, which in addition to exceeding their current staffing capabilities costs them approximately $45 each.
"Time Warner Cable does not have enough employees to respond to these requests. In a typical month, the company receives an average of 567 IP lookup requests, nearly all of them coming from law enforcement. These lookup requests involve everything from suicide threats to child abduction to terrorist activity, and the company says that such cases take "immediate priority."
The ISP's Subpoena Compliance team at Time Warner currently consists of four full-time workers and one temp who simply don't have enough hours in the day to honor all the requests. The company claims it currently has the capacity to handle about 28 non-critical subpoenas per month, which far exceeds the 809 in 30 days filed by the DC law firm.
One could argue that simply watching Uwe Boll's latest masterpiece is cruel and unusual punishment anyway, so the exact motivation behind the legal proceedings has us somewhat mystified. Perhaps they are hoping for a few glowing box quotes from pirates desperate to avoid a criminal record to help overshadow all the crummy reviews.
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?
Swedish cops seized a server containing 16,000 pirated movies in a raid they conducted last month. It is claimed that the server belonged to a file-sharing ring called Sunnydale and was being operated furtively at a location outside Stockholm from where it was seized.
Antpiratbyrån, a private copyright advocacy group, claims that the entire Sunnydale file-sharing ring, which consists of 10 servers, has been rendered ineffective due to the raid.
But The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde refuted Pontén’s tall claim. "More than 800,000 people have uploaded to The Pirate Bay, so I don't believe it's the source of everything. But it is possible that it's a major source," he told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.